I Don't Care If You're Sick

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The problem with Michael is that he’s always afraid that if he takes himself out of apathy and spikes up, then he’ll crash back down. That’s part of the reason why Luke is such a big risk for Michael, because Michael’s used to the rough, aggressive side of life, wrestling with jerks from school in dark back alleys, ribbing each other for everything under the sun, but Luke is different.

Michael always has to take a step back, think things through. Luke’s a risk not only to Michael’s emotions, but his mental health. Luke sets him off in good and bad ways, and with virtually no family and friends who are split between the two of them, Michael’s really on his own to control himself. And because he has to regulate himself, he has to decide whether Luke’s really worth it.

It’s all good when he and Luke are good, but sometimes they’re not, and it’s a very unstable kind of bond. Their connection is like a fraying wire, always breaking and being repaired. Michael could use some stability, and that isn’t the way it’ll be with Luke.

Michael’s been steadier with his meds. Before, it was whatever--if he remembered to take them, then great. If he forgot, Michael would just pray he wouldn’t lose it. But Michael’s realizing that even if he doesn’t need his pills all the time, he can’t really predict when he does need them. It was different when the only real risk to Michael was himself, but when Luke was added in, any day could be the one where Michael loses it.

Michael has always walked a dangerous line, but there was never anyone he was worried about hurting. He didn’t have problems until he moved to Perth, wasn’t diagnosed, and he didn’t really have steady friends there, just kids who were happy to supply him with alcohol or whatever Michael needed. Even his meds, if they were in a financial slump and Michael needed the money to put food on the table. But Luke is the magic factor. Michael still hasn’t figured out how they even work. Sometimes they don’t.

In other words, Michael’s a little more stable than he was, but not quite enough. He’ll never be stable enough. But his pills are the only thing that can get him at least to here.

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Michael wakes up late and finds a note on the counter, telling him that Calum’s gone off songwriting and Ashton’s gone to his family’s for someone’s birthday. Luke’s door is shut, and there’s nothing about him, so Michael assumes he must still be home. He almost never leaves the house, not like the other two, who are gone all the time.

Michael gets dressed and then sits on his bed and unscrews the cap to his med bottle. He frowns, staring down at the plastic white bottom of the bottle.

Michael’s out of pills.

Or, well, out of that one bottle of pills. Michael’s not too worried, because he brought another bottle with him. He still has some time. When he’s almost out of those pills, he’ll take the prescription he carried with him to the nearest pharmacy, wherever that is.

Michael stuffs the empty bottle back in his drawers, afraid if he puts it in the trash can one of the boys will find it. He knows his other bottle is somewhere. He must have put it in one of his drawers.

He starts rummaging. Shirts. Jeans. Underwear. Jackets. Video game things. No pill bottle.

“I know you’re in here,” Michael whispers, glaring down into the drawer. He starts searching through his other drawers. Notebooks, filled with songs, extra guitar picks and strings, his laptop, some food he’s forgotten about. Next drawer, filled with socks.

Where the fuck are his pills?

Maybe he left them in the bathroom. Michael slams the drawer shut and turns quickly, leaving his room and crossing the hall to the bathroom. He opens up the cabinets, and finds several bottles. He reads their labels. Painkillers, cold medicine, etc. etc. None of them are Michael’s. He yanks open the drawers under the sink and scrambles through the contents, frantic eyes raking over the supplies. No pills, no pills.

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