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what once was ours (is no one's now)

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Soulmates can feel each other’s emotions, see and smell would maybe be better words to describe it; but that’s not quite right either. If you concentrate on your soulmate you can sense what they are feeling through colours and, sometimes, if your bond is strong enough, scents. If your soulmate is really happy, for example, you’ll be able to feel yellow and smell sunscreen, others may perhaps feel orange and smell citrus or bright green smelling freshly cut grass, every couple has their own colours and scents and combinations which they’ll learn to understand with time.

In that exact moment Alex wasn’t trying to see Michael’s colours, but that didn’t stop the universe from showing them to him. How cruel - he thought. He was surrounded by a beautiful pastel pink and he couldn’t help but smell roses, delightfully sweet and delicate. Alex would have thought of it as something romantic and hopeful and achingly sweet, it would’ve made him smile and swoon like an idiot, except for one single most insignificant detail: these emotions weren't for him. Alex knew that Michael was with Maria, he knew that they were building a relationship, and he was happy that Michael could feel like this again, that Maria had found someone that felt like that about her. But yellow and sunscreen wasn’t how he was feeling at the moment, he knew that if Micheal tried to sense his feelings (not that he would, why would he?) he would see grey and smell ash and smoke. Smoke that was slowly choking Alex up and blurring his vision. His heart aching at the thought that their relationship had once been a sweet rose scented and pastel coloured thing, sweet and hopeful for a future that never came. It hadn’t been pastel for a while though. It had quickly turned into bright colours, shining gold and burning reds, beautiful purples and sad blues, muted greys and blinding whites. He always thought of those colours as being something good, the brighter the colours the more he could feel, it meant that they were undeniable, after all something so bright and shiny and lively can’t be forgotten, denied or abandoned. Now, however, he couldn’t help but think that maybe love wasn’t supposed to be so blinding but it was, instead, supposed to be made of pastel pinks and calming lillas, that it should smell like rose, lavender, peony and jasmine instead of smelling like rain and gasoline, pine and ginger. There had been moments, at night, when the two of them had just laid in bed and Alex had sensed pastel green and the sweet, comforting scent of apples, and he hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything else but the sweet hopefulness in the air. Other nights they would, intead, watch the stars in silence, surrounded by pastel yellow and the sweet and calming smell of jasmine. He misses those moments now and wishes he could have cherished them more, he wishes he could be the one that made Michael smell of roses again. He wishes he had been the one with whom Michael could have shared a pastel life with. He had tried, he had shown up at Michael’s place smelling like spring, like rain, like something new and alive, hopeful and ready to make things right. But all he had now was a smothering grey that couldn’t let him breath, surrounded by smoke and the ashes of what could have been.

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Alex was lying in his bed, wallowing in self pity. This wasn’t him. This had never been what he did when life turned south, and it did turn south, time and time again.  But maybe that’s exactly why this time he decided to just let it go, let it pour out. Because sometimes everything seems just a little too much. 

Sometimes things just pile up, one after another after another, until the pile is so high that it just comes tumbling down.

Sometimes getting up is harder than it seems. 

Sometimes, you just want to lay in bed and cry your eyes out until they are red, until they burn, until you exhaust yourself, until you can forget the pain that you’re feeling inside.

Alex hated that it was this that had finally made him break down. He knew better. Better than to believe that he could actually be someone’s “special person”. He knew better than to believe that he could be loved. 

Every night since he was 8 and felt Michael for the first time he dreamed about finally meeting his soulmate, he dreamed about finding his special someone, someone with whom he could share absolutely everything, someone that would love him completely and absolutely, but most importantly, unconditionally. 

That beautiful dream got shattered pretty quickly, only a year after he felt that beautiful connection for the first time. 

The day his mother left. 

Mum and dad where soulmates, little Alex knew that, so why would she leave Jesse? Soulmates aren’t supposed to leave each other, they are supposed to be together forever. Bonded for eternity. Always by each others’ side. Much later Alex would realize that the reason why his mother ran away was that she was the only one that could see it. The only one that had to live with Jesse Manes colours, and, oh, how dark must they have been. So dark and twisted that she had no choice but to leave, wondering why fate had decided to bond her with someone so cruel. Alex didn’t blame her but in his heart, Alex resented her for it. If she knew how Jesse felt, why had she left Alex with him? Why didn’t she take Alex with her? Why would she doom him to a life spent with his father when she knew exaly how Jesse felt about Alex? How Jesse Manes felt about the world?

This will always remain one of the millions of unanswered question that Alex will ponder upon time and time again, and probably one of the most hurtful. One he tries not to think about, because just the mere thought of it makes him ache all over.

The point is, however, that on that day Alex stopped believing that he would ever find someone that could truly love him. If not even his parents could love him, then why would a stranger? His only hope all this time had been that soulmates just loved each other, that they could never leave each other, that there was no wrong pairing and that you couldn't help but love you soulmate. His mother, however, had proved him wrong. 

Alex had been stupid. He had let himself be fooled. He had let himself believe that his father was a special case, that his father was  just too fucked up to be loved, soulmate or not, and that maybe Alex and his soulmate would actually work out, that they would always be together. He had, after all, pushed Michael away time and time again, but Mihael had always come back, they had always found their way back into each other’s arms. He had been so wrapped up in himself, in his feras that Michael would live him like mother left Jesse, that he hadn’t spared a moment to think about the fact that maybe Michael was scared too. Scared of not being good enough, scared of being left alone, scared of being abandoned. And Alex hadn’t noticed. Michael had always been so good at hiding what he was feeling, even from Alex, who could sense his emotions. Only now he realized that all the times he had to endure sensing Michael having sex with someoone that wasn’t him (all those awful, terrible times, where Alex would try not to see, not to smell; alll those times that made him nauseous that made his stomach ache and his heart shatter) underneath the smell of cinnamon, or leather or wine, there was always something else, something that Alex had never notice, too busy trying to smell nothing at all: the smell of sand after the rain. Only now he could place that smell, only now he could understand what it meant. Michael had been lonely, he had felt abandoned, he had been left behind by the one person that was supposed to always be by his side and never leave him, and he had tried time and time again to fill the void that Alex had left behind, the void that he kept leaving behind.

And now he finally did that, and Alex had no one to blame but himself. His fears and insecurities had ruined the only thing in his life that made sense, the only thing that made him feel whole and happy and safe.


 

Michael and Maria just had the loveliest of evenings. They talked and laughed and kissed. Not the hungry kissed that they had shared in the desert, where it had been all heat and arousal, no, this time they were more innocent and tentative and sweet like honey. 

They were doing just that when Michael smelled it. 

The acrid smell of smoke. 

It was almost imperceivable at first, just a smell in the distance, so Michael ignored it. But then it got stronger. 

“Is everything alright?” asked Maria, with a puzzled look on her face.

“Can’t you smell it?” It was almost asphyxiating now, surrounding him completely in a cruel embrace.

“Smell what?” Maria looked even more worried now: the room smelled like the lavender she had burned before and she had a feeling that that wasn’t what Michael was referring to.

“Something is burning, how can you not smell it?” Michael stood up,  looked around, trying to understand where the awful smell might be coming from, but his eyes started watering blurring his vision, the smell burning his nose.

Maria tried to calm him, tried to understand what was going on, but it was useless. The smell was getting stronger, second by second, and Michael couldn’t understand why. 

Until he did.

He froze and held his breath in shock. No, that surely couldn’t be Alex. 

Michael had built a wall,a big thick wall that separated his mind from Alex’s, in this way, if Alex so chose, he could feel and smell and see Michael’s emotions, but Michael wouldn’t be able to do the same. He had built the wall years and years ago, not because he didn’t love Alex, not even because he wanted nothing to do with him, but because it had hurt too much. The  scents and colours that he could feel while Alex was away, were something indescribable. They were so terrifying and awful that on some days nothing could cover them, not even the smell of acetone. 

The day he decided to built the wall wasn’t a day at all, it was a night. Not a bad one either, the breeze was fresh and the sky was lit up by thousands of brilliant stars. But it wasn’t the fresh breeze, or night sounds, that woke Michael up, it was instead the stench of death that made him open his eyes. It was horrible, something that people should only experience in nightmares. His vision was distorted, as if he were looking through a bordeaux colored glass but sometimes, only for a second at a time, everything would turn black. But, without a doubt, the worst part was the smell: the indescribable scent of rotting flesh, a pungent and musky smell, but somehow with a tinge of sweetness. Even weeks later Michael swore that he could smell it still. It clinged to his clothes and sheets and to the airstream itself. He burned everything that he wore that night, including the sheets, but sometimes, even years later, he would wake up and smell it still. He threw up several times, that night, and then he cried and cried, for Alex and for himself and for the whole world. 

And that’s how he woke up the next morning, eyes red and puffy, throat sore and raw and a headache that could split his head in two. And the smell of death still sticking to his body, to his house, to his clothes. 

And that’s the moment when he'd decided that he wouldn’t let it happen again, that he couldn’t live his life surrounded by those awful scents.

 

But here he was, and he couldn’t help but wonder how many other times had Alex felt like this? How many times had Michael ignored Alex feelings when he could have been the one to help him? How many times had Alex believed that Michael was ignoring his pain?

And then it hit him: all those times he talked with Alex he could have known what Alex had meant, what Alex had felt, what was real and what was fake. But he hadn’t, because he had gotten so used to not feeling Alex that he had almost forgotten that he could, that he could get the truth out of him if he just… reached for him.

“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry but I have to-  I really have to go” he was frantic now, he had to go to Alex, he couldn't ignore him, he couldn’t just ignore his pain now that he knew that it was there.

“You aren’t going anywhere while you are like this Guerin, you can barely stand!”

“I have to! Alex is... He’s, I have to go, I can’t let him suffer alone! Not again! I’m sorry, we’ll talk later okay?” and with that said, he got up and left, with the smoke still burning in his nostrils and his vision still clouded by tears.


 

Maria sat stunned on the ground. 

When she had kissed Michael all those nights ago she couldn’t have known that they were soulmates, she had thought... well she hadn’t thought of anything at all. She had only focused on the feelings of calm and peace and happiness that she felt every time Michael was there with her. Her life was a mess, a hurricane of bad things spinning around her, but Michael, while being himself a storm, was also a little bit of sunshine in the darkness of the night. He held her when she cried and he was there when he needed him, even when things weren’t all happiness and flowers, he was still there, caring for her and making her feel safe. Not because she needed someone to save her, not because she needed someone to protect her, but because in dark times having someone by your side is always better than being alone. Because we are humans and we want affection, we want people to care for us, we want people to hold us up when we are about to fall, because we can’t live in this world alone, we need other people, we need love. And while Maria loves and loved and always will love Liz and Alex with her whole heart and soul, they left. They left her alone in that small town. They left her alone to fend for herself in this dark world. They left her all alone and who’s to say that they won’t do that again? Who’s to say that one day they’ll decide that they had had enough of Roswell, again, and that they'll leave, again. 

But Michael? Michael had always been in Roswell, he wasn’t going to leave and now everytime she had needed him, he was there.

But she hadn’t known, until three seconds ago, that Alex was Michael’s soulmate. 

She knows that she had been in the wrong, when she kissed Michael she knew that Alex had feelings for him, she knew that Michael was the person that made Alex happy and hopeful, but when she kissed Michael the only happiness and hopefulness that she felt was her own. She knows she should have talked to Alex, she’s not stupid, she knows she ruined their friendship, she knows that she has no exuses to give Alex for what she did; but sometimes when it seems like the whole world is falling down, when fate only has horrible things in store for you, when your life is nothing but a dull rutine day after day after day, year after year, when something good happens to you, you just take it, with your greedy hands and open needing heart, because what if it doesn’t happen again? What if nothing good will happen in your life ever again? What if this is the only chance that you get at happiness?

But Alex was Michael soulmate.

Her heart ached.

She had thought that with time, with a lot of time, she and Alex could mend their friendship, they could talk and talk and talk, and maybe even cry and scream, but at the end they would be friends again, maybe not like they were, but still friends, still family. But now? She had taken Alex soulmate. Alex special person, the person that was meant for him, the person that he sensed everyday, the person he was connected to. How could Alex ever forgive her for this? (and yes, she hadn’t known, but what does that change now that it’s done?)

And then a violent fit of rage hit her. How could Michael lie to her like this, how could Michael not tell her that her best friend, her family, was his soulmate? How could he hide something so important, something so crucial? They were supposed to start a relationship, but a relationship based on a lie was doomed to fail from the start. So much for happiness and hope.

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Michael wanted to lock it out, to lock everything out. The burning smell and the smoke-like grey that clouded his vision. He wanted to block Alex’s feelings and go back to a life without worry, a life where he wasn’t forced to sense Alex’s emotions, an easier life where he could use the excuse that he didn’t know how Alex felt. 

But at the same time he hated that life. 

He hated that blank space that followed him everywhere he went, that colorless hole that filled his chest and ate him from the inside out. Since the moment he built the wall separating Alex from himself he had felt like a piece inside of him was missing, and while he hated the acrid smell that filled his nostrils and he hated the way the world looked through grey colured lenses, he knew that he would never be able to block Alex out again, to strip away that part of himself again. Because now that he was finally whole he never wanted to feel hollow again.

 

He still remembers the first time he felt it, the first time he felt Alex. 

It happened a year after he came out of the pod. It happened when he needed it most. He had heard about soulmates by then, everyone talked about them. Everyone talked about how much they could sense them, if they had met them yet and what it felt like the first time they talked to each other, touched each other. Sensing your soulmate isn’t something that happens out of the blue, without a warning. For your whole life, since the moment you are born, you can feel them. When you are a kid it’s feeble, weak, a whiff in the distance. But with time it gets stronger, more powerful and then, when you meet them, when you touch them, it’s like all the pieces of the puzzle finally  fit together and the world finally makes sense. From that moment on, you'll be able to sense your soulmate whenever you want, and sometimes, even if you don’t want to. This means that if you can’t sense them from the beginning, you don’t have one. Which is rare, but possible.

Michael never sensed anything, he knew it was because he was different, he knew it was because he wasn’t like everyone else, he wasn’t human. Since the beginning, he had always felt like an outsider, like he had to watch other people be happy through a glass wall, never being able to join them, forced to be alone on the other side of the glass, and even though it seemed so thin, so fragile, so easy to break, he was never able to do it, he was never able to cross it, never able to join the others in their happiness, cursed to be alone. And the fact that he didn’t have a soulmate was one more proof that he was different and doomed to be alone. The knowledge that he didn’t have a special someone that was meant to be with him, a special someone that would love him, broke him, because it meant that nobody was ever going to love Michael. 

He was alone, surrounded by kids that didn’t want to be his friends and grown ups that didn’t want him as their kid, but while many other kids in foster care were in the same situation as his, they still had the comfort of knowing that out there, somewhere, there was at least one person that was going to love them, one person that they were destined to be with.

 

It was the 6th of December when it happened. It was cold outside and Michael was huddled in a small bed with a way too thin cover, his teeth were chattering and he couldn’t stop shaking. It was late at night and the only sound was the wind crashing against his window and the occasional whistle caused by the wind finding his way through the window and inside the small room. When he first smelled it, he thought it was just the wind, bringing the scent from the outside into the room. But somehow he knew that wasn’t true, somehow he knew that the scent wasn’t coming from outside the house into the room, but it was coming from inside him . He will never admit it, he will never in a million years tell anyone about that moment, but he cried. Five big salty tears streamed down his face while he hugged himself even stronger than before, a big smile covering his face, hidden under the covers. Because he wasn’t alone in this big scary world. Because, even though no one wanted him now, even if now he was completely alone, and scared (so scared), in the future, someday, he would meet his soulmate. He would meet the person that was his , someone that was going to love him, someone that would keep him company, always. Someone that would never leave him alone, someone that would make his loneliness go away, so that Michael would never have to feel alone in the world, so that he could have someone by his side. 

In that moment he had felt, for the first time, hope. In those 10 years while Alex was away, sometimes he had still believed in it, a little less everytime Alex left. 

In time he had started to believe that soulmates meant nothing, that he was destined to be sad and lonely, with no one to comfort him, so he always put on a mask to hide how he really felt, ignoring the fact that no matter how beautiful and deceiving the mask was, Alex could always see behind it, because unlike Michael, he never built a wall.

 

When Michael reached Alex’s cabin it was well after dark and the cabin was lit only by the stars and the moon, drenching the cabin in a soft milky light, making it look like something that came out of a dream. For a moment Michael worried that Alex wasn’t there, but his car was parked outside, so unless someone had picked Alex up, Michael was pretty sure (hoped) that Alex hadn’t gone anywhere on foot at this time of night, and in that state of mind.

He opened the door using his powers and found himself in darkness, if not for the light breaching through the windows and the open door behind him. The house was eerily quiet, if not for a muffled sound in the distance, in the depths of the house: Alex was crying. 

Michael had never seen Alex cry, he had seen him holding back tears, and once he even saw one escape from his eyes, traveling down his cheek before he wiped it off, erasing that sign of weakness from his face, but he had never seen him crying, big tears, aching chest and blushing cheeks. And now that he was here and now that he knew it was happening, he wasn’t sure if he could handle it. He wasn’t sure if he could see Alex breaking down. His Alex was a diamond, beautiful and precious and everything someone could wish for, but he was also unbreakable, so extremely strong and tenacius. Alex didn’t break. Never. 

(Or maybe he just didn’t break when people could see. Maybe he always put himself together again)

Alex’s sobs got clearer and clearer the closest he got to his room, and when he finally got there, after having to walk blindly in the darkness of the house, he could hear him so clearly it broke his heart.

He may hate him at times, he may hate Alex for leaving him alone when he was supposed to be the one that always kept him company, he may hate him for breaking his heart, but he always loved him. He loved him with every fiber of his body, because loving Alex was a part of him, a part of who he is, and he would rather suffer loneliness than see Alex in pain. Seeing him like this, huddled in a soft, creamy duvet, shaking and crying, was the last thing that Michael would want to see. Because Michael may hate Alex for leaving him alone but seeing him like was a whole new kind of torture, one that tore him apart from the inside.

He kneeled beside the bed where Alex was now trying to calm himself down, having finally noticed Michael’s arrival.

“Please go away. Please, I don’t want you to- Please not like this.” Alex voice was muffled by the covers, hoarse and breathy, as if only the mere action of talking was hurting him. Ù

And maybe it was.

Michael knew Alex didn’t want him to see him like this. He knew this was a part of Alex that was supposed to be hidden from the outside world, a part that was his and only his, hidden like a secret and kept like a treasure, sealed by steel chains and and unlockable locks. 

But he wasn’t going to leave, he wasn’t going to pretend that this, whatever this may be, didn’t happen. He knew that by morning light Alex was going to shrug all of this off, act as if it never happened and go back to being the unbreakable diamond that he always had been.

How many other times had this happened? He wondered, but he dreaded the answer

So he stayed, kneeling beside the bed, listening to Alex’s heavy breaths and muffled cries.

He placed the softest of kisses upon Alex’s temple. 

“I’m not going anywhere,” he whispered “I’m here okay? Everything is going to be fine.” 

It wasn’t a lie, but it also wasn’t the truth. 

Michael didn’t know how everything was going to be. Max was in a coma after he and Isobel had been able to combine their powers to heal him enough to bring him back to life, but not enough to wake him up. And even then it had taken them four months to learn how to do that, and after doing it they had been too weak to even move for weak, not to mention the fact that since healing Max neither of them had been able to heal anything at all, not even a papercut. Isobel was doing better but that didn’t mean that she was doing fine. Rosa hadn’t left Isobel’s house, where she was currently living, since she had been resurrected four months ago because nobody had any idea of what to do with her whatsoever. Michael suggested that she should just move somewhere else and use a fake identity, but Liz didn’t want to leave Roswell, not with Max still in a coma, but she also didn’t want to get separated from Rosa now that they were finally together. Michael himself was a mess of emotions that he didn’t know how to categorize: he felt betrayed by Max’s actions, he was relieved that he was alive but also disappointed in himself for not being able to bring him back to life completely, leaving him in an uncertain coma, that could end tomorrow or never. He really liked Maria and loved spending time with her: they had been together for four months now and he was really enjoying himself. He had never been in a real, healthy romantic relationship before and while spending time with Maria he had realized that he loves romantic dates and the mundane things that are part of a relationship: holding hands, and passing, mindless kisses. Hugging hello and goodbye. Even grocery shopping could become a sweet and funny activity. But while he cares for Maria, while he wants to make her laugh and see her smile, while he loves their banter and inside jokes, he doesn’t love her . He loves being with her. He loves the jokes and kisses and hugs. He loves their dates. He loves the relationship. He loves Alex.

He had locked Alex away, trying to remember only the bad stuff, trying to remember their fight and poisonous words that they had screamed at each other, he had tried to remember only the times that Alex had renounced him, all the times he had left him, told him they couldn’t be together. Because it was easier to leave Alex behind if he told himself that all that they had was rotten. It was easier to forget how much he loved, loves, and always will love, Alex if that love only brought him pain and never joy. 

But it was a lie. 

Because Alex was shining gold and smelled like jasmine. Because Alex was a fresh morning breeze and silver. Because Alex smelled like sunscreen and shone like the sun. And Michael had locked him out. When had Alex bargained his golden light for smoke gray?  

He loves Alex.

He loves Alex.

He loves Alex.

Tears streamed down his face, but he couldn’t focus on the pain, he couldn’t focus on the bad and the agly and the hurtful, because Alex didn’t have a wall. Because Alex was still able to sense him, and he was going to do everything in his power so that Alex could sense the happy moments that they together.

“Michael, I really really can’t right now. Please just… go. Just go” he ignored him. If he focused too much on Alex’s broken voice and shaking figure it would only make him break too.

So he focused on their first meeting, and the white light that almost blinded him. They were thirteen. Michael had arrived in Roswell a few weeks prior and he was mindlessly walking the street, when he saw him. Their eyes met and Michael smile was even brighter than the white light. But Alex wasn’t smiling, he instead looked at Michael with a confused expression and then quickly (far too quickly) looked away.  Michael now knows it was because Alex was with his father, but at the time he had believed that the universe had been fucking with him again. That fate at paired him with a random human that was already paired with someone else. That maybe Alex was Michael soulmate, but Alex had another soulmate. One that wasn’t Michael’s. But it that moment, in the cabin, with Alex sniffling and shaking, Michael didn’t have the privilege of focusing on those awful years that followed this discovery, he had to show Alex happiness not pain, he had to feel white and lilies.

But white and lilies weren’t enough.

So he thought about the first time they talked, really talked, not the pleasantries they had exchanged before. It was the day Alex invited him to stay at his shed, when the world shone in silver and smelled like viburnum.

It still wasn’t enough.

But before he could get to the gold, Alex turned towards him.

“What are you doing?” His eyes were red and bloodshot, his face was pale, except for his cheeks that were a beautiful shade of pink, which Michael thought, guilty, made him look awfully cute.

“There is so much pain and hurt and… But it doesn’t have to be that way. It isn’t always dark and heavy and scary-”

“What are you talking about? Michael, I don’t understand. I- please. I’m so- I’m so tired,” and then, without wanting to, Alex started crying again, hiding his face into the soft pillow, shielding himself away from Michael’s eyes.

“I’m talking about us . We hurt each other, and ourselves, so many times before, but it doesn’t have to be like that. We don’t have to be like that.”

Alex looked up, confusion and hurt written all over his face.

“Do you think I want that? Do you think that I hurt you because I want to hurt you? Do you think that I- that I-” he was breathing frantically now. He shut his eyes as tightly as possible, so much that it almost hurt, so much that he could see bright dots dancing around in the dark. So much that maybe his tears would stop falling.

“Hey, hey. It’s okay. It’s not what I meant. Look at me, please.” he waited, and waited and then waited some more, but then, finally, Alex’s eyes opened and looked right at him. Right at his soul.

“It’s really late, and you are tired and I am too. Why don’t we sleep and then, tomorrow, we can talk. Really talk. Okay?” 

He waited for Alex answer, he was scared Alex was going to refuse, telling him that there was nothing to talk about, that he didn’t want to talk with him. He was scared that Alex was going to remind him that the last time he told him that tomorrow they could talk, Michael hadn’t shown up.

But Alex was probably too tired to argue because he only nodded and hugged the cover even closer to his chest.

“Okay” Michael whispered, and then kissed Alex softly on his red tinted cheek.

“I want to be gold again, I’m tired of being grey all the time” mumbled Alex, tears streaming down his face, before closing his eyes and falling asleep immediately, too exhausted to even care that Michal was still in the room, gently caressing his hair and looking at him as if he were the most important thing in the world, because to Michael, he was.

Chapter Text

Michael was torn.

He knew he had to talk to Maria first. He couldn’t confess his love to Alex, he couldn’t open himself up to Alex, be completely vulnerable and open and true with him while he was still in a relationship with Maria.

Maria deserved better than being someone safe choice, she deserved to be loved and cherished. She deserved to find someone that would love her truly and completely and unconditionally.

And Michael knew he couldn’t be that person. 

He could, in time, learn to love her, but it would never be enough, he could never give Maria what she deserved.

Because what he really wanted were lazy mornings spent in bed with Alex, sunlight beaming into the room, bathing Alex in a golden light while Michael would hold Alex close, caressing his hair and kissing him softly. 

He wanted to make Alex smile, because nothing in the world could be ever compared to Alex’s laugh, so bright and beautiful that could light up the world.

He wanted the good and the bad.

The lilac evening spent laughing on the couch and the dark blue mornings spent arguing over money or chores or whatever married couples fight about.

He wanted to smell roses and upon arriving home finding out that Alex had prepared a romantic dinner, he wanted to smell apples and come home to Alex huddled in thick blankets reading a book on the sofa.

He wanted to look at Alex and sense exactly what he was feeling without having to take a guess.

Until sensing Alex hours before Michael had forgotten how much he yearned for it. How much he needed to feel Alex. Without him everything was dimmer and soulless. He had forgotten how much life Alex could bring into the world with a beautiful smile or with a single frown. 

And that’s why, while he had to talk to Maria before talking with Alex, he couldn’t leave. Because the last time Michael had told Alex that they could talk Michael hadn’t shown up, so how could Alex trust him now?

But he didn’t have a choice, he owed Maria at least that.

 

Alex’s body was on fire.

When he woke up his head was pounding, his throat was sore and his eyes were burning.

He didn’t want to move, he wanted to keep his eyes closed and just pretend. 

Pretend that his life wasn’t a hurricane of bad things crashing into him, one after the other.

Pretend that he didn’t feel like he was drawing every second of his life.

Pretend that he wasn’t scared.

Scared of his father.

Scared of becoming like his father. 

Scared of losing his kindness.

Scared of becoming someone that he would hate.

Someone that turned his back on the world because the world had turned his back on him. Someone that decided that because people were cruel to him than he should be cruel to them.

Eye for an eye;

tooth for a tooth.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

He gave himself a second to pull himself together, one more second to let himself be pulled under the water, one more second drown.

And then he opened his eyes and sat on his bad, ready to face another day with his head held high.

He wasn’t going to let the current pull him under, he wasn’t going to let the tornado sweep him away nor was he going to let the fire burn him or the smoke choke him.

He knew who he was as a person, his values and beliefs. He knew the choices that he made and why he made them. They may have been the wrong choices, and he had already dwelled on them for far too long in the past, regretting them and wishing he could have made different ones, but as always he had to get up and move on, because regretting the past and fearing for the future was futile, and Alex had way too many things to worry about in the present.

 

Alex was embarrassed.

He didn’t know what to do with the knowledge that Michael had seen him when he was in his most vulnerable state.

He was embarrassed, there was no denying that, and he for sure felt upset, but he also felt humiliated. Michael was happier without him. A lot of things were still wrong in Michael’s life but at least he had a girlfriend, at least he had managed to do what Alex couldn’t do, no matter how hard he tried: Michael had moved on. He had found someone that made him happy, that made him feel pink and lilac, that made him smell of roses and lavender. 

Michael had chosen Maria and they were happy. And here he was, crying over someone that clearly didn’t want him anymore, what must Michael be thinking? he wondered. Probably how pathetic Alex was. And then a thought struck him, like lightning on a clear day: Michael probably didn’t want to be his soulmate. And why would he? He had a new girlfriend, so why would he want to sense how Alex was feeling when Alex to him was… no one. 

They weren’t lovers anymore and they weren’t even friends, in the past four months they had talked only in regards to Max, his resurrection and other alien related stuff.

Why would Michael want to sense his feelings when he clearly hadn’t given them a single thought when choosing to date his best friend right after Alex had opened himself up to Michael, made himself vulnerable in front of him?

He understood why he would leave him (who wouldn’t?), Maria was a far better person than Alex could ever be and he and Michael made a sweet couple, but it didn’t hurt any less.

He couldn’t even look Maria in the eyes because a mixture of pain, and betrayal and sadness would hit him. He and Maria could never go back to being what they were before. And while a part of him wanted to “fake it till he made it”, to pretend to be happy for them, pretend it didn’t hurt, pretend Maria hadn’t  hurt him t remendously and irrevocably, he couldn’t, because she did. Because Alex was so unimportant, so frivolous and irrelevant and insignificant that she hadn’t even thought about how he would feel, because the truth was, it didn’t matter. It never has and it never will matter how Alex feels. Because his feelings hold no value to anyone.

And because apparently he hated himself, he couldn’t help but wonder if Maria would have done the same thing to Liz, if she would've started a relationship with Max, knowing how much Max meant to Liz.

But he already knew the answer without having to pose the question, because Liz’s feelings matter, because Liz matters.

Because he’s always been an outsider, even among his friends, because it’s always been LizandMaria and Alex. Because if they had to choose they would choose each other, not Alex, never Alex.

But he got up.

(he always got up)

What he wasn’t expecting was to see Michael in his kitchen drinking coffee from his red and blue mug. He couldn't help but stare at him for a second ( a second too long ), because Michael always managed to take his breath away with his golden locks and golden eyes. 

And then he remembered that Michael could sense him and looked away.

It was mortifying enough what had happened the night before, he wouldn't let himself get caught gazing lovingly at his ex boyfriend. He had embarrassed himself enough for one day.

“Hey” whispered Michael, breathly, dragging the “e” and smiling softly.

And suddenly a creamy and sweet scent washed over him. It was flowery and sweet, but not over the top, like dust and carrots.

Irises

Alex almost wanted to curl up and cry again.

He forced a smile.

“Thank you for yesterday, but I’m fine now, so…” he left the sentence unfinished, he didn’t know how to continue. Asking him to leave would be rude, after all he had been nice to Alex the night before, but he couldn’t bare to stay near him, to talk with him, to even look at him. It ached and burned and it hurt

it hurt

it hurt

“I know you are not doing better Alex,” Michael began, but Alx wouldn’t, couldn’t, let him finish “Just forget it Michael, please. Can you just do this one thing for me and let it go? Just… just this one thing. And then, then I'll try my best to not bother you anymore with my… feelings or whatever this sensing thing is” and it hurt, because while he said it, he realized that that was what his feeling had become: a bother to others. His distress and pain had become something that disrupted other people's lives. A bother.

Michael got up, still smelling slightly sweet with a blue undertone to him, and took Alex’s hand into his.

Alex wanted to free himself and turn away, and run away, and stay away, as far away from Michael as possible. 

Because it hurt.

“You are not fine. I won’t pretend that you are. Please look at me.” Alex thought he couldn’t, he couldn’t look at Michael’s golden eyes and be strong, he couldn’t look him in the eyes and pretend that everything was fine, that he wasn’t falling apart.

But he had to.

“What?” he scoffed, looking at him with defiance in his eyes, as if it wasn’t taking all the strength in him to do so, as if it was a mild inconvenience and not strenuous task.

But Michael only smiled and opened his mouth only to close it again.

 

Michael was scared

He didn’t know how to start (nor how to continue or finish if he had to be honest). 

He could smell smoke, in the distance, and dust and soil. He knew nothing was fine. He knew Alex may have looked the part, but it didn’t make it real. It was a role, a well played role, worthy of any award, but still a fake, still an act. And this time, for the first time in years, he could tell the real from the fake, what was an act from what Alex really felt.

And he wasn’t going to let him fool him and play him and trick him.

“We have to talk” he finally said, and knew the moment those words came out of his mouth that they were wrong.

The air thinned and the smoke turned to firewood and iron, the soft grey turned to weak red, shock clear on Alex’s face, as if he couldn’t believe Michael would actually say that.

But before he could talk Michael continued “ I know, I know okay? Believe me Alex, I know. But I mean it Alex, I really mean it and nothing in this world could stop me from having this conversation with you, because I lo-”

“Don’t say it, don’t fucking say it, don’t you dare. You can’t and you don’t!” Alex freed his hands from Michael and turned away from him, hugging himself. 

Smoke and ashes and fog and smog and steam .

“Fine, I won't say it for now. But I do, no matter how much you deny it, I still do” he forced out, calmly, as if not to spook Alex any more than he had already.

This conversation was turning out worse than he had expected, and it was all his fault. If he could just find the right words, if he could find the right thing to say, if he could just make Alex understand.

“I have to talk to Maria first, because it’s the right thing to do. And it doesn’t matter what happens between me and you, because I know how I feel about you, and because of that I could never be with anyone else that isn’t you Alex, because no one compares. No one could ever make me feel the way that you make me feel.” he took a breath, confessions were so much harder when they are no screamed in the heat of the moment, when they are said with a clear head and while sober. “And tomorrow morning, at 10, after you’ve composed yourself and are feeling better, I will tell you, and I will show you how much you mean to me. And you can scream at me, and you can cry and shout and hate me how much you want, but it won’t change a damn thing. I know you could leave and not be here tomorrow, I know that maybe you don’t want to hear it, to hear me, and you have all of the rights to not wait for me to come back after I did the same thing to you when you opened up to me. But I’ll come back anyway. I’ll always come to you.” he didn’t wait for Alex to answer, he could already sense rain and dust and the world was turning a strange bluish gray, but also, softly in the distance, daffodils

He smiled, maybe there was still hope. 

Alex was still turned away, breathing hard and at a loss for words, so he softly placed his hands on Alex’s hips and left a sweet kiss on his cheek and then he walked away.

While closing the door he could still see Alex back turned to him, his shoulders rising and falling with each breath that he took, and Michael wished he could stay, he wished he could wrap Alex in his arms, kiss him softly and tell him how much he means to him, but he couldn’t, not then, not yet.

And maybe he’ll never be forgiven, maybe they’ll never get back together, but in that moment it didn’t matter, it was a problem for later.

 

Maria was nervous.

She was waiting for him at the Wild Pony where he had asked her to meet, she didn’t know why, but she had her fears.

The moment she saw his face, she knew what was going to happen.

She didn’t have to sense him, she didn’t have to use her “psych powers”, she just had to look him in the eyes, because they said it all.

It was over.

Afterwards she couldn’t remember the exact words that were said, she couldn’t remember if she had screamed or if she had been emotionless.

She couldn’t untangle her feeling one from the other, they kept latching one onto the other and she couldn’t tell them apart. Sadness from anger, pain from regret, guilt from heartbreak. They were all one, but they were also all so painfully clear.

Michael had left her.

She had come to believe that what she and Michael had was real and beautiful and special. Four months of romantic dates and lazy nights in. Four months of kisses and hugs. Four months of making each other laugh and holding each other’s hands. Four months of learning to know each other. (Had she known him at all?)

She had chosen this relationship over Alex’s friendship and now she was left empty handed. No Alex and no Michael.

She couldn’t even begin to think how Alex must have felt when she lost both her and Michael, not because of a choice that he had made, but because of a choice she and Michael had made, a choice that she had learned to live with. She knew she had chosen a boy over her friendship with Alex, knowing that a relationship with said boy hadn’t been set in stone, that it could’ve crumbled and fallen any moment, but she had come to believe that if that came to happen it would've been because of her or because of Michael, not because of Alex. 

Because Michael still loved Alex, because Michael was Alex’s soulmate . 

Michael had said he and Alex were over, that there was nothing between them anymore and she had chosen to believe him, she had known that it hadn’t been the truth,at least not all of it, but she had truly believed that he and Michael could start something real and true, something permanent.

But here she was, alone in her bar, watching the guy that she was falling in love with walk away from her, not because he didn’t care for her, not because he had stopped caring, but because no matter how hard he tried to love her he was never going to be able to do it, because she wasn’t enough. No, not because she wasn’t enough, but because she wasn’t Alex.

And then something that she wasn’t expecting struck her: jealousy. She was jealous of Alex for being the person that Michael loved. 

She hated Michael, for hurting her, and leading her on. For making her think that she had found her person, the one that she would grow to love and spend her life with. And she resented Alex for being that person for Michael.

She took a deep breath and then called Liz, because no matter what happened she knew that Liz would be there for her.

Chapter Text

And so the day went. If you asked Alex what he did, he wouldn’t be able to tell you.

The day just passed.

In some moments it felt like a blur, a flash, one moment he was thinking about what tomorrow would bring, and the next, two hours had passed without him even noticing, without him even moving.

Other times time became a stubborn rival, making Alex feel every agonizing second, every movement that he made, every thought that crossed his mind.

Whether it passed or it didn’t, every moment was spent thinking about Michael, about what he wanted and what Alex wanted. 

Would Michael even show up?

After all, why would he? Alex was nothing but a painful memory of the past, a scar forever marking Michael’s body. But a scar is still a scar, something to remind you of what happened in the past, not the present.

Hope is a dangerous thing, and Alex knew that.

Hope is like a drug: it makes you feel tremendously good while you are using, but the high will surely wear off, leaving you with nothing but an excruciating pain and longing.

Hope is nothing but a traitor, promising you joy and happiness, bliss and delight but inevitably hope will desert you, leaving you with nothing but agony.

Alex had learned this lesson the hard way, time and time again, and he was just so tired of being deserted by hope.

But it’s oh so easy to fall back, to forget the hard lessons you’ve learned. Hope is so strong, so resilient, you can try to kill it, but it just won’t die, there is always a little spark, even if it’s in the deepest and darkest part of our heart, hope is still there, always there.

And all day long, Alex tried to put his hope out, with water and wind, but before going to sleep he let hope win, only for a fraction of a second, because he wanted to see Michael, because he was weak and he wanted to forgive and be forgiven. Because he would fight tooth and nail to be happy.

And miles away, in his bed, for a fraction of a second, Michael smelled freshly cut grass, and he knew exactly what that meant. 

 

At precisely 10 o’clock the next morning the bell rang. 

If you asked Michael the walk from the door to the living room couch had lasted forever, filled with nothing but anxious silence, the vague scent of chestnuts and the colour ochre.

If you asked Alex one second he was opening the door and the next they were sitting on the couch.

If you asked Michael he could recite word for word everything he had said, everything Alex had said, the little pauses between words, the breath intakes, the little anxious movements of Alex’s hands, the way he would avert his eyes.

And every single scent that he smelt and every single colour that he saw.

The way one single tear had left Alex eye, falling down his cheek, down, down, towards his neck, but never reaching it. The way Alex had swept it away, ashamed of it.

He had told him, softly and carefully, that he should never, ever, hide his tears in front of him. He should never hide what he felt from Michael, because he wanted to know everything.

All that Alex felt, all that Alex needed, all that Alex wanted.

Alex had scoffed.

“The last time I tried to do that you started dating my best friend.” he had said.

And it had hurt.

But it had been true.

And then Alex had let everything spill out of him.

(But not the tears, never the tears.)

“I was, I AM, sorry, okay? That I told you that it was over, that I told you I didn’t want you, that I kept breaking up with you, that I kept breaking your heart” he screamed, looking at the ceiling, because he wasn’t going to let any tears fall down his face. “But I was scared. I was so fucking scared Michael. Everyday I woke up scared, every day I woke up dreading my father, and what he could do to me, to you, to anyone. I was just scared”, shaky hands and shaky legs, eyes that would look everywhere but at Michael.

 “And then, when I was ready, not because I wasn’t scared but because I knew how to fight the fear, when I opened myself up to you, when I made myself vulnerable, you just… you decided that it wasn’t worth it, that I wasn’t worth it.” a deep breath, a shake of the head and a bitter laugh escaping his mouth. “ And I know, I know that you don’t have to be with me, that you didn’t have to wait for me to come around and decide that I finally wanted to have a serious relationship, that you didn’t owe me anything after I broke up with you. I know. Okay? I know. But I love you and I thought you loved me too, and I thought you wouldn’t… that you wouldn’t... I don’t know, okay? I don’t know.” a sob managed to escape his lips, no matter how hard he tried to keep it in. “The worst part was that, that,  it felt like you and Maria didn’t care about how I felt. As if my feelings were worth nothing, as if I was worth nothing. And I had to sit there in bed, feeling the two of you falling in love and being happy while I was falling apart. And it didn’t matter. I didn’t matter.” raggedy breaths, lucid eyes, wet and red, but still no tears.

And Michael had been at a loss for words because, if he thought about it, it was true. Maria and him hadn't thought about Alex, about how he would feel. He had thought about himself, and what he needed and what he wanted, disregarding anything else.

 

If you asked Alex the conversation had been one big blur of words.

Whispered words and shouted words.

Michael saying sorry for everything that he did, for the pain that he had caused.

Alex saying sorry for everything that he did, for the pain that he had caused.

“Maybe, maybe it’s for the better that we broke up. Maybe we can only hurt each other and we would be better off with someone else” he had confessed (lied),  after all the apologies and all the explanations of why what one did hurt the other.

“I don’t believe that, no” had interject Michael, taking Alex’s hands in his and looking him straight in the eyes.

And Alex had looked back, listening to Michael, listening to him talk about golden light and jasmine and roses and everything that is good and nice. He had listened to him talking about happiness and joy and love.

“Do you remember the first time we saw golden?” he had asked, as if Alex could ever forget.

 

It hadn’t been anything special, just a night like all of the others,Michael and Alex lying on the back of Michael’s truck, looking up at the sky, at the stars and their beauty.

“The universe is so big, and yet he chose you to be my special person” Michael had whispered, mirth in his voice.

Because, unbeknown to Alex, Michael was an alien, he had come from a whole different planet, but even still, the Universe had found someone to link him with. Someone as beautiful and loving and caring and dazzling as Alex. Sometimes it felt like a dream. Sometimes it felt like it couldn’t be true that someone as brilliant as Alex could belong to Michael, that Michael could belong to someone so magnificent as Alex.

So he had turned his gaze towards Alex only to realize that Alex had already been staring at him, wonder written all over his face.

And then, all of a sudden, Jasmine had filled the air and then everything took a beautiful golden shade, as if the sun had come out in the middle of the night. And Alex had been too stunned to talk, because Michael had looked like a golden god, like something out of a greek myth or a fairytale.

So there they stayed, laying on the back of the truck, looking at each other, stunned and amazed, because they couldn’t believe how lucky they had been to to have each other.

And they had silently thanked the universe, and the sky and all of the stars.

And Alex knew in that moment that nothing ever again would compare to Michael’s beauty in the golden light.

“You are so beautiful” Michael had whispered, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes, reaching over to Alex and caressing his cheek.

 

And hope had flared.

The little spark had ignited a fire inside of Alex that no one could put out.

Alex was ablaze with hope.

And he knew, he knew, that if this, whatever this was, didn’t work, he would get burned, he wouldn’t survive the fire.

“Give us another chance” had begged Michael, “ a chance to feel golden again. I love you and you love me, and we aren’t scared anymore, we can do this” he had promised.

And Alex, for once in his life, had followed his heart instead of his brain.

And he had  said yes.

 

Morning became afternoon, and Michael and Alex were still on the couch, talking.

“We’ll go slow, yeah?”  Alex proposed “We do everything right. We go on cute dates, we woo each other, or, you know,  whatever. You know all the cute stuff that we,” he cleared his throat “ that I, never got to experience.”

And Michael, breathlessly, agreed.

Because he wanted that with Alex, because that’s what he has always wanted.

Date nights and hugs and hand holding, cute little dinners and road trips, maybe even a cheesy picnic.

Cheesy.

He wanted tooth rotting cheesy.

Flowers and chocolates on Valentines day, stupid scareves and hats and socks on Christmas. Every holiday spent together.

He couldn’t help but smile.

And the room filled with a beautiful silver light with a pastel pink undertone.

And then Alex started laughing, looking around, and then laughing some more.

Because this time, it was for him. Because he was pastel pink. Because he wasn’t only hungry red and deep blue. 

Because he could have a pastel life. Because they were shining silver and he knew they could be golden again.

 

Because he could smell roses.

Because he could be loved, because he could make people feel loved. Because Michael loved him and wanted to live a pastel life with him.

And he would swear that he could taste honey in mouth.

And then there was yellow and orange and everything was light and fun and there was no grey no black, only light, light, light.

And they kept laughing and laughing because they were whole again. Because the void in their hearts had been filled.

Because even if the road ahead would be hard in this moment every colour was perfect.

Chapter Text

The morning light was shining on Alex, cold air prickling his skin, Michael’s smell still fresh in the room, thoughts swirling inside his head.

He had made a mistake, a part of him kept shouting while the other screamed back, saying that he had made the right choice.

Had he caved too quickly?, he kept wondering. 

Had he given in too easily, letting Michael words persuade him too fast?

Maybe he should’ve asked for more time, maybe he should have told Michael that he had hurt him too much and that he wasn’t ready to forgive him yet.

He felt as if he should have been more angry, more hurt, more hesitant.

He felt weak for having given in so easily, for having forgiven Michael without second thoughts, without hesitation, without having fought more, screamed more. 

One second he had been mad and hurt, one second it had seemed as if he could never get near Michael without feeling betrayed and discarded, and the next second he was forgiving him, telling him that they could start a fresh new relationship, that they could be happy together.

Sure, he had told Michael everything that he had felt, but telling him didn’t mean that suddenly all those feelings would go away. It may have made him less heavy, but heavy nonetheless.

So here he was, laying in his bed, morning light coming through the window, trying to remember every moment, every second of the day before, everything that he had said and how he had said it and why he had said it and how had he felt when saying it. But his memories were like smoke, they kept slipping through his fingers, no matter how hard he tried to hold on. The previous day was just a big blur of words, one after the other after the other and he couldn’t decide if he had made the right choice or the wrong one. 

And then, suddenly, orange invaded his vision, sweet and gentle and soothing.

Michael.

Michael.

Michael.

All he could think about were nights spent under soft blankets, Michael’s forehead a few inches from his, smiles that couldn’t leave their faces.

Michael mindlessly kissing his cheek. 

Michael brushing his hand through his hair.

Michale’s thumb caressing his cheek, the rest of his hand firmly placed on his scalp.

The sweet scent of melon in the air, Michael’s face tinted in a beautiful shade of orange.

And that’s why had caved.

That’s why he had said yes.

Because for once in his life he hadn’t cared about caution, he hadn’t wanted to be careful nor he had wanted to overthink his actions, looking for every single thing that could ever in a million years go wrong.

For once in his life he wanted to choose something that made him happy.

Maybe he should have been angry for longer.

Maybe he had forgiven Michael too easily.

And, yes, maybe Michael will hurt him again, maybe Alex will get scared and take off, maybe they will fight and scream and hurt each other.

But maybe they won’t.

Maybe they won’t.

And Alex really was willing to risk it all to get his happy ending, but even then a part of him kept shouting that he was weak, pathetic, desperate, naive.

That he had made the wrong choice.

 

On the other side of the city the morning light was shining on Michael, cold air prickling his skin, Alex’s memory still fresh in his mind, thoughts swirling inside his head.

He had made the best choice of his life. 

He was finally free. 

Free to be happy, free to be with the person that he loved the most, free to let other people know that Alex Manes was his: his boyfriend, his lover, his person, his soulmate. 

He was finally free to love Alex, out in the open, he didn’t have to be Alex’s shameful hidden secret anymore.

It had taken them blood, sweat and tears but they could finally be together. 

It is always darkest before the light, the saying goes, and Michael had been in the darkness for way too long, lived side by side with it, he had let it infest him and infect him but he was finally ready to see the light. 

He needed to be in the light.

He deserved to be in the light. 

And Alex was just delightful.

So here he was, drunk on happiness and he just knew that if Alex tried to sense him, he would smell something sweet and fruity, like watermelon or strawberries, melon or peaches and he would be engulfed by a beautiful peachy light or a nice pastel yellow or a vibrant orange.

Because Michael was happy, even though so many other things were still awful in his life, that morning he was happy.

He was happy.

 

From the window of her room the morning light was shining on Maria, cold air prickling her skin, tears still fresh on her cheeks, thoughts swirling inside her head.

People often thought that strong women weren’t supposed to show emotions: they shouldn’t cry or laugh too hard or get emotional; they had to bottle everything up and show people a strong emotionless face, no matter how they were feeling inside.

People were often wrong, and Maria knew that.

Being strong meant crying your eyes out and sobbing until you can’t breath, being strong meant being able to talk about what’s bothering you, what’s hurting you. Because strong women don’t hide their feelings, they know what they feel, they know how they feel and they are not afraid to show it, to let other people help them when they need it..

Maria had missed having Liz around, had missed being able to talk to her when things got rough, you would think that after having spent so long without her, after having spent so long without someone to confide in, it would’ve been hard for her to finally talk about her feelings to someone else, but you would be wrong. The moment Liz had shown up after Michael had broken up with her, Maria had crumbled. They had crawled in bed together, soft blankets covering them and they had talked, about everything, and they had cried, about everything. And while everything seemed to be crumbling down they had been there for each other, holding each other up. 

And Maria had cried the night before too, but she knew there was nothing wrong with that, she knew that she wasn’t falling apart, that she had people who loved her and that were there for her, that she wasn’t alone.

People often thought that strong women didn’t need no man, that strong women should never , ever, cry because of a man.

People were often wrong, and Maria knew that.

Wanting to find love is not a weakness. Wanting to find the right person, the one to spend your life with, the one that’ll become your family, is not wrong, is not bad, is not a flaw. A boy had broken her heart and she had all the right in the world to feel sad and sorry for herself. She would still get up in the morning, she would still laugh with her friends, she would still keep looking for the right person. Crying didn’t mean that she was irrevocably falling apart with no coming back, it just meant that she was heartbroken and sad, and that’s a part of life. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it just means you are alive.

 

From the window of the Crashdown Cafe the morning light was shining on Liz, cold air prickling her skin, a pot of fresh coffee in her hand, thoughts swirling inside her head.

Why could nothing ever be simple?

Why couldn’t she be the girl with the normal life. 

Why for something good to happen, something bad also had to take place. 

Why couldn’t good things happen without any repercussions, without any downsides.

She had Rosa but she had lost Max, and what kind of bargung is that? Who could ever chose a life over another?

She didn’t know if she was supposed to feel happy or sad or both and both of them made her feel equally guilty.

She didn’t know if she was supposed to be grateful for what Max had done or if she was supposed to feel angry.

And in the middle of it all, there was the civil war between Alex and Maria. She knew that they didn’t want her to choose sides, she knew Alex had tried his best not to cause any fights, she had seen they way he had tried to stay as far away from Michael and Maria as possible, he had firmly stated that he didn’t want to talk about it and that she should stop asking, but she had also seen the sadness in eyes, the betrayed look that sometimes, only for a brief second, would cross his face, but still he had stayed away and he had been there for her, every step of the way, he had offer a shoulder to cry upon, comforting words ready to be said. He had been a good friend. And now she had no idea of what she was supposed to do, because regardless of their intention and wishes Liz felt as if she had to choose a side. The selfish part of her felt furious with them, because the person that she loved had died, the person that she loved was now in a come, she couldn’t fight for him, she could do absolutely nothing but wait and hope and pray. Her boyfriend was in a coma and they were busy fighting over a boy.

The rational part of her, however, knew that life went on, she couldn’t expect other people to put their life on hold for her. Alex and Maria had all the right in the world to find their person the same way she had found hers.

She hated the conflicting emotions that kept raging inside her and she felt as she could explode at any moment.

 

From the living room’s window the morning light was shining on Isobel, cold air prickling her skin, nail polish still fresh on her nails, thoughts swirling inside her head.

She had no idea of what she was supposed to do.

She had no idea of who she was supposed to be.

Max was asleep in the other room and she could do nothing to help, at least while he had been gone she had a purpose, she had something to do, something to focus on.

But now she had nothing. 

Now she felt as if she was nothing.

She tried to see it as a white page and she was the writer of her own story, she had now free reign to do whatever she wanted to do, she had free reign to be whomever she wanted to be, so many things that she could write, so many ideas that she could develop but nothing came out; she kept staring at the blank page and couldn’t write.

She wanted to scream and cry and break thing because all she had to do was pick one thing, one stupid little activity, but she culdn’t. She couldn’t. And she had no idea why it was so hard to pick one thing to do. One thing that was hers, one thing that she chose herself, one thing that she liked, not because someone else told her so,not because she loved doing it with someone else but one thing that she liked just because she liked it, no deeper reason behind it.

She was lost and she had no idea of how she was going to find the road that lead back to herself.

Sometimes she wondered if there ever even was the real her, Noah had been with her, in her, for so long and now she couldn't help but doubt everything, question everything, had she ever made a choice by herself? She knew the answer, but the question wouldn’t go away.

 

From the hospital’s window the morning light was shining on Kyle, cold air prickling his skin, a cup of fresh coffee in his hand, thoughts swirling inside his head.

Kyle felt useless. 

He was a doctor, his whole purpose was that of helping other people, making them feel better, putting them back on their feet, but he could do nothing to help his friends when they needed him most.

He could see that none of them were fine, some were even worse than “not fine” but still there was absolutely nothing that he could do to help them.

He had tried to talk to Liz, but while his support and comforting words were nice and they had lifted her spirit at least a little, unless he could wake Max up from his coma, they were also useless.

He had tried to talk Alex too, which had been ten times harder and ten times less effective. He knew that Alex was grateful for his words and support, but he also knew that Alex wasn’t good at accepting other people’s help and support, that he had spent so much time alone, keeping his feelings locked inside, and because of that it was extremely hard for him to open up and confide in other people.

He felt as if he was treating the symptoms and unless he could cure the underlying cause of the symptoms his help was basically useless.

But he couldn’t cure the underlying cause, he couldn’t wake up Max, he couldn’t give Alex a new father, he couldn’t undo what Jesse Manes had done, to both the aliens and Alex himself.

He had offered all that he could but it still felt as if it wasn’t enough.

He just wanted his friends to be happy.

 

From the bedroom’s window the morning light was shining on Max, cold air prickling his skin, fresh blankets covering his body.

His eyelids fluttered.

His hand twitched.

And at last, his eyes opened.