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But What If He Lived

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Evan had never quite really managed to navigate the stuffy halls of his school. He was constantly running into people and apologizing profusely.The fact of the matter was that he just watched his feet and didn’t pay much attention to his surroundings. Old anxiety fueled habits die hard. Today, the subject of his clumsiness was tall lanky boy...no, girl? Well... he wasn’t really sure. The point was that Evan Hansen, a massive klutz, was laying on someone’s chest. A chest that, while comfortable, smelt very strongly of weed. And also, he shouldn’t have fallen into this person. Fuck.

“Can you stop... um, laying on me, Hansen?” The person’s voice was soft, but it had a deep undertone of raspiness that gave the impression of danger. Or it was probably just caused by the fact that Evan was still laying on them. (Or the weed smoking, but sure, Evan, whatever.)

 

“I-I’m so sorry,” Evan was stuttering and talking way too fast. “I wasn’t watching where I was- Wait how do you know me? Who are you?”

The person just smirked as they stood and walked away. Evan couldn’t help but stare at the best thing that had happened to him all day. “Holy shit.” was the only coherent thought in Evan’s mind. Other than the voice whispering that he wanted to know that person better.

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“CONNOR! Are you home?” Zoe yelled from the end of the hallway, “and sober?" She added moodily. She had a shitty day and Connor had texted her something really cryptic, so she obviously had to check on him… Like she always did.

She stomped upstairs to notice the door to his room was cracked slightly open, and his light was on. Zoe moved quickly, she couldn’t stay long -she had practice in an hour and she still needed to get ready.

“Connor?” Zoe called as she opened the door. The sight she saw before her was one she would never forget, not until the day she died. Connor lay limp in his bed, loosely holding a kitchen knife “CONNOR! WHAT DID YOU DO?” there was so much blood that it was pooling on the ground from his sheets. A half burnt joint lay next to him, poorly snuffed out. His wrists were slashed ragged and still bleeding heavily. He still looked pretty stoned from the way his pupils were blown wide and, despite all the blood, his normal goofy grin was plastered on his face. It made the whole scene in front of her more gruesome than before.

“Zoe,” Connor rasped as he struggled to push her away, smearing blood across her shirt and revealing a empty bottle of pills lying under him. “Go away.” The bottle of pills had been full this morning, Zoe had a vague memory of grabbing one of the pills before breakfast for a headache she had woken up with.

The the sudden realization that she needed to call 911 hit Zoe like a brick. “Connor, it’s gonna be okay. You are going to be fine.” Her voice shook as her hands did as she tried to dial the number, blood smearing her screen and her face once she finally dialed.

The call was short, but the minutes afterwards seemed to last a lifetime. Connor was so angry with her, deliriously asking her to ‘just let him go’. She was hysteric, holding a crumpled shirt to his arms, desperately trying to stop the bleeding.

When the paramedics got there, she was forced to leave. Leave as they carted her brother away. This could be the last time she ever saw him alive... She tried to scream for him, but her body had gone numb with shock and fear. Vaguely she wondered how she was going to tell her parents.

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Evan had been trying for weeks now to find the tall, cute stranger that had recognized him. So far there had been little to no results, the only finding was that he now knew the kid’s name was Connor (thanks for once, Jared). After some more research, it turned out they were in the same year as Evan, and apparently had the same language class as him. As Evan trudged through the halls, he ran directly into a younger girl that looked vaguely like Connor. Similar nose, same out of control hair, only hers smelled like vanilla rather than two day old pot.

“Oh god,” Evan squeaked. He grabbed her arms to try to keep them both upright, and pushed away slightly so if they did fall he wouldn’t end up laying on top of her. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s totally fine,” she tried to smile at him, but it looked forced, almost like a grimace.

“Do you know Connor Murphy?” (Really, Evan? Way to make a good impression on this complete stranger.) She broke away from his light grip still on her arms, muttering a short response, only to be swallowed by the expansive crowd surrounding them. So, there goes his possible lead on the cute stranger. Evan can also add another person to the list of people that think he’s more off balance than usual. Dammit.

“Hey, Hansen!” Jared, Evan’s only decent friend in the school, yelled. He was right next to him, so there was really no reason for him to scream, but he did anyways.

“Hi, Jared,” it came out as more of an exasperated sigh than a greeting, but Jared didn’t really notice. He was too busy shoving a newspaper article in Evan’s face. Something about a new video game that he wanted to get or something? Evan tried to be happy for his friend, but between the four-week fruitless search for Connor and with fresh anxiety from running into someone, it was hard. Thankfully the bell rang and they could go their separate ways. Maybe Monday Connor would be back.
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Evan had not gone outside to climb a tree to jump out of, but once he was as high as he could get, all he could think about was letting go and falling to (what he hoped would be) his death. He didn’t really see a reason not to in all honesty. He didn’t really have friends, his mom wasn’t around much, and, well, the note was written and tucked safely in the same pocket it had been in for about a year now and... nothing had changed. That is how he ended up in the emergency room with a broken arm, and a referral to a therapy group for teens that were suicidal and/or depressed. Not that his mom needed to know that. The nurse found the note, but because he wasn’t physically self harming or “actively suicidal” he convinced her not to tell his mom. He still promised he would go to a meeting or two to ease her conscience. The meetings were after school at 3:00 on any given day. So this was the life of Evan Hansen, a broken arm and a crappy plain white cast that was as uncomfortable as a wet sock.

Monday after school Evan dragged himself to the group for the first time, careful to sit next to a friendly-looking small girl wearing an oversized sweater. Evan hoped that nobody (out of the few people he did know) knew where he was.

“Hi kids! Let’s start out with introductions! Name, age, and why you’re here. If you don’t mind!” The counselor was young, peppy, and sounded like she was contractually obligated to yell like a cheerleader at a basketball game.

Three freshmen, a sophomore, and a dropout went before Evan. He didn’t really pay attention to what they were saying, as he was still trying to think of what to say without embarrassing himself.

“Um… Hi, I’m Evan Hansen, a senior. I’m here b-because I tried to kill myself,” he was trying to be blunt so he had to speak less, but also because only one of the kids before him had mentioned anything even vaguely having to do with suicide/attempted suicide.

 

A few more kids went past. Evan didn’t pay attention to names or faces, attempting to calm down by fidgeting and staring at his shoes. Evan glanced up slightly as a familiar voice started speaking ”Um. Hey,” and to Evan’s shock, before him was Connor, his arms noticeably covered in thick bandages. “I’m Connor Murphy. I’m here because my sister forced me to come after I slit my wrists and downed a bottle of pain pills. I’m apparently bipolar and have severe depression, if that wasn’t obvious from the fact I tried to kill myself.” Connor sat down, looking amused about the amount of shock on Evan’s face. “Hey there Hansen, didn’t think I’d see you here.” Connor flashed him a grin. Evan will never admit that that stupid grin made him blush to his ears, but it did.