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A million worlds closer

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Evan Hansen has massively fucked up.

There were no other words to explain how bad he had it. It all started when he lied about knowing this kid, Connor Murphy, who killed himself. And no, not only did he say he had known him, he went as far as to make up a huge lie about being secret best friends! All for what? To get the family he never had? The perfect girl he always wished for? Not to be alone?

Well, how wise of him, because now the truth was out and he was lonelier than he had ever been.

Sitting on the cold floor of a restroom stall, he cried his lungs out. Warm tears clouded his vision and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. Heck, he wished he stopped breathing.

He wondered if this is how Connor felt, when he decided to take on his life. Screw that, he knew how Connor felt, he let go after all, didn’t he? And yet, Evan used his tragedy as a way to get what he wanted.

The regret was killing him. If only he'd been able to go back in time and fix all his goddamn mistakes, he would've told the truth about not knowing a single thing about Connor and just would've lived his normal, boring life. Or maybe, if he had been able to go back farther... Maybe he could've befriended Connor, maybe he would've gotten to know the real him, not the one he had made up. Exchanging letters, and having a real friend… that would have been nice. If only he’d known back then.

Breathing in many times, he wiped out the tears, and focused on the floor tiles. He had to get up and stop running away. It was the least he could do for Connor and his family; he had to apologize.

Brushing his hand over his cast, his breath got caught in his throat for a moment. “What the hell?” he panicked.

Connor’s name was no longer there.

A weird feeling flourished in his guts. Where did it go? It was there just a few minutes ago, constantly reminding him of the mess he had done.

Suddenly, the ring bell startled him back to reality.

That’s weird.

As far as he could remember, school was over and there was no reason for the ring to go off again. He quickly walked up to the mirror and felt his heart drop to his knees. He didn’t remember wearing these clothes today.

“Wow, o-okay, I’m not the stoned one in this fake friendship, I shouldn’t be seeing things.” A nervous laugh came out raspy, his reflection showing pale and terrified Evan. His legs acted before he could think, and suddenly he was running.

The halls were crowded, filling up with the morning light. Passing conversations about how the summer went, people too well-rested for how advanced the semester was supposed to be, and a horrible sense of deja vuWhat on earth was going on? There shouldn’t be this many people left at school, it shouldn’t be the morn-

“Wow, you got to be the first person who breaks his arm from jacking off so much,” he heard Jared say in his usual mocking voice.

All the color abandoned Evan’s face as he recognized the scenario, and he felt really light-headed. His hands were sweating and heart racing. Jared was still talking, but Evan couldn’t hear a single thing. It’s got to be a dream. Or a nightmare. Either that or I found Connor’s secret stash that was left behind, because there is no way

“-Earth to Evan? Dude? What’s wrong?”

“…I fell out of a tree.”

“You fell out of a tree?” Jared started laughing, and Evan walked past him. He was hyperventilating, he had to get out of there, all this scene was too bizarre for him to stand. “Hey, wait! What’s wrong with you today? You’re acting like, mega weird, even for you this is a whole new level”.

Evan took a deep breath. This is just a dream. Calm down, you’re gonna wake up soon. “I’m- I’m okay! I’m just feeling a little… sick…”

The word escaped, and he became speechless as soon as he saw that figure walking. Long, copper hair, a messenger bag, all-black clothes and slightly chapped nails. 

The one who started everything looking as real as it could possibly get.

“Hey Connor! Loving the new hair length, very school shooter-chic.”

Oh my god, Evan panicked. There were two options: either he was having some kind of fucked up dream to remind him of how badly he fucked up playing with this kid’s death, or there was a possibility that he had gotten a second chance. Which was very unlikely, but-

“It was a joke?”

Either way, he had a second chance to say what he couldn’t say back then.

Before Connor could speak up, Evan took a deep breath. Screw everything, his life was already down the waste bin. The least he could do was doing what he wanted for the first time ever, even if it wasn’t real.

“Stop being a dick Jared.” His voice came out so strong, confident and foreign, that everyone around them turned their heads in their direction. Oh my god, this is worse than that dream where I had no pants.

Sweat was gathering on the back of his neck, a feeling too real for a dream. Don’t be a coward, don’t freak out, it’s okay, this is not real–

“Excuse me?”

Jared looked like he saw a ghost. Evan thought it was funny, because indeed, Connor was a ghost, and oh my god, stop getting distracted Evan, everyone is staring at you, say something.

“I said stop being a dick, you can’t laugh at his hair when you’re wearing those pathetic shorts.” Wow. I’m definitely high, I wouldn’t say that, not even in my wildest dreams.

Before Jared could respond – since he was dumbstruck in place, not able to form a reply – a loud laugh startled Evan. On his right, there it was, Connor Murphy folding over himself, laughing to tears. “Oh my god, that was awesome, thank god someone thinks the same about those shorts."

Evan’s breath was taken away from him. That sarcastic, but somehow genuine laugh was worth the panic attack he was about to go through.

“Fuck you, you two are fucking freaks," Jared glared at them both and left, not without everyone around them saying “ooooooooooooooooooh”.

Evan took a breath. And another. His sweaty hands were reaching a whole new level. His heart was racing faster, and everything felt too real and out of this world at the same time. Dream or not, this was too much, dream or not, Connor, he was–

“Wow Hansen”. Smiling.

He needed to get out of there. Before Connor could say another thing, Evan was running away.

–––––

The day went by and he couldn’t wake up. After throwing up his breakfast and having a second breakdown, Evan started to wonder if he died, and ended up in the actual hell.

It was disturbing to look at his cast and see it empty; he wasn’t able to pay attention in all his classes. Despite the fact, how much he screwed things with Jared, all he could think of was how badly he wished he didn’t have to wake up from this dream. His reality was ugly, a mess of broken parts. For Jared to be mad at him would be far better than the situation he got himself into in the “real world”. If only he could stay here, everything would be different...

Still, that didn’t save him from the crippling anxiety stuck in his gut at the simple thought of facing his “family-friend” again.

As soon as class was over, he walked fast to the computer lab. He wouldn’t know how to deal with talking to anyone in the state he was.

Not that anyone would, he reminded himself. He didn’t regret any of the events of the morning though. After all, that was the right thing to do, right? Connor deserved someone to stand up for him, even if it was Evan the loser, Evan the one who was freaking out, Evan the one who did the bravest thing he’d ever done, because he can’t let Connor die again. Despite knowing none of this can be real, Evan decided he had to act like he wished he always had. He can deal with the reality once he wakes up.

So, there he was, writing a letter again. At first, he couldn’t recall why he was doing it, and when he finally remembered it, the memory was followed by a wince.

He was reminded how Connor came by to apologize and got mad because of his letter. Of course, he’d get mad. After all Evan wrote about his sister, whom he had never talked to back then, and whom he lied to later on. He was a scumbag and he deserved having Connor snap at him. His hands were shaking and his head clouded with self-hatred. Okay Evan, count to ten, you can’t think about this now, you’re running out of time.

As he started typing, the keyboard made a rusty noise. Damn, they really have to invest in some new computers.

Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a good day, and here’s why. Because today you’re changing everything, you’re doing what’s right, and you won’t have any more regrets. Even if it isn’t real, you have to do it. You owe him.

Sincerely, me.

Evan printed the letter and waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, he banged his head against the desk. Of course he’s not coming, this time he’s not apologizing to you. He stood up and began fidgeting with the hem of his shirt, letting a lame whimper escape his mouth. He can’t save Connor by just calling out Jared, he needs to talk to him, he needs to find him-

Standing awkwardly under the dim light of the lab lamps, Connor was holding his letter. Bingo.

“So… what happened to your arm?”

Evan couldn’t help but smile widely, and make a strange noise. Connor stared at him like he grew a second nose, but didn’t comment on it, patiently waiting for the answer.

C'mon Evan, you still haven't replied.

“I-I fell out of a tree.”

“Fell out of a tree? Well, that is just the fucking saddest thing I have ever heard.”

Evan laughed nervously, “Y-yeah, I k-know right.”

Connor looked around, visibly trying to find the right words, “Hey, I just wanted to say thanks, uh, for this morning. I never thought you’d talk like that to Kleinman for- for me. That was pretty fucking cool.” Connor rubbed the back of his neck, staring at the ceiling. His tone was soft, leaving Evan speechless for a moment. Up till this moment, he’d only heard Connor’s angry voice.

Evan beamed up and laughed, “Y-yeah, I just- I couldn’t let him talk to you like that, because- you know, it really sucks when people just mock you, and yeah, yeah…”

Connor smiled again, and Evan realized, that he could totally get used to that. It was like seeing the person, that he has been fantasizing of while writing those fake letters - happy Connor, the one that isn’t… angry, sad, and dead.

The regret washed over Evan again, and he grimaced.

“Um, no one’s signed your cast”.

Evan stared at his feet and took a deep breath. “No, I don’t have any friends”.

It seemed that Connor was taken aback by his reply. He probably didn’t expect Evan to be so direct. Neither did Evan himself.

“Well, I’ll sign it. Do you have a sharpie?”

Letting out a sigh, Evan offered the marker alongside with a half-hearted smile. Watching those bold, big letters showing up again on his cast offered some comfort; he had gotten so used to seeing that name, that looking at it once more made him feel complete again. Stop being so weird, what are you even thinking? It was literally a signature of the dead kid you took advantage of, you horrible–

“Now, we can both pretend that we have friends,” a sad grin showed up at Connors face.

“We…” Before Evan could think, the words were already coming out of his mouth, “We don’t have to pretend. I mean, w-we could be like, like real f-friends maybe? Of course, you don’t have to, but I just, uh, I think you’re a lot like me, actually, not that you’re a loser like me! You’re a lot cooler, and I like your hair, and nails, and yes.” His hand raised to cover his mouth and stop this rambling, and then, there it was, Connor Murphy was laughing again.

“You’re funny Hansen. You want to be friends with the school shooter?” As sarcastic as Connor tried to sound, there was a strange mix of sadness and happiness in his voice.

“You’re not a school shooter,” Evan retorted, sounding a little too serious. “A-and definitely, y-you know, it might be nice…?”

Connor sighed and crossed his arms, “Well, shit, okay. I guess I can roll with that. See you around, Hansen,” He started walking away but stopped in his tracks. “Oh wait, here’s your letter… huh, I guess it really was a good day,” he passed the letter to Evan, before waving and turning away. “See you tomorrow.”

For a moment, Evan just stood there with his hand extended to a wave, holding the letter tightly.

“See you…”

 

Chapter Text

He didn’t wake up.

A week passed by, and every night Evan thought that was it, that was the end, only to wake up in the same alternate reality again.

Slowly, Evan started to take in this situation. Was he really back in time? Everything, that had happened with the Murphys, and the Connor Project seemed like a distant reality, outside of his grasp; he could almost believe it had never been real.

Still, Evan knew better. He could tell exactly what was going to happen next. Maybe he didn’t remember all the details, but as the everyday events unfolded, he kept being left with a giant déjà vu.

At first, he felt like on a roller coaster. Although admittedly, he gained some peace of mind from not having to deal with the big apology he owed the Murphys for being a dirty liar, all the premonition and experiencing things he already went through made him feel dizzy, and had him throwing up in the bathroom more than once.

Luckily, not everything was the same.

After all, Connor Murphy was alive.

He still acted like his rebellious, angry self, he’d still snap at people who laughed at him, he’d still fight with Zoe in the hallways, but honestly? Evan was so glad that he was alive.

What he wasn’t so glad of was his inability to approach Connor. Every time he tried to talk to him, Evan would freeze, a mix of regret and fear stopping him. After all, he knew the very reason why the two of them had never got around being friends. They grew up together, they both were outcasts, but their personalities were like water and oil. Evan could totally picture himself trying to talk to Connor, and him yelling angrily at Evan for stuttering. That was something he wouldn’t be able to handle.

Come on Evan, you’re the only one who can do this. 

A sigh escaped his mouth as he walked to the school, not really paying attention to his surroundings. As much as Connor kept up an image of a confident i-don’t-give-a-fuck guy, Evan could guess he actually cared a lot. He wanted to believe Connor was like him. You just- gotta be patient, okay? And don’t freak out, you really can do this.

He took a piece of folded paper from his pocket and read through it for the 12th time. It was a letter that he had written for Connor. A letter that had taken him a week and many, many tries to get to the point, when he was at least slightly satisfied with its content. Things like ‘please don’t die’ and ‘sorry for lying to your family in another reality’ just wouldn’t work.

Another reality. Whenever he considered his current situation, he’d hyperventilate and probably lose his breakfast to a toilet. Frankly, he was scared to death. But why was he so afraid? This was a good thing, right? The universe had given him a second chance to do things right.

But it felt like he was running away again. And he was wasting his time. He didn’t deserve this opportunity.

Taking deep breaths and clenching his fists around the straps of his backpack, he stepped into the school. Of course, he wasn’t worthy, but this wasn’t about him. Connor was the one who deserved a second chance if only Evan could stop being a coward and talk to him.

Before he even realized, his legs had taken him to Connor’s locker. He had gotten out of his house earlier that morning, with the hope he could get to school before it got flooded with students. Luckily for him, the hallway was almost empty. He took another look at the letter:

Dear Connor Murphy,

I’m sorry if I’m bothering you, but I was serious when I suggested we could be friends. If you’re still interested, my locker number is 34. Talk to me whenever you want.
(Also I’m sorry about Jared being mean to you. He’s mad at me for that thing I said last Monday, I’m sorry he’s taking it out on you. I’m very sorry)

Sincerely, me

After slipping it inside Connor’s locker before he could regret it, he walked away fast, not noticing how a pair of blue eyes framed by long hair was staring at him in the distance.

–––––––

Evan tortured himself for the rest of the morning. It wasn’t until he sat down in the math classroom that he realized he had left no signature. His old habit of signing letters like that made him completely ignore the fact, that he hadn't made it clear the letter was from him in the first place. Well, Evan never wrote letters to anyone, how could he remember you actually sign them with your name at the bottom?

The numbers and the explanation the teacher was giving went over his head. All that he could think of was his stupid mistake. What if someone else proposed to be Connor's friend this week, too? What if no one did and he thinks I’m an idiot for not knowing how to write a proper letter? Will he think it’s creepy that I know which one is his locker?

What if he dies?

Okay, he needed to calm down. He glanced at his cast. He could do this. After all, he managed to speak up at an assembly and handled his speech going viral on the internet; this was nothing compared to it.

Lunch break came by and obviously, Evan didn’t go to the cafeteria. Even if he hadn't been avoiding Jared and Zoe (because how could he face Zoe after all he did in the original reality? oh my god), he simply didn’t like to eat there anyway. There were too many people staring, too many chances to make a fool out of himself. Going there was a bad idea, so he went to his locker instead to get his textbooks and study in the library.

As soon as he opened the locker, a piece of paper fell out of it. His heart skipped a beat as he immediately began reading the letters hastily scratched on the notebook page.

 

 

Dear Evan Hansen,

I thought you changed your mind about befriending me, but I guess you went insane. I mean, as if it wasn’t obvious after roasting Kleinman, sick burns dude. What in the everloving fuck happened last summer? Did you hit your head when you fell out of that tree?

Anyway, you say sorry a lot, stop it. You don’t owe me an apology. Also, Kleinman is an asshole, I already know that, I can’t believe you could stand him for so long.

If anything, I’m sorry that you’re alone now because of standing up for my ass. To make it up to you, here’s my impression of Mr. Davies.

Sincelery, me 

The letter featured a cartoony drawing of their English teacher. They took that class together, and Mr. Davies was… certainly an interesting person. Connor drew him in a very caricatured way, making Evan laugh out loud. There were also many small doodles, like a drawing of Evan under a tree with stars over his head (though it looked too cute to be him, Evan thought), and what he supposed was Connor (who, by the way, didn’t do justice to himself, because Connor was… so much more handsome?) with a speech bubble that read “Kleinman is a dick”.

This was a big surprise to Evan. He didn’t expect Connor to be so nice? And definitely didn’t expect him to draw so well. The handwriting was rushed but the doodles were really nice; the tree one was even colored.

Seeing all of this made him want to reply immediately. He hurried to the library, sat eagerly at the corner table, and then... dropped all his books while trying to take a notebook out of the bag. It earned him a pissed look from the librarian, but for once he didn’t dwell on it, and opened the notebook instead. He fiddled with his pen for a few seconds before writing a response.

 

 

Dear Connor Murphy,

Have you considered studying arts? Because I’m blown away by your drawings. I didn’t think you’d be so good. Like, not that I thought you were incapable of it, it’s just that I never considered it, you know what I mean?

Also, I’m sorry for apologizing so much, I’ll try not to do it again. Sorry for saying sorry again.

The Jared thing is not a big deal; it’s not like it makes a big difference. I hope he can forgive me though, it would be a shame to lose my… family friend?

Anyway, your drawings are good and I’m glad you replied.

Sincerely, me

This time, Evan drew a little tree right next to the signature. He tore the page off, folded it, and headed right for Connor’s locker. Very paranoid, he looked at his surroundings. What if Connor didn’t want anyone to know about their "thing", just like Evan made up before? Still, he wasn't going to let his doubts stop him. After confirming nobody was paying attention, he quickly slipped the note inside the locker and left for his next class.

–––––––

It became a habit.

Connor kept pushing through with his mean attitude towards the world, but whenever he locked eyes with Evan, his expression would turn softer. And every time Evan saw Connor come to school, he was just glad that he was still alive.

In a way, all of Evan’s problems were pushed down his priority list. The only task that remained on top of it was getting to know Connor better and helping him through like a good friend he said he was (yes, he still dwelled over the past on a daily basis). And honestly, at first it was just a matter of doing what’s right, but after two weeks of exchanging letters with Connor, he realized he did want them to be friends.

Yes, Connor was sarcastic, negative, but ultimately, he turned out to be a really nice guy. Moreover, he was good with written words; it was like meeting an entirely new person, that Evan didn’t think existed underneath that rage and edgy looks.

Connor slowly started complaining about school, people, his family, but he’d also discuss the things he liked. He’d talk about music, movies, and art, not without filling the entire page with doodles. Evan was left more and more impressed each time, and he’d never fail to compliment Connors art, which resulted in the boy including more and more of it.

In return, Evan talked about trees and actually included pictures of them. Connor would call him a big nerd but kept drawing small replicas of the mentioned trees nevertheless.

They slowly moved to a more journal-like style of communication. They’d write about their day, including some random thoughts. Somehow, putting it all on paper was so easy. Evan surprised himself one day when he realized he had written 4 pages. It made him genuinely happy.

Sometimes, the messages they exchanged made him sad. He’d read Connor’s journal-letters and sigh, not knowing how to help him. Connor had a rough time with his family; they wouldn’t stop fighting and Connor was so broken.

Sometimes, words were blurred, as if water had dripped over them, and Evan would brush lightly his fingers over the paper, sighing again. He put special effort to reply to those letters.

They had exchanged phone numbers, but they usually didn’t text each other, the letters being their primary source of communication. The only exception were those days when Connor didn’t appear at school, and Evan would ask him if he was okay. There wasn’t a day when Evan didn’t write to Connor. He wanted to show him how much he cared, wanted to show that he had someone there for him.

Evan also wanted to talk, to actually talk to Connor. He craved to hear his voice, but every time he tried to speak with him in public, he’d chicken out.

After a month and a half of this daily exchange, there came the turning point. 

One day, Evan saw Connor come to school with the saddest expression he’d seen on him so far. For others, it could be the “Connor is scary” face, but Evan knew better (because he totally didn’t stare at Connor every day and compare his expression with the mood Connor had described in his letter). He couldn’t wait to get a written reply, he needed to know what happened. Now.

“H-hey, Connor,” Evan started shyly, trying to get the boy’s attention. But then...

Then Connor glared at him. And shit, he was angry.

Evan stepped back, not knowing what to say, as Connor walked past by without giving him a single look.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the lonely lover boy got ignored by his gay crush.” 

Jared's arm wrapped around Evan's shoulders, making him jump, both because of his sudden presence and his words. He could swear this guy appeared out of thin air at the worst moments possible. But at least he still hung out with Evan. Over the last two weeks, Jared started talking with him again. He didn’t even mention the “jerk” incident, and Evan was glad to have his family friend back. Still...

“W-what?! Jared I d-don’t, I don’t like Connor.” 

The last part of the sentence turned into a mumble.

“Dude, I don’t know who you are trying to fool, I’ve seen the way you look at him,” he clasped his hands, “Having a thing for the Murphys very much? Who will you be crushing on next, their mother, or are you going straight for the grandpa?”

“Oh my god, Jared, can you please stop talking.”

“Okay, okay, it was a joke. But seriously, if you want to eat his dick-“

“I DON’T WANT TO EAT HIS DICK-“

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude," he cut Evan off, letting his shit-eating fade a bit, “Anyway, why don’t you walk up to him when he’s actually in a good mood? He looked like he wanted to kill someone, I don’t know why you thought it would be a good idea to make a move now.”

An actual good advice? From Jared Kleinman?

“I hope he’s okay,” Evan sighed, cringing as soon as Jared began making smooching sounds.

–––––––

At the end of the day, there was a small note inside Evan’s locker.

 

 

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today was not a good day. I don’t feel like talking about it, but I’m sorry about this morning.

I know this is weird, and don’t take it in a wrong way but, can you please not talk to me when there are people around?

Sincerely, your best friend.

Evan’s heart fluttered at the sight of the last words. In any other scenario, he would have gotten very upset about Connor not wanting people to know they were talking to each other, but his mind couldn’t get over that last line.

Your best friend. Connor has never called him that before.

His eyes skimmed over the letter again. The handwriting was shakier than usually. At the bottom of the page, there was a small drawing of Connor with a speech bubble that read ‘is it okay to call you that?’.

He quickly pulled out his cellphone and started typing a new text message.

Evan [3:04 pm] It’s totally OK.

 

Chapter Text

After Evan got that note from Connor, they spent the rest of the afternoon texting each other. It was the first time it happened, he realized. They’ve never done this before.

Frankly, he was kind of grateful it wasn’t an everyday thing. It was already evening and he didn’t get around doing his homework at all.

 

Connor [8:55 p.m.] ok… hear me out
Connor [8:55 p.m.] aliens are real?? like seriously
Evan [8:56 p.m.] You wrote me a 5 pages long essay on why aliens are real, I believe you
Evan [8:57 p.m.] I bet that if you wrote like that for our English class you’d have straight As, it was really good
Connor [8:58 p.m.] to hell with english only sliens deserve it
Connor [8:58 p.m.] aliens*
Connor [8:59 p.m.] theyve been lying to us our whole lives… theyre keeping the truth from us
Evan [9:00 p.m] Connor, are you high?
Connor [9:03 p.m] pffft no????
Connor [9:04 p.m.] ok maybe a little
Evan [9:05 p.m.] smh

“Hey honey, I’m off to work, I left money on the table so you can order food. I’ll be back in the morning,” Heidi said as she entered Evans room, ready to go out.

“Mh-hm,” mumbled Evan, not taking his eyes off the phone.

 

Connor [9:06 p.m.] holy smokes hansen wrote smh
Connor [9:06 p.m.] soon youre gonna be writing shit like
Connor [9:06 p.m.] istg
Connor [9:07 p.m.] rotflmao
Connor [9:07 p.m.] dtf

Evan chuckled and his mother gave him an amused look.

“Well, well, who is my little boy talking to?”

He blushed deeply, gripping his phone tightly. “U-uh, Connor? He’s from school, he’s my- my friend.”

Heidi beamed up and pulled her son into a hug. “That’s wonderful, sweetie! You should invite him over for a dinner sometime.”

“Yeah, sure…” Evan looked to the side, a knot forming in his throat. Connor didn’t even want to talk him in person. Well, he couldn’t really blame him. Evan was so annoying; he couldn’t speak without stumbling over his words, and he was so gross, always sweaty and-

“Well I gotta go now, I love you!”

“Love you too, mom,” he called out, raising his voice as his mom left the room. Then, he sighed and checked the messages.

 

Connor [9:12 p.m.] i wasnt mocking you btw
Connor [9:14 p.m] you can totally write smh or even dtf
Evan [9:15 p.m.] Sorry, my mom was talking to me
Evan [9:16 p.m.] Ok but in what kind of scenario would I even use dtf?
Connor [9:16 p.m.] who knows?
Connor [9:16 p.m.] ;)
Evan [9:17 p.m.] CONNOR YOU’RE HIGH
Connor [9:18 p.m.] ok you got me there
Connor [9:20 p.m.] what did your mom want?
Evan [9:21 p.m.] She went off to work and told me she left money for ordering food
Connor [9:22 p.m.] ohno
Connor [9:22 p.m.] youre gonna suffer a lot ordering right
Evan [9:24 p.m.] I guess?? I can always eat a big breakfast
Connor [9:25 p.m.] hansen
Connor [9:25 p.m.] dude you gotta eat
Connor [9:25 p.m.] you dont even eat at school
Evan [9:26 p.m.] I’m very hungry but I just don’t feel like exposing myself to that, you know
Connor [9:28 p.m.] did something bad happen?

Evan took a deep breath. I’m still mourning over the fact you won’t talk to me in person.

Yeah, as if he could say that.

 

Evan [9:31 p.m.] It’s all good. It’s just that I hate talking to people on the phone. And receiving change and making a fool out of myself.
Connor [9:33 p.m.] where do you live??
Evan [9:34 p.m.] What???
Connor [9:35 p.m.] im coming
Connor [9:36 p.m.] you need to eat
Connor [9:36 p.m.] please?

His heart skipped a beat, as he reread the few last messages. Connor was coming over? Was it because they would be alone?

Alone.

With Connor.

That was bound to be a disaster. He wasn’t ready for talking to him in person.

After a moment of hesitation, Evan let out a shaky breath. To hell with it. He quickly opened text messages, typed up his address and hit send before he had a chance to change his mind. Then, tossing the phone on his bed, he hurried to the bathroom to wash his face, and comb his hair. Briefly, he considered changing into some better clothes but eventually decided to stay in his pajamas. There was no need to look like he was trying too hard.

Walking downstairs, he couldn’t stop thinking about the reasoning behind Connor’s actions. He really seemed like he cared about Evan, and heck, Evan has never been so happy, not even when he was dating Zoe and- don’t go there, that didn’t happen in this reality, forget about her, you were a lying jerk to her- yes, maybe he was overreacting, but the thought of Connor not wanting people to know about their friendship scared him.

Because what if Connor really thought he was lame? Not that Evan would blame him, he was lame. Still, he didn’t want Connor to think so little of him that he wouldn’t want to be seen around him.

A soft knock on the door stopped his train of thought. He took not one, not two, but five (5)! deep breaths before moving to open the door.

“It’s me, uh, Connor,” he heard from the other side. A little smile formed on his lips. It was reassuring to know that Connor has taken into account everything Evan had told him about his anxiety, including how painful it was to open the door without knowing who was on the other side.

He opened the door and kept his eyes down, staring at the floor like it was the most interesting thing he has ever seen. Connor cleared his throat. “Sorry for coming like that, I just- uh- Hansen you need to eat, I saw you didn’t eat at school today. I hope this is okay…?”.

Feeling daring, Evan decided to look up. Connor’s hair was pulled back in a messy bun. A skull-patterned t-shirt was peeking out of his favorite black hoodie, the one he wore almost religiously, and Evan realized he was wearing the same clothes he had today at school – skinny jeans and boots included.

Behind him, in the driveway, there was a really nice car.

“Y-yeah, thanks for worrying,” Evan replied, looking to the side as he let out an awkward laugh. “I d-didn’t know you can drive?”

“Ah, yeah, I don’t have a car because I kind of crashed it, but I asked my mom for hers.”

Somehow, the fact that Connor crashed his car was the least surprising thing that Evan has heard this evening.

“A-ah, I see,” he swallowed thickly. “Uhm, you can go inside, if you want.”

Evan moved to the side, making some space for Connor to step inside. Suddenly, he realized he had no idea what to do with his hands. Should he just keep standing like that? God, no, that’s too awkward.

He folded his arms over his chest. Okay, that’s better.

Still, waiting for Connor to take off his shoes felt like a torture. Why did he even lace up his boots so high? After what felt like 30 seconds passed, and not even one shoe was off, Evan began to think that god was not on his side today.

He couldn’t be more grateful when Connor finally straightened up, ready to follow him inside. They walked in silence to the living room.

As soon as they sat down on the couch, the things got even more awkward; Evan couldn’t even look Connor in the eye. Nausea started to settle in.

“Soooo, what do you wanna eat?” Connor asked, scratching his neck.

“U-uh, anything is fine. There are 20 dollars, I think”

Connor let out a sigh, “Hansen, tell me what you want.” His voice sounded really tender. It didn’t fit his image at all, but Evan knew better. Connor has expressed concern about Evan’s eating habits in his letters.

“Pizza is fine,” he said after a moment of silence, fiddling with the hem of his shirt. The couch creaked as Connor stood up and dialed the number of some pizza place. With a corner of his eye, Evan noticed, that he hasn’t stopped pacing around the center of the room the entire time he was on the phone.

To say that Evan was overwhelmed with joy would be an understatement. He never thought he’d have someone who cared for him enough to drive to his house in the middle of the night only to get him food and –wait, wasn’t Connor high before? Isn’t that dangerous? Well, yeah, of course, he used to have Zoe, but their entire relation was based on a lie.

Isn’t this a lie too? The voice in the back of his head retorted. You’re only doing this because you owe him after you played with his death to your benefit. You’re his friend out of guilt.

Evan covered his face with his hands. Stop it. Stop.

“-Evan? Evan? Hey, what’s wrong?”

Connor was crouching in front of him, furrowing his eyebrows in concern.

“I’m sorry, I just- I dozed off. I-I’m fine”.

A gentle hand was placed over Evan’s knee, and it took all of his willpower not to jump at the contact. He felt Connor tensing up a bit as if only now he realized that he might have overstepped some boundaries. Still, Evan didn’t mind the touch, and as soon as Connor realized that he was not going to be stopped, he exhaled audibly. His thumb twitched a bit and started to rub small circles in place. “Is this about earlier?”

Evan didn’t say anything. How could he if he wasn’t even able to look the other boy in the eye?

After a moment of silence, Connor proceeded. “Look, I’m sorry, it’s just that- I had a terrible morning, I hurt my mom with my stupid attitude, and the last thing I could handle was talking to you.”

He paused, contemplating his next words. “I don’t feel like myself when I’m with other people. I feel suffocated and trapped, and my only way out is to lash out in anger. And I can’t do that to you.” He squeezed Evan’s knee and their eyes met for the first time.

Connor’s stare was so… gentle? It was so sad and fond at the same time, and Evan just could not understand how Connor could act so differently when they were alone. Happiness bloomed inside his chest and suddenly he felt greedy. He wanted this sight to be only meant for him.

“I’d be lying if I said that’s the only reason,” Connor continued, “but I can’t talk about the other one right now. Just- don’t think I don’t want to hang out with you. It made me happy when you talked to me today, I already thought you didn’t want to be seen with the school psycho,” a raspy laugh followed.

“I thought y-you didn’t want to be seen with the school loser,” Evan laughed, sounding a little sad.

A pained expression crossed Connors face as he winced. “That is not true. What the fuck, Evan, you’re not a loser.” Evan arched an eyebrow, “Okay, maybe you’re a little geeky with a weird addiction to trees, and I’m surprised you don’t smoke weed, but that doesn’t make you a loser.”

“What about the ‘can’t talk without stuttering’ part?”

Connor beamed up, “Well, shit Hansen, you didn’t stutter just now!”

Maybe it was the satisfied smirk on Connor's face, or maybe the endearing way in which his eyes crinkled slightly. Maybe it was the realization that indeed, Evan didn't stutter.

Whatever it was, he found himself smiling back at Connor.

In fact, smiling wider than he has remembered himself doing in a while.

Suddenly, Connor's own grin faltered. His lips parted, resulting in his mouth hanging open for a few seconds before he finally blinked and looked away.

“So, um,” he cleared his throat, raising from the crouching position. If Evan hadn't known better, he would have sworn that there was a hint of blush on his cheeks, “the pizza will be here in like 30 minutes.”

“Great,” Evan replied, smiling with gratitude, “Thank you so much for doing this, I really mean it.”

There was a small pause before he decided to continue, “I-I never thought that someone would do something like that for me.”

Okay, there was definitely something wrong with the lighting in this room, ‘cause it looked like Connor's cheeks grew even darker.

“Uh, it's nothing.” He rubbed the back of his neck, “Don't sweat it, Hansen.”

This time, the silence that fell between them somehow felt more comfortable.

Connor glanced at his cellphone before shoving it back into his pocket and sitting down on the couch. “So, tell me, tree lover, what do you want to do? I swear to god if you suggest a nature documentary I’m gonna walk away.”

Evan laughed and crossed his arms. “I-S-T-G, if you suggest a documentary about aliens I’m gonna walk away,” he retorted, making his friend giggle.

“I’d be D-T-F with an alien though.”

The groan that Evan let out could be probably heard on the other side of the city.

“This is the very least thing I expected from you when I decided to befriend you”, he said, pulling his legs to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.

“I’m the biggest stoner in our school Hansen, what the heck were you expecting?”

“Well, you’re also emo and you still listen to My Chemical Romance”. Connor sputtered in a mocked offense.

“First of all, fuck you, My Chemical Romance is the best thing that this world ever witnessed. Second, what were you expecting? That I kept a secret emo sex dungeon under my house, with BDSM shit and stuff? Oh, and don’t forget about the bats and skulls.”

His voice was practically dripping with sarcasm, but this reply still almost made Evan choke on his spit.

“W-well, I guess now we moved from the emo sex dungeon to the a-alien sex dungeon?” he stated shyly, ducking his head. He really, really hoped it was okay to make jokes like tha-

Connor threw his head back and howled with laughter. Wow, Evan definitely could get used to this.

“Well, just for the record, I don’t have an alien sex dungeon, but I might have a big collection of cryptid documentaries,” Connor slid off the couch and laid down on the floor. Part of his body ended up under a coffee table, making him look awkward yet… cute? In a way?

Wait, what.

 “I still can’t get my head around the fact you’re a cryptid fanatic,” he shook his head. Now it was not the time to think about these things.

“Well, I had a lot of free time, 0 friends, and some weird experiences when I was completely stoned, so yeah.”

Evan hummed and slid onto the floor, laying down next to Connor. They fell in a comfortable silence; it was as if the people they were in their letters and texts slowly came to life.

__________

After the pizza finally arrived (almost 20 minutes later than it was supposed to, if Evan might add), they ended up upstairs in Evan’s room, listening to Connor’s music from his cellphone and just talking about anything and everything.

Evan couldn’t stop smiling. He felt creepy but god, he just couldn’t stop. The real Connor was more than he could ever ask for.

Not that he’s perfect, but that’s the best thing about him, Evan thought. This Connor understood him and made an effort to avoid saying things that would hurt him. He was completely different from Jared, who would usually mock him every now and then.

Connor didn’t laugh at him, he made him laugh.

They were having so much fun and everything was going well.

Until Connor got a call, that is.

They were just discussing the Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory (I’m telling you, Hansen, all the evidence is there, there’s no way she isn’t dead!) when Connor’s phone began vibrating. He grimaced and stood up from the bed. Evan immediately noticed how much he tensed up.

“What is it?”

There he was. The Connor from the hallways. His voice dropped and he immediately sounded mega pissed, “Fuck, Zoe, I’m not killing anyone, chill out.” He started pacing around the room. “Why the fuck do you call me if they’re the ones who want to reach me?” Another pause. “Look, Zoe, I don’t give a fuck, I’m out having fun- no I’m not doing drugs, why the fuck would I get out of the house for that?”

The conversation went on and Evan felt very small. He wished Connor could be the way he was with him around everyone, he wished he didn’t have to see that pained expression on his face.

“-Stop annoying me. Bye,” he finished the call and dropped himself onto the bed again. Evan fiddled with the strings of his sweatpants.

“Uh, Connor? Is everything okay?”

This question was almost unnecessary. Connor was not okay, visibly so. He was shaking and his face was buried in a pillow. It took him a moment, but finally, he raised his face and took a deep breath. This seemed to calm him down a little bit.

“They want me to go back home. They think I’m smoking crack or some shit. I don’t know why they always make Zoe call me, like they’re tired of me and they placed the burden on Zoe”.

“O-oh, do you have to go back then?” Evan inquired. He knew it was just logical for Connor to leave since it was- holy shit, 2 am, but he didn’t want the night to end.

“I…” Connor looked at the ceiling. He stayed silent for a moment, considering his options before speaking up again, “Can I stay here?”

“U-um, yeah, sure!” Evan replied, maybe too eagerly. Connor offered a small smile. “You c-can stay in my room, I’ll sleep in my mom’s room, she’s not coming back tonight anyway.”

He rubbed the arm with the cast on, not knowing what to say next.

Connor grabbed his arm gently. There was some mild disgust still lingering on his face, but he was back to the Connor whom Evan had met that night.

“Cool. Thanks.” He brushed lightly his hand over the big, bold letters. “No one else has signed it.”

“Uh, yeah, well…”

“Do you have a sharpie?”

Chapter Text

Evan woke up to the morning light filtering through the red curtains of his mother’s bedroom.

For a moment, his sleepy self didn’t care enough to analyze his surroundings.

His mom’s bed was one of the most comfortable places in the world. The mattress was old and worn out, but the sheets always smelled like roses, and they reminded him of his childhood. Back in the day, he’d come to his mother’s room after a nightmare or a bad day, and she’d read him a story. He always tried to stay awake until the end, but the heavy eyelids betrayed Evan most of the time.

Blinking and gaining a little more of consciousness, his eyes traced the speck of dust that floated under the sun rays. He stretched his arms and stared at the old clock that hung on the wall.

9:15 a.m.

Cold sweat immediately broke out at the back of his neck.

First of all, he was always up by 6 a.m.

Second, it was Saturday. Which means…

His mom was probably already home.

Saturdays were their breakfast-together days; it was the only day off in Heidi’s week. In the past, she used to get pretty busy on the weekends, but ever since he broke his arm she has decided to spend Saturdays at home.

Usually, Evan would be more than happy to see his mom. Her presence always put him at ease, made him feel better when the anxiety was too much to bear. This time, however…

This time the situation was a tad bit different than what their typical Saturdays together were like, and Evan was freaking out. He wondered if his mom could tell what actually happened.

He couldn’t believe this was happening. He never overslept. The only reason why it happened was that he stood up till 3 a.m. with Connor. Connor, who was currently sleeping in Evan’s room. While Evan’s mom was downstairs.

Oh my god.

How was he supposed to explain to his mom that he brought a friend over? Sure, his mom was going to make a fuss over it (in a good way, kind of), but he had no experience in the “introducing your friends to your mother” field.

Frankly, it probably wasn’t a big deal. Still, the poor kid only had Jared, and well, Jared only talked to him because their parents knew each other, so he didn’t count.

What if his mom didn’t like Connor? What if she saw straight into Connor’s soul and decided she didn’t want Evan to be friends with a stoner?

Heck, what if Connor didn’t like his mom?

Now that he was thinking about it, Evan has never seen him acting politely around adults. How would he act around his mom? Would he snap at her? Oh god, so many things could go wrong. and his mind was already jumping to the worst scenarios.

Scenarios in which Connor died.

He stopped and took a few deep breaths. In and out. He knew he was being paranoid; the world wasn’t going to end just because he introduced them to each other. Besides, the more time he spent upstairs, the more he’d freak out. Making up his mind, he got up and raced downstairs before he could regret it.

As it turned out, Heidi was just sitting in the kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee. Her eyes were fixed on a newspaper, as she skimmed the text, humming some random tune. She looked tired, she always looked tired, and it made Evan feel guilty. She always worked so hard for him, yet he ignored her efforts and gave her up for a family that wasn’t even his.

Evan sighed. He would never be able to forget all the things he had done, and he would never be able to feel comfortable knowing that he didn’t deserve this second chance.

Still, he was deeply grateful that he had his good old mother-son relationship back.

“Good morning honey!” She smiled, looking up from the newspaper, “You surely got a long night of sleep, huh? I was surprised when I found you in my bed this morning. Did something happen?” The smile still lingered on her face, but Evan could tell there was a hint of worry in her eyes.

Tell her about Connor.

“U-uh, no, it’s all good,” Evan said as he sat down at the table.

God.

“Okay, sweetheart.” She didn’t look convinced at all, but she always tried to respect his boundaries. Evan was grateful for this. “Do you want to eat breakfast now?”

He swallowed, only now realizing how empty his stomach felt. Still, he didn’t want to eat, not now at least. You should probably wait for Connor to wake up, he thought to himself.

“No, n-not yet, I’m not hungry.”

A sudden smile made Heidi’s face beam up as she spoke again.

“Speaking of hungry, I saw you ordered pizza! I’m so proud of you!” she extended her hand and squeezed Evan’s hand. Her touch was comforting and there was indeed so much pride and joy in her gaze, Evan actually felt guilty.

Mom, that wasn’t me, it was my friend who came over, and I swear to god, the pizza didn’t have weed on it, please don’t hate my friend-

“Y-yeah, heh…” He looked down at his hands with an uncomfortable smile.

Why couldn’t he just tell her already?

“Heeeey,” she dragged the word, “what happened to your cast?”

Evan turned his eyes to look at it.

Last night, after Connor pointed out how nobody else had signed it, he grabbed a marker and started doodling. By the time he was done, there was literally no space for anything else. The once blank cast was now covered by both Connor’s name and Connor’s drawings.

Evan liked it. A lot.

“Ah- well,” he put his hands over his lap, the table now hiding his arms, “so this friend came over, remember Connor? I-I told you about him, uhm, yesterday night.” He felt his cheeks going red.

“That’s great! Why did he come so late, though?” There was a huge smile on his mom’s face, and also a glint in her eyes that Evan couldn’t recognize. He didn’t like the smug way she said that.

“I… I had problems ordering food, a-and he was worried about me, so he came and ordered pizza for us. I hope that’s okay…? I didn’t want to bother you and ask you while you were at work.”

“It’s fine, you can invite people whenever you want.” The reassuring smile on his mom’s face did wonders for calming down his anxiety. “I just wish I was here to meet him. He sounds like such a nice kid! I didn’t know teens worried so much about their friends nowadays.”

Evan didn’t think they did either, but he couldn’t question to what extent would a person try to help their friends. He never had anyone like Connor in his life.

“Uh, well! Actually-” his voice came out way more high pitched than he expected it to be. He stopped to clear his throat, and then continued, “He’s still here? Sleeping?”

Okay, I said it, why was that so difficult?

Heidi blinked and instantly beamed up. “Great! Are you waiting to have breakfast with him then?”

Dang it, his mom knew him too well.

“Y-yeah, uh… I don’t want to wake him up.” He tapped his fingers on the table.

Heidi seemed to be satisfied with this reply as she didn’t ask any other questions. A silence fell over them for a few minutes. Soon after she picked up the newspaper again and went back to reading. The only difference was that now she kept shooting him those weird, knowing glances. Evan had no idea what was going on but well, at least his mom was hyped.

Now it was just a matter of Connor not hating her.

_________________

Around 10 a.m., the stairs creaked under the weight of footsteps. Evan took a deep breath and turned to face the newcomer and oh god.

Last night, Connor obviously didn’t bring pajamas, so Evan had to lend him one. The thing is that it seemed that Connor discarded the sweatpants, as he walked into the kitchen wearing only boxers and Evan’s T-shirt.

Oh. God.

As soon as Connor noticed Heidi, his entire body tensed. For a second it looked like he considered leaving the room, but eventually moved forward and sat down at the table nonetheless.

“Hey! You must be Connor, right? I’m Heidi, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” She extended a hand to the boy. He shook it and hunched a bit, looking somehow bashful.

“Nice to meet you too, Mrs. Hansen,” he replied, his voice maybe too quiet for The Connor Murphy.

Heidi rose from the chair and glanced at the boys. “I was thinking of making an omelet for you guys, what do you think?”

Well, at this point Evan was so hungry that any kind of a food sounded like a great idea. He nodded and peeked at Connor, who shuffled around in his seat.

“Um, I’m a vegetarian, so it will be fine with me if it doesn’t have any meat. If that doesn’t bother you, that is. I can eat cereal though, I don’t mind.” Connor shrugged and looked to the side, still visibly tense. At least his voice was back to the usual, neutral tone.

“It’s okay, I can deliver a good vegetarian omelet. Besides, it’ll be good to switch it up a little today, right Evan?”

Evan nodded absentmindedly, still processing the fact that he didn’t know Connor was vegetarian. How could he not notice before? Now, that he was thinking about it, it actually made a lot of sense. Suddenly, an idea popped into his head.

“Is it because of that cows conspiracy documentary you talked about?”

He turned to face Connor, and his friend smiled a little.

“Hey, hey, it’s Cowspiracy, don’t forget the good pun. And… kinda? To me, it just feels gross to eat animals.” He looked up and stared at the ceiling for a moment, “But yes, it’s because of that documentary.”

Evan laughed, shaking his head, and Heidi glanced at the boys with an amused look on her face. Then, she turned around and quickly got down to cooking.

Meanwhile, Connor stretched out with a yawn and rested his arms and head on the table. “So how did you sleep?” His hair fell all over his face and Evan had to resist the urge to tug it behind Connor’s ear.

Wait, what.

“Uh! Good! How about you?” He replied a-bit-too-quickly. Very smooth.

“Better than I’ve had in months,” the corners of Connor’s mouth curved upwards, “Who knew the key to a good night sleep was sleeping in your bed. Maybe I should steal it?”

“Please don’t steal my bed,” an awkward laugh bubbled from Evan’s chest. He rubbed the back of his head, “But if you ever want to sleep there, go ahead- Er, like, not when I’m sleeping there, of course, or well, if I’m sleeping there you can, too- Uh, I mean you can kick me out if I am, I can sleep on the couch, or in my mom’s bed, I wasn’t suggesting to sleep together you know-”

Connor blinked, totally dumbstruck by Evan’s response. Processing all of this took him a while, but finally, he giggled.

“Jeez, Hansen, you’re like the king of awkward.”

Evan rubbed his cheek with a half-hearted smile. “I-I know.”

“Not that it’s a bad thing, I like it.”

Somehow, the fond look on Connor’s face only made him feel even more embarrassed. He sank into his chair, letting the uncomfortable silence fall over them. Ugh, as if Connor was any better than him.

There was a long pause before Connor spoke up again, “But, uh, thanks for the offer, I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Cool!” was all that Evan managed to word.

Awk-ward.

They continued to sit there, not even looking at each other until Heidi served the breakfast. Still, even that didn’t manage to put an end to that weird silence. After a few minutes of what started to feel like a torture, Evan’s mom decided to try and break the ice.

Unfortunately, she attempted so by bringing up the most annoying question you can ask a senior student:

“So, Connor! What do you want to study in college?

Evan instantly tensed up. His thoughts turned to a letter that Connor had written some time ago.

It was… a special letter. One of those that Evan always put extra effort into replying to. Even now he could still recall almost every word.

Dear Evan Hansen,

My parents won’t shut up about college. Sure, it would be a good way of getting the hell out of that house, but I’d still depend on my family. Honestly, I never considered going to college. I haven’t thought I’d live long enough to have a reason for considering it.

I’m very lost. I can’t even get a handle on my own life as it is now, I can’t imagine how I would be able to take in more.

Maybe if I had a passion I’d get the motivation to keep living. Maybe I wouldn’t have to ask myself every morning why do I even care to get up. Maybe I’d be able to fill the void inside of me.

But that’s just a nice thought. I sometimes think I’m so broken I can’t even hope I’ll be able to find that thing that fills me. It scares me to think I’ll never find that thing I want to do for the rest of my life.

I had… given up before meeting you. Now I have some hope, but hope is scary. Hope only causes disappointment for me.

I’m sorry for getting all emo on you. Thanks for hearing (reading?) me out.

Sincerely, me

Evan’s heart ached at the very memory of it. He could tell Connor wasn’t telling him everything, that it was only a glimpse, that there was still more, much more to it.

God, why did his mom have to choose this topic? There was no way this conversation was going to end up well.

As he waited for Connor to reply, seconds started to feel like hours. Why wasn’t he responding? Why wasn’t he saying anything?

Was he going to get mad?

Evan felt like his omelet was on the way out.

Okay, he needed a distraction and he needed it now. Searching for something, anything, to catch his attention, he reluctantly glanced in Connor’s direction. It was weird seeing him without his signature hoodie. His lean arms looked so bare and-

Evan’s eyes opened wide. He felt like he got stabbed in the heart.

Connor’s arms were… indeed bare. Bare and full of scars.

“Well, I was thinking of going to an Arts School,” Connor responded in that very moment, and Evan almost got a whiplash from turning his head so fast. The other boy glanced to the side, a small blush covering his cheeks.

“Hey, that’s nice! You like drawing a lot, right? I saw Evan’s cast and I can tell you’re really good.”

Connor seemed to light up at these words. He offered an embarrassed smile as he rubbed his neck. “I don’t know if I’m good enough but I still want to try.”

“I’m sure you’ll do great, honey,” Heidi reached out for his hand. For a moment, Evan was sure Connor would flinch out, but he didn’t. “I believe in you.”

This exchange stunned both of the boys. Connor’s eyes were the size of dining plates and he looked like he was going to cry. Evan couldn’t blame him; his mom was technically a saint.

And frankly? Evan himself felt like crying, too. All this happiness was almost overwhelming for him. To hear Connor talk about the future? There was nothing he could think of that would make him happier.

Finally, Connor cleared his throat and stood up, taking the empty plates with himself. “Thanks for the food. I’ll wash the dishes.”

It was obvious he was avoiding further conversation but no one pointed it out. Besides, his offer to clean up after the meal was very polite.

Evan was… kinda surprised. Well, it’s not like he expected Connor to be a dickhead, but he sure as heck wasn’t expecting him to act like this either? He knew that Connor had a lot of reasons to resent adults, enough to be justified in doing so but… He seemed to be okay with Evan’s mom presence? Speaking of which…

Heidi rested her head on her hands. The weird glint in her eyes from before was still present and if anything, it only became more intense. She was smiling as she glanced at Connor.

“You got yourself a good boy, son.”

Oh.
My.
God.

Mom!” Evan hissed under his breath, and she just laughed as she stood up and left the room.

Her son was left behind with a feeling of incredulousness. Evan groaned loudly; he simply could not believe what his mom just implied.

Connor arched an eyebrow but didn’t comment on it. “Your mom is pretty cool,” he mentioned as he rinsed a cup.

“I think you meant pretty embarrassing,” Evan’s voice came out as a mumble, muffled by the hands he was covering his face with.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. She’s a little extra but she’s nothing like my mom.” Connor winced, and Evan couldn’t decide if it was because of their conversation, or the fact that some water just splattered over his shirt, “My mom is the kind of person who would drag me out of the school if she found out I got stoned, and that is embarrassing.”

Well, thank god. It seemed that Connor really didn’t hear when Heidi implied he was Evan’s boyfriend; if he had, Evan would probably have to change his name and ride up to Seattle.

Why did his mom even say that? Jared poking fun at him was one thing but this? This was actually concerning. Why were they both so convinced that he was gay for Connor? They were just friends, yes, just good friends, best friends even!

Too occupied with this ongoing crisis, Evan didn’t even notice that the tap stopped running. Only when Connor sat down next to him did he realize the dishes were already done.

“’Sup?” he mumbled, pulling out a cellphone that he had tucked away between his hip and the elastic of his boxers (and Evan was totally not staring, and if he got a shade redder that was absolutely not the reason, and also why didn’t Connor wear pants? Jeez). Oblivious to his friend’s internal struggles, Connor tapped lazily on the screen.

Even now, Evan couldn’t help but stare. It all felt too real for a dream, but the setup itself was too otherworldly.

Connor Murphy in person, alive (and half-naked he may add, a new addition to the ‘ways of making Evan Hansen uncomfortable’ collection), sitting next to him after a sleepover, the day after he called him his best friend.

So Evan kept staring. Shamelessly so. His eyes followed the movements of Connor’s thumb as he scrolled through something on his phone. The black polish covering his nails was awfully chipped, but Evan liked it that way. It was something so distinctive, so characteristic of Connor, equally as iconic as his dark, edgy clothes, and long hair. Evan was fond of them, too.

He glanced at his friend’s face, framed by the ever-untamed mass of hair. Sunrays leaked through the copper strands, making them glow gold.

A bad feeling blossomed inside Evan’s chest.

Good things never lasted for him. The soft tic-toc of a wall clock felt like a countdown to his misery. Something had to go wrong at some point.

And when Connor furrowed his brows, Evan realized that this point was now.

He watched a scowl deepen on his friend’s face as he glared at the screen of his phone.

“U-uhm, is everything okay?”

Evan’s voice came out strangled, and he could feel his entire body already getting sweaty. He looked away, not ready to hear the reply. What if Connor noticed how intensely he has been staring? What if he noticed how gross and creepy Evan was, and-

“My family,” Connor sighed, “-I mean, Zoe won’t stop pestering me. I don’t know why she even cares, I’m sure she’d rather have me dead.” A pained laugh escaped him as he tossed his phone on the table with enough force to let it slide off onto the ground.

The loud thump! echoed in the Saturday morning silence.

“That’s not true!” Evan exclaimed, not thinking before speaking up.

“How would you even know?”

Connor was frowning at him, visibly pissed. This was getting very bad very fast. Evan’s heart was beating so hard he could feel it in his ears. The irrational fear of his friend getting to know what he knew and had done had him feeling dizzy.

Eventually, Connor looked away, resting his elbows on the table. A tense silence took over the room.

“D-do you have to leave?” Evan asked as he fumbled for something to say, his voice breaking at the last word.

“Shit Hansen, if I’m bothering you, you could have just told me to get the hell out.”

Panic settled in. Evan didn’t know what he did wrong, he just wanted his Connor back.

“Th-that’s n-not what I meant,” he reached to grab Connor’s arm, but he flinched.

Suddenly, Connor’s eyes flew open, as if he had a sudden realization. For a second a hurt expression crossed his face, only to disappear and turn blank again. “I’ll just leave,” he muttered as he stood up.

Evan was left behind with an overwhelming sensation of the world spinning around. His breathing quickened, coming out uneven as his nails dug into the table. Inside his head, he began going over their conversation again and again. Still, no matter how hard he was trying, he couldn’t understand it. Why did Connor get so mad? Heck, Evan knew he was a walking fuck-up, but he has never made someone so pissed so fast. He had no idea how it all happened.

Except… He had.

No matter how good friends they were, or how much fun they had, he couldn’t change Connor’s life. He couldn’t erase his family problems, put an end to the gossips, or heal the pain he had described in their letters.

They might be able to have a good time, but then reality would come back and take away Connor’s smile. The things that had caused him to kill himself in the original timeline wouldn’t disappear just because Evan was his friend. What just had happened was a proof.

Or maybe Evan was overreacting but the past two months have been extremely stressful. The constant fear of his new friend dying plus the suffocating knowledge of living in a different reality had him jittery on a daily basis. It would be too much to handle for anyone, let alone a 17-year-old boy with anxiety.

That’s why it came as no surprise when Evan felt tears starting to roll down his cheeks. It was bound to happen sooner or later, he thought to himself. What surprised him though, was Connor suddenly sitting down next to him, grabbing his shoulders and saying something along the lines of “Jesus fuck”, “Hansen, look at me”, “bloody hell what do I do” and “breathe in and out”.

Right. Breathing. Evan has forgotten about that part.

After taking a few deep breaths for what felt like an eternity, he finally felt like he could speak again. He still wasn’t in the best shape, but there was definitely some improvement, and Evan was not gonna lie, the soothing words that Connor kept repeating all the way through definitely did help. As he dried the tears with the back of his hand he muttered a strangled apology.

“You don’t have anything to be sorry about,” Connor spoke, staring down at his own clenched fists. The hair covering his face, keeping his expression out of sight. “Like, fuck, Hansen, I wasn’t mad at you, I was pissed at my family.” He took a shaky breath before continuing, “On a one to ten scale of ‘how much of an asshole can I be’ that was barely a one, I didn’t mean to-” Connor stopped and waved his hand around, “-make you cry.”

Evan’s eyes were burning. He knew he was being irrational, he knew he was overreacting but well, that has never stopped him from having panic attacks.

“God, I’m having second thoughts about this whole thing,” Connor said, looking extremely distressed. One of his palms rose and he grabbed a fistful of his hair, clenching it hard enough to make his knuckles turn white. “Maybe you and I shouldn’t be friends, snapping at people like that is nothing unusual to me, you know that-”

“Please don’t leave me!” Evan yelped. Or well, at least he tried to.

His words came out in a rush, strangled and almost undecipherable. A breath, that he was desperately trying to keep even, caught in his throat, making him fall into a coughing fit.

The tears pricked his eyelids again as he sobbed and covered his face. There was some snot dripping down his upper lip and he wiped if off angrily with the back of his hand.

How embarrassing. Jesus Christ, did he have to be so gross and lame all the goddamn time? He couldn’t believe this was actually happening. It was only his second day of hanging out with Connor and yet he already managed to fuck it up.

“Okay, okay, I won’t, just please don’t cry,” Connor quickly reassured him, a hint of panic audible in his voice.

He pried Evan’s hands away from his face and clasped them firmly, “I promise I’ll try not to be an asshole. Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since we started talking but I guess I have to try harder.” A sad bark of laughter and then a pause. “Please don’t take this shit personally, it’s not your fault that my brain is messed up.”

Evan’s eyes were glued to the floor as he let out a quiet sob. Still, his voice was soft and steady once he replied, “It’s not your fault that mine is, either.”

It’s also not your fault that coming from a different timeline kinda screwed my sanity went unspoken. Maybe someday he’d tell Connor. As in, fifty years, maybe, if both of them were alive by then.

They both laughed together for a moment. It gave Evan the courage to finally look at Connor. His blue eyes once again had the same shine they did last night.

Connor smiled softly.

“Okay, I’ll make it up to you.” Their hands were still linked; he gave them a squeeze. “I know a good ice cream place.”

I swear to god, if it’s called A La Mode…

“W-what’s the name of that store?” he asked quietly, mentally preparing himself to hear the name of that damned place where they “used to” “grab a scoop at”. Dear lord.

“Something like… Apocalypse of the Damned?”

Well… Okay.

Evan did not expect that.

“Fine, don’t judge me, but it might be a cryptids themed café.”

Okay, this was just too much. Evan burst out laughing, feeling all of the leftover tension leaving his body completely, “Of course, it had to be something like that. What was I even expecting?”

Connor beamed up. “I have to live up to my reputation,” he replied as he let go of Evan’s hands and folded his arms.

“As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any rumors about cryptid-geek Connor. Yet,” he dared to tease.

Connor grinned, arching an eyebrow. “Sassy Hansen, the strangest cryptid.”

“Stop being such a nerd,” Evan snorted, light slapping his friend’s shoulder. He was so glad to be back to their usual banter.

“I can’t hear you over all these conspiracy theories.”

They giggled and just smiled at each other for a moment. Then, Connor’s face changed to a somewhat troubled expression. He stood up and rubbed the back of his neck, a hint of blush tinting his cheeks. “I’ll go take a shower if you don’t mind.”

“O-oh, sure! We’re on a time limit though, five minutes,” Evan explained awkwardly. He knew it probably wasn’t something that Connor was used to. Was he going to mind?

However, it seemed not to be the case. The boy simply gave him a thumbs up and left the room.

Once he heard the bathroom door being closed, Evan exhaled and relaxed his shoulders.

If only they managed to keep talking things out like that every time, everything would be fine.

Chapter Text

To say that Evan Hansen was an anxious mess was an understatement. However, what he didn’t expect, was Connor Murphy being the same way.

Or, well, not exactly the same, but he definitely had been acting weird since the ice cream date.

Date? No, what the hell, that’s not the right word, Evan thought to himself as he closed his locker with a little too much force.

It banged and screeched, making him wince at the sound. Sometimes, when he got worked up over his own internal mental monologue he’d act too harshly or too quickly. He took a deep breath, trying to not dwell on it. There were more important matters to take care of now.

Like Connor Murphy, Evan reminded himself, continuing his previous thought.

Yeah, Connor. The dead kid and his imaginary buddy, who has now become his actual best friend. The kid, who still shared letters with Evan, crowded with tiny doodles and cursing. Who he shared texts with at 3 a.m. featuring some weird ass cryptid or tree pictures with a caption that read ‘nudes for you’. Even now, thinking about this, Evan couldn’t stop a smile from creeping across his face.

What a dork.

That’s right, that’s the infamous Connor Murphy for you. A scene kid obsessed with conspiracy theories.

And the very same person whom his mom and Jared thought Evan was in love with.

Which… he’d rather avoid thinking about right now.

Or like. Anytime soon, and by soon he meant the next 30 years.

The thing is, Evan Hansen loved his best friend (in a totally non-gay platonic way, despite what Jared had to say). That didn’t change the fact that hanging out with him was a roller coaster, and not really in the way he expected.

He’d learned a lot about Connor thanks to all that time he had spent with Zoe in the alpha timeline (a term Evan has decided to use for the original timeline in which Connor died). He knew about Connor’s anger problems. He knew how he treated his sister and family. He even knew about that one time in the second grade, when Connor threw a printer at a teacher. So, Evan expected him to be that ‘aggressive douchebag’ that Zoe talked about.

The thing is, he wasn’t.

After the panic attack incident, Connor had been acting off. Their trip to the café was silent, but comfortable. When they arrived, it turned out the store wasn’t named ‘Apocalypse of the Damned’, but ‘The Cafetorium’.

Which was… still, very bizarre, but somehow more suitable.

This difference prompted Evan to ask how come Connor had mixed it up, and his friend proceeded to excitedly talk about how some people claim there was some grey oblong pill with quantum technology that supposedly made you cool but controlled your mind, and Evan absolutely did not follow to what he was saying, but he laughed wholeheartedly because of Connor’s sudden excitement.

“Like, seriously dude, people say they were turning high school students into zombies with that shit. Imagine that crap here. I bet Jared would take a one just to feel cool,” Connor said, taking a bite of his so-called Mothman ice cream.

Pretty cool name for what was basically a choco chips scoop, but again, it was all a part of the theme.

“I don’t want to question the veracity of this story but,” Evan rolled eyes, getting a spoonful of his banana dessert, “do you really think they could hide something so big from the public?”

“Hell fucking yes. If the government can hide aliens from us, I bet they hid the almost zombie teenage apocalypse, too.”

Evan crossed his arms over the table, “So, how does this even relate to the shop name?” He locked eyes with Connor for a moment and then burst out laughing, noticing an ice cream stain on his nose. It just looked so adorable with- wait, what.

“I have something on my face, right?” Connor scrunched up his nose and proceeded to dramatically rub a napkin all over his face. Evan couldn’t help but laugh harder. “Well, you see, the owners of the shop are actually-“

A phone ringtone interrupted them. Connor grimaced and reached into his pocket.

“Seriously?” Evan deadpanned. “Wake me up inside?”

“Don’t you dare to judge me,” he replied in mocked offense, a dopey grin following short, but gone quickly when he looked at his phone screen.

Not again.

Frowning, Connor declined the call and quickly texted something. He bit his lips hard and sighed before continuing, “Sorry about that, anyway, the owners are-”

The phone rang again. Once more, he declined with a growl.

“They are-”

Again.

“FUCK YOU, ZOE,” Connor screamed into the receiver, and quickly ended the call.

Evan’s breath hitched as he tensed up. He stared, watching Connor ran a hand through his long hair. Suddenly, he stopped to stare at Evan, abrupt realization and fear crawling up to him.

“I- I’m so sorry about that, holy shit, I didn’t want to let you see that again, god, why am I such a fuckup-” Connor stammered as he covered his mouth, the words coming out muffled and panicked. For a second, Evan was faced with a weird feeling of familiarity, one that he couldn’t quite pinpoint, despite it making him feel like he has been in this situation before.

Another look into Connor’s panicked eyes and he realized what that déjà vu was.

This situation. It felt as if he was staring into a mirror.

Evan felt sick.

“Uh- It-It’s okay, Connor!” Without thinking, he quickly reached to touch Connor’s arm. His friend instinctively flinched.

“I… I’m sorry.”

“N-no, don’t stress, I’m sure you have your reasons. But, uh…” Evan braced himself for his next question. He already regretted saying it before even finishing the sentence, “Isn’t she just… worried, uhm, a-about you?”

Anger flashed across Connor’s face, and then faded away just as quickly. It was soon replaced by an expression Evan knew too well, but he couldn’t identify what it was, or why it was so familiar.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just,” he sighed, “…I don’t know.”

Silence fell between them as Connor chewed on his lip and fiddled with a spoon.

Okay, Evan had to do something, and he had to do it right fucking now.

“I… I saw this documentary! About, uh, trees and aliens,” Evan technically yelled, voice high-pitched and breathless. Sweat was dripping from his pits. Gross.

“Whoa, really?” he asked, his previous excitement completely gone now. That voice and hunched shoulders… they reminded Evan of something that he knew a little too well.

He tried to save the situation, but the best he managed to get out of Connor was a halfhearted smile. It’s not like Evan had time to fix anything either – as soon as they finished the food, Connor proposed to head back home and declined Evans invitation to hang out at his place.

And just like that, ever since the ‘definitely-not-date café thing, why did I even think of that word, now I won’t sleep at night’ café date, things got weird.

Evan knew, that Connor wasn’t an angry douchebag. Or well, even if he was, he was too anxious to act like that around him.

Now, every time Connor got mad at something, he’d quickly apologize and slip into a really awkward attitude. This distress became a visible part of his looks. His fingernails were bitten down, his lips chapped and bruised from the constant chewing on them. Whenever they hang out, he wouldn’t stop tugging at his hair, and the few times their hands clashed together when they walked side to side to Evan’s house after school, Evan could notice they were equally sweaty.

That’s what was making Evan so upset – he recognized the way Connor was behaving. He recognized that damn feeling of being an anxious mess.

At first, it was as if Connor was scared of getting mad around Evan, but then it escalated to Connor looking scared of being around him. Even his letters were off. He avoided any negative topics, any complaints, only leaving an awkward, trying-too-hard-to-be-someone-else Connor.

The thing is, Evan Hansen loved his best friend but he also hated confrontation. Asking him what was the problem was something he’d rather avoid. Still, he wanted to have his friend back, because Connor has been avoiding him for four days.

There was only so much that Evan could do. Connor didn’t want them to be friends publicly, so approaching him at school was not an option. What’s worse, doing it after the classes was not possible either – every time Evan tried to come closer, Connor would literally sprint in the opposite direction.

Still, he wasn’t replying to Evan’s messages or his letters, and going to the Murphy’s house was out of the question. Some time ago Connor had asked him explicitly to never go there unannounced, but well, it’s not like Evan would be able to come over even if he had an invitation. He couldn’t see Cynthia and Larry, not yet, the guilt was still there.

His initial thought about this whole situation was oh no, he hates me now either because he realized I’m a loser, or because he knows about the alpha timeline. At first, Evan panicked and cried, but once he calmed down, he spent many hours analyzing Connor’s behavior. Guessing that it had something to do with his attitude after the panic attack incident, he decided to push his own fear aside. His friend needed support.

Luckily for Evan, on Fridays, they had English class together. So here he was now, trying to gather his courage before going to the classroom. He could do it.

Yeah, he totally could, he thought and blinked, only now realizing that he had been staring at his locker after slamming it for at least 3 minutes.

Okay, at this pace the only thing he was gonna do was being late. He turned around and rushed to the class, managing to get there just in time.

He was rarely late, always trying to avoid being forced walk into a class and have all the students stare at him. However, this time the 10 seconds of suffering were worth it.

The only seat that was left was next to Connor.

If there were some telling signs of the universe giving him yet another chance, that was one of them. Evan quickly got himself sat down, pulled out a notebook and before he had a chance to chicken out, he began writing what he has been wanting to say for the past few days.

In big, bold letters.

‘Connor. What. The. Fuck.’

Probably not the best conversation starter, but certainly enough to catch Connor’s attention. Evan slid the notebook to his right and bumped his friend’s elbow.

Connor glanced at him, furrowing his brows before noticing the message.

His face distorted in fear. After a few seconds, he reached for his pen.

‘I’m sorry.’

The writing was shaky, somehow reflecting Connor’s state of mind even better than his expression.

‘Just tell me what’s wrong. What did I do?’

‘Nothing!’

‘Then what’s it about?’

Connor took a sharp breath. His hand hovered over the notebook for a moment before he wrote ‘I’m scared.’

Evan’s gaze softened. Some part of his mind registered that the teacher had already started the class but none of them has been paying attention.

‘Are you perhaps scared of getting angry around me?’

‘Do u fucking read minds’

Inside his head, he could almost hear Connor saying it aloud. A corner of Evan’s mouth twitched upwards.

‘Connor…’

‘I’m sorry’

‘Do you think I’m gonna stop being your friend just because of that?’

‘I don’t know. Maybe. Or maybe you’ll stay until I treat you like I do with Zoe. And then you’ll hate me forever’

Seeing these words made his heart ache. Was it really how Connor felt? Did he really think that there was anything that could make Evan hate him?

For a split second, he considered voicing his thoughts but decided against it. Saying it may have sounded too clingy, even for him.

‘Connor that’s not going to happen’

‘I fucking made you cry the first time we hang out!!!’

The exclamation marks were written with such force, that Connor’s pen pierced the paper, almost tearing it a bit.

‘That’s in the past. I already told you that wasn’t your fault’

Evan looked around, trying to figure out what their classmates were currently doing. He and Connor have already given up on listening to the teacher, but the last thing he wanted now (or, to be frank, at any other moment) was to be scolded in the middle of the class.

With a corner of his eye, he noticed one of their classmates (Kurt? Chris?) staring at them. Once their gazes met, he grimaced and gave Evan an odd look.

What’s his fucking problem?

Okay. Okay, wow. He was definitely spending too much time with Connor.

Speaking of which…

‘I just don’t want to mess up this like I mess up everything in my life’

Connor’s pained expression as he wrote down those words shattered Evan’s heart. He knew that feeling, the feeling of trying so hard to be someone else to please people, and then failing. But things shouldn’t be like that between them. He liked Connor for the person he was around him. His true self, not some act put up for Evan’s sake.

And he probably should tell him that, cause it seemed that Connor really had no idea.

‘I like you the way you are’

Hmm, okay, that was maybe a little too gay.

‘no homo?’ he added just in case.

Immediately, Connor howled with laughter. The sound was startlingly loud in a quiet classroom, making some people jump in their seats. Suddenly, every pair of eyes in the room was fixed on the two of them. Evan could almost feel the stares of his classmates burning holes in his back.

His entire face went red.

“Care to share the joke, Mr. Murphy?” Mr. Davies asked. A few students giggled as he gave them a disapproving look before returning to conducting the class.

Evan’s hands were clammy on his lap. He didn’t like being the center of attention, didn’t want to make a fool out of himself, didn’t want to get Connor in trouble with the teacher-

A corner of the notebook they were writing in poked his arm.

‘Sorry. I couldn’t help it.’

Connor reached underneath the desk to squeeze Evan’s hand. He returned the squeeze, feeling a pair of eyes piercing his back.

Someone was looking at them.

Usually, this kind of realization would make Evan extremely uncomfortable, but this time he decided to ignore it. Connor was more important than anything else.

Wait. W h a t.

Okay, hah, you know what, let’s just. Avoid this thought. Yeah. Great plan. Let’s focus on replying to Connor.

Evan clicked his pen nervously.

Let’s say something that will sum up this conversation. Something that will comfort him.

Something like…

‘Please, just, be yourself. I want my Connor back’

Too blunt. Abort mission abort mission abort mission.

A dark blush spread across Connor’s face. He covered his mouth for a second, staring at Evan with a dumbstruck expression, and then wrote down:

‘You’re so embarrassing and cute what the fuck.’

Now, it was Evan’s turn to grow redder than a tomato. His lips curled into a wide smile that he could not control.

Then, suddenly, Connor crossed out the last part of the sentence and scribbled ‘no homo’, and that’s what did it for Evan. Before he even had a chance to cover his mouth, a loud giggle escaped past his lips. Horrified, he tried to muffle it, but it was already too late. Everyone’s eyes were back on them again.

Mr. Davies cleared his throat.

“Care to share the joke, too, Mr. Hansen?” He stared at Evan in annoyance, this time waiting for a reply. Evan felt his heartbeat increase to a dangerous level. Oh shit oh shit-

Connor shifted in his seat and closed the notebook they were writing in. “Sorry, it was my fault, I was telling Hansen a joke.”

To say everyone in the room looked shocked was an understatement. The whole class stared at them as if Connor has just admitted to eating a bath bomb.

Frankly, Evan was no less surprised and for once he didn’t mind the attention because Connor just acknowledged their interactions in public for the first time.

Davies glared at them, before giving up with an exasperated sigh.

“Well, keep the jokes out of my class.”

_________________

The rest of the class went by and neither of them paid attention to a single thing. When Evan glanced at a clock and noticed there were only 2 minutes left, he realized he’d have to get Jared’s notes for the class, as his own notebook got monopolized by Connor who was currently filling the last page with doodles of a dozen of trees. On the top of it, he wrote trees out for Hansen.

Evan was just happy. This class had been a mess but at least he had got to talk to Connor again.

They still needed to discuss many things, but that could wait.

As the ring bell went off, all the students left quickly, leaving only Connor, Evan, and that kid Chris (?) behind. Evan glanced at him and swallowed hard, realizing the guy was giving them a weird look again.

What was it all about? Did he dislike Evan? Did he dislike the both of them? Did he hear some rumors? Did he-

A hand squeezed his shoulder and he turned around to see Connor smiling at him. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes, and before he even spoke up, Evan already knew he was in for a trouble.

“Wanna ditch school?”

Chapter Text

The soft humming of the radio blended together with the sound of engine as the car accelerated to 60 mph. Outside the window images of passing trees quickly blurred away.

Connor’s new car was actually quite cozy, although the title “new” wasn’t really suitable. He had mentioned that he crashed his car previously, and ever since then, Zoe was the one driving him school, since his parents didn’t want to give him money for a new one.

That’s why Evan was so impressed when Connor wiggled a pair of keys as they approached a blue truck in the parking lot. The paint was slightly chapped but the vehicle was in pretty decent shape. Later, when Evan asked how did he get it, his friend only shrugged.

“I got into an ugly fight with Zoe and she swore to never drive me again. Since my mom is obsessed over me not missing a single class, and I hate the school bus, they got kind of forced to give me money for a new one.” A slightly devilish grin twisted his mouth. “They actually wanted me to get a new car but I figured going vintage would piss off Larry,” he rolled his eyes and then faked a British-like accent: “Oh-my! How come the son of the so very respectable Murphys is driving a cheap car? That’s unheard of!”

They both locked eyes for a second after bursting in giggles. Connor returned his eyes to the road. Taking his chance to steal a glance, Evan observed him from under his eyelashes.

Connor’s grip was tight on the wheel, but he definitely seemed a lot more relaxed than he’d been before. He no longer looked like he was in a permanent fight-or-flight mode. Seeing him like this made Evan feel at ease, and he was actually glad that they decided to play truant, even if they had to run away from a teacher who suspected they were leaving too early.

He smiled, remembering how they jumped into the truck, breathless and hectic, and Connor stepped on the gas, keeping his foot on the pedal until they were far away from school. Doing this sort of things was very-not-Evan-Hansen-style, but there were a lot of things that felt like that lately.

Like the late nights spent on texting silly stuff with Connor. Like the way he actually looked forward to going to school, just to see his friend for a little bit as he walked down the hallway.

How he actually felt comfortable around someone who wasn’t his mom.

He even found out he enjoyed Connor’s music, a little too edgy and hipster, and Jared would definitely mock Evan for this newfound taste, but Evan couldn’t care less. He wouldn’t feel embarrassed about his new favorite playlist on Spotify titled yeaa boi iz da emo mixtape (courtesy of Connor, obviously).

If this change that Evan was undergoing was surprising, then learning new stuff about Connor was downright shocking. In fact, there were a lot of things that you wouldn’t expect from Connor Murphy.

Evan thought to the fake letters he had written with Jared. They were oh so very wrong, yes, but they had been right about one thing - Connor was actually a sweet person. Troubled - yes, an asshole to his sister, definitely, but nothing prepared Evan for the experience of opening his locker and finding food with a note that read these aint hash brownies but i can make you one if you want. Later on he discovered that even though they had exchanged locker combinations for “the emergencies”, apparently feeding Evan with muffins, cookies and juice boxes was an emergency now.

The sudden stop to these exchanges was what made Evan confront Connor. Now, that he looked back on it, all that worrying was silly. However, what wasn’t silly was the way Connor was feeling.

Evan frowned, absorbed in thought. They needed to have a talk. A really long one.

The mere thought of drifting away from Connor was painful. Not because he felt like it was his personal duty to keep Connor alive, no, it wasn’t just that anymore. It’s just that he’d grown accustomed to for the first time having something good in his life, something real, that he couldn’t stand that idea of falling apart.

Is it real, though?

And don’t lie to yourself, that’s not the only reason.

He bit his lip hard and frowned deeply, not taking notice of the concerned look on Connor’s face.

“Are you okay?” Connor inquired, tapping on the wheel his left hand fingers. His right hand was holding the wheel tight, knuckles gone white. Evan figured that Connor always did that. He always held too tightly onto things, at times even hurting himself.

“Y-yeah, it’s just,” Evan stammered after a moment of silence, “Uh…” A sigh and a shudder. “School. A-and I’m cold.”

Connor gave it a contemplative hum. “It’s getting chilly. I can’t believe December is right around the corner. Worst time of the year, ugh. And yeah, the heating needs a repair. That dude sold me this car for a lot cheaper exactly because the heating is busted.”

A soft, awkward laugh escaped Evan’s mouth. “Uhm, why don’t you like December? If you don’t mind me asking.”

Connor arched an eyebrow. “Christmas? In a wealthy white family? Fucking hell.”

Evan laughed again, looking through the window. They were driving uphill, getting significantly away from the city. It was still fairly early. They had stopped for a lunch at Denny’s, though a word ‘lunch’ didn’t quite apply to those 4 pancakes with a mountain of maple syrup that Connor had. Before Evan could say a thing, he raised a finger and dropped his characteristic don’t judge me.

He smiled at the memory. Now that Evan thought about it, he really did smile a lot around Connor.

“I wouldn’t know. For me it’s just mom and me, if she’s home that day.”

“Well that sounds like fun. Your mom is fun. My Christmas consists of my mom’s sister driving all the way from Idaho, her new husband and her dumb kids, all bitching about the drive for the lack of a better conversational topic, some of my dad’s cousins, a bunch of jerks screaming at the football match on TV, and then my mom and aunt’s annual ‘who can cook grandma’s recipe better’ competition. For the record, they both always end up tasting like ass.” He frowned in disgust. “All this while dreading for the sweet release of death, and instead getting a bunch of adults asking me about rehab and advising me to cut my hair.”

Connor scrunched his nose and rolled his eyes, mocking his relatives’ voices, “Long hair isn’t popular among girls, you gotta step up your game to get a nice girlfriend.

Evan burst into giggles. He didn’t want to laugh at his friend’s pain, but Connor had put an extra effort to make everything sound so sarcastic that he couldn’t help it.

A small smile appeared on Connor’s lips and Evan returned it.

“Okay, fair enough, I understand why you dislike it.” Connor gave him a look. “Okay, hate it.”

“You don’t know how painful Christmas can be until you’re forced to eat your mom’s and your aunt’s noodles that taste like glue. I always vote in favor of my aunt out of spite, but honestly her cooking is just as horrible. Good thing she always gives me money in reward, it all goes into the pot funding- hey!” Connor screeched and laughed as Evan weakly punched him in the shoulder.

They pulled off at a side of the road. All this time Connor led the way, since he had promised Evan that they’d go somewhere he’d probably like. Seeing how the place where they stopped was surrounded by nature, Evan was already enjoying himself quite a lot.

It seemed that they weren’t heading to any apple orchards.

Evan shoved his hands into his coat pockets, his eyes fixed on Connor’s back. He took a deep breath and spoke up.

“Did you ever go to- uh, that apple orchard that was shut down some years ago?”

Connor arched his eyebrows, and for a second looked back at Evan. They kept walking, getting deep into the woods.

“That was random.”

“Uh, yeah it’s just- this place kind of reminded me of it, sorry it was weird to mention it.”

“Not at all.” Connor’s hair hid his face completely, as he took a small jump over some root.

Silence.

“I used to go there as a kid. Me and Zo- Zoe, once got lost there for hours. Our parents were freaking out about it.” A chuckle. “It’s a shame it was shut down.”

Evan sighed. A small sad grin twisted his mouth; he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Maybe if the orchard had truly been an important place for Connor, he’d have felt less guilty. But hoping for that was naïve and stupid.

“But,” started Connor, turning around with a dazzling smile, and pointing finger guns at Evan, “it’s also a great place for getting stoned, and since you’re already going down the path of delinquency, I don’t think you’ll mind some trespassing if you wanna bla- hey!” He yelped, landing on a pile of leaves after Evan playfully shoved him down.

Connor blinked, and then grinned in disbelief. “Hansen, you are dead.”

“W-well, not unless you catch me.” Evan replied and dashed forward, soon followed by Connor, who still couldn’t contain the wide smile on his face.

______________________

 

“If I end up smelling like weed I’ll blame you.”

Connor quirked up an eyebrow and tugged a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “I’m too sober to hold this conversation but I won’t smoke if you don’t want me to.”

“Oh, no, no… it’s okay. I don’t mind.” Evan stared ahead for a moment, contemplating his next words. “Besides,” he started slowly, “it’s not like I haven’t gotten high before.”

“WHAT.”

The scream that came out of Connor’s mouth was ungodly loud, especially in the silence of woods. A few birds set flew up, scared off by the noise and Evan observed one of them skim the water. Him and Connor chose to rest in a spot next to a river. Some of the trees surrounding them had lost their leaves, looking scrawny.

This place was truly beautiful, and Evan couldn’t stop admiring it. There was something charming about the small river that disappeared between a bunch of tall trees. A few of them were still keeping the bright green tones. Luckily for the area, winter wasn’t so cruel to it.

“It wasn’t my idea, okay?” Evan said, sounding a bit self-defensive, “Jared wanted to get high in his basement and I… uh… yeah…” He felt his ears go bright red. Right now his face must have been brighter than the sunset that colored the sky orange.

The days were getting shorter, he noticed.

“Oh my fucking god, this is unbelievable.” Connor threw his head back in laughter, his hand tangled in the mess of his wavy hair. Evan could only stare, feeling his insides shrink.

You know there’s another reason.

Once he calmed down, Connor lit up his joint and took a hit. After a few seconds, his shoulders visibly relaxed, and he exhaled audibly.

“You know how people think I don’t give a shit about anything?” Evan simply nodded. “Well, I do.”

“I know.”

Connor’s gaze softened. His eyes were fixed on the running water of the river. Suddenly, he undid the zipper of his boots and rolled up the cuffs of his jeans. Before Evan could ask what he was even thinking of doing, he dipped his legs in the river. The water was shallow and calm, but the action itself made Evan screech.

“What are you doing?! It’s November!”

“Hey, call me a masochist, but it feels pretty damn neat. It grounds me. You should try it.”

Hesitantly, Evan undid the laces of his shoes and followed along. The water was cold and Connor was completely insane, but after a few seconds, it really did feel nice.

They sat in silence for some minutes, the joint put out. Connor did promise not to get high, he said he just wanted to feel a little better.

“I…” He stumbled to find the right words, cutting the silence short. “I worry. A lot. You wouldn’t think that someone who pours everything down the drain in a matter of seconds actually cares, but I do.” Connor took a shaky breath and stared at the joint that laid in the ground, tempting. He shook his head.

“It’s hard. I wish I could only be an angry bastard who didn’t care about consequences. Or I wish I could be an anxious paranoid mess that worries to the point I have to puke my insides out, but without the angry jerk part. The two combined send me into a spiraling chaos and I just- want it to stop.”

Evan stayed, looking away from Connor’s painful expression. These problems could be relatable for him. Replace anger with compulsive liar and yes, Evan and Connor were not so different.

“And so I try to suppress at least one of them. Since I can’t deal with the first one, I guess I opted to go for getting stoned on a daily basis. That helps- sometimes. It feels good to not have to care about the world for some hours.”

“But it gets-“ Connor’s voice wavered, so he stopped to take another shaky breath.  “It gets scary sometimes, you know. Last summer was hard. As much as I hate school, at least it helps me avoid spending so much time at home. So things got pretty ugly for me. And as much as my parents make up shit about me being a drug addict, I really wasn’t. I just smoked when things got ugly. But it felt that way the entire summer.”

He glanced nervously at the joint, muttered fuck it and light it up quickly, taking a long hit.

“So I was high during the day and cried at night when I came back to my senses. I’d worry terribly again until the sun came up again and I didn’t get a single bit of sleep. I repeated this routine daily, but then something changed. I didn’t give a fuck about anything, like, at all. I felt numb. And that’s fucking scary. Because when you don’t have any worries, you don’t have to worry about what would happen if I died.”

Evan knew. That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt to hear it.

Connor pulled his legs out of the water and put his knees close to his chest. “Then that idea was all that was on my mind. And I didn’t feel scared of death. But that’s so wrong Evan, so wrong, because I’m utterly scared of dying.”

Evan felt a pang of guilt at the thought of those words being somehow comforting.

“When you came into my life, the worries came back. And it’s… weird, but for the first time, I was glad they were here. The anxiety was so intense that I even stopped myself from being an asshole, like, wow!” He laughed, sounding nothing but mirthless. “Or at least I thought so. But the paranoia got too extreme, as you- as you saw.” He winced and glanced at his feet. They were all dirty now, water and mud turning them into a gross mess. Connor clenched his fists.

 “Because- because I’m fucking scared, okay? Because even though I worry, I managed to chase everyone away from my life. Even if I- love Zoe, I managed to make her hate me. Heck, I told her I wanted to kill her.” He let out a sob and Evan felt the need to extend his hand and touch his shoulder.

He didn’t.

“I don’t want to-” Connor took a sharp breath. “I don’t want to fuck this up like I do every single time. I don’t want to sound like a clingy motherfucker but I don’t know how would I be able to go back to being alone, to- not having you in my life.” He shook his head and wiped his eyes. “Fuck, sorry.”

“Hey, Connor,” Evan finally spoke. “It’s okay. I understand how you feel. I also worry a lot, worry that you’ll- stop being my friend.” Don’t say die. “That you’ll hate me.” That you don’t feel the same way about me.

Wait.

What?

“B-but hey!” He finally grabbed Connor’s hand and squeezed. “If you worry so much about our friendship and I worry so much about our friendship, shouldn’t we cancel each other out and, I don’t know, be more chill? Like in an equation!”

Connor looked at him, dumbfounded. For a moment his eyes were as big as plates, his expression undecipherable, until he burst out laughing.

“Oh my god Hansen, you’re such a nerd.”

Before Evan could form any reply (and it’s not that he was dumbstruck by the way Connor’s smile and hair look like under the orange sunset light, no, he was just really taking his time to think of a good reply), Connor’s arms circled him and he was pulled into a hug. Due to their height difference, Evan’s face got practically shoved into the side of his friend’s neck, and he some part of his brain noted, that Connor smelled like weed, floral shampoo and deodorant.

Evan figured that it was extremely charming, at least for him.

Hesitantly, he returned the hug, feeling his face turn red. God, why was he even blushing now? Get it together Hansen, you’re making it weird.

Unaware of Evan’s emotional turmoil, Connor leaned into his shoulder and yawned.

“You tired?” Evan muttered, his voice muffled by the collar of Connor’s jacket.

“Only a little. Haven’t slept much lately.”

He patted his back. “Let’s head home.”

The response came in a form of a quiet confirmatory hum, yet neither of them made an attempt to pull back. They spent a few more seconds in this embrace before Connor finally let his arms drop, and backed off.

Evan didn’t understand why, but it felt weirdly comforting to see that Connor’s cheeks were colored with a light shade of pink.

 

Chapter Text

Connor laid down on his bed, eyes fixed on the glowing stars on his ceiling. He and his father had put them up when he was 7 years old. Back when he was a little kid, things were more simple. His parents thought he was just being a misbehaving child; it wasn’t until he threw a printer at a teacher in second grade that they realized there was something very wrong with their son.

He remembered how he’d just stay there for hours, staring at those glowing stars, countless nights of wondering why he was different from everyone, until his eyes dried up and he passed out. One could think that such a thing would bring up bad memories, but instead they offered him comfort. It was only him and those stupid stars in the middle of the dark, which meant no one was there to see him breaking down.

Tonight was different. He wasn’t crying, he hadn’t cried in a long time. He hadn’t even cried the first day of senior year, when he had–

Okay, he didn’t want to think about that. Not yet.

Instead he was feeling a familiar emotion incoming. Anger.

Angry at himself for getting into such a stupid situation.

Still, it wasn’t entirely like the irrational anger that he had felt arise throughout all his life. That one, despite following him like his own shadow, still felt strange to him. After he tired himself out from yelling and banging walls, he’d always felt out of place, drained of energy, as if someone else had taken over his body.

The anger he was feeling at the moment was the rational one, the one that he always felt towards himself after coming out of his highs. Combined with some sort of guilt and sadness, it made the perfect bomb for a one-man pity show.

He should have never befriended Evan Hansen. This friendship was getting out of control real quick.

Not because things were going bad between them, no. Evan was amazing. He heard Connor spill his heart out as they dug their feet in the cold November river, he held the power to destroy Connor, but he didn’t. Evan was trying to understand him, he didn’t judge him, he didn’t think he was crazy.

And that was the problem. No one was able to understand Connor. He had given everyone a million reasons to be judged, and he truly was nuts.

It was just a matter of time for Evan to realize all of this. If Connor was truly to be himself, he’d break Evan’s heart. Connor wanted to believe that Evan was smart enough to get away from him when the breaking point came (because it sure would, eventually), but the kid had that shine in his eyes that he hadn’t seen directed at him in years, the one that translated into “I’m not giving up on you”.

It was both the best and worst thing in his life at the moment. He craved for years for someone to look at him again, yet sometimes he wished it hadn’t happened at all.

His friendship with Evan had made his life bearable, happier, but that didn’t mean Connor stopped wishing he was dead every now and then.

He had been ready to give up on everything. There was nothing left, absolutely nothing, yet that kid had to bring to life what he thought was death inside his heart.

It was fucking scary. He didn’t want to feel hopeful. Hope always crashed down when he let people down, when he hurt others.

Connor Murphy was going to destroy Evan Hansen’s heart, he knew it, but he was too selfish to let him go.

In a rage burst, he stood up and loudly banged his bedroom door open. He wasn’t sure what he planned on doing. He just needed to get up and do something before his self-loathing went out of control. He took a deep breath and gripped his right wrist tightly.

Don’t even think of it.

“Connor?” His mother called out from downstairs, her voice wobbling a little. “Dinner’s ready.”

“I’m not hungry,” he shouted without really intending to. He took a deep breath and ran a hand over his hair, pulling it harshly. Get a grip of yourself.

“We need to talk.” A stern voice joined. Larry was already home. Connor hadn’t realized it had gotten so late. He rubbed a hand down his face and stormed downstairs, already regretting stepping out of his room in the first place. He should have just– no you shouldn’t have.

This is what he has been avoiding for months. Ever since he started hanging out with Evan, he has been spending less time at home, he had tried to stop smoking pot, and thus he has been directing all his stress and anger at his family instead of lashing out at his precious friend. They were going to make him confess what was going on and he couldn’t tell them, he couldn’t let them know because then they’d take Evan away from him and he wouldn’t be able to keep living, not after knowing happiness, not after–

His family was sitting at the table, eating whatever his mom had made, impossible to put a name to. His dad refused to meet his eyes, and Zoe had already put up her neutral face, as a wall to protect herself from whatever was coming up. He’d seen her at school, being her happy, free self. The nasty feeling of jealousy made him shake. Jealousy that she could be like that and jealousy that other people were able to get that from her, unlike him.

He sat down loudly and made his mom jump a little. Even his mother was scared of him, fuck. He knew he was throwing a tantrum and that none of the present people had caused his current bad self-loathing mood.

Except they had, they ruined your life, said a voice in the back of his mind. He quickly shoved it back and started swallowing mouthfuls of food. He glared at his plate as if he wanted it to disappear.

He knew he shouldn’t be there. He was going to break down.

“Where were you last night?” His mother broke the silence.

A long pause.

“Out.”

“Connor,” the hurt in her voice was tangible. It made him wince. “You can’t just not return home without saying a single word and then think you can get away with it.”

Connor stopped eating, opting for playing with the contents of his plate. He refused to look up or reply.

Last night he had stayed at Evan’s house. Evan had driven them back home, because he was too scared of letting Connor drive when high. In fact, Connor was barely high but he agreed to avoid making his friend die from anxiety.

Truth be told, he wasn’t sure if this choice was right, because the poor boy was sweating pinballs while driving. Connor wondered how in the world did he even get a license.

At least he hoped he had one.

When they got to Evan’s house Heidi was there. She offered Connor to stay for the dinner and was about to order take out when Connor offered to cook for the three of them. Evan had looked at him impressed but he just shrugged and took whatever he could find from the cabinets.

He ended up making pasta with canned mushrooms and white sauce. Heidi was delighted and Evan was surprised that Connor cooked at all, to which Connor smiled smugly and replied that he was a man of many talents.

Thankfully, Heidi didn’t detect the weed smell over all the breeze deodorant he’d put on on the way back. When they finished eating, Evan had offered Connor to stay over, “s-since it’s late and it’s kind of dangerous and you can go if you want but I wouldn’t mind i-if you stay”.

He couldn’t say no to that, heck, he wouldn’t say no to any chance of getting away from his house.

Or to spending time with Evan. Or to Evan in general.

He thought to himself that whatever trouble he’d get into was worth it when embarrassment washed over Evan after realizing that since his mom was home, they’d have to sleep in the same bed. Connor just shrugged and said it was fine, you know, just two bros, chilling in a twin-sized bed, nothing wrong with that.

Except everything was wrong because Connor couldn’t sleep, listening to Evan’s steady breath, his usual nervous self completely at ease. They were practically smashed together and fuck, Connor was fucked and he didn’t want to think about it yet, nope, thank you very much.

Connor was going to break Evan’s heart, or maybe Evan was going to break Connor’s heart first. Either way he was doomed and why was he doing this, why was he so fucking stupid-

“Connor!” His mother called out to him, interrupting his train of thought.

“He’s not listening, he’s probably high” his dad spoke, still not directing a single look at Connor.

“He’s definitely high” Zoe muttered with annoyance.

“I’m not high!” Connor yelled.

He felt offended. The last two months he’s been smoking less and less and hadn’t they realized? Did none of his efforts matter? But then he remembered that he in fact had gotten high the previous day, so he had no right to feel bad about their judgmental words. Still, it hurt.

“Connor, I need you to talk to me” his mother pleaded. “I need to know what you are doing, I just can’t ignore the fact that you won’t come home until late or not at all, even this sort of thing is too much for you. Just- is it drugs? Are you doing other drugs?”

Connor banged the table. “I’m not fucking doing crack or some shit! What the fuck, mom!”

“You sure? Because you’re definitely getting more asshole-y lately.” Zoe interrupted sarcastically.

“That’s because I’m not doing drugs at all!” Connor winced, that was a lie. He had managed to spend three weeks clean, but he broke his streak. “Or at least not so often anymore, but sure as hell none of you noticed. None of you even fucking care.” His voice dropped down, leaking spite. He wasn’t doing it for them but he at least hoped they would see his efforts.

That’s why Evan Hansen was ruining him. He’d given him hope that things would be better and here was Connor, getting it all crushed for the millionth time.

Evan Hansen. He couldn’t let them know about him. If someone was going to ruin their friendship, that would be Connor himself, not his family, he wouldn’t let them do that again.

“Oh honey, that’s amazing,” his mother wiped down a tear, “but I need to know what you are doing. You’re acting so weird lately, I thought you were getting better. Are you doing something dangerous? Is that’s what making you act like this?”

“Like what, mom?” he laughed dryly. “Like an angry asshole? Well that’s how I am normally when I’m not high, cause I’m fucking sick in the head, thanks for noticing.”

“You’re not sick, Connor.” For the first time in the night, Larry stared straight into Connor’s eyes. The teen felt his rage grow again as those disappointed eyes looked at him.

“I am, fuck! This would be easier if you just admitted that I’m sick and I need help!”

He was shouting. Everyone stopped eating. Connor gripped the border of the table and laughed again.

Zoe looked like she was about to fight or flight.

“You need to go to rehab.”

“Didn’t I just tell you that I’m trying to leave drugs? What the fuck, you don’t even listen to me. Drugs ain’t the goddamn problem here.”

“Then what on earth are you doing when you’re not coming back home?” Larry dropped his fork. It clattered against the expensive plate. “I hope you’re not sleeping with random people in the streets.”

Connor felt the air being knocked out of his lungs.

Zoe visibly cringed. Cynthia glared at her husband.

“Oh sure, because your fag son can’t have a goddamn friend who he likes to spend time with better than being trapped in this shithole.” Connor’s voice broke down at the last word.

Don’t show weakness don’t show weakness don’t show-

“Connor, I’m–” his dad probably realized he’d gone too far. Too late.

“Oh fuck you! You don’t get to apologize after that! What if I was banging random dudes in the streets?! It’s none of your goddamn business if I like dick! Even if I got sick from it and died, you wouldn’t even care, you don’t care at all.” Connor’s voice broke down again. He felt the hot tears prickling at his eyes. Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry–

“That is not true–“ his mom said as she shook her head, tears pouring down her cheeks.

“Yes it is! You don’t even–” he was sure the neighbors could hear him shouting. “You don’t even know how depressed I am. How much I hate my life. How hard my anxiety makes me wish I could just disappear. Or how I have to hide the only goddamn friend I have because I fear you guys will chase him away, fucking again. Hell, you don’t even know I tried to kill myself the first day of senior year!”

Zoe dropped a glass and the shattering noise made Connor realize what he had said.

Fuck. Fuck. These were all the things he never wanted to tell them.

He felt his wrists burning. His eyes were burning as well. Someone was crying, hard, the sobs stabbing him in the chest. It took him some seconds to realize it was him.

“Connor!” He heard someone shouting, but he didn’t stay to hear the rest, already running away.

-------------------

Usually, Evan went to sleep after midnight. However, today he was so exhausted that as soon as his head touched the pillow around 9 p.m., he passed out.

He had… a lot of things on his mind. Friday after school was a rollercoaster. Skipping school with Connor wasn’t that scary at the very moment, at least not until he came back home to find his mother waiting for him, arms crossed and disapproval in her eyes.

At the sight of Connor (whom Evan brought home because there was no way he’d let Connor drive high, even though driving made Evan’s heartbeat so fast he thought he was going to die), his mother stopped herself from whatever she was going to say, but she gave Evan that very “mother-like” stare that basically translated to we need to talk.

However, this conversation had to wait until the dinner was over. Getting up from the table, Evan asked Connor to wait for him in his bedroom. Then, he turned to his mom, feeling all the blood abandon his face as he prepared for The Talk.

It turned out the school called his mom to tell her that Evan had skipped his afternoon classes. He knew he could simply brush it off by telling her that he had a panic attack or something (because that happened way too often, sadly), but he didn’t want to deal with the whole “you know you can tell me when you need a day off” blah blah blah. He knew his mother meant well, but every time they had that sort of conversation he couldn’t help but feel that she didn’t understand him. No mom, positive attitude won’t erase anxiety, having a friend won’t make me stop feeling lonely.

He hated feeling like a failure because he couldn’t fix himself, as his mother hoped.

Telling the truth was not an option because there was no way he would tell his mom he ditched school just because he felt like doing it. Going to the mountains and seat next to his best friend who got stoned for the sake of opening his heart wasn’t a good excuse, and mom, he killed himself in another timeline, oh by the way I sort of time traveled?

Yeah, right.

So of course, he lied, as always, because apparently he was very good at it.

Evan was a train wreck of nervousness, even while telling the truth he looked anxious, making it a perfect mask for lies. He felt a big pang of guilt as he came up with a made up story of Connor had an anxiety attack and I know how it feels so I skipped school to help him out. Yeah mom, that’s how we became friends, we sort of, connected or something? Because we have the same sort of problems, yes I’ll tell him to stay over whenever he wants, thanks mom, sorry I’ll text you about it next time.

Well, it wasn’t technically a lie? Connor did have anxiety (which Evan was quite surprised to know was so intense) and they did initially become friends due to their problems (if you count knowing about someone’s suicide in an alternative timeline as knowing their problems).

He tried to push back the thoughts that came to his mind late at night when he was snuggled against Connor’s chest as they shared the small twin-sized bed.

He tried to ignore how his bed felt kind of empty when he went to sleep next night.

Overthinking was exhausting.

So he avoided it by sleeping, only to be jolted awake by a tapping on the window after a few hours.

His room was pitch dark and the digital clock in the wall showed the hour.

11:32 p.m.

For a moment he thought he had imagined the sound, but then the tapping returned. His breath quickened and he felt all the color draining from his face.

Was it a thief? Would a thief come by so early? Was it his fault for going to bed so early? He wouldn’t fight a thief, he’d let them take everything away, but then they’d lost everything and he and his mother would end up living under a bridge.

Oh god, what if they planned to abduct him? Kill him? His mother would be devastated, and Connor– oh god, Connor, he was going to fail Connor, his promise to be by his side would turn into a lie like everything else in his life, I’m sorry I’m sorry–

A sob startled him. His mind was racing 100 miles per hour and his shaky hands were sweating, but he gathered the courage to stand up and get closer to the window. Suddenly, the window banged open.

He fell hard on his butt and screamed as he fumbled to turn on his lamp. Then, he recognized the figure that broke into his room.

Connor’s face was wet and his shoulders were shaking and soon Evan realized he was crying, yet he couldn’t say anything, he couldn’t move. He was paralyzed.

“F-fuck, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I shoul- I shouldn’t have come, fuck.” Connor started retreating towards the window. Evan wanted to reach out to him, wipe those tears away, ask him what was wrong, yet his stupid legs wouldn’t act. “All I do I scare people, hurt people, I’m- I’m sorry.”

Connor turned his back and exited through the window, sobs still piercing Evan’s ears.

Say something. Do something. He’s leaving. He’s gonna leave forever if you don’t–

 

Evan opened his eyes in the middle of the dark. He took a sharp breath and counted to ten as he calmed down. It was just a dream. After a good five minutes of inhaling and exhaling deeply, he looked at the clock in the wall.

11:31 p.m.

He was ready to try to sleep again when a knock in the window startled him.

11:32 p.m.

He stood up right away on auto-pilot mode and opened the window. Thanks to the moonlight he could see how Connor had climbed up a tree in their front yard, next to Evan’s room. His face was tear stained and he was shaking. There was no sign of his car in the driveway.

He looked at Evan with a deer-in-the-headlights expression and Evan extended his arms as an invitation. Connor crawled inside the room and threw himself into Evan’s arms. The freckled kid hugged Connor as if his life depended on it, long hair tickling his neck as the other boy broke down into sobs against his neck.

Evan’s mind was racing because the whole experience was bizarre in a way. He quickly recognized the dizzy feeling inside his head. It reminded him of that time in the bathroom stall when he had gone back in time.

No way.

Freaking out over how he might have just relived the same moment twice could wait because holy shit, he’d never seen Connor cry and the sight was just heartbreaking. He wondered if this is how his mom felt when Evan had breakdowns. Powerless.

He tried to chant soothing words as he rubbed circles on Connor’s back, sort of imitating what his mother did every time he had a panic attack, which didn’t seem the case for Connor, but he figured it could help. Connor simply looked heartbroken.

He led his friend to the bed and laid down with him. Connor immediately curled up against him, grabbing the fabric of Evan’s old t-shirt as if his life depended on it. By instinct, Evan lifted his hand to caress Connor’s long hair. It turned out to be a good idea, since Connor relaxed after some minutes and melted in Evan’s embrace. In the aftermath, sniffles were muffled against Evan’s chest but at least Connor’s finally relaxed.

Taking a deep breath, Evan spoke for the first time.

“H-hey buddy, how are you doing?”

“How does it look like?” The comment was snarky but felt almost void of emotion. He couldn’t see him in the dark, but he could swear Connor rolled his eyes. He lifted his head as he spoke, his breath dangerously close to Evan’s face. Too close.

“U-uh, I-I actually can’t see you so…”

Connor snorted. “You’re a nerd.”

“You’re a nerd too.” He smiled.

He reached to pet Connor’s hair once again but he stopped himself. Maybe that was stepping over the line of platonic. But again, they were both hugging in a small twin-sized bed, legs intertwined, so maybe he shouldn’t care at all at this point. He tucked a lock of hair behind Connor’s ear and kept gently brushing his hair with his fingers.

Connor nuzzled his face against Evan’s neck and the latter squeaked. Wow wow wow wow-

“Uh, I’m sorry, I’m just- fuck- goddamnit I’m gonna regret saying this tomorrow, and I hadn’t realized before, but I’m very touch starved. Is this okay?” Connor tried to keep his cool, but his voice wavered at the end. Evan prayed for him not to feel how his whole body was bursting into flames.

“Y-yeah! I mean, yes, d-definitely, not weird at all, I mean it really isn’t weird, I’m okay with this, cool, coolio, hella, hecka, mega, c-chill with this-“

“Hansen, don’t make this weird. If you want we can just-”

“Nononononono i-it really is okay. I-I mean, fuck heteronormativity, why can’t I hug my friend for many, many minutes?”

A beat of silence. “Evan Hansen, are you implying this is too gay?”

“I- I mean!”

Connor’s sincere laugh cut him through mid-sentence. “Well it is pretty gay but fuck it. We already shared this bed last night.”

Well, your face wasn’t four inches away from mine yesterday went unsaid.

Evan tried to calm his crazy heartbeat, fearing Connor could hear it (and he probably could, seeing how he rested his head against his chest). His attempts went to hell when Connor scooped (impossibly) closer, their legs a complete tangled mess.

“T-touch starved?” Evan joked, very high pitched and definitely not smooth.

“Shut up.”

For some minutes they stood in silence, only filled by their now calm breaths.

“You know, I can’t remember the last time my parents hugged me.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, you know… My mom probably hugged me last Christmas but, you know, it didn’t feel real. It felt like compromise. Like she was scared to touch me.” He laughed, but it sounded dishonest. “Well, I guess I can’t blame her for being scared of a son like me. And my- Larry, he’s this sort of guy who thinks that his kid would become a fag if he shows love for him or something. Some classic white middle class bullshit.”

Evan tightened his arms around his friend. “Did- did something happened with them?”

Connor exhaled loudly and Evan felt how he basically deflated. “Yeah, I… I fucked up.”

“What happened? Did you get into problems for s-staying here last night?”

“Well, sorta. That wasn’t too bad. I knew it was bound to happen.” He sighed loudly again. “I guess- things got out of hand very quickly. I got really pissed at them because they thought I was doing heavy drugs or something, and goddamn it, I’ve been trying to stop smoking pot, but no matter how hard I try they’ll never notice, right? I should have known; I shouldn’t have hoped for anything. Fuck. I’m a fucking idiot.”

“Hey, hey.” Evan put a hand on Connor’s shoulder, trying to make him look him in the eyes. At least now his eyes were accustomed to the darkness and he could make out Connor’s features in the dim light that came from the window. He looked so sad.

It made Evan’s heart ache.

“There’s nothing wrong with having hope, and it doesn’t make you an idiot. S-sometimes I still hope that my father will actually take interest in my life instead of emailing me twice a year, despite this hope being completely unrealistic, b-but that doesn’t make me an idiot. J-just naïve, probably.”

“Ok.” Connor sighed. “Ok, you’re right. So yeah, it basically snowballed from there until my dad made a- an offensive comment that pissed me off. And then it all came down spiraling and I said a few things I never wanted them to know.”

The last sentence was almost whispered. It was full of hurt.

“What things?”

“I… fuck. Promise me we won’t talk about this in the morning.”

“Promised.” Evan brought his open palm in front of his chest, imitating a boy scout. Connor took his hand and held it tight.

Connor’s hands were cold and sweaty.

“I… I tried to kill myself. The first day of senior year.”

What.

“What?” Evan tried to say, but it came out more as a high pitched “what?!”

“Uh, yeah, well. I was… I had been planning it for some days. You know, end this shit for once. I figured no one would care and honestly? I didn’t even care myself. So I made- plans.” Connor’s strong grip was starting to hurt his palm, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he reached with his other hand to pet Connor’s hair again. Evan justified his actions by them being the only way to relax the other boy.

Yeah. Right.

“I got high one last time before going to school. I figured out I needed some- closure or some bullshit. See that shithole one last time. Spit on the floor. Flip them all off. Then that asshole calls me a school shooter and I think, wow, funny, I’m offing myself today precisely to stop hurting other people. But you stood up for me and- shit.” His voice cracked at the end.

“I told myself that didn’t change anything. Yet I went to thank you because, hey, why not, I’m gonna die today, being nice won’t kill me more. When I got home I thought, hey, maybe this won’t be such an awful year. But I got into a big fight with Zoe and then my dad was- making those offensive comments again and I just- drove my car to the old bridge near that supermarket that closed down last year, and I just-” Connor broke down in small sobs. “I looked down and- I couldn’t do it.”

Evan felt tears prickling his own eyes. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

“And I’m …I’m… I’m glad you’re alive.” Connor said, as he put a hand over Evan’s cast.

Oh. Oh.

“How did you…?”

Evan felt Connor shrug. “I sort of figured it out. Every time I brought it up you acted weird.”

Oh.

Tears spilled from Evan’s eyes.

“H-Hansen are you crying? Fuck, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up-”

“N-no no, it’s okay!” Evan laughed. “I’m just… happy? I know this sounds stupid but I just- I-I always wanted someone t-to notice.”

“That’s not stupid,” Connor replied dead serious.

“I-f you say so…” Silence. “Thank you.”

“Uhm, I think I’m the one here who should be thanking you? Starting from not questioning why I practically broke into your room.”

“W-well I opened the window so it’s more like I invited you.”

“If you hadn’t I would have opened it myself.”

“I… I know.” Evan winced at the memory.

“So… yeah. I might had mentioned depression, anxiety and suicide attempt in a rage rant to my parents. Then I ran all the way here.”

“Shit.”

Connor raised his eyebrow, and a small giggle sent puffs of air that tingled Evan’s face. It was too endearing. For a second, he didn’t catch what Connor was saying, and he felt a little guilty over getting distracted.

“Fuck, am I so fucked that it even deserves a curse from Hansen?”

“Well, I’d be losing my mind if my mom knew about- this.” He tapped on his cast, right over a doodle of a butterfly (courtesy of Connor).

“Hell, what am I gonna do? If they go all the way helicopter parents I won’t be able to see you-” That made Evan’s heart ache, “and if they don’t care then I’m going to confirm that they don’t give a shit about me at all. Either option is shit, bloody hell what am I gonna-”

“Hey, hey, Con” Evan put his hands lightly over Connor’s shoulders and pulled him closer, making their foreheads touch. “Breathe. Sleep. Wait for tomorrow, you’re tired, don’t overthink. I won’t say everything will be alright b-but it might go better than you expect. I mean you and I- we’re both pessimistic people. That’s good I guess, a-at least we’re prepared for the worst case scenario.”

Connor huffed. “This is the first time I hear someone tell me that it’s good that I’m pessimistic. You’re one weirdo, Evan.”

Evan’s heart shouldn’t have fluttered so much at the mention of his first name.

“Well that’s why I’m your best friend.”

“Shut up.”

“Are you embarrassed?”

“Don’t make it weird.”

“Whatever you say, Con.”

“Mhm.”

Evan closed his eyes. Tiredness fell over him. He felt emotionally drained. Too many worries for two days in a row.

“You should try to get some sleep. It’s pretty late,” Evan whispered.

“I don’t think I can sleep.” Connor gave him a contemplative hum and tucked his head in Evan’s neck. “Tell me a story?” he murmured, his lips brushing against his skin. Evan trembled. He felt slightly embarrassed, but also strangely addicted to this closeness. He didn’t want it to end.

And so he proceeded to tell Connor stories from the books he used to read as a child, still cuddling, until Evan himself fell asleep. Connor was still awake for a while, just looking at his friend with a soft gaze full of fondness. After a while, the steady breathing of the boy in his arms served as a lullaby that made him drift off into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

Evan should have known his relatively peaceful days were about to end. He should have seen it coming.

He probably hasn’t because his mind was too preoccupied with a certain subject.

Said subject was sitting alone at a lunch table. His hair fell over his face and it looked so soft, Evan knew it was soft, he had run his hands all over it last Saturday and-

“-Evan? Earth to Evan Hansen?” Jared snapped his fingers in front of Evan’s face. Ever since they entered the cafeteria, he has been spacing out, staring at Connor who sat four tables away from them. He knew he should be paying more attention to Jared, but he really couldn’t stop thinking about that Saturday, and now Connor was here and- okay, Evan. Focus.

Today was one of those weird days when Jared decided that he wanted Evan’s company and he technically dragged him to have a lunch with him. Evan was not very fond of eating in the cafeteria but he felt more anxious about reclining Jared’s invitation, so that’s how he ended up buying a sandwich despite not being hungry at all.

“S-sorry, w-what were you saying?” Evan mumbled sheepishly.

“Well, as I was saying,” Jared arched an eyebrow, “you should ask Connor out or something. I’m getting tired of this weird little game you guys have been playing ever since he signed your cast.”

Evan chocked on his food. “Wh-what?! God, n-not again, Jared-”

“Listen to me, tree fucker. I know you’ve been dying to talk to him, and well, the dude signed your cast, and he kind of stares at you all the time, why don’t you start by befriending him if you want to get into his pants so bad?”

He groaned. “F-first, I don’t want to g-get into his p-pants, second, weren’t you the one who told me to s-stay away from him?”

Evan was very grateful that Jared still didn’t know about his friendship with Connor. If he knew, oh boy… He’d probably tease him to death.

For a moment, the memories from Saturday night flashed before his eyes. A blush made its way to Evan’s cheeks. He could still remember the feeling of having Connor in his arms and oh my god, stop it!

“Things change, Evan. If it was Zoe Murphy we were talking about, I’d say give up because she’s way out of your league.” God, if only Jared knew that Zoe was sort of his ex. In a way. “But! Since we’re speaking of the only guy who is as lame as you in the social pyramid-”

“Wow, thanks, Jared,” Evan deadpanned.

“Why not give it a chance? I honest to god don’t understand what you like about him, but go ahead, I guess hot topic is your type, huh.”

Liking Connor? Pfft. No. Never.

Maybe.

Evan would like to be oblivious, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew his feelings were shifting towards something not so platonic.

He gulped. He’d keep avoiding those thoughts as much as he could; he wasn’t ready for a sexuality crisis. Besides, Connor was the first person whom Evan truly felt like he could be himself with. It was easy to feel infatuated with the other boy. At this point, he definitely couldn’t tell if his current troubled feelings were sincere. Probably not.

At least he hoped so.

“J-Jared, I’m, I’m not gay, just stop it,” he mumbled, feeling bad about the sandwich he wouldn’t finish.

“Evan…” Jared’s voice was unusually serious. “First of all, there’s this thing called being bisexual, and second, there’s nothing wrong with liking dudes. Although I question your preferences because my god, Connor Murphy? Anyway,” he punched Evan lightly in the arm. “Make your dreams come true. Just do it.”

Evan groaned. “I can’t believe you just quoted Shia Labeouf, j-just when I thought you were being serious.”

A buzz startled Evan. He quickly dug for his phone in his pocket.

Connor [12:24] yo whats jared pestering you bout you look flustered
Evan [12:24] Nothing important. He’s just being his annoying usual self.
Connor [12:24] fair enough
Connor [12:25] tell him to suck a foot
Connor [12:25] after school? gotta giv u all the sweet deets of my teenage drama
Evan [12:25] Sure!
Evan [12:25] Sure to the after school, not to the foot thing, that’s gross.

“Hey Evan, who are you texting?” Jared leaned closer, trying to see Evan’s phone screen. Evan quickly locked it and shoved the device into his pocket.

“M-my mom!” He lied. As usual.

“Wow. That sounds so sad. Well, anyway,” Jared started, standing up and stretching out, “I gotta go. Also, forgive me brother for what I’m about to do.”

Before Evan could even ask what was Jared talking about, he saw him walk over to Connor. Oh no. Evan stared in horror. He was prepared to see Connor get angry and probably punch Jared in the face for whatever his family friend was telling him. Instead, to his surprise, he saw Connor’s brows furrow in confusion as blush spread over his cheeks.

Seemingly satisfied with this reaction, Jared turned to Evan, winked and gave him a thumbs up before exiting the school cafeteria.

The boys looked at each other, puzzled expressions on their faces. Evan had no idea what just happened, but embarrassment was killing him. Before it would get any worse, he decided to follow Jared’s steps and exit as fast as he could.

 

 

School finished and Evan walked to the parking lot, where he had agreed to meet with Connor. Evan showed up too early and instantly regretted it; he didn’t like waiting for people. He felt like everyone was looking at him, judging him for looking so pathetically lost. That’s why right now, he was awkwardly standing close to Connor’s car, gripping the straps of his backpack, as he glanced nervously in all directions, hoping to spot Connor’s long hair.

What he spotted instead was that kid Kurt (he finally learned his name) from his English class. He was, once again, staring at Evan with void eyes.

Evan froze. Now, he barely knew anything about Kurt. He wasn’t outstanding, Evan didn’t know whom he hanged out with, and he overall gave a weak impression. No wonder why Evan couldn’t even remember his name.

Still, this kid was putting Evan on edge. He couldn’t come up with a reason for the sudden fixation Kurt had for staring at Evan and Connor in those rare moments they were briefly together in public. It gave Evan a bad feeling.

Connor suddenly showed up in front of Evan, who yelped in response.

“Hey,” Connor grabbed his arm, “you okay? I didn’t mean to startle you. You seemed lost in thought. What’s up?”

“U-uh, I’m, I’m okay, l-let’s just go.”

Connor quirked an eyebrow but didn’t ask any questions. He hoped into his car and closed the door with a loud thump. Evan followed quickly and fumbled with the seatbelt.

He felt Connor’s eyes on himself again.

“You look nervous, what’s going on?” With some hesitance, he reached out and grabbed Evan’s hand.

Evan’s heart skipped a beat. Wow, that was… wow. Okay. He wouldn’t question the path their friendship was taking. Nope. It was all platonic. Very. Hella. Mega. Hecka. Fuck heteronormativity?

He squeezed his hand, not daring to look Connor in the eyes. “Uhm, r-remember Kurt? From English class?”

“Who the fuck is that?”

“J-just look ahead.”

Connor did as instruct. “Again, who the fuck is that?”

Evan huffed. “H-he’s in our class. Last Friday he was… staring? At us? D-during the entire class.”

“Okay, and?”

He just blinked, not looking concerned in the slightest. Evan was taken aback by this reaction. Wasn’t Connor the one who didn’t want people to know they were friends?

“A-and he’s been staring at me all day. I don’t know w-what’s up with him.”

Connor furrowed his eyebrows. His grip on Evan’s hand tightened slightly, reminding Evan that oh god, they were holding hands, they were still holding hands. “Want me to beat him up?”

“What?! No! I’m just- I don’t know. I have a bad feeling.” Evan hunched and sighed. The hand that was wrapped around Connor’s palm was sweating. Gross.

“Don’t worry, my dear princess, I’ll be sure to protect you from whatever he’s up to.” Connor closed his eyes and put his free hand over his chest, trying to look solemn.

“Princess?” Evan deadpanned.

“Yeah. And I’ll be a princess too. Mulan. I’ll kick everyone’s ass for you.”

He chuckled. “That’s gay.”

Oh no. Evan regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth. Avoid the sexuality crisis, repeat, avoid the sexuality crisis.

“Oh, is it?” Connor wiggled his eyebrows. “I thought you wanted to fuck heteronormativity?”

Evan covered his face with his hands and groaned. “Just- Just drive. Where are we going?”

“Well, there’s no one in my house right now. But we can go to your house if you want to, I don’t have a preference.” He shrugged.

“Oh, uhm, your house is good,” Evan mumbled. He let go of Connor’s hand and crossed his arms awkwardly, looking straight ahead.

Kurt was gone.

 

 

The drive was mostly silent, but Evan didn’t mind it. He kept his eyes focused on the road, thinking how terribly familiar the way to Connor’s house was. He had to remind himself that it was supposed to be the first time he visited the place. In this reality at least.

When they arrived, they went upstairs to Connor’s room. Evan was glad that he hadn’t been taken on any kind of a house tour.

Truth be told, he almost felt sick from being there again. Bad memories flooded his mind. The worst part was that it’s not like they were bad in themselves; they could have been happy memories if the regret hadn’t been so strongly rooted in each of them.

As they walked, Evan kept his eyes low, trying to avoid the familiar dining room, the large TV next to the fireplace, Zoe’s bedroom door.

He felt some sort of relief when Connor closed his bedroom door behind them.

“Welcome to my domain,” his friend gestured towards his room.

Turns out, it was fairly different from how he remembered it.

After Connor’s death, everything looked tidy. Things had been organized, put in boxes. Some stuff had been kept in place, but for the most part it was barely a faint memory of someone who had lived once.

He wondered what would Connor think of seeing his bedroom as Evan remembered it. He shook his head, putting those thoughts in a box in the far back of his mind.

“I’m surprised you didn’t say ‘welcome to my twisted mind’.”

“First of all, fuck you.” Connor snarled with no real anger in his voice. “Second, yeah, pretty much that.”

He then flopped on his bed and rolled on his back, patting the space next to him. Evan followed slowly and quietly laid next to him. The memories from Saturday night filled his mind, but Connor’s bed was bigger (and Evan wasn’t sure if he would consider it a bad or a good thing), so now there was a considerable distance between them.

Connor sighed, seemingly relaxed. His eyes closed and Evan took this opportunity to take a good look at the room.

Clothes were spread all over the carpeted floor, surrounded by soda cans, receipts and parking tickets. The walls were covered with band posters, many of them already familiar to Evan, since he has spent most of his afternoons alone listening to Connor’s playlists while working on his homework. Next to the wall there was a desk with a laptop, which was covered in stickers. Upon further investigation, Evan noticed an alien sticker. What a dork.

Most of the space in the room was taken by two big bookshelves. They were packed with books, comic books and an assortment of random objects such as crystal balls, action figures, and some stuff Evan couldn’t identify. On the ground, there were many boxes. It seemed that Connor had run out of space to keep his stuff and was forced to organize it in a different way – each of the boxes had a label on it, most of them being something like “music”, “random shit”, “emo shit”.

Evan giggled.

Connor rolled on his side, and poked Evan’s stomach. “Don’t laugh at my room.”

“I wasn’t! I just thought t-the boxes labels were funny.”

He rolled his eyes. “Chill out Hansen, I was teasing you.”

Evan didn’t answer, silently mourning how Connor went back to calling him by his surname. For a moment silence fell between them. Connor shuffled in bed.

“So, are you ready to hear about my teenage drama?”

“Sure. How… how did things go yesterday?” Evan replied, as he rolled on his side, keeping eye contact.

“So I came back home in the afternoon, right? And we sat down to eat, and I was ready to act like nothing had happened, but well, they had other plans. First, they were pissed that I ran off and didn’t contact them, blah blah. They kept raising their voices but I wasn’t in the mood to fight. I had no energy left.”

Connor certainly looked devoid of energy on Sunday. He woke up at 1 pm and he was mostly silent until he left, not without once again thanking Evan for taking him in. They had an awkward hug as they said goodbye, and Connor left Evan alone with his mind full of confusing thoughts and feelings.

“My dad thought I brought up the s- attempt thing as a way to guilt-trip them but he didn’t think I actually had tried.” Connor exhaled sharply. Hesitantly, Evan reached out for his hands and the other returned the action. He stared at their intertwined fingers for a moment before continuing. “I bet they were waiting for me to explode,” Connor laughed. “Well, I didn’t. I just kept eating in silence until I started crying. The look on Larry’s face was priceless.”

“I don’t know why but that made them freak out more than watching me scream. Even Zoe was- frightened, I’d say. For some fucked up reason that was what made them realize for the first time that I’m in true danger of dying,”

As Connor finished the sentence, he laughed mirthlessly.

Evan swallowed hard, and Connor gave his hands a squeeze. “Don’t worry, I don’t have that in mind now, but relapses are a thing.” He sighed. “So they asked why I had tried. And… I don’t remember what happened next. I think I went in some sort of weird dissociation moment and told them everything with no filters, no stupid pride to save. It was almost funny, I kept eating and crying because I couldn’t stop doing it, meanwhile my family looked truly scared and regretful.”

He paused for a moment, a disbelieving smirk on his lips.

“Then the weirdest shit happened. My mom stood up, hugged me and said ‘your father and I looked into therapy options this morning. You’re going to get a therapist and get better’. Then she said she loved me, and Larry, he didn’t- complain? Just, nodded? and I just… what the fuck happened, seriously.”

Evan blinked.

“Holy shit,” he muttered, making Connor giggle.

“Damn Evan, my bad influence is getting to you.”

Evan gripped at his hair, looking at his friend, completely at a loss for words. “Wh- ho- what? This is amazing but, wow, wow, this is-”

Amused by this shocked reaction, Connor laughed again. “I know. It’s not like I forgive them for all the shit things they’ve done, and I don’t expect them to forgive me either, but I… guess I’m glad? I don’t think there’s hope for me to become a functioning person, but at least I’m happy that they’re trying again.”

“Y-you… you deserve it. You’re trying really hard, it’s only fair that they do the same.”

And then, Connor beamed with the most breathtaking smile. “Thanks, Evan.”

Evan coughed, trying to distract himself from the fluttery feeling in his stomach. He needed to change the topic. Now. “What, uhm, what did Jared say to you a-at lunch?”

For a moment, Connor’s eyes widened, and Evan could swear he could spot a hint of blush spread faintly on his cheeks.

“Nothing. Just something dumb.”

He rolled his eyes. “Come on, you can tell me. I know Jared well.”

Connor’s hands wrapped around one of Evan’s palms and he played with his fingers, avoiding eye contact. When Evan glanced at his face, he noticed that Connor was chewing his lower lip, mulling over his next words. “I don’t know, it’s just…”

“What?”

“It was sort of embarrassing.” He looked up, meeting Evan’s eyes, an unreadable expression on his face. “But I hope he was right about what he said.”

Evan blinked. “W-what did he say?” He asked, his heart racing inside his chest.

Connor gave him a cocky smile and let go of his hands before rolling onto his back. His eyes were fixed on a ceiling, a grin still quirking his lips upwards as he spoke, “That’s a secret.”

“Hey! Not fair!” Evan exclaimed, making Connor snort with laughter. They fell into comfortable silence and Evan beamed, happy to see Connor in a good mood again.

They spent the rest of the afternoon laying in bed, looking at the plastic stars of the ceiling and talking about everything and nothing. For now, they were away from their problems, and for a second Evan forgot that he wasn’t supposed to be there, that he once belonged to a different time and place, and it was easy to forget because it felt so right to be there, lying next to Connor as they listened to Mother Mother.

Things were looking up. They should have been.

Evan Hansen was not ready for his life to become one of those urban legends that Connor liked so much.

 

 

Next day, during their English class Kurt Kern (Evan learned his full name) once again locked eyes with him. Evan felt uneasy, like he was forgetting something.

The teen looked… devoid of life, in a way. Evan wondered if anyone else had noticed. Probably not; the only reason why he did was because Kurt wouldn’t stop staring at him like he had something to say.

Evan considered to talk to him.

He didn’t.

And the next day, Kurt Kern was seen for the last time.

 

 

It was Friday and Evan was alone at his house. He was just sitting in the living room, which used to be normal, but now that he has been spending so much time with Connor, he felt a little out of place. He sighed and hugged a pillow, mindlessly zapping TV channels.

Even though he was bored, he had to remind himself that it was a good thing. Connor was at his first appointment with a psychiatrist. Things would get better, and maybe Evan would stop being so scared about Connor dying.

Wait, why was he so afraid of it anyways? For a moment, he couldn’t recall the reason.

Suddenly, his phone started buzzing. Evan jumped and sat in the couch, checking his text messages. Four new messages from Jared, one from an unknown number and no new ones from Connor. Still, he opened their conversation, lingering over the last text he had gotten.

Connor [3:20 p.m.] I’ll see you tomorrow?
Evan [3:22 p.m.] Wow, proper capitalization and grammar, who are you?
Connor [3:25 p.m] jerk. i’ll take that as a yes. gtg ttyl

He chuckled and tapped over the conversation with Jared.

Jared [5:14 p.m] Dude holy shit
Jared [5:14 p.m] Hav you heard Kurt Kern is missing? I think u have english with him or smth
Jared [5:15 p.m] Ur dear Zoe saw him for the last time on Tuesday near the woods by the old supermarket that closed down. What was she doing there anyway? Lmao
Jared [5:15 p.m] I heard Alana Beck is leading a search party. My parents went to help but im too lazy. The dude prob ran away or smth? He was a weirdo

Evan felt a cold sweat damp his forehead. Before replying to Jared, he checked the other message.

Unknown [5:15 p.m] Hello Evan, this is Alana Beck. I contact you to ask you for a favor. I don’t know if you’ve been informed, but the student Kurt Kern has been missing since Tuesday. He was seen last time walking in the woods, by the old supermarket and bridge. We organized a searching party, and we’re looking for volunteers. Your friend Jared Kleinman told me you knew the area well, and that you’re a tree expert or something like that? Anyway, if you could help us out, I’d really appreciate it. Bring a flashlight if you decide to come.

Evan took a deep breath. And another. He was forgetting something very important. He didn’t know what it was, and that frustrated him. He closed his eyes, trying to bring up whatever was nagging him.

The Connor Project.

He stood up terrified. For a moment, just for a moment, he had forgotten all about the alpha timeline. It all came hitting him like a truck, along with a memory.

The speech. Alana. People reaching out to him. Thanking him.

Kurt Kern.

He ran to the kitchen and dialed a number. He hated phone calls, but it was an emergency.

It rang twice until the other person picked up. Meanwhile, Evan was going through the drawers in a hurry, looking for flashlights.

“Hello?” Connor’s voice was deeply concerned. “What’s going on?”

“Are you done with your therapy session?”

“Uh, yes?” It came out more like a question rather than an affirmation. “I don’t think you’re just calling me to ask how it went, right?”

“Can you drive me somewhere?” Evan grabbed the flashlights, and rushed upstairs to pick up his bag.

“Uh, sure? Where to?”

“The old bridge by the supermarket that shut down.”

“Uhm, Evan, wha-”

“It’s- it’s Kurt. Remember that guy from the other day?” Evan paused and inhaled shakily, “Y-yeah he- he disappeared. There’s a searching party a-and Alana asked me to help out. I just- I have a very bad feeling about this.”

The line was silent for a beat, until the rattling of keys broke the silence. “I’m on my way.”

 

 

Connor was visibly tense when they got off the car. Evan cursed silently. He knew this place was bringing his friend bad memories, and he was immensely grateful for Connor’s company.

He gave him an apologetic look, to which Connor replied with a smile. Evan’s hands were sweaty and gross but he still reached out for Connor’s, a small gesture that brought some comfort to the both of them.

Their fingers were laced together as they approached a group of people.

It seemed Alana had taken upon herself the task of organizing the searching party. Even though she was very focused on giving people instructions, she quickly noticed the two boys walking towards her. She said something to a woman in her mid-forties, red head and tired eyes, before taking off, running to meet them.

“Hey Evan! Glad you could make it, seriously.” She flashed a strained smile and then looked down at their linked hands. “Oh! I didn’t know you guys were…”

“Friends?” Connor completed. Evan felt his face burn bright red.

“Yeah, that! Thanks for joining us Connor. Anyway, there’s a group of people ready to join the searching party, and I was hoping you could lead them. You know the way around, right?”

“U-uh, s-sure,” Evan nodded and looked over to Connor. His friend gave him a reassuring look and squeezed his hand.

Evan took a deep breath and approached the group of volounteers.

 

 

The screams of people calling out for the lost teen cut through the darkness. Time passed quickly and it already got pretty late, but nobody seemed to notice, too occupied with the search.

All this time Connor walked by Evan’s side.

At this point they were both out of breath, constantly pointing their flashlights in all possible directions. Then, finally, Connor spotted something near the riverbank, about 40 feet down a cliff.

“Evan! Look!”

Both teens nodded, and tried to find a way to get down there. After a few minutes, they eventually discovered a way around and screamed for other people to come. As they hurried down the cliff, they were the first one to the scene.

There was loud ringing in Evan’s ears as they made their way to what he hoped wasn’t a body.

Then, he noticed the red hoodie.

They crouched next to the boy and reached out their shaking hands to roll him over. Immediately, they noticed dried up blood smeared all over one side of his head. His eyes were open, but unblinking and empty, as if all light had abandoned them.

Evan realized he was staring at a corpse.

He stumbled and screamed, suddenly overwhelmed with a need to get away from the body. His legs gave up under him and he fell onto back. He rolled over just in time to puke.

Connor was somehow more collected and he rushed to Evan. He helped him sit up and wrapped his arms around him. However, all his attempts at calming his friend down were futile. Shaking and weeping, Evan was already on his way to a full blown panic attack.

He didn’t eve register when other people arrived at the scene. All that he knew was that suddenly there was a police officer crouching next to the dead body and grabbing a piece of paper that was poking out of the hoodie’s pocket. He aimed a flashlight and quickly read through it.

“Oh lord.” He sighed and covered his eyes with a hand. Connor stood up and snatched the note from his hands. “Hey!”

“This is… shit… it’s a suicide note…”

Connor’s voice was very low, but Evan still heard it.

He felt dizzy. He couldn’t breathe. It all went black.

Connor Murphy Project.

The Speech.

Thank you Hansen for doing what you’re doing.

Kurt Kern.

 

 

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

 

 

Evan woke up with a gasp, crying. He was in his bed. He didn’t remember how he got there, but he had a strong suspicion.

Quickly, he extended his arm to grab his phone and accidentally knocked it down onto the floor. His heart was beating in his ears as he picked up the phone and turned it on, anxiously waiting for the screen to light up again.

It was Tuesday, 6:10 a.m.

The very same day when Kurt Kern was seen alive for the last time.

Chapter Text

The first thing that Evan did after coming down from his panic attack was try to make himself look decent. Well...sort of. He made sure he didn’t look like he had just been crying, after locking himself in the bathroom for 10 minutes.

There wasn’t much to do for his “dead inside” look. There was a new darkness to his eyes. He looked like he was freaking out, not in a “anxiety makes me freak out” way, more like “I just found a dead kid whose death was probably my fault, then I woke up in my room and it seems time travel is a Thing TM now” way.

He should have seen this coming.

Of course changing the past would have consequences.

Of course saving Connor would change everything.

Of course, of course, of course.

Because good things never lasted in Evan’s life. There was always a breaking point, a fade to black, an end, like a spell due to fade away at midnight.

It had been surprisingly easy to move on and try to ignore that the original timeline ever happened. In the back of his mind, a voice tore him apart, reminding him of his horrible lies, his stupid, stupid mistakes.

He shoved those thoughts further and further into the back of his mind.

The first weeks, he thought about Connor’s death, the Murphy’s, Zoe and the Connor Project every single day. As time went by and the days got shorter, he found himself thinking less about them. Then months passed by, and for the last week, he hadn’t thought about it. He hadn’t remembered. He hadn’t remembered at all.

He dug his nails into his cast, staring back at his reflection.

Don’t forget. Don’t you dare forget.

How could he have forgotten about it in the first place?

Before the panic settled, he rushed back to his room and changed his clothes. Without giving it much thought, he grabbed a dark hoodie that Connor had left behind once and rushed downstairs.

“Mom, can you give me a ride to school?” Evan mumbled as he texted Connor quickly, asking him to meet him in the parking lot. Heidi was in her work clothes, just about to exit the house.

“Oh, sure thing honey, but you should have asked me earlier. I’m kind of in a hurry.” She chuckled lightly as she opened the front door.

“It’s important.” His voice sounded weird. Too distant. Sort of confident. Like the first day when he called out Jared.

“Uh, alright. Is everything okay?” She furrowed her brows and gave her son a concerned look as they walked to the car.

“Everything’s fine. Just peachy.” He replied a little too harshly. He needed to get there soon soon soon. If not, that kid was going to die and it would be his fault, all his fault again, just because he wasn’t seeing things clearly enough, because he hadn’t remembered.

It was the day after the school assembly. A guy in a red hoodie had walked up to Evan and thanked him for the Connor Project and the speech. He said that he could deeply relate to the problems that Evan had spoken about, and that the message of hope had moved him. Evan hadn’t talked much to the guy later, but he saw him hanging out with other people who had also showed gratitude over the CMP.

And of course Evan was stupid and he didn’t remember him. Kurt Kern.

Kurt was a loner in this timeline. He always had been, it only changed thanks to the CMP, the project that Evan had started for his own selfishness, not because he wanted to help others, but at the end of the day it had.

And there was nothing like the CMP in this universe. No one cared about the death of a kid who killed himself the first week of senior year, because it never happened. He changed that. There was no website created by him, Alana and Jared that supported teenagers who felt alone or suicidal. There was no blog that got hundreds of messages thanking the CMP for giving them hope or saving their lives.

Evan wondered if someone else besides Kurt had died. Someone else who initially had found a ray of hope on his fake friendship with Connor, but lost it when Evan saved Connor.

Connor. Oh Connor. Evan would give his life for Connor’s. The thought felt so natural, so right, it gave Evan chills.

But would Evan give the lives of strangers in exchange for Connor’s?

Maybe.

Evan Hansen wasn’t exactly a good person. He was selfish.

But I’m not doing this for me right now. I’m here to save Kurt. Focus.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Fuck.”

Heidi jumped in her seat, concerned eyes just barely taking off from the road to look at her son. “Evan, what was that? Are you sure you’re okay? You look pale, maybe I should drive you back home-”

“Nononono, mom I’m okay! I just remembered I- I forgot to do something f-for uh, French class. Sorry for cursing.”

A beat of silence. “I thought you took Spanish?”

“Oh, look! We’re close to the school, pull over.”

Heidi pulled to the side of the rode, clearly disconcerted about Evan’s attitude. They were still two blocks away. “Evan-”

“I don’t want to make you late for work, I-I’ll just walk the rest, g-goodbye mom! Good luck!” He yelled as he closed the car door and ran as soon as he got out. Wow. Way to freak out your mom. He didn’t dwell on it; his mother had probably already accepted that she had a freak as a son.

When he reached Connor’s car in the parking lot, he noticed Connor wasn’t there. Frowning, he checked his messages. No reply. He tugged at his shirt as he saw the rest of the students entering the school building. He took a deep breath and followed them.

Connor wasn’t by his locker; he wasn’t in his history class either (because yes, Evan had memorized his schedule). Nor the library, nor the cafeteria. Stressed, he found himself lost in the hallway, without a single idea of where to go. He couldn’t do this without Connor because first, he didn’t have a car, and second, he didn’t have the mental strength.

Asking Jared was out of question. He’d ask too many questions and he had the sensibility of a pickle, if he tagged along he might even give Kurt more reasons to jump off the cliff- god, stop that train of thought right there. Images of what he saw back...there came flashing and made him feel sick.

He stumbled back until his back hit the lockers. He needed to stop freaking out and act, because what else would he be back for? Evan laughed. The most pathetic, incapable person was stuck with a power that someone with their shit together would be able to handle way better.

His breath was shaky and his eyes were tightly closed. A hand on his shoulder startled him.

“Hey Evan,” Zoe smiled at him.

“U-uh, Z-Zoe.” Shoot. Was he supposed to know her name? Whatever. He’d been avoiding this for so long and oh god, he was screwed. He almost expected her to yell at him ‘you dirty liar, you had one mission and you’re already failing’. Instead she just gave him a patient look. “Wh-what, uhm, what are you d-doing here?”

“Well, first, this is my locker,” she made a sign with her hand towards the locker that Evan was putting his weight into. He immediately jumped away and started apologizing. She laughed. “And you looked like you were freaking out. Are you okay?”

“Me? Pffff, yes, a-absolutely fine, never been better, I’m thriving. A-are you okay?” His hands were sweating pinballs. Wow. Gross.

“Me? I’m… good?” She laughed awkwardly and then blinked. “Where did you buy that hoodie? I feel like I’ve seen it before.”

Oh shit.

“O-oh, this? U-uhm, you know, that store where all the cool kids g-go.” He tried to remember, what was that thing that Jared called Connor? “H-Hot Topic?!” His voice was high strung. Smooth. He wasn’t even sure if that was an actual store or it was just an internet myth.

“Oh, right. My brother buys a lot from that place, I’m sure he owns something similar. Sorry, that was weird.” She shrugged.

“N-n-no, not at all! Speaking of which, uh…” Come on Evan. Kurt is going to die. “H-have you seen your brother around?!”

She arched her eyebrows, clearly surprised. “Uh, no? We drive different cars. I saw him get to school though, he should be around if he isn’t skipping. Why do you ask?”

“O-oh, we have this very important uhm, English assignment! A-and we’re partners, so I need to find him, yeah…”

Zoe gave him an understanding look. “I’m sorry that you got paired up with him. Hang on.”

She opened her locker and took some books out of it. When she closed the locker, she dialed a number.

“Hey asshole, where are you?” Silence. “I need to give you something. Tell me where you are or I’ll tell mom that you were the one who broke the gargoyle. Okay, bye.” She hung up and changed her annoyed voice tone for a sweeter one when she talked to Evan again. “He’s in the backyard skipping class.”

“Thanks Zoe!” Evan yelled taking off to find Connor, practically running.

He crashed into some people, mumbling apologies as he rushed to the back door, before stopping completely in his tracks, five feet away from Kurt Kern.

His eyes looked devoid of life. He just gave Evan a look and walked past Evan.

Evan tried to speak. Say something, say something, anything, just-

He was hyperventilating. He lost track of time, and when he came back to his mind, Kurt was nowhere to be seen, and few people remained in the hallway, since the last bell had just rung. Running in the opposite direction from Connor’s location, he tried to reach Kurt, but when he got to the parking lot the teen was already leaving in his black car.

Evan figured jumping in front of the car wasn’t a good idea. He had already experienced seeing a dead body. He didn’t need to become one himself.

How could anyone recover from that?

He ran back into the school building. A teacher who was about to enter a classroom yelled at him; Evan ignored him. With a huffed breath and a piercing ring inside his ears, he somehow made it to Connor’s location.

He was sitting under a tree, smoking a cigarette, his body language visibly screaming ‘pissed’.

“Not now, Evan.” He cut him off without sparing him a single glance. He stood up and stepped over his discarded cigarette.

“B-but!”

“Not a good day. Leave me alone.” He swung his messenger bag over his shoulder and intended to leave.

“But I need your help!!” Evan practically screaming, grabbing Connor’s arm for dear life.

“What the fuck?! Are you deaf?! I told you to fuck off-”

“LISTEN TO ME YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.”

Evan’s scream cut through the morning silence. A few other stoners sat near them, and they looked sort of intimidated. Connor blinked once, twice. “Wow. Okay? The fuck is going on?”

Evan took a deep breath, still gripping Connor’s arm. He looked down to the grass, a sick feeling in his gut. “Kurt Kern is going to kill himself.”

“What? Who?” Connor was clearly taken aback. Evan kept looking at his own shoelaces. He should wash his snickers. Not very good timing for that thought though.

“K-Kurt, from mon-yesteday? I-I just saw him leave and I don’t have a car and you have a car-”

“Wow, Evan, slow down.” Connor frowned. “How do you even know about this?”

“I just- I just know Connor, please don’t ask, we’re running out of time, I-I can’t explain right now but I kn- I just know!”

“Okay, okay, you look like you’re gonna pass out, I believe you.” Connor ran a hand through his long hair. “Is that my hoodie? Also did you ask my sister where was I?” The last line came out slightly panicked.

“I-It doesn’t matter! Can we just leave now?”

“Okay, okay, where to?”

For once, Evan was grateful that Connor was going over the speed limit. The old roads that led to the old bridge were not made for 70 mph, but he wasn’t complaining. It was an emergency.

The silence was tense. Connor didn’t ask anything else, but he was visibly taken out of place when Evan revealed their destination.

After a bump in the road shook the car hard, Connor broke the silence. “Why the old bridge?”

“I, uh, j-just trust me. I-I know what I’m doing.”

“If this is some sort of messed up joke-” Connor started as he gripped the wheel so hard his knuckles went white.

“No! Why would I even do that?” He cut him off mid sentence, offended by the mere implication. Connor sighed.

“I’m sorry, I’m just having one of those days.”

Evan nodded. “Thanks for coming anyway. Y-you’re the only one who can help me.”

They ran past the bridge and into the woods. There was a glimpse of hurt in Connor’s eyes as they walked past it, and for the second time Evan apologized silently for bringing him here.

Evan led the way, the path clear in his mind. In that moment, he had no doubts; he knew exactly what he had to do. There were brief moments like that all over the place, where he was sure of where he was heading, determination fueling him. He wondered if that was how living without anxiety felt. He shook his head and kept moving forward.

Connor tripped almost constantly, cursing every time, but Evan helped him through it. He was clearly not a nature lover or an athlete. Still, Evan wouldn’t change him for anyone else in that moment.

He knew he’d have to explain the whole thing to Connor. But that could wait.

When they finally reached the cliff, a red figure stood up, right at the border. Evan knew exactly what was going to happen, but he was too far, too far away.

After few moments of hesitation, Kurt lifted his arms and prepared to jump. Time slowed down, and yet Evan wouldn’t move faster.

Evan was too far. His legs wouldn’t make it. He was going to let Kurt die. Again.

“NO!!!” he screamed, startling all of the birds in the nearby trees who took off in a flurry of wings and surprised chirps. It surprised Kurt, who turned around with clear shock in his face.

He just stood there for a second, and then he was falling. To the ground, away from the cliff fall. Connor had tackled him.

Kurt fought against Connor, who was trying to pin him down.

“What the fuck?!?! Get off of me, dick!”

It was too much for Evan. He fell into his knees and gasped for air.

“No way in hell, jerk, what the fuck were you doing?!”

“Well, what does it look like, psycho?! I was trying to off myself!!”

Some more yelling went over Evan’s head. That was probably not the ideal way of getting someone back out of attempting suicide, but Connor had trusted him, and he trusted Connor.

“Why did you do it?”

A pained chuckle that sounded tears strained. “You wouldn’t-”

“Oh, don’t bring up the ‘you wouldn’t understand’ bullshit.” Evan lifted his eyes just in time to see Connor roll his sleeves and show his arms to the boy pinned underneath him. “See this crap? Yeah. See that dude over there? He broke his arm doing the same thing you were trying to do.” He gave Evan an apologetic look. “Sorry, Ev.”

Evan gave him a thumbs up, still unable to talk or stand up. He supposed he should be doing something, but his mind was racing 100 mph in the outer space, without real content or meaning.

Kurt broke down in sobs. “I just- fuck, life is shit, school is shit, family is shit, my dad is shit-”

Relatable , Evan thought. Connor probably did too. None of them spoke, just left the other boy keep talking.

“And everybody’s got their shit together, but I don’t, and I’m tired. I’m tired of waking up every day and wondering why do I even try. I’m tired of feeling empty and miserable. It’s hard to eat, it’s hard to get up, it’s hard to walk, it’s hard to fucking do anything feeling so sick from everything. And there’s fucking no one there, not a single person. Even a pair of losers like you two who are more outcasted than me are friends now, and I’m still lonely.”

Evan wanted to argue that his friendship with Connor had nothing to do with his loneliness, but he knew better. They just let him take a moment between sobs, as he grabbed his own dark curls.

“And I just- do I even want to stick around to find out if things will get better? I-I’m tired, I’m too tired of this bullshit.”

Wow. That hit Evan close home. He saw as Connor closed his eyes and loosened his hold over Kurt.

“I’m not gonna give you the ‘it gets better’ bull. Even if it does, you still have bad days”, Connor took a deep breath. “It doesn’t take a magical turn, even if somebody finds you who tries to be there for you. There are days when you’ll still wonder why didn’t you just end it all already, when you don’t see the goddamn point of the whole holding on thing.”

“But there will be days when you won’t feel like that at all”, he continued, after taking a deep breath. “I believe those days are worth living for, as cheesy as it sounds. And if that isn’t enough reason, then live out of spite. Prove everyone wrong. Show them in the face how wrong they were about you. Show people that you’re not a freak that will end up shooting the school. Show people that you won’t end up taking your own life.”

“Because you might have issues but you’re strong, stronger than those fuckers will ever be, even when they don’t have to live with a little shit eating demon inside their heads. Your dad is an asshole? Spit in his grave when he dies, the last one standing is the winner, isn’t it? Live your life and be proud of how you made it despite all the shit you went through, find happiness someday and brag about it in front of all the little shits that thought you’d never be truly happy, and then maybe you can come and tell me ‘hey, fuck you Murphy, I did it, I’m better than you’. And I’ll clap and probably fight you, because Connor Murphy isn’t a happy loser. Okay?”

Evan was at loss of words. He should have expected this sort of thing from Connor, but at the same time, he absolutely didn’t see it coming. He stumbled as he made his way closer to the boys. Connor was still on top of Kurt, but held no strength over him.

Kurt’s laugh started as a small sound, but quickly escalated to a hysterical sound.

“M-Murphy you’re just as insane as people say.” He kept laughing and Connor was torn between feeling offended or amused. A half smile made its way on his face as he furrowed his brows in confusion. “I can’t believe you got me back out of death by telling me to live out of spite and spit on my father’s grave, you’re one crazy bitch, for fucks sake.” He was laughing to tears.

Connor got off him and sat beside him, laughing himself. “Well, what can I say, gotta live up to my rep.”

Evan made a face-palm as he laughed quietly, along with the other two who were practically howling. After a few seconds, the three of them were laughing to tears. There was nothing funny about the whole situation, but laughing was better than crying. Laughing was better than a panic attack.

When they calmed down, Kurt laid down in the grass and looked up at the sky. Evan lifted his eyes as well. It was a lovely day.

“How did you guys find me anyway?”

“Well…” Connor started, giving Evan a confused look. “Evan is a tree expert and also a furry, he’s technically a hunter dog, so he tracked you down. He was the one who suggested to follow you, since you’ve been acting weird lately.”

Evan was relieved that Connor filled in the explanation. Not for the furry part.

“If anyone is a furry here, that would be you Connor, you told me, and I quote, ‘Big Foot is my daddy’”

“Hansen! This is high treason!” Connor gasped and put a hand over his chest, trying his best to look offended.

Kurt laughed hard again. “No judging from my part, I have like five fursonas.”

“What.” Connor and Evan asked in unison.

“I declare a no judging rule in this suicide squad.” Kurt deadpanned.

The three laughed again to tears, and it probably wasn’t that funny, but they were on the edge. Too many emotions for one morning.

After some seconds of silence, Connor sighed. “You know we still gotta call 911 and shit, right?”

Kurt hummed.

Connor stood up and dialed 911, and proceeded to explain the situation. He told the person on the phone that they were deep in the woods, and then he was just humming.

“Well shit, bless GPS, they’ll be here soon.” He shoved his hands in his hoodie. “Uhm, Kurt?”

“Yeah?” Kurt replied with a tired voice.

“Can you tell them that you told Evan about your plans? It’s just that uhm, I have a bad reputation and they might think I schemed your murder or something.” He shrugged, smoothly lying and finding a way to get Evan out of problems.

Evan truly had the best friend ever, and he still owed him a big explanation. He thanked the heavens for whatever he did to deserve such a deep level of trust from Connor.

“Sure thing.” Kurt gave him a thumbs up and sat up, staring at Evan, who was sitting across from him, legs folded. “Hey, Evan?”

“Y-yeah?”

“Thank you.”

Chapter Text

The aftermath of the events felt distant to Evan. It was almost as watching a movie, as if his life didn’t belong to him anymore. Ever since he stepped out of that restroom stall and had the opportunity to relive the first months of senior year again, he feared one day he would wake up and realize he had been in a coma or something. Or maybe he’s letting Jared’s dramatic movies get to his head, he thought to himself.

But wasn’t his own life a dramatic movie? Paramedics and police were all over the place. They had to tell their story over and over again, or more like, lie time after time. The police wouldn’t buy into the whole “Evan is a furry” thing to justify how they even tracked down Kurt. But hey, Connor and Kurt were actually pretty good at lying.

Which is not exactly a thing to be proud about, but Evan was grateful at the moment.

Two police officers, a tall woman with black curly hair and a small woman with a buzz cut escorted the three teens to the road, where an ambulance was waiting for Kurt. Evan didn’t remember their names but he remembered their faces, it was kind of impossible to not recognize them since their town was a pretty small place. He could already feel this would be the next big gossip of the town, and god, just the thought made his hands sweat. The hysterics laughs they had shared were gone, only a weird feeling of numbness and mild stress was left lingering inside his chest.

Connor looked distressed, but he kept checking on Evan every few seconds.

“Are you okay?” he had asked.

“I’d worry more about Kurt,” he whispered back while he looked at Kurt, sitting inside the ambulance, his figure lost in his huge red hoodie. All humor had left his demeanor, but at least he looked stable; a little too tired, but alive.

“He’ll be okay. Will you be okay?” Connor stopped Evan by lightly holding on his casted arm, right over the huge “OO” letters of his own signature.

He was getting the cast off that weekend, finally. He would finally be free from the reminder that he tried to- ok, focus.

Falling in a forest, nobody was around. Don’t think about that.

Kurt’s dead body, laying in the ground. Connor snatching the letter. A suicide letter.

The Murphys telling him how Connor had taken his own life; the lies he had told, how he wished so hard he had been the one who died instead.

Will I ever be alright? Probably not.

Anxiety didn’t get along very well with the knowledge of other realities and the power to go back in time. It was overwhelming, it made him want to puke.

“Hey, Evan,” Connor grabbed him by the shoulders and looked at him straight in the eye. His voice wavered a little, but he quickly cleared his throat. “Everything is going to okay. He’ll be okay. You saved him; he’s alive thanks to you.”

“No,” Evan shook his head in denial. His eyes felt hot but he didn’t have energy left to cry. “You don’t understand it. It’s my fault.” His voice broke in the last word.

Connor’s eyes softened. He dropped his hands from Evan’s shoulders to take his hands. “I know there’s something that you’re not telling me, but that’s okay, you can tell me whenever you’re ready. Still,” he bent his knees slightly to be at Evan’s eye level, “I’m one hundred percent sure that you have nothing to do with whatever drove Kern to do this. I don’t know how you knew, but if you hadn’t dragged me here, he wouldn’t be with us anymore.”

Evan wanted to deny it, to scream the truth, but he couldn’t. If only Connor knew that things weren’t supposed to be this way, maybe he would understand how it was in fact, Evan’s fault. Kurt was supposed to be happy, he was supposed to get a group of friends who supported him thanks to the Connor Murphy Project. Instead Evan had taken that away from him, almost drove him to death. Maybe Kurt wasn’t the first, and he wouldn’t be the last one for sure.

What else had he changed when he changed Connor’s destiny?

Deep within him, Evan was angry. He had been put into a situation where the most obvious course of action was saving Connor. Who the hell gave him such power? Was it god, laughing at the moral conflict that was tearing Evan down?

At first he wanted to convince himself that he was back to pay for his mistakes and save Connor. He had to save him. But Connor turned out to be the best thing that Evan ever had in his life, the only person who made a constant effort to understand him instead of pushing him to be something he didn’t have the strength to be. Did Evan, who had lied and played with people’s heart, really deserve him?

Did he deserve a reality where things were better for Evan, but worse for other people?

Probably not.

But again, Evan was not a good person.

He trapped Connor in a sudden, tight hug. Connor tensed up for a second, but quickly relaxed.

“Please never die.” Evan muttered against his chest.

Slowly, Connor stepped back, just enough so he could see his face. “I’m not gonna leave you alone. Not unless you want me to,” he said surprisingly calm, still holding him in a half embrace, with conviction in his words.

Evan laughed, nervously, shying his eyes away from Connor. He saw how they fell behind from the others by several feet. Only one of the police officers had stayed behind, the one with the buzz cut, giving them a tired look that easily translated into “hurry up, we don’t have time for your feelings talk”.

“I-I’m not going to ask you to leave me alone. That’s too unlikely.” He smiled at Connor, whose lips twisted into a side grin.

“More unlikely than the moon landing being real?”

“M-more unlikely than the moon landing being real,” Evan nodded. They both laughed at the same time.

“We should probably keep going.” Connor gave a quick look to the cop, who was bouncing in her feet.

“Y-yeah, sure”

Connor let him go and they made their way back to the top. The climb was a little hard and they both were physically and emotionally exhausted. They remained silent until they reached the bridge.

Once they got to the commissary, two police officers –a big bald man with a funny moustache, and a tall lanky redhead– asked them once again how they found about Kurt’s intentions. Connor easily lied their way out, repeating the story he had told back at the forest. H told them that Evan had noticed Kurt was acting weird for the last couple of days, and when confronted, Kurt had revealed part of his plan. Evan had tried to stop him but he failed at convincing him. He decided to follow Kurt around to make sure he was okay, and so Connor tagged along to drive Evan. Stuttering, Evan said he didn’t know that Kurt was planning on attempting suicide right away, but he figured something bad was going to happen when they reached the bridge. Luckily his awkwardness was taken as anxiety and not poor lying skills.

Actually, that’s how it usually went. Even when he said the truth to people, he sounded as stressed as he was whenever he told a lie. God bless anxiety?

The bald man praised them both for their ‘quick thinking and wise decision making’. His companion asked them if they were interested in joining the police force. Connor was visibly tense, but that wasn’t a new thing, he looked uncomfortable around any adult, Evan had noticed. After an awkward small talk about professions and future plans, they were left free to go.

The ride back home was silent. Their school had been informed of the events, as well as their parents, and they’d been excused from attending to class for the rest of the day. Evan was particularly stressed, he knew well how Connor wanted to keep their friendship a secret, and the events of the day would inevitably put them in exposure. He broke the silence to express his concerns. He got a shrug from Connor.

“We’ll lie our way out of it. You are, against all odds, pretty good at it,” Connor said, a hint of amusement and curiosity in his voice.

Evan fiddled with his seatbelt. “I-I’ve had to lie to my mom a-all of my life.”

“About what

“About being okay… a-and getting better…”

Connor furrowed his brows. “You shouldn’t have to lie about that.”

Evan arched his eyebrows in silence. Connor sighed.

“Okay, okay, I know, I’m not in the position to say that. I just...” He sighed again. “You don’t have to lie about being okay with me. You, uh, you know that, right? And it’s okay if you’re freaking out about everything that happened today, I’m freaking out too. So just, ugh, you’d tell me if you- if you ever feel like Kurt, right?”

Evan gave him a small smile, staring down at the cuffs of his- Connor’s black hoodie. “Yes, I would. You would too, right?”

Connor turned into Evan’s driveway and came to a slow stop. “Yes.” He ran his hand through his hair, pushing it out of his face. “Promise?”

“Promise”

“Now we only gotta seal it with blood or spit. Your choice, monsieur”

Evan chuckled. “Blood? Spit? Monsieur?”

“Spit in your goddamn hand, Hansen. Take this pact like a man.”

Evan rolled his eyes. For a small moment, everything felt normal again.

 

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The next days were hell for Evan. His mother was very worried, but didn’t ask many questions. It was obvious that the least thing Evan wished for is telling her the tale of how he saw his classmate almost die in front of him. Heidi gave him permission to skip school the next days, and he gladly took the opportunity. She was barely home, which left Evan alone to dwell in a negativity spiral.

Connor had been texting him. He also skipped the day after the incident, apparently going through a similar distress, but went back to school on Friday. The fact they had saved a kid from killing himself in a place so close to where Connor had the same intentions in the past really took a hit on his stability, but he said it was “better to go to school instead of having my parents up my ass about the fact I might actually be a good person with good feelings”.

Evan lied, of course, and told him that he was okay, he would be fine and back at school soon. Truth be told, he was far from being okay, and he felt horrible for lying right after they promised they’d tell each other if they weren’t doing good. But he’d rather avoid telling Connor, how would he explain that it was the time travel what messed him up? He would never forget Kurt’s death, or the knowledge that saving Connor probably fucked up the timeline.

He barely ate and ignored everyone else who tried to contact him. He had texts from Jared who was surprisingly concerned about Evan’s absence, and also Zoe, who told Evan than Connor had informed her on the ‘details’ of what happened. She told Evan “ur so brave” followed by a few emojis. Past Evan would be fawning over Zoe Murphy texting him, but instead he was texting her brother while ignoring her. Weird how things work out at the end, right? He didn’t know to what extent she knew the details, but he figured Connor left their friendship out of the story.

Connor warned him on how ‘pesky little fucks’ would ask him for details at school. He advised him to ignore them just as he had (everyone was going to Zoe to get the info anyways. They were too scared of asking Connor directly). Hopefully they’d calm down by Monday, Connor said, but that did little to calm Evan’s fears down. Still he figured he shouldn’t skip anymore classes, so he dragged himself out of his bed that Monday. He asked Jared if he could give him a drive to school, who agreed right away, no complains involved. Well, that was a first.

The drive was silent after Jared’s first remark, which went more or less like:

“You look like shit.”

He was grateful that Jared got some sort of divine enlightenment and respected Evan’s silence.

Evan took out his phone and stares at his reflection. He looked tired, eye bags and hair a ruffled curly mess. Usually he spent some good 20 minutes arranging his hair and making sure he looked less disgusting, but he couldn’t bring to care that morning. His hair was also getting a lot longer than he usually would. He was still wearing Connor’s hoodie, the same he’d worn ever since Kurt’s attempt. For some reason it made him feel better.

Oddly enough, it saddened Evan how it was smelling less like Connor and more like himself. To his defense, Connor didn’t smell like weed and Tabaco as most people would probably expect, he actually smelt like flower scented shampoo and detergent, a little unexpected from someone who bought half of his clothes at Hot Topic (yes, he remembered to google it).

But he wasn’t dumb. Bros don’t sniff other bros hoodies, or maybe they do? He figured jocks might do that and go like “haha, no homo”. But he wasn’t a six feet tall attractive guy, he couldn’t get away with that sort of thing. People called him names ever since he was a kid, he grew afraid at the possibility of actually being gay. He only told Jared that he had a crush on Zoe just so he could get him off his back with the gay thing, in fact, having a crush on Zoe made him feel like a weight got lifted off his shoulders.

That weight was back though. He knew that a lot of this thing could not possibly be merely platonic, but he didn’t need that crisis on top of all his problems. He’d deal with his feelings towards Connor eventually, at least that’s what he told himself, which was getting harder and harder with each day.

Was it normal to feel miserable about life but still kind of want to jump at your best friend and kiss him square in the lips? Could that be a side effect of depression? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s a crisis for another day.

He sighed –in a dramatic fashion way–, and texted the cause of his inner turmoil that he’d return to school that day. For some reason Connor had insisted over the weekend to tell him if he’d be attending to class. Connor was being a little weird about it, actually. Evan brushed it off simply as worry.

Evan [7:26 a.m.] I’m on my way. Jared’s driving me.
Connor [7:27 a.m.] K. ;)
Evan [7:28 a.m.] Who are you and what did you do to my Connor?
Connor [7:28 a.m.] what is it illegal to use emojis now
Connor [7:28 a.m.] also ur connor??? ;))))))))))
Evan [7:28 a.m.] First of all, emojis are cancelled after the emoji movie.
Connor [7:29 a.m] fair point my dude
Evan [7:29 a.m.] Also, “K. ;)” is such a fuckboy thing. Who are you?
Connor [7:30 a.m.] idk maybe I morphed into an alien fuckboi whos trynna woo you
Connor [7:31 a.m.] no homo tho
Evan [7:31 a.m.] That’s very gay.
Evan [7:31 a.m.] Also we’re here.
Connor [7:31 a.m.] ohshit just
Connor [7:31 a.m] get ready
Evan [7:32 a.m.] For what?
Connor [7:32 a.m.] ;))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Evan [7:32 a.m.] CONNOR WHAT’S GOING ON????

Evan couldn’t help but laugh, eyes never leaving his phone as he got out of Jared’s car. Even if he felt like shit, Connor always managed to make him smile somehow. He knew he did it on purpose, his friend’s silliness was no coincidence, he acted that way just to cheer him up. It made Evan’s heart flutter, and it never failed to make him feel a little less miserable.

He almost forgot about Jared’s presence, who was looking at Evan like he had grown a second head.

“Who the heck are you talking to?” Jared asked, surprise and a tone of annoyance in his voice.

“N-no one!” Evan squeaked, startled as he was forced back into reality. He nearly dropped his phone but managed to catch it on time, shoving it into his pocket, not suspicious at all.

Jared’s expression was worth more than one thousand questions. “Dude, what are you hiding from me? You’re acting hella weird. You haven’t even told me how you knew about Kurt-”

“Have you been playing Life is Strange again? O-okay I-I just, I have a lot of th-things going on, okay?” Evan stuttered as he cut Jared midsentence, annoyance and anxiety evident in his voice. “And I don’t want to t-talk about Kurt.” Evan murmured.

He knew it was kind of dumb to put his walls up when Jared, for once in his life, seemed concerned about Evan, but he didn’t have the energy to repeat the same lie for the fiftieth time. Besides, Jared would probably not buy that crap. When he went back in time for the first time, all he wished for was a life in which he didn’t have to lie again. Evan had figured it would be okay to lie in order to protect Connor, but lies only snowball.

He wondered what would Connor do if he knew he first befriended him out of guilt.

He’d probably hate him.

Evan slouched, his mood switching from slightly happy to downright miserable in a matter of seconds. Jared looked like he still wanted to say something, but instead he closed his mouth in a thin line, eyebrows furrowed, and walked by Evan’s side in silence all the way to the school gates.

Usually that’s where Evan and Jared parted ways. Jared would usually ask Evan to tell his mom he was nice to him, right before leaving him alone for the day. Today was different though, Jared stuck around him until they reached Evan’s locker.

Evan had barely noticed Jared’s presence, too busy trying to ignore how everyone was staring staring staring. Not a new feeling, but most of the time it was all in his head. This time he could actually hear his name being whispered from all directions.

He shut his eyes down, cursing at himself for even daring to return. He should have moved to a different state and started a new life. In two seconds he was already dizzy, ready to ride down the anxiety track. He yelped as Jared put a hand over his shoulder and brought him back to the present.

“Hey dude, I’m… sorry about before. I shouldn’t have pushed you to talk. Like, whatever, you do your thing. I’m just…” Jared sighed, “worried, I guess? You look like shit.”

“Wow, thanks” Evan mumbled, suddenly interested on his shoe ties. They were awfully done. He was such a failure. Seventeen years old and he still sucked at tying his shoes.

“No, seriously. Are you eating properly? Sleeping?” Jared crossed his arms, resting his weight against the next locker, as Evan took out his math textbook.

Evan slammed his locker closed. “I’m fine,” he grunted, sounding awfully like Connor whenever he got angry. For a moment, he thought it would be enough to stop Jared from saying further thing.

Just when his ‘family friend’ was about to say something, a familiar song blasted in the distance. With a very confused expression, Jared tried to find the source of the noise. Evan blinked, grateful for the interruption but also mildly confused by the sudden screams from the students that crowded the hallway.

A variety of reactions mixed in the background. Laughter, screams, many people yelling “dude!” and ‘what the fuck?’. But the most important thing was-

“Who the fuck is blasting All Star? And why?” Jared tiptoed, trying to look over the heavy crowd.

Lucky for Jared Shortman (a nickname courtesy of Connor, you’re welcome), the sea of students parted as if Moses himself was riding a skateboard down the hallways.

Yes, a skateboard. With the students out of the way, the source of the ruckus was easy to spot, but not to describe.

Evan gaped. A tall, slim teenager, presumably a boy was throwing flyers as he made his way through the school hallways, riding a beaten down skateboard. That was definitely against the school rules, probably worthy of suspension.

The weirdest part wasn’t the illegal skateboarding, the stupid amount of flyers that were being thrown at the crowd (by the way, that’s rude towards Mother Earth, Evan thought) or how All Star by Smash Mouth was blasting, probably from the guy’s phone. It was the mannequin head poking out from the guy’s hoodie. Evan had seen those mannequin head videos before, Jared loved them and occasionally shared them with him. People would zip up their hoodie, and put a mannequin head on top of their own head, so it looked like it was their actual head.

Speaking of Jared, the guy was wheezing next to Evan, his eyes tearing up from laughter. And of course, he was recording the whole thing with his phone.

“WHAT THE FUCK, WHAT’S THIS DUDE DOING, I LOVE HIM?”

Evan blinked in shock. He crouched and grabbed one flyer. He felt visually attacked by the… aesthetic of the paper, starting from the fact everything was written in rainbow colored comic sans. It was an informative guide of resources to prevent suicide, and ‘what to do if u feel like shit’. Whoever wrote it, they couldn’t spell for shits, but the intention was good. That, if you ignored the background, which consisted of a close-up of a very blurry, very pixelated image with Shrek’s face.

He was still gaping. He turned the paper. The other side of the paper followed a similar aesthetic, with comic sans, pixelated pictures of aliens and dank memes in the background. The title said ‘how to ENGLIGHTEN urself: aliens r real’, then proceeded to list a number of sites, books, magazines, movies and documentaries.

Evan groaned and cackled up. Pretty much everyone was losing their mind, laughing and yelling things like ‘who the hell is this guy and why is he doing this?’.

Oh yes. Evan knew exactly who this was.

Instead of wearing one of his signature hoodies, he had a brand new black hoodie, with a big alien face along with the words ‘I’m a gay alien’ printed on it. He wore generic black jeans, but Evan recognized those old black sneakers, and the horrible meme taste. The song finished at the same time Connor ran out of flyers. Some people booed, but their cheers revived as soon as the next song came up, which of course had to be ‘Never Gonna Give you Up’. Evan recognized this as Connor’s dank memes playlist, and these were the most decent songs he had on it.

Connor left his skateboard and walked (or more like, danced) straight towards Evan, who was still laughing his ass off. Oh no.

“What the fuck? He’s coming here!” Jared was still recording the whole thing, probably having the time of his life, knowing how much he loved dank memes.

Connor grabbed Evan’s hand and swirled him around, the mannequin head swinging in a funny way. For a moment, Evan forgot they weren’t alone, and just let Connor swing him in the sloppiest attempt to dance to ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. He heard someone scream ‘GET THE BOY, GAY ALIEN!’, but he was too lost in the moment to blush at the implication.

Wait. Was Connor coming out to him like this?

It was hard to focus on any thought that wasn’t Connor at the moment. He was too lost in their horrible dancing coordination, Rick Astley’s voice, and the faint sound of Connor’s laugh muffled by his hoodie.

Here’s the thing. Evan Hansen loved his best friend. That was it.

The moment broke as the principal came to scene. Some random girl screamed “run!” and Connor broke apart from Evan, taking it as his cue to bail. He got on his skateboard and slapped a hand against the mannequin’s face, and then extended his arm towards Evan. It took Evan a few seconds to realize this was a poor attempt at ‘blowing a kiss’ toward him. It only made him laugh harder, his lungs in pain from the lack of air.

The crowd parted to give way for Connor’s escape. Emo Moses made his way out as Evan idly wondered what would they think if they knew who was behind the mask- or well, mannequin. They would be surprised, hell, Evan was shocked as hell. He knew his friend was a shitposter from heart, but this was a whole new level, higher than ‘Jared Kleinmann ate a lush bath bomb once’ level.

The principal made a poor attempt to catch Connor, but the students blocked his way, many of them still recording his triumphant exit.

Evan took a deep breath, wiping away the last tears. The bell rang and everyone left for their classes, a huge grin stuck in Evan’s face. After a few steps, he noticed Jared didn’t make any move, instead his eyes glued to his phone as he typed furiously.

“Jared? Class?”

“HANG THE FUCK UP I’M UPLOADING THIS TO TWITTER,” he replied, eyes glued to the screen.

Evan rolled his eyes. ‘Ok, but, class.’ He grabbed Jared’s arm and dragged him to biology. Every student in that class had one of the cringey fliers.

Relief washed over Evan. Even if he danced in front of the whole school, his anxiety had strangely calmed down. For the rest of the day, no one was whispering his name anymore, no one made an effort to ask him about Kurt. All that people talked about for the rest of the day was ‘the crazy gay alien dude of the flyers’.  If anything, only three people approached him to ask if he knew who was the mysterious guy. He just shrugged and replied he didn’t know them.

Which Jared didn’t buy at all. Or he didn’t want to, because, “COME ON, EVAN, I NEED TO KNOW WHO WAS THAT.”

“Jared, for the sixth time,” Evan sighed, a small smile creeping up his face, as they made their way to eat lunch, “I have no idea who that was. T-they just picked me at random.”

They ate at their usual spot, a table in the corner of the cafeteria. Jared went serious for a second, looking at Evan dead in the eye, the latter drinking orange juice ‘Evan, you don’t understand. I’m straight, but I’d suck this dude’s dick for memes.’

Evan chocked on his juice and spited all over the table. ‘WHAT THE FUCK,’ he managed to yell between coughs.

“Wow, wow! Don’t die on me, and man, I didn’t know Evan Hansen was capable of cursing. This day is full of surprises.”

“First of all, that doesn’t sound like a straight-dude thing to say, Jared. Second, p-please, don’t?”

Jared stared at Evan for a few seconds, blinking. “SO YOU DO KNOW THIS GUY”

Evan groaned, “no, Jared, I don’t”

“Then why are you against me sucking his dick?”

Part of Evan wanted to forget Jared ever said this. Part of him wanted to give the full details to Connor.

Another part, deep inside of him, felt a pang of anger and jealousy at the thought of Jared wanting anything with Connor.

“No sexual life talking in this table, okay?”

“Okay, okay, tree lover boy. I get it. I won’t steal the gay alien from you, he clearly chose you.” Jared winked. Evan went red and dug for his sandwich. “By the way, he went viral on tumblr.”

He nearly chocked when he saw amount of retweets the video had gotten. From the corner of his eye, he spotted Connor, sitting alone, two tables away from them. Their eyes met and Connor gave him a sideways smile, one of those that made Evan’s heart dangerously skip beats. He quickly fumbled for his phone. There was an unread message from Connor.

Evan [9:01 a.m.] CONNOR WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT
Evan [9:02 a.m.] I LOVE YOU????
Connor [9:05 a.m.] you got your cast off!!! hurray!!!
Connor [9:06 a.m.] and wow I cant believe being an alien fuckboi was the way to get to ur heart
Evan [12:10 a.m.] Yes!! Hurray!!
Evan [12:10 a.m.] Also Wow I can’t believe my best friend is an actual Alien Fuckboy
Evan [12:11 a.m.] Also I’m pretty sure the way to my heart is buying me plants
Connor [12:11 a.m.] noted ;))))))))))))))
Evan [12:11 a.m.] Are you high dude?
Connor [12:12 a.m.] r u trynna make this no homo by writing ‘dude’
Evan [12:12 a.m.] It’s just what the mannequin event and the shameless flirting is making me think
Connor [12:13 a.m.] ill have u know that the maenquin head was a thoroughly thought decision
Connor [12:13 a.m.] and ;))))))))))))))))
Evan [12:13 a.m.] Wow that’s gay. Almost gayer than when Jared said he’d suck your dick five minutes ago.
Connor [12:14 a.m.] WHAT THE FUCK???????? EWWWWW??????
Evan [12:15 a.m.] I’ll give you the details after school, Jared’s trying to look over my phone.
Evan [12:16 a.m.] Also, thanks for, you know, this morning. <3

He sent the heart before he could regret it.

Evan tried to hide a smile as Connor made dramatic gauging motions as he pointed at Jared’s back, the latter oblivious of the silent exchange.

 

-----------

Unlike most days, Jared insisted to hang out at Evan’s house after class. Evan was shamelessly disappointed; he had been looking forward to talk to Connor after class. He had a good idea why Connor had done such a stupid, crazy thing. First, Connor was a dork. Second, he probably did it to switch the school’s focus from the Kurt topic to a new big event, and it worked.

What a dork. What an adorable dork.

Evan felt giddy as he walked out of Jared’s car, his family friend rambling about the morning events for the tenth time today. Evan just nodded, too distracted to notice the other car in the driveway. After all, that car was already part of his house’s landscape.

“Hey, did your mom change cars?” Jared asked.

“Uh, no?” Evan replied confused as he opened the front door.

The smell of cooking food was the first thing that hit him. The second thing was the realization that Connor was in his house, as he noticed the black sneakers at the entrance.

“Since when does Heidi cooks?” Jared laughed and made his way inside, giving no time for Evan to stop him.

Evan closed the door and rushed to the living room. “J-Jared, I j-just remembered-”

“Ev?” Connor’s voice called from the kitchen.

Jared arched an eyebrow. “Who’s that?”

Before Evan could reply, Connor was already in the living room. His hair was tied up and he had gotten rid of his hoodie, revealing a dark grey sweatshirt with rolled up sleeves. As soon as he saw Jared, he froze for a moment, eyes big in surprise, and quickly shoved the cuffs of his sleeves down to his wrists. He had a dark blue apron with an alien face pattern that Evan hadn’t seen before. He figured Connor brought it with him, since they didn’t have any aprons at home.

Right next to Evan, Jared was just gaping, completely at loss of words.

Connor frowned. “Don’t tell me he’s staying for dinner.”

“…What the fuck?”

 

Chapter Text

Connor frowned. “Don’t tell me he’s staying for dinner.”

The three of them were standing in the middle of the living room, right next to the coffee table. After the three longest seconds of Evan’s life, Jared finally spoke:

“…What the fuck?”

“I can expla-” Jared cut off Evan quickly.

“EVAN, STAND BEHIND ME, I’LL PROTECT YOU”, Jared screaming as he stepped behind Evan, using him as a flesh shield. “The psycho went off! How did you get inside, you creepy stalker? I knew you had a thing for Evan, I should have seen this coming!”

Evan groaned as he covered his face with his hands. “Stop it Jared! No one’s breaking in…” Evan shook his head. “Wait, actually, how did you get in?”

“Oh, you know, the usual, I’m a well-known thief,” Connor gestured with his hands, sarcastic and theatrical. Jared yelled like a terrified animal and tightened his grip on Evan. Evan shoved him away. “So I stole your mother’s heart and she gave me the keys to the house.”

“Wait, really? Just like that?”

“In your mother’s eyes I’m an orphan and I’m pretty okay with that line of thought.”

“And you know how to cook, I’m sure she likes you better than me,” Evan laughed.

“OKAY WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?” Jared stepped between them, breaking the spell that made them forget about Jared’s existence and start their usual… thing. What’s with all this teasing?

“I don’t understand how you keep being friends with this guy,” Connor sighed –dramatically– and motioned to Jared.

“Hey! I’ll have you know that I’m Evan’s best friend!” Jared took a step towards Connor, who gave him a murderous look and barked at him. Jared’s high-pitched scream pierced Evan’s ears, clinging to his arm like a koala baby.

Should Evan be worried and panic about the situation? Probably. However, he was too amused to care, he felt like he was in one of those dramatic Hispanic soap operas. In fact, he felt empowered by the comedic character of the scene. Connor looked very offended, maybe from Jared’s statement, maybe from the fact that Jared was clinging on Evan as the latter tried to shove him away, task that proved to be impossible. Any of those options meant that perhaps, only perhaps, Connor was a tiny bit jealous.

That felt better than it should have.

“No you’re not! He’s mine!”

Okay, that too.

Whenever Connor got angry, he had an intimidating aura that made anyone want to hide behind their mother. Now he looked as intimidating as an angry kitten. Maybe that association was a little questionable, was Evan actually a furry? Oh my god FOCUS.

Silence fell upon them once again. Jared let go of his killer grip and frowned. He looked at Connor, then at Evan; he checked the date and hour in his phone, sniffed the air, counted something with his fingers, walked a few steps back; licked his index finger and held it up for a few seconds. Connor and Evan stared at him confused through the whole minute of Jared being a complete weirdo. Connor leaned towards annoyance. Evan? Evan was already taking a step down the dark pit of anxiety.

Jared broke the silence clapping, very loudly. “OHHHHH! I get it now, damn!” He winked at Evan and patted Connor’s shoulder. Connor looked ready to murder Jared. Evan never feared for Jared’s life this hard. “Wow, I feel so stupid, I can’t believe you guys managed to hide it from me.”

“Well, you are stupid, yes,” Connor said as he dusted the shoulder that Jared touched.

“Haha… yeah we… did?” Evan smiled uncomfortably. That was not what he expected. Where was the drama? The “you betrayed me!” and all the unnecessary yelling? What about “I can’t believe you are friends with Murphy” or something like that?

Something was wrong. Very much so.

“I hope you guys are being safe.” Jared’s shit-eating grin was worth more than one thousand words.

“OH MY GOD! WHY!” Evan kneeled on the floor, his screams muffled by his hands. That could not be happening. It was horrible and he would rather be eaten by the earth instead of having that conversation.

Unmoved by Evan’s reaction, Connor replied in a monotone voice, “Yes, Kleinmann, we’re very safe.”

“Ugh, don’t fill me in the details. But remember, even if you can’t get pregnant, you still-”

“YOU’RE BANNED FROM THIS HOUSE, JARED!” Evan reached for a pillow from the couch and hurled it at Jared, who masterfully dodged out of the way.

“Ha ha! You can’t beat my spiderman-like reflexes!” Jared pointed at Evan with finger guns, while his friend rolled and groaned on the floor, his face covered now with a pillow. Connor’s annoyance expression had turned into amusement and a glint of mischievousness. “Anyways, I always knew that Evan is gay-”

“JARED!”

“So no need to be ashamed! I accept you the way you are, just be sure to bone safely. One thing they say about gay sex is-” Before Jared was able to finish his phrase, Connor burst out laughing.

“I assume you have a lot of experience from the way you talk, huh?” Connor crossed his arms over his chest and smiled mischievously. Oh yeah, everything was bound to go downhill from here.

“Pffft, who’s talking? You’re the dick sucking master, I can see it in your face.”

“Well, you’re the one who said you’d suck my dick, in fact, you said it, hm,” Connor checked his invisible wrist watch, “oh, at lunch! Wow! How controversial!”

Confused, Jared exclaimed “What?! I never said-,” and then recognition was noticeable in his face. “WAIT, YOU’RE EMO MOSES?!”

Yeah, it would go downhill.

“I FUCKING LOVE YOU?”

Or maybe not?

Connor squinted, showing his disgust. “Eugh, I don’t need your love.”

“I only trust people who like dank memes, and you, bro,” Jared patted Connor twice on his shoulder, again. Connor backed away 2 steps, dusting his shoulder again. “Bro you’re the meme overlord. Welcome to the family.”

“Oookay, I don’t give a shit about your approval? I’m gonna go finish cooking dinner, you better not be here for dinner because I sure as hell won’t feed you”

And with that Connor left the room, leaving an embarrassed ball of muttering mess over the carpet and next to it, a guy grinning in satisfaction.

“Well shit, your boyfriend’s kinda cool though. Never thought I’d use those words to refer to Murphy.”

Evan reacted immediately to the word and scrambled up to his feet. “J-Jared oh my god! He’s not my boyfriend!” he spoke in whisper-shouts.

Jared raised an eyebrow. “You sure? Because the guy didn’t say anything to prove me wrong.”

“H-he’s just messing with you! S-stop bothering him.” Evan ran his fingers through this hair and took a deep breath. It’s getting very long. And yes, Connor didn’t try to deny it. Huh.

“Oh don’t worry dude, I’m sure you’re the one who’s messing with him” Jared wiggled his eyebrows. A pillow came smashing full force into his face.

“It’s not like that. He’s just my- my friend.”

“Ohhhhh, sure, sure, remind me, why would friends keep in secret their relationship for, uuuuuuh, how long again?”

“…Almost four months?”

“Jesus Christ that’s just gay alarm! Evan, seriously dude, relax, your secret is safe with me.”

“What secret?! There’s no secret to keep! Wait no, actually, don’t tell anyone about us, please.” Evan sighed. Yes, okay, maybe there was no way to convince Jared that this was not what it seemed because Evan wasn’t even sure if this was not what it seemed.

“I won’t tell anyone you’re murphysexual- DON’T HIT ME WITH THAT PILLOW AGAIN OR YOU’LL MEET YOUR DEATH BITCH!”

“Okay, okay,” Evan dropped the pillow and plopped down on the couch. He let a long sigh out. “But seriously, he’s just- my best friend, okay? B-be nice to him, I don’t want you guys to f-fight again.”

“Oh dude don’t worry, I am a man on a mission, I gotta be bros with the man behind the mannequin shit, Murphy being that person doesn’t change my goal. And you’re wrong, he’s your boyfriend, and I’m your best bud, that’s why I’m gonna be a good friend and leave you alone so you can do your,” he waved at the air, “romantic dinner domestic date or whatever gay thing you guys are doing here.”

“You are so banned from this house.”

“In your dreams, tell Murphy I’ll see him tomorrow at lunch. See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!”

Jared dabbed and sprinted out of the house before Evan could react.

Great.

Evan rubbed his face and took three deep breaths. Okay, he could do this. He could face Connor again after that whole… mess. He just needed to calm down, no need to freak out, no need to sweat and start fabricating ideas on Connor hating him after this. Everything was fine, right? That was actually very funny, in fact he should be laughing. He should not feel like he was going to have a panic attack. All he had to do was walk into the kitchen and smile. And so he did that.

“So… you’re gay?” Connor dropped the question as soon as Evan walked in.

Evan’s smile fell. Okay, maybe he couldn’t do it after all.

Connor was absentmindedly stirring something in a pot, probably soup. He stared at Evan with an undecipherable expression.

“What?! No!”

“Oh.”

Connor visibly flinched. He looked hurt for a moment, but it was quickly gone, replaced by a blank face.

I fucked up was Evan’s first thought. But what exactly did he fuck up? Connor was his best friend, and they never talked about their sexuality, they only made jokes like “that’s so gay” and “no homo”. And yes, Evan might had developed a tiny crush on his friend. Maybe Connor could see he was lying? Oh god, what if Connor liked him back and he totally fucked up by playing down the heterosexuality card? Or even worse, what if they were already dating and he hadn’t noticed?

Wait, what.

This was Jared’s fault. He was guilty of making Evan doubt the nature of the relationship between him and Connor. ‘You sure? Because the guy didn’t say anything to prove me wrong.’ So maybe they were a little too affectionate towards each other, that’s true, but friends can do that. Fuck heteronormativity, right? You’d probably know if you’re dating someone, right?

Maybe. Maybe not. What the hell does he even know about friendship and romance? His only friendship experiences were Jared, who was a bad point of comparison, and Connor. And his only romantic experience was kissing a girl in her dead brother’s bed, who he lied about being friends with. Not a great reference either.

How did he go from ‘do I like Connor’ to ‘is it possible that we’re actually dating’ so fast?

Jared was at fault. Jared was the devil and he unknowingly threw Evan to the pits of hell.

“I’m bisexual? Obviously? I think I told you?” Way to come with terms with your sexuality, Evan Hansen. He even voiced it with a questioning tone, smooth. Just to be safe: “I mean I’m obviously attracted to boys, b-but I’ve had one or two crushes on girls before.”

There. First, they were friends, so even if he was reading the situation wrong, Connor would be okay with him not being straight. Second, if there was a possibility that his feelings weren’t one sided, then he avoided ruining his chances. And third, if the small possibility that he was too stupid to realize he had a boyfriend, then his wording could be translated into “Pssht, of course I like guys, I’m dating one after all.” The problem now was figuring what was the real situation in front of him.

Boyfriend. His heart skipped a beat when the thought creeped into his mind. No, that couldn’t be. That shouldn’t be. But it felt so nice to even fantasize.

“OH, haha, yeah, of course, I knew that. Yes.” Connor laughed awkwardly and turned away from Evan, stirring the pot again.

WHAT IS THE TRUTH THEN?!

And so, Evan Hansen’s personal hell began. They ate the kales soup that Connor cooked while they watched a movie that Evan didn’t even remember the name of. Actually, he didn’t even know what the story was even about; he was too lost in his own thoughts, too busy trying to run through every single interaction that he had with Connor since the beginning of their friendship. From huge letters to late nights, texting each other until one of them passed out, to even longer afternoons hanging out together and sleepovers at Evan’s house. And then all the teasing and the, well, flirting, they were totally flirting, right? He had been so adamant about avoiding the sexuality crisis, that he hadn’t given a name to all of this.

There was also that bubbly sensation every time he saw Connor, the butterflies in his stomach when Connor smiled at him. Connor wasn’t the nicest person to people, but Evan was the exception. He still had his highs and lows, and he was flawed, but he tried his best to not hurt Evan. And even if he did, Evan wouldn’t mind. Because…

Because was utterly in love with Connor Murphy.

But he couldn’t even tell if he was already dating him or not.

What the fuck.

“-van? Evan?”

“Sorry, what?” Evan blinked and turned to face Connor. He was frowning a little, his eyebrows drawn together in concern.

“You’ve been spacing out the whole movie. What’s going on?”

“Oh, it’s… it’s nothing.” He fiddled with the hem of his hoodie. Connor’s hoodie, he reminded himself. Yeah, that’s another sign of gay. Like, that goes beyond the ‘two bros chillin’ in a hot tub’ line, right?

Connor huffed. “Yeah right, because I don’t know you well enough. Spit it, what’s bothering you?”

Evan took a deep breath. This was not happening.

“Is it…” Connor trailed off, his eyes fixed in Evan’s fidgety hands. Evan closed his eyes tight. “Is it about the Kurt thing?”

Oh. Oh. Right. He promised Connor he would explain things, he definitely owed him an explanation. You can’t just expect people to accept the fact you have information that you shouldn’t have in the first place. That’s probably why Connor wanted to hang out with him today in the first place, he wasn’t there to waste time while Evan had a gay crisis. A bisexual crisis? Whatever, not only had he realized he was crazy about his best friend, he was also freaking out about the possibility that they might be more than friends already. His head was too busy with Connor Connor Connor to even spare time travel and paranormal stuff a thought.

For a moment he considered to just say ‘I can time travel, but fuck that, what I’m interested in right now is how badly I want to kiss you’. But, no, that’s not Evan Hansen. He was born a coward and he’d die a coward. He’d rather wait until Connor gets down in one knee and proposes to him so he can confirm that yes, it was gay all along, than to directly ask him. Are we really going to marriage fantasies? Really, Evan?

“Uhm…” Evan stared at his hands intensely, trying to keep his composure. Quick, say something, something. “I don’t- I don’t know- I can’t put it into words yet. I’ve been trying for a while, b-but I don’t know how to explain it. There’s something- unusual about me.”

Connor laughed. “There are a lot of unusual things about you.”

Well, that hurt.

“I didn’t mean it in a bad way!” Connor touched Evan’s hand to call his attention. A ha! This has to be a gay sign, right? He looked up to a pair of blue eyes that made it too difficult to turn away his eyes. Wow, this absolutely sucked. Probably a bad moment to bring up this sort of comparison, but he never felt this weak under Zoe’s stare. He never felt anything like this for anyone and it was honestly too much. He wanted a refund.

“…Go on.” And he had to go and make things harder for himself.

Connor blinked twice. “Well, you… you’re like, the most fucking amazing person in the world? Everything about you is so different from everyone, so… special. I can’t even believe you’re real.” Yep. He said that. He actually said that, staring right into Evan’s eyes. What the fuck.

Evan basically broke and tried to give a coherent reply, but all he managed to let out were a few sounds as he stared down at his hands and blushed furiously. Connor’s hand was still touching his lightly. What the fuck.

Connor drew back his hand in silence, looking away from him. Curiosity ate Evan’s insides, but he was freaking out too hard to even dare and rise his stare from his own hands. He felt mushy and flustered, wishing he could say something or do something.

After a few seconds of silence, Connor cleared his throat. “Uhm, yeah, so you’re really awesome, I mean cool, but also yeah, awesome, and who the fuck do you think I am? I-” Connor sighed in exasperation. “What I’m trying to say is that whatever this ‘unusual’ thing is about, I’ll probably lo-like it. Hell, we’ve told each other about really dark shit, nothing can weird me out at this moment. Trust me.”

Connor bumped their shoulders together. It took Evan a few seconds, but he finally managed to put himself back together, at least a little bit, and he nodded.

If only Connor knew what was going on inside Evan’s head. Inside his brain he was moving his ‘things I’m freaking about the most’ priority list. The updated version looked kind of like:

  1. Is this platonic, is this getting gay or is he already my significant other? HELP
  2. I used to freak out about time travel, but now that I know homosexuality my life has changed.
  3. Teenage boy hears the phrase “what are your plans for college?” He immediately cries. (VIDEO)

Evan felt guilty, even. There he was, his best friend, or boyfriend, or whatever the hell he was, worried about him, while he was organizing his life distress in the shape of BuzzFeed titles.

“Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be waiting. Also I don’t know what the fuck is going on in this movie anymore.”

Evan laughed and unclasped his hands. He leaned a little more into Connor’s side, smiling shyly. He would be alright. He just needed to figure out a way to tell Connor he had superpowers. And probably develop a superpower that could help him figure out the nature of their relationship.

Easy peasy.

 

 

Dear me:

It turned out to be  not “easy peasy” at all.

Chapter Text

Wanting to prove that you can time travel is one thing. A whole different one is actually attempting to do it, especially when you don’t even have a clue how said power even works.

Evan felt a little bit ashamed by how little idea he had on what was causing the time travel thing. His initial theory is that it was a one-time thing, which only purpose was to avoid Connor Murphy’s death. Why else would Evan have something like a super power? He was, well, Evan Hansen, a nerd, and not even the cool genius kind of nerd, he was just your average, lame lonely teen with average grades. No super elevated IQ, no socialization skills, not the rich guy, definitely not the hot guy.

And it’s not like he was planning on using his power to become a vigilante or something similar to what people did in comics when they found out they had powers, no. Evan Hansen was a coward and he would rather die a coward. Hell, he’d rather die without ever asking Connor what exactly was their relationship, that much of a coward he considered himself.

If it was up to him, he’d rather never time travel again in his life.

He had used it to save Connor and Kurt, who now sat together during lunch, and that was enough for him. Kurt Kern was surprisingly a really nice kid with a very dark sense of humor and an interest in edgy music; it was no surprise that the duo became friends pretty easily. Well, if Evan were to be honest, he knew that was not exactly the reason why they became friends. It all started with the stunt that Jared and Connor –yes, that was a thing now, he had no idea how– pulled the day Kurt returned to school.

Of course rumors had been going around about Kurt’s attempt, and thanks to Alana pretty much everyone knew what happened. As soon as Kurt walked into the school building every pair of eyes turned to him as every conversation lowered to a murmur, and as soon as Kurt stopped dead on his tracks looking on the verge of a breakdown, a shrilling “and I said, HEYYEAYYEAYYEAYYEA” blasted from the schools speakers.

So like, of course that was a doing of Connor and Jared.

Okay, so that maybe needs some explanation.

Apparently Kurt wasn’t going to return until January.  Evan had promised to explain Connor the truth behind his inexplicable knowledge on when and where Kurt was going to attempt against his life, but they soon saw themselves wrapped with the hectic stress of finals, so the topic got pushed back for a while. And even with how busy they were with school stuff, Jared was obsessed with the idea of befriending Connor. It’s not that he was jealous of Jared, but he was definitely getting annoyed with how Jared decided to crash into Evan’s house every time Murphy was there. See, it doesn’t help you very much when you’re trying to figure out the relationship you have with a certain boy when there’s always a third wheel around.

Connor was very vocal on how he disliked Jared’s constant presence, but Evan knew better. Connor didn’t exactly seem bothered by Jared’s company, if anything, he looked delighted while he used any excuse to insult Jared. Which, okay, maybe wasn’t ideal for a healthy friendship, but hang in there for a second. One afternoon where the three teens found themselves studying together, scattered across the floor in Evan’s living room, Connor dropped his book and groaned, cutting Jared’s rant on something he had seen on Youtube. Then he said something like:

“Hey, what do I have to do for you to leave me alone with Evan?”

To which Jared replied with something like:

“Let’s hang out together alone, just once, I swear it will be the best day of your life and you’ll regret ever thinking we’re not meant to be bros.”

To what Connor said “Pfft, yeah, yeah, whatever you say.”

Of course Connor doubted that was going to happen. Heck, Evan almost laughed at what Jared said. There was no way Connor was going to change his mind about Jared that easily, that would take time. Evan wasn’t even sure if those two would even be compatible, and he knew that the only reason why Jared was doing this was out of his obsession for memes. Once he got tired, he would probably get tired of getting through Connor.

Or at least that’s what Evan thought. Everything changed on winter break.

Evan was away for the holidays with his mom visiting an aunt who lived five hours away. Before he left, he gave Connor his Christmas present: a bunch of books that belonged to his family collection. Heidi was on board with the idea, and she actually suggested giving Connor some of her favorite books. Both of them were sitting on the living room, passing the time before Evan and his mother had to leave. Halfway through one of Connor’s rant about politics and some very convincing impersonations of John Mulaney’s Horse in a Hospital (as always, Evan thought to himself with a small smile), Jared’s car pulled into the driveway and honked once, twice, thrice-

“FUCK OFF!-” Connor shouted after rushing to open the door, making obscene signs at Jared.

Evan shook his head and sighed, taking off from the couch to try and keep Connor from murdering Jared.

Okay, mayyybe he should allow it for once.

Jared stuck his head out the driver’s window “Bitch, get in the car! We’re going to Firearms Festival.”

Apparently “Firearms Festival”, whatever that was, were the magic words to get Connor’s face to light up like a Christmas tree, at least for a second. But of course, this was Connor Murphy, so the next second his face was masked with skepticism and furrowed brows.

“Wait, what? You- I don’t understand.” Connor crossed his arms, hunching over a little.

“We’re going to bond, we’re going to be bros, I’ve stalked you tumblr-”

Jesus, I didn’t take for a stalker, Kleinman-”

“-And I know you’re emo trash and you really want to go to that show so get in the car, because guess what?” Jared turned around and fumbled a little, only to turn around sporting dark sunglasses with white rim (for no reason really, it was December) “I! Got! Tickets!” Jared grinned, extending his arm and waving two tickets.

Still standing in the doorway, Connor gaped and looked over to Evan, who was standing right next to him in a thick blue sweater. Connor wasn’t wearing shoes, revealing the weed socks that Heidi gave him for Christmas (Can we just switch moms? Please Evan, please). She argued it was a warning and maybe a bit of a joke (probably more of a joke than a warning, really). Connor finally managed to close his mouth as he bit his lip, side eyeing Jared with incredulity. “Is he shitting me?”

Evan looked over to Jared with a half-smile and shrugged. “I think he’s serious.” He laughed. “I think you should go,” Evan smiled at Connor and patted his right arm lightly.

Connor scratched his face, alternating his gaze between Evan and Jared’s car. “I am so gonna regret it.”

And he was wrong.

Evan laughed way harder that he was comfortable with laughing in front of his distant family members when he read Connor’s text the next morning.

Connor [4:31]: Evan I fucking hate everything
Connor [4:31]: I think I’m friends with Kleinman now
Connor [4:31]: Holy shit that was awesome??
Connor [4:33]: I hate this

So that was a thing now. Apparently the show had featured a bunch of Connor’s favorite bands, Jared discovered that he actually enjoyed Connor’s emo trash taste (his words, not Evan’s, Evan liked Connor’s music taste very much), and Connor came to think that hey this douchebag is not totally horrible (his words, not Evan’s, Evan always knew Jared is very deep, deep, deep inside a nice person).

Bonding over memes happened, then He-man happened, then Kurt’s return to school happened.

So yeah, remember that someone hacked the school’s radio and blasted “HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA” the day Kurt returned to school?

Well, if you put a computer nerd and an edge-lord who doesn’t know the fear of consequences, this is what happens.

Thanks to Connor’s newfound friendship with Kurt and Jared, in addition to the holidays and the start of a new semester, that talk about superpowers was pushed back. Or at least Connor did not bring it up again, not more than as mere stares and inquisitive silences from time to time.

However in Evan’s head it was far from gone, it was looming on top of his head every single dead. It felt like with every passing day, his secret was growing tighter and tighter around his neck, threatening to choke him. But every time he wanted to talk to Connor, they weren’t alone, or it wasn’t the timing, or something.

He started blaming this weird, overwhelming feeling of frustration and spite against Jared and Kurt on them getting in the way for him to talk to Connor, because no, Evan was not moping as he stared at the trio sitting and laughing across the cafeteria, he was not jealous.

You know what, screw this. He was going to tell Connor that he traveled in time, as long as he explained why the hell did he not want to be seen hanging out with Evan at school, because-

“-Hansen, right?” The sound of books dropping in his cornered lunch table startled him to a squeak.

Oh no.

“Your name is Evan Hansen, right?”

He did something like mumble the most awkward, high pitched “yes”, because Zoe Murphy was talking to him.

His interdimensional ex.

Can’t get worse than that.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked as she sat down anyways. Evan struggled to come up with a reply, and before he could say anything she was talking again. “Did my brother do something to you?”

Well good thing he wasn’t eating anymore, he would have choked.

“N-no?! Why?”

Very casual.

“You’re glaring at him like he murdered your puppy or something.” Zoe laughed. And then stopped. “Wait, he didn’t kill your puppy, right?”

“Wha- no, no, nothing like that.” Evan shook his head way too quickly, making himself feel a little dizzy. His hands were sweating buckets.

“Okay, well, whatever you say. But if he gives you any trouble, you can always tell me. Oh! I’m Zoe. We talked once before” She extended her hand to him.

Evan rubbed his hand against his pants before he shook hands with her. She raised her eyebrows and smiled, but didn’t comment on it.

“I-I’m Evan.”

“Yeah I know.” She laughed. He face-palmed mentally.

“Oh, pfft, of course, I’m so dumb.” He attempted to joke, but it came out more as honest self-depreciation. I mean, he did kind of hate himself after all.

“No, you’re not.” She raised one of her eyebrows. “I know you’re really good at science. Hell, I would be lucky to have someone like you tutor me in science, last semester was painful.”

For better or for worse, the words that came out of his mouth then were: “I could do that.”

And then he realized what he just proposed.

Shit.

“What- really?” Zoe was taken aback, but she recovered quickly and gave him that big, sincere smile. And wow, past Evan would have swooned. Maybe past Evan was smarter, because present Evan was swooning over her brother who was sitting away from him with his other friends just because- he did not want to be seen with him?

What an ass.

And this is how Evan Hansen doomed himself a little further by agreeing to tutor Zoe in science after like, three minutes into meeting for the second time in this timeline. He was really going hard for that world record prize to Why Did I Do That.

This event was followed by some angry texts from Connor down the line of “What the fuck were you doing with my sister at lunch?” replied with some “well it’s not my fault that I have to sit alone at lunch because you’re an asshole” and, well.

So Connor was treating Evan to dinner tonight.

At least he had the decency to look regretful as he moved around the food in his plate, not really in the mood for eating, across Evan who was sulking in their diner booth. Evan had busied himself with eating so he could avoid talking, but his food had run out and he didn’t want to make Connor pay for more food, as pissed as he was at him.

The lights were dim and there were barely any customers around. It was a small diner downtown, and they claimed to have the best milkshakes in town. Honestly, they weren’t that great, but the food was good enough and the price was fair. Besides, the place had a vegetarian menu and they probably had fed Connor more than his actual mother. The lady who owned the place always gave Connor extra food, you’re too skinny it looks like you’re going to die, you know, lovely stuff.

“Okay, I’ll start.” Connor sighed heavily and pulled his legs up in his seat, crossing his legs over the stiff cushion. “This is just- I’m sorry, okay? It’s just that- it’s all about my sister, you know?”

Evan stared at the table, biting the insides of his cheek.

“Okay, you’re very mad. I get it. Let me just-” he sighed. “My family is homophobic. Don’t know about Zoe, I don’t really know her, but I know Larry and I know my mother.”

Evan looked up but didn’t say anything.

“So-” he threaded his fingers across his hair, a gesture he made whenever he was struggling to find the right words. “I don’t want my sister to see me with, you know. A cute boy.”

Well shit.

Evan gaped and looked around for a moment, before pointing at himself, squinting his eyes as if he was saying really? Me?

Connor rolled his eyes. “Pfff, duh? You’re like, the cutest boy in all school.” Connor smiled and hunched over, his hair hiding part of his bashful expression.

What the fu-

Ck.

Evan put his head on his hands and groaned.

“UhhhhhhGGGGGGG”

“What?” Connor asked, a little smug.

Evan looked up at Connor, the little shit smiling from ear to ear, a small blush covering his cheeks.

“I’m still mad.”

“I know. I haven’t been the greatest”

Evan sighed.

“I haven’t been the greatest either.”

Connor gave him a knowing stare. “So, Kurt, huh. That was-”

“Yeah- yeah, I’ll- I’ll tell you, just.”

Please tell me, are we fucking dating? Are we? How? When? I am? Boyf? What?

Evan extended his hand over the table and opened his palm, a resting invitation. He turned away to look at the red light in the intersection through the window.

However his eyes moved quickly and caught, for a millisecond, Connor’s huge smile as he interlaced fingers with him.