What does it mean to be normal?
Is it being able to get along with several people, but not being particularly close to anyone? Or maybe it's getting coffee at twelve in the afternoon because you just can't keep your eyes open? Following social media's rules so you can be famous, perhaps? Or maybe, just maybe, it's having a slow life where you don't do much, where you settle down and deal with things when they come. For a while, Jeremy thought he was normal. He thought that, at the age of 9, that everyone got hurt by their mother. He thought, at the age of 11, that everyone got picked on. Jeremy didn't find out til he was 15 in his freshman year, which was kind of horrible, that he had depression and severe anxiety. Not that he didn't suspect it, so it wasn't really a surprise. No, it was horrible because his best friend had found him while he was having a panic attack. Again, that's not really a bad thing. The bad thing was what Jeremy said. He spilled everything to Michael. His worries, why he's stressed, some accidents that happened in Jr. High, etc. It would have been okay, if he hadn't told him about his mother. What she did.
Michael had yelled at her, and wasn't allowed to come back. That is, until sophomore year when Jeremy's mom left.
Michael was there to comfort him at her funeral, and ended up taking care of both him and his father. He called his two moms over and they helped getting them situated for a while. However, that was sophomore year. In Jeremy's junior year, there was this whole Squip incident. In the process, Jeremy got a little more popular, but managed to nearly lose his best friend.
Now, it's his senior year in high school, and he's trying to be normal. In fact, Jeremy was enjoying the normal life. It's been going on smoothly, but he's still trying to repair things. Since the incident, Michael had been more distant. Not so different that it changes everything, but it's enough that it's not healthy. Jeremy tries to help, but Michael pushes him away, and then they end up arguing.
So why in the ever loving FUCK does not-so-normal shit keep happening to him?!
Sophmore year, it was his mom leaving. It caused him to get more depressed then he already was, then some bullshit happened with his dad, so he was always at Michaels.
Junior year, it was the whole Squip thing. He gained friends, and he almost lost his best friend. He got a girlfriend. His anxiety and depression got worse. Michael and him were closer now then ever- yet still kinda drifting if that made sense?
Now, its summer. This week was supposed to be normal. But it wasn't. Because the universe decided to go and fuck Jeremy over again. Because thats exactly what it loves to do.
It's Wednesday, and Jeremy's over at Michael's. They're both yelling, with Bob Marley faintly playing in the background along with the sound of the game that they're currently playing, but it's definitely akward. Ever since the Squip incident, Michael had been a bit... distant? Jeremy was too, but Michael seemed more depressed than usual. Even with how close they got. The both of them still seemed pretty distant, though.
But Jeremy doesn't know what's wrong, because somehow (and he KNOWS he did something), he fucked things up with Michael. He can't remember what it is, but he knows he fucked up. He fucked up, and now it's akward between them.
He fucked up real bad for it to be awkward. Well- it was sort of always awkward between them somehow? But it was more of a comfortable awkward. Now its just.... a sad, tense awkward if that makes sense.
The boy wants to talk about it, but he doesn't. Jeremy doesn't fix that akwardness he had with Michael. Because, he doesn't know how to approach Michael the right way without hurting him. You think he would just walk up to his buddy, all serious, and say, 'Yeah, hey, dude. You're being awkward and weird lately. What's on your mind?'
Yeah, no. Didn't think so.
Its not that fucking easy. Especially since the two of them had grown up with eachother- knowing their quirks, and when something was wrong....
One would think that it would help in this kind of situation. But it actually made it worse. After the Squip incident? It was like getting to know a complete stranger.
The Squip had erased a few things from Jeremy's memory. Or- skills? He wasn't sure. But one thing he was sure about was- he couldn't tell when Michael was upset unless it got really bad. Which- never really happened.
Michael would either shrug it off when it got bad and would hide in the nearest bathroom. If it got bad. Besides that? Jeremy's only seen Michael have one panic attack. But even then, the boy didn't seem to calm down while Jeremy was around.
It hurt. It hurt, knowing that Michael had to hide from him when he was anxious. That Michael didn't trust Jeremy as much as he used to. That... they couldn't go back to what they used to have.
They did try, though. They tried their best to patch things up. And at the moment? They're having a sleep over. One of the old ones where they would stay up til 3 in the morning playing video games and watching documents afterwards til they fell asleep.
They had fallen asleep to a documentary about random natrual disasters that seemed to be happening more recently. That, and meators crashing in random places.
Besides that, it's still akward. But it was a different kind of awkward today.
Jeremy spends the night, because that's what best friends do. He passes out on the couch with Michael, and it's not weird. Kinda.
He feels a weird fluttery feeling in his chest. A fluttery feeling that makes him blush whenever Michael touches him. It's that kind of awkward. Then, as he's falling asleep (Michael had passed out a while ago), he began to think. He doesn't like him, right? Jeremy can't. He's dating Christine.
But.... even she's a bit awkward around Jeremy too. The kind of awkward where holding hands even seems friendly.
Anyway, everything was okay. Everything was normal.
For a moment, at least.
But then, Jeremy just had to wake up before Michael did. Because, fuck. The Squip had him wake up around 7 in the morning, and Jeremy can still feel a Phantom shock when he wakes up.
Jolting awake from his weird ass fucking dream with clouds and shit, that had turned into a nightmare about the death of his friends and some people he didn't know, he shuddered. His spine was tingling in an uncomfortable way that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
Taking a moment to catch his breath, Jeremy's frosty blue orbs scanned the room. It was unfamiliar at first (because this is only the second time he's been in Michael's basement after what happened with the Squip), and it put him on edge. Though, as soon as he saw some posters on the wall, along with the stars on the ceiling (the ones he and Michael put up when they were younger), he recognized the room and visibly relaxed.
It seemed normal. Michael's basement was dark, and still had the faint scent of weed, but it felt normal. Like Jeremy's safe place that he used to go to every day. Like an actual second home.
The half Filipino boy was still asleep beside Jeremy, and it made the said boy blush at how cuddly and carefree Michael seemed when he was asleep. His face was peacful. No worries that seemed to upset him. Wearing weed socks, and a matching pair of boxers.... Nothing to overthink. No looming awkwardness. Just.... peaceful. Jeremy wondered what Michael was dreaming about that made him so happy.
But... once the brunette's eyes had adjusted to the dark room, he saw someone. Someone laying on the bean bag Michael had given Jeremy as a gift when they were younger, saying it was 'for being the best player two ever!'.
The boy he saw, looked pretty nerdy. Glasses, black messy hair, freckles. Buck teeth? He wasnt sure. He just knew he looked fucking awesome and weird at the same time. Because, like, come on. Blue pajamas?! He had a weird symbol on his pajama shirt, but still! It was cool as hell.
He looked nice. He seemed nice. And, the brunette would've thought that they could be friends if he didn't realize that this guy wasnt even supposed to be in Michael's house.
Again, Jeremy would've been in awe if he weren't completly scared shitless. He let out a quiet shriek and jumped off his current spot, instantly covering his mouth afterwards. Peeking a look at Michael (to check if he had woken up), he saw that the tan boy had his headphones on. He let out a sigh of relief.
Snapping his head back towards the stranger in the room, he saw that the said boy was now standing up and staring at Jeremy. Well fuck. He was in deep shit now.
That's what he was thinking. That is, until he got pulled into a bear hug. "Oh my god! Jeremy! Where have you been?! Why did you just disappear like that?!? The others were so worried!" The guy kept babbling on and on. Something about how they needed to finish shit, how everybody was dead, etc etc.
Then, the weird dude began to look furious. "Wait- how did you even get here?! I thought you were supposed to be looking for Michael!!!! You two always stick together! Isn't that your motto or something? Jesus! I thought you were looking for Michael, but nooo! Here I find you sleeping on some stranger's couch! And here I thought you liked him-!" He spat bitterly.
Jeremy kinda froze. How did some stranger know about his and Michael's motto? They hadn't told anyone about it. That, and... him? Liking Michael? No way. Jeremy wasn't gay. Though, his heart couldn't help but flutter at the thought.
What ever trance he was put in, he snapped out of it and furrowed his brows as he pushed the guy away, cutting him off. "L-Look, man, I don't know who you- you are, but Michael isn't missing, and I don't like him either. I'm with Christine and she's-"
The teen looked confused. "You're dating Christine?"
"But isn't she Ace?"
"She's Ace?!" That surprised Jeremy. Well... it kinda did. In fact, it would make sense if Christine was Ace. She didn't seem like she wanted to be in a relationship....
Then why the fuck was she dating him?
Fuck. He didn't need to think about this later.
"I thought you already knew! And what's with you? This is a really bad prank, if that's what you're doing." The nerdy boy rolled his- really blue (holy shit)- eyes.
"W-Why would I prank you? I don't even know you, man!" Jeremy countered defensively.
"Stop saying that you dont know me, Jeremy! I know you do!" The stranger shot back. When he saw the confused look in the other's eyes, his own eyes widened. "Wait, you actually don't know who I am..?"
"T-That- That's what i-ive been trying to tell you!" Oh shit, his anxiety was going off the charts. Who is this guy? What was he doing in Michael's house?!
"Im John? John Egbert? Good friend of 2 years?" 'John' had said.
John? Who the fuck was John? He didn't know any John's! Well, except that one kid in 3rd grade who moved away to Wyoming. Oh, and that other kid in 7th who got put into homeschooling.
Jeremy was anxious, and confused.
There was a moment of silence before John had finally spoke, as if he just realized something.
"Oh my gosh- please don't tell me I just messed up the timeline."