Running. Running fast and faster and far, so far. Trees, everywhere, all around, all one could see in the pitch black darkness of the night. Breathing, short and hitched and deep and so very hard to do, even with the lungs that can hold much more oxygen than that of a normal lung function. Blood was pouring out of a wound, one in the young adolescent's shoulder, one in the large, white feathery limbs of her wing. The girl continued to run, unable to stop. The sound of heavy footprints and the rustling of leaves from behind her were enough to keep her going. That, and the adrenaline rush 10 times more than that of a normal human. She ran and ran, until she finally broke through the tree line and came to a stumbling halt at the edge of a cliff. Just below, at least 100 feet, was a town. Not too small to be a village, but not too large to be a city. Just, a town. The girl glanced back at the forest she had just broken free of, the flashlight beams of her captors drawing near. She then glanced back to the town, calculating the long drop, and her injured wing. Light blonde hair flailing in the wind, sky blue eyes glancing back to the lights of the nearing danger, she made a decision. Bare feet backing towards the edge of the cliff, the girl fell, the tattered edges of her dress rustling in the wind. A few feathers shed from her wings, the white plumage glistening against the bright moonlight, of which cascaded over the cliffs edge. By the time the captors had arrived at the drop, the girl was gone.
36 years later…
A teenage boy sat on his bed, legs crossed as he gently picked at the soft vane of his feathers. Evan Hansen had his wings wrapped around him as he sat, the sun's rays slowly beginning to shine brighter through the window as it came up. The seventeen year old had always been one for rising this early, as his anxiety always made sure he was early for almost anything. Waking up to get ready for the first day of school was not an exception. A knock sounded on his door, and a few seconds later, Heidi Hansen entered the room. It wasn't as if she needed to knock, Evan could sense her aura approaching his door about half a minute before she actually knocked.
“Hey Ev, are you ready for your first day of senior year?” The boy didn't turn to face his mother, only briefly locking his sky blue eyes with her own before looking back to his wings.
“I mean, I guess, um..” Heidi took a few steps forward, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her son. Evan's wings noticeably relaxed, though did not retreat completely as one expected them to. Heidi looked sadly at her son, and then to the twenty in her hand.
“Evan, look, I know you don't like ordering food, but you can't just, not eat.” Evan fidgeted more, his hands curling and uncurling into fists.
“Well I just, y-you know, you have to talk to the delivery person and they have to count the change and then you worry if your hands are sweaty or not when you're handing them the money and getting the food and- and yeah.. I just, I can't handle it.” Heidi sighed, before reaching up and running a hand through Evan's hair. He leaned into the touch.
“That's what you're supposed to be working on Evan. Have you been writing those letters to yourself? Dear Evan Hansen, today's going to be a good day, and here's why? Those letters are important honey, they're gonna help you build your confidence.” Evan stopped picking at his feathers for a minute to gesture to his computer, halfway open on his desk. A google doc was opened, and at least two sentences had been typed.
“I started one.”
“Look, I scheduled an appointment with Doctor Sherman for after school today. If I'm lucky, I'll pick you up to take you there.” Evan nodded, deciding not to say anything about the appointment he was supposed to have later on in the week. After a few minutes, Heidi stood, and kissed her son on the forehead.
“Hey, can we try to have an optimistic outlook, huh? Maybe make this the year that we decide, we're not giving up before we've tried, this year, we'll make a new start. Hey, you can go around today and ask the other kids to sign your cast- how about that?” Heidi lamented, beaming at her son, who continued to pick at his wings.
“Perfect.” Heidi turned to leave, looking over her shoulder to smile at him.
“I'm proud of you already.” Evan looked up at her as she shut the door to his room, before looking to his open backpack.
“Oh, good.” The teenage angel began to walk around his room, picking things up that he needed for school and shoving them into his bag. His large wings folded against his back, the white feathers tinting a light blue from the sunlight. Evan grasped at the hem of his pajama shirt, preparing to take it off, but not before his wings started to shrink, just enough to where he could change clothes comfortably. That's how they worked, his and his mother's wings. They couldn't just disappear; as they were part of their bodies, but they could change in size in order to be easily hidden. The wings would become as small as the fake ones used in costumes, except they could fold in and against the owner's back. It was all a simple matter of angel magic, nothing more or less. Evan, being half angel, half human, of course had to be taught these things such as how to hide his wings, as he wasn't born with the knowledge like most angel babies. Like Heidi.
As Evan walked down the stairs of their small home, he noted his mother standing in the kitchen, grabbing her things as well as fixing the two of them some toast. Her halo glinted in the bright fluorescent lights of the kitchen, and as Evan moved to stand near her, the dirty blonde had to point this out to remind his mother.
“M-Mom, your uh, your halo is showing.” Heidi stood straight quickly, her face contorted in confusion, before she looked at her reflection in the glass of the oven.
“Oh! You're right! Sorry sorry, you know I forget when I'm in a rush Ev.” With a wave of her hand over the floating accessory, it was gone. Heidi then quickly stepped over to her son and handed him a sharpie. Evan took it with a small smile, then shoved it into his back pocket. The mother and son pair grabbed their toast and left out the house, locking the door and getting into their car. It wasn't new enough to look as shiny and nice as the other cars, but wasn't old enough to look like they were completely poor. As Heidi backed out the driveway and began down the street, Evan picked at his cast.
“D-Did you, uh, did you remember to put the ointment on the scar?” Evan asked his mother, who nodded.
“Yes Evan, I never forget. If I did, like before, it'll take longer to heal.” Heidi sighed, getting a sad look as she mentioned the last time she forgot. Evan knew the story behind that look, even if he should've been too young to remember. A normal human probably wouldn't have. The ride to school was filled with a silence, save for the rumbling of the car and the cars next to them. Evan stared out the window at the blurry trees and buildings passing by, taking peeks at the bright blue sky. He hadn't flown in a while, at least a month or so, as he was always anxious about being seen. If he was seen, someone would call the police, who would call the government, who would come after him and his mom and they'd be experimented on and-
Evan turned from the window and looked back to his cast. When they pulled up to the school, Heidi leaned over and gave Evan a quick peck on the cheek, smiling at him.
“Have a good day sweetie.” Evan quickly got out of the car, not wanting to dawdle in case he made Heidi late to work. As he began to walk up to the entrance of the high school, he curled in on himself, gripping his backpack tightly in his fist. The blonde made himself smaller, as to not be noticed by the other kids. Not that they'd notice him anyways. Once Evan was inside the school building, he pulled a paper out of his pocket, to check once again which locker was his. He really wished that they didn't have to change lockers every school year, but there wasn't much the anxious teen could do. As Evan made his way down the hall that he was sure his locker was in, he was stopped by an energetic teen he knew all too well.
“Hey Evan! How was your summer? Mine was productive, I did at least ninety internships!” Alana Beck beamed, rocking back and forth on her heels. Evan looked at the girl, her long ebony dreadlocks swaying with each bounce, her black rimmed circle frame glasses nearly sliding off her nose, only to be adjusted with a push of her finger.
“O-Oh, my summer w-was good..”
“Oh gosh! What happened to your arm?” Alana gasped, now seeming to notice the stark white cast that had been covering Evan's arm for the past week. Evan glanced down to it, his nail absentmindedly scratching at it.
“Oh, y-you see, I was climbing a t-tree, and then I fell and-” Alana once again interrupted Evan, not like he minded. He was used to being interrupted by the girl. It was no secret that Alana had ADHD, as she always tended to state that fact with a smile when meeting someone for the first time. Evan simply happened to remember.
“Oh wow, that so sad! My grandma broke her hip getting out of the tub this summer, the beginning of the end the doctors had said. Because then she died.” Evan's eyes widened, shocked by the sudden statement of this information, and just how calmly Alana had managed to state it.
“O-oh, s-sorry..” The two stood there, before Evan gathered up the courage to say something else.
“W-would you like to-”
“Well, have a happy first day!” And with a bounce in her step and a flick of her skirt, the teenage whirlwind known as Alana Beck was gone. Evan blinked twice after processing the event, then sighed, continuing on his way. Of course Alana wouldn't want to sign his cast, she was way too busy. When he came to his locker, he was met with another face that he knew very well.
“How does it feel to be the first person to break their arm from jacking off?” Jared Kleinman spoke with a jeer to his voice, shit eating grin plastered on his face. Evan felt his feathers ruffle, as he visibly flinched. Being half angel, Evan was subject to having negative reactions to unholy situations such as this. But being half human, he could also deal with them. Beginning on using his code to open his combination locker, Evan started on his reply.
“Th-that’s not what happened…” Jared chuckled, leaning his shoulder against the metal wall, raising his hands for dramatic effect.
“I can picture it now, you've got Zoe Murphy's Instagram open on your weird, off brand phone..” Evan opened his locker, before reaching into his backpack to shove a few books inside.
“J-Jared! That's not- I told you, I just, I was climbing a tree, and I f-fell. Besides, I don't, I don't even have-have a crush on Zoe anymore. I haven't s-since last year.” Jared cocked an eyebrow, using his middle and index finger to push his glasses up his nose.
“You fell from a tree? What are you, an acorn?” Evan shut his locker, shifting nervously from one foot to the other as his grip on his backpack tightened once more.
“I-It’s a funny story actually. See, I was an assistant park ranger this summer; I don't want to brag, but I'm sort of an tree expert now, anyway, I was climbing this 40 foot tall tree, and then, the branch just broke and, and I fell.” A confused expression crossed Jared's face, as he looked his friend up and down.
“And that's funny, how…?” Evan chuckled nervously, looking to the floor. The tiles beneath his scuffed gym shoes was mostly clean, but soon to be dirtied by the end of the day from students walking around.
“Well, see the thing is, there was a solid twenty minutes where I was just, laying there, thinking; “someone's gonna come and get me, any minute now.” and, and I just thought that.”
“And did they?”
“Well that's, that's the funny part. No one came.” The two teens were silent for a few beats, before Jared sighed deeply.
“Yeah sure, okay.” The shorter teen turned to leave, but Evan stopped him.
“W-wait, would you like, like to sign my c-cast?” Jared turned back, confusion and amusement playing on his face.
“Why would I do that?” Evan moved to pick at the hem of his shirt, the blue striped polo worn from the many times it had been fidgeted with.
“Be-because we're friends?” Jared let out a bark of laughter, and Evan shrunk back, eyes on the ground, not bothering to make eye contact with his only friend.
“I told you before, we're family friends, there's a difference.” Evan corrected himself in his mind. Ah, yes, family friends. Right. Because who would want to be actual friends with a freak like Evan Hansen? Especially a freak with wings growing from his back. Did Evan mention that, despite them having been friends for 15 years, Jared did not know that Evan was half angel? Must've been a challenge hiding something like that from the Jared Kleinman himself. Evan continued to stare at a spot on the linoleum tiled floor, before Jared spoke up again.
“Hey Connor! Loving the new hair length, very school-shooter chic!” Evan felt his feathers rustle and rile up again, as they usually did in the presence of a possible threat. If Jared had not said anything, Evan's wings might not have rustled at all, because Evan wouldn't have perceived Connor, at that moment, to be a threat. The boy in question, turned to meet Jared's eye, glaring at him. Jared grinned again, though this time it had a bit of fear in it, and he backed up slightly as Connor stepped forwards.
“It was a joke, jeez.” Connor rolled his eyes, glaring harder as he moved even closer.
“Oh, it was funny. I'm laughing, can't you tell? Am I not laughing hard enough for you?” Jared stepped back even more before averting eye contact.
“Freak..” He muttered, before escaping down the hall. Now it was just Evan and Connor. Evan, in an act of nervousness, chuckled slightly. Connor immediately turned on him. Warning lights began going off in Evan's head.
“You fucked up you fucked up you fucked up you fucked up-”
“What are you laughing at? You think that's funny?” Connor growled, stepping towards Evan. The blonde began stuttering his way through an apology, stepping backwards away from the taller boy.
“Nonono I'm not I wasn't-”
“You think I'm a freak?”
“No that's not-”
“I'm not the freak, you're the fucking freak!” Connor’s hands struck out at that moment and shoved Evan, hard. The boy fell onto the ground, wincing in pain as he landed on his arm. Connor had already turned away and was now storming off, students in the halls parting as he went past. Evan remained seated in the hall, tears welling in his eyes as he held his arm. The pain barely registered, it was more so the words that had been said that struck a nerve. Evan was a freak. He was freakier than all the other kids. He was half angel for God's sake. He'd never be normal, he'd never be like anyone else, he'd never-
“Hey, I'm sorry about my brother, he's a psycho, are you alright?” A voice asked from above, and Evan quickly wiped his eyes before looking up to its owner. Zoe Murphy stood above Evan, holding out a hand to help him up. Evan gratefully took it, being hauled up to his feet, before quickly taking his hand away. He was pretty sure it was sweaty.
“O-oh, yeah, n-no I'm f-fine..” Evan stuttered, picking at his cast. Zoe smiled at him, she had such a nice smile.
“You're, it's Evan, right?” Evan blinked at her, quickly looking around himself before focusing back on her.
“E-Evan?” Zoe got a confused look on her face, nodding slowly.
“Yeah, your name is Evan Hansen, correct?” Evan felt his wings ruffle under his shirt, and his cheeks flushed red as he realized what he did.
“O-oh! Y-yeah, it's, I'm Evan Hansen. Sorry.”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“It's just that, you said my name and I repeated it and I know that's annoying when people do that and I'm annoying so, sorry..” Zoe giggled, and smiled at him again.
“I'm Zoe.” Evan nodded, his eyes darting around before landing on her once again.
“N-no, yeah, I know.”
“You know?” He immediately realized how creepy that must have sounded, and rushed to correct himself.
“Y-yeah it's just, you're in Jazz Band and I've seen like, one of your concerts and you're really good, like I like jazz well not all jazz but most jazz, definitely jazz band jazz, You know?” Evan flinched as he took note that he sounded even dumber than he had before, and if he didn't scare her off then, he definitely would now.
“Yeah.. Well, I'm sorry about my brother, once again. Have a good day Evan!” Zoe waved and walked off, bounce in her step. Evan waved back, and it wasn't until a few seconds later that he realized he'd missed the opportunity to ask her to sign his cast. Dammit.
“Shit, I'm sorry honey, I know I was supposed to pick you up, but see, Jenny called in sick and I volunteered to take her shift, because they called budget cuts this morning and I wanted to, you know, do anything I can to show that I'm a team player..” Heidi rambled through the phone, Evan nodding along as he printed his letter out and placed it into his bag.
“It's okay, I can walk. Or, fly.” He could hear Heidi shuffling along on the other end, presumably pacing.
“Yeah, okay um, if you do fly just, remember the rules, above the clouds, and take off in a secluded area, and be safe. I'll be home really late tonight. If you get hungry, we've got those Trader Joe Dumplings in the freezer.” Evan hummed in agreement, exiting the computer lab and heading towards the closest exit doors.
“Shit, I've got to go honey, I'll talk to you later, okay? Love you.” The call hung up before Evan could even reply back.
“Love you too..” He ended up muttering into the blank phone, sighing as he shoved it in his pocket. Walking into the cool breeze of the outside area, Evan began to trek over to the nearby patch of trees and forested area behind the school. He usually came here when he needed to stretch his wings or just be alone, and even to take off on the days that he did decide to fly. As soon as he was surrounded by trees, the blonde boy carefully looked around him to make sure he hadn't been followed, before sliding his backpack off. He opened it and pulled out a special shirt his mom had made for him whenever he wanted to stretch his wings. It looked just like his other polo shirts, but it had slits in the back, so his wings could fit through, of course. Removing his regular polo and sliding on the second one, Evan stretched his arms over his head, preparing to grow his wings back out. The boy sighed as he felt his back muscles pop, and then shook his body a bit to get rid of the tension. Slowly, but not too slow, Evan's wings began to grow back out, easily fitting through the slits in his shirt and extending to their full length. Evan's wings were fairly big, just a tad bit bigger than his mother's, seeing as he was male. They were about as long as the arm length of two full grown men, and half as large as his body. The white feathers shimmered in the stray rays of sunlight that crept through the tree canopy, and Evan sighed in relief. It wasn't that hard to keep his wings small, but it was tiring most of the time, and he just felt so relieved when he could stretch them back to full length. Evan and Heidi could always walk around the house with their wings out, as all the windows were one way. They could see outside, but nobody could see in. Back to the present, Evan gave his wings a few test flaps, to make sure they were in working condition, before folding them against his back and turning to pick up his backpack. Just then, Evan heard two words that made him freeze, and his blood run cold.
“Holy. Shit.” The blonde slowly turned, his sky blue eyes locking onto the figure that stood a few feet away from Evan, between the trees. Connor Murphy stood slack jawed in place, hands tightly gripped onto the strap of his messenger bag. The two teens stood in a staring contest for what seemed like forever, one with eyes full of pure fear, and one with eyes full of pure shock and wonder.
Evan, of course, screamed first.