It’s a week before he can even look Jared in the eye.
A week of walking past him in school, a week of intense loneliness Evan never thought was possible. The weight of- of everything settles on his shoulders.
The night after he’d sat down with his mom, he had slept like the dead. There was relief flooding through him at having told the truth, but a sadness was behind it that he had no idea how to get around.
Evan Hansen had made a lot of mistakes. That was an understatement.
Him and his mother had openly talked about it, but forgiveness was, by comparison, a silent promise in the air that evening. She was his mom. It was easy for her anger to melt away. Though, their relationship had far to come - it hadn’t been good for a long while.
It wouldn't be simple. But Evan knew this would be even harder.
Because friends had no obligation to forgive and forget.
He strode up to Jared’s house, and rang the doorbell.
Were they even friends? Could they be called that anymore? Or ever? Suddenly the spot of determination that had gotten him here scattered to the breeze. Panic thrashed in his gut. The clouds above raced as fast as his thoughts; it was going to storm today.
Oh, god. What if it’s weird to be here, ringing his doorbell? Should I have just called? Or at least texted a warning I’m coming? Would he even have responded? What if he deleted my contact and thought some stranger texted him? I am a stranger, aren’t I?
Evan backed away from the doorway, mortified. He’s not going to answer at all, is he? I know he’s home, he’s always home, but he’s just going to leave me standing out here? Maybe that’s only fair-
The door swung open. He blinked, furiously willing away the pressure behind his eyes. It was - “Jared!” Evan blurted out, then immediately regretted it. His voice had squeaked in what sounded like surprise. Which was stupid, because he had come here in the first place. Unprompted. And judging from Jared’s expression, unwanted. His mouth was drawn in a thin line and he narrowed his eyes at Evan.
“U- um.” Evan sputtered. “Are, are your parents home?” He wanted to smack himself. What did it matter? It was just, that his mind had blanked on what to say (had he come here knowing what to say?) and it had taken an awful long time for Jared to come down, surely his parents would have answered the door if they were around?
That would make the decision of turning away and not doing this at all a whole lot easier. And Evan wouldn’t be feeling pinned down by his only friend’s gaze.
Jared wanted to be mad at Evan, and the question made it ridiculously easy for him. “No. They’re not.” He let some bitterness escape into his voice. “They never are. But that’s not something you’d know, is it?”
Evan looked shocked. He blinked rapidly again, and Jared sagged a bit. It was hard to stay mad at him. To say things he knew would hurt more than any foul words he could think of. He turned slightly, opening the way into his house. Because yes, it was hard, but he wasn’t done speaking his truth today. Not by a fucking long shot.
When Evan just stood there, he grumbled over his shoulder as he walked away. “Come on.”
Evan yelped a bit and scrambled in after him, closing the door.
He led the way up to his room, because during the rare times Evan did come over, the two of them always hung out in there. And Jared didn’t exactly feel like offering refreshments.
Evan was completely quiet until he had closed the door behind them. Which, other than the silent treatment between them lately, was a bit strange for him. He figured Evan would have started rambling by now.
“L-look, Jared, um..” There it was. Jared waited not-so-patiently for him to get out whatever he had to say. “I know you’re probably wondering why I’m here, and also why, well, why I wasn’t talking to you this week-”
“Actually, no.” He interrupted flatly.
“You have been consistently ignoring me ever since the Murphys ‘adopted’ you. So you acting like I don’t exist is entirely par for the fucking course.”
Evan looked away, eyes darting anywhere but Jared’s face. “That’s.. That’s why I’m here - I need to apologize.”
Jared gawked at him. “Apologize?” He echoed.
“Yeah.. yes.” Evan looked at him for a second before settling his gaze on the hem of his shirt, which he was rapidly fiddling between his fingers. “Jared, I am- I am so sorry for..”
Fury hurtled up through him like bile as Evan trailed off.
“For what Evan? Huh? Do you even know what the hell you did wrong? Or are you just here because your -” He angrily threw his hand up. “- shrink assigned you an apology??”
“You don’t understand what it’s like to be invisible!” Evan shouted. He immediately opened and closed his mouth, as if he hadn’t meant to say that.
“Are you serious?! ‘I don’t know what it’s like’? I’m - I’m invisible to everyone.” Jared’s voice had risen and then fallen again with those last words. Despair cracked to the surface.
“People at school.. At camp.. My parents.. Even to you.” Jared looked up, seeing Evan’s shattered expression through his own tears. Fuck.
“That’s-” Evan choked out, his voice a whisper. “That’s not true.”
Jared stormed forward, until him and Evan were almost toe to toe. “Yes it is Evan! Tell me one thing you know about me. One!” He shrilled. “When’s my birthday?”
“I-” Evan didn’t even try to stumble his way through a lie of an answer. For once. It sent a deep spike of pain through him. He had already known.. But it still fucking hurt to see playing out in front of him. “It’s, it’s not like you know anything about me..!” Evan finally said, fists curled.
“I don’t know anything about you?” Jared’s voice was suddenly, deadly calm. He turned and walked a few steps away from him.
Evan really had no idea, did he? Feeling unseen was something that went around here.
“Evan Hansen. Born March 2nd, 18 years ago, son of Mark and Heidi Hansen.” He heard Evan take a sharp breath. Maybe at the mention of his father and namesake. Jared turned slightly back towards him, his body at an angle. “Evan, who’s been seeing a therapist ever since 8th grade and started taking meds for his anxiety freshman year. Who’s favorite color is green, not blue, because he associates it with trees and summer. Who’s favorite animal is dolphins, because they’re just so damn carefree and he wishes he could be like them.” Jared finally faced him. “Evan, who loves the distant, cold stars for no other reason than they’re beautiful.”
Tears were silently slipping down Evan’s face. Jared had barely been holding his own back. But now his voice grew stronger. “Don’t say I don’t know you. Don’t even try.”
Evan met his gaze, face scrawled with intense emotion. For once, Jared was known. He felt transparent to his best friend, because he had said what he had truly wanted to.
Suddenly Evan was wrapping his arms around him before he could protest. It was so out of character, Jared didn’t move for a second. But then he gently hugged him back and sighed a bit.
Jared couldn’t help but think, Thank god he came back. Thank god he’s in my arms..
Forgiveness would come with time. But he was willing to try.