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Love Is To Die, Love Is To Not Die

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Everyone knows those days when nothing seems to be going right. You wake up tired, have barely time to finish your morning coffee and the picture in the mirror doesn't please you in the slightest. The day goes on and does anything but get better. Your friends annoy you, food is bad and you just have to keep smiling, because you've clearly chosen the wrong kind of career. Everything is just shit, to put it bluntly. Absolutely infuriating.

Luke was having one of those days. He had woken up to find he had fucking zero clean underwear left, and went to borrow some of Ashton's just to get pretty much shouted straight at his face. Mornings weren't their forte, but Ashton fucking knew they were Luke's the least. Calum wasn't feeling it for Luke either, said he should finally learn to do his own laundry with a smartass face that got Luke boiling, and Luke didn't even bother going for Michael. He had come to terms with the fact that Michael's goal in life was to humiliate and annoy Luke to death, which he was getting pretty good at since lately Luke felt Michael was pretty much stealing the air he breathed. He was everywhere, even when he was nowhere to be seen. So, Luke had to settle with the dirty boxers, feeling his crotch itch the whole fucking day of interviews and having to deal with three cheeky faces constantly reminding him about the fact.

He had had these days a lot recently, days when he would sulk in a corner and snap at everyone who dared to approach him. Something was always off. He missed his family, was too tired or couldn't sing worth a fuck. Mostly it was one certain Michael Gordon Clifford that drove him on the verge of slashing someone's throat open. Luke was slowly losing his mind, living on the edge all the time.

Right now, it was his phone that threatened the balance of his mental health. He was sitting in their backstage room after another show he had fucked up, forgetting the lyrics during She's Kinda Hot, which was purely incredible and impossible. The boys had left him alone, practically scattering out of the room as they saw the silent rage he was in. So, there he was alone, still in his itching underwear, writing a message to his mum and had typed the word Pittsburgh incorrectly for five times already. Five fucking times. Luke filled his lungs with air and closed his eyes for a moment, before attempting to add the missing letter T. His thumb, however, had landed somewhere in the middle of the word seeing and Luke was done. He lost it. Burning rage flashed in his chest and before he knew, he had jumped up and hurled his phone straight into the opposite wall.

"FUCK!" he screamed. He watched the phone crash against the wall, heard the shattering of the screen and hollow thump as it hit the floor. He stared for a second, then kicked the couch with his right foot, his toes colliding with hard wood and just. "FUCK!"

His toes throbbed in pain, chest heaved and hands shook. It felt good, the pain. It brought him satisfaction, he deserved it for smashing his phone and acting like such a basket case. He deserved it for letting Michael mess with his head and not being able to sleep without waking up in the middle of night with his best friend's name on his lips, sheets tangled and hand down in his pants. He deserved this, so he kicked the couch again, the pain or rage bringing tears to his eyes and screamed "FUCK!" again, because he couldn't find any other words. "FUCK! FUCK!"

He pulled his arm back, this time aiming for the wall, when the door flew open. Luke startled and halted. Of course, it was none other than Michael, because he was always everywhere and never where he supposed to be, which was as far away form Luke as possible for starters. He looked shocked, eyes wide and black hair sticking out wet freshly after shower. For some reason, that made Luke want to scream even more. Why did Michael have to be the one to walk in right now, and why in the hell he wasn't wearing any shirt?!

"What happened?" Michael asked, a bit of out of breathe. He looked frantically around in the room, trying to find the cause for Luke's acting. "Are you okay?"

Luke's chest was pumping furiously for air, fists clenched together and face flushed. He should calm himself down, say he was okay and walk away from the scene, but he was too far gone. His whole body trembled, blood was rushing through his ears and he wanted to hit something so bad. "NO I'M NOT OKAY!" he yelled, startling Michael. "I can't even type one fucking text message with this fucking piece of shit without fucking it up too!" he gestured towards his abandoned phone in the corner of the room. "And now it's broken and I cannot text my mum back and she's waiting for my answer and--FUCK!" Luke kicked the couch again, tears rushing to his eyes as the pain shoot up the leg. In the back of his mind he knew he was ridiculous, but he couldn't make himself care.

"Woah, Luke", Michael took one step back, eyes widening. "Let's calm down a bit, okay? "

"I CAN'T" Luke span around to face Michael properly. "I fucking can't calm down, okay? I just fucked up on stage, for like millionth time in this last month and I can't even--and I'm... I'm still wearing my dirty underwear and you all think it's funny and I fucking hate it, I fucking hate this, " Luke was blinded by this sudden outburst, he couldn't find the words he wanted and Michael just stood there looking like a fallen angel. Hot flames flared inside him, his vision was getting blurred and he hysterical. "I fucking hate you!"

Michael's lips parted slightly, eyes flew even wider and hurt flashed on his face. "What? No you don't. I.. I can get you clean underwear, Luke."

It was a bit hilarious how he thought this was still about the underwear. Luke scoffed.

" But you need to calm down first, I'm serious."

But he couldn't. He was bursting with bottled feelings and Michael stepped carefully forward, hands up as if to show he wasn't going to hurt him. Luke must had looked like a maniac and to be honest, he felt like one.

"Luke, look at me", Michael talked slowly, as if he was a fucking retard. He looked so confused, his bare chest still moist with water, shorts hanging low on his hips. Luke turned away, chest aching, mouth getting dry.

"No", Luke's voice was a strangled whisper. He heard his heart beating furiously in his chest, tears burning behind his eyes, and it was too much. He pulled his arm back and smashed his fist into the wall and---

"What the fuck, Luke!?" Michael was suddenly behind him, grabbing his arms and pinning them against his sides, trying to pull him against his chest. "Stop this, you need to fucking stop this!"

"No, get off me!" Luke screamed. His knuckles were on fire, pain throbbing hot and Michael was touching him. Didn't he get it? "I hate you! I FUCKING HATE YOU!"

But Michael didn't let go of Luke, he tightened his grip as Luke struggled against his arms and panted. He needed to get away from Michael. His touch burned worse than the pain in his hand or toes, the smell of his deodorant blocking Luke's nostrils and making his stomach flip. He wanted to melt into the boy, into his warm, bare chest, but he knew he never would. It was like someone was stabbing his heart and he hated Michael for it. "I HATE YOU!"

Michael didn't move.

"I FUCKING HATE YOU!"

Nothing.

"Go away from me, IFUCKINGHATEYOU!"

Michael's arms loosened the grip all of the sudden, and Luke dashed further, spinning around, nearly losing his balance as he faced Michael. He should run away, out of the building, into the night and just disappear, but he he was rooted to the floor. Michael looked so beautiful. So hurt, but beautiful. His green eyes were dark, unanswered questions dancing in them. His lips were bitten and skin pale. His bare chest was rising with heated breaths, anger drawn into his features. It was Luke's fault.

"Fine!" Michael said loudly, looking straight at Luke. "Go ahead then! Hate me! Smack your other fist into the fucking wall, maybe you manage to actually break it this time, I'm not gonna stop you. I don't care! Just tell me, what the fuck has gotten into you? You've been on the edge the past month or so and now you're, you're..."Michael gestured towards Luke and shook his head. "You're a wreck, you scare me. This is not like you. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

It was like someone had closed Luke's airways, the world was spinning around him.

"Fucking answer me, Luke."

His ears were roaring, head pounding.

"Do you actually hate me?" Michal's voice was withered, small.

Luke swore he heard his own heart shattering into pieces.

"Why would you hate me?"

And that was it. This is how it all would end. He was too tired, the game was lost anyway. "Because I love you", it came out smaller than a whisper, lingered in the silence that only Luke's heartbeat broke.

"What?"

"Because I FUCKING LOVE YOU!" Luke screamed. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't see. The walls were closing in on him and he was petrified on his feet. Someone was clenching his heart, tying an iron wire around his chest. His lungs begged for air, chest pumped for it. Neither of them got it.

He was gonna suffocate. Oh my God. And Michael wouldn't do anything because he hated him now, was too disgusted to help and---

Suddenly there were hands on his shoulders, pushing him gently down on the couch. Luke wanted to protest, scream no no no , but his voice was gone and vision blurred with black spots. Michael's pale face was hovering over him, lips moving, but Luke couldn't register his words. He only heard the ringing of his ears and the drumming of his heart.He felt like drowning.

Fingers grabbed him by his chin, firm but gentle, and forced his head up. The green eyes he was faced with were beautiful, but there was fierce panic in them and Luke didn't like them panicked. The plump lips were still talking and Luke tried to focus, he really did. Then, out of nowhere, he felt sharp pain on his cheek, his lungs reacted by gasping for air and his ears plopped.

"-uke! Luke!" Michael's hand went softly back on his cheek, trying to make up for the slap. "Luke. Breathe with me, okay? Breath. In and out, yeah?"

Luke was wheezing, he could hear it now. The rhythm was erratic, out of pace.

"In and out", Michael's voice was calm and soft, almost melodic. His hand was warm on his cheek. "Just like that."

And Luke breathed. Air filled his lungs, oxygen finding his suffering cells again and his body went powerless. Luke's forehead dropped against Michael's shoulder. Relief washed over him and his back was shaken by violent sobs. Of course Michael would help him, what was he thinking? He was so relieved, the words finally out of his chest, but he felt a little like dying. He had ruined everything. Everything

Michal's fingers massaged his scalp, rubbed his back and then pulled him into a tight hug. Luke didn't deserve this. He felt embarrassed suddenly, for acting like a crazy one and then admitting his feelings in the middle of the scene he had caused and now crying like a little baby after the obvious, and first, panic attack he had ever had. He was just about to start frantically apologising, when Michael said something that made his heart stop dead and born again at the same time.

"You remember when I hated you in year nine?"his voice was softer than ever, fingers finding Luke's hurt knuckles and thumb carefully running over them. "I really loved you. I still do."