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And they will try to stay away from each other (and fail every time) because what they have is dangerous, shaky. One wrong word and everything will collapse. They are time bombs, ticking closer to each other until they explode and make the world fall into place.
a Nate Ruess fanfiction.
Warning: self-harm

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2. Helpless When She Smiles

I'm a house of cards in a hurricane  

A reckless fire in the pouring rain  

She cuts me and the pain is all I wanna feel  

She'll dance away just like a child  

She drives me crazy, drives me wild 

But I'm helpless when she smiles    

It's raining. 

Nate is walking with his head down, shivering slightly. People shove by him, umbrellas open and coats buttoned to their chins, hair plastered to their foreheads. For some reason he decided not to take to subway (it was like something was telling him not to) and instead opts to walk to his apartment. He doesn't dare look up, afraid he'll recognize someone and be forced partake in hours of meaningless conversation.  

He's sort of afraid of people in general. 

Since he's busy looking at the pavement, he doesn't watch where he's going and runs into someone.  

"Watch what you're doing - Nate?"

 That voice... he looks up. Gray green eyes. 

"Sandra?"  She frowns.

"Um... hi."

He chuckles and his eyes widen. For some reason laughing is a new emotion to him (he doesn't laugh much). 

"Hi. Do you, ah, wanna grab a drink?" She eyes him. 

"Actually, I need to get home... walk me?"

He wants to say no, that he's busy, but his lips form the word yes. He turns the opposite direction he was going and they walk. 

"So... how you've been?"

He shrugs.  "The same." 

Her hand finds his and the same electricity races through him.  

"Oh."

They're silent. It isn't as crowded on the streets as before and they turn onto a street that's almost an alley. 

"Where I live," is Sandra's explanation. They get to the door. She faces him.

"Well.... I suppose I'll see you around."

  He nods, and just when he thinks they'll get through this meeting without anything happening, he crashes his lips to hers. She kisses him back, and he slams her against the wall, pinning her into place. They're faces are both wet from rain and he presses closer to her, seeking her warmth. That feeling belonging, of utter rightness comes back. He realizes he's missed it (missed her). Her long red hair is tangled, but he still runs his fingers through it.  He pulls back and suddenly they're laughing, laughing hysterically.  

"I ... still hate you," she gasps. "You're a childish ass."

 "And you're still a cold hearted bitch," he tells her, but he's smiling. She laughs, takes his hand and leads him up to her apartment.

  *

All they do is fight. 

Endlessly, unceasingly.  It drives both Jack and Andrew crazy. 

Nate thinks that, for some reason, fighting is what's normal for them. If they stopped, actually talked, secrets would come out and he would have to tell the truth (he's scared) so he hides behind scathing words and snide remarks. 

He's alone. 

Jack and Andrew are out and Sandra is at her work.  

He stands in the bathroom, feeling suffocated. He doesn't know why.    

Be calm, he chants in his head, but it doesn't work. His thoughts are disorganized, crazy, pieces of something else. He stares at himself in the mirror. 

Brown hair, red rimmed blue eyes. He stares, watches as tears fall down his cheeks. He can't think, can't move, can't breath. He can hear his heartbeat in his ears, can feel his shirt against his arms

. Slowly, he raises his wrist, pinching the skin there. Harder, harder. The pain is good, though. It clears his mind, and soon rationality returns.  Blood beads on his skin. He stares at it. He did that to himself. Why, he doesn't know (maybe because he wanted to end).  

"Nate? I'm back!" 

"Be there in a minute," he replies.

  "God, you always take forever," Sandra groans. Inside, Nate smiles. 

"You take for fucking ever!"

 "I'm a girl! I have every right to take forever!" 

"Well that's sexist." He can hear the smile in his voice.

  "Shut the fuck up."

She's normality, the one thing that stops him from stopping himself (from living).

He opens the door, steps out. 

"Hey, Sandra." 

"Hey, Nate. Finally."  He laughs, and she stares at him.

 "What?" He shakes his sleeve over the mark on his wrist. 

"Nothing."  

"Are you okay?"  

The fabric sticks to his skin from the blood.  

"Yeah," he tells her. "I'm fine." 

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