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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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3. Miserable At Best

   You're all I hoped to find  In every single way 

And everything I could give  

Is everything you couldn't take  

Cause nothing feels like home 

You're a thousand miles away 

And the hardest part of living 

Is taking breaths to stay  

 

 For the first time in a while, he's writing a song. He can never get enough inspiration, never enough fuel. He has some now.

  Red hair. Gray-green eyes. Red against his skin

. It's finished in minutes. 

"You wrote this?" Andrew asks, dark eyes scanning over the paper.

Nate nods. "Yeah."

 "It's... good." 

He has the feeling Andrew was going to say something else.

  "Yeah?"

"Yeah. It's... powerful."  

"I don't have a name for it."

 "Okay." 

That's the end of their conversation for the night.

 He shows Sandra that evening.  She takes it, reads it.

"It's kind of lame."

  He stares at her.

"What?" 

"It kind of sucks."

 He isn't accustomed to people telling him it sucks. A quick, irrational anger rises in him. This is his music. No one can insult it.

  "It... sucks." 

"Yeah. I mean, head and blood don't even rhyme." 

"It doesn't need to rhyme." 

"Doesn't it."  He decides her tone is aggressive. 

"It doesn't!" 

"Uh-huh." 

"And I suppose you could do better?"  

She looks up from her book, gray eyes still slightly unfocused.

"Maybe."

"Maybe? You either know or you don't."

  "Well then I don't!" Her voice is rising.

He takes comfort in it. Maybe it's strange he finds her anger relieving.  

"You can't just judge my music! What do you know lyrics!" 

"I know enough to know these are bad ones!" 

When he replies, he's smiling. 

He likes (loves) her when she's angry. 

*

Sandra is worried about Nate. 

She doesn't show it. She's careful not to show much of anything around him. He's quieter lately, withdrawn. And his eyes. His eyes (that she loves) that are normally sky blue are darker, almost navy. She hates them like that.

It means he's sad. 

And then she finds blood in the bathroom. On the counter, a drop. She knows right away it's Nate's. She isn't sure how, but she knows. How it got there, she doesn't know. 

"Nate," she calls, staring at the dried scarlet. 

"Yeah?"

 "Can you come here."

It isn't a question. 

He appears in the doorway, wearing what she calls his 'fake smile'. 

"What's up, sweetheart?" 

Slowly, she points at the blood. His face pales.

  "What is that?"  Almost immediately his fake smile is back on.

"Don't know. Looks like jelly, maybe." 

"I think," she begins, watching his face carefully. "That it looks like blood." 

His face definetly pales this time. 

"I cut myself. On the mirror." 

He's lying (to himself).

" Tell me the truth."

 "I don't-" 

"Nate," she cuts him off.

"Show me." 

He tries one last time. "Show you what?" 

"Show me now."

 "I don't know what you're talking about."

  She marches forward and picks up his wrists. Fear shows in his eyes (they're navy). 

"Sandra, don't-" 

She yanks back the cloth. There on his wrist is half healed cut, the crescents of fingernails obvious in it's making. 

"Nate," she breaths. She lets his arms drop and hugs him tightly. 

"I'm sorry-"

  "Shh. You have nothing to be sorry for. Absolutely nothing." 

"But I-" 

She kisses him.  "No. Promise me you'll never, ever do that again." 

He draws in a shaky breath.

 "I don't think I can." 

 

Those five words make her heart nearly break.  "Please. For me."

He squeezes his eyes shut.  "For you," he whispers.

  "Yes." 

She leads him to the bedroom, lays him on the bed.

" It's late, Nate. Go to sleep."  

He's snoring within minutes. 

She picks up his wrist, staring at the red mark and wondering how anyone could do that to themselves. She kisses it softly before letting his hand fall back onto the mattress. 

"I love you," she murmurs before standing up and leaving him sleeping, oblivious to what she had just said.

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