Afire Love

Based off of Afire Love by Ed Sheeran

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1. Afire Love (M.C)

“I miss you,” Michael sighs, eyes fixated on the laptop screen before him as his fingers run through his hair. It’s green now. Bright green. Just a tiny bit obnoxious. People stare at him when he walks by them. Too bad he didn’t give a fuck about what they thought about him.

“Your hair looks like grass through Skype,” she says in response, a little giggle sprouting out from her lips at the annoyed stare that Michael gives her.

 

“You’re such an asshole,” he blinks his bright eyes, shooting her another flat stare.

 

Y/N laughs lightly again, “I miss you, too, Mikey.” Her voice gets quieter then, and her eyes cast themselves away from where they’re looking at him – through the webcam. “So much more than I could ever put into words, because no words or phrase will be able to describe how much I miss you.”

 

Michael has to swallow the forming lump in his throat. Because if he starts crying, he’s not going to be able to stop until he’s with her and he’s holding her in his arms and he’s kissing her and hugging her and vowing to never let go. He doesn’t even care how whipped that makes him out to be. He can’t find it in himself to give a fuck anymore. Y/N’s the most important person in his life (besides his parents and the boys, of course) and though he reserves the soft and (kinda) romantic side of him for when they’re alone, Michael knows that he’s really fucking whipped for this girl.

 

It’s been, what? A year? A year and a half?

 

They don’t even keep track of how long they’ve been together, mostly because their relationship had evolved from a best-friendship to a romantic relationship. It was so easy and so simple that they sometimes forgot that they were actually together and could kiss and… do… other things…

And they didn’t have to stop themselves from wanting to just up and grab the other person to randomly start snogging them because they could actually do that.

 

They had their fights, of course they had their fights. Every couple did. But they never let the other go to bed angry. Michael’s in the wrong? He’ll let go of his pride for a moment and apologise. Make sure that she’s not upset before she goes to sleep. Y/N’s in the wrong? She’ll let go of her pride and apologise. Also make sure that he’s not going to sleep unhappy.

 

It’s a bit harder for her, though. Simply because Michael’s a bit of a stubborn little shit. He also gets hurt quite easily, contrary to how he portrays himself to other people – that he’s this guy in this band that is the most badass and couldn’t care any less if you hated him. Truth was: he wasn’t the person he makes himself out to be.

 

She’s the only one who knows him. Really knows him. She’s the only one who can convince him that whatever those knob heads are saying isn’t true. She’s the only one who can make him smile after he’s had a particularly shit day. She’s the love of his life, and he’s pretty sure he’s going to end up marrying her one day. Maybe they’ll break up in the future. If they do, he knows that they’ll eventually find their way back to each other. Because that’s how it’s meant to be.

 

Y/N is his everything. She’s his heaven, his haven, his entire heart. The key to his lock. The missing piece to his picture puzzle. The soldier to the war. The ship to his shore. His everything.

 

Michael’s gaze snaps back to the laptop screen as he sees a lone tear trickling down her cheek. God, he hated it when she cried. She wasn’t a crier. She’d shed more tears whilst laughing than she had whilst upset. And seeing her cry, while he was at the other end of the world… That hurt more than any physical pain could ever be inflicted upon him.

 

“Please don’t cry,” he says softly and she looks at him, pulling a small smile on her perfect, perfect lips.

 

“Who says I’m crying over you?” She jokes and the green-haired guitarist manages a soft laugh, shaking his head in amusement. “M'reading The Fault In Our Stars. Don’t flatter yourself, yeah?”

 

Michael only laughs more, sniffling and rubbing at his eyes. She’s lying about reading the book. He knows this because he can see it, on her bedside table – she’s sat on the bed – and it’s been there since the call started. She’s just trying to make him feel better. She was always putting other people (and their emotions) before herself, because that was just what she was like.

 

“I’ll be back soon,” he says eventually, looking at her. He’s not smiling, because he doesn’t have energy to smile. She’s smiling though and that little adorable smile makes butterflies moths go crazy in his gut. Moths are manlier than butterflies, right?

 

“Moths are creepy as fuck,” she says and he startles, blinking a couple of times.

 

“I said that out loud, didn’t I?”

 

She breathes a soft chuckle in response, nodding and shrugging a shoulder. Michael groans, his hands going to his face as he shakes his head at himself.“S'alright, love,” she says simply, a tinge of humour in her tone. Then her head turns to the side and he can hear someone calling her name. She turns back to him and he’s already smiling sadly at her. “Sorry.”

 

“It’s okay,” he waves her apology off. “Tell whoever it is I said hi. Even if they don’t know who I am.”

 

“What if I’ve made a new friend while you were away?”

 

“Guy or girl?”

 

“Guy.”

 

“I’m going to ripoff Alex Gaskarth’s pullover design. You know, the Property of AWG thing? Yeah, I’m going to take away AWG and put MGC or maybe even spell my full name out because fucking hell, MGC isn’t a nice initial.”

 

“MGC kind of reminds me of that, um, lion thing? At the beginning of a film? The MGM thingy.”

 

“Hey, that could actually work in my favour. Then it’ll be like; hey, mate, piss off my girlfriend. Y/N is mine. And I am also a lion, so basically, fuck you,” Michael says in a thoughtful tone, hand on his chin. At her soft giggle and the words “oh God,”escaping her lips, he’s darting his eyes back to her with a magnificent smile along his pink lips. “I love you. A whole lot.”

 

“I love you, too. A hella lot.”

 

 

If you were to ask Michael Clifford what happened within the last six hours, he wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer. He’d just sit there, in complete silence, with a dazed look in his eyes – because that’s what he is. He’s so dazed and everything that’s happened is blurred. And it’s not in a good way, either.

 

They had a week off, so all four boys decided to fly back home because they missed the people they’d left behind. They’d been spending so much time everywhere else except at home, so it made sense that they wanted to go home and chill for a bit. They’d begged for a proper week off, in which they wouldn’t have to do interviews or radio shows. It was mostly for Michael’s benefit, because they felt upset seeing him so glum. Michael didn’t intentionally try to make everyone else around him feel bad, he just couldn’t help it. He missed her so much and video calls and text messages weren’t the same at all.

 

The green-haired guitarist was so excited to go home. He couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop smiling. Kept texting his girlfriend, too. Said he really wanted her to come to the airport (although she was already planning on picking him up) because he missed her so much that it started to literally pain him.

 

Michael alighted the plane with his boys, all of them tired but happy. His eyes scanned the crowd of fans that had come to welcome him home. He really wanted to see her, but he also wanted to stay and sign some stuff and take pictures for the fans, too. He couldn’t see her in the crowd so he assumed that maybe she was stuck in traffic. He signed things, he took pictures, he made casual conversation with the fans there – as did the other three band members do the same.

 

Then he saw his mother and he broke out into a huge grin. Only, it slowly slid off of his face as he took in his mother’s distraught face. Her eyes were red, like she’d been crying, and it wasn’t because she was happy her son was home. Those weren’t happy tears.

 

His mother tells him that Y/N’s been in an accident. Some fucking drunk asshole (it’s not even ten at night???) had rear ended her. That shot the car forward, and a fucking truck had hit her in the side. Drivers’ side. And Michael felt his heart break into a million tiny pieces before it slid through the slots of his ribcage. Then he was dashing to his mother’s car, demanding for her to get him to the hospital at that exact moment.

 

Which leads to how he’s sat in the uncomfortable plastic chair in the waiting room in the emergency room. He’s not alone, either. Ashton’s got his arm around the younger, assuring him that things would be okay. Calum’s on his other side, body leant forward as he leans his elbows on his thighs. Luke’s on the floor, half of his back against Calum’s chair and the other half against Michael’s leg. That’s his way of comforting people. Physical contact. Michael’s fine with it. He’d rather them having bits of physical contact with him, instead of having to convince himself that they’re okay, that they’re not hurt, that they really exist.

 

“Michael,” his mother’s gentle tone brings him out of his thoughts, and he looks up – eyes glassy and mouth slightly agape. “The doctors say you can go in.”

 

He’s out of his seat faster than imaginable. The hospital had a policy of only two people in the room at one go. Y/N’s parents wanted to let him go in, but he insisted that they go in first. So they did. And now they were going to the cafeteria, to get coffees or something, and he was going to go in and see her. Finally.

 

The boy’s heart breaks even more as he takes in the sight before him. She’s bruised, with tubes in her body, a cast on her arm and leg, and a bandage around her head. It hurts to see her like this. He doesn’t like it. At all. He wants her to be okay. Be normal. Be not bruised. Be cast-less and bandage-less and tube-less.

 

Again, it’s like everything it a blur. He finds himself sat at the side of her bed, holding one of her hands in his own – fingers intertwined and he’s holding tightly because he just wants her to hold his hand back but she can’t because she’s not awake and he’s scared that she won’t ever wake up; even though he’s telling himself to stop thinking like that.

 

Movement against his fingers make his head snap up. His stained glass eyes are staring straight at her, wide and alert; filled with hope. He squeezes her hand again, slowly getting off of his chair so that he’s leaning slightly over her.

 

“Y/N?” He coos softly, his free hand going to her cheek, brushing the gentlest of shapes on her skin. “Baby, wake up.”

 

Her eyes flutter open slowly and they’re blurry, rimmed red from the medicine she’d been given. They’re watery, too, and though it looks like she’s about to cry at any given moment, Michael can’t help the smile that comes to his lips. “Oh my God, you’re okay,” he says under his breath. “You’re okay, you’re okay, thank fuck you’re okay.”

 

She doesn’t say anything. Just looks at him, with a little frown on her face. Michael thinks it’s because he looks a bit crazy. His hair’s a mess, he’s crying and he also probably smells, and he’s spluttering the words “you’re okay” over and over again, but he can’t seem to stop because she’s okay.

 

“Does anything hurt?” He asks, because if something hurts then he’ll call the doctors in now. If not, then he’s going to be selfish and keep her to himself for another minute or so, before he calls the doctors.

 

She shakes her head, but she's still looking at him with that little frown. He manages a smile (granted, it’s not that hard to smile now that she’s awake), “What is it, babe?”

“Who are you?”

 

Things were all good yesterday

And then the devil took your memory

 

 

I heard the doctors put your chest in pain

But then that could’ve been the medicine

And now you’re lying in the bed again

Either way I’ll cry with the rest of them

 

“This isn’t fucking fair!” Michael yells, thrashing his arms about and then swinging towards a wall. He’s about to punch the wall, release all his anger, but another hand tugs him away. It’s a stronger arm, and since his mother and father are comforting her parents somewhere else, he knows it’s Ashton. Damn him and his bloody muscly arms from drumming.

 

“Michael!” Calum yells, helping Ashton to hold him back from harming himself.

 

The boy in question turns, tears streaming down his face and he doesn’t even give a fuck anymore. “It’s not fucking fair!” He yells again, more tears streaming down his face.

 

“We know,” Luke says in a comforting tone, forcefully pulling the elder into a hug. “We know,” he repeats into his ear, a single tear from his own eye escaping out of the corner of his eyes.

 

“It’s not fucking fair,” Michael whispers this time, hugging Luke tighter and burying his face in the crook of the younger but taller’s neck. “Why her? Why?”

 

“I don’t know, Mikey,” Luke says softly, slowly crouching down so that they’re on the floor but the elder’s still tucked in his arms with his face buried in his neck. The youngest amongst the four glances at the other two. They’ve got a few tears running down their cheeks, too. They follow him, joining the two on the floor. “I don’t know, Mikey,” Luke echoes, sniffling.

 

“Why can’t she remember me?” Michael asks, his voice cracking and thick with tears. “They said her chest is in pain. Why would they do that to her? Why can’t she remember me? Why would they hurt her?” He asks again and again, but the boys can’t give him an answer – because they don’t fucking know, either. They want to know as much as he does. They love her as a best friend, especially since she’s almost always has been in their mate’s life. They want her to be okay. They need for her to be okay.

 

 

I could look into your eyes until the sun comes up

And we’re wrapped in light, in life, in love

Put your open lips on mine and slowly let them shut

For they’re designed to be together, oh

With your body next to mine our hearts will beat as one

And we’re set alight, we’re afire in love

 

Michael would give anything just to see her eyes once more. They’re his favourite thing to look at – her eyes. They’re so beautiful, and so bright, and they tell him so many more things than her mouth ever could. Every emotion she was feeling, it’d be displayed in her eyes. He could stare at them forever. There could be a beautiful sunset or sunrise before him, maybe something so extraordinary and beautiful, but he’d pick look into her eyes over those things, any day.

 

He’s holding her hand again, and sitting by the side of her bed. He’s alternating between staring at their intertwined hands and her face. Her beautiful, beautiful face. He can find nothing wrong with her face. Everything’s perfect, even if she’s got cuts and bruises and even some swelling. She is perfect.

 

“Please,” he mumbles under his breath, bringing their intertwined fingers to his lips and placing a kiss on the back of her hand. “Please, baby, wake up. Be okay. I love you. I need you.”

 

“I also really need to kiss you, because I haven’t kissed those perfect lips of yours in months. I’ve missed kissing you. I’ve missed just freaking cuddling with you. I think I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms – because I haven’t kissed you in so long. Kissed and/or hugged. Hell, I’d be happy if you just held my hand back right now. We can catch up later, and I’ll tell you all the things that’s happened to me on tour, because you like hearing those stories, yeah? Then you can tell me about your days at home. Your part time job and school and all those things you’ve done whilst we were apart. God. When you wake up, and I go back on tour, I’m taking you with me. I’m not even asking. I’m telling. I don’t want to leave you behind again. I’m miserable without you, and I reckon everyone’s annoyed at how I’m making them all gloomy, too. Just… Wake up.”

 

Michael takes in a deep breath, not even bothering to wipe away the tears that have escaped from his eyes. His voice cracks as he speaks again, a single word – a plead that he’s hoping and hoping she hears. “Please.”

 

 

Things were all good yesterday

Then the devil took your breath away

 

“Mike?” His mother’s voice comes through his bedroom door, then there’s soft knocking on the wooden piece.

 

Michael sniffles, taking in a deep breath, “Yeah?” He croaks out. His voice’s hoarse, throat sore. He hasn’t used his voice in almost a week. Hasn’t had the motivation to talk. Everyone else understands, though, and no one has forced him to speak.

 

His bedroom door is slowly pushed open and she takes a cautious step inside, eyes surveying his bedroom before they land on the boy. His bedroom is wrecked. Bed unmade, pictures flung across the room, band posters torn down and curled on the floor, clothes strewn across the floor, small pieces of furniture overturned. She doesn’t say anything about the mess; just looks at him as he looks at himself in the mirror.

 

He’s in a suit, and he’s never worn a proper suit before. He never thought the first time he wore a proper suit would be for something like this. Black skinny jeans, white dress shirt, black blazer and black skinny tie that he’s silently cursing because it won’t knot properly.

 

His mother walks up to him, turning him gently so that he’s facing her and then she’s gently prying his fumbling hands away from the tie, doing it up for him and then pressing it down onto his chest. She gazes up at him then, sorting his (still green) hair out and then offering her son the best smile she can muster.

 

“Are you ready?”

 

No, of course he’s not. He’ll never be ready. He doesn’t want to go. Because if he goes, that means it’s real. It’s really happening. He’s not trapped in some kind of fucked up nightmare. Michael doesn’t want to accept this, because that would mean that everything that he’d been through – it was all reality. He doesn’t fucking want that.

 

But he nods, taking in a breath and grabbing the two roses that he had left the house a day prior for. Just those two roses. A red one, and a white one. Red – a time honoured way to express his love. White – a gesture of remembrance.

 

It’s not like he’ll ever forget, though. He’ll never forget her. Never.

 

 

And now we’re left here in the pain

Black suit, black tie, standing in the rain

 

Everyone’s got an umbrella held over their heads. Some people are crying softly, tissues and handkerchiefs held up to their noses, dabbing under their eyes. Michael’s only under the umbrella because his mother’s got an arm wrapped around his waist and his father’s holding an umbrella over the three of them from behind; an hand on his mother’s shoulder while her hand is covering his. Michael’s just standing there, two roses in his one hand.

 

He’s talking about how Y/N was too young to die. Yeah, no shit. Had so much to live for. Stop stating the fucking obvious, dick head. Too beautiful to have left this world. Beautiful? Yeah, definitely. But why aren’t they acknowledging that she was a fucking honours’ student and had so much going on for her life?

 

Michael’s been called to put his roses down, on the coffin, but he shakes his head. Gestures for anyone – everyone – else to go first. They watch him curiously, but they do so. Michael just stares at them, silently judging them. He’s never seen half of these people before in his life. He’s pretty sure she never knew them, either. They’re crying like she meant something to them. They’re talking about her like they knew her. And it makes him mad, because they didn’t know her. They didn't deserve to be able to talk about her.

 

Ashton, Luke and Calum had come, too. They had silent tears rolling down their cheeks. And when they walked by him, they patted him on the shoulder, not bothering to hug him or ask if he’s okay, because they know what he’s like. He’s not going to break until he’s alone. The few stray tears that have betrayed him are all that anyone else would ever see.

 

As each boy passes by him, he nods and they nod back. It’s a silent understanding between them – that they’d always be there for him. If he ever wanted to talk, or just wanted a cuddle, they would be there before he could change his mind and insist that he was fine.

 

He moves out from under the umbrella to hug Y/N’s mother, because she’s like a second mum to him, too. If what had happened didn’t even happen, and she was still alive, Michael was sure that her mother would be his mother-in-law. She clings to him, sobbing, and her husband manages to pull her away from the younger, before he’s pulling the boy into a quick hug, taking in a deep breath before he’s hugging his wife once more.

 

Michael turns at a tap on his shoulder. His father looks at him for a moment, pulling him into a hug before pulling away and patting him on the shoulder, “We’ll wait for you in the car,” he says, then offering him the umbrella.

 

Michael shakes his head at the offer of the temporary and mobile shelter, “I’ll find my own way back,” he says, voice croaky and cracking mid-sentence.

 

His father looks at him again, then with a small sigh, he nods. He turns on his heel and walks to his wife, who’s got her mother wrapped in her arms. Michael walks to where the fresh grave is. The dirt’s turned muddy, due to the rain, but the headstone is still a fresh and new marble. It’s got her full name on it, and her birthday and death day – and that’s what breaks him.

 

More tears stream down his cheeks but they’re well disguised amongst the rain drops. He bends down just enough to rest the roses against the headstone, then he’s crouching down in front of it. He stares at the headstone, then he’s shaking his head.

 

Wake up, Michael. Fucking wake up, he tells himself but it’s not working because he’s awake and this is real and he’s in pain because of it.

 

A hand goes to rest on the top of the headstone. Michael leans forward, resting his forehead on the back of his hand before he pulls away to plant a kiss on the fresh marble.

 

“I love you, Y/N,” he says to the headstone, then he’s looking up to the sky – completely ignoring the raindrops that fall into his eyes. “I miss you. I love you. I’m sorry, for anything I’ve done in the past to make you upset. Anything that I’ve said or done that’s hurt you. I hope you know that you’re the single most important thing in my life. You always have been, you always will be. God, I love you. So fucking much. And I never will stop loving you. I hope that heaven is your resting place. I’ll see you in my dreams, baby, because I am forever yours, as are you – forever mine.”

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