|Where We Stand
Author: christineexx PM
Before her laid two roads. Despite the fact that she was forging forward, either way would bring her back to her past. Both roads left her with a sinking feeling in her stomach; a feeling of pain and regret... - Not DarrenxSteve. Beta'd by StayBeautifuL1Rated: Fiction T - English - Darren Shan & Steve Leonard - Chapters: 19 - Words: 39,427 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 04-02-13 - Published: 04-15-11 - id: 6907754
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Hey guys! I really shouldn't start a new story when I'm already so bad about typing up my other one, but screw it… This is my first Cirque FanFic, and I'm really nervous about how it's going to turn out, so I would really appreciate some feedback… I'm not quite sure what's going to go down in this story, where the characters will end up, or whether or not it'll be worth reading. But I would appreciate your input! (: This story kind of combines the storyline from the books and the movie, so bear with me… And the parts completely in italics are all flashbacks, in case that wasn't clear enough. So, uh, enjoy! (:
Michaela rolled her eyes as Steve went on and on and on, glad she was in front of him so that he would not catch her bored expression. Sometimes he was just like one of those stupid toys that just keep going and going until you wind up chucking it at a wall because it won't shut off. However, she knew better than to interrupt him, so she waited until he was done with his latest vampire-obsessive rant to interject, "Steve, I honestly have no idea what half of the words you're using mean, and none of the names you're using mean a damn to me. No matter how hard you try, I know vampires are just fairy tales, and nothing you say will convince me otherwise."
He scowled at her; she was so freaking naïve! He never seemed to get through to her, no matter what he did or said. She was so… stubborn. "Mike, you're such a smart girl. You know what every single one of those words mean, and you should know better than to doubt the existence of the deadliest creatures alive. Why do you have to act like such a dumbass?"
"I wouldn't want you to feel out of place," she retorted before turning to face him. "You know how it is, Steve."
"But you have me and Darren now! Well… Darren's kind of a wimp. He'd never do anything. But you know I'd kill anyone who—"
"Steve!" she exclaimed, cutting him off. "I don't mind. Really. Everything… everything's fine now. I promise."
"I'm just saying, Mike. It's just the two of us. You don't have to play dumb with me."
She sighed and stopped walking backwards to give him her usual exasperated look that told him he would not ever win this battle and should just stop trying. "You know I can't, Steve."
"I'm beginning to think the whole 'dumbass' thing is becoming more than just an act," he said solemnly as he stared into her eyes.
"Steve! Shut up. You know how it is for me, and how it was, and I can't—"
Her words were cut off by him pressing his lips to hers.
It was the first kiss they'd shared.
Michaela groaned as she rolled to the other side of her bed so she could smack her alarm clock. It took three blind flails of her hand, but she eventually hit the snooze button and her room went back to being silent. She stretched out a little before curling up in a ball like she usually did. It seemed like mere seconds before she heard the rings of her alarm clock again, signifying that five minutes had passed. She once again slammed it off, but then sat up in bed. After her eyes had adjusted to being open, she slowly dragged herself out of the warm comfort of her bed and walked out of her room to the bathroom. She'd always hated mornings, and recent events had made her loathe the start of each new day even more than she previously had. After all, why should she get to breathe while her best friend in the entire world— hell; her only friend in the entire world— was laying six feet underground, and her boyfriend… Well, she wasn't quite sure where the hell he had disappeared to. He was no doubt doing something better than spending eight hours of his day in a building full of meaningless tasks, mindless chatter, and a never-ending stream of pitying glances that were always being sent her way. After all, she was Michaela Freiland— formerly known as Mike or Mikey, but those nicknames had died right along with Darren and her relationship with Steve.
She glanced in the mirror at her short black hair and wondered what the hell she'd been thinking when she'd dyed and cut it. You were thinking about how you lost the only two people you care about, she reminded herself. Just like always.
When she stepped into her shower, she was again left to think about the pair that had shown her what it meant to live. It was sad, really, how often her thoughts revolved around the two guys that had promised they'd never leave her. She couldn't really blame Darren— it wasn't his fault he'd fallen out his window and broken her neck, as much as her cynical mind like to make her think it was—, but she could come up with no excuse for Steve. After all, her boyfriend (her shell-shocked mind refused to think of Steve as an ex; not yet) had disappeared barely two weeks after Darren's funeral. Michaela had felt him slipping away ever since his own near-death experience, but she'd never imagined that he would just up and leave. When he'd survived the poisoning, she had taken it as a sign that they really were meant to be. He didn't die because he would keep his promise; he wouldn't abandon her like everybody else always did.
Of course, nothing ever worked out the way she expected it to. Darren had died, and Steve had left her. One right after the other; a double-whammy. She was so sick of everything. So sick of the pain. So sick of everyone fucking leaving her!
Above everything, though, she was sick of crying. She hated constantly fighting back tears, and how her throat would close up every time she thought about her friends… She was done with tears, done with the constant aches and wails of pain. So instead, she threw back her head and laughed like the psychopath she could feel herself becoming.
Michaela was sitting on the hill near her school; staring straight ahead with what she hoped was a blank expression on her face. It was about a week after Steve had kissed her, and they hadn't spoken of it, much less kissed again. It was probably just an accident, she told herself. He probably just had a momentary lack of judgment. It was no big deal, and she knew she should stop freaking out about it— but then, she had never really dealt well with change.
She was forcing the blank expression because she didn't want anybody to be able to tell how weighted she was by her fears of losing her two best friends. Her only friends. If they left her, she would go back to being the loser that she'd always been— except it would be even more miserable (if possible), because she would be lonelier. She would know what it felt like to be accepted and cared for, and she would crave it for the rest of her life.
"Mikey, what's wrong?" Darren asked, bringing her back to reality. She glanced at him and responded, "Nothing."
He plopped down next to her and draped his arm around her shoulders comfortingly. He knew she was upset, because she always overdid the casualty of her facial expressions when she was trying to hide something. "C'mon, Mikey. You know you can trust me."
She smiled a melancholy smile and responded, "It's nothing, Darren. Really. Just some stupid crap."
"So then why can't you tell me?"
She laid her chin on her knees and looked away from him, a faint, melancholy smile on her lips. "You'll just think I'm—" She stopped mid-sentence and blinked rapidly when a large flash went off. She looked up and saw that Steve had just taken a picture of himself. He was beginning to stride over, and he tossed the camera on Darren's lap before sitting down on the other side of Michaela.
"What's our favorite female friend stressin' about?" he asked conversationally.
"Nothing new. Just the usual," she said honestly, deciding to let them each come to their own conclusions. Before they could press her any further, she faked a grin and changed the subject by reaching over and picking up the camera from Darren's lap. "So, we've taken about eight-thousand pictures so far. When are we actually going to look at them?"
"We can hook the camera up to my television and view 'em all as a slideshow on Friday," Steve offered.
Darren laughed. "Oh, god... this could be bad."
"Well, Dare, we should be fine— that is, unless you have pictures on there of yourself playing with your—"
"STEVE!" Michaela exclaimed, cutting him off before he could finish the sentence and make both she and Darren blush.
"What?" Steve asked innocently. "It's not like it's anything we haven't all seen before." He saw the look on her face and exclaimed, "Don't even try to tell me that you're still a virgin." He began to laugh and looked at Darren. "Dare! Mike is a friggen virgin!"
Darren frowned a tad and responded, "So?"
Steve's laughter quickly faded. "Oh, god… Both of you? Seriously? You're both… Oh, god."
"Like you aren't!" Michaela exclaimed defiantly.
"Freshman year. Janitor's closet. Bridget," Steve responded smugly.
"You're disgusting," Darren scoffed.
"And you're a virgin! Steve responded. He stood up, pointed to the two of them, and responded, "I'll leave you alone so you can fix that," before walking away.
"PERVERT!" Michaela screeched, and threw a fistful of grass after him before dissolving into laughter.
Darren was lying back in his hammock, just staring up at the ceiling. He let out a small sigh as he pondered his new life; it wasn't that he didn't love the Cirque and all the friends he made there; it was more the idea that he would never be able to go back to his old life or his friends or family. It had only been about a month or two, and he was already missing them all like crazy.
Evra Vonn was standing near Darren, watching him mope. He couldn't take it for very long before he demanded, "Quit it. You're bumming me out."
Darren couldn't help but let out another sigh and apologized, "Sorry. It's just… I really miss my hometown. Don't get me wrong, I love the Cirque, but it isn't the same, y'know?"
"No. I've been in the business since birth, remember?"
Darren ignored Evra's vain attempt at humor and continued, "I just can't believe I'll never be able to see my family and friends again. Mom… Dad… Annie… Steve… M—" he cut himself off before saying Michaela's name. He hated thinking about her; although he'd known her for the least amount of time, leaving her hurt him more than anything. He and Steve had sworn to never leave her side. Michaela had had a hard time: she never had a single constant in her life. Everything was constantly being taken away from her. And then the moment she began to have faith in him, stop doubting his intentions, let down her guard… bam. He'd gone and faked his own death.
He knew he'd hurt all of his friends and family (hell; he'd had to listen to them say their final goodbyes, and if he'd had control of his body, he would've broken down crying right along with them,) and he knew Steve was aware of what had really become of him. But Michaela… he'd completely shattered her. She might still have Steve, but Darren knew she was heartbroken without him. It wasn't his ego making him assume things— it was more the fact that he'd heard her gut-wrenching sobs several nights in a row while he perched near her window. Each time, he'd felt the overwhelming desire to go in and comfort her; show her that there was no need to be upset because he was there. He would always be there. But each time, Mr. Crepsley showed up and yanked him away before he could do something stupid.
"'Mm' as in that Mike guy?" Seeing Darren's tortured, confused expression, Evra added, "You talk about him constantly in your sleep. It's kind of sketchy— I'm starting to think you might have a man-crush."
"Mikey is a girl," Darren corrected. He felt a small prick behind his eyes but ignored it. He was proud of himself; that was the first time he'd ever dared to say her name without dissolving into tears.
Evra suddenly became very interested. "She hot?"
"I don't know, man. I never thought of her like that."
After a brief moment of consideration, Evra decided, "Lies. Do you have any pictures?"
Recalling his brief obsession with photography, Darren nodded. "Yeah… I have about a thousand saved on my—"
His words were cut off by Evra, who was already digging out Darren's camera from inside his drawer of stuff. He flipped through pictures for only a few moments before landing on a picture of Steve. Although he and his contorted facial expression were the main focus, it was impossible for your attention not to be drawn towards Darren and the girl his arm was around. The girl's knees were pulled into her chest, and her head lay on top of them. She was looking towards the camera, but not at it, as if she was unaware that there was a picture being taken. There was a small smile on her face, despite the fact that she looked like she wanted to cry. Darren glanced over Evra's shoulder at the picture, and his face instantly softened. "That one's my favorite… but if you flip back about three or four you'll get one more your speed."
Evra did as instructed and stared vigorously at a close-up of a girl. She had a long, angular face with high cheekbones and full lips. She had brown eyes so dark that they were almost black, but one was covered by her bangs, which were swept to the side. Her hair was platinum blonde with purple tips and blue and pink streaks. On anybody else, it would've been extremely odd— but somehow, this girl managed to pull it off. Evra finally forced himself to tear his eyes away— the girl wasn't the prettiest girl in the world, and very far from perfect, but there was something in her face that made it hard to look away from. "Huh."
"Yeah. She's… She's special."
"Well, I can why you'd be upset. I'd be upset if I had to leave that, too."
"Her," Darren snapped. "Mikey is a her."