A/N: Thanks for choosing to read this fic! I haven't decided whether this is a one-shot or whether this is only the prologue to a longer story involving Michael and his relationships. If you think it fits better as one or the other, please let me know in a review afterwards!

It took me a long time to learn the difference between love and lust.

Love may be blind, but only lust can cloud your judgment.

I spent years of my life fighting that truth, but then, I always have been good at picking fights…even with fate, I guess.

See, I always thought passion was enough to make up for everything, you know? Not that great sex isn't…well…great. It is. It's just the times in between that suck.

The times in between when you claim that you hate each other and yell til your voices are too hoarse to continue and your hearts too beaten to care. The times you spend apart when all you do is sulk and brood, spiraling yourself down into the shadow-pits where all your doubts come out to play. The times when you convince yourself that something must be wrong with you, cause this sure as hell isn't any sort of fairy tale.

That's where the cloudy part comes in. As easy as it is to blame the other person when you're face to face, deep down you always think you're the defective one, for allowing everything to spin out of control so fast and for not finding a way to fix it.

Lust is like that. Lust entitles you to a body, but never a soul. And when you can't have someone's soul, you can't see them, faults and all. They're just a fantasy, this arching entanglement of limbs against your body with pretty blonde curls…someone who just happens to moan at all the right times.

You're the real one. They're the enigma.

And so you're stuck with yourself and your moodiness until each of you is too horny to stick to the resolutions you promised yourself in the dark when you were alone. On the outside, you're in control, but it's an automated control, one not quite organic enough to quell the churnings in your heart.

As much as you try, whatever the other person's feeling is a mystery you're sick of having to unravel.

That's the funny thing. With love, every hair-flick, every eye-sparkle makes you crave a glimpse into her thoughts. And somehow, the more you try, the more you figure out, until soon, you can start to sense her emotions, and, what's more, you actually give a damn.

You'll still be alone. The key is to resist self-pity long enough to realize this: Despite your hyper-active sense of self-justice and despite your former tendency toward jealous rage, love has relaxed you in ways unimaginable.

After all, how can occupying the same air space as this person, this person who's got you, suffocating, in the palm of the their hand, whether they know it or not, who's got you following their movements with hawk eyes and absorbing their smile before it fades, how can just being near them be the most peaceful thing you've ever known?

With my past to consider, and all the fiery relationships I've experienced, all the impulsive actions I've taken and regrettable leaps of judgment I've made, you'd think it would have riled me up. You'd think I'd be shaking, tumbling over myself to prove my feelings in the most backward of ways possible.

But I'm not. I'm just standing here. I'm just looking at her. I'm just breathing. Deep breaths, too. Not gasping little jealous breaths. Deep breaths.

Even though his hand's on her shoulder. Even though he's stroking her face. Even though she's smiling. Even though her smile is warm and slow as his eye catches hers, like they share some secret they think is hidden.

His hand's stroking through her straight hair now, but it's okay, because I can tell she's happy. She's practically purring, and it makes me burst with this protective, aching joy-grief that nearly ripples my stoic countenance. When we talk, she beams at me, her face friendly and open. But she glows for him.

So what do you think? I welcome encouragement, suggestions, and constructive criticism!