Title: Life Is Life

Summary: Once upon a time there was a fanfic called Believe In Me. This is the revamped version. "Left his house at midnight, resolute and young, in search of something greater than the person he'd become." AU Smitchie.

Authors Note: First off: if you've clicked this link anticipating a new story from me, I'm so very sorry but that's not the case. I went to update You Make It Real (I know, after donkey's years of hiatus-ing) and couldn't do it. Because this was my writing when I was 16 and it's fine, but I'm 19 now and would like to think I've improved somewhat. So this is my plan: I'm going to revamp Believe In Me (now titled Life Is Life as you can see) before New Years. Then I'm going to rewrite (and write, seeing as it was never finished) You Make It Real, which will also be titled differently but I haven't thought that far ahead yet. And then I can put this project to rest feeling completely satisfied with it. It will have differences – fairly major ones, actually – and so if you read Believe In Me back in 2008 then I'm going to be selfish and recommend that you read this one too, because it'll be different and better. And for any new readers, don't go back and read it. Or do, but read this one as well and then come back here and reassure me that this one is much better.

Disclaimer: Don't own.

Music: Tonight Is The Kind Of NightNoah and the Whale

Because tonight's the kind of night

Where everything can change

Change is a funny thing. A lot of people hate it, as a rule. It can cause all kinds of problems and generally, the response to most changes will be something akin to "well, what's the point of that?" For example: the time slot of your favourite TV show has been moved? How are you supposed to remember that? You're going to forget and you're going to miss your favourite show and why did they have to change it? What was the purpose? Basically, there wasn't one. The powers that be at HBO or Fox or the BBC decided that that was how it was to be and you have no say in that matter at all. Lovely.

A lot of the changes that people find themselves resisting are the ones that they have no control over, as is the case with the example above. And with that, we find the real root of the problem. People do not hate change. No. They hate not having control. If everyone who claimed to hate change really did hate change, then nothing would ever happen. Nobody would move out of their parents' house, nobody would go to university, nobody would get their hair cut, or go on holiday, or go and see what the cakes from the new bakery that's just opened across the street taste like.

Change is a funny thing. Moving out from your parents' house and going to university is daunting and having to do your own washing will most likely result in a few of the white t-shirts in your wardrobe being replaced by pink replicas. Having a haircut is weird because, when you run your fingers through it afterwards, there's that split second of shock when you find thin air where your split ends should be. Change is odd. But you can't hate funny things (and, no, Dane Cook doesn't count because funny is something he's not). You can hate things you have no control over.

And that was exactly what Mitchie Torres was doing that November night when she stood in front of the mirror waiting for her best friend Caitlin to come and pick her up. Hating something she had no control over: her skin.

Well, okay, maybe it was just one tiny aspect of her skin. The two blemishes she had just above her jawline on the left side of her face, to be entirely specific.

Mitchie Torres did not think that she was ugly, nor did she think she was stunningly beautiful. In her eyes she was perfectly average, a Plain Jane type. But she could not deny that she'd have been a lot more satisfied with her appearance were the two spots she'd woken up with that morning non-existent.

At least she'd been able to control the rest of her attire, and so she dragged her gaze away from the two flaws on her face to focus on how she looked in the outfit department. Black was the dominant colour, yes, but the orange on her top was bright enough to stop her from looking like she was going to a funeral. And she'd wear her orange Converse. Sorted. She had no idea what the plans that Caitlin had arranged were, but at least she felt like she wouldn't look too out of place wherever they ended up.

Subconsciously, her eyes travelled back up the mirror to find the spots again. God, they stood out like a sore thumb. Why did her skin hate her so much? The life of a teenager was difficult enough without throwing problematic pores into the equation. What was that about? What was the point?

She didn't have too long to ponder the vendetta that the universe had against teenagers, because then her name was being called from the storey below her: "Mitchie! Caitlin's here!"

It took a grand total of ten seconds to grab her cell phone and purse and to step into the unlaced shoes that were lying in the middle of the floor, fresh from the last time she'd worn them… whenever that had been. Then she was practically hurtling out of her room and down the stairs, shooting a grin at the girl who was standing at the bottom of them and hoping she wouldn't mention the spots.

"Well, aren't we colourful?"

Mitchie rolled her eyes; the sarcasm wasn't lost on her at all and as if to show it she retaliated with some of her own. "Hey to you too, Caitlin. I'm fine, thank you for asking. How are you?"

"I'm good," the other girl grinned, her curly hair bobbing up and down as she nodded, turning to address the older woman in the hallway next. "We'll be back for midnight, Mrs T."

Connie Torres was unperturbed by this announcement – Mitchie had, after all, never needed a strict curfew imposed upon her being of the good girl disposition – and so merely replied with a smile at both teenagers standing by the door. "Have fun girls."

"Bye then, Mo –" Mitchie had only just started to give a goodbye, the words only starting to form on her tongue, when Caitlin yanked open the door and pushed her out of it, her sentence cut off completely as the door slammed shut. "What is the hurry?"

If anything was going to prove that her best friend was acting oddly, it was her best friend denying that she was acting oddly, and so the combination of a shrug and an innocent expression was enough to make Mitchie suspicious. So, she did what anyone would do in the same situation; she bent down and started tying her shoelaces. Hey, if Caitlin was in such a rush to get to plans that she wasn't willing to spill the beans about then the only thing to do was to hold her up.

If the exasperated groan that the girl gave was more than enough to prove there was something up, then the comment made as Caitlin opened up her car door and slid into the drivers seat was practically hard-hitting evidence. "God, Mitchie. Can you tie your shoelaces any slower?"

"Possibly," Mitchie said, looking up at her and halting the process for a few seconds. "Want me to try?"

"No. Come on!"

It didn't take long to tie both laces, and Mitchie was standing and walking around to the passenger seat in no time at all. Well, she didn't think it was any time at all. For girl with the schedule it was apparently an age. "So, what are these amazing plans that you can't bear to miss one second of?"

"I said that I'd show you when we get there."

"And I said that that was a stupid idea."

"And I said that I don't care whether you think it's stupid." She started the car and reversed out of the driveway, glaring at Mitchie slightly, partly because of the conversation and partly because the other girl had just planted her feet firmly on the dashboard.

"And I said that that isn't the attitude to have, is it?"

"And I say that this whole re-living the conversation we had earlier today is stupid."

"And I agree." There was a slight pause in the conversation in which Caitlin wished Mitchie would take her feet off the dashboard of her beloved car, and Mitchie decided that she wasn't going to remove her feet until Caitlin said anything. And then Mitchie broke the silence: "But I still want to know where we're going."

A red light caused Caitlin to bring the car to a stop, and the driver took the opportunity to look over at the passenger, an eyebrow raised. "Mitchie. You'll find out when we get there." A few seconds later the red glow had moved down to green, and she started moving again. "And take your feet from off my car. Thank you."

Slowly, Mitchie put her feet back to where the majority of people have them while sitting in a car, and moved her head so that she was looking out of the window. It was a typical Saturday night in Cohasset, Massachusetts. School was over for the week and teenagers were out partying and having a good time. Apparently it was only Mitchie who was in the dark about her Saturday night plans.

She pressed the button to put down the window, letting some of the cool autumn air into the vehicle. She loved the fall. The leaves, the sudden change from hot summers to cold winters, the slightly confusing transition period between summer barbecues and Christmas parties. It was quite possibly a weird thought to have, but if Mitchie were a season she'd definitely be fall.

Summer was too vibrant, constantly so. Mitchie could be vibrant sometimes, when she was singing being the obvious example, but not all the time. Not like summers were.

And winters were too cold and lifeless, uncaring as to what anyone else thinks.

Spring was refreshing. People who were like spring were confident and bursting with new ideas and life.

Mitchie was autumn. Quiet. Thoughtful. Blending into the background, but at the same time always having more to say than people think.

Breaking her from her reverie about the characteristics of seasons, a snatch of conversation between two girls who were talking outside of the car caught her attention. "Can you believe it? I can't! This is like, the most exciting thing to happen in Cohasset since like... ever! Connect 3!"

Her head snapped to look at Caitlin, whose gaze was firmly on the road ahead. A little too firmly, really. Nobody needed to stare at a road that intently.

"You haven't…"

Caitlin glanced over at Mitchie, her nose wrinkled. "I haven't what?"

"Connect 3? In Cohasset? You with your oh-so-secretive plans for the one Saturday night they're here? Coincidence? I think not." Mitchie folded her arms across her chest with a sigh.

Once upon a time – and this must be recorded as having been a very long time ago; a good year and a half, at least – she was a huge Connect 3 fan. Mega. She had a wall of her room dedicated to posters of them, wrote their lyrics in the margins of her exercise books, listened to nothing but the sound of Shane Grey's voice, with Nate and Jason on guitar. But that had all changed and, unlike the flawlessness of her skin, that had been a change she had total control over.

Connect 3 had no idea that they were living the dream; a dream that so many young people would kill to live out. Shane Grey, with his temper tantrums on video sets and photoshoots… Shane Grey didn't think to realise that there were people out there – people like Mitchie – who would do absolutely anything to be doing what he did. And he didn't even care. He didn't even care that he was lucky to have such a career, such a life.

Nowadays, Mitchie all but hated them.

Caitlin sighed and looked over at her friend, before flicking her eyes back to the road. "Mitchie…"

"Ugh," was the simple reply, and just to show her distaste further the dark-haired girl planted her feet right back up on the dashboard again.

"Come on, Mitchie. It was too good to pass up. Front row seats! Front row! My dad got them through work. And I knew that you wouldn't come if I told you straight out, so…"

Mitchie didn't answer, for her sixteen-year-old self had made an appearance in her mind and she was currently trying to drown out the 'front row, how amazing' thoughts with hateful ones.

"And I know that you have a slight soft spot for them still, because otherwise why would you have them on your iPod?" Caitlin was still going, possibly out of desperation to get her best friend to loosen up about this night. "Just imagine: those songs live. And Shane Grey jumping around the stage."

If he doesn't cancel the concert before they can even sing, Mitchie resisted the urge to add. That would be just like him, surely.

"Please? Please come inside with me? And we can jump around and squeal like crazy preteens again, and then come tomorrow we can forget that we ever went and pretend that we spent Saturday night in, watching The O.C reruns and eating chips." Caitlin's voice was edging on begging now and Mitchie knew it wouldn't be too long before she caved. She always caved.

They were getting closer to where the concert was going to be held, made obvious by the presence of more people suddenly milling around the car, most of them wearing t-shirts and holding banners that were decorated with 'will you marry me' in varying handwriting. It was pathetic.

"Mitchie?" Caitlin had come so far and wasn't going to let this stop her from going to the concert, but nor was she going to go without her best friend. Which meant one thing; Mitchie was going with her. It was as simple as that, really.

The passenger rolled her eyes and groaned, bringing her feet down from the dashboard with a thud as Caitlin pulled into a miraculously empty parking space (although, seeing as the majority of people at this event were probably not old enough to drive yet, perhaps miraculous wasn't the word). "Fine! Whatever."

Mitchie undid her seatbelt and flung open the car door, escaping the vehicle before she heard that victorious laugh that Caitlin relished in giving. Having managed that, she leaned up against the car and folded her arms again, trying to look as though this was the last place on Earth she wanted to be. It almost was.

"Thank you, Mitchie!" Caitlin cried as she got out of the car and shut the door behind her. Then she bounded around to stand next to her friend and pouted. "Come on, you can smile. I know you're a little more excited than you're letting on."

Mitchie hated it when she was right, really she did. Because it was kind of cool that Caitlin's dad had gotten them front row seats to one of the only concerts to come to Cohasset. Connect 3 never came to small towns like theirs, nobody did. So to have tickets – front row tickets – to something like this was cool. Even if it was a band she had sworn to hate. Why couldn't it have been a good band? Out of all the bands in all the world.

Rolling her eyes, she pushed her dark hair out of her eyes and then let the corners of her lips turn up slightly, not into a smile but into something that resembled a smile. If you squinted. "Okay. Fine. You want me to be a screaming fangirl?"

Caitlin looked at her friend, her eyebrows raised as though waiting for her to answer the question.

Mitchie sighed, stepping away from the car and moving a little bit closer to a group of people who were standing at the side of the street. Some of them were in Connect 3 t-shirts, but there were two guys engrossed in conversation wearing dark glasses. She didn't notice, but her movement seemed to attract the attention of one of them.

"Seriously, I will act as though I belong here if you want me to." Her voice was raised slightly, so as to carry over the conversations of those around them.

"That would be awesome." Caitlin grinned, knowing her friend all too well and thus knowing what she was about to do.

Shaking her hair out of her eyes, Mitchie put on an excited expression and hopped up and down a few times before squealing. "OH EM GEE, Caitlin! I cannot believe your dad got us front row tickets to Connect 3! Do you know how hot I think Shane Grey is? And they're here, in Cohasset! I think I'm hyperventilating!" After a few loud, quick breaths for good measure, Mitchie stopped deadpan. Caitlin was pretty much in hysterics. "Was that excited enough?"

"Oh, Mitchie. I love you, but you're totally insane." Caitlin laughed as she took the few steps to her friend and linked arms with her, resting her head on Mitchie's shoulder as they walked away from the car. "We're going. And we're having fun. And you're going to leave this concert feeling totally glad that you went."

Mitchie shook her head vehemently. "No, I won't."

"Hey, never say never. You might leave thinking Shane Grey is the hottest thing to walk the Earth." The other girl giggled as though her words were the stupidest words ever uttered.

In Mitchie's opinion they were.