Spoilers: All of Roswell is up for grabs
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing, all characters and original Roswell settings belong to other very lucky people.
Warnings: References to death and violence, as well as plenty of angst, but nothing too explicit.
Summary: Pain only hurts when you've experienced the alternative.
Michael was nine years old the first time he smiled, when he met Isabel Evan’s eyes across the playground and felt a spark of something electric, something familiar, and remembered an outstretched hand. Before that he hadn’t had any reason to, and he didn’t have many afterwards, once the first glow of not being alone faded and he realized that finding her, finding them, changed nothing. He still had to live with Hank, he still had to hide who he was, what he was, and he still hated everything about this life, this planet.
He never learned to fake smiles the way he knew Isabel did, and eventually he stopped caring, welcoming the angry, brooding image he’d developed, the perfect armor against a world that was more than happy to categorize him as an unstable loner with an abusive past and anger issues. It wasn’t that far from the truth. Being the angry one was easier than being the perfect princess daughter or sweet but reserved son, and none of it really mattered in the end, since one day, they’d get to leave, and he wouldn’t have to deal with human labels anymore.
Except it didn’t work out like that. No one ever showed up for them, no long lost alien relatives appeared out of the woodworks and he went from an angry child to an angry young man, hiding his bruises and his hate, for the world and his family, and fighting the urge everyday to burn right through Hank’s disgusting, pot bellied body until he was nothing but a smoking corpse.
Then that sweet but reserved son, someone he was bound to, grateful to, and resentful to all at once, brought their lives crashing down around them, and instead of finally being the excuse they needed to leave town, to do something about finding answers, about the fact that they weren’t human and shouldn’t be pretending they were, it turned into one more reason not to smile, one more reason to watch other people’s happiness and not understand why they found it so easy.
Answers started to come, bit by broken bit, none making sense, none what he’d wanted, none what they should be, and he began to think that angry ignorance had been better than this. Of course there were new perks he hadn’t experienced before, loud, annoying perks that kissed surprisingly well, who enjoyed illicit trips to maintenance sheds and heated make out sessions when he needed something, anything, to take his mind off what he really was and what he should be thinking about.
There were downsides to the relationship of sorts they developed, the constant harping on the faults he was already far too aware of, and some he didn’t think he had. But she made him smile, and that was perhaps the worst downside of all. He didn’t want to smile, he didn’t want to be happy, because he knew it would never last, could never last, and having it even in small amounts just made it worse. So he continued to push her away, even while kissing her, while looking for her smiles and listening for her laughs, and the moment it all came crashing down, the moment he proved that he really was just an emotionally unstable loner with an abusive past and anger issues who was capable of murder, he walked away.
Because happy wasn’t part of the plan, wasn’t part of his world, and while he would always treasure those moments, she deserved better than being part of that world. They finally had answers, the big picture, even if he didn’t like it, even if it didn’t feel right, and he threw himself into it, spending the summer training with Tess, when she wasn’t stalking Max, and with Isabel when she wasn’t pretending she was human, although never with Max, since he wouldn’t stop stalking his ex or hiding from Tess.
But, after attacks, and exercises in futility, when it became clear that none of them were following their supposed destiny, with their ‘protector’ gone, and Tess not nearly as knowledgeable as she’d made herself out to be, he gave in, went for that bit of happiness again, and tried not to be afraid every time he smiled, or every time he made her smile, because maybe, just maybe, he could make it work.
And somehow, he did. They grew closer, the smiles more frequent, her sharp tongue still present but less vicious, and even though no one else in their little group seemed to have it figured out, for once he was the happy one. Even when Alex died, when they lost the most genuinely good person that was part of their secret, it didn’t push them apart, only drew them closer together, and he began to consider a human life with human goals for the first time in his current incarnation.
Until the ‘good’ one fucked up again, this time literally, creating a child, an intergalactic mess, and forcing them all to uproot their lives to save it. And then his brother's Ex wasn’t as crazy as they thought and there was a murderer out there, which meant that his life, his world, had been directly responsible for Alex’s death, and until they figured out who it was, no one else he cared about was safe. Which was why he couldn’t leave, not just because of her, or the happiness he’d only recently come to accept, but because he couldn’t handle knowing his world had cost anyone else their lives.
When he walked out of that cave, and found out that the murderer had been closer than he thought, and she wrapped her arms around him and cried as said murderer left the planet, he felt his stomach sink with the knowledge that happy would always have a price, and that maybe angry him had been right all along. But he stuck with it, with her, and every smile, his or hers, made it a little bit better, made this life seem a little more real.
It was shatteringly real when she told him she wasn’t her because of him, heartbreakingly real when she walked away, bitterly real when he realized that even without her, he didn’t know how to be an angry, hate filled loner anymore. Who knew happy could hurt so much?