As the Radio Plays - Part 3
Pairing: Lin Manuel Miranda x Reader
Summary: You regret going home.
Warnings: Cursing, because we all know I have a potty mouth.
Word Count: 4,104 (TAKE THE ALPHABET AWAY FROM ME OMFG.)
A/N: I don’t even know what this is anymore, what I actual fuck Cass why. This took me longer than usual (lol work kicked my ass for a bit jfc my bad). ANYWAY Becca is responsible for my descent into insanity and I LOVE HER FOR IT so shout-out to my murderer for influencing me so much (if you find the ref, kudos to you my darlings!!) Also, shout-out to y'all because you guys are the reason why I’m still writing. Thank you for your support and love. My heart swells at the thought of you guys. I love you all endlessly.
So you let the cat out of the bag.
It earned you a sleepless night spent drowning in an ocean of your tears, a scratchy throat from sobbing so hard for so long, and drenched bedsheets because you couldn’t help but fall apart.
And rightfully so.
It was your biggest nightmare, coming across the man who’d left you on what was supposed to be the best day of your life. Not only that, but you told him the one thing you didn’t want to bring back. It wasn’t like you didn’t want to say it, but telling him about the one part of him that you were carrying and nurturing was gone only made it even more of a reality– a reality with which you didn’t want to come to terms.
Your sobs turned into little hiccups sometime early morning, and you rubbed your swollen eyes as you walked downstairs and into the kitchen in search of water or liquor (or poison), something that would either quench you or soothe you (or kill you). To your chagrin, you found water first.
“Hey bug,” your father greeted sleepily, eyes half-closed to shield himself from the brightness of the kitchen lights. “What are you doing up so early?”
It hadn’t occurred to you that it was hardly four in the morning, and you probably shouldn’t have made so much noise while trying to accomplish such a menial task.
“Thirsty,” you replied with a shrug, trying to delay needing to sniffle so that your dad didn’t feel the need to make you open up. Talking about last night’s ordeal would only make matters worse. “Water.”
He joined you in the kitchen and draped his arm around your shoulders. “It’s really good to have you back, you know. I was afraid you’d never come back.”
You couldn’t help but scoff because that was currently your biggest regret, but you covered it up with a coughing fit, hoping it was enough to convince him.
“I don’t know how you feel, but I’m sure it’s hard for you to be here,” he said softly, holding you close to his chest. “I’m really glad you’re home, bug.”
“Yeah,” you squeaked. It was the only thing you could say.
“I’m gonna go back to bed, alright? Holler if you need me.” He gently placed a kiss on the crown of your head and rubbed his hand back and forth along your shoulder before letting you go, trekking back up the stairs. “Go get some rest.”
All you did was nod at him, forcing a smile on your face as you watched him leave your line of vision.
You didn’t get some rest though. Instead, you spent the next two and a half hours pacing all around your house, going up and down the stairs, circling the living room, logging miles around the dining room table. Doing this was the only way you could get your blood flowing again without having to venture back outside where your shadows would come back to haunt you once more. This was safe. This was where you decided to recuperate for the day.
“Y/N?” your mother called out to you from the kitchen. She peeked out from the window from behind the kitchen sink, watching you take step upon step on the already imprinted carpet. “Do you mind picking up Ava from your brother’s? Jess has to work, and Eli’s sick, so they don’t want her to catch it since she’s still so little, and you’re staying home all day, right? I have to leave for work soon. Could you just bring her back here and watch her for the day?”
You froze and looked at your mom like a deer caught in headlights.
When she realized her mistake, her expression changed and she ran over to hug you.
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m sorry…” She started as she smoothed your hair.
“No, it’s okay, I can watch her, it’s fine.”
“Are you sure? I’ll call in sick, it’s okay.”
“I’ll be fine,” you managed, more so trying to convince yourself than your mother that you’d be alright. “Go to work, Mom.”
She pulled away to look at you in an attempt to read your face.
“Mom, it’s fine. It was… a long time ago.”
You’d been uneasy around infants since the miscarriage, all of them reminding you of what could’ve been– what should have been. When your sister-in-law got pregnant with your niece, everyone kept it from you in fear that you would spiral downward again. And when you’d gotten word from your blabbermouth sister, you fell back down into the rabbit hole and your poisons kept you company again, nearly costing you your starring role after you’d shown up drunk to rehearsal multiple times.
Never before have you regretted such a decision, but you had to come to terms with coming home. You knew this was part of the entire ordeal, and it was just all a matter of time when you would finally let yourself heal properly instead of beating around the bush.
Once you’d gotten dressed, you made your way out the door, only to be startled when you saw someone sitting on the front steps of your home, and he turned around at the sound of the door opening.
He was still dressed in last night’s clothes, his eyes even more sunken than you remembered. You gawked at him, unsure of whether or not you had the ability to speak.
Finally, you took a breath and huffed out words. “For the love of God, please just leave–”
“Y/N,” he whispered as he stood up, dusting himself off. “Please let me–”
“Lin, I don’t have time for this, go home.” Your tone was tired and curt, and you tried to sound as emotionless as possible.
He took a step forward and put out a hand to stop you from leaving, nearly tripping over a box that sat next to his feet.
“Please, just give me a minute,” he pleaded with you. “And if you never wanna see me again after this, then…. then I’ll let you go forever.” Lin’s voice was strained, almost as if he was choking back sobs.
“Go home, Lin,” you replied sternly, and you resisted and shook your head, walking past him as you avoided making any eye contact with his wet eyes. And even as you heard him beg you to stay, you quickly hailed a cab and wordlessly hopped into it, letting it whisk you away to your brother’s place somewhere in Midtown.
Before you knew it, you were sitting in the backseat of the taxi again, this time with a fussy infant that wanted nothing to do with her carseat.
Every time you looked at your little niece, your stomach knotted and your breath hitched, your heart missing a beat with every second you spent with your eyes locked on her. But she required attention and you didn’t quite know what to do.
You grabbed the bottle from her baby bag and tried to feed her, and when that didn’t work, you tried to figure out if she needed changing, and eventually, you gave up, letting her scream for almost the entirety of the way back to your home (which thankfully only took twenty minutes because you were positive the cab driver was sick and tired of her screaming so he did everything in his power to speed through traffic) as you sat next to her in a pool of your own tears.
After what seemed like an eternity, your journey came to an end and you were finally home. With the little banshee in her carrier, you picked it up and placed it in the crook of your arm with the baby bag slung on your opposite shoulder, letting them hang there as you handed the cabbie the money for the fare (plus hefty tip for having endured the whole ride with the screeching human). You looked down at Ava before grabbing your house keys and you turned on your heel to head inside.
He was still there, sitting on the front steps.
“Let me help you,” he offered as he stood up, reaching for the baby carrier.
“I told you go to home,” you muttered, whizzing right past him and disregarding his help.
“Babe, please, I just wanna talk.”
You were already fed up after having to sit with a screaming infant, and now you had to deal with your ex-fiancé trying to discuss the past with you.
“Just leave already, Lin! We have nothing to talk about!” After struggling to open the door with everything still on your person, you finally got it to open and walked inside despite him trying to follow you. “Leave!”
Your attempt to slam the door in his face was in vain because his hand kept it from closing all the way.
“Y/N! Please, hear me out!” He exclaimed as he stepped foot into your home, clutching the box in his arm.
“I don’t have time for this! I already have to deal with her wailing, don’t add more on my plate.” You undid the buckles on your niece’s carrier and took her out, cradling her to try to get her to stop.
Lin closed the door and let out an exasperated sigh. “Please…”
Tears of sheer frustration were already spilling and you just ignored him as you attempted to soothe Ava (and yourself).
He stood next to you, just as flustered, and sighed.
“Let me hold her,” he whispered, putting the box down on the couch.
At first, you refused, letting his words go in one ear and out the other, but after thirty more seconds of crying, you gave up and willingly handed her over, already knowing you were in over your head.
“I got you, I got you, it’s okay,” he murmured into Ava’s ear as he rocked her.
You simply walked away and let him deal with it, thinking that your mother was right all along. This wasn’t okay. You weren’t fine. You were in over your head. With your face buried in your hands, sobs wracked your body as you sat along the kitchen island, crying out of frustration, weeping out of heartbreak, bawling out of hopelessness.
After a few minutes, your niece was silent and Lin joined you in the kitchen, holding her in his arms, looking down at her with the faintest smile on his face.
The image of him gently bouncing up and down with a baby cradled against his chest only made matters worse. This could’ve been the life you had if the past had never happened. You could’ve woken up to him holding your child, kissing her forehead, holding her tiny hands, watching her in awe. Your life could’ve been filled with moments like this.
“She was just angry ‘cause she was tired,” he told you softly, not taking his eyes off her. “Taxis aren’t my favorite either, it’s okay.”
You swallowed hard and nodded without a word on your tongue, watching him as he stood across the island from you.
The two of you stayed like that for a bit, neither of you daring not move for fear she would start up again.
Finally, after fifteen minutes of silence, you found the courage to speak up.
“Why are you here, Lin?”
He lifted his eyes to meet your gaze and he let out a deep breath. “I just… I wanted to…”
Ava stirred a little bit and both of you froze for a beat before he got back to bouncing again.
“Can we go back to the living room?” He asked quietly. “I’m gonna put her back in her carrier so we don’t disturb her again.”
You followed him into the living room and took a seat on the sofa, watching as he kneeled down to place her gently in her carrier before rocking it a little to ensure she stayed asleep. Your heart twisted in pain.
Without thinking, you reached for the box he had laid on the couch when he first arrived, and you were suddenly hit with a wave of emotions. It was his treasure box, the one you’d filled with your commentary for the happy memories both of you shared, the one that matched yours.
You opened it up and stared at the items for a moment, letting your mind catch up with your heart. Your fingers picked up a tattered ‘Get Well Soon’ card, and you brushed your fingertips against the embossed surface before opening it up.
‘Who knew you were so needy? Doesn’t matter, I still love you… even though your fever dreams consist of you shouting for help at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night. I will always be here to bring you back to reality.’
That week was unforgettable. He was miserable and stuck in bed as the biggest mess you’ve seen, and yet somehow, your heart swelled with adoration. Every time his adenoidal voice called out to you, you were there in an instant, not once failing to do whatever he needed you to do. Whether it was getting him a glass of water or emptying out the trash he’d used to puke, you never once complained.
Your eyes caught sight of a picture of the two of you at the skating rink, both of you dressed in winter coats, your gloved hand on his cheek and his arm around your waist as your lips met his for a kiss.
‘Happy Valentine’s day, my love! I adore you. Everyone says Cupid is stupid, but I’d gladly beg to differ. And even if the phrase is true, I’ll still always be here to prove them otherwise.’
Shuffling through the countless memories, you grabbed a little fake mistletoe ornament and played with it in your hand as you read the note you’d written attached to its string.
‘Mariah Carey knows what’s up. All I want for Christmas is you, and that would always be enough. I’ll always be here to kiss you under the mistletoe. Je t'aime, mon coeur!’
“That’s one of my favorites,” he murmured as he joined you on the sofa, taking one of your hands in his. He picked up the ornament resting in your open palm and held it up above both of you, leaning in to press a soft kiss to your lips.
You returned the kiss, allowing it to bring back the memories you’d tried your hardest to push away, letting your heart feel the love you’d buried. For a moment, you let go of the heartache that was still eating you alive, giving yourself a beat of normalcy.
But nothing about this was normal. You were locking lips with the man who’d caused your downfall, and upon that realization, you pulled away, disgusted with yourself for believing this was okay.
“I’m sorry,” he spoke. “I just… miss you.”
“That’s your own fault,” you answered coldly. “It was your choice.”
“I did it for you.”
“Oh gee, thanks then. Thanks for making a fool of me. Thanks for all of your empty promises.”
“Y/N, please don’t be this way…”
“Can you blame me? You said it yourself. You wanted to see what else life had in store for you. You thought life had bigger opportunities. And meanwhile, I’ve spent every waking moment thinking of what was supposed to be, what should’ve been, what we had in store.”
“I… Listen to me, please,” he said. “I haven’t spent a single day without thinking of you. I haven’t lived each second of the day without wondering what I could’ve been. And I haven’t spent a day without going through the things you put into this box. I can’t go a full twenty-four hours without regretting my decision.”
“So you came here to tell me this? What’s the point?” You asked, your eyes brimming with the tears that never seemed to run out.
“Because this… this was fate!” He cried out in reply, startling your niece out of her sleep. “Shit, shh, it’s okay, it’s okay.”
You sat there as he rocked the carrier with his foot, shushing her back to sleep but ultimately failing. It wasn’t until Ava started thrashing about a few minutes later that you got up and rummaged through her baby bag in search of what she might need, settling on the pacifier.
“Try this,” you told him defeatedly, handing it to him as you held the bag in your hand and brought it back to your spot on the couch.
“No, not working, she’s spitting it out. Maybe she’s hungry?”
“Here’s her bottle.” You looked at him as he tried to feed her, but saw that she just wasn’t having it, so you approached her and carefully picked her up, trying to see if she needed a change.
It was hopeless. You didn’t know what to look for, what her behavior was indicating, what her incessant shrieks were telling you. After your countless attempts at trying to crack the code, you were already more than ready to bury yourself alive.
Lin was running around like a chicken with its head cut off as he endlessly tried to soothe her by changing her, trying to feed her once again, helplessly attempting to get her back to sleep.
With Ava in your arms, you rocked her back and forth as he followed right behind you, both of you doing your fair share of shushing between exasperated sighs. You brought her up the stairs and into your bedroom with Lin just a step behind. Placing the screeching infant on your bed, you sat next to her and looked down at her frantically, your hands trembling out of exhaustion and frustration.
“Look at the way the moon behaves,” Lin began to sing softly as he took a seat on the other side of your niece. “Look at the way she paints a silver ribbon on the waves. One thing I’ve learned and I’ll share with you, nothing is too wonderful to be true.”
You watched in awe as Ava’s cries grew quieter and quieter with every word that fell from his lips, not sure if you were relieved that it was working or relieved that he was there with you.
“Each moment opens like a flower,” he continued as she too, gazed at him. “The age of miracles comes every hour on the hour.” His voice faltered and he cocked his head to the side, a look of confusion growing on his face.
“Turn any corner, there’s something new,” you continued, and Lin looked at you with a faint grin. “And nothing is too wonderful to be true.”
Both of you repositioned yourselves around Ava, lying down comfortably on the bed with the little one between both of you, your hand resting gently on her tiny tummy. He propped his head up on his elbow as the two of you continued the song in unison at first, then adding harmony.
“If I’m perceived, to be naive, to be the way I am, let people say I am a silly goof. Is life a plateful? Am I grateful? Every day I am. It’s an amazing world in which we live, and I’ve got living proof. Look at the way the moon behaves, look at the way she paints a silver ribbon on the waves…”
You couldn’t sing the end of the song. Your breath hitched as your tears inevitably began to fall.
Lin continued it softly, his melody akin to a whisper as he brought his attention to you, his gaze piercing your own. “Leading directly to me and you… Nothing is too wonderful to be true.”
Ava was now making little sounds, cooing at both of you, and both you and Lin erupted into a fit of laughter, pleased that the wailing infant had finally ceased, amazed that the two of you had accomplished what seemed to be impossible, mesmerized by the joint effort that ultimately made everyone happy.
“Go team!” He exclaimed with his signature silly grin, raising a hand to offer you a high five.
You immediately met his hand and gave it a soft smack, the smile on your face unwavering despite the wetness on your cheeks. “Nice work.”
Between the two of you, Ava began to giggle and you found yourself chuckling along with her, watching as Lin leaned down to shower her cheeks with little kisses. You soon joined him in the love fest and both of you spent the next few hours overdramatically babbling right back at your niece, feeding her, bouncing her up and down, taking turns holding her.
“That was fun, wasn’t it?” Lin asked her enthusiastically as she let out a yawn, and he took her outstretched hand in his own.
The image of the old love of your life being the most perfect caretaker made your heart swell. This is how life could’ve been.
After singing her back to sleep, (I don’t think ‘La Vie Boheme’ is an appropriate song for an infant– Don’t pay attention to her, Ava, it’s not our fault he can’t hold an erection on the high holy days…) the two of you collapsed next to each other on the sofa with sighs of relief.
“Whew, that was exhausting,” you said under your breath, throwing your head back with a grunt.
“But I had fun,” he added softly. “Imagine if we got to do that every day?”
And just like that, the fun was over.
You closed your eyes and shook your head, bracing yourself for the misery that was threatening to eat you alive.
Silence fell upon you and for a long moment, neither of you spoke a word.
“We can do it, ” Lin spoke, breaking the deafening quiet. “We could do this every day. I want to do this with you every day for the rest of my life.”
“No,” you breathed in reply, opening your eyes to stare up at the ceiling before bringing your gaze back to his. “It’s done. You made your decision six years ago. Maybe… maybe it was meant to be like this.”
“Y/N, every day since that fucking dumb mistake I made,I wrote a letter to you, praying every single day for the past six years that fate would bring you back to me and now… look at us! You’re back! And I’m here! And I just…”
You were already set in your decision. He’d made his choice, now it was only right that you made yours. Seasons had already brought new songs to sing, and it was time to find a new anthem.
“I can’t live the rest of my life without you,” he murmured as he wrapped an arm around you and pulled you close. “Please, I’m sorry, give me another chance. I love you so much, baby, I never stopped loving you.”
Your heart was racing towards the finish line, its arms wide open, just waiting to break through the tape to make its way to victory.
“Lin, I can’t leave myself at the mercy of fate. I can’t let you back into my life without spending every second wondering when you’ll want to leave again.”
“I promise I won’t leave, I promise…”
“I just don’t know that for sure, Lin. I can’t let you hurt me again. This… Maybe this wasn’t meant to be.”
“Please don’t let me live without you,” he begged as he pulled away, placing both hands on your shoulders, his eyes gazing deeply into yours. His lips quickly pressed against your own and he kissed you hard. “Tell me that doesn’t mean anything to you.”
“I-I think you should go.” You broke away from him and stood up, unable to look at anything besides the ground.
He got up to his feet and stood before you wordlessly, waiting for you to say something in reply.
But you didn’t. Instead, you picked up his treasure box and put it in his hands, escorting him out the door.
When the door clicked shut, you propped your back against it and broke down, coming to terms with the fact that a happy ending just wasn’t meant to be for the two of you.
You had one more part for the storybook, one more road that you could’ve taken, one more thing that used to have your heart. It was just one more place in your memory that you wished with every single part of you that you could go back to the very beginning, to start it all again.
But it was impossible. It was over. The chapter was done.