for @bisexualalienblast and @fraudulentzodiacs, for being lovely in general 💖💜💙
Michael only gets detention when he’s tardy three or more times a week. He tries really hard to be on time, but sometimes he can’t help but be late.
Mr. Gutierrez always has an old thousand piece puzzle set that he leaves out for Michael to kill time if he doesn’t have any school work to finish.
Michael spends two hours finishing up the entire puzzle, only for it to be missing a piece.
He searches the entire room and asks Mr. Gutierrez, but he shrugs and tells him that it probably fell somewhere.
Michael frowns at the puzzle for a full five minutes, feeling a niggling feeling in the pit of his stomach.
A knock on the door startles him to look away from the empty space to the door to see Alex Manes.
He walks to Mr. Gutierrez and hands him a stack of papers before he looks up and over to where Michael is still staring at him like an idiot.
Alex’s eyes dart away as soon as he makes contact, looking to the puzzle and furrowing his brow.
Mr. Gutierrez thanks him and Alex nods his head before he walks towards Michael.
Michael holds his breath, but Alex doesn’t even look at him as he reaches into the front pocket of his jeans and pulls something out too small for Michael to see.
He leans forward over the puzzle reaching out with his hand and then he pulls back and smiles at Michael.
“Looks like I had your missing puzzle piece.”
Michael’s eyes fall from Alex to the puzzle to see that he’d placed the puzzle piece in place, a red splotch of flowers that literally draws your eye directly to it.
When Michael looks back up to thank him, Alex is gone.
Michael looks back at the puzzle and tries not think that it’s significant somehow.
Michael fails miserably in that aspect, but he tried really hard.
The universe really just seems to be conspiring against him.
Forming any type of anything with Alex Manes has bad idea written all over with starting with how very much he doesn’t want to fly under the radar with the way he dresses and his inability to back down from a fight and ending with the fact that he belongs to an Airforce Legacy family.
Michael is searching frantically for his notebook, the one that has all of the schematics for the spaceship, and all of the information grid by grid to every section of the crash he’s already checked and what he’s found.
Even if anyone finds it, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to decipher it. But there is always the possibility that someone will find it who’ll know exactly what it is.
He’s about to empty his locker all over again when someone clears their throat behind him.
He turns and freezes when he sees Alex.
Alex smiles sheepishly at him, and waves his notebook in the air.
“Looking for this?” he asks, and just tightens his fingers on the book when Michael just continues to watch him. “I found it in my bag. I must’ve taken it by accident during English.”
And Michael remembers then that they’d been sharing his AP Literature textbook this morning since Alex had forgotten his at home.
AP English was his first class of the morning, and Michael was more often than not half asleep during it.
Michael turns completely, and reaches for the notebook.
Alex hands it over easily and stuffs his hands into the front pockets of his jeans rocking back on his heels.
“Thanks,” Michael says grabbing his bag and stuffing the notebook inside.
Alex just smiles, that same smile from before, eyes bright and lips just slightly curled at the edges.
It feels like it’s just for Michael, and it’s thoughts like that that Michael should be avoiding.
Alex leaves with a wave of his hand and Michael watches him go.
Michael considers maybe that he’s the one responsible for this, without meaning to.
He doesn’t know how else to explain it.
Over the next couple of days, Alex appears with his book bag the exact second he realized that he’d lost it, saying that he found it in the bathroom, hands Michael a bandaid casually, during English when he gets a papercut looking through the notes Ms. Johnson left on his essay, pulls Michael’s spare AP Chemistry textbook out of his own bag, saying that he found it on top of the table at the library, and he drops Michael’s favorite hoodie on top of his head when he starts shuddering while they’re watching a documentary in AP History, a hoodie that Michael had thought he’d lost months ago.
The final straw comes when Michael is brooding into his lunch because he lost his lucky guitar pick and he was positive it meant he was going to fail his Chemistry and Anatomy finals and lose his scholarship, and Isobel is doing a really bad job attempting to cheer him up.
“Hey,” Alex says, interrupting Isobel mid sentence. She makes an affronted noise, but Michael’s attention is completely caught by Alex who ignores Isobel to smile at Michael.
“I’m positive that this is yours,” he says and drops something from his hand to the table.
Michael’s lucky guitar pick bounces slightly on top of the table.
It’s black and cracked at the tip and has the faded neon green imprint of an alien, but Michael has never failed a test while he’s had it stuffed into the front pocket of his jeans, and the overwhelming relief that he feels at seeing it is nothing compared to the feeling that sweeps up from the pit of his stomach and makes his heart beat fast in his chest, and the air catch in his lungs as he looks back up at Alex.
Alex freezes, eyes going a little wide at the look on Michael’s face, and he licks his lips and looks to the side blinking rapidly.
Michael swallows hard and grabs the guitar pick.
“Thanks,” he says voice hoarse and low.
“Anytime,” Alex says, voice equally low as he walks away.
Michael clenches his fingers tightly around the pick and he waits all of five seconds before he turns and sees Alex walking out through the cafeteria doors.
“You’re an idiot,” Isobel says when he just continues to stare even after the doors close.
Michael turns to look at her, furrowing his brow in confusion.
She just rolls her eyes, but doesn’t say anything else. When he looks at Max, Max gives him the same confused look back.
Michael stuffs the guitar pick into the front pocket of his jeans and he wonders if he takes something from Alex, if Alex will come find him to look for it, or will he wait for Michael to magically appear with what he’s looking for.