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Worth More Than a Soul

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His eyes open, slowly, with a flutter as the blurry white soon comes into focus as his vision adjusts. He recognizes this ceiling, these lights. His head swarms and he feels groggy, like waking up from a dream, but he’s not in his bed, or even in his room. Wonderful. I must be immortal. The fucking tenth time, I’m still not dead. He’s in the hospital, again.

 

Connor searches for his family, his gaze wandering the room, finding no sign his parents, or even his sister, are here. Of course, they aren’t. They probably forgot about me. They wouldn’t care if I disappeared.

 

He sits up, pulling the IV out of his arm, finding he's in no pain. “Must be those drugs.” He mutters, but even as he says that he knows that's not true. His head isn't foggy, the giddy feeling of being on dope isn't spreading throughout his body, making him giggle at random shit. For someone who's attempted suicide, he should be in more pain, the familiar burning sensation of the long run of stitches down his arms. Connor feels nothing, even when he digs a nail into his wounds.

 

He turns to the monitors behind him. His eyes widen, and he stares straight at the heart monitor. This has to be a dream, he's in a fever dream.

 

“Congratulations, Connor Murphy.” A slow, sarcastic clap echoes around him, the dark voice laughs from all the shadows. Connor jumps, getting out of the hospital bed, trying to find the source of the voice, fearful eyes skitting from corner to corner.

 

“Boo!” Behind him. Connor twists his body, his hair on the back of his neck stands at end. Finally, he spots a shadow roughly in the shape of a man. The cold tendrils of fear tear at his skin, digging into his chest and curling around his heart. The temperature in the room drops significantly, and finally, the shadows dissipate, and the stranger in the room shows his full glory.

 

He's a young man, perhaps late twenties judging by the sharp, clean-shaven jaw, and the green eyes. He steps closer, a cold breeze following his move. He wears a dark, long black coat, leather gloves, and biker boots. Tattoos snake down his neck, suggesting that his back and chest are covered in the black ink.

 

Connor, at first, finds his mouth unable to work, he’s at a loss for words. But his brain keeps whirling around. Why the hell is this man so hot? Fuck, shut up brain! He stops himself, steeling his resolve, and standing his ground as he wills the fear to disappear.

 

The first words out of his mouth to the man weren’t very polite, not that he actually gave a shit. “Was that supposed to scare me, you fucker? Even babies wouldn’t be frightened at that.” Connor laughs, it's the only way he knows how to cope. “Let me guess, you're the fucking devil. You've come to take me to hell for killing myself.” He pauses, making a fist. “Well, I'll fucking mess up your face before you can drag me there!”

 

The man gives Connor a look, it's not one of anger, but one of interest and humor. “Haha! Kid, you're funny.” He laughs. “I suppose I understand why you'd think that I'm the devil. I'm just as cruel as he is.” The man runs a gloved hand through his dark hair, a grin on his face. “No need for violence and pain, I think you’ll find I’m a very kinky guy~” He steps closer to Connor, walking around him in circles the way a predator would with prey. “I’m not Lucifer, kid. The name’s Death. As in the Angel of Death, I’m the original character of ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’ And yes, even with my job, I still manage to find time for Netflix and Chill!”

 

Death. So that confirms it. Connor is, in fact, dead, just like the heart monitor is blank. Am I a ghost then? I feel solid, yet I can't feel pain… Connor's thoughts spin. He shakes his head to clear his mind, those aren’t the questions he needs to ask. “Why are you here then? I sure as hell don’t belong in Heaven, so you can just send me to the devil, thank you.” He mutters sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

 

Death stops circling him and crosses his arms. “I have some good news and some bad news.” He pauses, pressing a finger to his temple. “Oh shit, nevermind, it’s all bad news for you!” The man laughs, shaking his head. “I can’t take your soul anywhere, dear Connor Murphy. It’s unfortunate, but you’re not written in my book for today.” He flips open a black book to the date, September 2, showing Connor the blank spot where his name should be.

 

Connor stares at the book and then raises his eyes to look at the clock, frozen at the time of death. Then he fixes his gaze on the blank spot in the notebook at the exact time of his death. Impossible. He’s dead! Why isn’t his name there? He rips the book out of Death’s hands, inspecting it closer. There’s a slight smudge like his name had been erased not too long ago. “What the fuck? Why did you erase my name? I wanted to die!” Connor glares at Death before throwing the stupid book across the room as hard as he could.

 

Surprisingly, Death doesn’t get angry. He allows Connor to take his book and even throw it across the room. He simply smirks at him like it’s a game like it’s funny. He placed his hand against his chest with a gasp. “How dare you accuse me, me of all people, of erasing your name?” He mocks sarcastically, but then his expression changes, becoming serious. “I'm not the one who erased your name, someone else did.” The dark-haired man steps over to the other side of the room, picks up his book, and brushes it off as if nothing happened.

 

Connor's anger fades away, and he's left with emptiness and curiosity. “Who? Who cares about me so much that they'd take my name off your list? Nobody. There's nobody who would do that. You're just playing me. Life and death is a game to you, you live outside our world. How could you know how I feel every day? Don't you know why people fucking kill themselves? Haven't you talked with other crazy people like myself before?” He shakes his head and takes a seat on the hospital bed, finding interest in his feet. “Just leave me alone,” he mutters dejectedly.

 

For a moment, the room is silent, as the man struggles to find the right words to say to the teen. Finally, in a much different tone of voice than before, Death speaks to him. “There are people who care about you. I understand that’s not where you’re coming from, especially right now.” The man takes a seat in the chair across from the bed, leaning forward, hoping to get Connor to look at him directly. He does, and the two lock eyes. “Every single suicide victim leaves an impact behind, and people gather to mourn, people who did, in fact, care about them. There’s always at least one person. And that one person can make a huge difference in someone’s life.” Death says slowly, carefully, picking his words carefully, though it’s clearly a burden for him to talk about, his voice heavy. “Nobody is ever truly all alone, even you. Right now there are thousands of other men and women who feel the same way, even some that you, yes you, Connor Murphy, know in your life.”

 

Connor locks his eyes, staring straight into the bright green eyes of the other man. He’s silent at the words sink deep into his skin, into his mind. The teen drops his gaze, his arms heavy and limp with the weight of what he’s done. He’s not sure to believe the jerk that was teasing him just moments before, but if anyone in the whole universe would know about this, it would be the Angel of Death. He opens his mouth, but finds what he wants to yell at the man won’t come to the surface. So he clenches his jaws together and seals his lips.

 

“Someone who found you very important to them made a deal with me, to save your soul. I’m not allowed to take you, and instead, you will be returned back to the beginning.” Death stands up, walking towards the window, gazing out, before returning his attention to Connor. “I rarely make deals, especially when it involves bringing a person back to life. The rules of the universe require something in exchange or everything is thrown off balance. So, just know that going into your life once again.” He starts to leave, fixing his outfit. “Oh, one other bit of information. I think you’ll find yourself to actually be immortal if you try to hurt or kill yourself before the end date of the deal.” Death smirks at Connor with a laugh.

 

Connor stands up quickly, anger taking over once again. He doesn’t want to go back to his horrible fucking life. “No! Fuck you! I don’t care about this shitty deal.” And when he goes to hurt Death, the man simply teleports behind him. And his vision blurs, tears on his cheeks. He surprises himself, he’s crying. “I don’t want too, you’re going to trap me back there.” His breathing gets heavy, he’s panicking. There’s a hand on his shoulder, and suddenly he’s relaxed, the feeling washes away. There’s a voice in his ear.

 

“I can’t undo this deal, but I understand why you’re upset.” Death’s voice is sympathetic, sad even like he doesn’t wish to place Connor through any torture. “If you really can’t stand it, call out my name three times, and I’ll take your soul away from this world.” It’s the last thing he says to Connor, a way out so he’s not trapped. There’s the snap of his fingers. Connor suddenly feels super drowsy, the hospital swaying back and forth. His eyes shut. And his mind goes dark.

 

------

 

There’s a knock on the door. It’s followed by a familiar voice. “Connor, honey, it’s time for school.” The door creaks open. “Wake up, dear. You can’t be late for your first day of senior year.”




Chapter Text

Dear Evan Hansen,

 

Today's gonna be a great day, and here's why.



Evan stares blankly at the computer screen, the cursor flashing. He counts how many times it flashes… He's supposed to be writing another one of his letters. For therapy, for his mom, but really for himself. Sometimes it works, but most of the time he just ends up feeling worse after each letter. And now he has no idea what to write. And he really doesn't want to think about…

 

“Evan, honey, come down and eat. You can't miss breakfast on the first day of school.” His mother's voice sounds faint coming from downstairs and in the kitchen, but she's spoken the S-word: School.

 

The mention causes his heart to pound in his ears, his stomach to churn faster than the washing machine and his palms to sweat. Evan hates school. There are so many people, so many he doesn’t know. They’re strangers, and he’s a stranger to them. The teachers don’t even call him by his nickname, even when he corrects them. It’s always “Mark” and he hates that name. Why did he have to get his dead-beat father’s name? And school means the stress of being a senior and the fear he won’t ever be good enough to graduate. Even though his school counselor says he’s on track to graduate, what if she’s lying to him because she knows how much of a disappointment he is and she-

 

Deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out.

 

Evan reaches into the drawer, pulling out his medication. He fumbles with the cap, the heavy cast on his arm creating awkward movements. He’s not used to struggling to do normal things like pulling on his clothes, or taking his pills, with his broken arm. He shakily gets the pills down his throat and stares back at the blinking cursor on his computer, his mind blank. If only he could find the right words to say, but as usual, nothing would come out.

 

The door of his room swings open. “Honey, you need to eat breakfast. Considering you decided not to eat last night.” His mom is standing over him, holding the money he was supposed to use to order food last night.

 

Evan shuts his laptop quickly, staring at his mother as his hand shakily twists the end of his shirt over and over again. “S-sorry I would - I would have but there's the person I have to speak to at the door, and usually I fumble to get the money or drop the food, and the person is just staring at me, and then I start to sweat and-”

 

“Evan.” Heidi stops him, shaking her head. “We’re working on this. Your doctor told you that you should be talking to people. Not avoiding them. Try to be yourself, take deep breaths.” She pauses, gazing at his closed computer. “Have you been writing letters? They’re supposed to help you, you can’t be skipping on them.”

 

Evan’s gaze shifts to his feet and he murmurs a very soft, “I’m sorry.” Before stammering something else out. “I mean I had slacked a little, it was summer, but I was writing one, yes.”

 

“Good. I scheduled you an appointment for after school today, your therapist is going to want to see the letters.” His mother moves towards the door, gesturing for him to follow her.

 

Evan hesitates, he’s not sure how he feels about going to therapy after the first day of school, but gives her a smile anyway. He grabs his backpack, swinging it over his good shoulder, and walks down the stairs. The bundle of nerves in his stomach nearly makes him slip and fall down the stairs, but he grips the railing and walks slower, his mother already in the kitchen.

 

“Evan, dear, you should try to make some new friends today.” Heidi smiles brightly as he faces her slowly. She pulls a Sharpie out of the cup on the counter, holding it out to him. “You should have your classmates sign your cast! It’s the perfect way for you to talk to people, get to know others.”

 

Evan looks away from her and the Sharpie, he’s not that interested in having others see his cast. It’s bulky and makes all his movements seem even more awkward than he felt on a daily basis. He would spend most of his day trying to get eyes off his cast. “Mom..” he starts.

 

But she’s already putting the marker inside the front pocket of his bag. “Honey, you’ve got to seize the day!” She kisses the top of his head before backing away, smiling at him. “I’m so proud of you.”

 

But her eyes are lying, she’s not proud of him. Evan knows how she feels about him. He’s a disappointment, and that’s all he’ll ever be. Another burden on her shoulders when she’s already got stress from her work, and from her divorce. He’s just another part of her terrible life.

 

Her smile falls, and she turns away, walking towards the table, where she’d left a note, likely her phone number in case, and instructions for dinner. “I’ll be gone this evening again. I won’t be able to pick you up from school. Take the bus, please? And stay safe. Try to have a good day!”

 

-----

 

Evan’s mood only worsens once he’s back in the cramped hallways, with people talking loudly, running, and cursing. High school is the worst, and Evan wishes he could be back in the forest with the trees, where it’s silent and nobody is around for miles.

 

Unfortunately for Evan, he’s not as invisible as he wishes he could be, as he nearly runs into someone. “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t watching-” He stammers but the person in front of him is familiar. It’s a guy wearing glasses, and headphones around his neck, even though they’re not plugged into a phone and blasting music. “Oh, Jared. Hi… um, how - how was your summer?”

 

“Fine. I bet yours was more exciting. Why the cast, Hansen? Did you break your arm jerking off to the thought of sex with Zoe Murphy?” Jared laughs, rolling his eyes as he starts to move past Evan.

 

Evan stops him, as Jared is the only person he can really talk to at school without completely freaking out and having a meltdown. They’re family friends, which to Evan still counts, and they occasionally text, even if they aren't super close. “No!” Evan hisses, much too embarrassed to say much else, his entire face flushed. “Do you want to know what really happened?”

 

“Not really. My story is way better.” Jared says, shaking his head, but Evan clearly still wants to tell him.

 

“I climbed a tree at work and I fell.” Evan lies, but it’s the story he told his mother, the park ranger, and the doctor.

 

“You fell out of a tree? What are you an acorn?” He laughs again, his humor still on point.

 

“I mean I was working as an apprentice to a park ranger, and so I’m an expert on trees and like, I saw this tree and I climbed it. Then I fell. And when I was on the ground I thought someone would come to get me. Of course, they never came, but I just kept thinking that they would.” Evan says quickly, recalling parts of the story, before realizing how pathetic he sounds in front of Jared. “Ah, it doesn’t matter.” He fumbles with the Sharpie and holds it out to Jared. “Would you like to sign my cast?”

 

Jared gazes at the marker and then back at Evan. “Seriously? No, not really.” He turns away, shrugging. “Go get Zoe to sign it!” He yells as he walks off.

 

Evan stares blankly at the marker, well, that was a bust. He didn’t know why he even bothered.

 

-----

 

Class is just how Evan remembers it: boring. But, at least he wasn’t super embarrassed or called on to answer questions. And so, he’s made it halfway through the day, to lunch. Normally, he’d sit by himself in a corner and force himself to eat. But today, with the words of encouragement from his mother, he figures he would go try to sit with Jared.

 

Evan spots Jared in the lunch line and walks over to him. “Hey.”

 

“Oh, it’s you again,” Jared says sarcastically, but both of their attentions are taken off each other, as a dark shadow passes between them. A boy, wearing a black hoodie, his nails painted the same matching color, with long, dark hair covering most of his face. It takes Evan a moment, but he recognizes this person. Connor Murphy.

 

Jared, being his usual self, speaks his mind, without caring about the consequences. “Love the long hair, very school shooter chic.”

 

Evan freezes as Connor stops, placing a foot down and turning to face Jared. His eyes are slightly more visible now, dark and narrow as he glares. His whole demeanor is cold like he’s a statue and his vision shifts from Jared to Evan.

 

Jared realizes his mistake, and quickly covers up, trying to fix everything so he wouldn’t be punched. “I was kidding. It was a joke.”

 

“Oh?” Connor finally speaks, voice angry, but there’s pain clearly in it. “Yeah, that was funny. I’m laughing my ass off.” Jared stares at him, fear in his eyes, and he slowly backs away from Connor. “Am I not laughing hard enough for you?” Connor presses the topic, even more, this time his voice louder and carrying a lot more pain and anger than before.

 

Jared tucks tail and runs, leaving the frozen and awkward Evan behind. Evan laughs nervously, as he has no idea what to do. He’s willing his legs to move but he’s frozen in place.

 

“What the fuck are you laughing at?” Connor’s attention is focused on Evan now that Jared is gone, and it probably hurt him that Evan had been laughing nervously to cope with this whole situation. “You think I’m a freak, huh? That’s why you’re laughing?”

 

Evan doesn’t have the time to react. There’s heavy pressure on his chest. And he’s on the floor. “You’re the freak!” Connor yells right after pushing him and walks off before he gets in trouble.

 

Evan lays on the ground, his arm feeling numb. He’s back in the field. The grass is around him, tears blurring his vision. Someone’s coming to get me. Coming to get me… He realizes that nobody is going to help him up. He slowly sits up, the cafeteria back in his vision as he dusts his hands off.

 

“Are you alright?” A girl. Evan turns his head to find Zoe Murphy standing over him, a concerned look on her face. “Sorry about my brother. He’s a real ass sometimes.”

 

Evan makes his way to his feet, it’s a struggle as he’s never exactly talked to her before, at least not much. “Y-yeah I’m fine I mean-” he cuts himself short, as he can’t speak, feeling tongue-tied.

 

“Evan right?”

 

“Evan?” He echoes.

 

“That’s your name?”

 

“Right. Uh, yeah I’m Evan. Sorry”

 

“I’m Zoe.” She smiles at him, and his stomach does a flip. She’s actually talking to him and knows his name.

 

“I know.” He immediately regrets those words, it makes him sound like a stalker. “I mean I’ve seen you around, and at jazz. I love jazz. Do you love jazz? I’m sorry, of course, you like jazz.” This conversation is a train wreck so he just chooses to stop speaking.

 

“You apologize a lot.”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. I mean-”

 

Zoe laughs, though it sounds like she’s happy, or maybe she thought it was a joke. “It’s okay. I’ll see you around.” She walks away.

 

Evan lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He just fucking talked with Zoe Murphy. Damn.

 

----

 

Evan decides if he’s going to write a letter, it must be truthful. “Amazing day my ass.” He mutters. The only upside to his first day of school would be Zoe, and she had to meet him when he had been pushed on the floor. She probably was only there to comfort him and fix her brother’s mess. Evan stares at the blinking cursor, then at the keyboard in front of him. He’s working in a mostly empty computer lab so nobody would see this anyway.

 

He begins to type and type and doesn’t stop. He writes a full letter to himself, not about how amazing his day is, but how awful it is. He’s tired of lying about how he feels, and every letter he’s lying to himself and to his mother. It’s time to speak the truth about how he feels, and maybe they could work on it from there. Evan’s hands fly, and he doesn’t notice that he clicks print before he can stop himself.

 

Evan hears the printer rolling, and it immediately puts him back into reality. What is he thinking? He can’t show this to his therapist or to his mom. It should be thrown away as soon as possible. He moves to grab his letter when he’s stopped by a familiar guy in a dark hoodie. He prepares himself to be pushed again, but Connor doesn’t move to hurt him. “So, what happened to your arm?” He asks, gazing at Evan’s cast.

 

Evan hesitates but answers him. “I climbed a tree and fell.” It’s the short version of what he told Jared, but after lunch, he wasn’t as comfortable sharing all the information of his story with Connor.

 

Connor simply stares, before he starts to laugh. “You fell out of a tree? That’s the saddest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.” He shakes his head. “You really should come up with a better story.”

 

Evan knows, he probably should have. “Yeah.” His gaze settles on the floor, he doesn’t want Connor to be mad at him, or punch him.

 

“Say you got into a fight or some shit,” Connor suggests with a shrug. He moves some of his wavy, long hair behind his ear, to get a better look at Evan. “No one’s signed your cast.” He pauses. “I’ll sign it.”

 

That’s weird, and Evan doesn’t expect it, staring at Connor for a blank moment. His hand moves, and he grabs the Sharpie from his backpack and holds it out to Connor. The other male takes the marker, uncapping it and signing his name in big letters. “There, now we can both pretend we have friends.”

 

Evan has no idea what that comment is supposed to mean, and so instead of making a mess of himself, he stays quiet as Connor looks around and grabs his paper from the printer. Evan wants to jump and take it from him before he reads it, but he’s afraid he’ll be clumsy and knock them both to the ground. “‘Dear Evan Hansen?’” He reads. “That’s you, right?”

 

Evan can’t speak, his heart begins to pound harder until that’s all he can hear in his ears. Connor is reading his letter. He knew he should have destroyed it or jumped at him when he had the chance, and now it was too late. All his internal secrets spilled to a stranger.

 

“‘Because there’s Zoe.’ Is this about my sister?” Connor’s expression is completely different now, similar to the one at lunch, his walls building up, the cold anger in his eyes.

 

“No. It’s a different Zoe - she um - she goes to a different school. I met her over summer.” Evan tries, but Connor’s not buying his stuttering lies.

 

“Don’t fucking lie to me. I’m not fucking stupid! You wrote this on purpose.”

 

“What? No.” Evan shakes his head, he would never do that.

 

“You knew I’d freak out. And then you could call me crazy again! I’m just the crazy school shooter huh?” Connor yells, the paper in his hand slightly crumpling as he grips onto it harder. “Well, fuck you!” He flashes the middle finger as he runs out of the computer lab. Still in his hands is Evan’s letter.

----

 

Evan doesn’t sleep that night. He spends most of his time pacing back and forth, thinking of Connor. He can’t get him and their exchange out of his mind. His anxiety wouldn’t let him relax, especially with the fact that Connor has his letter. He probably shared it with Zoe and now his friendship with her would never exist, not that it did now, but now it never could.

 

But, he also worries about Connor, his actions all day had been strange, especially signing his cast. They aren’t friends, but the more Evan thought about, the more maybe they could be? They are both losers without many friends, and they both tend to hang out alone. Connor is more violent than Evan, but he’s clearly struggling with shit.

 

And part of Evan wants to help Connor, but he doesn’t even know where to start, or how to apologize to him about the letter. And the letter, Connor would probably post it online to embarrass him and make him the laughing stock of the school. Evan keeps checking online, but there’s no sign of his letter, thankfully.

 

The clock ticks as the night passes slowly, every hour feels slower than Evan wants, and by the time the sun rises, Evan’s more exhausted than he’s ever been.

 

---

 

The news hits him hard the next morning. Evan sits down in the office, playing with the hem of his shirt nervously as he hopes that he’s not in trouble. It doesn’t seem like it, as the principal looks solemn instead of angry.

 

There are two strangers sitting in front of Evan, a man, and a woman. Parents of a student. The mother’s eyes and nose are red and puffy, she’s been crying hard for quite some time. The man isn’t even comforting her, he looks more angry than sad.

 

Evan isn’t sure what to say, he’s really bad in social situations, and he doesn’t want to make the parents feel worse. He’s really confused as to why he’s here, he doesn’t recognize these people, and he hasn’t gotten into any fights or in trouble.

 

The father holds out a piece of paper, Evan notices the top line. ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and his stomach rises into his throat. He feels sick, nearly turning around to run to the bathroom and throw up and then cry. Connor’s parents had his letter, they were mad at him about picking on Connor and Zoe. He’s in so much trouble. His mother will never forgive him, he’ll be grounded until he’s thirty, and the school will put this on his record.

 

“Connor wrote this for you.” The man hands him the crumpled letter and Evan slowly takes it, still in fear of what would come next.

 

“I-I don’t understand.”

 

“Connor’s gone. Last night he killed himself…”

Chapter Text

“What the FUCK?” Connor feels like those are the only words going through his mind, and he jumps out of bed, checking his phone for the date and time. He nearly has a heart attack. Mon, Sept. 1 6:23 am. Nope. No way. He’s insane. He’s crazier than he’s ever been, and yet, he doesn’t feel high or drugged. He pinches his arm, there’s pain and he’s awake.

 

He starts to panic, he really doesn’t want to relive the worst day of his life, and he really doesn’t give a shit about Death. That man could go fuck himself for sending him back to the beginning. He runs his fingers through his long hair, tears blurring his vision. His parents are going to make him go to school. Nobody at school will see him, the teachers will call him out. Connor knows how this day is going to turn out, with him feeling like shit, and then offing himself with the pills in stashed in the cabinet.

 

He paces about the room, thinking already about calling to Death to just take his soul already, but something makes him hesitate. He wouldn’t have gotten a second chance for the same events to unfold again, right? Well, fuck it, he would just have to find out.

 

Connor pulls on some clothes, not caring if they were dirty or old. He doesn’t give a shit about his appearance, it’s not like anyone would see him anyway. He gazes at his drawer, debating about smoking now, he could use the relaxing feeling that took all his pain away, the dizziness and fog that pulls him into a dream world.

 

He runs his fingers through his hair before digging in the drawer to find his hidden stache, premade rolls of weed to smoke, and his lighter. Within seconds he’s breathing in a nice long drag and blows out the smoke. He breathes in again, the drug kicking in as he feels the usual lightheadedness and calm flow through his brain.

 

Connor grabs his backpack, placing his phone, headphones and his sketchbook inside. The cigarette is back between his lips, and the world slows down, just the way he likes it. He takes a final drag before snuffing out the flame and getting rid of the rest before his parents find out he’s been getting high again.

 

The door opens with a creak, and Connor slips out with his backpack, hoping to avoid confrontation with his parents. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. He sits down to eat breakfast his mother had laid out on the table, and his father gives him a look of disapproval.

 

“You take longer than your sister does to get out of bed. Perhaps we should wake you up earlier to prepare you for the real world, you lazy bum.” Larry murmurs, reading the newspaper while drinking his cup of coffee.

 

He tries not to get mad, the effects of the drug helping him not act out in violence, instead he giggles and retorts, “Says the man who is late to work more than I ditch class.” His statement isn’t true, but Connor doesn’t give a fuck right now.

 

“Cythina, I think he’s high again. We should go through his room again, he’s hiding it somewhere.” Larry's eyes bore into Connor, studying him as if to judge if his son is actually high or not.

 

His mother steps over to him. “Oh dear. Connor, we talked about this.” She shook her head, inspecting his face and her eyes reveal her disappointment in him. She knows he's high again, and Connor fights down the nausea, he doesn't want to lose his own form of escape. It rids the world of pain for him, and all his parents do is bring it right back.   

 

Welp, there was no lying or getting out of this. Connor just shrugged. “So? Just don’t take me to school if you think I’m high.” Of course, that’s when his bitch of a sister walked into the kitchen, all ready for the first day of school.

 

“He’s always using that excuse.” Zoe rolls her eyes, mostly ignoring him as she hugs Cythina. “Goodbye, Mom. I’ll see you later.” She smiles. 

 

Connor has to look away, he doesn’t want to see that his sibling has a way better relationship with their parents than he did. It fucking sucked, of course, he’s the loser, the outcast. He’s the cause of every family argument, of every time their parents fight. He stands up and walks towards the door. He knows he won’t be able to stay home. Of all the things to actually change about this morning, he wouldn’t be able to convince his mom to let him stay behind.

 

“Connor, Zoe’s going to drive you in her car this morning since you’re high. Your father and I are taking apart your room today, so don’t expect to keep your pot anymore.” His mother tells him. Connor flashes her the middle finger and walks out the door.

 

Already this day is fairly different, but he decides it’s still just as shitty, especially having to sit in the car next to Zoe for ten minutes and listen to her rant about how he “shouldn’t be smoking weed” and needed to “grow up” and “act his age.”

 

He looks out the window with a sigh, thinking about how easy it would be to just ask Death to take him now. All it would take would be three iterations of his name, and that would be it, no more of this deal, no more of this bullshit. Connor opens his mouth to say his name but no words come out, he can’t bring himself too right now. Especially not with Zoe ranting at him.

 

-------

 

School is shit. The day, however, is slightly different, as Connor doesn’t get busted for listening to his music and playing on his phone during most of his morning classes. That’s a plus. Now comes the part he wants to avoid the most. In fact, at lunch, he attempts to go to a teacher’s classroom and eat, but his feet, as if controlled by strings, pull him into the cafeteria where he knew he’d be mocked by Jared fucking Kleinman and Evan Hansen.

 

He approaches them and braces himself for the comment, which comes exactly when he expects it. Only…

 

“Love the long hair-” Jared is cut off by Evan.

 

“It looks very soft! What kind of conditioner do you use? Any tips?” Evan says very loudly, drowning out Jared’s voice.

 

Weird, it almost seems like Evan knew about the comment. Connor shakes that out of his head, that’s impossible. Perhaps he just knew Kleinman so well that anything out of his mouth was a bad comment. Actually, that’s the more logical conclusion. He stands there staring at him for a few seconds before he answers. “I use my sister’s conditioner, just don’t tell her I said that. She’ll get pissed.” He tells them before walking off with his food.

 

At least that part of his day is over with, although, he couldn’t get the weird feeling to go away. Connor has no idea why Hansen would try to save the conversation like that, but whatever the fuck that was, he knows one thing for sure: Death changed his day. He doesn’t understand how or why, but he knows that there’s some god-like force helping him out, perhaps maybe trying to convince him to stay in this world?

 

He has no clue, especially because that help would have been more appreciated this morning with his family when Connor felt like crap. Oh well, at least lunch happened to turn out alright.

 

-------

 

A gut feeling tells Connor that there won’t be any trouble in the computer lab. Especially after, lunch, Evan wouldn’t write that creepy fucking letter and give it to him. Right? Well, he decides to trust his stomach, especially as he approaches Evan to talk to him. They could have a normal conversation right? This is a different timeline, things would work out.

 

“So, Hansen. What happened to your arm?” He asks him, even though he already knows the answer.

 

“I got into a fight with a co-worker over the summer. I threw a punch, hit his jaw, which left a dark bruise. And then, he fought back and he took my arm and snapped it. The fight ended. I lost but, I have this battle scar and he has his.”

 

Connor lets out a whistle to voice his surprise. “Well, I’ll be damned. I didn’t think a guy like you could even fight.” More so, he’s shocked at the change of answer. This timeline certainly has its entertainment. He can’t even tell if Evan is lying about the fight or not, although it doesn’t matter. What matters is how impressed he is with this kid. Maybe he isn’t a bad of a guy as he originally thought. “Well, let me sign your cast so you have a fan of your fight, even if I didn’t get to see it.”

 

Evan pulls out a sharpie and Connor writes his name. “There, now we can both pretend to have friends.”

 

Only at this statement, the other teen frowns. “Maybe we don’t have to pretend. I don’t think it’s fair for either of us to be lonely…I mean… only if you want too. I’m sorry if I bothered you.” Evan covers up.

 

Connor gazes at him for a moment before he smiles, this kid is just a sweetheart, and he’s genuinely surprised why he doesn’t have more friends. “Alright! That sounds great, Hansen. Talk tomorrow.” He waves at him, leaving the computer lab.

 

If this timeline continues to slowly get better, Connor decides that it might not be so bad of a life after all…

Chapter Text

 

Evan drags his feet along the pavement. He can hear the chains clinking against the ground, pulling him back. His movements are slow, and his head faces the ground, as he can no longer look forward. He keeps his hands together, gripping onto the bottom of his shirt, and the tightness of the handcuffs strangles his wrists, digging into his skin.

 

It’s late afternoon, and the sun is setting, and Evan’s still walking home from school. He stares at his wrists, there are no actual bindings on him, but he can imagine it. It feels so real that he can see it, hear it. The weight of what he has done causing him to rethink his entire life. He caused Connor Murphy to commit suicide. His dumb, fucking letter that he never should have written. It’s all his fault that an innocent teenager is dead, never to return.

 

The blood is on his hands, and he can’t get the haunting image of himself murdering Connor out of his mind. He would never do such a thing, but because of his mistakes, he killed him.

 

The rational part of his mind kicks in, reassuring him that it’s not really his fault. Connor had been dealing with shit for a long time, and Evan understood that Connor’s depression is more at fault than he is, yet, he can’t get rid of the guilt he feels.

 

He supposes it’s because of his own anxiety and depression that he blames himself. But, there’s more to it, he realizes. He could have helped Connor, he could have been friends with him. Out of all the people on the shitty high school campus, Evan is the only one who would understand how Connor felt. He knows that if he’d just gotten over his damn lack of social skills, he could have been nice to him, helped him even. At least the knowledge that he wouldn’t be alone in dealing with it would help the both of them, right?

 

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as magic, and he couldn’t rewind the time and change his actions. He desperately wishes that he could change Connor’s fate, even go back to save him just before his death. But all that is hopeless, and he has no way of doing so. He understands the truth of reality, and he isn’t inside a video game, a book, or a movie.

 

Evan sighs as he gazes at his house. He knows his mother won’t be home until late, and he can’t exactly order food, especially after everything. He stands outside the door, a stranger to his own home as he feels like knocking or ringing the doorbell instead of just opening the door. He thinks about going inside, crying for a while, and then watching movies until he falls asleep, but he shakes his head.

 

There’s another idea that he’s itching to act upon. And he goes inside, leaving the letter he’d written, the one that the Murphy’s gave back to him, on the kitchen counter. He pauses, writing a small note at the end for his mother.

 

Sorry for being such a disappointment. This letter caused another kid my age to die. I killed him. I killed him. I’ve been trying for so long to not be such a weakling, but it’s all my fault. Goodbye.

 

With that written in red pen, Evan walks out the door, now dark outside, and navigates himself to the closed-down apple orchard. It’s the place he goes to think, to cry, or to relax. But tonight, he knows this place will mean something different for him entirely.

 

On his walk there, he thinks of Connor, of how the other boy must have spent his last few moments on earth just two nights ago. It seems surreal, and Evan could still see him walking through the hallways, hoodie drawn up, closing himself off from the rest of the world. And, while he walks down the street, he sees Connor walking with him, not more than a few feet from him.

 

“Why did you write that letter, Hansen?” His voice is calm, not bitter surprisingly like he’s accepted his death.

 

Evan doesn’t know how to answer him. He never meant for the other teen to see something so private. “I…” He starts, and yet, can’t finish his statement. He shakes his head, and Connor disappears, it’s all in his mind, an apparition, a figment of his own internal suffering.

 

As he jumps the gate into the orchard, his eyes scan the skyline, searching for the tallest tree. His arm in his cast begins to throb, reminding him that he couldn’t fail again. Evan has to find the tallest tree, or even a cliff, a bridge, anything that will work better than last time. He rubs his hand on his cast, a heavy reminder of Connor now that his name was on it, forever etched as his last message to the world.

 

Connor appears again, this time in front of Evan, and they lock eyes. For a moment, Evan just stares into his brown eyes, as if he were real. Connor moves his long hair out of his face before speaking. “Did you fall or did you let go?” He asks, gaze shifting to look at Evan’s cast, most likely on his own name.

 

Evan freezes, and he begins to shake, the cold of the night sinking into his skin, tearing at his chest and stealing his breath. He walks past Connor, ignoring his comment as he finally finds the tallest tree, taller than the one from summer.

 

“One foot after the other. One branch, then to another. I climb higher and higher. I climb until the entire sun shines on my face.

 

And I suddenly feel the branch give way. I’m on the ground. My arm goes numb. I look around. And I see him coming to get me. He’s coming to get me.”

 

And yet, as Evan climbs the tree, he knows that nobody will come and get him. He’s alone. The illusion of Connor is gone, but he knows he’ll see him again soon. He reaches a large branch at the top of the tree, standing close to the large trunk.

 

Slowly he moves away, gazing at the ground and then at the stars. He fixes his eyes upon the stars, a bitter smile on his face. Tears stream down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry, mother. I’m not strong enough for this world.” He knows he’s a disappointment to her, especially now that he’s at fault for another kid’s suicide. “I’m not brave enough. I can’t speak to people, I ruin everything by opening my mouth.” Evan shakes his head, the tears blurring the light of the stars.

 

He’s going to see Connor. He’s going to apologize to him. He’s going to clear his conscience of guilt, of the pain he feels being alive around others. He knows that the other people look at him weirdly. They see a loser, a sweaty boy who’s conversations make no sense. They see him as an outcast, a third wheel. Evan will never be able to have a real friend, nor ever get the girl.

 

He steps closer to the edge of the branch, as he sees the brightest star twinkle, a glimmer of the heavens above, where he belongs more than in this world.

 

“Yeesh, what an awful mess. You’re really gonna jump, kid?” A voice, unfamiliar, and clearly speaks to his left. Evan races to the trunk of the tree, clinging to it, as he looks around for the person.

 

He spots a man sitting on the branch to his lower left. It’s really hard to see the man in the dark, especially because he’s wearing lots of black, but his green eyes are glowing in the dark.

 

Evan can’t speak, he’s still scared, clinging to the tree so tightly his knuckles turn white, and the bark of the trunk begins to dig into his skin painfully.  

 

“Cat got your tongue? Damn, alright, let’s get you out of here before you squeeze the tree so hard that it commits suicide.” The man’s voice is full of sarcasm and he waves his hand in the air.

 

Suddenly, Evan’s on the ground, in the grass. He starts to panic, crying harder now as he can’t breathe. He curls into a ball and just prays that the man is gone. He doesn’t even know him, this is all insane. Evan’s gone crazy. He holds his head tightly, panting and rocking back and forth on the ground.

 

And a wave of calm suddenly washes over him, like a miracle, an act of the heavens. Evan stops crying, closing his eyes and taking a few deep breaths. In, out. And he pats the ground and then his chest to confirm he’s actually safe and sound. When he opens his eyes, the man is sitting a few feet away from him, as if to give him some space. Instead of making comments, the man is silent, gazing up at the tree and the sky.

 

“W-Who are you?” Evan finally asks him, more afraid of this stranger than anxious of speaking to him.

 

“Me? Well, who else would show up when a kid is close to committing suicide?” The man mutters sarcastically. “I’m Death. As in the fallen angel, sending souls of humans to Heaven or Hell.” He chuckles. “Only, I’m not a big fan of two suicides so close together in time and proximity. And I know you, Evan Hansen, don’t want to die.”

 

At first, Evan is not sure whether or not to believe the man, after all, it’s kinda surprising to find out that there are supernatural beings and an afterlife for that matter. But the logic is there, he was close to death, and so the Angel of Death himself shows, but why he would interfere and save him is beyond Evan. “So... you are trying to prevent my death. Why? I’m not needed in this world anyway. I’m a disappointment to my family, and now to Connor,” he admits.

 

“That’s not true. You are needed in this world. Your fate does not end tonight, in fact, I know you are going to fix your mistakes and help Connor.” Death smirks at him and stands up, holding a hand out to him to help him up.

 

Evan hesitantly takes it, and he’s on his feet, staring at him. “What do you mean?”

 

“I mean, I’m going to offer you a deal. A second chance. Now, I may be playing with fire here, for saving you and offering you a chance to fix things… but oh well, I quite like danger.” Death pauses. “Now where were we? Right. I will let you go back in time, prevent Connor’s death, and fix your mistake with your letter.”

 

Evan is silent. There’s always a payment with these, and he’s nervous. What will he have to give up in order to get this right? He’ll only get one more chance, he can’t let himself mess up again, no matter how hard it is. “If?”

 

“If you fall in love with him by Midnight on October 31, Halloween. Otherwise, your soul will be taken in exchange for his.”

 

“Wait. What? What? Fall in love? That makes no sense. I… I mean, I understand why you would have to take my soul in exchange for his, but why fall in love?” Evan tilts his head in confusion. “I’m not even gay, that’s not possible. I..” He’s stammering again as he doesn’t know what to say to this crazy man.

 

Death laughs, although he has a knowing grin on his face. “You see, if you become his soulmate, it’s an equal payment. A true love connection like a soulmate shares the life force between the two people, therefore, neither of you will die before it’s actually time. If you stay in love. Fall out of love after becoming soulmates, both of you die. It’s the laws of this world, and the power of love.”

 

Evan takes a moment to process this news, and it makes sense, and yet he doesn’t know if he can do it. He’ll mess up, he can’t fall in love when he’s not gay, nor even close to Connor. He stares at the grass between his shoes. “Why can’t you take my soul now? I don’t think I’ll be able to fall in love with him, much less get him to love a loser like me. I can’t even talk to people correctly. He’s just going to think I’m stupid and weak.”

 

Death walks forward, and places a gentle hand on Evan’s chin, getting to look at him in the eyes. “You shouldn’t talk that way about yourself, Hansen. You never know what the future holds for you, I would advise at least trying. At least get rid of the guilt you feel.” He pats his shoulder and then steps back. He pulls out a cigarette, lighting it, and smoking it calmly. “What do you say? Do we have a deal?”

 

Evan thinks about his offer once again, and even though he’s not sure if he can succeed, the man is right. He doesn’t know what the future has for him, nor can he know if he doesn’t try. At least this helps Connor. It’s not for him, it’s for an innocent boy who deserves better. “Deal.” He shakes Death’s gloved hand.

 

The world immediately starts to spin, Evan gets dizzy and falls to the ground, within seconds he’s knocked out.

 

Only to wake up in the morning, the first day of school again. A chance to save Connor and fix his mistakes.

Chapter Text



A second chance. Evan decides he’s going to take this seriously, even if it feels too much like a dream or fantasy. This is too important for him to mess up, now that two lives, his and Connor’s were on the line. Unfortunately, he’s the king of messing shit up, especially when he opens his mouth. Works just don’t work for Evan, and he knows this will be a challenge, but he assumes that the challenge is on purpose. He wouldn’t get this supernatural intervention for free, there would be work and a cost.

 

So instead of waiting to write his letter, he completes the letter first thing in the morning when he wakes up, and that’s when he knows he has to be honest with his mother about how he feels. Evan takes a deep breath to steel his resolve and opens the door of his room.

 

His feet reach the edge of the stairs and he grips onto the railing, walking down each step is torture. His chest tightens, and his breath stays in his throat. Telling his mother the truth about his feelings, and his fall from the tree over the summer will be one of the hardest things he’ll ever do. The smell of breakfast makes him sick, and he nearly vomits on the carpet. A voice rings in his ears.

 

“You’ve been given a second chance, Hansen. Come clean about your guilt, and help me.” It’s Connor. Or at least his voice, same as last night when he walked to the orchard. And Evan knows it’s his inner conscience. He takes a deep breath and walks down the last stairs into the kitchen to see his mother finishing up breakfast.

 

“Mom…” Evan starts, but before he can say anything else, she turns around with a smile and a sharpie.

 

“I thought you should get people to sign your cast! It’ll be a good ice-breaker for your first day of school.” Heidi hands him the maker.

 

“Mom, there’s something I need to tell you…” He tries again, his voice wavering, and his eyes start to water. No, no he’s not going to cry in front of his mother. Evan does not want to make an embarrassment of himself and wills the tears to go away.

 

“Anything, honey?” She looks at him worriedly, especially when she notices the expression on his face, she changes, brown eyes becoming sincere.

 

“I...I want wanted to say that…that I’m so sorry. I..I... I lied to you and-” He stops himself before he breaks down, hands sweating and his arm in his cast feels so heavy it’s causing his center of gravity to shift, he wobbles. “I mean I should tell you… tell you the truth.” Evan shuts his eyes tightly, refusing to make any sort of eye contact, he didn’t even want to see her face. “IletgoofthetreeanditwasasuicideattemptbecauseIfeellikeafailure.” He blurts all at once, as quick as he can as holding it makes him feel much worse.

 

Heidi is very quiet, she doesn’t say a word for a moment as she processes the information. And then Evan feels two warm arms around him, and she’s hugging her son tightly. “Dear, I appreciate the truth, and I’m sorry you feel that way. I do my best to help you, and I’m really really sorry I’m never there for you.” And then he hears her crying. “I work too much, and that’s my fault, but the bills are hard to keep up with, I have to work to keep our house.”

 

Evan opens his eyes, he’s crying too. He knows that’s why she works all the time, but he’s angry, not at her, but at his father. He left them! He doesn’t even help her pay for the house or anything. “Mom, I just, I know. I wanted you to know the truth. I’m so sorry too. And I forgive you, you’re an amazing mother. I love you.”

 

“I love you too, honey.” She wipes away her tears and then looks at the overcooked breakfast. “I appreciate your effort, Evan. It means a lot to me, let’s just try to be better people. We can work on it, together.” Heidi smiles and chuckles. “Also, sorry about breakfast.” She takes the food and throws it out. “If we leave right now, we can get drinks at Starbucks.”

 

Evan lets himself smile for the first time, because this morning, even with its emotional drawbacks, has turned out to be better than the original first day, before his second chance. Now time to change Connor’s fate. That can’t be so hard, can it?

 

-------

 

Evan finds that changing Connor’s fate is hard, as the teen is nowhere to be found before school, and he struggles to find him during any of their breaks. So he just has to wait until the fated time at lunch to try to change things. Evan debates ditching Jared so he doesn’t say the comment to Connor but finds that even when he tries to get Jared to go anywhere but the cafeteria, it’s like strings keep pulling at the both of them to be there.

 

Instead, he stands next to Jared in line, hand fiddling with the end of his shirt as he shifts from side to side.

 

“Do you have to take a piss, Hansen?” Jared comments, rolling his eyes. He can be pretty inconsiderate of Evan’s anxiety. But Jared’s gaze fixes on Connor, as the teen walks over to them.

 

Evan isn’t sure what to do, nor does he know how to stop Jared. But he does notice the way Connor flinches like he’s prepared for the hurtful comment. Which means… Evan realizes that Connor knows that the day has started over again. He’s the only one who would know, as Death must have talked to him already.

 

“Love the long hair-”

 

“It looks very soft! What kind of conditioner do you use? Any tips?” Evan nearly shouts as loud as he can, drowning out the rest of Jared’s comment. It’s the first thing that popped into his brain, but there’s a truth to his statement. Connor’s long wavy hair looks really soft, and Evan tells himself it’s totally normal to want to touch it. Right? So, so very normal.

 

Plus, if he wants to hold his end of the deal with Death, that means he has to get Connor to like him. He should get brownie points for this.  But Connor just stares at him, confused with a blank stare for a few seconds. Finally, he answers. “I use my sister’s conditioner, just don’t tell her I said that. She’ll get pissed.” And then he’s gone, black bag and all, the myth, the legend Connor Murphy walks away.

 

----

 

Evan sits at the computer, leg bouncing and hand twitching above the mouse as he pretends to do something. In reality, he’s waiting for Connor, as he knows the teen is supposed to show up here. The letter is nowhere in sight, and he remembers that in the last timeline, Connor told him to lie about his broken arm.

 

So he thinks of a plausible story that the other teen would love to hear about. He decides on recounting an epic tale about a fight with a co-worker. Not that he would ever fight anyone, but it would be the story that would matter the most. A story that would get him to actually want to be friends with Evan. If he wants to save Connor, befriending him is the best way to start.

 

Connor is the one to approach him and casually asks him about his arm, just the way it first happened in the original timeline.

 

“I got into a fight with a co-worker over the summer. I threw a punch, hit his jaw, which left a dark bruise. And then, he fought back and he took my arm and snapped it. The fight ended. I lost but, I have this battle scar and he has his.” Evan imagines the fight in his head with his co-worker, and the more times he replays it, the cooler his story sounds. Thankfully it seems that Connor is impressed, and his story is a huge success.

 

And then his signature on his cast, the big letters of his name, in blue sharpie for everyone, including his mother to see. “There, now we can both pretend to have friends.”

 

Evan doesn’t like that statement, honestly, he feels sympathy for the other teen, he knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows how people treat both him and Connor and maybe the other teen isn’t a bad person, he just acts out because he’s upset and angry at life. He wants to help him, maybe they could help each other, somehow. Having someone to confide in is the perfect beginning step.

 

“Maybe we don’t have to pretend. I don’t think it’s fair for either of us to be lonely…I mean… only if you want too. I’m sorry if I bothered you.” He’s not sure if Connor would even want to be his friend, especially with the fact that he’s such a loser, and weak, and he can’t do anything cool.

 

To his surprise, Murphy actually fucking smiles. The king of emo himself, actually genuinely smiling, more than that, he is smiling at Evan. At Evan. He’s shocked, but the smile on his lips highlights his entire face. Evan feels warm, so much warmer than he’s ever been, like Connor’s the sun, and he’s basking in his beautiful glow. And then Connor agrees to be his friend.

 

Just like that. No trouble, no cursing, no fights.

 

And no suicide. Evan has faith, hope that his new friend won’t die tonight. For the first time in a long time, he sleeps like a baby all night.