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Changes: Michael Nesmith

Title: Changes
Chapter: Michael Nesmith
Author: Wolf
Genre: General
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Abuse, Language, NPC death, implied violence, light shown violence
Summery: Peter, Micky, Davy and Mike are four people with greatly different backgrounds. How is it that they all came together to not only form a band but also live together in a little beach-house in California? This story is my take on the boys' pasts and how they came to get to know each other.
Notes: Age and time-frame: The story is set around mid '64. This would establish them as a decent enough group around '65 and close friends in '66+. Their ages in this story are: Mike- 21, Peter-20, Micky- 19, Davy- 18 This doesn't match their real ages but in the TV-verse it lines up pretty accurately.
Authors Note: The warnings are for the entire story, I won't warn per-chapter this time. This story has been written at least 4 times so far since I first began it in 2007. I hope to get a larger audience this time so I plan to post multiple places I'll post links to my other pages here so if you see it hosted on a place that I don't have linked, inform me as that's probably not me. Also if you have a suggestion where I can post it that I haven't, let me know.
Archive of Our Own
Tumblr: Coming soon

Robert Michael Nesmith, (or “Michael”, as he preferred) had a pretty tough childhood. However if you ever asked him about it, he wouldn't call it bad. He never knew his dad, not really, but unlike most children in similar situations he never felt the need to find him - in fact he somewhat resented him. Mike's father had taken advantage of his mother – he got her pregnant and then when she most needed help, he disappeared. Somehow, she managed to find the means to support herself and even raised a baby on her own. It wasn't easy and she went many nights without food on her own plate but she managed well enough. In the end it left Mike with a resentment towards his father, though he had no desire to seek the man out or take revenge. Mike was perfectly happy at home with his mother and once the young child was out of diapers it became much easier for his mother to support herself, Mike, and eventually their dog Frak which they got when Mike was around six years old.

Mike was proudly born and raised in Texas, living on the outskirts of a relatively nice town. The nearest store wasn't exactly around the corner, but it wasn't too far, either. It was just far enough to mean that shopping trips were a special weekly adventure when Mike was allowed to get yummy snacks and treats – always finishing them long before the next shopping trip came around. Being so far away from town also meant all the much more room to run around and get in all sorts of harmless trouble.

Unfortunately, there were some drawbacks to being so far out of town. First of all, though Michael did go to school, he was never able to get together to play with any of his friends. He was a sociable child and made friends easily enough, of course, but the best he could hope for was to sit by them in class or play together during recess. The time and cost of gas to drive to or from where he lived was too much for his mom or most of the other people in his small town. Summers were the worst, though... he almost never saw anyone that was his own age. He could, occasionally, visit his aunt and cousins, which made them good friends to him, but outside of that he had to learn how to keep himself preoccupied.

It was pretty quickly that Mike found exactly what thing he could use to keep himself happy and busy no matter how lonely things got.... Music. Unfortunately, the lack of contact with others his age caused him to become a loner – he just never learned how to interact with others very well once he was too old for a simple 'hi' to be grounds to be friends with someone. He soon found that he didn't have the patience for other people his age and adults simply dismissed him as an annoying kid. This was very upsetting for the growing boy, but eventually it stopped bothering him. As long as he had a guitar and his dog, he felt invincible. Nothing could make him happier.

His mom couldn't afford lessons, though, so he had to learn on his own and learn on his own he did. Early on Mike became very determined to achieve what he wanted, so when he was in town he would look at books that had music lessons and information. In time he even was able to start song writing, taking poems from schoolbooks and putting them to music before he soon began learning to write his own lyrics as well as the music to go with them.

When he was about sixteen Mike noticed that some rather unsavory looking people were moving into the 'neighborhood'. There were no houses around the Nesmith home, but shady figures could be often seen hanging around near the property. Over time Mike was able to determine that there were not one, but two new gangs in the area and neither groups of people seemed to have a high moral code. They probably picked the area because it was so far away from town, but close enough to make their 'activities' easier. They could have face-off's without any interference from the cops and as a bonus there was a nice little lone house to prey off of just for fun. For the two Nesmith's it was a simple case of very bad luck. What was even worse was, thanks to their financial struggle, it was impossible to move out any time soon – they were forced to be sitting ducks and hope for the best.

Shortly after his sixteenth birthday, Mike's mom actually gave him a gun. It wasn't a large or fancy weapon – a simple hand pistol which was good for not much more than self defense, but it was better than nothing. With the help of Mike's aunt, his mother managed to teach him how to use it efficiently, along with some other basic techniques of self-defense. Mike was always told to sleep with the gun under his pillow and have it close to him at all times. That was the year that Mike's childhood died.

At times, usually when Mike was at school and his mom at work, one or both of the gangs would break into their peaceful home and steal whatever seemed interesting. It started with petty things such as money out of a wallet but turned into absolutely anything. They never ended up taking much – the Nesmith household didn't even have much - but by the time the family would return there would be a mess left behind and food or random items stolen. It was at least a slight blessing that they usually broke in when nobody was home. They would even leave Frak, who generally was put in a single room for his safety, unharmed. At times the thugs broke in at night and Mike merely stayed quiet, pretending to be asleep as he would wait for them to leave before checking on his mom. It was pretty obvious that the dregs were more focused on the thrill of thievery and dealing with each other then the occupants of the house. Still, to be on the safe side Mike always made sure Frak was in his room so the poor aging animal wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This wasn't to say that the thugs were harmless – every single one was a cold blooded killer. Mike had a feeling that these guys were dangerous and that he and his family were just lucky so far. That hunch was all but proven to be true when one day there was a shoot out between a few members of the two of the gangs right outside of their home. Mike knew, as he sat at the window watching a group of men kill every single person on the 'opposing side', that though the thugs weren't necessarily interested in the inhabitants of the house, they would certainly have no qualms killing anyone.

Out of necessity Mike quickly learned to adapt. He established a routine immediately after realizing just how much danger they were in. He would get up early every morning and make sure everything was safe, often taking trips around the property and checking every room to be sure that there were no nasty surprises. After that he would leave for school at the last moment, usually showing up late, and coming home as quickly as possible to minimize the time he was away. When home he always remained vigilant, making sure neither gang tried to pull anything funny in the house or on the inhabitants. It was around now that his mom had to usually work overtime, which Mike actually counted as a blessing. With her out of the house he had less to worry about, and during this time he worked on learning how to fight even better- not just defense but offense as well.

For Mike's twentieth Christmas/birthday present his mom knitted him a hat. It was Mikes favorite color – green - and it was knitted in a way that even in Texas weather it was comfortable. At first she felt guilty, being unable to afford anything better and even having to only give him one gift for the two occasions but Mike managed to convince her that he genuinely loved it. He knew the time, effort and love she put into it, despite the hard times they were having. He cherished that hat, and no amount of gold or gems would ever match it's worth to him. This was Mike's last truly happy memory for over a year.


It was less than a month later that she got very ill. There was no warning and it got very severe, very quickly – not even the doctors could offer much help. All Mike could do was sit to the side, hoping she would get better but as every day went by she only seemed to get worse and the doctors only got more perplexed. Since now Mike was twenty he was already out of school and could help around the house better then he could when he was younger. He was the primary caretaker of the house – he cooked, cleaned, maintained the house, and did anything else that he could all while taking care of his mom and protecting the family. As luck would have it, both gangs recently got new leaders around this time and both were getting even more violent – now not just towards each other but towards the lone Nesmith family as well. Mike figured the gangs probably wanted to beat the other gang to claiming Mike's house, after all it was in a prime location away from town and offered a pretty decent hide out. Unfortunately for them, and for the Nesmith's, they couldn't afford to move or they would have long ago. More then once Mike would be in the middle of the road in front of his house, staring down some thug or two and often it would escalate further than being a staring contest. He would never forget the first time a bullet he fired pierced the flesh of another human being – the cry of pain and the splash of blood that he had caused. However... it kept his family safe for another night, at least, and that's all he could hope for. Unfortunately one thing Mike couldn't do was slow the rapid deterioration of his mom's health, which was dropping faster every day.

When the young Texan was only twenty-one, everything changed. After a year of rapidly worsening illness, his mom was barely hanging on at all. The once radiant, energetic women could no longer move on her own and didn't even have the energy to talk. She knew she was dying – there was no bouncing back out of this. She tried to hang on, for Mike's sake, but it was getting to be too much. The doctor's couldn't even figure out what she had, let alone find a way to cure her, and by now they could do little more than offer medication to make her more comfortable. At least she was able to see exactly what any mother could hope to see... her son, the little baby she raised from birth, was growing up to be an amazing human being. There were no words that would ever be able to say how proud she was of him, though she had a feeling he knew. Ever since he could only crawl he wanted to always help her with anything – from chores to jobs his mom was trying to do he always helped. She couldn't say she was really surprised at the grace in which he took over the tasks of the house – in a way it seemed he was a natural born leader. From the second she got ill he took over even the most mundane tasks such as taxes and bills. No mother could be happier then to see her son thrive into such a responsible young adult... he took everything in stride and made the best of what he could – even with the lingering knowledge that she wouldn't make it out of this.

It was late spring that Frak died and this saddened the Texan a lot. For fifteen years that dog was his best friend and companion. As children they'd play tag, wrestle in the mud or cuddle when a scary storm made the house loose power. Even as they both aged Frak was always at Mike's side and helped out however he could, even if all he could do was give comfort. But now... he was gone and Mike was in this alone. The silent blessing, however, was that the dog lived a long and happy life before he died peacefully in his sleep, instead of the way Mike always feared at the end of a gun.

Only a week after having to bury his friend and companion, Mike had to deal with an even worse loss. Mike would never forget this day, no matter how hard he tried to run from it.


Michael was putting away the last of the dinner dishes. He hadn't eaten much and most of the food ended up in the refrigerator... his stomach was in knots all day and he had no idea why but it caused him to have no appetite. In fact, he had a very bad feeling for days now, but tonight it had gotten to the point that it was almost nauseating. He knew he should have eaten more – it was important to have nourishment when you had to remain at peak alertness at all times – but today he just couldn't stomach it.

After everything was cleaned up the raven headed into the living room and picked up the book that he had been reading. He hoped that reading could put his mind at ease for at least a little while... his mind usually wandered when he was quiet and alone but it was worth a shot even if only for a short while. Normally he could always focus on his music but today nothing – not even his music – could pull his mind away from what the doctors had told him. The doctor who came by earlier that afternoon informed him that his mother was deteriorating at an extremely rapid rate and that her estimated time left was less than a month. She was, at least, comfortable and at home, as no hospital could change what was happening to her, but there was no getting better from this. In fact her body was in such a weakened state that any excitement, be it good or bad, could very likely be too much for her.

Mike's brooding about all of this was interrupted as he heard something right outside. His brow kitted a little bit in suspicion. That could possibly be an animal, sure... but he doubted it. As little as he wanted to admit it, he knew exactly what, or more accurately who, made that noise. He grabbed the handgun from the drawer of the side table next to him and silently crept to where he had heard the noise come from. Using the gun to part the blinds he peered out of them, seeing something moving in the darkness. It seemed too large to be a simple leaf (as he really wished it was) and too certain in it's movements to be an animal or his imagination.

Then a sound came from another nearby window. His head snapped over towards it's direction, glaring at it as if that would make the problem go away. He didn't want a fight tonight – not now, not here. After what the doctor said about his mom, he just didn't want to have to deal with that. Before he had even a chance to step towards the window a new sound came from the back out the house... inside the house. Mike felt an involuntary shiver run down his spine – not out of fear for himself, but for his mom. 'Please, no... not tonight. Not now...' Somehow he doubted his silent prayer would be answered. As much as he wanted it to be his imagination and nerves, he knew better to believe in false hope like that. One needed to prepare for the truth, not hope to change reality. So silently he went to the back room and peered around a corner and sure enough, there was a man from one of the gangs inside of the house. 'Dammit...'

But now another noise came from the front of the house. Confused, Mike went back to the front, wondering why the same gang would send two people in from opposite sides like this. Once he moved swiftly and silently to the front room again he noticed it was a man from the other gang... 'Shit.' A simple break in, which would be probably be annoying but harmless enough, had just turned into something very, very dangerous. Both groups seemed to have decided on breaking into the house at the same time – something the Nesmiths had luckily not had to deal with until now. Any time either of the two groups saw each other it would turn into a power struggle and fire fight and now they were in Mike's house with Mike and his mom right in the middle. Sure, Mike could hold his own with a gun, as much as he hated having to use it, and he could probably at least survive long enough until police arrived. Unfortunately his mom was there and there was no way he could guarantee her safety.

It was very clear that Mike needed to get his mom out of here. It didn't matter if those bastards burnt this place to the ground, as long as he and his mom got out safely that's all that mattered. Lives couldn’t be replaced, property could be.

Before either man saw him Mike slipped into his mom's bedroom and closed the door silently. In three long, quick strides he was at the window on the opposite side of the room, peering out of it. It would seem that it was low and large enough for him to get his mom out with little stress on her, as long as he worked carefully and took his time – unfortunately time wasn't something he sure he had much of right now.

Sure enough, as he was turning away from the window he heard gunshots go out in the house. The sound seemed almost deafening but it wasn't something he wasn't used to by now. He pushed it out of his mind  - he needed to hurry and get his mom safe so worrying about whatever the thugs were doing was the least of his worries as long as they stayed out of this room.

Unfortunately the fates seemed to be against that idea. Before Mike could turn to grab his mom a large man crashed through the bedroom door, whether it was an accident or he was forced through Mike wasn't sure and didn't care. Mike tried to put himself between the man and his mom as the thug stood and looked around to get his bearings. The sight that the man was met with was a very angry Michael glaring daggers at him – this was a man Mike had a few dealings with in the past and never in his life did Mike want to shoot somebody more than he did right now. So much for making a smooth escape, it seemed.

The guy grinned darkly, his brawl temporarily forgotten as he walked over to Mike and took him roughly by the jaw with a tight grip, shaking him a bit from side to side as he taunted him, “Awww, lookey here. Mr. Nesmith and his sick little mommy.” He laughed as he let Mike go with a shove, causing the younger male to almost stumble. Mike stayed on his feet, though, with an even harder glare as he tried to keep his temper for his mother's sake. It took a few moments to collect himself and figure out the best words to say, and when he spoke them venom dripped from each syllable with an accent so strong it was nearly hard to understand and anger even stronger. It took a low, slow voice to prevent himself from shouting, “Just get out of this room. I don't care what you take, I don't care if you kill each other. Just leave us alone.”

Before the man could answer the other man entered the room, curious to know where his opponent went. He saw Mike and his enemy, though had no idea who Mike was, being a somewhat new recruit. As such he didn't care about the two innocent people in the room – escape or die, it was their own problem, so he was more than happy to start the fight right back up.

Time passed by in slow motion for a few moments. The bastards actually started drawing guns in the room! As much as he wanted to, Mike couldn't enjoy the luxury of gawking in disbelief – he had to act fast lest they both be shot dead in the crossfire. Right now the options were either get shot in the room, or his mom may die of the stress on her body from being quickly moved. Neither of these options were very good but Mike would be damned if she died of a bullet from one of these assholes so he had to take a chance. Carefully but quickly he wrapped his arms under her frail shoulders and legs to move her out of the room. It was sad to feel how light and thin her body had become over a single year but he wasn't worried about that right now.

It was clear Mike make the right choice because the last thing he saw as he left the room was a bullet piercing right through the mattress where his mom had rested just seconds before. Had he not moved her, she'd have been killed right on the spot. He moved her to the couch, feeling her breathing become labored as he held her and only then did he finally hear sirens outside. Like the cowards they were both thugs left through the very window Mike had hoped to escape from.

Now alone Mike looked around. The house was in absolute shambles – there was broken furniture littered everywhere and bullet holes riddling the walls. There even looked to be blood spotted here and there... it seemed like there was a bit more of a fight then he had imagined. He stood and glanced in his mother's room, seeing the damage left in there – the tight space caused them to make even more of a mess. And there was more than one bullet hole where she and Mike had been – It would have been a terrible way for them both to have died had they stayed in the room.

But right now, none of that mattered – it was in the past and Mike had learned over his years that the past didn't matter, all that was important was to live in the present. Learn from the past, sure... but live in what was happening right now, and right now his mom was... she was doing very bad. Mike walked over to her again and checked her breathing and pulse, finding that both were weak and shallow. This might have been an average night to him, but to her this was far too much to handle. Mike wasn't stupid so the realization of what that meant dawned on him immediately and he could feel his heart catch in his chest. There wasn't even anything he could do.. this was inevitable and would have honestly happened within a couple weeks anyway... but that didn't make it hurt any less. Those the illness was killing his mom and those bastards who plagued them for years finally gave the final blow and now all Mike could do was kneel there in the living room, holding onto her as he waited.

By the time the police finally entered the house, she was gone.

As it turned out a late-knight traveler heard the shots and called the police – knowing about the gangs and the Nesmiths the police got to the little house as quickly as possible but it would seem that it was just not quick enough. Mike didn't really care, though, his mind was too clouded with emotion. He was found kneeling next to his mom, who was comfortably lying on the couch. Nobody had seen the boy look so numb and pale, and there was at least one officer there who'd seen the kid grow up. That told them that there was something seriously wrong, and knowing about his mom's condition they could only guess. One of the officers stepped over and gently checked for a pulse... sure enough there was nothing. The look Mike gave him told him he didn't need to say a thing... the boy knew.

After that the police did what they had to do around the house as a couple officers, who had been a little closer to the Nesmith family, prodded gently for any information they could get. At first Mike didn't say a word but just as the officers were about to give up Mike decided to speak and... honestly they sort of wished he hadn't. His voice was so numb, emotionless and scarily calm it actually sent a shiver down the youngest man's spine. Most people would be sobbing or screaming in anger but Mike seemed incredibly sober, relating every detail in outstanding clarity from the moment he heard the first noise in the front of the house. Everyone knew Mike was a strong, levelheaded individual but even now he was putting forth more strength than they thought a person his age could even have.

Once everything was said and done, the police offered Mike a place to stay for a while rather than the torn up house but, as they expected, he declined. Soon someone came to pick up his mother's body and within an hour he was once again alone.

The next morning the sun rose to see a broken building which was once a loving home. Not a soul stirred save for the one lone inhabitant who sat in a chair of the wrecked room that was formerly his mothers. Those gentle rays of sunlight got to be the unfortunate witness of something that had never happened in the full twenty-ones years of Mike's life... Michael Nesmith cried. He cried harder than he'd ever known somebody could ever cry. His sobs wracked his body for at least an hour straight, making his breathing harsh and broken.

Inevitably that sadness gave way for anger. This wasn't unusual for the Texan but today the anger he felt was hotter then he ever felt it before. He stood and cussed loudly into the silent morning, his fist slamming into the once sturdy wall next to him, adding another hole to its surface. The blow nearly broke the young man's hand but he didn't care, he didn't even feel it – his emotional anguish easily trumped any amount of physical pain he could feel right now.

“It's my fucking fault! God dammit!” He kicked a nearby dresser, sending it to the floor with a loud crash, parts of it splintering off, “I should have known not to move her! I fucking killed her!” He kicked the wooden chair that he had just been sitting on, sending it hurtling into the wall behind it and shattering it into pieces, “I shoulda been able to protect her! I shoulda been able to save her!”

With that he screamed more profanities and anguish at the top of his lungs into the no longer still morning, demolishing the rest of the furniture in the room with no concern about his own well being. It left him bruised and sore and he may have beaten himself to death had his anger not turned to a mirror. When his fist collided with the reflective surface it shattered and sprayed him with shards of glass, tearing up his hand and wrist. The pain finally knocked some sense back into him and his anger quickly dissipated like a drop of water on a hot metal plate. He stared at his heavily bleeding hand for a few seconds before sinking down to the floor as silent tears streamed down his face. The most he could think to do before his exhaustion took over was taking a shirt that was on the ground and sloppily wrapping his hand in it.

By then his outburst caught up to him and he was too exhausted to get up. He knew that with his hand bleeding as badly as it was, he really shouldn't allow himself to fall asleep but at that moment he truly didn't care. Whether he lived or died it made no difference... all that mattered was the comforting embrace of sleep, cradling his bruised and battered body and allowing his mind to finally rest for the first time since this all started.

Mike stayed a sleep for some time before he finally woke up. The first thing he noticed before even opening his eyes that he was more sore then he'd ever been in his life, his hand stung terribly, and he was very light-headed. He opened his eyes and looked down at himself, noticing that the shirt he wrapped his hand in was saturated in blood. He was silently thankful that the cuts weren't as deep as they possibly could have been and they weren't through any vital arteries but it was clear that they were serious nonetheless. But at the same time... part of Mike silently cursed himself for wrapping it up at all – he was well aware that the shirt was the only thing that stopped him from bleeding to death during his nap and though he didn't necessarily want to die... he couldn't say he had been exactly adverse to the idea either.

But all of that was over and done with... He survived it all so that just meant he needed to continue to survive. From this point on he needed to start his life anew so carefully he stood up, cradling his hand, and made his way for the bathroom. Mike felt imbalanced, thanks to the blood loss, and though he'd never admit it, maneuvering through the mess he had made was a lot harder than it should have been. He lost his balance a few times but he made it without tripping and soon enough managed to get into the one room of the house that wasn't destroyed. Gingerly the raven peeled the bloodied shirt off of his hand, tossing it to the side of the room. His hand barely looked like a hand at the moment – there was fresh and dried blood all the way up to the wrist and little sparkling flecks glistened from the mirror that imbedded itself into his skin. In the back of his mind it was almost surprising how little he was bothered about his own injury but he truly didn't care. He simply turned on warm water and let the soft flow of liquid wash away the blood. He carefully picked all of the bits of glass he could see and feel before he scrubbed away the dried blood as well. With that he cleaned himself up a bit, and changed into clean clothes before taking out the first aid kit and properly bandaging his hand with gauze, leaving his fingers unwrapped. There were scratches and cuts on them but they weren't too bad and he would rather have use of his hand.

With all of that finished Mike made up his mind on what to do next, so he started to pack. He packed slowly, taking his time as he decided to what to take with him and what to leave. He didn't have very many important possessions, so by the time he finished at sunset, he only had two small suitcases worth of stuff in the back of his car. The final thing he packed was his guitar.

By now the sun was set and the moon got to see the conclusion of the day's activities. The broken young male made a final round through the whole house, checking every room and making absolutely certain that there was nothing he felt he needed to keep and that he was ready for his final goodbye with this place.

Satisfied, he stood in the doorway and took one last, long look at his childhood home. He remembered the good days when he was little... he looked and he didn't see a broken house riddled with bullet holes... he saw himself chasing or being chased by Frak, getting under his mother's feet as she tried to clean. He could see himself running around with a stick, pretending it was a horse as he played cowboys with his cousins. He glanced to the kitchen and could see himself holding a bowl to help his mom cook. But those days were long gone... the memories dissipated as he took a deep, careful breath and grabbed the green wool hat from the table next to the door. He stared at it long and hard for a moment... She made this the last year she was healthy... in fact this was the last gift she was ever able to give him. That was a good year – a happy year. Sure, the gangs were a problem even then but he and his mom had been doing alright and they had plans on ways to save money and leave this godforsaken place. This hat always meant a lot to him but now... now he cherished it even more. He placed it firmly on his head as he turned to leave. Before stepping out of the house, however, he grabbed the matches which were also on the table, and lit one. He dropped it behind him and started walking forward, never looking back. He felt the heat that erupted and knew the fire ignited the gasoline that he drenched the house with.

Careful not to look at the source of the new light source Mike got into his car and drove away. He wouldn't let himself remember that building as the lonely building it was for the past year, he wouldn't let himself remember it as the broken mess from the past day and he wouldn't remember it as the ball of flame that consumed it now. That flame burnt the scarred walls and bad memories. Mike would only allow himself to remember his house – his home- as the happy place from his youth. There was no going back anymore, only forward. And though he didn't know where he was destined to go, he would follow the road wherever it took him and make a new life wherever that destination might be.

Mike drove non-stop on a full tank of gas, wanting to get as far away from his past as he could take himself. He was jobless and homeless with barely any money but he just kept driving, turning whenever he felt like he should and paying no attention to any sign that might inform him of where he was. When Mike ran out of gas the first time he was lucky enough to be by the only gas station for miles but of course a gas station in the middle of nowhere wasn't really a place to start a new life, so he filled up again before returning to the road. Eventually that tank ran dry as well, but this time he actually was in civilization – California, to be exact, though he wasn't sure where. He was mildly surprised at how quick it had been to get here but at the same time he hadn't stopped at any point outside of filling the tank up once so it wasn't too surprising. California wasn't exactly the place a lone Texan to really feel at home at, but it's where he ended up so after a short debate with himself he resolved to rent a hotel room and get some rest, as he hadn't slept since he passed out from his outburst. Just because he still felt somewhat numb there was no reason to risk his life and the lives of others by driving on no sleep.

It took a couple attempts but eventually he found a hotel that he could afford so he rented a room and brought his stuff inside. Finally he took a shower and very much enjoyed it, having not realized how filthy he had been feeling. With that he changed his bandages, shaved, and returned to his car. He decided that it would be a good idea to refill the gas tank and find something to eat, as little as he wanted to eat, before he went to bed. He got in, stuck the key into the ignition, and....Nothing. The car revved the starter a few times sounding terribly sick but that was it. Miked cursed quietly to himself and sighed in frustration, trying again and getting the same result. With a grunt he got out and popped the hood – though he did know how to work on cars, the idea of trying to fix one with his hand in the state it was in didn't sound very appealing at all. In a stroke of luck (though it probably couldn't really be called good luck) it turned out that he wouldn't have to work on anything after all... the car was dead. It was never a very good car and it was in rough shape when he originally got it, but after this non-stop drive it zapped the last of the life from the car completely. It was most likely repairable with the right money or know-how but it wasn't really worth it and he didn't have the money or know-how to deal with this thing. So with a sigh of aggravation he left the keys in the drivers seat and made sure that there was nothing he would want to keep in the car. With that he took the license plates off, tossing them in a dumpster. If anyone wanted this thing, they could have it, because at this point it was junk to him.

Finally Michael was able to get a small stroke of good luck for once when he noticed a bus stop that was nearby. Well, that was better then nothing so he caught the bus and sat down, feeling incredibly out of place. He was a thin, pale skinned, dark looking kid with long hair and a weird green hat... needless to say he didn't really fit in the Californian scene but despite a few strange looks, nobody said anything to him.

A few stops later a little old lady boarded the bus. She seemed like one of those nice caring people that would always bake her neighbors sweets and treats just to be nice. Unfortunately all the seats were full and nobody seemed willing to give theirs up. Mike, a man raised to be a gentleman and respect elders, couldn't believe their selfishness so stood and gestured to the seat, “Ma'am, you can sit here if you'd like.” His accent was strong, yes, but it wasn't as heavy as when he was angry so though even more out of place, it was easy to understand.

The little woman smiled warmly, “Oh why thank you, young man. That's very kind of you.” She took the offered seat and didn't seem to be in the slightest phased by his looks or accent, and Mike couldn't help but noticed that she smelled somewhat of cookies and cakes. Normally that would be very nice but it only reminded him of just how hungry he was, “I'm Mike Nesmith... Do you bake Miss...” The nice lady smiled and looked up to Mike with a nod, “Ms. Purdy, and Yes, I do. Can you cook, Mr. Nesmith?” It was always nice to see a well mannered young man so she was more than happy to engage in conversation. Mike nodded a little, “Yes, well... I do. I, well... I don't really have a kitchen right now, but I can cook very well.”

“No Kitchen? Why is that, Mr. Nesmith?” The idea only could make Ms. Purdy frown though she could take a few guesses. Though Mike held his emotions very well, something was clearly fresh on his mind and it wasn't good, whatever it was. Sure enough, Mike only shrugged in response, clearly avoiding answering in full, “I'm looking for a house right now. I moved recently but didn't set anyplace up, first.” The lady seemed nice and genuinely concerned but there was no way he was going to explain what happened in the past few days – he wasn't a social person to begin with and his business was his own, especially after the past few days.

The answer seemed to sadden Ms. Purdy but a few moments later her eyes seemed to brighten, “Oh! My landlord has a place. It just opened up because the prior tenants moved. It's a very nice place and the landlord is very reasonable with pricing. I'm sure you could afford the place with a few roommates, the only thing is no pets are allowed.”

Mike nodded and though he didn't smile, he seemed to at least get a little brighter at the idea, “That's great, where is it?”

For the rest of the bus ride, Ms. Purdy told him the address and some things about the place. The house in question was a nice little beach house which could comfortably hold one to four people with plenty of nice neighbors. The landlord was Mr. Babbit and he was mostly a pretty nice guy. She gave Mike the landlord's phone number but shortly after that they reached her stop so she had to say goodbye. With that Mike took his seat again and ran over the information in his mind, turning the card over in his fingers as he looked at it. He could probably afford the place if he got a regular job or some roommates... Both of these options presented some problems, however... Getting a job was of course important either way but who was going to hire some long haired 21 year old Texan who was living in a hotel? On the other hand he had lived with his mom for so long he wasn't sure he could handle roommates – he still found people his age obnoxious and didn't have patience for most people. Heck, where could he even find anyone on such short notice to move in with?

Once again Mike's stomach growled and pulled him from his thoughts. He really needed to eat, he hadn't eaten in a few days and he was starting to feel it. All the talk about a place to stay distracted him from why he got on the bus in the first place and he could only imagine how many potential restaurants he passed up. Oh well, he disembarked a few stops from where Ms. Purdy got off – he was very sore and needed a good stretch so figured he'd just walk around now until he found something decent enough. A few blocks down a nice restaurant caught his eye and it seemed like it had the most reasonable prices of any others nearby so he'd go with this one, at his point he was too hungry to be picky.

At this restaurant it was one of those places you could order both at a counter or table, and choose any table to eat at, and there was some waitresses helping out as well. It was a pretty groovy place, all things considered. So Mike ordered himself some dinner, not getting much but enough that should fill him up for now, and sat in the most secluded corner he could away from anybody as he ate silently. He was running over all of his options and plans. He didn't really have a car anymore so he couldn't exactly continue driving again, and the cost to repair the piece of junk he had was far too much then would be in any way worth it. He couldn't even take it to a scrap yard because he knew the cost of towing would end up more then what he'd get. So, at least for now, he was stuck around here with no car and no job. He could afford a few days in the hotel and had some bus money but after that he was in trouble. Perhaps he could talk to this Mr. Babbit guy and see if there was any way he could move in and get time to get a job before paying rent. Ms. Purdy said he wasn't the most unreasonable landlord but had a strict side so that idea was a pretty hit or miss.

Mike finished dinner but didn't feel like leaving just yet. After all, after being stuffed in a car for days being in a hotel wasn't the best way to relax and stretch out, so he decided to order another bottle of coca-cola and sit back, letting his thoughts run off once more.

As what seemed to be becoming a rather annoying habit, his thoughts were interrupted by someone sitting down at his table. Mike looked up, genuinely startled and wondering who in the world would just sit at someone elses dinner table uninvited at a restaurant. He was on edge and worried his temper might break through if he was forced to sit near anyone, heck he even hated when people just sat near him on a bench uninvited and this was even worse than that! But the curiosity as to who would possibly do such a thing over rode his anger for the time being as he examined the person in question. The kid who sat down looked probably around Mike's age but maybe a little younger. He had long brunet hair but it was styled differently and this kid's eyes sparked with playful mischief. Mike could tell, though, that there was something more to that sparkle... something deeper. Whatever was behind that gleam of fun was dark and serious and... something Mike could relate to. There was clearly more to this boy then what met the eye and that spiked Mike's curiosity further.

The brunet acted as if joining somebody elses table completely uninvited was normal and though this would probably annoy most people and downright piss Mike off, it actually lightened Mike's mood for the first time in a week at just how bizarre it was. Mike could see the strangers eyes glance down at Mike's bandaged hand but to Mike's relief the kid didn't say anything about it, either deciding he shouldn't ask or deciding he didn't care – either way Mike was glad he didn't need to think of an excuse. With that the stranger just stared at Mike for a few moments up and down almost seeming to study him. Mike stared back, being no stranger to staring contests, but this was probably the first one in his life that didn't have malice behind it, just mild curiosity. Finally the kid spoke up, and what he said was the first thing to make Mike smile in what seemed like an eon... “Isn't that really hot to wear in this weather?”