Alaska was too tired to argue with Cooper. She took a breath and nodded, then headed towards the bedroom. Perhaps all she needed was a nap, and more water. The writer rarely got sick, but she supposed that the stress of the day ahead was getting to her. She was mentally such a mess that it must have been impacting her physically. Alaska fell into a dreamless sleep for once, fatigue washing over her for the span of thirty minutes. It didn’t last long, though; her stomach started to churn. Alaska ran to the bathroom and emptied her stomach into the toilet, then remained on the tiled floor until she managed to stand up on her own. She didn’t want Cooper to know that she was sick; he needed to be focused on worrying about himself for once. Alaska decided to take a bath with the hope that she could wash away whatever was ailing her.
"Better," Alaska whispered later that night. She couldn’t fall back asleep, though. Her insomnia always hit worst on the night before her birthday, as if her body was torturing Alaska as a reminder of how she had been tortured all those years ago. The writer curled against her husband and let her walls come down. This was the first time that he was truly experiencing her birthday with her, but Cooper knew her so well; he knew what reminders the day held. “I miss them,” she whispered. It was selfish, in a sense; she had a family now, and her thoughts should be focused on them. This day always brought her back to the past, though, and Alaska didn’t know how to keep herself from returning back to the fragile girl she’d been then, instead of the woman she was now.
Alaska knew how easy it was to shut her emotions off, but it would turn her into a shell of a person, and she didn’t want Crimson to see her that way, nor did she want to treat Cooper—who had been with her through everything—with such coldness. Instead of shutting herself down, Alaska let her cracks show. She cried against Cooper’s chest, his strong arms holding her tightly against him the only thing keeping Alaska together. She cried for the loss of her parents, for the loss of her innocence, and for the lost pieces of herself. Though her sobs were soft and barely audible, the pain ripped through her, shredding the writer’s sanity until she was shaking against her husband. Alaska’s warm tears spilled over her face until she had nothing left to mourn. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, once able to find her voice again. Cooper was going through so much, and he needed her to be strong. Alaska let the tears dry against her cheeks, then rebuilt the walls around her, composing herself as though the act was easy.
He realized that she was taking a longer time in the bathroom than she usually did, and Alaska did spend a lot of time in the bath tub. He wouldn’t blame her. She needed it and he didn’t plan on questioning her too much about it. Like every other time, she had to come to him. She was good at prodding, but did not react too well when people prodded her. That and he feared saying the wrong thing. If she wanted to spend more time alone, he allowed it and did not feel hurt by it- which wouldn’t be all that mature.
To abide the time, he continued to work on the last batch of papers he had to grade. At least he wasn’t the students writing them, then he knew he’d have the worst time. Sometimes he’d feel bad for this students, who did not just have to work on the essay he assigned, but also on any other assignments that were being poured on them during the end of the semester. His hands were stained with red ink from his pen, and he sucked in a slow breath and exhaled to allow fresh oxygen to course through his body. It’s been a long day, and it was nearly midnight so he knew that the day was over. Now he started to dread the day as much as her.
He did not question her when she said that she missed them, finding it unnecessary to ask because it was so obvious. All he wanted was to make her feel better in some way, because now he felt that he was failing. He was not the cause of her tears, but he could not do anything to stop them. Then again, people did feel better and lighter after they shed some tears. It was a process of detoxification, and he wanted her to feel lighter again. He wanted her to attempt to fly again. He felt her shatter with him and in response, he rubbed his hand on her back and pecked her on the top of her head. There were some moistness in his eyes too, as effect of witnessing her sobbing. He sat up with her and reached for the box of tissues, then took one out and wrapped an edge on two fingers and wiped then off her face.
"You know, they’re not all gone. I’ve heard that our loved ones do not ever leave us, and if we love them, they stick around. Be happy that you had parents who loved you and raised you to be the wonderful woman you are. Be glad that they taught you how to dream." He ran a hand through her hair, knowing she wouldn’t be happy just because he told her to. She shouldn’t force herself to stifle her own grief. "I’m sure they’re proud of what you are now. I know I am. I know Crimson is."
Daddy Long Legs AU (based off of the novel/musical)
Muse A is an orphan who has lived their entire lives in an orphanage, taking care of the younger children. They’ve shown a knack for writing. This talent catches the eye of Muse B, who offers to send Muse A to university under the conditions that Muse A will send him letters while there. Muse B doesn’t reveal his identity to Muse A and instead asks for her to write to him under a false name/an affectionate nickname given to him by her. As Muse B reads her letters, he begins to fall in love with her and introduces himself to her as the man he really is while not revealing himself as the one she’s been writing the letters to.
As reminiscent of their camping trip to the mountains, Cooper made smores as a snack when he, Crimson, and Alaska came home from work.
Even after their nap, Alaska felt exhausted. She hadn’t had any coffee this morning, and they’d been running around all day, but she wrote it off as depression for the day ahead. Alaska felt safe against Cooper’s chest, though, and for ten minutes she could forget all the issues they were experiencing. Cooper was the one person who erased her past completely, even when she tried to run from his help. He never forced her or battled her for control, which Alaska needed. Cooper was everything she needed, but now Alaska had to step up and be what he needed. Her automatic response when it came to fight or flight was usually fight, but not when it came to her parents. Not when it came to remembering what happened. She’d rather fly, but she couldn’t do that anymore. Cooper and Crimson both needed her. The flight she’d made a week before had already been canceled; she wasn’t going anywhere.
Alaska smiled when Cooper took Crimson’s basket of eggs and hid them well. At least Crimson was willing to share. It was safer to hide them, though; as well behaved as Crimson was, chocolate was definitely one of his vices. Alaska gave Crimson a glass of water to offset any possible sugar rushes, then started making dinner with Cooper’s help. She prepared lactose-free macaroni and cheese for Crimson with noodles shaped like bunnies and vegetables while Cooper prepared a protein. As they cooked side by side, Alaska rested her head against Cooper’s arms.
She couldn’t run from him. Alaska was so used to being alone that the response to hide was automatic, but she couldn’t. Not from the people who loved her most.
The writer’s head pounded and she grasped the counter, then closed her eyes. She was feeling lightheaded all of a sudden. “No coffee,” she mumbled. A single day without it and her body acted against her. Alaska poured herself a glass of water and guzzled it down, then helped Crimson set the table.
Cooper already knew she was a fighter, and that’s what he loved about her. He didn’t have to endorse it or felt the need to push her towards becoming one either. All he was going to do was help her whenever she asked for it and to never question it. He knew that even the strongest people can’t just stay strong all day and even if you did not mean to do so, saying or doing the wrong things can make one feel terrible. He can also remember how he felt when his grandmother passed away, the only woman who raised him and he did not even get to spend his final years with her. He could sympathize, knowing that forcing her to be happy wasn’t going to help. It had to be natural.
He kept his attention towards her through the egg hunt. Having her smile reach her eyes was a good sign, so he diverted his attention on grabbing for one of the eggs stuck on the corner of the beige sofa. It was leather, and the color was washable so they can easily take it off, so there was one less event to worry about. He recognized the egg to be Crimson’s, half blue and half red. It was simplistic yet unique like how their life was on a daily basis. The macaroni was creative and something Crimson could eat, and they had to be careful about not getting milk products into anything he ate. He didn’t have to help her make it because there were dishes she made that turned out perfect. Instead he prepared a rotisserie herbed chicken from an old family recipe.
From the corner of his eye, he saw her clutch onto the edge of a counter and was alarmed. He furrowed his brows in doubt that just missing out on coffee for one day could be the cause of this. Maybe she was wary about what tomorrow held for her. No one should get this distraught over their own birthday, but he knew she would be more upset over what else it meant. He took over and gave her a gentle smile, “rest, okay? Crim and I got this.”
After tucking the boy in, he went over to Alaska’s room and didn’t wait for her to come to him. Instead, he held her hand and led her under the sheets and curled up beside her. He pecked her once on the cheek. “How are you feeling now?”
Before leaving, Cooper slipped a box in her bag, which he knew she’d eventually find. It had a glass tulip with a preserved tulip petal. With it was a note.
"Before I always thought love was a fairy tale, and after meeting you I realized that sometimes, there are some fairy tales that come true. The concept of forever was established and grows stronger each day I get to wake up with you curled into me and waking up in the same position. I love you, Alaska, and I’ll love you forever."
Cooper left another message using her typewriter and this time left it on the glass door towards the balcony.