feedback/reviews are wondeful c: - whitney
“He's right in here.”
The attendant swung open the door to the hospital room, and I walked in.
Across the room, nestled in his favorite blue blanket, was Liam. His eyes were closed; he was still sleeping. He looked different somehow, peaceful, younger. The last few weeks had taken a physical toll on him.
The attendant left and shut the door quietly, leaving the boys and I standing awkwardly in the room. No one spoke, afraid to wake Liam, perhaps. There wasn't much to say, anyway.
Harry took a step forward, as quiet as he could. He took a seat on one of the chairs and looked at Liam. I followed and took a place on the couch.
After about ten minutes, Liam stirred. He turned, eyes fluttering open, and looked at us. I couldn't read his expression, whether it be glad, or surprised, or tired. Maybe he was tired of all this.
Liam's voice didn't sound like his at all. It was barely audible, and the low, husky voice I used to know and love was replaced with a feeble whisper.
Zayn smiled weakly. “Of course we came. We always come.”
Liam smiled – the first smile I'd seen in months. The same little smile I used to see every day.
“Thank you,” he replied. “How are you?”
“We're fine, but it's more about you. How's the treatment going?” Louis asked, a shred of worry in his voice.
Liam looked up at him. “It's... it's going fine.”
A look of relief crossed Lou's face and he exhaled deeply.
We talked for a while, updating Liam on all the things he had missed in the past few days. Occasionally he would let out a soft laugh, or sometimes his brow would furrow when he was reading some news story Harry brought him.
After a while, there was nothing left to talk about. The attendant soon came in and informed us the visiting hours were almost finished. One by one, we whispered a goodbye and filed out of the room. I was walking out the door when I heard a voice.
I spun around on my heel to see Liam propped up on his bed, his warm brown eyes looking into my own blue.
“Yes, Liam?” I asked quietly.
Liam smiled and gestured for me to come sit down. I did what he said and took a seat in one of the blue armchairs. I leaned forward, closer to Liam.
“I've missed you,” Liam whispered, reaching out a hand and running it through my blonde hair. I smiled.
“I missed you, too,” I told him.
Liam smile faded. “Niall, I have to tell you something.”
“Yeah, anything,” I said, giving him a grin.
Liam's expression changed. The Wolverhampton smile was gone and replaced with a look of worry and anxiety.
“What is it?” I asked, a bit concerned.
“Niall, the treatment isn't working.”
My stomach dropped.
The four words spoken from Liam's lips echoed in my ears. A horrible feeling welled up inside, like ice water was coursing through my veins. The treatment isn't working.
The treatment isn't working.
The treatment isn't working.
I let out a sob, then clamped my hand to my mouth. Tears instantaneously came running down my face, stinging my cheeks. I sobbed and sobbed until there were no more tears left in my fragile body. After that, I sat blankly staring at the floor. This couldn't be happening. No, it was all a dream, and Liam really didn't have cancer and he wasn't in the hospital and this wasn't happening. It couldn't be.
“How long?” My voice was raspy and quiet.
Liam looked me in the eye.
Eleven days. Eleven days to live, to finish your life. It wasn't enough time. Liam was barely nineteen. Nineteen years was not long enough to live.
I looked at Liam through blurred tears and saw that he wasn't crying. In fact, he hadn't shed a single tear. He was smiling faintly.
“I love you. Please don't cry for me. Please, just be happy for me. I'm with my best friend in the world. Please, please don't cry. I'm as happy as can be. I've lived my life the best I could, and I'm proud of what I've done.”
I nodded, still dizzy and lightheaded. This was real. This was happening, right here, right now.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Yeah, I understand.”
It was quiet for a moment.
I looked up. “Yeah?”
“Before I go to sleep, could I ask a favor?”
“Could you sing for me?” Liam asked. “I have my guitar. It was the only damn thing I was allowed in this hospital room.”
I sniffed and nodded, picking up Liam's guitar that lay next to his bed. I strummed it, the soft sound filling up the near empty room. I had played it randomly millions of times, picking it up when I was bored and playing a song that was on my mind. This seemed like the first time my playing meant something.
“What do you want me to –“ I started, but my voice trailed off. I already knew what he wanted me to sing.
I strummed the strings of the guitar. “Thought I saw a girl, brought to life,” I sang. Liam laid down in his bed and closed his eyes. I sang as strong as I could without crying. I finished the song, and a single tear rolled down my cheek. I smiled at Liam, who was sleeping peacefully in his bed. I kissed his forehead and put the guitar down.
“I love you, Liam. Don't ever forget that.
Niall came to visit Liam everyday in the hospital after that. They would talk about things, laugh a bit. Just like old times. But everyday, Liam would turn to Niall and ask the same question. "Could you sing for me?" And of course, Niall would nod his head and sing for him while strumming along on guitar.
And on the eleventh day, the pillow sunk a little, and Liam died. Niall finished the song in tears and looked over at his best friend. His eyes were closed peacefully.
"He's sleeping," Niall whispered to himself, and quietly placed the guitar down. He looked over at Liam one last time, and left the room without a word.
And as Niall walked down the hall, he smiled a bit. Liam was finally where he wanted, singing with the angels. Out of pain. Out of misery. It was what Liam wanted.
The boys finally accepted Liam's departure and went on with their lives. Sometimes one of them would see an old video of their X Factor performances, a recording of their album. Sometimes they would pass by their old studio and break down a bit.
Niall, of course, never changed. He didn't marry, but lived happily back in Mullingar. Zayn or Harry or Louis would sometimes visit with their wives and children. Louis did most often, bringing his youngest son and Eleanor. Niall felt closest to Louis in that way, and he became a regular guest.
Niall did sometimes feel lonely, but he always had his four best friends. Liam never really left, did he?
And sometimes when Niall was feeling sad, he would feel a slight breeze or a hand run through his blonde hair. He knew Liam was there. He never left.
And when Niall grew old and lived his life, he passed in his sleep, just like Liam did all those years before. And he woke up in bright light to see Liam standing there, wearing his favorite plaid shirt and jeans. He looked up at Niall, brown eyes locking with blue, and took his hand. And together, hand in hand, they walked towards the angels, singing Torn in perfect harmony.