Set Her Free

Harry Styles has known something is wrong with him for most of his life. He's wicked smart and really nice, but people don't hang out with him. He gets called 'gay' on a daily basis, although he doesn't know what that means until third grade. He gets called 'weak' when he plays sports, because he's not good at them. He spends too much time looking at the cheerleaders. But it's not because he wants them. He wants to be one of them.

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37. Gift

"What did you say to me?" Louis' voice struck out like a match in the fog. Now she seemed to come out of a coma.

Pain.

That was all she felt.

Not only the pain of her nose and the bruise, but she felt as if her heart had been cut out of her with blunt scissors and throw across a valley for a stampede of zebras to trample over it.

"Do you need me to repeat myself, asshole?" Harriet was the one who spoke now, although her voice was choked with the tears that were starting to film over her vision. She felt like absolute shit. How could he do this to her?

"Don't call me an asshole, Harry, I-"

There was that name again. That stab to the heart, that bullet wound in the neck.

"That's not my name." She mumbled under her breath.

"Yes it is, Harry, you-"

"That's not my name."

"Yes it is! You need some form of help, dammit! I tried, okay! I tried to be fine with you being a girl! I tried to-"

"That's not at all what this is about. This is about your lack of balls. I wish I could give mine to you. You're pathetic, Louis. Why didn't you tell me about that stupid fucking video, huh? Why? Do you have a good excuse for that?"

"Goddammit, Harry-

"Do not call me that!"

"Harry-"

"I SAID DON'T CALL ME THAT!"

"FUCK, HARRIET! Look, dammit, I don't have a good excuse for not telling you about it! I'm a selfish, dumbass prick, and I get it! I know I betrayed you! I'm so fucking sorry! I'm sorry I hit you! Liam and Niall have really been laying into me about it. Fag, queer, cocksucker, all of it! I knew you had a week off, so you'd find out for yourself. I thought it would be better than having someone shove it in your face! I'm sorry, okay? I'M FUCKING SORRY!"

He stopped now, his breathing ragged. They stood in a web of stillness, Harriet absorbing his words, Louis struggling to get his breath and watching her.

"Fine." She finally said, after what felt like an eternity. "Fine. I believe you. Just don't call me...that name...ever again. But what did you mean 'tried to be fine with me being a girl'? Are you not fine with it?"

Louis looked uncomfortable, and she felt her stomach squeeze in fear.

 

"You're not."

 

"Harriet, I-"

 

"You lied to me. You /lied/ to me."

 

"Harriet, please. I don't mind that you're a girl. We've been through too much for me to mind about that."

 

"Liar."

 

"I'm not lying. I tried to be fine with it because I knew how hard it would be for you."

 

This was new.

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"I've done research on people to help me understand you better. It all says that they go through hell. I knew it would be hard for you, but it's amazing how much you've been able to do already."

 

She rolled her eyes, feeling as if she hadn't gotten anything done. "I've hardly been able to do anything."

 

"You're a damn liar. You've come out to friends and family, you got the electrologist to work on you. What else do you even have to do?"

 

The words came stumbling out of her, almost without warning. "I've got the FFS, GCS, BAS, the hormones, the wardrobe, living for a year as a woman, but first and foremost is that letter."

 

"And how many months of therapy have you been in?"

 

"Two."

 

"How many you need?"

 

"Three."

 

"That. That right there, is why I love you."

 

"what? Because I said the number three?"

 

He rolled his eyes. "No, smartass. Because you're courageous enough to know what you want and smart enough to know how to go about to get it."

 

"I don't exactly see how that's smart."

 

"Do you not remember how this town acts? Having someone like you here is a gift. Having anyone gay or whatever's different here is an amazing thing."

 

"Why's that?" She asked, but she already knew the answer.

 

"Because it lets them know that people like you are real, baby. That they're not sinners. They can be anyone, and just because they are whoever they are doesn't mean that they change just like that." He snapped his fingers for emphasis.

 

She smiled gently, and then reached across to smack him. Hard.

 

He stared up at her, wide-eyed and slack-jawed.

 

"That's for this bruise." She gently winked at him. "Now c'mon, you little asswipe. I'm hungry."

 

So after Louis got over the shock of being slapped like that, they went upstairs.

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