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.


2. Harry Meets Louis

Picture this scene.

A four-year-old curly-haired boy, swinging on the park swings. The sky is the colored of melted butter. It is early, and only the boy's father is with him. The boy is otherwise alone. There are other kids, of course. On the brightly colored jungle gym, or on the slides, or else on the pretend pirate ship. Mothers gossip away on the benches beside the playground, talking to themselves in their little pocket mirrors and faking their beauty. There are no other fathers. The curly-haired child is the only one on the swings.

The curly-haired little kid's name is Harry Styles.

Harry Styles was a loner from a young age. A sweet, kind little boy who was very shy and soft-spoken. His father worried he would be a sissy when he grew older, but his mother simply said that girls like sensitive boys, and that Harry feel okay again. But all the girls in his class at preschool never wanted to talk to him. The boys didn't either. He just sat in the little chairs all day, coloring in pink dresses and gold jewelry.

Now picture this.

A young boy, age six. Feathery hair, blue eyes. Sweet face, but his eyes were sparkling with a certain mischief he would carry all his life. He was running towards little Harry on the swing set, where he was at the highest point of the pendulum-like arch. This boy was Louis Tomlinson.

"Hi!" He called, his little high-pitched voice ringing out to reach Harry's ears. "My name's Louis!"

It took Harry a while to bring the swing to a stop, but when he did he stayed on it.

"Aren'tcha gonna tell me your name?" asked Louis, furrowing his eyebrows. Harry tried not to look scared. What was he to say and not sound like a sissy?

"I'm Harry." He said, in a soft little timid voice that fit his cherub face and adorable curls perfectly. He watched as the boy's pretty ocean eyes lit up.

"Hi Harry! Whatcha doin' all alone over here? Don'tcha have any friends?" He asked, looking genuinely perplexed. Harry's porcelain skin turned a shade of pink and he shrugged his shoulders. Louis paid no mind to this. This curly-haired boy was in need of friends, and Louis wouldn't let him be all alone.

"Well why don'tcha come and play with us?" He offered in that bright tone that made lots of people say he was a lovely child. "Me an' Zayn an' Liam an' Niall? We can be your friends."

Harry paused, biting his finger. At the time it had been his nervous habit. "I...I guess so."

And that was the story of how Harry first met Louis.

He didn't know it at the time-hell, does anyone?- but this boy would come to be one of the best, and worst, things of his life.

Flash-forward two years.

Little Harry is now almost six years old, and young Louis is eight. They have been inseparable ever since they figured out that now they would share the same grade. Louis was a first grader, his mother having kept him back a year, and Harry was also a first grader, having skipped kindergarten.

That day was the day Harry was officially turning six years old.

Upon his mother's request, Harry had made a birthday wish-list. He had shown no one but Louis, wanting it to be a special best-friends-only secret between them. They were both too young to understand that what Harry wanted was not considered normal.

He had asked for pink cupcakes. A princess-themed party. A Disney princess castle set, including the dolls and the many dresses that came with them. He was so good at playing dress-up with those little dolls. He could do it for hours. That was what had made his older sister, Gemma, tolerate him at his age.

The party itself was alright for a six-year-old. He and his entire class had spent a day at the water-park. Louis was by his side the whole time, helping him go down the scary slides. There were girls at his party, too, but his mother had asked for no one to bring him any gifts. It was only to be her and Harry's father. The boy hadn't complained.

But when the time came to eat cake and to open his three presents, instead of pretty pink things, he got Spiderman. Instead of Disney princesses, he got Gi-Joe action figures. He got blue cupcakes, with NASCAR racing cars on top of the deep blue icing instead of the pretty pink ones with little crowns. He had thrown a fit, demanding to know where his pink things were, where his princesses were in front of Louis, Zayn, Niall, and Liam. And their parents. They were the only ones allowed to stay for the cupcakes and presents. Immediately, Harry's mother had called for his father, and he was pulled away by his wrist for a 'talk' while his mother had explained to the boys that Harry was just joking.

That was his first clue that something was wrong with him.

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