im aware that Midnight Memories wasn't out in the last show of TMH and that it was in Japan not London but they're the best song and setting for this chapter so lets just pretend for now, k? its is a fanfic after all.
"Breathe in." the doctor tells me as he places the stethoscope to my chest and I do. I feel a sharp pain in my lungs and clench my fist to avoid flinching. Concerned eyes stared at me all around the room.
We're backstage at the very last concert of our Take Me Home tour in London. My mum and Gemma decided they wanted to watch the very last show as to give the tour a special and nice ending for me. They were my lucky charm.
There's five minutes before our set started and instead of getting last preparations under the stage for our very last show until next year, all five of the band, the stylists, the security and a doctor were all together in a small room at the back of the arena hovering over my lungs.
Lungs? Oh my god, Harry, you've been smoking?! Of course not, silly. My lungs are just having a bad day. That's all. Unless, its happening again... I quickly push the unpleasant and, quite frankly, terrifying thought away to the back of my head and focus on my breathing.
"Breathe out." I do as I'm told and the pain disappears instantly. I do it again three times. And in that short span of fifteen seconds, all eyes were trained on me and thick tension covered the air. He removes the stethoscope off my chest and I wear my black cotton shirt back on. I really need a jumper or a hoodie or something. I think, acknowledging the sudden drop of temperature in the room.
The doctor starts asking me questions. "Have you smoked lately?"
"Not that I know of."
"Does asthma run in your family?"
"My dad's an asthmatic"
"When were you diagnosed?"
"When I was around four."
"Have you taken any medication for asthma?"
"Yeah, I have an inhaler but that's pretty much it."
"Does anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks run in your family?" He asks and I still, letting all the bad times flash by my eyes for just a second. "Umm, my mom had occasional attacks but she's relatively healthy."
He finishes his questions and takes my blood pressure and temperature before telling us what's up. "You don't seem to have any lung infections. Just an asthma attack. For what reason, we don't know. Hopefully, we can ask an actual hospital to test you out properly in the future to avoid any complications." The doctor informs us. Sighs all around the room, including mine, come like a tidal wave. "But, I'm afraid your lungs need rest. You'll have to sit this out, Harry." My eyes widen and soon enough, I'm jumping up off the couch. Immediately, black spots dance around my vision. I almost fall back down. Fuck.
"Harry, mate, come on, be reasonable--" Tom, our guitarist, tries but I cut him off. "Reasonable? I need to get out there! There are over fifty thousand people waiting out there for us, including my family." I say addressing no one in particular. "This is our very last show. We can't cancel the whole thing because of me! We need to perform." I say gesturing to the entire room to look as convincing as possible.
"We're talking about your health here, Harry. We can't risk you getting worse than you already are. We want this last show to be as amazing as you do but we can't sacrifice your health in the process. There are going to be hundreds more for you to perform in." Paul says with a superior tone. Damn you, Paul and your bravado.
Liam, Louis and Zayn stay silent. Niall was in the bathroom changing. I could feel the silent agreement with Paul and every other person in this room. I shake my head rapidly. "Please, I need to perform." I say with pleading eyes. "My family is waiting out there for me to sing my heart and soul out like they knew I always wanted to do. Not to mention the thousands of girls out there wanting to see their idols." Everyone gapes at me, not expecting to have heard what just came out of my mouth. Hell, I didn't know I could come up with something like that. "Please, I need to do this." I say looking directly at Paul's eyes.
He shakes his head slightly and my hands fly up in the air in exasperation. This was starting to look like some soap opera between both of us. "How about a wager?" I ask with an eyebrow raised. "I'm listening." Paul urges. "I'll bring my inhaler on stage with me." I say while reaching into my pocket to show it off to everyone. Paul nods for me to continue. "After each verse or just whenever I'm feeling winded, I'll use this. That way, I won't die on stage and I don't miss this show. Okay?" Paul looks at the doctor. "This is a risky thing to do, Harry." he pauses. "But, I can't stop you. As long as you rush back in here if your chest starts hurting despite the inhaler, I guess that's as best as we can wager for." The doctor says and my shoulder slump down in relief.
"So, do we have a deal, Paul?" I smirk at him with a hand extended. He quickly clamps our hands together and the seal is closed.
I hear a door being opened then closed behind me and I see Niall come out of the bathroom, completely oblivious of what's happening. "What are you all staring at me for?" he questions and I notice about every other single pair of eyes has followed mine. Liam is quick to jump up and meet Niall. "Nothing, mate. Let's get ready for the final show, eh?" Liam says and suddenly all the tension in the room disappears as if nothing happened.
Everyone gets back to work because we've already wasted a good ten minutes over me. We need to catch up. I buckle the belt of my jeans and the other guys fix their clothes, hair and make up. I catch the eyes of Louis and he smiles at me sympathetically. I ask for a hoodie from one of the guys in charge of wardrobe but he refuses. He says its not professional for me to go out wearing that. After arguing over what and what is not appropriate for the show, we both settle on a flannel with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows.
I sit back down on the couch and when they notice that I'm not going over to the make up tables for my make up out of sheer tiredness, the make up stylists goes to me without a second word to fix my face. They work quickly and soon enough, my face seems as if it were flawless.
Lou Teasdale, my hair stylist, approaches me to quickly fix my hair. After spraying my hair with what felt like three cans of hairspray, she steps back and looks at her work. She frowns at me. "What's wrong, Lou?" I ask her and she replies "Are you sure you're up for this?" I shrug. "I don't want you ruining your hair if you faint half way through the show." She says and we both chuckle at her stupid little comment. I go over and give her a bear hug and she doesn't resist. "Thanks, Lou, but I'm fine, I promise." I tell her with a small smile. "Alright, alright, stop with the puppy eyes. Jesus, you can kill someone with those." We laugh again. Thank God for amazing crew like Lou. "Have fun out there, Styles." She says with a pat on my back as I'm handed a microphone and insert my ear piece in. "Ready?" Paul asks as all five of us are lined up near the door like students.
We all form a circle and extend our hands out in the middle. "On the count of three..." Zayn announces. "One, two..." We count. "Wildcats!" we chant and laugh at our banter. In a second's notice, we're back to our line.
Louis opens the door and we're met by the deafening screams of thousands of people. "Ready?" Louis asks us and we all nod. The boys run to their platforms below the stage while I just walk briskly, my lungs still had some pain. The bottom of the stage was see through so all of the colorful lighting seeped through. The stage was a good hundred feet long with a seventy five foot catwalk in its middle which I, no doubt, will have to be running across later tonight.
"One Direction! One Direction! One Direction!" The crowd cheers and I can't help the pre-show butterflies to enter my stomach. I feel for my inhaler in my pocket and am relieved to feel it there. This was it.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around and see Zayn. "Mate, this is your last chance. Four of us can do it so you can rest. It's really no problem." Zayn offers and I smile at him. "It's alright, mate. I can do this." He smiles back at me and returns to his platform.
The stage manager starts counting back from twenty. I reach into the collar of my shirt and get a hold on my cross necklace. It always seemed to calm me down. One of my bracelets on my arm shifts as I hold the pendant. Fifteen seconds. The light spins down on one of the nearly faded scars from years ago and my lips tug down into a frown.
My lips brush against the cold metal of the pendant and I silently pray everything goes well. Ten seconds. I compose myself as best as I actually can. Five seconds. I close my eyes and just bask in the moment.
This is how far I've made it. I've changed millions of lives doing what I love. I'm being given opportunities I never even thought were possible for me. I'm living the dream.
The platforms slowly start moving upwards and I brace myself for the next two hours or so of probable hell.
"Are you ready, London?!" Liam shouts as we ascend. I hear a guitar riff and instinctively start singing the lyrics to Midnight Memories. "Straight of the plane to a new hotel." The platforms were now half way up and the screams were getting louder and louder. "Just touched down, you can never tell." I quickly avert the microphone from my lips and take a deep breath. My fingers start shaking around the microphone and anxiety lays over me. I push it back as far as I can. We're now on stage and the screams welcome us.
"Big house party with the crowded kitchen." We take our positions on the stage. Zayn was to my right and beside him was Louis, Niall was to my left and beside him was Liam. They all look at me for a second. "People talk--" I place my index over my lips. "We don't listen." I rejoice silently as I finish the verse. I turn around for my back to face the front. I quickly reach into my pocket for my inhaler. I could feel the points and eyes of the girls on the elevated sides of the stage as I take a breath from my little friend. I press down on the can again and a new gust of air fills my lungs.
Louis started singing and soon enough, the chorus started. "Mid-night memo-ries, oh-oh-oh!" I sing as best as I can. "Baby, you and me, storming in the streets." I'm now beside Josh on drums. I guess I was looking pretty sick because he mouths, drumsticks not stopping, are you okay? and I just nod. My lungs were struggling for the damn air they so desperately needed. I forget my next line and try my best to just shrug it off and continue with the song.
I walk up to the elevated part, almost second floor, of the stage parallel to the catwalk. I take a seat on the edge and let my legs dangle off it and finish the chorus. If I continue running and dancing around, I'll probably faint. Hopefully, the crowd will just find it silly and nothing more. "Five foot something with the skinny jeans!" Liam sings. I try to calm my breathing. Liam, Niall and Louis continue with their solos and I just keep a smile glued on my face as well as wave to a few of the fans' cameras and make faces at them. They go crazy over them.
Eventually, we're all singing the chorus and I give my absolute best to remember all my lines this time. I'm fucking winded. I go down the steps with a little dance just to look a tad bit sillier. Zayn makes eye contact with me and raises his eyebrows, silently asking if I could continue. My hand subconsciously finds its way under my chin and waves back and forth signaling that no, I can't do my second solo. Not tonight.
He gets the message and immediately follows after Niall. I want to hang my head down in shame, I don't want to look at the faces of the crowd. But I can't. People will realize something is wrong with me and I can't afford that. So, I just skip around the stage with a sick grin on my face.
We do the chorus a few last times and finally, the song's over. My lungs want to collapse in on themselves, but I survived. I can finish this show. I cheer myself on. A smile creeps up on my face at the thought.
I face the back of the stage again and grab my inhaler. I bring it to my lips and press down on the can once. Twice. Thrice. Four times. I turn back around and scan the crowd for my mum and sister. They wave their hands up in the air, somehow knowing I was looking for them. I catch their eyes. I give them a beaming smile, genuinely happy to see them again after all these weeks. They just sadly grin at me.
They're not even looking at me anymore. I follow their gaze and see my hands still tightly clutched around my inhaler. They've figured out that I was having an asthma attack. I quickly return it to my pocket. Louis and Liam appear beside me and they both give me a thumbs up. "He-lloooo, London!" I start with a deep breath. The crowd screams. "You're all looking exceptionally beautiful tonight!" I say into my mic with my index finger and thumb pressed together to do the okay gesture. The crowd roars. My eyes squint as one of the spotlights find its way directly in my pupils. Usually, I'd see black spots for a few seconds but this time, it takes longer and my head starts to spin. Louis notices. Jesus, I haven't felt this sick since I was fifteen. Since a few months before it happened...
We were now all lined up on the edge of the stage. "We're going to have such an incredible night so just sit back, relax and try not to scream your heads off." Louis concludes and the crowd goes damn apeshit. I hear static through my ear piece and the stage director's voice comes on. "Harry," he begins. "Paul is calling for you right now. Your family's with him." My eyes widen. "As for the rest of you, cover up for him for now and continue with the show." I look to my sides and see the boys nod at me. Niall pats me on the back and as much as I don't want to, I jog over to the side of the stage to the rooms that they were in, fearing my family and the crew's disappointed faces.