MIND GAMES [One Direction fanfiction] - 13 and up

Harry Styles was just a normal teenage boy, a normal teenage boy who had a happy life and was quite content to live it the way nature had intended: completely normally, with no weird happenings or crazy adventures. Yet some things, it would seem, are destined to be, and it would appear that Harry’s fate was to be abducted by insane strangers intent on experimenting on him, and their four other hand-picked victims. Harry sometimes feels so alone, even when his best friends are only a few metres away - and he can’t seem to help but be afraid, because there are so very few things left in his life for him to control…

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11. Chapter elleven.

Louis knew how fast Felix was, so understandably he was slightly alarmed when time slipped lethargically by and nobody came back. At first he wondered whether Felix was messing with them on purpose, but he decided eventually that nobody could be that cruel. Felix was rude, petty, obnoxious, self-obsessed and he seemed to exude an aura of dislikeable-ness that Louis alone was privy to, but he wasn’t horrible enough to deliberately frighten them all out of their wits with an unnecessary delay.

Niall didn’t seem to notice the passing of time. After the first few minutes, he had wandered over to befriend the sheep, and from that moment on his hands had been buried in its thick wool, stroking it and chatting to it while he petted it like it was a dog. The sheep seemed pleased by the attention, nuzzling into his arm and making occasional sounds of contentment. Liam, however, had a very different purpose in mind for the animal: Niall seemed quite keen to keep it as a pet, whereas Liam was secretly plotting about how they could use it, in the event that Felix never came back. He didn’t trust the black haired boy as implicitly as Niall did; he wasn’t as wary of him as Louis was, but he certainly didn’t trust him. The way Liam saw it, the sheep was very hairy, so they could make clothes and blankets out of its wool, and if it was a female sheep they could attempt to milk it (which he was quite reluctant to do, as he would have to mess around with several private sheep parts, and he wasn’t too keen on that idea; animal or not, private parts ought to stay private). Whereas if not, they could cook it and eat it. He would probably have to wrestle it out of Niall’s arms first, but Niall liked food, and once the animal was cooked, Liam was pretty sure the Irish boy would end up eating it anyway. If he consented to light the fire that they would cook it on. As their primary heat source, Niall had a certain power over them. Cuddling up to the sheep in his ragged clothes, he looked up at the other two boys, smiling cheerfully.

“This isn’t so bad.”

“Where’s Harry and Zayn?” Louis exploded, “that’s what I want to know.”

“Felix went to get them.”

“Yeah, and that was ages ago. I don’t trust him. He’s a creep.”

Niall opened his mouth to argue – and then he found that he could no longer maintain his eye contact with Louis to continue the discussion, as a very  tall and lanky body was standing between them. Someone with long legs and a lot of curly hair had appeared out of thin air, and was wobbling unsteadily, looking very pale and wide-eyed with alarm. Louis blinked, shocked at the unexpected arrival – then just in time, he lunged, and his arms went around a slender waist with the bones exposed from lack of regular – or sufficient – meals, and he attempted to catch the boy. Unfortunately, Harry was unhealthily skinny but still pretty heavy, and Louis couldn’t hold him up, at least not for more than a few seconds. For a moment or so, they staggered together, and then Harry stumbled and fell backwards, his arms flailing wildly. Grimly, Louis hung on, and they fell together, crashing painfully into the dirt and knocking all the breath out of them – although Louis, who had Harry’s slender body to protect him, fell a little less hard. The white light was bright enough after the darkness of the room he had just left that Harry had to close his eyes, and therefore had no idea who had just leapt on top of him. Naturally, he panicked. But instead of rolling or struggling or kicking, as Louis had expected, and which he was prepared for, Harry surprised him by bucking upwards instead, rocking his hips violently and jerking them both upwards into the air. The movement was so fast and so sharp that Louis almost lost his grip right away; he came close to rolling off and had to grab at Harry to keep clinging on.

Eyes still squeezed tightly shut, Harry used his advantage and twisted suddenly, and once again Louis nearly rolled off onto the floor. Before Harry could knock him away again, Louis got a firm hold of his shoulders, then leaned inwards and his lips brushed through thick locks of curls for a good few tense seconds before his mouth found Harry’s ear and the contact of lips on skin made Harry freeze. Louis felt his mouth slowly slide open, and then he murmured “You going to throw me off, Harold? What a way to treat your best friend.”

Harry started so violently that he almost knocked Louis off again. His eyes took a few seconds to adjust as he opened them and squinted, and then he was focusing on the face that he barely recognized in the light, and intently listening to the voice that he recognized very well.

“Say something else,” he demanded.

Considering for a moment, Louis eventually said “Your hair looks even curlier in daylight.” Then he laughed.

It took a few seconds for Harry to force his eyes open, but he managed it eventually, and then he and Louis regarded each other for a while. They had seen each other in full daylight before, of course, in the earlier days of their captivity, but it had been such a long time that Louis wanted a moment to appreciate it, and so he leaned back a little to take Harry in. It was clear that, although he hadn’t noticed it much before, Harry had a few inches of extra height, and Louis found himself not minding, even though he was older and perhaps ought to have been taller. The curls helped, of course; a pile of fluffy, voluminous chocolate brown hair heaped up on top of his head. He smiled at Louis, and dimples grew in his cheeks, which were paler than Louis remembered. He’d lost weight; the lines of his face were more visible, like they had been carefully sculpted by an artist, and his bones stuck out so that curves had become sharp angles instead. His elbows looked like you could get a paper cut from them. Harry was slimmer and more fragile than he had been before, and yet to Louis, he looked incredible. The light in his green eyes was more than enough to disguise the less refined features of his appearance.

Before Louis could say another word, Harry surprised him by yanking him closer, into a huge hug. A surprised noise tore out of Louis’ mouth as he found himself being dragged into the insistent embrace of a pair of long arms, but surprisingly, it was a pleasant sensation. He’d never hugged another guy so closely before, but he enjoyed it – it felt right, almost safe. The wind was still blowing intensely, and Louis wasn’t dressed for the weather; he was shivering lightly. Harry radiated warmth in every direction, and Louis eagerly leaned closer into the hug to try and steal some of his body heat. He ended up leaning his cheek on Harry’s shoulder, and eventually burying his face in Harry’s neck and inhaling the gorgeous smell that was pouring off Harry’s skin; it wasn’t aftershave or deodorant or any kind of synthetic fragrance, but simply a uniquely Harry smell, and it was weirdly addictive. Louis breathed in heavily, savouring the scent. Curls tickled his forehead, and he smiled slightly, burrowing even further into Harry’s arms and laughing against Harry’s skin because it felt so good to hug him in that way, and it was making Louis feel a deep, stirring emotion that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Not entirely sure what he was feeling, Louis shrugged it off and shifted slightly, squashing Harry into the grass with the fierceness of the hug. The warm boy in his arms almost seemed to purr with satisfaction as they cuddled, and Louis listened to the humming sound that was coming from Harry’s chest and couldn’t help but soften slightly. This was his best friend. He would be happy not to move another inch from that spot, just hugging him. Perhaps those emotions were a little intense, but he’d had very little human contact for what felt like a lifetime, and he was close to Harry; naturally he would feel a desire to be close to him. Nudging Harry’s collarbone with his nose, Louis murmured incoherently under his breath, the wind snatching his words away, and both of their smiles grew.

A piercing wolf-whistle shattered the moment, and Louis pulled his face out of Harry’s neck to turn around and see where it had come from. Niall was grinning, hands shoved in his tattered pockets, looking mischievously down at them.

“All right, lads? Having fun down there?”

“Yeah, thanks,” Louis said brightly, sitting up and shuffling backwards slightly so that Harry could push himself upwards too.

Harry dragged himself into a sitting position, and Louis found himself sitting on Harry’s knee, which, again, was nowhere near as strange as it should have been. They both grinned, and Harry got a good opportunity to examine Niall and see him properly for the first time. For a few critical seconds, he examined him thoroughly, then waved at him cheerfully.

“Nice to see you after all this time! I’ve never seen you in good light before,” he commented.

“Look at you!” Niall cried, “you’re so curly! And you look like one of those movie stars. Look at that smile, boys. Look at it! I bet he has girls chasing him in the street!” When no noises of agreement met his suggestion, he blinked and turned around. “Boys?”

“You mind socializing later?” Liam called, “because I could do with some help over here!”

Over by Liam’s side a good few metres away, sat at his feet, Zayn wasn’t in such bad shape; they all took a quick look at him and discovered him to be an attractive teen with immaculate hair and tanned skin, who was pale and thin like the rest of them, and clinging to clumps of grass with both hands to steady himself. Apart from being a bit wobbly, he seemed all right, having coped pretty well with the teleportation. However, beside him, Felix lay flat on his back, limbs spread-eagled dramatically, eyes closed, head thrown back. He had lain down with the deliberate intention of catching their attention, but it would appear that he had stayed there because he had no choice. His mouth was twisted into an uncomfortable grimace, his fingers clenching and unclenching, and he wriggled every few seconds, but he seemed like he wasn’t going to move for a while.

Louis got up and hauled Harry to his feet, and together they wandered across the field and reached the boy lying on the ground. Interested, Harry knelt beside him and reached for his wrist, checking for the pulse that he knew was there. He sneaked a glance at Louis and raised an eyebrow questioningly, and Louis grinned and nodded in response. Rocking backwards onto his heels, Harry choked back the laugh that he could feel coming and opened his mouth, grinning at Louis and forcing the humour out of his voice.

“I think he’s dead!” he announced, “What do we do? Should we leave  him?”

One of Felix’s eyes snapped open at the question, and Harry laughed at the anxious expression on his face. Louis joined him, patting Harry on the shoulder and shaking his head in amusement as he pushed back a few tufts of hair.

“Nope, looks like he’s still with us,” he said amusedly, “bad luck.”

“Rude!” Felix grumbled, “I rescued you, remember; you could have a little more gratitude!”

He flopped uselessly against the ground, staring pathetically at the sky. Louis tutted and rolled his eyes at the dramatic expression on his face, then shared a smile with Harry, who looked like he wanted to laugh again. Niall wasn’t interested in Felix; he had dropped to his knees as well and currently had his arms around the sheep, cheerfully stroking it. Zayn was getting his breath back, and having a quiet conversation with Liam.

“Right,” Louis said, slinging an arm around Harry’s shoulders, “what do we do now? Because I certainly don’t fancy sticking around here.”

“Hey!” Felix argued, “give me a second! This teleportation isn’t as easy as you make it sound! I need a chance to get my breath back.”

“Well don’t take too long,” Louis told him roughly, “we don’t have all day.”

“You’re so rude!” Felix complained, “I told you, I need a minute!” He lay with his lips pressed tightly together, white with the force that he held them closed with.

Louis sighed impatiently, but he grabbed Harry’s wrist and whirled them both around, finding a fairly comfortable patch of grass on which to sit before he settled them both down onto the floor. They ended up sat far closer to each other than he had originally intended, with his head resting on Harry’s shoulder, but they were both perfectly comfortable with the position. Louis enjoyed the warmth coming from the younger boy, and he kept his expression carefully blank as he pulled one of Harry’s long arms towards him and started rubbing it to try and coax some more warmth into him with the friction. The wind was such that it whipped their hair violently into the air, and they were so close that caramel strands of hair wound with curly chocolate ones, making Louis feel a weird shiver of pleasure deep inside him.

“You guys cold or something?” Niall asked as he poked his head around the sheep. He looked ridiculous with his arms still thrown happily around its neck, his own hair fluttering as wildly as the ragged remnants of his clothes, but he didn’t seem to notice how their smiles widened. “Because you don’t have to cuddle like that, you know. I can fix it.”

Without waiting for them to reply, he detached himself from the sheep, reassuring it with a murmur and a pat, and then ambled a short distance away. The sheep excitedly followed him, seemingly enjoying his company, and Niall tutted fondly at it as he cleared a round, circular patch on the ground free of grass, leaving only mud behind in a thick ring with more grass left in the middle, like a doughnut-shaped patch of dirt. Getting to his feet, Niall stepped into the middle of the ring, paused – and then he caught fire. The blaze only lasted for a moment, crackling fiercely around him, and then he extinguished himself and leapt neatly out of the circle of grass, which had now lit itself, but was trapped from growing any further by the mud ring. Harry and Louis gathered gratefully around it, quickly followed by Zayn and Liam, who stretched out their hands to warm them with the flames, but Louis made no effort to distance himself from the younger boy; in fact, he only wriggled closer to him so that they could reflect the new warmth off each other. Satisfied, Niall went to sit by the stunned looking sheep, and put an arm around it to reassure it. Bewildered, the sheep stood beside him, not seeming to understand what had happened but standing with Niall anyway, even though he had just set himself on fire.

“Show off,” Liam chided.

Niall looked injured. “Everyone else got to use their powers! I thought it was my turn.”

Louis tutted and turned away to look at Felix. They all stared at him for a few minutes until it became obvious that he had no intention of moving, and that was when Louis got annoyed and started scowling at him. Ignoring the glares that were directed at him, Felix continued to scan the sky as if it were something fascinating, until Louis made a very irritated noise, and the black-haired boy’s head jerked as he turned and stared at Louis.

“Yes?”

“Do you mind not just lying there?” Louis exploded. “It’s cold, and we want to get back to civilization if it’s all the same to you.” The biting sarcasm in his voice showed that clearly, he wasn’t expecting an answer.

Felix gave him one anyway. “I am tired,” he hissed, “and I feel sick and I’ve never teleported that many people, or in such a short space of time, and I’d quite like to lie down and have a bit of a rest, if you don’t mind.”

“As a matter of fact, I do. You offered to help us, and that doesn’t mean leaving the job half done because you’re a bit out of breath. Now get up, and make good on your promise,” Louis snarled.

Harry grabbed his arm. “Lou,” he warned.

Normally, Louis would have shaken him off, but he couldn’t help but weaken slightly at the sensation of warm fingers gripping his elbow. The anger roiling in his stomach immediately began to ease off, although he clung to it obstinately. He was furious, and when he was cross, he was intimidating; he could see that despite his backchat, Felix was a little bit scared of him. Louis had no intention of losing that advantage.

“If I teleport now,” Felix said calmly, “it’s very likely that I will leave bits of you behind. And I don’t mean I’ll leave a person behind, I mean I’ll leave random body parts strewn across the country, or possibly just dissolved into atoms if I can’t reform you properly. Is that what you want? Because if you really want to risk it, then fine.” He reached out a hand for Louis to pull him up, his eyes challenging.

Louis had always been one to take risks, and he might have taken Felix up on that offer just so that he could have the satisfaction of winning the argument, but unfortunately, Harry’s fingers contracted, squeezing him painfully hard, and looking down, Louis felt all the fight drain out of him as he exhaled in a heavy sigh. Harry’s thumb stroked down the back of his wrist, and he leaned against the younger boy in defeat.

“We can’t stay here for much longer,” he pointed out, “we’re right out in the open. If the authorities are really looking for you, then they’ll see us straight away if we stick around. We’re not exactly dressed to blend in.” He indicated his own bright red trousers and stripey shirt, which were about as conspicuous as you could wish for in a field full of grass and purplish heather that only came up to his ankles.

“I can’t teleport you all right now. You’re going to have to wait – unless you can think of a way that I can transport all of us without having to use up all the energy I don’t have.”

“Hang on,” Harry interrupted. “I think I have an idea.”

Clearly surprised, Felix blinked at him. “Already?”

Harry ignored him. “Before, when Louis caught you in the force field and you tried to teleport across the room, when you teleported, the field came with you. But you didn’t mean to bring it with you – it just sort of followed you. What if he put a field around us all, and then you teleported? The field would come with you, and so would we, but you wouldn’t be doing it intentionally. Would that work?” He looked anxiously at Louis for approval.

“That’s an excellent idea!” Louis told him instantly.

“It could actually work,” Felix mused, “as long as he could make a field big enough…”

“Of course I can!” Louis said, stunned and affronted at his abilities being doubted. Before anyone else could attempt to suggest that he was incapable, he flexed his fingers and a bubble blossomed around them to demonstrate, at least a hundred metres larger on every side than it needed to be.

“We can make a move, then! Can you get up?” Liam asked, but without waiting for Felix to answer, he grabbed hold of the boy’s hand and dragged him to his feet, making Felix cry out in annoyance.

“All right!” he snapped, yanking his arm away and massaging his shoulder, “no need to dislocate my arm.”

“Stop bickering,” Louis ordered. “Everyone come here.”

They all gathered in a little huddle around him, and Harry had to admit that he was more than a little anxious as he watched Felix slowing his breath as he prepared to use his powers, and Louis standing up straighter as he extended his fingers in readiness. Liam was forcing a calm expression across his face, but his brown eyes were dark with concern. Beside him, Zayn was clearly anxious, chewing violently on his lower lip, and Niall was still crouched on the floor with his arms around the sheep. Exhaling in irritation, Zayn folded his arms and watched the Irish boy, who was rubbing the sheep’s back and crooning under his breath to it. The others couldn’t decide whether to be amused or annoyed, but Zayn still felt a little sick and his temper was wearing thin, so a frown creased his forehead as he folded his arms and commanded:

“Niall! Get away from that sheep!”

“He likes me!” Niall protested. “I can’t just leave him.”

“It’s a sheep,” Felix pointed out.

“He’ll be lonely!” wailed Niall.

“I’m sure he’ll cope,” Liam said gently. “He did before you came. Let go of him, Niall.”

“But –”

Before he could argue any more, Zayn grabbed hold of Niall’s arms, wrenched him away from the sheep, and gave it a gentle shove. Surprised, the sheep bleated piteously and staggered away from them, dancing off to the right, and as Niall lurched after it with a cry, Louis concentrated, the bubble exploded into life around them, and then Felix tore them all apart and they vanished into oblivion, clinging to each other for dear life.

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