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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14. Chapter fourteen.

The girl who was perched behind the counter of the fanciest hotel Harry had ever set foot in was clearly disgusted by his appearance; flaring her delicate nostrils, her lips pressed into a pinched, disapproving line as she watched him approach. Her honey-coloured hair had been elaborately piled on top of her head and practically glued into place with so much spray that it was probably rock solid and heavier than a lump of metal. She wore sensible square glasses with round frames and had pursed, glossy red lips decorated with lipstick that had been applied to her thin mouth with almost military precision. Her neatly pressed navy pinstripe suit was so sharply ironed that the shoulders looked like they could take your eye out. Around her neck was a slender golden chain, her earrings were small, neat golden hoops, and she had a gold ring on one slim finger. Her eyelids were powdered gold and the blusher on her cheeks was very faint, and her fingernails were the same colour as her suit but with the hotel emblem painstakingly etched onto them. She could only have been in her early twenties, but she looked as severe as an old spinster, and Harry knew that with his best efforts, a charming smile and a bit of flirting wasn’t going to win this girl over.

Instinct told him to try anyway, and he leaned over the desk with a grin. Catching sight of himself in the gilt mirror behind her, he grimaced; he had a lot of dirty marks on his face, his hair was unwashed and plastered disgustingly to his head like a helmet, his clothes were crumpled and smelly, his cheeks so hollow that his dimples barely showed. He looked like he’d just wandered off the streets looking for handouts – which was pretty accurate, considering. With his most winning smile, Harry adjusted his almost frighteningly loose t-shirt and then tilted his head forwards to make his green eyes look larger.

“Hi,” he said cheerfully, “I’m looking for a room.”

Her response was instantaneous and disapproving: “None of our rooms are available. I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to look somewhere else.” She looked down her nose at him in disgust.

A quick glance down at the appointment book in front of her made Harry smile slightly in acknowledgment of the lie. “Oh, really? I can see at least twelve spaces in that book; there are a dozen spare rooms upstairs.”

The girl barely blinked; she was a professional, and her returning answer was instant. “I doubt you could afford our prices, sir. This is a very…prestigious establishment. We have a very specific clientele; I’m afraid you don’t quite fit the bill.”

So in other words, Harry thought grimly, you’re all a bunch of posh twats. He smiled again. “Are you quite sure about that?” he pressed, and as he widened his eyes innocently at her, he poked her mind with his own and murmured, I’m the most handsome man you’ve ever seen and you’d be glad to let me have a room. In fact, you’d probably let me share yours without much complaint.

“I’m quite cert – oh!” The girl blushed delicately, one manicured hand flying to her face as she felt one burning cheek with embarrassment. Flustered, she dropped her gaze to the book in front of her, suddenly convinced that a younger, rugged cross between Johnny Depp and Leonardo Di Caprio had materialized in the foyer of the hotel and was giving her a disarming smile. “I – oh! Forgive me, I – I don’t know what came over me. Of course you can have a room, sir. I’m ever so sorry! Let me – um…” She began flipping almost frantically through the book. “How many rooms do you want?”

“Six, if that’s all right,” Harry told her politely.

Her face fell instantly. “Oh dear. I’m terribly sorry, but you’re only allowed to book four rooms at once, sir. It’s a very strict new protocol.”

For a moment, Harry considered this statement. He was confident that he could have the girl revoke this new rule for him with not too much difficulty, but he didn’t want to get her into trouble. She was going to be in enough bother already once he’d finished with her. “Four rooms it is, then,” he agreed diplomatically, awarding her a smile which sent her dizzy with longing.

“Excellent,” she breathed. Then, her harsh professionalism won out for a moment and she damped down her adoration somewhat as she asked, “which method of payment would you like to use, sir? Here at the Aristo Nobelle, we pride ourselves on accepting every kind of credit card – apart from fake ones, of course!” Her light, tinkling laughter filled the air between them, sounding a little raw from disuse; Harry got the feeling that she didn’t giggle very often.

“That won’t be necessary,” he said a little sternly, fighting to hide his guilt. Here he was, breaking the law. He felt a little bad.

Her expression faltered slightly with confusion, so Harry quickly nudged her mind as he mentally explained to her, You’ve been told to expect a management inspection and I’m probably on the senior management team. No payment is necessary. I’m very important. You’ll probably get a promotion if you do this right. Oh, and I’m the most gorgeous man you’ve ever met and you’d like to be the mother of my children.

“Of course!” she spluttered. “Of course. I’m ever so sorry, sir, I don’t know what came over me! It must be the heat – it’s ever so warm in here!” Punctuating her comment with another airy laugh, she fanned herself with one elegant hand, her cheeks quickly turning from pink to scarlet.

“That’s no problem; I can see you’re very thorough,” Harry told her warmly, “no harm in doing your job right, is there?”

She simpered and cupped one hand around her cheek as she fumbled underneath the desk for the four room keys, not taking her eyes off him. Clearly, she was breathless, struggling to focus as she stared longingly at his face. He had done his job well. “You’re so right! If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, that’s what I always say!” Inside, she was a quivering wreck, and she wasn’t much more collected on the exterior. Harry was amused by her lack of coherency, and the confusion inside her head.

“I can see you do an excellent job,” he assured her, accepting the keys. Their hands brushed together as he took them, and she gave a little start as her heart stuttered, stopping for a fraction of a second at the contact. Harry bit his lip to hold back a laugh, and gently tried to tug the keys out of her grasp, but she hung on. “Excuse me,” he said gently.

“Oh!” she gasped. “Oh! Oh, I’m terribly, sorry, I – oh, I’m sorry!” Instantly, she dropped the keys and fought to regain her composure. A strand of lacquered hair came free from where it had been carefully sprayed against her hair and spiralled wildly around her head, sticking stiffly outwards. Harry smirked a little. Closing her eyes, the woman breathed in and said hurriedly, “I have to remind you, of course, that there is absolutely no smoking permitted in this hotel. Here at the Aristo Nobelle, the comfort and health of our guests is absolute priority. All of the rooms are fitted with state-of-the-art smoke detectors; if anyone so much as strikes a match, we’ll know.” It was a practiced threat, but not an empty one.

Harry nearly laughed when he thought of what Zayn might say to that, but his smile faltered when he thought of Niall, who still had a tendency to set himself on fire at inopportune moments – something which wouldn’t be easily explained. “My friend likes all of his food to be very well-done,” he lied; “he regularly sets off smoke alarms. Would it be possible to disable the smoke alarm in his room?”

“Well – I – I’m not sure, I mean, that’s highly irregular and completely against health and safety regulations –” the girl stammered helplessly.

Turning up the charm, Harry reminded her, I’m gorgeous, and the nicer you are to me, the more likely I am to ask you on a date. You absolutely have to kiss me or else your lips will fall off. If you don’t get to go out with me, your life might as well end right now. The entire purpose of your life is to please me so that I will fall in love with you. Then he looked rather pointedly from her eyes to her lips, and back up again.

The girl gave a resigned little moan. “Of course, sir,” she said fervently, “anything! Anything at all! I’ll send someone up to disable it right away!”

“Thank you,” Harry said, awarding her a large smile. He laid one of his large hands over her slender one where it lay on the desk. “What’s your name?”

The girl blinked weakly at him, and her mouth fell open and then worked silently for a few seconds. Harry had to stifle a laugh when he realized that she was so overcome by the sensation of him touching her hand that she’d actually forgotten. He’d underestimated the extent of his power, and when he was touching her, his influence was even stronger. Her mind was screaming out at him, filled with so much ecstasy at his touch that it was almost painful for her.

“I – Rachel,” she stammered faintly. “My name is Rachel.” Relieved that she had remembered, she quivered a little, obviously terrified that her apparent mental issues had put him off.

Feeling sorry for her, Harry assured her, I probably found it cute. Then he said warmly, “Thank you for your help, Rachel,” and slid his hand away.

His hand was less than clean, and he left a smudge of Scottish mud on her pristine skin when he removed his fingers, but the girl made no effort to scrub it away. She positively glowed with excitement, giving the dirty mark an adoring glance, and then stared longingly at him.

Harry quickly left, worried by the intensity of her feelings for him and wondering if he’d overdone it a bit. Back in the lobby, Louis, Felix, Liam, Zayn and Niall were waiting for him, and Harry joined them with a victorious grin, trying to forget that he had possibly permanently damaged the receptionist with a fog of lust and yearning for him, and focusing on his success instead.

“Did you do it?” Louis demanded.

Harry grinned and dangled the keys in front of him. “Of course I did! Hang on!” He interrupted as all five of them made a grab for the keys, “I only got four keys! Some of us are going to have to share.”

“What?” Felix demanded in disgust. “How does that work? Why couldn’t you get two more rooms?”

“Look,” Harry said, “I already had to screw that poor woman’s head up enough. She’s in danger of losing her job already; I won’t make things worse.”

“Well I’m not sharing,” Felix told them.

“I wouldn’t dream of inflicting your company on anyone,” Harry told him wearily as he shoved one of the keys at him, “take it.”

“I’ll share with Niall,” Liam offered.

Niall grinned cheerfully, delighted that someone actually wanted to share with him. Zayn stared pleadingly at Harry, and he gave a heavy sigh, knowing what that look meant. He held out the third key with a resigned expression.

“Go on then, Zayn. You don’t mind sharing with me, right, Lou?”

“Nah! Why would I mind?” Louis asked happily. “You’re my best mate.”

“Good,” Harry answered with a smile, “let’s go up, then.”

As they headed back through the foyer towards the lift, they all spotted the girl on the reception desk apparently having some kind of breakdown while one of the maids attempted to calm her down. Clearly, this behaviour was extremely unusual; the poor maid looked bewildered as Rachel babbled desperately to her, eyes almost maddened. As Harry passed, Rachel gave a little yelp and her eyes widened as she whirled to stare at him, leaning so far over the desk that she practically fell over it, a huge and slightly crazed smile lighting up her face. Uncomfortably, Harry gave her a little wave, and her answering sigh ended with a shudder and a kind of whimper as she clung to the desk, her knuckles turning white. Harry made a dash for the lift, and he didn’t breathe out until the doors had slid closed and the six of them were safely ascending to the top floor.

“Christ, Harry!” Louis said, “what the hell did you do to that poor girl?”

“I think maybe I went a bit too far,” Harry admitted. “I convinced her that I was the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on and that she wanted to be the mother of my children, and I think I might have made her think that she was going to get a date with me because I needed her to disable the smoke alarm in Niall’s room, and she wasn’t playing along.”

“Bloody hell,” Niall said admiringly. “Can you get a girl to freak out like that over me, please?”

“You really want some insane girl nearly choking to death because you touched her hand?” Harry asked dryly. “Trust me, it’s actually quite scary.”

“Yeah, but…she was hot,” Niall pointed out.

“Mmm. Not really my type. She was totally uptight before I messed with her.” The doors slid open, and Harry stepped out with a sigh. “Right, whose room is whose?”

~*~

“What are we doing first?” Harry asked as he dropped down onto the bed in his and Louis’ room. It was a king-sized bed, but it was still only a single – although he was determined not to pay any attention to that.

“Bagsie first shower,” Louis said immediately. “I’m disgusting, I swear.”

“I think you might need some new clothes to change into, or the shower will be a bit pointless,” answered Harry with a smile, “I’ll go and get some.”

Louis was barely listening; he was already dragging his filthy shirt over his head and carelessly dropping it to the floor. Watching the muscles of his friend’s back shifting underneath his skin, Harry quickly tried to avert his eyes, but he couldn’t help but be fascinated. Stretching, Louis rumpled his dirty hair and started kicking off his trousers as well. “Don’t get anything too ugly. I hate polka-dots.”

Biting his lip to fight back his smile, Harry agreed, “No polka-dots. Got it.” Then he ventured out into the corridor.

It didn’t take him long to find a porter wandering around, pushing people’s cases around, and Harry stopped him with one quick mental jab. The man wasn’t exactly the same size as any of them, but he was kind of similar to them all, so although none of his clothes would fit perfectly, they would all be a reasonably close fit. Harry easily persuaded the man to lead him to his own room deep in the bowels of the hotel, and he ended up wandering upstairs with most of the man’s wardrobes piled up in his arms. In return, he convinced one of the prettier women who was wandering the lower corridors to take the man into the laundry room and snog him for a bit; he thought it was a reasonably fair exchange.

When he got back into his and Louis’ room, Harry found the older boy sat on their bed wrapped in a fluffy white towel and shivering lightly, wet hair dripping, soaked but still attractive. Dumping the clothes onto the bed beside Louis, Harry grinned at him. “You get first pick. When you’ve got the stuff you want, take the rest of it down the corridor to the others – but save some for me, yeah?” Then he vanished into the shower without waiting for a response.

The water felt amazing as it poured down his back; Harry felt like he’d never experienced warm water in his life before. He lathered his hair with so much shampoo that he was surprised he didn’t flood the bathroom with bubbles. There were at least fourteen different bottles of complimentary soaps cluttering the sideboard, and although Louis had emptied several of them, there was heaps left, and Harry mixed them all together and scrubbed himself until he felt like he’d washed half of his skin off as well as the dirt. After that, he just stood and let the water pour down onto his head and saturate his curls until all the waves were shocked out of them; when soaked, his hair just touched his shoulders, and it had been so long since his last hair cut that it tickled his collarbones when he tilted his head down. Eventually, he wandered out of the shower and rolled around on the bathroom floor in the towel until he was almost completely dry, and his hair was starting to go from wet to damp, turning fluffy and exploding wildly around his head. He exited the en suite feeling refreshed and wearing only a towel like a toga around his waist.

“You look better,” Louis greeted approvingly as Harry emerged.

“So do you,” Harry responded.

It was true: now that he had been cleaned up a bit, Louis looked like some kind of fashion model, with his hair attractively ruffled and his dark blue eyes relaxed. He’d found himself a pair of long tan trousers and rolled them up to his knees, and dragged an enormous black t-shirt over his head, and he was sat cross-legged on the bed. It didn’t take Harry very long to find himself some Chinos and a long, loose white shirt, and there was a plentiful selection of underwear. Thankfully, Louis seemed to have saved most of the best clothes. As Harry quickly dressed, he pretended not to notice Louis’ eyes lingering on his face.

“Where are the others?” Harry asked as he found a burgundy blazer to wear over the shirt. Luckily, it matched his Chinos, or else he would have looked oddly mismatched.

Louis snorted. “Felix is trying to sneak into the Casino. Don’t know why he bothers; he’ll get chucked out the second they see him. Niall is eating – they have an excellent all-you-can-eat buffet in the dining room, apparently. Liam is checking out the gym.” He rolled his eyes. “And Zayn is being Zayn. ‘There’s plenty of hot girls in the bar, Lou’,” he drawled in a passable imitation of Zayn. “I think he’s planning on teaching them why they shouldn’t go for the hot ones.”

“Oh, god. Poor girls.” Still, Harry couldn’t help but chuckle. He had a feeling that once he’d had a wash, Zayn would be ten times as devastating – that was one lesson that the girls at the bar would be all too eager to learn. “What are you going to do?”

Shrugging, Louis suggested, “Sleep? There’s a bed, and it has my name on it. Care to join me?” He grinned wickedly and patted the pillow.

Harry knew that Louis was only flirting out of habit, but the joke had his heart racing. “Maybe later,” he answered with an only slightly forced smile, “I might join Niall at the buffet. I’m sick of nourishing food – I want chips, chips, and more chips. I’m going to cram as many empty calories into me as I can, as quickly as I can.”

“Good. No offence, but you’re a skeleton. I can see your bones.” Louis poked one of Harry’s ribs disapprovingly, then started wriggling underneath the duvet as he got ready to close his eyes. “You don’t want me to come with you, do you?”

Harry laughed. “No. Get some rest. You’ll be falling asleep in the caviar otherwise, and those snobby twats out there are looking down their turned-up noses at us as it is. Go to sleep. I’ll babysit Niall all right by myself, don’t you worry.”

Propping himself up on one elbow, Louis said softly, “Maybe Niall’s not the only one who needs babysitting.”

“I can look after myself.”

Louis raised an eyebrow and asked him quietly, “Can you?”

They made eye contact for a while, Harry’s heart thumping unevenly. He knew that he ought to be offended that Louis didn’t seem to think he was capable of going down to eat a buffet on his own, especially since he’d already demonstrated that he was capable of reducing anyone who questioned him to a gibbering wreck, but he was actually quite touched.

Louis groaned. “Ugh, why am I arguing with you? I’m exhausted. Go on, go eat. I’ll catch up to you.”

Harry headed for the door with relief as Louis rolled over and dragged the duvet over his head, but he paused by the door and promised, “I’ll be all right, Lou.”

Poking his head out, Louis warned, “Just make sure you are. You don’t want me coming down to fetch you; I’m grumpy when I first wake up.”

“I won’t be long,” Harry said.

He hesitated for a second, feeling guilty – and then he hurried back to the bed and quickly kissed Louis on the forehead, squeezing his shoulder. Louis stared at him in surprise as Harry quickly backed away, looking embarrassed.

“I, uh – I’ll see you later,” Harry said quickly, and he rushed out of the room.

Surprised, but too appreciative of the comfortable bed to stay awake, Louis settled down and closed his eyes – but his head tingled from the feel of Harry’s lips for a good few hours, and he struggled to fall asleep.

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