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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19. Chapter nineteen.

Harry wasn’t sure what he’d been thinking when he’d chosen to gather all of his friends – and Felix – in the room that all six of them shared, but all he knew was that he wanted to get a grip on himself, and the best way to do that which he could think of was to make sure that he was busy. So he might as well do something useful and work on his powers, right?

He couldn’t make eye contact with Louis, who was alternating between trying to catch Harry’s eye and throwing force fields around the room. Zayn was sat in the corner trying to make things fly without levitating everything in the room; his momentary lapses in concentration when Louis’ force fields flickered too closely in his peripheral vision were evident because everyone in the room would rise a few centimetres off whatever they were sitting on before he gritted his teeth and wrenched everything back under control again. Niall was sulking because he couldn’t practice his power, seeing as the smoke alarms were very good in the room and nobody fancied setting off the sprinkler system, and Liam was looking at Harry with brotherly concern. It was sweet, but it made Harry nervous to know that he was being watched. Felix was lying flat on his bed with his arms folded behind his head, sprawled lazily across the duvet and looking uninterested.

“What’s this about, Harry?” Liam asked.

What, indeed? Harry thought, as he scanned the room and looked at each other occupant besides Louis. Whenever he caught the slightest glimpse of his best friend, his brain helpfully presented him with flashbacks of how Louis smelled, and how soft his mouth had been when Harry had kissed him, and what the gentle tickle of his stubble had felt like. He was attacked by hundreds of desperate, hungry impulses that he didn’t particularly want to be having, and he could feel himself blushing at every small and inappropriate thought. But this wasn’t about Louis – it was about him, and practicing his powers.

“I need to improve my powers,” he said. “You guys are all practicing, you’re all getting better…I’m just kind of sat here, doing nothing. I want to get better. But I’m not just going to do it without your permission –” he couldn’t look at Louis, he would have to stop and run away if he looked at Louis “ – so I wanted to know if you’d let me practice on you.”

“I’ll do it,” Louis said immediately. Harry couldn’t help it; his head snapped as he turned to stare at Louis in shock. The older boy’s face was lit up with excitement – well, that was just so classically Louis; he loved trying new things. The idea of allowing his best friend to throw him around and mess around with his head appealed to him.

“No,” Harry shot back just as quickly, then felt the colour first drain from his face, then rush back to it as he realized what that must have sounded like.

Hurt, Louis stared at him and asked in an injured tone, “Why not?” His expression was imploring, his eyes wide and reproachful as he blinked at Harry, trying to understand why Harry would snap at him like that.

Harry started frantically scrambling for a decent excuse which wasn’t I secretly enjoyed messing around in your mind yesterday and would actually love to do it again, but if I do, I will probably kiss you, which I should most definitely not do. “Um….” He had to find someone else to practice on, and a decent reason why he was favouring them over Louis. Almost instantly, his gaze alighted on Felix, whose mind he enjoyed tampering with simply because he liked vindictively shuffling Felix’s thoughts around in his head like a pack of cards. Raising a hand, he pointed at the younger boy. “I want to practice on him,” he said commandingly.

Felix had been lounging back on his duvet and staring at the ceiling, but his head snapped up in surprise and he stared wide-eyed at Harry with an expression warring between anxiety, confusion and defiance. “Me?”

Replacing his hurt with outrage, Louis looked appalled as his head whipped sharply and he stared at Harry as well, his gaze fluctuating between Harry and Felix. His tone was remarkably similar to Felix’s as he said in utter revulsion, “Him?”

Harry answered both of their astounded queries with a calm “Yes.” His hand moved to his hair and he absently pushed it off his forehead as he said “You’re too happy to let me do it. If youwant to let me in, it’s too easy. You’re too co-operative, Louis – no offence. I need someone stubborn, someone obstinate, someone who’d never let me order them around in a million years. Someone like him.” He indicated Felix.

“You’re not messing around in my head,” Felix said sulkily, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

“See!” cried Harry. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about!” He looked reasonably at Louis. “You offered to let me in; he point blank refused. I’m not going to be dealing with many people who want me inside their heads – I need the experience.”

“You can get it from someone else, then,” snapped Felix obstinately, folding his arms. “I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again; you are not going rifling around inside my –”

“Oh, pipe down,” Harry told him, and he calmly sent a mental stab in Felix’s direction.

The effect was instantaneous: Felix’s teeth came together with an audible snap, and then his lips slammed together as well, sealing his mouth completely shut. In horror, Felix’s eyes widened as he reached up and grabbed his mouth  as if he were going to prise his lips apart, but with an almost lazy mental flick, Harry had pinned Felix’s arms by his sides, and was appraising him with his head tilted to the left and a small smirk on his face.

That’s better, Harry told him, and he started burrowing further into Felix’s head, delving deeper into the recesses of the boy’s thoughts as he struggled through the layers of unnecessary mind-babble like it was water he had to wade through. Through the rushing of someone else’s thoughts rushing from their brain into his, Harry heard Louis murmur “Oh, that’s a definite improvement.”

Harry was a little too busy controlling Felix’s body to do much with his own, so he absently had Felix raise a finger to his lips and say in “Shhhhh…” It came out as a mangled slur; Harry struggled to make Felix’s mouth form words and the other boy’s tongue felt odd and heavy to move, so the syllables came slowly and thickly, and Harry’s voice could be heard as a faint undertone, echoing behind Felix’s – but the message got through, and Louis fell silent.

Then Harry went back to rifling round inside Felix’s mind, trying to figure out the extent of his limitations. If he could erase memories, what else could he do with them? That curiosity peaked, and he started gently probing Felix’s mind, trying to investigate his own limitations. After a while, he wondered if it would be easier to manipulate Felix if the boy was distracted, rather than focused on throwing everything he had at Harry – so he waved a hand in Zayn’s direction. Harry wasn’t sure whose mouth he opened as he said stiffly, “Zayn, could you…?” but both his and Felix’s voices chimed in unison, so he assumed it had been the other boy’s vocal chords he had borrowed. In response, Zayn obediently raised them all a few inches off the floor. Seeing as he couldn’t move or speak, Felix panicked twice as hard as usual, and his mind went blank of everything except a jumble of incoherent mental yelling as he tried to drag himself back down to the floor again.

This sudden upheaval was exactly the opportunity Harry had been looking for, and he instantly grabbed Felix’s mind and twisted, contorting the memories to what he wanted the boy to see. He was in an odd mood, so he decided to have a bit of fun with it: wrenching at the boy’s most recent memories, he contorted them, messed them around, and then implanted what he thought was a good memory into Felix’s head.

Then, he released him, trying not to laugh at what he had just forced into Felix’s brain.

Felix yelped in shock and staggered backwards, falling over as Zayn dropped them all onto the floor. Niall was the closest to him; his gaze fixed on the Irish boy and his eyes widened so much that Harry was surprised he didn’t get eye strain. He was naturally pale anyway, and the tiny bit of colour he had leeched from his face. Gasping, he raised his hand and gestured helplessly at Niall, seeming to have lost the capability to speak. Harry worriedly checked to make sure that he had given Felix his vocal cords back, which he had, and then realized that without any of his further intervention, Felix was, in fact, speechless.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh a little bit, and then cover his mouth with his hand because he shouldn’t have been so amused; Felix looked traumatized. Still…to get him to shut up for a little while, it had perhaps been worth it.

“Where are they?” Felix demanded, his hair exploding in an inky blur around his head as he whipped his head back and forth, looking frantically around the room. “Where did they go?”

“Where did what go?” asked a perplexed Zayn.

“The elephants!” gasped Felix dramatically. “The pink elephants!”

Harry was the only person in the room who didn’t look at Felix as if he was insane. In fact, Harry doubled over with silent laughter, unnoticed by everyone else, all of whom were throwing horrified glances at the youngest boy.

“How did you all not see them?” Felix cried, “they were floating! They were – they were right there!” He pointed at Niall. “They were – they were in the…exact same place…that you are…” He deflated visibly. “They…weren’t really…there. Were they?” Giving Harry a defeatist stare, he shook his head sadly.

Niall, however, was delighted. “Man, you did that? You made him see pink elephants? That’s awesome! It’s like being on drugs, but without all the nastiness and health issues! And illegality. Can you do it to me?”

Raising an eyebrow, Harry said “It isn’t a game! It’s not supposed to be a party trick! That was just a practice. I’m not making you hallucinate. Besides, it wasn’t even a proper hallucination; I just made him think that he’d already seen flying pink elephants. You wouldn’t even see them properly – you’d just remember seeing them.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets.

“Still sounds cool,” Niall argued defensively.

“It wrecks your head,” Felix moaned. “I feel dizzy. And sick. My eyes hurt.” Dramatically staggering across the room, he pulled himself up a chair and collapsed into it with a low groan, tilting his face towards the ceiling.

“Yet you’re still complaining,” sighed Harry, “obviously I didn’t wreck your head enough.”

“Can you not shut him up again?” murmured Louis; “I preferred him when he kept his mouth shut if I’m honest.”

“You’re not the only one.” Rolling his eyes, Harry raised his voice and said a little louder “don’t you worry, Felix; there’s no pink elephants. I just distorted your memory to make you see them. The nasty elephants aren’t coming to hurt you.” He smirked.

“Oh, shut up,” Felix grumbled, and Harry and Louis’ grins grew enormously. “Don’t screw up my mind and then take the mickey out of me. I’ll walk through you.”

“Just you try it,” Louis and Harry said simultaneously, Louis outstretching his fingertips in readiness to create an enormous force field around them, and Harry tapping his forehead meaningfully.

Quickly backing away, Felix said worriedly, “Okay, okay, I was only – I – never mind, I wouldn’t – um.” He looked extremely anxious.

Delighted, Harry said “I think he’s scared of us, Louis!”

“You know, Harry, I think you might be right,” agreed Louis gleefully. He still hadn’t forgotten Felix’s mysterious phone call, and was loving the idea that Felix might be feeling uncomfortable about having Harry in his head – maybe Harry would add it all up and figure out that there really was something amiss.

“Look,” Felix argued hastily, holding his hands up protectively in front of him, “I just don’t like people messing around inside my mind, all right?”

“Why?” asked Harry playfully. “Got something to hide?” He hoped that Felix would panic at that; secretly, he was testing the waters in his own little way, trying to see what Felix’s true intentions were, and whether he really was betraying them, in a way.

“No!” Felix insisted shrilly.

So, in other words, yes. That was all Harry needed to know. Without giving Felix a second to prepare, he lunged and started the mental assault, hurling himself at the other boy’s mind. It wasn’t like Felix had ever put up much of a fight anyway; Harry slid into his mind and started rifling around as surreptitiously as he could, trying not to draw attention to the fact that he was inside Felix’s head.

Talking whilst so distracted proved to be difficult, but not impossible. Harry knew his eyes were glazed over and he wasn’t blinking, but at least his tone was vaguely normal as he said lightly, “All right, all right, keep your wig on.” His smile was forced; he hoped it didn’t look it. A cold, clammy sweat had broken out in the small of his back and his fringe was getting a little floppier with the exertion and effort of hiding his actions. Multitasking wasn’t for him, it appeared.

“My mind is my own,” Felix said firmly, “and I don’t particularly want other people messing around in it. We all have things we’d rather keep to ourselves, don’t we?” He folded his arms defensively across his chest, determined not to give anything away, trying to keep his expression unreadable – the turmoil in his thoughts gave away his panic; Harry almost felt sick from the churning in Felix’s stomach that he was experiencing second-hand.

“I don’t know,” Harry said with effort, “do we?” Come to think of it, perhaps everyone didhave things they’d rather keep to themselves; he knew he definitely did.

“Everyone has things they aren’t proud of. Everyone has things they wish they hadn’t done. But when you look back, I guess everything you wish you hadn’t done taught you something, so when you think about it, turning back the clock wouldn’t do you any good, would it?” said Zayn thoughtfully.

All eyes turned to look at him. Niall considered that statement for a while, his head tilted in confusion while he tried to fathom what it could have meant, while Liam just blinked as if it might make a little bit more sense to him afterwards. Harry thought he understood it a little, which was surprising, because he wasn’t really listening.

Felix asked “What on earth are you talking about, man?”

“What he meant,” Louis offered helpfully, “was ‘shit happens, but it happens for a reason’.”

Noises of agreement met that explanation; it was less long-winded and emotional, and sounded far less deep than Zayn’s comment.

“Well why didn’t he just say that th – ow!” Felix winced and clutched his head. “Ow!”

“What?”

“My head’s killing me! I’ve just suddenly got a massive headache,” whined Felix, looking mistrustfully at Harry.

“Oi! Don’t you blaming me every time you get a migraine!” Harry said defensively, hoping that no one had noticed that his hands were shaking with the effort of hiding what he was doing. It had been the tiniest slip in concentration that had done it, but he’d prodded Felix’s mind hard enough to hurt, and now Felix was onto him.

It was an emergency, and Harry treated it as such. He found the first flutter of panic that he came across, then attached himself to it and followed it  into the deepest recesses of Felix’s mind, to listen to the fears and the tiny secrets screaming out at him.

Felix’s mind was a rush and it was confusing to pick at one little thread and follow it, so he just fell into the pool of thoughts and attempted to listen to every little bit of it – not an easy task; a confusing one, and he struggled with it. But several words, and a few names, repeated over and over in a rush that was hard to hear: Cheren, and Deino. He assumed they were names; he didn’t recognize them, but he was sure they weren’t words.

No matter how hard Harry searched, he couldn’t seem to find the faces that went with the names; Felix’s memories were fuzzy and clouded, and in frustration, Harry had to just listen. It took a lot of patience, but eventually he dredged up a vaguely useful memory: he could only hear voices, not see the faces of the people who owned them, but the voices were all he really needed.

“You have to watch them like a hawk, Felix! You’re positive they don’t know what you’re up to?”

“Yeah.”

“I mean, these kids could be dangerous. They clearly have no idea what they’re doing – but they’re powerful, and you and I both know that power and ignorance don’t go well together. There’s nothing more dangerous than a powerful idiot.”

“Uh-huh. Okay.”

“Felix!” the voice snapped. “Are you even listening?”

“Yep,” Felix answered shortly, a wave of irritation drifting through him as he scowled. He hated taking orders from Cheren. “Look, I told you, they don’t suspect a thing.” His annoyance was ridiculous; if Cheren had been beside him, he’d already have tried to hit him. He’d never realized how annoying Cheren’s voice was as well as his face – perhaps more so, because a voice wasn’t something you could punch when it annoyed you.

“Not one thing at all? You’re telling me there isn’t the tiniest doubt in a single one of their minds?”

“No! No. Listen, they’re thick, all right? Totally thick. They have literally no idea what’s going on. They really think I’m their personal taxi and that I’d ferry them around just because I feel sorry for them. Huh! It’s ridiculous. One of them, Louis, does give me funny looks every now and then, though.”

“So he suspects you.”

“Of course not! He’s as thick as the rest of them. Nah, he just doesn’t like me.”

“You’re totally sure about that?”

“Yeah.”

“Louis…” drawled Cheren slowly, drawing out the syllables. “Isn’t he the older one? The one you always moan about?”

“Yeah, that’s him; the one with the force fields.”

“So he’s a bit uncertain of you?”

“Mmm.”

“Is it because you’re so rude?” asked Cheren mildly.

“Mmmmm.” Felix said vaguely,.

“You bring it on yourself, you know.”

“Yep.”

“You’re very opinionated, Felix, did you know that? You make another person hate you every time you open your mouth. Listen, you’ve been giving me heart attacks these last couple of days; you never call! I told you to keep me posted on everything you’re up to!” Did Cheren actually sound worried? Felix might have almost been touched, if he hadn’t heard so many of Cheren’s rants and lectures over the years. “I’m beginning to regret letting you go out there and watch them.”

“Don’t you give me that! Which would you rather; that I updated you every ten minutes and  they caught me at it, or every couple of days, when no one’s going to find out?” Cheren’s silence said it all. “Yeah. Thought so. We can’t all turn invisible at will, you know.” Yeah, so he was ridiculously jealous! Cheren’s power was cool!

“You’re just lazy.”

“Whatever. I don’t –”

“Oh, and jealous!” Cheren said in a sing-song tone.

“No, I am not bloody jealous! My powers are better than yours, anyway.”

“You really think so?” Cheren taunted.

“Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

“We all know how much you want my powers off me.” There was far too much amusement colouring Cheren’s tone.

“Oh, piss off, Cheren. I don’t care. I really don’t.”

“Don’t you?”

“No. No!” Felix whined. “Get off the line, you arse; they’ll be expecting me down there in a second.”

“You love me really.” Pausing, Cheren added, “keep yourself safe, though, yeah? Watch yourself. I don’t want you to get hurt if the idiots panic.”

“Whatever. I can take care of myself. See you later, yeah?” The call was disconnected.

With a gasp, Harry tore himself out of Felix’s memories just in time to hear Liam say “Well I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want people wandering around inside my head! There’s private stuff in there.” Spotting Harry’s greyish pallor and wide eyes, he frowned a little and reached out to concernedly touch Harry’s elbow. “You alright, kid? You look a bit green.”

“Fine,” Harry said hoarsely. “I need the loo, I’ll be back in a second.” With that, he vanished into the bathroom, then sat on the edge of the bath with his head in his hands, gripping two handfuls of curls in a panic as he tried to come to terms with the fact that Louis was right, and they were being double-crossed – and now they had to run from a boy who could teleport and walk through walls, and Harry had no idea how they were going to do it.

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