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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17. Chapter seventeen.

“Shit!”

That was the first word that Harry awoke to – in fact, that was what woke him; someone yelping an expletive at the top of their lungs, and as he grimly squeezed his eyes tightly shut, he heard mattresses creaking as the other inhabitants of the room sat up with sleepy groans, and then cries of shock echoed around the room, as people bounced swearwords off each other and shouted in a panic. Harry was determined to stay asleep and not resurface from the rather lovely dream he’d been having about jumping off a skyscraper to escape from the police and then discovering that he could fly, which he thought was a far more interesting power than the one he actually had – but when it felt like someone started rocking his bed, because it was gently swaying underneath him, he quickly lost his patience. His eyes flew open and he sat up with a jerk.

“Oi!” he yelled as he sat up. “Keep it down, will you? Some of us are – oh, holy f –”

He didn’t have time to get the whole word out before he quickly lay back down again and stared at the ceiling, clinging to the mattress with both hands as he tried not to be sick. He’d never been particularly good with heights; high places made him nervous, and now his bed was floating gently up towards the ceiling, swaying lethargically from side to side and giving him the sensation that he was on some kind of boat in the middle of the sea. That wasn’t comforting; he’d never been fond of boats, either.

“Someone wake him up!” Louis ordered.

“I’m awake,” Harry called grimly.

“Not you. Zayn! He’s the one who’s turned us all into balloons and personally I’d like him to wake up and put me the hell down, because right now I feel sick and I’m floating right in the window and people can probably see me!”

“You think that’s bad?” Niall demanded. “I just got out of the shower. I have no clothes on! I am literally wearing a towel instead of clothes and I’m soaked and it’s quite breezy up here! Someone get him up right now and make him put us down so I can get dressed before he does this again. Levitating is all very well, but levitating whilst naked? Not cool.”

“How is he levitating us in his sleep anyway?” Felix snapped. “You all do it! Sparks sets himself on fire if he has a bad dream, pretty boy sends us all flying around the light-fittings…What sort of people can’t control their powers when they’re asleep?”

“You shut up,” Liam said roughly, “I know very well that you were walking through the walls last night in your sleep, and I heard you fall through the bathroom floor at some point.”

Felix flushed bright scarlet.

“This is pointless,” Harry hissed, “we’re all stuck until we wake him up. OI, ZAYN, GET THE HELL UP!”

A low, gentle snore was the only reply, and all five of them swore loudly. It took a lot of effort for Harry to claw himself into a sitting position and then pick up his pillow. He lobbed it at the sleeping shape in Zayn’s bed, the only piece of furniture in the room which wasn’t flying around, but pillows aren’t particularly hard, so it just bounced off Zayn’s back and fell to the floor. Seconds later, of course, it began rising again, and Harry could snatch it out of the air and shove it back behind his head with a scowl.

“Louis,” Harry commanded. “You try.”

Nodding, Louis flexed his fingers and sent a large force field pinging towards their sleeping friend’s head. It hit his skull with a dull thunk, then ricocheted off in the opposite direction, whipping towards Niall’s head, and he had to duck and throw himself flat against his mattress to avoid getting a solid smack in the face. Louis attempted it again, but it was almost as if Zayn was unconsciously protecting himself, because several more force fields started shooting towards him and then changed course halfway across the room, rebounding towards the other boys, and the ones that hit their target were even worse, heading directly for people’s faces. In the end, Louis had to stop bombarding him to avoid one or the other of them ending up with a broken nose.

Felix tried next, teleporting randomly across the room in an attempt to gain some kind of closer proximity to Zayn, but as he popped from the bathroom door to perching on the headboard of Niall’s bed, it became clear that his efforts were useless; every time he landed on something new, he started floating again with a frustrated yelp, gently bobbing up and down. Phasing was equally unhelpful; if he landed on a solid object for long enough to start going through it, he would simply reverse and start heading for the ceiling again.

“What the hell do we do?” Felix demanded in despair as he made a grab for a floating chest of drawers and attempted to sit on top of it, wobbling worryingly. “We can’t just wait for him to wake up; that could take all day. What if someone comes in?”

“Stop moaning and do something helpful, then, genius,” Louis snarled.

Nobody had noticed that Harry was attempting to do exactly that, with his eyes closed as he slowly rubbed his temples, trying to focus. He wanted to tell them all to shut up, but that would only draw attention to what he was doing, and he didn’t want to be embarrassed as the other boys had. How Liam was feeling was anyone’s guess; he had established himself as a born protector, and he was the only one who so far couldn’t do anything. Personally, Harry thought it was a good job; as the most grounded of them, Liam was very important to the group, and if he too had uncontrollable powers running amok, then things really would be in a mess.

Focusing on Zayn’s sleepy mind, Harry sent a couple of inquisitive tendrils of thought towards the other boy’s unconscious. Discovering that people were far more confusing whilst asleep was not something that surprised him, but it was a little disheartening; he had hoped that Zayn would be more easily controlled whilst asleep. Still, he could work around it. Carefully probing around, he discovered that Zayn was deep asleep, and tired, and he clearly had no idea what he was doing. His thoughts were thick and fuzzy and they ached with the beginnings of the mother of all hangovers, which made Harry wince in sympathy.

He spent a few minutes exploring, but didn’t like to linger because it felt like an invasion of privacy. At first he attempted to find the area of Zayn’s brain which controlled his powers, but either Zayn was completely unreachable and that part of him was too deeply asleep and therefore inaccessible, or he had a very strong mind, because there seemed to be some kind of wall around that part of him which prevented Harry from manipulating it. That made him grimace, because clearly he was going to have to be a little more elaborate than that. Wrinkling his nose, he sent a slightly vindictive jab deep into the recesses of Zayn’s brain in annoyance, hoping that the barrier would recede, but although he felt Zayn flinch and saw him shudder a little bit in his sleep, he didn’t give in. Harry had to admit that he grudgingly respected Zayn’s mental strength; no one else had even posed even the slightest challenge to him before.

In the end, he reverted back to the basics, and started communicating his own thoughts into Zayn’s mind in an attempt to convince him to obey. Zayn stiffened at first at the contact, but he recognized Harry, obviously, because seconds later, he relaxed, and feeling horribly like a boa constrictor, Harry laced coils of thought around Zayn’s mind, slowly tightening them like a corset around his friend’s brain so that he could, although it was a sinister thought, crush any resistance, as it were. Not seeming to notice that Harry was preparing to suffocate his free will, Zayn loosened in his sleep, and his frown disappeared.

Wake up, Harry ordered. Put those things down, stop levitating everything, and wake up.

A crinkle made its way across Zayn’s forehead and he pouted slightly, obviously not impressed by Harry’s directive. The first flutter of resistance poked weakly at Harry’s mental hold, and he instinctively tightened his grip.

Wake up, he repeated.

Confusion met his order, and then refusal. Harry was horrified; instead of gladly obeying, Zayn was… fighting him? It was unsettling to realize that as well as the unfaltering compliance he’d received before, people were capable of defying his commands. Harry felt his forehead begin to get clammy and his hair start sticking to him; he clenched his fists and squeezed his eyes tightly shut.

Wake up, now. Open your eyes and sit up. Wake up. Zayn! Wake up right this second! He felt stupidly like a mother, like he was chiding Zayn for not getting up for school. And still, Zayn was refusing to do what he said. Angry, Harry gathered himself inwards, retracting and slithering away from Zayn’s mind. Cautiously, Zayn hesitated, then began to calm down a little, obviously believing that Harry had given up – which was exactly what Harry had wanted him to think. His next breath was a hiss of exultation as he threw himself at the other boy again with the kind of force that would have been hard to fight off even if Zayn had been given a chance to throw his barriers back up again. Barrelling against Zayn’s mind, Harry relentlessly battered against him for a few seconds, just to show who was boss, and then he squeezed every last ounce of resistance out of Zayn’s head like water out of a sponge.

I’m sorry, he muttered, then: NOW WAKE UP, YOU LAZY SOD!

With a yelp of shock, Zayn jerked upwards in bed, his hair sticking up everywhere. He stared around the room in disbelief – and then, with a clatter, everything fell back to the floor again. Louis just had time to swear and then throw out an enormous force field around them to cushion the floor, so that all of the furniture hit the ground more gently and bounced a little instead of breaking – but he missed Felix, who yelled out his disapproval as he abruptly dropped straight through the carpet into the room below. For all of their sakes, Harry hoped to god that the youngest boy hadn’t fallen onto anyone else’s head.

Of course, Felix wasn’t gone for long; he’d barely vanished from sight before he reappeared, cross-legged on the end of Zayn’s bed, and looking distinctly unimpressed. Zayn was groaning and clutching his head, and Harry could feel his discomfort rebounding faintly through the mental link that he hadn’t yet severed, although he wasn’t sure whether it was his own vicious mental attacks or the sheer amount of alcohol Zayn had drunk the night before that was to blame.

“Bloody hell, Harry!” Zayn groaned, “that was rough!”

How did he - ? Harry didn’t realize he’d actually spoken to Zayn, not really – at least not in a way that Zayn could have been able to hear him. Still, if his apology had gotten through, he was glad that Zayn knew he felt bad. Ashamedly, he said, “Sorry. You weren’t listening to me; I had to do something!”

“Yeah, but…thatReally?” Aggravated, Zayn rubbed his forehead.

“It was kind of justified, mate,” Niall said.

Louis was still staring open-mouthed at Harry. “You did that? You woke him up?”

With a mischievous grin, Harry reached out a careful mental probe towards Louis, and said teasingly, What, you don’t think I have a prosperous future as an alarm clock?

The noise that fell out of Louis’ mouth was a combination between a stunned laugh, a yell of shock, and a burst of surprise and anger that Harry had been able to shove his way into his mind so easily.  He staggered back a couple of steps and warily eyed Harry with a combination of mistrust and admiration. He hadn’t realized that Harry’s power was so formidable, or so powerful, or that he could speak with his mind and therefore was pretty much telepathic – but at the same time, Harry had clearly demonstrated that he was capable of rifling round in Louis’ head, making him do things against his will, and controlling him completely, and he hadn’t done it. Unless, of course, he’d erased his memory – but he remembered perfectly everything that had happened, and he knew that Harry wasn’t up to creating false memories yet…his suspicion died as quickly as it had flared up. What reason did he have to think that Harry would ever mess with him like that?

Well, I suppose I should be thankful that you have that much confidence in my abilities,Harry said lightly, and Louis blushed as he realized that the younger boy had heard every single little paranoid bit of that.

“I – I’m sorry –”

“Don’t be. I’d be worried if you weren’t suspicious. At least now we know you’re not a complete idiot,” Harry joked. I’ll get out of your head, now, shall I?

“If you don’t mind,” Louis said faintly.

Amused, eyes sparkling, Harry gave a little nod and then Louis paused anxiously for some kind of indication that Harry had withdrawn.

“Um – are you out, yet?” he asked cautiously.

Harry choked a laugh and then struggled to hide it. “Yes.”

“Out of where?” Felix demanded.

Louis was disliking him more and more each second; the thought of punching him was extremely tempting, and he had to take a couple of calming breaths before he helplessly looked at Harry. They both burst out laughing, and Louis smacked Harry’s arm lightly as he watched the younger boy throw back his head and laugh in a flash of white teeth with curls bobbing everywhere. Secretly fascinated, Louis examined the movement with eager eyes, enjoying watching Harry’s shoulders heave with laughter and his eyes close as he giggled softly. Beside him, Louis fought the urge to throw an arm around Harry’s shoulder and draw him closely against his side, and nuzzle the top of his head with his nose. Shaking his head, Harry turned to him, and they both paused for a second, wide-eyed, staring at each other. Louis felt his expression soften slightly as he watched the younger boy, and saw Harry’s laughter die and turn into something different entirely, scrutinizing Louis’ face. Feeling embarrassed, Louis ducked his head, cheeks burning hotly. It took a lot of effort to force a cheerful grin onto his face when usually it would have come so easily.

“You explain,” he said, and he reached out to fondly ruffle Harry’s curls with one hand. 

~*~

Everyone else was still tucking into breakfast when Louis popped upstairs to get his jumper. The thin cotton shirt he’d put on to go downstairs didn’t accommodate for the fact that the heating didn’t seem to be working very well, and after shivering profusely for a couple of minutes,  discomfort had won over laziness in the internal battle he’d been having with himself, and he’d hauled himself out of his chair to go and fetch something a bit warmer. Felix had excused himself from breakfast because he said he felt ill – a perfectly valid excuse, seeing as, courtesy of Zayn, he’d been dangling in empty air for a good fifteen minutes that morning – and as Louis headed into the room all five of them shared, he raised a hand to knock, and then hesitated.

Why bother? Felix would never have been that polite to him. Besides, like Niall had said, they were all guys; Louis wasn’t the least bit interested in Felix’s body, so he didn’t have any qualms about walking in on him, no matter what state of undress he was in. The kid was lazy; he was probably lounging pathetically on someone else’s bed, feeling sorry for himself. Rolling his eyes, Louis lowered his hand. He wasn’t going to knock just because for courtesy’s sake he was required to be civil to a boy who evidently disliked him, and made no effort to return the favour. Reaching out, he pushed the door open a little, and was about to step in when he saw that Felix was stood leaning out of the window, sharp chin resting on his pale hand, and the other hand raised to his ear, holding a mobile phone.

Louis frowned. Felix had said he was on the run! What sort of fugitive rang people? That was a massive giveaway if there ever was one. He was about to comment on it, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing Felix flinch at the sudden sound of a voice behind him, when his forehead wrinkled even harder. Why had Felix hidden the phone from them? Why had he made up excuses and sneaked off upstairs to use it? Something was most definitely not right. Crouching on the floor, Louis pulled the door carefully back inwards so that it was almost completely closed, leaving only the smallest of cracks for him to listen against, and then he fell silent and waited.

“Yeah,” Felix said shortly. “Uh-huh. Yeah. Okay. Yep.”

Frustrated, Louis shuffled every so slightly in his uncomfortable position on the floor. If Felix was just going to be his usual rude, irritating and stubborn self and give monosyllabic responses, he wasn’t going to glean any information from this conversation, so it would be pretty pointless for him to listen in! He ground his teeth and forced himself to stay still, just in case. A suspicious phone conversation could be explained away; he was convinced that there wasn’t an innocent explanation behind it, but unless Felix said something that gave away the subject of the conversation he was having, it would be all too easy to lie and make up something. Perhaps it was petty, but he’d never liked Felix, and he wasn’t going to pass up on an opportunity to dish the dirt on him, when such an enticing opportunity danced underneath his nose. It was like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey – but Louis was no donkey, and he was determined that the bait would be his.

“Look, I told you, they don’t suspect a thing!” Felix snapped.

Oooh. Incriminating. Louis didn’t much like the sound of that. It was a typical movie scenario; informant insists that his supposed allies have no clue what he’s up to, while the hero listens in with a similarly horrified expression to the one that Louis could feel creeping across his face. Was Felix playing with him? Was he going to turn round and make some sarcastic comment about eavesdroppers, and then shout ‘gotcha!’ in Louis’ face? Louis wouldn’t put it past him – but Felix sounded far too sincere for his liking.

“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.” He sniffed. “One of them, Louis, does give me funny looks every now and then, though.”

At the sound of his name, Louis stiffened. So, he thought darkly, you noticed, did you? They were more glares than ‘funny looks’, but he wasn’t  going to argue, obviously; he stayed patiently listening. Things were getting interesting…and worrying.

“Of course not! He’s as thick as the rest of them. Nah, he just doesn’t like me. Yeah. Yeah, that’s him; the one with the force fields. Mmm. Mmmmm. Yep.” Felix shifted uncomfortably, and sat up a little straighter. “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? Yeah. Thought so.” His expression soured. “We can’t all turn invisible at will, you know.”

Louis sucked in a shocked breath and then winced at how loud it had sounded, to him, anyway. Invisible? Did that mean that Felix was in league with other people who had supernatural abilities? Why had he not told them? Things were looking worse and worse by the second, and Louis edged backwards a little, ready to make a run for it if he had to. He held up one hand protectively in front of him, ready to lock Felix in a force field at a second’s notice.

“Whatever. I don’t – no, I am not bloody jealous!” Felix hissed. “My powers are better than yours, anyway. Yeah. Yeah, I do. Oh, piss off, Cheren. I don’t care. I really don’t. No. No. Get off the line, you arse; they’ll be expecting me down there in a second.”

That was Louis’ cue to leave. Scrambling backwards on his hands and knees, he hurried as quietly as he could back down the corridor, in a rush to reach the other boys and try and raise the alarm before Felix could get back down. He would work on Harry first; if necessary, Harry could examine his memories and see what he had seen. Gritting his teeth, Louis straightened up and fled into the kitchen, rushing to beat the younger boy, who didn’t even know that it was a race.

He burst into the room, panting heavily. “Ha –”

Felix was already sat in the chair to Harry’s, and as Louis exploded through the door, he raised his head inquiringly. He spotted the agonized expression on Louis’ face and his expression instantly hardened, giving Louis the impression that Felix had just figured out that he knew something was up - and he looked extremely unimpressed. Panicked, Louis felt his eyes flicker over to Harry as he blinked, desperate to tell Harry what he knew, but knowing that his hands were tied.

Surprised, Harry asked, “Louis? What’s wrong?”

Louis had to stare, agonized, into Felix’s eyes, as he reluctantly said, “Um…nothing.”

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