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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16. Chapter sixteen.

“Louis!”

It had taken long enough for Louis to fall asleep, and now someone was trying to wake him up! It was completely unjustified, and Louis determinedly kept his eyes closed even when he felt his eyelids flickering. His indignation at someone attempting to wake him up when he was certain he’d had nowhere near enough sleep was practically boundless. He was tempted to flip them off, but seeing as he was pretending to asleep, he felt he’d better not. Could he mumble some swearwords at them in his sleep? Did he sleep-talk? He didn’t know, so perhaps he shouldn’t risk it. Instead, he tucked himself into a tighter ball underneath the duvet, snuggling up to his pillow and squeezing his eyes even more firmly shut.

“Louis, you need to wake up!”

Go away, Louis grumbled to himself.

A hand landed on his shoulder, a large, long-fingered hand, and someone started frantically shaking him. He recognized the feel of that grasp, and was outraged. Still keeping up with his facade of sleep, he was unwilling to open his eyes, so he had to try to work out who it was simply from the warmth of the touch and the feel of the fingers. Harry, his brain offered up helpfully. Why was Harry shaking him? What had he done to deserve that?

“Louis!”

“Bugger off,” groaned Louis.

“Louis, we need to go! Move your arse! Louis!”

Harry’s hands landed on the lump that was Louis, and he gave him a massive, desperate shove. He was stronger than he looked: Louis yelped and his eyes snapped open as he rolled over, and then he was falling off the bed and landing on the floor in a heap of sheets and pillows and an enormous fluffy duvet that he didn’t have any intention of being parted from any time soon.

“Oi!” Louis yelled, sitting up with a jerk and rubbing his head indignantly. “What was that for? I was trying to sleep, you absolute –”

“We have to leave,” insisted Harry, firmly wrapping his fingers around Louis’ wrist and trying to tug him up off the floor. “We have to leave right now!”

“Why?” Louis demanded, resisting all of Harry’s attempts to haul him upright. “I’m not moving! I’ve only just started having the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages, and now you’ve wrecked it. I’m bloody tired, and I am not moving from this spot until I’ve had at least eight hours of shut-eye!”

Under normal circumstances, Harry would have teased him for sounding like Zayn, who was a great believer in sufficient sleep and had often treated them all to a lecture about why they all needed to shut up and exactly how important it is to get at least eight hours of sleep every night – whilst refusing to let them speak in order to point out that by rambling excessively on at them, the only one who was preventing them from getting eight hours of undisturbed sleep was him. However, these weren’t normal circumstances, and Harry wasn’t in the mood for jokes.

“Listen,” he hissed, kneeling down and grabbing Louis by the shoulders, “Zayn just went down to the bar, got drunk and accidentally levitated sixteen people and stood there with them fluttering round his head like butterflies, and then when he realized that half the people in the room were drifting up to the ceiling, he panicked and dropped them. Onto the floor. The barman is hanging bleeding from the chandelier, he knocked out one of the girls he was chatting up, and her friend is lying screeching on top of her. The rest of them have all broken god-knows-what bones and about seventy other people saw it happen – I can’t modify that many people’s memories, Louis! Not all at once! And even if I could, I’d have to leave them with a gap, and if over eighty people all forgot the same ten minutes of their lives, questions would be asked. I’m sorry, Louis, but we’re not safe here. We screwed up, and we have to go. Now!”

Mouth hanging open, Louis struggled to his feet, kicking off the duvet and muttering a thankful prayer that he hadn’t bothered to get undressed before tumbling into bed, and snatched a carrier bag off the floor. It took him a matter of seconds to cram all of their stolen clothes into it, and then he seized Harry’s hand and squeezed it, hard.

Harry’s breath caught in his throat as he stared at their interlocked hands; tanned skin and pale skin intertwined together in a firm grip. Louis had cool but strong hands, and Harry’s long fingers made Louis’ small, elegant digits look tiny in comparison. He liked the way their clasped hands looked together – that was an understatement; he was so excited to see it that he felt a little bit giddy, feeling blood rush to his cheeks and turn him bright pink, like a blushing schoolgirl. There was a rushing sound echoing in his ears and an odd thudding sensation as blood coursed through his veins. His stomach convulsed, but it felt strangely nice. The way Louis was holding his hand, their arms were pressed together, and he could feel Louis’ pulse fluttering softly against his wrist. Harry felt his colour rise and his expression soften as he gazed straight into dark blue eyes, picking out the pretty flecks of gold that glittered in their depths. Slowly, Louis blinked at him, and Harry had to swallow very hard. He hoped that Louis couldn’t feel his pulse the way Harry could feel Louis’; it would be embarrassing if Louis could feel Harry’s heart racing so fiercely just because they were holding hands. It was such a small gesture that he almost felt pathetic for being so excited by it; he was slightly ashamed.

“It’ll be okay,” Louis promised, his eyes sincere. “It’ll be okay.” Hesitantly, he reached up and then cupped Harry’s cheek with his free hand, and carefully stroked down the side of his face with one thumb. Where their skin met, Harry’s flared up brilliant red with pleasure. Louis almost seemed to laugh a little bit as he pretended not to notice, and then he dropped his hand and nodded gently.

“Let’s go,” Harry said nervously, looking down at the floor.

Louis turned and began heading for the door, their hands still linked, and Harry’s heart banging painfully in his chest. Astonishingly, Louis didn’t seem to have noticed that they were still holding hands – or if he had, he simply didn’t care. His grip was firm but gentle, and as they walked across the room, his thumb glided soothingly over the back of Harry’s hand, smoothing the skin and making Harry’s whole body tingle with longing. He was starting to realize that he had some pretty deep feelings for Louis: he would have had to have been pretty stupid not to figure that out. Sure, he didn’t completely understand why he felt so odd, like someone was stirring the contents of his stomach around with a big stick, but he knew that there had to be a reason behind it other than the fact that he was a little bit tipsy. Drunkenness couldn’t make you blush just because someone touched you.  He was confused – but he didn’t have time to be mixed up for long.

“We’ll be okay, Harry,” Louis promised him determinedly as he dragged him towards the door. He could be daft and immature, but when it was important, he knew how to take charge, and when it was the right time. Harry was grateful for that; he needed someone to tell him what to do, because his own head was too befuddled and filled with conflicting emotions to allow him to have full command of his judgment.

“Will we?” Harry asked worriedly, needing some kind of confirmation even though he knew that there was no way Louis could possibly be certain. If Louis pretended that he thought things were all right, that would be enough for Harry.

Luckily, Louis seemed to understand; he paused before opening the door, and his grip on Harry’s fingers tightened to an almost painful intensity as he squeezed them, hard. “Of course we will,” he said firmly. “Trust me. I’m the man with the force fields! If anyone tries to bother us, I’ll…” he paused, a smile lingering on his face. “I’ll bop them over the head with one of them.”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh delightedly at the reference to their first ever conversation. “You remembered!” he said happily.

“Of course I did! How could I forget? Like I’ve ever forgotten a word you’ve said to me, Harry.”

They paused, staring into each other’s eyes, and Louis nibbled his lip anxiously like he thought he’d said too much. As far as Harry was concerned, Louis hadn’t said anywhere near enough; he wanted to throw them both back down onto the bed and listen to Louis rambling on forever…especially if he was going to say things like that, which made Harry’s chest tighten so fiercely with adoration.

“Anyway,” Louis added quickly, “we’d better go. Things to do. Hotels to run away from.” He huffed in annoyance. “It’s nice here, too. We haven’t even been here for a day!” Rolling his eyes, he gave the back of Harry’s hand one last token stroke and then rushed him out of the door.

They were sprinting hand in hand down the corridor when Felix came running through the door of his room and stopped dead right in front of them – not through the doorway, but the actual door itself, which made Harry and Louis skid to a horrified stop. Could you ever watch that without feeling a little bit sick? Certainly they hadn’t got used to it quite yet.

Panting heavily, Felix bent over double and slammed his hands onto his knees, his chest heaving, showing that despite being extremely thin, he was very unfit. Although there wasn’t much need for running when you could teleport, Harry supposed. Felix groaned dramatically, and started to straighten, and that was when Harry panicked a little bit, because he and Louis were still holding hands, and he didn’t know how people would react to that. He didn’t even know how he was supposed to react to it yet. Besides, what if people made assumptions? What if they thought that he and Louis were…together? Not that Harry had any aversion to the idea, but maybe Louis held hands with all of his friends. He’d certainly been pretty keen on the hugging side of things; maybe handholding was like a hug for him? If Louis didn’t get the same dizzy swooping feeling in the pit of his stomach that Harry had started to feel, then Harry had no intention of pushing Louis and making things awkward between them. If Felix looked up and saw their interlocked fingers, doubtlessly he wouldn’t see the platonic, comforting side to the gesture and would start hurling accusations, and that was something that Harry didn’t want. He was pretty terrified by the feelings he was having already, and he didn’t want to be labelled – at least not until he’d started to figure out what was going on by himself.

He dropped Louis’ hand like it had burnt him and stepped quickly away from him as if he couldn’t stand to stay beside him for a second longer.

The hurt expression on Louis’ face as he shot Harry a sideways glance was enough to make Harry want to seize the other boy’s fingers again, but he clenched his fist and shoved it into his pocket, keeping it restrained. Injured, Louis continued giving him a look that was too piteous to be resentful, then turned his attention back to Felix – but Harry thought he saw Louis twitch slightly, his eyes cast down a little, and he looked almost…miserable? Bewildered by the idea, Harry shook his head? Had the sudden distance between their skin given Louis the same vicious sensation of a punch in the chest that it had given Harry?

“Has he told you?” Felix demanded breathlessly, jerking his thumb at Harry, and Louis noticed with irritation that even when he was having breathing problems, Felix still possessed an amazing capability to be rude and annoying whilst using very few words.

“Yes,” Louis replied sharply, “Zayn did something stupid and made a bunch of people float, and then he dropped them on their heads because he’s an idiot.”

“Oi!” Zayn cried as the door of his own bedroom burst open and he staggered out, “that’s not fair!”

“How drunk are you?” Louis asked disgustedly.

“Very,” Harry said dryly as Zayn dropped his own carrier bag of clothes onto the floor and they exploded everywhere. “Someone pour cold water all over his head. That ought to wake him up a little bit.”

“Don’t you dare!”

Niall and Liam rushed out of their room, similarly laden with bags, although their dishevelled appearance made everyone stop and stare at them. Bright red in the face, Niall was sopping wet, his blond hair dripping and showering water droplets everywhere. His clothes were soaked as well, and dark smoke was curling lethargically from his shirt, which was slightly singed. Liam looked stressed, and he was breathing heavily.

“What happened?” Louis demanded.

“Caught fire,” Niall admitted. “Couldn’t help it. I was panicking and we were packing so quickly and all of those people were hurt and it was our fault –”

“My fault,” Zayn mumbled.

“ – and it was just so horrible, I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. It’s a good job you got them to disable the smoke alarms, Harry, because I was seriously…” He waved his arms vaguely. “Whumph.”

“I had to put him out,” Liam said wearily. “Chucked water all over him.”

“Okay, okay, let’s have our cosy little catch-up chat later!” Felix said impatiently. “Come on.Do your thing! We need a field, and we need it now!”

Louis didn’t even bother to yell back; he just flexed his fingers and manifested a huge, throbbing orb around them, and then without waiting for permission, threw a supportive arm around Harry’s shoulders and dragged him closely against his body. Harry couldn’t help but lean up against him as Felix concentrated, so Louis’ face was the last thing he gazed at as Felix focused, and ripped their bodies into millions of atoms and scattered them across the world, transporting them to god knows where.

~*~

God, that’s rough! Can’t you take some kind of refresher course or something? I swear it gets worse every time! Ugh!” Groaning, Niall sat up and shook his head to clear it, glancing around him. His disgust only grew as he took in his surroundings. “Where are we now? It looks disgusting. And it stinks. Why would you bring us here? Why have you ever even been here in the first place? Why would you want to?  This is even more like a landfill site than the last one.”

“Stop complaining! You could at least thank me for taxiing you everywhere, you know! Anywhere in the country in the blink of an eye, and you still moan at me if the journey is a little shaky! You’re taking me for granted. I should probably start charging,” Felix sniffed as he picked himself up.

“Oh, shut up,” Harry said wearily.

Zayn rubbed his head, and his voice was rough as he grated “Where are we?”

“I don’t know,” Felix snapped, “I didn’t really think about where I was going.” Raking a pale hand through his hair, where it looked almost unearthly white next to the thick, fluffy strands, he glanced around anxiously. “Somewhere not very populated, clearly…”

They had been making enough noise for fifty people, but no heads had popped out of windows and no doors had flown open as angry locals emerged to scold them viciously for disturbing the peace so late at night.

“What are we going to do now?” Louis asked.

Felix gestured limply across the road. “There’s some kind of accommodation over there; we can set up in there, and then…then we’ll think about what to do tomorrow.” He sounded exhausted.

Luckily, it was a small family-run bed and breakfast hotel, with not much space but a whole lot of welcome, and few questions were asked when they stumbled tiredly over the threshold, begging for rooms. Thankfully, Harry got his own bed along with the rest of them, and he curled up underneath the covers, waiting for his head to start throbbing so he could think. With Louis on the other side of the room, it was far easier to concentrate, and to know his own mind, but he still missed the older boy. Without Louis lying beside him, providing a reassuring amount of warmth, Harry’s bed was cold and unwelcoming, and he lay awake for several hours, staring grimly at the ceiling.

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