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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31. Chapter thirtyone.

Harry wasn’t even pretending to be asleep, even though he’d excused himself from the plotting and scheming of his new allies on the pretence of being exhausted. Instead, he was reclining on the bed in the room they’d shown him to the night before, staring gloomily up at the ceiling and feeling sorry for himself. Oh, and thinking of Louis, of course, but that was second nature now. Louis was rarely far from his thoughts.

He worried about him, mostly, and alternated that with lusting after him and wishing that he could talk to him. Their stupid conversations were what he missed more than anything else, even more than the kissing. It was the lack of Louis’ voice that had his chest aching most of all, and he preferred to keep his eyes closed so he didn’t have to look at a world without Louis in it. Dramatic? Perhaps. But true nonetheless.

In fact, he was just about to close them again when he saw a dark head poke through the wall, making him flinch. Felix stepped straight through the ugly tangerine-coloured wall and smirked at the way Harry visibly shuddered; he still hadn’t got used to the oddly dizzy sensation of watching someone walk straight through an inanimate object.

“Use the door, can’t you?” Harry asked irritably.

Grinning, Felix countered, “I could, but where’s the fun in that?”

He crossed the room in the blink of an eye simply for the purpose of irritating Harry, which was beyond annoying, and made Harry scowl even harder. Despite knowing that he would have a headache later if he kept glaring, Harry couldn’t seem to wipe the expression off his face. Raising his eyebrows as if daring Harry to comment again, Felix waited for a moment or so and then brought a newspaper out from behind his back, tossing it at Harry so that it landed on his chest. With an annoyed noise, Harry snatched it up and considered whether he could get away with rolling it up into a tube and whacking the younger boy over the head with it.

“Thought that might interest you,” drawled Felix. “It’s well worth a read, if you ask me.”

“I didn’t know you could read,” was Harry’s rude, if childish response.

Without batting an eyelid, Felix answered, “Actually, I was about to express the same opinion of you. Great minds think alike, I suppose.” He snorted. “That being the case, I don’t know how we managed to come to the same conclusion.” Felix sauntered over to the door, placed his hand on the door-handle, then turned around at the sound of the newspaper hitting the floor. Harry had tossed it to the ground without even looking at it. “Are you not going to read that?”

Harry grumbled, “Oh, leave me alone,” and rolled over to face the wall, although he did turn his head so that he could keep glowering.

“Whatever you say. Just remember that I did at least have the decency to bring it to you when you start moaning about not knowing what the enemy are up to.” With that, Felix walked straight through the wooden door without opening it, and inwardly, Harry cursed him for being such a sarcastic bastard. Well, he had told him to use the door.

The newspaper lay on the floor for a few minutes while Harry picked at the peeling orange paint on the walls with his fingernails, determined to resist the urge to read it simply because Felix had suggested it. Eventually, boredom and unwilling curiosity won out; he wanted to know what the boy meant by ‘the enemy’. Sighing heavily, Harry rolled over again and without getting up, felt around on the floor beside the bed for the magazine, wondering whether Cheren was sat around watching him do it. It was an occupational hazard of having someone invisible wandering around; you could never tell when you were being watched. He’d had the nasty surprise of walking into the boy on more than one occasion already, one of them being the night before when he’d walked stark naked out of the shower and collided with what appeared to be empty air, and turned out to be Cheren.

Needless to say, since then Harry had managed to seek out Felix and demand to know how he got around it, and after a lot of sarcasm and evasions, the younger twin had eventually presented him with a small bag of flour and told him to chuck it around if he ever thought Cheren was creeping up on him, and then he’d be able to see the outline of him, at least. He had to admit that it was a good idea.

Unfurling the newspaper, he boredly scanned the headlines, expecting them to be something stupid – Felix liked to play with people, after all; he wouldn’t have been at all surprised if this was all some big joke at his expense. In fact, that was what he had been expecting.

He hadn’t been expecting to see FLYING HUMAN TORCH BAFFLES LONDONERS screaming out at him from the top of the paper, and a picture of London’s sky with the clear shape of a blazing human body outlined against the sky dancing in his face. His jaw dropped in absolute horror and he had to stare at it for a few more minutes just to make sure that he wasn’t imagining it all.

By the time he’d figured out that it wasn’t some kind of horrifying mind trick, that the article and newspaper were both very much real, and that for some absolutely mind-blowing reason the boys had thought it was a good idea to set Niall on fire and send him floating above the biggest city in England like a Chinese lantern, Harry wasn’t sure whether to laugh or curl up into a little ball and start crying. After all that he’d been determined to do to make sure that they were all okay, and here they were, royally screwing up his plans almost as if it was deliberate. Were they stupid? Had they done it by accident? (How on earth do you set someone on fire and levitate them above London by accident? Not an accident, then.) Had they all gone totally mad? Surely they knew that the twins and Deino would be after them again after this! It was almost as if –

As if they wanted them to chase them.

No, Harry told himself sternly, shaking his head, don’t be stupid. Of course they don’t want that. You’d have to be an idiot to do that. They must know that they’ll get caught, why on earth would they do this? It must be a mistake…but God, how does anyone make a mistake this big? He wanted to slap Niall and Zayn – and Louis, Liam and Eithne for not stopping them.

That was another point: why hadn’t they stopped them? Liam, at least, would have seen this coming if no one else had, quite literally. He would never have let them do something as stupid as this, even if he hadn’t been able to know that they were planning it…even if it had been a completely spontaneous decision, like when Niall had run away, he couldn’t have failed to notice altogether what they were planning. The fact that he hadn’t acted to stop them worried Harry; it meant that Liam was in on it too. Which, in turn, meant that there must be some kind of benefits to it, because Liam would never get involved in something stupid unless he was almost certain that it was going to benefit them.

Completely bewildered, Harry thought to himself in utter confusion, what the hell are they playing at? They don’t want us to find them, do they? They must know that by doing this, we’ll come running – It suddenly dawned on him: that was exactly why they were doing it. They wanted the attention of the four of them, and they weren’t afraid to be ridiculously obvious to get it. For some reason, they wanted to contact them, to reach them somehow…to do the exact opposite to what Harry had been intending when he’d left in the first place. They were completely ruining the plan that he’d almost torn himself to pieces in the making of.

Well, he supposed that was very like them. Louis especially. He seemed to have somewhat of a talent for ruining Harry’s carefully laid plans. The thought had Harry closing his eyes in defeat, shaking his head and wearily rubbing his eyes. For some reason, the idiot was letting the others get themselves into trouble and completely destroying Harry’s plan, ruining the one thing he had left to live for: keeping Louis and the others safe. That was all he had, and in some cruel twist of fate, Louis was apparently attempting to take that away from him, too. It was too unfair.

Grimly, Harry got up off the bed to go in search of the trio of people who’d recently appointed themselves the bosses of him. He despised them, yes, but he needed them too; he was going to have to do something, and if that meant co-operating with them and making them trust him so he could discourage them from going to find the boys, so be it. He wasn’t going to let Louis ruin another one of his plans, especially not when this one was actually meant to save him.

~*~

The scene which greeted him when he ventured out of his room and into the main living room was not a pleasant one: Felix was stood poring over a copy of the same newspaper he’d given to Harry, whilst his brother was sitting on a hard plastic chair with Deino perched on his lap, stroking her long nails up and down his arm and leaving goosebumps in her wake, while he twitched and licked his lips and tried to pretend that he wasn’t about to have an orgasm just because she was touching him. It was almost pitiful, and Harry’s nose curled in disgust. He would forever be ridiculously grateful towards Louis; yes, the agonizing love he felt for the older boy would be the death of him, but at least it stopped him from panting over the obnoxious girl the way everyone else did.

Ignoring Harry’s presence, Felix frowned as he read through the article, tapping the photograph of Niall with a concerned expression on his face. Beside him, Harry patiently waited to be acknowledged, and when he realized that they were all too busy with their various activities to notice him, he huffed and then cleared his throat loudly. Raising his eyebrows and looking up so politely that Harry could have punched him, Felix innocently smiled at him while Deino and his brother pretended they hadn’t heard anything. Not to be put off, Harry started talking anyway.

He tossed his copy of the newspaper onto the table, making Felix flinch. “Tell me you’re not actually going to go after them.”

Deino looked up and stared distastefully at him like he was stupid. Given that he estimated she had around the IQ of a small tree, (which was actually somewhat of a slight against trees) he wasn’t unduly bothered by the insinuation. “Obviously,” she told him, and then diverted her attention back to nursing Cheren’s bicep with her fingers. Without looking at him, she continued, “we’ve been chasing you all for weeks, and after someone put us back to square one –” she shot him a nasty look, while Harry coolly shot one back and neglected to mention that he could have easily restored their memories if he’d had the inclination “ – this is just the kind of lead we’ve been looking for!”

“Yeah,” Harry agreed impatiently, “I’m sure it would be, if it wasn’t clearly a ruse. It’s obviously a set-up; they want you to go after them. They’re probably lying in wait for you; they probably have some kind of trap. They’ll definitely have a battle plan.”

“A useless one. We all know how this works, you know. For whatever reason, you walked out on them, we have you now, which means that we call the shots. No matter how good they think they are, we’re better. We go out, we get them, we get paid, job done.” Cheren closed his eyes and tilted his head back a little, mouth slightly open, allowing Deino to continue caressing his arm. Clearly, he believed the conversation to be at an end.

Of course, Harry had no intention of letting him get away with letting it go like that; he was determined to make this work. Louis wasn’t going to successfully botch up his own safety: no way. “Yeah, but they know that you know that! They’re planning something.”

“And what might that be?” Felix was actually listening to him, shockingly; glad that someone was paying attention, Harry eagerly turned to him and continued to explain.

“I don’t know exactly, but there’s no way they’d expose themselves like this unless they totally believe that we can’t touch them. Liam’s cautious; he’d never let them do it unless he was one hundred percent certain that they’re safe. Besides, I know them better than you do – Niall’s powers go off accidentally when he’s panicking, but he and Lou have something worked out; Lou does this thing with his force fields to extinguish him – you’ve seen it yourself! It works every time! And it takes him seconds, he’s got it immaculately timed now.” Harry realized as he saw Felix’s expression turn thoughtful that he probably should attempt to keep some of the adoration out of his tone; he was quite clearly singing Louis’ praises from the rooftops, and that didn’t really fit in with the whole thing where he was supposed to be double-crossing them, and all that. Clearing his throat, he added, “if Niall set himself alight by mistake, Louis would put him out straight away – which means that this –” he stabbed the newspaper “ – wasn’t an accident. For some reason, they have purposely gotten themselves noticed, which means that they want to be found. And if they want to be found…well, if I were you, I’d start getting worried.”

With a snort, Cheren twisted in his chair to look at him. “Worried? About that little band of idiots? Really, I do think you’re being very melodramatic. What are they going to do, pelt us with tiny force fields the size of marbles until we pass out? Singe our eyebrows? Predict our horrible deaths or make us fly around the room? There’s such a thing as taking them too seriously, you know. I know you have a thing for Bubbles, but really.”

It took considerable effort for Harry not to blush at that; Felix had warned them that his brother knew things about people just by looking at them, but he hated having his feelings for Louis mocked, especially when they were such a raw, helpless part of him. Another of his struggles was the anxious, niggling thought that Cheren might be able to see his motives for protecting his friends, that he might know why Harry was trying so desperately to deter them – he didn’t dare touch the boy’s mind to find out on the off-chance that Cheren realized he was doing it; that would be one of the fastest ways to lose his trust, and that was something he couldn’t afford to do.

As long as he could be there, overseeing anything that happened, even if he couldn’t steer his friends and his new allies apart, there was a chance that he could still protect them. As long as Harry was a part of the little team that had been formed in order to capture and eradicate his friends, he would have opportunities to make sure that they were safe, and that was the only reason he had made the decision to join them in the first place. It was all to keep the boys safe.

“You don’t know them,” he said calmly. “You haven’t seen what they can do.”

“I’ve seen enough to know that they’re not a threat.”

“How do you know that? What if Zayn levitated a knife and slit your throat with it? What if Louis put a force field around you so strong that even air couldn’t get through it, and you suffocated? What if Liam foresaw a way to kill you? What if Niall burnt you to cinders? Their powers could be absolutely formidable if they used them in the right way; you shouldn’t overestimate them!” Even the thought of his boys carrying out such heinous acts of violence made Harry shudder, but he fought to keep his voice steady. “You can’t be too careful. Ever.”

“Cher, he’s right,” Felix said anxiously, “they could do dangerous things if they didn’t know what they were doing. I don’t think we should get complacent; we have no idea what they’re capable of –”

“Ugh!” Shoving Deino off his lap, Cheren exploded, “how am I supposed to think with you twowittering on at me, and this one messing with me all of the time?” He scowled at Deino, who gave him a wounded look. “You know what? Fine! Fine! If it gets you two off my back, we won’t go. We’ll wait – for now, at least. But I’m making no promises. If we get one more little indication that they’re out there, and that they’re easy targets, then we’re going. Understand?”

Without waiting for a reply, he stormed out, muttering under his breath and leaving Harry to stare down at the newspaper. He got a lump in his throat when he spotted a photo of one of Niall’s shoes near the bottom corner, captioned ‘locals nickname the phenomenal being ‘CINDERella’ as size ten shoe is the only clue left at the crime-scene’.  He recognized that shoe very well; he’d coaxed a man in a second-hand shop into giving the pair to him for free, and Niall had been absolutely delighted – he absolutely loved them.

But at least he could breathe a sigh of relief now; he was confident that after their first attempt failed, the boys would have the sense not to try again. The risk of getting caught by someone they didn’t want catching them was far too great. With a flurry of media interest this large,nobody could be stupid enough to make a second attempt.

~*~

“It’s been four days!” Louis complained. “Four whole days, and they haven’t come near us. What the hell are they playing at? We made it obvious enough; are they ignoring us completely, or are there just an abundance of flying teenagers who can set themselves on fire in London?”

Niall yawned and stretched, lounging on the sofa and helping himself to one of Zayn’s crisps, leaning over his friend’s shoulder and snatching it out of the bag with a crackle. Making a noise of protest, Zayn snatched the bag away while the blond boy shoved it into his mouth with a crunch. “It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?” he asked through a mouthful of food, “They’re ignoring us on purpose; there’s no way they could have missed that.”

“Why would they ignore us? They know they can do whatever they want with us; they haveHarry, for God’s sake; they could do anything with us that they wanted and we wouldn’t even know, so why on earth would they not come for us?”

Mimicking Niall, Zayn shoved a handful of crisps into his mouth. Through his mouthful, he suggested, “Maybe they don’t know specifically where in London we are, it’s a big place –”

“It doesn’t take rocket science to find out where we are –”

“Maybe they’re lying in wait for us,” Liam said darkly. Liam, the voice of reason, the positive one, who was sat on the floor on the other side of the room  massaging his temples with his eyes closed, was officially being maudlin.

“Well, you would know. Don’t be depressing, Li. Have a biscuit.” Zayn reached for the packet of chocolate chip cookies by his side and tossed them at Liam, who caught it, ripped it open and gloomily crammed a cookie into his mouth, silencing himself.

“They’re not lying in wait for us,” argued Louis bitterly; “can’t you see what’s going on?”

Niall rolled his eyes. “I get the feeling you’re about to tell us. Enlighten us, then – what exactly is this incredible master-plan that you’ve figured out singlehandedly?”

A soft snort came from the other side of the room where Eithne was curled up in an armchair with her arm wrapped around her knees, her grey eyes gleaming in the light reflecting off the little electric heater they were using as a substitute for central heating. The dim red glow it was casting out made everything look weirdly angular, almost sinister, especially the girl’s face; she had sharp features anyway, and the new red-tinted angles made her look slightly eerie.

Ignoring her, Louis told them, “It’s Harry. I bet you anything he’s stopping them from coming for us somehow. He’s trying to keep them away. Stubborn bastard,” he said softly, fondly, “he never would do things anyone else’s way. He knows we have a plan and he’s ignoring it.”

His unfaltering devotion for Harry inspired several reactions; sighs of admiration from Eithne and Niall, the natural romantics in the room, a fatherly tut from Liam, who saw Louis’ faith in the younger boy as sweet but perhaps a little strange, and an eye-roll from Zayn, who would of course never admit to finding it as adorable as the rest of them did.

“Come on, then, genius – what next? If you’ve worked all of this out, why don’t you come up with a new plan?” Zayn sniffed and started nibbling another crisp, trying to turn it into a specific shape, although nobody was quite sure what it was supposed to be.

“I already have a new plan. I call it Plan B. It’s a thing of great refinement and beauty…”

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yes. It’s a masterpiece, the plan to end all plans…a revolution in the history of planning!”

“Yeah, but what is it?”

“Pure, unabridged genius!” cried Louis modestly (but not really).

“What is it, then? Come on, tell us about this great ‘thing of refinement and beauty’.” Zayn’s tone implied that he expected it to be anything but.

“Basically,” continued Louis, “it’s exactly the same as Plan A, except substituting Niall for me, and it’ll be a lot more obvious.”

Niall asked bemusedly, “Louis, how could anything be more obvious than setting myself on fire and floating above Big Ben like a balloon?”

“I might wear fuchsia,” Louis said dryly. “But on a serious note, if Harry thinks he’s gotten around us this time, he can think again; they’re going to come for us, I don’t care what I have to make them do. They’re going to capture us, boys, I’ll make sure of it.”

“That sounds so creepy,” Niall whispered.

Ignoring him, Louis said, “It’s time to put Plan B – B for better – into operation.”

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