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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20. Chapter twenty.

“Get down!”

Liam’s yell pierced the night, and Harry dived at Louis and knocked him to the ground just as an enormous metal dustbin flew over them, exactly where Louis’ head had been moments before. Swearing, Harry and Louis flattened themselves against the ground, and Harry felt grit sticking to his face, but he didn’t dare brush raise his head to brush it off until Liam shouted the all clear.

“Okay, move! Quick!”

They had barely taken a few more steps before Liam was shouting out another warning, another cry for them to duck.

“Down!”

“This isn’t working,” Harry growled as he hit the floor. His body screamed in protest; he’d landed awkwardly, and it bloody hurt! Patience evaporating, he gave up with a frustrated groan. Thrusting his mind outwards, he linked a tendril of thought with Liam’s brain, connecting it to his – and then he could see everything.

Liam’s power had usefully kicked in roundabout when they’d first started fleeing for their lives –after Harry had taken the boys onto one side and frantically explained to them that Felix wasn’t on their side after all, and was selling them out, although to whom he didn’t know. Louis had looked so relieved that Harry had thought he might kiss him – not that he would have objected. Harry had been sceptical of Louis’ judgement, but no one dared to question Harry’s; rushing upstairs, they’d started packing their few belongings in a desperate rush.

Then all of a sudden, Liam had paled, his head snapped up, and he said “He’s coming!”

Nobody had any idea how he could possibly know that; the whole house was silent – but sure enough, seconds later Felix walked through the door – quite literally – and said “Hey, guys, what –” He froze in shock. “What the hell are you doing?”

It had been a great testament to the strength of the friendship between the other five boys when the moment they leapt into action, each of them coincided perfectly with each other. Harry snatched at Felix’s mind and froze him in place, and then all five of them sprinted for the open window. The bond of trust was ridiculous; they all jumped at almost the same time, surprisingly cramming all of their lanky bodies through the window – and then Louis snapped his hands and a bubble ballooned around them, as Zayn stopped it from plummeting to the ground and carefully lowered it to the floor. Louis released them, and then they ran.

Harry’s concentration had broken and he felt Felix’s mind flutter frustratingly out of his grasp within the first five minutes of their sprint for freedom, when he stumbled over an inconveniently placed rock and almost landed flat on his face before Louis grabbed his shoulder and saved him.

They kept running, and Liam kept shouting out warnings after that – telling them this, that and the other that was about to happen, yelling alerts and reminding them to tie their shoelaces – not in case they tripped over, but because they would trip over. Liam had somehow gained some kind of insight into the future, and judging by the frightening accuracy of his predictions only seconds after discovering his ability, he was good. Nobody argued, nobody was sceptical. They didn’t really have time. Running was all they had time for; running and breathing. Although breathing wasn’t as easy as any of them would have liked; the air was snatched from their lungs far too quickly, and then dragged in again with wheezes, sounding downright unhealthy.

“Don’t stop!” Liam ordered. Out of all of them, he was coping the best; he ran a lot simply for pleasure, and so he was sprinting way ahead of them with ease, closing his eyes every so often to maximise his ability to foresee any dangers that might be heading their way.

“Easy – for – you – to –say!” gasped Niall, wearily extinguishing himself for the third time in the last five minutes. His concentration was slipping and he kept unintentionally setting himself alight, so that for several seconds at a time, a boy on fire ran a couple of steps – and the heat was making him uncomfortable, causing him to sweat even more than just the exertion.

“They’re on our tail,” warned Liam, “if you stop now, they’ll have you.” His certainty was almost frightening.

“Who’re ‘they’?” demanded Zayn, skirting around a tin can.

“Felix and Cheren!”

That exasperated cry chilled Harry more than anything else, because he hadn’t told Liam that name, and he knew for real that Liam truly had been able to see it in his future – that he could see all that ever could be, and everything that would. The idea frightened him: Liam would know everything about his life. Every little bit. He pitied Liam ridiculously for that, already, even though he wasn’t sure whether the thought had occurred to the other boy yet.

“Who the bloody hell –” began Niall with a moan.

“Stop!” yelled Liam, and they all skidded to a halt.

“What?” asked Louis.

“Shut up! Let me think! Let me think, let me think, let me think – God, my head!” In frustration, he grabbed two handfuls of his hair like he might rip them out, and squeezed his eyes tightly shut. Harry wondered if it helped him to see better, or whether he was just doing it out of habit. “They’re coming. But I can’t see…” He swore. “It’s all so blurry! Everything’s fluctuating. I can’t see clearly enough. Something hasn’t happened yet…a decision has to be made…”

“Like bloody Twilight,” Louis mumbled. “You can’t see anything until they’ve decided they’re gonna do it.”

“It makes sense!” Liam snapped, “if you don’t like it, you try seeing the future! It’s bloody difficult. So far it’s all been hazy flashes and unmade decisions and not a set of winning lottery numbers in sight. Now shut up, I need to – that way!” His voice urgently cut off, and he lurched out at Louis, shoving him towards a filthy alleyway. “Go down there!”

Only Louis was strong-willed, and unused to obeying orders; he liked to do what he wanted. So despite Liam’s good intentions, despite knowing that Liam knew what was going to happen, he hesitated just a split second. It wasn’t as if Liam didn’t know he was going to do it anyway. It was the tiniest of pauses, but it was ever so slightly too long.

“Hello, hello, hello, what have we here?” The voice that spoke was like Felix’s, only deeper and more pleasant to the ear; but it shared the same talent for being annoying using very few words. “What’s this, a mother’s meeting?”

They were jumbled together in a clumsy conglomeration, resembling a kind of circle, so it was easy to understand where the metaphor had come from, but it made all of them grit their teeth in annoyance. Instantly, Louis shifted his position, twitching closer to Harry like he couldn’t help it, their hips touching, and Harry was reassured instantly. He watched Louis flex his fingers in readiness and started stretching out his mind to try and attack the mind behind the voice. As he had no idea what he was looking for, that was less than easy. Niall started trying to look menacing, which of course was practically impossible for him, and Zayn shrugged helplessly and waited for something to happen. Liam pressed his fingertips against his temples, concentrating on watching everything that could and would happen.

Then out of the gloom stepped two brothers who were clearly identical, but determined not to be. Felix was ever so minutely smaller than the other boy, but made up for it by having extremely tall hair that stuck up in a giant tuft over his head. His brother had a few extra millimetres of height and his hair was more flattened, but thicker; otherwise there was little difference between them. They had the same pale grey eyes, the same sharp, pale faces, sarcastic expressions and mocking voice, except Cheren’s was a little deeper and had a rumbling quality to it that was only faintly noticeable. He was, like Felix, attractive, but there was something about his mouth that made it quirk in a way which suggested he was never far from a sneer.

“That’s them!” Felix said loudly, casting out his hand.

“I can see that,” came the mild answer, as Cheren critically examined them all like they were old friends of his who had changed and he wanted to take in every small difference in their appearances. “You did describe them very clearly to me. The charmer…curly hair, big green eyes…he hides himself behind charisma that the devil himself couldn’t hope to match and hopes that no one will find out what’s whirling around inside his mind.” His own eyes moved lazily over Harry’s slightly outraged face – was he no more than just ‘the charmer’?! – and then flickered to Niall’s face. “The cute one, the adorable little Irish boy who’s always hungry. Who eats his own weight in snacks every day just to feed the flames, to keep them burning…” His voice was almost a caress, smooth around the words.

Niall’s jaw dropped as he considered whether there might actually be some truth in that; was he always hungry because of the fire? Admittedly, he had been rather harder to fill up lately, but he’d thought that was down to the lack of food in their cell.

“Then the reliable one…who runs away from it all and hates that he has to come full circle, has to come back to it all. The one who the girls call beautiful, who often thinks it of himself, who can lift objects with his mind alone but has no control over it, just like he has no control over his own life…he hates it. Isn’t that right, Zayn?” Cheren raised an eyebrow questioningly. “And last but most definitely not least; the man who seeks only to protect; who would lay down his life for his friends. But the things he protects by far the most fiercely are his own secrets. He protects them so well that even he doesn’t know them all.” Cheren fixed Louis with an uncomfortably knowing stare. “He’s afraid of himself – not that he’d ever admit it.”

“He does that,” Felix explained in response to the five aghast, open mouths that greeted his brother’s speech. “Most people hate him for it. With just one look at you, or a description, he knows more about you than you do. It isn’t a power, either. He’s always done it. It’s one of his more horrible talents.” He laughed darkly, but the sound was harsh.

“Now, now, little brother, don’t be bitter. Let’s not bring old family arguments into this,” admonished Cheren, in what was quite possibly the most patronizing voice ever.

“I am not your little brother!” Felix squeaked, his pale face flushing bright red and his voice turning high pitched with embarrassment as he glared in outrage at Cheren.

“I’m older than you.”

“By two and a half minutes!”

It was clearly an argument that they’d had before; there was a practiced air of smugness on Cheren’s face, and Felix looked like he couldn’t decide whether to be angry or bored with the stupid teasing. Still, he was aggravated by it, despite the familiarity with which they argued, and he didn’t like being reminded of the tiny age difference.

“Run!” Louis said suddenly, surprising them all, and he shoved Harry first, trying to push him forwards, but he’d barely taken a step before Liam shook his head ever so slightly, looking frustrated.

“If you run now, he’ll have you on the floor in seconds,” Liam informed Louis flatly. “He’s fast. Faster than you can believe.”

“Faster than a bullet,” said Cheren almost boredly, “we’ve checked. I outran it. Easily.”

“You’re very modest,” muttered Niall.

“Wait, wait,” Louis interrupted, “when you say he can move fast…do you mean that he canrun faster than a bullet?”

Cheren raised an eyebrow. “Yes.” He sounded so pleased with himself that it was very tempting to slap the smirk off his face.

“Well then,” Louis said carefully, “that’s a shame. Because maybe we can’t outrun you, but who needs to run when you can fly?”

Of course, they all knew what he meant by that, so when a force field materialized around them and Zayn sent the five of them shooting upwards into the sky, the only people who looked shocked were Cheren and Felix. Swearing, Felix started leaping about like an idiot and grabbing at his hair angrily, stamping around like he was in a bad movie and had to act out having a tantrum. Cheren stayed calm, but he seemed stunned as he craned his neck to watch the force field rise above the roofs of the buildings that towered over them, gaining altitude constantly until it vanished from sight.

“Right,” Louis said, “now how the hell do we steer this thing?”

They were hovering several hundred metres above an unknown city in a transparent bubble, suspended in a joint effort from two people who could lose control and drop them at any second, and all five of them were horrified as they realized they actually had no idea how to answer that question.

Niall, however, ended up answering it completely by accident as he tried to shift his position and ended up tripping over, slamming into the side of the bubble as he fell. The whole field was knocked to the side and rolled like a marble through midair, sending them all rolling over each other and swearing furiously as their various arms and legs got tangled up in new and imaginative ways. Harry found his head under Louis’ left arm while one of his legs was wrapped around the older boy’s waist, which was more than a little awkward, to say the least.

“Like that, maybe?” offered Niall weakly.

“Ten out of ten for observation.” Louis shook his head. “Come on. Let’s start moving this thing.” He started leaning heavily against one side of the force field, and it started slowly rolling like they were hamsters in a ball.

“They see us rollin’ they hatin’,” someone muttered, and Louis snorted.

“Yeah, but they don’t see us rolling, do they, because we aren’t going anywhere! Come on, let’s get moving, before we get grabbed, because then it really is all over!” And he hauled Harry to his feet, and they both started shoving at the sides of the force field, rolling it forwards as they headed off into the sky.

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