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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21. Chapter twentyone.

The house they found to hide in was quiet and abandoned, with boarded-up windows and no electricity or running water, and a lovely sign in the front garden implying that it was for sale – not that anyone in their right mind would want to buy it. The garden resembled a miniature jungle and had a lop-sided ‘for sale’ sign buried into the ground, and no one lingered mistrustfully underneath the dim orange glow of the streetlights to watch the five exhausted boys staggering up the road, supporting each other. Paranoia had four of them routinely checking over their shoulders every few minutes to check for pursuers, even though Liam kept wearily reassuring them that no one was coming; he would know.

Out of all of them, Niall was by far the most tired; Liam had put a supportive arm around his shoulders and was half carrying him down the street. Louis, however, looked murderous rather than tired, and nobody liked to speak to him for fear that he might bite their head off.

Zayn levitated them over the fence (there was a gap beneath them which they could have fairly easily squeezed through, but none of them fancied being crushed underneath the tiny gap where they would be speared with what looked like used needles, impaled on broken glass and coated in dog dirt) and then from there, up to a window on the top floor where some of the wood that had been used to board it up had split and was coming away. After a good few minutes of persuasion – and Zayn complaining about how exhausting it was keeping all of them airborne – Niall shook himself and woke up enough to burn some of the wood away, and then the five of them clawed at the boards until there was enough of a gap for them to force their way through.

Once inside, they split up, dividing up the rooms. Niall seemed surprisingly alert and darted downstairs to commandeer the old, lumpy and worn sofa, throwing his jacket over it to cover all the filthy marks and then snuggling down to sleep, making himself a small fire out of old newspapers that he kept safely under control in the bin. Zayn made a beeline for the bathroom and made himself a bed in the bath, using towels as a mattress, Liam found himself a place in one of the bedrooms (to his disgust, the bed had been taken away, but no one allowed him to backtrack on his decision) and that meant that the master bedroom, the one which actually contained one enormous bed, was allocated to Harry and Louis.

By the time they were alone, and Louis sat darkly on the bed with a scowl on his face, Harry didn’t like to say anything because Louis looked like he was in an even worse mood than before. Bouncing nervously up and down on the balls of his feet, he shot an anxious glance across the room at Louis, afraid to say anything for fear of how angrily Louis might respond. He was tired, he looked like he was in a foul mood – all Harry wanted was a hug, but he wasn’t too sure how well that request would be received.

Then, it occurred to him: why did he need to ask?

It had been a long day, and he just needed a bit of reassurance; a friendly cuddle to relax him, to calm him down. Like in his childhood, after school, when he’d had a bad day, he would run through his front gate and into his mother’s arms, and it made him feel better – that was all he wanted. That feeling of coming home. Just a simple hug; that was all. It wasn’t his fault if Louis wasn’t in the mood to give him one. What would be the harm in making sure that he got it? After all, it wasn’t as if it would be ridiculously out of character; it wasn’t as if Louis had never hugged him before. They’d slept in the same bed a few days ago, for God’s sake! Swallowing hard, Harry advanced on Louis, doing his best to seem assertive, and told himself,It doesn’t matter. This is nothing he wouldn’t be perfectly happy with normally. He found that thought reassuring; he repeated it nervously several times over while he tried to summon the courage to just do it.

Louis spotted him hovering and coolly looked up to meet his gaze, not hostilely, but his expression was definitely not encouraging. Oddly, that spurred Harry into action where nothing else had; hating to see that sour expression lingering so unpleasantly on the face that he was so fond of, the face that usually looked at him with kindness, amusement or friendliness, he set about trying to change it, sending that first cautious probe of thought unfurling across Louis’ mind, testing it, feeling his thoughts fluttering just below the surface. He was focusing on getting rid of that unfeeling mask; the blatant frostiness on Louis’ face reminded him too much of the last time he’d controlled Louis’ mind, which meant that perhaps he shouldn’t be doing it again – but he wanted to fix it anyway. Still, he was wary and careful, and he inched their minds closer together, slowly, slowly, determined not to be caught out again. Louis didn’t consciously notice the contact, but his hard expression wavered, his eyes softening a little in response, as if Harry’s presence had calmed him. Pleased, Harry pushed a little harder, testing the barriers, meticulously scanning Louis’ memories while he was at it, just to make sure that no memories of the last time he’d been in Louis’ head had filtered through. He found a small bump in the recollections; a slightly uneven patch where he had fused two memories together, but no indication that Louis had noticed that anything was amiss. Happy with his handiwork, Harry allowed himself a moment of satisfaction before he went back to attending to the matter at hand.

He would have to be more subtle about this. Louis knew how his gift worked, and that was dangerous, because it meant that Louis would know if he went messing around with his mind too clumsily. So instead of doing what he had done to the hotel receptionist, and simply ordering Louis to hug him, he murmured in the furthest corner of Louis’ mind, Don’t you think I look sad?

Blinking at him, Louis tilted his head to one side in confusion. Abruptly adopting a suitably downcast expression, Harry let the bait lie for a moment or so. After a few slow seconds, Louis echoed him: Harry looks quite sad. Then, without prompting; I don’t like Harry being sad.

Maybe you should try to cheer me up, suggested Harry.

Frowning, Louis considered that for a while, his mouth twisting as he thought about it. Eventually, he decided, I want him to smile.

Harry almost ruined the whole thing by grinning at him, but he caught himself just in time. Give me a hug? he requested, and the uncertainty in his tone made him a little doubtful as to whether Louis would obey.

Looking at him, Louis did nothing; he stayed sitting on the bed, staring at Harry with faint confusion, his forehead wrinkled with thought. Patiently awaiting his decision of what to do, Harry remained silent.

He was just beginning to wonder whether he ought to repeat the request, when Louis surprised them both by leaping up and hurling his arms around Harry’s neck, their bodies slamming together as his enthusiasm caused them to collide. Harry wasn’t sure which of them was more surprised; Louis himself was shocked by the intensity with which he had hurled himself at Harry, and Harry almost tripped – but then he stepped backwards, steadied himself, and regained his footing. Louis’ grip was so tight he was close to strangling Harry, but Harry was enjoying it – he felt safe, being held like that, and he smiled as he felt Louis nuzzle his face into Harry’s shoulder with a sigh. The confusion inside Louis’ mind was somewhat distracting, buzzing like a hive of bees inside his head; Harry soothed him, telling him to calm down, but more with sensations than actual words.

Only it was beginning to feel like it wasn’t enough. Louis was beautifully warm, and his hold was comforting, and Harry enjoyed melting into it, but he was starting to crave a different kind of touch as well. This closeness was provoking certain other thoughts that he shouldn’t have been having, strictly speaking – but how could he help it? Truthfully, he was just curious. He wanted Louis to kiss him. Just to see what it felt like! It was completely innocent, he told himself; just an experiment. Nothing sordid or sexual; nothing creepy – just a kiss between friends. So it was a little intimate! People did it. He’d seen girls holding hands or kissing their mates; why shouldn’t he do the same? It was nice being cuddled by Louis, so it stood to reason that being kissed by him would be even nicer. Harry was eager to test the theory.

No, he told himself forcefully. That’s most definitely not normal – at all. The whole condition you set yourself for this thing was that you could only make Louis do things he wouldn’t mind doing under normal circumstances.

Ah, argued his brain, in the annoying habit that it had of having to be right, but to be fair, are you not doing that now? Would he still be hugging you this hard and for this long if you weren’t forcing him to do it?

I’m not forcing him! Harry insisted crossly, It’s…encouragement.

He came to a kind of compromise with himself, in the end. He would suggest the idea to Louis; implant the thought of kissing Harry into his head, and see how it was received. If it was met with revulsion, he would say no more about it. If Louis didn’t object to the idea…then maybe he would try it. You couldn’t say fairer than that.

Louis was still holding him, and Harry whispered his name very quietly. Instantly, Louis tilted his head upwards to look at Harry, and got an excellent view of the underside of his jaw (it really was a magnificent angle; Harry was given the opportunity to see it second-hand, from someone else’s eyes, and was pleased with what he saw).

I look quite hot from this angle, don’t I? he asked slyly.

For a moment or so, Louis struggled to process that idea, wrestling with the suggestion for a moment or so. Eventually, he succumbed, and admitted without too much reluctance, Harry looks quite attractive. Very attractive, he amended himself after Harry wrinkled his nose inwardly at that, and Harry was satisfied with the affirmation.

Treading very carefully, Harry said delicately, it would be the easiest thing in the world to stand up on your toes and kiss me, you know. So, so easy. What might it feel like? Would you like to kiss me, Louis? Don’t you think you should try it?

Instantly, Louis’ whole self rebelled against that suggestion, dredging up a huge list of arguments against it: Harry’s a guy – he’s my best friend – that’d just be weird – he’d hate me – I’m not gay! – who kisses their best friend anyway, who does that? – it’d just be super awkward – all the things which, coincidentally, Harry had been thinking. But just as he was about to give up on the idea as an unwise one, something interesting caught his attention: Louis was struggling not to blush, because he was recalling a strange dream he’d had a few days ago in which Niall and Zayn had been painting the sky (odd in itself) and then they had stopped and invited Louis to join them. He’d stepped on a cloud, using it as a stepping stone to reach them – and then out of nowhere, Harry had materialized and thrown his arms around Louis’ neck and started kissing him. It had been the weirdest dream Louis had ever had, but he had…liked it. Mainly the kissing bit.

Making his decision, Harry decided against playing fair. He flooded Louis’ body with feelings: lust, longing and desire, and then left the last part to nature. Louis was a chemical cocktail of high-running emotions and hormones, and he shivered lightly as Harry looked down on him, pulling his chin up so their eyes met. Then Harry bit his lip, teeth grazing his bottom lip as he stared at Louis with an intensity so deep that he wondered if his eyes might fall out and start rolling around on the floor. Lowering his head, he pressed his lips to Louis’ ear and murmured,Kiss me, you fool.

Louis’ reaction stunned them both. Harry hadn’t realized how strongly he was coming on and how fiercely the attraction was blazing between them, or how effective the combination of pheromones and mental prodding was going to be. Neither had he foreseen how suddenly it would all kick in, nor how desperate Louis would be when he succumbed.

Harry was not expecting to find himself being thrown against a wall which he’d been almost certain was a good two or three metres away, and it was not an entirely unpleasant surprise, although the bones of his shoulder slammed into it before the rest of him, crunching in an exceedingly unhealthy way and making him close his eyes against the pain. He wanted to swear, just to release a bit of anger – but all of a sudden, Louis was pinning him against the dirty wall, and they were kissing, hard. It was not the friendly, innocent brush of lips that he had anticipated, that he had planned for, that he could brush off as a meaningless experiment. This was a harsh collision of mouths and fingers curling in hair and anchoring themselves there, and in the rare moments where Harry had to tear his mouth away to breathe, Louis was ravaging his neck and jaw with desperate, almost vicious kisses, nipping frantically at the skin. Awkwardly tilting so he was practically upside-down, Harry stole a couple more kisses from Louis’ mouth and then hauled him forwards and continued pressing their lips together with a need so intense that it was almost embarrassing. He would have been begging on the floor if Louis had chosen to stop even for a second.

They were both breathing heavily while taking it in turns to snatch kisses from each other’s mouths, and Harry knew that if someone walked in right now, this would look every bit as sordid and weird as he had been so desperate for it not to. It had stopped being a tentative experiment and become a kind of assault – although Harry had no idea who was assaulting who any more. Every time he even considered stopping, Louis growled and started relentlessly tugging on his lips again, and how was Harry supposed to react to that? Groaning resignedly, he let his hands find a place on Louis’ back and grabbed two handfuls of his shirt, and he didn’t plan on letting go any time soon.

The soft, warm heat of Louis’ mouth was encouraging, and he melted into it, useless in Louis’ arms, helpless beneath his kisses. Thankful for the wall behind him, he gave his weight to it, because he wasn’t sure he could hold himself up for very long any more – his knees were alternating between wobbling dangerously, and locking at inopportune moments when Louis kissed him too hard or held him too tight…he loved it. Wildly uncontrollable and half-crazed with desire, this was a Louis that he’d never seen before; a Louis who belonged wholly to Harry. He had done this; admittedly with a little extra help, but the victory was his all the same – Louis was gasping his name between kisses, holding his hair between his fingers while he kept him pinned against the floor, and Harry felt ridiculously proud of that fact.

Still, all good things have an inevitable demise, and this one came far too quickly. The almost panicked kisses dwindled into soft, light ones, quick touches of lips and sparks dancing between them, until eventually all traces of passion faded.

The last kiss was achingly brief, but slow, as Louis captured Harry’s lips one last time and pulled them away with an amount of care that was touching; Louis honestly cared about this as he poured all of his emotions into the final kiss, pressing his lips to Harry’s forehead before he stepped back, anxiety written all over his face, like someone had scrawled on him in permanent marker. He also looked guilty, which Harry couldn’t understand – what possible reason could there be to feel bad for something as painfully wonderful as that had been?

Louis rubbed his eyes and hid his face in his hands for a few moments as he tried to remind himself who and where he was, and exactly why he had to stop before he lost himself to his younger male best friend. Harry watched him wistfully, biting his swollen lips as he reluctantly admitted that making Louis kiss him again would be breaking his own rules a bit too thoroughly – basically screwing them up and throwing them in the bin. He stayed silent, feeling guilty himself, which was weird. He didn’t regret the kisses one bit, not after they had been so incredible, but having to mess with Louis’ head to get them? That, he definitely regretted.

“God,” Louis said wearily, wiping some of Harry’s saliva away from his mouth, “we shouldn’t have done that.”

That was when Harry stepped in and intervened before Louis could get upset or even worse, angry, and start panicking and spoiling that most perfect of moments with insistency that they had done something awful. Terror was simmering under the surface of his mind like a pan of water coming to the boil, and Harry had no desire to see it overflow. Reaching out, he touched Louis on the elbow, and sent a strategic wave of mental fatigue towards him. Rather than literally making Louis tired, he simply tricked him into thinking he was tired – and then Louis’ eyes slowly closed and he fell backwards, and Harry had to catch him before he hit the floor.

He carefully supported the older boy in his arms, brushing his hair out of his eyes and kissing him carefully on the forehead. Then he struggled over to the bed and gently lay Louis down on it, arranging him in a neat and hopefully comfortable position on top of it. Once he’d done that, he realized that there wasn’t actually very much room left for him to lie on the bed as well, but that was just as well, because he’d just shared a series of passionate kisses with his best friend, and sleeping with him as well? That was probably a little too much.

Of course, there were things to take care of – such as erasing Louis’ memory so he would remember none of this. It was easier than Harry had expected, seeing as he’d done it before, and he made a far neater job of it as he wiped the kiss from Louis’ mind, like it had been written on a whiteboard and he’d wiped it clean. Once he was done, he nodded to himself and then dropped to the floor, lying down flat.

I am a horrible, selfish, disgusting person.

He had forced Louis to kiss him – forced him to find Harry attractive, to grab him by the elbows and hold him close and fervently move their lips together in the single most precious and perfect moment of Harry’s life. He had ordered Louis to embrace him and kiss him and love him when Louis wouldn’t have done it voluntarily, certainly not at that particular moment in time. The best moment of his life had been a farce – just a lie, and one that he had made himself, that he had forced into existence.

But one thought comforted him as he closed his eyes – Louis had kissed him back. He hadn’t forced that out of him. He’d initiated the kiss forcefully, but Louis had returned it out of his own free will. That gave Harry hope.

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