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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26. Chapter twentysix.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Liam demanded. He turned on Harry. “What was he thinking?”

“Hey, I’m staying out of this,” Harry insisted, and Liam scowled at him but let it slide, because inconvenient as it was, he respected Harry’s desire to leave his friends’ privacy as intact as he could under the circumstances.

“I can’t believe you lied to us, Niall! We’re supposed to be your friends! You told Zayn you were going for milk and then vanished off to Mullingar, what on earth did you think you were playing at? Anything could have happened!”

“I just wanted to see my mum,” Niall mumbled, his eyes glued to the floor.

“We all want to see our parents; doesn’t mean Harry went swanning off to Holmes Chapel and Louis hopped off to Doncaster the moment I turned my back! You need to learn a bit of restraint. Do you know what I saw, Niall? Do you know what I saw happening to you the moment I realized you were gone? Do you have any idea?” Liam’s voice had risen to a level which, for him, was shockingly loud. They all cringed away from him.

Speechless, Niall swallowed and slowly shook his head. His eyes were wide, almost pitiful, and he almost seemed to be a little afraid of Liam. In that moment, they all were. However Niall in particular was so stunned by the sight of his gentle best friend’s fury that the sparks which usually danced at his fingertips when he was frightened were nowhere to be seen. His shock had extinguished them when nothing else could.

“I saw you die, Niall!” Liam yelled, and then he turned his back on them and buried his face in his hands, shoulders shaking as he struggled to regain control over himself and his fear because that was what Liam did best – that was how he coped; forcing himself to remain calm for the sake of everybody else. After a few seconds and a lot of deep breaths, he had his restraint back, and he turned around and faced the Irish boy head on. “I watched you die. The Gardaí chased you off the pier in Dublin and you jumped into the water and drowned rather than let them catch you. It could have happened, Niall! It would have happened.” Liam wretchedly grabbed two handfuls of hair. “They thought you were dangerous. You! It’s beyond belief.” He laughed.

“I’m sorry, Li,” Niall whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, well you’re not dead, so you don’t have to apologise. But if you were, I’d be heading over to your grave and demanding an extremely sincere apology from you, all right? That might be something to bear in mind if you ever die properly.” A precise nod and the slightly unwilling smile that crept across Liam’s face told Niall that he was forgiven, and he breathed out in relief.

“Hey,” Louis said, “I have an input, if anyone cares.” He stepped forwards, and Harry came with him, his ghost, hands fluttering behind him as if to place a hand on the small of his back, but afraid to do so.

“Uh…” Niall responded inadequately. “Right. I suppose you’d better get it over with, then.” He braced himself in readiness for an onslaught of verbal abuse, another severe telling off from one of his friends. Resentment didn’t even occur to him; he’d earned this, really. And if they yelled at him enough, he’d definitely think twice before doing something so unexpected and stupid again. Perhaps even three times, if it was a particularly idiotic plan.

“You’re an idiot,” explained Louis. “But you’re all right, so I suppose that’s something.” He paused. “Hang on, where’s Zayn? I’m sure he had something he wanted to say…he wanted to yell at you, too. He had this whole little speech planned out and everything.”

“That’s a good point, actually; where is Zayn?” asked Liam.

They all turned to look expectantly at Harry, who, after recovering his embarrassment at being caught hovering quite so closely to Louis, abashedly closed his eyes and reached out his mind to try and establish some kind of link with Zayn. They all saw two bright pink patches flare up on his cheeks, and he quickly opened his eyes again, looking mortified.

“Yeah, you…really don’t want to know the intimate details.”

~*~

Truthfully, even Zayn was wondering whether their relationship might be progressing a tad quickly. It had only been a couple of days since he’d met the girl – four, to be exact – and now they were pressed up against the kitchen counter in a less than empty house, Zayn holding her face in his hands while she hung onto him with nervous hands that lightly gripped his waist as if she was afraid to get a proper hold of him. Fair enough, he’d had faster encounters than this, but most of those had only spanned the duration of a night, and he’d never planned on meeting the other person ever again. Eithne was very real; very blonde, very soft, very girly, with her hideous dress sense and dirty shoes and her coy shyness that made her so appealing. She wasn’t some shadowy stranger who was blurred around the edges with alcohol and smelt like the club he’d plucked them from. Which was…different, to say the least.

She was sweet, too. Caring. He’d deduced that fairly quickly, from the way she’d caught at his sleeve while the rest of them filtered in aggrieved silence through to the living room to give Niall a stern telling off. They had stopped and looked at each other for a while.

“You really were worried about him, weren’t you?”

“Of course I was! He’s my friend. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, he has powers, doesn’t he? He can take care of himself.”

Niall?” Zayn snorted in disbelief. “I doubt it. The only thing he can take care of is the contents of the fridge.”

Eithne giggled, one dainty hand flying to cover her mouth, and he found himself grinning broadly at her, pleased that she’d found him funny. All of a sudden he was advancing on her, and one of his hands was on her waist, and then she was serious. They stayed like statues for a while, Zayn gently pressing her against the kitchen counter in a grip loose enough that she could easily wriggle free of if she was so minded – which apparently she wasn’t. Her tongue flickered out of her mouth to wet her lips, and she blinked, her grey eyes glittering slightly in the dim lighting. How clichéd; when Louis hit the lights on the way in, he didn’t turn them all the way up, so the room was subdued, and they were both drenched in shadows, bathed in darkness. Eithne’s pale and pointed face looked even more unusually pretty in the odd lack of illumination.

 “I think you know what I’m about to do, don’t you?”

“Of course,” she replied softly. “It’s what I’ve been waiting for.”

“Are you sure about that? You could stop me, you know. In fact, you probably should. I’m not natural, you know; I’ve been drugged up to the eyeballs. I’m pretty much a mutant.” His lips grazed her neck as he whispered “At the risk of sounding like a Twilight rip-off, I’m kind of dangerous.”

She laughed quietly. “Oh, very Edward Cullen. You have similar hair, I must admit, but your powers are far cooler than his. Plus you don’t sparkle. I don’t like things that glitter; they’re ever so tacky. He’s like a walking disco ball. And unless you have very flattering custom-made clothes, you’re not round in any way, shape or form.”

“Well, not that I’m aware of.”

Then, all of a sudden, he lost it a little and by the time he’d resurfaced enough to figure out that he’d moved, he realized that he was holding her by the arms and kissing her, and not gently, either. His hands glided up to her shoulders and took hold of her face, and that was the point they’d reached right now, their lips whispering together in the almost-darkness. Zayn was starting to lose track of time, and, weirdly, his concept of holding onto gravity; they had risen a few centimetres off the floor, and were floating.

Or at least, a few centimetres was all it felt like. When Zayn bumped his head on something, dragged his lips away to yelp in pain, then glared upwards and discovered that he’d just hit his head on the ceiling, he worked out that it had perhaps been a little more than that.

Eithne tilted her head in confusion as to why he had stopped – then she looked down, and her mouth fell open in surprise as she gave a little gasp of shock. Zayn swallowed sheepishly, and he couldn’t help the embarrassed grin that quirked the corners of his mouth upwards into a guilty smile like a naughty child. His hands moved from her face to her back, as if to make her feel more supported, and she clung to him in shock.

“Whoops,” he mumbled.

She stifled another giggle. “Well, this is certainly…different.”

“It was an accident!” he assured her, “I didn’t mean –”

“I know you didn’t. Don’t worry about it. We’ll never be short of a way to spice up the love life, I suppose,” she teased.

He blushed, which was quite unusual for Zayn; he specialized in being cool and unruffled at almost all times. “True.”

“Whoa, whoa! Jesus Christ, Zayn, what the hell are you doing up there?” Niall had poked his head curiously around the kitchen door and now his eyes were wide, almost falling out of his head. Zayn could imagine how the bluish-green orbs would drop out of Niall’s eye sockets and roll madly around on the floor, and he almost laughed at the thought.

“Oh, you know, just enjoying the view,” he said.

“Yeah, so am I,” muttered the blond boy, quickly averting his gaze. “Eithne, you might want to, um…hold your skirt down. It’s kind of breezy up there.”

Her face glowed bright pink and she caught at her skirt, pinning it against her legs with one hand while clinging to Zayn with the other. It would have been a little less mortifying if her tights hadn’t got rather damp while they were walking in grim silence down the pier, and she hadn’t taken them off – blushing almost as much as she was, Niall prayed that the mental image of her Betty Boop underwear would vanish from his mind almost as quickly as the finer points of Liam’s lecture had.

Zayn asked defensively “Why are you looking?” and scowled disapprovingly down at him, clearly not at all impressed by the idea that someone else had caught a glimpse of Eithne’s underwear before he had. “That’s kind of inappropriate, Niall.”

“Says the one who’s snogging her on the ceiling. Get down from there; Liam’ll have a fit. I don’t think the roof is really the safest location for a quick snog, do you?”

“Who’s snogging on the roof?” asked Harry excitedly, sticking his head round the door and nudging Niall so that he staggered into the room. Glancing upwards, Harry’s mouth formed a neat little ‘o’ of excitement and he grinned. “Wow. Score, Zayn. I’ve done a lot of things in my time, but I’ve never snogged anyone whilst pinned to the ceiling.”

“I’m sure that can be arranged,” grumbled Zayn darkly, “now get lost, you lot; we’re kind of in the middle of something.”

Harry opened his mouth with a laugh and yelled “EITHNE AND ZAYN ARE ON THE CEILING, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

“Where?” Louis staggered into the kitchen, tripped over Niall’s feet and had to be neatly snagged by the arm by Harry so that he didn’t fall flat on his face. Squinting upwards at Zayn and an incredibly embarrassed Eithne, he said “Wow. Well that’s a new one. Never seen that before.”

“I didn’t do it on purpose!”

“Well come down, then!”

“No!” He shuffled with embarrassment. “Can’t. Not with all of you lot looking at me.”

“Have you tried?”

“Yes. It won’t work. I’m stuck. Now stop staring at me and go away so I can get us down!”

Grinning, Louis leaned against the kitchen counter with an amused look on his face. “Not a chance. I’m rather enjoying seeing you stuck up there. Sorry, Eithne, but you have to admit this is comedy gold. Zayn’s stuck on the ceiling! This is brilliant! Hey, Harry, come over here and laugh at Zayn with me!” Reaching out, he tugged Harry towards him by the sleeve and put an arm around his shoulder, and pulling Harry against his side, laughed uproariously at Zayn.

Stunned but delighted, Harry surreptitiously snuggled into his side and laughed right along with him, and a few seconds later he started up another rousing chorus of “EITHNE AND ZAYN ARE ON THE CEILING, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

Joining in, Louis flashed the flushed Zayn a cheeky grin and added, “FIRST COMES HOVERING THEN COMES HEIGHT, THEN SHAGGING ON THE CEILING ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT!”

“Shut up for a minute!”

They all blinked and turned towards the doorway, in which Liam was stood, wild-eyed, hair standing on end like he’d been raking his fingers through it, pale and stunned. Distracted, Zayn wobbled, and then with a yelp he and Eithne started plummeting through the air – it was lucky that Louis’ reflexes were so extraordinarily good, because he whirled around, splayed his hands and caught them in a force field before they were anywhere near the ground. Lowering them carefully to the ground, he turned back to Liam only to see that Niall had caught him by the elbows and was waving a hand back and forth in front of his face, looking anxiously at Liam’s unfocused and unblinking expression.

“Li. Snap out of it, Li. Liam?” Niall carefully snapped his fingers in front of his face. “Liam.”

Liam’s hands were clumsy as he made a grab for him, fingers closing around Niall’s wrist as if it was the only thing he could see, the only thing that he could feel. Clinging to his hand with such a tight grip that Niall winced, Liam hung on, still gazing blankly above Niall’s head with an almost creepy, glassy-eyed stare. Except all of a sudden, Liam made a noise – the most fragile and broken of noises, a kind of whine, and they all flocked around of him all of a sudden, even Eithne, each desperate to put a hand on him as if they each believed that only they could comfort him. Still, it was Niall that Liam clung to, and Niall whose anxious eyes he met as he let out another of those feeble cries.

“Liam? Come on, Li; it’s all right. Sit down, come on, everything’s going to be okay. Come on, come and sit down –” Niall started leading him towards one of the kitchen chairs, but Liam yanked on his wrist and Niall stopped dead, blinking in shock.

“Dead,” Liam croaked.

“No, no, Liam, I’m not. I’m all right; I’m fine, see. I’m here. Liam, Liam, look at me, I’m okay –”

“Not just you! Everyone. All dead…” His head shook violently back and forth like he was trying to shake the thoughts out of his mind. “All dead…”

“Nobody’s dead, Liam, we’re all here –”

“But you won’t be!” cried Liam hysterically. His head snapped up and eyes locked on Harry’s. “I saw it. You all died, all of you, I saw it, I saw it, I saw it…”

“Liam, look at me.” Harry knelt down in front of him, grabbed his hands and squeezed them tightly in his own. “The future can change, remember? We discussed this.”

“Not all of it. Not all of it, Harry; it doesn’t all change. I’ve looked and I’ve looked, and I can’t see anything else.” He turned and looked at Louis first, staring at him very hard. “They’ll kill you first. She will. She picks up a knife and she stabs you with it, right there.” He jabbed Louis very hard in the chest, right over his heart. Then he turned back to Harry, his eyes dull. “Right through the heart, just for the irony, would you believe it? Because she knows. She kills him first, because she knows it’ll hurt you the most.”

Louis’ eyes widened, and he stared at Harry. “Why? Why would it hurt him the most?”

Ignoring him, Liam continued “Then Niall. She’ll kill Niall next, because she knows how much it’ll hurt all of us, hearing him scream. The future’s changed in that respect; she was going to kill him first, but she changes her mind because she hates Harry so much. So she kills Louis and then Niall, and then she kills Eithne and Zayn at the same time. It makes her laugh because they thought they’d be together forever, do everything together, so they might as well die together too. She leaves Harry almost to last because she likes hearing him scream for Louis; likes hearing his pain. Bitch.” The expletive horrified them all more than the rest of what he was saying; they all flinched at the cold, hard hatred behind it. It sounded so wrongcoming from Liam’s lips. “But she kills me last of all because she knows that I look after people and she knows it’ll kill me, watching you all die and doing nothing. She knows us all so well; they’ve watched us all for so long. And she knows how to hurt us, so that’s what she does. She knows what hurts more than death and that’s what she does.”

They were all chilled by his words, as if he’d poured icy water all over them. But urgency, and terror over the possibility of the prophecy coming true and Louis dying in front of him had Harry losing all thought of leaving Liam to recover a little from the shock, and he grabbed him almost brutally by the shoulders, shook him to wake him up a bit and snapped “When, Liam? And where? Who the hell is she, and when will she come? We need to be ready, we need to –”

“Now.”

Horrified silence. “What?” Louis asked hollowly, actually distracted; his eyes stopped roving over Harry’s terrified face and trying to decipher the meaning behind Liam’s words, why it would hurt the youngest boy more than anyone to see Louis die first, and he turned back to Liam and licked his lips, hoping and almost praying that he’d misheard.

“I believe he said ‘now’,” came the helpful answer; a lilting voice that had all of their heads turning to stare at the source, which was coming from the window which nobody had realized was wide open, a draught blowing through. A figure stood there, blocking out the light, black hair blowing wildly in the breeze as if there was an electric fan behind her causing her hair to flutter around her shoulders. She wore a long black trench coat that hugged her torso and then billowed out way past her knees, cascading almost to her ankles. Her mouth was a red that wasn’t even the gory shade of blood; it was more deep crimson than anything else, like a poppy coming towards the end of its beauty, the petals just beginning to curl at the tips. She had dark eyes, a pale face, and a sultry expression, and teeth the colour of clouds on a beautiful day.

Everyone in the room fell in love the moment they clapped eyes on her.

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