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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23. Chapter twentythree.

It was very lucky, really, that his bluff didn’t fall through. It was also very lucky that there were lots of empty garages on the road behind the house they’d commandeered, and it was ten times luckier that when Harry tried the door of the very first one, it was unlocked, empty, and surprisingly fit for human habitation. Therefore even though all of the boys knew that Harry had just been praying to get lucky, Eithne still had no idea. Which meant that she feared their organizational skills if nothing else, when in actual fact their organizational skills were non-existent and therefore probably the least frightening thing about them.

Still, Harry felt that he ought to point out that they hadn’t laid a finger on the girl, even though it would have been a great deal easier just to put her into a force field and roll her down the street. There would have been a lot less complaining. Yet they had been perfectly polite and carefully led her into the dimly lit garage, and after a lot of surreptitious shuffling so she couldn’t see what he was up to, Niall had lit a couple of things on fire so that they could see.

They were planning an interrogation, of sorts, and Harry could tell already that he was going to be completely and totally useless – as was Zayn, who was too busy dreamily admiring the girl’s profile as she sat stiffly in the old deckchair they’d pulled up for her. Louis was looking imposing but it would only be a matter of time before he did something which proved once and for all that he was just a fun-loving idiot who couldn’t hurt anyone or anything even if he’d possessed a power that allowed it. Niall was trying to set fires without making it obvious that they were starting from sparks that fell from his fingers, and he was suitably distracted that he wasn’t going to be much help either. So with Harry’s ability to pluck her thoughts from her head rather rudely disabled, it looked like it was left to Liam to get everything out of her.

For a while, Liam sat and stared at her with his fingers pressed together and a frown creasing his forehead, which ought to have unnerved her after the first few unblinking minutes, but she made no sign of being uncomfortable with his scrutiny. In fact, it was Harry who grew tired of it first; he tilted his head to one side and started whispering to Liam, inside his mind. It was the first time they’d ever made contact in that way, but Liam’s mind was like Liam himself – friendly, welcoming, safe. Harry had no qualms about entering it, but he was careful not to stray far from the edges. He didn’t want to intrude on another friend’s privacy.

Liam? He wished his voice didn’t sound so tremulous, so hesitant, because it could hardly be reassuring.

Liam gave a little start, and then said slowly, …yes?

The response lightened Harry instantly, and he stopped fearing outrage or disapproval. In fact, the only reason he was afraid was that he was scared he might go too far, from dancing on the brink of a friend’s mind to kissing him so fiercely it was bordering on insanity – in fact, it was insanity. But Liam? No, he didn’t feel those things for Liam. Just friendship.

You getting anything?

Pausing, Liam hesitated, scanning through his haphazard flashes of intuition, and Harry felt awed by the sheer amount of skill there was in Liam for him to be able to interpret all that information so clearly: he was seeing both five minutes into the future and ten years on almost simultaneously, and having to carefully filter through them all to find the right sort of thing. Some of it was clear, some of it was blurry; Eithne’s face would appear to show up several times in the near future, but he didn’t appear to be getting anything particularly specific. Harry couldn’t be sure; Liam’s rapidly changing mind was making him feel sick as vision after vision filtered through and he calmly examined each one before moving on to the next. Dizzily extricating himself from the conundrum of Liam’s thoughts, he chided himself on his impatience and awaited a response.

…No, Liam responded carefully. Nothing…useful, anyway.

Frowning slightly, Harry went to investigate, but almost as if Liam knew how deep he’d been about to delve and what he’d been about to do, he gave Harry a warning look, and Harry backed off in shame, blushing. Of course Liam knew. He’d probably foreseen it. Awkwardly pushing back several stray, loose curls away from his forehead, he looked down at the floor and then back up at Eithne, who seemed to be radiating smugness at their lack of success in discovering her secrets.

So you did find somethingHarry asked suspiciously. Just not something useful.

After a moment of hesitancy, Liam nibbled his lip and shot a sideways glance at Zayn, then one at the silent and motionless Eithne. Harry’s impatience once again got the better of him and he started running through hundreds of scenarios inside his head; did Eithne have powers that contradicted Zayn’s, that were the polar opposite and were therefore stronger? Was she going to hurt Zayn, or somehow coerce him into harming one of the others? Louis was the first person to spring to mind, and he spared a panicked glance for the older boy before returning his gaze to Liam, who almost imperceptibly shook his head.

This strange girl meant no harm to Louis, then. That was reassuring, and Harry felt relief pouring through him like warm water cascading down his back as he nodded in response, acknowledging Liam’s reassurance.

What, then?

Eyes flickering around like the whole room was privy to the conversation that was occurring between their minds and their minds alone, Liam licked his lips nervously and then swallowed – and then he presented Harry with a future memory; a faint, hazy one, meaning that it would happen sometime quite far into the future. A memory of Zayn, an older, more mature Zayn, with wiser eyes, who was squashed up in a chair with his arm thrown around the shoulders of a sleepy, smiling blonde girl with her hair in loose waves that cascaded over her shoulders. With eyes that were tired but filled with fondness, and looking straight at Zayn. A blonde girl who was quite clearly Eithne.

Wha – ?! Harry stared at him in utter shock, not certain whether he ought to be horrified or amused. Tell me that’s a joke.

That’s just what I can see, Harry. When I look for her in my mind, try to connect her with the future like I do when I try to predict things for other people, I see so many things like this…I see Zayn and I see this girl. I see them together. It makes no sense…I’ve been seeing this ever since I first set eyes on her, ever since I first looked. It scares me, Harry. How can this girl that we’ve only just met be the love of Zayn’s life?

Harry almost snorted at that, but contented himself with raising an eyebrow. The love of his life?

Embarrassed, Liam gave a tiny shrug. I see them falling in love, getting married, having kids, and dying in each other’s arms. What other definition is there for love?

All Harry could do in response was gape, shocked. You mean to say you know how Zayn dies?

Liam met his gaze head on. I know how we all die, Harry. It’s not a pretty thing, this gift of mine.

Why would you look for something like that?

didn’t look, Harry. Every time I go to sleep, I see things…I have control over what I look for when I’m awake, but in my dreams at night, I see things I never wanted to see, things I never wanted to know. I know how my whole life pans out, and I never wanted to know that.

The future can be changed, Harry said softly. I’ve watched enough crappy science fiction movies to know that.

Only parts of it. Some things are fixed. There’s times when I see different options, different endings to each scenario. My death won’t change; Zayn’s won’t. But…Niall’s could. I’ve seen Niall die in at least six different ways and none of them were particularly nice. There could be more to come. I haven’t looked. If it doesn’t come to me, I don’t have to see – and you won’t catch me searching.

Hesitating, Harry looked at Niall and then bit down hard on his lip, because the thought of Niall dying horribly didn’t bear thinking about. But his next thought, selfishly, was of what Liam might have seen about him, and he wasn’t sure whether or not his embarrassment quite outweighed his curiosity.

What have you seen about…about me?

Liam hesitated, too, freezing as he looked at Harry, his gaze conflicted. It could have been Harry’s imagination, but for one almost invisibly fast second he thought he saw Liam’s eyes flicker towards Louis. Something which most definitely wasn’t his imagination was that Liam suddenly looked very awkward and Harry felt his expression tighten in suspicion – and then he carefully slipped into Liam’s mind knowing that Liam had no idea what it felt like and wouldn’t know he was there, and that was when he saw it.

Himself and Louis, hiding behind a stone pillar and embracing – not just embracing, kissing,hungrily, almost desperately, fierce kisses that involved fingers twisted into curls and hands on waists and low gasps as the two boys exchanged frantic kisses like they were using up their dying breaths to give them.

Struggling not to blush, Harry wrenched his mind away from Liam’s.

Nothing specific, Liam lied quickly, but…you know. Probably will see a few things at some point.

Yeah, agreed Harry, probably. He coughed, and then said but Eithne and Zayn, what? How does that happen?

Liam shrugged. “I don’t know for sure, the first inkling I’ll have of it is walking in on the two of them in the bathroom in quite a compromising – oh, shit!” He clapped his hand over his mouth when he realized he’d spoken the words out loud rather than inside his head.

All four of the other boys stared at him, more shocked by the fact that yep, Liam Payne justswore than the idea that he was talking about walking in on two people in some kind of intimate situation in a bathroom. But by far the most interested person was Eithne, who was uninterested in what Liam had been talking about and more fascinated by the way he had phrased the sentence.

“The first inkling you will have?” she mused. “And yet you already know…”

“Shit,” Liam said again.

~*~

“Supernatural researcher, huh?”

“Yes.”

“And what does that involve?”

Surprisingly, Eithne was perfectly patient as she replied “Believe it or not, researching the supernatural.”

It was safe to say that Louis had been made to feel incredibly stupid incredibly quickly. Attempting not to look as embarrassed as he felt, he made a decidedly sheepish noise and then looked quickly away, and Eithne looked incredibly amused by his discomfort.

“They do courses for that kind of thing?” asked Niall. “I mean is it like an actual job, or is it just a hobby? No offence!” he added hastily.

“None taken,” she replied cheerfully, “and yes, it’s an actual job. I found an obscure little university in America and took a class with a load of conspiracy theorists and yeah, it was tedious at times, but it was nice to find other people who believed in that stuff, people who could prove that it was real. And now I’ve found proof of my own! It’s just great!” She beamed happily and then scrutinized all five boys with a mixture of suspicion and delight. “So. One of you levitates things. One of you reads minds. One of you predicts the future.”

Niall instantly opened his mouth to correct her but Harry silenced him with a look. Until they knew one hundred percent that they could trust this girl, he’d rather keep as much from her as possible, just to be on the safe side.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to make things easy for me by telling me what the other two of you can do?” she asked lightly.

“You suppose correct,” Louis said. “Where would be the fun in that?”

“True. So what now, then? Do I have to guess, or are you all just going to keep demanding answers and giving me none in return? It’s hardly fair, now, is it?”

“No one’s forcing you to answer,” pointed out Niall, which won him several glares that caused him to back down instantly, embarrassed.

“Again, that’s true. But you are threatening me, albeit in an extremely un-threatening way, and I’m being co-operative and hoping that you’ll repay me by giving me the answers I want in exchange for the ones I’m giving you.” She looked up at Louis in a way that only a girl with porcelain skin and an elfish expression ever could, and blinked her pretty bluish-grey eyes at him.

Louis laughed at her. It took everyone by surprise, that short burst of amusement, and they all stared at him as he shook his head and looked at her with one eyebrow raised and his lips pressed together to suppress mirth, as if her very existence was funny.

“Well, really,” he said amusedly, “you couldn’t be expected to know, of course. I shouldn’t laugh. But so much for women’s intuition! Oh dear.”

For the first time, Eithne looked annoyed. “Have I done something funny?”

“Yes,” answered Louis honestly. “You blinked those pretty little eyes at me and bit your lip, and looked at me like you wanted me. You expected me to reciprocate. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s one tactic which definitely won’t work on me. No offence.”

“Oh? And why not?” she demanded crossly.

Louis shook his head, his amusement only growing. “Wrong team, love,” he said gently. “Sorry to break it to you, but I’m gay.”

That revelation in itself would have been enough to make Harry dizzy, causing his head to spin. It would have been enough to snatch all of the moisture from his mouth and leave his tongue feeling like sandpaper. All of that would have been enough to ruin him even if Louis hadn’t looked straight at him and made direct and unflinching eye contact as he said it.

~*~

“Why did you tell her that?”

Harry stumbled over the words like he’d stumbled over his feet when he left the room, abruptly exiting because he knew he couldn’t control his expression. They were alone now, he and Louis – stood in the shadows being cast by an overgrown bush, and there was no one to hear their words – no one but Harry who would listen. Probably nobody else who cared.

Looking at him sideways, Louis said calmly “Because I am.”

Instead of saying hopefully ‘Are you?!’ like he wanted to, Harry said weakly, “You didn’t have to tell her!”

“Why shouldn’t I? It worked, anyway. She won’t be coming on to me again in a hurry.” Louis was oddly satisfied; he thrust his hands into his pockets and examined the sky, avoiding Harry’s anxious stare.

For a while they were silent, and the silence was worrying; it had Harry nibbling on his lower lip while he waited for Louis to say something else; to make a joke or a silly quip, and when no response was forthcoming, he simply stood and twisted his fingers together and started at them as if they would give him answers, until Louis grew irritated with the silence and demanded irritably, “What’s the matter with you?”

Harry gave up on everything at that moment; he hurled himself at Louis and grabbed him by the shoulders, and he glared right into his eyes and silently pleaded with him to understand, and Louis just blinked at him in utter shock with the wind ruffling his hair and the light making his eyes dance. His biceps were hard underneath Harry’s hands, and he seemed almost afraid of the ferocity in Harry’s expression – not that Harry could blame him; he felt mad, so he didn’t even like to think about how he must look. His fingers dug hard into Louis’ shoulders and Louis stared at him like a stranger was clinging to him, like there was someone he barely knew glowering at him through Harry’s eyes.

You,” Harry said fiercely.“You are the matter with me.”

Then he moved his hands from Louis’ shoulders to the collar of his shirt, and he yanked Louis forwards and pulled him slightly up so that they were at the same height, and he furiously jammed his lips down on Louis’ and kissed him like it was the last thing he would ever do, the only thing he wanted to ever want to do, and he expected Louis to grab him and fight him and push him away, but Louis didn’t fight – shockingly, he pulled Harry closer and kissed him back, just as hard and with just as much raw emotion leaking out into the kiss, and Harry wasn’t sure whether he ought to panic because Louis was doing this voluntarily and he didn’t know what to do, or whether he should just go with it because this was what he wanted and it felt so right, and he never ever wanted to let go or for Louis to let him go.

He didn’t understand why Louis was kissing him, but whatever the reason, he was hardly going to dispute it. One of his hands found Louis’ waist and the other soon followed, and then he was supporting the small of Louis’ back while they held each other and their heavy breathing mingled together into a sound which seemed like a roaring in Harry’s ears. Inside his veins, his blood was shooting around and pulsing wildly through him with every second that he and Louis held each other and poured out all of their desperate frustration into each other’s mouths, and he was almost afraid of how the two of them were reacting, how frantically they were grabbing at each other’s clothes and hair, and how clearly they were both struggling not to lose control of themselves completely. Harry wasn’t sure who was more insane: Louis, whose lips were rapidly turning pink and swollen with every desperate kiss; or perhaps it was himself, because every time their mouths parted for them to take a quick, much-needed breath, he had to snatch Louis against him once more and kiss him again, almost as if he had no choice in the matter.

What frightened him most was that although he had initiated this, he wasn’t maintaining it – all of the wildness and the longing was coming completely from Louis, and Harry had no control over it whatsoever.

Louis pushed him up against the wall and his mouth explored every inch of Harry’s neck, leaving little red marks that would soon turn purple and leave his pale skin bruised like battered pieces of fruit, and Harry found himself moaning helplessly and arching his neck to give Louis better access, and his hands were tugging at Louis’ arms and pulling them more tightly around him, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt just for something to grab onto, and in those rare moments where he opened his eyes between gasps, all he could see was tanned skin and waves of caramel brown hair, and it made him feel dizzy and exhilarated. Louis growled his name in that ridiculously sexy voice of his, and Harry could only cry out in response and hope that his wordless pleas would convey his desperate need for more.

Only unfortunately, Louis’ usually silky voice was not the only one saying his name – that raw, sexy edge to his voice could not be mistaken, and it was not him alone who was calling for Harry’s attention. Niall’s loud voice could clearly be heard, summoning him, and Harry shook his head as if Niall could see it and burrowed his face into Louis’ shoulder.

A tangle of swearwords ripped their way out of Louis’ mouth, hopefully directed at Niall, who was after all the source of the interruption. He nipped purposefully at Harry’s collarbones, which sent Harry weak at the knees and all but whimpering against Louis’ neck, something which only encouraged Louis to bite down harder. The marks he would leave would be hard to explain, but Harry would willingly take the awkwardness and the lies he would have to tell about the bruises if it meant that he could live through the ridiculously pleasurable sensation of Louis putting them there.

“Harry!” yelled Niall again.

This time, Louis was far more vocal; his profanities were tangible this time, and Harry wasn’t sure what was making him blush more, the kisses or Louis’….extensive vocabulary. He felt almost ashamed to be hearing the words coming from Louis’ mouth.

“Harry!”

“Harry…”

“Louis,” Harry half-wailed in response to Louis’ plea, and astonishingly he found himself beginning to push Louis away, hands on his chest and showing an amount of restraint which shocked him. It was Louis who was refusing to let go now, growling his name while his lips whispered against Harry’s skin. “Louis, he’s going to see –”

Ignoring him, Louis just intensified both his struggles and his efforts to kiss Harry twice as hard as before. But Harry was determined that Niall wasn’t going to burst through the undergrowth and find two of his best mates snogging behind a bush, so in a movement that was becoming almost disturbingly familiar bearing in mind that he was supposed to be avoiding it at all costs, he mercilessly thrust himself into Louis’ mind.

Stop, Louis!

Just like that, Louis stopped. Not because he wanted to, but because he had no choice. He looked beseechingly at Harry, and his pleading expression was almost enough to knock Harry’s defences down immediately, but if there was one thing Harry could do, it was warp people’s perceptions. 

This never happened. Step back, close your eyes, turn around. Forget this. Forget this kiss, Louis; if you start to think about it, I want you to think about…something else. Anything else. Think about cake! That’s it. If you start to remember this kiss, you will think of cake, do you understand me?

“Harry!”

Niall exploded through the bush and staggered over to them – and he instantly threw a lazy arm around the shoulders of a slightly dazed looking Louis, a Louis who looked confused and off-balance and a little bit sick, his skin ever so faintly green.

“I was wondering where you two guys got to. Sneaking around here in the bushes, huh? Anyone would think you were up to something,” Niall teased, playfully nudging Louis in the ribs with one of his sharp elbows.

Louis jumped, and stared at him with a slightly bewildered expression, like he’d just resurfaced from  a dream and couldn’t quite believe he was standing there with the two of them. He blinked a couple of times. It took every single ounce of willpower Harry had not to start tampering with Niall’s mind, too, the only one of his friends’ minds who he had thus far left untouched – but somehow he managed to calm himself down enough to not start messing around with people’s minds any more than he had already.

 “Come on, guys,” Niall said lightly, “we’d better go back in there, or the others are going to start kicking up a fuss. Liam’s already getting edgy without having Lou there to contain that girl if she starts making trouble.”

“Yeah,” Harry said heavily. “Alright then.” He paused. “Lou?”

Louis licked his lips dazedly. “I’m starving,” he murmured, more to himself than anyone else – and then he began almost drifting towards the entrance to the garage.

Shrugging, Niall pulled a jokey face at Harry and then the two of them sauntered after Louis.

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