*Winner of Movellas' Fanfiction Royale Competition* "How many nights does it take to count the stars?" | As the boys sit down and pen the final song for their album, they're asked to reflect back on the sudden departure of one of their own members. *Songfic Entry for Fanfiction Royale Competition*


5. l.t




"So this is it?" Louis asked, watching as Zayn haphazardly threw clothes into suitcases. Months had passed, years far gone. The two stood in some random hotel room in a city too far away from a place they used to call home. 

"I can't fucking do this anymore." Zayn said, his voice strained. He had been on the phone for the past two hours, screaming obscenities at management, booking the first ticket he could out of Beijing, calling his mum and letting her know he'd be home soon. 

Unlike the other boys, Louis knew that this day would come. In fact, he could calculate the exact moment the light went out in Zayn's eyes, as it was about the same time it went out in his own. They had both been going on just for the sake of the other boys for so long. Louis could feel himself running out of time, as if one day he would be doing the very same as Zayn. But he knew better, and he wanted Zayn to know better. 

Zayn and Louis had gotten on so well because they understood the gravity of fame, because of the five it seemed to weigh the heaviest on them. At least, that's what they had thought. The toxicity of their relationship stemmed from this belief that no one understood them. That they were so wrought with pain that could not be numbed with anything but alcohol or drugs. They weren't the type that talked, not by a long shot. They just enabled each other, they told each other it was okay to act the way they did because they had to. Because if they didn't they might not survive. But that night, that was night that Louis realized that they had been wrong. 

"You can't do this anymore? What about me? What about the rest of us?" Louis retorted.

"Did you see what they published in the tabloids!?"

"Is it a lie?" Louis asked, knowing fully well that it wasn't. He stood before Zayn with his arms crossed before his tattooed chest in a defying stance.

"They shouldn't have fucking speculated! What I do with my own fucking life is my business!" Zayn said, yelling at the wall before him, but still not turning to face Louis.

"Not when you're famous it's not!"

Zayn slammed his suitcase shut and finally spun around to look at Louis head on, "Of all of them, I thought you would understand."

"Well I don't! You're being a twat! You can't just leave in the middle of a fucking tour, Zayn!"

"It's just a break."

"You can't wait til May!?"

"No! If I don't get home now..."

"Perrie will break up with you?" Louis asked, knowing fully well that Zayn's fiance hadn't answered the phone since the press had leaked pictures of Zayn with his hands around a girl that clearly wasn't her.

"She shouldn't have to suffer because of me."

"Drop the good boyfriend act Zayn, it doesn't suit you. If you cared about Perrie, then you should've thought of her before you ran off with that girl that wasn't your so-called fiance."

Zayn looked at him angrily, "Oh, so now it's my fault? Get off your fucking soapbox. You have no right to judge me."

"I know I'm not perfect, but you know what? I'm here. I'm staying here. Through all the shit that's happened, I'm still gonna stay."

"Good for you."

"And you know what?" Louis added in for good measure, "You're being a coward! A fucking coward! You're just going to run away from the world!? How stupid are you? Do you know how hard we've worked to get here?"

"I just want to be a normal 22 year old! I want to wake up and know what time it is! In what country I'm in! I want to be able to make it through an entire day without having to medicate myself just to get by! Is that too much to ask!?" Zayn replied, snatching his suit case off his bed and rolling it towards the door.

Louis stepped two steps to the right and blocked the door, "We both know this isn't a break. You can fool Niall and Harry, maybe even Liam, but not me. We both know that once you step out that door and get on that plane you're never fucking coming back."

"I will." Zayn mumbled, clearly lying through his teeth. 

Louis hated Zayn in that moment, so much so that he didn't think it would ever pass. What Zayn felt was no different from what any of them felt. And as much as Louis wanted to feel some inkiling of compassion for his mate, he couldn't. All he saw was selfish Zayn throwing a tantrum. 

"You're not coming back and we both know it."

Zayn didn't respond that time, his silence enough of an answer.

It felt like as if this moment was frozen in time. He didn't know what hour it was, what day it was, just as always. The world kept spinning, but there they were, stuck in an infinitely perpetual back and forth. The same dance they had been doing for five years, but now it was nearing its end. 

"I'll always be your brother." Zayn tried, grasping Louis' shoulder. He smiled weakly, trying to offer some reassurance.

Louis shrugged Zayn's heavy hand off of him, "Brothers don't leave."

Zayn pretended it didn't hurt, he took back his hand with indifference, grabbing his suitcase and pushing past Louis to open the door, "Sometimes they have to."

And he was gone.



He left, what else is there to say? If he didn't want to be here, then fucking good riddance. 

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