- - -
it's not something pretty
it's not something cute
it's not like a fresh rose
it's like the thorns that cut you
like the withering petals that fall
getting crushed and stepped on
- - -
that's the emotion that harry always feels nowadays. it's deeply embodied in his whole being, all down to his bones. it sits like a stone on his heart, and holds onto his soul like a clawed hand. it makes it hard to breathe, but after all these years harry's gotten used to the weight of every breath he takes. he's gotten used to this empty feeling that he can't seem to fill up with anything. the darkness that seems to stick to him has become a dear friend.
it's one of the most consistent things in harry's life. he knows what to expect from it, it hasn't let him down. for six years now it's been the thing that's always been by his side. harry knows how it sounds, it sounds like he likes it. he doesn't, but at least he knows what to expect from it. some days are better than others, those are the days he likes to write most about.
see, harry's got two journals, one for the good stuff and one for the bad stuff, it's a way of letting it all out and keeping things in. in the journal about the bad days (or journals since the bad days are always more than the good) he pours all his helplessness into the pages, sometimes just with small words, sometimes with poems, sometimes with bad drawings, something that just makes sense for him. the other journal, is a sense to keep on to the light, he writes about how the days are kind to him, days where breathing comes a bit easier, and when his smile doesn't feel as forced.
there aren't a lot of those though. most of them the past few years he's done this have only filled part of his journal. but at least it's something, and it's working. at least for now.
he likes his good journal more than his bad journal. keeps it close to him at all times so he can always look into it and be reminded that the good days do exist. the bad journal he hides under his bed.
he knows people worry about him, especially ever since he went to uni and moved out, but he calls his mom every day and he went through therapy just before he moved, besides it's not like harry lives very far from his family. they live an hour away and sometimes that's a comfort for harry, especially when the bad days hit him too hard and all he needs is his mom or the special cookies she always used to make him when he got sad, or just the comfort of his childhood bedroom, the illusion that he's 10 all without a care in the world. when the light was still a constant presence in his life and the darkness didn't consume him the way it does now.
ever since harry was 15 he remembers something shifting inside him, suddenly life seemed so meaningless, waking up became a burden and a heaviness has followed him ever since. at first harry didn't see the signs, thought it was just what happened when you were a teenager, life was suddenly just harder, and while he couldn't remember gemma having such a hard time, he just assumed it was because he's always been the more sensitive one. his mom thought the same, thought school was becoming more stressful, but after some time, when harry would spend days in his bed, not eating or showering, she started to get worried, and by that time harry knew something was wrong. he thought back to the time when he used to love the early mornings, when he looked forward to going to school and seeing his friends. but it all seemed like a burden, a punishment, and there was no joy to it anymore. and the little part of harry's brain that was still fighting told harry that this isn't normal, that this isn't okay, but harry didn't listen, he didn't care, still doesn't to some point. and here he is now, 6 years later and that voice has dimmed down, barely a presence in his mind.
sure, when harry went to therapy, it helped a bit, it's where he got the idea of the journals, his therapist noticed that he was willing to write about his emotions more than to talk about them, and since he needed to get it out, she told him to write, keep two journals, one for the positive things, and one for the negative things, and she saw that it helped him, so after their last session she made harry promise to keep writing, and harry has. he even transferred some of the things on his skin. he probably shouldn't, seeing as tattoos are a permanent thing and he'd rather not get reminded of all the things and feelings his depression makes him feel. but they're nice reminders and sometimes they help, but sometimes harry doesn't pay that much attention to them. he loves the process of getting them, the pain, the feeling he gets when he realises it's going to be with him forever. it's one of the few times he feels something other than the heaviness and numbness that follows him around.
he doesn't have a lot of tattoos. the rose on his left forearm is a reminder that everything beautiful can get ruined, but it can still rise again. the three birds on his right wrist represents his family; his mom, gemma and robin. those that have always been there for him. the birds also representing the strength and love that they give him. the quote "his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream" on his right forearm from his favorite poem by maya angelou, that always stuck with him since he accidently stumbled upon it. his arrow tattoo with it’s feathers in the irish flag’s colors that he got after a few good days when he and his best friend niall skipped school to travel to ireland for saint patrick's day that he wants to remember for as long as he can. of course he has some tattoos that aren't tied with his depression, like the ferns he got on his hips one night when he was aimlessly walking and saw them through the window and thought they looked cool. (he still thinks that). or the cross he got on his hand after walking into a random parlor and the artist didn’t have a lot of free time. or the line of planets down the line of his spine that gemma jokingly said he should get when he had his big space phase. (alright, he still got his space phrase).
he likes to think that his tattoos represents his life journey, and when there have been moments he didn’t think he would experience or come to because of his depression, they remind him of that it is possible and that it’s not the end. it’s a thing harry needs to remind himself a lot, and it gets tiring but the tattoos help. just as much as the journals. makes the air easier to breathe in.
- - -
all at once
at the same time
and nothing else
- - -
harry was having one of his bad days. he could tell before he even opened his eyes. his whole body seemed heavier than it usually did and he seemed glued to the bed, even opening his eyelids was hard and tiring. he knew he should try to fight this feeling, exams were coming up and harry couldn't afford to miss any more classes than he already has. god knows niall hasn't attended them and harry wouldn't find any help from him.
but he's fighting a losing battle. he's been doing this tug war for a long time. he should know.
what he does though is pick up his phone from the nightstand and send a quick text to niall. it's just the devil emoji. it's his signal to niall that he's having a bad day. it's a great thing, when niall first mentioned it, harry had been a bit sceptical, he didn't want to bother niall with sending so many texts with that one emoji, but niall wouldn't let up, saying that harry is his best friend and he wants to know about his well being. eventually harry caved, and he's so happy he did. niall usually leaves him alone on those days, gives him a day or two of space but if harry hasn't texted him an angel emoji after three days he'll storm right into harry's flat and doing something to cheer him up, whatever that's cuddles, ice cream and movies or just getting drunk, it works. niall alone always seem to lift harry's spirits. it's impossible to be completely sad in the irish lad's presence.
a few hours have passed since harry sent the text to niall, when he hears shouting. he blinks his eyes open slowly, and he sees the man himself storming into his room. “what?” he mumbles at niall.
“she said yes!” niall shouts as he jumps up on harry’s bed and effectively crushing him.
“who?” harry asks pushing niall off him so he can sit up.
“raven! you know the girl i’ve had my eye on from economics.”
“wait, you have economics? since when?” he asks rubbing his face.
“of course i don’t, she has, i just saw her walk out from the class one day and you know as they say the rest is history.” niall winked.
“sure.” harry said slowly trying to process it all.
“so because of that we’re celebrating, i’ve had my eye on her for two weeks, we gotta celebrate, this is the longest a girl has ignored my date proposals.” niall said jumping off the bed and heading towards harry’s closet.
it wasn’t until niall threw a sheer black shirt and his skinny jeans at him that what niall said fully hit him. “wait, we’re going out?”
“fuck yeah we’re going out, we gotta celebrate, i got a date with raven this friday, and besides your devil days have been far too many this month so, we’re going out.” niall said cheerfully and as always niall’s way of life brought a small smile to his face.
“alright, so where are we going?”
- - -
and the light comes
in the form of a blur
- - -
harry’s in the middle of the dance floor with niall, laughing and screaming the lyrics of some song that he doesn’t remember the name of right in each others faces. the edges of his vision are blurry from the amount of alcohol he has had but he feels weightless. like he can do anything in this moment. he’s happy that niall dragged him out, and that it actually helped, because even as hard as niall sometimes tries it doesn’t help. but niall is radiating happiness right now and it’s just contagious. he hopes it’ll lasts until tomorrow. but for now he’s just going to dance and hope his silent prayers get answered. harry’s learned that it’s no use hoping and imagining what could be. it only makes it worse.
harry throws his head back and starts spinning, everything around him blurs and it’s an amazing feeling, in this moment he’s just here, carefree. niall joins him in the spinning and they keep going at it for two full songs before it gets too much and they decide to go outside for some fresh air.
they’re giggling the whole way outside and it’s amazing, it feels too long since harry’s felt this good. he and niall lean back against the brick wall and while their giggles subdue, they look around at some of the few people that are outside as well. a group of girls are shivering a bit as they smoke and there are two guys with their arms around each other singing as they stumble away. harry keeps his smile as he’s watching them, letting the slight dizziness wash away.
he turns to niall and finds him with a smile and closed eyes, he bumps his shoulder to get his attention, and when niall looks at him his smile gets bigger and his eyes light up and harry knows he’s gotten some idea that harry will of course go along with.
“c’mon” niall waves a hand at him before running off and it takes a moment for harry to follow in his drunken state but soon enough his legs get the request and him and niall are running down the street and after a few minutes they run into a small liquor store, giggling and breathless.
the store has different kind of fairy lights which easily distract him while he can vaguely hear niall asking for vodka. the store’s dimly lit which strangely gives it a sort of cosy atmosphere thanks to the lights. but harry doesn’t really have time to think about it because soon enough niall’s dragging him out of it and harry hopes he remembers it because he’d like to return there.
as they walk they silently pass the bottle between them, the liquid burning their throats, and their footsteps loud in the quiet night. he doesn’t know what time it is, but the atmosphere is nice, quiet but nice. it makes him laugh, to think he started the day feeling dead and now he’s here in the middle of nowhere with niall, feeling happy.
he throws his head back still laughing and looks up at the stars, they’re so many and so beautiful. even though he knows they’re just burning hot gas and dying, they’re beautiful. a bit like him, and it makes him laugh even more until he’s gasping for breath.
niall turns to him laughing too, and they stand there laughing for what feels like hours before something catches niall’s eye and he stops laughing, but the maniac smile that he has still stays on.
“look!” niall says jumping up and down while pointing at something behind harry. “a fucking playground!” he yells before running towards it. “come the fuck on ‘arry” he yells as he jumps onto one of the swings. how he doesn’t fall off it harry will never know. maybe that’s just the irish luck, he thinks as he runs and jumps on a swing, and nearly falling off it in the process. definitely irish luck.
but he never stops laughing, not even when the vodka ends and him and niall have moved from the swings to the grass and are just quietly giggling as they invent new constellations while looking up the stars.
it’s a good night, and when harry finally makes it home around 5am, he writes it down in his journal. it’s a keeper he thinks as he falls asleep.
- - -
the kiss of death
may it be sweet
may it be kind
may it be exhilarating
for my bones are weary
and my breath tired
let it take me
let me go with a soft sigh
in the dark embrace
of my sweet lover death
- - -
there’s a ringing.
something like sirens.
loud, loud, loud, blaringly loud.
is he dying? it certainly feels like he’s dying.
just as the thought passes him a silence fills the previously loud air. harry can breathe out, it finally stopped. he can feel how sore he is from whatever he and niall got up to yesterday, his throat is on fire and his head has never hurt this badly before in his life.
fuck niall, he’s never letting the blonde take him out ever again.
he’s just about to fall asleep again when the ringing starts again, and he knows that whoever it is won’t let up. slowly he opens his eyes, and he’s pretty sure that he whimpers but that’s something he’ll keep to himself. he’s amazed that his phone isn’t dead after the night he and niall had. he slowly picks it up without looking at the caller, he just wants the ringing to end.
“mr. styles?” the voice sounds like rocks in a blender and the headache that’s been building up has turned into a migraine.
“yes, this is he.” he’s pretty sure he sounds like death but well, he feels like it.
“this is mr. heely from the dean’s office, we need you to come in, it’s about your absence, we’re getting concerned by the high amount, so we’d like you to come over so we can talk about a plan of action.”
“but mr. heely, you know the reason for my absences, can’t i just do what i always do, write an essay of what i’ve missed for each of the class and that’s that?” harry’s way too hungover to deal with this and why they wanna go around and change things is beyond him, but why does it have to happen on one of the days when he’s hungover?
“sadly not mr. styles, it’s unfortunate about your... mental state, but it’s no longer really valid as an excuse and we have to apply different methods.”
harry sighed, he feels anger building up, but he’s too tired to fight. he’s always too tired to fight. “what would these methods be then?”
“well, it’s that there’s this student, two years above you, and this would serve good for his grades as well.”
“how would it serve his grades?” harry doesn’t really like the sound of this, was he to be someone’s project?
“you see mr. style, the student, mr. tomlinson, needs extra credits and tutoring you would give him just that.”
harry breathed out easily, so it was just tutoring. that he could handle. although.. “does he know about my.. mental state, as you put it?”
“no, not yet, we thought of informing him when we’ll have the meeting.”
“i’d rather not tell him mr. heely, like at all.”
“oh well, alright mr. styles. the meeting’s at 16:15 at the dean’s office. be sure to be on time, it’s crucial for your education and future here at the university. goodbye.”
harry sighed and buried his head in the pillows, he’s too tired, and he had this meeting, like why was it necessary? couldn’t they just give this guy his email and then they could meet on a day where he wasn’t hungover as hell? he sighed again and lifted his head to see what time it was; 14:07. great, he could sleep for a little while longer, they could handle him being late, it wasn’t the end of the world.
- - -
the sun shines
isn’t so bad
for it has yet
to burn me
- - -
harry’s late, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. he’s hungover, tired and hungry.
he woke up at 16:03 and he’s currently walking (not running because he doesn’t run, he’s already late so why bother) down the hall to the dean’s office and it’s 16:23.
on some level he should probably care about this, but he just can’t. and to be honest he’s a bit angry over the fact that they had to go change everything around. the system he had worked, and it was good, especially for him. so yeah, harry might be a bit bitter at the moment.
when he finally reaches the dean’s office he takes a deep breath and knocks on the door.
“come in.” mr. heely’s voice rings through.
as harry opens the door he’s met with the office he’s probably been in a hundred times, every furniture a dark mahogany, put together with cream curtains and dark red carpets. “mr. styles take a seat.” mr. heely says pointing to the arm chair on the right.
as harry takes his seat he looks at the guy next to him, his supposed tutor, he’s wearing a dark blue sweater and black jeans with white sneakers, and when harry looks at his face, which is looking back at him, he can’t help but want to write poems about him. his hair is in a soft fluffy fringe, his eyes ice blue, and his small lips pink. he looks beautiful.
“so now that you’re finally here mr. styles we can look over how this arrangement will look like.” mr. heely says, drawing harry’s attention back at him. “mr. tomlinson here is an education major, specializing in english, and since you mr. styles are majoring in english i thought he’d be a perfect fit as your tutor. now mr. styles you’re on your way to failing most of your subjects, and you have to get at least a B on all your exams in order to pass them. do you understand?”
“great, now i’ll leave you to sort out the details, and i wish you boys great luck.” and with that he stood up and left. that’s it? he had to make his way down here for that?
“alright, so how you wanna do this?” the voice startles him a bit, it was light and soft, fitting harry thought.
“umm,” his head was still pounding and he seriously didn’t want to think about any of this. “is it alright if i just send you like i don’t know a text or email later? my head’s not in the right place.”
tomlinson chuckled. “yeah mate i can see, crazy night eh?” his eyes were glinting, teasing. and it made harry stop for a moment before he remembered to answer.
“yeah, maybe, i don’t remember much to be honest.” he said slowly, making the other boy laugh.
“a sign of a good night i say.” he smiled before he continued. “but alright give me your number and i’ll text you when we can meet up later this week.” the boy said holding out his phone.
“yeah, that’ll be great.” he said as he put his number and full name into his phone.
“harry styles,” the boy said looking down at his phone and then looked up smiling “nice to meet you, i’m louis tomlinson.” he said holding out his hand, the way his smile and eyes were light up made harry smile as he took louis’ hand in his and shook it.
“nice to meet you too louis tomlinson.” he said and maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as he first thought.
- - -
everyone wants to go to heaven
but no one wants to die
if they’re worthy
of the golden gate
no one wants
to come face to face
with their sins
no one wants to pay
so they live in ignorance
about angels on clouds
instead of swimming
with a stone in the sea
- - -
he doesn’t meet up with louis until nearly a week later. it turns out louis got a very busy schedule, but harry doesn’t really mind. he’s been to three classes this week and for some reason he’s worried about upsetting louis. he feels bad for dragging him into this mess. harry might choose a lot of time to not actively think about his depression but he knows how he can be a burden and how his illness can annoy the people around them. it’s usually because they don’t understand that he just can’t do things like other people. so they write him off as lazy, as someone that doesn’t care. and well in a way harry doesn’t, but he also cares too much. and he’s afraid this thing won’t go anywhere because after all harry doing good is also important for louis to do good. he’s not really sure he can deliver.
he’s currently in a coffee shop, once he’s actually early. it’s a nice coffee shop, it’s small and a bit hidden which makes it comforting, the walls are made of brick and some of them are covered in books, it makes him feel more at ease.
“hey harry! so sorry you had to wait for me, you haven’t been here long right?” a panting louis asks. and before harry answers he takes a moment to look at him, he’s nicely dressed, almost a bit overdressed, he’s wearing a white shirt with a green sweater over, making only the shirt’s collar and sleeve ends visible. he’s wearing the same black jeans and white sneakers though.
“no, not at all. just got here.” he replies slowly, finally looking up at louis, who’s looking at him with a soft smile.
“alright, so i got your exam schedule from the dean, and i’ve talked to your teachers so i’ll know exactly what you need to work on. now how do you want to set this up? do we go one subject at a time or take a little bit out of everything?” louis says as he sits down pulling out papers from his bag.
“umm..” it’s a lot to take in and he can’t believe louis actually went through all that trouble, when it really should of been him. “i think a little bit of everything, that’s smarter isn’t it?”
“well it all depends, some learn better taking one thing at a time, some don’t.”
“it doesn’t really matter to me, i just wanna get this done.”
“alright,” louis nodded, “so what do you wanna start with first?”
“english lit, it’s my best subject.” at least he knew that.
“alright, english lit it is, so,” he started going through the papers he put out before. “you have mrs. grey there and you’ve basically missed everything about shakespeare so let’s start with his most famous ones, yeah?” he says pulling out three books and putting them at the table. “i thought we could start with these three.” he says pointing to the books which turn out to be hamlet, macbeth and romeo and juliet. “so which one first?”
“how about romeo and juliet? seems like a good start.”
“romance is never a bad start, even though it ends tragically.” he says picking up the book and looking for it for a while, there’s this concentrating look on his face that makes it hard to look away.
“okay we gotta set up a plan, have you ever read it?”
“all three actually.”
it made louis smile, his eyes getting brighter. “good man, well what you need to do is analyse the text and in your own words try to tell what you think shakespeare was trying to conway.”
“i can do that.” it seemed a lot like what he would usually do.
“great, well how about you get to work and i’ll try to figure out the rest and we’ll see if you’re alright with it, sounds good?” he still had that soft smile on his face and everything just felt so easy.
“yeah sounds good.” he replied, feeling a small smile of his own appear.
they sat together working for the next few hours, occasionally making a comment here or there but mostly they just sticked to their own work. harry noticed though that louis would hum sometimes when he was deeply concentrated while writing something. that he would always keep one hand on his tea even if he wasn’t drinking it. it was a bit distracting and usually harry didn’t like to be distracted. but somehow being distracted by louis wasn’t such a bad thing. the thought scared him a bit to be honest, but it also made him feel more alive, like he wasn’t cold anymore. he couldn’t explain it, he didn’t really get it, especially since he barely knew the other man, but it felt okay and that’s all that mattered to harry at the moment.
“oh, are you done?” louis looked up from his papers, breaking harry’s thoughts.
“with all three?” louis voice got a bit more high pitched, surprised.
“yeah, it wasn’t all that hard.” he shrugged.
“can i look them over?” louis eyes were shining with something, harry couldn’t really explain what. what did even louis think of him?
“um, sure.” he handed his laptop to him. louis gave him a smile while he quickly scrolled through the three different papers. sometimes louis’ eyebrows would raise, but harry didn’t know what that meant. yet he wanted to know. it scared him a bit how much he wanted, it’s not a feeling harry was used to.
“you know from the way the dean gave me the idea that you just weren’t the type for school, that you couldn’t do the work, but it seems that he was wrong, now i’ve only scrolled through these, but they look good, very good. does he not like you?” louis turned to him with one raised eyebrow, harry’s always been jealous of people that could do it, for some reason he has never been able to do it.
“something like that yes.” mr. heely has never hidden the fact that he wasn’t a big fan of harry or his depression. it was obvious that he was of those people that didn’t really believe it to be an illness and thought it was just an excuse because harry was lazy and he didn’t want to attend classes and lectures and just wanted to party.
“he’s a proper dick, i haven’t really had to deal with him, i’m sorry.” louis looked down at his hands, that were playing with the edge of harry’s laptop. he looked a bit ashamed, for the fact that he had believed mr. heely.
“it’s alright, you didn’t know me, and he’s the dean, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t believe him. i haven’t given you a reason not to, so...” he trailed off.
louis gave him a smile. “you’re a bit too kind you know? i would of been proper pissed.”
harry shrugged. “i don’t really care what he thinks of me.”
louis nodded. “you know, you have given me a reason. this,” he said pointing to the laptop. “is one. and i’m sure you’re going to give me more.”
“how can you be so sure?”
“well, you’re kind harry, and smart.” louis was looking right at him, and it felt like everything around them had stopped, no one has ever looked at him like louis is doing right now. “i’m sure you’re going to keep surprising me, you’re special harry.” louis had a genuine look in his eyes, and harry snorted, ‘special’ , yeah right.
louis eyes turned confused. “what? you don’t believe that?” apparently he said that out loud. fuck. he felt trapped. and he felt himself turning jittery. louis was still looking at him with this look, something harry couldn’t really explain, and he didn’t know what to feel about it. and he wanted out fast.
“no, i don’t. i’m just harry, there’s nothing special about me, just because i’m smarter than you originally thought doesn’t make me special. now, are we done for the day? i have other things i need to do.” like running away, and trying to get back the air in his lungs. louis was doing stuff to him and it was confusing his mind and body. like everything going into overdrive.
his answer took louis by surprise. “um, yeah. i’ve made a syllabus of some sort, we have one month before your exams starts and it’s not a lot of time so we’re going to have to meet at least 20 times to make sure we cover everything. i’m thinking monday, tuesday, wednesday, saturday and sunday around 18:30, would that work for you?” he was gathering his papers, not meeting harry’s eyes. harry should probably feel bad, louis was just trying to help him. but after all he was also helping himself. no one is really selfless, louis doesn’t care about harry in the long run, he’s just trying to make the time being easy, trying to be a nice teacher, one that always says positive things, even though they’re false just to make the kid happy and give them false hope.
“yeah.” he took his laptop, “see you tomorrow.” he said and left. not looking back.
- - -
the walls are closing in
the silence is screaming
'what have you done?'
piercing my skin like needles
everything's on fire
'what have you done?'
i can't breathe
all hope is lost
'what have you done?'
the mirror is empty
the shadow is gone
'what have you done?'
'what have you done?'
'what have you done?'
- - -
harry doesn’t remember how he got home.
he just knows that suddenly he’s inside his flat. his lungs feel like they’re failing him. his breath is coming in pants and it feels like he has bricks on his chest. his skin feels too tight around him. he feels dizzy and he’s pretty sure tears are escaping his eyes.
he doesn’t understand anything. how all of this happened. he just wants it all to stop.
he’s screaming, and crying. he just wants it all to end. he throws his bag somewhere, he needs to get out of these clothes. he feels trapped.
everything is coming down at him and suddenly he registers a dull pain. he’s on the floor. he can’t remember it ever being this bad in a while. why is it all bad? why is he like this? why does it have to happen to him? why can’t he be normal? why can’t he breathe?
he just wants it to end.
all the pain.
all the suffering.
he just wants it all to end. he doesn’t care how.
harry finds himself in the bathroom, vaguely he knows what his mind is doing. he has a bottle of painkillers in the cabinet. it could be painless, he’ll just fall asleep, and it would all be over.
he’s holding the bottle, his knuckles are white because of his grip. it would all be over. everything. no more pain, no more nothing. just peace and silence. he would be free of his mind. no more depression.
it would all be over.
he’s breathing has slowed down a bit. he’s more calm. is this it?
he’s had this plan thought out for a few years but he’s never gone through with it.
it would all be over.
maybe it’s time now.
he’s done with the mood swings. with the pills that haven’t worked. with the breakdowns. with the pain. with the numbness. he just wants to feel something, but he knows he won’t. he never will. not in this lifetime. maybe in the next he’ll be normal. he’ll be happy. or at least okay. that’s all he wants after all. to be okay. he hasn’t been okay in so long. he wants more than a few passing moments. he wants a life without this. and if he has to end this life to get it. he will. it’s time he got his happy ending.
suddenly there’s a ringing.
why now? it makes him hesitate, his grip on the bottle looser. should he?
the ringing hasn’t stopped. maybe it will. or maybe it won’t.
he bites his lip and walks back in the living room. he’s mind is a bit clearer now. he notices his shirt on the floor and his bag on the couch. he takes his still ringing phone out from it. the caller id shows louis.
he hesitates for a moment before he answers it. “hello?” his voice sounds rough.
“hi harry, i-i just wanted to apologise for earlier. i don’t know you and obviously i can’t make comments like that. i’m sorry for that, i hope it doesn’t mess things up for the future.” he sounded a bit awkward, like he didn’t exactly know what to say, a bit shaky. although what did harry really know about him?
but this wasn’t something harry expected. he glanced down on the pill bottle in his hands. he didn’t know what he was feeling. “um, it’s alright, i accept your apology.”
“alright, good, um, so i’ll see you tomorrow?” louis sounded relived. harry glanced at his bottle again.
“yeah, sure.” he made to end the call but before he could do it louis spoke up again.
“you promise?” louis was trying to go for a teasing tone, but it fell short, did he really feel that bad for earlier? harry glanced down at the bottle again, turning it around in his hands.
“harry?” he must have spaced out for a while. “you still there?”
“um yeah, sorry, spaced out for a while. but yeah promise.”
“alright, see you tomorrow then.” and with that he hung up. harry was left to just stare at his phone and his bottle. so it wasn’t happening today, but he felt that something else was happening. he couldn’t really explain it. he didn’t understand it. but it didn’t feel bad. after all nothing could get as bad as his current situation. although he decided to knock on wood just in case. he didn’t need to invite more negative things in his life.
he sat down on the couch sighing. one more day lived. now that he got a minute to think he knew this was bad. he needed to call helen, his therapist. but that was for tomorrow. he was drained, and he just wanted to sleep. just forget about everything that had happened. he hoped tomorrow would be kinder. at least a little bit.
- - -
i have nothing
yet i have everything
cross it all out
a clean state
something i've never had before
i'm scared yet excited
suddenly i have something
i don't know yet
but it feels special
- - -
harry was exhausted when he woke up. his eyes felt heavy and irritated, and he just wanted to melt into his bed. but he knew he couldn’t do that. he had to call helen and later he had his study session with louis. louis which was different, and a small part wanted to know what made him so different. why he was so persistent, most people wouldn’t have called to apologise. but louis was different, different good or bad harry wasn’t sure. he hoped good.
harry made his call to helen from his bed, it went quickly and they set up a session next week and she put him on a new type of antidepressants which he was to use starting today. so before harry set out to meet louis, he stopped by the pharmacy to pick the pills up.
it would be okay. that’s what he was telling himself. it had to be okay. he can’t settle for less.
when he walks into the coffee shop he sees louis. he’s looking at something at his laptop, his eyes concentrated and, wait, are those glasses? the glasses actually suit him. he looks better with them. his hair is in the same fluffy fringe, and he’s wearing a white t-shirt with a deep red fluffy cardigan, making him look very soft.
as harry approaches the table louis notices him and gives him a smile. “hi.” he says after harry’s sat down.
“hey.” he’s not really sure where to go after everything.
louis takes off his glasses and rubs his face before putting them on again and smiles, although it comes off more as a grimace. “so this is going to be a little awkward isn’t it?” he laughs, clearly he’s as comfortable with this as harry is.
harry lets out a small laugh. “guess so.”
“well, only if we let it. how about we just don’t let it get awkward?”
“just like that?” louis is sort of ridiculous.
“just like that, we decide no? it we say that it isn’t awkward it doesn’t have to be awkward. bullet proof plan if i say so myself.” louis gives him a smile.
“alright then, it isn’t awkward.” he smiles back and somehow it isn’t.
“great! now, i thought we could continue with english lit, you’re going to have to read these texts,” he passes harry two texts, both look around 10 pages each. “and then when you’re done i have a test for you.”
“a test?” harry raises his eyebrows, he’s so not in the mood for a test.
louis sits back and laughs a bit. “don’t look at me like that, it’s an easy test, just 10 questions. you should be fine.”
“and if i’m not?”
“then we’ll cross that bridge when we’ll get to it, now c’mon we don’t have all day, i have to grade it too don’t i?” he looks more comfortable now. somehow he looks better that way too.
so harry sets out to read the texts while louis goes back to whatever he’s doing. he turns serious the moment he’s made sure harry has started reading the texts and his eyes are on his screen. harry’s a bit curious as to what he’s doing. at least that’s what he says when instead of reading he steals glances at the other boy.
it takes a bit of time going through the texts but they’re fairly easy and after almost 2 hours, he’s ready to take the test. and just as louis said it’s 10 questions, some open some multichoice. surprisingly it is easy, and he’s finished with it in half an hour.
louis grades it fairly quickly, and he writes a big A on it in red marker before handing him it back, there are a few comments on it but nothing bad, they continue with other texts but this time they discuss them. it’s a bit different, louis thinks the complete opposite of him just to make harry work harder on his explanations and to force him to be more nuanced, but it isn’t done in a forceful way and he doesn’t feel caged like he sometimes does when he’s doing the same thing with his professors. he feels completely at ease with louis. somehow it’s just easy.
they go off track a bit, harry already forgotten what they were discussing. they just spend the time bantering and getting to know one another. he finds out that louis always wanted to become a teacher, he felt it was one of the most important jobs in the world because you set the path for the next generation. louis tells him he’s a complete mamma’s boy and that he has four younger sisters. he also tells him about his complete love for football and history books.
“so you’re one of those that think history is very much important?” harry asks him when he finds out.
“well if you want to understand the present and figure out the future you need to understand history, just knowing history won’t help you, you need to understand why and how it all happened to understand why things are happening now and what will happen in the future as a cause of it.” louis tells him very seriously. which makes harry almost laugh, he’s cute when he’s passionate.
in turn harry tells him about his family. how he misses his mom all the time, especially her cooking. he lets it slip that he’s an awful cook and that he begs his best friend niall most of the time to come and cook for him. he tells him about his love for fictional books, how amazed he is at people that can create a whole new world and make it seem so real.
they spend a lot of time trading sister stories, of how they know almost all the braids, they tell each other about their respective movie nights and late nights with ice cream, they trade stories of different boy crushes their sisters had, and the respective boy crushes they themselves had. it’s a good laugh, all the embarrassing things their sisters had done to them and what they had done to their sisters. it makes him feel content. it makes him finally figure it out, louis’ different, but he’s a good different. one that harry hopes to keep in his life. even if it’s only for a month.
- - -
the stars are bright
in the darkness they guide me
point me back home
even though i'm lost
they're a comfort
even though i'm not
for they are my home
my light in the dark
i'm never alone
not when i have them
- - -
the next weeks go the same, harry and louis grow closer during their sessions. after they’re finished with all the work they just talk. it’s all random things. louis tells him about his classes and the shit he and his friend liam get up to. harry tells him about niall and the crazy stuff niall’s made him do. they laugh about the things they’ve gotten up to while drunk, harry finds out that louis is the one that mostly convinces his friends to go along with one of his crazy schemes. it doesn’t surprise harry after the weeks they’ve known each other, louis just draws people in. it’s why he’s going to be an amazing teacher, everyone just listens and follows him. he’s just that kind of person that you want to follow. although he doesn’t really get it. it’s cute.
that’s also one thing that harry’s been noticing lately. almost everything louis does he thinks it’s cute and during the day he thinks about him a lot, like a lot a lot. it doesn’t help that they’ve started texting everyday and somehow they haven’t run out of things to say to each other.
harry hasn’t felt this close to someone in a long time. last time he grew this close with someone it was niall, but still, this feels different. something he hasn’t really felt before. and he thinks louis feels it too, but he’s afraid to test that theory out. he knows what holds him back, and he keeps telling himself that if louis feels what he’s feeling, then he will make the first move.
after all harry doesn’t want to sacrifice this, whatever it is it’s good, and he won’t let himself ruin it. he doesn’t have a lot of good things going on for himself and he’ll hate himself if he ruins more for himself.
he’s gotten better since the first time, the pills helen gave him are working, both to his and her happiness. although opening up to helen has been hard and slow, it’s happening, and it feels like it can be good. and he doesn’t want it to stop. so he smiles, let’s his gaze linger, and he doesn’t do anything else. and it’s fine. for the time it’s fine and he’s okay with that.
- - -
my life is yours
my faith is yours
i lay it all
in your hands
i give up
and hand it all to you
for i need guidance
and you're my only hope
i don't know for what
- - -
harry’s standing outside the classroom of his last exam, he was nearly done, and he felt jitterish, the feeling of knowing he was this close to all this ending put him on edge, everything had gone perfectly, he had somehow aced all his exams. he should be happy, and in a way he was, but his exams ending meant that he wouldn’t see louis anymore.
louis, who’d shown up before all his exams, with kind glittering eyes and and wide smiles. telling him how proud he was of him, how he knew that harry had nothing to worry about, that he was going to ace all the exams, and somehow harry had done exactly that. louis was over the moon over how everything was going, and he said it was all harry’s doing, but truth be told, it was all louis. along the way he’d found himself thinking that he had to get good grades on his exams, not for himself no, but for louis, for louis that believed and supported him so much since day one. for never giving up on him, for always being there and never losing his patience with him even when harry had his bad days and almost couldn’t be reasoned with. for louis that unknowingly saved him. not just the day where harry had thought to kill himself with the pills, but for so much more. for showing him the light that harry thought had been lost to the darkness forever. for somehow waking him up and letting himself love again.
love, something that harry was deathly afraid of, because he knew that everything he touched died. he knew his depression made it hard not only for himself to love someone but for other people to love him. yet louis had sneaked past all that fear that harry held so closely to his heart, and let him love again. louis himself didn’t know it, harry would never say that to his face, his fears were still very strongly intact. but it felt nice to love again, even if it had only been for a little while. and maybe, someday harry would fall in love again, and he wouldn’t be afraid anymore. he knew he had a lot of working with himself before those fears were gone, but he felt good about the prospect of it. it felt nice, like he was starting to become alive again.
- - -
and the angel gasped
like a heavenly symphony
surprise coloured it’s pale cheeks
‘how?’ it whispered
for it could not believe
that something so pure
could actually exist
- - -
harry walked out of the university, his breathes a bit shaky.
he was done, he had did it.
it was over.
he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. he unsurprisingly thought of louis, louis that had showed up minutes before the exam was set to start, looking like he just gotten out of bed. his hair looking soft like rumbled feathers, glasses a bit askewed, a soft grey sweater and matching sweatpants, it was the first time harry had seen him looking so comfy, like a tiny ball of fur.
their brief conversation had been laced with a tension they both felt. they no longer had any reason for meeting up or seeing each other. it was almost like a goodbye. except that they thought it instead of saying it.
it all felt bittersweet to harry. he aced his exams, made it through one more year of school, but it didn’t exactly feel like a win. it felt more like a loss. and it hung heavy in his chest.
he opened his eyes again and sighed. there was nothing to be done, he thought as he started walking the familiar way home.
after a few minutes he suddenly thought he heard his name, someone shouting it, but he dismissed it quickly. he must be imaging things, which to him, wouldn’t be all that surprising if he did.
but the voice just got louder and louder.
and it made him stop, because he knew that voice.
he turned around just as louis crashed into him, not expecting harry to stop all together, and they nearly fell over, but by some miracle they didn’t.
they were holding each other tightly to make sure the other wasn’t going to fall, and harry couldn’t really get his mind to work, what was louis doing? was all that his mind seemed to be able to think.
“harry.” it was quiet, but determined.
“louis, what are you doing here?” his eyes were wide and his grip on him never lessened, he needed to make sure this wasn’t all an illusion. that this was real, that louis was actually here.
“i don’t want it to end harry.” his voice was quiet, a whisper, like he was telling him a secret. anything louder would of sounded wrong. louis eyes were big and vulnerable, harry noticed, but he couldn’t look away, he still didn’t understand.
louis went on, in the same whisper when harry made no move to say anything else. “these past few weeks have been amazing for me, and i know they have for you too, because the way we got close it doesn’t happen often, and i could see it when the exam session started that you thought this was going to end after that. and for a moment i did too, because i thought it was what you wanted, but as the exams happened and there were less and less and instead of looking happy and relieved you looked the complete opposite harry and i knew, you don’t want it to end like i don’t want it to end.” his voice was still quiet but his words were growing stronger and stronger.
harry felt his breath catch, and it felt like he couldn’t breathe, where was louis going with this?
“i like you harry, a lot, like a lot a lot. and i’m saying this because i don’t want this to end, and i’m sure you don’t want it to end, and well, i’m sorta saying all of this in hope that you like me too.” he took a deep breath, he looked a lot more nervous and his words were shaky. “they say that it’s better to do a thing then live with the question ‘what if?’ all your life, it’s fucking scary, and normally i’d take the what if before i do something that feels like i’m going to jump off a bridge, but you feel worth it harry, this feels worth it.” it felt as if louis was staring right into his very soul at the moment. “so i’m asking, harry styles, would you like to try this out? because well, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, and it feels ten times more scary than jumping off a bridge.”
there was a deep silence that followed louis, and it seemed way too loud. they were still holding tightly to each other, staring into each other’s eyes, not daring to look away.
inside harry’s head the words kept repeating themselves
it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you, it feels like i’m falling in love with you
suddenly louis grip was loosening and harry came to realise he must of been quiet for too long, because louis eyes grew guarded, like he realised he done the wrong thing, that he hurt himself. and harry couldn’t have it. so he held on tighter, and asked:
“you’re in love with me?” his voice came out watery and he heard how big the disbelief was in his voice.
“yeah, i am. why, you don’t believe me?”
“i don’t understand how.” because harry didn’t. he never understood people that loved him, even his own family. because he knew how he could be most of the time, and it felt that what he had become, wasn’t something easy to love, he could hardly do it himself, so how could he expect others to do it. but louis sounded so sure, like it was the easiest thing in the world to do. and something deep inside him wondered, maybe it was easy, he just couldn’t see it.
“you don’t understand? harry you’re the most amazing person i have ever met, you’re smart, kind, determined, passioned, quirky, i can go on if you’d like, but we would be standing here a long time--”
“what do you mean how?”
“i don’t see how i’m the person you’re in love with.” and he couldn’t, not really. it seemed like a different person, someone he might of been once, someone he should of been. but not someone he was.
“now it’s my turn to be confused, how can you not see that? why do you say that’s not the person you are?”
“because i have depression and all that i feel is numb all the time, and i have moments where i can see myself being that person, but most of the time i’m not, i’m nothing most of the time, and for you to tell me i’m basically everything, i just don’t understand.”
“depression? you know it makes sense, some days it seemed as if you were carrying the weight of the world on you, and it was crushing you, killing you from the inside out, but harry, you can be more than that, your depression doesn’t define you, it’s a part of you but you’re more than that so much more.”
and harry hadn’t realised it but he started crying, because somehow, he believed louis, he believed he could be more. that he didn’t have to be bound to this, that he could be more.
louis hands were now on his face, stroking his cheeks.
“i love you.” they both said at the same time, and it felt like a movie moment. something that harry never thought would actually happen to him. that he never thought were reality at all, but here he was, having a big love movie moment. and it didn’t feel silly at all, it felt right. like all the pieces were slowly getting back together to create a beautiful picture.
louis had somehow also started crying, and they shared a look, it was filled with so much love that harry almost choked, no one had ever looked at him that way before. and he was sure, the love he saw in louis eyes were mirrored in his eyes as well. and the puzzle pieces fell together right before his eyes. this was it, somehow he knew, after this it would be okay. he had louis and with him it felt like he could conquer the world. that anything was possible, even happiness, something that harry view as a rare luxury. he knew he had a lot of work with himself but looking at louis right now, it didn’t matter, because this moment was all he needed, all the proof that he it would be okay.
they leaned in at the same time, louis lips were soft and warm, just like the rest of him. the kiss tasted sweet, like vanilla ice cream, but sweeter, it must be true love, he thought.
- - -
and by god it felt so pure
more than heaven itself
and all the other angels gathered
their light seemed dim
to what they were witnessing
‘true love’ one of them whispered
‘it could only be true love’
- - -