Pairing: Harry/NiallSummary: AU. Montague and Capulet are rival bands on Simon's label that hate each other even though they've never met. They finally meet at the Brit Awards and everything quickly spirals out of control. Based loosely on Romeo & Juliet. Also takes inspiration from the Blur v Oasis feud in the mid 90s.
Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 7700
Disclaimer: No offence intended. Not real in the slightest.
Rating: PG 13
Word Count: 7700
Disclaimer: No offence intended. Not real in the slightest.
Warnings: Mild themes of suicide and silly boys punching each other. Harry vomits a lot.
A/N: Idek what on earth this is. I saw this crop up on my dash again and the fic sort of wrote itself.
Harry wanders into the large common room of the suite they've booked out. It's bright and airy, everything a shade of cream or silver. It looks like every other hotel room he's ever been in and he doesn't want to think of how much it cost. He thinks that it's a bit stupid that they're spending the weekend in a hotel when he has a perfectly nice and expensive apartment ten minutes out of the city. They have a long line of interviews set up about the upcoming Brit Awards but so far all Harry's done since he's woke up is stare at the rain pelting the windows and eat a few pieces of melon off the room service trays. Liam and Louis have been sitting side by side on a sofa playing Fifa all morning and Harry's sort of annoyed at hearing their over enthusiastic shouts and screams. It is only little computer generated men running after a ball after all. Harry would much rather kick about a real ball - they all would, but the hundreds of girls camped out on the pavement outside the main door to the hotel kind of puts that idea to bed. The weather's terrible and somewhere at the back of his mind he knows he should be worrying about all the fans eight floors down but as he turns up the volume on his iPod and drowns out the sound of their screaming, his concern dwindles. Out of sight, out of mind. Or earshot in Harry's case.
Louis is yelling something at the TV but Harry only watches his mouth move soundlessly and focuses on the sound of Adele in his ears. She's up for loads of awards at tomorrow's Brit Awards and Harry has no doubt that she'll win them. He's up for one as well but he doesn't feel too confident. Between Adele and their rivals, Capulet he knows that their band have no chance. It's been the focus of so many interviews over the last few weeks since the nominations were announced. Liam and Louis both respond to questions enthusiastically about them hoping to win. They link the voting website constantly in their tweets and Liam made a twitcam with the sole purpose of getting voters. Harry usually chimes in with a standard 'it's an honour to even be nominated' 'the competition is so tight, look who we're up against' But presenters scoff and tell him they've got in the bag, just look at their army of fans. Harry smiles at them but he knows that they'll say that to whoever they're interviewing next as well.
Harry doesn't doubt the power of their fan base but he doesn't underestimate the fans of their fellow nominees either, especially Capulet. He knows that there is intense competition between them - he's been tagged in enough tweets to know the extent that it goes to. Harry doesn't really understand how it even started, he's never even met the other boys. One moment the three of them are school boys goofing off in a band that they created in the back of their English classroom when Shakespeare coursework was getting too boring. They are doing relatively well and gigging in a few clubs around London that Louis somehow manages to arrange before they go to uni when they get spotted by Simon and signed to one of the branches of his company. They release a single towards the end of the summer and it goes straight to number one - Harry can't really believe it. They're thrust straight into a recording studio to get started on their debut album and Harry hardly gets a minute to sit down. X Factor starts again as it does every autumn but Harry doesn't pay much attention except watching a couple of the rubbish auditions on youtube. But as the live shows start one of the acts begin to gain hype - a two man group called Capulet, Niall on the guitar and Zayn with his ridiculously smooth voice. They come second to much of the media's disbelief but Simon signs them anyway. Harry doesn't have time to really notice, concentrating instead on his own recording career as it explodes across the UK. The album reaches number one and they have a sell out tour. Harry has two million followers on twitter and more money than he knows what to do with.
It quickly becomes obvious to Simon that he had two extremely talented acts with a hardcore fan base that didn't necessarily overlap. So he decided to instigate a bit of friendly competition and he changed the release date of Montague's first single off their new album, pushing it back a few weeks to coincide with the release of Capulet's new single. The media went mad. Headlines hailing the 'War of the Charts' covered all the top newspapers and it even made the headlines of the national news. Fake quotes popped up from both of the bands, slagging the other off and even though it was ridiculous, they got sucked into the frenzy and Harry began to despise the other group. The public fell hard for the publicity stunt and a huge campaign was set up to get them to number one. Montague's single won out, getting the top spot. Liam and Louis celebrated hard but Harry found it tainted by the seven vicious insults about Niall and Zayn that trended worldwide on twitter all night.
The latest bout of competition between them came in the form of the Brit Awards. Neither of them had even been nominated before and it was extremely exciting. The competition started up again, fiercer than before but Harry tried to ignore it. It was ruining the accomplishment of being nominated, of being credible.
Harry is scrolling through his twitter when Liam and Louis suddenly jump up, controllers landing on the floor as they climb over the back of the sofa and press themselves to the window. Harry pulled out his earphones to look curiously over at them. Along with the quiet robotic melody of the pause screen on the tv he could hear intense screaming.
"What is it?" Harry asked getting off the sofa to join the other two at the window. The screaming was different, it was loud and at a different pitch. It didn't sound like the usual excited chanting or singing, it sounded as if three hundred girls were scared to death and being tortured. Harry pressed his forehead to the cool glass and peered down over the window ledge. There was a few circles of umbrellas but the crowd had separated and spread out. Girls had spilled onto the road, not seeming to care about the cars that were now forced to slow and stop. Harry could see security running around, frantically trying to keep the crowd under control but even this far up Harry could see that they were being overwhelmed. There was a smaller crowd, huddled on the footpath around something or someone. Faintly, Harry could hear the sound of sirens and it only took a moment before the flashing blue lights came into view, five or six police cars sped down the road, pulling up around the crowd. Followed by an ambulance. Harry's stomach turned to ice as he pushed himself away from the window. Louis was looking at him, his face pale and no hint of the cheeky smile that usually sat permanently on his face. Liam was still looking out the window when the door to the hotel suite opened.
"What the fuck happened?" Louis asks immediately, his tone quiet and scared. He's biting his fingernails and Harry has the sudden urge to slap his hand away. Paul is ashen faced and panicked. He has his phone clutched in one hand and his other makes its way to wipe sweat away from his forehead.
"A fan." He explains shakily. "There was a few of our fans and few Capulet fans."
Liam groans and finally pulls away from the window. Harry doesn't really listen to their manager as he sinks into the sofa. He catches words like 'crushing' and 'blood' and he doesn't want to know the details. He feels slightly sick that it's gotten this bad.
They find out a few tense hours later that four fans are seriously injured, all of them members of the Capulet Fan Club and under sixteen. Paul has already had a very angry father promising a lawsuit on the phone and Harry thinks he might vomit. He does actually vomit when he catches a few of his fans gloating on twitter about it. How can teenage girls be so vicious?
It's talked about all over the internet and mentioned again on the news. Simon somehow makes it through all the reporters outside the hotel to meet them and they sit through a twenty minute lecture where they get shouted at by a very angry Simon Cowell. He amps up the security around them and promises them that if they fuck up again - they're dropped from the label. Louis laughs it off once he leaves but Harry can't help and feel that Simon will stay true to his word. He crawls into bed without eating dinner and ignores his phone that won't stop ringing until he falls into an exhausted sleep.
He somehow manages to sleep until late afternoon the next day and he only wakes up when Liam roughly shakes his shoulder and throws a pair of fancy grey trousers at him.
"Hair and makeup in ten minutes." Liam tells him. "Room service just arrived with lunch."
The Brits. Harry feels his stomach twist at the thought of leaving the hotel room, nevermind pasting on a bright smile and going to one of the most famous award shows in the country. Harry shakes his head and buries his head under his pillow.
"I'm not going." Harry murmurs but it's muffled by the pillow. A pair of hands land on his shoulders and he's manhandled onto his back.
"Yes you are." Louis tells him sternly. "We're going to go and win an award and get very very drunk and forget about all this drama yesterday."
Liam rolls his eyes and the mattress dips as he climbs onto the bed on the other side of Harry. He reaches out and gently pushes the curls from his eyes. Harry wants to press into his hand but he doesn't move.
"There's no point in lying in here being depressed. Yes, yesterday was shit and we're being torn to shreds by the papers but we have to present a united front. We can't back out of the awards. Too many people will notice." Liam tells him soothingly and Harry hates him for a moment for making a good point.
"Harry, the bar is free and you'll be able to get off with any of the pretty ladies there. It's a win win situation. Rihanna is at the table next to us. We can set you up!" Louis grins at him brightly. "Liam, I'm sure we can arrange a quick blow job off Susan Boyle for you too."
Liam laughs at him and shoves him off the side of the bed. He pops up a moment later with a sly grin.
"Plus I want to see Malik's face when we steal his Brit away from him."
Louis never gets to see Zayn's face when they win - because they don't win. Niall and Zayn jump up and yell out when their name is called and they both walk to the stage arm in arm, laughing into each others necks. The audience is going wild and it's hard to hear anything over the applause and screaming. Harry could've laughed at the expression on Louis' face if it wasn't so cruel. The camera passes by their table and he knows that a shot of Louis, too drunk to mask his emotions, is being beamed out across the UK to 7million people. His jaw is slack, tears welling slightly in his eyes before they narrow and his face turns into a grimace, an angry blush rising on his cheeks. Liam is clapping half heartedly on the other side of them, his eyes trained to the stage where Niall and Zayn look like they can't believe it. If he turns to look at Louis his calm and polite smile will break.
"I want to also give a huge thank you to our fellow nominees." Zayn's voice is booming around the room and Harry flicks his gaze up. He's missed half of their speech because he's been watching Louis but something in the tone of Zayn's voice makes his blood run cold. Both of them are facing in the vague direction of their table and Harry tenses. Time slows down and it's like Harry knows deep in his belly that something bad is going to happen and he's hyper aware of everything around him. Louis tightens his grip on the bottle of beer in front of him, his knuckles turning white. Niall on stage, looks nervous, both hands gripping the statue and his eyes glancing over to the back of Zayn's neck. Zayn meanwhile is smug, vibes of confidence rolling off him as he adopts a smirk on his face. He's not being discrete at all any more as he turns to stand directly facing their table, his eyes roaming over Louis' face. Niall reaches out, his fingers skimming the back of Zayn's jacket in a half warning. Harry swallows hard.
"I suppose this should have been shared with Montague." Zayn says, loud and clear but it's hard for Harry to hear over the roaring in his ears. Zayn's smirk gets more obvious. "But I guess only the best band can win."
Niall's eyes close for a moment and he looks positively mortified but when he blinks them open he tries his hardest to smile again. Zayn is already turning his back on the screaming crowd and walking off the stage. Louis shoves his chair back and is on his feet, Harry can feel the anger radiating off him and for a wild moment he thinks that Louis is going to run onto the stage and tackle him but instead he turns on his heel and storms off. Liam swiftly following him. Harry doesn't look after them. He's frozen - his gaze is locked with Niall's and he can't look away. The emotion in Niall's eyes makes him shiver and something that he hasn't felt in a long time sparks low in his belly. He's only able to drag his gaze away when Niall is finally ushered off stage and he can breathe again.
Liam and Louis don't come back to the table after that, but the awards are nearly over anyway. Harry is congratulated by a few members of the management team that he's never met and smiles at a few people who smile at him before he makes it through the crowds and to the bar. He gets passed a glass of champagne but orders a JD and coke as well. He texts Liam and Louis 'where the fuck have you two gone?' but doesn't get any reply. He's nursing his second JD and the bubbles from the champagne are making his head light when a hand lands on his shoulder. It's warm and Harry turns easily away from the bar to come face to face with a pair of wide blue eyes. His insides nearly turn to liquid at the sight of them. Niall looks sheepishly at the floor before he glances up at him again. There's no malice or contempt in them which surprises Harry. It's been drilled into him that all of Capulet despise him.
"I wanted to apologise." Niall finally speaks and Harry's breath catches in his throat. It's the first time he's ever heard Niall talk when it wasn't a response to some boring question in some interview or accompanied by guitar. It's soft and lilting. It's warmth makes Harry want to curl up in it and just have words whispered into his ear forever. He realises that he's been staring kind of awestruck at Niall long enough to make the boy frown and he finally clears his throat.
"Apologise." Harry repeats, it comes out a little breathless and bewildered. Niall furrows his eyes further and takes a step forward because the crowd around the bar is thick. Harry can feel the cool wood against his back and some champagne he spilt earlier soaks into the back of his shirt. He's lost his jacket a while ago, the hall too warm with the amount of people in it.
"Yeah." Niall explains and takes a sip of the drink in his hand. Harry watches as his lips curl around the glass, his tongue peeking out to lick at any left over champagne on his top lip. Harry's aware he must look like a psychotic idiot staring at his lips like that but he can't help it. "For what Zayn said." Niall continues on with a small smile like he knows exactly what Harry is thinking. "Our manager is giving him a right bollocking now but Zayn has this thing where he either doesn't speak at all or he can't stop words coming out of his mouth. And sadly, with the amount of wine on our table it was the word vomit option tonight."
Harry can only nod, no words will form on his tongue. Niall takes a slow sip again, his eyes trained on Harry's, who in turn just stares at Niall's mouth before slipping down to his throat to watch his adam's apple bob as he swallows. Harry looks up to catch the amused look in Niall's eyes and he can feel the bright flush as it makes its way up his neck and onto his cheeks. Even though there's a few hundred people around him, this exchange feels strangely intimiate and it makes Harry's heart pound in his ears.
"Plus, your mate Louis really pisses him off. I don't think he could help himself but I don't really think he meant it." Niall tells him, finally working his way up to the reason he actually approached Harry in the first place. His glass is empty and Harry is disappointed that he doesn't get the chance to see him drink again. His brain is running away with him and he can't stop imagining how Niall would look, lips wrapped wrapped around his cock and swallowing him down.
"So, here I am. Apologising to you." Niall slowly as if Harry hasn't drifted off into a daydream. Harry snaps his attention back to him, reminding Harry that the version in front of him is in fact wearing clothes, unlike the one in his imagination. "This feud thing that's between us is a bit ridiculous right? I mean I don't hate you guys, it's all in the press. Right?"
Harry feels his head nod of its own accord and the fleeting worried look on Niall's face is replaced by the smirk again. He swallows around nothing and Harry suspects he's doing it on purpose. He's rewarded when Niall steps forward again, his hand going around Harry to attract the attention of the bartender. The wood is digging into Harry's back now, his chest flush against Niall's. He can feel his warm skin radiating into him and Niall's breath tickles his ear as he orders his drink. Harry doesn't really know what to do and his hands come out instinctively to grip at Niall's hips. His heart is pounding and he can't really think straight. Niall leans back a moment later, the smile slipping from an amused smirk to something softer that makes Harry's stomach flutter. He's got two drinks in his hands and he jerks his head in the direction of the door.
Harry stumbles after him, trying to keep up as they push through the crowds. The doorway opens out onto a small courtyard garden. Harry's always surprised that in the hustle and bustle of London there's these small private gardens hidden away between fancy hotels and sky scrapers. The garden is being used as a smoking area for the guests that have still hung around for the after party. It's a chilly night and there's a smell of rain, the grass in the centre is still wet, so a lot of people are slipping out of a cigarette before hurrying back into the noise. Niall hands him a drink as they step onto granite stone and away from the pressing crowds. Harry's eyes dart around but doesn't see anyone he recognises and Niall comes to a stop at a small alcove. The seats are a little damp but Harry can't find the will to care as he collapses onto the wood. Niall nestles in beside him and they gaze out onto the softly lit tiered garden. Harry doesn't really know what to say so he sips slowly at the glass in his hand and is pleasantly surprised when he notices that Niall ordered him his preferred drink. Niall is smiling beside him playing with his drink, his fingers running around the edge of the glass as he rattles the ice inside.
"This is crazy." Niall finally speaks. His voice is loud because around them is so quiet and Harry watches as he winces at his words. He takes a drink, eyes boring into Harry's before he speaks again. "We're supposed to hate each other. I've never even met you properly before - "
He trails off and Harry suddenly finds his voice. "But you feel something." It's a statement because he's feeling it too. Niall's eyes widen slightly and it's clear how young he is. Harry knows he can't be much older than he is. They're sitting close, heads bent towards each other and Harry only has to push forward and they could be kissing. He's drunk on what he's feeling. The alcohol barely making any effect because Niall's making his heart hammer and his stomach flutter.
"I shouldn't." Niall murmurs and Harry feels a pang of fear that he's going to leave. He reaches out on impulse, fingers curling around Niall's bony wrist. He hears Niall's breath hitch and he doesn't try to escape his grip.
"Why not?" Harry asks, panic making him brave with his words. "Because we have some competition between us that neither of us asked for? Because the papers call us enemies and our fans hate each other?"
"I've been encouraged to hate your name, every time it's mentioned I'm supposed to roll my eyes or make some sneering comment." Niall tells him hotly, his tone bitter. Anger rolls around in Harry's belly - he knows exactly what Niall is talking about. "I'm supposed to hate your music and hope you fail because God forbid you chart higher than us. I had to visit four silly girls in hospital today because they got into an argument over whose album sold more copies. It's not supposed to be like this."
Niall's breathing hard now and Harry can tell that he's upset by all this. They've gravitated closer to each other and Harry can feel Niall's huffing breath on his face.
"We didn't make it like this." Harry murmurs and Niall's eyes flick up to meet his. They're wide and open and Harry could get lost in them. "Fuck them, focus on us."
Harry barely has time to react before he's met with Niall's lips. They're soft and urgent against his. He quickly lets him deepen it, a hand coming up to cradle his jaw and his shoulders pressed into the wood of the seat. Harry's never felt like this before when he's kissed someone. He can feel it from his head to the tips of his toes, in the pit of his stomach and deep deep in his chest. His fingers curl around a handful of perfectly styled hair, the other gripping the material of Niall's blazer pulling him as close as he can. He can taste the champagne and something that reminds him of a sherbet. They break apart a few minutes later when Niall's nearly straddling him and Harry thinks he's going to pass out from oxygen deprivation. He can feel the damp wood seeping the whole way down his back now from the way he's lying but he doesn't care because Niall is a contrasting warm weight on his lap. Niall looks down at him with bright eyes and Harry surges up to kiss him again. Niall dodges him with a giggle and holds a finger to his mouth, tracing his lip softly.
"We're not just doing this because we shouldn't right?" Niall asks him, his voice unexpectedly serious for the amount of giggling he's doing. "Just because we've been taught to hate each other at the sound of each others names?" Harry shakes his head, a slight edge of panic worming its way into his mind in case that's the exact reason Niall's doing this. His mind is foggy, filled with broken thoughts and things he wants to say to him. He kind of feels like he's in some epic love story and he wants more than anything to be make an impression and keep Niall.
"Which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Harry blurts out. Niall looks down at him confused for a moment and Harry internally screams at himself. What the hell did he do that for? He's trying to think up an excuse - he's drunk, he's having a mental breakdown, he has an unhealthy infatuation with Leonardo DiCaprio's earlier films. He opens his mouth to speak but Niall breaks into a wide smile and Harry can't help but feel his own lips tug up in response.
"Did you just quote Shakespeare at me?" Niall asks like he's fighting back his laughter. A few giggles escape though and Harry's stomach twists at the sound of them. He reaches forward to kiss him again in the aim of making Niall forget all about it but Niall dodges it again.
"No no, we should talk about this." He laughs, his hand twists in Harry's shirt and he rocks forward. Harry has the urge to rip all his clothes off and take him right there. He giggles again, coming out breathless but his smile is fond and he presses forward to kiss him again. It turns as hot and needy as the first one and Harry actually whines when Niall pulls back again.
"We shouldn't do this here." Niall whispers into his lips and as much as Harry hates it, he agrees. There's people everywhere and they could end up making quite a scene. Harry lets his hands fall down to his sides with a small sigh making Niall giggle again. He slides off of Harry's lap and he instantly misses him.
"Tomorrow." Harry half begs him. "Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Whatever you want Romeo." Niall smirks and presses a sweet kiss to the top of his forehead before he picks up his half empty glass and slips out of the alcove and back into the crowds of people.
Harry takes a moment to compose himself. He's still breathing hard and he feels very giddy. He's never felt like this before and he wants to be very cliché and shout from the rooftops that he's in love with Niall bloody Horan. That in itself is ridiculous because they've only properly met and them even speaking to each other is practically forbidden. He finishes what's left of his drink before he straightens his shirt and heads back inside. The crowds have thinned out because people have went home and the cameras filming the backstage after party have been shut off. Harry scans the bar for any sign of Liam and Louis but they're still missing so he heads further into the large room in search of someone to talk to. He hasn't made it very far when there's a shout and it's obvious something is happening at the other side of the room. There's a crowd gathering and Harry's stomach sinks as he hears Louis amongst them all. He pushes through the gathered people and comes to an abrupt stop in the middle of the makeshift circle that has formed.
"Ah here comes golden boy now." Zayn drawls. He's drunk. There's pure venom in his eyes and Harry fights the urge to punch him. Not only would that be a terrible idea with the amount of press in the room but he can't help but think that Niall would be disappointed. No matter how much of a dickhead Zayn is to him, Niall is still his best friend. "Come on Styles." Zayn half slurs and takes a step forward. He's still pretty steady on his feet and he's bringing his fingers into a fist. Even drunk he's pretty intimidating. "I've read all your bullshit in the NME about me. Take a swing, I dare you."
Harry sort of wants to laugh but the fury and frustration is growing inside him. Niall suddenly breaks through the circle and looks wildly between them before going to stand beside Zayn. Harry finds it hard to draw his eyes away from his kiss swollen lips.
"What are you doing?" Niall asks him, his pitch going a little high in panic.
"I'm sick and tired of all this shit." Zayn spits. "Let's just get it over with."
"I'm not going to fight you." Harry hears himself speak. Niall looks relieved and he reaches out to touch Zayn but he backs off, turning instead towards Louis who is still glaring at him. He looks like he's been living at the bottom of a beer barrel and Harry can see his bloodshot eyes from where he's standing a few steps away.
"Come on Lou." Zayn taunts. "I know you're dying to do it. What? Too scared to defend your honour? Pretty upset that I won aren't you?"
"Stop it." Harry half begs but it's too late. Louis is flying forward, his fist connecting with Zayn's jaw. Zayn staggers back a step, shock on his face. He wasn't expecting Louis to actually do it, but Louis is still seething in front of him. Zayn responds with an almighty smack and Louis' head snaps back sharply. Harry can literally see Louis' eyes roll back. Zayn's other hand catches his nose and blood explodes out of it. Louis doubles over, but is met with Zayn's knee as he kicks up and into his stomach. The crowd around them are shouting and pushing closer together. Niall is trying to pull Zayn back, Liam is reaching forward to support Louis as he falls forward slightly. Zayn's hand comes down again, grabbing a handful of Louis's hair, his other already formed into a fist again and aiming for his face. Harry doesn't know what makes him do it but one minute there's a wine bottle sitting on the table beside them and the next it's in his hand, merlot sloshing down his wrist as he swings.
There's a stunned silence. Glass shatters and rains down on the floor. Zayn and Louis both slump to the floor, Liam going with them, his body moulded protectively to Louis' back. Niall is gaping down at Zayn, blood dribbling down his temple and onto the crisp white collar of his shirt.
"What the fuck?" Simon Cowell demands, his hand clamping around his shoulder and pushing him past the shocked crowd. Olly Murs catches his eye but looks away quickly and Harry feels shame and panic bubble in his stomach. Simon's grip is tight on his shoulder and he can hear vague sounds of someone calling for an ambulance. He pushes him through the foyer and out a side door. There's no press there yet and he's shoved into a waiting car. The engine starts and Harry promptly vomits all over his designer shoes.
It's dawn. Harry paces the living area of the suite for the hundredth time that night. He hasn't been to bed yet - he can't sleep. There's still some alcohol in his veins but it's wearing thin. Harry is all nervous energy and anger and guilt. Simon's words of how he's a disgrace are running around in his head and every time he closes his eyes he can see the blood running down Zayn's cheek. He's still wearing his dress shirt, it's dirty and smells faintly of stomach bile. There's a vivid purple stain down his right arm where the wine soaked right down to his elbow and the bitter smell follows him as he makes a lap of the hotel room. He'd taken off his tie when it became suffocating so now his collar hung loose, the top button popped open. He stripped of his trousers as soon as Simon left, the patches of his own vomit were drying fast so now he was just in his boxers. He's sure he looks slightly manic, he's pulled at his hair enough times that it's lost most of the curl and is now just sticking up at all angles a few inches off his scalp. Every time he passes the mirror he catches a glimpse of his grey skin, hunched shoulders and his twisted face. He keeps running the events over in his head and wishes he could do something different. Simon told him that under absolutely no terms was he to leave the hotel room and if he did then the band would be out. The only reason they hadn't already been let go was that Louis was in hospital. Simon had gave him a stern glare and then left with the promise they'd talk about it all later. Harry's stomach turns over at the thought of his best friend lying in a hospital bed. Liam had texted him a brief 'he's fine' but hadn't answered any of his other questions, ignoring his phone calls and texts.
A heavy Irish accent announces his presence behind him and Harry nearly collapses because at the back of his mind through all of his worry about Louis and Liam and Simon and Zayn was Niall. A constant thrum of NiallNiallNiall. Would Niall ever forgive him? Would he speak to him again? Why did he mess it all up? But he's being ridiculous because the voice actually belongs to Paul. Harry realises he's crying when Paul gathers him up in his arms in an uncharacteristically gentle manner and hugs him until he calms down.
"To go to the hospital?" Harry demands once Paul lets him go and tells him they're leaving.
Paul winces and shakes his head. He sends him an apologetic smile.
"No sorry. I'm under strict orders to take you back to your apartment. Some of the fans know that you're here and the press will be here soon." Paul tells him and checks his watch with a faint frown. "The hospital is surrounded with reporters. You'd never get in safely."
Harry's heart sinks and he packs up his stuff in a daze, allowing Paul to walk him out of the hotel and into the van.
"I'm really sorry about all this." Paul tells him again as they pull up to Harry's apartment block. "If there's anything I can do?"
Harry nods and pulls the strap of his bag over his shoulder. He's nearly out of the car when a thought strikes him and he turns.
"Actually, can you do me a favour?"
It's nearly lunchtime when there's a knock at the door.
Harry still hasn't slept, running on coffee and cereal. He's tried to avoid the music channels on the TV but news of what he's done has seeped into the real news and he can't avoid it. Some spokesperson from SYCO that Harry vaguely recognises from the offices has given a statement outside the hospital and it's practically playing on a loop on all the major channels. It's accompanied by video clips of crying distraught girls who have descended on the streets around St. Mary's, hoping that their well wishes will magically make Louis and Zayn better.
Harry nearly cries from relief when Niall walks over the threshold. He looks exhausted too, his shirt untucked and the top few buttons open. He's ditched his blazer for a soft blue hoody that he's found somewhere and his hair is lying limp across his forehead. He looks at Harry up and down for a moment before pulling him into a tight hug. Harry feels all the tension leave him and he grips at Niall's shoulders tighter as Niall starts to shake. They step away from each other and Niall walks further into the apartment. There's tear tracks down his cheeks but he looks too tired to cry anymore.
"I shouldn't be here." Niall tells him, turning to face him in the middle of the room. His voice is oddly flat and Harry would do anything to hear him giggle again. Behind him the lunchtime news starts and the first story is about them.
'Warring bands Capulet and Montague took their chart battle one step further last night at the annual Brit Awards. Members of the two bands came to blows after Capulet came away with the award for Best British Band. Zayn Malik of Capulet and Louis Tomlinson of Montague were rushed to hospital just after midnight with serious head injuries. Both are said to be in a stable but critical condition this morning. Kelly Anderson has more on the story.'
Harry felt like he was going to be sick again. He scrambled for the remote and hit mute just as the reporter came onto screen, girls that looked like they were mourning surrounding her. He ignored the TV and turned back to Niall who looked equally as ill.
"Paul found me." Niall explained. "At the hospital and said you wanted to see me. Gave me this." He held up a key that Harry recognised as Paul's copy of the key to the apartment. "I wasn't sure if I should come but they were forcing me to go home and sleep and I somehow ended up here."
Harry stayed silent. He itched to reach across and touch him but he didn't want to scare him. Niall looked jumpy enough as it was.
"They won't let me go to the hospital." Harry murmured and Niall looked up quickly, something akin to sympathy shining in his eyes.
"I saw him." Niall tells him, his voice small as he sinks down onto Harry's sofa. The TV is still flickering on in the background but Harry can't focus on it. Niall lets out a little snort of laughter and shakes his head. "They've put them in rooms next to each other. I thought that was pretty ironic." Harry stays quiet as Niall pulls a hand over his face, his palm pressing into the spot between his eyes. "it was easy to peek in and see if he was alright. Liam looked like he was going to rip my head off. Is there anything going on between them? He was very protective."
It's Harry's turn to laugh and he shakes his head, moving to sit down beside Niall slowly. Niall doesn't move away so Harry sinks into the cushions and presses the outside of his arm against Niall's thigh. Niall stares at his hand for a moment before he curls his fingers around Harry's to grip his hand. Harry feels something swell in his throat and he has to fight down relieved tears. The realisation that he loves this boy more than anything is beginning to properly sink in and it's making him feel light headed again at how quick it's all happened. Niall yawns beside him and Harry pulls him into his side.
"Sleep." Harry tells him quietly, his lips brushing against Niall's temple.
"Just a nap." Niall agrees, turning his head to kiss Harry properly. It's soft and slow and conveys so much sweet forgiveness that Harry has to bite down on his lip to stop him sobbing. When did he become such a sop? Niall pulls away, blinking sleepily at him and settling his head against Harry's shoulder. He watches as Niall's eyelids flutter and finally closes. Harry wants to watch him sleep, listen to the telltale evening of his breathing and inhale his soft skin but Harry's drifting off before he can really stop himself.
It's dark when he wakes up. Niall's gone but the duvet from his bed has somehow made its way onto the sofa with him and there's a post it stuck to the TV that tells him he's away back to the hospital. Harry grins at the little smiley face and over analyses the three x's that are at the bottom of the yellow sticker as he walks around the flat and flicks on all the lamps. He's still half asleep, the couple of hours of sleep not really doing much because he was up for so long. He finds his laptop and he's waiting for it to reconnect to the internet when he checks his phone. There's a single text from Paul and his heart stops as he reads it. 'Niall in A&E. Car accident' Twitter loads up automatically on the laptop on his knee and his eyes catch the trending topics. Niall and Zayn. Capulet. RIP Niall.
The laptop crashes onto the floor as Harry jumps off the sofa. His hands and feet feel numb and he sort of falls to his knees. He retches onto the carpet and blindly reaches for his phone. He nearly laughs as he realises he doesn't even have Niall's phone number but instead he punches in Paul's number. He holds his breath trying to stop the sobs from leaving his throat as it rings but he can't help it. He leaves an incoherent voicemail to his manager begging him to tell him that Niall's ok before he hangs up. His chest is tight and he's finding it hard to breathe. He takes great shuddering breaths to combat the sobbing and crawls across the rug towards the bathroom. His head pounds from the crying and his stomach rolls again at the thought of Niall lying strewn across some road somewhere. He has a flash of Zayn, blood on his face but it quickly changes to Niall's and he retches again. He can hardly see, hot tears are rolling down his cheeks and he has to blindly feel his way to the doorway. The tiles are cool under his hands and knees as he reaches the bathroom. His fingers scrabble and scrape at the porcelain of the sink as he pulls himself up. His knees threaten to buckle but he somehow manages to pull himself up straight. He gets the light on and medicine cabinet open without too much difficulty considering how violently his hands are shaking.. With fumbling fingers he pushes the first paracetamol tablet out of the foil and swallows it. Sliding down to sit against the bath, he takes another and another and another until he's swallowed the whole packet. He wonders absently why the ache in his heart hasn't stopped yet and presses his hot cheek against the cool tile on the floor, tears rolling down to meet marble.
Niall finds him an hour later curled up beside the bath, blackberry clutched in his hand and half asleep. Niall shakes him awake and smiles down at Harry as he blinks to clear his vision. Niall thinks that he looks adorable, all red faced and pouty. He blinks a few more times before Harry shoots up. His eyes widen at the sight of Niall sitting in front of him, right hand in plaster and a sling. There's a scrape across his forehead that has stitches but other than that he looks alright. Harry notices that he's wearing one of his shirts and realises that he must've borrowed earlier. Niall's looking at him worriedly, his palm coming up to brush over his forehead and cheeks, taking in his swollen eyes and the empty paracetamol packet by his feet. Harry lurches forward, vomiting into the toilet and gasping for breath as Niall rubs at his back.
"Am I dead? I thought you were dead?" Harry cries. His throat is sore and hoarse. His stomach is rolling and he feels ill. Niall looks like he's really trying not to laugh. He picks up the packet of paracetamol and finally breaks into a giggle as he chucks it into the bin.
"How many of these did you take?"
Harry shrugs and Niall laughs again. "If you're were trying to kill yourself, you'll have to do better than half a packet of shitty paracetamol." He sobers up a little, his unbroken arm coming up to pull Harry close. "Do I need to bring you to casualty?" He asks seriously all laughter gone. Harry shakes his head, burrowing his face into Niall's neck and letting the realisation that he's not dead sink in properly. Niall let's out a little sigh of relief, pulling back and pushing Harry's fringe out of the way to look into his eyes. A few more tears dribble out onto Harry's cheeks and he sniffs to stop them. He kind of wants to throw up again but he doesn't want to move out of Niall's grip.
"That was a bit melodramatic Styles." Niall tells him, he's trying to be serious but there's a hint of a smile on his face. "Do you do this often? Are you going to attempt to take your life every time that my supposed death trends on twitter?" Niall breaks into a wide grin. "What is this? Romeo and Juliet?"
Harry groans, tearing away from Niall as he starts to laugh again. Harry throws up until there's nothing more in his stomach. Niall drags him to his bedroom and hunts around the kitchen until he's found where the glasses are kept to get him some water before he curls up under the covers with him. Harry's nearly asleep again when Niall whispers to him quietly.
"Who names a band Montague anyway?"
Romeo - Harry
Juliet - Niall
Tybalt - Zayn
Mercutio - Louis
Benvolio - Liam
Friar Lawrence - Paul
Prince of Verona - Simon