The four of them are in Niall's room, playing fifa. Everyone's tired and Liam had been waiting for a phone call from Danielle, so they'd decided to spend the evening lounging around eating pizza and generally not moving very much.
Louis and Zayn are bickering and playing each other, in that order. Louis is losing spectacularly and Zayn's occasional advice only serves to annoy him and further throw him off. Harry suspects that that's what Zayn was going for.
"Nice move, Lou."
"Fuck you, Malik."
Harry feels ridiculously relaxed where he lies watching from Niall's bed, propped up by a mound of pillows. Niall's on his stomach at the bottom of the bed, blinking sleepily at the TV and Harry occasionally stretches to poke him in the ribs with his foot. He finds it sort of funny, the way Niall half gets up, the wrong side of awake to really know what he's doing, shifting around on his knees before sprawling back down. He's like a cat, trying to find the comfiest place to sleep.
Harry hauls himself up and flops on his elbows down next to Niall.
Harry curls a hand around the back of Niall's neck, playing with the soft hairs at the nape and grinning when Niall smiles blearily up at him.
There's a thump from next door followed by Liam's roar of rage and Harry grins, because Liam stubbing his toe will never not be funny.
"Watch out, the hulk's made an appearance," says Louis, and Niall huffs a laugh into the duvet.
There's the faint sound of breaking glass and the three of them who aren't face down exchange glances. Harry sits up.
"I'll go check on him," says Zayn, dropping the controller onto his chair. He doesn't bother to close the door after himself. Harry can hear him knocking for Liam.
"He's probably already entered the remorse stage," says Louis, winding the cord from the controller up his arm. One day something terrible will happen to Louis, Harry thinks, and it'll be all his own fault. "On his knees, cradling the broken body of the vase in his hands and whispering I'm so sorry."
Niall grins and it tugs a smile onto Harry's face too.
The sound of another thud from next door wipes it off and Harry's feeling decidedly less relaxed now.
"Harrrrry! Harry! Lou!"
Niall starts and rolls off the bed at the sound of Zayn's shouts.
Louis's frantically unwinding the cord and Harry scrambles across the mattress and towards the door - there's a soft oof from Niall when he's stepped on.
"Fuck! Niall, sorry!" He yanks Niall up and hares for the door, Louis half a step behind him.
Zayn's still screaming bloody murder.
The door to Liam's room is ajar and when Harry pushes it open his jaw drops.
The room's a mess. Liam's suitcases, once stacked neatly in a corner, are all over the place like they've been thrown - one's burst open, spilling clothes onto the floor. The TV is shattered in several places and Zayn's got his hands on Liam's wrists, trying to keep him from doing any more damage.
Harry freezes, but just for a second and then he's right next to Zayn, grabbing at Liam, trying to catch one of his arms. Something stabs his feet through his socks and he realizes there's glass all over the floor. The vase Louis referred to is conspicuously absent.
Louis is dancing just out of Liam's reach, shouting at him to calm down. It's not achieving the desired effect.
"Liam. Liam. Fucking calm down." Zayn's firm and composed and Liam completely ignores him.
Harry catches sight of Liam's arms, covered with tiny nicks and scratches. "Liam, you've hurt yourself."
It doesn't make a difference, Liam continues to fight them with everything he's got.
It's not hard to figure out what's happened. Liam had been talking to Danielle. And now he's not talking to her and he's smashing up his room. Harry's always been good at helping with breakups, but he is not good at this.
Liam's wrenched himself free of Zayn's grip and grabs the bedside table, flinging it into the floor.
"Jesus Christ," says Louis and Harry has to agree. He grabs Liam's shoulders, trying to force him to the ground and just get him to fucking stop. Zayn seizes Liam's arm once more and Louis tries to do the same - while avoiding getting smacked - on his other side. Harry catches sight of Niall standing in the door frame. His eyes are fixed on Liam and his face is utterly, utterly blank.
Niall looks at Harry, then, and he shakes his head, a jerky negative. Harry feels a tiny surge of frustration, though he knows it's unfair. Although he might not have said it in so many words, Niall's always made it clear that he's a lover, not a fighter. Besides, if the three of them can't control Liam, Niall's not going to be much help. They need Paul or Preston or someone from security, but Sod's Law is very much in effect - most of them have gone out, and the one's that haven't obviously can't hear the commotion.
Liam's struggling towards the wardrobe. Harry's surprised its mirrored front has lasted this long.
Zayn lets go of Liam's arm and Harry's not thinking, he moves around to grab it and that's when Liam's flailing fist catches him.
His head snaps to the side and the rest of his body follows. He falls heavily against the wardrobe, feels the mirror splinter under his elbow. The pain in his head is unbelievable, like he's been hit with a fucking brick. He sort of wants to throw up.
From where he sits on bits of broken mirror, he can see the stem of one of the lilies that had filled the vase sticking out from under a suitcase, like legs from under rubble. He's never identified with a plant quite so much.
Niall's prodding at his face, anxious.
Harry turns his head and spits - the floor's ruined, anyway - and winces when he spies red. He can't feel it over the pounding in his head, but he must have bitten his tongue.
"I'm ok," he says to Niall, gets to his knees before standing. The room is spinning more than he feels it should.
Some of the fight seems to have gone out of Liam. He's still straining desperately against Louis' and Zayn's hold but he's crying now, huge gasping sobs. Harry staggers over and knees Liam in the back of his legs.
Liam drops to the floor, still thrashing, ignoring Zayn's "don't Liam, don't, you'll hurt yourself". Louis sits on his legs to stop him kicking out and Harry grabs the newly released arm, pinning it to the ground.
This close he can see Liam's knuckles are swollen and red. Harry's eyes travel to the smashed TV and his stomach flips when he realizes the smears on the screen are probably blood.
Liam's stilled and Harry relaxes his grip slightly, only to have him try and jerk upwards once more. Zayn moves to sit on his back and Liam slumps into the floor, defeated.
Zayn's shifting and it's only after a second that Harry realizes it's not Zayn moving, but Liam's chest heaving and shuddering.
They stay like that for a beat, the three of them keeping him down and then Niall's getting onto his knees next to Liam.
There's a buzzing in Harry's ears. The situation seems suddenly bizarre. It's like Liam's a wild thing, pinned, and Niall's come to whisper a few words and tame him.
He shakes his head to quiet the noise.
Only it's not like that at all. Liam's not a wild thing, he's their friend, and from the way Niall's mouth is slack and open, he doesn't know what to say.
Liam says something for him.
"She broke up with me." His voice is hoarse. He tries to get up, like he can't help it and Harry doesn't think he's ever felt that single minded urge to smash instead of feel, but he gets it. Sometimes it's easier to ruin. He tightens his grip on Liam's arm.
"Liam-" Louis starts and then he gives up too.
Harry doesn't have the right words. The usual platitudes plenty more fish in the sea, if she broke up with you like this she doesn't deserve you, let's get hammered and you'll forget all about it don't really apply. Liam really loved - loves - Danielle, and as much as Harry hates her for hurting Liam, the more rational part of him knows that she's a decent person who probably had a perfectly legitimate reason for breaking up. It's not easy, being in a relationship with someone who's usually half way around the world, who's sometimes so busy or so tired that he can only call once a week. And Liam can't get blind drunk without hospitalizing himself. So yeah. Harry doesn't have the right words.
Niall makes a noise in his throat.
"Liam. You really hurt Harry, you know?" He says it like he's talking about the weather. Did you hear, it's going to storm today? Harry turns to the window, expecting to see rolling gray clouds and sheets of rain. But the curtains are closed and he knows beyond them is a clear night sky.
He wonders how hard he hit his head.
Liam looks up at Harry and makes a choked noise when he sees what Harry assumes is the beginnings of some pretty spectacular bruising down the side of his face. It certainly feels like it's going to look impressive.
Liam's arm tenses under his hand like he wants to scrub a hand across his face and maybe wipe everything away, but Harry doesn't let up and that's when Liam wails. Harry wants to wash the noise from his ears.
"I know." He scrunches up his face and he looks so miserable that Harry wants to cry. "I'm so sorry."
He bursts into tears and then Niall's down on his belly facing Liam, stroking down the back of his neck, behind his ear and down his jaw and Liam leans into it and it's so private and so sad that Harry wants to look away.
"We really love you, Liam. We love you a lot." Niall leans forward and so, so carefully presses his lips to Liam's. "More than anything."
He doesn't say more than anyone, but Harry hears it anyway and he knows it's true. The idea that someone could love Liam as much as Harry does makes no sense.
Harry doesn't have a lump in his throat, but he does move his hand from its grip, slides his palm against Liam's. Zayn moves from sitting on to instead draping himself across Liam's back and his hands wriggle to meet under Liam's stomach. It doesn't look like it would be at all comfortable, but they stay like that anyway.
Louis starts tickling Liam's feet and promptly gets kicked in the face when his victim starts jerking.
Louis crawls towards Harry in quest of sympathy. His nose is bleeding.
"Your own fault," says Harry.
"Fuck. I'm really sorry, Lou."
Louis dismisses Liam's apology with a wave of his hand and a high pitched whine.
"Come on," says Zayn. "Let's get out of here."
Niall and Zayn pull Liam to his feet. Harry locks the door on Liam's destruction before following them down the corridor. They'll deal with all that stuff in the morning.
They end up in the tidiest room, which would usually be Liam's but is now Zayn's. The bed is big but not big enough for all five of them, so Louis and Harry go to fetch the duvets and pillows from Niall's and their rooms and they make a bed on the floor, like they did at Harry's before tours and success and heartbreak.
Zayn calls room service and asks for ice packs. If it's an unusual request the hotel staff are too professional to mention it.
They lie bundled up together, Liam icing his knuckles and Zayn pressing the icepack to Harry's face. Nothing feels ok - not the throbbing of his temple, not the way Zayn's fingers are twitching, not how Louis' nose is swollen, not Niall's miserable slouch and not the way Liam's face crumples every so often, no matter how hard he fights it.
But it feels right that they're together for this, feet tangled together and ankles pushing into legs under the covers.
And Harry knows they'll be ok, and that feels good too.