They tell him Harry’s a bad idea, tell him like they’re convincing him as well as themselves but Niall’s grown up now, can think for himself, can decide what he thinks is good or bad because they don’t know him, they’ve never known him.
Louis tells him that Harry breaks hearts like ripping cards in two but Niall doesn’t play cards and Harry’s the sweetest person he’s ever met, and he’s just jealous because Harry chose him. Harry tells him he’s beautiful, tells him he loves the way his eyes glitter in the sunlight and loves the way his name sounds in his voice, deep and slow and rich and it’s like he can feel every word seeping into his bones, can feel them course through his veins like a drug and it makes him feel happy and safe, like he’s the only boy in the world and he doesn’t want to be anywhere else but in Harry’s arms.
Louis tells him to be careful. Niall tells him he’s not his mother.
Liam has a different approach but the message is still the same. He tells Niall that Harry’s love is reserved for the highest bidder and Niall almost jumps at him because Harry’s not a whore and Louis is there just in time before his fist connects with Liam’s jaw. Harry can’t help that he’s friendly, that everyone wants to be around him and Niall wonders if it’s a crime now to be liked so much and he remembers yelling at them because they don’t know what it feels like to be around Harry without anyone else, can’t even begin to understand how good it feels to look into those beautiful green eyes, to fall into them like the ocean without the risk of drowning (Harry pulls him out at the last second and tells him he’ll be right there until the end of time and Niall buries his face in his shirt because he loves the smell of his cologne).
Liam tells him he’s going to get hurt in the end. Niall tells them to get out.
Harry becomes his world and he’s okay with it because Harry tells him he’s wonderful, he’s never met a person like him before and Niall smiles and snuggles closer because he’s never met someone like Harry, someone who can turn his insides into butterflies with one look and he tethers himself to Harry like a lifeline, tells him that he’s the most incredible boy he’s ever seen and he doesn’t ever want to let go.
Harry takes his hand and links their fingers together and sings a thousand love songs to him until he falls asleep.
Niall sees Louis one day and it’s like they’re strangers now, the familiarity he felt so easily like he’s breathing gone without a trace, and he builds up his walls thicker and tougher because he knows Louis has always had eyes for Harry and he’ll do anything to break them apart, and he gives him a look that sounds like stay away from us and Louis looks on, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips and he can hear Louis’s voice in his head saying one day he’ll be mine .
Niall wraps his arms around Harry’s neck when he comes home and places kisses on his skin to mark his territory.
Liam takes him aside one day and Niall can’t be bothered to hear what he has to say, doesn’t want to hear anything about Harry being promiscuous or anything that would make him question his loyalty, but Liam only asks how he’s been and it takes him by surprise, and they talk for an hour about anything and everything and Niall starts to feel that maybe they’re still friends after all.
Niall stays up that night wondering if things with Louis will ever be the same.
Harry has secrets and Niall respects that. Everyone has secrets and Niall has some of his own. But sometimes it feels like there’s a wall separating them and Niall tries his best to break it down, fighting tooth and nail and when it seems like he’s about to scratch the surface, another wall comes up and he’s back in square one, maybe even farther than before, and he tells Harry that he can trust him, that whatever it is, they can make it through together.
Niall wants to curl up in his brain and try to figure him out. Harry just smiles and kisses him on the forehead.
Niall’s tried his best to ignore it, wave it off as a phase because they’re teenagers and they’re complex, feeling happy one second and being angry the next. He thought that he could traverse the inner workings of Harry’s mind but he’s not a therapist and every action feels like Harry’s shutting him out brick by brick, and he starts to get scared that maybe he’s done something wrong. He asks him one day and Harry tells him not to worry, that he just has a lot of things on his mind, and Niall doesn’t pry any further because he wants to go back to the way things were, back when they felt invincible, when they felt like their love could destroy the world.
Harry kisses him goodnight and goes to sleep. Niall moves closer until he can feel his breath on his lips.
Louis asks Niall to sneak into this nightclub and Niall almost hangs up because he thinks Louis is planning something, can feel it in his bones, but Louis apologizes and tells him he’s been an idiot all this time and that he’s happy for them, he truly is and that they’re mates and he’d never do anything to break them up.
Niall considers his proposal and tears up the closet trying to find Harry’s leather jacket.
Louis gets them in without problem and Niall’s standing in the middle of the dance floor like a lost child until Louis grabs his hand and leads him to a corner where couples go to make out without being disturbed, and Niall’s wondering why he asked him to come when Louis turns to him and leans in close, so close he can hear his breath through the deafening music, and tells him to look behind him. Niall peers over his shoulder and sees Harry talking to a boy excitedly, laughing and playing with his ears, and Niall’s eyes widen with shock when he sees them share a kiss.
Harry comes home with a purple mark on his neck. Niall’s all packed up and pushes out the door without a word.
Louis doesn’t say I told you so and Liam just sits quietly, eyes on his trainers. Niall bites the inside of his cheek and wipes his face with the back of his hand. Everything’s quiet and he doesn’t like how hard he’s breathing, sounding like a broken record and he feels stupid because it’s all been staring him in the face but he’s been too stubborn to acknowledge it, and it’s embarrassing because this is what they’ve been trying to tell him all along and he wonders how much they laughed behind his back. But then Louis shifts closer and wraps his arm around him and Liam rubs circles on his back and it’s then that he realizes what friends are for, and he lays his head on Louis’s shoulder and cries.
Niall gives them hugs and says thank you . Louis smiles and hugs back and says I told you so .
They tell him Zayn’s a bad idea.
He tells them they’re probably right.