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I'm taking it all for us.

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There are moments in life that decide your faith instantly. First kiss, near-death experience, overdose, head-spinning sex or maybe even a huge, smashing party. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to experience that moment. And, for some poor bastards, that moment lasts a whole lifetime. For instance, imagine this:

You' are a teenager in a not-very-stable family. There are hopes and expectations laid upon you. Weight of your mother's hopeful eyes, your sisters' smiley faces that flash with every small achievement, your deceased father's last wishes - it all lays on you. Why? Who knows. Maybe because you are the only son in the family. Maybe because you are the firstborn child. Maybe because faith decided to play a joke on you - it doesn't matter. What matters is the way your life gets wrapped up in the big, magical blanket of expectations. And how you try to crawl out of it, day by day. And how you fail.

Then, one day, somewhere between the drunk smirks and neon lights swirling around the darkened room - you find a relief. And it doesn't come in the form of needle or a pill. It comes in a form of sugary-white powder, that looks like everything you have ever wished, but never dared to ask for. It comes poured on a coffee table, with Redbone playing in the background. It comes with a raised brow from the guy you know from town, and a question hanging in there: "You want some?" You want some release? You want some freedom? You want an euphoria flowing through your veins? Here it is. Take it. You don't have to roll 100 bucks to inhale it, you can simply pinch your nose from one side and snort with the other nostril. So you follow the instructions, like a lost puppy. You do exactly es they tell you. And that is how you start to ruining everything around you - piece by piece.

First comes the promised euphoria. It is a feeling that nothing ever can top. It is like dozens of orgasms striking your brain all at once, sending your body into the outer-world trance. The colors become more vibrant, music becomes richer, your thoughts get materialized, you feel every inch of your body shivering from the burning flame in your soul. You can fly, you can reach out and touch the stars, fill up your lungs with clean air. You are alive and you know you deserve to feel it. This is what you have been looking for. This is what you've craved for the last 18 years.

You love everyone. You love the guy you know from town, the one who gave you the powder. You love your blue-eyed friend, who is staring at you with wide eyes from the other side of the room. You love the girls from your class, the ones that you have always hated and the ones who only wanted to get you in bed. You love your Irish neighbor, who is kissing three girls, all at once. You love the brown-eyed boy with a buzzcut, even though you have never seen him before. And more importantly - you love yourself. Finally.

And then, suddenly, it ends.

___

 

"Zayn."

Someone nudges his shoulder painfully. The fog and darkness is still covering his mind and all he manages to do is do nothing. He wants to leave his body on the floor (or wherever the hell he is laying at the moment) and let his soul wonder into the cosmos. Anywhere, but here.

"Zayn, come on, mate."

He is rolled on his back, but his eyes don't dare to disconnect. He isn't sure he is capable of tearing his eyelids open and facing the world once again. Not with this ache in his body, not with this piercing pain in his head. Do you know what drug induced hangover is ten times worse than the one you get after drinking tons of alcohol? Here are a few things that happen to your body when it comes down from cocaine-high:

1. You want to sleep. No, you need to sleep. Anywhere, anytime - you have to sleep. You feel that you have to, you know you do.
2. You can't sleep. Shit.
3. Your head hurts. Maybe from cocaine, maybe from shots that followed, maybe from the weight of the world.
4. Your nose bleeds. Not always, but quite often.
5. Your brain becomes too slow to function normally.
6. You need to get hight. Again. Always.

"For fuck's sa-Zayn!"

The slap is placed on his cheek and-okay, ouch? Zayn finally manages to open his eyes and blink the constant blur away. Piercing blue eyes are glaring down at him, disappointment, anger and exhaustion - all mixed in one simple look. Louis Tomlinson and his famous heavy looks.

"Finally. Thought you've died or something." - Louis hisses. He clutches Zayn's shoulders and drags him up into the sitting position. The world spins for a moment, before Zayn adjusts to the new position and comes to his senses. Unconsciously, he runs a hand through his hair and-is that pop-corn?!

"That's Niall's." - Louis explains, probably because he notices Zayn's confused stare. "How much did you snort last night? Thought we split the share?! Anyways, get up, you can't stay here, mate. It's almost 6 a.m. Whoever's this house is said their parents will be home soon."

Zayn frowns. He doesn't want to leave, he can't leave. He won't be able to.

"I'll help you up." - Louis says, as if he reads his mind. Gently, he slides his hands around Zayn's waist and pulls him up. Zayn stumbles on his own feet, but Louis, kind, angelic Louis, wraps over his shoulders and keeps him upright. "Let's go. We need to get ready for school, you can't miss another week."

"D'n't wan'na-"

"Shut up." - Louis says, his voice too soft and quiet. "I've got you."

Yeah, Louis has got him. Zayn closes his eyes and leans in his friend's touch. He's got him.

___

 

A year ago - Zayn was introduced to cocaine. Two of them instantly clicked and became best friends for a few months. 7, to be more exact. Then, after 7 months and 12 days - Zayn overdosed and died. Oops.

He was found by one of his three sisters, laying on the bathroom floor - completely and utterly out of it. His mother had to keep his heart beating manually, pressing on his chest 271 times, breathing into his mouth 47 times, before ambulance came. He woke up after 5 hours of coma, connected to 2 tubes and 4 wires. In the next 2 days he experienced 3 panic attacks in that hospital room, one of them ended with hight dosage of sedatives.

Fuck these numbers.

Zayn, while still being a teenager, ended up with two months of necessary psychotherapy and rehabilitation meetings once in a week, because his area didn't have a rehabilitation center for teenagers and young adults. Sykes. His mother never forgave him. Everyone in school stared at him, as if he was the only person in this facility that snorts the white powder. He is the only one that messed up with measurements - that's it. Drug overdose should be the wake-up call to change your life, once and forever. For Zayn, it resulted the same things that happened before - he still dials Harry Styles' number every Wednesday and Friday and buys cocaine for a special price.

Louis literally drops him on his bed and that manages to startle Zayn out of his slumber. He sits up and looks around his room, as if it's the first time he's ever been here.

"You're lucky Tricia already left for work. I told her you're staying over at mine." - Louis mumbles as he starts picking up clothes from the floor. "You've got 10 minutes to shower and get dressed. Here."

A hoodie smacks Zayn in the face. He sighs and clutches it with his fingers. He stares down at it and feels the way his heart misses a drop. It's deep, red hoodie. nothing special, if you look at it. But not for Zayn. He pulls the hoodie closer to him in deeply inhales the already faded smell of a familiar cologne. His brows scrunch from realization that the smell is completely gone now - replaced with rose-scented laundry detergent. His insides stop working for a moment. The bed dips beside him and a warm hand touches the skin on his forearm.

"Babe." - Louis breathes. Zayn opens sees in Louis' eyes that he understands. He sees it. "It's been almost two years, Zayn. It won't smell the same."

Of course, it won't. The smell has gone for months. Still, even after all this time, Zayn's chest heaves with an escaped sob. Instantly, Louis pulls him in tightly, wrapping his arms around Zayn's shaking frame.

"Shh, you're fine, Zayn."

"I'm sorry." - Is all Zayn manages to sob. I'm a mess. I'm a disgrace. I'm empty. I'm sorry.

Louis lets him sob for a while, then pulls away slightly and cups his face, wiping away the tears from his cheeks.

"You're okay. You'll be fine. Just get dressed and let's go to school, yeah? The world has ended too many times at this point for us to care."

Zayn nods, sniffing quietly. He wraps himself in the hoodie and zips it up. He's fine. This has happened before. It will happen again. He is okay.

____

 

Zayn always wondered how the world managed to end for some people, but they still went to school - no matter what. Until he had to do the same. He has walked down these halls, destroyed, high, exhausted or dead inside too many times now. He learned how to turn out the whole world around him and listen to this fucked up voice inside his head instead. And Louis. Always Louis.

He eyes the group of girls standing near the lockers, some of them sending seducing looks towards him. Zayn wants to chuckle and he would, honestly, if he had enough energy. None of you want this mess he thinks. None of you deserve it.

The girl in the center is Sophia Smith. God forbid anyone cross her path towards the success. The daughter of the mayor, every-year beauty queen of the school, A-grade student. Addicted to heroin since ninth grade. Tragic.

On her left stands the beloved Eleanor Calder. Louis' first and only female lover. Always looking chic and elegant. Head held high and posture straight as a ruler. Her mother is the owner of the school, her father - millionaire-businessman. Last year, someone leaked the video of her sucking dick in football locker room. The dicks of the whole football team. Zayn doesn't think it's wrong or something to be ashamed of - dicks are beautiful. Eleanor, on the other hand, will kill anyone who dares to utter a word about the incident. Tragic.

Oh, the blondes beside Eleanor are the famous saint-girls - Gigi and Bella Hadids. The only thing they are missing is the halo over their heads. Or, at least, that's what their family thinks. Instead, both of them are frequent visitors of our dear Harry magic-land Styles and his magic powders.

Speaking of devil.

Harry Styles strides down the hallway with his usual lazy smirk and glistening eyes. He stands in front of Louis, looking down at the boy and eating him alive with his eyes. Zayn almost stumbles at him.

"Guten morgen, amigos." - Harry drawls.

"Hi, Harry." - Louis mumbles, eyes glued to the floor with his cheeks slightly reddened. Zayn mentally rolls his eyes. Harry chooses that moment to remember about him and gives Zayn a strange look, as if he's asking "you're still alive after last night?"

"Zayn, hey. Glad you're okay." - He says instead. Zayn shrugs in response. "Payne has been worrying his mind away. You know how he gets with you."

Ah.

How could Zayn forget about one of the main protagonists of his life - Liam Payne.

Liam came into Zayn's life the exact day that cocaine did. If cocaine rocked and destroyed Zayn's already shitty life - Liam somehow glued the left pieces together, creating something horrible, but worth living for. Liam is everything you can ask for in a human being. Caring, gentle, cute, funny, handsome, sexy. Liam has been the anchor for Zayn many times before. Other than him and Louis - Zayn has nothing to hold on for. Maybe his mother and sisters. Maybe not.

Liam is familiar with dirty habits of the city. He knows Zayn's secrets, everyone does. But he never judges. Everyone gets high once in a while - even Louis fucking Tomlinson does (every week, at least twice). But never Liam. Instead - he keeps you safe and sound during your highs and comedowns. He stays beside and gives you water and bucket to puke in. He holds your hand, or your life, depending on a day. He pulls you in and lets you weep into his chest. Liam Payne is everything Zayn never deserved to have. But he has Liam and he always will.

"Payno should relax." - Louis mumbles. "And have some fun instead."

"Or maybe you two should keep away from my product for a while." - Harry shrugs a shoulder.

"Well, maybe we should stop buying your shit all together, so you get all poor and hungry, huh?" - Louis hisses at the curly boy. Harry's brows knit together from annoyance.

"Fuck off." - He snaps. "You two barely make a week without running to my house, asking for more. The whole school depends on my stash."

"Shove that stash up your-"

"Oi, oi! Tomlinson!" - The loud voice rings though the hallway, cutting Louis off. "Language, mate!"

Zayn's eyes wonder up and yeah-here he is. Liam Payne in all of his beauty and glory. He is wearing sweatpants and hoodie, rocking that athlete/model look, as always. Zayn feels like shit instantly. He must look horrible with his huge hoodie and ripped black jeans. Liam approaches them. His gazes softens the second he meets Zayn's eyes.

"Hey." - He whispers. Zayn lifts his fingers in an awkward way of waving a hello at him. "You okay? Where did you disappear last night? I got worried, thought you-"

"Calm down, muscles." - Louis cuts him off. "He passed out on the floor in Nialler's kitchen."

So it was Niall's house. That's why he recognized the vase in the corner. Liam's eyes grow wide instantly. Worry and concern fill up his gaze.

"What? How-Are you okay? How much did you-"

"Same as usual." - Zayn answers calmly. "Didn't die. I'm fine."

"Oh."- Liam breathes. He gulps, while staring at Zayn and it makes him feel awkward and strange. Liam should stop looking at him, like he's broken and needs to be fixed. He doesn't need to. He can't be fixed.

"We need to get to class." - Harry announces. "Yo, you three coming to Ashton's cabin this weekend? I'll get some special stuff. It's gonna be lit."

"Yeah, yeah, Curly. Count us in." - Louis rolls his eyes while he drags Zayn towards the class. "We'll be there!"

Nice. Another day - another height to crawl up. Zayn tugs a hood over his messy hair and follows Louis, ignoring Liam's concerned gaze.