Sometimes, memories had a way of contradicting themselves.
They're there to remind you of the best times on your life. Other ones, they're there to remind you of sufferings, and are proof they happened. A few people are lucky, not being able to remember the bad memories. That's not living, is it though?
At least, Harry doesn't think so.
Don't get him wrong, he loves his life, and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. But it just doesn't seem fair to say that's it the best life anyone could have. He doesn't regret any of it; his audition, their success.
It had given him time to realise that before it all, he took his life for granted. His family, his friends; for granted.
It's a time like this, when he can't go to sleep, sitting in the dark, the sofa his best friend, when he had time to think about how great everything had been.
The second album.
An upcoming tour.
It was because of their fanbase. They owed a lot of their success to all the support over the years. (And their looks, but Harry's not vain, so he doesn't mention that.)
It really was great. With a job like this, it was hard to complain about it. Having to get on stage every night to sing with his best friends, not very many people would.
Except, maybe, Harry's not very many people.
He thinks about what it would be like to go back to when they were on the X Factor. How young and ready they wer, minds set on being the best the could be. It really was a time where they were genuinely excited to be on stage. How scared they had been.
Thinking back on how paranoid he was, Harry never really gave himself time to enjoy the competition. Liam had asked him about it, and had told the other boys about his fear. Being the youngest, they had made sure to reassure countless times that they were okay, and they wanted to enjoy what time they did have on the show. What really stuck in his mind, was that Liam had said.
"We're here to enjoy what little time we do have here, Harry. But, we can't do it. Not without you."
Harry had been shown by Liam, whether or not the other boy had realised, that he was overthinking and he really did need to enjoy it.
Liam seemed to always know what to say. Never really changed much either, did it?
He thinks back to how the boys were back then, how they were just as nervous as him, but didn't dare show it for his sake. Niall's nervous laughter, or Zayn's drifting off. He fell in love with the boys, he really did; well, with one of the boys, but all of them as well.
It's their quirks that has him smiling into the dark. Whether it was Niall's constant need to be around his guitar, or Liam checking and double-checking their agenda. Zayn's habit of falling asleep, or trying not to and failing miserably, after tea and the rest of the day off. These things had made their way into his life, had embedded them into his heart. They were ribbons that had tied themselves on it, tying themselves just tight enough to where it wouldn't hurt. It was that one ribbon, though, that had a certain tug at his chest.
A ribbon of a boy, who had the world on a string, and that string wrapped around his finger. With a simple wave, you were a slave to his gaze.
That one look, had Harry falling for him. The way they smiled at each other, their late night talks. He never seemed to realise what effect the boy had on him.
How? In the moment they had looked at each other, Harry knew he was a goner. There was a certain, a certain something to the boy, that he couldn’t quite place.
Thinking about it now, it was just the way he used to be with Harry. Louis always had a way to for every one of the boys. Different acts, different mischiefs, different compliments, different teases, different cuddles. He had this sort of personality that changed with every person that stood by him. It amazed Harry at how easily he could fit anywhere you would put him. Looking back through the years, he really was friends with everybody. He had that sort of glint in his eyes, that you just knew.
Now, as Harry sat with his thoughts crowding in on each other, he sees the only one that matters.
It had always been Louis, hadn’t it?
From the bathroom, to the bungalow.
From their very first tour, to their very first single.
No matter what, it had always been Louis.
How young and simple they were. How in love they had been.
Time really did fly by.
Harry never had a problem with the fact that they couldn’t be together in public. He was fine with it, he really was. Having Louis was enough for him, and vice versa. How the first year had been a bit of a challenge, because of how young the two had been. (Harry had been anyway.)
They seemed to work everything out, never seemed to have a problem. That was, until Louis had been given a cover. What a story that had been.
The day the found out, Harry had pulled the sobbing boy into his chest, reassuring him that he was okay, that it was okay.
And it was.
Harry had always told the boy as long as he was his, and as long as they loved each other, he would be fine.
So Louis spent those years, covering and lying, and reassuring and promising. He made it sounds so simple, so easy, Harry didn’t even see it coming.
Everything was fine until it wasn’t.
Louis had seemed to drag himself around, not being his usual self. He was... different. His entire persona had changed over night. It had scared the boys, but mostly him.
It seemed as if Louis had taken him up as a chore instead of very, perfectly, living human being (and his very, perfectly, living boyfriend) . It had all changed within that one night.
"What are we doing? Is this really what we want?"
Yes, Harry wanted to scream. He wanted to scream it from the tallest mountain, yell it out to the world. But he could never tell the boy how he really felt, not when he knew what had happened.
"..I'm saying I love you. I loved you the first day we met, I love you before we even got to know each other, I lived you when we were breaking.
"It's not fair to me, Louis. These lies and excuses... I won't take them anymore.
"You're free to tell the boys and tell management. Tell them you were nothing but empty promises. How you only loved the idea of being loved. Selfish, nothing but.
"And yet, there I was, watching and waiting. I saw the way you would look at her. How you used to look at me like that. You were so close, Louis, but you weren't. You were so far from me. You won't hold on to me, and I'm okay with that."
Harry got up from where he sat next to his (ex)lover on the sofa, pressing one last chaste kiss to the boy's forehead.
"I'll always love you, Lou. To the moon and back."
Harry had promised no matter what, he'd always love Louis, and vice versa.
But, Louis had already fallen out.
And Harry knew; knew what the reason was, what became of it. Even though he'd wish the worst upon them, he could never find it in his mind to hate her. It wasn't fair.
But neither was his suffering of a broken heart, silent tears in the dead of night, and a small broken frame that stood tall on the tiny table that sat next to the sofa.
Harry watched from a perfectly safe distance of how his friend had fallen in love with another. How they didn't fit anymore, not how they used to. It's depressing, watching the boy who used to be his, becoming someone else's.
It's pathetic and stupid for Harry to barely realise this, while he sat on his couch, quiet and dark flat, no sound but his soft sobs. What an idiot he found himself becoming.
And he wishes.
Wishes that the most important ribbon hasn't loosened and fallen. That he could have him back.
He wishes Louis Tomlinson was there to keep him warm and safe.
Wishes that Louis Tomlinson would love him again.
Because no matter what he did,
those sheets would always be empty, as well as his heart.
Harry, for the very first time, learns what love is.