Eight Months (part III).
A few hours had passed since you had been cruelly snatched away from Harry. He remained in the corridor, pacing the floors and running a hand over his face and through his hair. His mind was plagued by the image of you so broken, as he contemplated what he could have done differently to prevent you from being this hurt and mistreated. Each time a door swung open, it distracted him from his thoughts as he’d look up, in the hope that a doctor was bringing him some more news. Nobody was coming, not yet.
He tries to calm himself, sitting on the grey plastic chairs. His knee bounces and he drums his fingers on his exposed knee, the rips in the jeans more prominent with the joint protruding out of the clothing. Resting his head back on the wall, he closes his eyes, his mind wandering to earlier that evening.
He was torn. He wanted to embrace you for as long as possible and keep you safe, allowing no harm to come to you, but he needed to know the extent of your injuries. Stumbling backwards through the door of his apartment, he keeps an arm firmly wrapped around your waist as he guides you to the sofa.
“There you go, darling” he murmurs softly, sitting you down onto the fabric gently. He kneels in front of you, gently caressing your cheek. He notes your injuries; a split lip, and a few bruises around your neck and whilst they absolutely sicken him, he involuntarily wants to hurl when he sees the bruises and cuts travelling up your thighs, indicating a serious assault. Your stifled sobs bring him back to reality and his sad eyes meet yours. “You’re safe, baby, you’re safe here with me” he tells you as he takes your hands in his own.
‘Baby.’ It rolls off of his tongue as if the last eight months never happened. He said it as he always did throughout your relationship, and with so much love to give you.
“Who did this to you? Who hurt you?” he asks, and a part of him isn’t sure he wants to know the answer because nothing will tear at him more knowing that this disgusting, careless human being is roaming the streets of London as a free man, and Harry hasn’t done anything to protect his girl. Even now, you’re his girl. You always will be. Your sobs win out and he knows he won’t be leaving you to look for the predator; you need him here and that’s enough for him to decide that he won’t go anywhere else.
You shake your head vigorously because you know that if you speak, you’ll completely break down, and Harry has already seen you at your weakest, you can’t expect him to pick up the pieces from your new nasty relationship.
“Tell me, (Y/N), tell me who’s done this to you” he murmurs again, caressing your cheek once more. “Was it him? That new guy, Tom?” he questions, spitting out the name. In normal circumstances, you’d laugh at him for appearing jealous as you piece together that Harry would only know the name through stalking your social media. But this was not a normal circumstance. Your silence answers his question before you sob again, covering your face with your hands. You were ashamed, confused, and you felt dirty and violated. You wanted nothing more than to wake up and for it to all just be one huge nightmare. It was a nightmare, but you were living it.
Harry disturbs you from your trailing thoughts as he slams his fist into the coffee table beside him. You know his anger isn’t aimed at you, but instead, towards the perpetrator. Tom was your boyfriend and he should have done everything in his power to keep you safe, instead, he was the one causing the hurt and pain. Harry would never hurt you, he would always care for you and protect you, whether that was from the monsters under the bed, the monsters in your head, or monsters like Tom. But Harry hadn’t been there to protect you. Scenarios plague his mind as he closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. The sight isn’t pretty as he tries to quickly dismiss the image of Tom violently forcing himself on you. The bruises around your neck indicated you being held down, and the cuts on your thighs implied the roughness of the vicious assault and the idea of you going through that repulsed him.
“Hey hey hey, you’re ok, you’re safe with me, darling” he quickly hushes you, returning to reality and cupping your face in his hands once again. “Look at me, (Y/N)” he whispers softly. He knows how you’re feeling; ashamed, embarrassed. “This is not your fault, ok? It’s him, all him, and he’s committed a crime. He needs to be punished, darling. We need to contact the police.”
You want to protest but you haven’t got the strength. You just want everything to be over. You want nothing more than to shower and have Harry hold you in his embrace all night, protecting you from the world. Harry chews his lip softly, awaiting your reply, but your silence gives him all the confirmation he needs.
Taking out his phone, he punches in the emergency number with his right hand, his left intertwining his fingers with yours for as much support as possible. Once he was put through to the operator, he began to speak. “Uh, yeah, hi” he begins nervously on the phone. “My … uh, my” he starts, and he realises that doesn’t know how to address you. Girlfriend? Friend? “I’d like to report a crime” he murmurs down the phone, choosing his words wisely. Whilst you can’t hear the words being spoken by the operator, you can only assume the conversation and you know the question asked when Harry replies with “a rape.”
Rape. The word being spoken aloud puts the scenario into perspective once more for both you and Harry. It’s a vicious word and a vicious attack. Something nobody should ever have to go through. Harry had always empowered girls and women throughout his life, and this became more obvious when his fame reached new heights and he expressed his positive opinions on women; he had the utmost respect for them. Those girls and women after all, will become our future mothers, doctors, nurses, carers and so much more. How can anyone hurt another human being like this? How can a man do such a thing? It’s a word that strikes anger in Harry. He just doesn’t understand it. In his opinion, it’s a very black and white scenario. No means no and any other actions, whether it be struggling or screaming or crying, that indicates a girl is not a hundred percent willing, also means no.
Ending the call, he looks at you apologetically. “They’re on their way. They want to take a statement from you” he murmurs softly, tucking a strand of hair behind your ear. “They’ve asked that you don’t shower or eat or drink anything, and after the statement, they’ll take you to a rape crisis centre” he tells you gently.
He knows this information must be so difficult to process, hell, he’s struggling to understand some of this himself. The only thing he can be certain of is that he’ll be staying with you throughout everything. He’s never leaving you again.
“Mr Styles? Mr Styles?” a female voice calls him. Reality hits and Harry opens his eyes. Looking around the room, he sees a young woman holding a clipboard heading towards him. She gives him a small and supportive, yet, apologetic smile as she heads towards him.
“How is she?” Harry asks, standing up instantly, but remaining rooted to the spot.
The nurse nods and purses her lips. “She’s doing well considering the ordeal she’s experienced. We have completed the rape kit and we’ve made her as comfortable as possible. Right now, she needs rest and her loved ones around her. She can go home whenever she’s ready, I just need to grab the discharge papers. You can see her though” she tells him.
Harry nods, swallowing the lump forming in his throat. Relief washes over him. You hadn’t requested that he didn’t see you, so you must have wanted him in there. He had given you the privacy you deserve during the rape kit but now you needed him.
Grabbing the bag from the floor, he heads towards your room. He’s not too sure why he knocks on the door; he wonders if he was just being polite or if it was to make sure he didn’t startle you. “Only me” he murmurs softly as he enters the room. He sits on the end of the bed, resting a hand cautiously on your leg. “I didn’t go far, I just sat outside for a little while” he tells you, in an attempt to reassure you that he has no intention of leaving you, ever again. “I brought some clean clothes for you, just something casual” he quickly gestures to the bag he carried in.
You nod. “Thank you, Harry” you whisper.
“What for?” he asks, burrowing his brows together.
You shrugged. “Everything. Just being here, really” you tell him.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else, darling” he replies with the utmost honesty, tucking a loose strand of hair behind your ear. Pulling away from the tender moment, he reaches into the bag, grabbing the bottle of water he purchased prior to entering the room. “Their vending machines aren’t too great, it’s not that cold” he apologises.
“It’s okay” you manage to whisper, your throat dry and scratched from the lack of liquid. You pick up the pot filled with two small capsules on your bedside table and without hesitation, you empty it into your mouth before downing a couple of mouthfuls of the bottled water. “They’re to prevent pregnancy” you murmur, avoiding eye contact with Harry after he frowns at your actions.
He quickly averts his eyes to the floor, realising that this really wasn’t any of his business. He lost the right to know everything about you the day he walked out of your life.
“You’re coming back to mine” he whispers softly.
“Oh Harry, you’ve already done enough for me, I can’t” you begin, but he quickly shushes you.
“I wasn’t offering you. I’m telling you. I want to look after you. Your clothes are here” he murmurs as he takes your clean things out of the bag. “Do you need a hand or?” he asks. He doesn’t want to be intrusive or invade your privacy but the scratchy nightgown provided for you doesn’t seem like it would be easy to unbutton from the back.
You nod hesitantly. Right now, you needed all the help you could get. But you felt like your body had been exposed to everyone. First, Tom had taken advantage of your half naked body sprawled across his kitchen floor and abused you in every way you thought was possible. The next intrusion was having to tell the police everything that happened, explaining to them in detail exactly what Tom did to you. Harry sat through that statement to give you as much support as possible but he now knew everything and there was no hiding away from that. How could he ever look at you the same way again? And finally, the rape kit had been intrusive. Whilst the nurse had been kind and caring and treated you with the utmost respect, it didn’t allow you to forget the horrific assault you had been through which resulted in you having various swabs to identify the perpetrators DNA.
Harry leans forward, cautiously unbuttoning the gown from behind you. With your bare back exposed to him, he held his breath in an attempt to contain his anger. Your back was red and scratched, an indication of a struggle during the attack. The bruising around your neck became more prominent from where Tom had wrapped his fingers around you so tightly. He helps you to pull the cosy jumper over your head, something he chose for comfort more than practicality. He helps you to pull on the sweats over your legs. Even with the medical treatment received at the clinic, the cuts and bruises are still of a horrific sight for him. He carefully but quickly covers you, avoiding staring at your injuries in fear of alarming you.
Once you were dressed, you gave a small smile, almost a thank you but it was in support of Harry too. You knew it must have been hard for Harry to hear your statement to the police following your assault, knowing that Tom was out there with no remorse of what he did, and you knew how difficult Harry would find it to not go out there and track him down and beat him half to death. But in Harry’s eyes, no punishment would ever be good enough for Tom, so he knew to let the police deal with the reported crime themselves, whilst Harry took good care of you.
Sighing softly, he picks up the bag from the floor and takes your hand in his, skimming it gently with his thumb. He raises your hand to his lips, pressing a soft kiss to it. “Ready to go?” he asks. You nod. Were you? You really weren’t sure if you were ready for anything anymore. Tom was still walking the streets of London, you weren’t safe, not yet. You weren’t sure if you’d ever feel safe again. But as you looked up into Harry’s piercing stare, his eyes studying your expression, you knew that as long as Harry was around, you were safe.