quick little thing about broken up/angsty/rough patch narry, and niall seeing the AnotherMan spread and seeing harry at home. where they used to hide away together. and remembering This Town that he wrote, so many months ago when they first broke up, and despite being all the way at the ryder's cup, rushing to get the record to ryan seacrest and all the radio shows and pleased with columbia. bc he needed to grab harry's attention (& it working)? PLEASE
The phone vibrates between his hands, and he’s not psychic but he knows. He can feel it. He knows who it is without even looking, and his stomach plummets. This feeling is all too familiar, when it comes to him, he thinks. [The butterflies, they come alive…]
He laughs softly at the imagery; thinks it’s a bit ridiculous too, though.
He answers on the third ring, “Hey.”
“Hey,” Harry murmurs, breathing softly through the phone. He must be in too. “What are you up to?”
“Just…lying in bed,” Niall admits. He wonders if maybe he should have partied a bit harder. He did just release his first single as a solo artist, and it’s got to be a requirement or something, right? Oh well.
“Incredibly,” he breathes. “It’s different, doing it on your own. It’s more, you know?”
“It’s good though. It’s exciting.”
And, fuck- Harry’s not talking about Niall’s day anymore. He should have expected it, he reckons, except…well, it catches him a bit off guard and his heart finds residence in his throat. “Thanks,” he whispers.
He doesn’t even really know how it happened, if he’s being honest. He just- He remembers seeing HarryHarryHarry, and reading Harry’s carefully crafted words – and then suddenly he was on the phone with his manager, and now here is.
Here he is, coming off of a long day of interview after interview. Here he is, coming down from the high that it releasing his own song, made up of his own words and his own feelings, and putting them on display for everyone to hear.
Here he is, on the phone with a bloke he hasn’t spoken to in weeks and trying to keep himself together just long enough to get through this conversation in one piece.
“It really is,” Harry says softly. “I really mean that. I love it.”
Niall swallows hard around the lump in his throat. “I know you mean it. Thank you.”
“Why’d you rush it?”
And Niall hates how Harry’s voice sounds. So curious, yet so knowing at the same time. And Harry probably does know, is the thing. He probably knew the minute Niall texted him last night – and yet here Harry is, wanting to hear it from Niall.
“You know why,” Niall murmurs. He finds himself sinking further into the fluffy hotel pillows, as if they’re going to swallow him up so that he doesn’t have to answer.
“Niall,” Harry says, and his voice is low and gravelly. He’s tired, and Niall sort of wants to crawl through the phone to get to him. [Drive highways and byways…] “Tell me, Niall. It’s just me.”
“That’s sort of the problem, Harry,” Niall breathes.
“Alright, I’ll start,” Harry replies. There’s a rustling sound, and Niall imagines him sitting up in bed, the thick, white duvet sort of pooling around his hips. “I’ve been looking for an excuse to call you, and this was it. Your turn.”
And, Jesus- How is Niall supposed to tell him? Isn’t his writing this song for him enough? Why does he have to say what he knows that Harry already knows? Why does this feel much more intimate than writing an entire song, within which he’d poured his heart into months ago?
Niall takes a breath, runs a hand through his hair, licks his lips. “This was it,” he echoes softly. “I didn’t know how to approach you, didn’t know if you’d even want me to – and this… This was my last shot. They’re literally the words I never got to say.
“If you didn’t- If you hadn’t said anything, then I would have known that it was over.”
He’s met with silence on the other end, and for a moment Niall thinks that Harry might have hung up, but then there’s another rustle – and Niall imagines him lying back down.
“Unless you’re calling to tell me that it’s over,” Niall says, and he tries to sound as lighthearted as he can. “In which case, I’m pretty sure it’s too late now. I can’t take it back, because it’s already everywhere.”
“It is already everywhere,” Harry hums. “And I wouldn’t want you to take it back anyway.”
“Yeah?” Niall finds himself holding his breath.
“I mean, I think you summed it up pretty well. Everything comes back to you, so…”
He breathes a sigh of relief, and the butterflies don’t die away but they sort of settle down to a gentle, almost soothing feeling. And it’s ridiculous, really, that after all these years, Harry still makes him feel so fucking…much – but he’d never want it any other way.
“We’ll work it out, yeah?” Harry whispers. “Whatever it takes this time around.”