January 2016. There’s a bench at the top of Primrose Hill, in London, that looks out over the skyline of the city. If you’d passed by it one winter night, you might have seen him sitting there. A lanky guy in a wool hat, overcoat and jogging pants, hands thrust deep into his pockets. Harry Styles had a lot on his mind. He had spent five years as the buoyant fan favorite in One Direction; now, an uncertain future stretched out in front of him. The band had announced an indefinite hiatus. The white noise of adulation was gone, replaced by the hushed sound of the city below.
The fame visited upon Harry Styles in his years with One D was a special kind of mania. With a self-effacing smile, a hint of darkness and the hair invariably described as “tousled,” he became a canvas onto which millions of fans pitched their hopes and dreams. Hell, when he pulled over to the side of the 101 freeway in L.A. and discreetlythrew up,the spot became a fan shrine. It’s said the puke was even sold on eBay like pieces of the Berlin Wall. Paul McCartney has interviewed him. Then there was the unauthorized fan-fiction series featuring a punky, sexed-up version of “Harry Styles.” A billion readers followed his virtual exploits. (“Didn’t read it,” comments the nonfiction Styles, “but I hope he gets more than me.”)
But at the height of One D–mania, Styles took a step back. For many, 2016 was a year of lost musical heroes and a toxic new world order. For Styles, it was a search for a new identity that began on that bench overlooking London. What would a solo Harry Styles sound like? A plan came into focus. A song cycle about women and relationships. Ten songs. More of a rock sound. A bold single-color cover to match the working title: Pink. (He quotes the Clash’s Paul Simonon: “Pink is the only true rock & roll colour.”) Many of the details would change over the coming year – including the title, which would end up as Harry Styles – but one word stuck in his head.
I’m here for all the emos around my age, who heard “Sugar We’re Going Down” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” on the radio in 2005 as middle schoolers, and fell in love.
I’m here for the emos who are older than me, who captained the early fandom in its Myspace and LiveJournal days, whose love of these bands can be traced back to TTTYG or Bullets.
I’m here for the emos who are younger than me, who can’t remember 2005 because they were gradeschoolers or even babies, but who heard “Centuries” or “Victorious” and fell down the rabbit hole into a world they’d missed.
I’m here for the emo girls who were derided as “fake fans”, who are told their passion for these bands probably begins and ends with the singer’s pretty face.
I’m here for the emo boys who were mocked as “girly” or “gay” for wearing eyeliner and long hair like their idols.
I’m here for the emo nonbinaries who feel a little more secure in their identity when they remember that Pete bought skinny jeans from the “women’s” section, or that Gerard sometimes uses they/them pronouns.
I’m here for the emos who paid out the ass and stood in line so they could tell the bands they love, “thank you for everything”.
I’m here for the emos who have never been able to personally speak to the bands and probably never will.
I’m here for all my emo kids out there. Put on your war paint. Sing Hallelujah. Keep running.
this is my take on the evening after the wedding venue search…without interruptions… and maybe a bit more… (rated decidedly M) AO3
A few steps upon her deck is all it takes for Killian to feel grounded, the ancient wood beneath him welcoming him as it always has, no matter the realm. Fatigue from a seemingly endless day has him moving slowly, wishing he could go back to the start of it, to the first crack of dawn where he’d been nestled deep between Emma’s thighs as they’d made love in time with the morning birdsong. It had been more languid than the previous night, lover’s hands wrapped and probing as they kissed, nearly bringing each other to completion before he even slipped inside. He’d been unable to stop thinking about doing it all over again as he’d showered, quickly tossing on his clothes to seek her out in their kitchen downstairs. But then, life had intervened, in the form of Snow and his perfect morning had become just a tad less so.
Finding himself at the helm, he looks out onto the open water and lets his mind wander as he watches the moonlight dance atop the gentle tide. Marrying Emma here, while apparently impractical, is still what he would prefer. And Emma, the way she’d looked at him when he’d suggested it, he’d thought he’d seen agreement there in the sparkle of her eyes and felt it in the tightening of her hand around his waist. But then, life had intervened, again, and they’d been whisked all over town and found themselves making promises to wait, something he understands but doesn’t want with his whole heart.
For a man hell bent on revenge and misery for so long, he continuously amazes himself at his apparent capacity to chase happiness now, his course firmly set on a life with Emma no matter how long that life may be. Speaking of, the hairs on the back of his neck rise at the sound of her boots coming closer on the dock and he smiles into the wind, the damp chill ruffling his collar as he turns to welcome his love as she comes aboard.
“You didn’t have to come out here, love. I told you I’d meet you back at home if you called.”