Give me a reason: not to leave
[A little while ago I saw something floating around, like a prompt or an idea based off someone saying “give me a reason” or something (I don’t remember exactly what it was or where I saw it) and ever since then this little drabble has been floating around my head. So, naturally, I had to write it. I came up with two reasons this is one of them; I’m currently writing another one, sort of like a companion piece, called “Give me a reason: not to hang up” – which is what I think was the original idea. (That being said, if this was your idea let me know and I can credit you!) You won’t have to read one in order to read the other because they won’t necessarily be connected, however if you wind up thinking that perhaps they could be connected then have at it!]
Anyway, on with the story:
“Harry, c'mon-” Niall’s whining as Harry fumbles with the key card to their hotel room.
Harry ignores him, wills his shaking hands to stop and forces back tears as he desperately tries to get back inside. He just wants to get his stuff and go crash in Zayn’s room for the night, to be as far away from Niall as possible. He finally gets the card to work and shoves the door open, stumbling inside and straight towards the dresser where his overnight hotel bag is.
“Harry,” Niall pleads, grabbing the brunettes left arm with both hands to stop Harry’s hands from trembling with the zipper on the bag. “Just-”
Harry stops struggling with the zipper and drops both hands onto the top of the dresser. He drops his head and lets out a shaky breath. “I can’t believe you slept with her,” he mutters.
Niall blinks and tugs gently on Harry’s arm to pull him around so they’re facing one another. He sighs. “Haz…”
“When?” Harry demands, shrugging out of Niall’s grip and taking a couple steps back to put some space between them.
“When did you sleep with her?”
Niall sighs. “It’s not important.”
Harry snorts disbelievingly, rolling his eyes. “And that means it is because you don’t want me to know. So when was it – before or after we started fucking?”
The blond flinches, running both hands through his hair. “After, but-”
“Great,” Harry mutters. He turns, then, shoves a hand through his hair and walks towards the window. The street below is full of singing girls; if the room were any brighter they’d be able to see him and they’d start screaming. “That’s fucking great, Niall.”
“We weren’t a thing then, Harry,” Niall says – and he regrets it immediately the minute Harry turns around. Harry looks beyond hurt; his eyes are wide and watery, his cheeks are flushed and his chin is trembling. “Th-That’s not what I meant. I just mean – I mean we weren’t – it wasn’t serious-”
“Oh that was your excuse?” Harry scoffs, trying desperately to hold back the tears threatening to spill over the edge. “‘I’m fucking around with Harry but we’re not exactly dating so I’m just gonna go for it.’”
Niall frowns. “That’s not – it wasn’t like that. Besides, you were with other people too.”
“I wasn’t, actually,” Harry mutters.
The blond blinks, taken aback.
“Clearly you were, though. How many?”
He flinches and shoves his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. “It was just her.”
“It doesn’t matter-”
“Of course it matters, Niall!” Harry cries, his voice breaking part way through. “It matters to me.”
Niall sighs, his own watery eyes watching Harry’s as he licks his lips. It’s one of the many nervous ticks Harry knows he has and that, alone, twists the brunette’s stomach into even tighter knots. He’s not sure he even wants to know, it’s just something he feels he has to know. Even if it drives him insane.
“It was after last year’s VMA’s,” Niall says softly.
A sob, one he didn’t even know had been building, escapes Harry’s throat and his knees wobble under the weight of his body. He stumbles and trips and shakes off Niall’s hands as he makes his way to the bed to sit down. His shoulders begin to shake and his lungs start to hyperventilate a bit as he struggles to calm himself down. He doesn’t know what he’d been expecting to hear – but it definitely hadn’t been that; it just doesn’t seem like all that long ago. It’s like his heart has shattered into tiny shards of glass now stabbing at his chest; it hurts, physically and emotionally.
Niall reaches for him again, fingers reaching for his shoulders to console him, but Harry pushes him away. “Haz-”
“Just don’t touch me, Niall,” Harry mutters, pushing him back a third time. Niall looks hurt and helpless and if Harry weren’t so physically sick of looking at him right now he’d pull Niall back in.
“Can I – d-do you want me to get you some water, at least?” Niall asks weakly.
Harry shakes his head, staring past Niall’s shoulder at the wide open window. He doesn’t think he can even stomach a sip of water at this point, he feels so sick.
Niall remains silent, watching him from the middle of the room.
“How many times?” Harry finds himself asking?
“Once – just once,” the blond says hurriedly; it stumbles out sloppily, like he couldn’t get it out fast enough. “It was just once and it didn’t even last that long. We were too drunk for it to even-”
“I don’t think I need to know that.”
“Harry,” Niall breathes shakily, dropping to his knees in front of him, hands resting on Harry’s thighs and head bent forward to get a look at Harry’s face. “It didn’t mean anything. We both agreed never to speak of it again and then I left, that’s it. And, I swear, I didn’t know about Ed – a-and he knows that. He told you that, right?”
Harry nods. And of course he cares about Ed – knows that Ed’s slip up tonight of Niall shagging his now ex-girlfriend was never meant for Harry’s ears – but the last thing he cares about right now is Ed. His heart is currently coming apart in his chest and his boyfriend doesn’t even look like his boyfriend.
“It was just a stupid one-off, Harry. That’s it.”
Harry’s brow furrows as he lifts his gaze to meet Niall’s. “Then why didn’t you tell me? If it didn’t mean anything why didn’t you just tell me?”
Niall licks his lips again. “I just, I didn’t want to…” he trails off, guilty eyes falling away from Harry’s as he looks down at the floor.
Harry pushes himself up, then, which pushes Niall away in the process. “Didn’t want to what, Niall?” Harry challenges, gaze narrowed. He doesn’t just feel hurt or distraught now, he feels…betrayed. “Didn’t want to hurt me? If you didn’t want to hurt me then you had to know we meant something. Y-you had to know I was serious about you.”
The blond continues to avoid his gaze.
“You did, didn’t you?” Harry asks rhetorically as realization dawns on him. “You knew and you didn’t care-”
“I did care,” Niall says, cutting him off as his gaze finally snaps back up to meet Harry’s. “Please don’t think I didn’t care.”
“You have a funny way of showing it.”
“I just didn’t realize how much until a couple nights before the show and it freaked me out because we felt an awful lot like a real couple even though we were only supposed to be fucking around,” Niall rambles. “And then she started to flirt with me and I thought maybe if I hooked up with someone else, even just once, it wouldn’t feel like that. But that just made me feel worse, like I had betrayed you – and myself – and it was like I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I couldn’t get to you fast enough.”
Harry’s breath catches in his throat at Niall’s admission because he remembers that. He remembers Niall getting back to their hotel, somewhere around 3 o'clock in the morning. He remembers teasing Niall about getting himself lost in a sea of celebrities. He remembers Niall rushing to get into the shower before crawling into bed behind Harry and acting exceptionally clingy with him all night – and then continuously clingy with him for days afterwards.
He remembers, just over a week later, Niall telling him that they should be a serious thing, not just a casual thing.
His head starts to spin, then, and his heart just hurts and he feels like he’s going to be sick but also a bit like he might pass out. Niall looks at him like he wants Harry to believe him, like as long as Harry believes him then everything else will be ok. Except that Harry’s not sure it even can be.
“Harry, it doesn’t even matter – it never did,” Niall says, breaking the uncomfortable silence. “I don’t even talk to her and Ed and I are cool with each other and-”
“With all due respect, Niall, Ed’s known about this a helluva lot longer than I have. And, also, Ed’s not been fucking you.”
Niall flinches visibly.
Harry regrets it, a bit, because he knows it hasn’t just been fucking for some time now, but he also kind of wants Niall to hurt too.
“I-I’m sorry,” the blond boy whispers, taking a step to close the gap between them. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I did it, I’m sorry it’s hurting you, I’m sorry you feel like you can’t trust me and like everything’s been a lie but it hasn’t been. It hasn’t been a lie, Harry.”
Harry licks his lips and looks down at the ground.
“And you can trust me. And you can believe me when I tell you that it won’t ever happen again – not ever. I promise. I swear to you-”
“Stop,” Harry finds himself interjecting. He doesn’t want an apology, nor does he want any promises. They don’t make it go away and they don’t make it better.
Niall blinks and watches him with bated breath.
Harry remembers his bag sitting on the dresser, remembers thinking he would spend the night in Zayn’s room. Part of him wants to curl up against Niall’s chest in bed and forget that this entire night has even happened. And part of him wants to be as far away from the Irish boy as possible so he can think and feel on his own. “I think,” he starts, taking a deep breath as he looks up into anxious blue eyes, “I think I’m gonna spend the night in Zayn’s room.”
Niall blinks. “W-what?”
Harry moves back towards the dresser and zips up the one remaining open pocket. “He saw that I was upset earlier and said if I needed to crash there I could.”
“No – Harry,” Niall cries out, leaping forward to curl his fingers around Harry’s elbow.
Harry pulls himself out of Niall’s grip and makes for the door.
Niall follows, calling out Harry’s name desperately, his voice thick with tears and shaky with fear. “Harry, please – please don’t.” He manages to slip under Harry’s arm and slap his back against the door, closing it with a loud bang. His eyes are wide when he looks at Harry, full of fear and tears that have now made tracks down his light pink cheeks; they mirror the stains all over Harry’s. “W-we said we wouldn’t do this, remember? We said we wouldn’t go to bed angry or upset with each other – and that we would always come home, when we could, remember? P-please don’t go.”
Harry stares at him for a moment, his bag clutched tight in one hand and his other hanging limp at his side. “Give me a reason, then. Give me a reason not to leave.”
Niall reaches out, bunches his hands in the bottom of Harry’s T-shirt. He pulls, gently, and Harry sort of falls against him. He presses their foreheads together, their noses brushing and bumping against each other and he looks straight in Harry’s eyes. It’s like he’s baring his soul, allowing Harry to see the bits and pieces he hasn’t allowed anyone else to have. “I love you,” he whispers.
Harry crumbles. A sob rips itself from Harry’s throat as he drops his bag on the floor next to his feet and feels the weight of his body fall forward against Niall’s.
Niall holds him, shushes him soothingly and walks them carefully back into the room and towards the bed. And as they burrow themselves underneath the blankets and into each other’s comforting embrace, he whispers a mantra of “I love you"s and peppers soft kisses all over Harry’s face.
And that’s reason enough for Harry.