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26 December 2012 @ 10:40 pm
[rpf] And I can't let go of your hand  
Title: And I can't let go of your hand
Author: lamechante
Beta-reader: elisewin16 (thank you, always ♥)
Fandom: One Direction
Pairing: Harry/Louis
Word-counting: 2143
Rating: PG
Warnings: AU, distopic, future!fic?, angst
Summary: I'm nothing without you
Notes: to Nemi. Happy happy birthday my dear: I'm so glad I dragged you into this fandom! (Title from Cold Water, Damien Rice. Fic inspired by I'm here)

“If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be...” Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte.


They were still young, at the peak of their career, four albums released and hundreds of gigs around the world when they underwent their first operation
At that time these kind of surgeries were popular and widespread, as botox or artificial limbs a few decades before, and it was kind of a natural consequence for the five of them to go through with it.
The concept was rather easy and the risks were said to be minimum, especially considered the outcome, immortality. Both the nervous and the osseous tissues, the most liable to deteriorate, were to be substituted by micro-technological materials, whereas the cardiovascular system was to be implemented with other artificial devices; the physical appearance of the patients, though, did not change at all, rather their ageing started to be only a bureaucratic matter from that moment on.

The first to undergo the surgery was Louis: after the first exams his body appeared to be fit enough and he was willing to set the example for the others too; actually, Liam and Louis were immediately won over by this project when management recommended it, fully convinced of the benefits of the operation and the eventuality of spending the rest of their lives together doing what they most enjoyed, while the others, at first reluctant and scared, somehow set aside their doubts and accepted.
When Louis was dismissed from the clinic for the first time, the four of them were outside waiting for him, thrilled and anxious to see what kind of Louis would have walked out and at the same time scared of the possible side-effects. As soon as he saw them, Louis smiled, one of his heart-felt smiles and as he hugged them and chatted, nothing seemed different: he was the usual quirky, cheeky guy with an infinite lust for life. And this was the kind of motivation they all needed to undergo the first, the second and the last surgery.
It was the twenty-first of November when Harry walked out from the private practice, the last of them to follow out the surgeries as he strangely needed a lot more time to recover: two years had passed from the time Louis walked in the clinic and now, after a long break, they were ready to start their fifth world tour.

*

“You’ve been great, guys,” says Paul at the end of the twentieth gig of the year: it was the 10th of January and their schedule already counted two sold-out concerts per day at that time, something that would have driven them crazy and been the death of them only a couple of years before, but now, after two hours of singing, jumping, talking, they were neither thirsty nor short of breath: all they needed was to recharge their batteries, plug their cables in and wait a couple of hours to be fully loaded.

And they all actually were – happy, satisfied with their life-choice, healthy – but Harry. Harry who needed more time to recharge its battery than the others, but said he just wanted to rest longer; Harry who went in and out of the clinic, but didn’t let the others know about it. Harry who felt like crap since they started filling his body with bugs and foreign devices: he couldn’t sleep for days, he didn’t have control of his arms and sometimes, when he felt like crying, tears didn’t come out of his eyes, but instead his brain buzzed and he black-outed.
Around the others, Harry tried to dissemble his pain because he didn’t want to let them down, to let Louis down. In fact, if it wouldn’t have been for Louis, probably Harry would have never undergone all this: he was happy with his mortal life, made of passions, fear, love, disappointments, but the sole idea of leaving Louis, of making him go through the pain of Harry’s death was the trigger of it all.


Harry, laying down on the sofa of his changing-room, batteries charging, thinks once again about what it would have been: he misses the times he used to be tired but genuinely satisfied with himself and the others, when he managed to get his solo right, to nail the highest key and not because of a technological device installed somewhere inside him.
What he bloody misses are his physical feelings, though: the rage in his guts when Louis did something really stupid, the pain in his stomach when he laughed too hard because of one of his jokes or when he tickled him, made him fall out of their bed. What he misses the most is the feelings he had while making love to him, when he felt that no one was going to love him more than Louis did; when their bodies where twisted together, for hours, when he breathed Louis’ air, rolled like a cat into his embrace, when they made promises with the words ‘forever’ and they felt like they had the eternity ahead of them. And now they have it, but all is meaning-less, because Harry doesn’t feel anything anymore: when Louis touches and kisses him, Harry tries hard to think what it used to be, because now Louis’ touch is just a hand on a body that is unable to be turned on, it’s flesh that doesn’t belong to him. Harry is just the ghost of what he once was and he cannot think of anything worse than that.

“Hazza,” whispers a voice, “it’s time.”
Harry opens his eyes and in front of him there’s Louis, focused on unplugging the cable and wrapping it around Harry’s body; Louis brushes his hands against that still and powerless body, as he was made of crystal and looks at Harry with a worried gaze. “How do you feel, babe?” sighs Louis, caressing Harry’s hair with such a tenderness that never ceases to blow Harry away.
“I’m fine,” he says, but he’s not and his eyes can’t lie to Louis, who knows every tiny inch of Harry’s soul; even so, he pretends not to notice, because it hurts to be powerless, to be unable to fix Harry; he tried, he tried so hard since Harry had his first surgery but nothing could make it better: Louis tried not to notice Harry’s fake moans in bed, his lies, his ‘I’m ok, I just fell stupidly’ when he saw him laying on the floor, unable to move and his arms covered in bruises he never knew where they came from. Louis feels guilty, also, because he knows this whole thing was Harry’s proof of love to him and it’s painful to see him completely worn out, unmotivated. Empty.

Louis helps him standing up, although Harry keeps saying ‘I can do it myself’, but he doesn’t mind and once Harry is on his feet - but just in the literal sense, Harry is not getting any better, he can tell – Louis hugs him tight, almost unexpectedly, whispering in his ear the sweetest words a lover could get. Harry half-closes his eyes and tries not to cry, though he feels his head becoming heavier and heavier, his arms numb again and all he can do is leaning on Louis, dead-weight.

*

Another long journey on a plane, another city, another gig, audience, screams, songs and it happens, what was in the air, what everyone knew would happen, happens. Harry is on a huge wheel on the stage, ready for his solo, thousands of girls screaming at him and grabbing their cameras in the air when he slacks off the mic and falls on his knees. The thud is blunt: the band stops playing, the audience falls into a heavy silence and the last sound before the lights go off and the theater curtains fall is Louis’ scream.

*

Going back to the clinic feels weird: they always thought that physical pain was a thing of their past, when they were still trapped in their mortal flesh, but it’s not. With a clock hung on the wall ticking noisily, Zayn drumming his fingers on the wooden chair next to him, Liam biting his nails nervously, Niall fluttering about, Louis stands still, facing the white wall behind which there’s Harry. For the first time, although his body is nothing but cables and artificial devices, Louis pleads just for the tiniest bit of physical pain, he begs to listen to his heart-beat to feel alive again, because he forgot how reality feels like. Being immortal doesn’t mean anything when the people around you are not, it just makes harder to go on with your life when their day comes, but Louis never thought about it, because, while going under the knife, all he knew was that there was an infinite time for Harry and him to spend together and this only idea was the cure for every single worry, pain, doubt and second thought.

They have been waiting for what seems like hours when the doctor steps out of the operating room: they’re all frozen, unable to say anything at all, staring at his white coat. His voice is low, calm and when he starts talking, he tries to keep it simple, avoiding all the complicated medical and technological words; and it’s hard for both the parts to say and hear words like ‘rejection of extraneous bodies’, ‘failure’, ‘almost impossible to fix him’.
“I’m sorry, guys,” he says, leaving the room, leaving them alone with their thoughts, their stifling silence, their eyes that don’t want to meet, guilt and regret floating in the air.

*

Their tour is temporarily canceled, but none of them issues any statement; fans keep surrounding their flats, keep throwing letters and posters over the gates of the clinic where they got to know Harry’s hospitalized. The press doesn’t give the guys air, journalists call at any time of the night and day and paparazzi follow their every move. One morning The Mirror claims Harry to be dead and management to cover up the scandal for economic reasons, the other The Sun releases pictures of Harry asserting that he is in rehab in China to get over his cocaine addition.

But Harry’s just there, laying in an empty room, external machines keeping his body alive; one month has passed since the accident and less and less people come to the hospital now, less and less articles on them come out and Louis doesn’t need to come into the clinic from the door on the back anymore. He’s there, every day and every night, going back to his – their – empty house only to recharge his batteries for a few hours until his dreams are interrupted by images that are so real to make him wake up in terror.
Louis sits next to Harry, caresses his face, brings with him books, newspapers, and informs Harry of the latest news on The Wanted that now sing on Asian cruises and imagines to see a laugh written on his face; and then, when the sun sets, he reads to him Norwegian Wood, found on Harry’s nightstand, already full of double-over pages and underlinings.
And every time he comes across a highlighted sentence, he feels like he’s about to disclose one of Harry’s secrets and it’s not right, he knows, but he keeps reading and reading until he finds it, in the middle of the book, underlined two times without precision.

“So after he died, I didn't know how to relate to other people. I didn't know what it meant to love another person.”

Louis’ voice breaks and the sudden realization comes right after that: Harry is about to leave him and it’s going to be forever, he is going to be alone, forever. He wants to scream, to feel the air filling his lungs and his ears to hurt, but he just can’t, because there are no lungs, no air, nothing that could crack, no tears to be wiped.

“Without you, I’m nothing,” he whispers, “Harry, I’m nothing. You’re the only reason that keeps me going.” Louis stands up and comes closer to his bed: Harry’s there, always, numb, still, his lips blue and cold, his naked body covered only by a blanket.

“Harry, can you hear me? Can you hear me? Don’t leave me” and as he mutters these words, he presses his lips on Harry’s, softly, with all the love of the universe, because it does work, because Harry will wake up and smile and he will always wake up next to Louis and smile for Louis and they will never get bored of this perfection, their perfection, that’s meaningless if they’re not together.
But it’s not a fairytale and Harry does not wake up.

*

Louis always waits until the crack of dawn to leave the room, but today he stays, holding Harry’s hands, and decides not to recharge his battery.
 
 
 
colazitron: Harry/Louiscolazitron on December 27th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Wow. This was really powerful.
M.: pic#117721326lamechante on December 27th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot! :)