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Chapter 1 | 2 | 3

Chapter 4

“We’ve got Kristin on the line right now. Hi, Kristin. It’s Nick Grimshaw. Good morning. You’re on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Harry Styles.”

“Hi. Oh my god. I can’t believe I got through.”

“Must be your lucky day. Do you have a question for Harry?”

“Oh my god. Oh my god.”

“Hi Kristin. It’s Harry.”

“I can’t believe it. Oh my god.”

“Shall we come back to you? Do you need a moment? A paper bag to breathe in, perhaps?”

“No! Sorry. Sorry. I just can’t believe I’m talking to Harry Styles. Oh my god.”

“What’s your question for Harry, Kristin?”

“Okay. Yes, okay. Harry, we heard you were ill. Is that why the album’s not coming out yet?”

“Nice to meet you Kristin.”

“Nice to meet you, Harry! I love you!”

“Love you too. And yes, I was ill. Me and Louis thought we’d got food poisoning, but it turned out to be a stomach virus. We’re both better now.”

“That’s good news!”

“You know you’re rumoured to be dying of some horrible disease. You’re saying that’s not true, Harry?”

“’Fraid not, Nick.”

“That would be quite tragic. Popstar on the rise, life cut short. Simply tragic. Would probably make for a good movie, though. Get somebody like Zac Efron to play you. Be a smash hit.”

“Sorry to disappoint.”

“Hmm. Harry, I’m sure Kristin wants to know why the album’s being delayed. Can you tell us anything about that?”

“Yeah, sure. We really wanted this second album to be a little more personal. Once it started coming together, we talked about it and didn’t really think it was saying everything we wanted.”

“Bit risky to make last minute changes, don’t you think?”

“Dunno. I guess it might be. But we want to put out something we’re proud of. Our fans deserve that. And we’ll be on tour with the album for an entire year. I think that’d be hard if it wasn’t something we all felt passionate about.”

“What did your management have to say about all this?”

“They’re very supportive. Of course they tried to talk us out of it. We know it doesn’t look good, and it’s a lot more work for everyone. But once we explained our thinking, they came around. We’ve got a great team behind us and they give us great advice, but it’s the five of ours’ decision. If it turns out to be a bad choice, that’s on us. I don’t think it is, though. I’m really happy with it.”

“There you have it, Kristin. Straight from Harry himself. Are you excited about the new album?”

“Really excited! I can’t wait!”

“Yes, well, I suppose you’ll have to. Anything else you’d like to say to Harry before we have to let him go? Famous popstars have their schedules to keep, you know.”

“I love you, Harry! And the rest of the boys! Thank you!! Tell Niall I love him!”

“Will do. Love you too! Good bye.”

“Thanks for calling in, Harry, and helping to put all those horrible rumours to bed. Glad to hear you’re not dying!”

“Me too.”

“What’s the worst rumour you’ve heard about yourself? I’m sure you must hear loads.”

“There’s been a rumour going round that I’m actually already dead.”

“Any truth to that one?”

“No, not that I’m aware of.”

“Good to hear, good to hear. Thanks again for calling in to BBC’s Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Harry Styles of One Direction, everyone, alive and well.”

“No problem. Bye.”

Louis walked into the room just as Harry was finishing. “You all done there?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

“Was that Nick’s show?”

“Yeah. You weren’t listening?”

“No. Was planning to, but Paul called. Car’s going to be here in ten.”

“All right. Let me get some clothes on.” Harry spoke from the middle of the bed, sheet draped low around his hips. “Don’t suppose you put the kettle on.”

“Tea’s waiting for you in the kitchen, love,” Louis said, walking to the bed and bracing himself on one knee to bend over for a kiss.

Harry leaned into it humming, eyes fluttering shut. He shuddered when Louis’ hand stroked across the curve of his wing.

Pulling back, he whimpered, “Lou. C’mon. That’s not fair. You said we only had ten minutes.”

Louis smirked and gave a little shrug of his shoulders. “I like the way they react to me.”

“Yeah, well, now’s not the time.”

Louis leaned in again, kissing Harry soundly, biting down on his bottom lip and soothing over it with his tongue while his hand gave the curve of Harry’s wing another strong stroke. Then he pulled away laughing, calling over his shoulder as he left the room, “I’ll be in the kitchen.”

Harry picked up a pillow from the bed and threw it after him, shouting, “You’re an arse.”

His dick was already hard.

Living with wings had been a big enough adjustment, but the way they responded to Louis was something he didn’t think he’d ever get used to. Not that he was sure he even wanted to.

And Louis was the only one who caused this kind of reaction. Now that the others had got used to Harry’s wings, there’d been plenty of times they’d touched them casually, not even seeming to notice they’d given the bend of his wings a quick squeeze and not his shoulder. Lou, their stylist, had also put her hands all over them while fitting him out for his modified clothing—measuring, moving them aside to make adjustments, draping them over the fabric of his shirts and jackets.

Little Lux, especially, had pawed them excessively, fascinated by the wings, her eyes growing huge the first time she saw them before she broke out into a delighted laugh, clapping her hands and saying, “Hawwy biwrd!” Her response was almost enough to make him not feel like such a freak. She loved for him to get on his hands and knees so she could sit on his back and demand that he fly. Harry would extend his wings and flap them slowly, ruffling her hair as the air whooshed by. He didn’t think he’d ever get tired of hearing her happy belly laugh.

But his reaction when Louis touched his wings was far different. It was as if they were attuned to Louis’ touch, responding to even the slightest brush of his feathers. They’d shiver and Harry would be instantly aroused. Louis was well aware of the effect he had on Harry too, teasing and tormenting him every chance he got. The only consolation Harry had was that his own reaction caused a similar one in Louis; he got just as turned on from touching Harry. Admittedly, it wasn’t as if it were all that different from how they were around each other before the wings, but for some reason, the wings seemed to enhance their reactions to each other. At times he thought about ways to describe what was happening between them, and if he didn’t think it sounded so corny, he might say that his wings were in love with Louis. No surprise there, since the rest of him was too.

Harry thought about the night before, Louis telling him to lie on his stomach after he complained about his sore back from a long day in the studio. They’d both been naked and Louis took his time massaging his muscles, digging in deep with strong fingers. He alternated work on Harry’s body with caresses of his wings, stroking his hands over the feathers. At every touch, arousal would wash over Harry, swamping him in wave after wave until he could barely think. He could only lie moaning helplessly, painfully hard.

Then Louis had urged Harry up on his knees, working Harry’s arse until he was practically boneless, first with the massage, then opening him up with his tongue—licking at his entrance with long slow slides of his tongue, little kitten licks, deep penetrating prods. He’d followed with slick lubed fingers, prepping Harry until he was practically shaking. His hands were clenched in the sheets, face pressed into the bed and his wings were out, rippling in reaction to every little thing Louis did.

When Louis slid in, blunt head of his cock breaching his entrance, hands grabbing at the wings for leverage where they emerged from Harry’s shoulders, Harry thought he’d die from the sensation, the pleasure almost too much to bear. His wings flapped and Louis held on tight, hips thrusting deep.

Harry could feel Louis’ firm grip on his wings straight in his cock. Every squeeze of his feathers felt as if Louis’ hands were on his dick, bringing him off. He tried to hold back his orgasm, to make it last longer, but after just a few more thrusts, Harry was coming, untouched, his entire body seizing with pleasure, back arching, head thrown back, wings spread wide as he made a mess of the sheets beneath him.

Then he collapsed forward, face back down on the bed, trembling all over, wings settling to rest on the sheets. After a few moments, he became aware that Louis was still inside him, unmoving, but keeping him full. One of Louis’ hands held his hip and the other was stroking soothingly over his back, down his spine, over his arse. He was murmuring words of appreciation and love.

“…no idea how amazing you look. Thought you were beautiful before, but like this, god, Haz, never seen anything more gorgeous in my life. You’re amazing and I’m so fucking lucky to have you.”

His hand stilled as he noticed Harry was coming back after his intense orgasm.

“You okay, love?”

“Yeah.” He gave a little laugh. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

Louis gave another stroke along his back then asked, “Can I…?” He accompanied the question with a small movement of his hips, pulling out just the slightest, then pushing back in.

Harry sucked in a breath, eyes fluttering, as his body, over-sensitised, reacted.

“Yeah. Just… go slow, all right?”

And Louis had gone slowly. Excruciatingly slow. Long, deep strokes, hands rubbing the cheeks of Harry’s arse, heating them with his palms, spreading them apart, resting his thumbs right at the rim where his cock slid in and out.

Harry, eyes closed, arse in the air, felt the almost unbearable sensitivity shift back to arousal. When Louis’ hands slid up his back and began stroking across his wings again, he thought he might actually pass out from the pleasure. Every inch of his skin was on fire, burning up from the inside out. His heart pounded and his cock was rock hard. He could hear Louis behind him, breathing laboured, hips becoming more erratic as his rhythm shifted into short hard thrusts.

“Gonna come,” Louis groaned out.

“God, touch me, Lou,” Harry begged.

Louis reached around, fisting Harry’s cock in his hand and then Harry was coming again, a jagged moan leaving his lips, tears squeezing from his eyes as his body spasmed uncontrollably with his release. With one more hard thrust Louis was coming too, leaning over Harry’s back, mouth pressing against his hot skin, panting as he filled Harry with his come.

As soon as Louis pulled out, Harry’s knees collapsed and Louis lay draped over him, skin hot and damp with sweat, his face buried in the juncture between Harry’s wings. He rubbed his face in the feathers humming with contentment and Harry shivered all over, groaning. A clumsy hand reached out to stroke a wing and Harry didn’t think he could bear it; goose pimples broke out all over his skin and his cock gave a twitch beneath him.

Groaning again, he said, “You’ve got to stop. I can’t take any more. You’re going to kill me.”

He felt a muffled laugh against his feathers and Louis gave the wing one last pet, eliciting a whimpered, “Lou,” from Harry as he tried to buck him from his body.

Louis relented and crawled off, sliding under one of Harry’s wings so they could lie face to face.

“You’re fucking amazing,” Louis said, lazy smile on his lips, eyes sleepy, but shining with love.

“Sure you don’t mean amazing fucking?” Harry quipped back.

Louis laughed. “That too. Though that’s always been amazing.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, eyes starting to drift closed. “Was good. Really good.”

“Really, really good,” Louis agreed, giving Harry a sweet kiss and snuggling closer.

Harry turned a little to the side, winding his arm around Louis’ waist and hooking their ankles together. He retracted one wing, folding it up against his back but left the other where it was, draped over Louis like a blanket. They were both asleep in moments.

He had woken up in the early hours of morning, achingly hard, Louis fast asleep next to him. Sometime during the night, Louis had snuggled even farther under his wing and his steady breathing sent soft puffs of air against the feathers. Unable to stand the stimulation, Harry removed the wing and closed it behind his back. Louis, restless from the sudden loss of warmth, burrowed even closer against Harry, nudging a thigh between his legs. That was almost worse as he brushed up against Harry’s cock.

Harry pulled the sheet up over them both and moved away from Louis so his erection wasn’t rubbing against Louis’ warm body, but Louis only shifted closer in his sleep, face nuzzling against Harry’s chest. Harry closed his eyes in frustration, tempted to wake Louis up, but knowing they both hadn’t been getting nearly enough sleep lately. Instead, he carefully disentangled himself and slid out of bed, deciding he could take care of himself in the shower.

He had just slicked himself up with a soapy hand, head tilted back under the spray when he heard the sound of the shower door opening. Louis slipped in behind him and wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist, saying, “Here, let me.”

The combination of the hot spray, Louis’ face buried in his feathers, body pressed tightly against the wings folded down his back, and the practiced movements of Louis’ sure hand had him coming in minutes. He had returned the favour, slicking up Louis’ cock and bringing him off whilst kissing him soundly, the water streaming over their faces.

Then they had returned to bed, exhausted in the best way, too tired to deal with the soiled sheets.

Harry could feel the effects of the night before as he pulled on his trousers and got ready for their long day. He grabbed one of the concert T-shirts that had been modified for him, slit down the back with Velcro closures at the neck and below the wings, then got out one of the kitted-out jackets. It, also, was slit down the back, an area cut out for the wings, with the collar remaining intact. A zip, cleverly hidden, closed the garment from the inside, up under the wings. He walked to the kitchen asking Louis, who was sat drinking his tea, “Can you zip me up?”

“Turn around,” Louis said, nodding. “Wings up,” he added. Then he reached to the underside, fastening the jacket closed in a well-rehearsed manner. “Let me do the straps for you,” he said when he was finished in the back. “Drink your tea. The car will be here any minute.”

“Thanks.”

The jacket had been designed with leather straps sewn inside on the shoulders. They crisscrossed over his chest, with another wrapping across his rib cage, and fastened with sturdy buckles to give the appearance they were holding the wings in place. Once Louis was done, he tugged the t-shirt down at the waist, smoothing the jacket at the shoulders and giving a nod of satisfaction.

“All set.”

“Thanks,” Harry said, grabbing a banana from the fruit bowl on the table and taking a few last sips of tea before heading to the door, the car having arrived and announced its arrival with the beep of a horn.

Harry opened the door to the garage and they both climbed in, greeting Paul, ready to start another busy day.

Once Simon had set the wheels in motion, events had progressed rapidly. Harry and Louis were moved into a small cottage on the outskirts of London, its private drive and attached garage allowing them to enter and exit their home without being seen. Schedules were insane. They were on the move constantly—studio time, photo shoots, fittings, rehearsals, interviews. Lots of interviews.

When the news broke that One Direction’s second album was going to be delayed, the rumour mill had gone into overdrive. Critics jumped at the chance to predict the pop band’s downfall, assuming the album must be seriously flawed to need reworking so close to its scheduled release. Others, however, judged the move as smart, saying the rush to put out a new album at the expense of quality was a mistake, and if they were taking the time to improve the product, it was time well spent and the mark of a group obviously more concerned with longevity than cashing in.

Fan reaction was, unsurprisingly, intense: YouTube videos of teenage girls declaring they’d simply die if they had to wait even longer; staunch posts of support on Tumblr for whatever decisions the band made concerning their career; speculation that one or more of the boys was sick, possibly with a terminal illness. This last one picked up so much steam that special appearances had to be scheduled to quell the rumours that the boys were ill. Harry, of course, was unable to appear in person, but he called in to several radio stations to give the fans a chance to hear firsthand that he was fine. Thus the call this morning with Nick.

As they had discussed, the others had got wings as well, though smaller than Harry’s, and in colours much as they had initially envisioned. Zayn’s were black with bright yellow feathers on the underside, visible when the wings were spread. Niall’s were white, Liam’s a light greyish brown with a subtle pattern, and Louis’ a darker grey as the base, shot through with bright blues and greens and purples. They made an impressive show all lined up together on the stage.

By now, Harry walking around with his wings was a familiar sight to the crew. His well-established back problems had given them the excuse they needed to explain why he never took them off. Once they were on tour, he’d be wearing them for hours on end each day. In order to ensure he’d be able to endure the rigours or performing, he was building up his strength now, preparing for the gruelling tour schedule.

When asked by one curious intern if he wasn’t getting sick of them, he’d simply responded, “I’ve got quite used to them. They almost feel like a part of me.” The answer seemed to satisfy her, and it was true enough.

The two boys rode in silence once they were buckled in the car, Harry leaning his head against the window and shutting his eyes, hoping he could grab just a few more minutes of sleep. The frequent starting and stopping of the city traffic made it impossible, however, so he gave up and ate his banana instead. When he was finished, he looked over at Louis who was, as usual, scrolling through his phone.

“Anyone say anything about the interview this morning?”

Louis shot him a look as if he thought Harry was mad. “Only about two point four million people.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “What’ve they been saying?”

“They’re saying Grimmy has a crush on you and they’re wondering if the two of you are secretly together.”

“Lou…”

Louis dismissed his protests with a wave of his hand. They’d had that argument before. Several times, in fact. But Harry wasn’t going to stop being friends with Nick just because Louis was jealous. Every time they went out together, Louis’ jaw would clench when he’d see the pap pictures and read the speculation anew, but Harry’d had to cope with Eleanor a lot longer, so he didn’t think Louis was in much of a position to complain. In any case, they hadn’t argued about Nick in quite a while, and he was glad Louis seemed to be letting it go this time.

“They’re saying you sound fine. Not sick at all. I think you’ve managed to convince everyone you’re not dead.”

“That’s good.”

“No, wait.” Louis held up a finger and was quiet for a minute while he scrolled intently. Then he looked up with an exasperated expression. “These people are mad. You’ve got some insisting it was pre-recorded. Or better yet, edited together from old interviews. They’ve even listed out every occasion where you’ve said similar things and have charts showing how the entire interview could have been spliced together from old recordings.”

Harry just shook his head. He supposed he should be used to it by now, but the lengths some fans went to in order to prove their pet theories still surprised him.

“What about the wings?” he asked. “Have they said anything about the wings? I can’t imagine it hasn’t got out yet.”

“Hold on.” After another moment, Louis let out a bark of laughter.

“What?”

Louis held up the screen of his phone so Harry could see what he was looking at. “Sugarscape is on the job, mate. They’ve photoshopped us all as birds.”

Sugarscape: We Dress the Lads Like Birds

Harry took the phone from Louis for a closer look.

“Don’t worry,” Louis said. “Your wings are much more beautiful than that. They’ve got your legs about right, though.”

“Very funny,” Harry answered as he scrolled through the pictures. He laughed when he got to Liam and held it up to show Louis who grinned in return. At the next picture he said, “Of course you’re a peacock, what with that magnificent tail of yours.”

“Oooh, a joke about my bum. You’re such a clever one.”

“My jokes are completely underappreciated.”

“That’s because they’re usually not very funny.”

“Hey. They are too. They’re just subtle, not—”

“Okay, lads, we’re here,” Paul said, interrupting them. “Got your schedules?”

Louis and Harry stopped talking and began to gather their things, unbuckling their seatbelts.

“All set, I think,” Louis answered.

“Good. See you inside,” Paul said as they exited the vehicle, heading to another long day of rehearsals.

The show was shaping up to be amazing. Although their first tour was pared down, focusing on the music and the boys themselves, their new one had upped the ante and added elements of spectacle. The priority was still the music, of course, but with a proven ability to sell tickets, they could afford to put on a show the audience wouldn’t soon forget.

“There you are, good. The other lads are already here.” Harry and Louis were greeted and ushered into rehearsals the minute they walked through the door. “Louis, can you get your wings on? They want to run through the opening and the first few numbers straight off.”

“Sure thing, mate.”

“Harry, this way.”

Harry followed obediently to the scaffolding stairs which led to a platform high above the stage. He climbed up and stood patiently while he was secured to a zip wire.

“Can you spread your legs a little wider?” one of the technicians asked.

Harry inwardly smiled, thinking Louis would have had some amusing comment to make, but did as he was asked, waiting for the support to be adjusted and fastened around his thighs and hips. Once the carabiners were snapped in place—one to the straps supporting his body and the other to the wire itself—he was asked to grip the bar above his head with his right hand and given a microphone for his left.

“I want you to lean back now. Put your weight on the straps.” He did so and waited while all the equipment was tested. “Okay, you should be good to go. Here’s where the signal’s going to be.” The crewmember pointed to a small light to his right. “When it turns from red to green, you just need to lean back into the seat and step off the platform. The wire will do the rest. You’ll slow down as you reach your mark. As soon as you stop, let go of the bar and just unclip this one—” He pointed to the carabiner at his waist. “And the harness will fall away. We’ll take care of removing it from the stage. You ready to give it a go with the other lads?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

They’d practised his entrance many times already, and the crew had done a dry tech run the day before, but this was the first time they’d be rehearsing his entrance as it would appear in the show. They weren’t doing the full tech run today, just to the first costume change. Minus the actual costumes, of course, save the wings; they’d save that for the full dress rehearsal. He was eager to see all the special effects.

Flashing the crew a thumbs up sign, Harry moved to the edge of the platform to watch the show begin. Harry heard the music start, saw the fog filling the air, and then the other four appeared, silhouetted against bright lights, rising from the stage, wings spread. When they were almost through the verse of their opening song, Harry saw the light turn green signalling his cue. He took a deep breath, feeling that momentary surge of adrenaline as he stepped off the platform into open space, then the rush of air against his open wings as he sped to the front of the stage, landing in between the other boys.

He stopped moving just a beat or two before the chorus and had just enough time to unhook the carabiner, freeing himself from the harness, picking up the chorus right on cue.

-o-


All five of the boys huddled around the monitor playing back the opening and their first few numbers from the tech run earlier in the day. All in all, things had gone off with only a few glitches. Excited voices filled the air as they watched themselves appear out of the fog then saw Harry flying down over the stage, wings spread.

“That is sick! Just sick!” Niall exclaimed. “Look at you, Harry. You’re really something. Just sick.”

The others agreed.

Harry, for almost the first time since he had grown the wings, felt a burst of pride. They really did look incredible, especially with the lights setting them off behind him. And for a few seconds he had almost felt like he was really flying. Maybe they were actually going to pull this off.

He looked at Louis whose expression reflected that same sense of pride Harry was feeling and couldn’t stop the grin from taking over his face. Louis gave him an answering one in return, along with a nod of his head, as if reading his thoughts. They were really going to do this.

One last nagging worry he’d been carrying around with him had to be addressed, though, before he could let himself be truly happy.

“You don’t think…” he began, a crease appearing in his brow.

“What love?”

“Well, don’t you think it puts too much of the focus on me? We’re all equals, yeah? But this makes it look like I’m the lead singer or something, instead of just one of five. I don’t want anyone to think my head’s getting too big. You know?”

“Mate…” Zayn spoke up. “We all talked about this. It makes the most sense for now. And let’s face it. Most of the world already thinks you’re a rock star. None of us mind if you’re front and centre. It don’t really matter to us what the rest of the world thinks.”

The others were nodding their heads in agreement.

Liam chimed in. “They don’t know what goes on between the five of us. As long as we understand and we know that we’re all in this together, it doesn’t matter how things look on the outside. Let them think what they want. We know the truth.”

“And believe us,” said Niall. “If your head starts to get too big, we’ll let you know.”

“Absolutely,” said Louis.

“I’ve no doubt about that,” Harry said with a small roll of his eyes and a laugh. His concern safely dealt with, he allowed himself to begin to feel the excitement.

“So we’re going to do this,” he said, almost to himself, happiness blooming in his chest.

He felt arms wrapping around him, pulling him into a hug, all five of them so close you almost couldn’t tell where one left off and the others began.

“Hell yeah we’re going to do this,” Louis said in reply.

-o-


Chapter 5 coming soon (which is obviously a relative term!)

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October 2015

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