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Chapter 7

Louis awoke to three anxious and frightened faces staring down at him. After a moment of confusion, he bolted upright, remembering what had occurred. “Harry. Fuck.” Liam grabbed him as he started to sway.

“Here, sit back down for a few. You fainted.”

Louis jerked his arm away. “Where’s Harry? I need to get to Harry.” He had obviously been moved while he was unconscious. They were backstage, away from the crowd, although he could still hear the hysterical voices of the audience and someone relaying instructions over the sound system. A police officer was standing nearby, stationed as a guard.

“He’s en route to hospital. We don’t know anything more. Paul rode with them in the ambulance to explain… you know.”

“We need to go too.”

Zayn’s phone buzzed and he held up a finger while he checked it.

Nodding his head, he looked up and said, “Car’s ready for us at the side.”

“What about their mums?” Niall asked.

God, Louis hadn’t even thought about them being in the audience. They had flown over for their final performance, so excited about being able to attend and share their successful night. His vision started going grey again and he shut his eyes, trying to regain his equilibrium. Liam grabbed hold of him and forced him into a seat, pushing his head down between his legs. This time Louis didn’t protest.

“Lou’s mum is with Anne. They’re already on their way. Going to meet us there.”

Liam knelt down next to Louis. “You think you can walk?”

Louis nodded his head while keeping it down between his knees. “Yeah. Just give me a sec.”

“Sure. You take your time.” Louis had never appreciated Liam’s steady presence more.

Not allowing himself to think about what might be happening in the ambulance, Louis took a few deep breaths. He wasn’t going to be any help to anyone like this; he needed to be strong. Taking one last deep breath, he sat up. “I’m ready.”

Zayn nodded to the officer who began leading them to the exit. The area by the car was blocked off by a barrier which had been set up to protect it from any interference. Louis could see the paps in the distance trying to snap pictures as they were ushered into the vehicle. A wave of repulsion ran through him, disgust that someone would try to profit from this horror.

He allowed Liam to buckle him in and then he stared out the window, eyes unfocused, the lights of the city blurring by. Liam, Niall and Zayn were talking in low voices, but Louis was lost in his own head, trying desperately not to think of the worst case scenario. Although he wouldn’t let himself even consider that possibility, he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about what might happen now that Harry’s secret was out. Well, all their secrets, he supposed. They were never going to be able to explain away his impassioned declarations of love after they’d been heard by thousands.

News crews were already convening outside the hospital as they arrived. Louis’ skin crawled at the intrusion. They were used to every aspect of their lives being on display, but some things—his terror, his anguish—should be allowed to be private. As they exited the vehicle, their police escort quickly surrounded them as they were led inside. Paul was there to greet them, obviously having been alerted they were arriving. He wasted no time assuring them Harry was still with them.

“He’s in surgery. Won’t know more for a few hours yet.”

The relief that went through Louis was so strong it almost knocked him off his feet. A strong arm wrapped around his shoulders lending him much needed support. He looked over and gave Niall a grateful smile.

“He’s going to be all right,” Niall assured him. “I just know it.”

Louis clung to Niall’s positivity.

Liam asked the question that was at the back of everyone’s minds. “What about…?” He raised his eyebrow and gave a small nod of his head over his shoulder, not wanting to say the rest of the question out loud with so many strangers around.

“C’mon,” said Paul. “They’ve got a waiting room set aside for all of us. We can talk there.”

“Hold up a minute,” Zayn said. They all turned to look at him. “Is there somewhere we can get Louis cleaned up first?”

Louis looked down at himself. He hadn’t even noticed his hands were still covered with dried blood. Harry’s blood. It was all over his clothes too. He spread his fingers and raised his hands toward his face, staring at them. A wave of nausea hit him and he thought he might be sick.

Zayn gently wrapped his fingers around Louis’ wrists and moved his hands back down. “You don’t need your mum, or Harry’s mum, seeing you like this,” he said, voice soft and laced with kindness. “Let’s find somewhere for you to get washed up, yeah?”

Louis nodded his agreement.

After a few moments, Paul had secured a spare set of scrubs and they were led to an unoccupied hospital room.

With Zayn’s help, Louis stripped out of his bloodstained clothing and got cleaned up. He stared as the water in the sink slowly turned from pink to clear. Irrationally, he was beset by a feeling of loss, as if his only connection to Harry was being stripped away.

Zayn helped him re-dress in the clean clothes, then gathered up the outfit Louis had arrived in before they left the bathroom and joined the others.

“What should I do with these?” Zayn asked, indicated the soiled clothing. “Toss them?”

“Give them here,” Paul said, shaking his head no. “We’ll deal with those later.”

That same repulsion Louis had felt earlier when he caught sight of the paps came over him again. He knew why Paul wanted to take the clothing with them. Otherwise, they’d probably find them for sale on eBay: Exclusive one of a kind! The outfit Louis Tomlinson was wearing when he saw his lover, Harry Styles, gunned down before his eyes! Authentic bloodstains!

He shook his head, as if he’d be able to shake the thoughts from his mind.

While they had been in the bathroom, Liam had somehow procured a small container of orange juice.

“Here,” he said, pressing it into Louis’ hand. “Drink this. It will make you feel better.”

Nothing would make Louis feel better until he knew Harry was going to be all right, but he obediently did as Liam instructed, drinking the juice down.

“Before we join the others, let me fill you in,” Paul said. “Here’s as good a place as any.”

“How did they react to the wings?” Liam asked the question again.

Paul shook his head, as if in disbelief. “It’s the strangest thing,” he began. “The wings are gone.”

“What?” Louis’ head whipped up. That was an attention grabbing statement.

“We were in the ambulance,” Paul continued, “and they were working on Harry and the wings were in the way, so they started fussing with them, trying to figure out how they were attached. Trying to remove them, you know?”

They nodded.

“And I was just about to jump in, telling them they were wasting their time, when they pulled completely away from his body.”

Louis blanched and sat down on one of the hospital beds, putting his head between his knees again. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

“No, Louis,” Paul rushed to reassure him. “It wasn’t like that. I promise. It didn’t seem to hurt Harry at all. There wasn’t any bleeding or anything like that from where they’d been attached, just some light pink marks on the skin, like what’s left after you pull away some adhesive.”

Liam spoke up. “That’s not possible.”

“I think we’ve said that more than once with them things, haven’t we?” Niall chimed in.

“Then they were sort of tossed aside onto the floor of the ambulance and feathers were going everywhere, falling out. When we got to hospital and they opened the doors to wheel Harry out, a big gust of wind picked up and swirled around inside the ambulance blowing all the feathers away.”

“What about the… the skeleton part or whatever?” Zayn asked.

“I’m getting to that,” Paul answered. “We got Harry inside and I filled out some paperwork while they moved him right into surgery. Then his mum showed up. But first chance I could, I told them I left something out in the ambulance and went back to take a look.”

“Were you able to get the rest of it before anyone found it?” Liam asked.

Paul shook his head no. “As I said… strangest thing. When I got to the ambulance, the skeletal frame had sort of… I don’t know… disintegrated, I guess. Don’t really know how else to describe it. There was a just a little bit of it left resting on top of what looked like… sand, I guess? And then that bit sort of fell apart too, just kind of collapsed. There’s just nothing left of them. Nothing at all.”

Again, Louis was overtaken by the sensation of loss. On the face of it, he should be happy. The secret they’d gone to so much effort to protect was no longer a concern. But Louis had loved Harry’s wings, fiercely and passionately. He loved their beauty and strength, the way they responded to his touch, but most of all, he loved them because they were Harry’s. For them to disappear, as if they’d never existed, was difficult to accept.

“Oh, wait,” Paul added. “I shouldn’t say nothing.” He reached into his shirt pocket under his jacket and pulled out a single black feather. “This was caught on something in the ambulance. Thought you’d like to have it.” Paul held it out to Louis.

“Yeah, thanks,” Louis said, throat closing up as he accepted the feather, overcome by emotion.

“Let’s head over to the waiting room. There are some mums over there I’m sure would feel better seeing you lads are all right.”

Hours later, Louis excused himself from the others and backtracked to the empty hospital room where he had changed. After a tearful reunion with their families, they’d sat tense and on edge waiting for news about Harry’s condition. Louis had held onto the black feather like a lifeline, as if it were a talisman, somehow instrumental in tying Harry to this world.

The doctor finally arrived to give the prognosis and they all stood and crowded round, anxious to hear the results of the surgery. After getting the go ahead from Harry’s mum, the doctor relayed the news. The details would have to be repeated to Louis later. Snippets registered somewhere in his brain: primarily to the shoulder… nicked the scapula… loss of blood… vascular surgeon… months of rehabilitation. But the phrase Louis latched onto sounded as sweet as the sweetest melody: barring infection or complications, expected to make a full recovery.

When he reached the room, he entered the bathroom, shut the door behind him, then sat on the lid of the toilet, put his head in his hands and wept.

-o-


Louis sat by Harry’s bedside waiting for him to wake up. Lou’s mum had taken Anne back to the hotel a short while ago, now that Harry was out of danger, so she could get some rest and change and make travel arrangements to stay in the States a while longer. Harry had been awake earlier, but Louis had missed the short window, having fallen asleep himself in the waiting room. Still upset they hadn’t alerted him, he tried to concentrate on the positives: Harry was alive and he was going to be all right.

Right now he didn’t look all right, with the machines hooked up, wires and tubes running everywhere, bandages on his shoulder. He was still pale, brows and lashes dark against his skin, even though they’d replaced the blood he’d lost. And he looked smaller, somehow, without his wings. So strange to see Harry lying flat on his back, Louis thought.

His heart rate picked up when he saw Harry shift slightly in the bed, eyelashes fluttering. And then Harry was opening his eyes, his beautiful expressive eyes, so green and clear with none of the confusion or disorientation they said he’d experienced earlier. Louis stared into them and felt as if he might burst from the surge of emotions coursing through him.

Leaning in, Louis reached out his hand to take Harry’s fingers gently in his.

“You really know how to make an entrance,” he said.

Harry let out a little chuckle which immediately transformed into a groan. “Don’t make me laugh,” he said, his voice scratchy and rough from disuse.

Louis nodded, then dipped his head, the overpowering sense of relief at hearing Harry’s voice temporarily robbing him of speech, causing his throat to tighten and his eyes to sting.

Harry, grip weak, still managed to give Louis’ hand a squeeze. “Don’t make me cry either,” he requested.

Louis acknowledged his words with another nod and concentrated on pulling himself together. Eyes still shining with unshed tears, he lifted his head to look at Harry’s beloved face. “Never been so scared in my entire life,” Louis whispered. His efforts to keep a rein on his emotions were in vain; tears spilled over his lids and slid down his cheeks.

“Hey…”

At the gentle tone of Harry’s voice, Louis felt even more overwhelmed. He leaned over and buried his face in the edge of the mattress, letting the hospital sheets soak up his tears. Then Harry’s hand was in his hair, clumsy and uncoordinated.

“Shhh,” Harry said. “I’m gonna be all right. I promise. I’m gonna be fine.”

-o-


New York Times - Terror at One Direction Concert Madison Square Garden


A 42-year-old man armed with a semi-automatic pistol shot international pop star Harry Styles of One Direction during their last US concert at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Witnesses and officials described the scene as chaotic as thousands of teenagers witnessed the shocking event.

Mr. Styles was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital where he underwent surgery. He is currently listed in serious condition.

The incident occurred as Mr. Styles descended on a zip wire to the front of the stage during the band’s opening number. Witnesses report the gunman, identified as Fred Phillips, pulled out a weapon and took aim at Mr. Styles, firing one shot before he was subdued by security and taken into custody.

Terrified screams filled arena for the sold out show while young teens watched their idol dangle helplessly in the air, bleeding from the gunshot wound and seemingly unconscious. Louis Tomlinson, the band’s oldest member, long rumored to be in a relationship with Mr. Styles, was the first to reach Mr. Styles and put pressure on the wound until medical help could arrive. Witnesses describe Mr. Tomlinson as visibly distraught and needing to be physically restrained while Mr. Styles was being treated.

Law enforcement officials said Mr. Phillips is a resident of Lawrence, KS and a member of a controversial religious group which has been protesting the band’s performances. Vocal on the Internet and the group’s web site, one of Mr. Phillip’s bizarre claims is that the wings Mr. Styles wears as a costume on stage are, in fact, real and that he’s one of Lucifer’s (the name often given to Satan in Christian theology) demons. Mr. Phillips is currently undergoing psychological evaluation.

Many parents were shocked to receive calls from their children that a gunman had opened fire at the concert. Calls poured in immediately as law enforcement worked to gain control of the crowd. They were quickly able to determine Mr. Phillips acted alone and worked with venue personnel to calm the panicked crowd full of hysterical youngsters. Several fans fainted and were treated at the arena but no other injuries were reported.

One Direction, the sensation from England and Ireland, is one of the most popular and best-selling musical acts of all time, breaking even some of The Beatles former records. Members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson were at The Garden performing the last show of their tour before returning home to London for a break. Many family members and friends were reported to be in the audience.

-o-


Tumblr – PRAY FOR HARRY! LARRY IS REAL!


I never thought this was the kind of concert report I’d be writing. I can’t stop crying. If you haven’t heard, Harry’s been SHOT. I’m not lying. Turn on the news if you don’t believe me. There was a crazy man at MSG and he pulled out a GUN and SHOT HARRY. We were like only 2 sections away and there was a bang and then we heard crazy yelling and everything happened so fast. People were screaming and Harry was just hanging from that wire and it looked like he was dead, omg. I don’t know if I’m making any sence right now. I’m so upset and I haven’t stopped crying all night. These big security guys grabbed the crazy guy’s arm and got the gun away from him, but omg, it was already to late. And Harry was covered with blood and then when he got down to the stage, Louis ran over to him and was crying and he tried to stop the blood and then these medical guys ran over and made Louis get away and then Louis was screaming how much he loved Harry and begging him not to die and omg, he loves Harry SO MUCH and nobody knows how Harry is yet but the news keeps saying hes alive. I’m still crying guys. It was the most awful thing I’ve seen in my entire life. I’ll probably have nightmares about it. Everyone was crying and please please everyone pray for Harry. Harry and Louis love each other soooo much and now the whole world knows, tho they should have already known if they had there eyes open even a little bit. It was so obvious. It’s horrible this the way they had to come out. It should have been on Ellen with some nice pics in People magazine but because of this CRAZY person who SHOT HARRY, god I can’t breath I’m so upset. Can you even imagine Louis trying to live without Harry? It’s to horrible to even think about so everyone please pray for Harry. I’ll try to write more later but I’m to upset right now and my mom wants me to go to bed. Pray for Harry!!!

-o-



For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Wolfe, Modest! Management lisa@modestmanagement.com

Harry Styles in Stable Condition After Shooting at Madison Square Garden


Harry Styles has been listed in stable condition at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York after being shot one time in the shoulder by a semi-automatic pistol. He underwent surgery and is expected to make a full recovery with several months of physical therapy.

One Direction (members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson) were performing the final concert of their US tour to a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden when a sole gunman, with suspected motives of religious fanaticism, shot Harry as he descended a zip wire.

One Direction is deeply grateful to the city of New York, the police officers on site and the venue security and personnel for their quick action in apprehending the suspect and preventing further injury to the attending fans. The band and everyone at Syco, Sony, Columbia and Modest! Management deeply regrets both the fans’ disappointment and that they were forced to witness to such a violent act.

In addition, One Direction and the family of Harry Styles are grateful to the incredible doctors and nurses at Lenox Hill Hospital for their professional and expert care of Harry as he recovers from his gunshot wound.

Finally, Louis and Harry would like to express their deep and sincere thanks for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support for their relationship, which they’d previously decided to keep hidden for various reasons, including the kind of intolerance exhibited by the group with whom Harry’s attacker was rumored to be associated. They’d both also like to extend a special heartfelt thank you to Eleanor Calder for her unwavering friendship and support in the often difficult role she agreed to play as Louis’ girlfriend. Although this is not the manner in which they’d hoped to come out as a couple, Louis and Harry are very happy to have their loving relationship out in the open.

Harry is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days. He’ll continue his long recovery process at home with Louis in London and with his family in Cheshire. We’ll continue to keep all of One Direction’s fans updated on his progress.

-o-


“Do you miss them?” Louis and Harry were cuddled next to each other on the couch at their friend Cal’s in California. The telly was on low in the background and the other boys were draped around the room in various locations after they’d all spent the day at the beach together. Harry hadn’t been able to surf—doctor’s orders—but he and Zayn had watched the others enjoying the waves, all of them benefitting from some enforced time off during Harry’s recovery. They were paging through various sketches their tattoo artist had sent over. The one in front of them that had spurred Louis’ question was a pair of wings, the curving lines simple yet beautiful, the detail in the feathers exquisite. Harry was contemplating having them tattooed between his shoulder blades.

“Yeah,” Harry said with a shrug. “I mean, it’s a lot less complicated now and you know how I felt about them at first, but I got used to having them, and with you…” he trailed off and looked at Louis and Louis’ breath caught at the heat and devotion in Harry’s expression.

“What do you think happened to them?” Niall asked.

Both Harry and Louis were startled by the question, so wrapped up in the other they almost forgot they weren’t alone in the room.

Harry shrugged again. “Don’t know.”

“If you check tumblr, you’ll see the conspiracy theorists hard at it,” Louis said with a small roll of his eyes. “They’ve said you had them surgically removed when you were in hospital after you got shot.”

“Did they really say that?” Harry asked, a small crease appearing on his forehead.

“That they did,” Louis said with a shake of his head.

“I think it’s because everything’s out in the open now,” Zayn chimed in. “Don’t need them anymore.”

“How do you mean?” Liam asked.

“All that epic love between them two,” Zayn explained, answering Liam’s question with a wave of his hand in Harry and Louis’ direction. “It were just too big to stay hidden. Had to come out somehow.”

“That’s rather romantic,” Liam said with a thoughtful look and an approving shake of his head. “I like it. Almost like a fairy tale.”

“Shhh, quiet. Here it is,” Niall said with a shushing motion, cutting off further conversation as he reached for the remote to turn up the volume on the telly.

Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the screen and they sat quietly through the intro before getting to the news they were all interested in. “Before we get started with today’s show, I’ve got an announcement to make. Friday is going to be a big day. Huge. You’re not going to believe who our guests are. I’m excited. You’ll be excited too. What? Who? Oh, you want me to actually tell you...” She paused and her audience laughed. “Huge. I’m telling you, huge. Do you really want to know?” The audience yelled yes. “Well, I’ll tell you then.” She paused once more then yelled, “One Direction are going to be on the show!” The audience erupted in loud cheers.

After a few moments, she quieted them down, a big smile still on her face. “I’m sure most of you heard about the dramatic incident at their Madison Square Garden concert where Harry was shot and Louis rushed to his side, effectively outing them to the entire world. Friday will be their first interview together as a couple and I’m privileged to be the one they chose to speak with.” She paused again while the audience clapped. “Zayn, Liam and my little brother, Niall, will be here as well and we’ll get the first hand scoop about their plans. So that’s Friday. Mark your calendars; you won’t want to miss it. It’s going to be a big day. You know what else is going to be a big day? Today! Our guest—”

Niall muted the telly and turned back towards the others. “There we have it lads. After Friday, we won’t have to keep our mouths shut no longer.” They’d effectively been on a media lockdown since the shooting, giving no interviews, tweets monitored, all news going out through official releases. The taping for the show had already occurred two days prior and once it aired, they’d be free to talk about Harry and Louis. “Don’t know if the world’s ready for your level of soppiness, though.”

“Heyyyy,” Harry said, reaching behind his back for a cushion and throwing it at Niall’s head.

Niall laughed and ducked.

“Careful of your shoulder, love,” Louis said, concerned.

Niall let out a bark of laughter. “See what I mean?”

“I think they’re sweet,” Liam said.

“I think they’re disgusting,” Zayn said with a sneer. “Do you know how many times I’ve been forced to watch The Notebook? Never again. I refuse.”

“What?” Louis asked in pretend outrage. “You can’t possibly be serious.”

“I am. And if you even think about playing it when I’m in the same room, I’m going to ask someone to put a bullet in me.”

“Oh,” Liam said with a raise of his eyebrows. “Gunshot jokes. Are we going there already? Too soon, Harry?”

The five of them continued with their good-natured banter, taking the piss out of each other, laughter filling the room.

-o-


“You ready?” Louis asked as they stood inside the tattoo parlour preparing to go outside. A crowd had gathered once news had got out they’d been spotted in L.A. The street was now lined with fans and paparazzi. A car was waiting for them, but they still needed to make their way through the throng.

Harry had decided to get the wings on his back and Louis couldn’t wait until they healed, already imagining how they’d look as he slid into Harry from behind. He’d got a tattoo himself, one they both decided on together—a single black feather curling around his arm.

Louis took Harry’s hand in his, giving it a squeeze, and Harry gave him a nod in response. “Okay, I’m ready.”

They opened the door to the shop and the flashes from the cameras immediately blinded them. Security tried to keep people back as they made their way to the street. Paps were yelling questions as they walked, trying to get their attention.

“Harry!” one yelled. “How does it feel to hold your boyfriend’s hand in public?”

“Keep moving,” their security urged, attempting to guide them to the car.

But Harry stopped, looked down at their joined hands, then up at Louis. Louis' heart soared at the look in Harry’s eyes—pride, happiness, love, joy, freedom.

Harry turned toward the paparazzi to answer the question, a radiant smile on his face. “Feels like flying.”

The End.



AN:Thank you for sticking with me while I took forever to update. And thank you for reading!
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