36 Fading Zen (Final Chapter)

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Thursday and Louis is still in his house, riding out the after effects of the ecstasy he took. He feels light and happy. It's the day after Christmas.

He picks up his phone. The only call he has received was from his mom on Christmas day. He had a short conversation with her, and then had taken another few pills and went back to listening to music.

The nice thing about having your brain fully exposed and unrestrained for a couple days is that Louis' path was clearly laid out in front of his eyes and there wasn't any struggle accepting it.

It is time. He dials Harry's number.

"Hello?"

"Harry! Are you back yet? I need to see you as soon as you're here." Louis kicks an empty water bottle on his living room floor.

"Yeah, Niall and I just got back actually. I can be over in 10 if you want." Harry says.

"Perfect! See you soon." Louis smiles and hangs up. He skips upstairs to dress and take out his mouth guard. He was kind of hoping for another shower before the effects wore off altogether, but on the other hand, he had already showered nine times since Tuesday night. His skin could probably use a break.

He dresses into a collared shirt, aware that he has hickies from Zayn littered all up and down his neck. The sound of a Harley then a knock on the door signals that Harry is here already.

With butterflies in his stomach, Louis hops downstairs and opens the door. Harry looks like he had freshly showered too and was dressed nice in jeans and a collared shirt. It feels like it had been weeks since Louis had seen him. He offers Harry a crooked grin then leans in to hug him because he loves Harry's hugs.

"Come in Haz!" Louis takes Harry's large hand in his and leads him to where they once built a blanket fort together. Louis' previous outfit is strewn across the living room along with a dozen empty water bottles. His bag of ecstasy is still out and there is a light red dust coating parts of the coffee table from Louis shuffling around the pills so much and cutting up half and quarter portions.

"How was Christmas? Do you want a drink? I have bottled water." Louis motions to the water bottle graveyard in his living room.

"Christmas was good. No drink, thank you." Harry sits on the couch and Louis plops down next to him. Harry eyes around the room, then turns his attention back to Louis' peppy demeanor. "You look like you had an interesting holiday."

"I did, thank you. Look, I really need to tell you something though Harry." Louis grabs both of his hands. He wants to kiss them, but figures that would probably be too touchy for Harry right now. He's aware that he can come off a little too strong when his brain is compromised and doesn't want Harry thinking he isn't thinking properly.

"First, um, are you still high?" Harry looks guarded.

"The last pill I took was yesterday evening. So not technically. I am of a sound mind." Louis reassures.

Harry nods cautiously.

"I slept with Zayn on my birthday. I just wanted to tell you because you deserve to know." The words tickle his tongue as they leave his mouth and Louis suppresses a smile. He doesn't want Harry thinking that he's being condescending; he's just not feeling dismal is all. He said it, and there's a great feeling of power that comes with the freedom of knowing that there's nothing he could do to take it back.

Harry seems to choke on air for a moment and his face goes from disbelief to smiling to despair. Louis knows his perception of the world may be slightly skewed, but this is definitely an abnormal reaction for Harry.

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