Chapter 7

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Niall.

He'd been expecting it for months now and there it was, posted on the door to his ratty little apartment, hanging by a thin strip of tape and blowing a bit in the drafty hallway: a notice to quit. He never understood why anyone needed such fancy phrases as notice to quit, or notice of eviction, when basically all they were telling you to do was get the fuck out before they came and threw all your shit out on the street and you too.

He sighed and gently took the notice off of the door, he didn't crumple it or tear it to pieces; he didn't have the instinct to do anything so rude. Even though his life had taken a turn for the worse, he wasn't yet a bitter person, his jovial and gentile manner was still in tact, which made life on the streets an all the more daunting thought to process. He was loath to admit it but he doubted he could survive very long on the streets. Harry's words came to his mind.

"You weren't made for that kind of life Little Ni." He said, in his condescending tone, but with a ruffle to the blonde boys hair that let him know he meant no harm by the words. "I'm not going to let you get as low as I have."

He promised, and Niall believed him. Harry hadn't lied to him about a thing yet, and everything he'd scored on his own -food, money, and drugs,- he'd shared with Niall right down the middle. He knew he could trust Harry, Harry would look out for him.

But Harry's friendship, he was certain, came with the condition that they had a place to stay. He had heard all of his friends tales of life without a place to go at night and he knew that although he never said it exactly Harry didn't want to go back to that. It was obvious in the way he laid his slender body down on the always cold and unforgiving floor, the way he never complained about the lack of heat in the apartment, or the leaky roof, or the never ending rumbling of the washers and dryers of the laundromat downstairs: Harry was content in the damp and dingy space and had no desire to go back to the way he'd lived before. Niall tried to imagine anything worse than the shit hole apartment over the laundromat, but he couldn't; he could not bring himself to.

As he sat on the couch, rolling up his sleeve and laying his gear on the cushion next to him he sighed. Harry stirred in his sleep a few feet away and sat up abruptly, his expression alarmed and alert. Niall smiled apologetically in his direction.

"Sorry I woke you mate. I brought you a present though."

Harry grinned at him and rubbed his eyes, stretching as he yawned.

"Well then no need to apologize."

Niall took in the sight of his friends bare tattooed torso and frowned.

"It's too cold in here for you to go about without your shirt on!" He exclaimed, tsking at the younger boy with a disapproving expression, Harry grinned again and shrugged his shoulders. "You'll catch pneumonia!"

Harry chuckled and stood, finishing his stretch.

"It's alright Niall." He said, walking into the kitchen of the apartment and pulling a half beer bottle out of the fridge. "No need to worry about that; sleeping in here shirtless is harmless compared to the rest of what I do, if it ends up being what kills me it will be a pleasant surprise."

As he looked away from the smiling face of his friend he kept his eyes trained on the floor. It broke his heart to think that Harry wasn't concerned about himself, it also made Niall cringe to think of how attached he'd become to the skinny one in such a short amount of time. It was rare to find a friend, someone you could truly believe wasn't out to use and hurt you, in this dreary world of drugs and poverty that he found himself in. He knew at first Harry thought he was just another mark, someone he could con out of drugs and a place to stay, and he knew that because Harry had told him so; but once he realized who Niall was, the star of his favorite tv show while growing up, Harry decided he wanted to be nice to the kid who'd he'd imagined as his best friend many times in the past.

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