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River answered the call, only vaguely self-conscious about her appearance

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River answered the call, only vaguely self-conscious about her appearance. A face she immediately recognized as Harry's popped up on her screen, a small dimpled grin on his face.

"I, uh... hi," she mumbled, and he smiled wider.

"Hi. I'm Harry," he said warmly, and she paused to take in his appearance. It made her feel infinitely better that he looked like he'd quite possibly just recently woken up too; his brown curls were disheveled and his white t-shirt was wrinkled. He looked tired and was leaned up against what definitely looked like the headboard of a bed.

"River," she said quietly, shaking her head. She was still kind of in shock that she was speaking to him. Jasmine would've been going absolutely crazy. River could almost hear her voice in her head, pushing her to ask certain questions and thank him for certain things.

"Sorry if it's weird I called, I just... I get you being worried about potentially not actually talking to me, and I wanted to show you without a doubt that you are," he told her, and she nodded.

"No, it's not weird. Thanks, I appreciate it."

He smiled again, and watching it happen it real-time, she immediately started to understand his appeal. His smile was so genuine and endearing and his eyes sparkled, even through the just-okay quality of the phone.

"You're welcome."

"I just... I've got to be honest, it's pretty surreal to me you're even speaking to me."

"Why?"

"I don't know. You're... you."

He chuckled at her explanation, nodding.

"That I am."

"Can I ask you something?"

"Absolutely."

"Why did you respond to my message? I mean, I know you said it's because you felt bad and were sorry, but you must get a ton of sad messages all the time. I can't imagine I'm the only one who's ever hit you with something like that. I guess I'm just having a hard time figuring out what makes me special."

Harry thought about her question for a few long moments, chewing idly on his thumb nail. Eventually, he shrugged.

"I responded because it was clear that you are special, and I know that sounds awful and cheesy and potentially like a really bad pick-up line, but the way you talk about your sister... well, I've got a sister too and I love her with all my heart and I can only imagine how I'd feel if anything happened to her. It would be... honestly, it might break me, and you said you needed someone to talk to, and you deserve that. You deserve for someone to listen, and if you don't have anyone else, I see absolutely no reason why that person can't be me."

River considered his words, unable to keep her eyes from filling with tears. Normally, she would've avoided crying in front of someone she didn't know well at all costs, but she couldn't stop herself. Harry's brows furrowed as a few tears slipped down her cheeks and she swiped them away with her thumb.

"Thank you."

The statement was simple and didn't feel like enough to her, but it was all she could manage at that moment.

Harry nodded, seemingly giving her a moment to compose herself.

•••••

Before River knew it, almost two hours had passed. They spent the time talking about anything and everything. She told him every detail that popped into her head about Jasmine, how they were pretty much complete opposites, with Jas being light and bubbly and so outgoing and her being much more withdrawn and introverted and how she was pretty sure that's why they'd been so close; because they sort of balanced each other out.

He smiled fondly with each new development, especially when she told him how Jas had actually dragged her to a One Direction concert years before. She admitted she'd had a bit of a crush on him after that night and he laughed heartily, making a joking comment about how it was to be expected. She even ended up confiding in him about her near-crippling depression that was only getting worse and worse, which was something no one in her life really knew about. No one but Jasmine, that is.

While he was a great listener, he also shared way more than she would've expected him to. She knew he was overall a pretty private person publicly, so she was surprised when he started to open up about his own stuff, from anecdotes from touring to his feelings about One Direction's hiatus, to his relationship with his mum and sister, all the way to how he hadn't had a romantic relationship in quite a while because he felt like he could never be quite sure if people liked him for him or because of the fact that he was famous, a word which he said in reference to himself almost like it burnt his tongue.

"Do y'know what's weird?" she asked him, glancing up at the phone that she'd eventually had to plug in to charge because of how long they'd been speaking. She'd then rested it up against a book on her nightstand and lay down on her pillow, pulling the covers up to ward off the small chill in the room.

"Hm?"

"I'm not sure I've ever felt so comfortable talking to someone," she admitted, and he smiled.

"D'you want to know a secret?" he asked, and she nodded. "I was just thinking the same thing."

"I... I don't think I've ever talked to anyone other than Jasmine for two hours on the phone," she told him, and he smirked.

"This is... I might be crossing a line, and please tell me if I am, but d'you think there's any chance you'd like to meet up? Maybe have a drink?" he asked, sounding shy in an absolutely adorable way. He started chewing on his thumb nail again, like he was sure he was about to be rejected. She smiled at him in a genuine way that she hadn't smiled in a long time and nodded.

"I'd like that. I'm in New York, though, so it might be hard," she told him, and he shrugged.

"I'll be in New York..." he paused, clearly browsing through something else on his phone. "Next month, actually, for a radio interview thing."

"Oh, well I mean if you're not busy... maybe I'll let you take me out."

"I won't be busy," he assured her, looking at her with that sparkle in his eyes again. Butterflies rose in her stomach and she felt almost... giddy. She smiled widely at him again, nodding.

"Good."

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