Chapter 16 ~ Firefly

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"There," Louis murmured gently, grunting slightly as he lifted Harry to his feet and wrapped his arm tightly around his waist, the soaking fabric of his hoodie dampening the sleeve of Louis's jacket.  Harry leaned instinctively into him, closing his eyes and breathing shallowly as Louis helped him slowly through the woods, his fingers tightening on Harry's side, giving his waist a reassuring squeeze every now and then.  

"It'll be okay," he kept muttering as he hoisted the boy up the hillside and towards the house.  

He absolutely hated seeing Harry like this; in so much obvious pain.  What on earth could have driven him to sit in the freezing cold and rain for hours, to avoid everyone in the house, to cry and claw at his face until it was sorer and pinker than Cher's eyeshadow?  It was something Louis had done, he was sure.  Whatever had happened in the rehearsal room, that had been the cause of Harry's breakdown.  Louis bit his lip, wondering what could have been going through his mind.  Was it something he had said?  

Louis had no idea; all he knew was that he could not stand to see Harry so broken.  It wasn't right.  He needed to comfort him, to let him know that he would always take care of him.  

"It's so cold," Harry shuddered, his lips mashing together as he shivered, and Louis's face tautened as he listened to him tremble.  

"I know," he hushed him, rubbing his palm thickly over his side, hoping to create some friction and warm him.  "We're almost inside."  Louis shifted Harry more firmly into his arm and helped him up the steps of the back porch, tugging him gently to the door and shuffling inside.  

"Harry!  There you--Blimey, what happened?" Liam asked as they stepped into the bustling kitchen, where it seemed the contestants were just finishing up dinner.  

"He just dozed off outside," Louis said quietly, shooting Liam a pointed look and letting him know that he was not about to offer any legitimate explanation.  Liam's forehead creased, but he nodded, the corner of his lip turning downward.  

"Haz?" Niall asked quietly, hurrying forward to put a hand on Harry's arm and survey him carefully.  Louis watched with mingled confusion and irritation as the blue eyes met green, and they shared a meaningful glance.  Niall nodded slightly to himself as Harry grimaced.  Louis's eyes narrowed, and he found himself wishing that Niall would remove his hand.  

What was he thinking?  It wasn't as if Harry was his, under his possession.  Yet, the other lads did not have what he and Harry had.  Clearly, that had to ensure some sort of ownership over him, didn't it?  Didn't it?

 Louis bit his lip, knowing that the reasons behind his rash thinking were only based on the fact that he was terrified of losing Harry.  He had never been so happy before, and he did not want that taken away from him. He clenched his teeth as he waited for Niall to drop his hand, and when he did, Louis sighed slightly, frustrated with himself.  Harry's eyes finally left Niall's, and the Irish lad removed his palm from his arm.  

"Lou, he's freezing.  Get him in bed," he said fretfully, his eyes lingering as Louis's did on Harry's pale lips, and Louis nodded.  

"Come on," he murmured lowly in Harry's ear, and he pulled him gently up the stairs and to their room.  "Let's get you out of those clothes," he said, and as he turned to the dresser to fetch a dry sweater from the drawer, he saw Harry freeze in his peripheral vision, his green eyes widening with alarm.  

"What's wrong?" Louis asked, his eyebrows furrowing as he grabbed what he knew to be Harry's favourite sweatshirt and strode back to the sopping boy.  Harry merely shook his head, swallowing, and Louis shrugged to himself as he handed him the sweatshirt.  Harry mumbled a hoarse thanks and tugged his wet hoodie over his head.  Louis's hazel eyes snapped onto the small, lean muscles in his stomach, and he chuckled at the sight of Harry's two extra, lop-sidded nipples.  Harry glanced down at his chest, and his cheeks turned bright red as he turned away from Louis.  Louis sighed, wondering why Harry was suddenly behaving so aloofly.  Whatever it may be, he only hoped it would end quickly.  

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