don't care about me

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zayn walks alone, an umbrella over his head, thinking to himself that he really, really, misses his old band, and his old life, as they decided to kick him out because he was gay and depressed. really, was it such a bad thing?

no, it's not, zayn decides as the rain continues to pour down. not a bad thing at all.

"zayn?"

he looks up at the sound of his name and just his luck, it happens to be niall and harry, walking like him, looking not that much different from six months ago except for the fact that their hair is longer and his is as well. 

"is that you, mate?" it's niall. of course its niall.

i'm not your mate, zayn thinks. not your mate, you made sure of that.

"zayn?" the voice is hesitant now, unsure. "are you zayn malik?"

zayn looks up and niall gasps when he recognizes the face of his former band member. rushing forward, niall embraces zayn in a hug and zayn just stands there, trying to ignore the stupid tingling he got, even after all that they did to him.

"how're you doing, mate?" niall asks.

zayn shrugs, and that's all he seems to be doing lately, not talking and only communicating when he really has to.

the fact that he doesn't talk seems to bring niall down a little, the grin on the blonde's face dropping a bit.

"it's been a while, hasn't it?" harry says.

zayn nods, tightening his grip on his umbrella, really just wanting to walk away.

"so... you're out of..." niall trails off, not wanting to finish that particular sentence.

zayn nods, thinking privately that he must look like an idiot, acting like a bobblehead around his former best mates.

"so you're all better now?" harry asks, a smiling lighting up his face.

zayn frowns. better? what do they mean by better? not gay? if that's the case, then zayn's going to be sick for a long, long time. 

"i mean, like... not.... needing mental help anymore?" harry rushes to fix his sentence.

zayn shakes his head. no, he's not done, he's just out of the mental hospital, looney bin, crazy shack, insitution, whatever you want to call it. the doctors couldn't really keep him there because he wasn't depressed as he first was when he came in, and he didn't cut anymore, and he wasn't as unfiltered as he was before. but yeah, he had regular therapy and still took meds.

"oh," harry says awkwardly.

"well, it's nice to see you again, mate!" niall grins. "when are you coming back?"

"m'not," zayn mutters, speaking for the first time.

both harry and niall look confused. "what do you mean, you're not?" niall questions.

"m'not coming back to the band," zayn says.

"why not? we all miss you!" niall exclaims.

zayn shakes his head. "you kicked me out." 

that puts a damper on the mood; clearly the joyful reuinion that niall and harry were expecting was not happening. 

"no we didn't!" harry says. "you just needed help."

"for being sad because i was gay and couldn't tell anyone?" zayn asks. "no," he shakes his head. "that's not a reason to put me in a mental hospital."

"you were really sick, mate," niall says.

"stop calling me that," zayn says. "i'm not your mate."

niall looks hurt, and zayn feels bad for hurting his feelings. after all, niall was the one to make zayn realize he was gay in the first place. 

"zayn," harry says. "you belong in the band, we're not the same without you."

"you're doing fine," zayn says. "replaced me and everything, with who, a bloke named james?"

"we didn't want to!" niall exclaims. "we wanted you!"

"no you don't," zayn says. "i'm gay, remember? do you not remember telling management that you were uncomfortable with me around because you weren't sure that i was going to suddenly make a move on you or something? do you not remember telling them that i was too moody, that you were worried that i was going to kill myself?"

"we never said that!" harry denies it. "well, maybe the suicide part, but not the beginning."

"no," zayn shakes his head, feeling hurt all over again. "i remember, i was there, i remember, i heard all the things you  said about me. you said that i was unstable, crazy, depressed, the works. but all i needed was you guys."

"we were there for you!" niall burts out. "we wanted you to talk to us!"

"but you never asked me if i was okay," zayn says, and yeah, maybe he's being harsh, but hey, they kicked him out, disowned him and everything, and worst of all, replaced him with someone who looked exactly like zayn. that last bit stung the most.

"so you're saying you weren't okay," harry says.

"no i wasn't bloody okay!" zayn says hotly. "i'm depressed, harry, i still sometimes think about cutting myself, and it's stupid management's fault for telling me that i had to stay in the closet and hide who i truly am!"

"they're dicks," niall mutters, but zayn still isn't done.

"and they told you not to come and visit me because it would ruin your image!"

"we wanted to, zayn," harry says earnestly. "but they said no."

"that never stopped us before," zayn counters. "when i was in the band, we did all sorts of stupid shit and never got in trouble!"

"well, things have changed since you left," harry says, unknowingly hurting zayn's feelings even more.

"of course they've changed," zayn says quietly. "you replaced me with someone who isn't going to get messed up like i am."

"you're not messed up," niall tells him firmly. "you're not."

"don't lie to me, niall," zayn says, shaking his head. "you've lied to me enough."

"i don't lie to you," niall defends himself.

"really? because everyone lies to me. even i lie to myself. i lied to myself into thinking that i was perfectly fine when scars were tracing my wrists, i lied to myself into thinking that i wasn't gay, i lied to myself into thinking that you guys actually cared about me when i was in the hospital," zayn rants.

"we did care about you! we thought about you all the time!" harry says.

"you didn't even visit me once. you missed my birthday. you missed christmas. you missed new years. you couldn't even visit me on my birthday," zayn says, this conversation dredging up bad memories of that place. "all i wanted was a visitor on my birthday, and all the nurses told me was that if i had got my shit together sooner, i would be with my friends and family on my birthday."

and now zayn thinks he's going to cry, and niall looks like he is, and harry looks apologetic.

"we thought of you, zayn. promise, we did," harry says.

"i don't believe in your promises," zayn says bitterly. "you promised me that we'd always be together. you promised me that you loved me and cared about me. you don't care about me."

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idk i'm feeling ways bc of @meekle i'm crying over laston and how luke was messed up so i made this short story and decided to post in as its own, not in me, i hope you like it.

-taylor

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