Chapter 15

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"Just...a little...higher." Michael grunted, stretching as far as he could. His fingers hooked around the metal slats of the air vent and he wobbled slightly on Niall's shoulders.
"Stand the fuck still!" The red haired boy complained.
"Well, excuse me but I did get fucking shot, remember. Jeez."
"Just stay still, I can't loosen the screws if you're freaking wibbling and wobbling all over the place, anyone would think you're having a fit."
The blonde scoffed and attempted to hoist Michael that little bit higher before stilling himself.
He was using the flat edge of Niall's credit card to unscrew the screws. None of them where confident that it was going to work for sure but they were proven wrong when the first screw fell to the concrete floor with a little clink noise.
"Score," Michael grinned. Niall grunted.
"Can you just hurry up? You're killing my shoulders, and God, you reek." He grimaced.
"Well sorry but there's not exactly a shower in here, all there is is a fucking toilet. Wasn't about to bathe myself in toilet water."
Another screw was successfully loosened and joined the other on the floor.
Niall sighed and tried to roll his shoulders.
"I said stay still!" Michael complained, reaching down to pull at Niall's blonde locks.
"Ow, fuck," his hand instantly went to his head making the red haired boy almost slip backwards off his shoulders.
"This is getting us no where, stop fucking about and get the other screws out."
Michael huffed and went back to work and not long later, he was pulling the metal frame from the wall.
"Finally," he grinned. "Okay, so you're going to have to go through first because you won't be able to climb up into it because of your arm."
"Are you calling me weak?" The blonde asked, offended as he helped the other boy off his shoulders.
"No, fuck, don't twist my words."
"I'm not, you called me weak."
"No I didn't, don't be awkward and get on my back."
Niall huffed for about the 50th time that hour and jumped onto the boys back.
"Okay, can you get into it?"
Niall reached his arms in and attempted to pull himself through the gap. It was a tight squeeze and his shoulders were touching both sides.
"Yeah, just push me in a bit more?"
Michael complied and jumped up a bit so Niall had the chance to wiggle further in. The edges was cutting through his skin but he couldn't find it in himself to care at that moment because he wasn't about to stay in that room for God knows how long when there was a way to escape right in front of them.
He slipped from Michael's back and used his forearms to move forward until he was fully in.
"Alright, I'm in. Are you sure you'll fit? It's really cramped."
"Are you calling me fat?" Michael mocked the offended tone Niall had used minutes before.
"Shut up." The blonde shuffled even further forward as the other climbed in.
"Now what?" Niall questioned pulling himself along the metal walls. He was just thankful that they were both wearing sweaters so their skin wasn't getting stuck to the sides.
"Just keep going." He answered, copying Niall's actions. After every corner, the vents seemed to get wider which was a relief for the blonde because he was claustrophobic and the last thing they needed was for him to have a panic attack right in an air vent.
Michael was directing him even though he hadn't the slightest clue where they were going either and eventually they reached an end.
Niall peered through the slats.
"The sun is setting." He noted. And then added, "you need to be on the other side to get the screws out."
"I'll just kick it."
"What if the noise attracts someone?"
"Then that's good."
"I mean a bad someone."
Michael was silent.
"I have my phone." Niall said, his voice hushed because he knew his it was travelling through every vent and who knows who could be listening. "I could phone someone and when they get here we can get out t- wait, where are we?"
"Call the police." Michael said quickly. "They can trace the call."
The blonde nodded and shifted so that he could get his phone out of his trousers before he dialled the number.

God knows how long they were sat there, in the cramped panel. It was stuffy and sweaty and frankly quite awkward. They were silent and every now and then there would be a sharp clang coming from one of the tunnels which would make Niall jump and Michael sigh.
It didn't help that the more time that passed, the less light streamed through the slats meaning the more edgy Niall got because he couldn't see anything.
And then finally, the flashing lights that they had waited for illuminated the small metal cage they were enclosed in and Michael drew his leg back and smashed his boot into the metal exit before Niall could even register that the lights disturbing his vision was.
"OVER HERE!" He screeched, voice deep, gravelly and raw. "OVER HERE!"
Police swarmed out of the cars and a couple were sent off in their direction while the others charged for the main entrance and Michael was already outside but Niall didn't know what to do.
His heart was hammering and he found it hard to catch a breath. He didn't want to be taken in for questioning, he didn't want to face everyone after this, he didn't want to be taken to hospital to have his wound prodded and poked at. He just wanted to go straight back to his normal life, he wanted to find Liam, he wanted to hug his daughter. He didn't want all the complications that came before all that. He wanted to go home.
"Niall, c'mon." Michael encouraged, holding his had out for the blonde to take. He grabbed ahold of it carefully. It was clammy and sweaty but Niall didn't care because so was his and he was just thankful that he wasn't alone in this, that he wasn't the one in there for months, that he was only in there a couple of hours. He was glad he met Michael, glad that he'd been there long enough to have an escape plan all sorted. He was just glad.
The police lead the two over to the police car, wordlessly as ambulances and more cars pulled up.
"Someone's been worried sick about you." One of the men said and it took Niall a second to realise it was aimed at him. He watched Michaels face drop.
"Louis." He breathed. Oh god, he would have to apologise for leaving Megan with him for so long.
The officer raised a brow. "No, Liam. Liam Payne?"
"Oh." Niall blinked and for a moment he was unsure of what to say because he had forgotten Liam knew what happened, forgotten Liam was there, forgotten that Liam didn't stop all of this from happening.
"I've been worried about him too." He admitted quietly.
They took a statement from both boys as they sat in the back of an ambulance. People were filing out of the building one by one, all disorientated and ushered by paramedics and Niall was shocked, shocked at how many people had suffered like this, how many people were locked in this building while he was continuing with his normal everyday life. It almost made him cry and in a way, he was glad today happened, as awful as it may sound. Because if it hadn't all these people would still be locked up. The thought made the blonde less mad with Liam although he wanted to be furious.
"Yes, like I've said so many fucking times already, I've been in here since June. I'm alive because they fed us everyday, I'm not Jesu-" Niall heard Michael falter and glanced over at him. His gaze was fixated on something specific though Niall couldn't quite find what it was and then he was on his feet.
"L-Luke?" His voice was quiet and lost and small and his hands were visibly shaking but he was moving. First it was a walk, then he sped up a bit until he was jogging and then he was doing a full on sprint and the blonde finally noticed what he was heading for. A boy.
"Luke... Luke! Luke!"
Said boy jumped, slightly startled before his gaze rested on his best friend and his eyes widened.
"Michael!"
He didn't care that they both reeked and neither of them had showered in a while, he pretended not to notice how small and frail Luke looked, he ignored how shaky and nervous and different he seemed, he just held him tight in his arms and cried.
"I didn't think I'd see you again." Luke whispered. His eyes were wide as he leaned over Michael's shoulder.
"Where's the others?"
Michael pulled back and wiped his tears on his grubby sweater sleeve before answering with, "I don't know."
"Guys?"
Calum came hurdling towards them both, quickly embracing them.
"Holy shit, you're alive!"
"Cal. Calum, oh my god."
"W-Where's Ashton?" Luke stuttered out, eyes still as wide as ever which had Michael worrying a bit.
"We'll find him." He assured.
Then he remembered something.
"Hey guys, come over here. Come meet the guy who helped me escape, helped all of us escape."
Niall watched Michael approach again, this time with two more boys and he smiled a small smile at them.
"Hey."
"Niall, I know I've been a bit of a dick all day but it's just because being stuck in there had gotten to me. But you helped me so thank you."
Niall shrugged. "It's alright."
"Niall!"
Suddenly, Louis had slammed into him so hard that they both ended up laying on the ambulance floor.
"Ow, Louis, my arm."
"Shit, what the hell happened to your arm?"
"I got shot."
"What?!"
"Daddy!"
Another weight was added to the pile on top of Niall and he grunted loudly.
"Woah, woah bub, come 'ere yeah? Let daddy get up." And there was the voice he had been waiting to hear.
"Liam." He murmured as Megan was lifted from him and Louis struggled to his feet.
"Niall, why the fu-h-heck did you run off in there?" Liam demanded, stuttering over the almost slip of profanity.
Niall shrugged sheepishly and Megan outstretched her arms.
"Want daddy."
The blonde quickly took her into his arms. "Hey sweetie, did you behave for uncle Lou?"
The small girl nodded vigorously, "And uncle Hazzy!"
Niall gave Louis a knowing look and he just shrugged in return with a small blush and a smile. "Yeah? You missed Harry lots didn't you babe?"
She nodded again and lay her head on her dad's shoulder.
"Yeah, and miss you daddy."
"I'm here now and I won't leave again." He promised.
"Mr Horan, could you come down to the station so that we can get a full statement off of you?" A police officer asked, interrupting his little moment with his baby girl.
"Apart from right now." He said to Megan, laughing. He handed her over to Liam. "I promise after this, we'll head home and watch Doc McStuffins, alright? No matter what time it is. No bedtime tonight." The blonde kissed his princess on the forehead and even risked giving Liam a small peck on the cheek.
Megan giggled, "Daddy in love wif Li?"
Niall didn't answer.

--
This took sooooooooooo long. I'd blame it on the fact that I have exams (only English tbh) starting tomorrow but I have done no revision for them at all so.
The truth is i just don't like this story.
I loved the plot, I had it all finished and everything and then I went and changed it because I thought it was boring????? what is wrong with me???? why why why
so now I'm just trying to get it finished because it's making me sad that I ruined it
so sorry that everything happened so fast:(((
and sorry for the wait, I'll hopefully update again this weekend okay ily I'm sorry
(Also I wrote a short niam story called just the way I'm not and I think it's adorable though it's probably not so if you wanna you can go read that yay)

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