This is the first-ever McFly fic I wrote. Once upon a time, it was about 1,500 words, split perspective, one night/scene. That was a long time ago. figletofvenice told me it was confusing - which it was - and that if I was going to end it the way I did, there needed to be a sequel. So I wrote a sequel, which ended up being much longer than the original. So I went back, and rewrote the original so it was longer, fuller, and only one perspective. And then rewrote it again, adding more. And then reorganized it a couple times. And then did some more rewriting, and then... yeah. A million edits later, I've come to the conclusion that I can't come to a conclusion as to how I feel about this fic. I still miss the original ending - which I had to cut when I got rid of the split perspective - and maybe some day I'll write the whole thing over from Danny's point of view, just so I can have that ending back. Anyway, as I do in this sort of situation, I'm posting this, because otherwise I will twitch about it until the end of time.
Title: Shadows Falling
Summary: They aren’t speaking, aren’t even looking at each other. The hotel room is dim. The sun is setting somewhere, on the other side of the building, taking the last of the daylight with it, but neither of them can be bothered to turn on the lamps.
Pairing: Harry Judd/Danny Jones
Rating: PG-13? R? I never know where the lines lie.
Warning: Oneshot. Slash. Angst.
Author's Notes: 6,862 words. Thanks to figletofvenice for being an amazing beta and all-around human being - also apologies for all the flailing that went into this - all remaining errors/issues (and there are probably many) are mine. The requested sequel will be along shortly.
24 November, 12:09am GMT
They aren’t speaking, aren’t even looking at each other. The hotel room is dim. The sun is setting somewhere, on the other side of the building, taking the last of the daylight with it, but neither of them can be bothered to turn on the lamps.
Danny stands at the window, back to Harry, staring out at the strange cityscape. Harry sits on the double bed, eyes fixed firmly on his intertwisted fingers, wondering if Danny is absently memorizing the view the way he himself had while he’d waited for Danny to get out of the shower. While he’d been working up the nerve to tell Danny that they can’t keep – what? Seeing each other? They aren’t dating. They aren’t even really sleeping together. It’s just fucking, when the adrenaline is high, when they’re drunk, when Danny’s hair falls just like so across his forehead into his eyes, when Harry wears that shirt he knows drives Danny crazy. Just fucking. And that, Harry knows, is why he can’t do it anymore. Not that he would say that aloud. Not like Danny cares enough to want an explanation. But he’s been silent since Harry voiced his decision, and Harry can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking.
“So that’s it then,” Danny finally says, and his voice is low, tight. He doesn’t turn.
Harry can’t decipher Danny’s tone, but the words knock the air from his lungs all the same. They shouldn’t. They really shouldn’t. He said them first. Danny’s just agreeing with him. Harry has no reason to think Danny might protest, might refuse to give Harry up, might insist that they can make it work, that it’s all been more than superficial. No reason at all. And he kind of hates himself for letting that tiny voice in his head tell him it could happen – and for letting it hurt when it doesn’t. And that, as much as anything else, reminds him why he’d made the choice to end it, why he had to.
“Yeah,” Harry manages to keep his voice steady, but he doesn’t look up, can’t, isn’t sure what he’ll see if he does, doesn’t think he can handle it, even if all he sees is Danny’s back. Maybe especially if all he sees is Danny’s back. “I suppose it is.”
Danny does turn, then, a jerky sort of movement as if he’s been grabbed by the shoulders and spun to face the room – Harry can see it in a blurred kind of way, just beyond the focus of his own hands, but he still can’t see Danny’s face, and that’s what matters.
Danny says, “You suppose it is?” and he sounds strange. It takes Harry a moment to realise that Danny’s mimicking him.
Harry doesn’t respond, doesn’t know how to. He’s having enough trouble trying to breathe without trying to form words, can barely string two words together in his head, let alone force his throat to release them. He’s doing the right thing. He knows he is. This shouldn’t be so hard. He shouldn’t feel like there’s a tight fist in his chest and another squeezing his throat.
“You suppose it is?” Danny says again, and this time his voice is his own, but angry, and that sounds almost as strange coming from him as Harry’s accent. Harry swallows hard against the lump in his throat, and forces himself to concentrate on the anger simmering low in his stomach rather than the pain in his chest – so much easier to be angry, to ignore the hurt – when Danny asks, “Don’t you know?”
Harry clenches his teeth briefly – lets the resentment build, feeds it his hurt – then grits out, “It is,” as he watches his nails sink into his own skin, digging so hard he can’t feel it though he’s probably in danger of drawing blood.
“Just like that,” Danny says, the words so soft that Harry, even though he’s hardly more than a meter away, can barely hear them.
Harry’s nails bite deeper. “It’s not just like that.” It comes out harsher than he’d intended, but he can’t be sorry, doesn’t know any other way to get the taste of bitterness off his tongue. “It was a bad idea from the start. It’s not as if it could have gone any other way.” And Harry’s not sure he believes that, doesn’t want to believe it, needs to believe it anyway, because if it’s not true, then. Then he should be able to fix this, and he doesn’t think he can.
“You did a pretty shitty job of showing it, if you thought it was a bad idea,” Danny’s voice is still soft, but the edge is back, anger bubbling right at the surface.
“You did a pretty fantastic job, yourself,” Harry bites back, and the sarcasm is almost comforting.
Danny crosses his arms over his chest. “I never said I thought it was a bad idea.”
“Because fucking someone in your band is such a good idea, right, Dan?”
“Seemed to be working just fine for you, until tonight.”
Harry sucks in a breath, says, “You would think that,” and instantly wishes he hadn’t, because he doesn’t want to talk about that, he doesn’t. “At least I’m not trying to fuck my way through the legal half of our fanbase,” he hears himself snarl, and as soon as he sees the words hit he almost wishes he could take them back. Almost. He knows it’s a low blow – as a band they have a silent agreement not to discuss Danny’s tendency to slut around, especially since he’s gotten a hell of a lot better at being discreet so it’s not in their faces all the time – but right now Harry’s hurting and he doesn’t want to be the only one.
“I am not –” Danny starts, but Harry cuts him off.
“You can’t bullshit me, Danny. I know you. I see the way people look at you – and the way you look back. We all do. Just because you’ve learned not to leave your used condoms lying around doesn’t mean we don’t know what you get up to.” And fuck it hurts. Harry almost wishes Danny hadn’t learned to be subtle about it, because then, at least, Harry wouldn’t have been able to pretend he was the only one.
“I never hurt anyone,” Danny says, and his voice is tight, “never hurt any of you,” and the way he says it makes it sound like that’s the point, but.
“We were the ones dealing with them, remember,” Harry grits out, because he saw those girls, leaving late at night or early the next morning, and even if they weren’t always hurt by it, he was. “We were the ones who had to get them off the bus, out of the hotel, out of our house. We were the ones who had to explain to them that, no, sorry, you weren’t going to call them, even though we were sure you’d remember them always – even when we knew you wouldn’t even remember their names.”
“I didn’t –” Danny starts, but Harry can’t let him, can’t listen, steamrollers right over him, eyes still fixed on his hands, on the way the way the skin on his palms and under his nails has turned red, white, then red again from the pressure.
“Do you even care who you fuck? Or who fucks you?” The fist in Harry’s stomach is getting tighter, making it hard to keep talking, but he’s afraid to stop, afraid he won’t be able to start again, afraid of what Danny might say, afraid he’ll just confirm everything, and Harry’s not sure he can handle the words. “Get on your fucking knees for anyone who asks, anyone who tells you how fucking brilliant you were on stage. Rock god and his groupies, right Danny? And I was the most convenient of them all.”
“It wasn’t like that.” Danny’s voice is loud, harsh, and Harry almost looks up, but. He can’t – just can’t.
“What was it like, then, Dan?” he asks, knows it comes out a snarl, can feel the way his lip is curling. “You’re a fucking whore for it, and you know it. We all know it.”
“It’s not –”
“Use them and leave them, before they can leave you.” The words hurt to even say, but Harry knows the way they’ll hit home. They’re cheap shots, but they’re all he has, and he needs this now, hates that he does, can’t help it, needs to bleed the poison some way, and this is all he can think of. “Making out with Tom on stage or falling on your knees for Dougie isn’t dangerous when they don’t know you want it, just think it’s a joke –” and, god, does Harry wish it were a joke, but he sees the way Danny looks on stage “– so they can’t hurt you, right, Dan? But you took it too far with me, and now you can’t –” Harry’s voice cuts off, and he has to swallow hard to keep from choking.
“Look at me,” Danny says, but Harry doesn’t, won’t, can’t, and he can practically hear Danny grinding his teeth. “How long have you felt like this? Why is this – fuck – why is this just coming up now?”
“Like you didn’t know it was coming,” Harry says, voice rough and still choked. His mind adds, Like you didn’t want it, but he can’t say it aloud, doesn’t want to hear it confirmed, doesn’t, doesn’t, and his mouth is already moving, “Even you had to have seen this.”
“Even an idiot like me,” Danny snarls – then, almost on top of his own words, “Would you fucking look at me?”
Harry’s head snaps up at the question-cum-command. Something inside of him clenches painfully at the fury in Danny’s shadowed face, and part of him wonders what right Danny has to be so furious when Harry’s the one being hurt, the one who cares, the one – “You don’t get to tell me what to do anymore,” he forces out, even though he’s already obeyed, and it shouldn’t matter anyway.
“When did I ever –” Danny starts, then, “When did you ever listen?”
And Harry’s not listening now, can barely hear over the buzzing that’s back in his ears, and he’s somehow on his feet and they’re so close he can practically feel the anger twisting in the air between them, like a live thing, and he doesn’t think he can handle this anymore, hasn’t been able to handle it for a while now, because he fucking cares and it hurts because he’s the only one who does, but why can’t Danny just see –
Danny’s shaking his head. Harry’s not really sure why, but can’t care, can’t let himself, knows what he has to do.
17 May, 09:38pm GMT
They’re almost halfway through the show when Harry realizes he hasn’t looked away from Danny for the past three songs. It’s not like he’s never watched Danny before, but he’s usually conscious enough of it to snap himself out of it before it becomes obvious that he’s staring. He wonders briefly if anyone might have noticed this time, but the only people close enough are Tom, Dougie, and Danny himself, and Harry highly doubts any of them has spotted it. Dougie would have said something about it – loudly and at great length. Tom is clearly too distracted by the music, the audience, swatting Dougie away from his keyboard. And Danny. Well. Over the years Harry has discovered that Danny can be disturbingly observant when the mood strikes, but tonight. Tonight he has had his back to Harry rather more than usual, and that’s part of the problem.
Harry manages to focus mostly on either his drum kit or the audience for the next song, and the one after that, but then Dougie decides to tell a story, and Danny starts laughing. Harry bites his lip and ducks his head. He twirls his drumsticks between his fingers just to have something to do, something to keep him from thinking too much about the sound of Danny’s voice, the arc of his lips, the way his whole face lights up when he laughs.
“Let’s just play the song,” Tom says, and Harry knows he’s rolling his eyes at whatever Dougie’s been talking about, trying to keep things on track, trying to prevent Dougie from saying something they might all regret – or maybe just sick of being picked on for the moment, which is just as likely.
Just before the song moves into the bridge, Harry ends up staring at Danny again. He doesn’t even have a chance, really. It’s not his fault Danny can’t seem to stand up straight like a normal human being when he’s playing guitar. He’s playing bent over, guitar down by his knees. His shirt’s ridden up over his back and his jeans are low, showing off his boxers and the curve of his arse.
Harry swallows hard and fixes his eyes firmly on his drumsticks, praying to anyone listening to help get him through the rest of the show without fucking anything up.
17 May, 10:41pm GMT
Backstage after the show, Danny catches Harry’s arm, holding him back when he would have followed Dougie and Tom down to the dressing room. A shudder runs down Harry’s spine at the contact, but he forces his voice to stay steady, stay casual, when he turns and asks, “What’s up, Dan?”
Danny just flashes him a grin that sends tingles all the way to Harry’s fingers and toes and pulls him close, kissing him squarely on the mouth.
It takes Harry about five long seconds to process what’s happening, then he groans and opens his mouth, kissing back. Danny tastes like sweat and fire.
Harry pulls back when he runs out of breath. They’re both panting and staring at each other, still dripping sweat from the show, muscles tense, high on adrenaline.
“This is a really bad place to do this,” Harry says.
Danny opens his mouth, whether to agree or to protest or to ask what ‘this’ is, Harry doesn’t know and doesn’t care. He grabs Danny by the wrist and hauls him around a corner into a dark, dead-end corridor – it looks like an amp graveyard – and shoves him hard up against the wall. Danny makes a tiny noise in the back of his throat, but when Harry smashes their mouths together in another hard kiss, Danny kisses back, one hand curling around the nape of Harry’s neck, the other fumbling at the buttons on Harry’s shirt.
Harry groans again, and reaches for Danny’s belt.
29 June, 09:14am GMT
The interviewer holds out her microphone, and Danny slings an arm over Harry’s shoulder to brace himself as he leans across him to speak into it. It’s a casual touch, but heat flashes through Harry’s veins, and he swallows hard against the impulse to push Danny back into the sofa and. He bites the inside of cheek, tries to stop thinking about it.
Danny leans back, but his arm doesn’t move and Harry knows this shouldn’t be a thing, they all touch each other all the time, and Danny’s not even doing anything, but. They need to be more careful, and Harry can’t even think with Danny this close to him. He shrugs Danny’s arm off, shifting away slightly, crossing his ankle over his knee to cover the movement.
Danny shoots him a slightly surprised glance. Harry ignores it, tries to ignore the hot twist in his stomach as well when Danny lets his legs sprawl, knee bumping Harry’s thigh.
Fuck, Harry thinks, and tries not to fidget through the rest of the interview, doesn’t hear another word of it, just hopes he doesn’t look as tense as he feels. He grabs Danny by the elbow the second they get off the sound stage, hauling him back to the greenroom, and into the single-use bathroom, not even bothering to lock the door as he shoves Danny hard up against it. “You’re lucky I didn’t do this on camera,” he says against Danny’s mouth, and swallows the sound when Danny laughs.
10 August, 10:10pm GMT
Danny’s pressed up as close behind Tom as his guitar will allow, half supporting Tom’s weight as Tom leans back against him. Harry can’t see it, but he knows they’re both grinning, loving the moment and the music and the screams of the crowd. Harry feels slightly sick. He ducks his head, focuses on the movements of his hands and feet.
There’s a high-pitched collective shriek from the audience, and Harry looks up before he can think better of it, sees Danny break away from Tom and go spinning back towards center stage, laughing like a maniac. Tom’s shaking his head, but he’s laughing too. Even Dougie’s smirking across the stage, jumping with his feet pressed close together.
Harry doesn’t want to know, doesn’t want to even think about it. But he knows that if he gets on his computer tonight, he’ll find videos of the show with Danny pressing kisses to Tom’s cheek, or licking up his neck. It makes the knots in his stomach tighten, makes it harder to quash the recent desire to be down on the main stage with the rest of his band, where maybe Danny would pay attention to him, instead. He doesn’t want to give the sick feeling a name, doesn’t want to acknowledge it, make it real, but ignoring it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.
I’m not jealous, he tells himself, knows even as he thinks it that he’s lying, and that just makes it worse.
06 September, 01:56am GMT
The club is hot and crowded, bodies packed close like sardines, writhing together under the flashing lights. Harry can feel the music and alcohol buzzing in his veins, boiling just below the surface. He lets himself go, dissolving into the heavy beat and the press of strangers. He loves this – the music, the movement, the heat, not having to think.
The confident slide of large hands covering Harry’s hips makes him shiver and push back against the familiar body behind him. He turns his head slightly.
“Where’ve you been?” he asks, lips brushing lightly across Danny’s cheek.
“By the bar,” Danny’s voice is low, pitched under the music.
“Mm,” Harry hums low in his throat and turns so they’re facing each other, Danny’s hands shifting to accommodate the change in position, but never losing contact. “It’s nice by the bar,” he says, and they’re close enough that he can feel the heat of his own breath washing back to him. “It’s very –” Danny’s tongue slips out from between his teeth to run across his lips, and Harry’s brain stalls out. “With the alcohol,” he finishes, and doesn’t really know or care if that’s what he’d meant to say.
Danny’s teeth flash in a quick – almost wicked – grin, like he knows exactly what’s going on in Harry’s head. “It’s nice over here, too,” he replies, and tugs Harry more fully against him, hip-first.
Harry returns the grin, feeling warmth spread all the way to his fingertips. “I’m glad you think so,” he says, and hopes it doesn’t sound quite as stupid as he thinks it does.
Danny laughs, and Harry decides he doesn’t really care how stupid it sounded. He presses closer, arms crossing Danny’s as his fingers mold to Danny’s waist, moving with him as the beat of one song blends into the next.
The vibration between them startles them both, and it takes Harry a minute to realize it’s his mobile phone. Laughing, he fishes it out of his pocket without moving away, hand snaking between his thigh and Danny’s, making Danny shiver and press closer, making it even harder to get at the phone.
Harry flips it open once he’s wiggled it free, squinting in the shifting lights to read the text. “Tom says it’s time to go,” he tells Danny, who shrugs, and starts to make his way through the mash of people towards the exit, fingers twisted in one of Harry’s belt loops, keeping them connected.
They find Tom and Dougie waiting just outside. Tom frowns at them, eyes flickering from Danny’s hold on Harry’s belt loop to Harry’s hand – which has somehow found its way into Danny’s back pocket – but only says, “Ready?” and turns away without waiting for an answer.
Dougie shoots Harry and Danny a raised eyebrow, then picks up his pace to walk with Tom. Harry doesn’t really care.
Harry slides into the back seat of Tom’s car, shifting all the way to the far side. Danny slides in after him, sitting in the middle instead of next to the window, warmth from his body seeping into Harry’s everywhere they touch – sides pressed close, Harry’s arm looped around Danny’s lower back, fingers tracing the skin under Danny’s shirt, Danny’s hand hot and solid on Harry’s thigh.
Tom stops at Harry’s flat first, letting the car idle while he pops the locks. “G’night, Harry,” he says pointedly, but Harry doesn’t think any of them are surprised when Danny gets out as well and follows Harry into his flat.
12 October, 12:20pm GMT
Harry’s just washing his hands when the door behind him clicks open. He glances up, startled, and sees Danny’s reflection pull the door shut and step closer. It’s an effort to keep his face from breaking into a foolish grin, but there’s no way in hell Harry’s letting Danny know just how much his pulse starts to race every time they’re close. It’s stupid and cliché, and Danny would only laugh at him, so Harry makes himself play it cool.
“Ever heard of knocking, Jones?” he asks Danny’s reflection, voice a study in well-bred superiority as he shuts off the tap and leans against the cool porcelain. “I’ve heard it’s the traditionally accepted practice in civilized company, when one wishes to be allowed through a locked door.”
Danny laughs and waves the bottle opener he’s holding. “Where’s the fun in that?” he wants to know, but he pushes closer before Harry can answer, covering Harry’s hands on the lip of the sink, the bottle opener clattering into the bowl as he links his fingers through Harry’s wet ones. Harry can’t suppress the shudder that runs through him at the press of Danny’s chest, warm against his back, the brush of lips on the nape of his neck.
“Danny, we shouldn’t,” Harry tries to protest, but the effect is pretty much ruined by the way his voice drops, turning husky, and his body seems to melt backwards against Danny’s with a will of its own.
“If you say so,” Danny’s breath is hot and damp against Harry’s skin, and Harry can see his amusement in his reflection, hear it in his voice. Danny’s hands leave Harry’s, sliding up to his shoulders to turn him around, then down his chest to settle on his hips once they’re face to face.
Harry can feel butterflies in his stomach, and they have nothing to do with the heat he can feel from being so close to another body and everything to do with the way Danny’s whole face has brightened with his grin. You are a girl. You are a girl. You are a girl, he tells himself, but can’t seem to stop his lips from curling up in response.
“Always so fucking sexy,” Danny rumbles, voice low in his chest. “Even at fuck-all in the morning. Fuck.” He leans in, bites at Harry’s bottom lip until Harry presses back, opening his mouth, catching Danny’s tongue with his own, still-damp hands rising up to twist in Danny’s hair.
Danny pulls their hips together, thumbs sliding up under the fabric of Harry’s shirt, caressing the skin. One of them moans, maybe both of them. Harry’s fingers tighten in Danny’s hair of their own volition, and the part of his mind that hasn’t gone completely blank from kissing Danny wonders if he’ll be able to make them let go.
“Fuck,” Danny says again when they part to breathe, foreheads touching, noses bumping.
“Mm,” Harry hums his agreement, not sure he trusts himself to speak, unable to even open his eyes. His chest feels tight and he thinks his heart might have been forced to migrate north to take up residence in his throat.
“I’ve wanted to jump you since you walked in the house this morning,” Danny admits, and their lips aren’t touching, but Harry can feel the shimmers Danny’s make in the air as they move.
“Mm,” Harry hums again and closes the scant space between them, mouths connecting before the vibrations have died away.
Someone banging on the door makes them jump apart. Harry slams backwards into the edge of the sink and curses.
“What the fuck do you want?” he demands of whomever is making the door rattle on its hinges, rubbing a hand against the small of his back, wincing.
“Tom says lunch is ready,” Dougie informs them loudly through the door. “Says you’d better get your arses out of there if you want food. Oh – and he says he’ll kill you if you’ve made a mess.”
Harry can practically hear the smug expression he knows Dougie’s wearing.
Danny’s laughing again. “We’ll be right there,” he says to the door, then swiftly snags Harry against him again, kissing him quick and hard on the mouth before releasing him and turning to unlock the door.
Harry’s stomach flips over, and all he can think as he follows Danny out is, God, I’m so fucked.
18 November, 2:03pm GMT
They have about a half hour before soundcheck, and Harry’s maybe gotten a little bit lost in the backstage halls of the venue, looking for Danny. He doesn’t actually know where Danny is, though, so he figures he’s as likely to find him while lost as not.
He thinks he might be somewhere near catering – the stretch of corridor looks vaguely familiar, but then again, it all really looks the same, so maybe not – by the time he even hears anyone else. It’s a bit creepy, actually, because the place is a complete warren, and, really, if he can’t find Danny, he’d at least like to run into someone who might be able to direct him back to the greenroom.
He follows the sound of laughter around one corner, and then another, and is about to go around a third (and they’ve all been lefts, so shouldn’t he be going back the way he came, now?) when he realizes one of the voices is a girl’s, but the other. The other is definitely Danny. He feels an instant twist in his stomach, and tells himself it’s stupid, but peers around the corner before actually walking it, anyway.
Sure enough, it’s Danny and some girl Harry thinks works for the venue. They’re not quite halfway down the hallway, Danny leaning one shoulder against the wall, and the girl standing just a little too close. Danny’s back is to him, but he can see the girl just fine, tall and pretty with long hair and jeans that hug her curves. She’s laughing again, smile wide and bright, and Harry knows that laugh, has heard it from girls before, not fake, exactly, but a little too high to be quite real: the ‘I think you’re funny and I really want you to know that’ laugh, coupled with a light touch. And there she goes, fingers brushing Danny’s arm just above the elbow.
Danny shifts a little, not moving into the touch, but not really moving away, either. Harry swallows hard, feels his fists clench a little when Danny chuckles at something the girl says – something too low for Harry to hear, her voice too quiet and intimate to carry any distance.
Harry pulls back, leans against the wall where he can’t see or be seen, takes a few deep breaths, trying to get rid of the tight feeling in his chest. For a moment, he wants to walk out there, see what would happen, see if it would make any difference at all, if Danny would be awkward or look guilty. Somehow, Harry doubts it. It’s not like Danny has anything to feel guilty about. He’s allowed to do whatever he wants, it’s not like they’ve made any promises to each other. It doesn’t seem fair, though. They haven’t made promises, have never even talked about what they’re doing, but Harry still feels sick.
It takes several moments – the low murmur of voices broken by more laughter making it even harder to breathe – before Harry can force himself to walk away, back the way he’d come, away from the sound of Danny flirting.
I can’t do this, Harry thinks, can still hear the two of them laughing in his head, can still see her hand covering the freckles on Danny’s arm. He wants to sink down onto the floor, but doesn’t want to run the risk of Danny and the girl showing up, or someone else who might ask if he’s all right. He’s not sure he could explain to some random tech that he’s jealous about one of his best friends pulling a hot girl – and not because of the girl. Fuck, he thinks, because this is so stupid. He should be happy for Danny, they’re friends. With benefits, yes, but this isn’t. It’s nothing more than that. He shouldn’t be jealous of some girl he doesn’t even know. He’s acting like some schoolboy with a crush, and that – that’s the way friendships end. He doesn’t want that, doesn’t want to lose Danny completely. Doesn’t want to lose everything they’ve built together with Tom and Dougie just because he can’t keep his fucking hormones in check. It wouldn’t be fair to any of them, and even now, Harry’s worried things might have gone too far.
Harry curls his fingers in against his palms, short nails digging into skin, and grits his teeth. If he has to stop whatever the fuck they’re doing to keep from losing everything else – if he has to put some distance between them now to stop feeling like he’s going to be ill every time he sees Danny talking to someone else – that’s just the way it has to be.
It’ll be better, in the long run, he tells himself, digs his nails in a little harder, needing the slight pain to help ground himself, to keep from sliding to the linoleum tiles right there in the middle of the corridor. And it’s better to do it sooner, rather than later. He refuses to think ‘before it’s too late and I can’t bring myself to do it at all’ – can’t let himself think it might be, already.
23 November, 11:27pm GMT
“Shower’s all yours,” Harry says, walking into the room as he finishes toweling his hair. He glances up in time to see the funny look Danny’s giving him. “What?” he asks.
Danny’s eyes flick over him twice before he says, “Ready for bed, already?”
Harry glances down automatically at his pyjamas – a pair of sweatpants and an old tee-shirt – and bites the inside of his cheek to keep from promising to be out of them by the time Danny gets back. He has to do this now, tonight, before he’s had any more time to try to talk himself out of it. He knows it was the right decision to make, knows that even though it will hurt like hell, now, it will be better than it could be if he waits any longer. Just because he was stupid enough to fall in love with someone who doesn’t love him back – and he knows he did, and hates himself a little bit for it – doesn’t mean he has to completely destroy himself by fucking him when he knows that’s all it will ever be. At least now he might be able to salvage their friendship and keep the band from imploding. He hopes.
He forces a shrug. “I’m tired,” he says, and winces internally. That’s barely better than saying he has a headache.
Danny obviously thinks so, too, because his eyebrows twist up in a look of disbelief. “Right,” he says. “Well, I’ll try to be quick, so the noise won’t disturb your beauty rest.”
Harry tries to laugh, but it sounds hollow even to his own ears.
Luckily, Danny just shakes his head and vanishes into the toilet. A moment later, the shower starts.
23 November, 11:58pm GMT
Harry paces restlessly to the big window and stares out at the lights shining along the streets far below. He’s already put this off too long. Five days since he figured out what he had to do, and how many months before that, when he was too blinded to realize? He should have seen it and done something – stopped it – as soon as he suspected he wasn’t just fooling around anymore. He knows he should have. But it’s Danny.
Harry leans his forehead against the cool glass, Tom’s words from less than a week ago bouncing around in his skull like ping-pong balls.
“I know you’re in love,” he’d said, “And I want you to know that I think it’s great and I support you. But please be careful. This is your heart, and Danny’s, and I don’t want to see either of you hurt. And if something goes wrong, it’s me and Dougie, too. This band can’t survive losing half of its members.”
Harry had stared at him for almost a full minute before choking out, “We’re not in love.” He’d still been reeling from seeing Danny with the venue girl only minutes before, and his decision to break things off. It was too much, one thing on top of another. He didn’t even want to think about being so far in over his head, didn’t think he could handle it, didn’t know if he’d be able to confront Danny about it if Tom was right.
Tom had just shaken his head, given Harry a tight hug, repeated, “Be careful,” and walked off to do – something.
Harry sighs, now, and watches the glass fog from his breath. Tom had been half right, anyway, Harry just hadn’t wanted to put what he felt into words, though he’s had the time over the last few days to at least try to deal with it. Because Danny – it was clearly only about sex for Danny. And that just wasn’t enough for Harry anymore, which meant he had two choices. He could tell Danny how he felt and let Danny reject him and possibly be incredibly awkward around him in the future – which would be bad for the band as well as uncomfortable for both of them – or he could break it off himself, deal with the heartbreak in private, and hopefully let things go back to the way they were before he and Danny had started sneaking off to dark corners as often as possible. Either way he knows he’ll hate himself, but at least with the latter, he stands a chance of not making Danny hate him – or Tom or Dougie.
As long as Harry keeps himself from turning into a fifteen-year-old girl, he doesn’t think Danny will care much. He can always find someone else, clearly – though the very thought of that makes Harry’s stomach curl unpleasantly. There’s a tiny voice in Harry’s head that keeps insisting ‘he wants you – you know he wants you – so maybe maybe maybe’ but Harry tries to ignore it.
The sound of the shower stops, and Harry feels himself tense. He crosses the room slowly and hangs his towel up over the back of one of the chairs, then sits awkwardly on the edge of the bed.
He feels the tiniest glimmer of relief when Danny comes back into the room already dressed for bed, but it vanishes when Danny approaches him, with the clear intent of at least kissing him goodnight.
“No,” Harry says quickly, putting a hand on Danny’s chest to stop him, and pushing a little until Danny backs away, looking confused. “Wait. Don’t.” He takes a deep breath and waits until Danny steps back, obviously waiting for him to continue. “We need to talk,” he mumbles, and drops his eyes to his hands, because he will not be able to do this if he looks at Danny’s face. “We need to talk,” he says again, louder, more clearly, and feels his heart start to break.
24 November, 12:28am GMT
“I’ll swap rooms with Tom,” Harry says, though he doesn’t even remember thinking the actual words. “We can’t – we have to think of the band –” the band the band the band, it echoes around and around in his head, spinning and twirling and bouncing like a ballet dancer on speed, but it’s the one thing he can focus on now that might keep him from crying, because he will not cry in front of Danny.
“The band,” Danny echoes. “Right. That’s what this is about.” Harry doesn’t think he’s ever heard Danny’s voice sound this bitterly sarcastic before, and he hates himself more than a little for being the cause of it now. “All about the band. Not about you running off to him.”
Harry just stares, confused, not sure what Danny’s talking about – because, really, what the fuck? – not sure he even wants to know, but, “Running off to him?” he asks, can’t not, can’t just keep his fucking mouth shut and leave, needs to understand. “Running off to who?”
“You know the fuck who,” Danny retorts, and his arms are so tense by his sides Harry can see lines of the tendons standing out in his wrists. The part of Harry’s brain that still refuses to accept what’s going on wants to bite them, wants to leave marks, wants to kiss the redness better. “You brought him up.”
“Are you talking about Dougie?” Harry asks, because it’s sort of clicked, but he can’t believe his ears, is sure he must be hallucinating, because why the fuck would he be ‘running off’ to Dougie? He’s just trying to run away from Danny, because if he doesn’t, he’ll break, and –
“Too good, are you?” Danny is practically sneering. “Don’t want to dirty yourself any more? Afraid I’ll rub off on you if you stay too close too long?”
Harry opens his mouth to make it stop, because he’s so, so confused now, has no idea where any of this is coming from, because it’s not true, none of it is, and he doesn’t want Danny to think it could be, but –
“Poor little rich boy’s gone slumming, wanted a bit of a roll with the common folk, see what things were like down on the ground, but now you’re bored and want something better?”
Harry hates Danny’s self-deprecating tone as much as he hates the accusations, but it’s all too much, he doesn’t know how to defend himself – if he can defend himself when he doesn’t know what’s going on, anymore – and all he can do is lash out, hitting back as hard as he can, where he knows it hurts, with, “Seems you’re not as dumb as you look, Jones – too bad I didn’t know earlier. But I guess the adventure’s over, so you’ll just have to astound someone else with your impressive skills at observation.”
Danny exhales hard, like he’s been punched in the stomach. Harry feels the warm air rush over his face because they are just that fucking close, and he wants to apologize, say he didn’t mean it, make that look of sheer pained disbelief vanish from Danny’s face, but he can’t, can’t, can’t, because if he does he’ll do something stupid. Reassuring touches – he can’t afford them now, he has to stop this, and if he lets himself go, lets himself actually touch Danny, he won’t be able to.
“Fuck you,” Danny hisses, and Harry can tell how much he means it, can hear the pure loathing dripping from each word like poison, and it hurts – god it hurts – and he just wants it to stop, stop, stop.
Harry’s shaking from the effort of holding himself back, of holding himself together. He’s not sure which would be worse, now, hitting Danny, or crying in front of him. They’re too fucking close and he can’t think, not when he just wants to reach out and… In the end, he’s not sure he’ll have a choice if he doesn’t get out of here, now. “No,” he says, knowing it’s stupid, knowing it’s cliché, but unable to care, “fuck you.” He forces himself to turn and walk away, letting the door click shut with a quiet finality that rings louder in his ears than any slam, and it takes all his willpower not to just sink back against the solid wood and break down right there. He takes several deep breaths, useless as they are, and knocks on the door across the hall.
I'm not even sure I've got any proper words for this.
It's just. So utterly painful, how they stumble around each other, almost an innocent game at first, but it doesn't stay like that. For neither of them.
Oh, seriously, the heartache. This is so fucking gorgeously written, and I can't help but love it, even if it makes me cry right now.
I've never really written fic that ends in angst, at least not in this fandom. (That one time where I killed Dougie doesn't count, because it's an alternate ending, and I only posted it so it would stay alternate.) It was kind of important to me that I do it, at least once, if only to prove to myself that I could. I mean, I wrote the sequel because I (and Maddy) like things to end well in fiction, but I needed this story to end where it does. There was probably some deeper meaning about real life not ending well, or something, but I don't really remember anymore. ::sighs::
I'm glad you enjoyed it, though I'm sorry to have made you cry. ::offers hugs::
I actually love this. I don't usually read the Harry/Danny pairing, because I'm a Tom/Dan and Dougs/Haz kinda person, so I clicked with a bit of trepidation, but it really is amazing. The emotion is really well written, and how its obvious that Danny's actually alot more hurt than Harry expects him to be. They're both so defensive, which is completely how I imagine them. Well done, sweety!
I'm glad you gave it a shot, and enjoyed it. :) I'm pretty free with my pairings, but Harry/Danny (or Danny/Harry, I'm not picky ;D) is one of the easiest pairings for me in terms of writing.
I'm glad Danny's feelings came across even without his perspective - it was one of the things I was worried about losing when I made the whole thing Harry's POV.
I really don't know what more to say other than wow. It's been a long time since the last time I read something this uh-mazing!
I had a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth whilst reading it; I wanted to kick them both for being so stubborn and not seeing how much they love each other; to kick Danny in the balls for being such a big flirt and Harry for jumping into conclusions... and in the end, just hugging them both coz their hearts are broken.
oh, and thank god there's a sequel, coz I don't think I could've survived if that was the end, it's just too painful to live with.
So please hurry up with that sequel, yeah!? or else i'm afraid i'm gonna die from anxiety!! =)
It's entirely possible I have Rob Thomas's "This Is How A Heart Breaks" playing in my head after all this. I should find that song on my old computer and move it over here so I can listen to it.
Sorry I broke your heart, though. :/ I'm glad you liked it anyway? :D? And thank you. :)
I don't think I've ever heard that song...
Oh, I loved it. I love angst more than anything, so this was exactly what I love *nods* You still better post the sequel soon though, or I'll come over to the States and poke you until you do :P
Note to self: hold off on posting the sequel to force visitation. :D
Here's This Is How A Heart Breaks if you're interested. :) I am a little bit obsessed with Rob Thomas (and Matchbox in general). Great voice, great musician, plus, he's absolutely adorable, and is a complete dork. ::hearts him::
HELLO YOU POSTED THIS. (by which I mean, you told me you posted it, but I've only just backread my flist enough to find it, haha)
oh man. you know how I feel about this, Emma. it's awesome. and it has been such a long road! it's so sad, and they're so utterly idiotic, and I'm glad I made you write me a sequel. :D
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU FINALLY POSTED YOUR FIRST MCFLY FIC! ♥
YES. YES I DID. AND IT FEELS WONDERFUL.
Such a long, long road. They really are so stupid. I tried to balance out the IQs thought? :D? And, yes, the sequel. I need to post that one, now. I have to go through it to make it html-happy. Something to do on the train! I still remember how annoyed you were with me for ending this the way I did, and pulling out the Jewish guilt for the sequel. Unfair pouting!
Hahahaha. FUCKING FINALLY. \o/ ♥ (I still blame you for roping me into this fandom to begin with. Just in case you were wondering. XD)