Hello! Here's chapter 22, without a ridiculously long wait for once :D. Thank-you so much as always to everyone reading and reviewing, I really can't tell you how much your reviews mean to me, please keep them coming, I love knowing what you all think, and they make me so absurdly happy when I read them. It's lovely to know that people are actually taking the time to read and comment on my story!

Quick warning, this chapter contains drug use.


Stretching across to the bedside table, Dougie picked up his phone to check the time. 7:54am. Too early, definitely too early, but Dougie had been asleep for a long time. He'd managed to get out of talking after getting back from the hospital yesterday by saying he was tired, worn out from the panic attack, and spent the evening lounging on the sofa watching movies with the guys, before excusing himself to go to bed. The day hadn't been too bad, after the hospital, just chilling out with his friends, with little to bother him, his mind too numb from going into overdrive those few hours before. He hadn't decided what to do with the weed; he was too exhausted to make any sort of decisions yesterday, instead suppressing the thought until he was better equipped to deal with it.

Realising that he had been asleep for ten hours already, Dougie rubbed his eyes and pushed back the covers, ready to attempt to start the day. Tom and Gio were still sleeping, probably, and Dougie didn't want to wake them. Danny and Harry had spent the night in their own houses. Dougie wondered when he would be able to sleep in his own bed again, in his own house, thinking it would probably be quite a long time before Tom, or the other for that matter, were going to let him move back out to where he could not be kept watch of. Though Dougie knew his friends did not mean to make it so, at times it felt like he was in a high-security prison on suicide watch, his every move being monitored and analysed to evaluate his mental state, with little care taken to ensure him any semblance of privacy. Dougie appreciated that he was worrying his friends with how he was acting, that they were only trying to look after him, to make him better, but however well meaning the intention may have been didn't make it feel any less stifling.

Dougie pulled on a pair of crumpled, grey tracksuit bottoms, and the t-shirt he had been wearing the previous day, the closet items of clothing he could reach, scrunched on the floor next to the bed. He ran his hands though his hair, feeling it limp and greasy beneath his fingers. It really needed a wash, but there was absolutely no part of him that could be bothered to shower this morning. What did it matter, anyway? Who did he have to look, or smell, decent for? He made his way out of the bedroom and downstairs to the kitchen, careful not to be too loud, careful not to wake Tom or Gio. He knew it was probably not a good idea for him to be alone in the house so early in the morning, especially after what had happened last time he'd woken up before everyone, but he still felt he needed the time to himself, the only time it looked like he would be getting to himself for the foreseeable future. It would only be about an hour or so until Tom woke up anyway, what could go wrong in an hour?

Dougie filled the kettle and put it on to boil, before making himself a cup of tea, his only real routine in the morning. He took his drink through to the living room, placing it on the coffee table to cool slightly, sitting himself down on the sofa, his knees curled up, and switching on the TV, flicking through channels for something decent to watch. It baffled Dougie how that with over 500 channels, there was still not really anything worth watching on. He settled on a re-run of Top Gear, the volume turned down, not really paying attention to what was going on onscreen, not really paying much attention to anything. In a way, Dougie preferred it when he was like this, distant from the world, sleepy-headed, walking though not quite awake, a strange hazy clarity. It was easier than having to think, it was easier than having to get better, and it was far, far easier than any of the crippling feelings of depression that could reel him in with the simplest of hooks.

Sipping on his tea, Dougie felt his familiar morning nicotine craving kick in, as it always did when he was about halfway through his first cup of tea of the day. Sighing, he set the mug down, unravelling himself from the ball he had curled himself up into, and pulled himself off the sofa, before making his way upstairs in search of his cigarettes. Inside the bedroom, Dougie rooted around, trying to find where he had left them the previous night, eventually spying them on the bedside cabinet. Just as he was about to lave the room to go outside for his morning smoke, Dougie felt his mind wonder to the bag of weed, making his way over to the backpack and taking it out of the side pocket, safe in the knowledge that he was the only one awake, and that no one would see him. What harm could looking do? He stared at the pouch, green, dried clusters of leaves, speckled with a fine white dust, and splattered with tiny, orange sprouts. The patterns the little leaves formed when clumped together as they were was oddly mesmerising. Dougie reached back into the backpack, pulling out a pack of rolling papers he had bought the previous day when he had bought his cigarettes, in case he did decide to smoke it. What harm could it do? It would to ages before anyone was awake, and if he was going to do it without being noticed, now would be more or less his only chance.

Shoving the weed and rolling papers into his pocket, his cigarettes and lighter still in hand, Dougie rushed downstairs, slipping his shoes on, and out the front door, leaving it on the latch so he could get back in. Adrenalin was pumping through his body, excitement, fear, apprehension, and an unidentifiable cocktail of other feelings, all compelling him towards smoking it. Why not? It's not like the day would be a good day regardless, why not at least try to make it slightly more bearable. Dougie sat on the steps, his hands shaking tremendously as he took the pouch of weed and rolling papers out of his pocket. He looked around, nervously, praying there would be no one around to see what he was about to do, be it his friends, or anyone who may recognise him, or the police, or even innocent bystanders, entirely oblivious. He didn't want anyone to see, he wanted to keep this his one little secret, the last tiny shred of his life that could be purely his.

Opening up the blue packet of rolling papers, Dougie took one out, thin and fragile, resting it on his knees. He'd rolled cigarettes before, this couldn't be that different, could it? He thought back to Veronica's joint the other day, trying to picture how her one was rolled, how it looked and how it felt. He knew it had tobacco in it, so he ripped open a cigarette, sprinkling some of the tobacco flakes out onto the open rolling paper, He hands shook more violently as he reached for the baggie, feeling his palms moist with cold sweat. He opened the zip-lock pouch, and took out a small pinch of the leaves, feeling them crumble slightly between his fingers. He sprinkled the tiny pieces on top of the tobacco, careful not to drop any, not wanting to fill the paper too much. Dougie zipped the pouch back up, and put in underneath his shoe so it would not blow away in the breeze before picking up the precarious, unrolled joint from his knees, fiddling the paper around between his fingers and thumbs until it was rolled into something that just about resembled a makeshift cigarette, licking the conical cylinder closed. He never had been particularly good at rolling, but it would do.

Once more, Dougie looked around, making sure no one was around to see him, shaking more than ever with excitement. The edges of a grin crept onto his face, nervous, yet relieved, that his choice had finally been made, be it for better or for worse, whatever the outcome, the agonising decision making process that had plagued his every thought was now over. He lifted the crumpled joint to his lips, holding it in place while he clicked his lighter flame. He inhaled, the rough smoke hitting the back of his throat, the lack of a filter at the end making the smoke far harsher than Dougie was used to. He tried to suppress the cough he felt building, smoke spluttering out of his mouth and nose. The familiar taste of tobacco mixed with the sweetness of the weed was an odd taste to have in his mouth so early in the morning, though not altogether unpleasant. Dougie held the joint to his lips once more, remembering to inhale more gently, pulling the smoke through the joint and into his lungs, before exhaling, cough-free.

"Doug? I didn't think anyone would be up, I brought bagels for breakfast and –" Dougie heard Harry's voice coming from down the road as he spluttered out another cough, the smoke getting stuck in his throat. Dougie stubbed the joint out, throwing it down the stairs in a panic, hoping Harry hadn't seen, feeling himself trembling in fear and the blood drain from his face.

Harry walked towards Tom's front door, a brown paper bag of bagels from the local bakery in hand. He'd been up for a few hours, and had given up on going back to sleep, instead deciding to bring round food for breakfast so that the others wouldn't be too annoyed at being woken up by him. As Harry approached, he knew something was amiss. Dougie face was white, his whole body shaking, fidgeting with something. Harry sped up, fearing that Dougie may have been about to disassociate. As he got closer, Harry saw Dougie throw something down the stairs, and saw a flash of guilt in Dougie eyes. What the hell was going on? Harry stopped when he reached the thrown object, picking up the still lit joint, smelling the smoke wafting through the air to his nose.

"Dougie… what the fuck is this? What the hell are you doing?"

Hope you all liked the chapter! Sorry it's cliffhanger-y at the end, but the chapter wanted to end there so I let it... my writing just kind of does what it wants sometimes so I go with it. Also, I just want to apologize in advance if I don't update much this week, I have loads of work I need to do for uni, but I should be able to get at least one more chapter written and uploaded this week hopefully! Please review and let me know what you think of this chapter, and I'll get the next one up as soon as I can :D.