Spots of light flash before him and he tries to blink them away, but every time he opens his eyes, there they are. White and red and black and red again. The tiles of the bathroom floor are cold beneath him but every time he tries to stand his bare feet slip and slide. So he sits and stares down at the mess he's made, tears beginning to roll down his cheeks when the severity of what he's done sinks in.
He's never talked to anyone about this, about the way he feels sometimes. About how sometimes he feels so sad that he doesn't want to live anymore. And he doesn't understand it, because he really does love his life. He has family who love and support him, he has the best mates he could ever hope for and he knows just how lucky he is to get to do what he does for a living. Yet there are days he wakes up in the morning and it's all he can do to get out of bed. He's good at hiding it, though he's a far better actor than he's ever given himself credit for because he's pretty sure not a single person has noticed. Most of the time he hides his sadness by laughing at things that aren't even funny, just so he seems happy.
"Liam," he calls weakly, but he can't seem to gather the strength to raise his voice louder. He needs Liam, Liam can fix this, he thinks. Liam always fixes everything. "Liam," he tries again, raising himself up on his knees, feeling dampness soaking through his chinos. He props one elbow against the sink, trying to lean against it for support to help him stand. He's got to get up, get out of this bathroom and find Liam. But his hands and arms are wet and slippery and he crashes back down to the floor, knocking over a shelf of hair products on the way down.
This morning he woke up and thought, "okay, that's it. I can't do this anymore." He's tired of pretending, tired of feeling so sad and so worthless. But now the only thing he feels is regret as his eyes trail down to the angry slashes he's made, one on each wrist. He's bleeding so much and he just wants it to stop, but it won't.
He hears feet stomping down the hallway and he closes his eyes, both relieved and scared at the same time. He's so tired his eyes almost won't reopen but he forces them to when he hears a yell, and he knows without even looking that it's Harry.
Harry's watching TV in the living room when he hears a loud crash in the bathroom. He looks toward the direction of the hallway but doesn't think much of it at first, because they're young boys and they're always making loud noises and really it's not unusual. But then he realises that it's been a long time since any of them saw Niall, and the last place he saw him was when he was heading into the bathroom. So he frowns and gets to his feet, hurrying down the hall and forcing the bathroom door open. Nothing in the world could prepare him for what he sees.
There's blood everywhere – a few drops splattering the wall, smeared along the side of the sink, pooled on the tiles of the floor. And Niall lays face down in it, blood soaking through his chinos. He's yelling before he even realizes he's doing it, calling for help. He remembers too late that Liam's gone to the market, Zayn is asleep, Louis has got his iPod on, and the chances of either of them hearing Harry's cries for help are slim to none. He drops to his knees, shaking hands making the call. As he's hanging up Niall gives a soft moan and tears slip down Harry's face, sliding down his chin as he gently turns Niall over, grabbing towels and pressing them to the blonde's bloody wrists. Niall's bright blue eyes are open and looking at him but they look too glassy, too dazed to really see him.
"Niall, I'm here, okay mate? You're gonna be okay." Harry tries to tell him, but he knows his voice is shaking about as much as his hands are. He applies as much pressure as he can to try and stop the bleeding but the blood soaks through the towels quickly. Niall's face is the palest he's ever seen it, and that's saying a lot. "What have you done? How could you do this?" He cries out, his body trembling with fear that he's going to lose his friend.
He's trying to speak, but Harry has to lean down to hear what he's saying. Niall licks his dry lips, tries again. "L-Liam." He says clearly and Harry can't bring himself to tell Niall that Liam isn't even here. "Soon." He responds simply. "Liam's coming." Niall tries to wrench his arms out of Harry's grasp. "He can fix it," he insists, and there's something so desperate and broken in his voice that Harry sobs openly. Harry carefully gathers Niall in his arms, not giving a damn that he's now covered in Niall's blood too. He holds him tight against his chest, one hand still holding the towels in place firmly. "You just hang on, alright? Don't close your eyes. Niall!"
"Tired," The blonde slurs, his head dropping back limply against Harry's arm. His eyes flutter once, then twice before his eyes began to close, like he's really trying but his lids are too heavy. Harry's so afraid that if Niall closes his eyes he won't open them again. He sniffles, leaning down and pressing his forehead to Niall's. "Hey, buddy." He says urgently. "D'you hear him? Liam's here. Hey Liam." He isn't, of course, but Harry's so desperate right now that if he's got to lie to Niall, he will. It isn't a secret that Niall's been hopelessly in love with Liam since the beginning. To him, Liam walks on water.
Eyes still partly closed, a smile creeps over Niall's lips. "Liam," he breathes, like his life depends on him, and Harry knows it does. He sniffs, swallows hard. He leans in, talks softly in Niall's ear, doing his best impression of Liam. It's not too bad, actually. "I'll fix this Niall. You just need to hang on, alright?"
Niall nods, takes in a shuddering breath. He's breathing too shallow for Harry's liking. "S-sorry Li." He whispers. "Fix it, please. I don't wanna die." He's crying again, his breath coming in short gasps.
He's not sure what's happening to him but he swears he can feel his own life slipping away. He hears Liam speaking to him, whispering words of hope and encouragement, whispering that he'll make all of this go away. He feels arms wrapped tightly round him and his bloody fingers reach out and tightly grasp the material of a t-shirt. He feels as if it's the only thing keeping him on this earth, so he doesn't let go. Soft lips kiss his forehead and he hears medics hurrying through the door. He smiles again and lets himself drift into unconsciousness, knowing he'll be safe, because Liam said.