A/N: This part is dedicated to Chloe Duncan, for getting amazing exam results and being one of the best friends I've ever had. It's also to cheer her up, hopefully, and to let her know I'm always here for her. Hope you all enjoy it, honeys. xo
Love Will Tear Us Apart
You arrive at the pub, later than expected, greeted by pretty much everyone from your department. This surprises you considering you're sure Harry has never spoken to most of them. Especially the young brunette you catch him chatting up at the end of the bar as you approch Leo.
"Nikki, you made it!" Leo smiles and pulls you in for a hug. "You look like you need a drink."
"I do indeed." You laugh as he downs the rest of his own drink and grabs the attention of the barman.
"So, how did your chat with Harry go earlier?"
"It was fine. I told him I'm happy for him."
"Are you really happy for him?" He asks, catching the confused look etched upon your features. "Come on, Nikki, I know how you feel about him. I think I've known longer than you have."
"It's nothing-" You begin to deny everything, but Leo cuts across you.
"Don't give me that! You were heartbroken in Budapest, and not just because you thought you'd lost your best friend. I'm right, aren't I?"
Oh God. There it is. It makes it so much easier to avoid when you only think it to yourself, but when someone else brings it up, it's almost impossible to fight. You shrug, refusing to give anything away.
"You've got to tell him, Nikki." Leo says. "Otherwise, I promise you, you'll regret it when he's thousands of miles away with someone else."
You process Leo's words and they ring around your ears in a vicious, repetitive fashion until it takes all your strength not to repeat them out loud. It's not like you didn't already know Harry is likely to find someone else in New York, but that doesn't make it any less painful to hear your fear being confirmed by someone else. Of course he's going to move on... maybe you should too.
You glance over your shoulder at Harry for a moment and feel a mixture of both sadness in your heart and butterflies in your stomach when your eyes connect and you notice him approaching you. Leo pats you on the shoulder and walks away, giving you and Harry some time alone in the room full of tipsy colleagues.
"Hi," Harry leans against the bar next to you and flashes a smile, but you can tell it's forced.
"Hi," you reply simply, almost awkwardly.
Your feelings at this point are such a rollercoaster. One minute, you love him with all your heart and want him to stay and be with you forever, next minute, you almost hate him for making you feel like this and can't wait for him to be out of your life. You can't deny you're still a bit pissed off with him, he can't enter your life and make it everything you've always longed for it to be then leave you hanging and craving more. You also can't deny you feel a bit dizzy from the wine already. (Perhaps that's due to the three and a half glasses you consumed before leaving your home - dutch courage and all that.)
"Look, Niks, we need to talk..."
"What now?" You're starting to gain courage and cockiness from the alcohol you've been drinking. (You refuse to believe this intoxication is down to Harry's presence.)
"You know what," Harry sighs with slight exasperation.
"Well, Harry, it could be one of two things; either you want to explain your real reason for leaving the country, or you want to boast about how fantastic your new job is because you think that'll make it alright for you to leave me." It comes out like word-vomit - you can't keep it down.
"It's not like that, Nikki, you know it isn't!"
"No, Harry, I don't know. I don't know a thing!" You raise your voice a fraction, completely unaware of the conversation quickly edging towards a full-blown argument. "Tell me, what's New York got that London hasn't? More 25 year olds? Better bars? The chance to find a friend worth sticking around for?"
Harry's lips part in shock. He looks as though he's both surprised and hurt at your words. He doesn't reply, which is a relief, you don't want to hear the answer to that question.
"Why isn't everything you have here enough to make you stay?" You choke back sobs as you ask a question that's been swimming around your head for hours, "Why aren't I enough, Harry?"
He sighs deeply and looks at the ground like he can't stand to look into your eyes, "Don't make me do this, Nikki. Don't make me choose between you and New York. This is hard enough as it is."
But that's exactly what you want to do. You want to make him choose between you and New York. All these years, you two have claimed to know everything about each other, but never have you ever known what you really mean to him. Are you just his best friend? Or someone he's been secretly hoping to be more with one day? Making him choose could give you the closure you need when he leaves, but it'd be the worst pain in the world to find out you don't mean as much to him as he does to you. You need to know.
"Oh, bless, this is hard for you?" You reply, your tone laced with sarcasm, anger and irritation to mask your sadness. "Sure, I get that you'll be in a new place with a new job surrounded by people you don't know, and it will be difficult, I understand that, but don't think for one second that you're the only person this is hard for."
"This doesn't have to be hard for you, Nikki. You've still got Leo. I'll visit you, you can visit me. We can make this work, we can still be best friends." He tries to pull you into a hug, but you don't embrace him as you usually would, your arms remain at your sides as opposed to wrapped around his body.
"It's always going to be hard for me, Harry!" You push him away and it's not until now that you notice warm tears sliding down your cheeks. "Out of everyone I've ever known, you were always the one who I assumed would never leave me. You're the one who cheers me up when I'm sad or makes me feel safe when I'm lonely or saves me when I'm in trouble. I can't lose you. Not now."
"Why are you saying all this now?"
"Because I- Well, you're all I've got and I..." You finally have your chance. At last, you can tell him how you feel. It's not even your fear of rejection that's stopping you from telling him, because he'll leave either way, it's something else. You can't ruin this for him. You take the coward's way out, you play it safe."Forget it. Have a save flight, Harry."
The tears fall more freely as you turn away from him and exit the pub, like the cool evening air has made your barriers crumble and allowed your emotions to float to the surface. Goosebumps erupt across your skin and you suddenly regret not bringing a jacket. You make it as far as the other side of the road when Harry also emerges from the bar, shaken and searching for you, his deep breathing a sign of either his shock or his current lack of oxygen after running after you.
"Nikki!" He shouts into the darkness, bringing your journey to a halt, his voice sending a shiver down your spine. "Don't go, we can't end it yet, not like this." You don't budge an inch so he hastily makes his way towards you and grips the tops of your arms as if he's scared you'll run away again. His touch warms your cool skin and makes your breath hitch, and you decide you never want him to let go.
"There's nothing more to say, Harry." You sob, your eyes never leaving his.
"You've always got more to say." He replies in desperation. "Even in the pub you didn't finish what you were going to say."
"Why didn't you tell me you were leaving when you first found out?" The words come out harsher than intended and you ignore the bit about what you were going to say in the pub. You can't tell him. Not now.
"I thought it'd upset you."
"You thought telling me would upset me? What, so you thought keeping it a secret until the day before you leave would make everything okay?"
"You want to know why I didn't tell you?" He asks. "Because I knew you'd be the one to make me question whether it's really a good idea for me to leave and you'd make me choose between my opportunity for a fresh start and everything I'll be leaving behind."
"Say I did make you question whether it was a good idea, what would the answer be? Honestly, what would you choose?"
He looks at the ground once again like he can't stand to look into your eyes and confirm your worst fear. "I can't do this..."
"I don't want to ruin this for you, Harry, I really don't. But I need to know." The moonlight dripping from the sky turns cloudy as your eyes fill with tears; restless and unbidden, pooling at the bottom and threatening to spill again at any moment.
"I honestly don't know. Over here, I need something that's so far beyond my reach but so close, like it's teasing me, and it's tearing me apart. I can't wait forever for something I know may never happen." He croaks, his voice thick with emotion. "But at the same time, I don't think I can live without it."
His words puzzle you beyond belief and you're not completely sure what he's on about, but in the pit of your stomach his revelation feels so personal you can't stand it. You look at him, deeply, trying to gauge his emotions.
"When we were in the pub, you were going to tell me something before you walked out. What was it?" He looks into your eyes imploringly, willing you to tell him.
"I can't tell you. I can't ruin this for you."
"This is it, Niks, this is our last chance. I can't wait for you forever. You need to tell me otherwise this is how it's going to end, and I can't let that happen."
Suddenly, you don't want him to leave at all. Screw how selfish you may sound, you want him to stay, fuck the fact he's got a new job and life lined up, you need him. More than you've ever dared to admit. You take the risk, thinking that even if it doesn't go to plan, at least you won't sit for the rest of your life plagued by what ifsand maybes because this time you've tried. You've tried really fucking hard.
It's like a moment of sober clarity in your night of intoxicated anger and sadness. You take a deep breath, step closer so your bodies are pressed against each other and pull his head down so his forehead is resting against yours, you notice then how you fit perfectly, and how it's almost a reflex reaction when Harry instictively wraps his arms around your lower back. The warmth he emits returns; it boils in your blood and gives you courage you never knew you possessed.
"I can't do this, Harry, I can't just let you go," You say it so quietly you're surprised he even hears you, but even with your eyes closed you can sense the ghost of a smile on his face, you feel it as his lips inch closer to yours, and you know you've done the right thing. "I love you. Please don't leave me like everyone else."
You're not sure who leans in first, the only thing you do know is that Harry's kiss is the kind of heaven you've only visited in your dreams, and even now, when it's happening in reality, it's way beyond anything you've ever imagined. Perhaps it's the relief of finally telling him how you feel, or the absence of the voice in the back of your head telling you this could ruin your friendship that makes this feel so perfect, or it could simply be the way his embrace eliminates all the bad in the world and converts it to good.
He tears his lips away from yours, you're worried he's embarrassed or angry, but your concerns cease when he cups the left side of your face with his hand and his gaze flicks from your eyes to your lips.
"Come with me?" He says as you lean into his touch. "To New York."
His mouth is on yours again before you can answer, like he's pleading with his tongue as it grazes your own and he pulls you closer to him.
"I thought you'd never ask." You murmur breathlessly against his lips.
That's what it comes down to, you think to yourself as Harry grips your hand in his and takes you back inside the pub to tell everyone you're in this together, everything in the world is so clouded by the darkness spread by the events that happened in your childhood, or the people you lost along the way, that you live your own life so cautiously and carefully that you don't really live at all.
You lived your life as an adult in such a way that the dangerous memories lurking in the deepest depths of your mind held you back from doing what you really wanted to: devoting yourself to another person or letting your heart guide you, in fear you'd lose the last thing on this earth you could really depend on. You allowed yourself to stay emotionally detached from others because everyone you grew close to left you in the end - your mother, your father... - when, really, it was being so purposely oblivious to your feelings that nearly lost you Harry, and without him, nothing would be worth it in the end.
You took the leap of faith, just as everything was crumbling and fading into desolate nothingness, and your own relief is mirrored on the many other faces surrounding you as people congratulate you and Harry on your happiness. Leo was right, maybe he was aware of the extent of your feelings way before you were.
"I love you, Nikki," Harry whispers in your ear as you sit down. "I'd never leave you."
Truth be told, love can indeed tear you apart... But, in the end, it can also put you back together.
Piece by broken piece.
I don't even know what's going on with this ending, so don't ask. I just started writing it and couldn't stop because I've been struggling with theispart for so long it's actually quite horrific. I had to give you a happy ending! We've had enough post-ship sadness to last us a lifetime, and my shattered fangirl heart is still not over it. :'(
Also, I've been playing around with the idea of writing a sequel or something about Harry and Nikki in New York and I'll probably end up making it an Oasis songfic or something because SW and Oasis are my favourite things in the entire world and I've got some fitting lyrics lined up so yeah, watch out for that. :P
Reviews would be nice, even though I took so bloody long updating it, I'm so sorry. :/ xo