A/N: This is a prequel of sorts to my Fic "Before Today" that got WAY out of hand. It isn't necessary to read that at all but if you would like a small amount (only eight hundred words worth) of Harry's point of view then by all means, read away! (I apologize for any weird formatting!)

WARNINGS: Rated M just to be safe.

One non-graphic masturbation scene

Several instances of self-mutilation in the form of cutting.

ATTENTION: THIS STORY IS ABOUT A BAND THAT I CREATED IN MY HEAD. THE BAND IS CALLED "NO DIRECTION" AND THE MEMBERS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
-HARRY STILES
-LOUIS THOMLINSON
-ZAYN MALICK
-LIAM PAIN
-NIALL HORAM
ALL CHARACTERS AND EVENTS IN THIS STORY ARE COMPLETELY FICTIONAL. ANY LIKENESS TO ACTUAL PEOPLE AND/OR EVENTS IS COMPLETELY COINCIDENTAL AND UNINTENTIONAL.

I was normal. Well, as normal as an international pop star can be. I was social, I was eating and sleeping, I was happy. It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when everything went so wrong. There were so many small things, so many itty-bitty red flags that at the time seemed so insignificant. Now I see them though, and I would kill for a chance to go back in time and warn myself what was happening to me. I remember now the first time I thought of Harry like that. I remember him bringing in groceries, I remember the way his muscles moved with a masculine sort of grace, I remember him catching me looking, and I remember the way my face burned. It was confusing seeing Harry in this way, and it only got worse as time dragged on.

Weeks went by with similar events occurring every so often and it wasn't until a cold night late February that I took even the slightest notice. Harry and I had snuggled under a blanket together on the couch, as we do most chilly days, and were watching Finding Nemo. I had chosen it, I always do, but Harry never complains. Unlike the other times though I couldn't pay attention. I kept getting distracted by the muscular chest supporting my head and the strong arm wrapped around my waist and the musky scent of cologne filling my nose. Even then I think I knew something about this wasn't right but by that point I was already hard, aching and couldn't have given less of a fuck.

"Lou?" Harry's husky voice snapped me out of my reverie. His green eyes settled on mine and that's when the panic set in. How was he going to react to finding me practically dripping for him while I sat in his arms?

"Yes Harry?" I said, my voice breathy and low. I prayed silently that Harry wouldn't notice.

"You alright?" He asked. "You seem a little... I dunno... Stiff."

God you have no idea, I thought to myself. "I'm fine, just need to take a piss." I said standing and running to the bathroom quickly, trying to hold my hand over my crotch in the most nonchalant way possible.

As soon I was inside the bathroom I locked the door behind me and leaned against the wall. I couldn't even bring myself to kneel in front of the toilet before I had a hand shoved down my trousers. That night was the first time I had ever come while thinking about Harry Stiles, and all I did was shrug it off.

Just a belated bout of teenage bi-curiosity, I remember thinking to myself as I wiped my semen off the tile floor.

When all I thought about was sex, it was easier to ignore. Everyone gets curious and a little randy from time to time. No need for alarm. I just hadn't seen Eleanor in a while and as soon as I did everything would be back to normal again, right? Wrong.

I called her over maybe a week later. I had planned out a whole evening for us. We would go to dinner and then a movie of her choosing, followed by a walk in the park, but like usual with the two of us we wound up leaving halfway through dinner and coming back to the flat. We were lying down on my bed; she was wrapped up in my arms, her head on my chest, her hair tickling my nose every so often. I remember the way I used to feel when we were close like this, I would get butterflies in my tummy, I wouldn't be able to hold down my smile, I would think about how lucky I was to have such an amazing girl in my life. But not then, no, all I could do then was compare her to Harry. Her stomach was too flat and should be more defined, her perfume smells too girly, her arms don't have nearly enough muscle on them, she should start wearing her hair shorter, she doesn't have green eyes. I made a snap decision in my head then.

"I think we should break up." I hear someone say and am surprised to realize it was me.

"What?" She says, looking up at me with big, sweet eyes.

"You and I," I say like that isn't already obvious. "I think we should see other people." She sits up then, her eyes are already starting to water and I can't help but feel more then a little terrible.

"W-why?" She stutters. "Why are you doing this Louis?" I feel a few tears of my own prick at the backs of my eyes and I decide to answer as honestly as I can.

"Something just isn't right anymore." I say. "I've been really confused lately, El. And there is no reason to make you suffer through that with me."

"But I will Louis! I'm always here for you, you don't have to do this!" Her body is shaking now with the way she's sobbing and tears are rolling down my face as well.

"Yes Eleanor, I do." I say trying to keep my composure to the best of my abilities. "I think you should go now."

"But Louis I-"

"Go." I interrupt her sternly, refusing to meet her gaze. She doesn't move. "Eleanor you're just making this harder for yourself, you need to leave." I feel mean saying it but it's the truth and I'm not sure if I can survive much more of her tears. Thankfully she seems to get the message and with one last painful sob she's gone. I let myself breakdown then, I rolled over on my side, away from the door and let the tears flow. For Christ's sake I had just given up the best relationship of my life all because I think Harry Stiles is a sex god. WHO DOESN'T? I was so close to jumping up and running out after El when I heard a knock at my door.

"Boobear?" Harry said from the hallway. "Are you alright? Eleanor seemed pretty upset."

"I'm fine." I tried to say in a convincing tone but my voice cracked loudly.

"No you're not." He replied almost immediately. "Louis let me in, please. We don't have to talk I just want to make sure you're okay."

The sadness in Harry's tone broke my heart as much as the concern made it swell. "Come in." I said, turning on my back.

Harry walked in slowly at first but as soon as he saw my face he practically sprinted to my side. He was kneeling on the edge of my bed holding my face in a matter of seconds.

"Louis, bloody hell, what happened?" He asked.

"We broke up, Harry." I said, an ache rose in my throat as I spoke so I stuffed my face into my hands, knocking his off of me. I didn't want Harry to see me cry. The room was silent, save for my quiet sobbing, and I was beginning to think that Harry had left when I felt the bed dip next me and a strong arm wrap around my shoulders. I removed my hands from my face and tugged on Harry's shirt while I cried into his chest. And when Harry leaned down and kissed me softly on the cheek I knew I had made the right decision by breaking up with Eleanor.

But that was also when things became much more complicated. Before that point it had been all about lust. Harry was attractive and I could admit that to myself. But from that point on feelings started to get in the way. Maybe it was because I no longer had the guilt of a girlfriend looming over my head or maybe it was because Harry is just such a genuinely great person, whatever the reason it didn't change the fact that I was falling in love with Harry Stiles.

After the breakup fiasco Harry had devoted a lot of his extra time towards me. At first I had felt bad about it, but when I voiced my concerns all worry was washed away.

"Lou I don't mind, honest." He told me as we walked back from the pharmacy. Liam hadn't been feeling well lately so we thought, being the incredible friends that we are, we would stop by and stock him up with cold medicine and various microwaveable soups.

"You sure?" I asked him. "Because you really don't have to."

"I know I don't have to, that's what makes me such a good person." I scoffed and he chuckled. "But seriously Loubear, I love spending time with you. I kind of missed you a bit actually." Then he gave me one of those smiles. Those smiles made of white teeth and dimples and so much sincerity that you go weak in the knees. And as I tried not to stare at his perfect face his words began to wash over me... Did Harry... Like me?

I know he likes me as a friend but maybe he feels the same way I do. It sounds an awful lot like he does to me. How does one find out if someone likes them? Kiss them, probably.

And I almost did kiss him; I was leaning in closer to him, looking him straight in the eyes, I could even feel his breath on my face when I walked headfirst into a stop sign. The metal banged loudly against my skull and for a second I didn't feel anything. But soon enough a deep ache settled in my forehead and spread through out the rest of my head to.

"Fuck." Was all I could say, until I heard Harry chuckling beside me. "What are you laughing at curly?"

"Nothing Lou. Let's just try and get to Liam's in one piece, yeah?" He said, still snickering as he patted me roughly on the back and continued walking. That's when I realized how close I had come to ruining my friendship with Harry. And that's all it was, a friendship. Harry sees me as his best mate and nothing more. Thank god for that stop sign. I needed that sudden jolt of pain to make me sane again.

That was the thought that ran through my mind the first time I cut myself.

Everything was essentially the same as the stop sign incident except we were both home and there was no stop sign for me to accidentally walk into. I was pacing back and forth in my room, my mind going off non-stop about Harry and how he could love me and, god, how good we would be together. I was hyperventilating loudly and I knew that if I couldn't keep it down Harry would come up and check on me and if he did that I'm not sure how I would resist jumping him right then and there.

In that moment the razor sitting on my bathroom counter shined out like an angel. Without a second thought I was sprinting towards it grabbing it hazardously by the corner and raising it before my exposed wrist. The seconds after that went by in slow motion for me. It was like when you throw something and as soon as it leaves your grasp you know you shouldn't have done it but there's nothing you can do about it now. I saw my hand moving downward, I saw the blade make contact with the skin of my wrist and I wanted to stop myself out of fear but it was too late.

It was fast, one corner of the blade pierced my skin and I pulled it out as quickly as I could, immediately grabbing the nearest hand towel (thankfully a red one.) and wrapping it around my wrist. It bled a lot, much more than I thought I would which scared me. The cut itself was a tiny thing, no bigger than the head of a screw, but the dark spot it made on the cloth was two times the size of a dime. It had hurt a lot worse than I thought it would as well. It stung and burned like fire as my skin was spread apart but I think most of the pain came from the fact that I had done it to myself.

It was exactly what I needed.

The next few months went on similarly; I thought too much, I cut, I thought too much, I cut, I thought too much, I cut. Soon enough I had the most horrible scars running up and down the length of my arms. The different lines were all different widths, shorter scars from my minor breakdowns, and longer scars for my more major ones. As time grew on it was getting harder and harder too hide all these markings from the boys.

"Louis, you're sure you're not too hot?" Liam kept asking me every I wore a sweater.

"That jumper makes you look a bit like a ponce, don't 'cha think?" Niall would chime in unhelpfully from time to time.

"Come on mate! It's a pool, you can't swim in your shirt!" Zayn would shout at me every time I was forced to wear a surf shirt while swimming. But the worst by far was Harry.

"Louis," He'd say, looking me dead in the eye with a hand on my shoulder. "You'd tell me if something was wrong. Right?" I would lie to him and say yes. It's for his own good, I thought to myself, he'd be disgusted and terrified if he knew. He'd never talk to you again.

So I never told anyone. Besides, I wasn't in any real danger. Not until recently that is.

It had started off as a beautiful day, seventy degrees and sunny. Harry and I had been buying Christmas presents for the boys at a shopping center near our flat, promising to each other that we'd get it out of the way early this year, when we decided to sit and eat for a while.

"Louis?" Harry said around a bite of turkey sub and I grimaced.

"Don't talk with your mouth full Harry." I told him. "It's very unbecoming of a young man." He smiled slightly at me but I could tell something was off, that something was bothering him. "You alright?" Harry shifted around awkwardly in his seat for a few moments. It looked like he wished he could just get up and run away and be anywhere but here. Be anywhere but with you, I thought while trying to keep my expression one of neutrality and not sadness.

"Yeah… it's just…" Harry stumbled over his words.

"Oh just spit it out curly!" I said giggling at Harry's expression. Whenever he got this way, too awkward to speak, he looked like an angry puppy dog.

"I can't hang out tonight." He spat out suddenly.

"Okay… That all?" I couldn't for the life of me figure out why that would get him all worked up. Sure I was looking forward to spending time with him but he lives with me. It's not like I won't see him tomorrow.

"Well, there is a bit more to it…"

"Tick tock Hazza!"

"I have a date." I froze. I can't imagine how I must've looked to Harry, I felt like I couldn't breathe, couldn't move, but worst of all I couldn't stop thinking.

Harry doesn't love you.

"Yeah, uhm, it's with that girl from that café."

Harry will never love you.

"This actually isn't our first time going out."

You're such a worthless faggot, why would he?

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner it's just…"

He deserves better and he knows it.

"I wanted to make sure that this was, god I dunno, real? Does that make any sense?"

And you know what you deserve? To fucking die.

"And I think this is real. I really like her, I mean. Anyways…"

Why don't you go do that? The world would be better off without you.

"She's really sweet I think you'd like her."

Harry would be better off without you.

"I have to go." I shrieked, my voice catching and breaking on each letter.

"What?" Harry asked, but I had already sprinted out of sight. "Lou! Hold on!" He shouted after me but I didn't stop running. I shoved people out of my way and somewhere deep inside my mind registered the cameras flashing and that this will probably end up on the cover of more than a few trashy magazines tomorrow but I couldn't bring myself to care. The only thought that was on my mind was about my blade and how much I needed it at that moment.

As I approached our building I silently thanked my genes for my impressive stamina and the close proximity of our flat to the shopping center. I immediately turned for the stairs knowing that if I had to wait in the confined space of an elevator for more than a few seconds I just might smash my head through the wall.

By the time I reached the fourth floor I still hadn't grown tired. My heart felt as though it was going to pound through my chest and my lungs constricted painfully with each labored breath I drew in but the need to cut burned so badly within me that I kept sprinting until I reached my bedroom. I immediately threw my pillow across the room, sighing thankfully at the sight of my razorblade lying in the empty space underneath. I grabbed the blade and drug it across my wrist slowly and froze at the feeling.

I felt nothing. It was like I hadn't even touched my wrist at all. I mean I could see the cut and the blood pouring out and staining my sheets, so what the fuck was happening?

"No." I said, panicked. I slid the blade along my wrist again. Still nothing. "No!" Other wrist, again, nothing. "No, no, no, NO!" I was digging relentlessly into my arm now, all different directions, deeper and deeper each time. But still I felt nothing and my mind still wouldn't shut the fuck up about Harry.

"Louis!" I heard from across the flat. ohgodohgodohGOD. I couldn't let Harry see me like this, that's not fair to him. He deserves better than to have to look at his deranged band mate wallowing in his own blood and tears. So, for Harry's sake, I ran to my bathroom and locked the door. At that point I started to feel a little woozy so I sat down on the floor, and that's when I noticed all the blood. Both my arms were drenched and there was a small trail of it leading to the door like some kind of horror movie. Bile began rising in my throat so I shut my eyes, which felt surprisingly heavy.

"Louis!" I heard again only this time much closer; he had to be outside my bedroom. "Lou-oh god." And there it was. I could only imagine the look of disgust on his face at the sight of my blood spilled all over the floor and pooled on the bed. "LOUIS!" He wailed and the bathroom doorknob was shaken violently. "SHIT, LOUIS DEAR GOD!" He positively screamed out. "OPEN THE DOOR LOUIS PLEASE!"

And I tried, I really genuinely did, but my arms felt as though they weighed a ton each and the effort it took to move the rest of my body was almost too much for my heart to handle. Something banged against the door loudly and I guessed from the grunt on the other side that Harry was kicking it down. He kicked again and it didn't move, again and nothing happened and then the door was flying open and cracking against the wall behind it. I expected that to sound louder but at that point the sound seemed muffled.

"LOUIS!" Harry shouted. He fell to his knees next to me and took hold of my wrists. His large hands wrapped around my wounds easily and they might've been helpful earlier on but it was far too late for that. "Louis, oh god." He said as he pulled out his phone. I faded out for a bit, it felt like less than a second to me but when I open my eyes again Harry was finishing his conversation.

"Please, please, please hurry. Thank you." He dropped the phone to the ground, immediately putting his hand on my face. "You're going to be okay boobear, alright? Everything is going to be okay." I'm not exactly sure which one of us he was talking to but by then it didn't really matter because I was having a whole lot of trouble keeping my eyes open.

"Louis? Louis no. I need you to stay awake for me. Do not close your eyes, please." Harry said to me sternly, shaking my head slightly in his grasp. I wanted to, I wanted to so badly, but eventually I just couldn't do it anymore.

"Harry I'm sorry." I croaked out and I meant it. I was sorry for not keeping my eyes open, I was sorry for cutting myself, I was sorry for not telling him sooner, I was sorry for thinking he was sexy, I was sorry for falling in love with him. "I'm so sorry."

"Shut up," He said, shaking me again. "Don't say that. Stay awake Lou for the love of god, STAY AWAKE!"

I vaguely remember the sound of approaching footsteps, the men in blue uniforms coming in, the way Harry screamed when they pulled him off of me, and I remember being placed on some kind of bed, and then nothing.

Blank, black, coldness.

Then there was beeping, footsteps, running water, and voices. I remember hearing things like 'Mr. Thomlinson' and 'blood loss' and 'full recovery.' And now I'm here, laying back on a puffy bed with all sorts of wires and tubes jutting out of me. There's gauze wrapped around my wrist with spots of crimson peaking through here and there. But most importantly Harry is here. His head is resting on the side of my bed that I'm not using, his hand is placed right over my heart, and as soon as I look down at his face the beeping of my heart monitor picks up significantly, and his eyes flicker open.

For a few moments neither one of us speaks. We both just look at each other as if we can't believe what had happened, until Harry gives me one of those smiles. Those smiles made of white teeth and dimples and so much sincerity that you go weak in the knees. I can't help but smile back, although as soon as I do my dry lips crack painfully making me think of how horrible I must look. Harry notices my pained expression and frowns.

"You alright?" He asks.

"Water." I manage to rasp out.

"Oh! Uhm…" He glances around frantically before spotting a pitcher and a small paper cup on the table situated at the foot of my bed. Immediately he runs up and messily pours some out into the cup and comes back, gently bringing it to my lips and tipping it back.

"Thank you." I say after he has sat back down. My voice is still weak but much less painful to use.

"No problem." He says. A heavy silence settles between us for several minutes and I am just beginning to work up the courage to say something when Harry speaks.

"I'm not angry."

"What?" I ask, surprised. His voice low and heavy, his gaze directed at the floor.

"I'm not angry, I just…" He exhales loudly, looks at me, and I can start to see tears collect in his eyes. "Just promise me something Louis."

"Anything, Harry." I say, desperate to make this up to him. He may not be angry with me but I am.

"No more secrets, alright?" He says quietly as a tear rolls down the side of his face and I feel a heavy lump start to develop in my throat. Harry brings his hand up and cups my cheek softly and just barely I manage to hold back a sob. "I want to know what's going on in this beautiful head of yours."

I nod fervently, not trusting my voice to stay strong. He stands slightly and leans over me, pulling me in for the best hug he can get with all this medical equipment hooked up to me. I wrap my arms around him and in that moment, with my face buried in his neck and his calming voice whispering in my ear, I know that what he had said in the bathroom was true.

Everything was going to be okay.

A/N: Feel sad yet? I do. Thank you so much for reading and please leave a review! Love you!