WARNING: Drug related harm.
Word Count: 3,000
A/N: This is incredibly dark and very different to anything I’ve ever written. Do let me know what you think - and please don’t read it if you are personally affected by drug abuse or are easily offended by similar issues. Otherwise, enjoy!
The stinging pierce of hot metal against the crook of his elbow had Niall hissing - just like it always did around this time every morning. The warm sun streaming in broken lines from his shuttered bedroom window felt soothing on his back as the red hot needle pressed into his flesh, following the hole yesterdays injections had made. Niall felt a small space open up as he pressed the shard further in, signaling he’d entered the vein. Excited, he pressed his thumb down shakily on the plunger, immediately feeling the tingly cool liquid pushing free of its glass confines and spreading like stems of euphoria, slowly taking root in his elbow before quickly extending through his whole arm and into his neck and head.
Niall laid his golden locks back on the bed he was sitting beside, eyes rolling back behind their lids, the world going bright, wobbly. His brain was completely detached from the rest of his body as all function slowed and stopped - Niall even felt his heart slowing, his breathing calming and his consciousness slipping away from him as the substance coursing through his veins took its mighty hold once more. His limbs were alight with pleasure. They felt like they were sitting atop massive speakers that pumped out an endless beat to which his entire core was rocked. Darkness teased the edges of his sight before he got tunnel-vision and finally blacked out, in a state of total pleasure.
The morning sun had moved on from his back by the time the world came back into focus for Niall. His arm stung angrily, the needle still hanging from his vein, surrounded by a small, dry trickle of blood that had gone unnoticed while he lay unconscious in his empty house. His soft, shaky fingers removed the protruding metal gently and he quickly pressed a waiting cotton bud down on the tiny red dot that joined the many others in the crook of his elbow, all varying shades of pink depending on their age.
His townhouse belonged to his mother, but she didn’t show her face around to Niall much anymore. She’d given up trying to save him from the endless spiral of abuse and addiction he’d found himself for almost two years now. She just paid the house off and stayed with her boyfriend. Her words the day she left echoed in Niall’s mind as he walked down the empty, neglected hallway,
“I might not be able to save you Niall, but I won’t let my baby rot on the streets of London.”
With that, she left him the keys and the blonde, Irish-accented lad hadn’t seen much of her since. He suspected she was the one who snuck in every week and cleaned the drying vomit from the bathroom and left him some food in the fridge that smelled like rancid milk that had disappeared from it months earlier, yet its stench remained. He appreciated everything she did and it always upset him to the point of depression whenever he saw evidence she’d been in the house - either when he was humiliatingly passed out in various positions of the small dwelling or while he was out to get his next fix.
The depression crept back over him - the fridge had been filled. A tear materialized in its fragile form, dripping to below his eyelid and sliding helplessly down his cheek as Niall stood before the lightly humming off-white machine. Little puffs of steam matched his shaky breath as he leaned down to its shelves and took out some home-made cookies protected by plastic wrap.
‘For my little prince.’
His mothers handwriting had Niall’s lone tear immediately reinforced and joined by its compatriots. His cheeks glistened with their paths as they rushed to escape the sad form they originated from, to get away from the pointless, wasted existence that created them. Niall was a poor excuse for a man, a poor excuse for a son and a poor excuse for a human being. He added nothing to society, even though he was more than physically and intellectually capable of doing so. He didn’t accept government benefit, but his mother left him enough money for his fix every week, as well as spending the money to buy his food and pay his rent. He was a leech upon her and upon society.
It was unusually warm that afternoon as he slammed the door loudly behind him. He never flinched when the angry door’s protests echoed off the houses nearby - his neighbors could probably come to time his schedule to the minute now. Almost every day was the same. Hit, pass, slam.
Niall’s gaze stuck to the pavement before him, the cracks infinitely interesting as he attempted to avoid the gaze of any nosey neighbours that would no doubt be sending their judgement through their ajar blinds, or over their fences. He just wanted to get to piccadilly and then get home. That’s where he met Zayn, the guy he had gone to for his fix since he became addicted to heroin, and the person he blamed for it as well. It was Zayn who had suggested he ‘give it a try’ and told him that ‘there’s nothing like it’. He was right there, but there is also nothing like the vicious cycle of destruction that has ruined Niall’s life, forced him out of his engineering degree and forced his friends and family to move on with their lives like they’d never known one Niall James Horan. Truth be told, the Niall they knew was not the Niall he was now - he was polluted, festering and rotting from the inside. Physically and emotionally.
Zayn’s signature spot in the dead centre of piccadilly was a bold place for him to deal, but he’d never been arrested or even come close to being caught by anyone who had the power to stop him ruining lives. He spotted Niall from across the busy intersection and immediately stuffed his hands in his pockets roughly - the signal that he was open for business that afternoon. Niall darted across the street as soon as the walk sign went green, weaving past an old lady, hands laden with the days shopping - she dropped them in her startle across the crossing. Onlookers tutted their lips at Niall as his conscience urged him back to help her, but his craving and addiction overpowered any morality and sent his legs striding forward, his head snapping forward and his eyes honing in on Zayn’s devilish smirk.
The darker lad, made darker by the troublesome aura that surrounded him, threw his arm welcomingly over Niall’s shoulders, pulling the blonde lad out of onlookers burning stares and into the nearest alleyway.
“Good afternoon, Irish.”
“Hi, Zayn.” Niall’s eyes never met the Bradford local’s.
“What can I do for you today?”
“Same thing you did for me yesterday, the day before ‘n the day before that, mate.” Niall smacked Zayn casually on the arm, a fifty pound note left by his mother that morning tapping against his shoulder.
Zayn’s hands delved into his pockets once more, soon revealing two small baggies that Niall quickly snatched off him, feeling slightly relieved as soon as the cold plastic touched his clammy hands. Desperate to keep it safe, he let go of the note, which Zayn quickly took hold of, and zipped the baggies into the inside pocket of his jacket, sealing them away to be absorbed into his bloodstream as soon as possible.
“Come on man, come ‘ave a slam with me and the boys, aye? On me.” Zayn’s accent made it hard to understand him with the busy, functional world around them screaming. His addiction screaming louder, Niall accepted - desperate for a free hit - following Zayn deeper into the soggy back alley and down into a run-down old bar that seemed to have been forgotten by normal society just outside.
The creaky stairs seemed to emulate the atmosphere of awkward devastation that emanated from the smokey cesspool that was occupied by what seemed to be the lowest rungs of British life. There were numerous men and women strung loosely around an empty bar in the centre. It reminded Niall of a much more horrid version of the bar from the television show Cheers that he used to watch with his mother in Mullingar, back when his life was on track, back when he had a future worth looking forward to. It seemed almost ironic that he could compare the different phases of his life based on the condition of the bars he has been involved in. From a program he watched every day, where the bar in it was happy, lively and a good place, to this, now that his life was a joke, a shambles and this bar spews depression and wallow.
It was a quagmire of deadbeats and nobodies - family-less, soulless addicts whom were all beyond help. Most of which likely because of Zayn. The dark skinned and dark persona’d lad seemed to revel in the wallow.
Niall’s eyes snapped to two perfectly bright, perfectly contrasted green jewels that could barely pass as eyes before they were classed as treasure - those gems were set in a delicate face that had obviously seen less wear and tear than everyone else in the dilapidated bar. His chocolate, bouncy curls had been recently washed. Niall’s hand ran through his own tangley locks and he was immediately embarrassed as the green eyes scanned over him just as his eyes were doing the same to the other boy.
Zayn had abandoned him and already had his hair being tugged and his shirt being hitched up exposing his bronze back by a feathery-haired lad, riddled at the elbows and wrists by injection scars just like Niall’s, probably worse. He’d been in on rock bottom for a long time. The lad Zayn was making dirty with in the corner booth had a filthy striped shirt that looked like it used to be white and black, formerly complimented by now faded and equally dirty red jeans, attached to which the remnants of suspenders hung from two rings. Niall immediately saw where the suspenders had gone - one was wrapped tightly around the mans left bicep above his injection scars as a make-shift tourniquet.
Niall awkwardly shuffled to the bar, taking a lonely seat in the middle of one of its three sides to await Zayn’s completion of his face devouring compulsion he seems to be unable to control. His pale fingers scratched against the rough surface of the neglected bar which was in desperate need of a coat of lacquer.
A few moments after he’d settled into a comfortable stare, Niall was disturbed by a weight setting down on the creaky stool beside him. His eyes cautiously scanned to his right, past his pale arm, riddled with tiny specs of pain, remorse and abuse, past the scratchy wood to another, slightly less pale arm - much better treated, much healthier. His eyes soon met the same glistening jewels he’d encountered earlier, accented by the same delicious hair he’d seen earlier.
“Hi!” The boys voice was raspy, but still so full of life and happiness. It almost made Niall sick right on the spot. He hadn’t heard a friendly voice in what felt like forever. Now that he thought about it, he hadn’t spoken to anyone but Zayn in months. This cycle really had consumed his life.
“Hi.” Niall’s voicer sounded embarrassing next to the raspy perfection the other boy had offered. Niall’s was weak, accented and starkly raspy - from wear, from abuse.
“Harry.” The boy, now identifiable as Harry, a name that suited him in Niall’s opinion; offered a hand to shake, which Niall took weakly.
Headlights flashed against the high windows of the bar, which was at sidewalk level to the outside world - probably exactly where all of the occupants were in a metaphorical sense for society as well. They were nothing, scum - litter on a streetside, waiting to be wiped clean and forgotten. Here they were, wiped clean and forgotten beneath a boutique on piccadilly.
Harry sat awkwardly around the circle of users who had now gathered around Zayn, his repulsively classless boyfriend that was still attached to the dark boys throat, his lips kissing sloppily, leaving marks like fiery sins they decorated Zayn’s throat. Flushing pinker as the toxin surging through the syringe that was protruding from the crook of his dark elbow took it’s effect. Zayn’s arms were less scarred than most of the other users there - his use was practiced, confined, controlled. He had the ability of hindsight - he was able to see what uncontrolled addiction did to people like Niall and intervene before it did the same to him.
Zayn’s head twitched, his eyes rolled back and he passed out a few moments later, the boy connected to him detaching the needle from his lovers vein, pressing a small bud to Zayn’s elbow - a red blotch finding home within the soft cotton, tainting it.
The boy who had been forever connected to Zayn by most likely every bodily fluid Harry could think of, disgusted him further by sucking up more of the off-white substance cooling in the centre of the group before promptly sticking himself with the same needle as his boyfriend. Harry shuddered with repulsion - didn’t they learn anything about never sharing needles?
Niall was next. He looked so eager - Harry hadn’t seen someone’s eyes light up that excited since his best friends birthday party in third grade when the Toy Story cake was placed before him. A glaze came over his eyes, like he lost control. Harry squirmed on the spot, having never even seen drugs being used - this was a first. His movement caught Niall’s eye and the glaze disappeared for a split second as they darted to Harry’s body and the curly haired boy could feel the blue gaze upon his bare, scar-less arms.
“Harry. Have you ever done this before?” Niall’s accent made everything sound so seductive and Harry knew his addictive personality was about to fail him.
“N-… No I haven’t. But I’m not doing it now anyway, so-”
“Then what are you doing here?” Zayn’s boyfriend and Niall chimed in time with one another, though the boyfriends was much more slurred - the drugs taking their hold.
Niall shuffled from where he was, his eyes trapping Harry into a gaze he couldn’t and didn’t want to escape, those blue eyes were brighter than any he’d seen before and melted any resistance. Harry’s arm was turning over before he could control it. Niall’s soft hands took their place on both sides of his elbow, gently surrounding it, his thumb caressing the soft skin between his bicep and forearm. Their eyes remained locked.
One of Niall’s hands moved from Harry’s elbow and picked up a new needle, the liquid inside it deceptively calm. Harry’s eyes dropped to the soft skin of his arm as the needle came dangerously close. All he need to was pull away now, get up and walk out and his life would be no different than what it was before he entered.
The needle pressed through his defenceless skin effortlessly, extending about a centimetre in the flesh before the pain lessened and a chasm opened up - his vein. Harry’s eyes shot nervously to Niall, who grinned devilishly, his braces shining in the light of a cars headlamps as they passed. Harry smiled, almost involuntarily, urging Niall’s finger down on the plunger.
Immediately, Niall saw Harry’s eyes light up with first-time fever. The heroin raced through his bloodstream with intensity like no other, intensity he would never quite get again, intensity he would now chase for the rest of his life, using more and more in a vain attempt to get this feeling he was having right now back. His spiral was just starting, the slide was oiled and Harry had just been pushed, the plunger had just washed his feet out from under him and he had begun his descent.
“Fuck!” His voice was shaken, high pitched.
“Nothing like your first time, man.” Niall squeaked in laughter.
“The other one.” Harry’s raspy voice was different now. Raspy with wear, not by nature anymore.
Niall shuffled to Harry’s other side, obeying his drugged-up boyfriend’s demands to inject the other arm this time - his right had seen enough action in the past few months. The veins were starting to collapse, as was the norm. Niall had also had to move - from his arms completely though, he now injected into his thighs. It usually took him three or four tries to get a vein or artery. It was a painful thing to watch, but by that time Harry was usually twitching against the bed post or slobbering messily over Niall’s throat.
Niall pressed the plunger quickly, the moment he found his artery. Desperate. Seconds later, Harry was on his lap. The needle clinked against Niall’s hallway floorboards as he discarded it. Harry’s hand was immediately on the little wound, pressing down and stopping any bleeding. This was practiced. Nialls hands managed to get to Harry’s messy, tangled curls before the world went blurry, tunnel vision setting in. He didn’t pass out everytime - but he blacked out every time, he never remembered the sex, all he knew was it was the best thing he’d ever experienced.
A blur of arms, a bite down on his lips, a tug on his chocolate curls, a flash of pearly teeth.
“Good afternoon, Curly.” Zayn’s accent echoed against the alleyway, his hands stuffed in his pockets.
“Hi, Zayn.” Harry rasped, eyes low to the ground away from the devilish oak orbs beset in the Bradford lads head.
“What can I do for you today?”
“Same thing you did for me yesterday, the day before and the day before that, buddy.”