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WHAT UP, GUYS. rn I'm tucked into my favourite coffee shop of all time, sipping some tea, waiting for my soymilk porridge, you know how it goes, etc. And I am posting a One Direction Liam/Niall WIP that I don't think is going to be finished for several reasons: I'm starting the most difficult year of my university career in less than two weeks and am already drowning in work, I kind of lost interest in this fic because it lacked Zayn, I kind of lost interest in 1D fandom because it lacked the fourth wall and a critical mass of sensible people (except for the ones I have on my flist!), and so on.

And this is a very melodramatic fic. It's finished in the sense that there's an ending, but there are a lot of missing gaps. Basically: post-split fic where Niall comes to London to housesit for Zayn (AND HANA TAJIMA) while he's away, and Liam joins him. Contains: overworked, sad, and slightly pathetic Liam, and Niall who makes him happy with his cock. Trigger warning: this isn't written out in the story as such, but there are notes all over the place, and one of them consists of backstory that contains homophobia & drug abuse issues. (Sorry! It ends happily, I swear!) Anyway, um, enjoy?

According to his publicist, Liam has a sixty-four percent chance of making his solo career successful after One Direction.

Marise is thirty-five, smarter than Liam will ever be, and wears purple Christian Louboutins that go perfectly with her dark grey suit and her manicure.

“Is that good or bad?” he asks anyway, just to make sure.

She smiles, slightly wolfish. Liam thinks, too late, that she wouldn’t be working with him if she didn’t think it was good. “You tell me.”

He shrugs, unsure. Harry would’ve given one of his wide-eyed winning looks. Zayn would have leaned back in the ergonomic office chair and shrugged. They always thought he was the sullen, mysterious one.

Marise takes pity on him. “It’s not bad.”

---

eight years later


Zayn lives in this huge suburban house in Bromley that isn’t as terrible to get to as Liam likes to pretend. He takes the Tube into central London when he feels like it and no one mobs him on the train. Most days Zayn doesn’t feel like it.

‘Zayn, you seriously need to move,’ Liam tells him, like always, as the driver drops him off at Zayn’s gate.

‘I like it here,’ Zayn says patiently, like he does every time. His eyes are half-open and he’s shirtless, sleepy. Ten-to-one he’d dozed off with Adala in the sun in the backyard.

‘We like this neighbourhood,’ six-year-old Adala pipes up from beside Zayn.

‘Hey, Adala,’ Liam says, trying not to crouch because he knows she hates that. ‘Give your Uncle Liam a hug?’ She nods and he bends down, and swings her up into his arms as she crows, gratified.

‘You’re getting big,’ he grunts.

‘I’m the tallest in my class,’ she informs him. ‘We’re not moving.’

‘More woe you,’ Liam says, pulling a silly face, and she giggles before pushing to get down.

‘You’re rubbish!’ she shouts, and then races to the backyard.

‘Where’s Isa?’ Liam asks Zayn.

‘Out with Hana,’ Zayn says. ‘They’re looking at fabric samples together. They’ll be back soon, and then we can have dinner.’

Two years after One Direction split Zayn met and married an up-and-coming fashion designer who started her own cutting-edge Muslim fashion house. No one actually saw that coming, least of all Zayn or Hana, but they somehow never got around to breaking up. They’ve settled down in Bromley. Apparently it reminds Zayn of Bradford.

‘Cool,’ Liam says.

‘Let’s go sit in the backyard,’ Zayn says, plucking at his sleeve. Liam takes the hint and reaches in and hugs him. ‘When did I last see you again?’

‘Six months ago,’ Liam says.

Zayn shakes his head. ‘Too bloody long.’

Liam settles in the lawn chairs at the back of the house and Zayn gets the both of them beers.

‘You look tired,’ Zayn says.

‘I am tired,’ Liam replies, rolling the can around his palms. Despite the fact that it’s July, the heat of the evening surprises him. He’s just finished touring his new album and has barely even got over the jet lag. Of course he’s tired.

‘You need to take a break,’ Zayn tells him. ‘We’re going to Bali soon.’

‘Oh, wow,’ Liam says, trying to sound a bit more enthusiastic than he feels. Zayn and Hana go to Bali fairly often, when one of Hana’s periodic business trips to Indonesia coincides with the children’s school holidays. Insofar as he thinks about these things, he always gets this mental image of the four of them clustered around a swimming pool exactly like the one they have in the backyard here in Bromley, only in sarongs and with a bit more sun. He thinks he likes that mental image. Liam’s never been to that part of the world, not even when he was touring with One Direction.

‘You should come with us,’ Zayn says.

Liam laughs. ‘Thanks for the offer, but no thanks.’

‘Why not?’ Zayn asks plaintively.

‘Well – ’ Liam says, before realising that he doesn’t have an excuse that doesn’t amount to It would just be weird or I’m allergic to families, because he’s pretty sure Zayn’s feelings would be hurt. ‘What if something happens in London, and I need to be here and I’m not?’

Liam thinks Zayn might roll his eyes, but either he’s mistaken, or Zayn has become more subtle over the years, because he’s not sure about it. ‘People will manage.’

‘No they won’t,’ Liam says stubbornly.

‘Argh,’ Zayn says, but he doesn’t push the issue. He hesitates. ‘Look here,’ he says. ‘Niall’s going to be in London when we’re away, which is a bummer, but he’s going to housesit for us. Why don’t you come down and keep him company?’

‘No,’ Liam says automatically.

‘Why not?’ Zayn says reasonably. ‘Look – you’ve been saying you’ve had trouble sleeping. Why don’t you just move house for two weeks and have a change of scene? I need someone to take care of Niall while he’s taking care of the house anyway.’

Liam can’t help grinning. ‘I was about to say,’ he starts. Niall a housesitter?

‘I would have asked you to housesit, but I wasn’t sure if you were free,’ Zayn says. ‘But now that you are. How about it?’

‘Why couldn’t you just get someone else to housesit for you?’

Zayn is definitely rolling his eyes now. ‘Liam,’ he wheedles. ‘You know that’s stupid. He needed a place to stay. You need a change of scene. Come on and say yes.’

By the time Hana and Isa return to the house, Isa showing off the paperclip bracelets he made for Hana and Adala at kindergarten, Liam’s agreed to housesit slash babysit Zayn’s official housesitter.

‘Liam’s agreed to babysit Niall when he housesits for us,’ Zayn tells Hana. His hand dips low on her back.

‘What a fabulous idea,’ she says, grinning at Liam. ‘It’s a pity we’re missing Niall but at least there’ll be someone to accompany him. What’s for dinner, honey?’

Zayn won’t stop grinning like he’s won something. Journos used to call his smile ‘mysterious’. That fucker. ‘Chicken stew,’ he says to Hana, then to Liam, ‘This will be great. Just you see.’

‘You’ll be out of the country,’ Liam retorts, but when he leaves it’s with this odd sense of gratification in his chest he later realises is excitement.

---

Early morning. Liam is half-dazed on the drive to the airport. Stimuli comes to him in a flickering, half-shuttered series of images: Absolute Radio 90s playing Sting, his voice unctuous and smooth; cows dotting a landscape leaning mostly green and grey; lamps illuminating the bored road yawning wide; fields of strung wire.

It’s only when he enters the airport and what he’s really looking for impresses itself upon his retinas, that things start to move in real time again. The last snapshot: catching sight of Niall as he slumps by the baggage claim, bored, then catching Liam’s gaze, his eyes lighting up and raising a hand to greet him.

‘You,’ Niall says as he wheels his trolley into the greeting area beyond the barricades. He’s more broad-shouldered than Liam remembers.

‘Nialler,’ Liam says. He rehearsed so many openings in his head, but they all seem irrelevant now.

‘Mate,’ Niall says, grabbing Liam into a hug. Simple, easy, uncomplicated. ‘It is so, so, so, so, so good to see you.’

---

‘Do you want dinner?’ Liam asks.

‘Yeah, I’m starved. What were you thinking of?’

‘I don’t know, you pick.’

Niall sighs gustily. ‘What do you usually have?’

‘I, uh, usually get stuff from the Italian deli.’ Liam says. He knows their number by heart. ‘I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. And pizza.’

‘You’re a multi-millionaire pop star and you eat pizza every day for dinner,’ Niall says blankly.

‘It’s wood-fired,’ Liam protests.

Niall shakes his head. ‘I know a place,’ he says. ‘If you don’t mind?’

Liam shrugs. ‘No, you take the lead.’

---

The place Niall has in mind is this oyster bar decorated with generously-tiled arches and big retro lamps. They have half-a-dozen oysters from Brittany each and order crab and tomato spaghetti, white wine to go with it.

Liam raises his eyebrows at Niall. ‘This is a really nice place,’ he says.

‘It was in Time Out.’

‘You know London better than I do.’



Liam swallows and the briny, silky slime of the oyster goes down.

[Niall’s here scouting restaurant possibilities! He already has a successful string of clubs but he wants to go into the f&b business.

NIALL HORAN LOOKS OUT FOR ONE PERSON]

---

I have so much trouble sleeping sometimes,' he tells Niall. They're curled up on his couch eating dark chocolate and sipping wine that's supposed to taste like cherries. Once, it would have been Toblerone and vodka.

Niaill raises a blonde eyebrow. 'Have you seen the doctor?'

'No,' Liam says. He runs his thumb over the upholstery; rose and dusky blue fleur de lises in brocade. 'Not yet.'

---

The next day they head over to Bromley to take over from Zayn and Hana. Their flight is twelve noon, and they’re running late. They barely have enough time to greet Niall – Zayn with a hug and Hana with a kiss on the cheek – before they’re running, helter-skelter, out the house, each with a child in hand, into the waiting taxi.

Liam’s packed himself a [blablabla]

‘Well!’ Niall says, beaming at him. ‘What do you want to do?’

---

[more stuff]

---

It must be illegal, Liam thinks, to want someone this much. To do so many things to them. He goes after Niall anyway and pins him against the turquoise wall of the pool. The loose gravity of the water lessens the import of it.

Niall looks down at him, eyes dark. ‘Hiya,’ he says teasingly. In response, Liam slips his arms under Niall’s thighs, and hefts him out of the water so he’s sitting at the edge of the pool.

‘Liam,’ Niall says, not teasing now. Liam ducks his head and loosens the drawstrings on Niall’s swimming trunks, moves the fabric out of the way and sucks him down. His cock is only half-hard, cool from the water, but he hardens soon enough. Liam’s still floating in the deep end, his hands braced on either side of Niall’s thighs.

---

He doesn’t know why Zayn and Hana seemed to think Niall would need a babysitter, anyhow; that was probably an inside joke. Niall cleans up his shit. Niall doesn’t need much taking care of. Embarrassingly, Niall probably knows London better than Liam does, forever darting out for a business meeting or to have coffee with an old friend.

Liam Payne is not sulking.

‘You’re sulking,’ Niall says.

‘No I’m not,’ Liam says defensively. He’s not sure how Niall could tell, anyway, he’s just in the living room doing the crossword on his iPad and drinking tea. Normal, day-to-day stuff. Not sulking. See?

[more]

---

Before his girlfriend left she told him, ‘You’ve got an attitude problem and if you don’t fix it you’re going to be a very unhappy person,’ and over the years Liam’s come to think of it as this self-fulfilling prophecy. He’d loved Danielle. When she left it hurt like a big gaping gunshot wound in his chest, raw and feral.

He wonders if anyone is ever happy all the time.


NOTES TO SELF
- REUNION TOUR
- Recovering from the best years of your life
- Harry lives in LA as a professional flake/actually competent actor
- Niall has a string of clubs all over Ireland.
- Louis is the one heartbreaking case, the loud and tragic broken one but his tragedy is over by the time we come to the main story. Potentially Louis’ backstory is ripped off from Sebastian Stan’s in Political Animals and he came out and, surprise! Because in America clean-cut boybands appeal to a p-r-etty conservative demographic he got a lot of shit for it.
- Unsurprisingly, this made Liam, Zayn, Niall et al extremely reluctant to come out at all.
- Yes, in this fictional universe four-fifths of One Direction is gay. Harry is the straight one. (I know.)

[In 2013 they shoot a video along the lines of It Gets Better only updated for 2013. It’s only after One Direction that Liam meets a dude and goes out with him. It got pretty serious.]

‘Before him it was mainly kind of hypothetical, I suppose,’ Liam says. He’s still rolling the joint between his fingers.

‘Yeah,’ Niall says. He beckons. Liam reaches across the couch to pass him the joint.

‘Before, you know, you think it’s just you,’ Liam says. ‘No one else you know. Not Harry or Louis or anyone you actually know.’

‘Not even Zayn?’ Niall says, his voice light.

Liam frowns. ‘Zayn? No,’ he says. ‘Zayn’s the straightest guy we know anyway-’

Niall lets out a burst of laughter.

‘What?’ Liam says.

‘Sorry,’ Niall says. ‘What?’

‘What?’

‘Zayn’s the straightest guy –’

‘Yeah.’

‘I suppose I’m the second-straightest.’

Realisation dawns too late for Liam, a couple of seconds or years after the beat. ‘Oh, you didn’t,’ Liam says. ‘Tell me you didn’t.’

‘Didn't you know?' Niall says. He honestly sounds surprised. Liam wants to slap him.

‘What?’

‘Come on, you had to know,’ Niall says. ‘I'm pretty sure Harry knew. And if Harry knew, Louis knew. The two of us definitely knew, so…’

‘I definitely didn’t,’ Liam says coldly. ‘No one bothered to inform me. When was this?’

‘Twenty, I don’t know, twenty thirteen? Twelve? A bit before the video, anyway.’ Niall pauses to toke again. ‘We honestly thought you all knew!’

‘No, I didn't,’ Liam says again, slowly.

Niall shrugs. ‘It was just stuff that happened. Like, a couple of times.’

‘Jesus,’ Liam says. He’s not angry, he tells himself. It would be so, so stupid to get angry at a couple of nineteen year-old boys years after the fact. He rolls and lights a second joint, takes a puff, and passes it to Niall again.

‘Harry is going to laugh so hard,’ Niall says. ‘Why do you think we did the video?’

‘I thought that was just him mouthing off about causes that matter,’ Liam says. ‘Why did you stop?’

‘Nah, mate,’ Niall says. ‘It was never anything as serious as that. Just messing around. But he was definitely into it, if you catch my meaning.’

‘And that’s how you know he’s not the straightest guy you know,’ Liam says blankly.

‘That’s how I know, anyway,’ Niall says. He looks at Liam and frowns. ‘You all right, mate?’

‘Yeah,’ Liam says. A thought occurs to him. ‘Why didn’t you call a band meeting?’

‘We only had “band meetings” when you insisted on them,’ Niall says. ‘You didn’t, so we honestly figured you were fine with it…’

‘Couldn’t you have figured out that I didn’t know?’

Niall shrugs. ‘Eh, calling a band meeting about giving one o’ your bandmates the occasional handie would have been fucking awkward, you know?’

Liam doesn’t know if he should laugh or cry or feel selfishly glad or emphatically, retrospectively, pissed off for Niall that it was only an occasional handie so he plumps for laughter and laughs so hard tears come out instead. He laughs long enough for Niall’s face to go from surprised to offended to slightly concerned. He tries to stop, he really does. But there he is. Choking on his own hilarity. Niall’s looks just make him set off all over again.

When he calms down enough to stop heaving with laughter Niall’s hand is on his back smoothing a path up and down his spine between his shoulder blades. ‘You all right? Liam.’

Liam sniffs and wipes his tears away. ‘Yeah, yeah, I'm fine,’ he says shakily. He’s still giggling. ‘It must be the weed.’

---

SEX SCENE

‘I’m not, I’m not,’ Liam says, trying to find the right words and finding that he’s having trouble grasping at speech at all, ‘I don’t want you thinking that it’s because, that I’m, jealous, ah!’

Niall stills for a moment, but the next he twists his hand. Liam curses and bucks up. Niall leans forward and smiles curiously. ‘Jealous of what?’ he says.



‘Do you want me to fuck you?’

Liam shouldn’t let this silence drag on. ‘If you want,’ doesn’t sound as flippant as he’d like to be.

Niall twists [drags?] his hands. ‘Let’s leave that question aside awhile,’ he says. The intimacy of whispering into the shell of Liam’s ear, but also he’s meeting his gaze straight-on. ‘I said, do you want me to fuck you?’

‘Yes, yes,’ Liam says. ‘Yes.’

---

THEY HAVE A FIGHT ABOUT A THING

---

Liam’s not sure what to do so he crosses the patio and stares blindly across the pool. The turquoise water glimmers under the weak sun like stagecraft; a Chekhovian gun. He remembers the summer three years ago when Zayn and Hana drained the swimming pool because the vent had to be repaired, he remembers how Adala whined and kicked and cried because she missed being a water baby.

He remembers Niall’s skin and the way it tasted of chlorine, he remembers the way, out of the pool, his swimming trunks clung to his thighs.

Liam shakes his head. He shucks his clothes, and dives into the water neatly, avoiding a belly flop.

He swims fifty laps without touching the bottom before he’s exhausted.

---

By the time dinnertime has rolled around Niall has cooled down, which is good. Niall heads into the TV room.

[‘You’re taking me out.’

Liam blinks. He’s not sure what’s going on but he’s glad their conflict – whatever that was about – is over. ‘Okay, let’s go.’ He makes to get up, but Niall stops him with a hand on his chest.

‘No, no, not like that. Go change.’

Liam looks down. He’s wearing a baseball shirt and jeans. ‘What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?’

‘Take a look at my gear,’ Niall says, striking a pose. Liam gives him an appreciative once-over. He’s wearing a shirt and a blazer and actual cufflinks. ‘We’re going somewhere expensive, and you’re paying.’

‘Really?’ Liam says. He’s not sure why he wants to pretend to duke this out but he just does. ‘Who says?’

‘I say,’ Niall says, ‘And I wear the pants in this relationship. Well, this time at least. I’ll take them off if you’re very nice.’ He winks.

‘I hate dressing up,’ Liam tells him.

‘Good, this is punishment to make up for getting all pissy.’

‘What makes you so sure we’re getting a place at whatever chichi restaurant you have an yen for?’

Niall rolls his eyes. ‘Two ex-members of a world-famous boyband walk into an expensive celebrity restaurant. The maitre’d says, no, I’m sorry, you can’t come in, we’re fully booked up. That’s a shit joke. They’ll find a table.’

‘I’m not convinced,’ Liam lies.

‘Well, that’s just too bad,’ Niall says. ‘We’re going. I’m ordering three desserts. They’re all going to be unjustifiably expensive, and you’re going to sit across from me and watch as I eat you out of house and home.’

‘Doesn’t sound like a great deal to be honest,’ Liam says. He shifts, trying not to think about Niall saying eat you out. ‘What’s in it for me?’

‘My forgiveness,’ Niall says. Then he’s suddenly much closer to Liam, and Liam can feel his breath on his ear as he whispers, even though there is no one else in the room, ‘and afterwards, if you don’t make too many disapproving faces at me during dinner, other things.’

Niall steps back. Liam feels dazed. This is another thing he doesn’t recall about Niall back in the day.

‘Give me five minutes,’ Liam says.

Niall laughs. ‘You have ten, big boy.’

---

They get a table, but only just.

[it’s a terribly posh restaurant and niall true to his word has three desserts. the desserts are all traditional english puddings like treacle tart and strawberry and rhubarb and bread and butter pudding. and custard, lots of it. liam watches him and maybe makes distressed noises and says things like, ‘you should go jogging with me tomorrow.’

niall shakes his head. ‘jogging, he says.’

without another word he puts his socked foot in liam’s lap, over his crotch. liam can feel his eyes go wide. ‘niall!’ he hisses.

niall smirks. ‘I can think of better ways to burn some calories,’ he says.]

---

[THEY HAVE RELATIONSHIP AFFIRMING SEX]

Liam slips out of bed early in the morning to go for a run even though the sky is gunmetal grey. He feels bad about leaving Niall in bed but he tells himself Niall will understand. He stands by the side of the bed thinking of pressing a kiss to Niall’s temple, wonders if that would be much too much, then shakes his head for just standing there thinking about it. He does the kiss and the world doesn’t end, barely even notices. Then he slips out in his (absurdly expensive btw) running gear.

He runs five miles and crosses the imaginary finish line triumphant. His lungs are red-veined lanterns on fire. the sun is nearly done coming up. the road is purple. He is the champion of the world.

...

Liam has the water running just how he likes it and shampoos his hair into a frothy mohawk, too rough like he has all this energy bursting out of him. For once he’s not afraid to use it. Without realising that he is he’s singing.

‘You don’t know, oh oh, you don’t know you’re beautiful –’

The shower curtain pops open and Niall is there. He’s still naked, miles and miles of freckled pale skin on firm muscle.

‘Sorry, did I wake you?’ Liam asks.

‘Not a problem, mate,’ Niall says, getting into the shower with him. ‘Does this mean you’re doing the reunion tour?’

Liam pauses. He thought the question would probably come up again, but not like this; a version of dirty-manipulative pillow talk with that his naked ex-bandmate happens to so excel at. While he’s still thinking it out Niall’s arm curves round his stomach. He presses, half-hard, against Liam. Whatever Liam intended to say gets lost.

‘I guess,’ Liam says, on a half-gasp. ‘If you’re in I’m in.’

He can feel the shape Niall’s smirk makes against the curve of his ear. ‘Oh, I’m in, babe. I’m always in.’

‘And if all the rest say yes.’

‘They’ll say yes.’ Niall says. He sounds absolutely confident.

Liam turns around. He just wants to know why Niall finds it so easy to be sure of things sometimes. ‘Do you really think so?’

‘Don't act like nobody's ever said yes to you,' Niall says. He's grinning again, but backs Liam into the tiles, intense in a way that means Liam knows he means it. ‘People say yes to you all the – people have been saying yes to you all along.’

‘I know they have,’ Liam says. ‘But –’ he stops, frustrated.

Yeah,' Niall agrees. He's slipped from intense to soothing now, like how when you get in a hot shower after a long breathless run, the water is scalding and then suddenly it's just right. Liam closes his eyes, letting the spray sluice down his face, for a second. Fucking Niall Horan. What are the chances? What were the chances ever? A man walks down the street, he says, why am I soft in the middle – ‘Maybe you just need to say yes back for once.'

He opens his eyes. Niall’s still there, still grinning, still ducking down to press a kiss at the corner of his mouth.

‘All right,’ Liam says. ‘You win. This time – ah! – you win.’

‘Great, that makes it win-win,’ Niall says. ‘You’re winning too, you’re winning,’ and Liam can’t help but agree.

Date: Friday, 14 September 2012 13:12 (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] oliphaunts
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