( part i )
( originally written for team au for the 1d olymfics 2012 )
hard R for recreational drug use, sex, and language
part ii 5,233, total 12,359 | 1980s british airways AU
notes: see part i for the particulars xo
"LIMA OSCAR VICTOR ECHO"
ix. london, england | november 1984
Louis hung up the phone with a clatter. He stared for a moment at nothing in particular, eyes tracing the sponge and bottle of Flash on the countertop. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to prolong the stream of air as long as he could. Fuming, he slammed his hand against the wall suddenly and knocked the cleaning supplies to the floor with distaste. He slid to the ground and bit his fist, resisting the urge to scream.
Liam darted into the kitchenette at the noise, calling, “Louis? Louis, are you all right?”
It took him a second to find Louis, folded up small between the two bar style chairs as he was. Liam stood a few feet away, gazing at Louis warily. “Why am I always finding you like this? What’s wrong, what’s happened? Is everything okay?”
Louis shook his head, standing up slowly. He swallowed. “I got a call from Niall.”
“That’s the Irish one from the flights, yeah? Engineer or officer or something?” Louis nodded. “Is everything all right? Something happen with Zayn?”
Snorting, Louis bit out, “You could fucking say that.” Liam’s eyes widened as Louis continued, “He’s fucking Harry, apparently.”
“Jesus,” said Liam. “Harry. He’s the-“
“The model tall one with Bambi eyes and curls to die over,” Louis tried to scoff, his voice turning on the last syllables.
Chewing on the inside of his cheek, Liam asked, “D’you want me to wait downstairs and turn them away when they come by?”
Louis thought about it. “No,” he decided. “I want to see them. Let me deal with it? Please? Just act normally.”
Liam opened the door when the boys arrived, Louis hanging on his arm like a spider monkey. “Hey, boys! Welcome home!” Louis shouted, exclamation points piercing the air as he spoke.
Zayn, who was in front, stepped back abruptly at the sight, and Louis could swear he saw the little tea lights flicker out in his eyes. Harry bit his bottom lip and looked over at Niall, who was giving Liam the up-down with one eyebrow quirked.
The rest of the afternoon passed in a similarly uncomfortable manner. Louis made a point to respond to Liam’s every movement with one of his own, more affectionate ones, like a flirtatious mirror.
He noticed smugly that Zayn’s face got increasingly steely throughout the evening. Harry’s face remained stuck on the crestfallen puppy-eyed look he wore so well, and Louis wanted to shake him violently, rattle his organs and scream in his face, “Get with the program, sunshine! You honestly don’t understand what’s gone on here?”
Zayn excused himself distractedly, tugging Harry behind him. Louis followed them with his eyes as they headed into the kitchen. He patted Liam’s face and purred, “You and Niall talk, yeah? I’ll be right back with some refreshments.”
Louis tiptoed closer to the kitchen, pressing his face against the other side of the wall.
“I don’t understand why he seems to hate me now, Z, I honestly don’t.”
“I know exactly what the fuck’s going on, Harry, and I thought we had it better than that for Lou to go and find some new guy to drape himself over like some hopeless fucking twink, and I don’t know why he’s taking this shit out on me. And on us.”
Zayn’s voice sounded strained, and Louis moulded his face into a smile as he entered. But before he could say anything, Zayn said, “We have to talk.”
And there it was.
“What about?” Louis simpered, crossing his arms and looking at Zayn.
“You know very well what. Who the hell is Liam? What’s going on?” Zayn moved closer to Louis, pressing a hand against the countertop.
“New roommate. And you tell me, Zayn, what is going on? Why haven’t I heard from you more than twice a month since August? Got pretty fucking lonely without you.” Louis laughed bitterly, pushing his hair out of his face. “But, then, you didn’t have that problem, did you? Never really did.”
Zayn growled, “Look, I don’t know what went through that head of yours when I was away, but I thought I made you a promise.”
“Me fucking too. Guess it didn’t turn out like we planned, hmm?”
Licking his lips and turning away, Zayn said, “Guess not.” After a beat, he added, “Staying at Harry’s tonight. And probably tomorrow and the next.”
“Bet you are,” Louis muttered, just as Zayn murmured, “I’ll call.”
Harry had the gall to look sorry as they left. Niall, in a generous move on his part, stayed with Louis and Liam. Or, rather, he stayed up all night talking about something - hamburgers, toilet jokes, the existence of breasts? Louis didn’t know - with Liam.
Louis, ever the gracious host, retreated to his pile of quilts for the week, staring mutely at the little glint of gold on his nightstand.
x. rio de janeiro, brazil | december 1984/january 1985
“It’s New Year’s Eve! Drink, dance, kiss a pretty girl,” the hotel manager had shouted at Zayn in Spanish, all but shoving him out the door. Against his will, he might add.
Zayn bought a beer from the hotel bar and waved the man off, shaking his head dismissively as he exited the building. He wandered through the streets, frowning and wiping the sweat off the back of his neck and wondering when he became such a textbook example of a Brooding Mess.
Zayn was young. He had his whole life ahead of him (or so he was told). He should be out dancing and kissing pretty people; it was New Year’s Eve and he was in Brazil! But it was New Year’s Eve and he was in Brazil, and he just wanted to be at home, where the one person he wanted to be with didn’t want to be with him.
He bought another beer, and then another, and pulled out the scrap of paper with the address of the club printed on it in Niall’s signature scrawl. Rubbing his eyes, Zayn glanced over the whole note.
Going here tonight. If you make it out, come straight to us. The Copa, Street Aires Saldanha, 13A. Be careful. x NH
P.S. I’m buying 2 rounds of cerveja if you come. tempting? .xx Styles
p.p.s. please help me convince harry that, no, he does not seem cooler the more he says “cerveja” - jesy
Zayn was no lightweight, but he was close to buzzing as he lumbered into the club. The decor wasn’t particularly nice (sixties-type kitsch that was probably actually from the sixties) but it was dim enough that it didn’t matter. One thing he could say was that it smelled exactly as he expected it to.
Eyes heat-seeking a mess of blonde accompanied by a mass of curls, it took him too long to realise he probably wasn’t going to be able find them. Luckily, he didn’t have to, because Leigh-Anne found him first.
“Oh, hey, messy boy. Glad you made it out. Put that sad face away, darling, and put your sexy one on. It’s ten to midnight and you owe us a lot of dances.”
It was kind of off-putting how regularly the girls tended to use the royal “we,” but Zayn accepted it as one of those stewardess things. He let Leigh-Anne pull him through the throng and shove him up beside Jade and Niall, who, in turn, shoved a glass of something into his hand. At this point, Zayn had lost track of how much he drank and he was starting to feel it.
Niall clapped him on the back. “Good go, mate. I’m glad you came,” he said, pressing a kiss to Zayn’s cheek.
“‘ventful year it’s been, hannit?” Zayn said, nearly spitting out the mouthful of Foreign Nightmare Alcohol he had sipped without thinking. “Jesus, what the fuck is that?”
“Don’t know,” Jade chirped. “I ordered it at random.”
“Of course y’did.” Zayn downed the rest of it in a single fiery gulp.
He let the conversation wash over him for God knew how much longer until he just nodded vaguely and pushed into the crowd, finding Harry and slurring slightly, sighing into his ear, “Hello.”
The implied beautiful did not go unnoticed. Harry took a step back and put a hand to Zayn’s face, looking him over thoroughly. “You’re extremely drunk.”
“Um minuto, um minuto! Cinquenta e oito! Cinqüenta e sete!”
Zayn started to laugh then, pressing his face against Harry’s clavicle. “Well, isn’t that just perfect!” he said, too loud and with too broad a grin. He was acutely aware that a few people had turned to look at him, but he lifted both his middle fingers and winked, openmouthed and sloppy.
This time last year he was on top of the world, and now Zayn was rock bottom. Funny how that happens, he figured, how all of a sudden your life takes a dip and you can’t dig your way out of it. And he was exhausted from trying to cope, so he gave up. He wasn’t going to waste his time trying to repair something he didn’t know he broke; he was, instead, going to stop giving a fuck.
As the wound-up countdowners yelled, “Doze, onze, dez!” Zayn swallowed thickly, leaning into Harry’s ear. “Could you do me a favour?”
“Oito, sete, seis!”
Harry nodded, eyes wary, and Zayn put a hand to the back of his neck, threading his fingers through Harry’s curls. He popped up on the balls of his feet to rest his forehead against Harry’s, looking into his eyes, blinking slowly, pleading with him.
“Três, dois, um - feliz ano novo!”
Tracing Harry’s jawline with two fingers, Zayn pushed closer, tilting his face up to try to press his mouth against Harry’s. Harry’s eyes widened and he turned his head at the last second, Zayn’s lips catching his cheek instead.
“No,” he said firmly but quietly amidst all the noise.
Zayn crumpled, fingers digging into Harry’s shoulderblades, choking, “Please, Harry, please, I need-”
“No,” Harry repeated, with a softer tone this time, cradling Zayn’s face in both his hands. He thumbed away tears from Zayn’s cheeks. “Come with me.”
Harry wove his fingers through Zayn’s reassuringly and pulled him outside, where the air was thick with humidity and scattered horns and shouts and music pierced the sky. He sat with Zayn on the gravel, quiet. He let Zayn lean against him, his head on his shoulder, and he could probably feel him shaking. Harry let out a long breath, not quite a sigh.
“That was a mistake.” Zayn nodded silently in agreement as Harry continued, “It would have been bigger if I’d let you do it, though. You’re lonely, I know. I know, Zayn, I see it on your face every day, and you’re killing me, because I don’t know what to do about it. You’re my best friend and I...” He paused, actually sighing this time and sweeping his fringe out of his eyes with his free arm.
“You love Louis, and a stupid drunk kiss with me isn’t going to fix it. It’s only going to make it worse.”
Zayn sat up then, bringing his knees to his chest. “What am I supposed to do? Louis obviously doesn’t love me anymore. He’s gone on without me for nine months and I expected him to wait patiently like some princess in a tower, alone and hopeful?” Licking his lips, he opened his mouth and closed it again, shutting his eyes tight as he continued, “It’s our day, Harry. Or, night, I suppose. Anniversary. Whatever. But the fact of the matter is, it isn’t anymore. I should respect that.”
Nudging Zayn’s knee with his own, Harry laughed gently. “Zayn, love, Louis is desperately in love with you. Or...” Zayn was grateful that he didn’t verbalise the lingering at least, he was. “He always has been. But it’s up to you to figure out what’s wrong before you ruin your life by letting go of the best thing that ever happened to you.”
xii. london, england | january 1985
Louis watched the holidays roll by, day by day, watched Liam drag in the little tree, trailing needles across the carpet. He managed to drape tinsel over it by himself, called his mother on Christmas and made sure his sisters got the gifts he had bought overseas, wished everyone at home a Happy New Year over the phone. He at least had that human decency remaining.
He tiptoed out of his “hobbit hole,” as Liam had dubbed it, blanket draped around his shoulders like The Homeless Avenger, trying to make it to the kitchen without being-
“Caught!” Liam shouted, wrapping his arms around Louis’ stomach and whirling him around easily.
Louis groaned. “I just wanted some tea, Liam.”
Laughing, Liam set Louis down gingerly. “But instead you get me! Don’t try to drink me, though.”
“Why would I do that, Liam,” Louis asked flatly, so monotone it was barely a question.
“I don’t know, Lou. But! Surprise! Since you made it all the way out here this lovely winter morning, I took the liberty of telling Leigh-Anne and Danielle that yes, in fact, you would love to have afternoon tea with them today.”
Louis groaned again, this time louder. “When did you turn into me?”
Chuckling, Liam pressed a kiss to the top of Louis’ bedhead. “When you decided you didn’t want to be you anymore.”
Louis found it useless to argue with Liam, even though he clearly had said yes on Louis’ behalf several days earlier. Obviously Liam anticipated dragging him out of the house, come hell or high water. This was the easier way out. Liam could probably actually physically drag him out if he didn’t cooperate.
And that is how he ended up swaddled in a comfy-cosy, too-big jumper at a corner table in a little coffee shop with Liam, Leigh-Anne, and the very attractive Danielle. He reminded himself to thank Liam for picking Louis’ favourite place for tea.
“Sorry I haven’t been more attentive,” Louis apologised to Danielle. “I was just kind of... lost.”
She frowned. “No reason to be. I figured Liam would bring you round sometime.” She beamed at Liam, who shrugged.
Leigh-Anne interjected, “But, if it’s all right to ask, Lou, what the hell even happened with Zayn? I seem to have missed that exchange. All of a sudden he came back from November leave and he was miserable.”
A soggy-cornflake mixture of smug satisfaction and the last flakes of his shredded heart settled in Louis’ stomach at that. He tried to drown it with taking too many sips of tea at once and gave himself the hiccups. A metaphor for my life if ever I saw one, Louis thought angrily.
He sighed. “Surely you know that he cheated on me.”
Leigh-Anne gasped, horrified. Well, then, clearly that wasn’t common knowledge. “What! When? Who with?”
“Harry,” Louis muttered, his comfort level waning as his teacup grew emptier. Liam ordered another for the whole table.
Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Harry? That’s not possible.”
“Oh, you’d find it’s very possible.”
Liam nodded. “They had a row when them and Niall came by. Zayn didn’t deny anything.”
Leigh-Anne shook her head so vigorously a hairpin fell out onto the table; the neon pink of it could nearly blind a man. She rested a hand on Louis’, rubbing her thumb along his knuckles soothingly. “That’s because there’s nothing to deny, my love. Absolutely nothing like you say happened actually happened, at least from what I’ve seen.”
Louis frowned. “But Niall said-”
“Niall jumps to conclusions. I don’t know, babe, he could be right, it’s not for me to say, but... I don’t think anything’s going on between Harry and Zayn. I suggest you ask him outright. Seems to me like you’re due for a chat anyway.”
He mulled this over for the next three hours, chewing it over in his mind like a cow chewing its cud. After fighting with himself for several minutes, Louis pulled out a shoebox of postcards from beneath his bed. He had considered ripping them all up into confetti when they started to arrive, but he could never bring himself to go through with it. Instead he had tossed them into the box and shoved it into the darkness beneath his four-poster.
Counting them as he laid them out on his blankets, Louis looked at all the cities in faded, slightly-torn card stock before him: Miami, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro. He flipped them over one by one as if he were playing solitaire, working his way through the months he spent alone.
The first photos were silly, Zayn grinning in front of landmarks or poorly-translated shop signs, but as the weeks wore on, the images drifted away from posed shots. They were softer, more intimate: the corner of a pilot’s cap on a bedside table, the rooftops of a city glowing softly in the morning, a pile of foreign coin on a hotel rug. The white frames tugged Louis into the photos by his stomach, and he could almost smell Zayn’s cologne on the Mickey Mouse sweater from Tokyo, on the blankets and pillows from the bed in Barcelona. Heart caught in his throat, he gently pried the Polaroid off each postcard, revealing the block letters characteristic to Zayn underneath.
Felt lost here. and Remember when you vomited in the hot spring? and I love you.
Louis resisted the urge to cave in on himself as he had for the past several months. He stretched out instead, tracing the loop of the black-pen Z over and over until it was tattooed on the inside of his eyelids. One for each flight, for each city.
Rio, 31 December 1984: Happy New Year, Louis. I miss you.
xiii. dublin, ireland | march 1985
No one even pretended to act surprised or impressed when Niall was able to fit twenty-three chips in his mouth all at once, especially after Perrie fit thirty into hers. But it didn’t really matter too much to him, because his mum and the rest of his family drove an hour out to Dublin just to catch him and the rest of Crew One and cart them all the way to Mullingar for an impromptu Welcome-to-Ireland/ Welcome-Home-Niall party. They were all sitting in Joe’s and it was familiar and Niall was eating and drinking with his best friends and his family and everything just seemed to fit.
The warm chatter filling the air had everyone in good spirits; Harry was telling another one of his terrible jokes (the punch line to this one was “Because he had no hair!”) and Zayn and Leigh-Anne were discussing Prince’s latest hit single. Niall chewed thoughtfully on a bite of steak and sighed contentedly.
Harry leaned over to whisper something into Zayn’s ear, at which he laughed with his whole torso, his face scrunched up in a grin. Niall knit his eyebrows together.
“So are you guys going to tell us what’s going on between you two or are you going to try and maintain the worst-kept secret of all time?” Niall snapped, surprising himself. He pushed three bandito chips into his mouth and frowned.
Zayn looked startled, widening his eyes at Harry, who shrugged, perplexed. “What?”
Niall swallowed. “You’re not fooling anyone. You can tell us that you two are...” He waved his hand, uncomfortable. “Together?”
Harry let out a bark of laughter, but Zayn’s face was seemingly frozen. Harry said, “You’re joking, right, Ni? Good one, Nialler. You had me for a second!”
There was a lull of awkward silence until Zayn said, “Haz. I don’t... I don’t think he’s kidding.”
Niall nodded. “I’m not. I... heard you guys. Going at it. In Amsterdam, and in Tokyo, in the hotel rooms when you thought I was gone.”
Perrie and Jade seemed more than interested now, their eyes a little bit brighter as they turned nearly 180 degrees to eavesdrop. Niall could practically see their ears perk up like little dogs, neon-polished paws hanging over the booth divider.
“Going at what?” Harry asked, pulling a face.
Zayn nodded. “All we did in hotels in the Netherlands and Japan was...” He screwed his face up, trying to remember.
Harry interjected suddenly, “Oh, my God. You thought we -?”
“Jesus,” Zayn gasped, bent over with laughter, a hand clutching at Harry’s arm. “You thought we were fucking?”
Niall withdrew slightly, his frown growing. He was a little bit offended. He wasn’t stupid. For clarification, he asked slowly, “So... you’re not fucking, then?”
When Harry had calmed down significantly he said firmly, “Absolutely not.”
“Not even once,” confirmed Zayn.
Niall floundered for a response. “What the hell were you doing, then? Because there was an awful lot of moaning goin’ on.” His face flushed scarlet when he remembered the buzzing sounds and thought it best that he didn’t even mention it.
Zayn tugged on the back of his collar, pulling his shirt over his head. He tilted his head up to bring into the light his bare chest, displaying it unabashedly to Niall, who blushed. Zayn laughed, gentler this time, but pointed to each tattoo splashed across his skin, counting them under his breath. Harry pulled down his collar and showed Niall the nearly identical swallows below his collarbone, pushing up his shirtsleeves to show him the scattered doodles dotting his arms as well.
Niall swallowed slowly and fell into silence. He always considered himself a pretty carefree, laid-back guy, but the ferocity with which he had acted surprised even him. At least it was a relief to know that Zayn wasn’t cheating on Louis with Harry.
“Oh, fucking shit.”
Startled, Jesy chastised sarcastically, “Language, Nialler,” which was met with a giggle from Jade.
Shaking his head, eyes watering from how wide they grew, Niall said carefully, “I... have made... a mistake.”
Harry nodded, “That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?”
“No, you don’t understand,” Niall said urgently, Bambi eyes full-fledged and scared. “I called Louis a few months ago because I thought...” His voice grew small, and he withered under Zayn’s horrified expression. “You understand, right – everything appeared as though – oh, my God, I thought – Jesus Christ.” He hid inside his jumper, turning into the Headless Horseman and sinking down in his seat.
Zayn was quiet for a long time, and when Niall peeked his eyes out of his jumper, Zayn was cradling his face in his hands, breathing uneven and murmuring, “He thinks I cheated on him. Louis thinks I cheated,” over and over again.
“I’m so sorry,” Niall squeaked. He was a syllable away from tears, and blinking quickly. “How do I fix this?”
Harry and Leigh-Anne both looked at him appraisingly. “Guess you’ve got a phone call to make, don’t you? Hm?” Leigh-Anne said, raising her eyebrows. Niall nodded vigorously and moved to stand up.
Zayn put a hand on Niall’s arm in an abortive gesture. In the lowest voice Niall had ever heard him use, he said, “And do not fuck this one up.”
xiv. london, england | april 1985
It was Liam who opened the door, staring blankly at Zayn, who was shivering like a stray dog in the rain. When Liam made to shut the door, Zayn moved with Black Mamba-like swiftness, shoving his foot between the door and the jamb.
“Please,” he said, gazing up at Liam imploringly. “I didn’t cheat,” he added hopefully. His foot was beginning to ache where the door has slammed into it.
“I know.” Liam bit the inside of his cheek. “I’ll... I’ll ask.”
Relief flooded Zayn’s face and he grabbed Liam’s cheeks quickly in thanks. “Thank you, thank you!”
Liam tried to hide a smile as he disappeared into the flat, leaving the door ajar. Zayn glanced at it: too open to be accidental, but not open wide enough to be an invitation inside. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, biting at his fingernails anxiously as he stared at the doormat.
Reappearing suddenly, Liam said, “He doesn’t really want to see you.”
Zayn’s heart sank. Crestfallen, he nodded slowly. He should have anticipated this, even though Niall swore up and down that he and Louis had spoken long enough for him to fully explain the mistake. Louis didn’t have to forgive Zayn for leaving him alone. I left him alone.
“...but he’ll hear you out.”
Zayn whipped his head up at Liam’s voice. Five words had never sounded so good in his life. “Oh, thank God,” he breathed.
He padded cautiously into the flat, inhaling deeply as Liam shut the door behind them. Tugging on the sleeves of his Mickey Mouse jumper, he turned to Liam. “Did you ever...?” He couldn’t bring himself to finish the question.
Liam shook his head and gave Zayn a small smile. “No.”
Zayn smiled at him gratefully and took small, careful steps down the hallway. He took a deep breath and knocked softly on the bedroom door. “Lou?”
His throat caught when Louis’ voice floated through the door. The quiet “Zayn?” had him pressed up against the door, chest flush with the wood.
“Yeah,” he murmured into the light peeking through the jamb.
Zayn turned the doorknob and found Louis sitting in the middle of the bed (their bed, he had to suppress). He looked small, folded up on himself like a well-worn teddy bear, but his eyes pierced Zayn more than they ever had. Zayn stood back, lingering on the image of Louis, tiny in the sea of blankets, and his heart ached.
Neither of them said anything for some time, but Louis patted the space beside him, and Zayn climbed onto the bed. They sat cross-legged, facing each other, knees touching, quiet.
The only thing Zayn could think to start with was, “I’m sorry.” From there the words cascaded out of him, and he could barely take a breath.
“I never... I never wanted us to be like this, Louis. Those people who think they’re made for each other but are really just fireworks that flare and disappear. That’s not us. We were special and that sounds so fucking stupid but the day you called us partners in crime feels like the first day of my life.
“I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for not owning up to my carelessness. For letting you do what you did for me.” Zayn shut his eyes tight, continuing breathlessly, “It’s all my fault you got grounded and suspended and I was selfish and stupid and, Jesus, why did you do that? I don’t deserve it, Lou.”
Louis sighed, his face pained. Zayn’s voice got quiet as he said, “And after all that I left you here, and I led you to believe I cheated on you. Cheated on you, my God. I could never. I went mad when we fought and never regained my sanity.”
Zayn ran a hand through his hair helplessly, rushing out, “I don’t deserve you and I don’t expect you to forgive me because I’ve been a really shit person for the last year and I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry because I can’t be anything without telling you that I am so sorry.”
Silence fell. After a few moments, Zayn begged, “Please say something.”
Louis exhaled slowly and handed Zayn the stack of postcards and Polaroids. Zayn folded his hands over them carefully, trying to smooth the worn and crinkled edges. He set them down on the bedside table and raked his eyes over Louis’ face, taking stock of his dark-lidded eyes and bed-rumpled hair. He was more tired-looking than Zayn remembered him.
Quiet, Louis said finally, “I can’t be Harry. I can’t be what he is, all charm and smile and beautiful.”
“Don’t,” Zayn snapped, harsher than he intended it to sound. He softened. “Don’t do that to yourself. It’s never been Harry. It’s always been you.”
Louis let out a breathy laugh, eyes sad. “Then why have I been sitting here for a year, miserable and full of regrets and feeling sorry for myself? Because I feel weightless and pointless here alone and I’m all out of ideas and I want to die because I love you and maybe you just forgot to call again, or maybe you’re on the plane that’s about to plummet into the ocean and I’m not there with you.”
A choked noise escaped from Zayn’s throat then, and his hands scrambled to find Louis’ face. “No,” he said firmly, repeating, “No, no, no. I will not let you forget this. You are so important, Louis,” Zayn insisted, weaving his fingers through Louis’ and pressing them against his lips. “You are the most important part of me.”
Louis’ face crumpled and he leaned forward, collapsing against Zayn’s chest. They instinctively rearranged their legs to fit together better and Zayn began to laugh shakily. Louis tilted his head back to look up at Zayn, eyes wet and shimmering.
“Are we going to be okay?” he asked quietly.
Zayn used the back of his hand to wipe his eyes and leaned down, pressing his forehead against Louis’. “Yeah, I think so. If you want us to be.”
Louis shifted slightly, chests flush against each other, and pressed his mouth to Zayn’s. It wasn’t a kiss so much as they were breathing into each other, and Zayn didn’t want to move away for fear that Louis would disappear. Instead, he reached a hand up to brush Louis’ hair out of his eyes.
“I do want us to be.”
They lay back on the blankets in a comfortable silence, curled up into each other like cats.
Liam knocked on the door gently, poking his head into the bedroom without waiting for a response. His face split into a grin when Louis hissed at him. “Do you kids need anything?” he asked, wringing his hands.
“Get out, Liam,” Louis groaned.
Zayn laughed into the crook of Louis’ neck and said, “Actually, I could do with a glass of water. Am I allowed to make requests now? Is that cool?”
“No,” sulked Louis. Zayn kissed his nose, and Louis’ mouth twisted as he tried not to smile.
“Gross,” laughed Liam, who disappeared again as quickly as he had entered.
Zayn snuggled closer to Louis, who cursed softly. “Where’s he going to live now?” He peered up at Zayn. “You are moving back in, right?”
“Of course, love. And no need to worry there. I have it on good authority that our favourite Niall is quite enamoured with Liam Payne,” said Zayn, raising his eyebrows suggestively. After a few beats, he said, “I’m going to make a call tomorrow, though. See if a year’s punishment isn’t enough for the best purser British Airways has ever had.”
Louis shook his head, glowing in Zayn’s direction. “We’ll see.”
He pulled something small and shiny out of his pocket. Letting Louis close his hand around the gold pin, Zayn agreed.
Yeah, we’ll see.