Before Your Eyes - Niam Verse - Part 1/3
Word Count: 3,550
A/N: New Niam verse. I didn’t announce this, except on my twitter. I’ve planned it completely and the parts will be up pretty quickly. I’ll likely have it finished before you know it. Please, do let me know what you think. Love Deen.
“Yeah, we wanted to tell you boys first.” Liam shifted uncomfortably on his feet, three pairs of scrutinising eyes fixed upon him and the blonde boy next to him, hand in hand. Niall gave his hand an encouraging squeeze.
“Wow,” Louis stepped forward and clasped Liam on the shoulder, “I’m really proud of you guys.”
“Really?” Liam gulped loudly.
“Of course, that was a really brave thing to do. To tell us all. To be honest.”
Liam’s face dropped as his breath finally released, pent up stress flowing out of him with the emptying of his lungs. He and Niall had been keeping their relationship a secret for months. Ever since Louis and Harry had tried being together and had failed nobody thought it could work between anyone in the band, let alone with another member. If they couldn’t do it, who could?
Unfortunately, nobody can control who they fall for, and Niall and Liam were falling for each other fast. It was all happening so fast, even though they’d agreed they had to take it slow; for the band, for the fans and for themselves. If they were going to avoid ending up heartbroken and bitter like Louis and Harry, they needed to do this right.
Harry and Louis were flirting and eventually together for years after X Factor. Management put pressure on them to keep it on the down low, but the fans knew. Though Management never said to the whole band they were against homosexuality, there were a few Harry and Louis-only meetings that they came out of with solemn expressions, refusing to touch one another or speak to each other for hours, sometimes days after. Niall always said that’s what broke them; they were perfect for each other, but every time they argued about what management said, they stored away secret resentments, said things they didn’t mean, were far too hurtful far too often and under so much stress that it was destined to break. That was also why Niall said he and Liam would be different. The boys were going to swear to never tell management as long as their contracts were valid, a promise they all gladly took, especially Louis and Harry.
“I really hope you two can make it work better than we did, blondey.” Harry hugged Niall as he spoke, patting his back and looking him lovingly in the eyes as he parted from him.
Harry avoided Louis’ hurt look as best he could while he repeated the process with Liam.
Zayn stepped forward to where the two were standing in their studio break room in Sweden, “Good luck lads. It’s hard enough for two guys to be together today, let alone under the public eye like we are. If there’s anythin’ we can do to help, let us know.”
Niall and Liam were together, the boys knew, and the boys were there for them. They were going to try and make this work. They had to. Their connection was unlike anything either of them had ever felt before.
One Direction went on to perform in front of sell-out crowds in the United States and Canada as the first leg of their 2013 World Tour, celebrating their second album that went triple platinum in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany and double platinum in New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore and even Japan. The bank accounts of each of the boys swelled. Two hearts swelled simultaneously; Niall and Liam took advantage of every spare moment together - tour days off were spent either cuddled up in their hotel room with a good movie, or out in whatever city was hosting them. Unlike Larry Stylinson, Niam Payran didn’t attract quite the same media and fandom attention. That was good, it meant although fans would usually chase them everywhere they went, on the occasion they got to sneak out somewhere alone, they could be a bit more open with their relationship.
Such a gr8 show! Thanks to all the ppl who made US13 amazing! Now to celebrate with @NiallOfficial while the rest hit the hotel bar!
The hotel door closed with a loud slam and was immediately followed by a simultaneous sigh escaping Niall and Liam. Niall, who entered his room first turned to the boy behind him, leaning his head back against the door with his eyes closed. Niall stepped to him tentatively and wrapped his arms around Liam’s warm torso.
“You were amazing tonight.”
“You were too, Ni.”
Niall’s face turned up to plant a soft kiss against Liam’s birthmark.
“What’ya wanna do?” Niall said, no hidden message in his words, just an innocent desire to spend as much time as they had with Liam.
“Order up some cookies and watch a movie?”
“Sounds great, Li.”
By the time Toy Story 3 was at it’s end, Liam was bawling his eyes out, ruining Niall’s white sweatshirt in the process. Sighing as his boyfriend sobbed into the fabric on his chest, Niall wrapped an arm around Liam lazily.
“Do you know how many times we’ve watched this movie in the few months we’ve been together?”
Liam’s face looked up from Niall’s chest, his eyes puffy and still glimmering with tears, “No, why? Are you sick-” he hiccuped a sob, “sick of it?”
“No, I’m not. I’m just amazed that every time, you react the exact same!” Niall’s laughter burst fourth, unable to hold it in anymore.
“You’re awful!” Liam playfully hit Niall in the chest before pushing himself up and away to sit at the side of the bed and wipe his eyes.
“Aw Liam, come here.” Niall shuffled across the bed and tried to encase Liam in his arms once more, getting a tearful shove away.
“Nup! You can’t appreciate Toy Story, I don’t want your hugs!”
“I can appreciate Toy St-”
“You’ve never cried! Not even the first time you saw it! You’re the only person in the world who hasn’t cried over Toy Story 3! I can’t even be sure you’re human!” Liam was so passionate, his eyes were still full of tears but he seemed determined to prove Niall’s point that he was indeed insane when it came to disney movies.
Niall’s attempts to hide his amusement failed miserably as Liam stared into his eyes, as if waiting for Niall to cry over the movie as well, even though it was over and Liam was being far too irrational and amusing to provoke any emotional epiphany.
“See!” Liam squawked as Niall smiled slightly, “not human!”
Niall laughed before getting up after Liam, who had gotten up to take the well worn DVD disc out of the player, carefully putting it into it’s case and immediately putting it in his bag. Nobody could fathom the heartbreak Liam would feel if he lost or damaged his copy of Toy Story 3. Getting him unaware from behind, Niall wrapped his arms around the boy he, after a few months, was already getting the feeling he couldn’t live without. He loved every minute with him, even when Liam was accusing him of being ‘not human’.
“I’m sorry I’m not a person.” Niall laughed into Liam’s shoulder blades, his hands rubbing up and down his stomach lovingly.
“… I guess I can forgive you.” The boy before him admitted softly, lifting one of Niall’s hands up and kissing his knuckles tenderly.
Liam turned in Niall’s arms, their faces incredibly close now. Their eyes locked, Niall could see something burning away deep behind the beautiful brown pools of familiarity he had come to crave every day when we woke up. His eyes moved to Liam’s mouth when it twitched to say something, before he apparently decided against it. Trying again, Liam spoke,
“Ni, I…” his eyes dropped, “I think I lo-… nevermind.”
Niall smiled knowingly and pressed a quiet kiss onto the pink lips infront of him. They soon changed from arching down in sad awkwardness to up in sheer happiness and adoration, immediately returning the kiss.
“Let’s go to sleep, hey?”
“I’m the big fork tonight!”
Niall sighed at the lame pun and word replacement his boyfriend used on a daily basis as he climbed into the bed and snuggled his back close to Liam’s belly, welcoming the warmth and safety of his arm that wrapped around him and squeezed him close. Just before he fell asleep, a soft kiss planted itself on the back of Niall’s head, the last thing he remembered before drifting off.
The loud crashing waves echoed through the restaurant as Liam, Niall and Zayn sat down to eat; unbelievably, when they tweeted to the fans to give them a bit of privacy in Sydney today, most of them listened. There was only a few outside the beach-front restaurant the three had booked for lunch. Harry and Louis were doing separate interviews with radio and television stations and were going to meet the boys later for a game of NRL. Last time they stayed in Australia and New Zealand they got to see the two nations fight it out on the field in Auckland and decided they’d make it a tradition when they were down under.
Zayn shoveled another fork-full of steak into his mouth before speaking, a habit Liam had actually dreamed he would get him out of one day, “You know,” he spoke distorted, weird, his mouth curving around the food, “if you two wanted to sneak off during the game, we could cover for you.”
“What? Really?” Niall swallowed his food before speaking, earning a look of gratification from his boyfriend across the table. Liam had leaned away from Zayn next to him, repulsed by his table manners.
“Yeah, I mean, we could tweet that we’re goin’ to the game and you two could slip away somewhere else when we go. You guys deserve it after all the shows we played in America and the few we’ve done here. Treat yourselves to a night off, hey? On us!” Zayn’s accent echoed in the restaurant, maybe a little too loudly, but nobody seemed to mind or notice. The sound of waves still dominated the scene, complimented by the smell of fresh sea-salt that drifted on the occasional wind.
“Thanks, Zayn.” Niall and Liam spoke together, joining their best friend in a bout of laughter at the disgusting couple-moment.
Niall lead his very nervous boyfriend into the club, hand in hand. Liam tried to focus on the shape of the beautiful boy in front of him to keep his mind off his nerves. Niall was wearing a tight fitted red polo, something he knew drove Liam up the wall, with a pair of Harry’s cream chinos he’d nicked with the curly haired lads permission. To top it off, he had his bright red pumps on, ready to dance and jump the night away at ARC, one of Sydney’s prime gay clubs. Liam was so ferociously nervous. He had never been to a gay bar or even come out to anyone besides his mother, ex-girlfriend and the band. Neither had Niall, but he seemed to be reveling in the opportunity. Little did he know, Niall was nervous, but was over the moon at the opportunity to show affection to his boyfriend in a public place.
The bouncers let them past the line, much to the distain of those waiting in it. They covered their faces slightly to hopefully avoid getting spotted by any paps or fans as they stepped into a gay bar. Wouldn’t that just look great on all the national and international papers and websites over the next two days? They ducked in quickly, the music already thumping through their chests - or was that just Liam’s heartbeat? He couldn’t be sure. The club itself was very dark, which was ideal, there was a slight layer of smoke in the air that immediately made it a bit more difficult to breathe - or was that Liam’s nerves again? Niall, still holding Liam’s hand, led them immediately to the bar and ordered them shots. Liam couldn’t drink much on account of his kidney, but he needed something to calm him down.
“Wow! This place is the craic.” Niall yelled into Liam’s ear.
“It seems pretty wild.” Liam replied, sure Niall hadn’t heard him. He scanned the room they were in, although there wasn’t a dancefloor, there were lights and guys were dancing everywhere. Though, what surprised him was that there were a lot of girls he would probably accurately guess were straight.
“What’s with all the straight girls?” Liam yelled beside him, careful not to scream it into the ear of an easily-offended lesbian.
“Dunno hey!” Niall laughed at a thought before he expressed it, “maybe cause there’s no sleazy guys like the old me in here to crack on to ‘em.”
The two shared a laugh before turning back to the bartender, who was awaiting his payment. Niall opened his wallet and handed the bartender a bright red twenty dollar bill before wrapping his slender fingers around the two shot glasses, lifting one to his lips and one to Liam’s. He refused Liam’s offer to hold his own,
“No, no! I got it. Open up, babe.”
“This won’t end well.” Liam smiled and opened his mouth, prompting Niall to pour both shots into their mouths. His ended well, but Liam’s got half in his mouth and half down his chin - he almost spat the rest laughing.
Niall looked suspiciously around the club before seizing the opportunity and lunging forward, running his tongue up Liam’s chin and meeting his lips with a passionate kiss, their first in public. Liam’s eyes were wide with surprise, touched in the corners by pride as he returned the kiss and wrapped his arms around the boy before him, loving the opportunity to show affection with people other than Harry, Louis or Zayn around.
Within an hour after that first shot, both memories of the night fade into a hazy nothingness that could only be explained by the numerous twitter photos of the two stumbling down Oxford street in Sydney, stumbling further into their hotel and almost being caught making out in the hotel elevator by an usher. Thankfully, the pictures didn’t show where they’d been, nor were they on the right angle to show the ARC stamps that had been etched on their wrists.
“Niall, wake up!” A grunt of frustration echoed through Niall’s mind soon after he thought he heard his boyfriends desperate voice, “Niall James Horan!”
Niall opened his eyes reluctantly, his head immediately throbbing, his mouth dryer than it’s ever been and his stomach churning with intense hunger, overpowered by an intense sickness.
“What, Li?” Niall croaked, his voice was ruined and they were performing tonight.
“Management’s on the phone, want to talk to you.”
“Oh, God.” Niall’s eyes immediately widened to their full alertness as he took his mobile from Liam, who had obviously answered it as he often did.
“Niall?” A familiar, authoritative voice spoke down the line.
“Yes, how’s it goin’ mate?” Niall acted as friendly as possible, hiding his hangover.
“So we’ve got an issue here at the office. We were up at 4 this morning, Sydney-time and that’s when we had to pay off a certain… demographically exclusive Sydney nightclub to remove a check in mentioning a certain two quite well known individuals. Anything you want to tell us?”
Niall lost all blood from his face, his stomach churned and it wasn’t from the hangover this time. He was about to throw up. His eyes met with Liam’s and the message was immediately conveyed - they’d been busted - the second same-sex couple in One Direction was about to crumble under the pressure of management and break two more hearts.
“To the boys, to the team, to the label - to One Direction!” Simon Cowell’s familiar voice echoed through the function room of the Syco headquarters in London. He and all the boys, including Niall and Liam, were celebrating the completion of their 2013 tour. They, Simon, their staff and everyone involved surrounded a large table filled with gifts, alcohol and golden records from all over the world.
The entire group raised their glass as one, and all the boys spoke together before any glasses clinked together,
“To the fans.” They said proudly, getting nods of appreciation from everyone in the room.
The alcohol flowed, the music pumped and people arrived later that weren’t invited to the start of the function which was a business only event until 9:30 that night. The mothers and fathers of all the boys came, so did their current and ex-girlfriends, if they had them. Even Danielle, whom Liam had remained close with after he’d told her he was gay, made an appearance, looking radiant in a tight fitting, sparkly silver dress that rode to her hips before flowing out at the back in a short train. She didn’t look overdressed, but that was probably because she always looked stunning; like a princess.
“Hi, Danielle, you look beautiful.” Niall spoke cautiously as he approached her, still unsure where they stood.
“Thank you Niall, you’re looking sharp as well.” She spoke casually, no hint of remorse or bitterness, “where’s Liam?”
“Talking both of our mothers out of a joint-family holiday somewhere, or something.”
“Oh, that sounds like fun.” Danielle flicked her hair as her smile lit up the room.
“You obviously haven’t been on an Irish holiday.” Niall quipped, getting a chortle of laughter from the curly-haired girl before him.
“There’s drinks over there, and I’m sure Liam would love to see you.” Niall offered, his hand gesturing to the full table before making it’s way to Liam’s direction. Danielle smiled politely and moved to pick up a flute of champagne before moving to Liam, where Niall saw him smile lovingly, gesture to her dress and then share a polite hug before joining her into the conversation he was having with Karen and Maura. Niall smiled at his boyfriends ability to be so friendly, even in a situation as awkward as his ex-girlfriend’s friendship.
“You okay?” Louis’ voice startled Liam as he stood alone at one end of the table, his finger absent-mindedly tapping a bottle of champagne that sat atop it.
“What? Oh, yeah.” Liam returned his eyes to what he’d been looking at, Niall, across the room, laughing crazily with Harry and Zayn, a flute of champagne spilling its contents somewhat as his arms vibrated with amusement.
“You know, they didn’t say you can’t talk to him.” Louis’ hand found its way to patting Liam’s back, trying to convey a bit of support for his emotionally cornered bandmate.
“I know.” Liam sighed and leaned his head back to Louis’ shoulder, “I just… I don’t want to make waves.”
“Liam,” Louis turned him around, looking deep into his eyes, “don’t them do to you two what they did to me and Harry.” Louis’ eyes looked past Liam, obviously to Harry who was still with Niall.
“I would never wish the heartbreak and hurt that we went through onto anybody else.” Louis dropped his gaze to Liams chest, before his blue eyes met Liam’s once more. “Go for it, mate. The band is behind you one hundred percent.”
“Thanks Lou. You’re a good mate.” The two shared a quick hug before Louis picked a flute from the table and shoved it into Liam’s hands,
“Now have fun!”
“Oh shut up, get in there.” Louis pushed Liam around the table and toward Niall, who immediately caught his eye and removed himself from his conversation with Harry and Zayn. The entire band was now on opposite ends of the table, looking on the two of them that were so obviously in love but had never had a chance to truly explore it.
The two boys met in the middle of the table and Liam felt his heart sink. He hadn’t been this close to Niall, who was still officially his boyfriend, for weeks since they’d busted the two in Sydney - too afraid to ‘breach contract’ any further. Liam downed the entire flute of liquor, which was very unlike him, before he looked into Niall’s sparkling, still totally breathtaking ice-blue eyes,
“Niall, I love you.” he spoke with a determined passion, loud enough so that almost everyone in the room would hear, even over the dull atmosphere music. Almost every set of eyes trained on them, awaiting Niall’s response. Liam barred himself from looking anywhere else but the beautiful pools of lapis that he couldn’t live without. He wasn’t going to look at Simon, at Danielle, at anyone - only Niall.
“I love you too.” Niall spoke a few moments later, his voice much quieter than Liam’s. His actions however, were much louder. Niall swept Liam into a breathtaking kiss that enveloped his whole world. His head spun as Niall’s perfect lips pushed against his. In that moment, Liam fell forty times deeper in love with the boy before him than he’d felt seconds before, when he was admitting that love. That was nothing, heck, comparitively, before the kiss, he didn’t even like Niall; that’s how deeply the bravery of Niall affected him. That’s how deep his emotions now ran, and that was all that mattered to him. Fears of management disappeared, fears of rejection, fears of heartache - it all left. Niall was his, and that’s all he needed.