Disclaimer: I cannot and do not own/know/associate with/stalk the real people mentioned herein. The following is a work of fiction. No money was made in its creation.
Summary: Zayn worries that he is going to screw up his relationship with Liam before it can really even begin.
Author's Note: part of my Up All Night, Ziam Edition master plan. this is the fill for Everything About You.
AN2: if you're in the beta business and interested, let me know. i'm terrible at finding my own mistakes.
Zayn and Liam have been dating for a grand total of four days when the thought first occurs to Zayn.
It doesn't happen sooner because the first three days they have off, and those days are unending bliss, filled only with room service, bad daytime television, cat naps, and each others' tongues.
Day four dawns bright and early, however, and being in public with Liam is a lot different now that they've managed to sort everything out between them. (And hadn't that been fun, having a year's worth of tension and angst freeze in his veins as Liam told him that he had broken up with Danielle the week prior.
"You okay?" Zayn had asked cautiously, both concern and relief simmering just below his heart.
"Yeah," Liam had answered, strangely intense. "I just... I hope I'm not wrong about this."
"About what?" Zayn asked, voice hushed as he watched Liam walk towards him and cup the back of his neck.
Liam leaned in slowly and breathed, "Uh," across Zayn's lips before sealing their mouths together.
The next three days, Zayn thinks later -- post-orgasm and understandably hyperbolic -- are the happiest of his life.)
But now that they're back outside the hotel where the air doesn't smell like sex and all anyone seems to do is scream at the sight of him, everything feels different. He feels different.
He's hyper-aware of every movement Liam makes, and considering how aware he was of Liam prior to all this, it's starting to border on sixth-sense ridiculousness.
They're in the van, on their way to their first interview of the day when Liam glances over at Zayn and curls two fingers around Zayn's pinky finger. Their thighs are pressed flush together and Zayn takes a moment to just breathe before inching his hand from his own leg onto Liam's.
Slowly, Liam turns Zayn's hand over and laces their fingers together and it's so weird because nothing else has changed. The van still smells like stale food and too many different colognes, Louis is (loudly) trying to play both Niall and Harry at thumb war, and they are on their way to do a radio show where they'll be asked the same six questions as always, but here Liam is, drawing circles at the base of Zayn's thumb and, actually, everything has changed.
Inside the radio booth, Liam and Zayn sit next to each other. 'Normal,' Zayn decides to himself. Sitting next to Liam is normal.
Is it normal for him to sit this close, though? Zayn always used to feel a little guilty when he would crowd Liam's space before, like maybe he didn't have the right to be there.
But now he totally does. Right?
Or is it too much now? Is it written all over his face that being this close to Liam right now just makes him think about last night when they had been laying even closer in bed?
Zayn watches Liam out of the corner of his eye as he and Louis joke with the interviewer. He looks normal, not awkward like Zayn feels.
'Okay, then,' Zayn decides. If he can't trust himself to act normally, then he will just do what Liam does. He knows that he can trust Liam to do what's best for everyone.
- - -
Something is off.
Which is weird, because at the same time everything is so brilliant right now. The butterflies he's used to living with by now have transformed into something else entirely and every time he catches Zayn's eye, it kind of feels like he's about to throw up.
But in a good way.
And every time he lets his mind wander, it immediately goes to the last time he and Zayn kissed, or the next time they might kiss. If he's alone, he lets himself think about the other stuff. The touching and rubbing, the way Zayn pulls at him and presses up against him and asks him to do things that still make Liam blush days later.
Things are so perfect that Liam isn't able to put is finger on what's wrong for about a week.
When he does, he wonders if he should say anything, or if it's just a natural progression in their relationship.
Except it's just weird, now that he's realized what it is.
He's sitting next to Zayn, crammed into a space that is really not meant to seat five young men, and yet Zayn is hardly touching him. Which is maybe for the best because the last time Liam was perched above Zayn on the arm of a couch like this, he ended up with a lap-full as Zayn lounged back against him for half the interview.
Liam's pretty sure that Zayn in his lap right now would only end in awkwardness for everyone.
Still, this isn't the first time in the past two weeks where Zayn has avoided situations that he normally wouldn't have thought twice about launching himself into. Literally. Liam can't remember the last time Zayn threw himself across Liam in public.
He considers initiating something himself -- maybe a hand to the back of Zayn's neck -- but then Niall is deflecting a question his way and he settles for a hand on the back of the couch instead.
That night, after three more interviews and a signing/mini-performance, Liam decides to bring it up as casually as possible.
"Can I ask you something?"
Zayn looks away from the mirror and raises an eyebrow at Liam because, yeah, he's brushing his teeth right now, but he gestures for Liam to go ahead anyway.
Liam smiles, and decides to forget casual. "Are you avoiding touching me in public because you're afraid someone will figure out there's something going on between us?"
Zayn's face changes, but Liam can't tell what it means. He waits for Zayn to finish brushing -- which definitely takes longer than usual -- and spitting and rinsing his mouth and okay, he is totally stalling.
Liam walks into the bathroom and nudges his hip against Zayn's, watching the other boy in the mirror.
"Not exactly," Zayn says finally.
Liam runs the backs of his fingers down Zayn's arm and waits.
"I just... I felt like I didn't know how to act around you all of a sudden. Like what was too much. Or what you would be comfortable with. So I decided to just do what you did. And you, well you don't really touch me as much as I used to touch you, so..."
"Zayn," Liam whispers, and Zayn turns to face him without resistance. He feels like his heart is too full, or maybe not full enough. "Please don't change anything about yourself or how you act around me. The way you touch and interact with people is something I love about you. I love you exactly the way you are; I think you're perfect. Just, everything about you is perfect. Everything."
Zayn is looking down at his hands which have come up between them and fisted in the front of Liam's t-shirt. When he hears Zayn swallow audibly, Liam tips the other boy's chin up gently.
Zayn nods and swallows again. "Yeah, it's just a lot, yeah?"
"No," Zayn says, quickly, tugging Liam a little bit closer, "no, I just... I love you so much, I'm in love with you 'cause you're what I've always wanted and I don't know what I would do without you."
Liam wraps his arms around Zayn's shoulders and squeezes as Zayn wraps his arms around Liam's waist.
They stand pressed together for several moments, just breathing.
"So we're in agreement, then?" Liam asks eventually.
"About what," Zayn asks without bothering to move his face from the crook of Liam's neck.
"That we'd both feel better if you go back to acting how you always act around me in public."
Zayn laughs and does pull back, then. "Poor Liam, were you worried I didn't want you anymore?"
"Yeah, right," Liam teases back, "Like you could ever resist all this."
Zayn's face does that new thing where he looks shy and like he wants to climb into Liam's lap for a cuddle, but then also like maybe he wants to snog Liam senseless.
Liam's learned that the best thing to do when Zayn makes that face is to be bold enough for the both of them, so he leans in a captures Zayn's lips with his own.
Zayn opens his mouth immediately, and the next thing he knows, Zayn is up on the bathroom counter, legs spread wide for Liam's hips.
Liam pulls Zayn as close to him as possible, as close as two bodies can be, but it's still not enough, so he pulls again and lifts, and luckily Zayn's arms were already around his neck so that all he has to do is lock his legs around Liam's waist.
"Liam!" Zayn protests, laughing as Liam propels them out of the bathroom and onto the nearest bed. They fall on their sides, still entwined, and Zayn is laughing, but also punching him in the arm. "You could've hurt yourself."
"Nah," Liam says, rolling them so that he's braced above his boyfriend. He tries to take in all of how Zayn looks now, because he knows from past experience that he doesn't have long to stare.
Sure enough, Zayn punches him again after only a few seconds. "What're you looking at?"
"Everything," Liam answers.
Zayn rolls his eyes to distract Liam from the blush that colors his cheeks, and pulls Liam back into his arms.
- - -
The next morning, Liam feels like he is on top of the world. Everything is brilliant and he is worried about nothing.
When Zayn walks into the hotel restaurant, Liam's stomach clenches and his heart picks up, and he wonders for how much longer will that happen?
"Morning," Zayn greets everyone when he's reached their table, because he is the last one to breakfast. He's greeted by a chorus of 'good morning's in return, and as Zayn sits down next to him, Liam feels like he can't quite handle how awesome his life is.
Then Zayn leans over and smacks a kiss onto the side of his face before stealing a piece of Liam's toast, and it's like Liam's blood can't decide whether to rush to his face or between his legs.
Right. Well. He did ask Zayn to act normal again.
Liam takes another piece of toast from the center of the table and inches his foot over until his shoe is pressed against Zayn's. Really, he wouldn't want things any other way.