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fic: More Than This (Zaim)
Title: You Are Everything I See
Rating: R
Warning(s): ituations in which the boys are improbably allowed to do things that ppl would never agree to
Disclaimer:I cannot and do not own/know/associate with/stalk the real people mentioned herein. The following are works of fiction. No money was made in their creation.
Summary: ayn and Liam's first swim lesson turns into something a lot more complicated.

When Liam asks Zayn if they can go to a pool and he'll teach him how to swim, Zayn agrees -- because it's the polite thing to do at the time -- and then happily lets Liam forget all about it. They're busy enough that even if Liam doesn't mean for it to, their agreement slips from his mind as soon as the interview ends.

Or, at least Zayn assumed it did.

It's only been two hours since Zayn sang a solo on top of a moving truck-bed in front of billions of people, and he's still having trouble believing it happened.

"Maybe I'm dead," he muses outloud to Louis, who is sitting next to him at their table. He's not sure where the others have gone off to, but he's heard the American gymnastics team is here, so that might be the first place he'd look if he were inclined to. "Maybe I fell of the lorry and broke my neck and this is all just limbo or something."

"Like Lost?" Louis asks.

Zayn turns to face him, "What?"

"Nevermind," Louis answers. "But you're not dead."

"How can you know?"

"If you were dead, could I do this?" he asks, and then promptly pinches Zayn's side painfully.

"Ow!" Zayn exclaims, scooting away from Louis. "Yes? I don't know."

"Exactly," Louis says and that, it seems, is the end of it.

Another two hours later, Liam is pressed up to Zayn's side speaking too quickly for Zayn to really understand.

"The pool," Liam repeats, his voice still incredibly high. "They said we could!"

"Could what?" Zayn asks slowly, already dreading the answer.

"Swim! C'mon, let me teach you!"

"No," Zayn says immediately.

"Yes, please? This is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity!" Liam pleads, even though Zayn hasn't stopped shaking his head.

"No," Zayn says again.

"Why not?"

"Because it's the Olympics and there's no shallow end!" Zayn practically shouts. It's loud in here and he wants to make sure Liam gets his point.

Liam's face softens and he says, "But I'll be there," just as softly.

"Li..." Zayn trails off. He can feel himself giving in, like he always seems to do when Liam really wants something. There's a gravity to Liam that Zayn just can't escape, though he's honestly never really tried.

Liam grins because he knows he's won, and grabs Zayn's wrist to pull him out of the party. The others are already waiting outside, practically vibrating with energy. Paul gives them all a stern look like he can't believe they acutally talked anyone into letting them do this.

Harry and Louis run all the way there, despite Paul's protests, so Liam ends up dragging Zayn along as quickly as Zayn will let him.

The dressing rooms are nothing special, but when they walk out into the pool house proper, through the swimmers' entrance, everyone just kind of stops and stares. Most of the lights are off, but every light in the pool is on and they give the water a beautiful, shining glow.

Harry breaks the silence with a delighted laugh and begins stripping down. Louis and Niall are quick to follow his example, and then all three of them are off, running to the pool in nothing but their boxers and jumping straight in.

Zayn watches them laugh and swim and splash each other, and there's a large part of him that really does want to join them.

"Alright," he says because he can feel Liam watching him. "Let's get this over with."

He strips down and tries not to watch Liam do the same, though he can see him moving out of the corner of his eye.

They walk toward the water and then sit down on the edge with their lower legs submerged. Liam knocks their shoulders together and then slips into the water. He seems to sink forever, air bubbles streaming out of his mouth, and then he's shooting back up to the surface and grinning at Zayn.

"Ready?" he asks.

"No," Zayn says, but turns to grip the side of the pool anyway. As he begins to inch his hips toward the edge of the pool, Zayn feels Liam's hands come up to support his waist.

Carefully, Zayn slides into the water. Once he's in up to his shoulders he looks up and sees that Paul has his laser-vision honed in on him. Zayn wants to laugh because if there's one person who's probably more nervous about this than he is, it's Paul. Zayn shoots him a grin that he hopes is reassuring.

"Alright," Liam says and squeezes his hands around Zayn's waist. "First I think we should try to tread water."

"Sounds easy enough," Zayn says, turning his head. Liam is right behind him and if this wasn't so terrifying, Zayn would probably think it was kind of hot, what with their slippery bodies brushing against each other and all.

"So what I want you to do is kick your legs out like you're on a bike."

Zayn laughs because that sounds ridiculous, but he gives it a try anyway. It's awkward, and he keeps kicking the wall on accident, so he extends his arms. For a split second, Liam is pressed up against his back, wet, bare skin against wet, bare skin, and it feels amazing. A shudder runs down Zayn's spine.

"Good, I think," Liam says, moving around to Zayn's side and watching his legs move in the water. "Hold on." And with that he's beneath the water. Zayn stills his legs, afraid of kicking Liam, but then he feels Liam's hands around his ankles, moving his legs in the way that he wants them to move.

The motion is a little different now, more of an egg-beater movement than a bike, but he keeps kicking, trying to recreate it each time.

Liam resurfaces, a wide smile on his face.

"Good," he says. "How does it feel?"

"Dunno," Zayn says. "Fine, I guess."

"Okay, let's try to add your arms."

Zayn shoots Liam a looks that he hopes conveys his desire to not do that.

Liam just smiles at him.

"Just one arm at a time," he says in that reassuring way he has. "I'll keep you up."

With that, Liam braces his left arm on the concrete outside the pool and coaxes Zayn's left arm into the water so that it's gripping Liam's other forearm.

"Okay," Liam says. "Now use your right arm to kind of push the water around you down and out, away from your body."

Zayn holds the side of the pool in a death grip for several long seconds before letting his right arm drop into the water. Immediately he begins kicking and flailing like a mad man.

"Slower!" Liam says, laughter in his voice. "I've got you. It should feel natural."

Zayn puts his hand back on the wall to focus on slowing his legs. When it feels "natural," he puts his arm back in the water.

"Okay?" Liam asks, after thirty seconds have passed and Zayn hasn't said a word.

"Am I swimming?" Zayn asks, finally looking up at Liam. He knows the grin on his face is probably a little ridiculous.

"Yeah, almost," Liam answers, a grin splitting his face too. "Gotta let go of me, though."

"Okay," Zayn says, but doesn't actually let go. "Okay."

"Okay?" Liam laughs when Zayn still doesn't let go.

"Yeah. Just gimme a second."

Liam waits, patient as ever, while Zayn tells himself he can do this. He lets the mantra run through his head until it's a hum of words around his brain, and then he lets go.

His nerves have him kicking and flailing so hard, he shoots out of the water a ways, but then he's got it. He knows his rythm is a lot faster than Liam's, but he's doing it. He's treading water and not holding onto anything at all, and even when he starts to sink a little, Liam's right there to grab him around his waist.

"That was amazing!" Liam exclaims, like maybe he was the one to just tread water for the first time.

"I know!" Zayn agrees, and he knows he shouldn't do it, knows that he heard other voices earlier, and that anyone could be watching them, but he also knows that Paul is across the pool, carefully monitoring a hold-your-breath competition between the others, and that Liam is right here: wet and smiling and so perfect.

Before Zayn can think his way out of it, he grabs Liam's face and plants a wet, sweet kiss onto his lips.

Liam doesn't drop him into the water, but Zayn feels his arm almost jerk away in response. Zayn lets go of him to grab onto the wall instead.

"Zayn," Liam says, and Zayn doesn't even have to see his face to know that he made a mistake. "You can't just-"

"Sorry," Zayn says to cut him off. "It was nothing, yeah? Just messing around."

Liam looks at him, long and hard, and says, "That's what you said last time."

Zayn briefly, melodramatically, considers letting himself sink into the water to avoid what this conversation has turned into, but he's saved from having to drown or say anything by Harry shouting, "You came!"

"We came!" a voice gleefully afirms, the sound echoing around the building.

Zayn looks towards the dressing rooms and leave it to Harry to somehow befriend the British Olympic swim team. Carefully he edges away from Liam as they both watch Harry pull himself out of the water to greet the newcomers, some of whom are already stripping down.

Then Harry starts walking over and Zayn realizes belatedly that he's coming to talk to them.

"So, I thought that if you were going to learn how to swim," Harry says to Zayn, "you might as well learn from a professional."

And again, leave it to Harry to find Zayn a swim instructor who has about as many screaming, young fans as they do.

"Hi," Tom Daley says, waving in a way that is probably meant for both Liam and Zayn, but ends up being mostly for Zayn.

"Hi," Zayn manages because the situation has gone from fucked to weird, and he's not sure how to feel about that.

"When Harry said his friend didn't know how to swim, I was expecting to have to coax someone into the water. You're brave," he says, smiling at Zayn.

"Well, Liam," Zayn starts to say, turning to look at him, but Liam is in the process of pulling himself out of the pool. Zayn is both confused by his actions and distracted by the way he can see the water trail down Liam's abs.

"Yeah, guess I did the hard part," Liam says, bright and cheerful. He shakes Tom's hand in greeting. "I've leave the rest to you."

They all laugh good-naturedly, Harry and Tom and Liam, and Zayn just stares up at them without a clue what to do.

- - -

Liam shakes Tom's hand, makes a joking excuse for his departure, and goes to introduce himself to the other Olympians who have shown up. Because he's being polite. Not because he feels the need to get away from Zayn as soon as possible.

Well, yes, to get away from Zayn, but he hopes that to everyone else it just looks like he's being polite.


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