Must Admit I've Been Holding BackPairing:
PG-13Summary: Zayn doesn’t want him to back off, is the thing. He wants to find a corner and shove Niall into it, get him to do the opposite of backing off. Zayn knows it’s a terrible idea, but he can’t seem to get rid of it. Author's Notes:
Thanks to fiddleyoumust
for the quick once over. Any mistakes are my own. As always, this is not real. Please do not read this if you are or know anyone mentioned within.
It’s nearly one in the morning and Zayn is drunk. He's not drunk to the point where he can't recognize a terrible idea for what it is, but he's definitely drunk enough that knowing an idea is terrible isn't helping to make it any less appealing.
He's just tried explaining this concept to Harry, but Harry is looking at him as if he's speaking another language. And maybe he is. Drunken conversations never hold the same meaning from one person to the next. It's like a bad game of telephone, only you don't need more than two people playing to get the message jumbled.
"Whatever. All I'm saying is, Niall makes everything so much harder when we're drunk."
Harry laughs obnoxiously at that. "Makes you harder, more like."
"That's pretty much what I meant by 'everything', yeah," Zayn says. And if he were sober he'd probably be embarrassed to admit that, but he's not sober and Harry has known about his thing for Niall for ages anyway.
"Wait, are you seriously hard right now?" Harry asks, groping up Zayn's thigh and cupping a hand over his dick.
Zayn is half-hard, actually, and Harry isn't helping.
He swats at Harry's hand and Harry backs off, says, "The next time he cuddles up on you, point that thing at him. Let the cat out of the bag. The snake out of the garden? I can't come up with a proper metaphor for your dick right now, mate, but what I mean is, let him know he's getting to you and maybe he'll back off."
Zayn doesn’t want him to back off, is the thing. He wants to find a corner and shove Niall into it, get him to do the opposite of backing off. Zayn knows it’s a terrible idea, but he can’t seem to get rid of it.
“I need another drink,” Zayn says. “Where the fuck is Louis?”
He stands up and scans the crowd for Louis who is supposed to be bringing them another round. Instead, his eyes catch on Niall. He’s in the middle of the dance floor pressed up against a redhead who is doing her level best to crawl up under his shirt. Zayn makes himself look away. He tries to ignore it, but by the time Louis gets back with their drinks, he’s had about enough.
“Right. I’m gonna go save Niall.”
“Pretty sure Niall doesn’t need saving,” Louis says, clinking his glass against Harry’s and chugging half of it down in one go. “Cheers, mate.”
Louis turns to tap his glass with Zayn’s, but Zayn is already several meters away, shoving through the crowd.
He downs his drink on the way and abandons the empty glass on a random table. By the time he reaches Niall his head is beginning to feel like someone has stuffed it full of cotton. It’s not an entirely unpleasant feeling.
He’s close enough now that he could reach out and grab Niall’s arm, but the girl is in the way, plastered to his front so entirely that Zayn is having a hard time telling where she ends and Niall begins. He resists the urge to shove in between them, moves until he’s behind Niall and wraps his arms around his waist.
Niall lets go of the girl and pretty much melts back against Zayn, and that’s not entirely unpleasant either, which is pretty much the problem.
He puts his lips to Niall’s ear and says, “Come on,” over the pounding bass. He’s more pleased than he should be when Niall lets Zayn drag him off without a second glance at the girl.
They make their way to the VIP area and Zayn bypasses the booth where Harry and Louis are sitting, pushes Niall into one farther back and squeezes in next to him. Niall is flushed from the alcohol and from dancing, and Zayn can’t help staring at the way the pink spreads down beneath the neck of his shirt.
He rests a hand on the side of Niall’s neck. His skin is warm and slick with sweat and Zayn wants to put his mouth there, wants to taste him, thinks he’d probably be salty. Zayn likes salty things.
He’s walking a line, slowly tripping over into the kind of drunk where nothing seems like a bad idea anymore, where there’s no disconnect between wanting to do something and actually doing it. Somehow he manages to keep his mouth to himself.
“That girl was hot,” he comments, sliding his fingers up into the hair at the nape of Niall’s neck.
Niall leans into the touch and his eyes slip closed. “What girl?”
Zayn laughs, tips forward, presses his forehead to Niall’s temple.
“The one you were dancing with.”
“Was she?” Niall asks.
“You know she was.” Zayn doesn’t have to move far to speak directly into Niall’s ear. “She probably would have gone down on you right there in the middle of the dance floor if you’d asked her.”
Niall’s cheeks go even pinker and he braces a hand on Zayn’s thigh, ducks his head and half-laughs with his bottom lip caught between his teeth. And it’s not fair, really, the way that makes heat pool in Zayn’s belly, makes him buzz with want.
He wishes he had another drink, something to keep his hands busy, something to keep what he says next from spilling out of his mouth.
“I wouldn’t have blamed her.”
Niall’s hand squeezes on Zayn’s thigh and he turns his head and then his mouth is right there, so close that Zayn can feel his breath on his chin. He can’t seem to make himself look anywhere else and he only registers that Niall is speaking when he sees his lips form Zayn’s name.
Niall grabs Zayn’s chin, forces his face up to meet his eyes. “I said, how drunk are you, mate?”
Zayn laughs, and if it’s a little hysterical, he doesn’t think Niall will notice over the noise of the club. “Not drunk enough, apparently.”
Niall’s eyebrows furrow and his mouth tips down into a little frown, but he’s still right there in Zayn’s space, is still digging his fingers into Zayn’s leg.
Zayn wants to cover that frown with his lips, change its shape with teeth and tongues. Before he can do or say anything too stupid, though, Louis shows up, leaning across the table to get their attention.
“Time to go, boys. Liam will be cross if we’re not all bright-eyed in the morning.”
Zayn startles, pulls away from Niall like he’s been shocked, stumbles out of the booth and into Harry who steadies him and then slings an arm over his shoulder.
“So, did you lay one on him?” Harry asks.
Zayn shoots a horrified look over his shoulder to see if Niall’s heard because Harry’s never subtle, and especially not when alcohol is involved, but Niall’s attention is otherwise occupied, still in the booth, laughing at something Louis has said.
“I’m going to take that as a no,” Harry says, smirking, and Zayn isn’t about to admit how close he’d actually come.
“You should just do it, mate. He might be into it.”
“Or he might clock me in the face,” Zayn says. They’re shoving through the middle of the club now, having to shout to be heard over the music, and Zayn keeps looking behind to make sure that Louis and Niall are a safe distance away.
Harry shakes his head. “It’s Niall. I’m not sure he even knows how to make a fist.”
“Fine, he’d run away then.” And Zayn thinks that might hurt worse than a black eye. It would certainly last longer.
“He might do,” Harry concedes, and when Zayn pulls a face, he laughs. “What? I’d run if you tried snogging me.”
Zayn ducks out from under Harry’s arm and gives him a shove. “Such a liar.”
Harry tugs him back in, nuzzles into his neck. “You’re right, I am.”
They make it outside where security is waiting to usher them into a car. Niall and Louis join them after a moment, and Harry earns an elbow to the stomach when he starts humming I Should’ve Kissed You under his breath.
On stage the next night, Zayn sings one of his solos straight to Liam, crowds up in his space and strokes a hand down his cheek. It’s just something they do, half because it makes the crowd go wild and half mocking them for it.
This time, though, Niall is watching them intently from across the stage, and that’s new. When Zayn catches him staring he doesn’t look away, doesn’t blink and It makes Zayn feel hot all over, a burn creeping in under the heat of the motion and the lights. Something about Niall’s expression has him stuck for a moment, his thoughts scrambling like an egg in a pan. Liam tugs on the tail of his shirt, and Zayn has to tear his eyes away, force himself back into motion.
It doesn’t stop there. Later, Niall squeezes in between Zayn and Liam on the sofa and rests his chin on Zayn’s shoulder. He leaves it there for an entire song, doesn’t even move to lift his mic when it comes time for his solo. He wraps his fingers around Zayn’s wrist instead, tugs until he tilts his own mic over for Niall to sing into.
For the rest of the show, Niall’s attention is focused solely on Zayn. Zayn doesn’t know what to make of it, because Niall is usually all over the place, bouncing from one side of the sage to the other with a manic energy that even Harry and Louis can’t match. Tonight, though, he’s holding himself back, slowing himself down to match Zayn’s pace.
When he’s not crowding up into Zayn’s space, he’s watching him carefully, like there’s something there that needs puzzling out.
He wants to push back, wants to hold Niall’s gaze, step into his space and flirt the way he does with Liam, but he’s not sure what it means on Niall’s end, knows that it means entirely too much on his. So he keeps his hands to himself, doesn’t allow himself to look for too long.
He’s hyper aware of Niall’s eyes on him, though, of his position on the stage at all times. By the end of the show he’s wound so tight he feels like he might snap in half.
In the dressing room after, everything seems back to normal. Niall peels off his shirt and spins it like a towel, uses it to pop Louis on the bum. It turns into a wrestling match, Louis and Liam piled on top of Niall, Harry egging them on. It only ends when Paul reminds them it’s a bus night, and that they have to shower at the venue.
Harry makes quick work of calling first shower and the others follow suit. Zayn is so busy watching Niall disentangle himself from the mess of limbs, shirtless and flushed, that he doesn’t realize he should be chiming in until it’s too late and Louis says, “That makes you last, mate.”
Zayn comes out of the shower after he’s finally had his turn and the dressing room is empty of everyone but Niall. He tries not to notice the way Niall’s hair is still damp, the way it curls up a little at the nape of his neck.
“The rest of the lads at the bus already?” he asks, tugging sweats on over his pants, following with a t-shirt.
Niall nods and doesn’t say anything, just watches Zayn in that focused way he’s had all night. It makes Zayn’s stomach flip, makes his palms itch to touch. He’s exhausted, and it’s not exactly like being drunk, but it’s not so different either. His head feels fuzzy and his inhibitions don’t hold up as well.
That’s why he doesn’t think before he says, “You’ve been watching me.”
Niall shrugs and tugs his fingers through his hair. “You’re worth watching.”
Zayn doesn’t know what to say to that, still isn’t sure what game Niall’s playing. He bites his lip, huffs out a frustrated little laugh.
“Did Harry put you up to this?”
“What’s Harry got to do with anything?” Niall asks. He’s been sitting in a folding chair, but he stands up now, takes a couple of steps toward Zayn, his head tilted like he’s considering something.
Zayn shuffles half a step forward, reaches a hand out to stop Niall from coming any closer, or to tug him in, or just to hold on, he’s not really sure. Niall’s got him off balance.
“Last night, I thought maybe you wanted to kiss me,” he says. “But then you didn’t.
And oh, that’s what this is about. Zayn feels like maybe he should be panicking, but Niall looks more curious than anything. He takes another step forward and his brain is screaming bad idea, bad idea
, but he’s not really listening.
Niall moves forward too, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
“Do you want to kiss me now?” he asks.
Zayn reaches a tentative hand out, curls it around Niall’s hip. “Will you run away if I say yes?”
Niall laughs and something in Zayn’s chest comes loose.
“You’re an idiot,” Niall says, and then he’s fisting his hands in Zayn’s shirt and pressing their lips together.
Zayn feels lightheaded, like he might float away, but Niall is pressing closer, anchoring him to the ground.
“Kiss me back already,” Niall complains, nipping at Zayn’s jaw, and right. Zayn’s been waiting for this, has been wanting to do it for ages, he isn’t going to let it happen without him.
He hooks an arm around Niall’s waist and drags their hips together, licks his way into Niall’s mouth and wishes they were standing against a wall so that he didn’t have to focus on keeping upright.
Zayn loses track of time, focuses on giving as good as he’s getting. He doesn’t know how long they’ve been at it, but it must have been a while, because when Harry comes in and lets out a whoop they pull apart and Zayn’s mouth feels raw where Niall is gasping for breath against it.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Harry says. He’s grinning and Zayn laughs, buries his face in the crook of Niall’s neck.
Niall tugs lightly on the ends of Zayn’s hair. “Time to relocate.”
They follow Harry out to the bus and Zayn smiles when Niall’s fingers slip through his.
The next night on stage is much the same, but this time Zayn knows what it means. He swoops in to smooth the collar of Niall’s shirt and gives him a wink.
Later, Niall leans in and says, “We’ve got a hotel tonight.”
It sounds like an offer, and it’s one Zayn can’t wait to take him up on.