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If You Play With Fire (You Might Get Burned)

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Niall first shows signs of his elemental status when he’s twelve years old. It’s a bit earlier than most he’s told by his mother but he’s not the youngest person to start showing signs either. Just like his mother he’s able to control and manipulate fire but he knows he won’t come into his full powers until he’s sixteen.

A few weeks after he turns sixteen though is when he wakes up feeling like he has lightning or something underneath his skin and they find out that he’s got not just one but two elemental powers at his disposal. A rarity in pure blooded elementals it’s almost unheard of for someone like Niall who only has a mother who carries the gene when his father doesn’t have a supernatural bone in his body. With not just one power to gain control over but two Niall spends a lot of his time outside of school working with his mother to really focus on what he needs to do so he doesn’t set off his powers unintentionally. During this time period though Niall does accidently set the shed in his grandparents backyard on fire (okay maybe he does that like three times but his grandma covers for him because she’s awesome); and on top of that one time causes a freak lightning storm after a huge fight with his girlfriend Holly.

Despite all of this Niall decides to try out for the X-Factor even though both of his parents advise against it due to the stress that he’ll be under if he actually gets through. This is his dream, he doesn’t want to wait until he’s got his powers under control completely, there’s something about the X-Factor that’s calling to him in a way he’s never felt before. He ends up being right when he’s stood on a stage with four other boys and Simon’s putting them through and he’s part of a band.

From that moment on it’s like he doesn’t get a second to breathe let alone worry about his powers. Being in One Direction is a whirlwind that Niall can’t let be ruined by his secret getting out before he’s ready. He decides not to tell the others about his powers until he knows that he has them under control to show them that he won’t ever hurt them; but then by the time he does it’s been so long that he doesn’t know how to bring the topic up.

He’s not sure how the rest of them will react if or when he ever tells them, it’s been so long and he’s told them everything else about himself that he knows that at least one of the boys is going to be upset with him. Some days are harder than others to keep his secret in but he does it because he’s afraid of what would happen now if he were to tell them. He can’t handle it if once he does tell them that it ruins everything that the five of them have worked so hard for. So he lives with his powers quietly only freely using them around his family when he’s home or on those rare nights he spends alone in hotel rooms. It’s not exactly what he wants but it’s what he’s going to live with for now, even if he hates it.

By the time he’s 21 and their fourth world tour rolls around he only ever uses his powers if he knows it’s going to help them out and the rest of the time that he’s with his boys he almost forgets that he’s even different in the first place. So because of this when he sits with the other boys and listens as Zayn says he’s quitting the band it’s almost a surprise when he can feel his fingertips grow warm as his skin starts to feel like a livewire ready to shock anyone who touches him. He’s glad that he’s on the edge of the couch and not in the middle because he’s able to block out the others for a moment and focus on getting his emotions under control. Niall won’t allow himself to lose control right now, he can’t let his secret get out at a moment like this that’s so much more important.

Finally after what seems like an eternity the buzzing under his skin stops and his fingertips grow colder and when he focuses back on the conversation it’s like his ears are ringing with static noise. He tries to listen to the other’s all try and change Zayn’s mind but Niall knows that it’s futile. He can hear Zayn’s voice in the back of his mind from months before whispering, “I love signing yeah, and I love you boys but sometimes the rest is just too much.” So even though it’s not a surprise to Niall that Zayn’s quitting and leaving them behind for a life that he craves it still shocks and hurts him to his core.

“It’s okay,” someone says and the conversation stops around him as he realizes that it was actually him that said it. Zayn looks exhausted through the screen of Liam’s MacBook and his eyes are rimmed in red from tears, but he’s looking at Niall like that’s all he needed to hear.

“It’s okay Zayn, you have to do what’s right for you,” he continues as the other boys hush and he knows that it’s what they need to hear too. That they all need to not be selfish even though Niall knows that all of them are breaking inside in a way that none of them have ever really been broken. He knows that this conversation can continue for hours and hours and they won’t get anywhere of importance except right back here and Niall can’t sit around any longer if he wants to be able to get onstage in two hours without causing bolts of lightning to rain from the skies like water.

The others all nod their ascent and it doesn’t take much longer for them to briefly discuss when a statement will be released and how it will happen. After Zayn’s gone from the screen the four of them sit there and none of them say a word. At least Niall doesn’t think any of them say anything, he’s so focused on making sure he doesn’t burn a hole in the couch that he’s blocked out everything else. Soon enough though members of their management team are swirling around as the four of them work on what they want their part of the statement to say. It takes a shorter amount of time than Niall expected it too but he knows they have a show to get ready for. Niall doesn’t know how they’re going to pull this show off knowing that the fans out there have no idea what’s just happened. The statement is set to go out just after they get off stage so they’re walking into a naïve crowd.

Like always once the show gets started it’s like nothing else exists in his world. He puts all his focus and energy into performing and joking around with the other boys. If he doesn’t he’s well aware that instead he’ll be focusing on the fact that he feels ruined inside and he can’t let his emotions take over when he has such fragile control of his powers right now. The adrenaline is still coursing through his veins when they bow for the final time but it hits him once he’s been un-miked that they just performed for the first time as an official four-piece.

He must look like a right mess just standing in the middle of the hallway everyone moving around him as he stands stock still. The other boys are around him somewhere but Niall can’t exactly tell where they are as he starts to feel his hair stand on end and his veins sparking with electricity. He hasn’t felt this out of control of his powers since the fight he had with Holly right before he tried out for X-Factor. Niall looks down at his hands and sees that his fingertips are starting to steam just slightly like they do before they shoot flames or he makes fireballs.

His fight or flight instinct kicks in and ignoring the yells of his name from behind him he breaks into a sprint and finds the closest empty room that he can so he can try and calm down. Ignoring everything around him he starts pacing from side to side trying to get himself under control but his emotions are all over the place and he can’t get a handle on anything. He’s so focused that he doesn’t realize when the other three boys enter the room or hear as they call his name again. The next thing Niall registers though is a hand on his arm that grabs him in an effort to make him stop pacing. He can’t help it when the next second his body lets off a wave of electricity and the hand is removed quickly with a shout as the lights flicker and he looks up sharply into the faces of his remaining bandmates and feels dread.

“What the fuck was that?” Liam asks cradling his hand against his chest as Niall realizes that he must’ve just given Liam the literal shock of his life.

“Oh god Liam I’m so sorry,” he says as he reaches for his friend only for Liam to take a step back. When he does Niall’s heart sinks like a stone to the bottom of his stomach and it’s like all of his fears have been realized. Liam’s regarding him warily and he looks just past him to see Louis and Harry standing there as well. While Louis looks curious and slightly upset Harry’s face speaks volumes that make Niall want to throw up. Harry looks angry and hurt in a way that Niall’s only ever seen one other time in his life; after a long day of promo when Harry had just broken up with Taylor and he and Louis got in a huge fight over a handful of rude tweets fans kept sending Lottie on twitter about the two of them.

“Is anyone going to say anything? Because I’d like to know why you look like you belong in an episode of Teen Wolf right now Niall,” Louis pipes up after a few more long tense moments of silence. Its then that Niall realizes that his body is still letting off sparks of electricity that arch and bend together like tiny bolts of lightning flying off his skin. He goes to say something but another voice beats him too it,

“He’s an elemental, he can control a specific element and from the way his body looks like its own personal lightning storm I’m guessing it has something to do with that. Am I right Niall?” Harry asks hurt lacing his words as he does.

“And fire, I can control fire too,” he whispers wondering how Harry even knows what an elemental is. Harry must see the question on his face because he answers right as Niall remembers exactly how Harry knows.

“Nick knows doesn’t he? Told me once that you all can sniff each other out like dogs,” Harry asks as Niall nods his head in the affirmative. Grimmy was one of the only people outside of his family that knew because he was an elemental as well. Even though the older man’s power was water Niall had spent quite a few secret afternoon’s with him getting his own powers under control since he couldn’t work with his mother all that often anymore. It hadn’t taken long for Nick to realize that he was keeping it all a secret from his bandmates. When he had he spilled the beans that Harry was very much aware of what Nick was.

“So what its like superpowers or something?” Louis asks diverting the tension for the moment.

“Kind of? If you want to think of it like that sure, don’t really use them for that all that often, me mum never did but yeah.”

“Wicked,” Louis replies his face lighting up like Niall didn’t just reveal that he’s been keeping a huge part of his life a secret from them for the past four and a half years.

“You lied to us,” Harry pipes up and Niall bows his head in shame hating that he knows he’s hurt his friend deeply. This was the worst possible time for his secret to come out all of them are emotional right now and to have Harry looking at him like he is makes Niall feel like he might’ve just ruined them permanently.

“I’m sorry I just I was scared, I was young and I didn’t have control and I was scared, Hazza please we’ll talk about all of it okay? Please?” he feels like he’s begging but that’s the only thing he can think of doing right now that might possibly make Harry stay and talk with him about this.

“I don’t know if I can right now,” Harry finally says as he turns heel and leaves the room as Niall feels his heart break all over again. He watches as Liam looks between him and the door still regarding Niall with a caution he hasn’t seen since the day they first met but he nods because Harry deserves someone to be with him right now. If Liam’s not ready to be around Niall then he won’t force him, it hurts but he can tell from Liam’s face that he’s not angry or hurt, emotionally that is, like Harry so he silently tells the slightly older boy to go.

It’s just him and Louis in the room then, the oldest boy still gazing at Niall like he’s the most fascinating thing that he’s ever seen. Despite their lives and the amount of times he’s seen random fans look him that way it’s a bit unnerving to see Louis looking like that.

“We should head to the hotel,” he finally says when he realizes that his body has calmed down and he’s not about to cause any major incidents.

“Yeah sounds good, you can tell me more about this whole superpower thing you’ve got going on,” Louis says throwing an arm around Niall’s shoulders without a care and not like he just saw Niall give Liam the shock of his life.

“Not superpowers Tommo,” he replies knowing that he’s probably going to have to tell Louis that all the time now.

“Whatever you say young Niall,” the older boy replies ruffling his hair affectionately.

The car ride back to the hotel is quick and silent though comfortable despite everything that’s occurred in the past twelve hours. Once they get back Niall’s not surprised that Louis follows him to his room instead of heading off on his own. Even if Niall’s secret hadn’t come out tonight he knows that none of them would be alone tonight after the news they received that afternoon.

“So you got your powers from your mum then?” Louis asks after they’ve both showered and changed into some comfier clothes.

“Yeah, she can make fire like I can but the like electricity thing is all mine.”

“Your dad doesn’t have any powers then?”

“Nope, it’s uh kind of really rare for elementals to be able to control more than one thing so uh the fact that only one of my parents is an elemental in the first place makes me like really rare I guess? Grimmy said he’s only met one other person that can control two elements and they come from a family full of elementals,” Niall replies with a shrug trying to downplay the fact that he’s sort of special in his little community.

“So Grimshaw’s an elemental too then?”

“Yeah he’s helped a lot with like my control and stuff, my mum helped before the band but it was easier for me to find someone close by that could help especially in the beginning.”

“I’m glad you had him then, wish you would’ve told us a long time ago though,” Louis admits making Niall wince.

“I wanted too but like my control wasn’t the greatest when we first started out so I didn’t want to scare any of you by hurting you accidently ya know? Especially since I didn’t even know I was going to have two powers until after I turned sixteen. Knew about the fire since I was about twelve, it’s when I started showing signs and all that but like the whole electricity lightning stuff threw me off when it showed up.”

“We wouldn’t have cared you know that right?”

“Course I do but I just didn’t want this to ruin anything, looks like it has anyways though,” he mumbles looking down at his hands as he feels tears start to well up in his eyes. Niall’s prone to tearing up and getting emotional sometimes but he’s never really been one to actually cry all that often. The emotions of the day have been so much that Niall’s really not surprised that he’s going to start crying in the first place.

“Hey Nialler it’ll be fine you didn’t fuck anything up okay? Harry will come around you know he will he just…he needs to be upset for a little while you know that,” Louis comforts him pulling Niall into a warm hug.

“This was the worst time for all of this to happen, fuck I just how did this happen?” Niall asks and Louis must know that he’s not asking about the reveal of his powers but Zayn instead.

“I don’t know, been thinking all day that I could’ve done something to make him stay ya know? Like it’s my fault all that shit happened with that girl and tabloids and shit and I just like I’m fucking pissed ya know? I’m pissed at him and at myself and I’m pissed at the people who’ve made it so fucking difficult for him the past few years.”

“It wasn’t your fault that some fan decided to start spreading lies to make a couple of pounds off a stupid story that one’s all on her.”

“Still feels like it was my fault, making him come out with me in the first place just cause I was fucked over after what happened with El,” Louis replies a tone of hurt lacing his tone at the mention of Eleanor.

“He wouldn’t have come if he didn’t want to, you know that,” Niall replies ignoring the Eleanor shaped elephant in the room. He’s sure Zayn knows the whole story and maybe Liam knows a fair amount too but Louis’ been tight lipped on why he and Eleanor decided to split up besides that the distance and touring was getting to be too much. Niall’s sure there’s more to it that Louis’ not telling but he doesn’t want to push it especially now.

“Still sucks, feel like a piece of me is missing ya know?”

“Course I do, I feel the same way,” he answers with a whisper as he stares down at his hands. As much as Niall’s never really wanted to think about it he knows that they won’t be One Direction forever. He just thought that when they did throw in the towel it would be all of them together, all five or die they use to say. Knowing now that he was wrong and that he’s going to finish this amazing journey without Zayn along with him and the other lads makes him feel a lot like the promises they made were all lies.

He hates that feeling though because he knows why Zayn’s leaving and he gets it he understands it and he doesn’t hate him for it but he’s still hurt and a little bit angry about it. He doesn’t want to be but he can’t help it that at the end of the day Zayn broke a promise that the five of them made around that stupid campfire before they even knew if they were getting past Judges Houses.

“You haven’t thought about it have you?” he asks Louis a few minutes later.

“What leaving? Never seriously, I know maybe the fans might think I’m like not in 100% sometimes but like I am yeah utterly and completely.”

“Me too like I’m not gonna leave, even if everything does go to shit now. Don’t know how I’m gonna be able to face Harry or Liam tomorrow.”

“We’ll be fine, like they’ll come around and you know it, Hazza can’t stay mad at you forever and Payno’s probably more in shock right now than anything. You know how he is sometimes with new information, he’s gotta absorb it all up and mull it over and then make his own conclusions on it.”

“Still it’s not every day you find out one of your best friends has been lying to you for almost five years,” he mutters now getting angry with himself for his past actions and thinking he needed to keep this stupid secret hidden for so long.

“Look Neil it’s not like you killed anybody yeah? You’ve just got these nifty little powers or whatever, it’s not the biggest deal in the world,” Niall shrugs knowing that Louis’ right even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, “let’s just go to sleep okay? A somewhat decent nights rest will do the both of us some good alright.” Niall agrees and shortly after they both crawl under the covers curled towards each other like parentheses.

“You want me to get the lights?” he asks after he realizes that all of them are still on and he knows that Louis always sleeps better with the lights off.

“You sure? Don’t need you to get up I’ll be fine.”

“Kind of don’t have to get up,” he replies before focusing on the energy in the room and one by one absorbing the light from each bulb into his outstretched palm.

“Wicked,” Louis whispers as he stares at the now pulsating ball of light Niall holds in his palm eyes wide and twinkling with excitement like its Christmas morning. Niall smiles and closes his hand around the ball of light and absorbs it into his own body pleased that he can impress Louis with his skills.

“Night Lou,” he whispers.

“Night you freaky lightbulb,” Louis quips making Niall chuckle as he drifts into an uneasy sleep but thankful he can sleep at all.

Niall wakes up the next morning in stages, when he first blinks his eyes open he finds his face buried in the nape of a familiar tan neck and his arm wrapped around Louis chest. Still half asleep he snuggles in closer glad for the friendly body before the memories from the day before start to filter in. First comes the fact that Zayn’s left and he’s not coming back like they all thought. The warm feelings in his belly grow cold again when he also remembers that his big secret is out as well. He stiffens briefly before he remembers how calm Louis was about learning he’s an elemental and how nice he made Niall feel the night before about sharing his powers with the older lad. It’s when he thinks of the other two that he starts to feel a bit sick.

He’s positive that the look of hurt and anger on Harry’s face will haunt him until even long after Harry’s found it in himself to forgive Niall. Niall knows that Harry will eventually, the five of them have been through too much for Harry not too, but he knows that it will take a long time.

“What’re you thinking about so hard this early in the morning?” Niall jumps unaware that Louis was already awake as well.

“Didn’t know you were awake,” he answers ignoring Louis question as the other boy turns fully so they’re facing each other.

“Wasn’t but like you kind of shocked me a little bit when you were waking up yourself I think.”

“Oh shit really? I’m sorry Tommo,” he replies starting to pull away from Louis who latches himself onto Niall tighter instead.

“Stop apologizing it wasn’t unpleasant or anything just a static shock or whatever you want to call it. Was kind of cool to be honest.”

“Really?”

“Yes you numpty now calm down alright? You aren’t going to scare me away that easily.”

“Good gotten used to your brand of crazy would hate to lose it,” Niall jokes causing Louis to growl at him as they roll around on the bed play fighting for a few minutes before collapsing into an exhausted heap on the floor after they’ve rolled off the bed. It’s calm and quiet between them as they both breathe heavily and let the last twenty-four hours really sink in.

“Nothing’s going to be the same anymore is it?” Louis asks uncharacteristically quiet.

“No I don’t think it will, but doesn’t mean that has to be in a bad way right? Like things are going to be shit for a bit but we’ll get the hang of it eventually,” Niall states with a shrug of his shoulders trying to believe his own words as he says them.

There’s a knock on their door a few minutes later Alberto telling them that they should get going soon to get on the plane to head to South Africa. They don’t take long to get ready and they meet up in the hotel lobby with the rest of the team that’s still there. Niall looks around but doesn’t spot Harry anywhere and overhears Lottie telling Louis that Harry left with Lou, Caroline, and the little ones two hours before. He does spy Paddy though which means Liam hasn’t left yet so hopefully he’ll be able to talk with the other boy on the plane.

They’re all ushered quickly into cars after that thankful that the press and the fans haven’t found the hotel and they’re able to get to the airport quickly and safely. Niall knows that their team told them that they all need to tweet something at some point today but he’s still not even sure what he can say. He decides to wait for now and instead focus on trying to speak with Liam on the flight they have into South Africa.

As they walk through the airport Niall sticks by Louis out of comfort then wanting to try and sidle up to Liam or anyone else. He feels a bit silly being wary of Liam but he’s still not sure how Liam is feeling after everything that had happened the day before. Soon enough though they’re on the plane and Niall’s faced with a good couple of hours in which he has plenty of time to speak with Liam. Surprisingly though it’s not Niall who has to make the first move because Liam gets on the plane and sheepishly approaches the spot next to Niall and sits down offering him a small smile.

“So um sorry I took off last night,” Liam starts but Niall shakes his head quickly and cuts him off when he goes to continue,

“No you had to someone should’ve been with Harry, glad it was you, don’t worry okay Payno I get it,” he informs the other boy.

“I just I want you to know I’m not mad. Like I think I was shocked and everything and I might’ve been a bit scared but like I know you didn’t mean to hurt me or anything.”

“I really didn’t fuck Liam that’s half the reason why I never said anything ya know? Cuz I didn’t want you guys to be afraid I would like I don’t know set you on fire or somethin’.” That gets a small chuckle out of Liam which causes Niall to smile back in response.

“Mate never would think that, just like ya know don’t be scared to share okay? We’re brothers nothing that’s happened the past few days changes that.”

“Yeah?”

“Course, I mean I am Mrs. Horan after all, can’t be having any domestic squabbles now can we?”

“You’re an idiot Payno,” he replies shoving Liam on the shoulder smiling when the other boy’s eyes crinkle from the force of his smile.

“Oy what’re you two talking about over here then?” Louis asks plopping down and spreading across the two seats just opposite of Niall and Liam’s.

“We’re thinking of renewing our vows what do you think?” Liam replies causing Niall to laugh loudly and happily half from Liam but also half from the fact that this still feels normal. Despite the last twenty four hours right here and now shows him that at the end of the day they’ll be alright.

Even though Niall’s aware it’s going to take a lot longer than twelve or so hours for Harry to come around it still stings when the other boy ignores him during the meeting they have with their management team. By now they’ve all tweeted but they still need to figure out how exactly they want to handle this. The thing is Niall’s not sure how honest exactly they can be without sounding like the band is coming to an end. The media’s been waiting for something like this to happen for a while now, practically since the beginning, and now it’s going to be tricky waters. While amazingly loyal and passionate sometimes their fanbase can be aggressive when it comes to wanting to know information and Niall knows that this situation is no different. By the end of the meeting they come to the decision that they’ll do a small interview with the Sun before the end of this part of the tour and figure out another platform to do a bigger interview on during break.

He’s glad though for the fact that they don’t have to perform for another two nights. It gives them time to all settle down and think about what they need to do next. After they’re talk with management the four of them stay and discuss at length without prying ears. Niall’s surprised it goes so well since Harry will barely look at him but he’s glad that the other boy isn’t storming out of the room at least.

Afterwards they all peel off into groups even though Niall doesn’t really want too. He finds Mark though and convinces him to play a few rounds of tennis to get rid of some of Niall’s excess energy. Playing with Mark somehow turns into the next day Niall meeting up with an actual to goodness tennis player which is crazy but he gives it his all while they play. Liam and Louis both come and watch for a bit but only Louis stays after a little while and when Niall’s finished he bounds up to him.

“Did you see that? Playing with fucking Novak Djokovic, held me own and everything!”

“Yeah you did good Neil, all that tennis made you hungry? Heard there’s a sick pub-like place in town that makes burgers the size of your head, should be pretty deserted this time of the day,” Louis asks as he walks with Niall back into the hotel.

“Sounds great mate, just gotta shower first, you can wait in mine if ya want too,” he tells the older boy as they get into the elevator that takes them to the floor they’re staying on.

“So talked with Haz yet?” Louis asks later as they split a chips and a burger, because they really are the size of their head and while Niall likes to eat he doesn’t want the meat sweats tonight.

“No figured I might like wait him out? See if he comes to me first or something, like don’t want to upset him even more I guess.”

“He doesn’t hate you, you know that right? He still loves the fuck outta ya, we all do,” Louis says softly only for Niall to hear as he flickers a glance to where Alberto and one of their newer security guys Oscar are sitting at the next table.

“I know that Tommo, don’t have to convince me,” he replies but they both know he’s not completely telling the truth.

Niall doesn’t ever like showing it but he worries about that fact on his worst nights. It’s borne out of being a child of divorced parents even though he knows that his parents love him. He was young when it happened and after a few difficult months of spending one week with his mom and one week with his dad it was easier for him to just stay with his dad full time. And his dad meant well Niall knows but he spent a lot of time learning how to take care of himself because of his dad’s long hours. Greg wasn’t really much of a help even then because he spent most of his time alone in his room only helping Niall out to cook meals. So he has issues when it comes to holding onto the knowledge that people really do love him because he spent so long wondering if anyone really truly did.

So even though the Niall of now knows that the people around him love him the Niall of young didn’t really understand how people could love you when it seemed like they were never around. During the late nights though the thoughts creep in and he tries not to let them but they do, but it’s still nice to get the confirmation even if it’s through a secondhand source.

The two of them spend the rest of the day messing around in Niall’s hotel room playing FIFA and even some Mario Kart on the 64 that Louis’ been lugging around in his suitcase since they left Australia seeing as they’re without a bus at the moment. Dan and Josh join them after Niall texts to let them know what they’re up too and he’s happy to bask in the knowledge that everything can still be simple and easy even without Zayn around.

They’re two shows in Johannesburg turn out to be two nights of antics and joy that fills Niall up from the bottom all the way to the top. The fans are in rare form banning together and they all see the thousands of handmade signs that read out TILL THE END and the words mean more to Niall than he knows how to put into words. It’s no surprise to Niall that during the show Harry acts like nothing’s wrong between the two of them. The younger boy jumps around and pulls faces and plays games with him during both shows but Niall knows that it’s all for show. He hates it but he understands why Harry does it, Niall would do the same if he were in Harry’s shoes. They can’t have stories floating around that they’re on the outs with one another. Still though it does give Niall hope that Harry’s coming around a bit faster than even Niall expected.

“Hazza can we talk?” he asks almost two hours after the show when he’s knocked on Harry’s door and the other boys answered it.

“Niall I don’t…fuck I don’t know if I’m ready to yet,” Harry says after a few moments of charged awkward silence.

“Oh right um okay then guess I should’ve expected that one,” he says with a shrug turning to walk away before he’s pulled back suddenly and he’s in Harry’s embrace.

“Let me be mad for a bit alright, I love you I just need some time okay, I’ll come to you when I’m ready,” Harry’s whispers low in his ear before pushing Niall away and closing the door so it’s once again in between them.

“You alright?” Niall jumps at the voice but turns to find Louis behind him a packet of cigs in his hand and his hair looking windswept like he’s just been outside which he probably was if the flush of his cheeks is anything to go by.

“Yeah tried to talk with Haz but he’s like not ready to yet I guess,” he answers with a shrug.

“Ahh well c’mon along then young Neil got some South African booze in me room that can fix us both up real good,” Louis says pulling Niall in with an arm around his neck as he smiles and follows Louis back to the other boys room.

He wakes up the next morning entirely too early for the amount of alcohol he consumed the night before but he doesn’t mind so much when he remembers that he set his alarm so early because today’s Safari day. Niall’s been counting down the days for this trip knowing that it’s going to be one he’s never going to forget. He meets up with Mark, Sandy, Dan, Oscar, and a few of their other crew members in the lobby bag packed and ready to go a half hour later. Niall tries not to think about the fact that Zayn was planning on coming with them as well but it’s hard not too especially when the fact that Zayn’s left the band is still so fresh in his brain.

“Look like you’re about to buzz right of your skin Nialler,” Dan comments as they head outside to the car that’s going to take them to where they’re meeting up with their safari guide.

“Once in a lifetime journey isn’t it? Gonna be amazing.”

“True, guess you could use a break from all this craziness lately too,” Dan replies, which well Niall hadn’t thought of that but it’s true.

It’s a half hour ride to where they’re meeting up with their guide and Niall spends most of that time writing a reply to an e-mail from his mom. Before he turns his phone off he sends a mass text out to let everyone know he’s going to be off the grid on a safari so not to worry if he doesn’t reply. He normally wouldn’t do it but because of everything that’s happened in the past two weeks Niall thinks it’s important that no one worries about him.

The safari turns out to be one of those experiences that Niall knows he’ll never forget. They have a basecamp that they stop at their first night and Niall is in awe of how large and quiet the world is around him. He’s never seen a sky as clear as the one that he sees above him that night as they all gather around the fire the guide set up for them and talk. After a while it’s down to just Mark, Dan, Sandy, and Niall as everyone else has gone into one of the tents to sleep for the night.

“So you really okay Niall?” Sandy asks.

“Depends on your definition of okay I guess,” he answers with a shrug.

“Guess that’s kind of a silly question then, feels odd for us without Zayn around must feel even worse for you four,” Dan pipes up. His comment makes Niall stop and think for a moment because with everything that’s gone on Niall hadn’t stopped to think about the other band. These boys that have been with them since practically the very beginning and sit behind them every single night and play. Dan, Sandy, Josh, and Jon who have grown to be like brothers to Niall as well whom all had their own friendship with Zayn too.

“Fuck I’m sorry I’ve been stuck inside me own head lately I didn’t even think about what it’s like for you four as well,” he says with a tinge of regret in his voice.

“Hey it’s no hard feelings honestly, we know you love us it’s all been a bit mad lately alright,” Sandy replies pulling Niall into his side.

“Speaking of things alright with you and Hazza? Didn’t know if I should bring it up but well…” Dan starts trailing off. Niall’s not sure how to answer the question without getting into everything else. Despite everything when there’s been conflict between any of them they’ve always tried to keep it just amongst the five of them so no one will worry. There’s only been a handful of times that inner band stuff has spilled out into the rest of it which Niall’s proud of after almost five years.

“We’ll be okay, he’s just like upset with me cuz I didn’t tell the boys something for a long time and then like it sort of all came out,” he answers as vaguely as possible.

“I thought they knew that you were bi though?” Sandy asks with a furrow in his brow.

“Nah it was something else, Harry would never get mad at me for keeping that a secret you know he’s all about letting people come out of the closet at their own pace and all that stuff.”

“Well whatever it is he’ll come around soon I’m sure,” Mark pops in from where he’s been sitting and listening to the past few minutes quietly. Niall gives the older man a smile in thanks and soon enough the last of them head into the tent their sharing for the night and fall asleep.

The next day is even more amazing than the one before it, it’s one of those days where Niall keeps having to pinch himself to see if it’s all truly real. There are some adventures in life that in the past five years that he’s done that he knows the majority of the human race never even get to do in their lifetime. At one point their safari truck is stopped and everyone is sitting extremely quiet without making a single move because they’ve found a herd of elephants around a watering hole and none of them can truly believe that this is their life right now.

Niall takes the time to sit and be thankful for everything that he’s been given and everything that has happened to him. He has an amazing job doing something that he loves and he can use his voice to help others out. It’s not something that he’s ever lost sight of but all the same it’s nice to have time to just think about how big the world is and how he’s only a very small part of the giant story that’s happening around him each and every day.

They get back to the hotel late that night since there’s a show the next day and it doesn’t surprise Niall as much as it should that when he gets to his room Louis’ passed out on his bed. It makes him pause a few moments though and wonder what’s going on. Ever since he broke up with Eleanor and even more since Zayn’s been gone Louis’ ended up with Niall in his bed then by himself in his own. Niall doesn’t want to examine or think about it too much because he feels like it would be upsetting some sort of balance in the world.

For as long as he can remember Niall’s been infatuated with Louis. Has been since he first saw him back at Bootcamp before he ever spoke a word too him. There was just something about Louis back then that drew Niall too him. He’s aware of how well documented his pining for Louis’ been since the very beginning. Niall has never let his feelings for Louis get in the way of the band or their friendship.

Sometimes though Niall lets himself feel fully every single iota of emotion that he holds in his body for Louis and it takes his own breath away. He remembers vividly the moment he first realized that he was actually in love with his bandmate. How two years ago they were all just getting ready to go on stage for the first show of the Take Me Home tour and Louis looked over at him and pulled one of those stupid faces of his and as stupid as it sounds the world felt like it stopped. He didn’t know how to be around the older boy for a few days after that but he got used to it and everything went back to normal. There was never anything that Niall could do anyways, Louis was with Eleanor, but now Louis wasn’t and it was starting to fuck with Niall’s head a bit.

Especially after everything that had occurred over the past two weeks, Niall just wants to get the next few shows over with so he can spend a few days on his own and get his head back on straight. Sighing he conjures up a small fireball in his left palm and picks his way to the bathroom and takes a shower because he does feel a bit gross after being out in the wild for two days and gets ready for bed. He’s doing his best to be quiet once he’s out but he must not be as successful as he imagined because Louis wakes up and blinks sleepily at him.

“Niall?”

“Go back to sleep Tommo, just getting ready for bed, tried not to wake you.”

“S’okay missed you, come give a cuddle,” Louis mumbles beckoning Niall towards the bed.

“Alright Tommo whatever ya want,” he says climbing into bed and huffing a bit when Louis pulls him close and cuddling into his side, “you okay?” he whispers back because while Louis does touch all of them a lot he doesn’t get this clingy unless he’s upset about something.

“m’fine, Z’s friends a prick, don’t wanna talk about it right now,” Louis mumbles voice getting softer as he drifts back into sleep. Sighing Niall figures they can talk about it in the morning and falls asleep as well.

They never do get a chance to talk about it in the morning because they both oversleep and need to get down to the cars so they can get to Cape Town for the show that night. Despite the fact that they aren’t able to talk about whatever was bothering Louis the night before a quick look at his Twitter timeline is all he really needs to know. He knows that Louis’ never been a huge fan of Shahid before this but kept his mouth shut because of Zayn so he’s not surprised he took the chance to rip him on Twitter.

Niall gets it though, he’d love to give this guy a piece of his mind for dropping a fucking demo like Zayn didn’t leave the band not even a week ago. Sure the bit where he was trying to rile the fans before that was shit but he’s really upset about him exploiting the work he’s been doing with Zayn like that. Even if the audio is down now it still pisses him off that he even did that in the first place. He’s upset for Zayn because he doesn’t deserve someone to post work that’s not finished yet and ready for public consumption and because he knows that Zayn needs a break from drama and the press right now.

Sighing he decides to move on from it at all because it’s not like he needs to worry about it right at this moment. He loves Zayn like a brother and he knows that Zayn probably read Shahid the riot act about doing that so he’s not worried as much as he would be otherwise. Like Zayn knows that Niall’s thinking about him his phone vibrates in his hand with an incoming call.

“Hey how are you?” he asks when he answers glad that he’s alone in the car besides a couple of security guards.

“Good yeah, wanted to see how the trip was.”

“It was sick man wish you would’ve been there, we’ll have to come back just the two of us sometime and do it,” he replies glad that they can still talk without it being awkward.

“Yeah course, wish I was there to do it too,” Zayn says and Niall believes him.

“Miss you ya know, been a bit weird if I’m being honest,” he whispers hoping that he doesn’t upset Zayn at all.

“Miss you too Nialler, feel a bit weird myself.”

“But you’re good right? Like you’re spending time with Pez and you’re family?”

“Yeah it’s been great, I just I needed this, you know I love you boys but like everything else it was just it was so much and I just I couldn’t do it anymore you get that right?”

“Course I do, don’t hate ya Zayner never could you know that.”

“Even if I go solo?” Zayn asks softly and well Niall knew somewhere deep down that while part of the reason was the stress the other half was Zayn feeling a bit trapped by band life as opposed to the freedom he could get being solo.

“Not even then, we support you 100%.”

“Yeah?”

“Course, listen I got some stuff I’m doing in the States after Dubai but when I get back if you’re around can I swing by for an afternoon at Casa de Malik? Got some stuff I wanted to talk about.”

“Yeah just let me know, you okay? Was talking with Caroline the other day said she thought something was up with you and Hazza.”

“It’ll be fine don’t worry about it, just something I wanted to talk about okay?” he asks and Zayn gives an affirmative. They talk for a few more minutes before Niall has to get off the phone once they’ve reached the airport.

The show that night is electric, Niall feels refreshed after his time away on the safari and puts his all into his performance that night. After his talk with Zayn he really feels like he’s in a good place even with everything that’s still up in the air between himself and Harry. After the show Niall can feel a thrum in his veins that he decides to put to good use and heads back to his room before the other boys. He hasn’t done it in a long time but one of his favorite things to do is to turn all the lights off and create his own little lightning show. It has the double whammy of settling him down from a show and calming the electricity in his veins so it’s not so jumpy.

Niall has always had a harder time with his second set of powers than he has the fire. His fire powers don’t make his skin buzz and his hair stand on end like his second set does. So while he does enjoy playing with his fireballs he plays with lightening just a bit more because when he goes too long without doing so it causes problems.

The previous week was a testament to that, he hadn’t let his powers run free in a bit and on top of his emotions he knew he was just looking for trouble. He can’t say that he doesn’t feel lighter now that his secret is out. It had been something that had been bothering him more and more lately. Now though it was like a weight that was on his chest has been lifted and he can breathe easier without having to worry about how much time he has and who has keys when he sets about to do just what he’s about to do.

Once he gets back to his room he strips out of his concert clothes and settles himself down in just his pants. He makes sure to close all the blinds and the goes about throwing towels and blankets that he’s packed away just for this purpose over the curtain rods for extra protection from prying eyes on the outside. After he’s done that he sits in the middle of the room and closes his eyes concentrating on the lights in the room and absorbing the energy in each of them before he opens his eyes again. It always amazes him how his body glows softly in the darkness whenever he does this like he’s his own personal lava lamp or something. Like second nature he lets the sparks in his veins out to play and watches as they start to arc and play along his arms and fingers. Soon enough the air around him is filled with static electricity as he moves his hands about and molds it into different shapes and listens to the calming crackle.

He’s so focused that he doesn’t realize that he’s got company as Harry’s snuck into his room using his key and has shut the door behind him softly. Niall’s only aware of his bandmate being in the same room as him when Harry takes a seat next to him jolting his concentration slightly. Niall pauses his movements wondering if Harry’s going to say anything but instead the younger boy is staring at Niall’s personal lightning show in awe. Shrugging slightly he gets back to it for another ten minutes or so until he slowly sends the energy back to each light in the room gradually making the room brighter so as not to hurt either of their eyes from the sudden onslaught of light.

“So that was fucking brilliant,” Harry breathes finally and Niall shrugs sheepishly. So far Louis’ been the only one of them to have been privy to his powers but he hadn’t seen them in full action like Harry just had.

“Thanks I guess,” he answer scratching at the nape of his neck.

“So um I’ve been talking to Nick a lot the past few days, you know after I got over being like angry with him for keeping this a secret from me that is,” at that news Niall perks up but feels guilty a bit too. He certainly didn’t want this whole elemental thing to cause problems between Grimmy and Harry. Niall’s not really completely sure what they are too each other on any given day but he knows that they’re in love. He really hopes that they do figure their shit out soon because Harry deserves to be happy and Niall knows that Grimmy would make Harry incredibly happy.

“Hope I didn’t cause any problems for you two, really didn’t mean too.”

“You didn’t honestly, he knocked some sense into me about well the you keeping the whole elemental thing a secret.”

“You had every right to be mad Hazza, I should’ve told you all so long ago but I was like scared you know?”

“I get it and Nick sort of compared it to coming out. Like he asked me how I would’ve felt if you got mad at me if you found I was pan before I was ready to tell you and it sort of made sense. I would’ve felt like such shit and it made me realize that I wasn’t thinking about this from your perspective, must’ve been right scary keeping this a secret from us for so long.”

“You have no clue mate,” Niall says feeling hope bloom in his chest as Harry knocks their shoulders together and gives him a small but genuine smile. They spend another half hour or so talking before Niall starts yawning and Harry decides to head back to his own room instead of spending the night. Before he leaves though Niall gives him a hug and when he pulls back decides to give his friend some advice,

“I don’t really know what’s ever happening with you and Grimmy and sorry if it’s not my place but he’s arse over tits for you and I know you feel the same. So like I know it’s not really all that simple but you deserve to be happy Hazza and if Grimmy will make you happy I think it’s about time you let him.”

“And what about you? Who’s gonna make you happy Nialler?” Harry asks softly.

“Don’t worry about me Haz, I’m happy,” he says equally as soft giving his friend a kiss on the cheek before shooing him out of the room so he can get a decent nights rest.       

The next couple of days fly by as they perform their last show for two months and immediately afterwards Niall’s on a plane with Liam back to London. Harry gives them both a hug and gets on a separate flight to LA while Louis’ getting a later flight back so he can fly with his family. Niall goes to a football game with Willie before he’s on another flight with Mark out to Georgia so he can Caddy for Rory McIlroy at the Par 3 Masters. It’s an amazing experience, despite the fact that he fell on camera and messed up the shot that Rory let him take. He and Mark stay for a few more days before they both head back to London.

Niall wakes up the morning after he gets back to a clear sunny sky and warm weather that is rare for this time of year in London. After going about his morning and the weather still stays nice he tweets about how its BBQ weather and thinks about if he wants to make some burgers and sausages for lunch or supper that night. He decides to wait and instead spends the afternoon cleaning and re-organizing his shelves around the house a tad bored but not in the mood to go out since he’s still pretty jetlagged. Willie’s visiting his girlfriend Julia’s family for a few days so he’s got no one to entertain him about the house either. Niall’s dusting off his Moon Men when he hears the beep that means the code to the gate has been used and then soon after hears a car in the drive. Furrowing his brow he abandons his Moon Men and dust rag for the entryway where Louis’ pushing the door open with his back due to the fact his hands are full with a few shopping bags from Tesco.

“What’re you doing here?” he asks surprise decorating his tone.

“You’re gonna fire up the grill and we’re going to enjoy some of your famous cookin’ that you promised me,” Louis says handing the bags off to Niall as he toes off his shoes and then his socks and wanders towards the kitchen.

“What when was that?” he wonders still a bit confused as to why Louis’ shown up.

“In November in Australia c’mon Niall get with the times,” Louis states slapping Niall’s cheek lightly after he’s turned around. The older boy leans against the island in Niall’s kitchen and doesn’t look like he’s going to be moving any time soon.

“Well alright then, guess we’ll take a look at what you brought.”

Niall then proceeds to empty the shopping bags of their items until their all spread out on the counter. Louis’ brought a few different types of sausages as well as a few steaks that look promising and a surprising array of vegetables. There’s a few potatoes, an array of red, orange, yellow, and green peppers, as well as a couple of onions.

“It’s only the two of us eating this right?” he asks because it does seem like a lot of food.

“We’re growing men Horan we’ve gotta eat, plus those vegetables won’t be all that filling I’m sure.”

“Whatever you say Tommo, but you’re going to help me out with this, no way I’m doing all the work while you sit idle by and probably go wander off to play FIFA on me Xbox.”

“If you want me to set the house on fire then fine I’ll help.”

“You are aware that even if you do start a fire I can pretty much control it from getting out of control right?”

“Indeed I wasn’t, but that’s pretty sick you’ll need to show me sometime. Also Hazza told me about your little light show I’m right jealous he’s seen it and I haven’t when we all know I’m your favorite,” Louis replies with a smile on his face as he leans into Niall’s personal space. Niall flushes and turns away because even though he knows Louis’ joking with him the statement does ring pretty damn true.

“Just start cutting up the potatoes, you can do that without causing any fires can’t you?”

“You never know Nialler, crazier things have happened.”

Niall rolls his eyes and gets to work gutting out the peppers and putting together some seasoning for the steaks. They work together quite nicely all said and done with only one instance of injury when Louis ends up rubbing his eyes after he’s cut up the peppers. Niall ends up recording Louis’ screaming diatribe filled of swearing and sends it to Jay to let her know what an idiot her son is and gets a few texts filled of the laughing while crying emoji back.

Soon after they retire to Niall’s back porch where he’s got the grill set up and drink a few beers while the food cooks. It’s relaxing as Louis fills him in on some of the stuff he’s got up too the past week at home lighting up as he talks about the littlest twins. Niall in turn shares his experiences in Georgia and blushes a bit when Louis rags on him for falling on Sky Sports but knows that it’s all in good fun.

After supper Niall brings out his football and they lazily kick it around at first before they start to get really into it. Niall knows Louis’ been practicing a lot more because of his charity match coming up so he’s not that surprised that Louis steals the ball from him more often than not and kicks it into the make shift goal they’ve made at the back of Niall’s yard.

“You win Tommo, I’m exhausted,” he says flopping down on his back in the grass and looking up at the darkening sky as night falls around them.

“Your knee okay?” Louis asks laying down next to him.

“Yeah, just tired still a little jet lagged, you know how it goes,” he replies shrugging his shoulders.

“It’s a nice night out,” Louis whispers a few minutes later as if he doesn’t want to break the peace that’s fallen over them.

“Best London’s probably had in ages,” Niall replies turning on his side so he can look at Louis in the dim moonlight but he can’t make out really any of his friend’s features now that the sky is fully dark with the night.

“Peaceful too, reminds me of the Bungalow,” Louis replies giving Niall an idea. “oy where you going?” Louis asks as Niall stands up.

“Got an idea be right back,” he replies jogging into the house where he grabs a couple of old pasta jars that still have their lids that he or Willie sometimes use for leftovers. He brings them outside and sets them next to Louis who’s now sitting up and staring at him questioningly.

“What are you doing with some old pasta sauce jars?”

“Just watch yeah?” he asks as he sets the two jars between them and takes the lids off. Concentrating he forms a small fireball in his palm and shows Louis before lowering it into the first jar and doing the same for the other while Louis watches mesmerized.

“Fucking wicked mate,” Louis whispers finally and Niall smiles in response glad that even with the two make shift torches for light they’ll hide his blush from being complimented.

“Thanks, didn’t think we should have a real fire going right now so this is the next best thing,” he answers with a shrug of his shoulders trying to ignore the way Louis is staring at him. “why are you looking at me like that?” he finally asks after a few minutes of charged silence.

“Like what?” Louis asks a smirk on his face but with the same intent look in his eyes that he’s had since Niall came back outside with the pasta jars.

“Like you want to kiss me or something,” he whispers.

“Maybe I do, is that so bad?”

“No,” he answers just before Louis leans in and kisses him softly.

Niall’s thought about kissing Louis a lot over the years but to have it actually happen is a bit surreal. Louis’ lips are slightly dry but soft at the same time as they dance with Niall’s own the kiss deepening naturally. Niall’s not sure how but he finds himself on his back with Louis draped over his chest as their tongues mingle together and their breathing grows heavy. He doesn’t know how long they lay their snogging but soon enough Louis pulls away from him causing Niall to pout.

“Why’re you shaking?” Louis asks and Niall furrows his brow before he realizes that his hands are shaking a little bit against Louis’ back.

“Nervous, I guess,” he admits ducking away from Louis’ gaze.

“Why? It’s just me.”

“Exactly, don’t wanna mess stuff up Lou you’re too important.”

“You could never,” Louis states before he swoops down and kisses Niall again. They stay out there for a while more just kissing before they decide to head inside when the air starts to get chilly. Both of them get ready for bed after that and fall into it softly kissing as they giggle and talk until they drift off into sleep.

Niall wakes up the next morning with Louis wrapped around him as he remembers the events from the night before. Smiling to himself he kisses Louis’ cheek sweetly before rolling out of bed and heading downstairs. He uses some of the left over steak they didn’t eat the night before to make steak and eggs and also some toast knowing the smell of food will wake Louis up soon enough.

“Look at you little domestic houseboy,” Louis quips when he wanders in just as Niall’s plating up the eggs.

“Just wanted to cook breakfast,” he answers with a shrug of his shoulders as Louis comes around and pulls him in by his waist and kisses him briefly before pulling away and grabbing a plate.

“You’re going to Payno’s Gatsby thing tonight right?” Louis asks while he eats breakfast.

“Course wouldn’t miss it.”

“Good, would be right boring if I didn’t have someone to joke with since Payno’s gotta be the serious host of the night.”

“Well glad I can be there to make the night not boring,” he replies with a smile. They don’t talk much after that though Niall’s surprised when Louis cleans the dishes because well…it is Louis after all. The older boy hangs around for a few more hours that are spent playing FIFA and snogging before he leaves so he can get his things and meet up at Liam’s to get ready for the Great Gatsby Ball later that night.

The Ball is a blast and afterwards he and Louis end up going out in their formal wear and get a tad wasted. Niall’s always enjoyed his time with Louis and he has even more fun as they joke around about being twats with Louis’ friends and their body guards as they let the night slip away from them. The next few days are full of writing and relaxing for Niall and a lot more Louis than he expected. It sucks when he wakes up the morning of Louis’ charity match with a headache threatening to split his head open and a fever wracking his body.

“I would suck it up and come Tommo but my powers are all over the place today too, really wish I could be there,” he says down the phone an hour after he wakes up.

“Listen Jamie said he’s going to be around London today I’ll send him over with soup or something and you two can just chill since Willie’s still out of town.”

“I’m a big boy Louis you don’t have to send anyone to take care of me,” he says as he feels his throat start to get a bit scratchy.

“I’m shittin it enough about this game let me do something so I’m not worried about you accidentally burning your house down or some shit because your body decides to self-combust.”

“That’s not physically possibly,” Niall states incredulous.

“Well I didn’t think it was possibly for humans to spew fire balls from their hands or make magic lighting storms but you can do that,” Louis rebuttals causing Niall to sigh.

“Fine if that’s what you want I’ll just call Jamie up meself okay?”

“Thank you, just make sure he’s gone before I get there yeah? I might try and fix you right up with some of my Tommo magic.”

“If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were flirting with me.”

“Oh but I am young Neil, and just wait for later I might just blow your mind,” Louis whispers before cackling and hanging up the call rather abruptly. Niall shakes his head and wanders into the bathroom looking to see if a nice hot shower might clear up his sinuses some ignoring the pinging of his phone as he assumes Louis texts him.

Niall’s headache clears up by the time Jamie arrives with soup from Niall’s favorite corner shop around the block from his house just before lunch time and the two of them end up messing around on some of Niall’s guitars for a few hours. Despite the fact that Niall feels a little bit like death warmed over they come up with a melody that’s halfway decent and a few key phrases that could really pull a song together when Niall’s back on his A-Game. Jamie leaves shortly into a Top Gear marathon that they stumble upon and Niall falls asleep watching it only to wake up a few hours later to someone flicking the telly off. He feels sticky and sweaty but a lot less feverish and figures that his fevers broken during his nap.

“Sorry didn’t mean to wake you,” Louis whispers walking over and sitting down on one of the foot rests Niall has in front of his couch.

“It’s alright, when did you get in?” he asks when he realizes that he actually smells something pretty nice drifting in from the kitchen.

“Bout half hour ago, me mum sent me with some of her pre-made dinners so I won’t starve to death so I brought that lemon chicken dish that you like of hers with me and tossed it in the oven.”

“You really need to learn how to cook,” he yawns sitting up and winching slightly at the slight twinge his knee gives from being in one position for too long.

“Figure you can try and teach me at some point when we aren’t on the road constantly, lord knows I’d drive Harry up the wall if he tried to teach me and Payno’s really only good when it comes to the grill,” Louis replies with a shrug as he grabs Niall’s knee and starts massaging it like Mark showed all the boys how to do back before Niall even got his surgery. Niall notes that Louis makes no mention of Zayn when Niall knows the other boy has been getting cooking lessons from his own mum. He’s not exactly sure what’s going on there but right now with the way Louis’ moving his hands towards his crotch more and more he decides to leave it alone for later.

“How are you going to pay for these lessons then?” he rasps as he feels his cock start to take an interest in the proceedings.

“Don’t know figure we can working something out can’t we?” Louis asks cupping Niall through his ratty old pair of gym shorts that he’d thrown on that morning. The older lad gives his growing erection a squeeze causing Niall’s eyes to flutter shut as he bites back a moan.

Despite the fact that they’ve spent the better part of a week snogging whenever they can neither of them has made a move this forward yet. Niall’s still not even completely sure what’s going on between them and he’s slightly too afraid to ask. He doesn’t want Louis’ answer to be that it’s just two friends having some fun but he’s also sure that Louis wouldn’t do that too him. The older boy might play the part of the mischievous one but Niall knows that he can’t be oblivious to the way Niall feels about him now.

He opens his eyes long enough to watch as Louis pulls his shorts and pants down and starts to lower his mouth before they close shut again. Later after they’ve both eaten, showered, and Niall’s repaid the favor they’re lounging in Niall’s bedroom the only light the glow of a fireball in a jar on his bedside table.

“So seems like you kind of left Zayn out earlier, like when we were talking about cooking and stuff,” Niall whispers between slow drugging kisses. He knows they probably shouldn't be kissing because he still feels a bit sickly but really could care less.

“Got in a bit of a tiff it’s nothing don’t worry about it,” Louis says.

“You sure?”

“Yeah babe everything’ll be fine,” Louis replies but Niall can tell there’s more to the story but he’s not going to push it. Niall’s not really sure what Zayn’s been up too anyways since he tried to meet up with the older lad to talk but Zayn had been a bit cagey about it. It’s a bit of a 180 from the last time they properly talked but he figures that something is going on with the Bradford born boy and he’s going to do his best to give the older boy space if that’s what he needs. The situation isn’t ideal for Niall but if what Zayn needs right now to figure himself out is time away from the rest of them than Niall will be hurt but he gets it.

For now Niall lets time slow down to just himself and Louis as they continue to talk and giggle about the stupidest things. Eventually Niall even breaks out his light show and feels warmth bubble in his chest from the look of awe on Louis’ face as he stares at the crackling beams of light arching over them. It feels incredibly intimate to be sharing this moment with Louis, more so than when Harry had shown up the last time he’d done this for anybody, partly due their unclothed state Niall’s sure but also probably due to how Niall feels about Louis as well.          

“You blow my mind Lightning Bug,” Louis mumbles once Niall’s finished.

“Lightning Bug?” Niall asks.

“Mmm new nickname just for you,” Louis says and Niall can tell he’s not going to get anything out of the older boy any longer since he’s drifted off to sleep.

Niall’s not sure why the comment keeps him awake but it does. Being with Louis has been almost dreamlike the past week and he’s not sure what to think. Niall’s been gone for Louis far longer than he’d ever probably like to admit. He’s just not sure in the middle of the dark night how much of Louis’ feelings for him now are because of who he is as a person or if they’re more attracted to Niall’s powers.

Ever since his secret came out Louis’ seemed to stick to him like glue, not that Niall really minds but he’s scared that it’s his powers now that have Louis interested in him. He’s heard the stories hundreds of times from other elementals. Nick’s even told him a few about when he’s opened up about his powers to people who then in turn became only interested in that side of him. Niall knows that Louis doesn’t just care for him because of his powers, they’ve been friends for so long there’s no way Louis’ previous platonic affections have been contrived the past five years. No his worries are more now founded in if Louis’ attracted to Niall because of him or if it’s just because he’s fascinated by Niall’s shiny powers he’s never known about before.

Niall eventually drifts off into a restless sleep and wakes up before Louis in the morning feeling jittery and unbalanced but no longer feverish. He goes for a light jog around the neighborhood hoping it will help but it doesn’t nor his shower afterwards. Louis is still asleep when he’s done so Niall ends up spending the next hour in his living room organizing his DVD collection alphabetically and by genre. After he’s done that he cooks himself and Louis some breakfast knowing the smell will wake the older boy. Like clockwork Louis shows up just as he’s plating their eggs and bacon rubbing sleep out of his eyes and offering Niall a fond smile and a kiss on the cheek.

He must be acting weird or giving off some sort of vibe because Louis’ brow grows more and more worried as they eat in silence. Niall doesn’t argue when Louis insists on cleaning up and just heads back to the living room and realizes he really doesn’t like the new way he’s got his DVD’s organized and decides to put them back the way they were before.

“Something’s bothering you.”

Niall jumps a bit and turns to find Louis standing there arms crossed and eyes narrowed slightly.

“What makes you say that?”

“You organize when you’re nervous or stressed and you’ve been acting nutty all morning.”

“My brains just a mess don’t worry okay?”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Louis asks and Niall turns and shrugs, “did I do something? Because I thought things were okay last night. And now I wake up and you’re Nervous Niall and I want to know why.”

“It’s nothing Tommo okay? I’m being stupid it’s not a big deal,” he says not looking in Louis direction.

“It’s not stupid if it has you acting like if I make one wrong move you’re going to run away.”

Niall turns then and he knows that it’s about time that they talk about whatever it is between them. He doesn’t want too exactly but he needs to quiet the voices in his head that have been taunting him all night long.

“What are we doing? Like me and you? What are we because I’m going mad okay? I don’t know what you’re thinking or anything because our lives are a fucking mess lately. One second you’re the same Louis you’ve always been and the next it seems like I shoot fireballs from my fingertips and you’re this Louis that I’ve never known before and I’m so fucking confused.”

“I like you, I thought that was implied with the whole kissing thing,” Louis states trying to catch Niall’s eyes but Niall refuses to look up from where he’s been playing with the bottom of his shirt.

“How much of that is me and not just you being fascinated that I can do this,” he asks flicking his fingers so a little ball of fire is floating about his fingertips.

“Fucking shit Niall none of it, c’mon would you please look at me?” Niall sighs and looks up surprised that Louis is so close. The older boy takes Niall’s face in his palms and leans their foreheads together and Niall closes his eyes wondering what exactly is going on.

“You scare me Lou,” he whispers into the silence as they breathe in each other.

“Love’s scary,” Louis answers.

“Never said anything about love.”

“Felt implied,” Louis states kissing Niall softly afterwards and then pulling him towards the couch, “Niall I swear none of this between us is because you’re a freaky little lightbulb fire hazard god you can fucking ask El if you really need too.”

“Eleanor? Why?”

“She knew, when we broke up like yeah it was because of all the distance and the touring and that shit but like it was partly I guess because she knew I have feelings for you. I mean we were on the rocks already and she just she said that maybe instead of us trying to fix this and just hating each other it was time for us to end and let me explore what I was feeling for you.”

“Took you a bit didn’t it.”

“Had to make sure I wouldn’t be rejected didn’t I,” Louis states with a deprecating shrug.

“How could you not know I’ve been fucking gone for you from day one? Thought I was obvious.”

“You were eventually think I realized it that night after you and Harold made up, you crawled into my bed all happy and you looked at me and I knew that it would be okay if I kissed you.”

“Why didn’t you then?”

“Wanted to wait for the perfect moment, sorry if that’s a bit cheesy,” Louis answer shyly looking down at his hands a blush on his cheeks. It hits Niall then that this is a new Louis that he’s never really known before and he feels so special to know that Louis showing him this side of himself.

“Where does that leave us now though?” he asks having to know.

“Boyfriends? I make a pretty good one I’ve been told,” Louis boasts making Niall chuckle.

“I might need some help, don’t think I’m that great at being a boyfriend to be honest only ever been one once haven’t I?”

“Nah you’ll be great,” the older boy states pulling Niall into a kiss that he smiles into. Niall’s so happy that he doesn’t exactly notice that his skin is sparking and jumping until Louis pulls away a bit startled because Niall must’ve shocked him somewhat.

“Sorry, happens when my emotions are a bit haywire,” Niall informs the older boy.

“Nothing to be sorry about, I uhh kind of liked it,” Louis tells him as he presses forward again and Niall feels his older boys hard length against his thigh.

“Oh so um that’s a thing for you then?”

“A bit, like nothing like really painful or anything but like uh pinching and I guess well I guess the shocking is working for me too.”

“We’ll explore that more later,” Niall promises as they kiss again. They end up naked on the couch soon enough and Niall’s never felt as vulnerable as he does below Louis as the older boy kisses him with a hand around his cock and the other hand teasing around his rim.

“What do you want?” Louis asks panting into Niall’s mouth.

“You.”

“What about me?” Louis teases as he drags the pad of his dry thumb against Niall’s hole.

“Want you to fuck me, please?”

“Yeah babe I can do that, you got lube down here or do you want to move to the bedroom?” Niall reaches and flips the top off his ottoman to show it’s hollow inside and holds a random array of items including lube and condoms. He grabs them both and tosses them to Louis who raises his eyebrows as Niall just shrugs.

“You never know when you might need them,” he answers as Louis laughs lightly before kissing him again. After that it doesn’t feel like it takes that long for Niall to be meeting three of Louis fingers and grinding down silently asking for more.

“You ready then?”

“Yeah fuck Lou want you please,” he says again and he winces a little when Louis pulls his fingers out but helps the older boy roll on the condom and waits as he gets ready.

“You sure? You want me to go slow?”

“At first yeah it’s been awhile,” he admits knowing that while it’s only been maybe two or three months since they last time he bottomed its still Louis and he’s a bit nervous.

“Just relax okay? I’m right here,” Louis reassures him as he nods and breathes out as Louis starts to push forward. The burn of being stretched is slight but Niall relaxes into it and soon he’s pushing down and meeting Louis’ small thrusts.                                                                                                             

Pleasure rolls over his body in waves as he and Louis move together. He completely surrenders himself to Louis as he wraps his legs around the older boys waist and pulls Louis lips to his own swallowing both of their moans when the new angle has Louis hitting his prostate dead on. He’s never felt like this during sex before and he doesn’t know if it’s all just because of who he's with or the fact that he’s never been with someone he’s loved or cared about as much as he does Louis.

“God fuck Louis feel like I’m gonna cum,” he moans as his body starts to tingle all over like it’s never done before. He’s had sex before but he’s never felt this out of control as Louis continues to thrust into him and Niall tips his head back and moans when the older boy wraps a hand around his cock. Niall opens his eyes and realizes with a jolt that sparks are arching all around them touching each of them all over.

“Are you doing this on purpose,” Louis asks breathlessly.

“No, don’t know if I can stop now to be, god, honest,” Niall moans as Louis flicks his thumb over the head of his cock and hits his prostate at the same time.

“Don’t care feels good,” Louis moans as his thrusts start to speed up. Niall can tell that they’re both close and closes his eyes and just let’s himself drift into the pleasure that he feels. Soon enough he feels a tightening in his belly and he moans when just a few seconds later his orgasm rolls through his body. Louis must follow shortly behind him because the older boy is laying on top of him and panting when he floats down from his high.

“That was fucking amazing,” he pants laughing slightly because he’s really never had sex like that before.

“Knew it would be,” Louis chuckles as he pulls out and disposes of the condom by wrapping it in some tissues and throwing it on the floor.

“That’s disgusting,” Niall says but makes no moves to get up.

“Mmm who cares time for a post orgasm nap,” Louis mumbles into his neck as he yawns.

“Sounds good to me,” Niall replies not even caring that he’s still covered in his own cum as Louis pulls the blanket on the back of the couch over them. Niall falls asleep warm and still feeling tingly all over as he breathes the smell of sex and Louis happier than he’s been in a long time.

Epilogue:

One Direction Love Birds Louis & Niall Celebrate One Year Anniversary:

That’s right Directioners it’s apparently been a whole year since Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan of One Direction fame decided to couple up. The two who confirmed their relationship in early August last year after several reports were made that they were indeed a couple the month before celebrated their anniversary yesterday. Niall shared a snap on Instagram of a plate of home cooked food captioning it Chef Tommo at it again ! Glad he’s learned something this year from me haha ! following it up not even five minutes later with a selfie of himself and his beau saying: In all seriousness thanks for the past year Louis, didn’t think I could be this happy as lame and cheesy as that sounds. Happy Anniversary, here’s to the next however many more <3. Louis followed that up by tweeting “@NiallOfficial Happy Anniversary babe it’s been electric ;)” and by posting a photo collage of his blonde haired boyfriend to Instagram of Niall pulling silly faces simply captioning it with a heart emoji. So while the band is taking a break this year it doesn’t look like Niall and Louis are taking a break from each other any time soon!