Louis had a lot of clothing. Not as much as the boys liked to joke that he did, but he’d admit to having more clothing than anyone else in the band. As such, he had a correspondingly big wardrobe. As large as his wardrobe was, however, he sometimes thought that he was rather lucky that Zayn had such a penchant for stealing other people’s clothing, because if he didn’t, Louis reckoned he wouldn’t have nearly enough space in his wardrobe.
The only problem with having a lot of clothing was having too much choice. Louis was trying to get ready for a party, but was having quite some difficulty choosing an outfit. As usual, Louis was the host of the party. Over the years, he’d become something like the unofficial party thrower of the group, which he mostly thought of as a good thing, despite all the work involved, as he didn’t think that any of the other boys would be even remotely good at putting together a party.
Liam would get too stressed out about ensuring that the party was perfect in every way; Harry would undoubtedly insist on playing awful hipster music;Niall would just invite everyone he knew without making any actual plans; and Zayn, well. Zayn would probably forget that he was having a party and sleep through the entire thing.
All in all, then, Louis thought he was definitely the best for the job. Knowing he was the best party-thrower of the lot, however, did nothing to ease his nerves about holding parties, especially where picking an outfit was concerned. Rifling through his closet, he decided to bother Zayn.
“Alright?” came Zayn’s tired voice, sounding slightly tinny through Louis’ phone.
Louis laughed, finding Zayn’s sleepiness thoroughly endearing. “Surely you’re not still in bed.”
“It’s only 3:00, Louis, lay off,” Zayn mumbled with a yawn.
“’Only 3:00,’ he says,” Louis scoffed. “Okay, well, anyway, I need you to get up right now and come over. I need help choosing an outfit.”
“What do you need help picking an outfit for?” his voice was becoming clearer, less fogged by sleep, each time he spoke.
Louis took his phone away from his ear and scowled at it. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Zayn,” he said, after a moment, bringing the phone back up to his face. “Party at my house tonight. Tell me you didn’t forget.”
“Hmmm,” said Zayn noncommittally, “No, it’s cool. I’ll be there. What d’you need my help finding an outfit for?”
Louis grinned. “Well, I mean. Number 17 on GQ’s best dressed has got to count for something, mate,” he said, knowing how much Zayn resented being ribbed about the title.
Predictably, Zayn groaned. “Want to know what I’m wearing right now, Louis?”
“No, I called to seek your advice, not to have phone sex. But thanks for the offer, bad boy.”
“Shut up,” Zayn said. “I just meant that I’m in probably the rankest pair of sweats ever right now and you’re calling me for fashion tips.”
“You say that,” said Louis, “but then you’re going to turn up here looking like you just walked off a runway.”
Zayn laughed. “Well, we’ll see about that,” he replied. “I might show up in jean capris and a tank top, or something, just to horrify you.”
Louis actually choked a little in response to that visual. “You never would,” he replied. “Also, I wouldn’t be so much horrified as I would be highly delighted at having pictures of you looking so ridiculous.”
“True,” Zayn commented. “Anyway, yeah, I guess I can come and help you, but you have to give me something in return.”
“I just told you that I had no interest in phone sex, Zayn. That goes for sexual favours as well.”
Louis could sense Zayn rolling his eyes, even without being able to see him. “Sorry, Lou, I just can’t handle how hot you are sometimes. But yeah, if I come help you, then you have to promise me one whole hour of RnB at your party.”
“But why?” Louis complained. “We both know that after the first half hour of the party you’ll be hiding in a guest bedroom listening to your iPod anyway.”
“I might be more inclined to interact with others if Frank Ocean were playing, rather than Busted.”
“I don’t even like Busted anymore,” Louis muttered, defensively. “Playing them is just a nostalgia thing.”
“Sure it is,” Zayn teased, inflecting his tone with intentional doubt. “I’ll be there in a half hour, you start making that playlist for me.”
“Alright, bossy,” Louis replied, before ending the call.
Rather than getting started on an RnB playlist, Louis continued to rummage through his closet, knowing that Zayn would inevitably veto any of his song suggestions and make his own playlist regardless. He wondered if he could maybe convince Zayn to help him clean up his clothes a bit; Louis’ closet was getting to look rather like a tornado had hit it, with clothes strewn about haphazardly, dangling precariously off hangers, and getting trodden upon where they lay underfoot.
Louis stumbled through the chaos, lamenting the fact that most of his best clothing lay crumpled on the ground. It was with genuine sadness that he picked up one of his favourite shirts, limp and wrinkled almost beyond recognition. He contemplated the likelihood of him being able to convince Zayn to do some ironing for him, and reasoned that the chances of him agreeing to that were probably even lower than the chances of him agreeing to help Louis clean.
Casting his mind about for something that he could use to bribe Zayn, Louis didn’t notice his foot getting caught on a belt until he was already falling forward. He braced himself for the impact, and was rather surprised when he wound up on something far softer than what he would have expected of his cluttered floor. He was even more surprised, as well as terribly aghast, to find that he had a mouthful of dirt.
“Urgh, gross. Dirt. In my closet. Zayn is definitely going to have to help me clean, there’s no way this is sanitary,” Louis said, after spitting the dirt out of his mouth and gagging a little bit. He rolled over and, still angered about having ingested dirt, flipped off the trees that were growing above him.
Then he did a double take.
“Well,” he said to himself, letting out a low whistle. “It would seem that the dirt is not the main problem. How is there a forest in my closet? This doesn’t happen. This doesn’t happen, right? People don’t have forests in their closets. This has definitely never been in my closet before. I’m going crazy. I need to stop talking to myself right now; I’m probably making it worse.”
“Are you alright?” came a voice, interrupting his breakdown. “That looked like a nasty tumble.”
Louis sat up abruptly, glancing about in a panicked search for the owner of the voice. Finally, his eyes settled on a man. No, not a man, his brain amended. Half a man, and half… something else.
Louis blinked. And then he blinked again. He blinked once more for good measure, hoping that this hallucination would go away.
“I must have hit my head,” he muttered to himself. “I must have hit my head very hard.”
“I imagine you did,” said the creature in front of him, tone sympathetic. “I’m Mr. Tumnus, by the way.”
“Louis,” said Louis faintly. “Um, sorry to ask you this, but what the hell are you, anyway?”
“I’m a faun,” said Mr. Tumnus, not looking at all offended.
“A faun, right.” Louis thought he was doing a remarkable job of remaining calm, in spite of being all too aware that he was losing his mind. “You’re sure you’re not a hallucination?”
“I shouldn’t think so,” Mr. Tumnus replied. “Although I suppose I might be; I have no way of knowing for certain. But let’s take it for granted that I’m real.”
Louis looked at him helplessly, before shutting his eyes and giving his head a little shake, hoping to clear his mind. When he opened his eyes, Mr. Tumnus was still staring at him earnestly, brow furrowed in genuine concern.
“I would quite like to take you back to my house for some tea,” said Mr. Tumnus. “It might help you to feel better.”
Louis could already tell that Mr. Tumnus was not going to have his customary Yorkshire Tea, but by then he was feeling so strung out that he felt physically incapable of rebuffing an offer of his favourite soothing beverage.
“Alright, then,” he said, pulling himself shakily to his feet. “Lead on.”
He’d scarcely been on his feet for more than a second before Mr. Tumnus was rushing to his side, a hand on his arm to steady him.
“Are you sure you’re okay to walk?” he asked, worry still blatant in his voice.
Louis took a moment to size him up. Once you got past the general weirdness of the furry animal legs, and managed to focus on his torso – which, actually, wasn’t too difficult, as it was one of the nicer torsos Louis had seen in his life – the faun was quite good looking. Louis made his decision, and deliberately stumbled closer to Mr. Tumnus.
“I don’t think I am,” he said pathetically. “I’m so sorry to be such a bother, but… you might have to help me.”
If Louis were genuinely hurt, he’d probably be desperately trying to conceal it and manage on his own. He’d likely crawl back into his closet and hope that his bedroom was still on the other side. Since he wasn’t hurt, however, he had more than enough room to enjoy playing the damsel in distress. He went to loop his arm around Mr. Tumnus’ shoulder, but Mr. Tumnus was having none of that.
“Don’t be silly,” he chided. “I’ll carry you.”
Louis could not believe his luck. However, he also felt slightly apprehensive; while Mr. Tumnus’ broad shoulders hinted at impressive upper body strength, his furry legs looked fragile, as though they might buckle under too much weight.
“Are you sure you’ll be able to?” he asked doubtfully, in spite of himself.
“Fauns are very strong,” Mr. Tumnus smiled. “And you are rather little. I promise you’ll be in good hands, Louis.”
Louis’slight bristling at being called little was almost immediately replaced by the sensation of his heart fluttering when Mr. Tumnus smiled down at him. Then he remembered that Mr. Tumnus was almost definitely a hallucination, a figment of his own imagination, and he began to feel rather wretched. “Trust me to fancy a hallucination. And not even a human hallucination, at that,” he muttered to himself, as Mr. Tumnus gathered him up into his arms. Mr. Tumnus seemed not to hear him, and decided to occupy himself with mumbling a sort of running commentary into Louis’ ear about the different kinds of trees and woodland creatures that they were passing. Louis couldn’t say he was paying much attention to it; his mind was too busy worrying about what would happen if this turned out not to be a hallucination and instead were real. He thought Zayn would probably be rather annoyed if he got to Louis’ house only to find he’d become lost in the forest that had been hiding in the back of his wardrobe.
If it were real, Louis reasoned, Zayn would just have to put up with it. He probably wouldn’t even bother to explore and would instead spend his time awaiting Louis’ return trying to manipulate Louis’ party playlists into being exclusively RnB.
Besides which, Louis still sincerely doubted that this was real. He was pretty certain that he’d fallen in his closet and hit his head and was now living out some Wizard of Oz-type experience. He could only hope that he wouldn’t have to enact a Dorothy-like quest in order to regain consciousness; he was still too weirded out by all of this to muster the energy to kill any wicked witches. At that thought, Louis felt inclined to make an inquiry.
“You don’t have any crazy evil witches here, do you?” Louis asked, interrupting Mr. Tumnus’ gleeful acknowledgement of an evergreen tree.
Mr. Tumnus’ smile shrank noticeably. “We did at one time,” he said solemnly. “Happily, she no longer burdens our minds.”
Louis frowned up at him. “Why don’t you sound happier about it, then?”
“Although she has long since ceased to have power over us, I take no joy in discussing her past rule. It was a dark time, Louis, one on which I try my best not to dwell.”
“But,” said Louis, unable to allow an immediate subject change, “definitely something that won’t be a problem. Right? I’m not going to have to destroy anything evil to get back home, yeah?”
Mr. Tumnus’ breathy laughter gently ruffled Louis’ hair. “You’re a funny one,” he said. “I’ve already told you that you’re in good hands. You will not come across any danger while in Narnia.”
“Narnia,” Louis repeated slowly. “Not Oz, then.”
“Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Oz isn’t even a real place.”
Mr. Tumnus laughed again. After a few more minutes of wandering, they met their destination. “We’re here!” Mr. Tumnus announced, as though Louis had somehow managed not to notice the small, cabin-like house before them. “Do you think you can manage to stand while I get the door open?”
Louis pretended to mull it over. “It certainly seems doable.”
Still, Mr. Tumnus seemed unwilling to put him down. It almost made Louis feel bad for feigning injury, since the faun seemed so distressed at the idea of him being in pain.
“Seriously, I’ll be fine,” he said. “You don’t need to worry so much.”
Finally, Louis felt himself being lowered onto the ground. While Mr. Tumnus was preoccupied with unlocking the door, Louis took the opportunity to survey his settings from his new, upright stance. Mr. Tumnus’ home looked cosy even from the outside, and Louis couldn’t wait to see what lay within.
He was not disappointed. The house had a homey feel to it, one that Louis’ expansive, costly London home distinctly lacked. Where Louis’ house was full of too many empty bedrooms and mostly boring white walls, Mr. Tumnus’ home was small and quaint. The walls were painted with inviting earthy tones, and the small abode looked lived-in and well loved. There were instruments Louis had never seen before lying about the room, as well as a warm-looking hearth so different from his own gas fireplace. Best of all, there was a homemade quality to everything that surrounded him, from the heavy quilt draped across a worn armchair, to the oaken bookshelves, lined with beautifully bound tomes. It made him long for his mother’s place in Doncaster and wish that he’d made more of an effort to make his place in London an actual home, rather than a piece of property that he occasionally inhabited.
Wrapped up in his observations, Louis felt, rather than saw, Mr. Tumnus pushing him gently into one of the cosy armchairs.
“You just sit yourself down and get comfortable,” Louis heard the faun say. “I’ll fetch us each a cup of tea. Is there anything particular you’d like in yours?”
Despite normally taking his tea without any additives, Louis was tempted to ask for his options, wondering if this place, this Narnia, had any odd things that they put in the tea. Instead, he simply shook his head and settled himself deeper into the armchair. It was a few minutes before Mr. Tumnus returned, and Louis spent the time further investigating the room.
Upon closer inspection, the bookshelves proved to be covered in intricate carvings; the side Louis could see boasted a tremendous lion as its centerpiece. Done professionally, Louis thought the lion might have seemed menacing, but the homemade touch made the lion seem friendly, important in a familiar way, rather than in a regal one.
“It’s only a hallucination,” Louis told himself, squinting at a book called The Life and Letters of Silenus. “You aren’t even conscious right now.”
He wondered if maybe Zayn were hovering above his unconscious form at this very moment, possibly berating Louis’ own modernistic IKEA shelves full of DVDs instead of finding him help. That would explain all of the beautiful bookshelves and books in this Narnia place his mind had thrown him into; perchance Zayn’s voice was infiltrating his subconscious and providing him with a setting based on his ridiculous obsession with literature and old-fashioned bookshelves. It was only a matter of time before Zayn abandoned this topic; Louis was sure he would soon be dreaming of Usher in a fight to the death with Matt Willis. He could only hope that when he regained consciousness that he’d remember to smack Zayn.
Louis resurfaced from his thoughts with a start as Mr. Tumnus pushed a cup of tea into his hands.
“Thanks,” said Louis. “I like your bookcase. Cool lion. I’ve always liked lions.”
Mr. Tumnus glanced at the bookcase, before making his way to the other chair.
“That is Aslan,” said Mr. Tumnus solemnly, “the greatest being ever to walk on Narnian soil.”
“And here I thought I was the greatest being ever to walk on Narnian soil,” Louis joked.
Mr. Tumnus’ lips quirked up slightly. “You might want to be careful who you say that to, Louis. Some Narnians would take offense to that.”
“I don’t really plan on talking to any other Narnians,” Louis said. “I plan on waking up quite soon, in fact. So I reckon I’ll be okay not to offend anyone, so long as you’re not taking offense.”
“You’re not asleep, Louis,” Mr. Tumnus laughed. Louis noticed that Mr. Tumnus laughing was a common occurrence, and one that he definitely enjoyed. He liked people who laughed easily and with abandon, found them to be kindred spirits, of a sort.
“Then how is this happening?” Louis asked. “This sort of stuff only happens in films. People don’t have other worlds in their wardrobes. They just don’t.”
“You’d be surprised at how common it is,” Mr. Tumnus smirked, gesturing to a portrait of four children on the wall adjacent to Louis. The children, two boys and two girls, were dressed resplendently, gilded capes about their shoulders and heads wreathed in golden bands.
“They were from your world,” said Mr. Tumnus. “They, too, discovered Narnia after coming through a wardrobe. They are the great kings and queens of Narnia.”
“Sick,” said Louis. “How do I get to become King of Narnia? Is it enough just to have come from Earth?”
“I’m afraid you rather missed your chance,” replied Mr. Tumnus. “Had you and three others arrived prior to those four, then perhaps you would be on the throne in their stead.”
“Just three others?” Louis mused. “Well, I’m annoyed with Zayn for talking about bookshelves while I’m unconscious at the moment, so I guess the three I’d bring with me are Harry, Liam, and Niall. Or do two of them have to be female?”
Mr. Tumnus looked bemused. “Will you ever believe that you aren’t unconscious?” he said, rather than replying to Louis’ question.
“Probably only if I go back to my closet and Zayn’s there waiting for me,” Louis replied. “And maybe not even then. I’ll probably just think that it’s still part of the dreamy hallucination thing.”
“You’ll certainly be here a long time, then,” said Mr. Tumnus, “as you aren’t going to get home simply by waking up. Not that I’d complain about you staying; I rather enjoy your company.”
Louis tried his best not to blush at the words of a figment of his own imagination. He failed.
“Yes, well,” he huffed. “I enjoy yours, too. But I am supposed to be hosting a party tonight, and who knows what will happen if I leave Zayn in charge? Nothing good. Probably Ne-
Yo sing-alongs and group napping.”
Mr. Tumnus looked charmingly confused. “How’s this, I’ll make sure to return you to your wardrobe as soon as I feel you’ve recuperated. But I do hope that you’ll return to visit me after your celebrations.”
“If I find out that this is real, then I’ll definitely come back and visit,” Louis replied. “But if it’s all in my head, then there’s no way I’m going to risk concussion just to visit you.”
“I wouldn’t want you to,” Mr. Tumnus promised, sounding ill at the very thought.
“Good.” Louis took a sip of his tea. “Hey, so if I can come to Narnia, can you come to where I live? Or does it only work one way?”
“I can’t imagine that I’d be able to return with you,” said Mr. Tumnus, “Although I’ve no way of knowing for sure. I know that it’s happened in the past.” He paused for a moment, as though mustering up the courage to speak. “The evil witch I mentioned earlier – she is said to have come from another world. Not yours. Another entirely. So it seems as though it’s not unheard of for those other than your kind to travel between the worlds.”
Louis balked at the mention of yet more worlds. Taking another relaxing sip of tea, he said, “Probably for the best. Most of the people at my party would probably be a bit put off by your anatomy.”
“You don’t seem too put off by my anatomy,” he replied. “Why should your friends be any different?”
“I don’t think this is real. Well, I’m starting to think it might be real. But, yeah, my friends would probably worry that someone had somehow slipped them drugs, to be honest.”
“That’s a shame. I do like meeting people from your world. Maybe you’d be able to convince some of them to come with you next time?”
There was a part of Louis who thought that, if this was real, he would want to keep it all to himself. Narnia could be his escape from the hectic world of One Direction, a sanctuary when it all got to be a bit much. But another, much bigger part of him was aching to tell someone about his experience.
“I’ll see if I can convince them,” he replied. “But it’s not going to be an easy thing for them to believe, I don’t think.”
“Oh, I didn’t think they’d be easy to convince,” said Mr. Tumnus. “If your reaction is anything to go by, it’s all very unbelievable.”
There was a brief pause as the two of them sipped gently at their tea.
“I think I’m ready to head back now,” said Louis. “But if this all actually happened – if I’m awake right now – then I promise I’ll come back at some point.”
Making such a promise was well worth Mr. Tumnus’ reaction; his entire face lit up, as though Louis had made his day, and Louis felt the familiar warming sensation of pride flood through him, as it did anytime he managed to make someone smile.
“I’m glad,” said Mr. Tumnus, getting up and walking over to Louis. Louis set down his empty teacup and took Mr. Tumnus’ proffered hand, allowing himself to be pulled to his feet.
“Cheers for the tea, mate,” said Louis. “I didn’t know what to expect from Narnian tea, but it was on par with Yorkshire.”
Mr. Tumnus clearly didn’t know what he meant by “Yorkshire,” but looked pleased nevertheless.
“Only the best Narnian herbs for the lovely Louis,” he said, smiling mindlessly, and making no visible move to see Louis out of his home.
“Right, then,” Louis said, stammering slightly as he gestured vaguely toward the door. “Um, so, shall we?”
Though usually thoroughly capable of avoiding awkwardness in any situation, Louis realized that he had fallen into the all-too-common awkwardness trap of leaving someone’s home. He didn’t quite know how to say goodbye to Mr. Tumnus, and he didn’t know how to edge his way out of the house without seeming anxious to be rid of the kind faun. Thankfully, he was saved by Mr. Tumnus looking down and blushing intensely.
“Of course, yes. I must apologize, Louis; such is my desire to remain in your company that I continue to speak to you even after you expressly state that you wish to leave. I do beg your pardon; allow me to fetch you something a bit warmer for the journey, and then I will lead you back to your wardrobe.”
“Oh, not at all, don’t apologize!” Louis exclaimed. “And you needn’t worry about leading me back… you’ve already done far too much for me.”
But the faun was adamant. “Go out there on your own and you’ll be wandering about for days. I can’t have you getting lost in Narnia, now, Louis. If your friends are anything like me, I am certain that your absence would weigh heavily on their minds.”
With this comment, he handed Louis a woolen sweater that looked equally as homemade as everything else in the quaint home. “Put this on, now. I would never forgive myself if you were to catch cold due to my lack of hospitality.”
Louis pulled the sweater over his head, and the faun beamed fondly at how the hem fell mid-thigh and the sleeves hid his hands entirely.
“Not quite a perfect fit, but at least you look rather adorable,” he said. “Now, come along, I’ll feel terribly guilty if I detain you from your party any longer.”
Louis was glad that Mr. Tumnus had his back to him while he opened the door, as Louis’ cheeks had turned crimson at the compliment. While he ordinarily hated wearing clothes that were too big for him, as it was only a reminder of his distinct lack of height, he thought that he might grow to like it if it engendered in Mr. Tumnus such a positive response. Looking up, Louis realized that Mr. Tumnus was holding the door open for him and waiting patiently for him to go through the door first. Blush deepening, Louis muttered a quick thanks, before leaving the house.
“This had better not be a hallucination or a dream or something,” Louis mumbled under his breath, “or I am going to feel pathetic about this stupid crush for the rest of my life.”
He and Mr. Tumnus made quick work of the journey, and although Louis was concerned that he’d be unable to escape from this uncharacteristic awkwardness, he was relieved to find that conversation with Mr. Tumnus was quite easy. Louis asked rather a lot of questions about Narnia, and, when Louis had run out of questions, Mr. Tumnus made similar inquiries about Louis’ home and life.
“If you manage to convince your bandmates to come back here with you,” Mr. Tumnus said, as they finally reached the tumultuous heap of clothing that signified the beginning of Louis’ wardrobe, “then you will simply have to perform for me. I, myself, have dabbled with music in the past, but I would be delighted to hear the sort of songs that exist in your world.”
Louis thought about the various wooden instruments that he’d seen in Mr. Tumnus’ home and how much the tunes Mr. Tumnus could play on them probably differed from a song like Kiss You.
“Yes,” he replied, “but only if you play for me, as well. We’ll make a right concert of it.”
Mr. Tumnus nodded agreeably.
“Goodbye then, Louis,” he said. “’Til we meet again!”
“Yeah, mate, see you!” Louis said cheerfully. He waved at the faun, before entering his wardrobe. On his way in, he stumbled once more, falling gracelessly to the floor. This time, his fall was not cushioned by dirt, and he instead felt coat hangers bent at odd angles poking into his flesh.
“Brilliant,” he muttered, looking back to see if Mr. Tumnus had noticed. To his surprise, he could no longer see the forest. He scrambled to his feet, and after further inspection, noted that he could now find the back of his wardrobe.
He stared at it blankly for what must have been about ten minutes, still trying to sort everything out in his head. His baffled contemplation was interrupted when the doorbell rang, startling him into awareness.
“Oh god,” he thought, rushing out of his closet. “That must be the first of the guests… I do hope Zayn’s managed to set everything up without me.”
As he tore through his house, it quickly became apparent that Zayn, unsurprisingly, had done nothing to prepare for the party at all. In fact, there was no sign of Zayn even having been in the house; after he answered the door, he’d certainly have to go looking for him. Louis could only hope that Zayn hadn’t also found his way into Narnia and gotten lost. Finally reaching his door, he stopped to catch his breath, his hand scrabbling at the lock. Opening the door, he was shocked to come across none other than Zayn.
“What are you doing here?” he blurted out before he could stop himself, fixing Zayn with an amazed look.
Zayn glared at him, clearly affronted.
“Um, you asked me to come? Thanks for the warm welcome, Louis. You should be thanking me; I would still be in bed right now if it weren’t foryou.”
Louis slumped against his doorframe and continued to gawk at Zayn. Zayn stared back at him for a few moments, before pushing gently at Louis’ arm.
“Uh, mind standing aside so I can come in? It’s not exactly warm out here.”
Louis didn’t move.
“Zayn, what time is it?” he asked, his voice sounding slightly vacant.
“Are you kidding me, Louis? It’s, what, half past or so? Don’t be pissed, I got here as fast as I could.”
“Half past what?” Louis demanded urgently.
“Louis, come on, what the fuck is this? Just let me inside, come on.”
“Half past what, Zayn,” Louis repeated insistently.
A concerned look replaced the annoyance on Zayn’s face.
“Half past three, Lou. Look, are you okay? What’s wrong with you?”
But at that response, Louis staggered backwards into his house, only just managing to brace himself against a wall.
“It’s been half an hour since I called you?” he asked weakly.
Zayn followed him into the house, shutting the door softly behind him.
“Yeah. Yeah, of course it has. Should I be worried, Lou?”
“I… no. No, I just fell asleep,” Louis said, quickly deciding that that must have been what happened. He felt a bit silly for having actually managed to convince himself that Narnia was a real place. “I’m just a bit disoriented, sorry. Felt like I’d been out for hours.”
Zayn’s face broke into a relieved smile. “Good,” he said. “You had me really worried Louis." Zayn reached out to ruffle Louis’ hair. He looked Louis up and down before saying, “Wow, can see why you wanted my help with the outfit. What’s up with that, oversized woolen sweaters aren’t generally your thing.”
Louis’ heart nearly stopped as he followed Zayn’s gaze. Oversized woolen sweaters weren’t his thing. He didn’t own any, and he wouldn’t have ever borrowed one from any of the boys. There’s only one place that this sweater could have come from, and he’d only just seconds ago decided that it couldn’t exist.
“Ha, yeah,” he managed. “Glad you’re here to save the day, Mr. Runway.”