Everyone agrees that it’s a fantastic idea—the band and the stylists and the managers. It’s exactly in line with their image, and it’s adorable, and, well, it’s just sweet. They live in each other’s pockets and wear each other’s clothes constantly, and it feels right to let that be part of their show.
Or, at least, they all agree until the girls start dividing up who’s going to wear whose clothes, and somehow Liam ends up holding Harry’s mind-bogglingly tiny miniskirt.
“I don’t think this is such a good idea,” she says weakly, gesturing vaguely with the skirt and hoping she’s managed to convey, “I don’t want everyone at the concert to see my knickers.”
“Don’t be silly, Li, it’ll suit you,” Harry says, already halfway out of her own dress and into Zayn’s. Next to her, Louis is wriggling into Niall’s shorts, which are almost obscenely tight.
Scowling, Liam shuffles reluctantly toward the loo; if she’s going to wear Harry’s appallingly short skirt, she’s going to get a look at herself before everyone else does. Just to make sure her arse isn’t hanging out and stuff, really.
It’s—well, it’s really short. It’s short on Harry, and Liam’s got at least an inch on her, not to mention how she’s just not as skinny as Harry is. Harry’s all tiny and willowy and Liam just isn’t—and the skirt fits her even tighter because of it. The shirt is even tighter, especially through the shoulders, where Liam is broader and almost boyish and Harry is skinny like a model or something.
“Maybe I should wear someone else’s kit,” Liam starts to call through the door, but before she’s halfway through the sentence, the door opens and Louis is staring at her.
“It’s a bit small,” Liam says to her, and shrugs.
Louis doesn’t say anything for a long moment, and only an extremely concentrated effort keeps Liam from pulling at the bottom of the skirt in a futile attempt to make it longer.
“Wow,” Louis says, and then she turns around to yell back into the main dressing room. Liam feels herself turning bright red as Louis announces, “Liam has legs!”
“Let me see!” Harry shrieks, running forward and craning her neck over Louis’s shoulder even though she’s taller and has no reason to go to that much effort. “Shit,” she says, grinning salaciously at Liam. “You’ve been holding out on us. Legs like that aren’t meant to be hidden.”
Harry and Louis beckon her out of the loo and Liam comes, feeling her cheeks flaming and staring determinedly at the floor—Louis smacks her on the bum as she passes, of course—and then they’re all looking at her. Glancing around, she can see Zayn’s eyes sliding down her legs, and then back up, lingering on the hem that’s so so close to Liam’s crotch. Niall’s eyes are fixed on her chest—on her boobs—where Harry’s smaller shirt is clinging much tighter than any of Liam’s own do.
“You look amazing,” Zayn says, her eyes wide.
It’s mortifying, really, these are her best mates and they’re staring at her like they’ve never seen her before, like until she put on Harry’s ridiculous skirt they’d never realized she has all the same parts that Harry does. But it’s also maybe a little bit flattering, the way Zayn—beautiful Zayn who can wrap any boy around her finger with a glance, whose eyelashes go on for days—is staring at Liam like she’s stunning.
Suddenly her stomach’s gone all fluttery and Louis’s hand against her back is heavier and she can’t stop herself wondering if Niall’s eyes on her breasts don’t mean just damn, Liam has boobs but rather damn, Liam has boobs and I want to touch them. Liam swallows hard, trying to ignore Harry reaching out to touch her waist and Harry’s eyes tracing the lines of her clothes on Liam’s body.
“We—we have sound check,” Liam chokes out.
“Right,” Harry says, sounding noticeably distracted.
Liam ducks away from the attention, trying to shake off the weighty sensation of everyone’s eyes on her—everyone’s eyes on her and thinking about sex.
Having her trousers back is a relief—no more eyes constantly trained on her legs, no more worries about who’s going to see her knickers—and Liam is not exactly sure she’s looking forward to putting it back on for the concert.
Except—the floppy feeling she got in her stomach from knowing that they thought she was hot, that was kind of nice. Harry and Louis with their endless charm, gorgeous Zayn, adorable Niall, and they all think she’s worth looking at. That part was kind of amazing.
Liam’s used to the screaming when they go out on stage—as used to it as she thinks she’ll ever be—but as soon as the crowd realizes they’re in each other’s clothes, it becomes like a wall of sound, so loud she thinks she’ll be thrown back off her feet. And her name is audible over all of it.
“I think they like the skirt,” Louis whispers to her, flashing a devilish grin as she pulls away from Liam’s ear.
It’s the last show, wild and intense, and more than a little emotional, and it shows from the moment they start singing. Liam sings harder, means it more, teases less and hugs more, and spends a lot of time trying not to get choked up. Bit of choreography that usually mean with mics knocked over or running tackles across the stage end with arms around waists and kisses to cheeks instead; they’ve done this, they had a tour and it was a success and there’s nothing in the world that feels like this, there can’t be.
It turns out that not crying is a hopeless battle; by the time they take their final bow, they’re all a little weepy. They pull off the bow, smiling too wide and eyes watery, and then pile into a messy hug that ends with all five of them giggling helplessly into each other’s shoulders.
Liam’s wiped away the last of her tears by the time they reach the dressing room again, and Louis pulls Liam down into her lap on the sofa, pressing a wet, smacking kiss to her cheek.
“You don’t just look amazing,” she whispers. “You are amazing.” Harry flops next to them and Liam uses the opportunity to hide her face in the masses of curls Harry takes with her everywhere. A few seconds later, though, there’s a hand on her chin that’s drawing her out to meet Zayn’s eyes, and Niall’s hand is on her (bare) knee.
“We couldn’t possibly have done this without you,” Zayn says, and then bites her lip. She’s kneeling in front of the sofa, Niall next to her and they’re all so close together but this is normal, shouldn’t feel heady.
Which—okay, biting her lip is a good look on Zayn, all eyes and pink mouth and teeth like she has some reason to be hesitant about anything in the world. Except, of course, Liam knows her and knows that she does feel it, that it’s not some contrived act, and that makes it infinitely harder to not throw her arms around Zayn’s neck the way she has so many times before.
What happens instead, though, is entirely new and amazing and just—Liam doesn’t know what to do, because Zayn strokes her thumb down the side of Liam’s neck and leans forward, whispering, “Can I kiss you?”
Liam—Liam just nods, because no one in the world could say no to Zayn Malik asking to kiss them but also because it’s Zayn, who reads comic books and draws pictures of them on the tour bus and curls around Liam in bed when she gets homesick.
And then they’re kissing, Zayn’s lips pressed against Liam’s, slow and soft and warm, and her hand is curling around the back of Liam’s neck. Niall’s hand on her knee is edging up, toward the horrifying tiny skirt—she realizes that Niall can probably see straight up it right now, is probably looking right at the tiny knickers Harry insisted she wear, and then she realizes, as Zayn’s tongue drags across her lower lip, that she doesn’t really care. Louis’s hands are firm but gentle on her hips, toying with the edge of her shirt—Harry’s shirt—and stroking across the skin that’s revealed when she pushes it up.
Harry grabs Liam’s hand, lacing their fingers together, and there it is again, the fluttering in her stomach that’s fear and excitement and—and Louis is kissing the side of her neck, and Niall’s fingers are under the hem of her skirt and Zayn’s licking at her teeth.
And it’s nice. Hot and addictive and Liam wants to kiss them all, curl her fingers into Harry’s messy hair and pull Louis’s too-tight shirt (Niall’s) off and maybe let them press her back into the sofa in turn—or maybe she wants to press each of them down instead; she wants everything and it’s almost too much except for how it’s perfect.
Distractedly, as Zayn pulls away to kiss the other side of her throat and Niall leans in to seal their mouths together, Liam is once again grateful that she came back, risked heartbreak for a second shot at the X Factor.