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and joy be with you all

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This was a stupid idea.

 

Niall hasn’t let himself think it until now; managed to get through throwing a bag together (too many socks, underwear Haz got him that year they spent a month buying each other pants for some reason, that shirt that makes his eyes look extra green and a few hats and those jeans he nicked from Costume that fit like a glove) and loading himself into the plain-looking Range Rover (the few years-old base model with the blacked out windows he’s borrowed from Haz, because it may be Christmas Eve but he’s not stupid enough to think there are no paps about) without thinking it. He’s been in the car for near eight hours, three conversations with Tommo (progressively more and more rowdy and birthday-happy, home at last with a million siblings to chase about the house), four wee stops, an hour’s worth of texts via Siri to Liam (which gets even funnier when Siri’s translating on both sides), a fuel stop, a check-in with Basil in case he’s in need of a quick rescue at some point, an update from his Da on his Christmas holiday with his lady friend (no, Da, I know you’re not going to be home until the 27th, have fun, I’ll see you then) and a long, meandering talk with Harry, who narrates his last-minute Christmas baking, swearing when he can’t find things in his own, unfamiliar kitchen.

 

It’s all one big distraction from the realisation that he’s an idiot. Niall hadn’t let himself think it before now, even when he’d stopped at the last big petrol station before home and ducked into the bathroom to get out of his comfy sweats and into his nice clothes. He’d pulled a pair of the tarty underwear on and shimmied himself into the pilfered jeans, the black ones that cling to his arse and thighs, skinny without making him too chicken-legged. It’s not that he thinks anyone’s going to see his underwear, not really, but he likes the way they feel against his skin, likes the reminder, feels taller and more attractive, powerful somehow. He’s learned a lot about how looking good makes you feel good, lately. The green button-down that makes his eyes look amazing was ironed, once, but had long gone a bit screwy, and Niall was glad he’s hiding it underneath the posh black cardie, scoop-necked and expensive, that he nicked from someone last tour, thick and warm and soft. He fussed with his hair in the dinky little bathroom mirror, before laughing at himself and just jamming a hat on his head; the last time he was this nervous about how he looked, he was meeting the bloody Queen. Brez’s seen him absolutely wankered, a beer-covered mess, half-dressed and over-dressed and in nothing but his shorts. Niall makes it back to the car without being stopped for one single photo, and from there it’s only half an hour to Mullingar proper, to the street behind the youth cafe (the bloody youth cafe, because Bressie’s never met a problem he hasn’t wanted to fix, spends his own money doing up a joint to give Mullingar’s kids somewhere to work and perform and earn a bit of dosh, helpful without being preachy in that way nobody else Niall’s ever met can manage), sitting in the stupid blacked-out Range Rover, just now realising what a feckin’ stupid idea this is.

 

Niall hasn’t even seen Bressie in eight months, just a few bouts of back-and-forth texts here and there. Bressie’s probably in there with someone he’s brought home for Christmas, for all Niall knows. Someone mature and settled, someone gorgeous and tall and able to just sit around or go for a takeaway, someone who can call without fail every night they’re apart.

 

This was a stupid idea.

 

Niall thought - Niall doesn’t really know what he’d thought he was doing. He knows what he’d hoped - he’d hoped that one day he’d come off tour and there’d be strong, open arms waiting. Permanence and safety and routine and domesticity and all that rot. All those things Niall’s brilliant, exciting, high-flying life can’t provide. He’s spent the last five years living his dreams, his wildest dreams, bigger and shinier than he’d ever thought possible, but it’s been two and a half years since That Conversation, the one where Bressie looked at his stupid, young, foolish, about-to-go-back-on-tour self and said no. Said, I can’t be what you need right now, and you’re young, Nialler, so fucking young, and you should be out there living it up. And Niall had sat there quietly and nodded at all the right points like he agreed, like the last month of almost-dates and kisses and rubbing off on each other on the couch wasn’t the start of everything Niall’s ever wanted. Niall had agreed, because it was sensible, because Bressie might’ve been done with the Voice Ireland for the time being, but he’d still had commitments, he wasn’t ever going to be like the lads’ girls, who could fly out all the time and play tour tagalong. Bressie’s grown, had responsibilities and commitments and a fucking mortgage. Niall had smiled like his heart wasn’t breaking, said yeah I understand and it’s fine, Brez, I get it, and after one last, awkward, sad kiss, you deserve someone who can be there for you, someone can make you happy. And then he’d opened his eyes and bailed before he had to look at the stupid, perfect giant of a man for any longer.

 

*

 

A thump and a curse startles Niall out of his reminiscing, the sound of someone bumping into the car. There’s a laugh and muted conversation, and Niall watches through dark windows as the couple responsible wander up the street towards the youth cafe, spilling light and sound out into the quiet street, all lit up for Christmas but somehow lonely as fuck.

 

Niall shakes his head as if to clear it. Fuck that. He’s going in there. He’s going in to Bressie’s latest world-saving venture and he’s going to smile and laugh and maybe even give the big lug a hug, going to drink a pint or two and then go home (home, actual home, his childhood bed and all) and sleep it off. Decided, he grabs his phone and his wallet and the keys and opens the door to the bracing chill, sliding out and legging it up the road before he can change his mind, cursing the fact that he hasn’t brought a coat.

 

The windows of the cafe are bright, but when Niall steps inside, he’s struck almost blind by the dim, cozy interior before his eyes adjust. He’s stood there a few seconds too long, by the look of the girl with the little tin just inside the door. He pays the cover charge (for charity! the girl says) dazedly, not at all surprised when her eyes widen in recognition.

 

“Um - Bressie’s just over by the bar,” she says in a rush.

 

“Thanks,” Niall says, giving her his best meet-the-fans smile.

 

There’s a crowd of people between him and the bar, but he starts to make his way over, head ducked low. He’s about halfway there when he comes face-to-chest with someone broad, someone who smells of a familiar cologne. Niall looks up, and up.

 

Fuck me,” Niall says lowly, taking in Bressie before him. He’s bigger than he was eight months ago, broader and stronger, and it makes Niall’s face heat, being pressed close in the crowd, feeling little before him in all the best ways. “Uh - you look good, Brez.” Fucking hot, he doesn’t say, so fucking big, because he knows Bressie feels his size intensely, a tall man who once spent a bloody long time trying to get as big as he could, back when he played professionally, and he was little for a defender but he’s been too big for normal life ever since. But Bressie just beams at him, that crooked grin, and tucks him under an arm.

 

“You too, little,” he says, and Niall feels himself flush even further at the nickname, a holdover from the LIC days, when Big Niall and Little Niall were the nicknames of the day, because their friends are assholes.

 

“Thanks,” Niall says, trying not to feel as awkward as he sounds. He pastes a smile onto his face. “Where to for a pint?"

 

Bressie laughs and guides him over to the bar, gets him a pint and starts yammering a mile a minute about what they do here. Niall gets the full tour, shakes hands and moves wherever the big hand in the middle of the back guides him while various acts perform onstage. There’s something about Bressie’s presence that’s always made him feel … cared for. Protected. Safe, and loved, even when he was just a chicken-legged sixteen year old with broken strings and a terrible dye job shown up at Bressie’s door because London was lonely and the competition was fucking overwhelming.

 

Niall finds a perch on a ridiculously tall stool and eats too many chips while Bressie busies himself with something by the stage. He eventually gets up behind the mic, and Niall can feel himself perk up, full attention on the man under the stage light. Fuck, but he’s whipped. He pushes the thought away, listens intently as Bressie talks about the cafe, the people who work here, the kids who perform here. He’s in his element, and it’s not like Niall’s never seen him speak before, not like he hasn’t cried to youtube videos of Bressie talking openly and honestly about mental health, but there’s something about Bressie, strong and happy and confident under stage lights that makes Niall very glad he’s sitting down.

 

“Now,” Bressie says, cheeky grin on his face as he comes to the end of his spiel, “there’s nobody famous here tonight,” and Niall feels his face heat up as a few people glance at him. Someone giggles. "Nobody to sign shit,” Bressie continues, "just a bunch of 'garians home for Christmas, here to have a good time.” He raises his pint. “Merry feckin’ Christmas!"

 


“Merry feckin’ Christmas!” the crowd cheers back at him, and Niall raises his pint.

 

Bressie jumps off the little stage, making his way back to Niall’s perch through a crowd of hugs and backslaps and well-wishers. By the time he returns, he’s acquired another pint and is practically glowing, and Niall realises just how far gone he is, that seeing Bressie so in his element, so happy and content, threatens to bring tears to his eyes. He clears his throat, instead, and takes another gulp of his pint.

 

“This is a great thing you’ve done here,” he says when Bressie is back by his side, just loud enough to be heard. “Proud of you, Big."

 

Bressie shrugs, bashful, and Niall smiles, because he knows it’s not false modesty. Bressie cares, but he also works really fucking hard to make sure that it’s not about him, that the youth are being heard, that it’s their needs being heard. This whole thing isn’t a vanity exercise. Niall decides then and there that it’s high time he made a donation.

 

*

 

“Last call!” someone shouts, and there’s a buzz from the PA as someone steps up to the microphone.

 

“Right, you feckers,” a voice says, young and happy, a little nervous. “One more for the road.” Niall turns and watches the girl - his age, probably, but she’s not familiar, open her mouth, listens as the familiar words sail over the room, the sweet, clear voice ringing like a bell. “Of all the money, that e’er I had, I’ve spent it in good company. And all the harm that e’er I’ve done, alas it was to none, but me.” The song is bittersweet, but Niall feels a smile break across his face, leans back into Bressie, a warm presence behind him as people around them join in. “And all I’ve done for want of wit, to memory now I can’t recall,” Niall feels it rumble through him as Bressie takes a deep breath and sings the next line, bang-on the right note, strong and clear and beautiful, “So fill to me, the parting glass,” and there’s a great swell of sound as everyone in the place sings along, “goodnight and joy be with you all."

 

More voices drop out as the song continues, but Niall knows these words, knew them by heart long before he first sang about a girl not knowing her own beauty, hears the grin in Bressie’s voice as they keep singing, and a strong arm comes around his chest, hugging him back to a strong body. There’s the familiar feeling of being watched, and Niall knows that somewhere in the press of the crowd there’s a phone trained his way, but he can’t bring himself to care, reaches up to pat Bressie’s arm, leaves his hand resting there.

 

"So fill to me, the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all."

 

The song ends on a haunting, mournful note, not exactly Christmas fare, but fuck it, they’re Irish, and the crowd filters out still cheery, if slightly sobered.

 

“You heading out, little?” Bressie asks, and Niall feels it rumble through him.

 

“Nah,” Niall says. “Might wait out the crowd. Help your arse clean up."

 

“Damn right,” Bressie says, letting him go at last as he steps away, and Niall feels the loss of body heat like a physical ache. “You’re home now, and even superstars can collect glasses."

 

Niall gives him a one-fingered salute, before pushing up the sleeves of his cardigan and proceeding to do just that.

 

*

 

An hour later, Niall’s helped collect all the empties, signed a phone, posed for three selfies, and emptied the contents of his wallet as surreptitiously as he could into the donations jar. It’s not much, but he’s made a mental note to make a bigger donation when he gets back to his computer. He would’ve loved somewhere like this as a kid. More than that, Mullingar puts up with a lot because of him; an increase in visitors, sure, but also the irritation of never being able to get a park on certain streets, the occasional gaggle of squealing fans at the meat counter in Tesco because someone’s spotted his Da. Niall likes to give back, if he can.

 

There’s only eight or so of them left in the building, Niall and Bressie and six staff he can see the patrons all wandered off home, the performers heading out after hugs and encouraging words from Bressie. The girl who sang A Parting Glass had asked shyly if Niall thought she should front up to the Dublin X-Factor auditions next year. He’d told her honestly that Simon would be an idiot to say no, and she’d left looking as if her feet weren’t even touching the ground.

 

A hand drops lightly onto his shoulder, startling him out of his contemplation of the slushy street outside the cafe. “Where ya staying tonight, Nialler?"

 

“Me Da’s,” Niall says, leaning into the contact, looking up at the big lug.

 

“Nah,” Bressie says, “that’s a helluva trek in the cold tonight. Stay at mine, and I’ll drop you back for your car in the morning."

 

“Sure,” Niall says, trying not to sound too eager. He reminds himself sternly that Bressie’s just being a good mate, that the heated look in his eyes is probably nothing but a pint too many.

 

Bressie says his goodbyes, and they head out onto the silent street, the night freezing and clear, no sign of the promised Christmas snow. Niall starts shivering almost instantly, glad it’s only a ten minute walk to Bressie’s house (his parents’ guest cottage, really).

 

“C’mere,” Bressie says, tugging Niall closer, and he goes, willing and pliant for a moment, before he remembers himself.

 

“Can’t walk like that, Brez,” Niall says, voice coming out gruff as he shrugs off Bressie’s arm. “I’ll trip you up."

 

Bressie shrugs, stuffing his hands into his pockets, not moving away. Niall fights the urge to press even closer. At least he knows Bressie has no problem touching him. They’ve hardly been apart all night, their arms touching, Niall leaning an elbow on a seated Bressie’s shoulder as he stood beside, Bressie’s arm pulling Niall’s back close to his front during that last song. The contact (and maybe the pints, let’s be honest) has heated Niall up from the outside in, cheeks flushed even in the cold, his dick snug in his tight jeans. Fuck it, Niall thinks. He might as well feel Bressie out. Maybe he’s asked Niall back to his for… more than friendly reasons? Niall doesn’t know if he’s up to being a one night stand, honestly, but what if that’s all he can get? He’d be stupid not to take it.

 

“I don’t know if you remember, ah, that conversation-" Niall studies his shoes, as if that conversation isn’t That Conversation, the reason he hasn’t had anything approaching a real relationship in the two years since, countless pretty, bright people Niall could grow to love but nobody that fit, nobody that made his heart race and his knees go weak (you big sap, you), nobody that made him feel comfortable, like no matter what he’d be safe and protected and loved.

 

“Of course I remember,” Bressie says roughly, and it’s so fucking weird that they’re talking about this now, striding through the freezing cold on Christmas Eve, neither of them looking at the other.

 

“And what do you - what do you think? About that conversation. Um, now. These days.” Niall wobbles on a bit of concrete that’s more ice than slush covered, but there’s a strong hand that shoots out to grip him above the elbow, steadying him, and it’s all Niall can do not to lean into it, to fold himself into the space under Bressie’s outstretched arm.

 

“Not that I expect you’ve been thinking about it,” Niall says quickly, as Bressie lets him go, and could this be any more fucking awkward. Gone is the easy, close camaraderie they’ve shared all night, tense and awkward now it’s just the two of them.

 

“I know it’s stupid,” Bressie says tightly, not looking at him. “But I have. Been thinkin' about it. I mean - I’ve slept with other people. I’ve built up the website and the youth cafe and my studio, been busy, but I guess I just always hoped-" his voice trails off.

 

“Hoped what,” Niall asks flatly, heart pounding so loud he can hear it, blood pumping in his ears, the adrenaline of standing backstage about to go on, of being on that precipice -

 

“Hoped that when you were done, when you finally had time, you’d come home. Come home to - to me."

 


“Bressie,” Niall says, voice choked, all his hopes just come realised as he stops dead in the street and turns to look at the man who stopped when he did, hunched against the cold, and fuck he better not be dreaming. He’s not sure what’s in his tone at that moment but it makes the big man hunch even further, and he has to rush to finish - “Brez - I’ve come home."

 

Bressie’s head snaps up and he looks - shocked. Destroyed, like a man given all his dreams at once, not daring to trust they’re real yet.

 

“I’m here,” Niall says, the words spilling out over each other. “I’m done, got nothing for nearly a year. Well, nine months, really, and I know it’s not long and I can’t promise anything beyond that, but we’re not locked into anything, we’ve already said we’re never going out for that long again, that I’m going to be - I’m home."

 

And Bressie’s still just looking at him.

 

“Say something,” Niall blurts, anxiety growing. He wasn’t expecting to say any of this, not tonight. Possibly not ever. Definitely not on a silent Mullingar street. “Anything."

 

“We-“ Bressie says eventually, and Niall feels himself leaning forward, hanging out for the rest of that sentence. We should be together forever. We can’t ever see each other again. We’re crazy. We can’t, there’s someone else.

 

“We need to get inside,” Bressie says, turning his heated gaze away, striding onward.

 

Niall follows, numb.

 

*

 

The rest of the walk is like some sort of dream, a strange, trance-like state. Niall follows Bressie’s heels, not looking up, somehow not running into anything or landing on his arse. He’s through the gate at Bressie’s parents place, down the garden path to the little cottage (oh look, Bressie left a light on for himself, good thinking), steps into a little kitchen that’s been redone since the last time he was here (years ago, far too long, too late now). He toes off his cold, damp shoes, shivering a little.

 

“Come on,” Bressie says, voice a little rough, and Niall follows him into the living room. There’s a - nest, there’s no other way to describe it, on the floor in front of the cold fireplace, layers of blankets and pillows. "The bedroom doesn't have a fireplace," Bressie says, awkward. "That's what," he gestures to the blankets. “Uh, here,” he says, fiddling with the switches, and the fire whooshes into life, crackling across the neatly stacked wood.

 

“Fancy,” Niall says.

 

“I’ll go - I’ll go get something dry for you to put on,” Bressie says, and Niall watches him disappear into the bedroom. He’s still shivering, but the fire is rapidly warming the room, and Niall plants himself right in front of it, curling one knee under him with the other one flat on the floor. He’s a little stiff, in the cold, but he’s still moving easily enough. He pulls off his hat and shrugs off his damp cardigan, and is about to do the same with his jeans, wet along the bottom hem from the slushy street, before he remembers his tarty underwear. He pauses. He’s already word-vomited his feelings all over Bressie. The last thing he needs to do is flash his pants and make the man think he’s trying to seduce him or summat. 

 

Bressie appears, having replaced his own jeans with trackies, and he’s got another pair in his hand, presumably for Niall. 

 

“Well,” Niall says lightly, reaching out to take them, “I’m not going to look ridiculous at all."

 

“You won’t,” Bressie blurts. “I mean - you always look good. And there’s something about, y’know, youinmyclothes."

 

The last part is said so fast Niall has to take a moment to parse out the words. He blinks, and then curls his mouth up into a cheeky grin, ready to make a joke of it, though his heart isn’t in it. 

 

Bressie must see it, though, because he says, “Wait.” He sighs. “Look, I didn’t mean to just shut ye down earlier. I just - I panicked. And, y’know, the streets of the Gar probably aren’t the best place for life-changing romantic declarations?"

 

Niall’s brain is stuck on romantic declarations.

 

“So,” Bressie says, easing himself down beside Niall, leaning back against the side of the couch, legs stretched out in front of him. “This is what I should’ve said: I’m in love with you, Niall. I have been ever since you turned up at my door, when you really were so fucking young, when you kissed me in that pub years later, when I realised I couldn’t be what you needed, that I needed someone who could be around while I was going through shit, tonight when you turned up out of the blue looking fecking gorgeous, and every moment in between.” He takes a breath. “So yeah. That’s what I should’ve said."

 

“I love you too,” Niall says, and to his mortification, his voice is small. “I think - I know I’m young, but I think you’re it for me, Brez. And I’m free for most of next year, but I can’t promise I will be forever. But I don’t - I don’t know whether I can accept the fact that I love you, and you love me, if it’s all going to end the next time I have to go away."

 

“It won’t,” Bressie says, and it sounds like a promise. “I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but I do know that if it’s an option, I want to try. With you. Being together, and all that entails."

 

“Even though I’ll go back into the studio late next year, and I’ll probably tour again after that."

 

“Even though,” Bressie says.

 

“Feck,” Niall says, shutting his eyes against the tears that are suddenly threatening to escape. “Feck, I was not expecting that."

 

There’s a big hand that touches his shoulder, hesitantly. “Ni? Nialler, you’re shaking.”

 

Niall crumples, and of course Bressie is there to catch him, pulling him close. “I just-" fuck, he is crying now, hot tears leaking out past his eyelids, into Bressie’s shirt, “I've just wanted to hear that for so long, and now I’m here and I’m home and you’re saying you love me and it’s just-"

 

“Overwhelming,” Bressie finishes, and Niall nods. Bressie rests his chin on the top of Niall’s head. “But tomorrow, Ni, I’m still going to be here saying it."

 

They sit like that for long minutes, the only noise the steady thump of Bressie’s heart underneath Niall’s cheek and the crackling of the fire. Eventually, Niall pulls away, mindful of his soggy jeans. “Bathroom time, I think,” he says.

 

“There’s a spare toothbrush under the sink,” Bressie says, letting him go, steadying him as he stands on half-asleep feet. “All the blankets and stuff are out here, but I can make up the bed again if you want?"

 

“I’d rather stay out here with you, if that’s okay,” Niall says, damn hopeful tone in his voice.

 

Bressie’s smile is small, but pleased. “It’ll be warmer that way,” he says, and Niall heads for the bathroom.

 

*

 

Niall’s reflection looks the same as always. The same face that he’d looked at in that petrol station bathroom, only hours before, the same wrinkled green shirt. His face is flushed, from tears and the sudden warmth of the fire, but he doesn’t look any different. He doesn’t look like someone who’s just found out that the love of his life feels the same way, two years after That Conversation. He doesn’t look like someone about to make a go of it, but he is, determined now.

 

He locates a new toothbrush and some toothpaste, peeling off his jeans with one hand as he brushes with the other. He looks ridiculous when he pulls on Bressie’s sweats, their size even more exaggerated by the tight vest revealed when he pulls off his button-down. 

 

“He says you always look good,” he tells his reflection, pulling the drawstrings on the pants tight, shivering in the cool of the bathroom. It’s a relief to scurry back into the living room, where Bressie is adjusting his blanket nest. Niall dives in, unashamedly burrowing under the covers.

 

“Get in here,” he says, when Bressie just stares at him. “I need my personal heater now."

 

Bressie shakes his head at him in mock-exasperation. “So demanding,” he says, ducking off to flick off the lights before heading back to the makeshift bed. Niall’s curled up on his side, facing the fire, and it’s no work at all for Bressie to fit himself in behind Niall’s smaller frame. He’s a long line of solid warmth against Niall’s back, and when he shifts to press a quick kiss to the back of Niall’s neck, Niall has to hide his grin against his pillow.

 

“Alright?"

 

“Perfect,” Niall says softly, reaching back to find Bressie’s hand. The bigger man gives it over easily, and Niall tangles their fingers together, drawing the arm close across his torso.

 

“I love you, little,” Bressie says into his hair, as Niall shuts his eyes.

 

“Love you too."

 

*

 

Louis Tomlinson’s personal text tone (set by the fecker himself) is the most annoying thing on Earth. It’s a tone that goes for the full twenty seconds, Tommo’s voice yelling YE GOT A MESSAGE YE GOT A MESSAGE YE GOT A MESSAGE in his best (worst) Irish accent. When it blares from Niall’s phone at 5am, Niall vows bloody murder. His phone is muffled by something, but it’s still close enough to be ear-splitting as Niall blearily opens his eyes, taking in his surroundings in the soft glow of a fire burned low. Niall tenses himself to lunge for the offending smartphone, but he’s stopped by the presence of a strong arm tightening about his waist.

 

“What th’ bloody feck?"

 

“Shh,” Niall says, pushing at Bressie’s arm, which after a moment, loosens enough that Niall can fight his way out from underneath the covers into the chill of the room on his knees, fumbling at his discarded cardigan until he pulls out his phone, pressing and holding until the screen goes dark and silent. Relieved, he sags, bum coming to rest on his feet, one hand planted on the floor, the one that had been at his phone scrubbing over his face.

 

“Oh jesusfuck,” Bressie’s voice is low and almost reverent, and Niall realises two things simultaneously; one - sometime in the night, he’s kicked off Bressie’s giant trackies, two - he’s still wearing his tarty underwear, and three - he’s pretty much on hands and knees right now, his arse pushed out towards Bressie. When he chances a look over his shoulder, he’s struck by Bressie’s heated gaze, the long, broad, defined line of him propped up on one elbow, chest bare. “The things you do to me, little,” he says, voice rough with sleep.

 

“You like?” Niall says, suddenly bold, lifting his bum up off his heels with a waggle. This pair is Niall’s absolute favourite, black against his pale skin, fitting boxer briefs made entirely of the softest lace he’s ever felt, that rubs so beautifully against his dick as it hardens. Like now.

 

“Do I like?” There’s a hand at his ankle, abruptly, and Niall laughs as he’s tugged firmly back into the blanket nest, rolling onto his back as he’s moved so he comes to a stop looking up at Bressie, who’s propped up further, bare to the waist but uncaring of the chill in the air. “You come home, like everythin' I’ve ever wanted, gorgeous and happy and loving me, and now you’re here in my bed, with your cheeky grin and your little feckin’ panties-"

 

Bressie traces gentle, teasing fingers over the growing bulge under the lace, and Niall’s breath catches at the feeling, hips twitching up into the sensation as Bressie leans down to kiss him. 

 

“Brez,” he groans when they pull apart. “Don’t tease.” Bressie grins down at him, wicked, and continues the tiny little motions, a touch that never comes in the same place twice.

 

“Think you could come like this?” Bressie says, and fuck, how did Niall never know Bressie would be like this in bed? “Think you could mess up these pretty little lace shorts for me?"

 

Niall groans, and he doesn’t think he’s ever been this close to coming so fast in his life, but there’s something about Bressie, big and strong with the lean grace of a predator, holding him down with one hand and teasing him with the other, that just goes straight to his dick. Niall makes the next kiss filthy, panting and open-mouthed, and when Bressie nips at his lip and moves away, Niall wants to cry at the loss.

 

“Hmmm,” Bressie says, reaching up to flick at one of Niall’s pebbled nipples, “can’t have you catching a chill, now."

 

And then he’s gone - out of the blanket nest and poking at the fire, feeding it more wood, back to Niall, who feels like pouting. He takes the opportunity to give himself a good grope, adjusting himself under the lace even as he’s repeating Bressie’s teasing movements, feeling the head of his dick spurt wet against his fingers as he gets more and more worked up.

 

Bressie turns back to him, gaze hot as he watches Niall play with himself. He eases himself up to his feet, knees gone stiff the way Niall’s do in the cold, and leaves.

 

“Hey!” Niall says, as Bressie steps into the bedroom.

 

“Oh, you just keep touching yourself, little,” Bressie calls, over the sound of him rummaging for something. “Keep yourself all worked up for me."

 

Niall obeys, and fuck if that doesn’t just make the whole thing that much hotter, because now he’s touching himself because Bressie told him to, still teasing through the lace and he’s never going to be able to look at this pair of tarty underwear again without remembering this moment, right now.

 

Bressie saunters back into the room with the confidence of a man who knows he’s going to get off, and soon. There’s a matching budge pushing out the front of his trackies, and Niall feels his mouth water. He’s never seen Bressie’s dick, only felt the heft and weight of it in his hand under the cover of fabric, rubbed off against it. But that was years ago, now, and it doesn’t seem like Niall’s imagination was off at all, and Niall’s so swept up in the thought that when Bressie finally does fuck him, the stretch will be so good, the burn and the heft of it, snug up against Niall’s insides - that he’s startled when a big hand pins his to the bedding. His hips buck up in search of friction, but Bressie pins him in place with his other hand, the spread of his over Niall’s hipbone easy and strong, and Niall can do nothing but watch, now.

 

His other hand is above his head but he leaves it there, just watches, bottom lip caught between his teeth as Bressie ducks down to press a kiss to where the head of Niall’s cock is making the lace wet. Bressie takes his time, soft little licks teasing at oversensitive skin until Niall is writhing beneath him, before Bressie takes pity on him and finally slides Niall’s shorts down, gentle and considerate of the delicate fabric, and such a little thing shouldn’t make Niall’s heart melt, but it does. Bressie sets the lace aside and rubs at one of Niall’s ankles, setting his feet down flat on the bedding, knees bent and spread apart before leaning in for a kiss, filthy and open.

 

“You ready, Nialler?"

 

“Yes,” Niall breathes. He’s wanted this man since he was sixteen, awkward and with a terrible crush, loved him for ages, and now, finally, Bressie is going to fuck him, and Niall wants to just lie here and take it, to be at Bressie’s mercy and give himself over totally, completely.

 

But Bressie has other things in mind, it seems, because he plants his big palms under Niall’s bum and pulls, and Niall always knew he loved to be manhandled, but there’s something about the ease with which Bressie lifts him, one knee fitting over Bressie’s shoulder, other leg splayed wide and cheeks parted by Bressie’s thumbs as he leans in and licks, hot wet soft against Niall’s most intimate place, hole fluttering at the feeling as he gasps.

 

“Oh!” he says, high and startled. Bressie pulls back for a moment, raising his head.

 

“Okay, baby?"

 

“Yes!” Niall’s reply is rushed. “Nobody - nobody’s ever-"

 

Bressie’s gaze turns dark. “Good,” he says, and leans in again. “I’m glad I’m the first."

 

Bressie’s tongue is clever and agile, laving flat over the puckered skin of Niall’s hole, tickling in past the clench of muscle as he licks Niall open. There’s the pop of a cap and suddenly instead of a tongue there’s slick fingers, Niall lax and loose as Bressie rests his bum back down on the bedding, presses two fingers forward and makes Niall arch at the stretch. He’s gentle and considerate, but there’s a sense of impatience to the preparation that Niall shares.

 

“One day,” he says, looking down at Niall, “I’m going to put you in my lap and do this for hours, until you’re squirming and begging me to dick you."

 

“But not today,” Niall manages.

 

“No,” Bressie agrees, sliding in a third, thick finger, gaze hot as he watches Niall’s ass open for his fingers. “Not today."

 

“C’mon,” Niall huffs, once the stretch of three fingers has passed. “I’m ready, Brez. Come on."

 

Bressie just grins at him, smirk punctuated by the dirty, slick sound of his fingers pulling out completely before pressing back in.

 

“Ugh!” Niall glares, and, slowly, deliberately, lifts one leg, planting his foot square in Bressie’s chest. He pushes, and Bressie lets himself fall, amused look on his face as he goes over backwards like a mighty tree felled, fingers sliding from Niall’s ass with the movement. 

 

“That’s better,” Niall says, jacking his cock and getting up on his knees.

 

“You didn’t like my fingers?” Bressie says, palming at his own cock, still covered by his trackies.

 

“No,” Niall says crossly, every inch the brat and loving it. “There’s something else I want more.” He tugs at the waistband of Bressie’s trackies, and the man lifts his hips so Niall can shove them down and pull them off, the thick length of Bressie’s cock slapping wetly against his own stomach. “Mmm."

 

Niall sits himself on Bressie’s hips, their dicks rubbing together as Bressie brings his knees up, feet flat on the floor to steady Niall. “See,” he says, jacking Bressie’s dick with two hands, making the man underneath him groan, “one day, I’ll put a nice cushion down, and get between your knees and spend an hour getting to know this very lovely cock."

 

“But not today,” Bressie says, an echo of Niall’s words from before.

 

“Not today,” Niall confirms, reaching for the discarded lube. Bressie watches with hooded eyes as Niall slicks his cock up with an eager hand. Niall thrusts forward, rubbing their cocks together, back and forth a few times before he raises himself up on his knees. Bressie raises his hands up to steady him, but Niall tuts, and Bressie raises an eyebrow in response. Then -  he reaches out for a pillow, tucking it under his head, lacing his fingers together under his neck. He looks up at Niall, lazy and indulgent, and watches as Niall reaches back to take Bressie’s cock in hand.

 

The first rub of sensitive cockhead over slick hole makes them both groan. Niall smirks, and does it again, clenching his hole to feel the way it opens around the head of Bressie’s cock, clinging tightly before he flexes again, hole fluttering before he slowly, deliberately pushes himself down onto Bressie’s dick. The burn and stretch is more intense than anything Niall’s ever felt, and his eyes flutter shut, one hand on Bressie’s chest bracing himself as he sways for a moment. He bottoms out slowly, until he’s seated on Bressie’s dick, a searing length inside him. He lifts up, ever so slowly, just a few inches, before letting gravity take him back down. Niall imagines it’s changing him, carving out a place just for Bressie. He’s never been fucked quite like this, the heft and relentless thickness inside him.

 

“Fuck, Ni,” Bressie groans, and Niall’s eyes snap open to see Bressie’s arms flexing, fingers still locked behind his head, breathing hard as he watches Niall fuck himself up and down, slow and steady, getting used to the stretch, the weight of his own cock slapping against his stomach. “So good."

 

Niall raises himself up again, feeling the burn in his thighs, the twinge in his worst knee, but everything is just background noise compared to the feeling of being joined to Bressie this way, the feeling of his hole trying to twitch close before Niall slams himself down again. His breath punches out of him in a low groan. “Brez,” he says, watches as Bressie reaches out to rub his hipbone, then, the tiny bump where, at this angle, he can feel his cock inside Niall. They both moan at the feeling, and Niall grinds out, “Brez, fuck me."

 

Bressie tugs him down, and Niall flops onto his broad chest, biting his lip. There’s something thrilling about the way Bressie gathers him close and just flips them, manhandling Niall onto his back, legs up around Bressie’s hips, cock slipping out for a moment before Bressie reaches down and shoves it back in. When Bressie fucks in it’s hard and deep, all the friction of Niall fucking himself up and down but with more strength behind it, cock bumping Niall’s prostate with every movement, and Niall cries out. That encourages Bressie to do it again, and again, and again, Niall’s muscles tensing up around him, hand snaking down to his cock and jacking himself roughly. Bressie’s braced up and over him, caging Niall in with strong arms, fucking into him slow and steady, setting Niall’s nerves alight with pleasure, making him squeeze his eyes shut tightly. He’s almost - almost there -

 

Bressie stops.

 

Niall cries out in loss, eyes snapping open.

 

“There you are,” Bressie says gently, dark eyes looking back at Niall like he’s never seen before. “I love you, little,” he says, and ducks down for a kiss. This kiss is nothing like the others, it’s slow, careful, almost chaste, as if in counterpoint to the way Bressie is rocking his hips back and forth, driving his cock against Niall’s prostate as the slick hole flutters around him.

 

“I love you too,” Niall says. “Love you so much,” and when Bressie moves a hand down to tease at Niall’s cockhead, kissing him again gently, that’s it. Niall’s done.

 

Niall cries out into Bressie’s mouth, and comes. His entire body tenses up, and he can feel Bressie’s groan as Niall’s hole clenches around his dick.

 

“Come 'n,” Niall says, gasping through the aftershocks of his orgasm, concentrating on the slick furl of fucked-out muscle, as if he could milk Bressie’s orgasm from him if he tried hard enough. “Come f’r me, Brez. Inside me, c'mon."

 

Bressie drops to his elbows, broad chest rubbing Niall’s as he fucks his hips in fast little thrusts, rocking back and forth as Niall clenches up around him, coming with a hot spurt that makes Niall’s toes curl. His cock twitches inside Niall, and Bressie pants into his shoulder.

 

“Hey, big,” Niall says lazily, raking his fingers through Bressie’s short hair. Bressie is blanketing Niall’s body with his own, holding him close, and Niall feel completely and utterly content.

 

“What, little?” Bressie presses a kiss to the skin under Niall's chin.

 

“Merry Christmas."