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my heart's still beating like a hammer

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"Calm down, man!" says Niall, irritable. Well, sort of irritable. There's only so irritable you can be when Zayn is careening around the room with that look on his face, because it's hilarious, but - Niall wants to sleep.

Zayn sighs massively and flops down on his back on the bed, then pops up again almost immediately. "I'm well hyper. I can't go sleep now."

He bops over to the bathroom and puts on the light, leans in towards the mirror out of Niall's view. "Do you reckon we could sneak past Paul? Go out somewhere?"

Niall rolls his eyes and settles down in his bed, half-heartedly scrolling through Twitter on his phone.

"Niall?" says Zayn impatiently. He's sticking his head out of the bathroom door. "Are we going out or what."

Niall puts his phone on the table between their beds. He looks down at himself in his pyjamas and under the covers and pointedly back at Zayn, who shrugs and gives him a what? look.

"I'm going to bed," says Niall, and makes a point of turning the light on his side of the room off and lying down properly. "You can try and sneak out and get seen by Paul or someone and get shouted at. Have fun. Try and rope Harry in."

"Ni-aaaaaall," whines Zayn, like Niall's being unfair or something.

"Go bed, Zayn! We have shit to do tomorrow."

"But Ni-alll. I can't go to sleep."

Niall gets it, okay, because sometimes he's on a massive adrenaline high for hours after a show and can't even bear to sit down; but sometimes, like now, he crashes and just wants to sleep and Zayn is driving him batty and why couldn't he be sharing with Liam tonight?.

"Ugh," he huffs, "just go have a wank in the bathroom or something, work the energy off." It helps Niall sleep, so he supposes it should help Zayn.

Zayn makes a disgruntled noise, then pauses; then Niall hears him retreat deliberately into the bathroom and shut the door.

Well. Not like Niall hasn't accidentally overheard all the boys getting themselves off before, but it's a bit weird knowing Zayn is doing exactly that, 'cause Niall told him to.

He closes his eyes and turns away from Zayn's lit side of the room, and tries to sleep. He determinedly doesn't listen for any sound from the bathroom; so determinedly, in fact, that he nearly jumps out of his skin when a car beeps loudly on the road outside.

"Ugh, Horan, you weirdo," he mutters to himself, then rolls his eyes as he jumps again when Zayn opens the bathroom door.

Niall closes his eyes and tries to sleep again, but still somehow shifts and looks enough to see the lazy grin on Zayn's face and the - finally - relaxed set of his shoulders.

Zayn sees him looking and smirks, tips him a sort of salute. "Good tip, Nialler," he says. "Night."

"Night," says Niall, all casual, and rolls over to actually sleep.


It doesn't stop there, of course. The next night they're sharing again, and Niall's sort of getting ready for bed, playing around on his phone, half considering having a shower and a wank, half waiting for Zayn to get back from wherever he's gone to so he can turn off the lights and go to sleep.

His Zayn question is answered, anyway, when the door slams open and Zayn bounds in, high on the same manic energy he was yesterday.

"Evening, Nialler," he crows. "You done in the bathroom yet?"

"Not yet," says Niall, but Zayn just gives him a ridiculous eyebrow waggle and heads into the bathroom himself, and really, he doesn't need to be so bloody obvious. Niall can't even pretend to be sleeping this time, and even though the noise of the fan in the bathroom probably covers any sound, Niall can't stop himself trying to listen for anything underneath it. It's – it's not like he wants to hear anything. Call it natural human curiosity.

When Zayn come out of the bathroom, all self satisfied grin, flushed cheeks and heavy-lidded eyes, Niall’s idle desire for a wank becomes an urgent fucking need. He grabs his pajamas as a weak excuse and bustles irritably past Zayn, like he's suddenly turned all prudish and wants privacy to get changed. Zayn cackles obnoxiously as Niall closes the bathroom door.

It doesn’t take long. He's often half hard after a good show anyway, which tonight was, and knowing that Zayn – that there were orgasms happening feet away from him, no matter whose, was enough to snap his teenage libido into overdrive. That's what he tells himself as he leans over the toilet, one hand on the wall, the other palming his stiff cock; staring into the unsexy sight of the toilet bowl and wondering if Zayn tossed off into the loo too, sticky splashes of come striping the white porcelain, landing in ropes in the water. Niall’s chest hitches hard, and he jerks himself harder, feeling his orgasm roar up quickly; a tremble in his thighs, and his cock jerks hard in his sweaty grip, goes big and extra stiff as he shoots. He aims it into the bowl of the loo, idly assesses the size of his load as he does, not bad, a few decent thick spurts. He wonders if Zayn's load's bigger or smaller than his, how much Zayn shot off in here minutes ago. His balls clench almost painfully, squeezing a last sticky dribble from his slit.

He washes his hands, splashes some cold water on his face, changes into his fresh boxers and an old t shirt to sleep in, and goes back into the room, hoping Zayn's asleep by now. No such luck – Zayn's in bed, but sitting up, intent on his phone. He looks up at Niall and waggles his eyebrows again like an idiot. "How was it?" he asks, grinning. How the fuck he got any sort of rep as the shy one, Niall has no idea. He's nearly as bad as Harry for asking inappropriate questions.

Niall’s hope that his face wasn't too flushed from his orgasm is a pipe dream by now, as he feels his cheeks go red. He frowns, resisting the urge to rub at his hot face, and shakes his head instead. "Ugh," he says. "Boundaries, mate."

Zayn makes a rude, dismissive noise. "In this band?" he says. "Yeah, right." He sort of has a point.

Niall gets Zayn back – though there's probably only a system of points and anything to get back for in Niall’s head – at an interview next week. They're cramming in promo alongside the shows, and they're all exhausted and slightly bonkers with it.

"So your shows are pretty intense – lots of energy, lots of screaming from the crowd, a really great vibe. How do you guys wind down after a show?"

The interviewer looks directly at Niall. Niall blinks, and starts some bullshit answer about each of them having their own ways that work for them, and then says, "Zayn in particular really likes a bit of alone time."

He says it straightfaced, but hopefully with enough innuendo it could be construed as exactly what he means, without sounding like he's actually being dirty. He looks innocently at Zayn, and feels a low roll of satisfaction when he sees Zayn's gone a little bit red. "Isn't that right, Zayn?"

To his credit, Zayn meets his eyes, and then says calmly, "Yep. Niall gave me some tips, actually, on calming down when you're a bit hyper after a show, like so you can't sleep. He really helped."

Niall’s fair skin means that his own treacherous flush is probably a hundred times more evident than Zayn's, and Niall glares subtly at Zayn, who smirks back.

Louis – ever the perceptive one, especially if it involves something dirty – makes an amused sound which he disguises with a cough, and then mercifully distracts the interview with some long story about he and Liam becoming addicted to some game on his iphone, and it moves on; but Zayn keeps giving Niall these little smirks for the rest of the interview.

They aren't rooming together in the next city, and in fact Niall’s got a room to himself. Which he doesn’t get too often, so he plans to make the most of it; gets settled in with tissues on the bedside table and his laptop in front of him, gets comfortable.

Of course, that's when someone knocks on the door, then opens it – it's a good thing Niall’s accepted the joke that privacy can be with these guys on tour.

Zayn grins at him. "Sorry, mate! Mind if I use your bathroom?"

"Er," says Niall. "Why?"

Zayn shrugs, waves his hand around. "I'm rooming with Liam and he's on the phone to his girlfriend, so, you know, it would be a bit awkward for me to go wank off in the bathroom while he's wanking off in bed, so."

"So you thought you'd come wank off in my bathroom instead. Much less awkward." Niall deadpans.

Zayn shrugs. "Well, you aren't--" then he spots the laptop and narrows his eyes. Niall glares and shuts the laptop firmly, which just makes Zayn laugh. "I was gonna say, you aren't going to be doing it too--"

"That wouldn't make it less weird, Zayn!"

"—but you were gonna, weren't you."

"It's not a bloody crime, is it? Seeing as I had – thought I had a room all to myself."

Inexplicably, Zayn comes and flops on the bed next to Niall and looks at him hopefully. His eyelashes should be outlawed, when he turns on the pleading look like that.

"What?" says Niall.

"Well, I mean, it seems stupid to go wank staring at the bathroom wall when you've got good porn right here."

"How do you know it's good porn?" says Niall, because clearly that's what needs addressing in this situation.

Zayn shrugs again. "Well, okay, fine, all porn is good porn, really."

"Eh." Niall considers, then – "Wait, you want to borrow my porn?

"I was thinking share it," says Zayn, pulling himself up to sit far too close next to Niall against the headboard. Niall’s palms feel a bit sweaty.

"Come on," says Zayn encouragingly, "show me what you got."

Niall thinks for an insane moment he means that Niall should, like, take his trousers off; then he realises Zayn's pointing at the laptop.

Instead of calling Zayn a lunatic and sending him back off to his own room or to skulk in the hallways or at least into the bathroom, Niall just shrugs and tugs the laptop closer to them and opens it again. He's horny and wants to watch porn and come, like he'd planned, and – it's not that weird. Just a couple guys sharing some porn.

It's pretty standard porn he has cued up – a pretty good blowjob scene for the first few minutes, then some enthusiastic doggy-style fucking; Niall likes this one for the girl's tits and the moans from her and the man fucking her, which both sound a bit more legit than the really overdone stuff that sometimes annoys him.

They watch in silence for a minute or two, then Zayn makes an appreciative noise as the girl deepthroats the impressive dick easily, and Niall sees movement out of the corner of his eye, and can tell that Zayn's rubbing himself. It makes him abruptly aware of his own body, then, in a rush, the pleasant throbbing tingle of his own dick getting fat in his boxers. He reaches down and palms at himself, curls his fingers around his length, aware of too much: the slick red length of the dick on the screen slipping easy into the girl's wide-stretched shiny lips; the warmth of Zayn's body inches away from his; the slight rocking motion of Zayn's arm; the feel of his cock filling out all the way under his fingers, lifting up and getting caught in the thin fabric of his boxers.

The guy pulls out of the girl's mouth, the head of his dick sliding a shiny trail over her cheek; then the camera cuts to a close-up of her cunt, red and wet, and the way it stretches open around the dick the man slips into her.

Niall feels frozen; his hand gripped around his cock through his boxers, jerking it in tiny motions as it throbs hotly against his palm. Zayn's going for it, fast rhythmic beats of his hand, and Niall can see his shoulder moving.

"Go on," grunts Zayn, voice rougher than Niall usually hears it. "Take it out. S'okay."

Niall sucks in a breath and his cock twitches in his grip, precome bubbling up from his slit, getting his boxers wet. He glances over at Zayn without meaning to; Zayn's staring right at the screen, teeth digging into his bottom lip. Niall looks away again, but can't help his gaze slipping down, skittering over where Zayn's got his cock in his fist, slipping his fingers past the head over and over again.

Niall swallows hard. "Yeah, 'kay," he says mindlessly and lets go of his cock, pulls his boxers right the way down so they stretch around his thighs. His cock smacks up flat and hard, flushed red against his pale belly, and he sighs, on the edge of a moan, when he finally gets his hand on it bare. It twitches responsively in his grip, and he uses the wetness of precome to slick his grip all the way down. He watches the porn intently, times the beats of his hand to the rough thrusts of the fucking on the screen, but more of his attention is focused on what he can hear and feel next to him; Zayn's tipped in towards him a little bit, so he's jostling Niall as he wanks; he's breathing hard and there are little low hitching noises at the end of each breath that do something funny to Niall’s stomach. Especially overlaid with the desperate wails of the girl on screen as the guy pounds into her.

Niall breathes in, can smell that tang of sex, then realises that the slight difference in the smell is Zayn, is the smell of Zayn's cock, and it's – god, he loses it. His toes curl in the sheets and his knees bend, lifting up off the bed. He clenches his teeth and arches his head back, fist wanking the very top of his cock in fast little jerks, and he comes hard, the wet sound of his hand suddenly going slicker and dirtier as he pumps come into his fist, whining in his throat.

"Ah, fuck, Niall," says Zayn, uneven and breathless next to him, arm moving faster; Niall bites down on his lip and shudders through the last pulses of his orgasm.

"Get – ah, fuck – get your fuckin' knee out of the way," says Zayn in a rush, reaching out with his free hand to push Niall’s leg flat onto the bed; then he comes, his hand still on Niall’s knee and fingers digging in tight, nails little sharp points on Niall’s skin. Niall shudders hard, body flashing with aftershocks, Zayn coming next to him.

They lie there silent, panting; then Zayn reaches out with a lazy arm and knocks the laptop shut on the porn which was still going on with what now seems an unnecessary amount of noise.

"Sounds bloody stupid once you've come," Zayn grumbles, and Niall laughs helplessly.

"Porn in general is bloody stupid if you pay attention to it after you've come," he says, face feeling hot and tingly, arms and legs heavy and lazy.

"Eh, true." Zayn knocks his hand against Niall’s arm. "Did the job though, innit? Thanks, mate."

"Any time."

"Any time" becomes almost every night. Niall is pretty sure Louis can tell something is going on, because they keep wrangling it so they share or one of them has the room on their own, and Louis keeps giving him these little looks; but he keeps uncharacteristically quiet about it and Niall just – decides not to worry about it.

What might be more worrying is how much Niall is becoming addicted to this. They still watch porn, and Niall’s now intimately familiar with Zayn's preferred kind of porn – the dirty amateur stuff – but, at least for Niall, the porn is a bit of a smokescreen. It helps, of course, because good porn always gets a wanking session going nicely, but Niall can't pretend it isn't about Zayn next to him, way more than it is the bodies on the screen. He forgoes the sexuality crisis – he dealt with that when he realised his Justin Bieber love wasn't a deep appreciation for the music – but he should probably be having a bit of a "massively turned on by my best friend" crisis. But that seems like a whole lot of effort to spend worrying over something that feels so good.

"Think Liam reckons I've got a secret girlfriend or summat," Zayn mutters as he clambers onto Niall's bed. Niall squirms, trying to pretend he hasn't been sitting alone in his room with a semi for the past half hour just out of anticipation.

Niall laughs, distracted. "In the mood for anything in particular?" he asks, reaching for his laptop.

"Actually," Zayn says, not meeting Niall's eyes as he reaches into the pocket of his jeans, "I got something I've been wanting to watch, so." He waves a USB stick vaguely in Niall’s direction and Niall takes it, eyebrows raised.

"Sure," he says easily, because Zayn looks fidgety, and he plugs it into his computer and opens up the video file.

It starts off standard; a girl and a guy kissing in close up, both brown haired, both normal-looking like Zayn prefers. But then the camera pans back out a bit, and there's another guy, blond, on the other side of the girl, kissing her neck.

Niall’s already rubbing himself lightly through his jogging bottoms, but he stops for a second. "Uh," he says, involuntary, surprised.

Zayn glances at him, uncharacteristically nervous. "S'alright? We can change if--"

"No, no," Niall reassures him quickly, heart suddenly going double time in his chest. He's hoping the anxious edge to Zayn's voice is because this gets a little gayer as the video goes on, because he – his dick likes that idea rather a lot. "I'm cool with it. I am – definitely cool with it," he adds fervently.

"Cool," says Zayn, looking relieved, and they're quiet for a while. Niall is always conscious of Zayn next to him – the sound of him wanking, the smell of him getting sharper as he gets closer, the motion of his arm – but it's insane right now. He's listening to every sound of Zayn's breath, the quiet wet noise of his mouth opening, and his arm is tingling madly every time it brushes Zayn's.

He's only paying half attention to the computer, breathing in harshly as he tugs his jogging bottoms down around his thighs and takes himself in hand. He sets up a steady rhythm, counterpoint to the slow pumps of Zayn's arm next to him, and then tunes back in fully to the porn just to see the girl detach herself from guy number 1's mouth and slide down to start blowing him. He palms the back of her head and groans, then looks over at the blond guy. Niall’s heart stutters in his chest, a fist of anticipation, then jumps into a hammering gallop as the blond leans in and the two guys start kissing. It's open-mouthed porn kissing, wet pink slide of tongues, and then the brown-haired guy reaches a hand past the girl's head to take hold of the blond guy's dick.

Through the roaring in his ears, Niall hears Zayn make a soft, low noise, and his dick throbs hard in his fist, wetting his fingers with precome. On screen, there's a proper fucking gay handjob happening, wide masculine hand wrapped around a fat, shiny cock. Niall’s toes tingle with how fucking turned on he is.

He looks at Zayn, turns his head like he's in a dream, and of course Zayn's already looking at him, of course. His cheeks are flushed, eyes wide and dark. Zayn drags his gaze down Niall’s body to his cock, blatant, then back up, with a quirk of his eyebrows like a question.

Niall doesn't bother answering with words – he just prays he's got the question right and lets go of his own dick, sighing at the loss, and moves it over quickly before he loses his nerve, so fast his knuckles bump into Zayn's hand where it's still wrapped unmoving around his dick.

Zayn gets the picture quickly, lets go and reaches clumsily into Niall’s lap and grabs Niall’s cock. Niall can't help it – at the touch he punches his hips up off the bed a little, surging his dick into Zayn's fist, and he drops his head back, not even pretending to pay attention to the porn anymore.

"Aw, shit," he says, mindless, "fuck, fuck." His mind is blown at the feel of Zayn's dick in his hand, the solid heat of it, and the weird feedback loop of moving his own hand in such a familiar way but feeling the totally different rhythm of Zayn's hand on his dick.

"Shit, mate, you're really, like, wet," mutters Zayn, finger rubbing over the slippery head of Niall's cock, and when Niall opens his eyes, he can see Zayn staring intently at Niall's cock, also completely ignoring the porn. Zayn bites his lip and starts going for it properly, and the wet noise of him wanking Niall's cock - Niall hadn't thought anything of it, but yeah, he's leaking a lot more than Zayn - is so slick and obscene in the room Niall's almost embarrassed.

He lets go of Zayn's dick, and Zayn says, affronted, breathless, "Hey--" but Niall just licks wetly at his palm and drops it quickly back to Zayn's dick.

"Better, yeah?" he says, voice definitely cracking as the tight ring of Zayn's fingers and thumb twist over the top of his dick and back down.

He moves faster, the slide much easier, and feels Zayn's cock twitch and flex in his palm, and Zayn gasps. "Oh - yeah, s'good."

His hand tightens on Niall's dick like a reflex, and Niall jerks, his leg kicking out and knocking the laptop, which slowly slides off the bed with a thump and the sound of the porn abruptly cuts out.

"Er," says Niall, frozen, Zayn's cock throbbing hot and big in his hand.

For a moment, everything feels completely unreal, like he's dreaming, or at the very least Zayn will jump back in disgust; but then the moment cracks and Zayn says, "Fuck it," and starts moving his hand again, curling slightly into Niall to get a better angle, his head dropping to rest on Niall's shoulder. It feels almost more intimate a touch than their hands on each other's pricks, and goosebumps prickle tight along Niall's spine and his arm, and he squeezes his eyes shut, matches Zayn's pace. He can feel his orgasm roaring up, tingling in his toes and tightening all the muscles in his legs, and he's gonna blow so hard, gonna nut off all over Zayn's hand.

"I'm gonna," he groans, because he believes in warning. Zayn sucks in a hard breath and holds it, clutches hard with his free hand on Niall's thigh, face twisted, looking almost-panicked before he comes, cock twitching and getting so hard and big and then wet, warm ropes of come are getting all over Niall's wrist and the back of his hand. He wanks Zayn through it, strokes going wet and easy, his own orgasm banked for a moment because Zayn's hand's gone still on his dick.

"Mate," says Niall, laughing a bit, because Zayn came almost as soon as Niall said he was about to, "it's not a competition--" and then he shuts up because Zayn's moving again, rubbing a thumb right over his slit, and Niall's coming, god, just spurting over Zayn's fingers, getting him all messy, both of them with their hands on each other's dicks, smeared all over with each other's come.

Niall lets his hand slip off Zayn's dick, resting half on Zayn's thigh and half on the folded-down edge of his trousers. "Bloody fuck," he breathes.

"Yeah," says Zayn distractedly, pulling his hand back, which he looks at with comical confusion for a moment before going as if to wipe it on the duvet. Niall grabs it with his own come-sticky hand. "Mate," he complains. "Bathroom, please."

Zayn gives him a disgusted face at the smear of come Niall is getting on him, and Niall laughs, feeling slightly insane, "It's your come!"

Zayn's glance flicks to their hands, both gross and come-covered. He blows out a breath. "Yeah," he says, like it's sort of hitting him, and he's definitely goes a bit red. Before Niall can decide how to react - does he act like it's totally not a big deal, mates-do-it-all-the-time sort of thing, or does he try to let Zayn know he was pretty into it beyond just the porn and helping hand and he'd be up for repeat offences - Zayn staggers up off the bed and disappears into the bathroom, leaving Niall with his hand sort of hanging in the air.


They don't talk about it, of course, because Niall is apparently a bloody coward, and Zayn isn't giving anything away, apart from leaving Niall's room with an enigmatic smile and "Thanks," and dorky finger-guns that it looks like he regrets as soon as he does it.

But the next day it definitely isn't as if nothing has happened, which is both exciting and terrifying. They're travelling in the bus to that night's venue, and when Zayn starts to climb in, he sort of pauses in the door and just stares at Niall for a minute, with this considering look in his eye that makes Niall's cheeks burn where he's slouched against the other side of the van.

"Move the fuck on!" says Louis impatiently behind Zayn, and shoves past him, then also pauses when he sees - whatever this is between Zayn and Niall. Then Zayn snaps out of it and clambers back to the row behind Niall.

Louis's eyebrows raise nearly to his hairline - probably at Zayn's weird behaviour combined with Niall's fiery red face - and he opens his mouth; but Niall shakes his head, a short sharp jerk, and Louis closes his mouth with a snap, even though it looks like a painful effort for him to do so. He shoots Niall a look that clearly says both you better love me for not leaping all over whatever that was and also you are so telling me what is going on later, mister.

Which is a conversation Niall would ideally like to avoid.

Harry and Liam pile in, and Louis bounds over to sit next to Zayn and generally annoy him by poking at his hair and singing in his ear but thankfully doesn't mention Niall at all.

At the venue, they get whirled up into the madness of preparing for the show - sound check, wardrobe, half an hour squeezed in to eat, and all in all Niall doesn't get to really talk to Zayn away from the others once.

He corners him backstage as the crowd is swelling. "Oi, Zayn, hey," he says, grabbing Zayn's arm and dragging him out of the way of a harassed-looking couple of lighting technicians.

Zayn tilts his head to the side slightly, eyes wide and face open, and Niall goes blank. "Er," he says. "I just - you know. Um."

Zayn purses his lips, looks considering, then takes Niall's arm and pulls him a bit further into the corner they're loitering in.

"Mate," he says, "s'alright."

"Yeah?" says Niall hopefully, then feels like an idiot. "I mean - yeah. I just - wanted to make sure things weren't weird, or anything."

Zayn chews on his bottom lip, and Niall's gaze is stuck there. It feels weird that they've given each other a handjob, but not even kissed; but kissing Zayn seems impossible, like something he'd never get to do.

"I reckon - I reckon things are a bit weird, mate, to be fair," says Zayn. Then he reaches out and holds onto Niall's elbow and apparently whatever Niall was feeling was telegraphed clear on his face. "Not in a bad way, like! Least - I don't think so. I just mean." He closes his eyes briefly, like he's steeling himself. "I mean - I keep thinking about it, like."

"Oh," says Niall dumbly. "The porn?"

"You, you numpty!" says Zayn, then pulls an 'oops' face. "I mean--"

Niall immediately brings his other hand up and puts his finger on Zayn's lips, which stop moving abruptly. They are very warm, and give slightly under the pad of Niall's finger. His stomach gives a little lurch. "Don't ruin it," he says. "I--"

Of course, that's when Paul shows up and fists a hand in Niall's collar and drags him towards the stage, grumbling about errant boybanders, beckoning threateningly at Zayn as Niall yelps. Talk about a bloody cockblock.

Niall blames their unfinished conversation for the near-unbearable tension between them during the show. It's not - bad, not like they've fallen out, but it's palpable, and the others definitely notice it. Liam looks concerned, mouthing "are you okay?" with his back to the audience and Liam-ish furrows across his brow. Louis looks both amused and frustrated because he's out of the loop, and he keeps bothering Niall all night, darting past Zayn to pinch at his bum and his nipples, and Harry just looks far too entertained by everything.

Zayn - Zayn is always just there. Standing too close to Niall, giving him looks, singing at him, brushing right past him when Liam sings about making a mess and skating the palm of his hand over Niall's arse and Niall is going out of his mind.

Niall is pretty sure the mortification of getting a stiffy in front of thousand of screaming teenage girls is the only thing that stops him getting hard. God knows willpower isn't enough, especially with the way Zayn wraps one hand around Niall's shoulder during Kiss You and the other so suggestively around his mic that Niall knows he's blushing.

God knows what the fans are making of this.

Afterwards - finally, fucking finally, afterwards - they file backstage, and Niall is flooded with adrenaline, shaky hands and pounding heart and all the usual post-show excitement tied up into a nervous giddy knot in his stomach. Which is why he jumps nearly a foot in the air when Louis grabs his arm and frogmarches him over to the spare dressing room that they haven't used and literally shoves him inside.

"Wha--?" says Niall, turning around. Behind Louis, Harry has Zayn's arm in a similar grip. Liam is trailing after them, looking confused. "Guys, what's going on?" he says.

Harry pushes Zayn through the doorway, though Zayn being Zayn and Harry being Harry, manages to make it look like Harry trips over his own feet and Zayn glides calmly into the room of his own accord.

"Now," says Louis, businesslike, as Zayn raises an eyebrow, "sort it out, and don't come out until you have. I will punish you for not keeping me in the loop on gossip later, but for now, I am not having you prancing around on stage distracting each other like that again. Okay? Okay."

"Gossip--?" says Liam.

"And don't make too much noise, we're only going to be a few doors down."

"Noise?" says Liam. Niall wants to feel sorry for him, but Zayn is standing next to him, and Louis is - what, locking them in a room together to, to - and then Louis closes the door, shutting off Liam's protests.

"Subtle as a brick, that one," says Niall, and Zayn just smirks. Then he's there, right in front of Niall, pushing him a few stumbling steps back until his shoulders hit the door.

"He's not the only one," says Zayn, crowding right up into Niall's space.

Niall swallows, closes his trembling hands into fists. He can smell Zayn, his sweat and aftershave, and he's dizzy and excited. They've never been - this close, not like it's anything proper. "Says you," he says. "Not the one all groping me on stage, was I?"

"Was that - alright?" Zayn says, unsure underneath the confident set of his shoulders and the possessive grip his hands take on Niall's hips, and it makes everything a bit less scary, then, because it's still Zayn.

"No, you twat," he says, grinning. "Nearly got a bloody erection on stage, didn't I?"

Zayn laughs then, a huff of warm breath that Niall can feel on his lips, and he watches Zayn's eyes drop to them when he parts them. He's so close.

"We gonna--?" he mumbles.

"I've never," says Niall, wanting Zayn to know for some reason.

"Me either," says Zayn, and it feels silly that they're treating this like a big deal when they've wanked each other off, but - it sort of is. That was almost accidentally, and this is very, very not. No other excuses here.

"S'gonna be good, though?" says Niall, and then Zayn kisses him, drops his head those last few centimetres and bumps his lips against Niall's.

It's soft at first, a hesitant touch, a stretched-out few seconds where Niall breathes in, thinking about how soft Zayn's lips are against his, the warm gentle swell of them, the unfamiliar prickle of his stubble in contrast. Then he thinks about Zayn's looks all night, the intent in them, and a hot rush of desire and instinct kick in and he opens his mouth.

It turns dirty fast - Niall doesn't need to worry about things going too fast or seeming too eager, because they both know where this is heading, 'cause they've already been there, and there's no fucking around. Their lips slide together, and Niall slips his tongue along the soft curve of Zayn's bottom lip and inside his mouth, where it's wet and hot. And god, Zayn curls his tongue around Niall's, coaxes it further into his mouth, sucks on it. Niall feels dizzy, slumps back against the door and clings onto Zayn's shoulders, surprises himself with a moan when Zayn slides a hand around his hip and grabs his arse, squeezes a handful. He opens his mouth wider into Zayn's, can hear the wet sound of them kissing in the empty room, and feels so dirty, with Zayn's big hand spread over his arse, their tongues rubbing together, his cock getting eager and heavy in his trousers. He arches into Zayn, and both of them gasp, shocky little breaths, when their hips collide, and that's the ridge of Zayn's cock through his trousers wedged up against Niall's hip. They slot into a instinctive nasty grind for a moment, Niall's cock getting all the way hard as Zayn nudges his thigh in between Niall's, gives him something to rut into.

Then Zayn's pulling back, his mouth leaving Niall's with a wet noise, Niall's lips feeling swollen and raw, and he drags his leg back away.

"Huh?" says Niall, sex-stupid and confused. "Don't--"

"No, s'okay," says Zayn nonsensically. "I just - I've been thinkin' about - can I?"

"Yeah," says Niall automatically, because he's not going to say no to anything Zayn asks while he's standing so close and hard and well-kissed, unless Zayn says Can I leave you here and bugger off.

But it's still a surprise - still makes Niall clench his fists and suck in a breath through his teeth when Zayn gets a determined look on his face and slithers down to his knees.

"Ah, shit," he says, and Zayn glances up at him. His mouth is slightly parted, lips red and still wet from Niall's mouth. Niall's dick jerks, getting wet already; he can feel his boxers sticking to the head.

"Alright?" says Zayn, eyelashes fanning up, looking guileless and fucking gorgeous, and Niall can only nod, hands spreading out flat against the door behind him.

Zayn nods too and bites his lip, stares forward at the bulge of Niall's dick in his trousers; he's sitting back on his heels, skinny thighs splayed around Niall's feet. He tugs open Niall's trousers quickly, yanks them down along with Niall's boxers so Niall's dick bounces back out with a wet smack against his belly. Niall groans, toes curling, and Zayn reaches out, takes hold of Niall's cock, angles it forward, towards his face. Niall stares down, enthralled.

"I love it," says Zayn quietly, then darts a look up at Niall. "How wet you get."

Niall wants to look away, sort overcome and a bit embarrassed, but he can't, he can't look at anything but the way Zayn is kissing the head of his cock, red lips pursing up and smearing over his slit, getting shiny with the dribble of Niall's precome leaking out. Zayn pulls back, licks his lips thoughtfully, then before Niall can do something like scream because oh god come on, he goes back in. He opens his lips over the head of Niall's cock straightaway, slides down until his lips slip over the ridge, and suckles there for a while, like he's loving it; little white-hot flashes of pleasure as he wriggles the point of his tongue over Niall's drooling slit.

Niall's hands curl into fists, nails scraping over the door, and it's too much, nearly; it's a relief when Zayn slides further down, taking a good amount of Niall's cock in his mouth, wrapping his fingers around the rest, getting his fingers spit-wet so he can jerk it, little sharp motions in counterpoint to the bobbing of his head.

Zayn's sucking hard and strong, the edge of his fingers bumping into Niall's balls on each tug down, and Niall could maybe be embarrassed about how fast he's going to blow, but Zayn's been teasing him all night so he decides to just enjoy it.

He can't look at Zayn, at his flushed cheeks and dark eyelashes and red lips wrapped around Niall's dick, bulge showing obscenely in his cheek like all the fucking porn they watched together; he thunks his head back against the door and curls his toes hard inside his trainers against the urge to fuck his hips forward into Zayn's face.

"Zayn, I'm gonna," he gasps, feeling crazy, lips numb. "Gonna come, shit, I'm fucking gonna--"

Zayn pulls off with a loud, wet slurp, lips slipping firmly over the ridge of his cockhead; then he wanks Niall through it, fingers tight and confident, rubbing over his slit in a smart twist on the upstroke. Niall loses it, hunching forward, one foot curling up off the floor, belly twitching tense and hot as he pumps sticky pulses of come over Zayn's rapidly moving hand.

"Shit," he pants, "oh shit, oh shit Zayn, that was so fuckin' good."

Zayn grunts in response, lets go of Niall's dick with his sticky hand and rests it on his hipbone, fingers curling in until Niall can feel the bite of his fingernails, dropping his forehead to Niall's belly. Niall realises that Zayn is rubbing at himself through his trousers, grinding the heel of his hand over and over the line of his dick along his thigh, breaths going short and high like he's gonna come.

"No," says Niall, letting his weak knees carry him down to the floor to slump next to Zayn. "Lemme, please, lemme, yeah?" he says, and leans into Zayn, knocks Zayn's hand out of the way. The idea that Zayn got so hot from blowing him, so turned on he was ready to lose his load without even getting his cock out, is so good it makes Niall's belly dip, his fat, softening cock twitch weakly. He yanks at Zayn's flies, pulls open the button and splits the zip quickly, tugs out Zayn's hot cock, feels it throb hotly in his hand, stiff and big and ready.

"God," he says, his mind still kind of blown by getting to have Zayn's cock in his hand and how good it feels. Zayn whines in his throat, one hand still gripping weakly onto Niall's hip and the other clawing at his shoulder; Niall gets on with it, fists his hand around Zayn's cock and starts wanking him. It takes no time at all - two or three fast, tight strokes and Zayn falls silent, and his breathing goes short and fluttery by Niall's ear where he's dropped his head; then he twitches hard in Niall's grip and comes, generous load pumping out of him over Niall's hand, getting Niall wet up to his wrist.

They sit slumped together for a moment, Zayn catching his breath, Niall still not exactly recovered. Niall remembers abruptly, with a flush he can feel on his cheeks, Louis shoving them in here and telling them not to be too loud. He doesn't think they were, but still.

"Shit," he says. "Louis knows."

Zayn laughs, and shifts a bit so he can sit up properly, not leaning against Niall. Niall feels kind of cold on the bits Zayn isn't touching anymore, but Zayn doesn't move far, and grins at him, so it's okay.

"Louis knows bloody everything," he says. "And, like. They were gonna have to know. Now hopefully he's telling them, 'stead of us."

"Tell them what, though?" says Niall, then winces. "I just mean - I don't really know what I'm doing."

Zayn wrinkles his nose. "And you reckon I do? I dunno, just - look, I don't want to go back to watching porn as an excuse to - y'know, watch each other wank and sneak a touch. I want - at least, I think, I want--"

He pulls a face, and Niall thinks he knows what he's thinking - words like boyfriend and relationship sound really stupid and a bit too much, but there's not really an easy word for this, for friends who touch and wank each other off and kiss and are definitely something more than friends. Or want to be.

"Yeah," he says instead. "I mean, I've not really done this before, not properly, let alone with a bloke, but." He shrugs apologetically, but Zayn doesn't seem fazed by Niall's mildly embarrassing lack of anything. "It was good, really good, and I don't want to go back to like it was before either. And the kissing was nice. We can do that a bit more?"

Zayn drops his head on a grin, rubs at his forehead with the back of his hand. He nudges his knee up until it butts against Niall's thigh. "Yeah, it was. We can, we can definitely do that. And see how it goes, yeah?"

Which might sound like a brush off in a whole different context, but this whole thing is scary enough that Niall is relieved, because he's not ready to make any massive declarations yet. And for now - the way Zayn is looking at him, close and intensely fond and like he's always looked at him but with a thrilling new depth to it, and his mouth is red from Niall's cock and Niall's hand is still wet with Zayn's come, it means more than enough for now, it means everything. "Yeah," he says, smiling a bit like a twat, probably. "See how it goes."