Niall braced himself as his boyfriend flung his fist and it made contact with his stomach. Even though he’d tried to prepare for it he still fell to the ground and his head hit the floor. A splitting pain exploded, and he thought that maybe he had a concussion.
The throbbing he felt on his belly would later result into another bruise, he knew it.
“I love you Niall.”
Niall looked up at the words that were delivered to him. He knew they didn’t mean anything but the soft flutter in his heart still gave him hope. Even though his boyfriend was beating him, maybe he still had love. Maybe Dylan still meant those words even though he hurt Niall. That’s all Niall ever wanted. Somebody that he could belong to. Niall wanted his own fairytale.
Niall’s pale eyes captured Dylan’s and the built brunette hovering over him kicked him at his side.
“Don’t look at me Niall,” Niall’s eyes diverted to the floor, “I’ll love you more if you don’t look at me.”
So Niall kept his eyes on the cold floor of their apartment, the tile floors pressing into his skin with each blow he received. He took it because the first time Dylan hit Niall, Niall asked him why he did it. Dylan had given a toothy grin and stated, “Because this is love.”
So if this was love, Niall was going to take it. He was going to let Dylan bruise his body and abuse it, maybe even destroy it. If that meant Niall was loved, then he was going to take each slap, punch, kick with thoughts of love his head.
Niall was nervous. He needed to get back home soon, to Dylan, or Dylan would get mad. Dylan didn’t like it when Niall was late. It resulted in love. Even though Niall wanted to get all of Dylan’s love, it still hurt.
Niall attended university, that’s where he met Dylan one evening in the on-campus bookstore. Niall was completely captured by Dylan’s demeanor. His brown eyes, his biceps. His smile, his tan skin, he looked like a hot life guard in one of those teenage beach movies.
Dylan was charming, and at first sweet.
They started dating and even though it seemed way too early the boys gave up their dorm rooms and moved to a small apartment together after six months of seeing each other.
Dylan had been Niall’s first, Niall’s actually been with girls before, but Dylan was Niall’s first guy. Niall had given Dylan that experience.
It wasn’t breath taking or mind blowing. It hurt a lot and it was rough and Dylan didn’t slow down when Niall needed him too and he only focused on getting himself off. When he came he left their apartment and didn’t come back until the next day.
When he returned he smelled like beer, and he was obviously drunk. When Niall confronted Dylan about this Dylan announced he had cheated on Niall. Niall slapped the shit out of Dylan, and then Dylan hit Niall.
Niall sat there in his lecture thinking over all of this and from the looks of it this whole thing seemed like a very dysfunctional relationship. Niall knew he should be paying more attention to what his professor was saying, but he had a solid B in this class and he had the class syllabus. So if he didn’t exactly pay all his attention today it wasn’t like he’d flunk.
Niall looked around the lecture hall, evaluating each of the students one by one. He kept moving down the lines until his eyes connected with green ones. A guy sitting a row in front of him, six seats to the left and had angled his chair so he could watch Niall behind him. The guy was smiling at Niall. Dimples deep set, lips a proper pink and he was chewing on the end of his pen. He had wavy brown locks that were pushed off his face.
Niall quickly looked away, mentally flinching, imaging Dylan catching him looking at some other guy, he’d be done for.
When class was dismissed Niall gathered his things, filing out of the lecture hall with the other students.
The artificial blonde pulled out his phone and checked the time, it was one-thirty. He let out a sigh of relief, Dylan normally didn’t come back to the apartment until sometime around two, two-thirty. Dylan wanted Niall home before he got there, Niall didn’t know why though but he didn’t question it. He didn’t want Dylan’s love…wait, he did want it, but he just wished Dylan didn’t display it in such a hostile manner.
Niall thought love was different.
He had made it from the lecture building and was heading towards the parking lot to his car. He opened the back door, threw his bag inside.
The air around him felt a bit colder than the past few days. Spring was turning into fall. Fall meant he’d need a jacket soon.
Niall felt a tug on his shirt and he let out a (very unmanly) yelp before spinning around. It was the dimple faced guy who Niall caught staring at him earlier.
Niall gulped, “Uh, are you stalking me or something.”
“No, normally I’m a lot smoother than this.”
“My name is Harry.”
“Y-You’re really direct…Harry.”
“I know I am. What’s your name?”
“Interesting accent Niall. Sounds Irish.”
“Do you mind if I have your phone number, I’ve seen you in class before and I just think today is the day I’d grow some balls and ask you out on a date. How’s that sound, yeah?”
Niall’s body stiffened, not because he was flattered or because he thought Harry as a complete idiot, but because he thought about how angry Dylan would be if he knew this was happening. He’d have to scar Niall, bruise him, hit him, and hurt him. Love him, to show he wasn’t allowed to let this sort of thing happened. Dylan didn’t understand, things like this were out of Niall’s control but Dylan would call bullshit.
“I-I have a boyfriend and he wouldn’t…appreciate that.”
This Harry guy took a few steps back, “Oh. Bummer. I didn’t know. I mean how could I? I just thought I’d take a crack at it.”
Niall was moving closer to the driver’s side of his car.
“See you around then?” Harry spoke.
When Niall got home, Dylan wasn’t there yet, and he was completely and utterly excited because he’d made the decision to stop my McDonald’s. He feared his detour might’ve made him late.
He ate at the small bar in the kitchen and then cleaned up everything spick and span because Dylan hated messes. Today, Niall didn’t feel like greeting Dylan when he came home. These past few weeks Dylan’s been more irritable and he didn’t want to be in the direct line of fire. Not now. Not today. So he decided to take a shower.
Niall made his way to the bathroom and even after he closed the door (so the steam would stay inside the bathroom when he got out so he wouldn’t be completely cold) and turned the shower tap on he could hear the furious slam on the apartment door.
Dylan wasn’t happy.
The blonde quickly stripped down and got in the shower, ignoring his bruises and marks and scratches on his body when he glanced into the mirror.
He had only just stepped inside when Dylan opened the door and came barging in.
Niall held his breath, unsure of what his boyfriend would do or say. Niall hadn’t done anything wrong. The shower curtain pulled back, Niall froze. If this were a normal relationship Niall wouldn’t mind if his boyfriend wanted to barge into his shower. Maybe make love in the shower. But Dylan wasn’t your typical, sweet, boyfriend. He liked to show his love in the pain he caused Niall.
Dylan stepped into the shower, with his clothes still on and took his place behind Niall, wrapping his arms around the now shivering boy. He wasn’t shivering because of the sudden gust of cold air when Dylan threw open the curtain. No, he shouldn’t be shivering at all because the water was hot. But Niall was scared. Scared at what he might’ve done.
Dylan nuzzled in the crook of Niall’s neck, inhaling and letting out a shaky breath against his naked, dripping wet skin.
Dylan’s breath smelled like vodka. Niall didn’t understand why one needed to get drunk so often. Especially at two-something in the afternoon.
Niall kept his mouth shut and kept still. He didn’t say anything, or make any noises when Dylan’s hand moved lower, past Niall’s waist, and to his groin, cupping his length.
“Niall I want to get off. Let me use you.”
Niall didn’t want to do anything with Dylan. Dylan was rough and inconsiderate.
Dylan’s other hand that had now held Niall’s waist tightened. Nails were digging into Niall’s skin. Niall wanted to scream for Dylan to stop.
“I don’t care what you want. I’ve had a fucking bad day, and I don’t need to come home to this bullshit. Let me use you.”
Without another word Dylan released Niall from his grasp and began to remove his saturated clothes.
When he was completely naked he pushed Niall up against the wall. After jacking himself off for a few minutes he entered Niall and used Niall. Used Niall until he came and then got out of the shower.
The water wasn’t hot anymore. It was cold.
Niall was at the gym on campus. He didn’t have any classes on Fridays and Dylan had stated after he got out of the shower yesterday he needed to work out.
Dylan had found the McDonald’s bag in the trash can and shoved it in Niall’s face calling him things like fat, and pig, and gluten.
Niall just liked food. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Niall had just finished working out and headed to the locker room to change and take a quick shower. He always went to the gym when it wouldn’t be crowded and the locker room was empty or near empty, so nobody would see the purple and red patterns that were placed onto his body.
Niall sighed as we stepped from the shower, a towel wrapped around his waist.
There was a mirror at the end of the lockers and Niall was examining himself in it. He didn’t like to acknowledge his injuries from Dylan, but sometimes he just couldn’t help it.
This is what love is.
His eyes moved to his face, and he didn’t recognize it. It wasn’t the same lad who first came to university. He wasn’t the same boy his mom raised, and his friends back in Ireland knew. He was different. He looked broken down and beaten.
Probably because he was.
His eyes looked like regret. Sometimes he’d think about leaving Dylan. But then, Dylan might kill him. He might smother him so deep in love that he would end up closing his eyes and they would never open back up.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Niall turned around, it was Harry.
“Niall glad to see you here.”
Harry was cute, he seemed nice, and he seemed genuine.
Dylan would kill Niall for thinking like that.
N-Niall, what’s wrong with your…body?”
Niall had forgotten he was in a public place, that his torso and back were exposed, and it was littered with love.
Niall moved past Harry to get dressed and leave but Harry grabbed his arm, and Niall winced. That hurt, he thought.
“N-Niall did you get in a really bad fight or…is someone hitting you. I’ve had friends who’d been abused and this sure looks like it.”
Niall was angry now. Who was Harry? Harry was probably going to criticize Niall, give him pity. He could see it, pity in Harry’s eyes. Then he was going to try to help Niall. Niall didn’t even know Harry, and Harry didn’t even know Niall!
“It’s not your concern. I’d be better if you leave me alone, please.”
Harry released Niall.
This was the second occasion they’d ever spoken. It wasn’t like they were friends. Niall had friends, well, not since, Dylan, but Dylan was his…he thinks.
“Who hits you? Is it your boyfriend or something?”
Niall paused, he was now holding his change of clothes in his hands. “So what if it is?”
Harry looked so pained, “Look Niall I don’t know you, but I know that getting beaten isn’t right! Leave that guy! Call the cops!”
Niall gave Harry a soft smile, blue eyes glazed over from tears that he really doesn’t want to fall.
“No. He says he does this because he loves me.”
Harry stood there trying to find some words to say that would shake Niall into reality, that this was wrong.
Harry had this stupid, silly, school-girl crush on Niall. And how, here he was talking to him, and Niall wasn’t the quiet, soft guy he thought Niall was. He was confused, and abused, and in a daze.
Niall thought getting hit was love.
Harry felt compelled to save Niall.
Before Harry could say what he wanted in the correct words Niall was already dressed and carrying his gym bag making his way towards the exit.
Harry knew this was beyond stupid. But now he felt like this was a mission. He’d followed Niall back to his apartment and was now standing outside of the door pressing his ear to trying to hear something. Then he did.
“Niall, why the fuck were you late today? I was waiting here for like, a fucking half hour!”
This was it, Harry thought. The bastard who hurt Niall.
“I-I was held up in the gym. This guy in the locker room-“
“What fucking guy in the locker room Niall? You cheating on me, huh? You’re not allowed to. You’re just a little slut aren’t you? Sleeping around all the damn time, huh? That’s why I do it too, just a few nights ago I-“
“Y-You cheated on me again?”
Harry bit his lip, pulling his phone and dialing the emergency phone line and tried to speak quiet enough so he wouldn’t be heard.
Inside the apartment, Dylan had Niall up against the wall, they were both panting.
“Yeah I fucking cheated, I always do Niall.”
Dylan had a smirk on his face.
Dylan’s large hands found their way to Niall’s neck and they began to squeeze.
“Isn’t this what love is Niall? Lies, manipulation, pain, anger? I think it is. And love crushes the weak, you have to be strong to endure it, and you know what Niall,” Dylan lowered his lips to Niall’s ear, “you’re not strong.”
Niall didn’t know where it came from, but he found something in him and kneed Dylan in the groin. It would’ve been comical if Dylan didn’t reached for Niall’s arm pulling him to the ground with him. Dylan pinned Niall down. His larger body was built better than Niall’s and Niall felt like he was being crushed.
Tears were swimming down his face as he struggled and tried to free himself. Maybe he just should have left Dylan the first time he hit Niall, or the second time, or the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or tenth time. Maybe today, he should’ve let this virtual stranger, Harry, help him.
But Niall couldn’t. Because Dylan loves him right? This was love?
Did Niall love Dylan back? As Dylan hammered his fist into his face he decided he didn’t love Dylan anymore. He hadn’t for a long time now. He was just afraid of Dylan. The word love was sickening. Now he going to lie here, and probably die here, being beaten to death by the person he feared most in the world.
“Niall! Can you hear me?”
That voice, it sounded close. Dylan’s attacks stopped, and Niall dared to look up at his torturer.
“Who was that? Who the hell was that Niall? Did you call for fucking back up or something?”
Dylan delivered another blow to Niall. His head hurt really badly, he was seeing stars. There were lights on his eyes. His head pounded so hard, he wanted to pass out so bad. But he couldn’t.
“Niall, hang in there, the cops…they’re on their way!”
Harry’s voice sounded promising, it was coming from the other side of the door. Harry was here. He didn’t begin to wonder why, or how, but Harry was going to help Niall. Save him from Dylan, and that was alright.
Within another five minutes the door was kicked open, men in uniforms dragged Dylan off of Niall, they helped Niall up and Harry ran and hugged him.
Niall didn’t know what love was. But he was okay with that. He was just content with Harry, even though he didn’t really know him, holding him and running fingers through his hair and cradling him as if he were a small child.