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A Growing Dysfunctional Family

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Normani tried to enter her home as quietly as possible. It was a little bit past two in the morning and she knew Zayn was sleeping; the last thing she wanted was to wake him. Everything was dark inside, but she was too familiar with the space to easily find her way around. She takes off her heels to tippy-toe off to her room. Once inside her bedroom, Normani slowly and quietly closes the door, and leans back against it; letting go of a deep breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

“I wouldn’t sigh in relief just yet,” a voice said in the darkness of her room; startling her. She sucks in her breath; her heart beating erratically. With one hand clutched to her chest, she moves the other along the wall to blindly seek out the light switch. When she finally turns the lights on, she sees Zayn sitting on her bed, arms crossed and glaring directly at her.

“Zayn, you scared me!”

“Why are you just arriving home?” Zayn asked accusingly.

“I was at the club, you know that.” Normani responds, moving away from the door to walk towards the closet door instead, which was to the left of the room, opposite of her bed. She tried to sound nonchalantly as she struggled to calm her heart beat down.

“Really, what club?” Zayn feigned interest. He wasn’t buying Normani’s answer for a second, even though her outfit was proper club attire.

“Zayn!” Normani glared at him. “Why are you interrogating me?”

“Asking two simple questions is not an interrogation,” Zayn rolled his eyes. “Regardless, you can call it whatever you want.” He continued, standing from the bed. “What I would like to know is why you’re lying to me?”

“I'm not.” God! Why was she so bad at lying to Zayn? She could lie to other people in her sleep.

“Give it up love, we know you weren’t at the club.” It wasn’t Zayn who spoke this time, but Louis, who stood by the front door of her room.

When did he open the door? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. “I was at the c–”

“Okay,” Zayn interrupted, “before we have to hear that you were at the club again, you should know that there are blood stains on the back of your shirt.”

Shit. What kind of stupid mistake? Normani thought she had checked all of her clothes from any blood stains. “Okay please don’t be mad, I was –”

“I fucking knew it. We put too much trust in her, Zayn.” Louis entered the room completely then; Normani averted his angry eyes. She tried not to let Louis’s words hurt her feelings.

“I’m not a fucking child Louis! Try backing off for once!” Normani yelled in frustration.

“How cliché. What’s next? You’re going to slam the door in our faces while you shout that we’re trying to ruin your life?” Louis’s response only infuriated Normani even more. It was his way of daring her to act out, because they all knew she would be stupid to, since it wouldn’t end well for her.

“Normani,” Zayn spoke in a more leveled tone, trying to ease the tension. “You make it difficult to look out for you when you pull stunts like these.” Normani refused to make eye contact with either of them.

Knowing that continuing this conversation wasn’t going to get them anywhere for the night, both Zayn and Louis leave her room. Louis sighs in frustration when they step into the hall, heading to his bedroom that’s at the end of it, with Zayn following behind. Louis felt relieved that Normani was safe at home, but now he was too angry with her stupidity.

A wave of exhaustion washes over him suddenly. He knows that’s Zayn’s doing. Louis falls on his bed, flat on his stomach, and sighs again into his pillow. “Zee don’t you dare put me to sleep right now. We need to talk about this.” Louis says into his pillow.

Zayn chuckles, but stops trying to manipulate Louis’s body into going to sleep. Instead, he sits at the corner of the bed, near Louis’s head, to run his fingers through his hair. “Lou, I don’t really know what to tell you, other than that you need a haircut mate.”

Louis turns his head to the side, so that his voice isn’t muffled out by his pillow anymore. “First of all, fuck you, I like my hair long and I know you do too because you’re constantly playing with it. And second of all, I’m serious Zayn. These bags under my eyes are because of her.”

Zayn chuckles again. “Which is why I was trying to put you to sleep, Lou.”

“And you can put your little spell on me, because God knows I need my damn beauty sleep after this hell week, but we need to come to some sort of conclusion about Mani.”

“At this point, I don’t know that we can do anything about it Lou. Her twenty-first birthday is nearing, and I can’t get a read on her. Remember when I told you that I didn’t think she was going to develop any powers because I couldn’t feel it?"

"Yes,"

"Well, I don’t think that’s completely true. I think that it is the power that she’s been developing that’s blocking me.”

“What makes you so sure that’s it?”

“Because she’s obviously been getting into fights every time she tells us she’s heading to the club. I don’t think she purposely seeks out the fights, I think it’s her power that attracts them to her.”

“Do you think she can tell they’re not human?”

“I don’t know. It was all intuitive for us, wasn’t it? I would assume she thinks there’s something not right at the very least.”

“I was hoping you were right about her powers Zayn. I really wanted to believe that she had made friends and was finally doing things people her age do, clubs and all that.”

“I know Lou, me too.”

A long silence falls between them and if Zayn didn’t know better, he’d think that Louis was asleep, but he could feel his thoughts running. This is why Zayn needed to put Louis to sleep, because his thoughts wouldn’t let him.

As Zayn gets ready to send a wave of sleep to Louis’s body, Louis speaks one last time. “I just wanted normal for her. I don’t know what I would do if something happens to her.”

“I know Lou. We will tell her the truth tomorrow.” Zayn’s quiet decision is the last thing Louis hears before he goes unconscious.

Chapter Text

Louis wakes up to soft music coming from the kitchen, or so he assumes. He can hear Zayn and Normani singing along to some parts of the melody. He smells breakfast food, but when he checks the clock on his night stand, it signals 4:12pm. For once, in a long while, Louis feels well rested. He gets up and walks over to his shower, smiling the second the hot water washes over him.

When Louis is out of the shower, dressed in a pair of sweats and a sweater, he leaves to the kitchen.

“Good evening Lou,” Zayn says, flashing a smile when he spots him entering the kitchen.

“Good evening,” Louis responds, wondering if Zayn really was in such a great mood or if he was just faking it for the sake of keeping the peace with Normani.

Louis takes a sit on the stool next to Normani, hoping she takes it as a hint that he isn’t mad at her. After Zayn flips some pancakes, he turns around to see both Normani and Louis sitting next to each other. They both lean towards the table, carrying the exact same body language. Zayn wonders if they ever notice that their body language falls in sync whenever they are together.

Normani, slowly and hesitantly, leans her head on Louis’s shoulder, as they both wait for Zayn to finish breakfast. Normani didn’t think she was that tired when she fell asleep last night, but it was almost as if something took over and forced her to sleep. Maybe all that fighting caught up with her.

Zayn put a plate full of pancakes at the center of the table. Another one full of eggs, and one with bacon. Zayn and Normani didn’t eat bacon, but Louis loved it. While he turned to clean up any mess he created around the stove, Normani got up to get three cups for them, while Louis got the plates and forks.

“Okay now that we’re all set to eat, Mani can you please explain to us what you’ve been up to?” Normani is flooded with relief when she hears Zayn use her nickname, because it meant that he really wasn't mad at her anymore, and is willing to listen to her. Louis didn’t push her off when she had leaned on him earlier, so she assumes he’s in a better mood too.

Normani clears her throat to speak. “A couple of weeks ago a group of three girls from my university had invited me to the club. They’re my classmates, but I had never really spoken to them because I got the feeling that they didn’t really like me. We’re half way through the semester and I have gotten nothing but vibes of hostility from these girls. So anyways, before I left class they asked me to go clubbing with them. I was surprised, but I felt so happy. You know I’ve never made friends before. It made me think that maybe they never had anything against me, and that it was just me getting too into my head, thinking that everyone hated me.” Zayn and Louis kept their expressions neutral, but Zayn could feel the anger and sadness Louis was feeling, mixing in with his own. To say that Normani didn’t have an easy time making friends at school was an understatement. Zayn and Louis hoped that once she started college things would be better for her. And they were, to the extent that no one was mean to her because they hardly acknowledged her presence. Three years in, and she has yet to make a meaningful friendship with anyone.

“So I said yes, and that night when I was super excited to go to the club, it was because I really was going. But once I got there, it didn’t take long before the girls started asking me questions about Zayn. Apparently they have seen us walking around campus together a couple of times and wanted to know why I was the only undergraduate student that got a chance to be alone with you. They wanted to know if we were dating, but instead of answering any of their questions, I asked them if they just wanted me around to ask about you. One of the girl’s responded with ‘obviously, why else would we ask to hang out with you?’” A sad expression takes over Normani’s features as she pauses. Zayn is aching to hold her, but he stays put when he sees Louis’s hand reach out for hers, to provide some comfort. He doesn’t need to be able to read Louis’s mind to know that Louis was already mapping out step by step how he was going to murder those girls.

“After that, I ran out of there. I stopped at a corner in an ally and just started crying.” Normani paused briefly, thinking of everything she felt in that very moment. “These two men walked by me and asked if I was okay. I think they thought that I was drunk, but I told them I was fine. When I tried to walk away, they tried to hold me back.” Normani looks up for a split second at Zayn and Louis. They both carried a deathly stare, but she knows it isn’t directed at her.

“It was all instinctive after that. The second they tried to lay a hand on me to stop me from leaving, I started fighting them without any thought. Up until that night, I never understood why the two of you wanted to train me so extensively in fighting, but I was glad that you did. It made it so easy to take on the two of them and–” while Normani continued on, talking about the confrontation, Zayn thinks back to when they first started training her. Louis and Zayn were only seventeen and sixteen at the time, and Normani eleven. They didn’t want Normani to grow up without acquiring perfect fighting skills while knowing that there were things out there that could harm her. Normani was a quick learner and her fighting evolved as she got older. She never fought her bullies though, even though she had gotten to a point where she could have certainly taken them with ease.

Zayn drew his focus back to Normani’s story. “–am I surprised? No, because men are garbage, but still, I couldn’t help the anger that flooded through me.”

“Mani,” Louis says, pulling her chin up so that she could make eye contact with him. “Did you kill them?”

Zayn knew he was holding his breath, but he was scared to hear the answer.

“No, I didn’t.” She responded quietly, looking back down for a split second, before making eye contact with Louis again. “But Lou, I wanted to. But there was something in me that I don’t know… I could have killed them, I knew how, you taught me how.”

That was true too. Zayn and Louis taught her some of the fastest way to kill a person. They weren’t happy about it, but they felt it was necessary.

“I left them pretty beat up, to the point where they were no longer moving, but I knew they weren’t dead.” Normani assured them.

“So what happened next? Because that incident happened two weeks ago and it doesn’t explain what you have been doing ever since.” Zayn said.

“Right, so I went home that night a bit freaked out at what happened, but not necessarily scared of the event. Fighting just felt right, it felt liberating." Normani took a deep breath. "Then I started thinking about how many girls were walking by themselves at night after a club and have guys take advantage of them. We all know your average person can’t fight, definitely not like we do anyways. So the following night I went out again and hung out by the clubs in the streets. I was dressed like I was going to the club and every night without fail, men would come after me and think that they could force me into something. But I’d just fight them like it was nothing, until…”

“Until what?” Louis inquired.

“Until about a week ago, this guy that had approached me, I don’t know. I just-”

“You know you can tell us anything love,” Louis encouraged.

“Um… okay this is going to sound crazy, but please don’t judge. This guy, his eyes… they turned completely black. Like entirely, and he wasn’t as easy for me to take down. He was much stronger than other men I had fought and that was the first time I was actually scared. He had both of his hands around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. And then out of nowhere these two guys come and hit him in the head, knocking him out. I was gasping, trying to catch back my breath and in that moment my attacker stood up from the floor again and I don’t know what happened – because what I just remember is one of the guys pulling out a sword or like I don’t know – but he cut his head off in one swift move. I felt sick to my stomach, but before I could register anything, his body disappeared.” Normani finally looks up to see the expressions that the boys were giving her. Zayn’s expression was of neutrality. He has always been very good about controlling his expressive emotions, and she has always hated that. Louis still looked deadly.

“Can you guys say something? Because it gets even weirder than that and I don’t want to share any more if you’re thinking that I’m crazy”

“Who were the guys that helped you?” Zayn asked. Two things were clear to Zayn and Louis. One being that Normani was attacked by a demon that night, and the other being that whoever killed the demon clearly knew what they were doing, and so it was easy to conclude that they were demon hunters.

“Their names were Liam and Niall. I don’t know Niall very well, or at all really, because I just met him that night and after that I haven’t seen him. He was wearing a mask, so I couldn’t see his face. We didn’t exchange any words. He just told Liam to make sure that I was alright, because he was going to go chase after ‘another one’ that he thought he saw. I didn’t even know what he was talking about, but I haven’t seen him since then. Liam stayed with me and walked me back home that night. The following night I ran into him again and ironically, he was being chocked in an ally. I thought I’d return the favor and hit the guy in the head, minus the killing part because you know… but Liam took care of that. Except this time, his eyes weren’t black, they were all red and his body didn’t disappear. It just stayed there. Kind of gross really...”

“Nor–”

“Wait. Don’t yell at me yet, I’m not finished. After Liam killed the guy or thing, whatever, I asked him what was going on because I felt like my mind was playing tricks on me. It took him a while to understand that I could see what he could too. Apparently he thought that I couldn’t see the transformations in those guys that attacked me. He freaked out on me and asked me why I didn’t tell him that I saw the body on the previous night disappear after Niall had killed it. He then explained to me and seriously, bear with me here please, that what had attacked me was a demon… I wanted to laugh but that answer was going to be as good as any because it certainly wasn’t human.”

“So you believed him, just like that?” Louis asked.

“Well after what I had witnessed, yes. So for the past week, I have been joining Liam in his strolls around the city at night making sure to interfere if demons are causing harm anywhere. He said his partner, Niall, wasn’t with him this week because he had to leave the city to attend to some business or whatever. Liam said I could join him as long as I stayed far away from any fights that were about to occur. I didn’t listen of course because I couldn’t let Liam fight by himself. All I’ve managed to do is knock them to the ground though, because I don’t have a weapon to kill them with, Liam is in charge of that. So yeah, now you may yell.”

Neither Zayn or Louis knew what to say. Whoever this Liam guy was, Zayn wanted to find them and strangle them. How could he just let Normani tag along to something so dangerous while knowing all of that was new to her? He could’ve gotten her killed.

After a long moment of silence Louis took a deep breath and spoke. “Okay Zee, I got nothing.”

“You’re not going to yell at me?” Normani was skeptic.

“To be quite honest, you just made what we have to tell you a hell of a lot easier.” Louis answered. “I’m more interested in this Liam guy though. I want to meet him. If you’re going around crushing on some boy I need to know who they are.”

Normani’s eyes widened. “No, it’s not like that.”

“Really? So you’re just doing it for the experience then?”

“I mean I’m not gonna lie, he’s pretty attractive, but I don’t like him like that. But guys, I think I finally made a friend!” Normani claps her hands in excitement.

“One who hunts demons! Uh, no thank you, choose better next time.” Louis says, getting off the stool and walking to the living room. Normani follows after him; their breakfast long forgotten.

“So you don’t think I’m crazy? You believe this whole demon ordeal?”

Zayn doesn’t follow after them, but he can still see them perfectly fine from where he is sat. Zayn doesn’t know what to say, other than that he’s going to kill this Liam guy.

After a few minutes have passed and Zayn no longer knows what Louis and Normani are even discussing at this point, he stands up and walks over to them where they’re sat on the couch.

“Normani,” Zayn says, interrupting their conversation. “Louis and I have some things to disclose with you, but first you need to know that you’re not going out tonight to see Liam. You’re not leaving this house alone until you understand what you’ve been involving yourself with. But you will tell me where you usually meet him, because I will be going in your place to talk to him.”

“Zayn, don’t do this please. You’re going to scare him off and I just met him. You know how difficult it is for me to make friends.” Normani begged.

“I am insulted that you would think I’m trying to scare him off. I just want to have a friendly chat, that’s all.”

“Zayn, please.”

“This is not up for discussion. And don’t lie to me about your meeting location, because I can tell when you’re lying to me.” Zayn said authoritatively. “Now the two of you get back to your breakfast, because I did not just make all that food for it to go untouched.”

Chapter Text

“So you’re saying that you’re demon hunters…” Normani casually says, as though she were asking for the weather. Zayn and Louis just stare back at her, mostly in shock that she wasn’t yelling at them from hiding the truth from her all this time.

“Uh well, not really…” Louis tries to explain but doesn’t give any further clarification.

“What Louis is trying to say is that we wouldn’t necessarily classify ourselves as hunters, because we don’t literally go out and hunt them. Unlike your friend Luke who –”

“Liam” Normani corrects.

“Whatever, who sounds like he’s out there hunting them.”

“So what are you then?”

“Louis and I serve different positions, because our abilities extend past our fighting skills.”

“What do you mean by that?” Normani asks in annoyance. Why couldn’t Zayn just give her a straight answer?

“Louis and I work in research.”

“Like, reading and stuff?”

“Uh yeah, you could say that–”

“That doesn’t sound very exciting.” Normani says disappointingly, hoping for a much cooler answer than that.

“I will try not to get offended by that tone of yours,” Louis speaks up this time, “but I’ll have you know that the work Zayn and I do, very few have the ability to do. It takes skills and a great amount of intellect to contribute to the research field of our world. There’s only about thirty of us in the entire world that contribute to research and that’s including Zayn and I. It isn’t because you choose to go into the research field, but because you get chosen.”

“Great, as if your ego needed a boost. No wonder you’re such a snob.” Normani says, rolling her eyes and then laughing. She was only trying to annoy Louis. “So what am I then? And why do the three of us share this same power? We’re obviously not related.”

“We don’t share the same powers,” Louis corrected. “We share the same ability to see the supernatural world, but our powers differ greatly. We don’t even know what your power is.”

“Wait does that mean I’m getting like a super power?” Normani got excited at the thought. She already thought the fighting skills she had alone were cool enough, but add powers on top of that and she would feel indestructible.

“Yes, or so we think anyways. Zaynie over here thought that you weren’t going to actually develop any and that this world would remain hidden from you, but it appears he was wrong, though he still can’t tell what it is yet.”

“Amazing! When will I know?”

“You should know by your twenty-first birthday. If you don’t have any powers by then, then it simply means you don’t have any. If that is the case, it doesn’t make you any less of a person by the way.”

“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind." She nodded. "So what’s your power?”

“I have quite a few actually,” Louis responds, biting his lips. He doesn’t want to disclose them in case Normani really doesn’t get any extra abilities, but he supposes she’ll know eventually. “One of them is that I can access your memories. Meaning that when you recall a memory in your mind, I can see the image as if it were my own. And no, before you ask, I can’t read your constant thoughts. I can only enter your mind in certain occasions, like when you are recalling something or when you’re dreaming. For example, earlier today when you were telling us about your encounters, I could visualize all the events that occurred as if they were happening to me. Even though I have never actually seen those classmates of yours, by you talking about them, you allowed me to enter your mind. So, now I know exactly what they look like, which will make it easier for me when I hunt them down to kill them.” Louis finished off innocently, flashing a smile. Normani's eyes widened in shock, hoping Louis was joking about that threat.

“Zaynie here, has the ability to feel people’s emotions, like literally feel them as if they were his own. If you ever wondered why Zayn was so irritable whenever you got your period, it’s because he could feel all your pain. He could shut it off easily, but by allowing himself to feel your pain and the feelings that go along with that, it eases yours. That’s why whenever you felt relieved about your cramps not being as terrible, Zayn was hidden away in his room crying from the pain. ”

“Louis,” Zayn warned.

“Zayn you did that for me?” Normani was in disbelief, moved by the sentiment. Normani used to experience the worst cramps that made her want to jump off a bridge or vanish from existence. It would move her to tears, but over time she just stopped getting them as strong and they became much more bearable.

“It’s not a big deal, I didn’t like seeing you in so much pain.”

“Zayn that is a big deal. Thank you for doing that. You have no idea how much I appreciated not feeling suicidal during my periods.”

Zayn chuckled at that. He was grateful that they were able to get her on birth control when she turned 18, so that he no longer had to feel her cramps.

“On top of being able to feel your feelings, he can manipulate certain chemicals in your body. He can put you to sleep in a matter of seconds and make sure you stay asleep for as long as he wants. If he literally wanted you to sleep for two days straight, he would have the power to do so. He can also get you to feel angry, or sad, and so on. He can fuck with your emotions in more ways than you know –”

“But I don’t.” Zayn interrupted. “I don’t want you to get the idea here that I go around controlling people’s emotions. I have much better things to do with my time than to manipulate how others are feeling. And before you ask, yes I have used my powers on you to put you to sleep or to ease your pain, but nothing more.”

“It’s okay Zayn, I believe you.” Normani reassures him, giving him a warm smile. “What else can you guys do?”

“Louis,” Zayn speaks this time, before Louis starts disclosing more of Zayn’s abilities, “also has the ability to turn invisible. So if you’ve ever wondered how he sometimes seems to appear out of thin air, you’re not crazy, he was just invisible. Oh, and you should know that Louis and I can move objects around with our minds, so the house always stays spotless because we don’t have to do shit to actually clean it. I’m only telling you because now that you know about all of this, I don’t want you to be shocked when you see the dishes washing themselves or something, since now we don’t have to wait for you to go off to school to get the cleaning done.”

“You mean to tell me that every time you guys had me clean my room or wash clothes, or even clean the bathroom, you could’ve just used some telekinesis shit to have it get it done on its own?”

“Yes, but we wanted to build your character. I know you’re our baby, but we couldn’t spoil you entirely without teaching you any values.” Louis said, with a nervous smile.

“I. Am. Going. To. Kill. You. BOTH” Normani said, launching towards them but she only manages to stumble forward as she falls into nothing because the boys are no longer anywhere in sight. She was confused because she didn’t know Zayn could turn invisible too. Yet, that must have been more than that because if they were invisible, she should have at least been able to feel them – or so she assumes – but they appear to be gone.

 

Zayn and Louis appeared in Zayn’s bedroom, which was on the second floor of the house. They were both laughing, knowing they must’ve have confused Normani even more. When Zayn predicted that Normani was going to chase after them, he grabbed Louis’s hand and teleported them into his bedroom. That was another ability they both had: teleportation.

“So, this Liam guy,” Louis started, after they stopped giggling like children. “He’s pretty cute.”

“And?” Zayn asked with indifference.

“Well, I’m just saying that it would be a waste to kill something so pretty.”

“Louis, I’m just gonna have a chat with him.”

“No offense mate, but I don’t fucking believe you. I know you’re upset with him, but in Normani’s memories, he didn’t seem too bad, so maybe don’t be so harsh on the guy. You know Normani can’t be controlled.”

“Fine. I promise I will not murder him, are you happy?”

“And that you won’t beat him up?”

“Now you’re just asking for the impossible, Louis.”

“C’mon Zaynie, you need to promise or I will be going in your place.”

“Fine, I will not beat him up.” Zayn agreed, rolling his eyes. Louis had to stop himself from laughing because Zayn looked like a bratty five year old.

 

 

 

 

 

Hours later Zayn is getting ready to go meet with Liam. He doesn’t know what to expect, but since Liam seems to be a hunter, Zayn dresses in his fighting clothes, making sure to take his arrows with him – his favorite tools for fighting.

Chapter Text

Liam can feel someone is watching him. He was supposed to meet Normani here ten minutes ago, but she hasn’t showed up yet. Liam felt a bit anxious. Normani was never late, if anything, she always got there first. He always worried that her excitement would get her into danger.

Liam leaned back against the wall of the building and sighed. He figured he might as well talk to whoever was watching him.

“You know, I highly suggest you take a picture because in about five minutes I’m walking away if the person I’m meeting here doesn’t show.” Liam says casually, flipping his knife out of boredom. He couldn’t see whoever was watching him, but he could sense their presence.

In what Liam would have to admit was a gracious move, a figure landed in front of him; its face still hidden by a hood and the shadows of the alley.

“How did you know I was present?” the figure spoke with an enchanting voice that took Liam by surprise; he felt as though he were being put under a spell.

Liam steps out of his own shadows from the walls to move forward towards the stranger.

“I suppose I wouldn’t be a very good hunter if I wasn’t well aware of my surroundings.”

 

 

 

When Zayn sees Liam step out of the shadows, he catches his breath. He sees warm brown eyes looking his way, without fully knowing where to land. This stranger, Liam, is smirking. His pose seems relaxed as he skillfully flips a knife in his hand. Liam’s arms are exposed from the short sleeved black shirt that hugged him tightly. The rest of his outfit is all black too. Zayn wonders how this man isn’t freezing right now – not that he cares, but it was cold tonight as it normally is. What was it that the guy just said? Something about him not being a good hunter? Focus Zayn.

“I was under a spell that should have hidden my presence from you, so how could you have possibly known I was up there?”

“Maybe you’re not very good with spells,” Liam casually responds, drawing his eyes to his flipping knife; looking like a child amused by a toy.

“Liam how did you –”

“How do you know my name?” Liam stops flipping his knife. His teasing tone gone completely, masked by a threatening one.

“I’m a friend of Normani’s.”

“You’re lying.”

Zayn snorts. “What makes you think that?”

“Normani told me she doesn’t have any friends. Plus, I was the first person she met from this world, so I know you’re lying.”

“Look at you being an expert in all things Normani. You’ve been seeing her for a week and all of the sudden you have Normani exclusives. Tell me, do you even know her last name?”

“Uh no,” Liam answered, what a dumb question. “And why does it matter? Where is she?” Liam threateningly asked.

“Well then, I’ll give you a hint, she has two. One starts with an M and the other with a T.” Zayn was amused. Liam looked like he was ready to fight for Normani. Maybe Louis was right and he wasn’t so bad after all. Though Zayn had to admit that he had concluded that himself when he saw those warm brown eyes of his. Focus Zayn.

“Liam relax, I’m not here to fight you. Or at least I promised I wouldn’t and I would appreciate it if you didn’t make me break my word.” Zayn says, finally stepping into the light.

 

 

 

When the stranger steps into the light, Liam gasps. How embarrassing. He hopes the stranger didn’t notice. The beautiful stranger, standing in front of Liam is giving him a warm smile that meets their eyes. Their brown honeyed eyes. The stranger takes off his hood, revealing his shiny raven hair. It’s pushed off to the side, getting ruffled in the wind – it makes him look soft and not at all threatening, the way the shadows had made him seem.

“Uh… h-hi,” Liam stutters giving him a small smile; hoping the night hides away the blush on his cheeks.

“Hello,” the stranger says in confusion, “I thought we were past hellos, since you seemed pretty ready to fight me.”

“How can we be passed that if you haven’t even given me your name?”

“Oh.” The stranger says, looking at him curiously. Why was Liam feeling so relaxed with this stranger, when he was ready to fight him seconds ago?

“Is that your name? Oh?” Liam teases.

“Zayn.” The stranger, Zayn, responds, reaching out his hand. Liam shakes it politely.

“Hi Zayn. Where is Normani?” Liam casually asks.

“Mani is at home, sleeping.”

“Oh. Are you her boyfriend?” Not that Liam cares. They can’t be related since they don’t look anything alike. And it would make sense. Zayn is probably jealous that Normani has been out late at night with some guy. Normani looks like a greek goddess so it would only make sense that she would date a guy that looks like a greek god.

“No.” Zayn answers. “I look after her. Even though she’s only five years younger than me, she’s like a daughter to me.”

A smile tugs at Liam’s lips but he pushes it away. Hearing that Zayn isn’t dating Normani shouldn’t make him happy. Though now, he only had more questions about Normani and her life. She never revealed anything about her private life to Liam, which made sense to him since they have only hung out for a week.

“Why didn’t she come?”

“Because I didn’t let her Liam. I’m sure you can understand that I don’t appreciate the two of you running around together hunting demons.”

“I have been trying to get Normani to listen to me this entire week, so how did she actually listen to you? is there a trick to it? Because it would have made my life so much easier seven days ago.”

“Yeah, Normani is stubborn, sorry about that.” Zayn chuckles, “I suppose she listens to me because I’m her guardian. Sorry I can’t give you any helpful tips on that.”

“Can I please see her? I don’t think you’re lying to me, but it would ease my mind to see her being safe.” Liam didn’t know if he should trust his instincts right now. His instincts tell him that this Zayn guy was telling the truth, but did Liam think that because he sounded genuine or because he looked like Aphrodite’s son?

“Okay. C’mon.” Zayn says after a few seconds, and starts walking. It takes Liam a second to react, but then he finally starts walking and catches up to Zayn.

“So,” Liam says, starting a conversation because he was not about to start walking beside him in an awkward silence. “Are you a hunter too?”

“Well,” Zayn says. In that moment, Liam sees his own knife appear floating on top of Zayn’s hand. There’s a smirk in Zayn’s features, as he looks at Liam, who knows that he’s gaping at him.

“You’re a – you’re – what? I have never in my life met someone– how?”

“Dunno…”Zayn returns the knife back to Liam. “I was the last one born though, as far as we know anyways.”

“Holy shit! A fucking warlock. You’re an actual warlock.”

“Why did you conclude warlock and not a hunter with extra abilities?”

“Because the object disappeared and reappeared. If you had moved it with your mind, I would have seen the knife move from my side to yours. Plus hunters don’t get those types of abilities.”

“Perceptive.”

“You know that’s just basic knowledge.” Liam says, rolling his eyes. There was no way that Liam was ever going to intellectually impress Aphrodite’s son over here, when the guy must be obviously part of the research field of the supernatural world.

“Does Normani know you’re a warlock?” Liam asks, unable to stop his curiosity.

“No, not exactly. I have disclosed with her that I’m part of the supernatural world and that I have extra abilities, but I didn’t directly tell her that I’m categorized as a warlock.”

“I suppose if you did tell her, she would have no idea what an actual big deal that is huh?”

“Correct. And it’s not a big deal though,” Zayn says modestly.

“You and I both know that’s not true, Zayn.” Liam raises his eyebrow at him.

“You’re right…” Zayn admits, biting his lips and looking down shyly. Of course Liam is right. Warlock’s are basically nonexistent. Liam had heard all about them growing up, but he never had actually seen one. No one ever said anything about them being so breathtakingly beautiful.

“You said Normani has two last names,” Liam spoke again, breaking the silence between them. “What are they?”

“Normani Malik Tomlinson. I’m Zayn Malik and my partner is Louis Tomlinson, so she takes after both of our last names.”

“Oh.” Is all Liam says. Disappointment was seeping through him uncontrollably. Of course this guy had a partner. Anyone looking like that could not be single. Not that Liam cares, because he doesn’t, because that would weird. He just met this guy. He could not care less. Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

 

 

Zayn could feel the disappointment or maybe even upset feelings that were coming from Liam, but he didn’t understand why. Zayn didn’t think he’d said anything wrong. One moment Liam was feeling all chirpy and conversational and the next moment it was all gone, replaced by this overwhelming feeling of disappointment. Liam didn’t say anything on the rest of the way to Zayn’s place. Zayn hoped that Louis would get a better insight as to what was going on in that boy’s brain, because Zayn couldn’t figure him out yet.

 

Zayn led Liam inside the house. The tv from the living room was on; the only light coming from inside the house. Zayn went to the living room and Liam awkwardly followed him. Normani was cuddled up with Louis on the couch, already sleeping, while Louis seemed entranced on his tv show.

“Zaynie,” Louis whispered excitedly. Louis noticed Liam behind Zayn in that moment, and his eyes widened in surprise. He carefully disentangled himself from Normani, not wanting to wake her, and headed towards the kitchen with Zayn and Liam following.

 

“You must be Liam,” Louis said to Liam, once they were in the kitchen.

“I never thought my name would be so popular,” Liam jokes. This guy, Louis, he assumed, was attractive. He could see how he appealed to Zayn. To Liam, Zayn was still much more beautiful, but there was no denying that Louis and Zayn looked good together.

“Well, you’re all our dear Mani can talk about.”

“Speaking of which, I just came here to check on her. She seems like she’s on her fifth dream, so I should get back now.”

“What’s the rush Liam?" Louis innocently asked. "I would love to hear more about you. Please, take a sit. Can I offer you something to drink?”

“Uh – water, please. And um – there really isn’t much to tell. I’m just a hunter, nothing interesting.”

“Oh, I reckon that’s not true.” Louis says, as Zayn grabbed a cup to fill with water, handing it over to Liam and sitting on the stool next to him.

“I mean, I just met a warlock so I feel pretty insignificant next to Zayn right now.” Liam admitted.

“Please don’t say that,” Zayn says softly, holding Liam’s gaze. “There’s nothing insignificant about your presence. Whatever social hierarchy you’re stuck on from the supernatural world, leave it outside of this home please. We don’t think like that here.” Liam was in awed by Zayn’s welcoming and kindness. It certainly wasn’t like that in Liam’s house growing up.

“I suppose it’s not gonna help to hear that you’re in the presence of two warlock’s then?” Louis casually says, as a teasing smile lands on his face. Zayn glares at Louis. Liam tries not to choke on his water.

“Wh-what? You’re also a warlock?” Liam asked, confused. “Zayn I thought you said you were the last one born?”

“Technically I am, because Lou is a little bit over a year older than me.”

“So, how’d you two meet then? If you don’t mind me asking.” Liam tries to change the subject. Sure they don’t care much for hierarchy, but two warlocks end up dating each other? That doesn’t sound like much of a coincidence.

“Zaynie and I were orphans together. Our parents knew each other and suffered a terrible accident when the four of them were out together. Zaynie and I were home with some babysitter. Our parents shared this very place together and they left it to us, but we couldn’t really stay here without a guardian. Zayn and I ended up in an orphanage and we stayed there till we were about eight.”

“Oh, I am so sorry for you loss. I cannot imagine what that must have been like.” A sad expression was taking over Liam’s face. Liam glanced at Zayn, only to notice that Zayn was looking at him curiously.

“It’s okay, really. We cannot remember our parents, but we have always had each other.” Zayn spoke this time, giving Liam a warm smile.

“Did you guys get adopted then?” Liam asked without thinking, the curiosity evident in his voice. “Sorry, you don’t have to share anything else if you don’t want.”

“Oh, no worries, it’s quite alright.” Louis says casually. “Zayn got adopted. He was quite charming as a young boy – well, he still is, but as a child he was very high spirited, and yet timid.” Liam looked at Zayn, who was blushing and averting his eyes.

“Everybody fell in love with Zayn as a child. It’s not that I wasn’t adorable myself, but I wasn’t as charming as Zayn. I could have been, but I didn’t want to be. I would glare at everyone and tell people to stay away from Zayn and I. I was insufferable and a brat.” Louis smiles. A fond look grows on Zayn’s face, as Zayn remembers how possessive Louis was over him. An argument could be made that Louis is still possessive over Zayn. “Anyway, Zaynie got adopted and I did not like that at all. After a week of being gone, I had basically threatened the entire staff. I swore to them that if they didn’t return Zayn to me, that I would burn the place down. They thought that I was psychotic and were trying to put me in a mental institution, but they weren’t quick enough about it. Zayn’s adopted parents came back to undo the adoption because they said Zayn wouldn’t stop crying and asking for me. They also said that objects around the house kept moving and breaking, especially when Zayn screamed. Apparently he’d scream when he would stop crying. A nonstop cycle –”

“Lou, I think he gets it.” Zayn cuts in.

“Okay, okay.” Louis said, not losing the teasing smile on his face. Liam was so entranced with Louis’s story, picturing a young Zayn, heartbroken and crying – he didn’t like the image of that.

“Moving on, when Zayn was returned, I grabbed him and ran away. We had never been to this place before, at least not when we were old enough to remember, but we just followed instinctively and found it. We’ve been staying here ever since.”

“So then how did you know about the supernatural world? And didn’t anyone look for you guys? How did you even look after yourselves when you were only eight?”

“Relax Liam, you’re right in front of us and can see that we’re okay.” Zayn says, as Liam feels himself relax. Almost as if it happens involuntarily, but Liam welcomes it. Zayn is right. There is no point in freaking out when they’re obviously alive, but Liam couldn’t help but freak out at the thought of two little boys trying to look after each other.

“Our parents created a small library in one of the rooms of this house." Louis explained. "Zayn and I, as you can probably imagine, were quick learners. We already knew how to read at an advanced rate by the age of five, so we read all the books we could from that library. Some of it was based on the history of the supernatural world, some of them were potions, others were about demons, hunters, etcetera. Everything we needed to know was inside that room. It didn’t take us long to figure out that we were warlocks. I ended up putting a spell on this house, so that no one could find us here even if they stepped inside the house and we were right in front of them.”

“So then when did you meet Normani?”

“Normani was left at the front door of this house when she was five.” Louis continued. “She had a note with her directed at our parents, that asked them to care after her. I was only eleven and kind of freaked out at the time. I didn’t know what to do, but Zayn insisted we kept her. We both did the best we could to raise her, but it forced us to mature much rapidly than we already were. We created spells to make ourselves look like adults, so that we could register her for classes at a school. Zayn and I homeschooled each other because our intellect was far too advanced for any school. We had to recreate her paperwork, so legally we thought we’d give her our last names. Though I think that leads people to believe that Zayn and I are a couple.”

“Oh. You’re not?” Liam blurts out. That last part taking him by surprise. Liam can’t help the happiness that seeps through him. He’s trying very hard to bite back his smile.

“Of course not Liam, weren’t you listening? Zayn was the only family I had, he was my world, still is, but he’s my brother. Even though we’re not blood related, we have always seen each other as brothers.”

Zayn could feel a range of emotions coming from Liam as Louis was telling him some of their childhood story. But now the only emotion that Zayn could feel from Liam was happiness and excitement, it overpowered all of his other feelings. Zayn did not understand this boy. It wasn’t helping that since Louis was doing all the talking, he wasn’t going to get inside Liam’s head.

“Right, yeah, that makes perfect sense.” Liam says, blushing. Louis looks at him with knowing eyes and Liam looks away.

“So Liam,” Louis mischievously says, “Tell me about your first encounter with Zayn? What was it like? And I mean, explain it to me in detail. Ignore Zaynie next to you. You won’t hurt his feelings if you say anything mean about him.”

Chapter Text

“Pretty cute? That’s your shitty way of warning me about Liam’s looks before meeting him?” Zayn complained in frustration. Louis and Zayn were both locked away in Zayn’s bedroom, after Liam had left. Zayn was pacing back and forth on the carpeted floor, while Louis laid on the bed with his eyes closed and a smile on his face. Normani still sound asleep downstairs.

“What? Was I wrong?” Louis’s innocent response irritated Zayn even more.

“Yes, Louis. ‘Pretty cute’ doesn’t do him justice!”

“Well,” Louis shifts on the bed, “what would you have actually liked me to have said, Zayn dear?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Zayn rolls his eyes, “how about just state the obvious fact that he’s the most beautiful human to walk on this earth?”

Louis snorts. “No offense Zayn, but you do own a mirror right?”

“Offense taken Louis, because have you seen his eyes? His smile? Every time he giggles he just –”

“Am I detecting a crush here, Zaynie?”

Zayn stops dead on his tracts and looks straight at Louis. “That’s ridiculous Louis,” he scoffs, “I barely even know the guy.”

“You don’t have to know him to have a crush on him” Louis argues.

“All I was saying is that we need to expand the vocabulary in this house because saying the guy is ‘pretty cute’ and ‘attractive’ is really insulting. I thought this was a home of intellects.”

“Normani and I both acknowledged that Liam was good looking, and all of the sudden that makes us stupid? Sorry we didn’t write a poem about it. I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty on your own though, to make up for our slack.” Louis laughs at his own joke. Zayn glares at him.

“Louis I don’t like the guy, okay? Let’s just drop it.”

“Then why are you making such a big deal about it, Zayn? You’re the one who shoved me in your room to yell at me about how good looking the guy is.”

“Okay, I can see how that gave you the impression that I’m crushing on him.” Zayn reasoned, as he continued his pacing. “But, I was simply surprised by his attractiveness, that is all. You and I are both smart enough to know that acknowledging someone’s attractiveness does not mean that there is any infatuation or crush there. I’m not usually impressed by other people’s looks, that’s all.”

“Yeah, because you own a goddamn mirror! And I apologize for not saying that he was Adonis him–”

“Adonis! Now that’s an acceptable way to describe him.”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Whatever Zayn. All I’m saying is that when I have to spend all of my time looking at you and Normani, you can understand why I’m not easily impressed by other people’s looks. Normani literally looks like she was sculpted and made by hands to perfect every single one of her features. And you, well, your beauty makes people cry–”

“Lou, now you’re just exaggerating,” Zayn interrupts, walking over to the bed to lay next to him.

“I’m really not though,” Louis looks at him knowingly. "Then of course, there's beautiful me." Louis adds, making Zayn laugh."My point is simply that yes, Liam is beautiful looking, but it doesn't mean that everyone will find him as equally attractive or charming as you do."

"I know that," Zayn said in agreement. 

"Okay, then quit freaking out at me."

"You're right, I don't even know what's going on through my head right now."

"Well, then allow me to explain, because I know exactly what's going on."

"Humor me," Zayn knew that Louis couldn't read his mind, or use his actual powers on him that allowed him to gain access to his memories. 

"This is the first time that you meet someone who you felt automatically drawn to." Louis began. "You're freaking out because you don't know how to properly react about it, since you're very cynical when it comes to romance."

"Look who's talking," Zayn muttered.

"Anyways, as I was saying before your unnecessary comment, you feel weird about feeling so drawn to Liam because he's a stranger to you and you know next to nothing about him. Therefore, you think this is not normal, but most importantly to you, you're thinking that it isn't logical because you're all about intellect." Louis paused for a second, sighing. "But Zayn, you have to understand that this is how crushes begin. You're intrigued by someone and then you make the effort to know them, which allows you find out if there's an actual connection there or not."

"But it makes me uncomfortable to admit that I may be developing feelings for someone, even if they end up being short lived." Zayn admitted; he knew that was his cynicism talking though.

"Alright, then let's just pretend aloud that you're not crushing on him, even though we know that you are."

"That genuinely works for me," Zayn agreed. 

"Perfect. But, I might be teasing you here and there,"

"I can live with that." Zayn nodded, feeling more at peace now. Louis had gotten everything right and it didn't surprise Zayn, because Louis knew him better than anyone else in his life.

"I'm going to check on Lila and Dale," Louis said, getting off from the bed. "Then, I think I'll be in my lab for the rest of the night,"

"Okay. Goodnight Lou,"

"Goodnight."

 

Chapter Text

Normani sat inside a coffee shop, a block away from her home. Her headphones were playing some melody she couldn't identify, as she focused on the research paper she typed. Every few minutes, Normani would adjust her reading glasses out of habit. This is where Normani felt most comfortable doing her homework.

From her peripheral vision, Normani noticed to that someone took a sit at her table. She didn’t bother to look up to see who it was, assuming it was Louis, who normally joined her during her time at the coffee shop.

After exactly thirty seconds had passed, she fixed her glasses and decided to look away from her screen; finding it odd that Louis hadn't demanded her attention right away.

“Um,” Normani stares in confusion. It’s not Louis beside her, but some guy with bleached blonde dyed hair, though it looked like most of it was fading. He was wearing a white long sleeve sweater that shined bright from the sunlight coming in through the shop's windows. 

“Hey! How are ya?” the guy asks cheerfully, as though they were old friends.

“Do we um, know each other?”  There was something familiar about his presence, but she knows she would have remembered his face if they had met before.

“Oh,” he laughs. “I forgot I was wearing a mask the night we met. I’m Niall.” Oh. Niall.

“Oh, of course, hi! How are you?” Normani felt embarrassed. She should have at least recognized his accent, but then again, that was one hell of a night.

“I believe I asked you that first,” Niall smiles innocently.

“Right,” Normani consciously fixes her glasses, laughing timidly. “I’m doing good, just you know, doing homework and stuff. I didn’t think I was going to get a chance to see you again. I really wanted to thank you for that night.”

“Oh, it’s no big deal.” Niall says modestly.

“Considering the fact that I could have died, I would say it is.” She argues.

“You make an excellent point.” Niall teases.

“Seriously Niall, thank you.”

“Do you come here often?” Niall asks, changing the conversation. He thought Normani was too sweet for bothering to express her gratitude, when he was just doing his job.

“Uh, yeah. I live a block away, so I come here to do my homework.”

“Why not just stay home?”

“This place is comforting. The smell of coffee and people socializing, it’s kind of nice.” Normani elaborates, consciously fixing her glasses again. “I know that sounds typical, but…” she shrugs.

“But you had your headphones on, so it’s not like you wanted the background noise.” Niall points out.

“Well I don’t always have my headphones on. I just felt like listening to music today.”

“I see.” Niall shifts in his chair, “How come you didn’t look up when I first sat down?”

Instead of answering the question, Normani asks one herself. “Why were you wearing a mask that night?” Liam wasn’t wearing one and she found it odd for Niall to be, because obviously he wasn’t trying to hide his identity.

Niall laughs at her question. “Because it was freezing cold that night, my face was numb and flushed from the cold wind.”

“Oh… I didn’t think about that,”

“No kidding, given your outfit that night.”

Normani crosses her arms across her chest and pouts. “What was wrong with my outfit?” Her pose only made Niall laugh even more; she looked like a child, getting close to throw a tantrum.

“I mean I’m no fashion expert, but the outfit in general seemed well put together. Was it weather appropriate though? I think not.”

“I was dressed to go clubbing,” Normani says defensively.

“You can’t club in jeans?”

“Well, I was trying to – never mind, it doesn’t matter.” She looks away, irritated.

“Hey, I’m not judging you for the outfit, you wore it stunningly. I’m just sensitive to the cold and wish I could be wrapped up in blankets all the time. Seeing people not seem as affected by the weather as me, is always something I can’t relate to, that’s all, but I meant no judgment or disrespect by the comment.”

Normani nodded, trying not to smile from the compliment that was part of his explanation.

“I thought it was Louis,” Normani speaks up again, making eye contact with Niall this time.

“What?”

“The reason I didn’t look up when you first sat down,” Normani explains.

“Is that your boyfriend?”

“No, more like my guardian. He normally comes and joins me when I’m studying here. Like when he’s done with work and Zayn, my other guardian, isn’t with him, he gets bored and comes out here to get my attention. He doesn’t do being alone very well, at least not for long periods of time anyways.” Normani breaks eye contact with Niall, and looks down apologetically. “Sorry, I’m rambling.”

“Oh no please, continue” Niall gives her an encouraging smile. “That’s not really rambling by the way,” he disagrees. “It’s nice to finally get to chat with you.” He leans forward, crossing his hands on the table.

“Well, yeah” Normani clears her throat. She didn’t know what to make of Niall and his friendly personality. “I was just saying that it’s usually Louis that comes here during this time of the day, or Zayn of course.”

“What about your friends? Are they too distracting for you to study with? Because I know that when my groups of friends want to study together, nothing is going to get done.” Niall laughs, thinking fondly of the memories.

“I don’t um–” Normani looks down, nervously fidgeting with her glasses. “I don’t really have friends, outside of my guardians.” She hates saying that out loud, but it was the truth. She just didn’t want Niall to think she was a loser. Of course he had a lot of friends.

“What about me?”

“What about you?” Normani asks, confused.

“Aren’t we friends?”

“We just met, and please don’t feel obligated to say that. You don’t need to feel bad or anything, I was just being honest with you.”

“Hey,” Niall leans closer to her. “I’m not saying it out of obligation. I wouldn’t have bothered to initiate a conversation with you in the first place, if I didn’t want us to be acquainted with each other at the very least.” Niall smiles, not breaking eye contact. “Besides, I force people into friendships with me, otherwise I’d have no friends. I’m too obnoxious.”

Normani laughs at Niall’s poor attempt to make her feel better. He’s far too friendly and polite to be obnoxious.

“You have a very beautiful laugh,” Niall comments, looking at her fondly.

Normani freezes; stunned by the compliment. “Uh – Th-thank you,” she stutters shyly, hiding her face with the help of her long curly hair.

“Are you going to make a habit of hiding your face from me?” Niall teases.

“Sorry,” Normani apologizes, hiding behind her long curly hair even more. “I’m really shy,” she clarifies.

Niall grabs her chin gently, forcing them to make eye contact. “I’m okay with shy,” he says softly, “but before you hide from me again I–”

“Am I interrupting something?” Louis says, after clearing his throat.

Normani looks up to see Louis standing in front of their table, glaring at them. Her eyes widen in recognition as she studies the scene that Louis walked in on, probably assuming all the wrong things, just because Niall and her were a bit in each other's space. She leans back on her chair – far too quickly for it to seem casual. Niall on the other hand, hasn’t moved, except that he’s no longer holder her chin. He slides an easy smile on his face, as he looks up at Louis, seeming completely unaffected by his glare.

“Louis, this is my um, friend, Niall.” Normani tries to say quickly. There was no need to feel guilty, she reminded herself, since they weren’t doing anything.

Louis’s face soften’s a bit, but not by much, as he recognizes the name. “Of course, you saved Normani’s life. I’m Louis,” he says, extending out his hand. Niall shakes it politely. “Thank you for helping her, Niall.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Niall responds.

“So was I interrupting something?” Louis asks again, taking the seat in front of them.

“No,” Normani responds, almost too fast. “Of course not. We were just talking,”

“Actually, I was going to join Normani’s table to do some studying of my own. I hope you don’t mind.” Niall points to his backpack that he had dropped on the floor, next to his chair, when he had sat down. Normani hadn't noticed it.

“I see. Well, I don’t mind as long as you actually get to the part where you at least bother to open your backpack.” Louis responds with hostility.

“I wasn’t asking for your permission,” Niall clarifies. “I don’t mean to offend, but I was asking Normani if she would be okay with it.”

Normani freezes again. The tension seems to grow between Niall and Louis. She knew Louis did not take too kindly to that. “Of course you can join me, it doesn’t bother me at all.” She tries to say it with an easy cool tone, but she could hear the nervousness in it.

“Wonderful.” Louis says sarcastically, adjusting in his chair. “I suppose the three of us can share the table then,”

“What?” Normani says, confused as to why Louis is staying. “Louis you don’t have anything to do here, other than to bother me and I don’t have the time for conversations right now because I really need to finish this research paper.”

“Interesting how that didn’t seem to be the case when I had walked in,” Louis says, pulling out his cellphone from his pocket. He had no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. Niall opens his backpack and pulls out his laptop. He settles it next to Normani’s, and looks at her to give her a quick smile. Normani returns his smile, and then turns to glare at Louis. Why was he like this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You’re unbelievable!” Normani yells, slamming the front door of her home, after she and Louis had entered.

Zayn was already inside, cooking in the kitchen. He looks up to see Normani storming in after Louis, who looks far too relaxed and innocent for her fury. Zayn would be alarmed if this wasn’t a typical behavior of theirs.

“Zayn!” Normani yells again, standing near him in the kitchen, while Louis lingered close by too. See, it was during moments like this that Zayn found it very hard not to manipulate their feelings, because he was chilling, and now all of the sudden he’s overwhelmed by feelings of frustration, anger, and annoyance. None of them his own – though maybe he was feeling annoyed now.

Normani stared at Zayn, waiting for him to respond, while tapping her foot impatiently.

“I don’t know what you’re waiting for me to do Normani? Perhaps if you gave me some context…” Zayn suggested the obvious.

“Ugh! Forget it! You’ll take his side anyways.” Normani storms out of the kitchen. Louis and Zayn hear her slam her bedroom door shortly after.

Zayn just stares at the space where Normani stood a few moments ago, confused at what just happened. Did he say something? He turns to stare at Louis, who has yet to say a word.

“Care to elaborate?” Zayn asks, still confused.

“Honestly mate, it is beyond me.” Louis shrugs.

“Lou,” Zayn frowns at him. “What did you do?”

“Nothing Zayn, she’s just mad that I spent some time with her. Really, I’m the victim here and I feel hurt that she didn’t want me around.”

“Were you distracting her from homework, again? You know how she doesn’t like to be disturbed while she has deadlines to meet, Louis.” Zayn turns his back on Louis, attending to the food cooking on the stove.

“Actually, her friend was there too,”

Zayn stops stirring, caught off guard. He clears his throat and continues his stirring. He doesn’t turn around when he asks Louis, “Liam was there?”

“No, not Liam. It was Niall, you know the other hunter,” Louis’s casual tone was starting to irritate Zayn. It was like he was withholding information for his own amusement.

“Since when are they friends? I thought she hadn’t seen him since that night?”

“I think it’s fair to assume that they officially became friends today,”

“Oh-kay…” Zayn says slowly. He didn’t really know what to make of this. It still didn’t explain Normani’s anger.

Zayn turns the stove off and heads to Normani’s room to ask for an actual explanation. If he had to continue to experience their negative emotions any longer, he was going to put them to sleep with no regrets.

“Mani,” Zayn knocks on her door, before slowly opening it. “Can you please tell me what happened? I’m a bit confused,” to say the least.

Normani shifts in her bed to sit up straight. Zayn sits down next to her, waiting patiently for her to say something. She seems calmer, but she doesn’t feel any calmer.

“I was at the coffee shop with Niall doing homework and Louis wouldn’t stop interrogating him. It was annoying, embarrassing, and distracting. Louis was completely rude and Niall will probably never want to see me again after this, as if I don’t have enough of a hard time making friends.” Normani rushed out the words.

“Why does everything turn into an interrogation with you? I was casually asking him questions,” Louis says defensively. His voice is coming from somewhere inside Normani’s room, but he won’t make himself visible. Zayn had known he was in the room. Normani scans her room, trying to find Louis, but when she realizes he’s invisible; she just glares and crosses her arms.

“Casually asking questions? You were being rude and invasive Louis!”

“Was not,” Louis insists, making himself visible. He was across the room from them, his arms crossed like Normani’s.

Zayn sighed. This was such a dumb argument; he doesn’t have any interest in it.

“Can we skip to the part where the two of you apologize to each other? I don’t want the food to get cold,”

“I have nothing to apologize for,” Normani says, insulted by the suggestion.

“Well neither do I,” Louis stubbornly agrees.

Zayn rolls his eyes.

“How about we invite Niall and Liam for dinner tomorrow? Then Louis can apologize to him for being invasive,” Zayn suggests.

“But I wasn’t!”

“You asked him how many sex partners he’s had!” Normani retorted.

“You what?” Zayn would certainly consider that invasive. “Lou, why?”

“What’s the big deal?” Louis asks innocently.

“Okay,” Zayn spoke, before anyone else could say anything. “Look Normani, you have to understand something about Louis. He sincerely doesn’t know where to draw the line of what is invasive and isn’t, because he has powers that allow him to see people’s memories. That’s a pretty invasive power, but it’s not something that he asked for. So when he has people’s memories constantly running through his mind, he doesn’t think his questions are invasive, because he already has more information on them than they can possibly know.” Zayn could feel both of their emotions switching from anger to frustration, and heading towards a calm one. “Think about it,” Zayn continued. “If you could look into people’s memories, wouldn’t you have all these questions since these memories often come without context. That’s what happens with Louis. So when he switches from one random question to another, it’s probably because his mind is being swarmed by memories of the other person.” Normani stays quiet, but her expression softens. She’s no longer mad at Louis, Zayn can feel that. “So, I’ll call Liam and ask him and Niall to join us for dinner tomorrow night. Louis will apologize to Niall for coming across as invasive, because it wasn’t his intention to, okay?”

Normani nods. “I don’t know that he’ll want to come though,” she adds.

“Of course he will come,” Louis says, “and then you’ll see that my questions didn’t scare him away.” Louis disappears from sight then, leaving the room.

“Are you better now?” Zayn asks Normani.

“Yeah, I just… I feel bad, because I thought Louis was doing it on purpose. I guess I didn’t think about his powers affecting his social skills.” Normani lays back on her bed, as Zayn stands up from the bed. “Do you think that’s the reason he doesn’t like to socialize with people, much?” Normani asks.

“Who knows,” Zayn says nonchalantly. Zayn knows that the answer to that is no, but he wasn’t going to say that to her. “Dinner is in one hour, because I just decided I want to shower first.”

 

 

 

 

Zayn finds Louis inside the library room of their home, after leaving Normani's room. He still isn’t making himself visible, but Zayn knows he’s there.

“What was up with the questions, Lou?” Zayn asks him in annoyance. Everything he had just told Normani wasn’t entirely true, but he just wanted to keep the peace at home. Louis’s social skills were quite excellent and he knew perfectly well when questions were invasive to someone.

“Thanks for that Zaynie!” Louis says cheerfully, spinning a chair in the middle of the room – or so Zayn assumes because he can see the chair spin by itself, since Louis was still invisible. “Even I almost believed what you told her too,”

“Louis you better have a good reason as to why I just had to excuse your behavior as though you were some ignorant child struggling to know right from wrong.”

“I think he likes our Mani,” Louis makes himself visible, as he stops the chair from spinning.

“Well obviously, if he was spending his time with her.”

“No, I meant that he’s infatuated with her. They were far too close with each other when I had walked inside the shop. He was holding her face and everything. I could have sworn they were going to kiss or something. Thank the heavens I got there just in time.”

Zayn didn’t say anything to that, only stared at Louis with a blank expression. He didn’t know what to say. They both knew Normani was too beautiful and charming not have people chase after her, but she never expressed any interest in anyone. Since she didn’t have the greatest self-esteem due to her inability to make friends, she would never think that anyone would be interested in her - and Zayn knew that that was her mentality. Normani was working on loving herself though and Zayn could tell that in the last few years, she had gotten much better about appreciating herself – not just her appearances, but the qualities and strengths she has to offer.

“I – um, we don’t… uh,” Zayn began, trying to gather his thoughts. “We don’t know that she feels the same and we would be stupid to overreact.”

“Well I already disapprove. She’s not old enough to date Zayn, and that’s not up for debate.”

Zayn snorts. “C’mon Louis, don’t be that person,”

“I said no Zayn.”

“You’re saying no to nothing, because they hung out once for the first time in two weeks and you appeared to be there for most of it. It’s not like they fell in love with each other after one conversation. At least give Mani more credit than that.”

“I don’t care. You weren’t there Zayn. You didn’t get to see the giggling mess that she was when the guy so much as breathed.” Zayn could feel Louis's angered and protective feelings coming on strong. He pushed them away though, because he didn’t want his own thoughts and feelings to be clouded by Louis’s obvious overreaction.

“But,” Louis added, getting off the chair and coming to stand in front of Zayn. “Your dinner idea seems great, because once they’re here, you’ll feel all of her emotions and then you’ll see that I’m right.”

“Whatever Louis,” Zayn rolled his eyes. “You’re going to be friendly tomorrow night, understand?”

“Oh Zayine dear, as if I were capable of being anything else.” Louis replied innocently. “To clarify though, if I do happen to be right, are you genuinely willing to tell me that you will approve of her dating someone?”

Zayn didn’t answer, because he didn’t need to.

“That’s what I thought,” Louis was smug.

“It doesn’t matter what either of us think Louis. She’s twenty for God’s sake! And she sure as hell doesn’t need our approval to date. She’s free to do whatever she pleases with her romantic life, whether we agree with it or not. The only way that I’m willing to interfere is if her partner is emotionally or physically abusive.” Zayn knew it would be ignorant to prohibit her from dating. She’s her own person and they raised her to be an independent thinker.

“Now you listen to me Zayn,” Louis threatened, “I know we usually uphold a democratic partnership here, but consider this a dictatorship zone, because she is not dating. I will rip apart every part of his body before he so much as gets the courage to ask her out. I will watch him bleed to death until his very last dying breath and then feed his body to demons,” Louis smiled.

Jesus Louis, what the fuck?” Zayn stared at him, horrified.

“Glad we could come to a conclusion Zaynie,” Louis says with his innocent voice again, kissing Zayn’s cheek and teleporting out of the room.

 

Zayn teleported to his bedroom to think about what just happened. He floated above his bed, not wanting to be touched by anything as thoughts were running through his mind. When Louis and Zayn were teaching themselves about their supernatural world, one thing quickly stood out, and that was that warlocks were the most powerful and respected beings. This made some warlocks be pretentious fucks because they thought everyone should be in awed of their presence – and people were. The supernatural world treated warlocks like royalty, which was something that Louis and Zayn were never fond of. They didn’t believe in hierarchy, in the way that the rest of the supernatural world did. Liam freaking out around Zayn and Louis wasn’t a surprise to Zayn, but he still hated it.

Louis and Zayn had decided long ago that they would stay as far away from the supernatural world as possible, which is why they never wanted to raise Normani in it. Once Louis and Zayn realized that they had these extraordinary powers that classified them as warlocks, they knew they would be soon recruited to join the research field where all the warlocks worked in, in all parts of the world. They weren’t opposed to working in the research field. In fact, they both loved it, because it was all very fascinating. However, outside of that, they didn’t mingle with the supernatural world too much because they didn’t like being treated like gods. It was uncomfortable.

Part of that is that the supernatural world knew how dangerous warlocks could really be if they wanted to. Though their powers varied among all warlocks, they could each cause enough harm. The majority of warlocks were peaceful and wise though. They really loved contributing to the research field. A minority were just straight up assholes whose contribution to the field was important, but Zayn didn’t like them because they believed they were better than others. Zayn couldn’t stand to be around people that took the hierarchy thing to heart, and neither could Louis.

Zayn considered Louis to be a peaceful warlock, whom is just happy living in his own world. However, when it came to his family, Louis would not think twice before killing anything that dares threaten it. And that was precisely why Zayn was now thinking that this whole dinner thing was a bad idea. Zayn lost count of all the times that he had to stop Louis from killing actual humans, because they bullied Normani. As much as Zayn despised them, killing them was wrong, but Louis had a hard time reasoning that. So Zayn had to become quicker and smarter to have Louis at a disadvantage when he wanted to act impulsively. Zayn started studying at extensive levels, until his powers became more advanced than Louis’s.

At first Zayn thought that all Louis had to do was continue to study to catch up to his powers, but then they both discovered that warlocks didn’t all have the same powers. This scared Zayn, because it meant that Louis was possibly more vulnerable than him and if anything happened to Louis, Zayn would unleash actual hell on everyone. So Zayn started pushing Louis to learn and advance in their magic, but Louis didn’t think it mattered because he thought he was done developing powers. To Zayn’s satisfaction, Louis was wrong and he did continue to develop more abilities. He still didn’t have as many as Zayn, but Louis’s skills in magic made up for that. Zayn felt a bit more at ease with that. Every time Louis wanted to act impulsively about Normani’s bullies, Zayn could stop him long enough until he would cool down and think clearly. Louis stopped that behavior when Normani turned sixteen though, to Zayn’s relief.

Now, this was the first time since, that Zayn had seen Louis feel aggressive towards something regarding Normani. Zayn knew it wasn’t coming out of nowhere though, because when Louis had found out about Normani and Liam, he could feel Louis’s anger overwhelm him. Even then, Louis was the first to act much more reasonable about it than Zayn. Though to be fair, Zayn was concerned about Normani's safety, not about spending her time with a guy.

Zayn snorts. He can’t believe he really thought he was going to fight Liam. Liam, who is all smiles and kindness, but looked strong and skilled enough to fight with ease. His eyes were Zayn’s favorite feature and if people could just smile as bright as Liam did, Zayn guarantees the world would be a much better place.

Zayn levitates back to his bed, sighing. He decided that he will call Liam and ask him to bring Niall along, to join them for dinner tomorrow night. He knew that he couldn’t reason with Louis right now, but that Louis wouldn’t bring any actual harm to Niall tomorrow night - unless Niall was bold enough to make an advance towards Normani, which Zayn doubts because that would be weird. Normani and Niall just had their first friendly interaction today, and contrary to what Louis believes, Zayn knew this wasn’t some fairy tale story.

The only problem that tomorrow night could bring is Louis being rude to Niall. He doesn’t think that Liam would like that very much, and Zayn doesn’t want Liam to think that the worst of Louis. However, if Louis wanted to prove that he was right about Niall liking Normani, he would have to play nice and not cause any drama. Otherwise, Niall could easily retreat and hide his feelings – not from Zayn – but from being obvious about it to anyone in the room.

Feeling too lazy to move, Zayn uses magic to make his clothes get off of him on their own, and teleports to the shower. He lets the hot shower soothe him, as he gets lost in his thoughts once more.

Chapter Text

This is good. Zayn thought – at least it was so far - going much better than he expected. Sure, everyone was quietly eating dinner and mostly avoiding eye contact, but didn’t that mean that the food was that good? And yeah, while Niall looked down at his plate, Louis glared at him as he bitterly took bites of his own food. Whenever Niall took his eyes off of his plate to look up, Louis would simply put on a fake smile until he looked back down again. There was also the fact that Normani was stabbing into her food, making a lot of noise when the silverware went through her food and scratched the plate - all while she directly glared at Louis. Zayn wanted to bury himself as he felt Louis's and Normani's anger. All the while he could feel how happy and endeared Niall felt just sitting next to Normani, his cheeks flushing as he smiled down at his plate, happily eating his food. Zayn had no doubt that Normani was crushing on Niall, but all those feelings were currently being masked by her anger towards Louis. 

Louis hadn't been mean or rude to Niall so far in the night, but all his friendliness towards him was fake. Normani could see right through it and it bothered her to no end. Zayn had to give Louis some credit though, because he didn't hate Niall, and his feelings proved it. However, Louis's hatred was directed to the idea of Niall and Normani dating. Whenever Niall had complimented Normani or even made her laugh, Zayn felt Louis's anger rise. 

Then there was Liam, whose feelings were straight up confusion and awkwardness as he currently focused on quietly eating his food. Zayn felt so embarrassed that Liam had to feel uncomfortable while they had this small gathering. It was probably a good thing that Louis told Lila and Dale not to come to dinner, because adding those two in this moment would surely have sent Liam running away. Liam caught Louis glaring at Niall a couple of times and he didn't know what was causing the hostility. Most people liked Niall, but Liam supposes that Zayn and Louis aren't most people.

They were all sat around a long squared dinning table, made out of glass, but covered in a gold and white cloth. It had one sit at each end, and five sits on each side. They all sat on the right end of the table with Zayn at the head of the table, Normani on his right, and Niall next to her. Liam sat on Zayn's left (directly across Normani), with Louis next to him (directly across Niall). Whenever Liam and Zayn made eye contact, Zayn looked pleadingly at Liam, as if hinting him not to ask what was going on - so Liam didn't.

When Niall and Liam had first arrived, Liam noticed that the two of them were under dressed compared to Louis, Zayn, and Normani. Liam foolishly thought that was the only thing that was going to make him uncomfortable about the night. Zayn wore a black suit with a white dress shirt, and no tie. Zayn's hair was slicked back in a professional manner, and his facial hair trimmed. Liam wondered what Zayn looked like without his beard. Louis wore a dark navy suit, with a black buttoned up dress shirt, and no tie either. He had gotten a haircut since the last time Liam saw him, because his hair on the sides was shorter; his hair slicked back. Normani wore a stunning white dress, which showed her curves, fitting her tightly. It was long sleeved and went down to her knees. Her black hair was tied up in a neat bun. She wore a long gold necklace and gold high heels. Niall and Liam were certainly under dressed, because Zayn had assured Liam it was a casual gathering. So Niall wore skinny black jeans and a white short sleeve button up shirt. Liam wore his blue skinny jeans and a plain black t-shirt, with brown combat boots. But now, the only thing making Liam uncomfortable was the tension between Niall, Louis, and Normani, which Niall seemed to be oblivious of. 

"If I hear one more sound coming from your silverware, you will be excused from the dining room, Normani." Louis warned her, breaking the awkward silence of the room. Everyone looked up to see the interaction, waiting to see how Normani would respond. Normani was fuming, but instead of talking back to Louis, she stopped hitting the silverware against the plate so harshly, and continued to eat in silence.

Liam cleared his throat to speak. “I hope you weren’t slaving away in the kitchen all day, Zayn” he wanted to change the tension of the room. Zayn gave him a warm smile.

“Why, are you not enjoying the food?” Zayn asked.

“The complete opposite actually." he clarified, "I would like to give it a go, but I don’t want to spend an eternity in the kitchen, if that was the case.”

Zayn laughed. “You’re very kind Liam. And well, I had Lou and Mani help me.”

“It was probably Normani’s touch that made it taste so delicious,” Niall joked, winking at Normani. Normani laughed shyly, not looking away from her plate as though she were extremely fascinated by it.

Zayn felt a negative shift in Louis’s mood. Zayn wanted to smack Niall for that comment. Was Niall really that oblivious, or was he purposely trying to piss off Louis? Zayn hoped it was the first one, because Louis is as dangerous as they come.

"Well Niall," Louis began, "I think you’re giving our dear Normani too much credit. She mostly talked our ear off, while Zayn did most of the work, and I tried to help him with what I could."

“Hey, I helped!” complained Normani, glaring at Louis. “Louis’s a terrible cook and if it weren’t for Zayn’s cooking, we would all starve in this house.”

“First of all, fast food is a thing so no one would have starved. Second of all, labeling me as a terrible cook is a bit much, don’t you think?”

“It’s the kindest thing I could say after those awful pancakes you tried to make us one time.”

Zayn cringed at the memory. He loves Louis, but there are just certain things that he shouldn’t be allowed to cook.

“I definitely want to hear about that,” Liam chimed in.

“No you don’t.” Louis kindly insisted.

“Well, I suppose that’s one thing you have in common with Niall.” Liam added.

“Hey, I’m not a terrible cook!” Niall defended, frowning at Liam.

“I guess you’re not entirely terrible, but seasoning does exist mate.”

Christ Liam! Are you ever going to let me forget about that damn chicken?”

“Nope.” Liam smiled.

“Okay, there’s definitely a story there that I want to hear,” Normani said, eagerly.

“Yeah let’s not do that,” Niall said, his face flushed from embarrassment. Liam laughed at him. Niall looked up to glare at Liam. “So Zayn,” Niall’s too casual voice stopped Liam from laughing. “I feel like out of everyone in the room, I know the least about you.”

“I suppose that has to do with the fact that this is our first time meeting,”

Niall laughed. “That’s a good observation, so I guess you are as smart as Normani says.”

Zayn laughed at Niall’s sarcasm. “Actually, I rely on my looks to get by.” Zayn teased, winking at Niall.

“I don’t doubt that,” Niall responded, as he felt his cheeks flush.

“Niall, that’s rude!” Liam said, disapprovingly.

“It’s just a little flirting Liam, I’m not being rude.” Niall innocently says, giving Liam a knowing smile.

“I agree!” Louis said, far too mischievously for Zayn’s taste. “It’s impossible not to flirt with that Malik. Though you gotta be careful Niall, because you think it’s just harmless flirting but next thing you know you’ll be dreaming of that face every night.”

“I don’t think it’s rude that you’re flirting,” Liam clarified. “I just thought it was rude to agree that Zayn relies on his looks, when a person has more to offer than looks, that’s all.”

“You make an excellent point Liam,” Louis agreed. “Our lovely Zayn here has plenty of great qualities and –”

“Can I just not be the topic of discussion, please?” Zayn cuts in.

“I second that,” Normani muttered to herself, as she continued to focus on eating her food quietly. She did not like the way that Zayn was able to make Niall blush. But then again, it’s Zayn. He just bats his eyes and it’s like he puts people under a spell. By the end of the night, Niall will probably fall in love with Zayn. Normani was kidding herself for thinking that Niall was actually interested in her, or at the very least that his interest would last while Zayn was in the room. Zayn was anything but vain, but he was well aware of the reaction people had towards him. Every time Normani and Zayn were out together, people stared at Zayn for much longer than it was polite to. 

“So is that a yes Normani?” Louis asked. Normani looked up from her plate and noticed that everyone was waiting for her response. She had tuned out the conversation for well over fifteen minutes at least. Sometimes she’d catch bits and pieces of Niall and Zayn flirting, so she’d tune out again. Surely Zayn and Louis would get on her case about that later.

“I’m sorry, what am I saying yes to?”

“To help Liam and I with clean up, while Zayn shows Niall the rest of the house.” Louis clarified, but it threw everyone else off guard. Louis had originally just asked Normani to help clean up and while she didn’t respond, Liam had offered to help too. Louis hadn’t said anything about Zayn showing Niall the rest of the house.

“Uh.. yeah, yes. Of course.” Normani finally answered.

“Louis, perhaps Liam should join us for the house tour?” Zayn suggested. “He’s our guest as well, and I would rather not have him clean up.”

“Oh it’s no big deal,” Liam insisted. “I’d feel rude if I didn’t help after you worked so hard on the meal.”

“That’s typical Liam,” Niall said, rolling his eyes. “You won’t convince him not to help, but that’s okay Zayn, because it’ll give us some alone time to get to know each other a bit better.” Niall winked at Zayn, who just chuckled in response.

“Well, maybe I should actually go with you guys instead, since I haven't seen the rest of the house either.” Liam changed his mind, not liking the idea of Niall and Zayn spending some time alone, after they had spent the majority of the dinner conversation flirting, with Louis's encouragement. 

“Perfect!” Zayn said. Normani and Louis excused themselves from the dining room and walked to the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

Normani and Louis stood next to each other by the sink, while they washed the dishes together. Louis had taken off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Normani rolled up the sleeves of her dress too, not wanting to get them wet.

Normani was irritated and Louis was the last person she wanted to be with. Throughout dinner it only seemed like he was intent on pushing Niall to Zayn, the second he noticed Niall’s reaction towards Zayn.

“Be careful Normani. These plates are from my favorite collection and if you break them, I’ll force you to get a job to pay them off.” Louis threatened.

“Sorry, I didn’t realize I was slamming them into each other.” Normani apologized.

“How could you not? It was so loud,” Louis complained.

 

After twenty minutes of silence, Louis asked “What has you so upset anyways?”

“I just don’t know why we’re doing the dishes when you could just use magic to clean everything up.”

“Zayn was just exaggerating about our use of magic when cleaning up to get a reaction out of you, Normani. Are your hands not perfectly able to wash dishes? I know mine are.”

“Whatever.” Normani rolled her eyes.

“You can either choose to tell me why you’re actually upset or you can head to your bedroom to sulk there. I will not deal with your moodiness right now, especially when my plates and pots are at the receiving end of your anger.”

Normani thought about her options. She knew that Louis had zero tolerance for any misbehavior while they had guests over. So her options were truly to go to her bedroom, and Louis would give some excuse for her absence for the rest of the night, which meant that he wouldn’t allow his guests to say goodbye to her. She hadn’t even gotten a chance to catch up with Liam and she missed him, since she wasn’t allowed to go hunting with him anymore. Maybe she could get Zayn to be on her side, except that they were both very strict about manners and he was probably annoyed with her, knowing that she had ignored most of the dinner conversation. Ugh. I need to just communicate with Louis. Zayn always says that the more I openly communicate with Louis, the more understanding he will be.

“Okay,” Normani took a deep breath. “Why are you pushing Niall on to Zayn? I feel like you’re actively trying to hurt me.” Normani didn’t dare to look at Louis, while she said it. Instead, she kept busy with the dishes, as did Louis.

“How was that hurting you? Haven’t you been trying to drill into my head all day that you didn’t like Niall and that I needed to behave because you didn’t want to lose a friend?”

“Sometimes I think you make it your mission to embarrass me,” Normani sighed. “What do you want me to say Louis?”

“For starters honesty goes a long way with me, Normani. How many times do I have to tell you that? Because sometimes I think you make it your mission to make me sound like a broken record.”

Normani stayed silent.

“Why not just admit that you’re crushing on him?”

“Are you even human, Louis? People don’t just admit that they have crushes.” Technically, no, Louis wasn't completely human - but he didn't need to get into that right now.

“I don’t see why not. It would save people from a lot of complications.” he said. 

“Whatever. It doesn’t matter anymore, he seems so enchanted with Zayn.”

“Are you truly that naïve, Normani?” It’s because of situations like this that Louis will not allow Normani to date. “Yes, Niall is charmed by Zayn, but he does not have any interest in him. He’s only charmed by him because Zayn is simply a charming person. If you had bothered to look up from your plate at all, you would know that Niall and I were only trying to get a reaction out of Liam.”

“Wait, what?”

“Honestly, Normani. Have you not noticed how flustered Liam gets when he’s around Zayn? It’s like he forgets how to speak or even exist.”

“Liam? Are you sure? Because when I used to spend time with him, he was very collected and he just has this cool persona going on, so I can’t really imagine him flustered. And it just makes zero sense.”

“You wouldn’t have to imagine it at all if you had just looked up from your plate. But you picture Liam that way because that is how he is when Zayn isn’t in the room.”

“Louis, are you messing with me?”

“I don’t understand why you don't believe me. I was never trying to hurt you. I just noticed when Niall tried to get a reaction out of Liam, so I joined in. I thought you would have noticed. If I had known that was the reason that you started to disassociate, I wouldn’t have encouraged it, so I do apologize for that.” Normani often used disassociation to escape whatever current moment she wanted to be absent from. Louis and Zayn were aware of that behavior and were trying to help her through it. She developed it from wanting to escape her social life at school, since she never made any friends growing up.

“Never mind my feelings, I’m over that. What I don’t understand is why Niall would try to make Liam jealous? It’s just not adding up. And does Zayn like Liam?” When in the hell did I miss all of this? God! If all of this was going on, then Louis was right, I do need to get out of my head more often.

“Of course Zayn is interested in Liam. Zayn admitted it to me,”

“That is not good at all Louis. You have to stop all of this.” Normani stepped away from the sink and reached for paper towels to dry her hands. She handed one to Louis too, so that he could do the same.

“Stop what exactly?”

“If Liam is reacting to Zayn the way you say he is, that’s only going to encourage Zayn’s crush on him to grow stronger and that’s just wrong, don’t you see?”

“For fuck’s sake Normani, why would that be wrong?”

“Louis, do you seriously not know that he’s engaged?”

“What?” She’s joking right? She had to be.

“How do you not know? Like how has none of this come up? Liam told me he was engaged like on the second night we were out hunting together.”

“I can’t believe this…” Louis whispered to himself. How could Liam not mention that he was engaged? It didn’t even show up in his thoughts when he was telling Louis all about his first encounter with Zayn. Liam’s memory of meeting Zayn made it evident to Louis that he was very taken by Zayn. Worst of all, Zayn was never one to take an interest in anyone, but he took one in Liam, and all Louis has done is encourage it. He had been teasing Zayn about Liam all day while they prepared the house for them.

“Louis, say something!”

“Uh… how about that I’m going to kill Liam?” Louis suggests.

“Don’t say that. How is this Liam’s fault? You’re the one imagining that Liam’s crushing on Zayn. Have you thought that maybe Niall wasn’t trying to get a reaction out of Liam, but rather that he took an interest in Zayn?”

“I’m not delusional, Normani.” Louis rolled his eyes. “Thanks for helping me with the dishes. I’ll just have the rest of the kitchen and dining room clean itself up though, because I remembered that I left something in the lab that I need to turn in.” he lied. 

“Okay, I’ll just go with you since the boys are probably in that area of the house anyways.”

“No,” Louis stopped her. “How about you just look for a movie and I’ll send Niall and Liam your way, because I’ll need Zayn to help me with this. It shouldn’t take us long.” Louis assured her.

“Okay.” Normani agreed, walking to their living room.

 

 

Louis headed to their library room, rather than his lab. He searched through the room to make sure that none of the boys were inside. With no one in sight, he said “Lila, can you come out please?”

Lila, a ten year old girl, came out from the left wall of the library. “Yes, dad?”

“Did Liam see you?”

“Yes. I met him and Niall. Why?”

“Hmm… what about your brother?”

“He met them too.” She answers. “Why?” Lila asks again.

“Well, I was hoping that you would dig up some information on Liam.”

“What would you like to know?”

“His upbringing, family members, family history, education, romantic life, just everything you can find.”

“Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but he’s met me and I think he’d find it odd if he caught a ghost from this house sorting through his stuff.”

“I know. That’s why I asked if you've met him.”

“Lucky for you, I know someone that can help. She’s not a ghost though, but she’s really good at digging stuff up and she owes me a favor.”

“How fast do you think she can find everything I need to know?”

“I'll let her know right away. Give us a couple of days.”

“Thank you my angel.”

“I'm not one till I get to heaven.” Lila said, disappearing out of sight.

 

Louis heads to the lab, where he finds Niall, Liam, and Zayn standing by the tree of the lab. He stands by the door and watches them, as he listens to Zayn begin to speak. 

“About four hundred years ago there was a huge fire all over their island. We still don’t know how it happened, and no it wasn’t from the dragon’s fire.” Zayn says, before Niall could suggest that. “Like I said, the island is specially made for them, which means that their fire cannot harm the plants of the island. This leads us to believe that someone created a fire that could harm the island, killing its environment. The dragons fled as rapidly as they could. Some were even smart enough to rip off the plants and take it with them, so that they could grow it elsewhere. It’s how they ended up spreading out, but like I said, without their special plants, they don’t survive long. There were five warlocks whom are no longer alive, that dedicated themselves to fixing the island. It took them thirty seven years, but they were finally able to restore the island to its natural environment. They tried to return as many dragons as they could, but it was a difficult task. By then, dragons had laid eggs everywhere in panic of extinction, and had also tried to spread their special plant as much as they could.”

“Why isn’t this public knowledge?” Niall asked.

“Because,” Louis said from the door, making them all turn to him. None of them had noticed when he had arrived, except for Zayn, who was always well aware of his presence. “The dragons have had a target on their back since someone tried to destroy their island,” Louis continued to explain, walking closer to them. “The council has yet to understand why, and they haven’t been successful at catching any of the hunters. The less the public knows of certain events that occurred in the history of dragons, the better, only because by releasing this information to the public we’ll be releasing it those hunters as well.”

“Exactly,” Zayn agrees.

“I hope someone catches those bastards.” Niall says.

“Well, I’m glad to find you all here.” Louis changes the subject. “Mani’s in the living room waiting to watch a movie. Is it safe to assume that you’ve seen the entire house by now?”

“Yes, they have.” Zayn responded, even though he never showed them to top floor, but he never had the intention to.

“Perfect. Then, Niall can you go to the living room and join Normani? You guys can start the movie without us.”

Niall, almost already out the door said “with pleasure,” cheerfully. He was excited to finally get some alone time with Normani, even if it was only going to be for a few minutes.

Louis was up to something and Zayn knew it. Just last night Louis had very explicitly threatened Niall’s life. There was no way he was willing to leave Niall and Normani alone together, unless he was up to something.

“Liam,” Louis says. “I honestly hate to ask, but I was hoping you could help me on a profile of a vampire I’ve been working on. I need to find her and since you’re a hunter, maybe you’ve ran into her before or heard something about her.”

“Louis, are you seriously going to make our guest work right now?”

“Zayn it’s alright, I would love to help.” Liam insisted. “Are you trying to hunt her? Because vampires are difficult to come by, but when I have, I’ve never had to kill them.”

“All the information is in my office, so let’s just go there.”

Louis and Liam started to head out of the lab, with Zayn tailing behind. “Uh, where do you think you’re going?” Louis turns around, to ask Zayn.

“Obviously with the two of you,”

“Zayn, where exactly is your head at the moment? You need to go return the files to Dinah.”

Shit. Zayn had completely forgotten about that. He was too busy preparing for Liam and Niall's visit, that it had completely gone over his head. “I hope Dinah is still there. She really needs those files.”

“I’m sure she is.” Louis assures him and walks to his office, leaving Zayn and Liam behind.

 

Chapter Text

Zayn, Liam, and Niall watched as Normani and Louis excused themselves and walked to the kitchen. 

“Shall we?” Zayn said, signaling them to the hall. “So, as you both saw, when you enter the house you’re automatically met with the kitchen on the right and the dining room on the left. And our living room is in front of our kitchen. The house is set up in a very specific format.”

“It looks like a small house, but your kitchen and living room are really big. Do those rooms take up the most space?” Niall asked.

“No, not exactly.” Zayn answers. “This hallway that we’re in right now, which separates the kitchen and living from the dining room, leads to those five doors that you see down there. These three doors on the right side of the hall lead to three bedrooms. This first one is Normani’s, which I won’t show you to preserve her privacy. But I will show you this second one, which no one sleeps in. It’s kept as a guest room.”

Zayn opened the door to let them in. Both Niall and Liam were impressed with the looks of the room. It was spacious, but cozy. There was a queen size bed in a white and light-blue bed sheet and cover, with five differently decorated pillows on top. Two of the pillows had a white cover, while the other three were in different shades of blue. The bed sat on the left corner of the room. The floor was entirely carpeted in a light beige color. Near the bed, there was a large window seat, with open curtains, which overlook the city. There was a large screen TV hanging above an electric fire place in the right side of the room. Near the electric fire place, there were a couple of light-blue bean bags with a round white rug in between them.

“No one stays in this room? It’s really nice.” Niall commented. He wanted to say that it was fancy, but given the sophisticated and elegant look of their dining, kitchen, and living room, he shouldn’t be surprised by now.

“The bathroom is through that door on the left of the room and the walk-in closet is through the door near the electric fire place.” Zayn signaled.

Liam went to see the bathroom, and Niall to the walk-in closet. Zayn followed after Liam.

“I think this bathroom may be larger than my own bedroom,” Liam says, as he looks at the marveled floor. He couldn’t decide if they were light beige or a light pink. He looks to the right and notices a large white bath tub. “I haven’t used a bathtub in forever, since I’ve outgrown the one at home, so I can only use it as the shower.” Liam added.

“Well, if you look to the left, you’ll see the shower. The bathroom’s here have them separated. Both are large enough to comfortably fit two adults though.” Zayn says, winking at Liam. Liam felt flustered by the comment, but he didn’t say anything. He just shyly smiled at Zayn as they headed out of the bathroom.

“Dude!” Niall says, rushing out of the closet. “You’ve gotta check out that closet! Our wardrobe combined could fit in there and there would still be plenty of room left over.”

Liam went to closet, and Niall followed behind, too excited to see it again. Zayn stayed behind. He already knew what that closet was like. Spacious and empty, because no one stayed in this room, but it’s specifically designed so that shoes, clothes, and accessories are displayed in certain areas. It’s also enchanted; it only displays clothes relevant to the season. The enchantment can be turned off, like it is in Normani’s closet.

“That closet is ridiculous,” Niall says, as he steps out of it. “This entire room is ridiculous.”

“Niall, don’t be rude.” Liam says.

Niall just rolls his eyes in response. “How can this room be vacant? Are you guys renting, because I would definitely move in.”

Zayn laughs. “Well, if you do need a place to stay, you are welcome here.”

“He’s only joking, Zayn,” Liam says, glaring at Niall. “Right, Niall?”

“Absolutely not. I’ve been trying to move out of my parent’s house for forever now, but no place is renting this close to the university.” Niall said, contradicting Liam. Niall did not care how desperate he was sounding, because he really needed to move out of his place. Niall and Liam both wanted to move in together, but they have been looking for well over a year now, and nothing has panned out. “Do all the bedrooms look like this one?”

“Well, the three on this floor are des–”

“Floor? Is there a second floor? I didn’t see any stairs,” Niall interrupted.

“Yes, there is a second floor. I will explain it later. But as I was saying, the three bedrooms in this hallway have the same design, except they’re decorated differently. Normani’s bedroom is arranged to her taste and Louis’s to his. Louis’s bedroom is the one after this one, towards the end of the hall.”

“So then you sleep on the second floor?” Liam asked.

“Correct. This house has six full master bedrooms. Three of those bedrooms are vacant and pretty much look exactly like this one, because Louis decorated them all the same.”

“So why not sleep down here with Normani and Louis?” Liam asked.

“I just have a preference for the room upstairs. Louis and Normani were upstairs too, until Normani decided to claim what is now her current bedroom. Louis followed shortly after her, mostly to keep a close eye on her. She’d get scared of the dark sometimes. Louis didn’t like to be too far away from her so that she could wake him if she got scared.”

“That’s very sweet of him,” Liam noted.

“Indeed.” Zayn agreed. Niall stayed quiet as he followed Liam and Zayn out of the bedroom. He thought about Louis looking after Normani when she had nightmares. It was a very sweet image, and he was beginning to understand why Louis came off as strongly overprotective of Normani.

Once again in the hallway, Zayn says “So then, as you now know, these three doors to the left are the bedrooms, which leaves the two doors on the right. The one towards the beginning of the hall is just a bathroom. And the one towards the end of the hall will lead you to another hall.” Zayn led them towards the end of the hall. “This wall right here is enchanted. It’s set so that it doesn’t reveal the stairs that lead to the second floor of the house. And this door that leads to another hall, is enchanted as well. If the house doesn’t trust you, it won’t show you the hall, it’ll just show you a small closet.”

“What do you mean by if the house trusts you?” Niall asked. Liam was wondering that too, because to his knowledge, he didn’t know that houses had feelings.

“Well, consider this house to be alive. It’s very odd, if basically extinct, to find a house like this, which is probably why you haven’t heard about it. But this house is alive, it has feelings, very strong feelings actually. For example, ever since Normani arrived, it wanted to reveal the hall that’s behind this door to her. But Louis and I had put a spell on it that prohibited it, a spell that the house fought against because it disagreed with our decision.” Zayn opened the door and lead them inside the other hall. “The stairs were always visible to Normani, because we weren’t necessarily hiding anything from her upstairs. Louis and I got tired of re-doing the spell for this hall, that we came to a compromise with the house. We allowed Normani to step into this hall, but not all the rooms in this hall were available to her. So we enchanted two doors to the left to be seen as old closets. She could go inside any of the five rooms to the right, and the first room to the left.”

“So what are they, then?” Liam asked.

“All the five rooms to the right are offices. Mine is all the way at the end, Normani’s is next to mine, and Louis’s next to hers. The offices in these first two doors are vacant.”  Zayn clarified, while signaling at the appropriate doors. “The first door on the left is where we do our training.” Zayn explains, stepping inside with Niall and Liam trailing behind.

“Woah…” is all Niall said when he stepped inside the room. The training room was huge. It had a boxing ring in the middle of it. Mats placed everywhere. There was equipment to do acrobats and gymnastics. It had hardwood floors, and walls painted in a dark navy. Multiple lights on the ceiling brightened up the room.

Niall and Liam noticed that the wall to their immediate left had an area covered in photos.

“Those photos are of Louis, Normani, and I.” Zayn said when he noticed them head towards the pictures. “Normani has always loved gymnastics, so you’ll see a lot of photos of her at competitions and during her practices as well. There are also photos of Louis and I practicing our fighting, which were taken by Normani. When she was young she liked to watch us practice, so she’d take a lot of photos of us.”

“Look at this one Li,” Niall said, pointing at a photo of Louis on the floor while Normani stood above him with the biggest smile on her face. Zayn smiled at the memory.

“Yeah, that was the first time Normani was able to knock Louis down. She was fourteen and had been training for a couple of years by then. She was exploding with happiness and as you can imagine, we were very proud of her.”

“When was she able to knock you down?” Liam asked.

“Uh, well, we don’t know if she’s able to. I would assume that she is by now, but who knows.” Zayn shrugged.

“What do you mean?” Asked Niall.

“I don’t really get in the ring with Normani.” Zayn explained. “You’ll notice that in most of the photographs that she’s fighting in, it’s her and Louis. I’m normally observing the two of them.” Zayn pointed at some of the pictures he was referring to. “I’ve helped her practice some fighting techniques, but I haven’t done any fighting with her the way that Louis has. And you’ll notice that in most of her gymnastic training, I’m in those photos helping her train while Louis observed us, taking the pictures.”

“How interesting,” Niall said. “But why leave all the fighting to Louis?”

“Um,” Zayn struggled to find the words. He wasn’t quite sure how to explain his reasons. “Normani started doing gymnastics when she was seven, and we started training her to fight when she was eleven. By the time she was eleven, she was already very graceful and light on her feet. Liam, if you’ve seen her fight you’ve probably noticed that about her.”

“Yes, I did. When I first met you, the way you landed in front of me, reminded me of her grace.” Liam noted.

“Wait, so is Louis a better fighter than you?” Niall asked.

“Uh, no. I wouldn’t say that either of us is better than the other. We’re both skilled fighters without our powers, and with our powers we’re pretty much untouchable. While Normani was young, she couldn’t leave our side, so we’d train a lot without our powers. It was only when she left for school that we were able to practice with our powers. If you ask her, she probably feels like she spent most of her childhood in this room.”

“That still doesn’t explain why you didn’t fight with her,” Liam noted.

“It was mostly because I just didn’t have the heart to do it. She was eleven and I was fifteen. I could easily take her, but I never did. I'd always let her win and it'd frustrate her, because she knew I was letting her win. I wasn’t really challenging her, which was making our whole decision of teaching her to defend herself kind of pointless. She has always been very hard on herself because she’s a perfectionist.” Zayn sighed, thinking about how he hated the look of disappointment on Normani’s face when she made a mistake. “When you take gymnastics seriously, you have to be very disciplined, and that was what she was and still is. I already knew how hard she was on herself during gymnastics, which she still continued to do until she was eighteen. And I was always very honest with her about her skills, always pushing her to perfection. She mastered gymnastics very early on and has been offered numerous times to do it professionally, but she loves it as a hobby, not as a profession. So to add fighting on top of her already busy schedule, I just couldn’t bear to be tough on her.”

“But Louis was able to?” Liam asked.

“Yes, because he wasn’t the one being tough on her during gymnastic practices. All she had to do was breathe on top of a mat and he'd cheer her on and claim it as perfection.”

“I can’t figure out if you were strict parents or not,” Niall said.

“You should probably ask Normani about that. I suppose her opinion will matter most.” Zayn answered.

“I don’t really see you guys as strict parents,” Liam said. “It sounds like you both had too much of a soft spot for her.”

Zayn laughed. “Maybe.”

“So what’s over in that wall?” Liam asked, pointing to the wall on the immediate right of the door.

“There’s literally nothing there Liam,” Niall said, looking at him like he’s lost his mind.

“Yes, there is.” Liam argued. “It’s enchanted, I can feel it.”

“Hmm… curious,” Zayn said to himself.

“What’s curious?” Liam asked.

“Uh nothing, but you’re absolutely right. It is an enchanted wall.”

“See, I told you.” Liam said to Niall with a smug face.

They all headed towards the wall. Zayn whispered “ostende-te” and waved his fingers to momentarily reveal what actually hanged on the wall.

“What in the…” Niall began to say, feeling amazed.

“There’re so many,” Liam said.

On the wall, there hanged at least a couple of hundreds of fighting weapons. Some were very ancient and rare, and others more modern.

Liam and Niall immediately headed towards the swords and knife section.

“Zayn, you have got to let me practice with all of these,” Niall said excitedly. A second later Liam jabbed him with his elbow. How was Liam going to drill into Niall’s head that he was probably putting Zayn in an awkward position every time he asked to use his things. This wasn’t their home; they were just guests, so why couldn’t Niall just understand that. After this, Zayn would probably not want them back.

“How come Normani doesn’t have a weapon, when there are so many here?” Liam asked. Every night that him and Normani went hunting, she never brought any weapons. Normani had told Liam that she didn’t have any.

“Well, this wall has always been enchanted for the purpose of hiding the weapons from Normani. As you can imagine, we didn’t want her to be messing with them at such a young age. Also, we didn’t want to have to explain to her why or how we got these weapons. She saw it for the first time a couple of days ago and she’s been pretty excited to try some of them. Louis is excited to start training her with the usage of weapons. We have our bets on the ones that she will prefer to fight with.”

“What weapons are you betting on?” Liam asked.

“Want in on the bet?” Zayn asked in return.

“Gladly.” Liam accepts. He’s seen Normani fight, and could already imagine her with several weapons.

“Hey, I want to bet too.” Niall chimed in.

“You haven’t seen her fight mate,” Liam said. “You’ll be setting yourself up at a disadvantage.”

“Which will make it all the more fun if I end up winning.”

Zayn laughed.

“Wait, what exactly are we betting?” Niall asked.

“Nothing, just the satisfaction of being right.” Zayn shrugs. “Louis and I just like to be right.”

“Okay, then yes, I’m in.” Niall agreed.

“So then, what weapons do either of you think she’ll choose?” Zayn asked.

“I can see her with the Katana,” Niall answered.

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that Niall. That’s my weapon of choice,” Liam disagreed.

“And? You’re not the only one that fights with a Katana. It did originate with the Japanese after all,”

“Well, yes, but Normani has held my Katana a few times and she didn’t see it as an easy weapon to fight with.” Liam elaborated.

“That’s because she hasn’t been trained, and you never let her use it to fight. None of these weapons are easy to fight with, it just has to feel right to you.” Niall retorted.

“Exactly,” Liam agreed. “And I don’t think the Katana felt right to her, nor did it excite her.”

“Fine, then I’ll choose the Sickle.” Niall said.

“Now that I can see her with,” Liam agreed. “But, I will have to choose the Parasol and the Spear.”

“Interesting, why so?” Zayn asked.

“The Parasol goes straight with this whole innocent and defenseless woman persona she tries to portrays in the streets when she’s out fighting. No one will make anything out of what they’ll believe to be a simple umbrella. And she’ll be able to take it with her anywhere, regardless of the weather, since umbrellas are used to cover from the sun, wind, or rain, so she’ll feel safe to carry it at all times.”

“That’s an excellent conclusion,” Zayn agreed. “But then, why the Spear?”

“Oh, I have no reason other than I think she’d look like a badass with it.” Liam said, shrugging.

Zayn chuckles. “Well, those are all good guesses.”

“So what do you and Louis think?” Liam asked.

“Louis is convinced it’ll be one of the Nunchucks weapons.”

“But you don’t agree?” Liam said. It was more of a statement than a question.

“No, I do not. I think she will go with the Sai and the Crossbow.”

“Why?” Niall asked. He was the furthest away from Liam and Zayn, looking closely at the rest of the weapons.

“The Sai are light fighting weapons that she will feel comfortable with. She likes using her hands when she fights, so those weapons will allow her to continue to do so, while it will also allow her to kill faster and with ease.” Zayn moved to towards the set of crossbows. “And the crossbow is well, because she will want to copy my favorite fighting tool.”

“You like crossbows?” Niall asked. He didn’t know what he pictured Zayn with, but it wasn’t that.

“I do, but my preference is actually just my arrows.” With a snap of his fingers, Zayn allowed his arrows to be displayed on the wall.

Liam gasped. “These are yours?”

Niall came rushing to their side to take a closer look at the arrows. “They’re so pretty,” Niall commented.

Zayn smiled fondly at his arrows. He was very proud of them. They were golden colored arrows that captivated anyone’s attention. Each arrow had a Garnet diamond in the middle of the shaft.

“Can I hold one?” Niall asked, like a child that just wanted to open his birthday present. Liam wanted to hit him for asking, but Zayn stood between them.

“I rather you didn’t, because they’re sleeping right now, and they hate to be awaken when there isn’t an emergency.”

“You already know that I’m going to ask you what the bloody hell that means right?” Niall said.

“I have three sets of arrows.” Zayn started to explain. “These gold ones you see with the Garnet stones. They are the only ones in the world. No other arrows are like this set. They come from Eros and they are loyal to me. Even if I wanted to give them to someone else, they would return to me, because they are meant for me.”

“Eros, as in the Greek god?” Liam asked.

“Correct.” Zayn nods.

“As in the son of Aphrodite?” Liam asked again.

“Yes. I’m impressed that you know your Greek mythology, Liam.” Zayn commented.

Of course the son of Aphrodite’s arrows belonged to Zayn. Of-fucking-course. Liam shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but yet here he was, speechless. How could these arrows even exist in the first place? And how did they end up with Zayn?

Zayn snapped his fingers again, revealing two sets of arrows, while his golden arrows hid from sight.

“Oh, hey,” Zayn said fondly. “What are you guys doing awake?”

Liam and Niall were frozen with awed. Two identical sets of silver colored arrows appeared, just as equally beautiful and captivating as the golden arrows. They were jumping around frantically in their case, almost as though they were excited to see Zayn. Liam saw the way that Zayn looked at them fondly, realizing how much he really liked when Zayn carried that expression.

One of the arrows jumped out of the case and went straight to Zayn’s neck, to snuggle against it.

“Amazing,” Niall said. “How does it bend like that?”

Zayn laughed, because the arrow tickled his neck. “They like to snuggle around my neck. Think of them as being animated, really. Each set thinks in unison, and yet they all have individual personalities, which is how I can identify them from each other.” The arrows started to jump more rapidly in their case. “Alright, alright,” Zayn said. “You can go play if you want. But stay inside the training room and be careful with Niall and Li, please.” In that instant all the arrows shot out of their cases and started flying around the room. Zayn giggled, while Niall stared in amazement as the arrows flew around the room.  Niall noticed that some were chasing each other, while others did tricks, and some simply flew around the room. And while Liam was just as amazed and entranced as Niall, he was also focusing on the fact that Zayn called him Li. Niall had used it earlier, but Niall called him that all the time. Somehow, when it came out of Zayn, it sounded so special. Liam tried to stop himself from blushing, but his thoughts were running wild and he simply couldn’t. There are actual flying arrows with actual personalities and I’m focused on the dumb fact that Zayn called me Li, can I get more ridiculous than this?

“What’s the story behind these arrows then?” Niall asked, without taking his eyes away from them.

“They’re a twin set.” Zayn explained. “They’re brother and sister, because they belonged to the twins Artemis and Apollo.”

“Are you fucking serious?” Niall asked in excitement. This truly felt like a Christmas day for him.

“They’re almost identical,” Zayn continued. “Their difference is that Artemis’s arrows have the Sapphire diamond on their shaft, and Apollo’s arrows have a Peridot diamond.”

“How is any of this possible, Zayn?” Liam asked.

“We live in a world where do two of you go hunting for demons every night and yet this shocks you?” Zayn laughed. “You two might want to brush up on some history.” Zayn suggested.

“Why do I have the feeling that we won’t find any information on these arrows in our history books?” Liam said, looking skeptically at Zayn. Liam was all too familiar with the history books that were part of the supernatural world.

“Maybe because Louis and I own the only books that speak about their history,” Zayn admitted innocently.

Zayn giggled at Niall, who went to chase after the arrows. Zayn knew he wasn’t going to be able to catch them, but he didn’t say anything to Niall. The arrows seemed to be enjoying themselves as they humored Niall.

“Zayn,” Liam spoke. Zayn turned his attention back to Liam, who he noticed had gotten much closer to Zayn’s space. “Are you even allow to withhold those books? If they’re part of our history, wouldn’t the council want them as part of our main historical library?”

“You’re not the only one to think that,” Zayn said, stepping back so that there was more distance between him and Liam. “The council has been insisting that we hand those books, and many more from our personal library, over to them.”

“So why haven’t you?” Liam asked. If the council wanted something, there was no saying no to them. They created the laws that ruled over the supernatural world.

“These arrows belong to me, Liam. Therefore, the books that contain their knowledge belong to me.” Zayn responded strictly.

“I don’t really think it works that way, Zayn”

“Then you’d be a perfect fit for the council, Liam. I’m sure if you apply, they’ll hire you in an instant.” Zayn said, getting annoyed.

“I’m not trying to make you upset Zayn, but you can see how there are some ethical dilemmas involved there, right?”

“Liam, I am not the person to be having this conversation with. It just won’t end well. Please go take it up with Louis if it bothers you that much.” Zayn turned from Liam, to walk over to Niall, who was on the floor laughing as the arrows tickled him.

“Alright, leave him alone.” Zayn said gently, chuckling at the scene. The arrows immediately stopped. Niall stood from the floor. Zayn saw that his cheeks were completely flushed from laughing.

“You’re arrows are so nice.” Niall commented.

“Only because they liked you,” Zayn explained. He turned to arrows and said “Go back to your cases, because I’m leaving.” Each and every arrow took the time to wrap themselves around Niall and Zayn, as a goodbye hug.

Liam stood from a distance as he saw the arrows hugging Zayn and Niall. Then, as they were all done, in unison they flew straight to their cases which were by Liam. Except that instead of going inside their cases, they pointedly surrounded Liam. Are they threatening me?

Zayn and Niall saw the arrows surrounding Liam. Niall didn’t know what to make of it. But Zayn, he knew exactly what was going on. The arrows were in their defensive state, threatening Liam. Zayn calmly walked over to them.

Zayn shook his head. When Zayn told them that the arrows were loyal to him, he was not kidding. They had obviously heard his conversation with Liam. Zayn should have stopped the conversation from happening in the first place.

Zayn cleared his throat. “I hope you guys aren’t doing exactly what I think you’re doing, because if you are then I will not be letting you out of your cases for three months straight.” One of the arrows turned to look at Zayn. Zayn understood what they wanted, and sighed in frustration. “He has nothing to apologize for because he meant no harm by it. He was just asking questions. Now go inside your cases before I lose my patience.” The arrows went inside their cases, but Zayn could tell that they were still upset with Liam.

“What’s going on?” Niall finally asked.

“They heard Liam and I talking about the proper placements of the books that reveals the history of the arrows. They felt threatened by Liam’s comment that the books belonged with the council.”

“I’m so sorry,” Liam turned to the arrows to apologize to them. “I wasn’t trying to threaten.” Though Liam’s apology was genuine, the arrows were still upset. Zayn snapped his fingers so that the arrows and the rest of the weapons on the wall were hidden from sight.

“That’s so cool!” Niall said.

“What? That they were going to kill me?” Liam stared at Niall with a horrified expression.

“Well you shouldn’t have said what you said,” Niall shrugged. “But what I think is cool is how incredibly smart they are. They were able to hear all of that while I was playing with them, and obviously Zayn and the arrows have some sort of connection, because he can understand what they are saying. Don’t you see how freaking cool that is?” Niall exclaimed while jumping with excitement; making Zayn laugh. Zayn really liked Niall.

Liam rolled his eyes, annoyed from the situation. He walked out of the room, with Zayn and Niall following behind him.

As they were back again in the hall, Zayn spoke. “These last two doors on the left wall that Normani wasn’t allowed in, are our library and our laboratory.” Zayn opened the door to the library, leading them inside. “We obviously couldn’t have her wondering in here, because most of these books relate to the supernatural world. We have all kinds of books here, including potion books.”

“That’s incredible,” Niall comments. “Are these books unique too?”

“Some are… ” Zayn admitted. “Others, you can probably find at the library of the council too.”

“Which ones are unique?” Niall asks.

“The first ten rows of bookshelves are unique. The last three rows that follow aren’t. And then there’s the bookshelves that surround the walls, those aren’t unique either.”

“Wow,” Niall says.

The library was a large room of four walls. The four walls were covered by bookshelves. There were thirteen long rows of bookshelves, mostly to the left of the room. Towards the right of the room, there was an electric fireplace. Near the electric fireplace, there were three large bean bag chairs. There were also four rectangle wooden tables in a row, with six wooden chairs each. The floor was carpeted in a dark gray color.

“On your left!” the boys hear a young girl yell from the left of the room. Liam’s mind quickly catches up with the fact that the girl had thrown a baseball straight at him, but he’s too slow to catch it. Instead of feeling the impact of the ball hitting him, he hears a boy from behind him say “caught it! Nice throw!” Liam turns around, eyes wide open, to see a young boy with a baseball mitt and the baseball inside it.

Niall started laughing as he realized what was happening; Zayn chuckling along with him.

“Did that baseball just go through me?” Liam asked, still in shock.

“Yes, it did.” The boy answered, smugly. “And you’re lucky it did, because you would not have liked to feel the impact of that hit.” He continued. Liam just stared at him, trying to understand. The boy was wearing a white baseball cap that hid his hair, jean capris, and a white t-shirt. His skin was tan, and he had dark brown eyes.

“Who are you?” Liam asked.

“That’s Dale,” Zayn answered instead. “And the girl in the pink polka dot dress behind you is Lila.” Liam turned around to take a look at Lila. She looked like Dale with the tan skin and dark brown eyes. Her hair was long, curly, and brown; currently tied in a ponytail.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Niall.” Niall introduced himself, pulling out his hand. Both Lila and Dale head over to shake his hand.

“Nice to meet you Niall,” Lila said politely. “And you are?” she asked, extending her hand at Liam.

Liam shook her hand as he said, “Liam.” Dale shook Liam’s hand after Lila, as he said “Nice to meet you, Liam.”

“How old are you guys?” Liam asked.

“Ten,” they both answered in unison.

“Are you guys siblings?” This time, it’s Niall who asked.

“Yes,” they responded in unison, again.

“Lila, what are you all dressed up for?” Zayn asked. She normally wore some shorts and a t-shirt.

“You guys said we were having guests over, so I wanted to look nice.”

“Didn't Louis tell you not to be present for dinner?” Zayn asked.

“Yes,” Dale answered, “but dad also said we could meet the guests afterwards.” He added.

“And I’m glad he did, because I just recently decided on this dress. It took me forever to decide how to dress for this occasion. Don’t I look lovely?” Lila asked, twirling her dress.

“You look stunning, Lila.” Zayn complimented, smiling at her.

“Why papa, don’t make me blush.” Lila said, faking her shyness. Lila loved compliments and Zayn knew that very well by now.

“I have to agree with Zayn,” Niall added. “You’re the prettiest girl in this house.”

“Oh, I already love you!” Lila said, excitedly.

“So, I gathered that the two of you are ghosts?” Liam asked.

“Yes, they are.” Zayn answered. “And they live here.” He added casually.

“How can that be?” Liam asked.

“Niall, do you want to see my dresses?” Lila asked with hopeful eyes. She did not want to be part of the conversation that was about to occur.  

“I sure do!” Niall answered, cheerfully.

“Cool! And afterwards I can show you my baseball collection,” Dale added.

“You mean our baseball collection,” Lila corrected.

“That’s what I said,” Dale lied.

Dale and Lila grab Niall by the hand and drag him towards the end of the library, to the point where they are no longer in sight from Zayn and Liam. Zayn never understood Lila's and Dale's obsession with keeping their belongings in the back of the library, but he didn't bother them about it.

“How can you have ghosts in this house, Zayn?” Liam asked again, feeling better about being left alone with Zayn.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Zayn responded innocently, walking towards a table to lean on it. Liam stands in front of him, invading his personal space.

“Yes, you do.” Liam said. “Don’t play dumb with me. You know you’re supposed to help ghosts cross over, so they shouldn’t be living anywhere except heaven.”

“Really? The thought hadn’t occurred to me,” Zayn said sarcastically. “I’ll let them know about that.”

“Zayn, I know you’re annoyed with me from the whole arrow discussion, but this is serious.”

“Everything with you appears to be,”

“Fine,” Liam said, turning away from him to walk away, but before he could, Zayn grabbed him by the hand and pulled him back. It was so sudden, that his body had leaned against Zayn’s for a few seconds, until he had fixed himself. Zayn centered Liam between his legs and didn’t let go of his hand.

“I was just playing with you Liam.” Zayn said, apologetically. “And I’m not annoyed with you. I know why you wanted to have that discussion, but I shouldn’t have let it happen in the first place, not while the arrows were present and awake. I don’t normally introduce them to anyone, so I don’t normally have to be careful about what I say around them. But I should have known better, and I apologize.”

If Liam wasn’t careful, he was going to end up getting lost in those dangerously beautiful eyes of Zayn.

“I’m the one who should apologize,” Liam said, reaching for Zayn’s other hand so that both of his hands were now being held by Zayn’s. “I shouldn’t have commented on something that was clearly a more complicated discussion for the moment.”

“That is true, but they also threatened your life so,” Zayn shrugged. “I feel kind of awful about that.”

“Were they actually going to kill me?”

“Yes, absolutely.” Zayn answered with serious eyes. “Those arrows are deadly and they won’t think twice before killing. They’re friendly if they like you, or if they couldn’t care less about you then they’ll just ignore you. But anything that threatens to separate us or threatens my life is not taken very well by them.”

“Wow. I had no idea, I’m sorry.”

“Quit apologizing Liam, you did nothing wrong” Zayn insisted. “Do you want to know why Lila and Dale live here?”

“Yes.”

“Well, four years ago Lila and Dale spotted Louis leaving a shopping store in downtown. Louis had gotten a parking ticket and he was already having a pretty bad day, so out of annoyance and not wanting to deal with a parking ticket, he used his magic to make it disappear. Lila and Dale saw that he used magic and followed him all the way home. Louis had noticed them in the back of his car, but he pretended he didn’t, since they hadn’t made themselves visible.” Zayn stopped holding Liam’s hands to hold him by the waist instead, pulling him in closer. Liam took that chance to wrap his arms around Zayn’s neck. “I’ve already told you that this house is alive,” Zayn continued. “And it has quite the personality, but it’s very protective and loyal of Louis, Normani, and I. That means that if this house does not trust you, it will not allow you to enter our home. That is something that is un-debatable with this house.”

“So Louis didn’t acknowledge the kids, because he knew that the house wouldn’t let them in, if they weren’t good?” Liam guessed.

“Correct.” Zayn smiled. “When they were allowed inside, Louis confronted them and asked what they wanted. Louis thought they needed help to cross over into heaven, because like you said, our job is to help them cross over if we stumble upon them. But they just told him that they were looking for a place to stay.”

“So you guys just let them, with no arguments?”

“Well, I wasn’t going to force them to cross over. Besides, they were nice and they just wanted a home where they could settle in. It didn't take long for us to bond and they basically became our children, hence why they call us dad and papa. At first we were going to hide them from Normani, but since they can make themselves visible to look completely normal as though they were humans, not to mention that they’re perfectly capable of touching objects, we had Normani meet them.”

“But she didn’t know they were ghosts?”

“No, she did not. We told her that we signed up for the big brother and sister program, using that as an excuse to bring them everywhere we could with us, while Normani was present. But she had no idea that they were staying in this house.”

“And the council doesn’t know?”

“Well, I certainly haven’t said anything to them.” Zayn answered, looking around the room innocently. Liam wanted to kiss him in that moment, but instead he asked “Do you know how much trouble you could get into? If the council finds out they’ll force you to hand them over.”

“Louis doesn’t take kindly to people threatening his family.”

“That doesn’t give either of you the permission to do whatever you want.” Liam noted.

“Well, something tells me that you’re going to keep our secret, Li” Zayn says softly.

“Of course I will, but Zayn,” Liam leaned closer to his face. “Please be careful, because with every room you show me, it seems like you and Louis are actively trying to piss off the council and there isn’t anything scarier than them.”

“You clearly haven’t seen Louis angry,” Zayn said, laughing. He carefully moved Liam away, so that he could stand from the table. “C’mon, let’s go save Niall from Dale and Lila. They will talk his ear off about their baseball collection.”

Liam followed Zayn towards the end of the library, where the kids and Niall had disappeared from sight.

 

 

Niall, Zayn, Liam, along with Lila and Dale were now in the lab. It was a huge room with large white walls. It had three long tables on in the middle of the room that were covered with so many things, but Niall and Liam hardly recognized any of them. Yet, everything looked so organized, that Niall and Liam were afraid to touch anything. There were a lot of glass shelves by the walls, most containing something inside.

Currently, they were all hovering over the corner of one of the tables, looking at a baby dragon.

“I can’t believe you guys have a dragon!” Niall said in amazement. “And it’s so cute!”

“It was just born yesterday,” Dale said.

“I named it Rose because of its beautiful red color.” Lila added.

“How fast do they grow?” Liam asked.

“They grow very slowly actually.” Zayn said. “He’s about six inches, which was the size he was born in. But it will take him about six months to reach twelve inches.” The dragon, Rose, started flapping its wings. They were small, but proportionate to its body. “In a year, he should be about 36 inches.”

“That’s amazing.” Niall said. “Is he yours?”

“Of course he is, I found him!” Lila said.

“Even though you shouldn’t have been with me at all,” Zayn said, glaring at Lila.

“Why? Where were you guys?” Liam asked.

“It’s a long story, but just because we found him doesn’t mean that he’s ours. He was all abandoned though. His breed is rare. A co-worker of mine that specializes in dragons thought his type had gone extinct.”

“That’s horrible.” Liam said. “I thought the council was addressing the problems with the dragons?”

“You’re not the only one,” Zayn said.

“You’re telling me that they still haven’t caught the group that’s been hunting dragons? I read in the paper that they were close to catching them, like last week.” Niall said.

“Nope. No one’s been caught yet. But I have a feeling that his mom was killed, because I was chasing the trace of some dragon hunters when Lila and I came across Rose. We brought him here so that he could hatch safely.”

“It’s infuriating, I tell ‘ya!” Niall said. “Every time I think about those poor dragons being murdered for no good reason, my blood boils. This is why dragons have hidden away from us, because they don’t trust us and rightfully so.”

“Well, according to my co-worker there aren’t that many left anyways.”

“Does your co-worker know where they’re hiding?” Niall asked.

“She knows where quite a few of them are hiding, yes.” Zayn answered. “but of course, not all of them.”

“Excuse me, I have to go for a minute, I’ll be back.” Lila said, disappearing out of the room, and leaving everyone with curiosity for her random absence.

They all drew their attention back to Rose, who was trying to climb Liam’s shirt.

“Is your co-worker a witch?” Niall asked.

“Yes.” Zayn nodded. “Her name is Dinah.”

“Good.” Niall said. “Because if anyone finds out she knows the location of dragons, she will without a doubt be a target, but I trust that a witch is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.”

“Oh no worries, she’s quite tough.” Zayn assured him.

Rose is successfully able to climb Liam’s shirt. He makes it all the way to Liam’s neck, deciding to snuggle into his neck. Zayn looked fondly at them.

“He’s really soft,” Liam commented, unable to contain his smile. In that moment, Dale snapped a picture of Liam and Rose.

“Awe, how cute do they both look?” Dale said, showing the picture to Niall and Zayn.

“Dale, give me back my phone,” Zayn warned. “Quit taking it without my permission.”

“I couldn’t help it, it was a cute moment, and your phone was the closest camera to me.”

“It could definitely be framed,” Niall commented.

“Thanks! I’ve always wanted to be a photographer.” Dale says.

“Alright,” Zayn said, clapping his hand. “Let’s put Rose back to his bed.” Zayn gently separated Rose from Liam and headed over to the right wall. There was a tall red tree that stood there on its own, with a hole in the middle of the trunk. Inside the trunk, was Rose’s bed, which he happily went to lay on.

“How exactly does that tree stay alive again? This floor is made out of marvel and I don’t see any roots at the bottom of the tree.” Niall asked.

“It’s a magical tree that comes from the hidden island of dragons,” Zayn explained. “Dinah put it in my lab and charmed it to stay alive, so that Rose could safely stay here while we have him.”

“I thought that was just a myth and that dragons could be born anywhere?” Niall wondered.

“I’m back!” Lila said, coming from the walls. “And I’m here to take Dale. C’mon we gotta go!”

“Where do you have to go?” Zayn asked.

“No time to explain, goodbye all!” Lila said, disappearing from the room with Dale.

That was weird. Zayn thought to himself. “Anyway, as I was about to explain,” Zayn carried on. “Technically dragons can be born anywhere, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll survive. They can’t survive in an environment that doesn’t have these types of trees. There is an island of dragons, but it’s hidden and has constantly been told that it's a myth, because the council doesn’t want people to go looking for it. There are currently only two people in the council that know where it is located and Dinah is one of them. They have every intention of keeping it that way.”

“So why have they been born outside the island then?”

“About four hundred years ago there was a huge fire all over their island. We still don’t know how it happened, and no it wasn’t from the dragon’s fire.” Zayn says, before Niall could suggest that. “Like I said, the island is specially made for them, which means that their fire cannot harm the plants of the island. This leads us to believe that someone created a fire that could harm the island, killing its environment. The dragons fled as rapidly as they could. Some were even smart enough to rip off the plants and take it with them, so that they could grow it elsewhere. It’s how they ended up spreading out, but like I said, without their special plants, they don’t survive long. There were five warlocks whom are no longer alive, that dedicated themselves to fixing the island. It took them thirty seven years, but they were finally able to restore the island to its natural environment. They tried to return as many dragons as they could, but it was a difficult task. By then, dragons had laid eggs everywhere in panic of extinction, and had also tried to spread their special plant as much as they could.”

“Why isn’t this public knowledge?” Niall asked.

“Because,” Louis said from the door, making them all turn to him. None of them had noticed when he had arrived, except for Zayn, who was always well aware of his presence. “The dragons have had a target on their back since someone tried to destroy their island,” Louis continued to explain, walking closer to them. “The council has yet to understand why, and they haven’t been successful at catching any of the hunters. The less the public knows of certain events that occurred in the history of dragons, the better, only because by releasing this information to the public we’ll be releasing it those hunters as well.”

“Exactly,” Zayn agreed.

“I hope someone catches those bastards.” Niall said.

“Well, I’m glad to find you all here.” Louis changes the subject. “Mani’s in the living room waiting to watch a movie. Is it safe to assume that you’ve seen the entire house by now?”

“Yes, they have.” Zayn responded, even though he never showed them to top floor, but he never had the intention to.

“Perfect. Then, Niall can you go to the living room and join Normani? You guys can start the movie without us.”

Niall, almost already out the door said “with pleasure,” cheerfully. He was excited to finally get some alone time with Normani, even if it was only going to be for a few minutes.

Louis was up to something and Zayn knew it. Just last night Louis had very explicitly threatened Niall’s life. There was no way he was willing to leave Niall and Normani alone together, unless he was up to something.

“Liam,” Louis says. “I honestly hate to ask, but I was hoping you could help me on a profile of a vampire I’ve been working on. I need to find her and since you’re a hunter, maybe you’ve ran into her before or heard something about her.”

“Louis, are you seriously going to make our guest work right now?”

“Zayn it’s alright, I would love to help.” Liam insisted. “Are you trying to hunt her? Because vampires are difficult to come by, but when I have, I’ve never had to kill them.”

“All the information is in my office, so let’s just go there.”

Louis and Liam started to head out of the lab, with Zayn tailing behind. “Uh, where do you think you’re going?” Louis turns around, to ask Zayn.

“Obviously with the two of you,”

“Zayn, where exactly is your head at the moment? You need to go return the files to Dinah.”

Shit . Zayn had completely forgotten about that. He was too busy preparing for Liam and Niall's visit, that it had completely gone over his head. “I hope Dinah is still there. She really needs those files.”

“I’m sure she is.” Louis assures him and walks to his office, leaving Zayn and Liam behind.

 

Zayn grabbed Liam and led him to the wall, gently pushing him up against it. He leaned against Liam, trapping him completely. They were both looking intently into each other’s eyes. Liam could stay like this forever. Zayn felt so bold with Liam, because he knew all of the feelings Liam experienced throughout the night, but Liam didn't know about Zayn's gift. “I will have to excuse myself for the rest of the night Liam. I promised Dinah that I would help her with this. I probably won’t be back for more than a few hours, which you might be gone by then.”

“I can, uh, wait for you if you want?” Liam offered with hopeful eyes.

“I couldn’t do that to you. Without me around, I cannot guarantee that Niall will make it out of this house alive. So after you’re done with Lou, you might want to stick to Niall’s side and then you can both leave after the film is over.”

“Are you sure?”

Zayn nodded. It didn't take much for Louis and Normani to get into an argument, and Zayn did not want the boys around for that either.

“Okay.” Liam said.

Without thinking, Zayn gave Liam a soft kiss on the cheeks, and teleported out of the lab, leaving Liam alone.

Liam stood there, alone, with the biggest smile on his face. Zayn had just given him a kiss on the cheeks and then teleported out of the lab. God! What am I even doing standing here and smiling like an idiot? Louis is waiting for me.

Chapter Text

“Finally,” Dinah said annoyed, glaring at Zayn. “I thought you weren’t going to show up at all.”

“Aw, don’t be mad at me Dinah.” Zayn embraces her in a tight hug. “Pretty please,”

They were in Dinah’s lab, which wasn’t too different in size from Zayn’s. The main difference being that there were more creatures in this lab and it was covered in different plants, because Dinah specialized in supernatural creatures.

“Whatever Malik,” Dinah said, pushing him off. Zayn smiled, knowing she was incapable of staying mad at him.

“Dinah, how do you always keep your lab coat so clean? Do you use a spell, because there’s no way a white lab coat should stay as clean as it does in this environment.”

“Zayn, how many times are you going to ask me that stupid-ass question?” Dinah rolled her eyes.

“Until you admit that you do.” Zayn smiled.

“Did you bring the files?” She asked, changing the subject.

Zayn nodded, handing her the files.

“And why are you dressed in a suit?” She asked.

“I had guests over,” Zayn explained. “Which is why I wasn’t able to come sooner,” he added.

“Did you tell them that your family's idea of casual is dressing formally?” She asked, knowing that he probably didn't.

Zayn laughed. 

“Let’s go sit by my desk,” Dinah suggested; it stood in a corner of her lab. “I’ve been standing all day,” she complained.

 

Once Dinah was sat behind her desk and Zayn sat across from her, she asked “So, what did you think?”

“That you’re playing with fire,” Zayn responded seriously.

“Does that mean you’re going to stop helping me?” She frowned.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Lou and I are already too invested in this thing,” he assured her. “But Dinah, I looked over those files and there isn’t anything that proves that this specific fairy you’re looking for exists.”

“Yes, but she has to!” Dinah insisted.

“No, she really doesn’t. Fairies went extinct,” Zayn reminded her.

“Yes, but they were the original protectors of dragons. If dragons still haven’t gone extinct, I don’t think it makes any sense for them to be either.”

“Which is your most valid point and the only reason I’m willing to humor this dangerous idea,”

“Zayn, you have to admit that the council has been shady about the existence of fairies. They’re not even willing to talk about fairies in the past tense. What are they so afraid of?”

“Well, for one, the council hates powerful beings and that’s exactly what fairies are. When fairies used to exist, they didn’t abide by the council’s rules and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. That is, until they all died in that fire.”

“If the dragons were able to escape, why wouldn’t the fairies be able to escape from the fire too? It makes no sense.”

“Agreed.”

“So, now what?” She asked.

“Now, we make sure to only speak about this in your lab or mine.” Zayn answered. “We also have to find out what the rest of the council knows. These files barely tell us anything about fairies.”

“I know,” Dinah said in frustration, pulling on her long blonde hair. “But that was the only thing saved in the council’s private library. It barely tells us anything and they won’t even bother putting it in their public library.”

“Well, maybe the three of us can figure something out.”

“If you would just quit the bullshit, we wouldn’t be dealing with this.” Dinah complained.

“How is this my fault?” 

“Zayn, you are the most powerful warlock alive. You should be head of the council.”

“We don’t know that.” Zayn argued.

“Yes, we do.” She stressed. “You haven’t even revealed all of your abilities to the council, when you know that’s against the law.”

“It’s not my fault their truth spell is flawed.”

“Except it isn’t, because you’re the only warlock or supernatural being ever to defy it.”

“You defied it too and so did Louis.”

“Yes, because you put a spell on both of us that would allow us too.” She reminded him.

“We don’t know that my spell worked, maybe you two are just as powerful.”

“I’m actually going to rip your body in half if you continue to act brand new with me.” She was losing her patience.

“And I’m actually going to lose my mind if you don’t understand the severity of what you’re asking me to do.” Zayn sighed. “I would be inflicting a literal war if I were to challenge the head of council.”

“But the head of council belongs to the most powerful warlock or witch, that is the law.”

“You and I know very well that the council enforces the laws upon the supernatural world, but they don’t follow it themselves if they don’t want to. They’re as corrupt as any government agency.”

“Well, maybe we’re wrong about them.” Dinah said seriously, holding Zayn’s gaze for five solid seconds before they both start laughing hysterically. They both knew that they’re not wrong about the council.

 

After they both stopped laughing, Dinah pulled out a file from her desk with a list of all the council members.

“There’s not a single name on this list that we can trust,” Dinah said.

“Yes, but there are quite a few names on that list that we can trick into giving us information,” Zayn pointed out.

“I hope you’re right.” She sighed, feeling defeated. If she didn’t find those dragon hunters soon, she was going to lose her mind. Enough was enough, and it should have never gotten this far.

 

“I was hoping that maybe you could talk with Normani.” Zayn said, breaking off their short silence to change the topic.

“About what exactly?”

“Well, she has a crush on someone.”

“And?”

“And Louis is intent on prohibiting anything from happening.”

“Shouldn’t I talk to Louis then, given that she’s grown enough to make her own decisions about her romantic life.”

“No, I’ve got Louis.”

“So what do you want me to say, Zayn? I only met her once when she was fifteen, we’re not exactly close.”

“I know, but it turns out she’s from our supernatural world too, and it would be really helpful for her to get to know a woman from our world. A good role model.”

“I kind of feel like you’re jumping all over the place with your ideas…”

“Sorry, my brain is scattered.” Zayn explained. Though that felt like an understatement. “I want you to take her out for lunch or something, so that you can get to know each other better.”

“Okay, I can do that.” Dinah nodded.

“Great. And then somewhere in there, maybe slip into the conversation that she shouldn’t try to form anything with her crush outside of a friendship.”

“But, why?”

“Because Louis threatened to take the guy’s life,”

“Oh.” Dinah understood then. Louis’s threats were not something to be taken lightly.

“Exactly, and until I find out why he’s so against it, I rather not risk the guy’s life.”

“Wow. Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” Dinah said, pulling out her planner to see the closest date she had free in her schedule. “Why is Normani even being stupid enough to defy Louis in this?”

“To be fair, she doesn’t know she’s being stupid because she doesn’t know what Louis is capable of.”

“Then you should warn her, because that girl is going to make Louis snap any moment now.”

“Don’t we know it.” Zayn agreed.

Chapter Text

It has been two days since Niall and Liam had dinner over at the Malik-Tomlinson home. They were both currently sitting in silence, inside Liam’s small bedroom. Niall sat on Liam's desk chair, scrolling through his phone. Liam laid on his bed with nothing but his sweatpants on, staring at the ceiling. They had been like this for the past half hour.

“Christ Liam, just spit it out already.” Niall rolled his eyes in annoyance. “You’ve been acting weird ever since we had dinner at Normani’s a couple of nights ago.” Niall put his phone in his pocket, choosing to stare at Liam instead. 

“It’s nothing, I’ve just been worried about Zayn.” Liam explained, still staring at the ceiling.

“What about him?”

“Zayn and Louis are breaking a lot of laws in that house and I have a feeling that we don’t even know the half of it. I don’t know how you reacted so calmly to everything Zayn told us.”

“I wasn’t calm, I was excited.” Niall corrected.

“Exactly my point!” Liam agreed. “Why aren’t you concerned that they’re breaking the law, and now we’re accomplices for knowing Niall, don’t you understand?”

“Liam, what in Lucifer’s name are you talking about?” 

“About the fact that they’re hiding things from council,” Liam sat straight to look at Niall. "Are you actually not registering how dangerous that is?"

“I can’t believe it,” Niall stared at Liam with disbelief. “Your brain cells actually left you the moment you met Zayn,”

“What?” 

“Liam, how have you not yet realized that Zayn and Louis are in the council?”

“What?” Liam asked again, still confused.

“They’re warlocks you idiot!” Niall pointed out the obvious. “Warlocks and Witches are automatically forced to be in the council.”

“Oh my god, of course,” Liam realized, “I am a bloody idiot.”

“I’ll say.” Niall agreed. “That Zayn truly has you under some spell.”

“Shut up.” Liam glared at Niall, who just laughed at him as he took out his phone again.

How could Liam not realize that Zayn and Louis are part of the council? He supposes it didn’t help that Zayn spoke about the council as though he wasn’t in it - but that didn’t matter, because Liam should’ve automatically realized, instead of being so focused on Zayn. Ugh. Zayn. When Zayn had stopped Liam from leaving his library, and basically ended up pulling him into his arms, Liam thought he was actually going to melt in that moment. In fact, he thought he was going to explode any time Zayn allowed for any body contact. It was unexpected, but he sure as hell had no intentions of stopping him. They had acted as though they were dating, even though at no point Liam confessed to Zayn that he had a crush on him. It was like Zayn knew what Liam was feeling; knew that Liam wasn’t going to push him away. It all happened so casually and now Liam was going to set himself on fire if didn’t hear from Zayn.

“Oh-oh,” Niall said while looking out the window. “Incoming,” he added.

Liam followed Niall's gaze. His eyes widened when he saw a silver Audi Q5 pulling into the driveway. “Oh god. Just tell her I’m not home,” Liam said. “Hurry!”

Niall ran out of the room to open the front door of the house before Sophia could knock on the door.

“Hey Sophia,” Niall said casually, turning her away from the house and back towards her car.

“Niall, what are you doing? I’m here to see Liam.” Sophia stopped walking.

“Yeah, I know, I was here for the same thing.”

“And?” she looked at him skeptically.

“And he’s not home, so I’m heading back out and suggesting that you do the same.”

“Oh, okay.” She shrugged, continuing to go back to her car. “When you guys go hunting later tonight, can you tell him that daddy wants to have dinner tomorrow night? His parents should be there too.”

“Sure I’ll let him know.” Niall opened the car door for her.

“Tonight Niall, because I need to make sure him and his family are able to make it.” Sophia insisted before sitting inside her car.

“I genuinely doubt they’re going to say no to the head of council so, I’m sure they’ll be there.”

“Well don’t say like it like that,” Sophia complained. “They’re allowed to say no if they’re busy.”

“Of course, of course.” Niall agreed sarcastically, closing her car door. “Goodbye!” he said, waving. She waved back as she pulled out of the driveway.

Niall didn't really care for Sophia. He found her boring and at times annoying. Niall waited after her car was no longer in sight to go back inside the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lila was running through the house looking for Louis when she ran into Zayn in the hall of the second floor.

“Papa!” Lila exclaimed, happy to see him.

“Why are you running?” He asked.

“I was hoping to find dad in your room, since he’s not in the rest of the house.” She explained. “What are you doing in your pajamas? I know you haven’t been home since you left to go see Dinah, mister.”

“I got back a couple of minutes ago and changed.” He answered. “Did you need something from Louis?”

“I have the information he asked for,” she answered, showing him a piece of paper with an address and time on it. “Well, I don’t have it, but someone else has it and they want to meet him at this location in less than an hour to give it to him.”

“What information are you referring to exactly?”

“The one about Liam Payne of course,” Lila reminded him.

“Oh, right, of course.” Zayn said, even though he had no idea what she was talking about. “I’m so silly,” Zayn took the paper from her. “Louis told me to go in his place instead if you came back with anything, because he’s in a meeting with a few council members right now.”

“Cool!” She said, starting to head downstairs. “Normani and I are going out with Dinah in a few minutes.” Lila added.

“How come you’re tagging along?”

“Normani’s nervous because she hasn’t seen Dinah since she was younger. You know how shy she can be, and since I love to talk she asked me to go with them.”

“Awesome.” Zayn smiled. “Have fun love,”

“I love you papa!” she said, walking back to hug him tightly.

“I love you more, sweetheart.” He said fondly.

 

 

 

 

After Lila and Normani left the house, Zayn went to his bedroom to get ready to leave too. He picked out a navy blue cardigan, black skinny jeans, and black leader combat boots. He debated if he should tie his hair in knot or wear a beanie, because his hair was getting too long for him to control in the wind. Ultimately, he decided on a black beanie.

While Zayn looked for his wallet in the drawer next to his bed, Louis appeared on his bed.

“Where are you going dressed so nice?” Louis curiously asked, eyeing his outfit.

“I could literally be wearing a garbage bag and you would still think I look nice,” Zayn pointed out.

“True,” Louis agreed. “However, that doesn’t answer my question.”

“I’m going to campus to pick up some of the my student’s portfolios. I forgot I told them I would have it graded by Monday and it’s already Saturday so it doesn’t leave me with much time to get it done.” Zayn responded with ease. Lying was too easy for him, except Louis never had to be at the receiving end of his lies. Zayn didn't like this at all. 

“Do you want me to go with you? or even for you?” Louis offered. “I know you’re tired after being gone for a couple of days, so I would like you to get some rest, Zayn.”

“I will get some rest, I promise. This shouldn’t take me long.” Zayn assured him. “Do you think you can manage to stay alone for an hour without losing your mind?”

Louis rolled his eyes. “You and Normani have got to stop exaggerating about my supposed inability to be alone because I’m not receiving any attention.”

Zayn laughed at him. He loved Louis so much, so why was Louis hiding things from him? It didn’t make any sense. Louis had never hidden anything from him before. So what was he up to?

“Where are the people of this house anyways?” Louis asked.

“Dinah took Normani and Lila out,” Zayn answered, looking at the clock on his nightstand that signaled it was 6:43pm, which meant that he had seventeen minutes to get to the place he needed to.

“What about Dale?”

“If I’m not mistaken, he’s in the lab playing with Rose.”

“Okay, I’ll check on him.” Louis said.

“Make sure Rose is in bed by nine, please. I should be back by then, but if I’m not it probably means that I decided to stay on campus to grade for a bit.”

“Sure thing.” Louis got off the bed and headed towards the door. “Oh, by the way,” he said, turning around to look at Zayn. “Have you talked to Lila since you got back?”

“Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me,” Zayn feigned relief. “She told me to tell you that she won’t have it till tomorrow morning.” Zayn shrugged. “Do you have any idea what she was talking about? She wouldn’t say but she said you’d know what she was referring to.” C’mon Louis, tell me the truth please, Zayn mentally begged.

“I asked her to write me a list of the things she wanted for her party,” Louis casually lied. 

“I’ll see you later then,” Zayn said, and teleported out of the house to the location he needed to be in. It was the only way he could guarantee that Louis wouldn’t follow him, and that he made it on time. Zayn didn't understand why Louis lied to him. Even if Zayn hadn't gotten to Lila first, Zayn would have known that Louis lied to him, because the shift in his feelings gave him away. Louis wasn't used to lying to Zayn, so he never cared to control his emotions around him. Zayn could tell that in the moment, Louis tried to control his emotions, but he wasn't able to as well as he thought he did. 

 

Zayn stood by a small isolated café in downtown. There was no one in sight and the café was already closed. He leaned against the wall of the café, patiently waiting for someone to show up.

 

A few minutes later a girl with long wavy brown hair walked up to him. She dressed in black jeans, a black shirt, and a leather jacket.

“Are you Louis?” she asked.

“No, I’m Zayn.” He answered, smiling at her.

“Oh okay, nice to meet you.” She smiled, shaking his hand. “I’m Eleanor.” She clarified. “Lila said that you or Louis would show up,”

“Good.” he nodded. 

She cleared her throat. “Right, so um, here’s the information you guys asked for.” Eleanor said, handing him a black folder with some papers inside. “It wasn’t that hard to get information on Liam Payne.” She commented. “But to save you from some of the reading, he lives in a small house with his parents, who were both demon hunters in their young adulthood, but for the past ten years they’ve gotten involved with the supernatural council. They appear to be trying to move up the ranks, but as you can imagine, it’s not easy to move through the ranks in our world.”

Eleanor sat down on a bench that was in front of the café; Zayn sat next to her. “Liam is now a hunter and he partners up to hunt with a Niall Horan, whom apparently he’s been best friends with since they met in kindergarten.” Eleanor takes the folder from Zayn and looks for a specific page inside it. “He’s also engaged to Sophia Smith. Their wedding date is about six months from now.”

What? Are you absolutely sure?” the shock that went through Zayn was indescribable.

“Yes. I wrote it down here, look.” She pointed out in the paper she held.

“Just because you wrote it, it doesn’t make it true.”

“Their engagement was easy to confirm given she’s quite the socialite in our world. You must obviously know she’s the daughter of –”

“the head of council,” Zayn whispered, interrupting her.

“Exactly,” Eleanor said. “Liam has a bachelor’s in history and business.” Eleanor continued, without noticing how bothered Zayn was by what she just revealed. “His dean at the university said that he remembered Liam well. 'Said that Liam was passionate about history, but was forced to major in business by his parents. So to compromise, he majored in both and excelled in both too. The dean was impressed with his consistent excellent performance.”

“Yes, he’s very smart.” Zayn agreed distractedly, his mind still stuck on the engagement. 

“He graduated a year ago but still hasn’t decided on a graduate program. I suppose it doesn’t matter now though,”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s marrying into the Smith family, duh,” Eleanor pointed out the obvious. “Him and his parents will move up the ranks over night. And if you ask me, that’s the only reason he’s marrying her."

“Why do you say that?” Zayn didn’t think Liam was the kind of person to be interested in that stuff, but then again, he hardly knew Liam.

“Because they went on a lunch date yesterday and they didn’t seem like they were into each other.”

“I’m not really sure what you mean,” Zayn said.

“Well haven’t you ever been in love? It makes you smile like an idiot and look lovingly at your partner, not look bored out of your mind and like you would rather stab yourself with a fork. And I don’t mean to simplify what love is, but you know, I just personally didn’t see it.” Eleanor shrugs.

“Maybe they were upset with each other,” Zayn suggested.

“That’s a possibility too.” She agreed. The thought hadn't occurred to her, but that was another good guess. “Well, everything else is in the file.”

“Can you actually burn all of this?” Zayn asked. “Actually, never mind I can do it, I don’t even know why I asked.” Zayn shook his head. He had a lot of information to process.

“Did Lila tell you I have the ability to create fire?” Eleanor looked at him curiously.

“Uh, no, but I suppose you just did.” He informed her. “Are you a hunter?” 

“I’m supposed to be,” Eleanor admitted. “But I rather do other stuff, like anything but that, so I told my parents I’d focus on my bachelor’s at the moment as an excuse to prevent the inevitable.”

“You don’t like fighting?” Zayn asked.

“I don’t mind the fighting, but I'm not really passionate about the idea of going out every night to hunt for demons.” Eleanor explained. “I’m more interested in research, but of course I’m not allowed to do that since I’m not a warlock.”

“Ah, I see.” Zayn nodded. Technically she could contribute to the research field, but as an assistant to a warlock. Most of the warlock’s had teams of assistants to help with all the work that they had to do, but those weren’t easy positions to get. Dinah, Louis, and Zayn were the only warlocks and witch to not have any assistants.

“What are you then?” Eleanor asked.

“Just another hunter,” Zayn lied. Zayn rarely disclosed to anyone from the supernatural world that he’s a warlock.

“Any special abilities?”

“Not really,” Zayn lied again.

“Oh, well. Powers are overrated anyways,” Eleanor said. “Is that all you needed?”

“Yes, that was all.” Zayn said. Eleanor took the folder from Zayn and burned it in front of him.

Zayn stared disappointingly at the ground, sighing in frustration. How could Liam be engaged? At least now he knew why Louis hid this from him. He must've found out somehow and went straight to Lila to ask her to go through his house. But since Lila wasn't able to, that must mean that Louis found out about the engagement after Lila had already met Liam.

“Are you okay?” Eleanor asked, standing from the bench. 

“I’m not sure,” he answered, standing up too.

“Want to talk to a stranger about it?” 

“Not if someone asked you to get information on me,” Zayn teased, making Eleanor laugh.

“I don’t do this for a living you know,” she informed him. “I just owed Lila a favor.”

“Well, in that case, can we not talk about what’s wrong but just go for a walk? I don’t think it’s wise for me to be alone at the moment.”

“Wisdom..." Eleanor said. "I suppose that depends on your definition of it," she added, starting to walk along the sidewalk. Zayn moved to walk by her side. "Wasn't Socrates always seen as wise?" she asked to distract him, hoping he knew something on the subject.

"Perceived so, yes." Zayn said. "He never claimed to be though,"

"Maybe he was being modest," Eleanor suggested. 

"Is that truly what you think?"

"I'm not sure," she admitted. "He claimed not to fear death, because he thought it was unwise to do so. His argument basically being that he would be unwise to fear what he doesn't know. He wasn't certain of what death was like, therefore, why be afraid of it? But isn't he then claiming by default, that he was wise because he didn't fear death?"

"You raise a good point," Zayn agreed. "I suppose that's natural selection at work,"

"Is that what you think?" she asked. 

"That's one perspective." he answered. "If he had feared death, he would have escaped, and thus survived. Who knows how long for, but for the time being, he could have escaped his sentence. And yet, he dismisses the notion of fearing death as though fear isn't a natural instinct for humans, which has served for both harmful and useful purposes."

"So, it was unwise for him not to fear death?"

"Who can say for sure? Ideally, it would be nice to not have to fear the unknown for certain aspects of life. Some societies are fearful of certain religious and cultural groups, causing unnecessary hatred, which historically has led to wars. Not that it dismisses all the other motives for those wars. But, when societies aren't accepting of other societies that differ from theirs, they no longer keep an open mind. This makes them susceptible to manipulation. Politicians often take advantages of their citizen's fears, and in fact enforce it, to push their own agenda. In cases like that, you wish that humans weren't so quick to latch on to their natural instinct of fear. And yet, there are instances where that fear is what keeps us alive. Women in this society are an example of that,"

"Are you referring to women constantly taking extra measures to ensure their safety to the best of their ability, which men don't have to do?"

"Indeed." Zayn nodded. "I'm willing to bet that even though you trusted Lila enough to do this for her, you still told someone of your location."

"I did," Eleanor admitted. 

"You know how to defend yourself, you have the ability to create fire, and on top of that you had control over the location. And you still chose to tell someone where you would be,"

"You can never be too sure," she said. 

"And you are completely in the right for that."

"Any more observations?" she challenged. 

"Just that your willingness to go on a walk with me, and thus choosing to move from the location you initially chose, tells me that you're well familiarized with this part of the city."

"That's true as well," she agreed. "Which reacting to the fear of the unknown, in my case, was the wise thing to do." Eleanor added. 

"I would certainly say so," Zayn agreed. "Those are your natural instincts at play. Humans make decisions to avoid death every single day, both at a conscious and subconscious level, because they fear death."

"Isn't that debatable?" She asked.

"Most things are," Zayn answered. "The important thing is to keep an open mind to other perceptions, ideologies, and theories."

"Because learning lessens your ignorance." Eleanor said, looking at Zayn to give him a big smile. Zayn laughs, nodding his head in agreement. 

 

 

 

 

After two hours, Zayn and Eleanor were still walking around downtown. Eleanor spotted a park and headed towards it, with Zayn following.

“So you just set your teacher's desk on fire?” Zayn asked, laughing.

“I was only six, I didn’t know how to control my powers.” Eleanor defended innocently.

“Well, you certainly missed the target by a long shot considering you were trying to burn the boy next to you for stealing your cookie.”

“You’re telling me.” Eleanor walked towards a tree to sit by its roots. Zayn sat down next to her. “My parents wanted to kill me when they found out, but the school obviously didn’t know it was me and they couldn’t explain the phenomenon. After that, I got transferred to a supernatural school, so that I could continue with my elementary education, while also you know being taught to control my power.”

“Hmm… that’s not too bad then,”

“I agree,” Eleanor laughed. 

“Zayn?” Zayn looked up to find the source of the voice, because it didn’t belong to Eleanor, but to Liam. He spotted Liam with Niall, walking on the pathway of the park, which was only a couple of feet away from the tree where Zayn and Eleanor sat by. They were both dressed in their black hunting outfits. Eleanor had done such a good job at distracting Zayn, that he had completely forgotten about Liam. Now all of his feelings came rushing back at the sight of Liam. 

“Liam,” Zayn said, nodding towards Niall to acknowledge their presence, “How are the two of you doing tonight?”

“It’s been a great night,” Niall answered cheerfully. Zayn smiled at him.

“What are you doing here?” Liam asked, eyeing Eleanor, who sat quietly watching the interaction.

Zayn stood up from the ground and reached out his hand towards Eleanor, who held on to it, to pull herself up.

“I was just having a chat,” Zayn said. “This is Eleanor,” he introduced her. Niall and Liam came forward to shake her hand. “And we were also just leaving,” Zayn added.

“I see.” Liam said. Jealousy ran wildly through Liam and Zayn could feel it. Niall on the other hand looked at Liam with concern.

“Okay, well, have a lovely night boys.” Zayn said, getting ready to leave.

“Wait,” Liam said. “Can I talk to you for a moment, alone?”

Eleanor looked at Zayn, waiting for his decision. “Sure,” he answered.

“I guess that leaves me and you Eleanor,” Niall said cheerfully. Eleanor smiled at his friendliness. They both walked away from Zayn and Liam, far enough so that they wouldn’t hear their conversation.

 

“Is everything okay, Liam?” Zayn asked with indifference. Liam was the last person Zayn wanted to see in this moment.

“No, it isn’t.” Liam answered; the anger evident in his tone.

“What is the matter then?”

“Are you actually serious?” Liam stared at him with angry eyes. “I haven’t heard from you since I had dinner at your place. I was worried about you, and now I see you with some girl at the park and you don't have anything to say?”

“I am actually not understanding where the problem is, to be quite frank.” Zayn looked at Liam with bored eyes. “I wasn’t aware I had to reach out to you. You are Normani’s friend after all,”

Zayn’s words wounded Liam, and Zayn could feel it, but he was too angry to care.

“Right, I must’ve been hallucinating when you were flirting and holding me at your place. I must’ve just developed a hallucination power,” Liam said sarcastically.

Zayn pushed the images of those moments out of his mind. “Of course you weren’t imagining those moments, Liam.” Zayn said. “Those moments were silly mistakes of mine though, because I didn’t know you were engaged, so again, do explain to me what you’re so angry about?”

Liam’s eyes widened in shock. His angered disappearing, being replaced by guilt instead. 

“How did you know?” He asked.

“I mean you’re only marrying into the most important family of the council,”

“Zayn, it really isn’t what you think.” Liam tried to explain. “I would have never allowed you to even flirt with me if I were in a relationship with Sophia.”

“Oh, okay, that clears it all up then,” Zayn said sarcastically.

“Look, I’m just marrying her because it’s a smart political move. We have no romantic or sexual interest for that matter, with each other.”

“Great, then have a happy marriage.”

“Aren’t you even curious why she would be willing to marry me?”

“No.” Zayn answered and tried to walk away, but Liam grabs him by the arm. “I would strongly advice that you let go of me, Liam.” Zayn threatened.

“Okay,” Liam said, letting go of him. “But please don’t walk away from me.” He begged. “Communication is a thing you know,”

Zayn rolled his eyes. “Say whatever it is that you need to say Liam, because I don’t want to keep Eleanor waiting.”

“Look, my parents have been trying to move up in our government and you know what a big deal hierarchy is in our world. They basically had no chances of moving up ranks because we’re just a common family with no real authority. I met Sophia a few years ago at one of those stupid events the council is always hosting, because my parents forced me to go.” Liam sighed in annoyance, remembering how strongly he hated going to those things. “We talked once and when both of our parents saw us interacting they apparently had the same idea, but with different motives.”

“What motives could the Smiths possibly have?” Zayn asked, struggling to see the motives. 

“Her dad wants to make it seem like they don’t care about hierarchy, to look like a nice guy. We’re basically their way of saying that they care for commoners.”

Zayn snorted. He hated the Smiths, or the head of council anyways, Alexander Smith; Sophia’s father.

“I see.” Zayn finally said. “Have fun being the token family for the Smiths then.”

“Zayn, I am not with her.” Liam insisted.

“I don’t do cheating, Liam, and I certainly have no plans of being your side piece.” Zayn crossed his arms. “You didn’t hear from me for the past couple of days, because I was traveling and unable to contact you. I just got in tonight and my only plans were to sleep until tomorrow morning, which is when I planned to ask you out on a date. Fortunately, something came up and through it, I ended up catching some news snippets of your upcoming wedding.” Zayn didn’t want Liam to know that Louis had him investigate. “Unless you break up your engagement with Sophia, you can forget about us even going on a date.”

“It’s not that simple, Zayn.” Liam insisted. “I can’t just break off this engagement to something that I don’t even know if it’s going to work out. You and I haven’t created any foundation to stand on.”

“And there will be nothing to create as long as this engagement is still on.” Zayn assured him. “Weren’t you the one freaking out about me breaking the law anyways, where is your morality now?”

“It’s Alexander freaking Smith! He’s the last guy I want to piss off.”

“Look Liam, I am not going to tell you what to do. I cannot guarantee you that if we go on a date we’ll even hit it off. Maybe we go out and we realize that there’s no connection between us,” though Zayn seriously doubted that would be the case, “or maybe we do connect and it goes well. Either way, it is a risk that you need to be willing to take, because that’s just life and you shouldn’t be letting other people dictate your life.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Liam rolled his eyes.

“How so?”

“Because you’re a warlock, Zayn!” Liam realized he was raising his voice, and cleared his throat. He spoke lower when he said “You know exactly where you rank in our world. It’s easy for you to say that you don’t care about those things because they come easy to you. I’m tired of seeing my parents struggle to move up ranks, when all they want to do is contribute ideas to the council, but their opinions won’t be considered because they rank low in the hierarchy.”

“You’re right,” Zayn agreed. “High status has come easy to me in our world because of who I am. I didn’t grow up with parents trying to mold me into something I’m not and –”

“Stop,” Liam pleads, getting close to Zayn. “I know you didn’t have an easy upbringing, and I’m not trying to be dismissive of that,” Liam insisted, wrapping his arms around Zayn’s neck. Zayn didn’t push him away, instead he wrapped his arms around Liam’s waist – Zayn blamed it on an automatic reaction.

“Zayn, I’m only asking that you understand the situation I’m in.”

“I do understand Li,” Zayn assured him. “And I am not trying to pressure you into making a decision.” Zayn clarified. “But unless the engagement is off, I can only offer you my friendship, and I will not apologize for that.” Zayn looked intently into Liam’s eyes and added, “And if you decide to break off the engagement, I will be available for you.” Zayn let go of Liam. He turned his back to Liam and started to walk away.

“Zayn,” Liam called after him.

Zayn turned around. “Yes, Liam?”

“That girl you’re with, were you planning on, um –”

“She’s just a friend, Liam.” Zayn answered, before Liam could finish asking his question. “Like I said, I will be available for you.” Zayn walked away then, to look for Eleanor and Niall.

 

Zayn found them quite a distance away in the park, which probably meant that they weren’t listening to the conversation.

“I cannot apologize enough for taking so long,” Zayn said when he got close enough to them.

“Oh, no need to apologize.” Eleanor insisted. “It wasn't long at all, and Niall has been a complete charm.”

“Thank you for thinking so,” Niall said. “It was nice to meet you, Eleanor. And Zayn, nice seeing you.” Niall walked away to find Liam.

Zayn turned to Eleanor with an apologetic face. “I feel horrible for taking long,”

“Zayn, I decided to spend almost three hours of my night walking with a complete stranger. I obviously don’t have a life, so it’s not like you’ve been interrupting me from anything.”

Zayn laughed. “Well, I’m still sorry for making you wait.” They both started walking along the pathway of the park. “Do you want to grab a bite to eat then? Because I’m really hungry and could really use some fast food right now.”

“Hell, yes! I’m starving.”

Chapter Text

Louis was freaking out. It was past midnight and Zayn still hadn’t arrived home. Louis teleported to campus around ten, but Zayn wasn’t there. Normally, Louis doesn't freak out about Zayn's whereabouts, but when Lila got home around nine, she asked if Zayn met with the person that had all the information about Liam. This meant that by the time Louis had gotten back from his meetings, Zayn was getting ready to meet with that person. It also meant that Zayn gave Louis the opportunity to tell him the truth, but Louis chose to continue to lie instead. Louis had never lied to Zayn before, and he didn't know how Zayn would react to that. Lila told Zayn about it, because she assumed the request to have Liam investigated came from both Louis and Zayn. Now, Zayn had been gone for six hours and the panic that overwhelmed Louis was unbearable. 

“Is papa home yet?” Lila asks quietly from the hall, stopping Louis from pacing obsessively in the kitchen.

“No Lila, but please go back to bed.”

“I did something wrong, didn’t I?” Lila asks, walking into the kitchen.

Louis picks her up and sits her on top of the kitchen counter. “You did absolutely nothing wrong, love.” Louis assures her, holding her gaze.

“You and papa are fighting and it’s because of me.”

“Lila,” Louis sighs. “You did nothing wrong, I promise. This is all entirely my fault,” he explains. “Zayn is okay, I’m sure of it.” Well, not entirely certain that he was okay, given how much he was panicking at the moment. “Zayn's perfectly capable of taking care of himself,” that part he was sure of.

In that moment, Zayn walks into the house. It takes him a couple of seconds to notice Louis and Lila in the kitchen. “Hey love, what are you doing up so late?” He asks Lila, smiling at her.

“Oh, I’m so happy you’re home,” Lila says, relieved. Zayn walks up to her, where she sat on the counter, and she clings on to him like a monkey.

“I’m so sorry,” Zayn says, hugging her tightly. “I had no idea you'd be up worrying. I was working at the university. I thought Louis would tell you.”

“I did,” Louis says.

“Yes, but he was lying.” Lila says. “Which makes you a liar too,” she accuses.

Zayn chuckles. “Go to sleep miss,” he puts Lila down.

“Fine, but can I sleep with dad tonight?” Lila asks.

“Why not me?” Zayn asks, pretending to be offended.

“Because you haven’t rested at all and I don’t want to wake you if I end up moving too much.”

“That is very kind and considerate of you,” Zayn notes, leaning down to give her a kiss on her forehead. “Goodnight sweetheart,” Zayn says.

“Night papa,” she says, walking away, but not before she hears Louis say “I’ll see you in a few minutes, love.”

Lila heads straight to Louis’s bedroom, snuggling up in his blankets.

Zayn and Louis remain in the kitchen. Zayn walks to one of the kitchen covers to pull out a cup; he fills it with water. After taking a couple of sips, he sighs. Zayn was so tired, he could fall asleep on the kitchen floor. Louis still hadn’t said anything to him, but his apologetic face said it all.

“I am so sorry Zayn,” Louis finally says. “I didn’t want to lie to you I swear, but I just –”

“Lou, stop.” Zayn interrupts him. “I’m not mad at you.”

“You’re not?”

“No.” Zayn assures him. “I know why you did it and while I’m appreciative of it, I wish you would’ve talked to me first.”

“And I was going to,” Louis says. “But I wanted to make sure that my information was accurate Zayn, that is all, I swear.”

“I believe you,”

“It’s just that this was the first time that you’ve ever taken any serious interest in anyone,”

“Which you and I had already concluded that for the time being it was just a crush, meaning these feelings will pass,” Zayn points out.

“But the way you looked at him, even though he’s practically a stranger to you, told me differently Zayn.”

“Well, it doesn’t really matter anymore, does it?” Zayn shrugs. “Can we please talk about this tomorrow though? Because I think I’m a few seconds from falling asleep.”

“As long as you promise that you’re not mad at me,”

Zayn chuckles. “I’m not Lou. Now go to sleep, because Lila is waiting for you.”

“Okay, good.” Louis felt relieved. “Night Zee, I love you.”

“I love you too, but Louis,”

“Yes, Zayn?”

“No more lies, please. That is not something you and I do.”

“Listen, Zayn, it was eating me up inside okay. Trust me, it was too uncomfortable and it will not happen again.” Louis promised.

Chapter Text

When Dinah woke up this morning, she thought she had encountered her biggest problem of the day: debating whether she wanted a side braid or have a high pony tail. Ultimately she ended up going for a bun, deciding that it didn't matter how she styled her hair because she wasn't going to go into the council today. She would be spending the day in her lab, and the only people that ever came in her lab were Louis and Zayn. Lila and Dale occasionally stopped by if they heard that Dinah got a new creature in her lab. Dinah took her sweet time putting on her make up, as the morning news played on the background. She wore comfortable white tennie-shoes, knowing she'd be on her feet for most of the day. Her light blue jeans and white t-shirt were mostly hidden by her white lab coat. Dinah thought an ordinary day was ahead of her - well, as ordinary as her life could be considered - but instead, she was met with a stressful situation in which she was mentally fighting the thoughts of wanting to harm everyone around her at the moment.

“Oh no, no, please you can’t take that,” Dinah begged, in tears. She was in her lab, surrounded by twenty men dressed in gray lab coats, as they came in and out of her lab through a portal. They were removing equipment from her lab.

“Miss Hansen, we already told you we have to inspect everything from your lab.” One of the men reminded her. “We’ll return everything that is not relevant to what we need.”

“Yes, but you’re also taking my private equipment and those don’t belong to the council,” Dinah pointed out.  “Hey!” She turns to yell at a guy trying to carry out a purple plant that grew out of a medium sized pot. She runs up to him and takes the plant from him. “You can’t take that out of this lab, it will die!”

“Miss, please, we’re just trying to follow orders.” The guy argues.

As Dinah and the guy went back in forth in their argument, Zayn teleports into Dinah’s lab.

“What in Lucifer’s name is going on here?” Zayn asks, looking around confused. He spots Dinah, clutching to a pot that held a purple plant, while tears ran down her face. Zayn runs up to her, asking “Are you alright, what’s wrong?”

“The council is removing all of my lab equipment and belongings,” Dinah explains, her silent tears refusing to quit. Dinah didn't cry when she was sad, her tears only showed when she became frustrated.

“Under whose authority?” Zayn asks.

“Alexander Smith,” she answers.

“Alright, everybody stop what you’re doing.” Zayn orders; his angry voice piercing through the room authoritatively. Everybody stopped moving things around to look at him. “Who’s in charge here?” Zayn asks.

“That would be me, sir.” A man in a gray lab coat, with blonde hair and glasses, responded.

Zayn signals him to step closer. “I’m assuming you have the documents that authorize all of this?”

“Yes, sir, they’re right here.” He hands Zayn a copy of the documents.

Zayn skims through the reading. “The dragon research is being reassigned to another division?” he asks.

“Yes, sir.” The guy nods. “And in those papers it also orders us to remove everything from miss Hansen’s laboratory to take it through inspection. Everything that we find relevant to the dragons we will need to keep, and everything that isn’t we will return, which is why we have to take her private equipment too.” the guy continued to explain, as Zayn flipped through the pages.

“Is this a copy?” Zayn asks.

“Yes, you can keep that sir,”

“Perfect.” Zayn smiles at him insincerely. “Now, I’m going to need you all return everything you have taken so far and leave.” 

“But sir –”

“Save your breath and do as you're told.” Zayn’s interrupts; his tone masked with threat.

“Sir, we still need to follow the highest authority and that isn’t you, mister Malik.”

Zayn’s hands start glowing with green magic. “This pointless back and forth is very dull for me,” Zayn stared at him with bored eyes. "I give it about fifteen seconds before I set my magic loose and let it incinerate the first thing I see, which spoiler alert," Zayn pretends to whisper, "it'll be you."

“Right away, sir.” The guy frantically nods, ordering everyone to return the equipment.

 

 

Twenty minutes later, Dinah’s lab is left in its exact original order. 

“Ohhh I could just crush you with my love right now,” Dinah said when they were finally left alone, hugging Zayn tightly. “Thank you so much for stopping this. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t showed up.” She starts tearing up again. “What did you come for, anyways?” she let go of him, walking over to a baby unicorn to make sure that no damage had come to it. 

“I was going to ask if you wanted to go get some breakfast,”

“Oh thank goodness! Though I don’t have the stomach to eat right now, but if this mess hadn’t been going on I would’ve said yes.”

"Dinah, you've never been the damsel in distress." Zayn noted. "What changed? And don't tell me that it was because the order came from Alexander, because you've stood up to him plenty of times in the past."

"It's different Zayn, with everything that I'm doing behind closed doors, it just wasn't the time to show public defiance,"

"I disagree,"

"That's because you're you, and you use any chance to get under his skin." Dinah rolled her eyes. "Some of us don't get away with the bullshit that you and Louis always pull,"

“And what is going on, exactly?” Zayn asks, getting back to the important matter at hand. He moves to check on the other animals in her lab, to assure they hadn’t been hurt either. “Why would Alexander Smith want to stop you from researching dragons? It’s not like you’re involved in the process of catching the hunters, he is.”

“Exactly!” Dinah practically yelled from across the lab since they stood on opposite ends, “I mean technically I am trying to catch the hunters...”

“Yes, but he doesn’t know that.” Zayn reminded her.

Dinah walks over to Zayn, who was checking on a baby chimpanzee that Dinah recently brought to her lab. She’d found him abandoned, in an environment that made no sense for him to be in. Zayn started to change his diaper.

“Alexander said that I wasn’t making any progress in my research and that he wanted to give it to someone else that would be able to tell him more information about dragons. I told him that it wasn’t my job to contribute to the process of catching the hunters and that my research was for textbook purposes, so it made no sense for him to ask me to stop.”

Dinah holds the chimpanzee after Zayn is done changing his diaper. “He has no actual reason for stopping my research, if all he thinks I’m doing is writing a textbook.”

“Do you think he suspects something?”

“No, you don’t understand –”

“Zayn!” Louis yells his name, after teleporting inside Dinah’s lab.

“What, what’s wrong?” Zayn asks, both him and Dinah look at Louis with concern.

“It’s not about our family,” Louis clarifies. Both Dinah and Zayn relax a little.

“Then what’s wrong?” Dinah asks.

“I was at the public library of the council showing Normani around. I wanted to introduce her to the library where most supernatural beings got their information from. Out of curiosity, I looked up the section on dragons and I couldn’t find any.”

“What do you mean?” Zayn asks.

“As in all of the books, mentioning dragons with basic harmless knowledge about them, are gone. I asked one of the staff member’s about it and they explained to me that the council had asked for the removal of them a couple of nights ago.”

“What, why?” Zayn asks, not knowing what to make of it.

“Maybe they moved them to the council’s private library?” Dinah suggests.

“That’s what I thought too, but I went to check and there were no records of dragons there either. It’s like they never existed.”

“That’s absurd,” Zayn says. “Why would they take that from the public and even from council members?”

Louis shrugs. “All I was told is that they were orders from Alexander Smith.” 

“Ugh. Of course,” Dinah rolls her eyes. “That despicable Smith has no shame!”

“Ohh how silly of me," Louis says. "I was so distracted by my story that I didn’t notice you were holding my future chimpanzee,” Louis makes grabby hands at the chimpanzee, who willingly goes to Louis, leaving Dinah's embrace.

“Louis, nothing you say will change my mind.” Dinah reminds him. "I’ll be returning him to his natural habitat.”

“Yeah, because you hate me,” Louis pouts.

Dinah raises her eyebrow at him. “And then you wonder where Normani got her dramatics from,” 

Zayn stood quietly, not paying attention to their conversation, but rather lost in his thoughts. He was trying to figure out why the council would want to remove any knowledge about dragons.

“Alexander needed the majority of council members to agree to this in order for him to push it forward,” Zayn spoke, interrupting Dinah and Louis from whatever they were saying at the moment.

“There’s fifty of us, which means he needed at least twenty-six members to say yes.” Dinah notes.

“Well no one asked me,” Louis says. “I couldn’t even vote against it, since I didn’t know it was going on.”

“He wasn’t going to ask the three of us because he knew we’d say no,” Zayn points out the obvious. “And he’s not obligated to share it with all of the members, because it’s not a law that’s being passed. It was an order,”

Louis stops making silly faces at the chimpanzee to say, “But doesn’t that directly conflict with the actual law that enforces the display of any information pertaining to our world, to the public? It is the supernatural world’s right to know everything they can about their history.”

“There’s ways around that law though,” Zayn points out.

“That’s true,” Dinah agrees. “He could’ve ordered this as a temporary thing, or maybe used the endangered species clause, which allows him to remove any information from the public about an endangered species if he can prove that the information that’s out there is only causing them more harm.”

“Except that there isn’t anything in those books that reveal anything concrete about dragons,” Louis says. “They’re practically children’s books, telling you all the different colors that dragons come in and most of them are filled with silly stories of conquests, which are repeatedly emphasized on the text to be myths.”

“Right,” Dinah says. “But the council knows that some of those stories aren’t actual myths,”

“So maybe he convinced the council that the hunters are using those myths to hunt dragons?” Zayn suggests.

Dinah sighs in frustration. She was scared, not for herself, but for the dragons.

“Okay, I’m going to go talk to Alexander.” Zayn says after a moment of silence.

“And do what?” Louis asks.

“I need him to undo this ridiculous order about Dinah and well, I’m sure you can fill him in Dinah,” Zayn answers.

“I can, but maybe Louis should go with you?” Dinah suggests.

“Not necessary,” Zayn assures her.

“Yeah I didn't want to say anything,” Louis adds. "But you look like you were crying, so I'm not leaving you alone."

“Actually, while you two catch up, you should start moving all of your stuff to our place.” Zayn says.

“What? Why?” Dinah asks, confused.

“After what happened, you can’t be living here alone Dinah.” Zayn reasoned. “All of your things will be safe at our home, and we have plenty of empty bedrooms anyways.”

“Oohhh I can’t wait to decorate your bedroom!” Louis exclaimed. 

“Zayn, I don’t really think this is necessary. It would be a huge inconvenience for the two of you.” Dinah argues.

“Nonsense!” Louis says. “I don’t know what happened earlier, but if Zayn thinks it’s best that you move in with us, then I will undoubtedly agree once I receive context.”

“Good, then it’s settled.” Zayn smiles triumphantly at Dinah. He looks at Louis when he says “Have El and Mani help with the moving.” He then teleports out of the lab and into the office he has in the council.

 

 

 

 

 

Zayn hardly ever used the office that was assigned to him at the council building. Normally, he was there when he had to be in and out of meetings with the council. He never kept any important information inside that office, not trusting anyone to stay out of his business. Louis did exactly the same. The offices they both had were much smaller than their offices at home. Other council members had bigger offices, but because Louis and Zayn hardly used theirs, they didn’t care which ones were assigned to them. Their offices had a wooden desk, with an uncomfortable wooden chair. The walls were a dark green. There were no decorations, portraits, or certificates hanging anywhere. It looked like no one occupied the space. The only difference between Zayn’s and Louis’s office was that Zayn had a bean bag in his office, which Louis ended up using most of the time while they waited in between council meetings; Zayn levitated whenever Louis used his bean bag chair, not wanting to sit on the chair behind his desk.

Zayn takes a deep breath, collecting himself and mentally begging for patience. With the files in hand, he heads to the biggest office in the council, belonging to Alexander Smith. Without knocking on his door, Zayn storms into his office, completely ignoring the two figures that sit cross Alexander’s desk, and slams the files on the desk. “Care to explain yourself?” Zayn demands.

 

 

 

Alexander Smith was in the middle of a private meeting with his daughter Sophia and her fiancé Liam, when Zayn stormed in and demanded that he explained himself. Alexander sat behind his desk with squared shoulders, a practiced smile, and his brown hair perfectly slicked on the sides. His beige tailored suit made a statement of his elegance and professionalism.

Liam and Sophia sat frozen from shock at the scene.

Liam thought his eyes were betraying him when he recognized that it was Zayn who stormed into the office. He thought his mind was playing tricks on him, and yet here Zayn was, wearing dark skinny blue jeans with a red long sleeve sweater that made him look as soft and as beautiful as ever. Except there was nothing soft about Zayn’s posture, as he stood in-between Sophia and Liam, confronting Alexander Smith. Liam suddenly feared for Zayn’s safety. Is he crazy? 

“Zayn,” Alexander greeted him in a friendly manner, giving him a polite smile. “How wonderful to see you,” he continued his false friendliness. “If you will just give me a moment to close up this private family meeting, we can discuss what troubles you.”

“I only need you to undo this order of yours that prevents Dinah from completing her research,” 

“Zayn, please,” Alexander warned. “There’s no reason to discuss this in front of my daughter and her fiancé.”

Zayn snapped his fingers and a new document appeared on top of Alexander’s desk. “Sign the document to undo the order and you will no longer have to deal with my presence.”

Liam had to remind himself to breathe as he watched the confrontation.

“I will do no such thing,” Alexander said, ignoring the document on his desk. “Dinah isn’t being useful in her research. She hasn’t found any new information that we don’t already know about the dragons.”

“She’s writing a textbook about them, not helping you catch the people responsible for their killings. You have a team of people for that, or has that completely gone over your head?”

“She has no business researching them when it isn’t helping anyone. Her contributions could be spent elsewhere,”

“Dinah specializes in the animals of the supernatural world, which is inclusive of dragons, and therefore you have no right to take them from her.”

“And she should continue to focus on her field, but she can forget about dragons.”

“Dinah has passionately dedicated years of work into her research of dragons. She’s the only one who gives an actual damn about them!”

“And yet she’s managed to come up with nothing new,” Alexander pauses. “Unless of course, she’s lying and is keeping what she finds to herself...” he looks at Zayn skeptically.

“Is there something you want to ask, Alexander?”

“Not at all,” Alexander smiles innocently. “I was just saying that if she was keeping any information, it would have serious consequences for her.”

“I would think twice before threatening her,”

“You shouldn’t have taken it as a threat if she has nothing to hide.” Alexander reasoned. “I didn’t know you and Dinah were so close anyways,” he continued.

“Well, then here is my threat,” Zayn leaned forward on the desk. “This is your last chance to sign this paper or I will just gather the council and we can add a bigger audience to our little discussion.”

Zayn pleasantly smiled as Alexander’s relaxed face was replaced with one of anger. Without taking his eyes off of Zayn, he signed the document.

“See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?” Zayn snapped his fingers to make the document disappear. He straightened himself. He turned to Sophia and said “It was lovely seeing you Sophia,”

Sophia smiled at him and said, “It’s always a pleasure Mister Malik.”

Zayn turned to look at Liam to ask, “You’re still coming over for dinner this week, right?” Liam had no idea what dinner Zayn was talking about, but he still said “Yes.”

“Fantastic. See you then,” and with that, Zayn teleported out of Alexander’s office. He would’ve walked away, but it was always fun to teleport in front of Alexander because he didn’t have the ability to teleport, and that was always something that Alexander envied. It was after all, a rare gift to have.

 

 

Once Sophia and Liam were left alone with Alexander, Liam averted his eyes. He didn’t know what to say, but he could feel Alexander's eyes on him. Sophia on the other hand, had a grin on her face, as she continued to sit calmly on her chair.

“How do you know Zayn?” Alexander asked, forcing Liam to look at him.

“Uh, we’re friends.” Liam answered. He didn’t know what to say, or what to reveal, because Zayn was so private about his life that Liam wasn’t sure what Alexander knew about him.

“Yes, but how?" Alexander grew impatient.

“I helped save the life of someone he cares about when he wasn’t around,” Liam answered, hoping that was vague enough.

“His daughter, Normani?” Alexander pressed. The only thing he knew about Zayn is that he cared for Louis and Normani, though he’s never met Normani.

“Uh, yes.” At least he knew about Normani, so now Liam didn’t feel like he exposed Zayn.

“So he trusts you?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t known him for long.”

“Oh, this is wonderful Liam,” Alexander smiled. “I will need you to spy on him for me,” Alexander ordered.

“Sir, I don’t think I can do that,” Liam cleared his throat.

“Sure you can,” Sophia encouraged, putting a hand over Liam’s shoulder. “Don’t you want to help daddy?” She asked.

“Not with this.” Liam insisted. “I don’t think it’s right,”

Alexander began to speak, but Sophia got ahead of him. “Liam, this is really important. Daddy is just concerned that Mister Malik is keeping things from the council. It’s not normal for council members to be so closed about their private lives, so if he has nothing to hide, then you have nothing to report back. It’s simple Liam,” she smiled at him; her eyes urging him to agree.

“Okay.” Liam agreed, taking a deep breath. He didn't want to do this. 

“Good.” Alexander said. “Now, you two are excused.” Both Liam and Sophia stood from their chairs. “Report back to me in a week Liam. I want to know details, no matter how insignificant.”

“Yes, sir.” He nodded and walked away, with Sophia close behind.

 

Once Sophia and Liam were out of the council and driving back to Liam’s house, in Sophia’s car, Liam asked “What the hell was that?”

“Are you referring to what happened with dad and Zayn, or about him asking you to spy on Zayn?” Sophia kept her eyes on the road.

“All of it.” Liam noted that she had previously spoken about Zayn in a former manner, and now she said his name as though they were old friends.

“Dad and Zayn don’t get along. It’s been like this ever since Zayn and Louis came into the council. Dad hates them both,”

“But why?”

“He’s scared of them,”

“How is that possible? He’s the head of council, meaning that he was the most powerful warlock out of the current thirty that are alive.”

“Power isn’t everything, Liam”

“Not according to the hierarchy.” Liam pointed out.

“Well, I don’t know any specifics. I just know that Louis and Zayn have an incredible talent at getting under my father’s skin.”

“So he wants me to spy on them because he doesn’t like them?”

“Yes. He’s hoping you can catch them breaking the law, so that he can get them removed from council.” Sophia explained. “But you will do no such thing,” she added.

What? Weren’t you just telling me to?”

“Yes, but that was just so that my father wouldn’t threaten you.” Sophia looked at him for a couple of seconds. “Look, I don’t know much about them, but I know that they’re good people.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“Because my father isn’t a good person.”

Liam didn’t know what to say. Sophia had commented on her annoyance of her father before, but she had never said this. And not only that, but she wanted him to defy her father?

“Sophia, why are you telling me all of this? He’s your dad.”

“And?” Sophia stops the car on the side of the road. She unbuckles herself, and turns to look at Liam. “My father doesn’t care about anything except power, Liam. He’s making us get married so that it makes him look good. Don’t you see how problematic that is? And I don’t mean to offend because you’re a great guy Liam, but I just want to live my life in the ocean studying mermaids, but instead I have to get married for his convenience.” Sophia sighed. “Zayn and Louis may be secretive, but they are loved by the council. I keep thinking that my father feels threatened by them because of their popularity within the council. Either way, it doesn't matter. Just don't betray Zayn's trust, because my father is not worthy of your loyalty.”

"Okay." Liam nods. He wasn't planning on spying on Zayn anyways, but it was nice to know that he didn't have to hide it from Sofia.

 

Chapter Text

After dinner everyone found themselves in the lab, which now not only belonged to Zayn and Louis, but to Dinah as well. She had moved in her stuff a couple of days ago, but it already looked like she had been staying there for years. Dinah’s plants covered most of the lab’s walls, making the place look like a weird jungle that someone decided to put equipment in. Louis had to move the three long tables that used to be in the center of their lab, leaving only one, in order for Dinah to place her trees where she needed to. There were still plenty of counters connected to the walls, which is where they tried to store anything that didn’t need to be on display.

Dinah sat on top of the corner of her desk, reading some documents. Even though Zayn had begged Dinah to take one of the empty offices they had, she refused because she needed to be able to observe her plants and creatures as much as possible. They placed her desk on the right corner of the lab, to her satisfaction. Dinah wasn’t wearing her usual lab coat, but instead had a nice white long sleeve dress top, fitting her tightly. It was a crop top, which went along with her long white dress pants. Her long blonde hair was straightened out today, currently tucked behind her ears, that way her hair didn’t get in the way of the documents she read. Her five inch black high heels made a clacking noise whenever she walked on the marveled floor of the lab. She looked out of place in the mess that was currently their lab, but Dinah had dressed up for the dinner they had, not planning on coming back to the lab afterwards. She wasn’t the only that had dressed up for dinner.

Eleanor sat behind Dinah’s desk, reclining back on the chair with her legs crossed on top of the desk. She wore long skinny jeans, with a pair of three inch beige high heels, and a beige loose blouse with sleeves that went down to her elbows. Eleanor distractedly chewed on the end of a pen as she read through the documents she held, placed on her lap. Zayn and Eleanor hanged out every day for a week since they had first met. They would hang out for a couple of hours after Zayn randomly called her up, to meet him somewhere, usually at a food place. At the end of the week Zayn decided to tell her that he was a warlock, and offered her to come assist him and Louis in the lab. After the initial shock she felt, she said yes to Zayn. She had been spending most of her first week trying to get familiar with the lab equipment. Louis was in charge of helping her transition; using the opportunity to get Normani familiarized with the lab too. This forced Normani and Eleanor to spend a lot of time together during the week, while they both tried to learn from Louis. Even though Eleanor was three years older than Normani, they bonded pretty quickly. Eleanor was glad to have Normani around because she felt intimidated to be working for warlocks. Normani's friendliness made the transition easier. What Eleanor found most intimidating was that Zayn had given her the position without ever before offering it to anyone else, and she didn’t want to mess it up.

Then, a couple of days ago, Louis told her that they were going to move everything from Dinah’s lab to theirs. This meant that she was now going to assist Dinah too. It was adding to her nerves, until she actually met Dinah. Dinah had treated her as though they were old friends and her friendliness had put Eleanor at ease. Which is why Eleanor already felt comfortable enough to sit behind Dinah’s desk, as relaxed as she was, while Dinah sat on top of the corner of her own desk, feeling unbothered.

“What about Peanut?” Eleanor asks Dinah.

“Who the hell is Peanut?” Dinah asks in return, looking at her with confused eyes.

“That’s what Louis named the chimpanzee,” Eleanor explains.

“What a stupid idiot,” Dinah rolls her eyes. “I told this boy not to name him, because he’s not keeping him and here he is getting attached.” Dinah looks over at Louis, who was in the opposite corner of the room and could not hear their conversation. “Peanut is such a common name for a monkey too. I’m actually going to kill Louis.”

Eleanor awkwardly stares back at Dinah, trying not to laugh. In the little time that she’s witnessed Dinah’s interaction with Zayn and Louis, it was clear that the boys enjoyed irritating Dinah as though they were her younger siblings.

“Just check him off the list for now,” Dinah finally says. “But add to his schedule that in three days we’re taking him to get more familiarized with his actual environment.”

“Got it,” Eleanor says, writing it down.

“The sooner we can find him a family of chimpanzees that are willing to accept him, the faster we can return him to his rightful habitat.”

 

 

On the opposite corner of the room from Dinah and Eleanor, stood two tall trees with a hammock in the middle; one tree was full of green and purple leaves, while the other had green and blue leaves. Inside the hammock, Louis laid there with Peanut sleeping on top of him; both wrapped up under the same gray blanket. Louis still wore the outfit he had for dinner: white dress shirt and black dress pants. His black tie, black dress shoes, and his suit jacket all laid below the hammock on the floor. Louis was close to falling asleep, feeling very content at the moment.

 

 

Toward the center of the room, Normani, Niall, and Dale sat in a small circle on the floor, competitively playing Uno. Dale wasn’t wearing his baseball hat tonight, instead he let his brown curls show. He wore the mini version of Louis’s outfit, which Louis had to chase him around the house to force him to wear it.

 

“But whyyy do I have to dress up,” Dale whined, kicking his legs up on the air, as Louis tackled him on Zayn’s bed.

“Because you’re the one that’s insisting on joining us for the dinner party and I will not allow you to show yourself in your dirty baseball outfit! Now stay still so that I can put this damn shirt on you!” Louis struggled to hold him. “Dale Malik Tomlinson if you don’t stop moving right now I will remove you from your baseball team.” Louis threatened; Dale stopped struggling against him immediately. “That’s what I thought. And you’re lucky it’s too late to make you shower right now.”

Zayn walked in his room then, wondering if Lila was there, but instead he found Louis and Dale on his bed. Louis was no longer on top of Dale, holding him down, because Dale was now cooperating – bitterly – but cooperating nonetheless.

“Is Lila still in the shower?” Zayn asked, hearing his shower on.

“Yes! Tell her to get out, please.” Louis shook his head in frustration. “This one has kept me too busy to deal with her.” 

 

Now, Dale sat with his legs crossed on the floor. He had taken his tie and dress shoes off, and placed them next to him. His curls were poking out in all directions, because he constantly ran his fingers through it. He had un-tucked his dress shirt and unbuttoned it; showing his white undershirt.

Normani sat in the small circle with her legs crossed, too. She wore a long yellow dress that went down to her ankles. The bottom half of the dress had ruffles on it. She wore stockings beneath her dress, and yellow pumps, which were currently off of her feet. Her dark curly hair was loose, with a small clip on the back. She was having fun now, determined to beat Niall and Dale in the game, but she wasn’t as relaxed before the dinner started.

 

“Daaaaaaaaad” Normani yelled. Zayn came rushing into her room, from the kitchen where he was finishing preparing the food, with a wooden spoon still in hand.

“What?” Zayn asked, looking around the room to see what the emergency was.

Normani stood by her bed, staring down at two different dresses in distress. “I can’t decide what to wear,” she frowned, looking at Zayn.

“Are you joking right now?” Zayn rolled his eyes. “Normani, people will be arriving in a half hour.”

“I’m almost ready I swear,” Normani lied. “I just haven’t decided what dress to wear.”

“Really, so you have no plans of putting on make-up or doing something with your hair?” Zayn looked at her skeptically.

“That won’t take me long,” Normani promised, even though Zayn knew it was an empty promise.

“Okay, then wear the red dress.” Zayn said, without glancing at the dresses for more than a couple of seconds. He didn't care what Normani wore as long as she looked presentable. He just needed her to be ready on time.

“But I don’t know if I feel like wearing red tonight,” Normani added.

“Then wear the yellow one!” Zayn said. He was two seconds away from burning both dresses to ashes.

“Yes, but is this one going to wow Niall? I want him to be speechless when he sees me.”

Instead of saying anything, Zayn just walked out of the room. He didn’t have time for this.

“Daaaaaaaaad” Normani yelled again, a second after Zayn had walked out of her room. Louis was coming down the stairs with a disgruntled Dale in that moment, running into Zayn in the hall.

Zayn looked at him, threw his hands up in defeat, and said “She’s all yours.” He walked back to the kitchen, with Dale following him. Dale stomped on the marveled floor, his arms crossed, and angry eyes staring straight ahead.

Zayn threw his arms in the air again, in defeat, and said “It’s like Louis birthed you himself!” in frustration. Zayn turned to look at Dale with a serious face, pointing his wooden spoon at him. “If you don’t get rid of that attitude right now you can forget about joining us for dinner.” Zayn threatened. Dale and Lila had no actual need for food, in the way humans did. “And quit fidgeting with your outfit and hair so much, you’re going to mess it up.”

Back in Normani’s room, Louis was mentally debating the quickest way to end his life, as Normani debated between the two dresses out loud. “Normani,” Louis begged. “You will look beautiful in both dresses, for the love of Michael, just decide.”

“Fine, I’ll wear the red one.”

“Perfect.” Louis agreed, walking to the door.

“No, wait, I’ll wear the yellow one. Oh my god I just don’t know” she changed her mind.

Louis groaned and banged his head against the door in annoyance. With a snap of his fingers, the yellow dress appeared on Normani.

“Oh, you’re right, this one’s the one.” Normani said, twirling her dress, as she looked at herself in the mirror wall. “Can you automatically get my make-up and hair done with magic too?” she asked.

“No.” Louis lied, slamming the door to her room.

“Rude.” Normani said, even though Louis had already left and could no longer hear her.

 

Niall laid on the floor, waiting for Dale to play his cards. He felt so jubilant in this moment, as him, Dale, and Normani tried to outsmart each other in Uno. Just like Normani and Dale, he had taken off his shoes. He wore black dress pants, a black long-sleeved buttoned-up shirt, and black dress shoes. His hair was neatly brushed up. He tried to dress nicer for this dinner, knowing that the last time, he was under dressed. When he had arrived and saw Normani in her yellow dress, he realized nothing he did with his appearance would matter as long as Normani was in the room.

 

“Soooo glasses or no glasses then?” Niall asked Liam, taking his glasses off and on, in front of Liam’s mirror that hanged behind his bedroom door.

“Niall, I don’t bloody care.” Liam answered, as he tore his closet apart. He didn’t know what to wear and he wanted to look good. No, he wanted to look perfect.

“Well I do and I’m asking for your bloody opinion, so give me one.”

“Niall you don’t even need those glasses to see, your vision is perfectly fine,” Liam pointed out, still sorting through his clothes, which now were all scattered on the floor of his small bedroom.

“Yeah, but I feel like they add a certain je ne sais quoi, wouldn’t you say?”

“Sure, mate.” Liam agreed, not knowing what the hell Niall was referring to, reaching for a pair of dark jeans he spotted.

“Hmmm… Maybe I should just save them for another time?” Niall said.

“Mmm…” was all Liam said, not paying attention to him at all.

“Should I wear the white buttoned-up shirt or the black one?” Niall asked, even though he was already wearing the white buttoned-up shirt.

“You wore a white shirt last time,” Liam reminded him, looking for a black blazer that he swore he had somewhere.

“Ohh good point,” Niall said.

 

But when Niall and Liam arrived, Niall didn’t feel as much under dressed, as he felt insignificant standing in the same room as Normani. He reasoned that even with his glasses, he wasn’t going to impress Normani. Her beauty was unmatched, and Niall wondered how people stood in the same room as her without their self-esteem plummeting. Now, as Niall watched her focused eyes, he knew there was no going back from this crush. Maybe if all Normani had to offer were her looks, then he would lose interest at some point. But Normani's brilliant mind and great sense of humor were easily winning Niall over. She moved with grace, as though she was raised like a proper queen. Yet so far, Niall’s favorite thing about her is when she lights up with excitement, whenever she finds out that Niall and her share a similar interest. For the past two weeks, they had been doing their homework together at the coffee shop. That was usually when Niall and Normani got a chance to talk about their interests. 

“Uh Niall?” Normani says, interrupting his thoughts.

“Sorry, what?”

“It’s your turn,” Dale answers instead.

“Oh, right, sorry,” Niall puts down a couple of cards.

“What were you thinking about anyways?” Normani asks, while Dale decided which cards to play.

“Just that I need to take you out on a proper date after you lose this round to me,” Niall winks at her. Normani shyly laughs, feeling flustered at the thought. 

“Gross, I’m telling dad.” Dale says, putting down a card that switched the color. Normani stuck out her tongue in response, and Niall laughed at both of them. They looked like proper siblings to Niall, even if neither of them realized it.

 

 

Liam, Zayn, and Lila sat on the floor at the bottom of Rose’s tree, playing with Rose. Well, it was mostly Lila and Zayn watching Rose play with Liam, since he appeared to like giving Liam all the attention. Liam kept passing Rose a small yellow ball, the side of a tennis ball, which Rose passed back to Liam. Liam didn’t understand why it was so entertaining to Rose to pass the ball back and forth, but it made Liam happy to do it. Liam sat with his legs opened wide enough for Rose to be in between his legs, as they passed the ball to each other. Liam’s favorite thing was when Rose nudged the ball to Liam with his head, almost tripping forward, but he’d spread his wings and flap them frantically to stop himself from falling. For all the stress that Liam went through to get dressed, in the end it didn’t seem to really matter, as he was enjoying himself so much tonight that he completely forgot about his outfit or anything he had in mind.

 

“Are you sure that this outfit is okay, Niall?” Liam asked Niall, who now laid on top of Liam’s bed, scrolling through his phone, as he waited for Liam to finish getting ready.

“Why does it matter, Liam?” Niall asked without looking up from his phone. “Didn’t you say that Zayn wasn’t going to ask you out on a date until you officially ended your engagement?”

“I feel like you’re focusing on the negative, Niall.” Liam said, straightening out his black t-shirt, and buttoning his black blazer.

“And what exactly is the positive, Liam?” Niall looked at him incredulously.

“Zayn admitted he liked me, which means that my job is to look pretty enough to make him forget about that insignificant engagement,”

“Now you’re just delusional Liam,” Niall drew his attention back to his phone. “If I were you, I would get rid of that engagement before trying anything with him, because when he rejects you, you’re gonna get all hurt and it won’t be his fault, because he already told you how he feels.”

“Nah, I think you’re overthinking,” Liam said, while looking at himself in the mirror. He was satisfied with the scruff on his face and his hair brushed up neatly.

“And you’re not thinking enough,” Niall said, getting up from the bed.

“Don’t be silly, let’s go.” Liam walked out of his bedroom, with Niall right behind him.

 

Now, as Liam played with Rose, he was just satisfied that he was spending time with Zayn. Even if there was no flirting going on, just being in Zayn’s presence was enough.

Zayn sat on the floor directly across from Liam, leaning against the tree trunk, with Lila sat on his lap. Her curly brown hair was loose, with a hair clip on the back because she wanted her hair to look like Normani’s.

 

“Papa can I join a cheerleading team?” Lila asked Zayn, while he was putting the clip on her hair. She had decided to wear a bright green dress that went down to her knees. The bottom had a lot of layers, making it almost look like a gown.

“Why do you want to join a cheerleading team, Lila?” Zayn asked. “There,” he added. “All done.” Lila twirled around in front of the full length mirror in Zayn’s walk-in closet. His guests would be arriving in ten minutes.

“Well, when I was playing baseball at the park with Dale, a few girls passed by us and said that baseball was for boys and that I should be doing cheerleading instead.” Lila walked over to Zayn, who was standing by a different mirror inside the closet, fixing his hair. “You should wear this shirt papa,” she handed him a royal blue buttoned up shirt.

“Thank you,” he grabbed the shirt from her and put it on top of his white undershirt. He already had his black dress pants on. “Lila,” Zayn spoke again. Lila sat on the carpeted floor, fidgeting with her dress, waiting for Zayn to be done getting ready.

“Yes, papa?”

“Do you actually want to join the cheerleading team, or are you doing it because you feel like as a girl, it’s what you should do?”

“I don’t know,” Lila answered, not looking at him.

“I think you do,” Zayn disagreed, buttoning up his shirt. He decided against a tie, knowing he would end up taking it off later anyways. He also decided not to wear his suit jacket.

Zayn reached out his hand towards Lila; she pulled herself up. He then carried her in his arms. “Lila, I will change you to a cheerleading team in a heartbeat if that is what you really want. Cheerleading is a challenging sport though, and it takes a lot of discipline, just like most sports. I don’t want you to think that cheerleading is dominated by girls because it’s seen as an easier and weaker thing to do.” Zayn spoke, as he held her gaze. “But I know that you love baseball, and even if you’re the only girl on the team, the boys love you and they treat you as their equal, which is a remarkable thing.” Zayn pointed out. “You are about as feminine as they come, Lila. But you enjoy hobbies that tend to target a masculine audience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, because guess what?”

“What?” she asked, listening intently.

“These things are socially constructed,”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that you are allowed to be interested in whatever makes you happy, not what others believe should make you happy based on your gender.” Zayn said, not wanting to actually explain to her the definition of a social construct.

“Baseball makes me happy,” Lila said, smiling.

“And you make me happy,” Zayn nuzzled their noses together, making her giggle. “So I guess we both get what we want.” He added, putting her down. “Now, go wait for me downstairs. People should be arriving, if they’re not already here.”

“Yes papa,” Lila ran out of the closet, excited to see if any guest had arrived.

Zayn searched for his black belt, realizing he had far too many black belts than it should be allowed. He decided to leave his hair down, letting it do whatever it wanted. It was too long for him to control and he couldn’t find his headbands. Lila was probably playing with them and forgot to put them back.

 

Lila now sat on Zayn’s lap, leaning against his chest. She was getting tired of watching Liam play with Rose; she asks “Papa, can I see your sketchbook?”

“It’s in my bedroom, Lila” Zayn reminds her. He did not want to bring out his sketchbook, because he had no doubt that Liam would be curious enough to go through it.

“I know you can use your magic to bring it down here papa,” Lila says. Zayn sighs in defeat. A couple of seconds later, his sketchbook appeared on Lila’s lap. She claps her hands in excitement, tilting her had to give Zayn a kiss on the cheeks.

Lila was looking at the third page of Zayn’s sketchbook, when Liam finally asked “Can I see that after you’re done?”

“You can look at it now, if you want.” She offers, handing the sketchbook to Liam, who accepts it.

Lila leans forward to grab Rose. She leans back against Zayn’s chest again, as she held on to Rose, who seemed very happy to be embraced by Lila. All the while, Zayn embraced Lila. Zayn thought that he was very happy in this moment, as he closed his eyes and smiled in peace.

“These are amazing, Zayn,” Liam comments, as he went through the drawings. Zayn opens his eyes to look at Liam, who stared in awe at his drawings.

“Thank you,” Zayn says, giving him a warm smile.

“These are mostly of Lila and Dale,” Liam notes with a curious face.

“Papa says that we’re his favorite people to draw,” Lila answers smugly. She eagerly posed for a lot of those drawings. “My personal favorites are the ones where Papa draws the entire family together, or when he draws himself or Louis hugging me. Ooohhh, the one where Normani and I are throwing our heads back and laughing at the beach is lovely too. I was very happy in that moment,”

So was I. Zayn thought to himself, thinking back to that moment at the beach, and no longer paying attention to what Lila and Liam commented on. The reason why every single one of those sketches contained Lila, Dale, or both, was because neither of them showed up in photographs. Louis and Zayn had reached a point in which they were both in denial about Lila and Dale needing to cross over – because that meant that Zayn and Louis would never see them again, and neither of them were ready to say goodbye. They knew they were stupid and only hurting themselves in the end, by allowing this to go on for as long as it has, but they couldn’t help themselves. Lila and Dale were now their babies, just like Normani, and they’ll be damned if someone tries to take them away. But in case that Lila and Dale decided to cross over, Zayn and Louis wanted photos of their memories together, and since it wasn’t possible, Zayn drew them. He made sure to capture every single detail about their features, wanting to draw them exactly as they are; as vividly as possible. Even though ghosts could see their reflection in mirrors, cameras could not capture them because they were no longer supposed to be existing on earth; meaning that there was supposed to be no further traces of them, because they were dead, and they needed to move on to their rightful place.

Lila and Dale had died with their parents on a car crash six years ago. They weren’t able to cross over, like their parents were. They wondered in the streets for two years without any purpose, until they had encountered Louis walking out of the store. Zayn is forever grateful for that moment, because they have only added more happiness to their life at home. Sure, they’ve been stuck at the age of ten this entire time, but none of them were bothered by it. Except Normani, who would always say “I swear you two haven’t aged a day since I’ve met you.” and without skipping a beat Lila would respond with “you know what they say, the older you get the crazier you get.” And Dale would add “Also, I could swear I just saw a gray hair on your head.” Making Normani run to the closest mirror, obsessively checking for nonexistent gray hair – and it happened every year, and Normani fell for it every time. When Normani was told that they were ghosts, her response was an indifferent “that is the most normal thing I have found out this week.”

Zayn and Louis had never thought of themselves as children – ever. Due to being warlocks, their intellect was far too advanced, making them feel all grown. Having to be mature when Normani arrived to them wasn’t difficult because it was in their nature. By the time Lila and Dale forced themselves into their lives, Zayn and Louis automatically fell into a parenting role without even noticing it at first.

Zayn focused back on the present and the feelings that everyone was feeling at the moment. Louis was resting, with a sleeping Peanut on the hammock; Zayn only felt peacefulness from him. Then there was Eleanor and Dinah, who were full of joy as they laughed about something Zayn couldn’t hear from where he sat, but he could feel their contentment. Just as he could feel the happiness that radiated from Normani, Niall, and Dale as they were arguing about the rules of the game, all trying to one-up each other. His family was happy and therefore Zayn was happy.

“Oh, dear,” said a man dressed in an all-black suit. “I’m interrupting a family moment, aren’t I?”

Louis and Zayn were on the feet instantly, before anyone else could react. They all stared at the figure that had teleported inside the lab. It was a man dressed all in black, with short wavy hair, perfectly styled. He smiled apologetically, at everyone in the room.

“Who in Lucifer’s name are you?” Niall was the first to ask; standing defensively next to Normani, with Dale pushed behind them.

“Well, for one, Lucifer” he says, “Though I’m going by Harry nowadays ‘cause I think that sounds less intimidating, don’t you think?”

Chapter Text

“Lucifer,” Normani said. “The fallen angel?”

“It’s Harry, dear, please” He insisted, giving her an easy smile. “And the fallen angel thing is such a common misconception,” he tisked. “I’m still an archangel, but that’s off topic.” He claps his hands. “I’m going to assume that you and you,” he points to Louis and Zayn, “are the head of the household, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson, am I right?”

“How did you get inside?” Louis asked. “Supernatural beings can’t teleport inside this house without our permission.”

“I’m an archangel, dear. I can do whatever I please, and no silly house magic can stop me. Though if you’re wondering, your house doesn’t feel threatened by me. I think she likes me.” He commented charismatically.

“Mind explaining to us what you want?” Zayn asked authoritatively. “If you’re not here to threaten,”

“I need your help,” Harry explained. “And rumor has it that the two of you and a little witch named Dinah, which I presume is you,” he pointed to Dinah, who stood by her desk, with Eleanor, “are up to no good.”

Louis scoffed, asking, “What can a pretentious archangel possibly need from some warlocks and a witch?”

“If you think I’m pretentious, you should meet my siblings,” Harry commented, walking towards the long table at the lab to lean against it. “I have plenty of them, if anyone is interested in adopting a sibling? You’d save me from a lot of headaches.” he humorously added. Zayn could tell that Harry was trying to ease the tension of the room, but none of them were going to put their guard down until they knew what an archangel, Lucifer nonetheless, wanted from them. Especially when he was trying to expose what Dinah, Louis, and Zayn were getting up to.
“Hey, is that Lila?” Harry asked, squinting his eyes in her direction. Lila hid behind Zayn and Liam. “Which means that Dale must be the little boy hiding behind this other pair,” he pointed to Normani and Niall. “You know, you two aren’t supposed to be here, and the angels have been looking for you two for quite some years now…”

Dinah spoke from her corner of the room. “Are you going to get to an actual point or are you just here because you had no one to talk to?”

“I will get to the point, but first I need to know if everyone here is inner circle. I can’t just be divulging all this information out there to anybody.”

“The only person I don’t recall calling into the inner circle is you,” Dinah responded.

“Honestly, I really enjoy the way that you’re able to come up with quick remarks, but I need a legitimate answer.” Harry said.

“Yes,” Louis answered instead, “everyone here is trustworthy.”

“Thank you.” Harry smiled. “Now, in a couple of minutes or less, my sister Michael, although she’s going by Lauren now, will be coming inside this lab to help me explain to you why we need your assistance.” He continued to inform them. “I have one request and one question before she comes. The first request being that Lila and Dale go elsewhere while Lauren's here.”

“Why?” Zayn asked.

“Because Lauren’s job is to make sure that everything is running smoothly upstairs, and that includes assuring that all those needing to cross over to heaven do so.”

“And why won’t you do it?” Zayn asked.

“Because I’m more concerned with what comes in and out of hell, and also, I’m more lenient about these silly little rules, than my sister.” He explained.

“Lila and Dale,” Zayn called them. “Go wait in the training room until I can go get you.” He ordered, and they went without complaint.

“What is your question?” Zayn asked.

“Will you give me the consent to reveal what the three of you have been doing in front of everyone, or do more people need to be excused?”

Everyone waited for Zayn to answer. After a solid ten seconds he said, “Everyone here is trustworthy, but are free to choose to leave at any moment.”

No one moved from where they stood, giving Harry the okay to continue.

Harry was about to speak, when Lauren teleported inside the lab. She wore black skinny jeans ripped by the knees, black combat boots, and a black crop-top; her wavy black hair tied up as a pony tail. She spoke to say “I’m so sorry I’m late,” while Harry turned to her to say “why are you determined to dress so hideously? That is not the look of an archangel.”

Her only response to Harry was to roll her eyes, and turned to examine the entire room. “This is kind of a weird set up,” she commented.

“Can you both tell us what you want now,” Louis stressed, clearly annoyed.

“Yes!” she said. “But can’t we all sit around a table or something? ‘cause you’re all in different sides of the room and it’s – ”

Louis looked at her incredulously. “You invade our home to ask for help, and you’re still being demanding?”

Before Lauren could respond, Zayn snapped his fingers, teleporting them all out of the lab, and into their library. Normani and Niall were the first to react, by walking over to one of the tables to sit. Since each table had six chairs, one on each end, and two on each side, Niall and Normani sat on one of the sides next to each other. Liam pulled out a chair from one of the other tables to sit next to Niall, rather than choosing any of the remaining empty chairs left at the table. Eleanor walked to sit at the head of the table, by Liam. Dinah went to sit at the other end of the table, by Normani. Lauren and Harry sat down on the two chairs left, across from Normani, Niall, and Liam, once they noted that Louis and Zayn had no intentions of sitting down. Instead they stood behind Normani and Niall.

“Satisfied?” Zayn asked.

“Yes.” Lauren gave him a polite smile. “I know this is weird and I wish we didn’t have to invade your personal space like this, but this is really important.”

Harry nodded in agreement. “Three years ago a group of six demons escaped through the gates of hell together.” He started to explain. “We don’t know how they did it, but as you can imagine, I was quite furious. I’m in charge of hell and I need to make sure that everything is running smoothly there, and all of the sudden, these six demons walk out of there as if it’s nothing.”

“I thought demons escaped hell all the time?” Normani asked. “I mean, since there are demon hunters out there every night.”

“No, they do not.” Harry answered. “Those demons that are hunted are a result of people in the supernatural world messing with dark magic. Something goes wrong and next thing you know, you’re turned into a demon.” He explained. “Also, they simplify the terms by calling themselves demon hunters. They don’t just hunt demons. They’re out there every night almost acting like a security or police force, making sure that other creatures of the supernatural world aren’t stepping out of line. Meaning, that they aren’t being abusive to other humans or supernatural beings, and that they continue to abide by the rules set by the council. Those demons that end up being removed from earth go straight to hell, and they can’t escape from there.”

Normani nodded, gaining some clarity.

Harry continues to speak. “Dinah, as you’ve probably already know from your research, the killing of dragons has intensified so much within the past three years that the council has officially labeled them at risk of extinction.”

Liam asked, “Are you trying to say that these demons that escaped are connected to the murdering of dragons?”

“Except that wouldn’t make any sense,” Zayn said before Harry could answer.

“And why not?” Harry challenged.

Dinah answered before Zayn could, “Because dragons have been targeted ever since their island was set on fire, which was four hundred years ago. Your demons only escaped three years ago, which sounds like a personal problem, given that you’re in charge of keeping them there.”

Harry smiled at her and said “I really like you,” which only made her roll her eyes. “And yes, you’re correct about that.” Harry agreed. “Unfortunately this personal problem of mine becomes quite a problem for everyone else, because as long as they’re out there, both humans and supernatural beings are in danger.”

“So what is your connection then?” Niall asked. Zayn already knew what Harry was going to say, because Zayn has been having this suspicion for a while, but hadn’t planned on how to go on about investigating it to its full extent.

“Oh, I think Zayn, Louis, and Dinah have already figured it out, haven’t you?” Harry looks at Dinah with a knowing smile.

Dinah said with indifference. “You believe that your demons have joined whoever has been after the dragons all this time,”

“Quite right,” Harry says, not taking his eyes off of her.

Eleanor leans forward to talk. “And your only evidence, which is dismissible by the way, is that the timeline of the rise of the dragons deaths within the past three years matches with your escaped demons?”

Lauren looks at her to answer. “Technically, yes.”

Louis asked. “So why come to us? You have plenty of archangels and angels to go to,”

“Because we believe Dinah had a breakthrough when she brought the fairies into the equation.” Lauren answered. “Also, the archangels are all very busy with their jobs to deal with this. They think my brother screwed up, so they won’t look further into it, but Uriel has already threatened him to fix it as soon as possible.”

“It’s been three years,” Normani pointed out.

Lauren shrugged. “Yeah, well three years is nothing to us archangels,”

“Am I the only one that’s confused?” Liam asked. Niall, Normani, and Eleanor shook their heads in response, because they were confused, too. Normani because she wasn’t as knowledgeable about the supernatural world; she still had so much to learn. Niall, Liam, and Eleanor were confused, because they couldn’t connect the dots, feeling like they were missing some of information about the case.

Zayn cleared his throat to speak. “The archangels have come to tell us that they believe the council is behind the murders and behind the demon’s escape.”

“What? How could that be?” Liam asked, horrified by the idea. “That’s a big accusation.”

“It’s the only one that makes sense,” Dinah said. “At least it’s the only one now that we know about these demons escaping.”

“But why?” Liam asked. “And aren’t you guys part of the council too?”

“Obviously not everyone in the council is part of it Liam,” Dinah answered, rolling her eyes in annoyance.

“What Dinah meant to explain,” Zayn said, giving her a warning look. “Is that the only beings that have been able to come in and out of hell as if it were their own house, were fairies. Fairies were arguably the most powerful beings of the supernatural world, and that is inclusive of witches and warlocks. However, they liked to keep to themselves in their island, as they looked after the dragons. That is of course, until they were claimed to have gone extinct, all supposedly dying in the fire.”

“That still doesn’t explain a connection to the council,” Liam noted.

Zayn added, “Only the council is capable of possessing the correct records of the fairies and dragons, given that very little has been disclosed to the public. Most people in our world don’t even believe that fairies were ever real.”

“True,” Niall agreed. “‘cause I sure didn’t think they were real,”

“This is crazy,” Liam said. “You’re all just coming to these conclusions without any evidence.” Liam stood from his chair. “Dangerous conclusions, might I add. If the council even gets an idea of what we’re discussing right now, we can all be sentenced to death!”

Harry spoke with boredom, “The council has truly done a number on its people, inflicting fear on you so that you don’t ever dare question their motives. It’s a typical tactic,”

“Yes, I am absolutely terrified. Excuse me for appearing to be the only one who happens to like being alive.” A million things were running through Liam’s head, but the one that stood out the most was his particular conversation with Sophia a couple of days ago, while they drove back from the council. She had clearly said that her father wasn't a good man.

“You’re not the only one,” Niall said, standing from his chair. “We have no business investigating the council, and Normani is the most vulnerable in this room. She doesn’t know the severity of this case, and needs to be left out of this,”

“You don’t speak for me,” Normani said, standing from her chair too. Everyone else stood from their chairs, still surrounding the table.

“Normani, I am not trying to, but this is really serious and we all need to walk away from this before the council finds out.”

“So you’re choosing to stay ignorant?” she argued.

“I am choosing to stay alive,”

“You are choosing to let fear dictate your life. There is corruption and it is our job as citizens of this world to stand up to it. I will not turn away from this,”

“You didn’t grow up in this world, you don’t know what you’re agreeing to Normani.”

“I don’t care if it costs me my life, because I will stand for what’s right. My parents raised me to stand up for what I believe in, and I would be turning away from my morals if I choose to remain ignorant just because it isn’t personally affecting me. Are these creatures not deserving of help?”

“I’m not saying they aren’t, I’m simply saying we cannot be the ones to give them help.”

“Maybe you can’t, but I will try my hardest to.” Normani walked out of the library then. Everyone just stared at where she previously stood. Louis and Zayn were struggling to keep a poker face as they were both gleaming with pride, with the way that Normani had carried herself.

“Why are the two of you letting her get involved?” Niall asked, turning to look at Louis and Zayn.

“Were you not listening, Niall?” Louis sarcastically asked. “She’s not going to let anyone deprive her of her right to fight for what she believes in.”

Niall sighed in frustration and left the library to chase after Normani.

 

“Moving on,” Eleanor spoke, breaking the silence. Everyone turned to look at her at the head of the table. “Liam, if you’re not comfortable with this, you need to leave because the quicker we can come up with a plan, the faster we can get this little meeting over with.”

Louis was pleased with Eleanor’s initiative, she was bright, and he knew that there must’ve been a reason for Zayn to choose her to come work for them. Everyone waited for Liam’s response.

“I’ll stay.” Liam finally said.

“Good,” Eleanor said. “I suppose you have a plan in mind?” she asked, turning to the archangels.

“Yes, or maybe just partially.” Harry answered. “We need to gather evidence that the council is actually involved. We’ll need to break into Alexander Smith’s personal storage inside the council. The Head of Council has always kept their most private personal files in that room. I’m not familiarized with the council building, so I will need someone to come with me.”

“Dinah and I will accompany you,” Zayn said. “We know exactly where it is. We tried to see if we could access the room ourselves, but there was some weird magic prohibiting us to enter.”

“Whatever magic it is, it won’t be a match for my power. I’ll be able to get us in.” Harry assured him.

“That part is settled then.” Louis said. “There is however, someone out there that could tell us more about these dragon hunters, and I’ve been trying to track her down. Do you think you can help me with that Lauren?”

Lauren nodded. “Who is she?”

“I don’t know her personally, but I know that she’s a vampire.”

“Hmm… she shouldn’t be too hard to find, I hope.”

“Okay.” Zayn said. “We also need to be aware of Alexander’s whereabouts.”

“Why not have him hire Normani as his assistant?” Eleanor suggested.

“Why would he do that?” Louis asked. “He knows she’s part of our family, he’s certainly not going to trust her.”

“But that’s exactly why she will appeal to him,” Liam noted. “Alexander is obsessed with wanting to know more about your life, and by having Normani with him at all times, he’ll try to gain her trust that way she can tell him more about you guys.”

“That might work,” Zayn agreed. “It would give us an easy access to his schedule, and Normani will be able to keep a close eye on him.” Zayn thought about his last encounter with Alexander. “Louis, you should be the one to ask him, because he’s probably still upset with me from the whole Dinah thing.” Zayn smiled to himself.

“So where does that leave me, then?” Liam asked.

“You need to continue your hunting routines with Niall,” Eleanor said.

“She’s right,” Zayn agreed. “Alexander already knows that you’re connected to me. He no doubt keeps tabs on his future-son-in-law, so you need to continue your schedule as normal, to not raise any suspicions. That is until, we can figure out our next move.”

“And I will continue to keep the laboratory running,” Eleanor said. “We have too many creatures inside there, and they need to be looked after.”

“I can help you with that, when I’m not occupied at the council,” Dinah said.

“Good.” Harry said. “We need to keep everything running as normal as we possibly can, until we find out exactly what the council is up to.”

“Alexander Smith will be glued to his desk all day tomorrow,” Louis informed. “All council members have to do individual meetings with him, to update him on their research. Depending on the length of the research, those check-ins tend to take a couple of days to complete.”

“He’s right,” Dinah agreed. “It’s best that we wait till he’s done with all of his meetings, to go into his office.”

“Works for me,” Harry said.

“Lauren, we can start tracking that vampire tomorrow,” Louis said. She nodded in agreement.

“Great, then let’s all get some sleep.” Zayn said.

Harry and Lauren politely said goodnight and teleported out of the library.

 

An hour after the archangels left, everyone else still remained in the house.

Chapter Text

An hour after the archangels left, everyone else still remained in the house.

 

Niall laid wide awake on Normani’s bed, trying to ease his mind, but nothing worked. He wanted to sleep, but there were too many fears running through his head. But then he would think about Normani’s words, her bravery, and he’d feel ashamed of himself.

 

Eleanor laid in the guest bedroom of the first floor, wide awake too. She wondered what she had gotten herself into. She felt concerned that she wasn’t going to be as much of an asset to the team, but when she watched Normani speak up for her beliefs, it encouraged Eleanor to stick to what she believes is right - no matter how scary she may think it is. Maybe she didn’t have a lot to offer to the team, but like Normani had said, she was going to try her hardest to help.

 

Inside Louis’s bedroom, Normani and Lila slept on his bed; unconsciously doing their best to cling to Louis as much as they could, while he slept in between them. He laid on his back, with his arms wrapped around them, as they cuddled onto him. Normani had gone directly to sleep in Louis’s bedroom when everyone was getting ready to sleep. She told Niall to take her bedroom, knowing that she was going to feel better about sleeping in Zayn’s or Louis’s bedroom, tonight. Even though Louis had his eyes closed, he was wide awake, as the girl’s dreams ran through his mind. He was debating on waking them, when Zayn opens his bedroom door, and quietly walks up to the bed.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re here,” Louis whispered.

“I could literally feel their emotions from upstairs. Are they having nightmares?” Zayn asked.

“Yes.” Louis nodded. Zayn laid his hand on Lila’s head, using his powers to get rid of her nightmares. In moments, he felt her emotions change to a calmer one, no longer afraid. He did the same with Normani.

“Thank you,” Louis said. “We need to talk in the morning,” he added.

“We will,” Zayn said. “I’ll make sure everyone in the house sleeps in till ten in the morning, but I’ll wake you around nine.”

“That’s a bit late, don’t you think?”

“Not after the night we’ve had,” Zayn said, looking at the clock on Louis’s night stand that signaled one thirty-three in the morning. It felt as though it should be later than that, but he was glad it wasn’t. After running his fingers through Louis’s hair, he sent a wave of sleep to him.

 

Zayn walked over to Eleanor, knowing she was still awake. If no one in the house fell asleep, he was going to struggle with sleep himself when their feelings attacked him so strongly. After letting her know it was him knocking, he walked in.

“What are you still doing up?” she asked from the bed. Zayn walked up to the bed to make eye contact with her. The lights on the bedroom were off, but she hadn’t closed the curtains of the window, allowing the moonlight to pierce through the room.

“I came here to ask you the same thing,” Zayn answered. “Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, I am.” Eleanor assured him. “A lot more came out of this night than I was expecting to, it’s just a lot to process, that’s all.”

“Okay, but Eleanor, I want you to know that you can still work for us and not get involved in any of this. You can even actually just walk away from it all, if you want.”

“I can’t walk away, Zayn.” Eleanor shook her head. “The work that Dinah does is important and I don’t have it in me to be a bystander,”

Zayn smiled at her, nodding. He turned to leave, when she said “Zayn?”

“Yes, Eleanor?”

“Why did you ask me to come work for you?”

“Because sometimes you just meet someone and instantly connect with them. It’s an instinctive thing, but I thought you were a perfect fit, and I wanted to help you do something that you love.” Zayn answered. “Though I suppose I could have asked another warlock to hire you as an assistant, but I thought you were genuine and I have been completely right thus far.” He added, winking at her. “You are brave and a kind person, and sometimes you just know that about people.” And with that, Zayn sent a wave of sleep at Eleanor; her restless feelings, turning into ones of peace.

 

Zayn stood in front of Normani’s bedroom door, knowing Niall laid awake, but decided against stepping inside to avoid a conversation with him. He would certainly bring up Normani, and Zayn did not want to get involved. From where he stood, Zayn sent a wave of sleep to Niall.

 

Zayn walked up the stairs, back to his bedroom. Liam sat on his bed with his arms crossed, leaning against the headboard as he watched the Disney movie playing on the flat screen. Dale slept next to Liam, all snuggled up in the blankets.

“He fell asleep when Meg and Hercules met for the first time,” Liam said, when Zayn walked into the room. “You were both right, this movie is solid and every song so far has been amazing.” He added.

Zayn chuckled. “It’s our favorite Disney movie,” he said. “As a family anyways, we have the entire dialogue memorized.” Zayn walks over to his bed and sits in between Liam and Dale. “One evening the five of us literally watched the movie three times in a row, while singing our lungs out at the songs.” Zayn smiled at the memory.

Liam picks up the remote to pause the movie. “These moments that you talk about,” he starts to say. “They sound so lovely, Zayn, and I’ve never had something like that.” Liam admits.

“What do you mean?”

“My parents, they’re um…” Liam tried to collect his words. “They love me very much, and because they have always been so determined at giving me the best life that they could, they forgot to live in the present and spend that quality time with me.” He explained. “Does that make me a horrible person?”

“Of course not, Liam,” Zayn assured him. “Your parents and you just have a different perspective on how to bring happiness to your home,” he pointed out. “Your parents thought that bringing financial stability at home was the best way to assure your happiness, while you thought that spending quality time with them was most important.” Zayn started to run his fingers through Dale’s curls, smiling down at him. “In an ideal situation, parents should be able to give their family both quality time and financial stability.”

“The thing is, that as an only child, and both of them working, we have been pretty well off financially. We weren’t rich or anything, but we weren’t necessarily living from check to check, because of course you get paid as a demon hunter, and they also had their regular jobs during the day. So we had four checks coming in, but it was like they were both workaholics.”

“You’re not a terrible person for wanting your parents to give you affection, get to know you better, and just wanting to spend time with them. All children have those needs,” Zayn reminds him. “Even as adults, sometimes we turn to our parents for comfort.”

“I know you’re right,” Liam agrees. “I still think I sound like a brat for complaining, when I could’ve definitely had a worse life if my parents weren’t so hard working.”

“Just because you didn’t have it worse, it doesn’t make your feelings invalid, Liam.”

“Zayn, why are you so ridiculously kind?”

Zayn laughs. “It’s only because I like you, Liam.”

“And yet you refuse to date me,” Liam pointed out.

“You can’t make me the bad guy for not wanting to date you while you’re engaged.”

“But you’ll have me in your bed,”

Zayn couldn’t help but laugh. “Liam, you literally called dibs on my bedroom as everyone tried to decide where to sleep.”

“Minor details…”

“And when I said I’d sleep in the guest room that’s currently empty at the moment, you begged me not to do that, even though you knew Dale would be sleeping with me.”

“Speaking of which, does he sleep with you every night?” Liam asked, changing the conversation. Zayn chuckled at his attempt to do so.

“Depends,” Zayn answered. “Louis would never admit it, but Dale has a preference to sleep with me,” Zayn smiles. “However, he alternates between sleeping with me and Louis. Lila will do the same,” he adds. “Sometimes I have them both, or Louis does, or we have one of each.”

“Why don’t they have their own bedrooms?”

“When they first got here, they’d sleep in the guest room next to my room. Though, sleep is a lose term for them at the time,”

“What do you mean?”

“They’d been on the streets ever since their accident. They never processed the trauma of their accident. Normally, that’s not something ghosts worry about when they cross over into their rightful place. Since they never crossed over, they didn’t know how to process any of the information. They kept reliving the moment so often, that it became hard for them to sleep. No matter what Louis and I tried, they were restless. We debated forcing them to cross over at some point, because we didn’t want them to be under such a harsh state,”

“So what did you do?” Liam asked. Zayn thought back during those times, while Liam patiently waited for a response. Even though Zayn’s powers could have forced them to sleep, he couldn’t take away their nightmares, because they had a strong mental block at the time. Their trauma was so strong, that it would keep Louis up too. They both felt helpless at the moment, not knowing how to help them.

“We tried to get them to talk about it, but they just wouldn’t. We had already known what happened to them,”

“How?”

“Through um, google, we found an article on the incident” Zayn lied. He didn’t need to tell him that Louis had the ability to get into anyone’s head. Louis relived the accident as though it happened to him, because every time they had their nightmares, they’d unconsciously let Louis into their mind. “Anyways, we needed them to talk about it, but they just wouldn’t. Louis and I decided to just act as though nothing was wrong around them, and see how things played out.”

“Meaning what, exactly?”

“Well, we stopped asking them to talk about their accident. Instead, we gave them new experiences. We took them out to the movies, arcades, and so on. We tried to get to know them, and slowly they started opening up to us. As time passed, they weren’t having nightmares as consistently and obsessively as before, which was a good sign. Five months after they had moved in, they finally decided to talk about what happened. We helped them make peace with it, and they got better. As you can see now, they’re very happy and full of energy.”

“What exactly did happen? And why didn’t they want to cross over? I mean don’t they miss their actual parents?”

Zayn tried not to get irritated thinking about the answers to Liam’s questions. He wasn’t upset with Liam, because they were logical questions to bring up. He was upset with the answers to those questions.

“Their biological parents were not the most loving people out there. They never had a childhood to begin with. They were currently on the verge of being taken away from their parents, due to how unstable they were. Both addicts, and had been raising those kids for ten years in a terrible environment. The kids can’t remember where exactly they were going when they got into a car crash, they just remember their parents arguing when it all happened.”

Liam didn’t know what to say. His heart broke for them. “That is so awful,” he finally says. “That’s why they didn’t want to cross over, because they thought it would mean they would end up with their parents?”

“Yes,” Zayn nodded. “We explained to them that that isn’t how it works up there, but they still refused to cross. They think that it was only going to strengthen their chances of running into their parents.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure that they made it into heaven if I were them,” Liam commented.

“They most likely are.” Zayn said.

“Why do you say that?”

“Your comment comes from a place of bitterness, because you feel upset of the life that their biological parents gave them. And while I understand completely, the world has never been black and white, and I feel rather confident that whoever is running the operation upstairs knows that. Addiction is a complicated matter, and even while people have the resources at their disposal to get help, it is still challenging to overcome those things. Whatever their circumstances were, it’s hard to judge.”

“That’s very mature of you,” Liam said.

“That’s because it’s been years and the anger has subsided. Louis and I were a ticking time bomb at the time, fueled with anger at all the things that those kids had to grow up with. After coming to terms with the fact that everything that happened to them was out of our control, we decided to give them the childhood they deserved.”

“That clearly shows,” Liam noted. “But Zayn, this is a dangerous game to play.”

“I know Li, but I feel like I have no self-control over it. They feel like our kids, and after four years, we can see how much they’ve changed for the better. Their life is now full of positivity and love. They’re allowed to be children at peace, and I have no intentions of taking that away from them.”

“You might not have to, because if Lauren sees them, she will not give you guys a choice.” Liam reminded him. “And if that is the case Zayn, you need to remember that they will be happy once they cross over.”

“They’re happy now,”

“I’m not saying they aren’t, just that their happy ending is up there, not here on earth.”

“Well, I’m not worried about Lauren anyways.”

“Yeah, why is that? And why are you guys so willing to let Normani partake in all of this? You don’t even let her go hunting with me.”

Zayn chuckled. Liam had many questions for him, and Zayn felt more than compelled to respond to all of them. Liam’s presence was comforting to him – though given the circumstances, Zayn hated to admit it. “Liam, maybe we can go to sleep now?”

“Oh, please, you’re just trying to avoid my questions.”

“I promise I’ll answer them tomorrow, but I am genuinely exhausted. We’ve had a long day, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Hmm… if I agree to go to sleep, can we cuddle?”

Zayn smiled, shaking his head at Liam. “Most likely not,” he said. “If you haven’t noticed, Dale automatically moved his arms around my waist, the moment I sat on the bed. He likes to cuddle you see,”

Liam sighed. “You’re killing my game here little man,” he whispered to a sleeping Dale, making Zayn giggle. “Are you going to turn your back on me then, neglecting me all night long… I’ll probably have nightmares…” Liam sighed dramatically.

“You don’t get to play the victim here, or should I remind you that –”

“You’re right, it’s time to sleep, I am tired.” Liam yawned falsely, laying down flat on the bed.

“Interrupting me won’t change the facts Li,”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Liam said, innocently.

Zayn decided to lay down then, flat on his back, in order to have both Liam and Dale cuddle up against him. Zayn knows he shouldn’t allow this, but he couldn’t handle more stubbornness from Liam because he found it endearing. He was going to end up impulsively kissing Liam if he continued to act like that. It was best to leave it alone, and rest for the remaining of the night.

“Goodnight Liam,”

“Dream of me, Zayn.” Liam said, dosing off to sleep, the second Zayn ran his fingers through his hair.

Chapter Text

“Harry, we really need to think about this.” Lauren insisted. They were both standing on top of Angel Falls, invisible to any helicopter that flew by.

“My dear, beloved, beautiful sister, you’re worrying over nothing.”

Lauren rolled her eyes. “You cannot honestly believe that, Harry. Can we please be serious for a moment,”

Harry sighed. “Michael, I just came to enjoy the view.”

“No. This is your thinking spot, which means that you’re concerned over the same matter I am. Regardless of how much you try to bullshit me, you’re not going to convince me otherwise, Lucifer.”

“I think it’s wise we continue to use their assistance. You and I have other responsibilities on our schedules, we need the help. They are a clever bunch that can keep working on this while the two of us can attend to our affairs.”

“I don’t trust Zayn Malik, and I think we should tell Uriel about him. Something isn’t right about that guy.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary. Why put him on Uriel’s map, especially when he’s willing to help us? He could be our strongest ally at this point.”

“And that’s what makes him so unsettling. There should be nothing strong about him.”

“Warlocks are the most powerful creatures of the supernatural world, therefore your argument is a bit flawed.”

“Don’t act stupid with me. It’s one thing for a warlock to have the ability to teleport himself, maybe even to teleport someone else with him. But to teleport nine individuals at the same time along with him, is completely unheard of. And let’s not forget that two of those nine were archangels, Lucifer! A warlock’s magic can’t touch us, he shouldn’t have the power to teleport us where he pleases. We cannot trust him.”

“Well, when you put like that you make it sound so dramatic,”

“And how should I have phrased it, then? Arrogance runs through their blood. You’re trying to tell me that a warlock showing those capabilities isn’t someone to worry about?”

“An archangel calling a warlock arrogant, that’s a bit hypocritical don’t you think?”

“Harry, I agreed to help you because I love you. You know you’re my favorite brother, but please don’t ask me to turn a blind eye to this.”

“All I am asking you to do is to cooperate with them. You’re going to have to trust them to some extent, if we want their help. Until we have any evidence that Zayn is some evil warlock, don’t treat him as such. And also, don’t go looking for evidence that paints him badly. We all have our secrets, it doesn’t make us evil. I don’t need to tell you that.”

“Fine. But if he gives me one more legitimate reason to mistrust him, I will take it up with Uriel without your consent.” Lauren said, leaving Harry alone at the fall.

Harry took a deep breath, attempting to relax. He took in the sight of Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world. It was his favorite spot to come and think, as he took in the beautiful nature that surrounded him. Lauren was his favorite sister, but if it weren’t because she was the only one of his siblings willing to help, he wouldn’t have her on the case at all. Lauren was right to be cautious of Zayn, and Harry recognized that, but he couldn’t afford to start trouble with them right now. When Zayn had teleported all out them of his lab and into the library, Harry had to withhold himself from revealing the shock that went through him. Teleporting is a rare gift among warlocks, most of them use portals. To have the ability to teleport a group of people takes an incredible amount of skill and strength, godly strength. Archangels could do it, but Zayn was just a warlock. If he could do that, what else was he capable of? Harry also wondered how Alexander acquired the head of council, over Zayn. After Harry learned some things about Alexander, he concluded that he wasn’t an impressive warlock. That didn’t mean he wasn’t devious though. Harry simply had to confirm his suspicions.

Maybe he should listen to Lauren and try to see if there is something dangerous about Zayn. Harry didn’t want to say anything to Lauren in case she hadn’t noticed it, since she didn’t bring it up, but there was something wrong with the house – or inside that house. It was a magical house, but the house itself reacted friendly towards Harry. However, someone or maybe something inside the house was threatening Harry, and it genuinely scared him because he didn’t know where it was coming from. There were very few things that inflicted fear in Harry, a couple were two of his siblings, and the last was his father. The entirety of the time Harry spent inside that house, he focused more on trying to figure out where the threat was coming from, rather than the conversation that he led at the table. But, Harry needed to follow his own advice and trust Zayn, because Zayn was trying to help the dragons. That’s how he ended up in Harry’s radar, because Harry looked into the same thing; seeking any connection with his escaped demons and the resurgence of the death of dragons. Harry ended up crossing paths with Dinah and Zayn in the island of dragons. He hid from sight to not be detected by them. He followed them from a distance for a bit, trying to figure out who they were and what they were doing there, until he heard them arguing about where they were going to find fairies. Now that Zayn and his family had agreed to help him, he’d be an idiot to mess it up, especially with his siblings pressing that he resolves this conflict.