Florida is loud. That’s one of the first things Niall had learned, coming to the States when he was sixteen. New York isn’t the only city or state that never sleeps. He’s somewhat used to it now, seven years in.
Niall lets out a deep, shaky breath, eyes fixed to the ceiling. He hasn’t slept yet.
Beside him, Corey continues to snore softly.
This...thing between them had started a while back, over two years ago in fact. Niall was blonde and Corey was barely on the scene, fumbling his way into the industry with his guitar.
“What’s it like?” Corey had asked, sat on Niall’s floor in LA, a guitar between them and beers at their sides. A discarded blunt lay in an ashtray.
“What’s what like?” Niall looked up, feeling a little lightheaded from the drink and weed. Corey leaned forward, knocking their knees together.
“All of it,” he’d said, the enthusiasm in his voice making Niall’s heart hurt a little because it reminded him painfully of being Corey’s age, the newfound excitement of having the world at his fingertips.
Niall had found it funny at the time, that he was considered the seasoned musician between the two of them.
Niall had smiled at him, a little bitterly. “Hard fucking work, mate. But it’s worth it, yeah? No matter how long it lasts, it’s all worth it.”
(They’d already agreed on the hiatus by then, but he wasn’t about to tell Corey that. Wasn’t about to tell him that the day after the meeting Harry had pulled him aside and ended whatever thing had been going on between them for the last five years. Niall had been avoiding his phone calls all week - if Harry wanted a clean break, that’s what he was getting, even if they had to work together for another five months.)
Corey had fallen silent, seemingly entranced by Niall’s fingers over the strings. The look on his face, his glazed brown eyes made something stir in Niall’s chest for the first time in a very long time.
“See something you like?” Niall had half joked, heart pounding in his ears.
Corey’s head jerked up, eyes wide. He’d licked his lips, eyes darting to Niall’s mouth. “Actually,” he cleared his throat, “yeah.”
A beat, then Niall had thrown caution to the wind, shoved the guitar off his lap and grabbed the front of Corey’s shirt.
They’d done everything that weekend. And two years later, Corey still feels the same. Taller and broader maybe, but the noises he makes when Niall’s fucking him, when he’s fucking Niall, the heat of his mouth around Niall, the dopey look on his face when they’ve come, they’re are all the same.
Niall rolls onto his side, reaches up to trace his fingers over Corey’s shoulder and back. Corey snuffles, soft and loose-limbed as he rolls onto his back. He blinks owlishly, brown eyes sleepy. “What’s wrong?” He asks, voice scratchy with sleep, shifting his body closer to Niall’s.
“Nothing, pet,” Niall assures him, letting Corey wrap himself around his waist, curling in as if to make himself smaller. “Was just thinking. Go back to sleep.”
“Thinking about what?” Corey mouths at his neck, something he’s done since the first time they did this. Niall shivers, hands tightening in his hair. “Talk to me.”
He can’t, is the thing. Doesn’t feel ready for this conversation. He’s only ever properly opened himself up to two people, allowed himself to fall in love - and they had both pulled the rug out from under him so quickly he’d been reeling for months afterwards.
He knows what he wants with Corey, he’s just not sure if he’s ready to let himself have it.
Corey’s fingers brushing his hiair unsteadily from his forehead jolts him back to the present.
“We haven't done this in a while, is that what it is?” he asks, his voice soft and still husky. “I can see you disappearing into that head of yours again.”
Niall laughs quietly, uses his fingers tangled iin Corey’s hair to tip his head back and kiss him. Corey responds eagerly, lets Niall lick into his mouth and suck on his tongue and pull at the hairs at the nape of his neck. They make out lazily for a while, until Niall starts to whimper impatiently, a noise Corey recognises as him wanting more.
Instead of doing that, he pulls back, brushing his thumb over Niall’s lips. “Talk to me,” he repeats.
Niall exhales, taking Corey’s hand to lace their fingers together. “We’ve never -“ he stops, tries again. “We never talked about it. All the times we were together last year and the year before, we never discussed what this is, like...we fucked and we had a laugh and all, but that was it. I just - I couldn't keep doing that. After - “ he chokes on the name. Corey runs a hand over his side to soothe him, as if to say I know. “I cut you off last year, and I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that.”
“I’m not angry,” Corey stops him. “I mean, I was at first. Don’t think anyone likes realising they’re a rebound.” There’s no bitterness in his voice but guilt still curls in Niall’s stomach. “I figured eventually you'd tell me what you wanted, you'd always been open about things like that before. But you never said anything about us. You never said you wanted anything else, and I never wanted to push. But I get it, yeah? Styles and Gomez did one hell of a number on you, from what I’ve been told. Not trusting me hurt but I guess you didn’t trust many people then. Thank you, though, for the apology. Appreciate it.” He pauses. “You deserve better, Niall. You always have.”
Niall has to hide his face is Corey’s neck then, heart pounding and breathing uneven because of course Corey got it when almost everyone he knew didn’t.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I’m so sorry. For putting you through that.”
“Stop apologising now. Forgave you, didn’t I? D’you think I’d be in bed with you right now if I hadn’t?”
"I stopped," Niall says, and his voice trails off. He's quiet for a few moments and Corey thinks maybe he's not going to say any more. "I stopped because I didn't think you would. I thought you'd keep us going like that until you found someone else or got bored or didn’t have time for us anymore - speaks to my bloody self-esteem, that. I didn't want anyone else. I haven’t wanted anyone else since the start of last year.”
He looks up and sees Corey’s smiling, the kind of smile that makes his eyes crinkle and nose scrunch up. Niall loves that smile. He’d do absolutely anything for that smile and nothing scares him more.
"I just want us," Niall finishes, and Corey kisses the exhale of air from Niall's lips before he can say any more, licks tentatively at the seam of his lips until Niall’s opening up and letting him in.
Niall wants more than his mouth, though. Wants all of Corey’s heart, and from the sound of everything he’s said, he can have it. He has it. Since 2015. Corey's eyes are still brown when he opens them, watching Niall kiss him as much as Corey's been watching him.
"We gonna fuck now?" Niall says breathlessly, letting Corey roll on top of him, clasped hands above his head. Lips slide easily over each other's with nothing but the need for connection, not forcing anything more.
“What, after the show wasn’t enough for you?” Corey asks cheekily.
“Yeah, but I haven’t had you in me since California.” Niall hooks his leg over Corey’s hip.
Corey chuckles, lips wet on Niall’s jaw, enjoying his whining and cut off moans. “Fair enough.”
Corey opens him up so slowly it’s almost painful, and if it were any other time Niall would tell him to get a move on. But the moment feels heavy, tangible almost, and Corey’s eyes don’t leave his face the entire time.
His fingertips are calloused, a byproduct of the guitar playing. They dig into Niall’s hipbones, tiny pinpoints of rough skin against his, gripping tightly and rubbing slowly. It’s like they’re the anchors, holding him down to reality as Corey rocks gently into him, waves of pleasure shuddering up his spine.
The pace isn’t fast or rushed, but Corey’s breath is coming out in pants, sweat gleaming against his tan skin. He’s glowing, Niall thinks dumbly. He’s not sure he’s breathing, but the only light-headedness he’s feeling is from Corey changing the angle of his thrusts, and fuck, Niall’s hands scramble to grip his back. He’s almost thrashing around, toes curling, back arching and there’s so much raw pleasure Niall’s not sure it’s physically possible to feel this good.
(It had never felt this good with the others.)
Corey’s entire body his covering him, caging him in, and Niall’s never felt smaller but he’s never felt safer either.
“Core -“ Niall almost wails, trying to spread his legs and just let Corey fuck him into the mattress. Trying and willing him to fuck him harder as he tries to move his hips back a bit against his thrusts. “More, please. Harder -”
“I got you, Ni,” Corey murmurs, thrusts relentless and in such perfect strokes, hard and deep one after the other. “God, you take it so well -”
Corey’s reaching above him to grip at the bars of the headboard, slamming in, and Niall’s pretty sure the noise he emits is in no way human, breath hot against Niall’s lips as they gasp into each other’s mouths.
He feels his stomach tightening, the heat pooling and his balls drawing up, and Corey’s fucking him so perfectly he barely gets a hand around himself when he comes, hard and everywhere, shouting into the quiet room as he squeezes around Corey, murmuring his name.
“You still feel so good,” he whispers, trembling. Corey goes on to pound into him, harder and harder until -
“Fucking christ,” he says loudly. He comes in Niall’s arse, and Niall moans himself at the feeling.
Corey manages to catch himself from collapsing on top of him, though Niall can’t say he would have minded that very much. His hairs sweaty and sticking up in every direction; Niall reaches up to run a hand through it, grinning sleepily.
“Okay?” He manages, arms trembling from holding himself up, smiling down at Niall.
Niall nods, tilts his head up for a kiss that Corey is more than happy to give. He uses the temporary distraction to pull out, shushing his whimper. He rolls off and stumbles to the en suite, coming back with a damp flannel and cleaning Niall up, careful where Niall’s sensitive before tossing it in the bin and cuddling close.
“I meant what I said,” Corey whispers sometime later, spooned behind Niall (no matter how many times Niall has protested, he refuses to be the little spoon). “‘bout you deserving better. You do.”
Niall grins sleepily, reaching back to pat his hip. “Reckon I’ve already got it.”