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find the common thread that makes it all unravel

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there’s a restlessness after tour hailee’s never liked.

she feels - off. it’s like the last three years of her life, espsically since joining the music industry, have been a non-stop cycle of recording, promo, rehearsals, opeining for tour, line reading and memorising, filming, award season, repeat.

she doesn’t know when to stop.

niall’s just as bad, if not worse. can’t sit still for longer than five minutes, constantly strumming a beat with his fingers or plucking at the guitar strings, always getting emails and phone calls about his golf business and other investments, checking and double checking everything and everyone on both music and golf tours are in the best conditions to be working. he’s bitten his nails raw over minuscule details concerning both and hailee has had to touch his wrist and promise him everything’s fine, run through it again until his shoulders relax.

it’s september, he’s done with flicker world tour and she’s done with voice notes tour and filming dickinson. they’ve both got a few weeks off and she just feels - stuck.

they’re more or less living together in his la house now - she’s taken up half his wardrobe and chest of drawers, has an established side of the bed, toiletries next to his in the bathroom, her own food in his fridge and kitchen, she refers to it as “home” without thinking. it’s beginning to seem a lot like their house than his.

still, the restlessness thing - isn’t not good for either of them, really. her anxiety feels constantly haywire, and she know’s niall’s is too. meds don’t seem to be doing much to help. it’s not awful for the relastionship itself - they communicate what they’re dealing with perfectly, thank you very much - because they still go out and see friends, socialise, enjoy each others company be it alone or in a group. it’s just. like a constant buzzing underneath the skin, the need to be doing something.

“be honest, have you paid attention to a thing the last half hour?” hailee asks, looking up at him from where her heads rested on niall’s lap on a pillow.

“not a thing,” he sighs, reaches for the remote to turn the tv off that’s apparently been playing some war film. his hand finds her hair, petting it absently.

“we suck at the break thing,” she muses, and he laughs.

“god, we really do.” he stares at the blank screen for a while longer, and she’s starting to be lulled to sleep by the movement of his hand in her hair when he suddenly says, “want to go for a drive?”


“did you ever play there?” hailee asks from the passenger side, pointing as they pass a sign for Dodger Stadium.

“hm? oh, no. we did the Rose Bowl,” niall responds, eyes on the road.

they’re in Elysian Park, near Chavez Ravine. it’s late; not many people are walking around, certainly not anyone who seems to care enough about niall horan and hailee steinfeld pulling over to walk along the ravine and behind the police academy to the rock garden.

(niall had taken her here months and months ago, way before they were dating. neither of them could sleep, he’d picked her up and they’d ended up here at 3am, sharing a fiveguys between them, hailee sleepily watching the waterfall and niall quietly telling her about how the site used to be owned by the la pistol club until the LAPD took it over and hired an artist called frabcois scotti to design the garden. she’d fallen asleep on his shoulder and he’d carried her back to his car.)

hailee sit’s on one of the carved stone benches, pulling her legs up to rest her chin against. niall’s beside her, arm over her shoulder.

“hey,” he says softly, and the flicker of anxiety in his voice makes her look over at him. “we’re good, yeah?”

hailee’s body seems to immediately untense - she hasn’t even realised she was tense. “yeah,” she leans forward to kiss him. “yeah, we’re good. cabin fever’s clearly driving us both insane.” he smiles at that.

she tucks herself under his chin, and they settle like that, his arm around her and her occasionally brushing her nose against his jaw for a kiss and a soft “i love you.”

it’s almost pitch black, now, and they both knew they’ll have to head back soon.

“we should go traveling,” hailee says, out of the blue, what feels like hours later.

it shocks a laugh out of niall. “what?”

“travelling. us two. somewhere.”

“you do realise we spend most of our careers doing that?”

no, i mean-“ she sits up on her knees to face him properly. “you went backpacking, right? a few years back.”

niall reaches up to push her hair back back behind her ear. “yeah, but that was a bit different, love.”

“different how?”

“different as in losing two big things at once and wanting to run away.”

and - yeah, okay. he has point. hailee’s never pressed him for what happened between him and selena - he was only able to tell her a few months ago. it’s odd, now, to think sel had been one of her best friends once, and the most of a run in she gets now is at award shows.

god knows all she wanted to do was run away after cameron.

“taylor misses you,” niall says. “you should call her.” he’s been telling her to since june. she’s not sure she’s a big enough person to pick up the phone now, though, after barely a work had passed between them since 2016.

she’s doesn’t say anything until they’re back in the car. “would you come with me?”

niall raises his eyebrows at her. “travelling, or in general?”

hailee humours him. “in general.”

“always,” he says, without a second thought, and it knocks all the air out of her lungs.

she thinks she’s totally justified in climbing over the gearstick and kissing him senseless.