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A Dim And Airy Spark

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Zayn was already in Liam’s space when he turned back around. 

“Liam.” Zayn barely breathed the name, arms coming around Liam’s waist as he sank against Liam’s chest, nuzzling close. He was softer and more compliant than Liam had ever seen him before. “You’re here.” 

“Hey.” Liam exhaled shakily, winding his arms around Zayn’s shoulders. “How are you feeling?” 

“Hot.” Zayn buried his nose against Liam’s collarbone. “Need you.” 

It wasn’t easy to tell how far gone Zayn already was. His scent was thick and heavy, consuming Liam completely and driving him crazy. He could smell that Zayn was wet, that the slick was already dripping out of him, but he didn’t know if that meant that Zayn couldn’t think straight anymore. Liam wished he could tell, wished he knew every detail about Zayn already to be able to react accordingly. He was scared to do the wrong thing. 

Carefully, he placed his fingers beneath Zayn’s chin, lifting it slightly. Zayn’s pupils were blown, looking almost completely black and his cheeks were flushed in a rosy colour. Liam wanted to kiss him, taste Zayn’s lips, and find out how his tongue would move against Liam’s. 

Liam had no idea how far gone Zayn was, but he himself was too far gone. That much was clear. 

"Listen, babe." He framed Zayn's face with his hands. "I'm here now. I'll take care of you."

Zayn whined, surging forwards. Before Liam could react, Zayn's lips crashed against his, claiming Liam’s in an open-mouthed, hot and wet kiss. Zayn was pressed against him from knees to chest, and Liam could feel how hard he was in his jeans as Zayn started to rub against him. The scent of lemons turned sweet and heady, and Liam found that Zayn tasted just like it. Instantly, Liam's cock was hard, reacting to his omega in his arms. Wet, eager and willing. 

It’d be easy to push Zayn against the wall and let his alpha take over. He’d push down Zayn’s pants, dip his fingers into the wetness awaiting him, find Zayn open and desperate for Liam’s knot. It’d only take one easy slide to bury himself in Zayn’s heat, lock them together, and find that spot on Zayn’s neck that Liam had claimed before. He’d sink his teeth in, right the moment when Zayn would shake apart in his arms.

With a groan, Liam brought his hand up to Zayn’s neck. He knew that he’d find that mark he had left ten years ago if he pushed down the collar of Zayn’s t-shirt. His fingers lingered over the spot, pressing down gingerly. Zayn moaned into his mouth, rutting his hips against Liam's. 

Not like this. 

Liam panted as he pushed Zayn off, just enough to bring some space between them. He couldn’t let it happen that way; in the corridor of Zayn’s flat, quick and urgent against the wall. Zayn deserved more than that and Liam wanted to give him everything he deserved this time. 

“Not here, babe.” Liam kept his hands on Zayn’s hips. “Let’s get you into bed.” 

Zayn nodded eagerly, eyes unfocused. If Liam hadn’t been sure before, he was more than certain now that Zayn was way past being coherent. He trailed behind Zayn, briefly taking in the layout of the flat.

The kitchen and living room were a combined space, and there was at least one other room besides Zayn’s bedroom and the bathroom. Liam kept that information at the back of his head when he entered Zayn’s bedroom. It was only making it harder for Liam when he was hit with Zayn’s scent. It was thick and even stronger inside the bedroom. Swallowing thickly, Liam guided Zayn to the bed, helping him lie down. 

“I’ll just prepare a few things.” He brushed his knuckles across Zayn's cheek. “I need to make sure you’ve got all you need.” 

Zayn shook his head, grabbing Liam’s wrist. “Just need you.” 

Liam couldn’t resist kissing him again. He leaned in, sealing their lips together. Zayn’s mouth opened slowly, his movements lagged and dragging. Liam tilted his head slightly, changing the angle, getting lost in the addictive taste, the alluring scents around him, as well as Zayn’s fingers making progress on unbuttoning Liam’s shirt.

“Okay, okay, okay.” Liam panted when he drew back. “Wait a sec.” 

“You said you’d take care of me.” Zayn literally pouted, the corners of his mouth drawn down. 

It was such a stark contrast to how Zayn usually presented himself, that it drew a chuckle from Liam. He couldn’t yet connect those two; couldn’t see them as the same person. Yet Liam hoped that he would get the chance to see every other side Zayn had kept from him until now, too. 

“I will,” he promised. “Just give me a few minutes, okay?” 

Zayn fell back onto his sheets with a groan, eyes closed as he started working on undressing himself. Liam forced himself to turn around and fled the room to get to the kitchen. He felt like invisible strings pulled him back towards Zayn, and concentrating on anything else seemed like the hardest thing to do.

For a moment, Liam stared blankly into the fridge, as if he couldn’t remember why he had come there. Then he grabbed a pack of cheese and several bottles of water, before he closed the fridge and got a plate where he put some of the fruit Zayn had in a bowl on the counter. 

Before he went back, he got out his mobile phone and texted Louis a list of the things he needed, asking him to drop them off the next night. Just when he had sent the text, he immediately sent another, asking for Oli to drop by instead of Louis. 

Not waiting for a reply, he went back to the bedroom, finding Zayn was only wearing his underwear anymore. It was tented by his erection and soaked through to the front. Liam almost dropped the plate, but caught himself in the last moment. His heart, however, dropped to his knees, making them go weak. 

Zayn was too busy writhing in the sheets to even notice Liam, one hand playing with his nipples, the other fisting the duvet. Liam’s eyes roamed over Zayn’s body, taking in the soft skin, the bony structure, the dip between his collarbones. The bondmark. 

“Alpha,” Zayn whispered. “Please.” 

God, Liam would lose his mind. He set down the food he had brought on the nightstand next to Zayn’s bed before he reached over to gently brush the hair from Zayn’s forehead. He was sweating, a rosy flush high on his cheeks, and his lips swollen red. 

“Where are your toys, baby?” Liam asked. “I’ll get them for you.” 

Zayn shook his head, eyes going wide. “No toys. Please. Want your knot.” 

“Soon.” Liam swallowed thickly when his hand came close to Zayn’s neck and the mark low on it. It was like it called Liam’s name, like a magnet drawing him closer. 

He withdrew his hand, fingertips burning with Zayn’s heat, to go to the wardrobe. He got some t-shirts and towels and placed them on a chair next to Zayn’s bed, then he searched the bottom of the wardrobe for Zayn’s heat toys. It didn’t take long to find what he was looking for. Liam felt a little bad for looking through Zayn’s private belongings like that, but he also knew that he didn’t have much of a choice. 

He came back with the box, placing it next to Zayn on the bed. Zayn reached for him, hands firmly wrapping around Liam’s arm. He was stronger than Liam had expected, so it took him by surprise when Zayn pulled Liam on top of himself. 

Zayn sighed happily, instantly diving into a kiss. Liam couldn’t help but kiss him back. His alpha practically purred with the feeling of Zayn’s tongue in his mouth and Zayn’s body rocking against his. They both moaned and it took all of Liam’s powers for him to catch Zayn’s wrists and pin them to the pillow next to his head. 

It didn’t stop Zayn from arching off the mattress and rubbing himself against Liam. 

Liam was so close to breaking, he had to close his eyes. He knew that he couldn’t stay. No matter what Louis had said, and no matter how much Zayn begged him right now -- they hadn’t talked about any of this, and he didn’t know if it was what Zayn really wanted. He had caused Zayn enough heartbreak and misery ten years ago; Liam wouldn’t repeat it again. 

The only thing he could do was give Zayn as much as he could and take care of him during the heat in every other way than actually sleeping with Zayn. He’d stay in the flat and make sure that Zayn was protected, make sure that he ate and drank, and clean him up when Zayn needed it. 

Inhaling through his mouth, Liam waited for Zayn to open his eyes and look at him. Zayn’s breathing was shallow, and his eyes had turned black. He licked his lips, hips circling against Liam’s. Leaning in, Liam brought his lips to Zayn’s neck, opposite of the bondmark. He knew he’d be gone for if he touched that in any way, so he licked the skin on the other side of Zayn’s neck, closing his eyes at how good it felt.

Zayn moaned again, wiggling in Liam’s hold, but not enough to pull himself free. The scent of his slick got even sweeter, and Liam knew that Zayn was fully under now. There wasn’t much time for Liam left to get away.

He released calming pheromones, scenting Zayn to leave him something soothing. Zayn was going to be in pain, and Liam knew he was the only one who could physically stop it. Since he wouldn’t do that, he wanted Zayn to have his scent to at least dull the pain as much as he could.

It completely took him by surprise when Zayn bucked his hips up and tilted his head back, releasing a deep moan. He didn’t even struggle against Liam’s hold, just arched against him as he came between them, still wearing his briefs. 

“Fuck.” Liam bit down gently, pressing down so Zayn could ride out his orgasm. He was so hard himself, every cell in his body begging him to fuck Zayn. He was supposed to do it, after all. Liam had to fight the urge to bite too hard, had to fight the urge to rip his clothes off and take what was his. 

It wasn’t his to take. Not like this. 

“Alpha.” Zayn went pilant, going lax under Liam and sighing contently. “More.”

Liam knew it was his only chance at getting out. If he didn’t get out now, he would do everything Zayn asked of him. He drew back, salvia connecting his lips and Zayn’s neck, dripping to his chin. Wiping it, he got off the bed and unbuttoned what Zayn hadn’t of his shirt before. 

Zayn was a vision. His skin was flushed, his briefs completely soaked with slick and come, and his eyes were hooded. Liam couldn’t look at him a second longer. He dropped his shirt next to Zayn and took a step back. Zayn’s brows furrowed as he rolled over and sat up. 

“I’ll be right there,” Liam promised. “I’ll take care of you.” 

Zayn didn’t seem to grasp it. His hand slid down his stomach and he started shoving down the briefs. Liam knew he couldn’t watch it -- had taken it too far already. He had taken more from Zayn than he had been allowed to. 

Like ripping a bandaid off, Liam turned around and fled the room. He closed the door behind himself and locked it up from outside, slumping against it. For a moment, there was complete silence, then there were steps before Zayn reached the door and started rattling it. 

“Liam,” he cried, banging against the door. “No. Please. I need you.”

Liam closed his eyes, sliding down the door. He buried his face in his hands, listening to Zayn beg for him to come back inside. To fuck him, To knot him. Calling him Alpha over and over again. Liam scrambled to his feet and fled to the other room, finding himself in an office. He locked that door, too before he went to the sofa in the corner and hastily opened his jeans.

It only took him three firm strokes to come, pulsing white over his own hand. Zayn’s name fell from his lips and he breathed heavily afterwards. It did nothing to kill the pain or stop the pull he felt towards Zayn’s bedroom. It did nothing but release some of the tension between his shoulders for a few seconds before it built right back up.

Even through the walls of two rooms, Liam could still hear Zayn call for him. He could feel it, too. Zayn wanted him, needed it, begged for his alpha. He called out through the bond, and Liam had never been in so much pain. 

He closed his eyes, knowing that he was in for the hardest test of his life. 

+++

Zayn woke up feeling disoriented. He recognised his own bedroom, but something felt out of place. Different.

He sat up with a groan, pushing the crusty sheets off himself. His heat toys were scattered around him, as well as several pieces of clothing. Frowning, Zayn picked them up, not recognising them as his own. He pulled one t-shirt close to his face, buried his nose in it, and immediately arousal zipped through him. It faintly smelled of Liam. Beneath Zayn’s slick and come, he could make out a meadow in the summer, sunshine and just a hint of vanilla. 

With a groan, he got out of bed, and opened the window. Cold air streamed in, making Zayn shiver. He ran a hand over his face before he opened the wardrobe to put on some clothes. 

There was still a strange feeling in his chest. A longing, a dull pain that felt like it wasn’t his own. 

When he wanted to leave his bedroom, he found the door locked. Frowning, he rattled the door, but it didn’t open. 

“What the fuck?” He rattled the door again, banging a fist against the wood. “Liam? Liam, let me out!” 

“The key’s on the floor,” he heard Liam say. He sounded muffled; far away. “I’ve slipped it under the door.”

Zayn looked down, finding the key lying close to the door. He picked it up and let himself out of the room. “Why the hell did you lock me in the bedroom?” 

The living room was empty. Zayn frowned, looking around to find Liam, but he couldn’t see him. The flat strongly smelled of him, though. 

“Liam?” 

“In your office,” Liam replied, his voice sounding closer than before. “The key’s on the floor outside.” 

Zayn approached the office, finding the key exactly like Liam had said on the floor in front of the door. Frowning, he picked it up. “What the hell did you do?” 

It took Liam a moment to speak. “Make sure I wouldn’t take advantage.”

Inhaling shakily, Zayn touched the door, fisting his hand around the key. “I'm sure I begged you to take advantage.” 

Liam didn’t reply. 

“Can I come in?” Zayn asked. 

“It’s your flat.” Liam’s voice sounded strained. 

"I'm serious." Zayn rested his forehead against the cool wood of the door. "Is it safe for me to unlock the door?" 

Liam was quiet again, and his voice almost didn't come through when he answered. "You're always safe with me." 

Biting his lip, Zayn put the key into the lock and opened it. He was hit with Liam's scent, thick and prominent. Liam himself was on the sofa, looking exhausted. His hair was dishevelled and his clothes seemed hastily put on. 

"And yet you had to lock two doors and get rid of the keys," Zayn said, stepping in. 

Liam wrung his hands together. "That was more for my safety." 

Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Zayn stayed at the door. "Was it?" 

"You got a little demanding last night," Liam explained. "I don't think I'd have been able to keep it together. I would have given in, so I had to make sure I wouldn't have a way to get to you." 

Zayn hummed. "Were you here all the time? What day is it anyway?" 

"It's Monday." Liam ran a hand over his face. "I took care of you the best I could." 

Zayn frowned. "When did you get all your clothes?" 

"I didn't. Oli dropped them off when he brought groceries." 

"Oli was in here?" Zayn's hat jumped at the mere idea of someone other than Liam being in his flat during his heat. 

"Of course not." Liam levelled him with a calm stare. "He left everything outside for me to pick up." 

Zayn still didn't have the answers he really wanted. "And how did I get your clothes?"

"I left them with you when I took care of you." Liam looked down again. 

“Took care of me how?” Zayn asked, heart beating a little faster.

Liam blushed as he shrugged one shoulder. “Do you remember anything?” 

Zayn shook his head. “Not even that you came here. When did you come here?” he immediately tagged on to ask.

“Right after it had started. Louis called me.” Liam cleared his throat, and Zayn had a feeling that he was keeping something from Zayn. “You were already quite out of it when I arrived.”

“And you?” Zayn slung his arms around his upper body. “How out of it were you?”

“We didn’t have sex, if that’s what you’re asking.” Liam briefly glanced up at him. “You kissed me, though. And I’d lie if I said it didn’t trip me up. I probably shouldn’t have, but I gave into it. I scented you, too.” 

“Just so I get this right,” Zayn repeated what Liam had just told him. “You were here the whole time. You kissed me, you touched me, and you scented me?” 

Liam closed his eyes, looking like he was in actual pain. “I’m sorry. I shouldn't have, but I thought you needed that, at least.” 

Zayn had to sit down, his knees feeling too weak to carry him. “Well, I’m sure I asked for more than that.” 

“I tried to be as clinical about it as possible.” Liam ran a hand through his hair. 

“Clinical?” Zayn raised a brow.

“I did it before,” Liam explained. “I helped omegas through their heat without sleeping with them. I thought I was prepared to do that with you, but---” He shook his head. “It was so much tougher.” 

Zayn tried to keep the jealousy flickering up inside his chest at bay. “You helped other omegas through their heats?” 

Liam nodded. “In my previous job. I fed them, changed the sheets, cleaned them up. Scented them if they needed it.” 

“And you did that with me?” 

“Yeah.” Liam shrugged again, as if it wasn’t a big deal. “Speaking of. Are you hungry? You must be starved. You didn’t eat a lot during.”

Zayn shook his head. He didn’t think he could eat anything right now. “You cooked while I was in the other room, begging for you to fuck me?” 

That finally made Liam look at him. His eyes were wide, his cheeks flushed and the shadows beneath his eyes were the only indicator that he wasn’t as unbothered as he pretended to be. 

“And you actually came into my room and you put your hands on me, but you didn’t have sex with me?” Zayn went on. “You scented me and left me your clothes, but you didn’t listen to me when I asked you to take care of me properly?” 

The scent in the room got heavier; the vanilla sweet and heady. 

“That wasn’t you asking.” Liam got up and started pacing the room. “That was your omega taking over, and I have no right to take advantage like that.” 

Zayn frowned at him. “You’re actually the only alpha who’s got that right.”

Liam stopped, turning to him. “Just because we’re bonded doesn’t mean I get to touch you like that. I didn’t have your consent, Zayn. I wouldn’t do that to you.” 

“Again.” It was out before Zayn could think better of it. 

“Again,” Liam agreed quietly. “Just because I bonded you doesn’t mean you have to bow to any of it.” 

Zayn managed a dry laugh. “Well, because you bonded me, I don’t get to choose anymore, Liam. You’re the only one I could ever ask to help me through a heat.” 

“I know.” Liam bit his lip. “We couldn’t talk about that beforehand, so I took it upon myself to make that decision for you. And I thought you’d rather spend your heat alone than have me help you through it.” 

“But I wasn't alone, was I? Why did you stay if you thought so?” Zayn asked, anger building up inside him. “You probably didn’t fuck me, Liam, and you didn’t knot me, but you still saw me at my most vulnerable, at my most exposed. What if that’s something I didn’t want you to see?” 

Liam stared at him, eyes glassy. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t leave you alone. I just--- I wanted to take care of you in some way at least.” 

"But you didn't lose the plot at least once?" Zayn got up, too, stomping closer. "You're telling me you were completely unbothered?" 

Liam gestured to his chest. "Do I look unbothered to you? Do I look like I had a few relaxing days? Are you bloody kidding me?" 

"God, Louis was right." Zayn turned around, throwing his hands in the air in frustration. "You are a fucking saint." 

"What?" Liam sounded confused. 

"What alpha is actually able to keep it in his pants around his own omega in heat?" Zayn asked, spinning around again and poking a finger against Liam's chest. "I probably got off when you were in the room, and you just folded the laundry and went out again." 

"I held and scented you afterwards, actually," Liam corrected him, looking guilty about it. 

"Oh my God!" Zayn pushed him. "Shut up, Liam! Why don't you ever fuck up?" 

Liam's face fell. "Are you really mad at me for doing the decent thing?"

"I'm mad at you for being so fucking perfect all the time," Zayn burst out, eyes locked on Liam's. "I'm mad at you for being the kind of alpha that doesn't pick fights, and for apologising even when you have nothing to apologise for. I'm mad at you for never losing your temper, and for being loyal to your omega the past ten years. And I'm mad that you don't give me a reason to hate you by even doing the fucking decent thing during my heat!" 

There was silence for a moment. Liam stared at Zayn in disbelief, and Zayn cursed himself inwardly for losing his cool like that. He didn't stand a chance from the moment he had sat down across from Liam at that table barely a month ago, and it was breaking free of him now. 

"You don't hate me," Liam said then, the words coming slowly with the realisation. "I thought you hated me." 

Zayn scoffed. "You're making it plenty hard."

Liam buried his hands in the pockets of his jogging bottoms. "I'm sorry."

"Oh, sod off." Zayn rolled his eyes. "Can't you just fuck up a bit at one single thing, so I'll have a reason to hate you?"

"The one time I fucked up lasts me for a million lifetimes, Zayn." Liam shook his head. "I promised myself I would never do you wrong again." 

Feeling deflated, Zayn let his shoulders slump. “Of course you did.” 

Liam didn’t reply, just watched Zayn with tired eyes. He looked curious, tense, and now that Zayn got a closer look at him, he could see how pale Liam was. 

He’d probably been through hell and back in the past few days. 

“I wasn’t completely honest,” Liam said then, tongue briefly licking over his bitten lips. 

“What?” Zayn laughed humourlessly. “Did you not fold the laundry?” 

It didn’t even draw a smile from Liam. “That first night. When I scented you the first time, I lost a bit of control. I may have gone overboard, and---” He shrugged. “It made you come. Technically, that means we did have sex.” 

The thought of coming apart in Liam’s arms made Zayn blush. “And after that?” 

“I left you my shirt and got out there as quick as I could.” Liam still held Zayn’s gaze. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know what you’d react like. I should’ve been more careful.” 

Zayn pulled the sleeves of his jumper over his hands. “You couldn’t anticipate that from your experience with those other omegas?” 

Liam’s face fell. “I didn’t scent them like that .” 

“You scented them, though,” Zayn said, eyes tracking every emotion flitting over Liam’s face. There were a lot. Despair, regret, and confusion. Some hope, too. “Did you get them off, too?” 

“That’s not what it was like, Zayn.” Liam took a step closer. “I never touched them like I wanna touch you.” 

Zayn stayed put where he was. “And yet you could keep your hands off me just the same.” 

“You have no idea how hard that was.” Liam’s voice was just above a whisper. “Not even close.” 

“And how much longer do you want to keep that up?” Zayn asked, drawing his brows together. 

Liam smiled slightly. “As long as it takes for it to feel right.” 

That wasn’t the answer Zayn had anticipated, but he couldn’t say it surprised him. “You really are annoying.” 

“I guess.” Liam laughed quietly. “And just for the record. I did fold the laundry.” 

Zayn snorted. “Of course you did.” 

Careful to keep a distance, Liam went past Zayn. “Come on. You should eat. Why don’t you take a shower while I heat something up?” 

“You’re really just gonna pretend nothing happened, aren’t you?” Zayn followed him back into the living room, rubbing his eyes. 

“I’m not gonna stay sane otherwise.” Liam cleared his throat, and before Zayn could react, he had turned around to him, one hand coming up to rest on Zayn’s elbow as he leaned in and kissed Zayn’s temple. “Go shower. Your scent drives me crazy.” 

If it did, Liam did a good job of concealing it. 

Zayn pressed his lips together, keeping his hands wrung together to not wrap them around Liam and nuzzle in. Instead, he nodded and went to his bedroom when Liam made for the kitchen. He searched for his mobile phone, finding it dead on his nightstand. He plugged it in and turned it on, waiting for all the missed texts and messages to come in. 

There were dozens of emails from clients that Zayn ignored in favour of opening the one email he had received from Louis. It was from four days ago. 

Don’t hate me for calling Liam over. Call me when you can. Love you x 

I’m good, he typed back, and then added, believe it or not, he didn’t touch me. Thanks for calling him over though. I’ll see you tomorrow x 

Zayn sighed and put his mobile away. Looking around his bedroom, he took in the mess, the toys scattered around, as well as the crumpled sheets and Liam’s clothes thrown all over the bed. Zayn touched a shirt, gingerly running his fingers over the soft fabric, skin prickling with the memory of Liam’s lips pressing against his temple. 

With a groan, he got up from his bed and grabbed a clean change of underwear before he went to the bathroom to take a shower. The bathroom was squeaky clean, but it still got apparent that someone else than Zayn had used it throughout the past few days. There was a second toothbrush and a razor. In the shower, he found a different shampoo than his own, as well as a second body wash. 

Zayn smelled both before he used them, getting a strange feeling of comfort from using Liam’s soap. It was a childish urge, but Zayn couldn’t help but to give in to it. He lost track of time, letting the hot shower spray wash away the last traces of his heat. 

When he came back to his bedroom, he found the toys gone, the sheets stripped off his bed and a grey jumper lying on the pillow. Zayn picked it up, finding it strongly smelling of Liam. His stomach flipped with the scent. 

It was at least one size too big on him, but Zayn couldn’t say he minded it. The fabric was soft and the scent soothing for his omega that craved his alpha’s comfort after his heat. 

“Thanks for the jumper,” he said when he came to the kitchen. 

Liam looked over his shoulder, his smile looking forced. “Thought you might need that.” 

It smelled of different spices and savoury food, which made Zayn’s stomach rumble. He hadn’t realised how hungry he was until he had smelled the food. “What did you make?” 

“A stew.” Liam got two bowls from a cupboard, and Zayn noticed how well he knew his way around the kitchen already. “It’s nothing special, but easy to heat up.” 

“I’m not picky.” Zayn sat down at the table. “Thanks for cooking.” 

Liam just hummed, placing the first bowl in front of Zayn before he sat down with his own. “I hope you’ll like it.” 

They ate in silence for a bit, and Zayn was pleasantly surprised that it actually tasted good. He still got up after a minute to add some spice to his dish. Liam watched him, seeming unbothered about it, until Zayn sat down again. 

“Sorry,” Liam said, taking another spoonful.

Zayn smiled. “There you go again.” 

Liam shrugged, chewing without saying anything else. 

“It’s actually really good.” Zayn waited for Liam to properly look at him. “I just like my food a bit more spicy than you white folks. It’s always easier to add spice than to subtract it. So it’s all good.” 

“Okay.” Liam cast his eyes down again, not seeming convinced. 

Zayn frowned at him, a nervous feeling unfolding in his chest. “No. Liam.”

“It’s okay, if you don’t like it.” Liam shrugged. 

“I do like it. I told you.” Zayn reached out to touch Liam’s hand. He knew exactly what it did to Liam. It was like he could feel Liam’s disappointment. Could feel it even stronger when he touched Liam. “You took good care of me. I usually don’t get a warm meal after a heat.” 

Liam frowned at him. “Knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better.” 

It wasn’t like Zayn didn’t have a handful of solutions to that, but it also wasn’t like Zayn could suggest any of those. 

“My cooking’s actually really popular with my friends and family.” Liam finished his bowl, setting it aside. “My mum says my grilled chicken is to die for.” 

Feeling a little lighter, Zayn continued eating. “I’m not that much into cooking myself.” 

“I could--” Liam laced his fingers on top of the table. “I mean. If you wanted, I could make it for you sometime.” 

Warmth spread through Zayn. “I would like that.” 

Nodding, Liam breathed in shakily. Zayn wondered how he couldn’t have noticed Liam’s discomfort and nervousness before. He had thought Liam had been calm and collected, but now he could see all the tell-tale signs for him being tired and jumpy. 

Zayn finished in silence with Liam watching him patiently. It felt strangely domestic to sit together like that; it soothed Zayn’s omega in a way he hadn’t known before. He had thought it needed touches and scenting to feel that kind of intimacy, but sitting there in the kitchen in the dim evening light, eating together in silence, exchanging brief glances -- that felt much more intimate to Zayn than he had ever thought possible. 

He was sure that Liam felt it, too. 

Liam being Liam, he probably waited for Zayn to take the first step. Right now, Zayn knew that he wouldn’t be able to fight it. His omega drew too much comfort from having Liam around, and he was in no state to let Liam slip away. 

“Can you stay?” Zayn asked when he was finished. 

Liam exhaled loudly, which proved Zayn’s theory that he had only been waiting for Zayn to ask. “Of course.” 

“Your single release is on Friday.” Zayn put his bowl into Liam’s. “Neither of us can actually afford another day off.” 

“You definitely need another day off,” Liam said with a frown. 

The I don’t want other alphas to see you like that went unsaid. 

Zayn wasn’t keen for it himself. “I should call Louis, though. To make sure everything is set for Friday. Do you even know where you’ll be on Friday?” 

“Hannah said something about HMV in Piccadilly?” Liam took the bowls and carried them to the sink. “Then there’s the Instagram and TikTok ads that went viral today.” 

Zayn gasped. “I forgot about that. Did it gain you followers yet?” 

Liam shrugged. “I haven’t actually checked. I was-- well.” 

“We should check.” Zayn got up to fetch his mobile from his bedroom.

He didn’t come far before Liam grabbed his wrist and held him back. “You should rest, Zayn.” 

“But--” 

“No.” Liam shook his head. “I’m sure your team’s got everything under control. I’ll talk to Hannah and Eleanor tomorrow. There’s still time ‘til Friday.” 

“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously, Liam.” Zayn frowned at him. “Your entire career depends on this.” 

Liam’s grip around Zayn’s wrist tightened. “I think I've got my priorities sorted.” 

Zayn stared at him, unable to find his voice. Liam’s words hit; the implication behind them clear as day. They made Zayn’s heart pound painfully against his ribs; so hard, as though it wanted to jump out. 

He had never been anyone’s priority. 

Liam’s adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed and let go of Zayn’s wrist. “Why don’t you find something on the telly while I clean up here?” 

Dumbly, Zayn nodded before he fled the room. His hands were trembling, and he suddenly felt much colder. Up until a minute ago, his heat had still lingered, but in an instant, it felt like it was all gone. He felt cold and drained, realising how tired he really was. His heat had taken its toll on him, but Zayn hadn’t noticed because of Liam’s presence. 

He turned on the TV, and found an old rerun of friends on ITV3, so he let that play while he curled up on the sofa. Liam came from the kitchen, but he didn’t join Zayn. Instead, he went to the bedroom, and Zayn could only guess that Liam finished cleaning the room, probably changing the sheets. Zayn listened to the noises, not having the energy to even feel embarrassed about Liam cleaning up after him. 

It would probably catch up with him in the morning. 

He’d worry about it then. 

Zayn didn’t know for how long, but he zoned out, staring blankly at the screen without actually watching the show. His mind was occupied trying to process his situation. It still felt bizarre to Zayn that Liam was in his flat in the first place, and it just got even weirder when his mind wandered back to his heat. He still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that Liam had been there throughout all of it, and yet had been stoic enough to keep his hands off Zayn. 

No alpha Zayn had ever met would have been able to do that. 

His attention focused back on Liam when he came back into the living room, spreading a blanket over Zayn’s body. 

“Do you need anything else?” Liam asked, awkwardly standing next to the sofa. 

“Just you sitting down,” Zayn replied. And cuddle me , was what he didn’t add.

Liam sat down on the other end of the sofa, obviously still tense. Zayn couldn’t just sense it, or tell from Liam’s posture. He could actually feel it, and he wasn’t yet used to the fact that he was able to feel someone else’s feelings.

Zayn had been bonded for ten years, but he had never felt bonded. Not until tonight. 

“What’s gonna happen now?” Zayn glanced at Liam. 

Blinking slowly, Liam sank back against the cushions. He curled his fingers around Zayn’s ankle, and instantly, Zayn felt calmer. Grounded. 

“You catch up on some sleep.” Liam swerved the question. 

Zayn didn’t comment on the obvious evasion. They were probably both not in the state to have that conversation right now. “I think you need some sleep much more than I do.” 

Liam shook his head. “I’m good.”

They fell silent again, only the noises from the TV were filling the room, and something inside Zayn settled down. He felt calmer than before, with Liam’s fingers a comfortable weight over his ankle. His breathing slowed down, and Zayn slowly felt warmer, too. 

When he glanced at Liam again, Zayn found him with his head lolled to the side, eyes closed. He smiled slightly, watching Liam for a moment to take in all his features. His hair was swept back from his face, but a strand had fallen over Liam’s forehead and his lips were slightly opened. 

Zayn sat up and Liam stirred, frowning in his sleep, but he didn’t wake up. Carefully, Zayn reached out, gently brushing his fingers over Liam’s cheek before he let them linger over the smooth skin of Liam’s neck. Zayn’s pulse picked up speed when the scent of sunshine and freshly washed laundry in the summer breeze around him thickened. 

Giving in to his needs, Zayn bundled up the blanket and shifted around on the sofa so that he could nuzzle up against Liam, resting his cheek against Liam’s chest. Liam immediately adjusted to it, pulling him closer with one arm. He rested his cheek against Zayn’s hair, his chest expanding with a deep inhale. 

Zayn’s eyes fluttered closed and he felt his body become weightless, his mind finally shutting up, leaving his head blissfully empty. 

A second later, Zayn was fast asleep. 

+++

Liam blinked his eyes open to find himself in a dark room. He didn’t need to orientate himself, but knew immediately where he was. It wasn’t the room he recognised, but who it was he held. 

Zayn was curled up in Liam’s arms, face buried against Liam’s neck. He was breathing evenly, still fast asleep. Liam noticed that their legs were tangled and that Zayn’s arms were tight around Liam’s middle, while one of his hands had snuck beneath Liam’s jumper so that Zayn’s fingers rested against the small of Liam’s back.

Careful not to wake Zayn, Liam reached for his mobile to check the time. It was barely seven in the morning. He would have to show up at Hannah’s office in two hours, and there was nothing worse Liam could imagine than leaving the spot he was in right now. Over the past days, Liam had got to hold Zayn like this quite a lot. Of course liam had known that after all this, it was going to be hard to let go again, but he hadn’t thought it’d be this hard. Zayn fit against him perfectly, and the way they held each other felt like puzzle pieces slotting against each other. 

Closing his eyes, Liam stole another moment. Pressing his lips to the top of Zayn’s head, he inhaled their mixed scents. He hadn’t thought they’d work that well together, but somehow Zayn’s scent of winter and snow complimented Liam’s just fine. Beneath all that, Zayn smelled faintly of Liam’s shampoo. Liam loved the mix, and he would probably go crazy when Zayn would lose that scent, but there wasn’t much he could do about it.

With a deep inhale, Liam untangled himself from Zayn and carefully got up from the sofa. Zayn made a small protesting noise in the back of his throat, hands reaching for thin air. Liam brushed the hair from Zayn’s forehead and leaned in to kiss his temple. 

Leaving the room quietly, Liam glanced back to see Zayn was still fast asleep. He ignored his alpha protesting and went into Zayn’s office where he had stored his bag. He grabbed a change of clothes, finding that he needed to stop by his flat before going to the label’s office to change into some new clothes. If he didn’t, everyone would know just what exactly he had done over the past few days, and while his alpha seemed pretty keen on that, Liam forced himself to ignore the feeling. 

He tiptoed into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth and change out of the clothes he had slept in. He’d leave those in Zayn’s bedroom because Zayn could probably need that kind of comfort for a little longer. 

It wasn’t like Liam didn’t know what Zayn actually needed. 

Just the thought of it made Liam’s blood run warmer, his heart rate pick up speed and his fingers tingle with the urge to touch Zayn the way Liam had wanted to touch him from the moment he had come into this flat. Liam didn’t even know how he had survived the past days -- he felt dead on his feet.

When he came back from the bathroom, he heard noises coming from the kitchen. Following them, he found Zayn at the stove, frying something in a pan. He had his back to Liam, but turned his head the moment Liam came into the room.

“Morning,” Zayn greeted him. He looked much better than the night before. His skin wasn’t as pale and his eyes didn’t look as tired. 

“Hi.” Liam walked closer, keeping his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “How are you feeling?” 

Zayn turned back to the pan. “Better than you, i guess.” 

“Wha---” 

“Not easy to keep a secret when being bonded, is it?” Zayn shrugged and opened the fridge. 

“Um.” Liam pressed his lips together, not sure how he should react. He had anticipated Zayn to feel him through the bond after figuring it out, but he hadn’t thought Zayn would feel him that clearly.

“I think I should drop by the office this morning,” he said in lieu of a better thing to say.

Zayn cracked two eggs into the pan. “I should probably go with you.” 

“You should really not.” It was out before Liam could think any better of it. “I mean…” 

“Yeah?” Zayn turned to him, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Why shouldn’t I?” 

“Oh, come on.” Liam rolled his eyes. “Your heat still lingers. It wouldn’t be safe.” 

Zayn lifted a brow. “It was safe all the other times, too.” 

Liam huffed, shaking his head. He wished Zayn would go back to being pilant and yielding. That had definitely been easier on Liam. “It’s not my place to tell you what to do.” 

For a moment, Zayn watched him intently, then he nodded. “It’s not.” 

“It’s not,” Liam agreed. 

There it was again. The big issue. The burning question. 

Zayn had asked it the night before, and Liam hadn’t been able to discuss it then, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to do it now. It didn’t matter what Liam wanted, anyway; he would do and live with whatever Zayn decided for them. It wasn’t Liam’s place to hope for any more than he had already got from Zayn, and it certainly wasn’t his place to ask for it. 

Zayn turned around and took the pan from the stove, turning it off. “Sit down.”

Liam blinked. “What?” 

“I guess I owe you breakfast at least.” Zayn got two plates and shovelled the pan’s contents onto them. He added toast to both plates before carrying them to the table. 

Frozen in place, Liam stared at him.

“Or don’t you have time for breakfast?” Zayn asked as he sat down.

Liam broke from his spell, nodding rapidly. “Um. Thanks.” 

Zayn started eating. “Did Hannah blow up your phone?” 

“She sent emails, but she didn’t call.” Liam started eating, too. The bacon was slightly burned but he didn’t comment on it. “Louis probably told her not to.” 

He wondered what else Louis had told the team. 

Zayn seemed to think about the same thing. “I’m sure she’s got a plan how to catch up on what you’ve missed. Were you scheduled for any promo?” 

Liam shook his head. “Just a few instagram lives. But we didn’t announce those.” 

“Okay.” Zayn put his fork down, eyes looking up at Liam. “I’m sorry.” 

“What?” Liam put his fork down, too. 

“I’m sorry.” Zayn kept up the eye contact. “It’s a really crucial time in your career and you’ve missed it because of me.” 

Liam shook his head. “I would do it again. You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s expected for alphas to take heat leaves for their omegas, so---” He stopped when he realised what he was saying.

Zayn pressed his lips together, but he didn’t look away. “They don’t know you have an omega.” 

“I’m sure they know by now.” Liam swallowed thickly. “Louis must have told them something . Doesn’t mean they need to know it’s you.” 

“What if they figure it out?” Zayn asked, eyes challenging Liam. 

They were too close to that issue again, and Liam’s nerves were raw to the touch. He got up from the chair, leaving the rest of his food to go cold. “Actually. I need to hurry. I gotta drop by my place before meeting Hannah.” 

Zayn didn’t immediately follow. Only when Liam had pushed everything inside his bag and came to the front door, Zayn appeared in the doorframe. He had his arms crossed and his hair was still dishevelled from sleep. There was a frown on his face, and he didn’t look happy. 

Liam knew that if he stayed any longer, it’d end in him falling to Zayn’s feet. He’d beg him to let Liam be his alpha, and Liam was too scared to be rejected and to lose face like that to stay. He knew that Zayn needed time to get used to the idea, and that Liam had to work hard to get Zayn to accept him as his alpha. 

“Lock the door, okay?” Liam put on his shoes, staying close to the door, so he wouldn’t be tempted. “And get some rest. I’ll tell Louis to call you.” 

Zayn still frowned, watching Liam in silence. 

“I can ask Oli to drop by later and bring you more groceries.” Liam licked his lips after he had put on his jacket. He slung his bag over his shoulder. “Or I could drop something off. Is there anything you need?” 

It took a moment, before Zayn replied. “Are you just gonna leave like that?” 

Liam swallowed thickly. “Make sure you lock the door behind me. I’m gonna wait for the click before I leave.” 

Zayn walked closer and Liam took a step back, hitting the door. 

“There is something I need, yeah.” Zayn blinked slowly, and Liam was scared he would ask for something Liam couldn’t refuse to give. “Can you leave me some of your clothes?” 

Liam exhaled in relief. “I’ve left the jumper I wore tonight on your bed.” 

“Thank you.” Zayn nodded, and before Liam could see it coming, he wound his arms around Liam’s neck to hug him. “Thanks for looking after me.” 

Liam closed his eyes, winding his arms around Zayn’s middle. He inhaled Zayn's scent like it was his oxygen, then he turned his head to press a kiss against Zayn’s neck and scentmark him. Just a little, because Zayn was fresh out of heat and needed it. Zayn tilted his head slightly, his chest expanding with a sigh, then he scented Liam back.

Before he knew it, Liam pulled back slightly and his cheek rested against Zayn’s as they were both breathing in quietly, calmly. Zayn nudged him gently, lips grazing over Liam’s cheek, and it felt like slow motion to Liam when he tilted his head and his lips caught Zayn’s.

It was calm and brief; just  a brush and a nip, their lips locking together and feeling each other. Then Zayn’s tongue darted out and swiped over Liam’s lips. Chasing it, Liam leaned in again and kissed Zayn properly, fingers digging into Zayn’s waist. Their tongues met and Liam yielded to let Zayn take the lead and have his way.

When he realised what he was doing, Liam pulled back, ending the kiss abruptly. His insides cramped when he noticed the prominent scent of lemons and saw how raw and slick Zayn’s lips looked. His bag fell from his shoulder, hitting the floor with a dull thud. 

“Fuck.” He pulled his hands away like he had burned himself. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have---” 

Zayn pulled him closer again. “God, take a hint, Liam.” 

The next kiss was rougher and Liam couldn’t stop himself from lifting Zayn up. His hands grabbed the back of Zayn’s thighs and Zayn wound his legs around Liam’s waist, contently sighing into the kiss. 

“I’m not gonna stop.” Liam panted as he turned them around and pressed Zayn’s back against the wall, feeling how hard Zayn was already. “If we start this now, I won’t be able to stop until I knotted you.” 

He could smell Zayn’s slick; knew it was dripping from him when Zayn groaned. “Liam.” 

“Fuck.” Liam attached his lips to Zayn’s neck, letting his tongue explore. “You smell divine. I’m going nuts with it.” 

“Just fuck me already.” Zayn ran a hand up into Liam’s hair, pulling. “Please, Alpha.” 

Swirling them around, Liam almost stumbled with the urgency to get back into Zayn’s bedroom. He managed without tripping or dropping Zayn, though, and carefully lowered Zayn onto the sheets. 

“Say that again,” Liam demanded, crawling on top of Zayn. His heart was beating high in his throat.

Zayn tilted his head slightly. “Please?” 

Groaning, Liam covered Zayn’s mouth with his, tongue diving in first. Just the memory of the word falling from Zayn’s lips almost drove him insane. He rutted against Zayn’s thigh, growing harder in the restriction of his jeans. 

Zayn pulled away after a moment, hands coming up to push against Liam’s shoulders. “You’re too slow,” he complained, and before Liam could react, Zayn had reversed their positions, straddling Liam. 

Letting Zayn rule him completely, Liam dropped his hands, drinking in the sight. Zayn’s body was slim, his skin dark and smooth when he revealed it by pulling off the jumper Liam had given him. Liam couldn’t help but press his fingertips into Zayn’s rips, tracing the lines and feeling his warmth. 

Before he could explore, though, Zayn drew back and bent down to open Liams trousers. They pulled them off in mutual efforts before they didn the same with Zayn’s bottoms. Zayn’s lips were back on Liam’s instantly, hot breath mingling with his own when Zayn started rocking against him. 

Slick dropped out of Zayn and onto Liam’s thighs; the scent filling the room, and making it hard for Liam to breathe. He choked, hands coming to grab onto Zayn’s waist. 

“Alpha,” Zayn whispered, sliding his hands between them and curling his fingers around Liam’s cock. “Need you.” 

The simple touch made Liam’s eyes roll back and he arched off the bed, groaning loudly. Zayn’s voice echoed in his head.

Alpha, Alpha. Alpha.

When he opened his eyes, he realised that it wasn’t an echo, but that it was Zayn chanting when he guided Liam’s cock inside his slick hole. He slowly sank down, mumbling nonsense, and tilting his head back.

Liam brought up one hand, gently pressing his fingers against Zayn’s bondmark. Immediately, Zayn came for the first time, covering Liam’s chest in white streaks of come. Liam rocked his hips up, burying himself in Zayn, so Zayn could ride out his orgasm. 

To Liam’s surprise, Zayn gained speed after that, starting to ride Liam in earnest, He breathed heavily and his cock still stood angry red against his stomach, even though he had just come. Liam gathered up the come on his stomach before he wrapped his fist around Zayn’s cock. Timing his strokes to Zayn’s thrusts, he felt his knot expand. 

Liam had expected his knot to pop fast, but he still felt a rush of panic at the prospect of it ending so soon. He had wanted so much more from this, but his body demanded release, demanded to do what he had been supposed to do a dozen times over the past few days alone. 

“Baby,” Liam slurred, his fist frantically flying up and down Zayn’s cock. 

Zayn’s eyes locked with his as he leaned back, using one hand as leverage on Liam’s thigh. His thrusts got more shallow, but not slower. “Knot me.”

Liam didn’t have to be told twice. He bucked up and his knot pushed past Zayn’s rim, drawing moans from both of them. Zayn kept rocking, his cock spurting another load of come over Liam’s hand and belly as he collapsed forwards. Liam wanted to cry with his orgasm, feeling like it tore him apart with how intensive it was. He felt like he was coming for ages, pulsing into Zayn’s heat, filling him up with Liam’s come. 

Zayn was panting as he shifted on top of Liam, making them both hiss when Liam’s knot tugged at Zayn’s rim. Liam pulled him closer and carefully sat up to lean against the headrest of the bed, settling Zayn in his lap. 

Liam felt satisfied, and at the same time still hungry for more. It had been too quick, too short -- way too short. Zayn had chased them both to climax, and while it had been necessary to get it out of their systems, it was nothing like Liam had imagined sleeping with Zayn. 

He wanted to explore and touch, drag it out and make Zayn come over and over again. Liam hoped he’d get the chance to do just that. 

“You really would’ve left,” Zayn pulled him from his thoughts, as he let the tip of his forefinger wander over Liam’s chest.

Liam wasn’t sure his brain was functioning properly. All of his senses were zoned in on Zayn and what he wanted to do to him. He leaned in again, catching Zayn’s lips in another filthy kiss. Zayn didn’t seem to mind as he kissed back passionately, lips eager to give. 

“I don’t think I can ever leave again after this,” Liam murmured as he drew away.

Zayn hummed, lips travelling down Liam’s chin. “God. This is so good. I never felt this good before.” 

Liam’s alpha preened with those words. He  brought a hand to Zayn’s belly, feeling it bulge when Liam came again. They both moaned with the sensation, and Zayn started rocking in Liam’s lap. 

“At least you can’t run from the conversation like this,” Zayn said as the wave passed. He framed Liam’s face with his hands, still rocking on Liam’s knot. 

“I was scared of what you’d have to say,” Liam admitted. “There is only one way I want this to go, and I wouldn’t know what to do, if it’s not the same thing you want.” 

“I think it's clear what I want, isn’t it?” Zayn smiled slightly, and Liam’s heart jumped with how beautiful he looked. Lips bitten red, a blush high on his cheeks, and his hair a complete mess. “I don’t want you to leave again.” 

The words slowly tickled into Liam’s consciousness, making his heart stumble in his chest with relief. Frowning, Liam let his fingertips stroke up Zayn’s chest. “I wasn’t the one to leave. I woke up alone with no way to find you.” 

“I panicked.” Zayn pressed his lips together and brought a hand to his bondmark. “I didn’t even know you and I certainly didn’t want to be bonded.” 

“No, I get it.” Liam curled his fingers over Zayn’s, watching his lips fall open. “I didn’t want to make it sound like I blame you. It’s entirely on me. I should have controlled myself, and there’s no excuse.” 

“I guess you’ve changed a lot.” Zayn leaned in to press a lingering kiss to Liam’s cheek. “I don’t think I’ve ever met an alpha with that much self-control.” 

Liam closed his eyes, spreading his fingers between Zayn’s shoulder blades. “It almost killed me.” 

Zayn chuckled quietly, his breath warm against Liam’s skin. “I felt a little gleeful at your misery, to be honest.” 

“Of course you did.” Liam snorted, pulling Zayn even closer. He kept his voice low. “I knew you did. And I also knew that you wanted me to fuck you last night.” 

“I wanted you to fuck me the moment you stepped into this flat.” Zayn rested his head against Liam’s shoulder. “That wasn’t much of a secret.” 

“No.” Liam let his lips wander over Zayn’s forehead and temple. “You were in heat then. That wasn’t really you wanting me. Last night, though, you did. And when we discussed that PR plan of me being seen with other omegas. Fuck, you were wet for me then, weren’t you?” 

Zayn nodded, curling his fingers against Liam’s chest. “Objectively, we should go down that route, but---” 

“We’re not going down that route.” Liam tightened his hold on Zayn. He couldn’t believe Zayn was even capable of thinking about business right now.

“I would hate it.” Zayn’s voice was muffled against Liam’s skin. “Actually…” he sat up enough to look at Liam again. “I probably wouldn’t mind if my alpha had turned out to be someone I don’t like.” 

“You think I’m perfect,” Liam teased him. “You said it last night,” 

Zayn lifted a brow. “I didn’t say that. It was me heat-talking.” 

“It wasn’t.” Liam caught Zayn’s lip in a kiss before he could protest more. “Turns out I think you’re perfect, too.” 

Chasing Liam’s mouth, Zayn deepened the kiss. He didn’t open his eyes when he pulled back afterwards. “So, are we gonna give this a shot?” 

“We are,” Liam replied. “And I’ll do everything to make it work.” 

“And…” Zayn slowly opened his eyes. “You don’t mind my position?” 

Smirking, Liam rested his hand over Zayn’s bum, squeezing one cheek. “I quite like the position you’re in right now.” 

Zayn rolled his eyes. “I mean. At the label.” 

“Why would I mind that?” Liam frowned. 

“Technically, that still makes me your boss.” Zayn shrugged, seeming hesitant to say more. 

“I think we’ve just established that I quite like you being the boss.” Liam squeezed again, his other hand resting against Zayn’s neck. “When you take the lead.”

Zayn’s eyes glazed over. “Most alphas don’t like that.” 

“Well, I’m not like most alphas.” Liam pulled Zayn closer, his knot pulsing inside Zayn’s warmth, releasing more come. 

“Fuck.” Zayn panted as his nails dug into Liam’s arms. “How can you come that much?” 

“Haven’t knotted in ten years.” Liam’s voice was slurred. He felt like his brain was switched off, every cell in his body focusing on where him and Zayn were connected. “I gotta catch up.” 

Zayn looked pleased, and Liam knew that it was down to him admitting that he hadn’t knotted another omega since bonding Zayn. “You’re not the only one who needs to do some catching up.” 

Liam let his hand glide from Zayn’s neck down to his cock, curling his fingers around it. “I guess I can help you out with that.” 

With a slick motion, Zayn pressed Liam back against the mattress. He ground his hips, making Liam’s cock twitch. In reaction, Zayn’s cock grew harder, stiffening in Liam’s hand. Liam jerked it in firm, slow strokes, rubbing his thumb over the sensitive head to draw little gasps and moans from Zayn. 

With half a mind he noticed that the room smelled of snow and sunshine, vanilla and lemon, It was the best scent Liam had ever smelled, and he couldn’t imagine he’d ever forget it. It was ingrained to his memory and engraved to his every sense. 

“Alpha,” Zayn sighed as his lips dragged over Liam’s. “Please, Alpha.” 

Liam switched their positions, one hand coming beneath Zayn’s thigh to pull him closer. His knot caught on Zayn’s rim several times, so he thrust shallowly but deep, trying to hit Zayn’s prostate. He could see it in Zayn’s face every time he did. 

With his wrist flicking, he sped up his glide on Zayn’s cock and it only took a few firm strokes before Zayn shook apart in his arms. Hot, white come streaked his upper body and belly, glistening in the dim morning light. 

Liam followed, pulsing into Zayn once more, and feeling some of his come dripping ouf. 

He collapsed onto Zayn, still holding his thigh to keep them as closely connected as possible and buried his face against Liam’s neck. Darting his tongue out, Liam licked Zayn’s bondmark, teeth slightly grazing it.

What he hadn’t expected was Zayn coming again. He arched off the mattress and his cock twitched in Liam’s hold, some more come dribbling out. Liam pulled back immediately, searching Zayn’s eyes. 

“Fuck,” Zayn choked out, panting, “That was intense.” 

Liam licked his lips. “Can I touch it again?” 

Zayn snorted. “Not sure I can come again.” 

“Whatever happened to catching up?” Liam inhaled, finding that Zayn’s scent had intensified. It was like a drug, and it was purest and most intensive right there over his bondmark. “I love making you come.” 

“You can’t make me come by kissing my bondmark for the rest of our lives.” Zayn tilted his head anyways, exposing his neck to Liam.

“The rest of our lives.” Liam smiled at that, tearing his eyes from the bondmark to look at Zayn’s face again. “I like the sound of that.” 

“I’d like the sound of I’ll make you come in a million different ways ,” Zayn said dryly, but Liam could tell from the blush on his cheeks that he felt as sentimental as Liam did.  

Letting him get away with it, Liam leaned in again, lips brushing over the bondmark. Zayn immediately went pliant, a quiet gasp falling from his lips. For what felt like eternity to Liam, he kept kissing and licking, making sure Zayn would smell like him -- completely like him. Then, he turned them back around. His knot had gone down, and he slid out of Zayn, ignoring the mess of come and slick they had left on the sheets. Shifting away from it, he pulled Zayn on top of himself, arms tightly wound around him.

Zayn hummed lowly, apparently close to sleep. “I could get used to this.” 

Liam closed his eyes, too, suddenly feeling tired. It was like every sleep before had not actually been sleep -- like he properly slept for the first time when he had held Zayn. Like this, sleep came so much easier.

“You better get used to it,” he replied quietly. “I’ll make you happy in a million different ways.” 

For a bit, Zayn was quiet, and Liam thought he had fallen asleep. Just before he drifted off himself, Zayn spoke up again, voice as quiet as before. 

“I like the sound of that, too.” 

Smiling, Liam pressed his lips against Zayn’s forehead. He knew that he shouldn’t get used to Zayn talking that sweet, but he also knew that it was a side of Zayn only he got to see. It made his heart flutter in excitement and simple happiness that he’d found Zayn and that he’d got a second chance at making Zayn happy. 

When he finally fell asleep, Liam was more content than he had ever been in his life. He could feel that it wasn’t just him, but that Zayn was content, too. It was like a steady beat, a second pulse next to his own, but feeling just as natural and part of Liam. 

Falling asleep was easy like that. 

===