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We Live in Fame, Or Go Down in Flames

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"Leprechaun, you see anything down there? I've got no visual on the factories we're supposed to be seeing." Louis says over the com as he pilots the plane to cruising altitude.

Zayn chuckles. "I can't believe he actually agreed to have Leprechaun as his call sign."

"I thought it fit better." Niall says into the speaker hovering above his lips.

"I think I see something through the clouds." Breslin says.

"Could be worse. You could have Bressie's call sign. Proof positive that you Irish men shouldn't drink on ship." Zayn says laughing into the com link.

Louis chuckles as well. "That's true. Whiskeydick, can you tell me what you see through the clouds?"

"I think I see the factories." Bressie ignores the banter and tries using his height to his advantage.

Louis gets serious at that. "Do we need to fly lower? We need confirmation to ensure the civilian casualties are low when we bomb the fuck out of this area."

"Dropping altitude by two hundred feet." Niall says grabbing onto the control stick and lowering the aircraft.

"Careful. If it is a factory they'll have guns." Louis lowers his aircraft as well and peeks over the side.

Zayn frowns. "That's a hospital and school. I don't see any factories."

"We're going to turn around. No military targets in range." Niall says monotonously.

Louis nods and banks hard to the right, turning until the plane is flying in the opposite direction. "Come on. I'm running low on fuel. I think the tank has a leak."

Zayn is already on it, calling in a maintenance crew. "We're going to need a tech to look at Union Jack. Emerald Isle is still flying high in the sky."

"Roger that." Liam says into the intercom.

Harry looks over at the other tech on the ground crew with him. "Sooooo, have you talked to Louis lately?"

"Not really. We've both been busy with our jobs." Liam shrugs and hopes it comes off as nonchalant.

"Have you wanted to talk with Louis?" Harry asks, knowing the answer to that question.

"Yeah, we're friends, Harry. It's like how you want to talk to Zayn." Liam rolls his eyes.

"Yes, but I also want to fuck that gorgeous piece of Pakistani-British ass." The curly haired boy points out.

Liam gags and rolls his eyes. "You're disgusting. He's a person not a choice meat."

Harry chuckles as he can see the two planes line up for a landing in the distance. "Even better; he's both."

"You're the worst." Liam sneers rolling his eyes and moving forward to watch them land.

Twenty minutes later and both planes have landed safely. The jet top pops open and Louis is quickly out of his seat and climbing down the ladder. He waits for his copilot to reach the deck before removing his flight helmet and running his fingers through his hair.

He smiles brightly as a nice cool wind picks up and his hair blows out. He pushes his aviators up a bit more as he looks around for the tech. "Sergeant, you the one who's going to be taking care of my bird?"

Liam rolls his eyes. "Louis, you already know the answer."

Louis cracks a smile. "Be careful with my baby. I'm like an overprotective momma bear when it comes to my Jack-Jack."

Zayn rolls his eyes. "It's creepy the way you actually treat it like your child."

"Louis has nothing else to look forward to." Niall teases bumping hips with Louis.

"Hey! I look forward to many things... Can't think of anything right now, but I have things." Louis says with a pout. "Liam, back me up here."

Liam holds his hands up. "I refuse to be an active participant in this discussion. But yes, Louis looks forward to a lot."

"Oh really? And what exactly does he look forward to, Liam? He getting some on the low?" Harry says with a waggle of his brows.

"No! I have no idea. I just meant he has things to do like the Rovers and beer or something."

Zayn rolls his eyes. "Calm down, Payno. We're just busting your balls. Come on, boys. Let's leave the gear heads to their toys and get some grub."

Liam turns around and glares at Harry. "Thanks for making me look like a fool."

The curly haired boy chuckles and shrugs. "I thought it would be your time to finally tell Louis."

"I'm not going to scare him off. Why don't you tell Zayn that you want to sleep with him?" Liam asks.

"Pretty sure he's got a girl back home. He was telling Louis about his daughter once." Harry says with a shrug.

"And Louis probably has a girlfriend too! I don't want to ruin our friendship." Liam sighs and leans against the wall.

"Okay, okay. I'll back down." Harry says with a sigh as he grabs the tech sheet. "Let's get this bird flyable again."

------------

"Breslin, tell me what you saw. That's where our intelligence places the newest factories." Commander Daley says a bit angrily.

"I saw buildings so I assumed they were the factories, but it was a hospital and a school." Bressie sighs.

The head male looks over the pilots sitting there. "Did you assume they were civilian buildings? What does casualties look like? Can we drop with minimal loss of life?"

"We dropped down to get a better look they're not factories." Bressie insists.

"Sir, you're not suggest dropping bombs on a school and hospital?" Louis asks concerned.

"Of course I am. The school and hospital could just be a diversion."

"Then that's something we need to investigate!" Niall interrupts.

"That's why we sent you boys out. You're the best damn pilots we have." Daley says sternly.

Zayn frowns. "Those could be innocent lives!"

"The controversy and riots it would bring! We're not doing it." Bressie won't be a part of this.

"Actually, you are. It's your next mission. You boys are going to fly and drop some B52's. I've already got the orders." Daley says as he places the papers on the table.

"And what if we refuse?" Niall asks. He's just as against this.

"Then you can kiss the skies goodbye. It would mean the end of your military career and your piloting license would be revoked." Commander Daley says seriously.

"Why would you want to kill innocent civilians? You're a heartless bastard." Niall sneers.

Louis looks down at the table. "You can't take our wings. We belong in the air. You said yourself we're the best pilots."

Zayn nods. "Just give us another chance to do a fly over and check it out. Maybe it's a military operation disguised as a school, but we need another look."

Bressie nods agreeing with the other two. They have to be sure.

"Fine. You get one more fly over. You take off tomorrow morning. Tomlinson, Malik, you'll be taking a different plane since you wings are clipped right now."

Louis nods. "Can we take a test flight? I want to get feel for the old girl."

"Bressie and I can hang back while they do that." Niall is still pissed.

"I'll have Sheeran's plane cleared and ready to take her out for a test flight." Daley says as dismisses the four of them from the briefing room.

------------

"Does anyone else have a bad feeling about this flight?" Zayn says as the four of them are suiting up the next day.

"I've had one since the meeting with commander cunt the other day." Niall shrugs.

Louis sighs. "It'll be fine. It's a routine flyover. Granted we'll be a little lower than normal due to the clouds."

"You think you can handle Nina? Sheeran is super protective of his wings."

"Louis is the king of the sky. I'm sure if anyone can pull this off its him!" Bressie grins.

"She's a bit older than I'm used to. Her banking speed is nowhere near the manoeuvrability of Jack-Jack, but we'll be fine. It's just a school and hospital. We won't even need evasive manoeuvring." Louis say as he pushes his aviators on and zips up his flight suit.

"I'm sure once you get behind the wheel you'll get a proper feel for it." Bressie has faith in Louis and his abilities.

"Let's get going. I just want to get back on his deck and get some breakfast." Zayn says as they head out to the air deck.

"Hopefully we'll know for sure what we're dealing with. I can't bomb children and sick people." Niall sighs sliding his helmet on.

They do all their preflight checks and are ready to go. "Flight deck, this Tommo in the Nina. Are Caramel and I cleared for take off?"

"Tommo and Caramel you are cleared for take off." Flight deck responds.

"Nina don't fail me now." Louis mutters as he hits the throttle and the pair are sent hurtling towards the edge of the runway.

"Pull up!" Zayn shouts as Louis does just that and the plane lifts up.

Niall is right behind them pulling up only a few seconds after.

"Alright, let's go get this information and get back. Leprechaun, stay on my right wing. I'm going to see if I can get closer than last time." Louis says through the com link.

"Roger that." Niall says watching Louis closely and flanking his right.

Zayn sighs. "Do you think these terrorists would really hide weapons in a school or hospital?"

"I wouldn't put it past them. It would be a smart move." Bressie jumps into the conversation.

"They know it would put us in a difficult ethical situation." Louis says as he can see the cloud coverage below. "When do want to dip down?"

Niall looks over a few of his scanners. "We're about to come into a break in the clouds, drop now."

"Roger that." Zayn as he flips the altitude switch. There's a groaning coming from the engine soon enough.

"Jesus, Nina. Hold together, baby. She's such a screamer." Louis says with a grimace as he almost misses the break in the clouds.

"It'll be fine, Lou, have faith." Niall hopes he can offer comfort of some kind.

Zayn huffs. "Easy for you to say. You're in a perfectly fine jet."

There's a blast of gun fire from the left, nearly hitting Louis' wing. "Fucking hell! Where did that come from? There were no terrorist cells here yesterday!"

"The hospital, if that's even what it is, I think it's coming from the hospital." Bressie watches down below or tries to at least.

There's more gunfire and Louis growls. "Alright. Evasive tactics. Niall, double back and watch my six. I'm going in. We need verification of where this gunfire is coming from."

Niall turns around before doing a hard turn to get back on track. "It's the hospital, Tommo."

Zayn looks over his scanners and diagnostic reports. "Louis, we're going in to steep. They’re closing in with that gun fire."

Louis pushes the throttle and maxs out the thrusters. "Hold on. I can almost see it."

"Louis, you need to watch out." Niall growls. He can't afford for them to get hurt.

The smoke clears and Louis pulls up at the last second. "Holy shit..."

Zayn's eyes widen. "Back to base! Pull back! Pull back! There's a rocket launcher on top the school!"

"Shit." Bressie curses watching in horror as Niall pulls the plane hard to the left.

Louis banks hard to the right and the entire plane jolts as Zayn watches bullets riddle through the right wing. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck."

"We're heading back! Bressie, get flight deck communications up. Tell them to clear the deck, we're coming in hot!" Louis barks into the com as he struggles to keep the plane steady, his wing shot to bits.

Bressie presses the speaker button. "Flight deck? Nina has been hit, clear the strip; we're coming in!"

"Roger that. The alarm has been sounded and the deck is clear. Land Nina first since she's got less control."

Louis sighs and tries to hold the plane steady. "Come on, baby. Give me a bit of leeway. Come on, baby, come on."

Niall hangs back watching Louis intently as he came closer to the landing strip.

Louis somehow manages to touch down safely. His wing takes out a transformer grid, sparking a fire on the landing strip. "Jesus. Niall, can you clear it?"

"I don't think so. I don't think I can." Niall has to pull back up, with the fire there's no way he can land.

"How much fuel do you have left?" Louis says as he pops the jet hatch open.

Zayn unharnesses from the seat and pushes the hatch open the rest of the way. "Can we get that fire out before they run out of fuel?"

"Less than a quarter of a tank." Niall has to fly back up and circle around.

"We need help to get this fire out!" Louis yells as he and Zayn climbs to the deck. "Liam! Liam!"

Liam is there with an extinguisher trying to put out what he can.

There's water and extinguishers and it takes a few minutes to finally get the flames out. "Can you clear it now? Niall, can you clear it?"

"I think so." Niall flies out only to come back and hit the runway, skidding across the strip to a stop.

Louis sighs in relief and drops to the deck. "I'm just going to nap right here. I just... What the hell happened?"

Niall gets out of the plane kissing the ground. "Didn't think I'd touch this again."

"Debrief in thirty minutes, boys." The flight deck voices crackled into their ears.

------------

Liam finally relaxes into a chair. "I'm just glad that nothing happened to any of them. That was too close a call."

Harry sits next to the man and runs a hand through his curls. "What the hell happened?"

"Louis' wing got shot out and Niall almost ran out of gas midair."

"Jesus. Thank god these guys are talented in the sky." Harry says as he looks over the damage.

"You should have seen Louis, he did amazing managing to land. Well except for the fire." Liam chuckles.

Harry rolls his eyes. "I'd chalk it up to your infatuation with him, but looking at the damage he's damn lucky." He runs his fingers over the bullet holes, shaking his head. "This isn't even fixable. There's holes in the wing."

"I don't have an infatuation with him! I just think he's a great pilot." Liam shrugs nonchalantly.

"What even happened? I thought Zayn said it was a school and a hospital." Harry says with a whisper as he looks at the full damage.

"Apparently they disguised it as a school and hospital, but judging by these bullet holes they weren't."

"Wish I could sit in on that briefing. That would be one hell of a meeting." Harry says as he looks up towards the direction of the debriefing room.

"Hopefully Daley understands that they had no clue." Liam sighs.

Harry nods. "But who's the one who gets to tell Ed that Nina is scrap metal?"

"Not it." Liam says it so casually touching the tip of his nose.

"You sly bitch." Harry says with a groan. This is going to be the worst conversation ever.

------------

"We flew over the place and they started firing at us!" Niall says, trying to defend himself and his fellow pilots.

"We told you, it looked harmless." Zayn says from his seat.

Commander Daley sighs. "We told you it was a terrorist cell hide out. Why don't you trust us when we give you information?"

"Because we didn't want to kill potential innocent people." Niall isn't backing down from this.

"Look, we're going through with this bombing. We're now down a plane because you couldn't just listen." Commander Daley says, quite perturbed. "And you, Captain Tomlinson, I should clip your wings. You put your copilot and wingmen's life in danger. You're damn lucky I don't ground you."

Louis sighs. "The objective is complete, isn't it?"

"We're fine and we did our job," Bressie says, "if anything Louis saved our asses back there."

"Enough. Now that we know it's a terrorist hide out, we bomb it." Zayn says with conviction.

Commander Daley nods. "You boys fly in two days. The Union Jack should be in working order by then."

Niall leaves the debriefing room once the meeting room is over. "I need a smoke."

"We talking Molly or nothing that hard?" Louis says with a quirk or his brow.

"I was talking about a cigarette. We don't need to get high right now." Niall stalks over to Liam and Harry and sighs.

"A smoke doesn't sound too bad." Louis says with a sigh as he comes over to see the Nina and the tech looking over her. "What's the damage, boys?"

"It's scrap metal now." Liam reclines against the wall arms folded.

"How'd Ed take it?" Louis asks lightly.

Harry shakes his head. "He practically cried. It's like losing a child."

"Better than him getting angry." Liam is glad Ed didn't decide to hit Harry or himself.

"I'm sure he understands. He's been in combat regions before." Zayn says quietly. Harry's right, it is like losing a child.

Louis cracks his neck with a groan. "So when is Jack-Jack going to be ready to fly?"

"Should be done within the next six hours." Liam beams at Louis.

Louis smiles back and tosses an arm around Liam's shoulders. "I knew there was a reason you were my favourite technician."

Liam flushes pink and shrugs. "Whatever Harry's just as good, better even."

Zayn chuckles. "Louis' right. You handle our Jack-Jack with care. Any chance you could babysit for us?"

Harry rolls his eyes. "Pilots and their planes, I swear."

"I think it's endearing like they love them." Liam shrugs.

Louis chuckles. "Come on. Let's get food. You techs coming with us, right? Liam, I'm sure there's a big piece of cake with your name on it."

"Sure, Louis, anything you want." Liam grins and follows after Louis.

Harry rolls his eyes, looking towards Zayn. "Can he be any more obvious?"

Zayn laughs and slings an arm around Harry's shoulders. "It's cute, puppy love."

Harry preens at the touch from Zayn. He stares up at the man as they head towards the mess hall. "Yeah... Puppy love."

Zayn squeezes Harry's shoulder, dropping his arm and heading off.

------------

Zayn straps himself into his plane, slipping his helmet on over his head. "You ready, captain?"

Louis nods. "Ready as I'll ever be." He pats his best pocket feeling his lighter and cigarette. "You got your victory lap ready?"

Bressie's voice fills the com. "You guys are impossible. I mean, it's great that y'all have a smoke after a successful flight, but carrying them with you?"

"We like being prepared." Zayn grins flicking a few switches above his head.

Louis chuckles as well. "Alright, Ni. We have a good amount of explosives strapped to us. We go in high and drop only at the preprogrammed coordinates. I don't feel like being around when they retaliate."

"We'll get out as soon as our job is done." Niall doesn't want to be around either.

"Flight, do we have clearance to proceed?" Bressie asks as he watches the techs scramble off the landing deck once the last minute plane checks are done.

"Deck is cleared prepare for take off." The voice from the control station says.

Bressie nods and looks over to his wingmates. "We'll see you in the air. Punch it, Niall."

"Alright, boys. Let's go show these assholes how we do in London." Louis says as he watches Niall line up to take off.

Niall chuckles. "You make it sound like we're in some James Bond movie."

"We are James Bond. Didn't you know? This is MI6. We just use the Royal Air Force as a cover up." Louis says with a chuckle.

Zayn rolls his eyes even if none of them can see. "Let's get this show on the road then."

"After you Emerald Isle." Louis says wanting to be semi professional.

Bressie nods. "Punch it, Niall. Let's get this mission done."

Niall starts cruising down the deck before lifting the aircraft in the air and bringing the landing gear inside of the plane.

Louis follows suit and continues to climb high in the sky. "Let's push to ten thousand feet. I really don't want to be spotted."

Niall pulls up again watching the elevation climb higher. "Ten thousand feet; approaching now."

"Levelling out." Louis says as they reach the desired height and gets to the right level. "Alright, one thousand miles to target. We'll be there in about twenty minutes. Please remember that your seats and tray tables need to be in the upright and locked position."

Zayn snorts. "How did they let you be captain of this ship, Tomlinson?"

Bressie chuckles. "Sometimes I wonder if he blew someone to get his spot as Captain."

"He probably got up to it with Daley." Niall laughs and shakes his head.

Louis huffs. "I didn't blow Daley. I got it on with his boss."

Bressie laughs heartily. "You're so disgusting. You blew the General and only made captain? You must have really performed poorly."

"Jesus, I should blow the general I'd probably be in charge of the entire fleet." Niall chuckles.

Zayn grins. "We should ask Bressie. Is Niall good with his mouth?"

Bressie laughs. "Hell yeah he is. He gives such good head. You guys have your fags for celebration, but I got Niall's mouth."

Zayn nods his head. "At least that rumor has been cleared up. Now we know that these two fuck around."

"You do what you need to. Does Laura know about the celebrations, Bress?" Louis asks with a snicker.

"No she doesn't besides it's just two bros celebrating something Laura can't. Although she didn't mind that threesome last month." Niall says with a devious smirk.

Louis laughs as he looks out the cockpit towards the other plane. "You two are disgusting. Maybe I will suck Daley off just get a promotion and get away from you."

Bressie just hums and looks down at his instrumentation. "We have about five miles, boys. I think we should dip and drop."

Niall brings the plane down looking out the window. "Two minutes until the drop."

"I see the buildings up ahead." Louis says as the joking nature is broken and everything suddenly becomes serious.

Niall breaks through the clouds. "One minute until the drop."

Bressie does a quick scan. "I have movement on the roof. Expect return fire."

"We see them." Zayn says spotting what Bressie is talking about.

"Ten seconds to drop." Louis says as his grip tightens on the throttle. "They're loading rocket launchers. Drop now!"

Niall punches a button, the bottom of the plane opening and dropping the bomb.

Louis does the same watching as the terrorists manage to get one rocket in the air. "They got one off!"

Niall goes a hard right to avoid potentially getting hit.

Bressie watches the projected course. "Lou, it's heading right for you!"

Louis banks hard, the explosive following hard on his tail. "It's heat seeking! I won't be able to shake it."

"Do something!" Niall flies ahead watching as the bomb he dropped explodes.

There's a popping sound. Louis looks around and sees that the bomb he dropped was a dud. "Bomb two did not hit. We've got more enemy fire coming in! Niall, get yourselves out of here!"

"What about you and Zayn?" Niall shouts.

Louis turns his head slightly to look at his copilot. "We'll have to bail out. Just go!"

The captain starts flipping emergency switches and preparing to bail. "Zayn, the 'chutes are ready to go. Bail on my signal. Three, two, one, eject!"

Louis is beside him, looking up as his beloved Jack-Jack is blown from the sky. The explosion rocks them, parachutes catching fire slightly and blowing them towards the terrorist encampment.

"Shit! What are we going to do?" Zayn shouts.

Louis quickly unstraps himself as they hit the ground and runs over to Zayn. "Let's go. We need to get moving."

There's the sound of yelling in a different language coming towards them and Louis panics. He unstraps Zayn and pulls him up before pulling the required pistol from his thigh and pointing it at the advancing terrorists.

Zayn goes back to back with Louis. "We're seriously outnumbered."

Louis tenses as the men advance. "Do we surrender or try and fight our way through?"

"We'll die if we fight." Zayn lowers his gun and sets it on the ground very slowly.

Louis follows suit. "You realise we're going to die either way."

The men come over, kicking the guns away and punching both men in the stomach to at least incapacitate them.

Zayn groans, hitting the ground pretty hard on his side.

The two of them are hauled to their feet and dragged away.

------------

Harry tears at the napkin on the table, a nervous habit. "Wonder if everything's okay. They should be back by now."

"I'm sure we would have heard something." Liam tries to say it reassuringly but even he's not sure.

"Attention: all hands on deck. Incoming fighter jet." The intercom blares through the vessel.

Harry frowns. "Jet? Not jets?"

Niall has the landing gear drop, hitting the deck hard enough to rattle the vessel and the aircraft.

Harry steps out on deck and waves Niall farther down so they can get Louis' plane landing as well.

Niall shakes his head and opens the craft, getting out of his seat.

"Keep moving. We got to land Tomlinson." Harry says. His stomach feels like lead though and he's biting at his lip. "We are landing him... Right?"

"He... His plane isn't coming..." Niall hangs his head in shame.

Bressie climbs down and places a comforting hand on the blond's shoulder. "There was nothing you could do."

"What happened?" Harry asks softly, looking over his shoulder at Liam.

"Their plane was shot down they had to eject." Niall slams his hand against the metal. "Fuck!"

Commander Daley is there as quickly as possible. "We need to debrief, immediately."

Niall climbs out clinging to Bressie not holding back his tears.

As the pilots and Commander head inside to debrief, Harry looks over to Liam. "Do you think... They're alive, right?"

Liam is quiet, looking at the ground. "I don't know, Harry."

"Come on. Let's head to the bunks. Something tells me their meeting is going to be awhile. And we should probably get some time alone to... Process."

Liam stalks off away from Harry to be alone in a corner.

------------

"First let me say that I'm sorry about Captains Tomlinson and Malik. I know the four of you were extremely close." Commander Daley says as he looks at the two pilots in front of him.

Bressie has an arm slung around Niall's shoulders, holding the boy in case he cries. "Close? Close doesn't even begin to cover it. They were our wingmen. That's a bond tighter than brothers."

Niall can't even speak, can't find the right words, if there's even a right thing to say.

Tom sighs and takes a seat at the head of the table. "Look, I know this is a tough time and I plan on giving you boys a no fly recommendation for at least two weeks, but the General is breathing down my neck. Are the targets destroyed?"

"We dropped the fucking bomb! Louis' had been a dud, there we debriefed you now let us leave."

Bressie tightens his grip on the boy's shoulder. "Calm down. I know it's painful, but it's procedure."

Commander Daley nods. "I can take that to my superiors, but when you're not as... Upset we'll do a thorough debriefing and such."

Niall just pushes Bressie away storming out. He's not going to listen to insensitive assholes when he just lost some of the most important people of his life.

Bressie salutes and heads out after Niall. "Hey! Hey, Niall! Wait up!"

Niall keeps walking throwing his helmet at the ground hard.

"Hey," Bressie manages to catch the boy's wrist. "Hey, I know it's hard. We need to stay calm and just... Breathe."

Niall shakes his head and breaks down. "How am I supposed to stay calm?"

"Just breathe. That's a good start." Bressie pulls Niall into his chest and holds him close. "I know, I know it hurts. I want them back too. It's going to be okay."

Niall just clings to Bressie sobbing into his torso, this can't be happening.

Bressie pets at Niall's hair, not allowing himself to have his moment to break down just yet.

"Can we just... Lay down and you hold me?" They're not really intimate together, they just get off when they don't have women close, but Niall needs this.

"Yeah. Come on. My bunk is a little more spacious since it's longer." Bressie says softly as he holds Niall and the two head down the hall towards his quarters.

------------

Harry fixes his uniform, wanting to look his best. He can't believe they're actually having a funeral service for the two fallen pilots. It's been a week and they have yet to be found. The Commander had finally declared the two killed in action.

Niall is having a harder time, hands shaking as he fixes his tie and the worst part is that Laura is here which means Bressie can't hold his hand, can't comfort him.

Laura rubs a hand over Bressie's back, looking sadly over at Niall. "I can't imagine the grief you two are going through, but I'm going to do my best to help the two of you."

Niall holds back his laugh. He doesn't need to be bitter even if Bressie only sees Niall as someone to get him off. "Thanks."

Harry joins them. "Have you guys seen Liam? He said he was going to get some air topside, but I haven't seen him since."

"Probably out at the bar. Which is where I'm headed now." Niall stalks off, he can't look at Laura and Bressie anymore.

"Laura, this is Harry. He loves cats. Talk amongst yourself." Bressie says as he kisses his wife's cheek and heads after his copilot. "Niall, wait up."

"What? I'm trying to get wasted." Niall rolls his eyes, walking up the stairs to the deck.

Bressie sighs. "I didn't know she was coming. I told her what happened and she managed to get a pass from the general for the funeral."

"That doesn't change anything she's still with you." Niall keeps walking, refusing to look back.

"You knew going into this that I was married. Why is this just now bothering you?" Bressie asks in a hushed tone. He stops and takes in the somber decor. "Better yet, don't answer me right now. We're here to remember our friends, not argue this petty stuff out right now."

"Exactly so go comfort your wife." Niall glares getting in line for the bar.

Twenty minutes later, Commander Daley has everyone taking their seats. "We are gathered here to honour to fallen heroes that were killed as they protected their country."

Liam sobs, hand over his heart as they all stand. After Daley's speech the national anthem begins to play.

Louis and Zayn's pictures are up at the front of the hall, a wreath hanging on each of their pictures. "Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. They died as Captains, they will be buried as Majors."

Niall sobs, too drunk to care if anyone hears or sees him, a tumbler of scotch in his hand.

Harry holds Liam tightly. "He was a hero. He died keeping us and our families safe." He doesn't know what to say to his best friend.

Liam nods his head, he's so numb he can't even cry. "I know."

Bressie can feel his heart break as he hears Niall's sobs. He reaches over and squeezes the blond pilot's hand.

Niall takes his hand away, he can't deal with this right now.

They all stand as the flags are carried down the aisle and folded. Commander Daley raises his right hand and salutes the two pictures, the entire crowd following suit.

After the ceremony, Harry drags Liam over to join the other two as the chairs empty. "They're really gone then?"

Liam shrugs staring hard at the ground. "I don't know I... I guess they are."

Bressie looks to the ground. "It just doesn't feel right. They need to be here, joking and laughing with us..."

"I can't deal with having to fly with a new captain and pilot." Niall's words slur downing another shot.

"I think you've had enough..." Harry says as he goes to grab the now empty glass from Niall's hand.

Niall pushes Harry's hand away. "I've had enough when I say I've had enough."

Harry frowns. "Niall, stop. We just lost two friends; don't kill your liver and join them. Please, none of us could take it."

"None of you could take it, that's a laugh. Fuck off." Niall rolls his eyes stumbling to his feet.

Bressie frowns and suddenly angry at his copilot. "What the hell is your problem? We're here to remember fallen friends and comrades and you're acting like a fucking prick."

Niall rounds on Bressie. "Shut the hell up! I am honoring them. Why don't you stop worrying about me? It's not like you actually care."

"Of course I care! I'm your fucking copilot. Now pull your shit together." Bressie growls out to the blond.

"Oh, you care? You care about me like you care for Laura?"

Liam stands. "Niall, come on. Let's not say anything you'll regret."

Laura cocks her head to the side. "Niall, we're married. Now, I know you two are pretty close, but wife trumps copilot."

Niall laughs. "Oh, he really cares. I can tell he really cares about you every time we fuck." He just heads off; he can't deal with this anymore.

"Bressie..." Laura says in a small voice, eyes welling up before she takes off down the hall.

"Laura! Laura, baby, wait!" Bressie says as he takes off after her.

"Why is everything so fucked up." Liam groans holding his face.

------------

Tom Daley sits in his office with Corporal Cullen. He's sipping at his coffee, pouring whiskey into the brown liquid. "I don't understand what could have happened. They're the best damn pilots I've ever had the pleasure of commanding."

"They weren't expecting to be shot down like that." Sean sighs.

"Still... It was my fault for insisting they fly back over and make themselves known." Daley says. "Sean, sometimes you're given an order and it just sounds wrong, but you have to follow it anyway."

"You had to follow them it's not your fault, Tom." Sean says adamantly.

"I could have told General Cowell to fuck off. I should have... We knew they had missiles and rockets. That was in Louis' reports." Tom says angrily. He's so angry with himself.

"Stop blaming yourself! You were in too tough of a position."

Commander Daley just shakes his head, downing straight whiskey now. "But what if I could have stopped this? They could still be here."

"Tom, you had no idea, it's not your fault." Sean wish he could get his friend to see that.

"I know. It's just... Being in this position and sending men who are extremely qualified and talented out into hostile area..." Tom trails off as he tries to collect his thoughts. "Every time you lose a guy you just start to question if you're good enough to be in the position they gave you. Every death becomes personal."

"I know, Tom, but they aren't the first men to die in combat and they won't be the last. For them to sacrifice themselves just shows what kind of men they truly are."

"It just hurts. I should've listened. I know there was nothing I could have done, but it still makes me question my judgement as a leader." The commander sighs and looks to his corporal.

Sean just leans back, there's no way he's going to change Tom's opinion. "Pass the scotch."

------------

Bressie sits in the mess hall, pushing the mashed potatoes around on his plate. It's been three weeks since they honoured his wing mates, but he just can't believe it.

Harry takes a seat across from Bressie smiling softly. "How you holding up?"

"I haven't had my breakdown yet. Niall has cried himself dry, but I just can't seem to have my moment." Bressie says quietly.

Harry nods, slowly tearing his biscuit without eating it. He can't stomach food right now. "How... How are you and Laura?"

Bressie sighs and pushes his plate far away from him. "Rocky. She said that she understands that it's a long time without her and that touch, but she can't justify infidelity."

"How are you and Niall?" Harry's quieter, feels like Niall is a more touchy subject.

The pilot stays quiet for a long time. He doesn't really want to talk about it. "He hasn't talked to me since the ceremony. I only know he's had his breakdown because we share a room. He cries late at night in his bunk."

Harry sighs. "Why did it have to turn out like this? Why?"

"I know it's a horrible thing to say, but I feel like Niall is being so selfish in this whole thing." Bressie says, anger suddenly flaring.

Harry frowns. "How do you mean? Why is he being selfish."

"Just..." Bressie sighs. "He knew going into everything that I had a wife and that it was pleasure only and then he gets freaked out and nearly ruins my marriage." The pilot groans. "I don't know how to explain it."

"Do you think... Maybe it was more than pleasure on his part? Maybe it started out as pleasure but it changed?"

"Then he should have told me!" Bressie shouts angrily. He wonders if this is his breakdown.

Harry holds his hands up. "Sorry! Sorry, let's talk about something else."

Bressie can't stop though. "He could of done something different! A word, a look, anything! He just needed to give me a chance."

"You're married Bress..." Harry reminds him if not a little bluntly.

"To a woman. That's what I am- straight. He was just a fling that we both needed and now it's over." He says snidely.

Niall, who only got up to get a dessert, freezes and glares at the back of Bressie's head. "Fuck you."

"Been there, done that." Bressie snaps at the voice he knows all too well. He turns to look at the blond and can't help the sad look he gives his copilot.

Tears well in Niall's eyes. "You fucking asshole." He storms off to find Daley.

Bressie slumps forward in his seat and rests his head on his arms. He hasn't been able to cry since the mission, but he suddenly finds himself sobbing and unable to stop. "He's my copilot, my fucking best friend, and I just ruined everything."

Harry rounds the table, ignoring the stares. "Why don't we get out of here?"

He wishes Louis were here he'd know exactly what to do.

"I just want my brothers back." Bressie sobs as he stands and cries into Harry's shoulder.

"I know, Bress, I know." It's not until Harry leads him outside that he starts crying too.

------------

Liam's sitting on his sofa, trying to drink the tea he made for himself and Niall. It's silent, it has been silent and Liam really doesn't notice, his mind is elsewhere thinking about everything and nothing.

Niall clears his throat after a small sip of tea- Yorkshire, Louis' favourite. "Thank you for switching with Breslin. I don't think I can deal with that pretentious asshole."

"It's no problem." Liam shrugs. He looks at Niall and offers what he hopes is a reassuring smile.

"You know, you and Harry are taking this loss a lot harder than I expected you two to." Niall says quietly from his spot on the couch next to Liam. "I didn't think you knew Lou... Them all that well."

Liam frowns. "I've known Lou longer than anyone. We just never made it known we were friends."

"Why not? He was a great person to be friends with." Niall looks to the technician in confusion.

"It's not like we were embarrassed just... No one ever asked."

Niall looks to the floor. "Tell me about him? Like we're you friends before the military or...?"

"We met in school, year nine. We both sat next to each other in English and bonded over our hatred for Shakespeare." Liam chuckles.

"Sounds exactly like Louis." Niall says with a laugh. "So you know his family then?"

"Yeah, all his sisters and his brother. They're a crazy bunch, especially when Louis' there."

Niall laughs loudly at that. "I can just see him riling them up. He was such a fun loving person."

"Yeah..." Liam quiets down looking into his tea cup.

"What about his wife? He never really talked about anyone so I don't even know if he was married."

"He never was. He had a girlfriend for awhile, but they drifted apart." Liam had never been more relieved when Louis decided not to propose.

Niall nodded. "Listen... Commander Daley wanted me to present his mother with his flag when we arrived back in the UK, but... Do you want to do it?"

"Would... Would that be alright?" Liam grips the handle of his mug and hopes Niall would say yes.

"Of course. I want it to be someone she knows." He smiles softly at the tech. "I get the impression you miss him the most."

"Other than his mum and siblings no one could miss him more than me."

"Best friends that joined the military together. Did you guys even think about having to do this without the other?"

"We talked about it before we signed up." They were only joking then.

Niall's quiet for a moment, turning his next question over. He's wondered the answer he would give if anyone ever asked it of him. "Do you regret signing the papers?"

Liam is quiet, really quiet. "No. No, I don't. I'm doing what's right for my country."

The blond looks hard at Liam. "Can I ask you a really personal question?"

Liam snorts because all of these questions had been pretty personal. "Go ahead."

"Harry always joked about it, but did you really like Louis? Like, border line love him?" Niall asks stirring at his tea without looking to the other male.

Liam isn't sure how to answer because he isn't sure if he can share something like that. "No comment."

Niall shrugs. "Fair enough. I'll tell you about Bressie though since you've shared so much." He sips at his tea gingerly. "It started as a purely physical thing, we'd get off after a successful flight. It started becoming more frequent and turning into blowjobs, then eventually sex. I... I fell in love with him, but I should've known. I mean, he's married for God's sake. He's got a daughter."

Liam frowns sympathetically. "Maybe you should just talk to him."

"What's the point? He's going to pick Laura. He won't just decide to divorce her for me." Niall says sadly.

"That might be true, but you both need to clear the air and get along again." Liam doesn't want this to tear them apart.

"I've requested a new copilot." Niall says quietly. It had been a rash decision, but after hearing how disrespectful Bressie was, he can't fly with him.

Liam sighs. "I hope you guys can work it out eventually."

Niall nods and swirls the last bit of his tea. "I miss him already... All three of them."

Liam clears his throat to keep from breaking down. "Yeah."

"I know you said no comment, but if you really did love him... You should know he talked about you all the time. I get the impression it wasn't a one sided thing."

"I..." Liam stands and tries to smile, "I'm pretty exhausted. I think I'm going to go to bed."

Niall nods. "Yeah. It's for the best. Goodnight, Liam. I really hope I didn't offend with the question."

"It's fine, Niall." Liam leaves, closing his bedroom door behind himself.

------------

"To ensure further safety of all crew members, all missions and flights are grounded until further notice..." Commander Daley says as he addresses the large crown of sailors and pilots.

"You can't do that!" One of the sailors yells. "We have to protect our country!"

"And we will, but for now that's our objective." Daley searches the crowds for the naysayers when he sees Corporal Cullen hurrying around the message relay machines.

"Commander, we're getting an urgent message." Sean says starting to connect wires to the large monitor.

Soon enough, the picture fizzles in and Louis and Zayn's faces full the screen. Their faces are bruised and bloodied, but Louis is smiling none the less. "Zayn! I think I got it."

"Jesus Christ, you fucking angel." Zayn chuckles darkly hugging his superior.

"Let's hurry up. I don't know how much time we'll have before they come back in here." Louis says fearfully as he looks beyond the camera.

"How do we know anyone is seeing this?" Zayn asks looking at the camera lens.

Louis shrugs, wincing as he grabs his shoulder. "Just gotta take a chance." He rolls the hurting shoulder and there's a massive pop as the joint pops back into place. "It's better than sitting in here and getting fucking beaten for information."

Zayn waves his hand. "If anyone can hear us it is July thirty first, two thousand fourteen we are both alive and imprisoned at a warehouse about twenty miles north of where we ejected. We don't know how long they'll keep up alive, but we are currently and we need help."

Louis nods. "Zayn can understand the language obviously and they keep asking about our weapons. They're getting increasingly angry that we haven't told them anything yet. Zayn, has tried talking back in their tongue, but it's only gotten him beat more."

"We need medical assistance I've had to pop Louis' arm into the socket multiple times and I think my leg is broken."

Louis chuckles. "At least I know how to do it myself now. And I've gotten pretty good at fake crying so they'll leave us alone."

"They won't for long." Zayn frowns trying to wipe blood away from his nose with his knuckles only to smear more across his face.

"If anyone is seeing this and you're from the UK, tell my mum I love her and let my family know I didn't go out without a fight." Louis says more seriously.

"Tell mine that I had to do it for my country and I hope that they will forgive me."

There's the sound of a creaking door and Louis' eyes shift up, away from the camera. "Shit..."

There's screaming three men rushing forward, knocking the camera over in the process, gunfire going off.

The feed cuts out and the whole meeting descends into chaos.

"We have to get them out!" Niall shouts, standing and slamming his hands on the table.

There's similar shouts being echoed throughout the room. Commander Daley finally gets order back and looks over the faces of his men. "Are you really willing to risk all of this for two guys?"

"Two guys? Two guys! Of course we are!" Niall growls.

"Man your planes. Ground force, prepare to jump. We're going to take these sons of a bitches down." Tom says as he sees their resolve.

------------

Niall doesn't care right now, he doesn't care that he's still pissed at Bressie only for them to be flying together. This is about Louis and Zayn.

"Hey," Bressie grips his shoulder tightly, "let's bring them home. He looks over at all the techs who have to stay behind. "They need to come home."

"I know." Niall climbs in his seat helmet settled in his lap.

Liam smiles. "I believe in you guys. I know you can do it."

Harry is there, biting his lip nervously. "Just be careful. They probably know you all are coming."

"We'll do what we can, but I'm willing to sacrifice my life for them." Niall says fiercely.

Bressie nods in agreement as he slips his helmet on. "Niall, we are cleared for take off whenever you're ready."

Niall slips his helmet on, buckling his seatbelt. "Prepared for take off."

"Flight, Emerald Isle is heading down the runway." Bressie radios to the control tower.

Niall takes the aircraft down the strip before bringing it up in the air and closing the landing gear.

Soon enough, there's about thirty aircraft in the air and ten boats in the water below.

"Gentlemen, before you head in there, I want to remind you that this is mission that is not sanctioned. We are alone in this fight. I am grateful that I have a crew who will not leave any man behind. May God protect you on your mission." Commander Daley says through the com.

Niall doesn't respond, he's too focused and he's going to get his friends back.

------------

Louis is leaning heavily against Zayn. After their stunt, they're lucky to be alive. Zayn had been able to get away with nothing more than a beating, but Louis- of course- had put up a fight.

He ended up with a gunshot wound to the bicep, the muscle tearing and actually trying to escape his arm. It's been popped out of socket again and he idly wonders if he'll ever be able to fly again. "Zayn?"

"Yeah?" Zayn asks. It's hard to talk, his lip split wide open and swollen to the size of a balloon.

"I just want to tell you it's been a honouring serving and flying with you. I'm sorry I got us into this situation." Louis says quietly.

Zayn shakes his head reaching over to squeeze Louis' fingers. "It's not your fault. At least we'll die serving our country."

It's quiet for a moment before Louis speaks again. "What's one thing you regret not doing or saying?"

"Standing up to my family. Telling them that I had to do this for their protection."

"That's... Deeper than I expected. I just regret not telling Liam how I felt about him during school." Louis shrugs with his good shoulder.

"That's still important- loving someone. I wonder how he's holding up." Zayn sighs.

Louis nods before chuckling. "He's probably mad because now he'll never get all the money I owe him for pizzas over the years."

"Sure he'll mention that at your funeral." Zayn can't help but laugh.

There's the sound of yelling and the close by whir of plane engines. Gunfire can be heard as well.

"What are they yelling, Zayn?" Louis says, suddenly very interested.

Zayn sits up and he can't help smile. "Those fuckers actually came to get us. Something about a plane decorated in Irish decals."

"They're fucking insane." Louis says with disbelief in his voice. The shouting gets louder before they aren't alone.

One terrorist grabs Louis buy his injured arm, yanking him up despite the cries of pain and protest. Another yanks Zayn up by his arm as well as they talk to each other in their native language.

Zayn starts mouthing the words to Louis. 'They aren't sure whether to give us back or all of us die.'

There's a loud bang to their right and suddenly, English. "Put them down. Now! We'll shoot! We'll do it!"

Louis recognises Captain Devine from ground invasion force and smiles brightly. They sent everyone to rescue them.

There's more talk before Louis is pushed out followed closely by Zayn towards Josh and his team.

"This is Captain Devine. We got them." Josh says tiredly.

"Captain, what do we do with them?" One of the others ask as they motion to the terrorists randomly there.

"Kill them." One soldier spits raising his gun and glaring.

"That's in humane. Another pointless killing." Another soldier says from the back.

"They tried killing two of our own." One of them insists.

"Yeah! Kill them!" Soon enough most of the soldiers have their guns drawn and are waiting for the order to fire.

Daley is silent until he can hear the orders. "Fire!"

Soon every soldier is opening fire on the small group.

"Hold fire! Hold fire!" Devine says as the last terrorist falls. He looks over at the battered pilots. "Let's get these two home."

------------

Zayn's never been this happy to see the station, to see that they're finally safe. "I've never been so glad to see this fucking place."

Louis nods. "Let's get your leg looked at. We need to get it set before it heals incorrectly and they have to break it again."

Two men help Zayn out, walking with him towards the station minding his leg.

Louis' arm is in a sling as he gets out and sees the base. The sun's a bit too bright and everything is a little blurry. "Fuck. I need my aviators or something."

It's like slow motion when Liam first sees Louis enter. There's no thinking involved as he runs over, no thinking as he takes Louis' face in his hands and kisses the life out of him.

Louis squeaks in surprise, but brings his good hand up to press whoever this is closer. When he needs air, he pulls back and sees Liam there. He can't help the smile that breaks across his face. "Hey."

"I'm so glad you're alive." Liam is so relieved grabbing lightly at Louis' shoulder.

Louis' smile falters as he remembers his injured arm. "I might not be able to fly ever again. Liam... Flying is my passion."

"I know, Lou, just… I'm glad you're back. Don't ever do that to me again." Liam glares.

"I won't. I... I'm glad to see you again." Louis says with a small smile.

"We need to get you to the medical bay. Your arm..." A soldier says to Louis.

Liam wraps his arm around Louis' shoulders steering him towards the medical center. "I know this probably isn't the best time or the place to say this, but after almost losing you... Louis, I'm in love with you."

Louis stops and looks at his friend. "I told Zayn my deepest regret was never telling you the truth-"

"Tomlinson, good to have you back. Better get you to the doctor." Commander Daley says as he approaches the two.

Liam smiles and laughs. "He's the best damn pilot here. You'd be lost without him."

"Thank you, sir. I'll head to the doctors in just a moment. I was talking to Liam about something." Louis says hoping he'd get the hint.

"Oh no. The longer we wait, the less chance you'll have of ever flying again. Let's get you there now."

Liam looks at Louis. "We'll talk about it later, okay? Let's just get you fixed up."

Louis sighs, but nods. "Fine. Come with me though? They already took Zayn away and I don't want to be alone right now."

"Of course." Liam settles his hand on Louis' back guiding him to the medical center.

Louis rests his head on Liam's shoulder as they make it to the medical centre and they're shuffled into a room. "What if I can't fly anymore?"

"I don't know, Lou." Liam sighs sadly. He wishes he could reassure Louis, but he doesn't know how to.

"That's why I joined the military, to fly planes. What else can I do if my wings are clipped?" Louis is on the verge of tears when the doctor walks in.

"It's going to be okay." Liam whispers slyly kissing Louis' temple.

-------------

Niall's silent, waiting. Bressie had called him over presumably after finding out that Niall would be flying with someone else and that they'd be going their separate ways.

"So... I've been reassigned to Sheeran? We're not flying together anymore?" Bressie says as he joins Niall on the flight deck, looking over their jet together.

"That's right. I'm sure you'll get along better with him." Niall shrugs.

"So what are you renaming the jet then? Emerald Isle was my idea and I'll be damned if you're going to continue using it without me." Bressie says a bit spitefully.

Niall rolls his eyes. "I wasn't taking the name I don't want any memories about us flying together. I'll come up with something else."

"Niall, you can't seriously want to throw away years of flight together because of what happened. We were all stressed and said things we didn't mean. We just got Louis and Zayn back. The four of us work so well together."

Niall doesn't look at him. "This has nothing to do with what you said to me. If you expect me to be in a plane with you after everything then you really are an idiot."

"I expect us to be able to work together professionally and not let our emotions get in the way." Bressie says sternly. He sighs and looks over at the blond. "Look, I love you, but you knew what you were getting into. Did you just expect me to leave my wife and son for you?"

"It didn't start out like that! It wasn't like I went in this expecting anything." Niall has tears in his eyes. "I can't be in a plane with the reason why I feel like there's a hole in my chest and I can barely get out of bed in the morning."

Bressie pulls Niall into a hug and holds him tightly. "Why didn't you say anything? I would have stopped or done something to make you see my as a friend again. Niall, I don't want to fly without you."

Niall pushes Bressie off. "You're not helping. At all."

"Tell me what to do. I don't want to lose you." The bigger of the two says, slightly desperate to keep his friend with him in a cockpit.

"I don't think there's anything you can do." Niall sighs and stands.

Bressie watches as Niall continues to break them apart. "Can I just ask you one question?"

"Go ahead." Niall whispers. It's not like anything else can hurt him.

"What did you hope to accomplish by telling my wife about us?" He doesn't want to bring it up, but he's been wondering for a while now.

"I was drunk and angry it slipped. It's not like I would gain anything by telling her I was just pissed off."

Bressie looks to the ground. "This is really the ending of us flying, then? Four years and now...?"

"It's over." Niall confirms, getting to his feet.

------------

Harry laughs while watching the football game and eating his pizza. He leans into Louis' side and smiles. "It's so good to have you back."

"Good to be back. Wish I could fly immediately, but the doc said it's a minimum of six months no fly." Louis says as he snags a slice with his good arm. "He said there's a eighty five percent chance of me flying again." He shouts as the Rovers miss an open goal.

Harry nods and mindlessly watches, he doesn't understand a thing that's happening. "I was scared."

Louis frowns and mutes the game, turning to his friend. "Why were you scared?"

"I just... I couldn't imagine that you or Zayn were gone; that I would never see either of you and it very nearly killed me."

"I heard like everything fell apart. What happened?" Louis just doesn't get how the two of them could mean so much.

"Bressie and Niall aren't flying together anymore, none of us could function and... You two are so fucking important to the team I don't think you realize it."

Louis stares down at his arm in the sling. "We don't. We're just two pilots doing our job."

Harry frowns. "I don't ever want to hear that garbage come out of your mouth again, Tomlinson."

"It's true though. Zayn and I, we just happened to be two guys that love to fly and joined the military. There's nothing special about us." Louis doesn't see it.

Harry shakes his head and stands up. "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to sit here and listen to this bullshit."

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. Don't go... Please." Louis doesn't want to be alone. The military is working everyone hard right now so there's no time for the lads to visit and he doesn't want a single moment wasted.

Harry huffs and sits back down. "I'm sorry. I just wish you could see how important you really are."

"I'm a humble kind of guy." Louis jokes as he tries to break the tension. "Do you know when Liam is going to visit again? I haven't had a minute alone with him since I got back."

"I don't, but I know he's been dying to see you. Won't shut up about you." Harry chuckles.

"Good," Louis smiled softly. "I love him too. Haven't had the chance to tell him since I can't get a fucking moment alone with him."

"You will soon if I have anything to say about it." Harry wants to see them happy.

"What about you? Anyone you got your eye on?" Louis is glad to have such a cheery subject in his room.

"He's way out of my league." Harry shrugs. It's something he expected.

Louis give him a pointed look. "Doubtful. Very doubtful."

"Seriously he's like a T-bone steak and I'm like week old chicken."

"Harry, who is it?" Louis flat out asks. He knows Harry won't tell him unless he asks outright.

"Zayn." Harry tries to shrug it off like it's not a big deal, even though it kind of is.

Louis snorts. "He is definitely not out of your league."

"Have you seen him? Looked at that face or those cheekbones?" Harry asks.

"Yeah, but he's a comic book nerd and a softie. You can so scoop him up easily." Louis shrugs.

"He's been eyeing that new girl Perrie he doesn't even notice me." Harry sighs.

Louis frowns. "He's not said anything about Perrie to me. You sure he likes her?"

"I don't know. I think he does. Because there's no way he likes me."

"Besides his looks, what makes you think you're out of his league?" Louis asks. He wants his friends to be happy and maybe he can talk to Zayn about Harry.

"He's so fun and quirky and spontaneous and I'm just... Me." Harry looks down at his lap.

"Just you? You're exceptionally quirky! You ate an orange you found in the lift!" Louis isn't seeing the issue here.

Harry just rolls his eyes but nudges Louis with his elbow. "Thanks for trying to make me feel better."

Louis sighs. "I promise he'll say yes if you ask him out." He knows Zayn won't say no, he's too nice.

"I don't think I have the confidence to ask him." Harry doesn't think he could do it without being nauseous.

"Promise me you'll ask him. I need you to ask him." Louis wants a shot at happiness for Harry.

"I will, but when he shoots me down you get to buy my a pint of ice cream."

"Deal. And when he says yes, you give me a nice, long thank you kiss." Louis says confidently.

Harry laughs. "Okay, Louis, we'll just see about that."

------------

Harry kisses Louis, holding his face, making sure it's long but not too long. He laughs and leans back into Zayn. "There you happy now?"

"You call that a kiss? There was no tongue!" Louis pouts as he does his best to cross his arms over his chest with one still in a sling.

"I don't think Zayn here would appreciate that." Harry lies his head in Zayn's lap and looks at him. "Would you? Shut it, Louis." Harry sticks his tongue out childishly.

Bressie ambles over to the group in his flight suit having just landed with Sheeran. "So what's up? Where's Liam?"

Right at that moment Liam is walking backwards down the strip helping Niall land his jet.

"Is that Niall? Why is he having such a hard time landing? He's usually down on the Tarmac by now." Louis says with a frown as the wheels finally touch down and the aircraft is secured.

Niall practically shoots out of his seat climbing out of the plane. "My flight partner is an incompetent asshole!"

Zayn rolls his eyes and holds back the chuckle. "Here we go. What happened, Ni? Why is he so incompetent?"

"He couldn't show up today because the fucker was too hungover." Niall groans taking a seat.

"Is that why that landing was shotty work? Jesus, any closer and Liam would have had a buzz cut again." Louis says and he leans into said boy's embrace.

"I'm going to see Daley today and ask for Bressie back immediately." Niall sighs.

Liam hugs Louis resting his chin on Lou's shoulder and kissing his temple.

Louis winces slightly as his shoulder aches, but knows that it's a good thing in recovery. "So this is how it all ends up?"

Zayn wraps his arms around Harry with a small smile on his face. "Looks like it."

"You get your dream guys and I'm alone." Niall shrugs. "Although Daley told me the other day he wants to take me out to dinner."

"He's a great fuck." Louis says nonchalantly.

Bressie can't help but laugh. "Jesus. You always did have a way with words."

"But he didn't buy you dinner." Niall smirks a little smugly trying to discreetly text Tom.

"You talking to loverboy now?" Harry asks, grinning.

Bressie just laughs as he tries to see over Niall's shoulder. "Dear, Thomas..."

Zayn shakes his head at the childish behaviour.

Niall shoves Bressie back by his face, glaring and shaking his head. "Not for your eyes to see."

"Come on, Ni. Let us see the dirty details." Louis quips from his spot next to Liam.

Before Niall can protest Liam steals the phone from his hands looking over the conversation. "From Tom, excited for tomorrow I've never had lucky charms before."

Zayn bursts into laughter. "Oh god! The horrible jokes!" He laughs heartily into Harry's curls.

Niall scowls and takes his phone back. "You're all assholes."

"You love us." Harry quips laughing and it feels like everything is going to be alright.