#1: Blue As Your Eyes
Liam doesn’t remember exactly how this started. Or why.
He knows it was a gradual thing, like his whole relationship with Louis. But he doesn’t remember when it became a Thing. He doesn’t remember if they ever talked about this, agreed to do this.
It doesn’t seem to matter, though, as long as he remembers that every Thursday, after classes, he has to meet Louis at the stairs on the back of the building so they can listen to music together.
It’s a bit silly, if he thinks about it. They just meet there and spend an hour with their heads together, sharing earphones connected to Liam’s iPod and listening to whatever he has collected in the last week to show to Louis.
It’s silly, but it’s nice. And Liam is sure they are closer thanks to it, so it’s also really important. For the rest of their friends’ sake, at least. Because they weren’t always what they are now.
They had a rough start and an even harder time getting used to one another. And just when everything seemed like it was going to explode on their faces and kill every single one of their group dynamics, they found each other at these stairs. They were both tired of each other and they didn’t want to talk, Liam was listening to some music so he didn’t die right there. Louis had come, let himself fall next to him, stolen an earphone and then they’d spent an hour in silence just listening to music. By the end of that day, they were able to be in the same room without wanting to burn everything down to the ground and four months and many songs later, they were best friends and couldn’t believe it had taken them that long to get there. Get here.
“You’re early,” Louis says, sitting next to him on the step and getting him out of his inner review.
“My teacher got a phone call and had to run somewhere, so we got out a bit earlier,” Liam shrugs, trying to disentangle the wires of his earphones.
Louis waits for a moment and takes the mess out of Liam’s hands, getting everything sorted out in no time. He keeps an earphone and gives the other to Liam, smiling.
“So what do we have today, Payno?”
“I, uhm, I found a cool playlist but I have one particular song to show you first,” Liam says, looking for said song.
Blue As Your Eyes by Scouting for Girls starts playing and he takes a deep breath, looking sideways at Louis, searching for some reaction that doesn’t come.
Looking back, he doesn’t remember how he fell in love with Louis, either. A part of him thinks he’s been falling from the very beginning, even when he wanted to smack his head – both his and Louis’, actually – against a wall. The other part is not so extreme, and thinks he’s been falling in love since the first real conversation they had, a Friday night in a corner of Zayn’s room, not long after they met.
All in all, he’s been in love for what feels like forever and never, ever, said a single word about it. He’s pretty sure Zayn knows, because Zayn seems to know everything there is to know about Liam without him needing to say a word. Apart from that, nobody knows. He’s not entirely sure he wants people – Louis – to know yet, though. Yet here he is, showing Louis a song that reminds him of them, of their weird relationship, of Louis’ really blue and beautiful eyes, of being in love and being confused and you scratched out my heart, you etched on my brain.
Louis doesn’t seem to notice it’s a song for him. They don’t usually comment on the music, they just listen, so he doesn’t say anything, just bobs his head to the rhythm of the song and smiles when it ends.
“I like this one,” he says, simply. “I have blue eyes, too,” he adds, looking at Liam with wide eyes and pulling out a ridiculous face that Liam doesn’t find endearing at all.
That’s all he gets on the song.
#2: Electric Twist
It’s Saturday, he’s at a house whose owner he doesn’t even know, there’s lot of cheap beer and he’s drunk. It’s all Louis’ fault, of course. As usual. It seems like it’s always Louis’ fault, all the bad and all the good in Liam’s life. Sometimes he feels like he wasn’t really alive before Louis came crashing into his life. It’s an exaggeration, one he usually finds himself going over and over while drunk, but the general idea is not less accurate because of that.
“You’re no fun at all,” a voice says right next to Liam’s ear and he doesn’t have to turn his face to see it’s a very drunk Louis perched on the back of the couch Liam’s been sitting on for at least half an hour.
“The floor was spinning, I needed it to stop,” he replies, knowing the hidden question behind Louis’ statement.
Louis hums and half jumps, half drops himself over the back of the couch and into the space next to Liam with far more grace than one would expect from a drunken person. Liam can imagine what’s coming next, and he counts exactly five seconds before Louis starts squirming on his place and ends up rearranging them so he’s sitting on Liam’s lap instead. The easiness which with his arms go around Louis’ waist to keep him in place talks a lot about not only how many times Louis has done this, but their whole relationship too.
They fall into this comfortable silence, even with the loud bass of the music surrounding them. It’s surprisingly calming and in his drunken state, Liam can almost see himself falling asleep right there. Louis’ warm breath on his neck is indication enough that he’s not the only one.
Of course, the calm lasts for less than three minutes because they are at a party after all; and because their mates are their mates. It’s mostly the second one.
“So,” Niall says, dropping next to Liam.
“So,” Harry parrots, sitting on Niall’s lap.
Both of them are looking at Liam and Louis with wide grins and red eyes that tell just how drunk they are, too. It seems like everyone is drunk.
“Were you two busy?”
“Were you about to finally snog?”
Finally? Snog? What’s Harry talking about?
“What are you talking about?” Liam asks, confused.
“Maybe,” Louis says and okay, what’s going on? Liam is obviously way drunker that he has originally thought.
“You wouldn’t,” Niall slurs.
Louis gives Niall his watch me face and Liam frowns so hard that his eyes narrow and he must look really funny and ridiculous because Niall and Harry just crack up laughing and Louis sends him a little fond smile. He looks back and forth between his friends. They are so obviously taking the piss, but it feels like he’s missing something else here and it bothers him to no end.
He turns his head a bit to ask Louis what’s the joke about, and he’s still frowning so hard that he misses the change in Louis’ position. Before he can react, Louis is kissing him full on the mouth, biting hard on his bottom lip playfully before pulling away with a shit eating grin on his face like he’s just won something.
Liam is too shocked to even pretend he’s paying any attention to his friends anymore.
On Thursday, they are on their usual spot on the back stairs, Liam presses play and Electric Twist by A Fine Frenzy starts coming from the earphones.
As the song goes on, he purposely avoids looking at Louis and leans back on his elbows, remembering last Saturday and the literal electric twist he felt on his lips all too well.
And again, if Louis notices the resemblance of the song with the reality around him, he doesn’t mention it.
#3: Get Sick Soon
Liam pretty much wants to die. He’s so sick he’s having trouble seeing straight. Not to mention his troubles breathing properly. This cold has also replaced all his n’s with d’s. It’s really annoying, to say the least.
He also wants to die because Louis has been at his place for the majority of the day being generally wonderful and the warm feeling in Liam’s chest, one that has nothing to do with being sick, makes him want to crawl into a hole and die.
“Lou, seriously, there’s no need for you to be here. You’re gonna get sick too,” Liam says with a hoarse voice for the tenth time today, from somewhere under the four blankets Louis has wrapped him with.
“Shut up, Li,” he replies from the kitchen, where he’s making yet more tea. Or maybe more chicken soup, he’s made a lot of that too.
Louis has made tea, soup, wrapped Liam in blankets, given him all the pillows on the bedroom, watched Toy Story with him – twice –, let him doze off on his shoulder and Liam could swear he has sang at some point too. It’s too much for Liam’s poor state of health.
Liam closes his eyes for a moment, trying to stop thinking about how amazing Louis is and stop feeling like he will soon float away from how much love he feels; and when he opens them again, Louis is smiling down at him from the other end of the couch, holding two steaming mugs of tea.
“Thanks, though, for being here,” Liam croaks with half a smile. He would be a hundred times more miserable without Louis there being an actually really good sort of nurse, but he’s not about to let that out because he knows how Louis gets when people say nice things about him. Insufferable to hide how flattered he is, that is.
“Yeah, well, it’s what you get for being an idiot and getting sick,” he retorts, setting the mugs on the coffee table and tumbling onto the couch with Liam for, apparently, a cuddle.
Liam’s about to say something about his germs, but Louis cuts him with a, “If you say something about me getting sick again I’ll hit you, okay?” And well, he doesn’t really want to deny himself a good Louis cuddle. Louis is the best to cuddle.
Liam drifts off into unconsciousness again leaning on Louis’ shoulder, with Louis’ fingers cradling through his hair.
That Thursday, Liam’s still a bit sick and not leaving home, so instead of college, they meet up at the stairs that lead to Liam’s floor, both wrapped up on Liam’s favourite blanket.
When Get Sick Soon by Hello Saferide starts playing, he thinks he’s gone too far and been too obvious. The song does start with oh I love you after all.
But once more, if Louis notices, he doesn’t say anything, just cuddles closer to Liam and rests his head on his shoulder.
#4: Won’t Stop
Liam met Louis at Harry’s house a couple of months into his first year in college. There’d been lots of people, because Harry knew half the campus and Niall knew the other half, so they’d managed to gather quite a crowd in there. But Liam had all his focus on this particular boy across the room. Blue eyes, messy hair, loud laugh, nice smile. Mischievous written all over his face. Liam had been fascinated.
Then Zayn had introduced them, Louis had made an awful comment about Liam not drinking and his stupid button-up and Liam had been positive he hated Louis’ gut and that it’d been a mutual feeling. Yet he still found him completely fascinating, in this weird, infuriating way.
It’s been a long journey since then. Liam’s rather happy with the results.
A year and a half after their meeting, it’s Thursday again and he’s sitting with Louis on their usual spot, Won’t Stop by One Republic coming through the earphones, a pale and still cold sun hitting their skin.
In the past three weeks, when he showed Louis these songs that spoke too loudly about them, Liam found himself not wanting to even take a glance at Louis, scared of what he would find on his face if he ever realised the truth Liam was trying to convey through music.
Today, though, he finds himself physically unable to look at anything but Louis’ face. It’s like his eyes are glued to it, to his sharp cheekbones, his blue eyes, his defined jaw, his lips. Damn, Liam loves his lips. And the way his eyes squint in the sunlight. And how he always bobs his head to the rhythm of the song. And how he makes Liam feel like he’s staring into the sun when he smiles and how he warms Liam up just by being close.
Liam is so glad he waited and didn’t give up on being friends with Louis at the first word that came out of his mouth that time at Harry’s.
The song is coming to an end and Louis looks up then, takes Liam’s hand in his and gives it a light squeeze. It seems like he’s about to say something but changes his mind at the last minute and smiles at Liam, the wide, bright smile that makes his eyes crinkle at the sides. It looks a lot like sunshine to Liam.
He lets out a breath he didn’t notice was holding and smiles back at Lou, pressing play to the next song.
#5: When You Find Me
Liam decides to do something about his situation with Louis on a Monday morning after having a dream where they walked around the park holding hands. He knows he’s in too deep then. He keeps dreaming about Louis in the most domestic, I’m-some-sort-of-teenage-girl way. Not that it’s a bad thing. He doesn’t even know what teenage girls dream about, but when he was a teenager he definitely didn’t dream about holding hands. Now he does. And it’s all Louis’ fault. Again.
So he decides he has to tell him, but he’s too afraid of ruining everything. If he doesn’t do something, though, he might die. Then Blue As Your Eyes comes on his iPod and it reminds him so much of Louis that he can’t stop playing it on repeat after it. And he decides that he’ll show in to Louis and see what happens.
It ends up being a whole playlist, full of songs that somehow remind him of Louis, or how much he loves him, or their relationship, or some particular thing that happened with them.
“You are late, Payno,” Louis says, pointing at him with an accusing finger.
“’m sorry.” Liam doesn’t mention that he almost doesn’t show up at all and sits next to Louis instead.
Louis watches him closely while he gets everything ready and Liam is sure he can notice something is a bit off with him today.
“Are you okay?” Louis asks when Liam hands him an earphone.
“I’m okay, yes, just...” He sets everything and sighs. “I made a playlist with, like, songs.” He’s an idiot; he can’t even make coherent sentences anymore. “I know all playlists have songs, they are... lists of songs, but, uhm. I made this one specially- Just pay attention to it, okay? And like, the first song is like the one I wanted to show you today, but yeah, the whole playlist too.”
He mentally punches himself and press play. When I Find You by Joshua Radin starts playing and Liam would really like to hide under a rock right now.
He doesn’t though. Nor when Louis smiles his little smile at the ground, nor when he catches him stealing glances at Liam, nor when mid-playlist he takes Liam’s hand in his again and keeps them there until the last song goes silent.
“You know what, Li?” He starts after a couple of minutes of silence between them. “I really liked it, I really like music and this thing we do, but...”
Of course there’s a but. Now it comes the moment where Louis says he doesn’t want to do this anymore, doesn’t want to be around Liam anymore. He’s not sure he could take it.
Louis takes a deep breath and continues talking. “But I’d really, really love it if you used your words here. Because I’m getting an idea, been for a few weeks now, about what this is about but... I really, really need you to use your words,” he finishes, looking at Liam all reassuringly and squeezing his hand a bit.
“I’m not good with my words,” Liam replies sheepishly, looking at their still joined hands. “And it’s all in the lyrics of the songs.”
He can’t talk, he really can’t. That’s why he’s doing this entire playlist thing, so he doesn’t have to say out loud how in love with Louis he is. His words are not good enough to describe that.
“You can at least try to tell me, yeah? C’mon Li, just try for me,” Louis insists and damn, that’s not fair. It’s not fair that he uses his coaxing face right now, with the big blue eyes and the little smile. Liam can’t possibly resist that face.
“I, uhm- I guess,” Liam looks at their hands again and then back up at Louis.
He’s looking back at him with this mixture of fondness and patience that makes Liam want to kiss him but also talk and tell him everything he’s feeling.
“I’m in love with you?” he says, and it sounds like a question. “Fuck, I mean, I am in love with you. Been for a long while, I reckon.”
Liam stops talking for a moment. Maybe hoping Louis would say something. Maybe to let the fact that he’s just said to Louis that he’s in love with him sink into his brain, with the consequent freaking out on either of their sides. But the freaking out doesn’t come, and Louis doesn’t speak, just tightens his grip on Liam’s hand and Liam’s is grateful for that. It anchors him there and it’s probably what prevents him from losing it. That and the look Louis is giving him. It makes Liam think maybe this is not only on his side.
“I’m sorry I’m saying this now, and I’m sorry I couldn’t stop it from happening,” Liam shrugs. He’s tried hard, but it happened anyway. He’s pretty sure there isn’t any reality in which he doesn’t fall for Louis. “I wasn’t going to tell you, and I think I’ve managed to keep it in line? But lately it’s been too much to handle, and I just... I needed to say something.”
“So you used music?” Louis asks softly. He’s rubbing little circles on Liam’s hand now.
“Yes, because as I told you and as you surely knew anyway, I suck with words.”
“You suck a bit at communicating, true, but I think you did quite fine.” His voice is still soft and small and nothing like the regular Louis. It’s nice when Liam gets to see him like this. “Why did you take so long to say something?”
“I didn’t want to lose you,” Liam replies simply. “I still don’t.”
“You’re such an idiot, Liam,” Louis says, shaking his head. “You’ll never lose me. Ever. You’re stuck with me,” and he sounds dead serious. “I kissed you, I made you soup, I let you get your germs all over me. Harry says if I keep looking at you with heart eyes the world will explode and end.”
“But you kiss everyone when you’re drunk and Harry... Wait, what? Heart eyes? What?”
He heard okay, right? Louis said heart eyes. Liam gives Louis heart eyes. This doesn’t make any sense.
Louis looks exasperated and annoyed and shakes his head to the ground again, but Liam can see a little smile playing at his lips.
“You’re an idiot, really,” he says. “But I wouldn’t have you any other way. I love you like this, idiot and all.”
Liam’s about to protest because he’s being called idiot twice in less than five minutes, but then he catches with the rest of Louis’ sentence. “You love me?” Louis doesn’t reply, just surveys him with an arched eyebrow and squeezes his hand again. “Idiot, okay, I get it.”
Liam looks at Louis, biting his lip around a shy smile. It’s quiet for a moment with them just staring and smiling at each other. The thought of kissing Louis keeps showing up on Liam’s mind, and he thinks maybe they will, with the way Louis’ eyes keep falling to his lips the same way Liam’s eyes do.
“We should go to your room, or mine, or somewhere that’s not here in the middle of the stairs with all these people around so I can snog you properly,” Louis blurts, wriggling his brows ridiculously at Liam. “Because I am allowed to do that now, right?” He looks just this side of uncertain and Liam chuckles, because it’s more than allowed.
“Yes, of course,” he says, trying not to sound too eager.
Liam throws his forgotten iPod in his backpack and gets up, without letting go of Louis’ hand, so he forces him up too. Their eyes meet again and the hurry of the moment dies a bit, and they end up looking at each other like a not long ago.
“I love you,” Louis says, softly again, leaning forward and planting a kiss on Liam’s cheek, close to the corner of his mouth. He stays almost pressed to Liam when he pulls back.
Liam’s smile widens and he feels warm all over, his heart doing this happy little squirm inside his chest. Louis smiles back at him, soft and happy and warm.
“I love you, too.”