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Can't Hide The Way It Makes Us Glow

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“Bunk off with me today,” Zayn whines. “I don’t think I can stand another lecture on Sophocles.”

Niall rolls his eyes. “Yeah, except you bunked off on the last lecture too, so it wouldn’t really be another lecture if you haven’t actually sat through one yet.”

“Still,” Zayn whines. “Come on, s’no fun without you mate, I’ll be so bored, why do you want me to suffer?”

“Have I told you how unattractive it is when you whine?” Niall lies, because Zayn is basically never unattractive, which he knows full well.

“Heaps of times, yeah,” Zayn says casually. He pulls off his uniform’s jumper and shirt, pauses long enough for Niall to get a good look. Niall rolls his eyes and thinks shameless, really.

“You getting naked isn’t going to convince me to skive off with you,” Niall says, which is another lie, but a man needs a little dignity, he reasons.

“Sure,” Zayn says, eyes crinkling as he smiles smugly, and he pulls a ratty t-shirt and plaid shirt with a torn elbow out of his wardrobe and over his head. “Oh look,” he says, feigning surprise. “Lost my uniform somehow. Can’t go to lecture now, out of uniform and in rags and all that. Terrible tragedy.”

“Absolutely not,” Niall protests. “We can’t ditch again. Not after Hennings went berserk last time. No.”

Zayn just smirks.


In the end, Nialls skives off, because Zayn is good at a lot of things, and one of them is getting Niall to do pretty much whatever he wants.

They trudge across the grounds to a little games shed set off a footpath. There’s a creek behind it that trickles a little, and enough trees around that they’re out of sight even if anyone happens to walk near.

Zayn pulls out his crumpled pack of cigarettes from the pocket of his jumper as he sits down on the grass.

“Headmaster’ll have a fit,” Niall chides, sitting next to him, although they both know that Zayn’s contraband cigarettes are the least well kept secret in history, and the Headmaster actually couldn’t be arsed to send Zayn to detention like he ought to for smoking on the grounds. But this is what they do, Zayn pretends to be a rebel by breaking a rule no one enforces, and Niall pretends to give him shit for it. The system works well enough for them.

“Headmaster’s not here, is he, though,” Zayn smiles, and blows a column of smoke out of the corner of his mouth. Niall swallows a little harder than normal.

“End of term soon, then,” Zayn continues.

“Praise the gods,” Niall murmurs.

“Pining for Erin, then?” Zayn asks, knocking his shoulder against Niall’s.

And it’s not like Niall’s homesick, or anything, it’s just that Ireland’s a long ways away, isn’t it? And okay, he might miss his mam’s cooking and his dad listening to footie matches in the den, and it’s been ages since he talked to his mates from his old school, but that’s natural, isn’t it? He just misses them a bit, he’d never been to a board school before last year, and it’s just different.

He forgets to miss it all a little easier when Zayn’s around, though.

“Suppose, yeah,” he admits. “You know how mam gets when I’ve not been home in a while too,” and Zayn nods. “She told me to tell you you’re always welcome, too,” Niall says. His mum’s been on a mission to kidnap Zayn over the hols, threatening to “feed him proper,” ever since Niall’s first term.

“I’ll take her up on it someday,” Zayn says, smiling softly as he looks out into the trees.

They sit while Zayn smokes, Niall throwing a handful of pebbles into the creek one by one. By the time Zayn’s done with his second cigarette, Niall’s shivering, pulling the cuffs of his blazer further over his hands.

“C’mon, then,” Zayn says, standing up and brushing off his jeans, which are on the side of too-tight that borders on obscene. He tosses the butt of his cigarette into the stream. “Let’s go back to mine before I freeze my bollocks off.”

He pulls Niall up by the hand, and doesn’t let go until they have to duck underneath the windows along the backside of the main building to avoid being spotted by a lecture hall full of students.


“Fuck, where’s Harry?” Niall groans out. Zayn’s got him pressed up against the foot of his bed, one cold hand pressed against the back of Niall’s neck, and he’s going to topple over if Zayn doesn’t stop kissing him like that, sucking little marks where he’s got the collar of Niall’s uniform shirt open and pushed aside.

“He’s got double music, he’ll be ages,” Zayn murmurs, yanking the hem of Niall’s shirt out of his trousers and working a thumb over his hip. “‘Sides, he’ll probably be occupied with Louis for a while, I reckon.”

“Do ya,” Niall manages, and then Zayn shoves him so he sprawls on his mattress. At least this time they’re on the right bed; last time they’d skived off to fuck while Harry had been in class they’d landed on his bed, and he’d been properly annoyed with them afterwards for several full minutes at least.

“Mm,” Zayn agrees, and he kneels over Niall where he’s stretched on his back, pulls his tie off entirely, shoves his shirt off his freckled shoulders, and works his trousers down in such quick succession that Niall’s head feels a little dizzy. “Ought make good use of the privacy, then, yeah?”

Niall manages to nod, pulling at Zayn’s clothes with fumbling fingers, takes two tries to get his obscene jeans unbuttoned and then somehow, miraculously, gets Zayn fully naked.

Niall’s not sure if he’ll ever get used to the sight of Zayn, open expanses of soft skin and a few dark tattoos, beneath his collarbone and a new one on his hip. Zayn is skinny, all ribs and elbows, eyes that drift half-closed when he’s shoved up against Niall, breathy voice that doesn’t know how to be quiet enough when he comes, even when he bites at his lip or Niall’s neck to stifle himself.

He’s not entirely sure what Zayn sees in him, in his cheeks that flush too red and his mouth that’s too wide and too loud and how he tries to be cool but really just goes desperate and dumb every time he sees Zayn naked. It’s just, Zayn is miles-long and endless and he makes Niall’s ribcage feel looser, like he’s protected and on the edge of something dangerous all at once.

“Fuck,” Zayn says above him, and then he’s pressing against Niall, hips rolling together as he presses Niall against the mattress as it creaks a little. “Christ, Ni, do you even know what you do to me.” He says it like he’s talking to himself, and Niall flushes pink, can feel it bloom across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose.

“One to talk,” he croaks out, and then Zayn’s cock is pressing alongside his and he forgets words, forgets how to use his mouth or his arms, and Zayn is kissing him so fiercely his breath catches. He doesn’t need breath anyway, he thinks, not when he’s got Zayn’s tongue licking into his mouth hot and perfect. He could live on that alone.

Zayn just shoves up against him harder, like he can’t stand to not be pressed up against every inch of Niall’s skin, and Niall loves it when Zayn gets desperate like this, torn apart and sloppy. Sometimes Zayn is bossy and manages to keep himself collected enough to tell Niall exactly what to do, where to put himself and how to touch Zayn, and Niall loves that too, loves it when Zayn’s lips curl with approval, when he says “God, Niall, so good, you’ve done so good” while he fucks him from behind, or pulls him into the toilets before dinner to jerk him off with a hand over his mouth before Niall can even attempt to protest.

But this, when Zayn loses himself, it’s just -- it’s almost too much, because Zayn is so cool and together and composed so much of the time, even when he’s playing off Louis and bouncing around all kinetic energy, or giggling with Harry and sticking stuff in Liam’s hair. He’s still held together then, only really loses himself like this when he’s desperate for Niall, for his cock in his mouth and his arse clenching around him. It still makes Niall feel a little awestruck.

Zayn presses himself up from Niall, using Niall’s shoulder as leverage, and Niall’s breathing heavy and he’s so hard he might cry a little at the loss of contact, but then Zayn’s moving down, biting at the pale skin on Niall’s stomach and the inside of his thighs before he takes his cock in his mouth.

Niall’s head falls back and his hips thrust up to meet Zayn’s mouth despite his best efforts to be still, chasing the perfect wet heat shamelessly. Zayn sucks, his hollow cheeks making his cheekbones stand out even more, and he whines around Niall’s cock like he can’t get enough of it.

Zayn’s finger is suddenly in his mouth alongside Niall’s cock, and then it’s trailing up his leg and behind his cock, pressing into him slowly at first, then more insistent, spit-wet and slick. Niall groans, thinks he might pass out when a second finger slides in too. Zayn’s hands are perfect and his mouth is unbelievable and the two of them working together is truly dangerous.

Zayn groans around Niall’s cock again, and then there’s a third finger, Niall’s breath going ragged and uneven and he whines in a way that’s not entirely dignified but he doesn’t give a fuck. If this is how Niall dies then so be it because he can’t think of any other way he’d rather go out than spread open for Zayn Malik, with his mouth around his cock.

He comes almost too hard, like falling off a cliff, like molten, and when he manages to pry his eyes open after his breath starts to return to normal, Zayn’s kneeling over him, jerking himself off with a singular concentration. Niall wants to sit up, press Zayn backwards and lick at him, bite him, open him up and make him beg for it, but then Zayn’s coming, gasping, his come mixing with Niall’s on his chest.

Zayn collapses next to Niall, sticky and sweaty. The smell of him shouldn’t be delicious, but it is. Zayn nuzzles into Niall’s neck, his quiff going all sideways in the process, but he doesn’t move to fix it, just trails a hand up Niall’s abdomen, swiping at the mess on him.

“Fuck me,” Niall murmurs quietly, willing himself not to find the sight of it incredibly hot and failing.

“Could do, if you give me a moment,” Zayn says from his neck, and Niall whimpers again. “‘Course, we’ll have to bunk off maths.”


So they don’t make it to maths, and by the time Harry is back to change before dinner, Louis in tow, Niall and Zayn are sprawled on the floor of the room, flicking a paper football back and forth. Niall’s managed to pull on his uniform shirt, although it’s buttoned wrong, and there’s a massive lovebite showing where the collar’s open, and Zayn has at least put on his pants, which is progress.

“Productive day, then, lads, learn lots?” Louis asks, leaning against the wardrobe and smirking.

“Very stimulating,” Zayn deadpans, pressing himself up to lean against the sofa. “Intellectually, I mean. Really quite tiring, actually, using our brains so hard.” Niall blushes and Zayn laughs, curls Niall into him tightly, fit up against his side perfectly.

“I think they’re having more sex than us,” Harry pouts. “Why’re they having more sex than us?”

“Quantity is no indicator of quality, Harry,” Louis chides. Liam walks in the door then, and rolls his eyes at all four of them.

Niall is overwhelmed for a moment with happiness. He might miss home, but this is just about perfect, too, Zayn wrapped around him and their mates laughing. He wonders what’s for dinner, asks as much aloud, and smiles.


When it comes down to it, it’s like this: Zayn’s his best mate, and also a phenomenal shag, and also Niall loves him, just a bit. Maybe more than a bit. Possibly loves every little bit of Zayn, actually.

It’s just, Zayn sleeps with his mouth slightly open and laughs until he snorts at crap telly and keeps a sketchbook full of unfinished drawings, things like the hills of the grounds and Niall’s disembodied hands. Zayn calls his family every Sunday to talk to each of them, his parents and his sisters in turn, and gets an extra serving of chips in the dining hall so Niall can steal them. He stays next to Niall after they sneak off to the pub and he makes himself sick on drink, rubs his back while Niall throws up. Zayn kissed him for the first time at three in the morning when they’d been alone in Zayn’s room, and then said “Shit, sorry, shit,” over and over until Niall had leaned in to kiss him back. Zayn was the first person Niall met when he started here, on his first day when he’d thought he’d made a mistake by coming somewhere so far from Mullingar. Zayn had been sitting cross-legged on a bench outside the dorm, smoking and idly pulling the petals off a little purple flower he’d picked from the gardens, and he’d looked up when he heard Niall approach.

“You’re Liam’s new roommate,” Zayn had said, like he’d been expecting Niall.

“I reckon so,” Niall had replied, recognizing that name from the packet of papers the school had sent him for enrollment. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other awkwardly.

“Use a hand?” Zayn had asked, nodding towards the trunk Niall was pulling.

Niall had considered it, glanced around at the high stone buildings and the gravel paths that cut across the lawn, and then back at this boy.

“Why not, mate, thanks,” he said, and had let Zayn take the duffel that was slung over his shoulder.

“M’Zayn,” he had introduced himself as they trudged across the lawn.


“Thank Christ you’re here,” Zayn had said. “Liam’s a mate of mine and his last roommate was an absolutely miserable twat. Could hardly stand to be in their room, honestly.” He’d shuddered delicately, as if the memory haunted him.

“How d’you know I’m not a miserable twat too?” Niall had asked, smiling. Obviously he’d no way of knowing, having only met Zayn within the last minute, but he struck Niall as an alright sort.

Zayn had barked out a laugh. “Suppose I don’t, mate, but you don’t look the type. C’mon, let’s get your stuff sorted and find the lads.”


“Liam, Harry, Louis,” Zayn had said casually, like the names ought to mean something to Niall. “Good chaps, the lot of them, save for Louis, who’s completely nutty, I’ll warn you. But you’ll love ‘em.” He had said it in a way that brooked no argument, like it was already determined, so Niall had shrugged, smiled, and followed Zayn into the dorm without hesitating.