It’s 2am and he’s in Ireland for the first time, in this house for the first time, in this bed for the first time.
It wasn’t hard to fall into bed with Niall so comfortably. It seems like a fair reflection of their whole friendship. Even if they’ve known each other for a rather short time, Harry just feels more comfortable whenever Niall is around.
Today is no exception. He had a minute of doubt at first, when they were laying awkwardly next to each other, but it faded away when Niall turned on his side and threw an arm over Harry, making him turn as well so he could spoon him. Niall likes to be big spoon and that’s, weirdly, all Harry needs to sleep.
He’d like to sleep, considering he had quite a trip from his home to Niall’s, but he can’t stop thinking long enough to at least try to get some rest.
There’s a thought forming in some corner of his brain. He can feel Niall’s warm breath on the back of his neck and his arm around his waist, a solid weight anchoring him, and he can’t help but notice how easy it’d be for him to fall in love with Niall. It’s terrifying and exciting at the same time.
Also a terrible, terrible idea. Because there’re lot of things at stake. Not only their friendship, but the band, their future. There are three other people (without considering all the people in the team and their fans and families) depending on this, too. Falling for Niall is a terrible idea because it could mean the end of absolutely everything they’ve been working so hard for.
He acknowledges this in his mind, decides his love life is not worth it, turns around more comfortably and does his best to fall asleep and not in love.
After that, Harry busies himself as much as he can.
He works extra hard on his voice, on fortifying his friendship with the guys (including Niall). He does everything management thinks it’s good for their public image, goes to every party he’s expected to go to, has all the PR relationships he’s supposed to have.
For what feels the shortest of times, he has Taylor and he thinks he may be in love with her and he’s happy because falling for her is way safer than falling for his bandmate. (He’s wrong).
He gets lost in blonde hair and blue eyes again. It’s not the same blonde, it’s not the same blue, and he discovers they are not the right shades for him and he’s back in the beginning, trying to stay on the surface.
It happens at one of the shows in the US. Everything is very unconvinient, as usual. They’re filming for the movie, they’re in the middle of a show, in front of thousands and thousands of people watching their every move.
Harry turns around on stage and catches Niall not far from him, looking like the happiest he can be. He’s smiling, talking to the crowd, having the time of his life, and Harry’s positive Niall is actually shining. He’s burning brighter than a thousand suns and Harry can’t look away. He’d like to burn with him.
There’s a warm feeling crawling underneath his skin, taking over every little corner inside and he knows right there and then, he’s completely fucked. He has tried his best, made every possible thing in his hands to stop himself from falling, without realizing that that was exactly what’s been happening all along the way.
Without really thinking about it, he goes over to Niall and hugs him close, wrapping his arms around his waist. In that brief moment, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong, if everyone is watching, if someone is expecting him to do what he’s supposed to do, if this could end awfully for everyone involved. He feels happy to be holding Niall and to feel that warmth that makes a home in his heart.
Harry doesn’t know what to do after that.
He tries to ignore Niall for a bit, only to find himself watching a movie tangled up with Niall on a couch that same night. He thinks he could force himself to forget Niall, but knows he’s lying through his teeth.
At the end, he decides the best he can do is do nothing. He’ll go with the flow, let things happen and fall into their right place. He just needs to keep his feelings in the background and don’t let them get in the way. Maybe it’ll come a time when he can let them be free and live them fully.
They are on top of the world. It feels too high and it’d be scary if Niall and the other guys weren’t right there with Harry.
It gets truly scary when Zayn leaves. It takes him (all of them) a while until he feels he’s walking on solid ground again, and every time Harry feels like he’s breaking apart, Niall is there next to him ready to pull him back together.
Tonight it’s one of those times.
After a particular good show, Harry throws himself onto Niall’s bed, snuggling up to his side, burying his face in Niall’s neck. He lets the smell that’s so distinctly Niall surround him and make the heavy weight in his chest a little lighter.
“You okay, babe?” Niall asks, running his fingers through Harry’s long curls.
“Yeah, just tired.”
They both know it’s a bit of a lie, but this has happened enough times for Niall to not call Harry out on it. Instead, he rearranges them until Harry is lying down and Niall is holding him from behind, an arm thrown over Harry’s waist to keep him in place.
“Better?” Niall says and Harry hums in response, closing his eyes for a moment.
When he’s like this, lying with Niall holding him like that first time in Ireland, he lets himself think, for just a second, that that’s a normal part of his life. That he gets to go to bed with Niall every day, kiss him goodnight. That Niall is not just his best friend and bandmate, but everything else too and he doesn’t have to hide it.
It always lasts just a second, and then he’s back in reality. He doesn’t think he has the right to complain, though, because he’s always back in reality in Niall’s arms, and as sad as it sounds, that’s usually enough to make him feel content.
Today it’s not enough. He turns around and looks up at Niall, fighting a pout. “I wish things were different sometimes.”
“What things?” Niall asks in that patient tone he uses when he wants to get something straight from Harry when he’s being a bit weird.
Harry stares right into the blue of Niall’s eyes and has to bite his tongue to keep himself from saying something he’d regret later.
He doesn’t finish, doesn’t even know what he was about to say, but something in Niall’s eyes is coaxing him to speak so he does that.
Niall has always known. Since the first time Harry put a shoe into Niall’s house, into his room. Even before that. Niall knows he loves Harry. He knows it and he has accepted it as a part of himself, a truth he can’t change. Doesn’t want to, either.
Even when Harry dates girls, spends all his free time an ocean away from home, seems to want to torture Niall by cuddling up to him every chance he gets without noticing the effect he has on him, even then Niall doesn’t want to change what he feels, through that would probably be the smartest choice. He never thought of himself as the brightest guy anyway.
It’s been years of feeling this way, so he has learnt to live with it, has learnt to will his heart back to a normal pace, got used to the swoop of his stomach. He likes to think Harry doesn’t affect him that much anymore.
When he’s like this with Harry, cuddling in bed and Harry looks at him with that sad expression on his face and Niall wants nothing more than to kiss it away, he knows that’s not the case.
“Hm?” Sometimes he thinks Harry will say something to him, because he gives Niall this look, but in the end he always stays silent and Niall is left wanting something he’ll never get. It doesn’t stop him from returning the look to Harry. Maybe if he stares long enough he’ll be able to read Harry’s mind or something.
“Us,” Harry says. “I mean, I wish we were different.”
Niall looks at Harry narrowing his eyes. Sometimes it’s really hard to get what Harry’s trying to say.
“I think we’re fine,” Niall replies, his eyes never leaving Harry’s face. There’s something starting to change there, a spark in his eyes that wasn’t there a moment ago.
“We are, yes,” Harry agrees. “Could be better, though.”
Harry has no idea why he’s saying this. He’s going to regret it so much. Later, as soon as Niall stops looking at him like he’s doing right now. It’s that look what’s keeping Harry’s eyes glued to Niall’s face.
It’s the way Harry’s staring into his eyes what makes Niall think Harry’s talking about them and his mind is racing. What could be different in a better way between them? There’s only one thing he can think of, but maybe it’s just his wishful thinking. There’s only one way to know. It’s a bad idea but it’s late and Niall is tired and Harry is looking at him like that. He has the right to say fuck it for once in his life, doesn’t he?
They are staring at each other and the air is suddenly filled with something heavy, this strange energy that’s making them both shiver with anticipation, making them come closer. There’s a few inches separating them still, but Niall closes them before Harry can react properly and stop him.
Their lips meet softly, moving in perfect sync against each other. Niall’s hand tightens in Harry’s waist and Harry’s hand goes to curl around Niall’s nape, bringing him closer still. Niall deepens the kiss, pushing Harry into the matress. It feels like he’s sending sparks through his tongue and starting a fire inside Harry’s chest and he doesn’t even care he’s burning. It’s a surpassing feeling. He feels high, dizzy. The only thing that can compare to this is being on stage, but this could still get even better.
They break apart, breathless, and keep staring at each other.
“What was that for?” Harry asks. It’s a stupid question, or at least it’s not well phrased, but all he can think of isNiallNiallNiall.
“We’re making things better.”
Niall smiles down at him and it feels like staring into the sun. Harry smiles back and Niall wants to lose himself in his full dimple.
This could go terribly bad and blow in their faces, but right now it doesn’t matter. Right now, the only important thing is they’re finally on top of the world together.