The unfortunate thing about being a fully paid up member of the Youth Branch of Magical and Fairy Tale Creatures and Beings Anonymous was that sometimes meetings took place within staring distance of X Factor auditions.
"Look at the queue," Harry said wistfully, nose pressed up against the window.
Liam tried to ignore a pigeon that was looking at him from the window ledge with a hopeful look on its face. He really didn't need his hair brushed or his clothes changed. Pigeons should be free from servitude, they really should.
The queue for the X Factor really was long. Liam liked to sing, usually about doing the hoovering or emptying the bins. Honestly, one great, great, great grandmother who's bloody Cinderella, and the whole family line's condemned to make friends with mice and sing about cleaning the fridge.
Zayn hit Harry on the back of the head with a rolled up copy of the twelve step plan. "Stop it," he said. "Sit down."
Harry made a face, and peeled himself away from the window. "I can sing," he said, only sounding a little sulky. "I want to go and audition."
"No," Liam said firmly, doing his best to avoid Harry's eyes. Veelas were pesky. "Has everyone got some squash and a biscuit?"
Louis, Niall, Zayn and Harry all held their plastic cups of orange squash up, and Niall held up a packet of custard creams.
Everyone dived on the biscuits, Liam included. He really did need to start buying boring biscuits for these meetings. Nobody dove on a rich tea finger.
"Right," Liam said, clapping his hands, then stopping to brush custard cream crumbs out of his hair. Niall and Zayn were still tussling, even though all the custard creams were gone. "Are we ready?"
"Um," Louis said, as Niall pinned Zayn to the chair and resorted to tickling. Honestly, Niall wasn't supposed to be a tickler. He was supposed to be a bit regal and magnificent. And carry a scythe. "Isn't it my turn to chair?"
The Youth Branch of Magical and Fairy Tale Creatures and Beings Anonymous operated an equal opportunities policy. Funnily enough, everyone fought over who got to chair, and nobody ever fought over wanting to do the minutes.
"You chaired last time," Liam said. "That should mean it's your turn to take the minutes. Has everyone paid their subs?"
"I'm not taking minutes," Louis grumbled, as everyone threw their change into a bowl on the table. They only ever had enough money for squash and biscuits, and never enough for the chocolate chip kind. "I hate taking bloody minutes. Harry should do it; I'll do it next time. Let me chair."
Liam raised an eyebrow. "Nobody wants to spend another forty five minutes going over and over how The Avengers did Loki wrong, Lou. Zayn's minutes last time were fifteen pages long, and at least thirteen of them were you moaning on. You're not chairing." There was a wave of muted agreement from around the room, but Louis just looked grumpy. Having Loki as your grandad probably made family parties a pain in the arse, so Liam didn't push it too hard.
"People keep submitting Tom Hiddleston pictures to my Loki Appreciation blog on Tumblr," Louis went on, ignoring Liam. "I'm going to go over to Joss Whedon's house and wee on his crocuses. This is all his fault."
"Louis," Niall said, from where his chair was pushed up against Zayn's. "Do you need to take a moment?"
"Mantra time, boys," Liam said, and he held his hands out to indicate they should all join hands. Liam ignored everyone's eye rolls. Engaging in close, personal relationships with his peers was a positive way of cementing togetherness.
Liam's best friends growing up were kittens, mice, bluebirds, and a very stupid dog, so sometimes his ideas were a bit weird. At least he knew that.
"As magical and fairy tale creatures and beings, we accept that there are things we cannot alter—like our families, or myth and legend—and that we must be brave when we come upon things that we can amend, and that we must be wise in distinguishing between that which we can alter and that which we can't."
Zayn raised an eyebrow. "Translated: don't wee on Joss Whedon's crocuses, Louis."
Louis grimaced. "Fine, no weeing. He's still wrong though."
"Duly noted," Liam nodded at Harry. "Are you writing this down?"
Harry was clearly preparing to max out his Veela skills, but Liam was ready for him, and passed him a biro without meeting his eyes. "Couldn't we make that mantra a bit snappier? It's a bit—crap."
"Submissions welcome at the next meeting," Liam said. "Make it an action point. Although if anyone tries to rap, they don't get a biscuit." None of them could rap. It was a little embarrassing. Ant and Dec were better than them, and everyone knew they had a sideline working for Lucifer. It was the only way they could possibly stay looking so young. "Anyway, let's go round the circle and introduce ourselves. I'll start. Hello, I'm Liam Payne, and I'm a Cinderella." He paused for a little round of applause, and the expected Hello, Liam Payne. "This month I've been trying not to sing as I sweep, and working for the enhanced freedom from servitude of fairy tale pigeons and other small birds. I've brought some badges and stickers for everyone to take home." Everyone clapped again, and Liam beamed. "Niall?"
"Hello, I'm Niall, and I'm an indentured apprentice to Death. This month I've been trying to get Grandad to let me out of the family business and actually advertise for his replacement instead of just expecting me to take over. I've also been doing my best to stop turning household objects into scythes." He cleared his throat, and bumped his knee into Zayn's. He didn't move his leg away again. "Um, and there is also the teeniest, tiniest possibility that I might have been bitten by a werewolf, but I'm sure that's going to turn out just fine."
There was a pause before the round of applause this time. Liam elbowed Harry in the side. "Add that last bit to the any other business section, Harry." He raised his voice. "Thanks, Niall. Zayn?"
"Hi, I'm Zayn Malik, and I'm a Disney Prince. This month I've been working on trying not to propose to people I've only kissed once."
Everyone clapped at that, not least because Zayn kissed everybody, and they'd all had at least one offer of marriage so far. It was hard, turning down someone who proposed with a song and who looked like Zayn did. And who kissed like Zayn did. Which is to say: well.
"Excellent," Liam said. "Harry?"
"Hello," Harry purred. Everyone averted their eyes. It was amazing how easy it was to suddenly want to take all your clothes off and do the naked fandango with Harry Styles when he looked at you with the Veela powers switched firmly to on. Well, everyone wanted to do the naked fandango with Harry Styles all of the time anyway, but usually it didn't involve spontaneously taking your clothes off in the middle of a meeting. How would you minute that?
"Veela powers off, Harry," Liam reminded him, from behind his hand.
"Sorry," Harry said. "All gone now, you can look. Promise."
Liam peered out from behind his fingers. "Go on."
"Hello, I'm Harry Styles, and I'm a Veela. This month I've been trying to remember to switch my powers down when I'm out in public."
"How's that going?"
"Someone threw a bra at me when I was in Tesco," Harry said mournfully. "It hit my mum in the face."
"Um," Niall said carefully. They've all seen Harry's mum. Harry's Veela mum. "Are you sure they weren't throwing it at her?"
"Oh," Harry said. He looked sad. All of them manfully fought the desire to go over and hug him in a protective fashion. "Maybe."
"We still love you, Harry," Louis piped up. The others echoed him.
"VEELA POWERS OFF, HARRY," Niall said loudly.
"They're switched off, promise!" Harry said. "You switch your all-caps off!"
"...BUGGER," Niall said. "Damn it."
Liam elbowed Harry in the side again. "Any other business note re: all-caps, Harry." He grinned. "Louis, you're up next."
"Hello, I'm Tommo, and I'm the God of Mischief."
"Um. The great-grandson of the God of Mischief. The God of Mischief in waiting. Fourth in line to the throne of the God of Mischief," Liam read from his prepared notes. This is what he was supposed to say every time Louis declared himself the God of Mischief pre-emptively.
Zayn cleared his throat. "The God of Mischief's immortal, innit?"
"I'm Louis Tomlinson, and I am in line to the throne of Mischief, and Joss Whedon has a lot to apologise for."
"And, um. What have you been working on this month, Louis?"
"Destroying Joss Whedon," Louis said darkly.
"Other than that."
"Um. I've been playing a lot of footy? And drinking tea."
Liam poked at the notebook in front of Harry. "Put finding Louis some life goals under any other business."
Harry stared out of the window. "We could all go audition for X Factor. That's a life goal we could all get behind."
"No," Liam said firmly. "We can't."
"Well," Liam said, a month later. "This is weird."
The Youth Branch of Magical and Fairy Tale Creatures and Beings Anonymous was meeting in a cupboard under the stairs of a rehearsal studio at X Factor boot camp.
"WOOF," Niall said, with his head in Harry's lap.
Harry scratched him behind his fluffy were-wolf ears. "All-caps, Niall."
"Woof," Niall said, in a mournful, were-wolf kind of a voice.
"Has everyone got squash and a biscuit?"
Louis dutifully handed round plastic cups with squash in, and a packet of Tesco Value Nice biscuits. He dropped his pen in the process, and it rolled under one of the chairs. They'd put Niall's squash in a cereal bowl and were pushing it uncertainly in his direction. There wasn't anything in the rule book about how to serve were-wolves. They were having to write their own amendments in in biro.
There was no scrum for the biscuits, and only partly because there was barely enough room for them in the cupboard anyway, what with the mop buckets and the bottles of Swarfega. Niall and Zayn were always the main scrummagers anyway, and Niall was already flopped all over Zayn and having his belly rubbed. He was quite cute, for a were-wolf.
A mouse came and sat on Liam's knee, Liam's dropped pen in its paws. It squeaked.
"Thank you," Liam said absently. Two rats were tying his shoelaces into very neat bows. It was his turn to minute, as Louis refused to, but Liam always made a lot of spelling mistakes. The others never mentioned them, thankfully. He usually tried to explain his poor spelling away on spending his formative years sweeping floors instead of doing lessons, but the truth was, he'd gone to school just like everyone else, and he was just a bad speller. All the sweeping and the singing was strictly outside of school hours.
And it was mostly hoovering, anyway.
"Well," Zayn said, "we've only got half an hour before we have to get on stage and dance for the judges, so I hope you've got your Veela powers switched right up, Harry, else we're all going home." None of them could dance for toffee. It would be funny, if everyone around them wasn't doing their best Backstreet Boys impression. Quite what they were going to do when one of them was an unco-ordinated were-wolf with a special superpower of turning things into scythes if he wasn't concentrating, none of them knew. "But before that, let's quickly go round the room—"
"Cupboard," Louis put in, helpfully.
"—the cupboard, and talk about what we've achieved this month. Harry?"
"We're at boot camp," Harry said. "And I've had some blow jobs that have most definitely had nothing to do with being a Veela. Powers switched right off, baby."
Everyone clapped, and Zayn threw in a whoop. Harry put his fist in the air.
Liam was sure nobody felt in the least bit jealous of all the people who got to exchange/share/give blow jobs to Harry in a non-Veela way. Some papers were shuffled, and someone cleared their throat. Liam coughed and tried to ignore the desire to burst into song and start dusting the shelves. The two rats and the mouse had got ribbons from somewhere, and were tying them around each other's necks like collars. These kind of things kept happening, and no amount of Liam telling them they didn't have to engage in any kind of servitude around him seemed to make any difference at all. Animals would keep emerging out of the skirting boards and starting some kind of choreographed dance routine every time he tried to wash up a cup. God knows what would happen if he tried to clean out a cupboard.
"Louis?" Zayn said, taking a bite of his biscuit. "Your turn."
"I," Louis said proudly, "told people that I liked girls who liked carrots. That's mischievous, right?"
There was a silence.
"Yes," Liam said finally. "Well done, Louis."
Niall turned his attention to Louis, and put his head in Louis' lap. Harry stifled a snort.
"I thought that was quite good," Louis said, a little sadly. He petted Niall's fluffy were-wolf ears.
"It's brilliant, Louis," Liam said. "Really mischievous. Doesn't everyone agree?"
"Oh yeah," Zayn said. "Brilliant."
"Spectacularly mischievous," Harry agreed, but he was laughing, so it didn't work all that well. Louis shoved him, and Harry shoved back, then some things fell over, and Harry leaned in to kiss Louis on the cheek. The rats and the mouse scurried around propping mops back up against the wall and squeaking a song. Liam spent a long thirty seconds biting his lip to keep from bursting into the tenor part.
Nobody else felt the least bit jealous of Harry's kiss. At all. Niall WHINED, in all-caps.
"All-caps, Niall," Harry said.
"Huff," Niall said, and flopped down in Harry's lap.
Harry leaned down and kissed him on his were-wolf forehead.
"That's it," Zayn said stroppily. "It's not fair that half of us are being kissed and the other half aren't. Is it, Liam?"
"No," Liam said, without thinking.
Harry rolled his eyes, and then leaned over and kissed Liam on the corner of his mouth. After that, he curled his hand around Zayn's bicep and drew him in for a kiss.
Afterwards, Zayn blinked, and sat back. "Have you ever thought—" he started to sing, "—about marrying meeee—" The rats and the mouse were already launching themselves into some kind of backing dancer positions.
Liam's life was the worst.
"Zayn," Liam said. "We don't propose to people we've only kissed once."
"More than once," Harry said, under his breath.
"Shut up, Harold," Louis said. "This is Zayn's time."
"Let's start the timer again," Zayn said miserably. "It's been zero days since my last marriage proposal. Fuck."
"Have a biscuit," Liam passed Zayn the packet of Nice biscuits.
"Nrgh," Zayn said. "I've been trying really hard, too."
"I know." Louis patted Zayn's arm. "It's all Harry's fault. Let's make him stand in the corner."
"Not my fault!" Harry said. "I'm minuting the fact that Louis' wrong about everything."
"WOOF," Niall said, nosing his way into Zayn's lap again. Next to Zayn's crotch appeared to be Niall's were-wolf resting point of choice. "Woof."
"Excellent point," Liam said, because he could talk to the animals, and that apparently included were-wolves. "Niall says, has anyone figured out how he's supposed to get on stage in ten minutes time and do a dance routine, when he's got four paws."
"Probably make him more co-ordinated than normal. We're rubbish."
"We're not rubbish, we're co-ordinatedly challenged." Liam said. "We don't use negative descriptors about ourselves in this group."
Niall barked something that sounded decidedly like, arsehole.
"Somebody isn't getting a biscuit," Liam said, and Niall shut up.
"We could ask Simon," Zayn suggested. "He was quite nice to me when I refused to get on stage."
It was a truth universally acknowledged that most of Britain assumed that Simon Cowell was one step away from Lucifer at best, and the Metatron at worst.
Unfortunately, Britain was completely wrong, and Simon Cowell was as human as they came.
Nobody said anything for a bit.
"We're totally bollocksed," Harry said brightly, when no one had said anything in at least two minutes. "Let's just get Louis to turn on the mischief."
"Carrots," Zayn said, under his breath.
"Ah." Harry said. "Liam?"
"I'm not singing, can you imagine everyone's faces if every stray cat and dog in a ten-mile radius suddenly turned up on stage with the ability to tap-dance?"
"Let's just start a fire," Louis suggested. "That's mischievous."
"Oh my god," Liam said. "No."
"WOOF," Niall said.
"No way. You're not turning Simon into a scythe. Has anyone got a good idea?"
"It wouldn't be an actual fire," Louis grumbled. "Just the fire alarm. You're all rubbish. Nobody ever wants to have any fun."
"With fire. Nobody wants to have any fun with actual fire. Let's just get Harry to turn his Veela powers up to nine—"
"Make it eleven," Zayn suggested, which made everyone but Liam laugh, as Liam didn't get it. Even Niall was laughing, in a were-wolf kind of a way.
"Yes, any number is fine so long as it's high, and then everyone will be so wowed by Harry that they won't notice that the rest of us are co-ordinatedly challenged."
"Woof," Niall said.
"No, Niall," Liam said in his best reproving voice, "we don't say we're rubbish."
"Remember," Harry said brightly, "if in doubt, just spread out."
Liam very carefully put his head in his hands.
"Are you okay?" Niall asked, as they all trooped into a slightly bigger cleaning cupboard at the ITV studios for their next monthly meeting.
"Yes, yes," Liam said, in his best lying voice. "Everything's fine. Did someone buy biscuits?"
"I did," Louis held up a packet of party rings. "And mischievously, I swapped the reduced labels around so I got twenty pence off."
"Awesome," Harry said.
"Not awesome," Liam said, firmly. "Stealing is wrong. Squash?"
"Tesco won't mind 20p. They own part of our souls, anyway. Everyone knows that."
"Just making the squash up now," Zayn said, from the sink in the corner that helpfully had a little green sticker above it that said drinking water. He handed little plastic cups full of orange and pineapple squash round, and Louis grumpily tore open the biscuits and handed them round. Liam took two, because that was the kind of day he'd had.
"Who's chairing?" Harry asked. "Is it my turn?"
"I am," Niall said. "What with the whole, being able to say more than woof thing."
"Do wolves bark?" Louis asked, putting a whole party ring in his mouth and talking through it. "I never thought they did."
"Shut up; you're minuting." Niall threw a pencil at him. "Let's go round the circle. Who wants to start?"
"I will. I'm Harry Styles, and I'm a Veela, and this month I only used my Veela powers for good." He waggled his eyebrows. "Kept us in the show, yeah, baby."
"Uh," Louis said. "Some of that was down to us, you know."
"Yeah, yeah," Harry said.
"I'm minuting that you've got too big for your boots," Louis said, still writing. "Harry Styles is an arse, look."
Harry punched him in the arm. Louis poked him in the hand with his pencil.
"Uh," Niall said. "Liam?"
Liam looked up from where he was staring at the floor. "Uh, what?"
"They're fighting," Niall said. Louis and Harry were slapping at each other and the biscuits were in danger of going everywhere. A mouse in an apron was mopping up some spilt squash with a mouse-sized mop.
Liam still didn't know where they came from. Maybe there was a shop. A tiny mouse shop. "Oh," he said. "Stop that. And you, Betsy, you don't have to clean up after anyone. Don't you remember what I told you about workers' rights?"
Betsy the mouse squeaked something in a song-like fashion. Liam rolled his eyes, but didn't push it.
Louis, Zayn, Niall and Harry exchanged glances. Zayn made a very handsome, Disney prince kind of a face and touched a hand to Liam's knee.
Liam just looked at his feet.
"Liam," Zayn asked carefully. "Is there anything wrong?"
"Do you want to update the group on the last month?" Louis asked eagerly.
"Shut up, Louis," Harry said.
Liam got something that looked a lot like a sparkly wand with a star on the top out of his pocket.
"That's—very pretty," Niall said.
"It's a magic wand," Liam said. "Apparently my grandma fell in love with her fairy godfather, instead of Prince Charming? Totally shocked the neighbours, according to Mum."
Zayn made a grumpy, affronted kind of a face on behalf of his long family history of being the hero in these kind of stories. Niall slipped his hand into Zayn's. Everyone pretended not to notice. It wasn't like Niall and Zayn weren't always touching anyway. Well, fighting, usually. In a mud-wrestling kind of a way.
"Much as your family history is really interesting," Louis lied, "what's with the magic wand?"
"Um," Liam said. "So it's possible my mum's dad was not the prince? And was the fairy godfather instead?"
"Nice," Harry said. He always liked a bit of salacious gossip.
"So I'm a quarter fairy godmother. And it was my birthday last week."
"We were there," Zayn pointed out. We all had the hangovers to prove it."
"I didn't," Liam said. "But apparently I came into my inheritance."
"Dosh," Niall said. "Brilliant."
"Not dosh," Liam said. He stood up awkwardly. He clicked his fingers, and squeezed his eyes shut. A pair of gossamer-fine, palest sunshine-yellow wings sprouted out from under his shirt. He could see himself in the mirror, and his wings sparkled softly in the dust. He had thought that all of his shirts would be ruined by two wing-shaped rips in the back, but apparently part of the fairy godmothering magic included being able to mend shirts as standard. "Surprise?"
"Holy shit," Niall said, succinctly.
"Oh my god," Louis said, sitting down again. "You've got fucking wings."
"Can you fly?" Harry reached out and touched a fingertip to the edge of Liam's wing, and Liam shivered, unable to help himself.
"I don't know. I haven't tried. Oh dear. I'm Liam Payne, and this month I discovered I was part-fairy godmother—or father, what on earth—and now I have wings."
"Have a biscuit," Louis said, holding out the party rings.
"Have them all." Niall and Zayn were still holding hands.
Liam couldn't help but feel a bit disgruntled. He took a couple of biscuits then reached out a hand for Betsy the mouse, who scuttled up over his hand and up his sleeve to his shoulder. She started mopping at his cheek, and squeaking something about a smudge. Mice were worse than mums at embarrassing you in public, honestly. If they weren't trying to wipe your face, they were trying to do your hair, and everyone knew that mice had no idea about hairstyles.
"Are you, um—" Zayn pointed at the wings. "Are you supposed to turn up and get people to balls on time? Like, as a job? They never gave me that option in careers lessons."
"Balls," Niall sniggered. Everybody elbowed him. He elbowed them all back.
Liam rolled his eyes. "I don't know. All I know is that I'm a danger to vegetables with this wand. I turned a potato into a Smart Car earlier on."
Nobody said anything for a while. They said it quite loudly, though.
Liam took another party ring. "I don't think I'm a very good fairy godmother-stroke-father."
"Well," Harry said helpfully. "Is there a course you could go on? Or a book? Lessons? Changing vegetables into helpful modes of transport that people might be seen alive in?"
"I've always fancied a Porsche," Louis added. Mischievously. "Think you could do that if I gave you something bigger than a potato?"
"What's bigger than a potato?"
"Pumpkins," Louis said. "Everyone knows that."
"They turn into carriages, though. Everyone knows that, idiot." Liam wasn't going to suffer fools gladly today. He had yellow sunshine wings and a wand that sparkled. He wasn't taking anyone's crap, even if Louis really had to be mischievous, as like, a life goal. He was pretty hot for a descendent of Loki, anyway. And he had very sparkly eyes. Not that Liam noticed that kind of thing.
"Modern-day equivalent, innit. Do us a Porsche."
"Shut up, Louis; Liam's having a crisis. Is it mantra time?" Niall didn't let go of Zayn's hand, but he did hold his other one up for Liam to take. "Ready? As magical and fairy tale creatures and beings, we accept that there are things we cannot alter—like our families, or myth and legend, or our grandmothers shagging about with the help—"
"Oi. That's classist."
"It also makes Liam the help."
"—shagging about with people with fucking wings then, god—and that we must be brave when we come upon things that we can amend, and that we must be wise in distinguishing between that which we can alter and that which we can't."
"Which one's this, then?" Harry asked. "Can we alter it or not?"
"We're in the top ten on X Factor," Louis pointed out, "and one of us barks three days of the month, another one of us is a danger to vegetables, and I'm bloody brilliant. Who cares?"
"What about me?" Harry pointed out. "You forgot me."
"And me," Zayn said.
"AND THERE'S MORE TO ME THAN BARKING."
"Add it to the any other business section," Niall said, still holding on to Zayn's hand. He blushed a bit and looked the other way. Zayn looked as if he was biting his lip to keep from proposing marriage. Being a fairy tale or magical creature or being and trying to pass for human was hard.
"Um," Liam said. "Has everyone forgotten that I've got wings? Look! Wings."
"Yes, yes," Louis said. "Have you met Kevin? He's my pigeon. Look. I'm going to take him everywhere."
Liam put his head in his hands. Harry patted him helpfully on the shoulder, brushing Liam's wings with the inside of his wrist. Liam shivered. His dick did an annoyingly perky twitch.
"We can put Louis in a cupboard," Harry suggested. "If that would help."
"We're already in a cupboard," Louis said. "And I'm working on my mischievousness. I thought you'd be pleased."
"We're all pleased," Liam said, from behind his hands. "Well done, Louis."
Harry was still touching his wings. "Hey, can you put them away, or do we have to perform with you with wings? Because that's probably going to be noticeable, just so you know."
"I can put them away," Liam said. He was now approximately two-thirds hard. Which was nice. Or fundamentally and horrifyingly awkward, one of the two. Harry was stroking the soft, feather-like tips of his wings. He swallowed back a ragged, kind of desperate breath. "Um, just so you know, for the record and everything, if we're ever out in public, you probably shouldn't touch the wings."
"Why?" Harry asked, with interest. "Some violation of the Fairy Godfather wing rule?"
"Um," Liam said, doing his best to hide his blush. "Maybe? I don't know."
"Oh," Harry said, peering down into Liam's lap. "Oh."
"Let's never talk of this again."
"If you touch Liam's wings, he gets hard," Harry said. "Look."
"Oh good," Liam said, as everyone stepped a little closer so that they could take a proper look. "Another reason to hate you all." On the other hand. "Um, Harry, who said you could stop?"
Harry dropped his hand back down to Liam's wing, hand flush across the spine.
"Let's make this a standing item on the agenda," Louis suggested.
"What, get Liam hard?" Liam managed. "I didn't know any of you were up for torture. You do know I can turn potatoes into Smart Cars, right?"
"Eh, it's only torture if you don't get to come," Harry said, and winked at him.
"Turn your Veela powers off," Liam said.
Harry held his hands up. "Off, I swear. This is just me."
"Oh," Liam said, since Harry was making him feel delightfully odd inside. And outside too, he wasn't going to lie.
"Can I—" Louis' hand hovered over Liam's wings. Kevin the pigeon was sitting on top of the ignored agenda on one of their seats. "Can I see what it feels like too?"
"Um," Liam managed, since swallowing his tongue was apparently the only viable option right now. "We're ignoring the agenda."
"We're suspending it," Louis said. "Mischievously."
"Well, this is great and all," Niall said, "but do any of you mind if me and Zayn slope off and do a bit of the old naked fandangoing?"
"Great, great," Liam said, since both Harry and Louis were running their fingertips over the tips of his wings, with the rather interesting result of his brain seeping out of his ears. "Try not to propose too often, Zayn."
"Try not to turn him into a scythe, Niall."
"FUCK OFF—" Niall coughed. "Fuck off, the lot of you," he said, and gave them all the finger. And a wink.
"Practice safe sex," Harry yelled after them. "Use a condom."
Someone outside fell over something, loudly. Liam would have put his head in his hands but Louis had engineered it so that he was sitting in Liam's lap, and Harry had his hands caught above his head.
"This wasn't on the agenda," Liam said, as Louis ran his hands up Liam's sides, pushing his shirt up.
"We won't minute it," Harry agreed, leaning in to press his mouth to Liam's throat.
Liam gave a startled, desperate kind of a whine and tipped his head back so that Louis could lean in and lick his jaw. Mischievously. His t-shirt was all caught up over his wings, and in the end, Louis had to rip it off and drop it on the floor so that he could his fingers over Liam's wings and make him groan.
Harry just smirked, and ran a single fingertip down the centre of Liam's spine.
Liam tried his best not swallow his tongue. That felt—well, it was better than some squash and a Tesco Value biscuit.
"Do you think we can make you come just by touching your wings?" Louis asked thoughtfully, after a minute.
"It's worth investigating," Harry said. "For science."
"Well, if it's for science," Louis said.
"It's pretty mischievous too," Harry went on, still stroking at Liam's back. Liam was so hard it was beginning to hurt. Every time he tried to rock his hips up, Louis just scooted back a bit further, so that he was too far away to touch. Fucking god of fucking mischief. In waiting. Whatever.
"Well then," Louis said. "Let's make this our action point for the next month. Destructive testing of Liam's wings. Sexy testing."
"I've got a wand," Liam said desperately. " A wand, and I'm not afraid to use it."
Louis waggled his eyebrows. "Is that what we're calling it now?" he asked, glancing down at Liam's crotch.
"Oh god," Liam said, because both of them were touching his wings now, and he was fairly sure his brains were trying to leak out of his ears in one giant, turned on mess. "Is that a mouse?"
"It's a mouse choir," Harry said. "Oh look, they're singing. They've got little flags! And ribbons. It's like a little mouse cheerleading squad. Do you think they import them from America? Do they dance too?"
There was a pause.
Yes, the mice danced. And twirled their ribbons. It was a little frustrating that they were about a hundred times better at dancing than any of them. Liam wondered if the mice gave lessons.
"Don't get laid much, do you?" Louis said, conversationally.
"Shut up," Liam said. "It's not my fault."
"No," Harry said, and leaned in to kiss him. "Good thing I've always liked performing for a crowd."
Louis laughed, and palmed Liam's dick through his jeans. "Me too," he said, and reached for Liam's fly. "Me too."
Liam made a tiny, desperate, kind of a whimpering noise, rocked his hips up into Louis' hands, and kissed Harry back.
He'd sat through worse meetings.