Liam/girl!Niall | NC-17 | ~9600 words
Niall wakes up a girl the day after the Brits and it drives Liam crazy.
Thank you to aestivalblue for reading this and doing an initial beta all the way back in February when I started it, and thank you to romasquerade for also betaing this (twice!) and giving suggestions! Any remaining mistakes are my own and this is entirely a work of fiction.
Liam thinks he can be forgiven when, the mornings after the Brits, Niall walks in and Liam chokes on his coffee, spraying it down his front and onto the Formica tabletop. Niall looks the way he usually does when he's hungover -- bleary-eyed, a little rough, and even paler -- with one significant difference. To put it delicately, Niall has, well, Niall has breasts. If Liam was a person who drank, he'd be worried he was still drunk, but he's not, so he's not. The only indication Liam has that Niall notices the difference as well is the way his shoulders are curved in a little tighter, awkward in a way that Niall's body language usually isn't.
Liam's grateful that the other lads are having a lie-in because he's not sure how they would handle it. Liam sees Niall looking at him and smiles bracingly, reaching for his coffee cup again. Liam's lucky he hasn't got a mouthful of coffee (again) when he realizes that, it stands to reason, that, if Niall has breasts now, he might also have, you know, a vagina. Liam saves face by merely choking on his own spit.
- - -
The other boys' reactions are not at all what Liam expected. When Louis bounces in twenty minutes later, Niall is sitting across from Liam at the table, currently working his way through his third bowl of cereal, and he and Niall have been awkwardly not talking. Liam is pretty sure that is his own fault, rather than Niall's. Niall had tried, clearing his throat too loudly, saying, "Morning Liam, you had breakfast yet?"
And Liam had nodded, keeping his eyes glued to Niall's face, and when Niall had swallowed, said "alright", Liam noticed, rather desperately, that Niall no longer had an Adam's apple.
So when Louis enters the kitchen and immediately notices Niall's newly-gained female parts, of course he reacts the complete opposite of what Liam had.
"Oy! Harry! Zayn! Get up! Come here!" Louis shouts down the narrow hallway, and Liam and Niall wince simultaneously.
Zayn comes into the kitchen running a hand across his eyes with his mouth open in a yawn and Harry is right behind him, bounding through the door and nearly crashing into Louis when he tries to sidestep Zayn.
Harry picks up on what's going on immediately, Liam can tell by the way his face goes gleeful and he grabs onto Louis' arm as if to say, can you believe what's happening here?. Zayn doesn't seem to get it though, he stretches his arms behind him, looks at Louis, says, "What did you get me up for?"
Louis starts, "I don't know if you bothered taking a look at Niall when you came in but I'm going to assume you didn't, because you would've noticed."
Zayn glances at Niall, who's actually starting to look a little put-off by the attention, then does a double take.
"Holy shit! Niall." Zayn's voice is almost hushed when he says it, like he can't quite believe what he's seeing and Liam thinks that's fair, and actually a much more appropriate reaction than the stupid grins Harry and Louis are both currently sporting.
Liam shoots them a disapproving look, but Harry just bursts into giggles and he punches Louis in the arm like he can't help himself, like he's still trying to call Louis' attention to something they can all see.
"Guys," Liam says reproachfully, "I think maybe we need to talk about this. You're not really being entirely sensitive to Niall's feelings you know."
Harry and Louis both have the decency to look a little ashamed of themselves, and Zayn just nods, still sleepy enough to agree with anything Liam says. Niall, though, surprises Liam by rolling his eyes, and he says, "I don't think there's anything to talk about. It's not really a big deal, is it?"
He shrugs his shoulders as if to punctuate his statement and then picks up his bowl to drink the leftover milk. Liam's a little thrown, to be honest. He's not sure why Niall is taking this in stride when he can't seem to get a handle on it himself.
"But don't you think --" he starts to protest but Niall cuts him off, says, "Liam, honestly. It's not bothering me. Relax."
Niall stands up and pats Liam on the shoulder, goes to rinse his cereal bowl in the bus sink, and wanders off into the lounge where Liam can hear him click on the television and power up the X-Box.
Harry looks seconds away from laughing again and Zayn just reaches over to grip Liam's arm bracingly before laying his head on the table.
They still have to shoot the "thank you" video later that day, and Lou has the brilliant idea of them all sitting on top of each other, so Niall's body can't be seen, and it's just goofy enough for them to pull off. So they all pile onto a love seat and squish together, and they're a mess of elbows and legs, and Liam's right on Niall's lap and Niall's got his arm firmly wrapped around Liam's waist and his breasts pressed against Liam's back and his face tucked laughingly into the curve of Liam's neck. Zayn's legs are propped high over Liam's and Harry smushes into Niall's left side, a handsy Louis sprawled on top of him, draping his arms across Niall's chest and back.
It's going to take some adjusting, to say the least.
- - -
Liam decides, as they walk through the arch that marks the entrance to the mall, that this is all Harry's fault. Niall seemed perfectly fine running around in his regular clothes and, Liam thinks darkly, shopping is waste of money because it's based on the idea that this won't be gone by tomorrow and Niall's going to be stuck like this awhile. Liam's also not sure why he's the one accompanying Niall when it was Harry who flopped next to Niall on the couch while he was playing X-Box, digging a sharp elbow into Niall's ribs, making him yelp and die on screen, before wrapping an arm around Niall's shoulders and saying, "Eh, Niall, don't you think you should probably get some more appropriate clothes?"
And Liam thought he would turn him down flat, but Niall took it in stride, looking unnecessarily thoughtful before agreeing. So they're at the mall. Harry begged off, saying that him and Louis had already made plans to go grocery shopping and Zayn was nowhere to be found. So the responsibility fell to Liam, like it always does.
Niall's bouncing ahead of him, dressed in a pair of his own jeans, a too-big t-shirt stuffed into the waist, which is doing nothing to keep them from slipping at the hips every time he takes a step and Liam is seriously considering just drowning himself in the fountain that spans the open atrium.
He gets dragged into H&M first-off and it's much louder than he remembers. They're blaring some brash pop song with a techno beat and monotone vocals and when Niall beelines to the underwear section, Liam fervently wishes he had thought this through before agreeing to come. Niall flicks through the racks of 3 for $40 bras, chattering loudly, and Liam thinks his heart stops when Niall looks over at him, asking, in all seriousness, "What size do you think I wear?"
Liam feels himself flush, swallows, and glances at Niall's chest, then looks pointedly to his face.
"Um, like a B maybe?" he manages to say, and Niall looks considering, before collecting up an armful of bras and making his way toward the regular clothing. When they make it to the women's section, Niall palms the undergarments off on Liam, who dutifully grabs a bag from the front of the store, and returns to Niall's side. Niall's making his way through a rack of delicate looking dresses, which Liam thinks is rather impractical, as it's still February and not due to warm up for another several months and hopefully Niall won't still be a girl by then. He pulls his mouth tight as Niall makes his way around the store, filling the bag with the aforementioned dresses, slouchy t-shirts made of thin material, skirts that look like they'll barely make it to Niall's knees, and jeans more suited to his new shape.
Liam follows Niall to the fitting room. There's no line and the girl monitoring the rooms winks and directs them to the handicapped stall, tells him he can "go in with his girlfriend". Liam pushes Niall through the door right as he starts to crack up, not bothering to thank the girl for her dubious courtesy. It would serve her right if him and Niall actually did fuck in there. His mouth goes dry at the thought, and he hopes Niall doesn't notice how fucking awkward this is making him feel. There's something in him that all of a sudden desperately needs to reassess his boundaries with Niall, he thinks, would we have done this when Niall was still a boy? They've changed in front of each other thousand of times, but this is so, so different.
Liam can't stop looking at the knobs of Niall's spine, where they ridge down the middle of Niall's back until they run into the flesh at his waist and all but disappear; he can see Niall's reflection, the way the skin almost seems pulled tighter over his hipbones, paler, and the way Niall is a little bit soft around the belly, almost like he's more vulnerable somehow. Liam swallows, swallows again, and he can see the obvious way his throat bobs in the dressing room mirror, the unflattering fluorescent lights, and he's glad Niall's got his arms and face all caught up in the dress he's trying to slide over his head, he's grateful for the jeans and boxers that Niall inexplicably decided to keep on.
Niall drops the hem of the dress, smooths it over his torso, and when he looks in the mirror, Liam can see, his mouth turns down slightly, the first flicker that he's not taking this as well as he'd been pretending. Niall tilts his head, gives himself a once-over, meets Liam's eyes in the mirror, and shrugs his shoulders as if to say, well what do you think?
Liam pulls his mouth into a smile, probably unconvincing, and nods. Niall perks up a little, and shucks his jeans, pulling a skirt on up underneath the dress, then pulling the dress over his head, crossing one arm over his chest unconsciously, reaching for a top with the other hand. Liam thinks that he's not used to this self-conscious awkward modesty from Niall, and thinks that he's probably not helping things by staring at Niall the way he is, not making conversation.
Niall tucks his hair behind his left ear, his hands moving to his waist to straighten out the blouse, and Liam clears his throat, says, "Okay, I already don't like that top."
Niall's laugh sounds like it might start higher in his chest, but it's just as goofy, and Liam thinks, okay, this can be alright.
Niall shoots him a look and Liam says, "No really man, I'm serious." And when Liam reaches forward to grab a different blouse for Niall and Niall pretends like he's going to elbow him in the face, Liam can't say he doesn't feel a little relieved.
It takes them longer than Liam expected it would to finish in H&M. Niall ends up leaving with a couple pairs of jeans, several tops, and a skirt and a dress that Liam questions but Niall shrugs him off, saying he's getting them "just in case," and while Liam cannot fathom a situation where Niall will actually need them, he readily admits that it's probably not his place to say as it's not like he spontaneously changed sex overnight. Liam begrudgingly admits that Niall looks nice in them, so it's not a total waste, and it's not as though they don't have the money to spend.
They head to the food court after they finish shopping because Niall is starving, which is one thing that hasn't changed. Liam feels a little like Niall's boyfriend when he has to shoulder all the bags as Niall beelines towards Nando's to order. Liam finds a place to sit and he can't say he's at all surprised when Niall comes back to the table with a tray piled high with food. He is, however, pleased when Niall slides Liam's usual order his way. And when Liam smiles at Niall and Niall grins back, shoulders loose, before diving into his meal with his usual vigor, Liam honestly can't say that the day wasn’t worth it.
- - -
The second they get back and dump the bags in the bus' lounge, Louis and Harry burst through the door, chattering over each other loudly and demanding to see what Niall bought. Niall flushes but he laughs and says, half-sarcastically, "Do you all want to just see it or do you want me to try it on?"
They both look unnecessarily intrigued about the possibility of Niall modeling his new clothes for them, and Louis throws himself on the couch, says, "Go on, put them on then."
Liam excuses himself when Niall starts stripping down right there, the room suddenly feeling too warm and small for his liking. Liam can hear Harry wolf-whistle all the way from his bunk and he puts on his headphones when Niall breaks out in high-pitched giggles and all Liam can imagine is the way Niall's blush probably spreads way down his chest.
- - -
When Liam wakes up the next morning and walks into the kitchen, everyone else is already up and talking loudly, Niall on the counter top in a t-shirt and boxers, swinging his legs and eating toast, Harry with his hip tipped against the refrigerator door and a glass of orange juice in his hand, next to Niall, Louis and Zayn in the booth that runs the length of the wall separating the kitchen from the lounge.
Liam's almost caught off-guard again by Niall looking the way he does, like he'd somehow managed to convince himself it hadn't really happened. Niall grins at him when he comes in though, says, "Morning Liam," and Harry says, "Oh good, I was just about to ask if everyone wanted some scrambled eggs."
"Remember to put cheese on mine," Louis chimes and Harry shoots back, "If you want cheese you'll get it yourself."
- - -
They're forced to go to their management when Niall hasn't changed back by the morning of their last day off. It goes down as well as could've been expected and an announcement is hastily cobbled together and released, saying that several of the boys are ill and that they're all taking a much needed break to recuperate, informing the fans that the tour dates were postponed indefinitely, as of now, and that they would be informed as the situation changed.
So they are headed home, for a few days at least.
- - -
Unsurprisingly, they spend the first couple days apart. Liam doesn't see any of them again until the Monday after they get home, when Louis lets himself into Liam's flat and tells Liam his presence was required for some quality time that evening. Liam protested, saying they'd just spent a whole tour having 'quality time' and Louis had smacked Liam on the arm and told him to stop before someone's feelings got hurt.
They'd all gone over for dinner in Harry and Louis' and after they'd all settled in to watch a film, some HBO documentary on the telly that Zayn had picked. Harry, Liam, and Niall were all piled onto the couch, Zayn laying on the floor with his hands crossed over his chest and his head on a pillow pushed up against the couch, Louis with his back against Harry's legs, his head lolling sideways onto Harry's knee. Niall was shuffled up into Harry's side, his feet tucked under Liam's thighs, a bowl of popcorn in lap.
Liam can tell when Niall gets bored, halfway through the documentary. He's run out of popcorn and he's staring down into the bowl, picking his way through the kernels, looking for partially popped ones to eat. Niall starts jiggling his feet, absentmindedly fidgeting, and Liam tries to ignore it, but it's verging on irritating, a distraction that keeps pulling his mind back, making it impossible to focus on the narration, the thread of what's happening in the film slipping away. He shoots a look at Niall and Niall catches his eye, shrugs sheepishly and curls his toes down into the couch. Liam turns his attention back to the television and in a couple minutes Niall starts back up again. Liam sighs and grabs for Niall's ankle, trying to stop him, pausing when he realizes that his hand wraps all the way around it. Niall's ankles are so narrow now and Liam's pinkie and thumb overlap where the bone juts out. Liam rubs his fingers over that spot and when he glances up, Niall slants a soft look at him, unreadable but not displeased, and Liam tries a smile. The corner of Niall's mouth quirks up and his head ducks down as his hands go back to the bowl in his lap and Liam watches the sweep of Niall's eyelashes as he shifts the bowl around, and Liam keeps his hand there for the rest of the documentary and Niall doesn't move his feet again.
- - -
It's an unusually hot night for April in London, temperature creeping towards the upper register of the 20's, when Niall creeps into Liam's apartment, letting himself in with the spare key Liam had given him the day they'd all moved into the building. Liam looks up when he hears the door snick open softly, and he's surprised when Niall pads into the living room on bare feet, a laptop cradled against his chest. Niall meets his eyes, smiles with half his mouth, says, "Hey," and "I didn't know if you'd still be awake." Liam swings his legs off the couch he's been sprawled out on for the last hour, sits up straight and replies, "It's too hot to sleep, innit. What are you still doing up anyway?"
Niall comes over, drops down next to him, jerking the laptop open and the screen lights up instantly. Liam unconsciously leans into Niall, hooking a chin over his shoulder, and peering at the screen. Liam pulls his head back and Niall tips his, meets Liam's eyes, and Liam sees that Niall's are unnaturally bright and he thinks he realizes that Niall has just been pretending to take this well.
"I haven't been able to find anything about how to fix this," Liam can barely hear Niall over the hum of the laptop and the buzzing of yellow sodium lights that comes in through the windows that are thrown open.
Liam can feel something welling in his chest, this dark heavy feeling, and his mouth pulls tight, and all he can do is slip an arm around Niall's narrow shoulders, pull him in and let him tuck his face into Liam's neck, breathe wet and ragged into Liam's shirt.
Liam touches the back of Niall's neck hesitantly, says quietly, "Hey, do you think," pauses, "Do you want to go for a swim? Get the others and go down to the pool?" grasping at straws for anything that might cheer Niall up.
Niall pulls back, drags a hand across his mouth, makes a noise like he's clearing his throat, and nods, saying, "Yeah. Okay. That could be good."
Niall's smile is shaky and a little brittle but Liam blurts out, "I can try looking for some stuff tomorrow, if you'd like," and he doesn't think he's imagining it when it looks like Niall's smile gets a bit steadier.
- - -
Liam clearly did not think this swimming situation through. He'd felt more sure of himself the last few days, felt like he'd gotten a handle on his attraction to Niall. He'd failed, however, to factor in Niall in a wet t-shirt and shorts, his bra showing through and the material clinging everywhere.
Harry pushes Louis off the edge of the pool with a yell and a splash and Liam jerks his eyes away from where Niall and Zayn are grabbing at each other, Zayn threatening to dunk Niall under the water and Niall fighting him off, laughing with his hands on Zayn's shoulders. Harry takes a running jump in right after Louis, landing dangerously close to Liam and sending a wave of water over him. Liam bobs back up, spits the water purposely at Harry and Harry laughs right in his face, splashing back at him. Louis's paddled his way over to Niall and Zayn and it seems like he's chosen sides because he's butted up against Niall, his hands on Zayn's shoulders as well. They push him under together and Liam can tell when Zayn retaliates because he hears Niall's noise of surprise and then Niall disappears underwater, as if Zayn has jerked him down by his leg. Louis lets out a shout and then he's pulled under as well and Zayn shoots up, rubbing water out of his eyes and looking well pleased with himself.
Zayn looks over at him and Harry, grinning, and Liam smiles back as they swim over, and Liam tries to focus on the reason they are there, namely, cheering Niall up, but it's hard when Niall grabs at him with slippery hands and accidentally presses up against him in the water. When Niall gets out of the water, dripping in a puddle around his feet, the t-shirt sticking to the curve of his waist, Liam makes sure not to stare, even as his mouth goes dry.
It's easier to focus when Louis heaves himself out of the pool and starts chasing Niall around, threatening to push him back into the water and Liam has to yell at him to stop before someone slips and cracks their head open. Louis teases Liam, says, "Yes, Dad," and then grabs Niall, quick as a flash when his attention is focused on Liam, and heaves Niall over his shoulder before throwing him into the pool, Niall's limbs flailing and his laugh echoing right as he crashes loudly into the water.
- - -
They start a campaign of distraction after that; trying to keep Niall happy and busy, while the others not occupying Niall's attention look for any information there is on helping him turn back.
Liam has never been so glad for Louis' relentless cheerfulness. When no one else can muster up the energy to pretend that things are going okay, that they are making any sort of progress, Louis takes the reins. He cooks up schemes for him and Niall (and often Harry; sometimes Zayn, if they can convince him) and he's so present and enthusiastic when he needs to be.
He and Niall spend one particularly memorable afternoon turning Louis and Harry's kitchen to shambles in an attempt to bake Zayn's favorite cake, all because Zayn had mentioned in passing that he missed home a bit, wished he could see his family. Harry's sort of furious when he comes home to a sink full of dishes and the floor covered in flour and sticky with sugar, but he'd calmed down when he saw Zayn's quiet smile at the lopsided cake Niall and Louis offered up and Louis had generously offered to let Harry share in the credit. Most of Louis' plans are like this: good-natured and with minimal consequences.
Still, Liam doesn't necessarily think it's a good idea for Zayn and Louis to take Niall to a house party with them, but he also doesn't think it would be best to try to talk them out of it. Liam's seen the way Niall's been acting lately, the tension and energy bunching under his skin because there's not much for him to do, trapped in the closed circuit he's been making of the boys' flats, and so far Niall's not been eager to go out on his own too often, reluctant to venture out without one of the other boys with him, and going out together was something they'd all agreed was a little dangerous. So when Louis brings up the party, Zayn chiming in that he's going as well, Liam feels like it would be cruel to try to stop them, as this is the first thing Niall's seemed properly excited about in a week. Louis pulls him aside, reassures Liam that it will be okay, that, if he'd like, they can just tell everyone that Niall is his cousin in town to visit and the boys are showing her around. Liam secretly thinks no one will buy that, but he knows Louis is doing the best he can by everyone, getting Niall to relax a little, and trying to keep everything under wraps for Liam's sake. Liam pulls Louis into a hug and Louis laughs into his shoulder and squeezes the back of his neck, gives him a soft look and tells Liam that he's got everything under control. Despite himself, Liam feels a bit better.
Until later, when Niall shows up at Liam's apartment. Niall's done everything he can to get properly dressed up. He's wearing the skirt he bought, a soft, blue, swirly thing that cuts mid thigh, and a loose vest that slouches enough so that Liam can see that Niall is clearly not wearing a bra. He's got these flimsy sandals on his feet and, if Liam's not mistaken, he's even wearing makeup. Liam points it out and Niall ducks his head and touches at his face and asks if it looks bad.
"What -- no," because that was not the point at all.
Niall still looks oddly bashful though, in a way that Liam is not at all used to, so he swallows, presses on, "You look. You look really nice. Pretty? Is that okay? Can I --"
Niall cuts him off by throwing his arms around Liam's neck and hugging him tightly, says, "Don't worry Liam, I'm not going to be offended that you called me pretty."
When he pulls away, he touches his fingers to Liam's cheek just briefly, drops his hand, says, "Thank you. Seriously," quietly, and then he disappears to find Zayn and Louis before Liam has a chance to catch his breath.
Liam's curled up on the couch in Harry and Louis' flat, watching a movie with Harry when they all get back. Louis stumbles through the door first, his body twisted around so he can laugh at something happening just out of view. Zayn and Niall are right behind him, both giddy and a little pink, knocking into each other as they come into the living room. Niall's got his shoes in his hand, and he and Louis drop onto the couch next to Harry and Liam, Louis hiccuping a little.
Niall's wearing the jacket Zayn left in, and when he takes it off to give to Zayn as Zayn gets out of the chair, says he's going to bed, Liam can see where Niall's got lipstick smeared across his neck and down his shoulder and chest a bit. Harry notices a split second after Liam does and crows loudly and Louis goes, "Yeah, yeah, you should've seen it. This girl put the moves on Niall 'bout the second we walked in."
Niall blushes and rubs a hand across his neck but he looks pretty pleased with himself as well, his ability to pull girls still intact, even when he's a girl himself.
Harry's got that look in his eye, and he blurts, "Well, what was it like?"
Niall, if it's possible, flushes even pinker, but he makes this face at Harry, sort of a pout, and demurs, says, "A lady doesn't kiss and tell."
Louis laughs loud next to Liam, startles him, "Oh yeah?"
Harry turns his face to Louis, and Louis seems eager to tell the story if Niall won't.
"Okay, so we got to the party a little late, so it was awfully packed when we got there, and nobody even looked twice at Niall being with us. Except this one girl. God, okay, she pretty much zeroed in on Niall the second we got through the door. Not like she recognized him but like she was very, very interested. And so we head to get some drinks and the girl comes up to us, eyes only for Niall and introduces herself -- Niall, you remember her name?"
Niall pipes up from his spot on the couch, "Yeah, Angela." He's looking at Liam when he says it, not Louis, and Liam can't understand why and also can't keep his eyes off the red streaked across Niall's throat.
"Yeah, yeah Angela. So Angela asks Niall if she can get him a drink and strikes up a conversation and the next thing I know she's got him by the hand and is pulling him into one of the bedrooms. And Niall didn't come back out for a long time and both of them looked extremely satisfied when he did."
Niall's still looking at Liam when Louis finishes telling the story and Niall seems almost embarrassed when he says, "Yeah, let's just finish this movie with Harry and Liam maybe?"
Louis seems kind of disappointed, but he relaxes back into the sofa next to Harry, and before too long he's nodding off and Harry is yawning and saying, "It's getting sort of late, I think I'm going to," and gesturing towards his bedroom.
Liam's almost scared to ask, as he's walking Niall back to his flat, "So is that really what happened?"
Niall doesn't even pause, "Nah, man, I mean. It's just. It was nice is all. She was nice. She gave me her number."
He smiles and Liam says, hesitant, "Are you gonna call her you think?"
Niall levels a look at him like he's being an idiot and says, "Come on, Liam, you know I can't," and Liam wishes he wasn't so cheered by that.
They're at Niall's flat and Liam touches Niall's shoulder, pats it once, twice, says, "Well I'm glad you had a good time then.”
Niall doesn’t unlock his door immediately, rather takes a step forward so he’s just a hair too close to Liam and asks, “Do you want to come in for a little bit? Maybe watch something or have a snack?”
Liam swallows and nods, and Niall arm brushes his when he turns to put his key in the lock and open the door.
They end up falling asleep on the couch with the tv humming softly in the background and with empty boxes of leftover Chinese takeout strewn across the coffee table. Liam wakes up briefly just before dawn when he shifts and knocks a half full bottle of beer over, but Niall is curled up nearly on top of him, his knees digging into Liam’s thigh, warm and heavy, so Liam ignores it and lets himself drop back off to sleep.
- - -
It’s a Friday afternoon when Niall barges into Liam’s flat wearing jogging bottoms and with his hair tied in a sloppy bun on top of his head. He’s got paint all over the vest he’s wearing and dripped down his legs, and Liam can tell that he’s just come from Zayn’s, because Zayn has literally been trying to rope all of them into helping him fix up his living room, and only Niall has been bored enough to agree.
Liam’s in the kitchen digging through his refrigerator for something to eat and Niall sits down in one of Liam’s wooden chairs like there isn’t wet paint all over him, complains, “Liam, I need to get out and do something that isn’t helping Zayn decide if ‘periwinkle will open the room up’.”
He makes air quotes with his fingers as he says it, as if Liam wouldn’t be able to tell those are words straight out of Zayn’s mouth. Niall crosses his arms over his chest and frowns when Liam doesn’t immediately respond, and Liam casts about wildly for a solution, feels immensely relieved when Niall ventures, “We could go to the cinema tonight or something?”
They decide to leave at 6:00 to make the showing at half six, and Niall says he’ll ask the others if they want to come, agrees to meet at Liam’s at a quarter to six.
Niall shows up at 5:50, alone and in a dress with a grey cardigan sweater over it. He’s not wearing makeup but he’s managed to twist his hair into something resembling a style, and he’s shaved his legs since that afternoon.
“Where are the rest of the boys?” Liam asks, and feels a spike of excitement that he immediately squashes down when Niall shrugs his narrow shoulders and says, “They were all too busy to come I guess.”
They take a cab to the theater, and Liam ends up paying for Niall’s ticket to the film when Niall touches his arm and says, “Do you mind buying mine? Only this dress doesn’t have pockets and I forget my wallet.”
It starts to feel like a date when Liam offers to get them snacks at concessions and Niall orders a large popcorn and soda, tells Liam that he doesn’t mind sharing. Niall chooses a pair of seats in the back of the theater, smack in the middle of several giggling couples, and he sits with his legs crossed neatly and his knee nudging into Liam’s.
When the lights go down, he leans closer to Liam, almost imperceptibly, and there’s this feeling like anticipation growing in Liam every time Niall brushes his fingers against Liam’s when they share the popcorn between them, and when he tucks his face into Liam’s neck to whisper asides during the film.
It’s dark when the movie ends and they exit onto the sidewalk outside the cinema. Niall slips his hand into the crook of Liam’s elbow and says, “I’m still hungry. Do you want to get some dinner?”
Liam agrees, a little dazed when Niall just tightens his grip on Liam’s arm, and lets Niall pull him down the street and into a restaurant.
- - -
And it's Saturday and they're at a club and it's going on 2:00 in the morning, and Niall is so obviously drunk, increasingly so as the night has gone on, drifting slightly and laughing too loud. Liam's sitting in a booth in the corner, watching Niall dance with the other boys and thinking it was probably a bad idea for them to all go out together, a better chance of them getting photographed with Niall looking the way he is, and people speculating who the mystery girl and where Niall himself had fucked off to that he wasn't spending time with the other boys.
Niall at least looks like he's having a good time, throwing his arms around Harry's neck and letting Louis twirl him and pick him up, teasing Zayn. And Niall looks his way and lets loose with a smile, so wide, leans into Louis, clearly excusing himself and making his way over to Liam. There are strobes flashing, pinks, greens, pale blues, and when Niall slides into the booth next to Liam, bumps up close to him, Liam can see the way they bounce off Niall's pale chest and shoulders, glistening with sweat in the strapless jersey dress Niall was wearing. Liam's mouth abruptly goes dry and he thinks Niall can tell somehow, if the way his smile is a little darker than usual when Liam loudly asks, "Having fun?", takes a drink of his soda, looks Niall in the eye.
And Niall's got that glint in his eye, the one that means trouble, when he laughs high in his chest, a little breathy, leaning into Liam and stealing his glass, taking a drink for himself. And now Niall's mouth is wet and Liam can't look away and when Niall leans in, puts his hand on the seat next to Liam's hip, almost predatory, his other hand bracingly placed on the table, hovering close to Liam's ear and breathing a question out into Liam's neck, "Hey why don't you hardly touch me anymore, Liam, why, no why".
And Liam doesn't know if this is a game for Niall but Liam chokes and it's all he can do not to jerk back. He's trying to extricate himself from the situation best as possible, he stutters, "I uh, I don't" and the lights keep bouncing near to their corner, splashing color across Niall's skin and hair and then Niall leans in and fits his mouth to Liam's.
Liam freezes for a second, eyes open, only Niall pushes up on his knees and he's at Liam's height now, and Niall's leaning into it, hooking an arm around Liam's neck so the soft curve of his inner elbow is pressed to the spot on Liam's neck where the hair starts to get soft and downy. And Liam thinks, fuck it, grabs for Niall's hip, his other hand going for the back of Niall's knee where his dress is rucked up, and Niall opens his mouth a little, breathes out almost triumphantly against Liam's mouth, and loosens his hold so his hand's on Liam's shoulder. Niall lets Liam pull him forward so his left knee is between both of Liam's and Liam can taste the alcohol in Niall's mouth, sharp and bitter, and feel the heat rolling off his skin, and Liam thinks, this is such a bad idea, but then Niall shifts forward more, hitching his leg deeper between Liam's legs and slipping the hand that's not on Liam's shoulder to his waist, up under the hem of his shirt, and then he sucks Liam's tongue into his mouth and Liam's so gone.
Liam surges up almost violently and Niall makes a little pleased hum in his throat, pushes back just as hard, crawling into Liam's lap fully, running his tongue along the back of Liam's teeth, struggling to get his hand even higher up Liam's shirt and pulling Liam's shirt entirely out of his pants. Liam's head is spinning when Niall works a hand down between them, heading for the zipper of his jeans, and he's got enough sense left to know they shouldn't be doing this here, maybe not at all. He pulls back, gets a hand wrapped around Niall's wrist, breathes, "Hey, hold on, we shouldn't," even if it's hard with the heady rush he feels, looking a Niall's mouth all swollen and the way he's flushed all the way down his chest, heaving just a little bit.
Liam can feel something curling hot, low in his belly, and he thinks again that this is a terrible idea, but it's hard to hold onto that with Niall looking at him with his pupils blown wide open and dark, a hand still tucked into the waist of his pants. Liam thinks, briefly, haphazardly, about getting Niall into the bathroom, locking the door behind them and hitching an arm under Niall's thighs, lifting him onto the counter next to the sink and fucking him right there, his dress still pooling in his lap.
Liam shakes his head, swallows, watches Niall's eyes follow the movement, and thinks that maybe it would be best to push Niall back out onto the floor where Harry, Louis, and Zayn are still dancing, flirting with the girls around, maybe it would be best to get Niall in a cab, take him home and put him to bed, pump him full of water and Advil and let him regret this in the morning. And that's what he does.
- - -
Niall is clearly hungover when he shows up in Liam's flat the next morning in his boxer shorts and t-shirt that Liam thinks he recognizes as Harry's. Liam feels a hot flash of jealousy, one he deems so stupid that he immediately pushes it to the side, laughs pointedly at Niall's bedhead making it look like he's got a bird's nest on his head and feeling a little bit of vindictive pleasure when Niall winces perceptibly. Liam takes pity on Niall, directs him to the couch and shoves the remote in his hand, before heading into the kitchen to make them both some toast and scrambled eggs.
When Liam sprawls on the couch next to Niall, the last thing he expects is for Niall to set the plate on the coffee table next to where Liam's feet are propped and clear his throat, saying, "Mate what happened last night?"
Liam breathes in sharply, says, "I'm not sure what you're asking." And Niall just looks at him, replies, "You know exactly what I'm saying; why didn't we go for it?"
And Liam has no clue what to do with that.
"I don't. You were so drunk last night Niall, I wasn't. It would be taking advantage!" Liam can hear himself talking too loud, his voice raised because he’s not really sure what's happening here.
Niall's got this look on his face, mouth pursed like he's trying to keep from smiling, his eyebrows cocked, as if he's humoring Liam, as if he doesn't quite get what Liam is saying and then Niall huffs out a laugh, his mouth breaking wide into smile that stretches his face and Liam thinks, this isn't a time for jokes.
And then Niall leans over, a hand on Liam's knee, kissing his slack mouth softly, but with the same intent he'd had last night. Liam hesitates, doesn't respond for a second, his hands hovering awkwardly at his sides, long enough for Niall to suck Liam's lower lip into his mouth. Niall pulls at it gently with his teeth, pushing his tongue into Liam's still open mouth, and Liam feels himself relax and then they're kissing. It's less sloppy but a lot better because Niall tastes like himself, a little sharp with mint like he'd just brushed his teeth and a little warm with sleep, like maybe he'd done a half-assed job of it.
Liam curves a hand around Niall's hip, almost involuntarily, passing his thumb over the spot where Niall's boxers met the warm skin of his waist. Niall hums a soft pleased note in the back of his throat, surging forward to kiss Liam more deeply, his hand roaming up Liam's thigh. Liam can see very clearly what Niall's intentions are, and suddenly knows he has a choice to make. When Niall wriggles forward on the couch, hitching a knee over Liam's leg, pressing his body more fully to Liam's, Liam can viscerally feel the heat in his belly, blood rushing thick through his veins. Liam presses up into Niall, pulling him more fully onto his lap, and Niall grinds down on Liam.
Liam feels himself moan and Niall smiles against his mouth, grinding down again and letting his mouth fall open, pressing his lips to the corner of Liam's, leaving a slick trail across Liam's cheek. Niall bites at the spot where Liam's jaw hinges, pushing his hips down again, and Liam let out another groan, jerking up into Niall and grabbing his chin, pulling him back in to kiss him open mouthed and sloppy, their tongues rubbing against each others, more breathing into each others mouths than anything. Niall jerks his head back, panting out with his mouth that just won't stay closed, tongue peeking out to slide quick across his own bottom lip and his chest pinked down as far as Liam can see. Niall's eyes are almost all pupil, dark and desperate with want and Liam shudders, dropping his head and sucking a mark into Niall's collarbone where his shirt is slipping off his shoulder. Niall whines high in his throat, his fingers flexing ineffectually at the base of Liam's neck and in his hair. Niall rakes his nails across where Liam's shirt meets his neck and Liam sees with clarity where this is going. Liam blindly finds Niall's mouth again and he slides an arm under Niall's thighs, stumbling to his feet and down the hall towards his bedroom.
"Niall" he pants, "I need you to--" Niall bites at his mouth again, breathes out this noise that's sort of surprised, sort of amused, sort of pleased, and wriggles against Liam, makes holding on to him difficult, like he's reminding Liam that, yeah, okay, he's used to being in control of this too. And Liam can't help it, he fumbles his way into the room and drops Niall unceremoniously on the bed. Niall just grins, a glint in his eye, mouth wide open, one knee bent and the other draped off the edge of the bed.
Liam takes a second, takes a breath, takes it all in: Niall in front of him, all pale limbs, sprawled out on Liam's bed. When Liam gets on his knees on the bed, Niall pushes himself up on his elbows, angles his head and licks at his bottom lip again like he's asking for a kiss and Liam obliges, moving until his knees are on other side of Niall's hips, hovering over him. Liam cups his hand at the curve of Niall's skull and leans in to kiss him, chaste for a second, before he licks into Niall's mouth and Niall threads a hand into Liam's hair, strains up until he's almost sitting and Liam has to sink back onto his heels to accommodate him.
Liam doesn't hesitate this time when Niall's hands go for his shirt, tugging at the hem of it impatiently. He pulls back and shucks it up over his head and off, dropping it over the edge of the bed. Niall doesn't seem to require the same urging as he pulls his shirt off just as swiftly and throws it in the direction of the headboard. Liam wishes he could take a second here because knowing that Niall has breasts and even seeing them in the changing room of H&M is nothing like this, him sitting on top of Niall and Niall not wearing anything but a pair of boxers and his back arched up towards Liam. Niall's smirking at Liam like, I know what you're thinking and I appreciate it but let's get with the program here.
And Liam thinks he can do that, this is something he can handle, as he pushes Niall back on the bed, kisses him again fiercely, and Niall bucks up, wrapping his arms around Liam's neck and a leg around the back of Liam's thigh. Liam grinds down into Niall, knows Niall can feel how hard he is, how desperately he wants this, and Niall hums and arches up into him more. Liam breaks the kiss, moves his mouth to Niall's left breast, sucking the nipple into his mouth, the thumb of his right hand finding the other one and flicking over it. Niall breathes out a ragged breath, says, "Liam, I want," and Liam says, "Yeah, anything," as he slips a hand into Niall's boxers, feels the wet heat there. And Niall moans, throaty and low, and Liam feels a hot spark shoot through his veins, straight to his cock, and he says, "Hold on Niall, let me."
He breaks off, moves down the bed, up on his knees again, says, "Niall, can you lift your hips for me," and Niall obliges, settling his feet and pushing up and Liam slides Niall's boxers down. Niall's looking at him, Liam's sure he knows what's happening when Liam pushes his knees wide and settles between them. Liam curves a hand over Niall's rib cage for a brief moment, pressing his thumb to the spot under his left breast where he can feel Niall's heart beating erratically, and then Niall wriggles down the bed a little bit, just a shimmy with his hips and Liam pulls it back together. He bends, bites at where the skin stretches over Niall's hipbone, pressing his finger and thumb into Niall. Niall lets out a little gasp, arches his hips a little as Liam moves lower, sucks a mark into the spot where Niall's leg meets his torso, and he thumbs over Niall's clit.
Niall makes a breathy noise and Liam wonders for a second if that's what Niall usually sounds like before he's rubbing his thumb over Niall's clit once more, just to pull that noise out of him again. He's almost dizzy with the way Niall smells right now, how wet he is, and Liam licks into him almost too eagerly, feels pleased at the way Niall hitches his hips and groans when he does it. Niall gets a hand in Liam's hair when Liam's tongue moves over his clit again and he tugs hard when Liam crooks a finger up inside Niall.
"Fuck. Liam," and Liam keeps stroking over that spot and chases it with his tongue, slides a second finger in beside the first one. He spreads Niall open, licks in deep around his fingers and rubs circles over Niall’s clit with his thumb, and then Niall is groaning loud and coming.
Niall lays there for a second, and Liam can't help stroking a hand down the inside of Niall's thigh, making Niall shudder a little, and then Niall surges up to kiss Liam. Liam's close already and Niall slips a hand into his trousers and jerks him fast and it's not long before Liam's coming too, Niall sucking on his tongue as he does.
- - -
Liam wakes up with Niall shirtless and pressed against him. He looks softer in his sleep, which is a stupid thing to think, Liam's sure. Now that he can just sit here and look, he can't help but to catalog the way Niall's different in this body: he'd lost a fair bit of height, is tiny even for most girls, probably topping out at 5'1'' if that. Niall doesn't have a large chest by any means, but it's larger enough to make a difference. His hair is only a little longer, barely a bob, and curling at the ends. It's still blonde, which Liam supposes Niall must've been grateful for. Niall's face is sharper than it was before, in his cheeks particularly, but softer around the mouth, as if the universe thought that he needed to look even more pleasant. He's softer around the hips as well, a little curvier, his legs a little shapelier. Liam thinks, haphazardly, that Niall's collar bones are more prominent, his wrists more delicate, and it drives him crazy, the way this body is so obviously still Niall's and not at the same time. Niall does things the way he always has, and Liam thinks that on any other girl that kind of masculinity might be awkward, but with Niall it's charming.
Niall stirs next to him and when he opens his eyes Liam worries briefly how Niall's going to react, if he's going to pretend it was all nothing, but Niall just smiles and aims a bite at Liam's shoulder, says, "You know what I could go for this morning?" and Liam really is more than happy to oblige.
- - -
Liam wouldn't go so far as to say he and Niall are dating now (although God, does he wish they were) but Niall keeps spending the night at his flat, crowding Liam against the counter in his bathroom when he gets out of the shower and licking away the water that drips down his neck. It doesn't go much further than it had the first time; Liam's gone down on Niall a couple more times and Niall had stroked him until he got off afterwards, but they haven't actually had sex yet, and Liam is torn between not wanting to push and desperately, desperately wanting to push.
Niall follows him into the kitchen on the third morning straight and he's still sleep rumpled, wearing a shirt that might be Liam's and no bra. Niall's got jeans on but they're unbuttoned and Liam can't help the way his eyes go to the spot where they fall open when Niall stretches his arms above his head. Niall steps into Liam's space and pushes up on his toes a little to kiss Liam, and he still smells like himself but also a lot like Liam's soap and Liam's detergent and sweat and Liam suddenly feels reckless with all the things he wants to do to him. Liam grabs Niall by the hips, pulls him in until they're pressed together, and Niall gasps out and breaks the kiss. Niall's eyes have gone dark and he grins before he says, "I think you should fuck me." And then he leans up to kiss Liam again, almost chastely, and it's all Liam can do not to push Niall's jeans down his legs right there in the kitchen.
Liam lets Niall pull away though, stumbles after him when Niall grabs him by the hand and leads him back to his own bedroom. Liam goes with it when Niall pushes him down on the bed and shucks out of the jeans so he's just standing there in a pair of panties and Liam's t-shirt. Niall goes up on his knees on the bed next to Liam, tucks his hair behind his ears and places a hand on Liam's stomach before he bites his lip and says, "I think I might want to try sucking you off first, actually." Liam's hips jump at that and Niall breaks into a smile, pleased, and then he's pulling Liam's boxers down and wrapping his hand around Liam's cock.
Liam's only half-hard but Niall strokes him a couple of times until he's all the way there, and then Niall leans down and licks over the head of his cock. Niall's mouth is almost obscenely pink when he actually goes down on Liam and Liam can't help but touch his thumb gently to the corner of Niall's lip. Niall hums at that and fuck, Liam groans from somewhere deep in his chest when Niall tries to suck him down further, his hand stroking up as he does. Niall pulls off, running his tongue up the underside, and his mouth is all red and wet when he says, "You can pull my hair if you want."
Niall's definitely not practiced at this; he gags a little when he tries to go down too far but he keeps a steady rhythm with his mouth and hand, and then Liam is tugging his hair, saying, "Niall, I'm going to --" and Niall tries his best to swallow around it when Liam comes, but he loses a little bit over his bottom lip when he pulls off afterwards, and he has to wipe it off with the back of his wrist.
Liam pushes up on his elbows to kiss Niall and he reaches for the waist of Niall's panties, is surprised when Niall says, "Nah, it's good. We can go again later. I want to go back to sleep."
And then Niall is sprawling out on the bed next to him and tucking himself into Liam's side. Liam hears Niall's breathing go even just before he drops off himself.
- - -
Liam wakes up awhile later to Niall jumping on the bed next to him, shouting, "Fuck yes, I have my dick back."
He feels his heart sink a little bit which, fuck that's selfish, and so he's taken by surprise when Niall drops down next to him and leans over to smack a kiss to his mouth. Niall pulls back but just for a second before he's leaning in again to kiss Liam more thoroughly, open-mouthed and hot.
Liam's the one to break the kiss this time, can't help but ask, "Wait, is this a like, 'let's celebrate that I'm a dude again kiss'' or," he trails off.
Niall looks taken aback, crosses his legs and Liam notices then that he's still wearing the panties he had on when he was a girl and he can't help the jolt that shoots through him at that.
"Wait. Why? Is that what you want it to be?"
Niall's shrinking away from him a little bit and Liam has to say something, blurts out, "God no. Don't you. I said I wanted to kiss you on television. I thought you wouldn't want to kiss me when got your," he gestures, "You know. Bits, back."
Niall looks sort of delighted, says, "Liam you fucking idiot, I want to kiss you all the time, bits or no bits."
And, well, okay, Liam can certainly work with that.
"Besides," Niall says as he leans in to kiss Liam again, "There was something we never got a chance to do yesterday."