a band of thieves in ripped up jeans, just ruling the world
One Direction viewing their lives as if they were Grimm’s fairytales. Zayn’s Little Red Riding Hood, Niall’s Rapunzel, Louis’ Goldilocks, Harry’s Jack (and the Beanstalk),and Liam’s Hansel (and Gretel). Ot5-ish and no smut. I promise it’s better than this description made it sound.
.He might be wearing red, but he’s just a big bad wolf.
The red shirt was sticking to his skin, the night air muggy all around him, the stage lights making it even hotter. Out in front of him, the fans were screaming because of whatever Harry and Liam had just said. Louis was ducking down at the edge of the stage, talking to one of their security guys, and Niall was over to the far right, waving at the fans that were in the higher sections.
A bead of sweat dripped down the back of his neck and he wiped at it. Just two songs left, then we’re done. He reminded himself. Just two songs, and then we’ve got AC and I can go get food once we’re back at the hotel. His stomach grumbled at the though.
Lost in his own thoughts, he didn’t even hear Liam saying his name or notice the balled up sweat towel that was flying through the air towards him, until it was too late. Just as the fabric fell onto his head, he felt the younger boy’s weight collide with him, pushing him back a few steps. “You ready, Zayn? Or are you just going to spend the next few songs daydreaming?” Liam pulled the towel off Zayn’s head and Zayn grinned at him, reaching out to pinch at Liam’s nipples.
He backed away, giggling as the intro to Little White Lies began to explode through the stadium, rung in by the fans screams of joy. It came naturally to slip into the motions, the music, and to let the words come flowing out of his mouth. The fans right beside the catwalk were screaming his name and the lyrics of the song, so he waved at them, licked his lips a bit, and fiddled with his in-ear.
Across the B-stage from him, Louis was gleaming from sweat and adrenaline, Harry was halfway towards getting dragged into the crowd as he leaned down to grab something from one of the fans. He rolled his eyes, and lost himself in the lyrics.
As soon as they were back at the hotel, he’d jumped in the shower, rinsing the grime of the show off, and bringing himself down from the naturally occurring high. Harry had followed him to his room, curled up on Zayn’s bed and when he walked out of the bathroom, the youngest boy was playing on his phone, hair tied up in a bun.
“I want food. Do you want food?” He asked as he rummaged through his suitcase, pulling out a shirt and some jeans.
Harry mumbled something that sounded like “Indian” from the bed and Zayn quickly dressed himself, turning around to see Harry passed out, phone abandoned at his side, eyes closed and soft snores beginning to sound.
Useless, that boy. Zayn tugged a red hoodie on over his wet hair, laced up his boots on his feet, and grabbed some money and his phone.
There was a place a few blocks down that he managed to sneak away to, grab some takeout without being seen, and start on his way back. The night was chilly, and really dark for being such a populated city, and quiet as well. The bag of carryout was held loosely in his hand, swaying with every step.
When he turned down the shortcut between two buildings, he heard the echo of footsteps behind his own. Calming his breathing and slowing his footsteps, everything around him fell silent except for the soft pitter-patter of footsteps behind him. The alley was dark so he moved off to the side, looking back towards the light at the end of the alley he’d just come in through. A shadowy figure stood there, slowly approaching him.
A whistling pattern began to echo down the alley, filling in the empty spaces, and if Zayn didn’t know better he’d think that this was a scene straight from a horror film. He’d always found those scenes where the stalker/murderer was whistling and searching for the victim to be quite terrifying. And all he had was the bag of food, which was no useful weapon.
When the figure caught up to him, he was still no more able to see him than he had been a minute before, everything was dark and all he could see was movement.
The whistling cut off and the person stopped moving, looking around and – was he sniffing? – sniffing like a wolf tracking its prey. Zayn’s back was already against the wall, his breathing coming out in silent puffs, wishing that he’d brought Alberto or Paddy or even one of the other boys. He closed his eyes, and sucked in a breath, feeling the heavy weight of his phone in his pocket. If he could only pull it out… but the light would alert the stalker that he was right there. He exhaled.
Maybe that breath had been too loud or maybe the stalker had better night vision than him, but in the next second, Zayn was being crushed to the wall, the heavy weight of this guy keeping him held there and unmoving, a hot hand curled over his mouth.
The man smelled like sweat and rum and an underlying hint of something familiar. His hips were pressed against Zayn’s, and a tongue darted out to lick a wet stripe over Zayn’s throat, sinking teeth into his skin a second later, promising to leave a mark.
Zayn’s breath was now puffing out harder and faster, hot against the man’s hand, and his eyes were squeezed shut tears blooming in the corners because if he was being honest, he never thought that he’d be put in a situation like this. He was a man and therefore he’d never before thought that he could be stalked down an alley and held against a wall. He never thought that he needed to be worried of being cornered by anyone other than fans or paparazzi or Paul or his parents when they were angry. Yet, here he was.
The hand that had been braced beside his head, keeping the man from pressing all of his weight on Zayn, moved from the wall, sliding down to Zayn’s hip where it gripped tightly.
Then something clicked.
The way this wolfish stranger touched him, smelled to him, moved against Zayn with such ease, it was all so familiar. That smell of vanilla that was almost constantly filling the air around him while he was on the tour bus; that was that underlying familiar scent. He froze, and moved his own free hand so that it could dig into his pocket and grab his phone, maneuvering around so that he could hold his phone up to where he believed his stalker’s face to be.
As soon as he pressed the button, the screen lit up and there was the face in front of his. Covered in stubble, chocolate eyes with the pupils blown wide from the dark, and then a surprised look at his identity being revealed.
“Liam. Fuck you.” Zayn growled, squirming around until he could finally push Liam away. They were doused in darkness again as his phone went back to sleep. “Are you drunk?” He stepped towards the spot where Liam’s scent was emanating from, the rum and vanilla and sweat.
Liam chuckled and reached out in the dark for Zayn. “Not drunk yet, pretty close though. Saw you leaving the shop, thought I’d follow you.” His fingers curled around Zayn’s wrist and tugged him into his side. “Did I scare you, Zee?”
Zayn grunted and squirmed, readjusting his grip on the food bag. “A bit. Let’s get back to the hotel. Harry’s waiting for the food.” Liam suddenly looked down at the bag in his hands and nodded.
They wandered back to the hotel, making it almost all the way before they were spotted by the fans grouped in front of the hotel. Their eyes shot to the way that their hands were intertwined, Liam stumbling along behind Zayn, still reeking of rum. They stopped for a few pictures, Liam apologizing for his intoxicated state, and then they were back safely inside.
He dropped Liam off at his own room, before heading back to his. Harry was still asleep on the bed, so Zayn sat the bag down on the foot of the bed, and disappeared into the bathroom to wash his hands off and slip out of the hoodie, grimy from the alley wall. But then his hair felt gross as well so he quickly rinsed it out in the shower.
When he came back out, Harry was tucked under the covers, the blankets pulled over his head. He sat down on the other side of the mattress, reaching over to gently shake Harry awake because that boy hates to be woken up too early from his sleep.
The groan that left the blankets didn’t sound quite right to Zayn’s ears, so he fumbled with the top of the sheets, tearing them back so he could see his friend’s face.
“My, my Harry what brown eyes you have. And a stubbly jaw, and wow, I think you might be Liam.”
Liam was grinning up at Zayn, his tan skin standing out in contrast against the crisp white sheets, “You calling me a wolf? I didn’t eat Harry if that’s what you’re worried about. I just sent him back to his own room.” He reached over to tap at Zayn’s knee. “Can I have his share of the food?”
Zayn stripped out of his jeans and shirt, squiggling back under the sheets in just his boxers. Liam made grabby hands over at the food when Zayn started pulling it out of the bag.
“By the way, Zee, you’re more of a wolf than I am.” Liam said as he dug into the long since cold takeout. “But you’re also Red Hood. Cause, you know, you’re not little, really, or riding anything, so just Red Hood.”
Zayn smiled down at Liam, figuring that maybe he wasn’t such a wolf after all. “Just eat and go to sleep, Leeyum.” He dug his fingers into his hair, massaging the bigger boy’s scalp.
.He’s always been stuck up in his tall tower, looking down at all the people that want to join him up there.
The hotel room was dark, so it was probably somewhere around one am, but outside the fans were still singing loudly and everything. Niall couldn’t sleep even with the day of travel behind him making him so tired.
He threw back the blankets, pushed out of bed, and shuffled over to the window, peeking through the curtains and down at the road, a crowd of fans visible down there. They were camping out, some of them gathered in circles and he smiled, just thinking of how many of them hadn’t met until that day, and now they were good friends. He watched as Zayn and Liam passed quickly through the crowd and the way that the fans fell all over them.
He wished that he could’ve been down there, just a fan for a band, surrounded by other fans and wishing that he could meet any one member of the band. Niall had thought about it before, hundreds of times while he was stuck up in hotel rooms or backstage before the show, before award shows, and especially while he was walking the red carpet at his own movie premiere. He wanted to see his life from the outside, just witness the way that his own face lit up when they won an award or something.
It must be amazing to not have to keep to such a strict schedule as all of this, to not have to be away from family and friends, and stuck with the same dozen people all the time.
Niall wanted to be a normal boy sometimes, just messing about with Sean and Darragh and Dylan, going to uni and drinking his weekends out of his memory. Sometimes he felt that he was a bit like Pinocchio, “I want to be a real boy!” and they lied so often to the fans about things that shouldn’t even matter but, in the eyes of their management team, they do.
Then other times, Niall was definitely Rapunzel, caught up in his tall tower above the rest of the world, unable to join them down on the ground where everything could just be real and solid beneath his feet, where the floor of everything that he’d built didn’t threaten to crumble out from under his feet with just a little too much weight.
Rapunzel is the princess taken away from everything normal and thrown into this other world that seems so great and pleasant for the first few years, but then the ugly truth comes out and she fights to get free. Only Niall doesn’t want to break out of being in this band with his brothers and he doesn’t want to leave this world behind completely; he just doesn’t want to constantly be waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the wrong thing to come out, for the end to come and have everyone say that they knew it was there.
Niall sighs and looks down at the crowd of fans. On the bright side of this tower life, he’s able to do things for these amazing people, girls and boys and men and women; he’s able to affect their lives in positive ways, keep them living for just a while longer, and if that’s something that this gives him, he’d never leave this tower behind.
He watches as a pizza delivery truck pulls up to the curb, opening up the back of his truck to pull out the dozens of pizzas. He watches as the girls that are still awake look around in confusion, but as soon as they approach the delivery boy, the screams down on the street get louder and Niall cracks his window open.
They chant his name, shouting their thanks into the sky and Niall pockets his phone, closing out of the app that he’d used to order the pizzas for them. Of course, he’d ordered one for himself and when the delivery guy knocks on his door a few minutes later, he hands Niall the pizza along with a couple notes scribbled on napkins in what looks like lipstick and possibly eyeliner.
“You’re really awesome, man.” The delivery boy has a grin the size of California on his face. “We don’t get many celebrities ordering pizzas for their fans at two in the morning.” He shook his head in wonder and took Niall’s payment for the pizzas before leaving.
So yeah, if he could bring joy to people in this way and with music and whichever other ways that he did, then he was okay with staying up in this tower of fame for a little bit longer.
.More like Goldilocks and the four bears; he always managed to eat their food and fall asleep in their beds.
Louis woke up when a pizza boy mistakenly knocked on his door. It was two in the morning and he couldn’t think of who in their right mind would be ordering a pizza at this time. Then he thought back to two weeks ago when he and Niall had been awake and ordered in a pizza at four in the morning.
That being said, he realized that it was probably Niall who ordered it, and the Irish lad was right across the hallway from Louis, so. Slipping his feet into some shoes, and pulling his phone off the charger, he crossed over to the other room.
Niall was sitting on the edge of his bed with the pizza box beside him, a movie playing on the TV.
“What’s up, Tommo?” He asked through a mouthful of cheese and pepperoni.
“Can I have a slice?” Louis dropped down onto the bed, glancing at the screen to see that it was the first Godfather movie. “Damn pizza guy was knocking on my door just a minute ago. What are all these?” Louis’ hand bumped into the carefully stack up napkin, covered in lipstick and something smudgy and black.
Niall grabbed them from him before he could ruin them. “They’re notes from the fans. I ordered some pizza for them and they gave ‘em to the pizza man.” He tucked the notes into a pocket of his suitcase and went back to collapse onto the bed with Lou – who ended up eating half of the pizza and then passing out over three-fourths of the bed.
A new city, a new venue. Louis dragged himself off the bus and straight into the stadium. They played that night and it was one of their highest intensity shows yet. He ran out of the stadium, buzzing with energy, jumping on Liam and pinching at his nipples until they were both falling onto the ground. Paul started fussing at them both to get up and get on the bus.
After wrestling around a bit more on the ground, Louis started complaining about the rocks jabbing into his spine. Li hauled him up to his feet and they stumbled onto Bus 1 with Zayn. At some point he ended up eating through half the bag of crisps that Harry’d been saving for a week, and when they stopped in a petrol station Harry came on the bus to get them.
“Louis,” he whined. “I’ve been saving those. Now I’ve only half a bag. Did you like them at least?”
“Dunno, they were a bit too salty for my taste.”
The youngest boy frowned. “Then it makes perfect sense that you kept eating them. You owe me.” He grabbed the remainder of the bag and walked off to rejoin Niall on Bus 2. Zayn and Liam laughed, teasing him about how he’d upset “the little one.”
Two days later, Zayn woke up to find a hungover Louis in his bed. It was somewhere past noon and the sun was burning in through the thin curtains this hotel had to cover the windows. Louis snuffled and pouted as Zayn tried to shove him off of the mattress because the boy takes up all the room; he starfishes on the bed like it’s his own. And then, once he was actually awake, all he did was complain about how Zayn’s bed felt like there was a rock digging into his back all night long.
“Okay, if you don’t like my bed, don’t sleep in it, Lou. If you don’t like Haz’s crisps, don’t eat ‘em.”
Louis jabbed Zayn’s chest. “This bed is too hard, Niall’s is too soft, I’ve yet to find one just right. Liam’s food’s always too healthy, Harry’s food is always too weird. What’s wrong with my bandmates?”
Zayn chuckled and dug his fingers into Louis’ hair. “Alright Goldilocks, are we bears not providing enough for you?”
The older of the two boys pouted and rolled over, burying his face in the soft pillow. “No. You aren’t. Now lemme sleep.”
.He just wanted to be somewhere else and maybe losing his head in the clouds was the way to go.
The plane took off and within minutes they were captured in the world above the clouds. Harry looked out the window, watching the world fly by beneath them. Liam and Zayn were giggling in front of him and Niall was asleep, Louis was staring out the window on the other side of the plane and Harry still wasn’t talking to him because of the crisp incident.
Their flight landed in New York and the city life bloomed busy all around them, making his head feel like it was spinning on his shoulders. Sometimes he loved the rush that came with being one-fifth of One Direction, but then there were times like this where he just wanted everything to go in slow motion and he wanted to be on a beach somewhere quiet with just the waves and the sand.
A new hotel called “The Beanstalk” had been opened a month before and that’s where his reservation had been made, while the other four boys got somewhere more normal. Of course, Harry’d been assigned the quirky new skyscraper hotel.
He was tired and just wanted to fall into bed and sleep until soundcheck the next day, so after he had his room key and was told that he had the penthouse, he shot into the elevator and rode it all the way to the top.
The bed felt like it was barely there and it took no time at all to lose himself to the dreams.
When he woke up, he thought he must still be dreaming. There could be no other explanation as to why it looked like his window was covered in a swath of cloud. Gray moisture covered the window, creeping against the edges like it wanted in. But it was a cloud and he wasn’t dreaming.
Harry rubbed at his eyes until he was seeing spots of color and then he crawled out of bed and made himself a coffee. He’d promised Niall that they’d go to Central Park that day and drag Preston along with them, but given the current weather situation, he wasn’t so sure about that anymore.
Following a phone call with his mum, he looked out his window to see that it was still covered in fog. He left his suite and found the stairwell that led up to the roof which he more likely than not was not meant to be on.
The fog stopped a few feet below the rooftop, and muffled the sounds of city life all around him. It was genuinely like he’d climbed onto the top of the world and it was so quiet. The pale morning sun beamed over at him and it was unnatural how high that fog stretched, tickling the tops of the skyscrapers and covering all of Manhattan. Harry dug his phone out of his pocket and snapped a quick few pictures of the clouds stretching out in front of him like snow-covered plains.
Just for a few brief moments it was like the rush that had sent him spinning dizzily the day before had evaporated and he could breathe and think and just live up there. He wished he could live above the clouds all the time in a plane, on top of a mountain or a skyscraper. The world seemed to pause while he was in the air like he could still move about and think but nothing else mattered.
Even that thing he’d been stressing over for the past few days just… gone. It didn’t matter and he felt small as he looked out to the horizon and watched the spot where the clouds faded back to the pattern of buildings and cars and other living people.
The giant yellow sun crept across the sky as the cloud cover shrunk away from the city, growing fainter until it had disappeared and the Big Apple was buzzing with life around him again.
“Hey, you aren’t supposed to be up here!” A gruff voice growled from behind him and he jumped around to face what sounded like a burly security guard. Instead he came face-to-face with Niall, the brightly grinning lad. “What’re you doing up here, Styles? I’m sure your room’s much nicer than this place. Let’s go you promised me Central Park. I’ve got Preston waiting for us down in the lobby. Strange place, this hotel.”
With a bemused smile Niall disappeared back into the stairwell.
Harry cast one last glance out over the city, a last breath of calm washing over him.
Maybe climbing up this beanstalk hadn’t been such a bad idea.
.Home will always be waiting for him no matter how long he’s away for.
They’d been gone for three months and Liam had almost forgotten what his own bed felt like. Somehow hotel beds could never be as comfortable as his own mattress back in London, even when they stayed in the high class places. He couldn’t remember the feel of his own carpet and tiles beneath his feet and the way that it felt to know that you didn’t have to make sure that the balcony door was locked on the off chance that a fan decided to scale the hotel and break in to his room.
After their last stop in New York City, they jetted off London, only there was a hold up and his flight was delayed a few hours. Liam was a grump about it because he knew he should’ve taken the private plane with Niall, Louis, and Harry, but he’d opted to stay behind with Zayn so they could catch a later flight back to London and spend a bit of time exploring the city.
Now they were both stuck in the airport waiting a few extra hours in a boring back room of the airport. Zayn was dozing on the sofa that had been provided and Liam had tucked himself against the wall and was playing around on his laptop just waiting for one of the airport security guards to come in and tell them that they could board the flight to London.
Three hours into their wait, Liam found himself dropping his head back against the wall and groaning, clenching his fist on his leg.
“Leeyum? You okay?” Zayn’s voice was filled with sleep, but he was sitting up slightly, blinking blearily over at the other boy.
Liam nodded. “Fine. I just wanna get home, you know. It’s been so long and I just wanna sleep in my own bed. Wanna breathe my own air.” He clenched his fist again, dropping it against his thigh.
“We’ll be there soon enough. C’mere.” He patted the sofa as he sat up, giving Liam room to fit on, and he did, tucking his head against Zayn’s shoulder and closing his eyes, huffing out a tight breath. “We’ll be back in London soon and you’ll be able to get back to your place and your sister will be there and she’ll have Loki and you can catch up with her and cuddle with Loki until you fall asleep. He’ll wake you up with dog kisses – which are disgusting, mate – and then we’ve got a month and a half off and you’ve no obligations for all that time.”
Liam nodded and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to relax enough to fall asleep. Zayn’s fingers slid into Liam’s hair, brushing through it soothingly until the slightly younger boy was dozing off, snoring quietly.
By the time he woke up, he was being tugged every which way and somehow corralled onto an airplane with Zayn’s hand warm on his shoulder. Blinking himself completely, awake, he realized that Zayn was helping him strap himself into the seat, and he shot bolt upright. “We’re on the plane!”
“Yeah, Li.” He laughed. “We’re going home.”
The second that he walked in the door of his home, there was the sound of a collar jingling and then Loki was attacking his feet, leaving slobber stains all over his jeans. Ruth was sitting on the sofa, laughing at Liam’s surprised expression.
He squatted down and scratched behind his dog’s ears. “Hey, Loki, I’m home.”
The dog and the boy both looked like they couldn’t have been happier.