Little Lirry Halloween ficlet for @umthatsliam, who asked for something starting with “It’s sticky!”. Honestly it’s more Lilo than Lirry, but I hope you’ll still like it! <3
“It’s sticky!” Liam said, wrenching his hand away from the bowl and squinting at his fingers suspiciously in the red light. He couldn’t figure out what was coating his hand, and wasn’t sure he wanted to, really. With Louis at the helm, anything was possible.
“Are you chickening out?” Louis said, reaching into his pocket with a worrying glint in his eye.
“I didn’t say that!”
Liam screwed his eyes shut and shoved his hand into the next bowl, praying for it not to be maggots. Surely Louis wouldn’t play the same dirty tricks two years in a row, right?
His fingertips brushed against something soft, something that quickly stuck to his still sticky fingers. He took his hand out, and found it covered with…
“…feathers?” he asked out loud, looking at Louis with raised eyebrows.
“I just wanted to try the old tar-and-feather thing,” Louis said, grinning. “Here,” he added, throwing a box of wet wipes at Liam; “Clean your hand up before the next one.”
Liam got the feathers (they felt real. Had Louis gone as far as plucking a chicken?!) and whatever else was on his fingers out as best he could before walking to the next bowl, slowly pushing his hand through the hole at the top of it. So far the worst he’d had to deal with had been a bowl filled with melted cheese (his hand was probably going to smell like cheddar for the next two weeks, but at least he’d managed not to squeal at the first touch of the warm, slightly velvety mess). Maybe people had been exaggerating about last year’s party. Or maybe Louis had mellowed out-
“What the fuck?!” Liam shouted, nearly tipping the bowl over as he wrenched his hand away, taking a step back with fright.
Louis looked positively delighted, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “What?” he asked, trying to look angelic and failing to conceal the devil within. “The mice from the science lab deserve to have some fun too!”
Liam clutched his hand to his chest, rubbing it as if to get rid of the memory of those swirling tails and cold inquisitive snouts. “Louis, the point of this game is that things should FEEL gross or scary! It’s not about you sticking actual mice and maggots in boxes!!”
A few people turned to look at them, but turned back as soon as they saw Louis, laughing.
“Pft, where’s the fun in passing cooked spaghetti as brains?” Louis huffed, rolling his eyes. “So? Calling it quits?”
Still rubbing his hand, Liam eyed the last bowl warily. He reached out, but stopped himself at the look of hope on Louis’s face. “It’s going to be maggots, isn’t it?” he said, glancing around for some confirmation from nearby partygoers. He managed to catch Niall’s eye and nodded towards the bowl, widening his eyes in a silent, but slightly desperate, question.
“No spoilers!” Louis shouted, glaring at Niall until Niall shrugged apologetically at Liam and turned away, having been of no help at all.
Liam took a deep breath, but his hand didn’t seem to want to move.
“So?” Louis asked, voice clipped.
“I really hate maggots,” Liam said, not quite able to hide the panic from his voice.
“Can’t blame you there. Hate those creepers,” Louis said with a smug smile, reaching into his pocket and taking Liam’s phone out.
“You don’t have the password,” Liam said, trying to ignore the way his heart started beating faster. Why had he been stupid enough to let Louis fix the terms of their bet?
Louis only rewarded Liam with a snort, swiping his index finger over the screen of Liam’s phone and, judging from the brighter patch of light suddenly shining up on Louis’s face, unlocking it on the first try.
“So, where is - ah! There he is.”
In the red light of the room, Louis looked like some kind of playful demon, grinning down at Liam’s phone, typing away in what Liam could only assume was his texting app.
“Louis,” he said, more urgently, taking a step closer.
Louis took a step back without looking up, raising one hand in front of him to keep Liam at bay. “Liam, you’ve been eyeing him since the start of the semester!” he said, loud like he wanted other people to hear him. “You’re being ridiculous, and clearly need me to save you from yourself!” He finished typing with a flourish, finally looking up at Liam with eyes shiny with mirth.
“Louis, come on-”
“Wait! He’s typing a reply!” Louis crowed, dancing away from Liam’s grabby hands with a gleeful cackle.
Liam felt his blood turn cold. “Tell me you didn’t really send it. Louis! I swear I’m gonna kill you!!”
“Waiiiit……” Louis said, twisting away from Liam’s grasp, phone held high in the air, tipped down towards his face, before freezing, blinking up at the phone with a bewildered smile.
Liam seized the opportunity to snatch his cellphone away, turning it over with suddenly sweaty hands.
Louis had sent a message. In the middle of the screen, right after Liam’s last request to borrow Harry’s notes a week before, the words I think you’re well fit, fancy a drink? stood out in black and white, the little “Read” tick like a knife in Liam’s gut.
“Louis….” he said, voice faint. He couldn’t believe Louis had really done it. Sure, maybe a tiny part of him had been hoping to lose when he’d bet with Louis he’d stick his hand in all the bowls without chickening out, but he hadn’t really expected Louis to do it!
“Read the reply,” Louis said, voice soft in the surrounding din.
Liam gulped down and looked at Harry’s own message.
Finally, Harry had written. I thought you’d never ask.
Liam blinked, once, twice, but the words were still there in their bright green bubble.
I thought you’d never ask.
“I… should I send a date back?” Liam asked out loud, wondering if Louis would bother to help now that he’d gotten his way.
“How about right now?” a slow husky voice said right into Liam’s ear, startling him so badly he sent his phone flying straight into the maggot bowl.
“I’m not getting that out for you!” Louis said without missing a beat, raising his hands in a gesture of willful helplessness.
Harry walked to the table and pushed his hand through the bowl’s opening without hesitation. His eyebrows scrunched up as he fumbled around, and when he triumphantly got his hand out, Liam’s phone clutched in his long fingers, there wasn’t a maggot to be seen.
“Is that… glitter?” Liam said, staring in horror at his sparkling phone. He was probably good to buy a new one, and he had no money for that kind of purchase. Not that it mattered much right then. The fact that Harry had agreed to have a drink, appeared out of thin air (wearing, Liam now realized, something that looked a bit like a pimp costume, but with a lot more skin on display than seemed perfectly necessary), and braved maggots to retrieve Liam’s phone was extraordinary enough. The fact that Louis had refrained from using the grossest thing he could think of for his Halloween game was possibly even more surprising.
Louis lying to him to trick him, though, that was completely on course for the par.
Still, it was really hard to feel angry right then, for some reason.
“So have you always had that fireman suit or did you get it for the party?” Harry asked with a wide smile, handing his now glittering phone back to Liam with his clean hand, eyes sliding down Liam’s chest and back up to his face in a very pointed way.
Liam was completely, irremediably screwed.
He’d really have to have strong words with Louis later on.
At least so that he could properly thank him.