Superheroes. America is full of them — complete with masks, nauseating pseudonyms, and neon spandex suits. There’s none of that nonsense in Britain, thank you very much…until Harry Styles’ X Factor audition takes an unexpected turn, and Britain’s first hero is born.
Also featuring Louis as a man of many masks, Zayn the rebel comic artist, Liam as Britain’s counter-attack to Justin Bieber, and Niall the trusty guitarist.
Harry and Louis by @teasdays, coffee and TIME Magazine by @jimmytfallon. Thank you both so much for your artwork and design help!!
Liam looks up and turns around to face Zayn who’s sat the kitchen table looking
at his phone.
“She only learned what extra was when Safaa told her what it meant when everyone kept saying that on your pictures.”
“When did anyone ever say I was extra in my pictures?” Zayn practically squeaks as he speaks.
“Maybe the time you had your baps out and squeezed ‘em together to make it look like you had pecs.”
As quick as a flash Zayn picks up an apple from the fruit bowl and throws it at Liam who only just manages to duck in time.
“I’ve got proper good pecs, as you well know,” he pauses for a moment before he carries on, “And anyway Payno, I’m not the one who spent half an hour before he sent that pic to Adam wondering which angle looked best.”
“The angle without you flicking V’s to distract me and coming up behind me blowing on my neck is the answer there Zed.”
Zayn nods, and stands up, crossing the short distance to Liam, who opens his feet a bit further outwards, altering his stance a little bit to let Zayn into the space, to let him crowd into him a little bit.
“Still don’t see why you had to lock me out of the room though,” he pouts and then reaches his hand up to the beanie, pulling it off to reveal the hair that’s shorter now, ready for the heat and sunshine of LA, ready for the next chapter of their story.
He smoothes his palm and then his fingertips of his other hand over Liam’s head, the hair that’s still there, and Liam’s eyes shut, and he leans into the touch, and Zayn can’t help the way his own heart lifts at it, the way they’re so comfortable, the way Liam’s always been like this.
It doesn’t stop him teasing of course.
“Is this Liam Payne with his mask off then, rough, tough, spitting rhymes Liam Payne who takes no prisoners?”
Liam holds up a finger, the middle one, but he doesn’t shift away from Zayn’s touch, then his lips curve upwards at the corners and he’s smirking, and uh-oh.
“Listen, in some shit magazine Nic was reading when I was at theirs last week, there was an article about ‘
get you a man who does both’ and well, voila.”
Liam splays his hands out and then
gestures up and down his own body ending with a finger on his lips in mock innocence.
Zayn shakes his head, and
gently swipes at Liam’s.
“They probably meant cooking and cleaning, babe.”
He turns away then, but a hand pulls him back, and there’s a voice in his ear.
“Oh no, they definitely didn’t mean that.”
The breath that was warm on his ear, is then warm on his neck as its peppered with kisses and Zayn’s like Liam just before, like a content kitten or puppy except kittens or puppies probably don’t have the type of thoughts or reactions body wise like Zayn has now.
And he’s about to shift so that he can kiss Liam himself when without warning the touch is
gone and Liam’s away from him and the other side of the kitchen.
Zayn lets out a frustrated groan.
“What the fuck Li?” He’s not even bothered that he’s practically whining.
“Yeah, that first article I read definitely didn’t say cooking and cleaning, but then I read mum’s magazines and well, let’s just say washing up was number 1.”
Liam turns round and starts to laugh as soon as he sees Zayn’s face.
“You see babe, that expression, that’s the one I can never quite master.”
“That’s cause it’s the, I’m so done with Liam Payne but fuck it, I’m in love with the little shit and tease, so I’m stuck with him expression, many have attempted it, few, well me and Paddy basically are the only ones who’ve mastered it.”
Zayn can tell Liam’s smiling even as he turns away and places a dish in the rack to dry.
“Hard life you, now come over here and help me wash up, and who knows I may even let you wash and I’ll dry.”
“Whatever happened to the
get you a man who does both.” complains Zayn though he still walks over to where he stands next to Liam, picking
up the tea towel and a plate an half-heartedly drying it.
They could bicker like this all day, but instead Liam flicks a soap sud in Zayn’s direction and dissolves into
giggles interspersed with hiccups as he’s almost bent over double now with amusement and barely manages to
get out the words.
“The fairy liquid goes so well with your green hair though babe.” And then he’s off again laughing.
This is Liam with his mask off.
And Zayn wouldn’t have it any other way, as he leans forward, mutters. “You asked for it” then grabs the sponge, dunks it into the washing up bowl and squeezes it over Liam’s head.
The clock struck 1:38am. It wasn’t the first time, the McCall packs’ youngest beta was still lying awake in fear. It had only been a few weeks since the pack had defeated the Berserkers and even though Liam knew this, he couldn’t let himself fall asleep. The thought of them coming after him scared him to a point where he would accidentally end up wetting his bed. It had been the second night this week where Liam had accidentally fallen asleep and woken up to wet sheets. He quickly scrambled out of bed as quietly as he could to change out of his wet pajama bottoms and change the bed sheet…again. He quietly tiptoed downstairs and put the bed sheet and his wet pajama bottoms in the washing machine making sure not to wake his mom and step-dad.
The next morning, Liam woke up and got ready for school. He sat at the breakfast table where his mom later joined him before she head off to the diner for her shift.
“Liam, do you want to tell me why your bed sheet and pajama bottoms are in the wash…again?” She asked him putting in her earring looking down at her son who swirled his spoon around his cereal bowl chasing the flakes.
“I accidentally spilt my drink”. He told her hoping the lie was enough to throw her off.
“Oh for goodness sake, Liam. That’s the second time this week. How many times have I said not to take any drinks upstairs?!.” She nagged at him in annoyance. He simply nodded. Suddenly, the sound of a car beep was blaring for him as he silently thanked Stiles.
“I gotta go.” He simply told her putting his bowl in the sink and grabbing his backpack and headed out the door to meet the older brown haired boy in his jeep.
School wasn’t any better for Liam that day. He was exhausted. Second period was his English class and he tried so hard to keep is eyes open and focus on what the teacher was writing on the board. Liam held his head up with the palm of his hand and felt his eyes drooping. He closed them for a second but was startled when he heard the bell ring almost jumping out of his seat. He picked up his backpack ready to leave but was held back by the teacher.
“A word, Liam”, Miss Elliot called to him. Liam approached her desk and immediately knew what she was going to address.
“Liam, that’s the second time you’ve fallen asleep in my class. Is everything ok at home?”. She began to ask him. Liam looked down and nodded. Miss Elliott was about to ask him a series of questions but the second bell rang and the older students for the next class began to flood in.
“We’ll talk about this next time”, she dismissed him. Next was Liam’s free period. He breathed a sigh of relief. At least now no one could hold him back and ask him a series of questions he didn’t want to answer. He made his way to the library seeking a beanbag chair hidden that was between the shelves so he could hide away. Score. He thought to himself. He sat down and put his backpack beside him and picked up a random book from the shelf opening it up to a random chapter so it would look like he was busy. He sat down staring at the pages trying to keep himself awake. The last thing he wanted was to have an accident at school. Mason going his best friend hidden between the shelves and sat beside him.
“Hey man”, he greeted him cheerfully clapping him on the shoulder accidentally startling him. Liam groaned.
“Woah, you look terrible man. Did you get any sleep?”, he asked him. Liam shrugged and sighed.
“You know, if the berserker thing is still getting to you, maybe you should go see Y/N at the Hale loft? She could help you.” He told him. Liam sighed and nodded.
“I will after school”, the sleepy young boy told him.
Y/N was Derek’s mate and the pack mother to the members of the pack, especially to Liam. His own mother didn’t put an effort in to take care of him let alone listen to him. He decided that visiting Y/N after school would be the best idea. She was everything he could ever want in a mother. Not only was she smart, beautiful, fearless and brave but she was also loving, caring and did everything she could to make sure Liam felt safe and loved. He would always go to her whenever he had a problem and this was most definitely a problem except he hadn’t told her. He had to admit he was a little embarrassed. He was 15 years old and still having accidents but after everything else she had done for him, he trusted her knowing she wouldn’t laugh at him and be there to help him.
The school day couldn’t have ended quicker. During his other free period later on in the day, the pack members had informed him that they would be going over to the loft after school as Derek had texted the boys about an emergency pack meeting plus with it being Friday, the older Alpha had agreed to let the teenagers stay at the loft for the weekend which would mostly be filled with pizza and movie nights.
Liam met Stiles at the front of the school as they walked over to the parking lot to his jeep together. Stiles allowed Liam to grab his weekend bag before heading down to the loft to meet everyone else.
“Liam, you doing ok?”, Stiles asked as he glanced to the younger boy beside him who was falling asleep in his seat.
“’m fine”, he sleepily grumbled.
“You’re falling asleep”. Stiles pointed out. Hearing that made Liam jolt awake and he blinked up widely trying to keep himself awake until they got to the loft. Thankfully the roads were clear and their journey only took 15 minutes. Stiles had finished parking up and headed to the trunk to grab his weekend bag that he always kept with him. Liam jumped out carrying his and headed in to the loft. He was greeted with the warmth from the loft and he smiled when he saw Y/N approaching him with her arms wide open.
“Hi baby”. She cooed and wrapped her arms around him pressing a kiss to his forehead. She looked down at his face and her smiled soon faded and concern masked her expression.
“Liam, sweetie. Are you ok, you look tired? Have you been sleeping?”, she asked him. Liam wanted to tell her but not with everyone around so instead he faked a smile and nodded. He nuzzled his head against her chest and breathed a sigh of relief.
“How’re you doing, pup?” Derek asked as he approached him and ruffled the young beta’s hair affectionately.
“Come on, the pack meeting is about to start”. Derek added as he headed into the living area where Scott and the others were. Y/N followed behind with Liam. She sat down on the couch and pulled the young boy onto her lap pressing a kiss to his forehead. She knew Liam was lying to her and couldn’t help but be concerned but she also knew that he would tell her when he felt it was right so she put her trust into the young beta and waited keeping an eye on him in the meantime.
Liam was wrapped up in Y/N’s arms, his head against her shoulder as he could faintly make out her heartbeat. She began to rock him gently slowly lulling him to sleep but he whined trying his best to stay away.
“Ok ok, sssshh” the pack mother cooed at her youngest wolf pup gently patting his tummy to calm him down.
“ ‘ave to stay awake…”, Liam told her groggily so desperately wanting to close his eyes and get some rest but fought the urge to do so and have an accident in front of his pack members as if they didn’t tease him enough. She smiled and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
The meeting didn’t last long. Derek and Scott addressed all aspects of their supernatural status within the town but once it was over everyone breathed a sigh of relief and began to settle down to enjoy their weekend. Y/N placed Liam back on the couch and headed to the kitchen followed by Lydia and Malia who helped prepare bowls of snacks including popcorn, a variety of candy treats and several flavours of chips whilst the boys helped Derek put on the surround sound as they settled down to watch a movie together. After the surround sound was set up, Derek took everyone’s orders for dinner and called to have pizza delivered along with fries, onion rings, boneless chicken wings and garlic bread at Scott’s request.
“We’ll pitch in with the bill, don’t worry”, Lydia told him taking $50 out from her purse and handing the cash to Derek who took it appreciatively.
Once the food arrived, everyone changed into their pajamas and settled down to watch the latest hobbit movie that everyone had been putting off for a while. Liam remained in Y/N’s lap after dinner. She smiled at young boy in her arms and pressed a kiss to his forehead as she idly ran her fingers through his hair.
“Mma stop”, Liam whined tiredly as her loving gesture was slowly putting him to sleep.
“Sssh, just sleep sweetheart. Momma will put you to bed, it’s ok baby”, she cooed and began to rock the young boy in her arms. Liam could no longer fight as his eyes began to droop and he felt sleep overcome him.
Later that night, the pack was still lounging around up until 1am but Y/N looked down at the youngest pup in her arms and had Derek carry him upstairs so she could tuck in her tired pup.
“Come on, pup”. Derek spoke softly as he carried Liam upstairs to the spare bedroom opposite theirs which might as well have been Liam’s room since he stayed there quite often. Y/N pulled back the covers and Derek placed him into bed. Y/N ran her fingers though his hair and pressed a loving kiss to his forehead.
“Goodnight, my baby.” She spoke lovingly and left him to sleep.
Heroes never wear masks unless they’re unregistered vigilantes trying to keep their identity a secret. A lot of vigilantes don’t bother with them, but the image of someone wearing a strip of cloth with eyeholes cut out as a mask is a visual shorthand for vigilante that the Bureau especially uses very commonly. Vigilantes also tend to use pseudonyms more often than registered League heroes, who might only pick up nicknames if they get popular. Lots of people know about the Giantkiller, Dragonslayer, and Pied Piper. Fewer people know Jack, George, and Liam. They never bothered with masks anyway. They don’t cover the important details, such as the fact that there are no other tiny spear-bearing blondes, scrappy barefoot redheads, and desert-born mages in the mountains for them to blend back into. A mask is something you can take on and off, but none of them could really stop being what they were.
The Dragonslayer is especially wanted as a dangerous vigilante because, according to the Bureau, dragons are extinct. The Dragonslayer is a dishonest menace, preying on the superstitions of credulous rural folk. There’s a special division, one of the quiet ones, officially a beast-slaying League focused on things like wyrms and wyverns and hydras, who goes out to investigate reports of dragon sightings, but they’re so rare that the Bureau has ruled their official cover story the best way to avoid any potential mass panic and possibility of pre-emptive sacrifices. Besides, if it does come to it that they need to appease a dragon with a sacrifice, well, it’s better to quietly sacrifice one to save many, and they still want to avoid that mass panic.
The Rangers were never expected to get as popular as they were, but now that they’re a celebrity League, they occasionally have to push back on the Bureau’s desire to keep pulling them down from the mountains for publicity tours. They’re busy. They’re really busy. There’s just so much going on, maybe next month. Have they mentioned how busy they are? They don’t want replacements coming up too often who might not take kindly to stumbling into their unregistered friends. The Bureau is baffled as to how a League up in the sticks meant to do pest control and maybe help patch up some holes in roofs got so popular, but not enough that they won’t take advantage of it. The best way to fluster Sarge is to bring up how much merchandise he has.
The Graves are definitely not supervillains, by inclination or definition. They’re none of them supers at all. The Seeress doesn’t count, her powers are Elsewhere based. She can see other supers’ powers though, draped over them like a cloak, held like a sword, or weighing them down like an anchor. They are perfectly normal entrepreneurs in the energy business. Mayor Graves is keeping the people of his provided for, with warmth and light. He’s keeping them safe from the dangerous, Bureau-condemned vigilantes that prowl the mountains. Re-elect Graves, and keep the future bright.
up on the hood of Stiles’ jeep, holding my knees together up to my chest as
Scott sat beside me, staring off at the full moon high above the night sky
while the music softly played in the background. My lips curved slightly as I
heard Stiles continue to work through his paperwork of the plan at my side.
Taking in a deep breath, I turned to look at him and tried to ignore the echoes
of thunder headed our way.
so I found some cool two bedrooms in the Mission district, but they’re pretty
expensive. A couple in Heighten Asberry, also expensive—”
about Berkley?” Scott asked. “Don’t a lot of students live around there?”
yeah! We could try Nob Hill, but the jeep would probably burn through a lot of
clutches,” Stiles muttered.
bringing the jeep?” Scott asked.
course, he is, Roscoe comes with Stiles. It’s a package deal,” I chuckled as I
shook my head toward Scott.
know the plan, okay? No one—no one gets left behind. That’s the plan,” Stiles
emphasized as he looked to the both of us. “Adelyn’s wanting to go to UCLA,” he
glared slightly toward me, “Lydia won’t have a problem getting into Stanford, Kira’s
thinking USF, Malia’s, uh, gonna—” He hesitated before continuing, “She’ll
figure something out, okay? The plan is perfect.”
we could wait until we actually get into college and then figure out where to
live,” Scott suggested with a half-smile.