“Are you even listening to me?” Louis asks in frustration, kicking Harry’s shin aggressively from under the grimy bar table.
Harry lets out a surprised yelp, his leg shooting away from Louis’ as he rubs it soothingly. “Lou, what the hell?” He demands, glaring at his blue eyed friend with a questioning look on his face.
Louis rolls his eyes at his overdramatic friend, replying smartly, “Maybe next time you should listen to your best mate when he’s trying to talk to ya, yeah?”
“Calm down,” Harry snorts, allowing his eyes to shift back over to the blonde boy that he’d been after for months. “I’m just scouting out the crowd.” He lies blatantly, shrugging at Louis’ unimpressed look.
“As if. You’ve been obsessed with Horan’s kid since the beginning of the season.” Louis retorts with a sly smirk, knowing exactly how his best friend’s mind worked.
Harry’s eyebrows furrow. He wasn’t that obvious, was he? “Don’t be a prick.” He warns, “I’m just looking around.”
Louis gives Harry a blasé look. “Alright then, how about you go pick up that bird, hm? She’s been staring after you almost as much as you’ve been staring at the kid.” Louis challenges, a snicker already sneaking it’s way into his voice.
Harry glances back behind him, making eye contact with a pretty, tanned girl with long, dark hair. She’s giving him the look. The look meaning: sultry, slanted eyes and a sinister smile curling around her dark red lips as she stared right back at Harry. She clearly knew who he was and must’ve heard about his most recent win for Chelsea, putting them through to the next round of playoffs.
He turns back to Louis with raised eyebrows, sighing when he sees his friend’s haughty look, chin held high as he grins right back at Harry. “Fuck you.” Harry spits, getting up from his seat nonetheless and sauntering over to the girl whose friends are now whispering to her excitedly as her back is turned.
Harry puts on his “million-dollar smile,” the one for the cameras and for the ladies. He taps the girl politely on the shoulder, and she turns, a bit too quickly in her heels, leaving her to stumble a bit. Whether it was predestined or not, Harry grabs her arm, steadying her and thus bringing her closer to himself, tilting his head charmingly and grinning. “Careful there,” He murmurs in a deep, soft voice.
She looks dumbfounded now that he’s in her presence. Before it was just a look, and Harry can see that most of her confidence has flooded down the drain now that he’s right in front of her. “Oh, uh t-thank you.” She stutters and honestly, Harry might’ve found it cute had he not been so infatuated with a certain blonde across the room.
His eyes drift towards said boy accordingly, almost out of instinct and his look darkens as he sees another boy speaking closely into the blonde’s ear. Harry’s face flushes in what might be jealousy, and he’s half ready to run over and stop the kid from going home with someone that isn’t right for him– someone that isn’t named Harry Styles. but one look at Louis’ smug grin stops him.
Harry can’t let his cocky best mate be right, even though he most definitely is, he just can’t know that.
He turns back to look at the girl, who’s looking off towards Niall as well with a redundant look on her face. “Who’s that?” She asks with a glint of interest in her voice. Harry shakes his head.
“Not sure, love. I think the more important question is who are you?” He asks smoothly and he knows by the absolute heart eyes she just gave him that he’s already got it in the bag. In fact, Harry’s sure that if he asked right now without any other words, she would go home with him. Internally, he sighs.
It’s never fun when they’re so easy.
Harry realizes after a pause in the conversation that he missed her name, but he can’t force himself to care. At this point, his interest is mostly gone and his eyes are jumping every few seconds over to the blonde that’s still on the dance floor with the brown haired douche that kinda looks familiar.
It takes barely 3 minutes for the blonde to get over the other boy’s flirting and Harry can see by the way his demeanor that he’s uncomfortable. The kid starts backing up, hands suddenly stuck to his side and away from the bigger guy and Harry would never stand and allow his boy to get harassed by some random creep, Louis be damned. He gives the girl an apologetic smile, gesturing “1 minute,” even though he’s positive he won’t be returning.
He gets close enough to hear his little blonde mutter something like, “Stop, Nick, stop,” before he gets in between them.
In a huff, he presses a hand against the other boy’s chest, eyes narrowed and glare strong. The other boy stops, looking at Harry with confused, somewhat disoriented eyes and the green-eyed boy can already tell that this guy is obliterated. Still, he stands firmly in front of the blonde, who gratefully cowers behind.
“I think he asked you to stop, mate.” Harry growls, and the guy, seemingly drunk but sober enough to know not to start a fight with Harry Styles, backs off pretty quickly.
With a soft sigh, Harry turns to the blonde, murmuring softly, “You okay, Ni?”
Niall tilts his head, smiling up at Harry cheekily. “I could’ve handled that myself.” He says in his own defense, but relents nevertheless, hugging Harry tightly around his waist, teasingly whispering, “Thank you, Hazzy.”
With that, Niall steps back, blinking up at Harry with his huge, beautiful blue eyes as he says, “Well, I think I’m going to go home. I’ll see you tomorrow, right?” Niall asks, biting his lip like he knows what it does to Harry.
In all honestly, he probably does. Harry doesn’t try to hide just how much he loves Niall. All of his teammates know, the coach definitely knows (and he hates it), and Niall, unfortunately, knows as well. And ever since day one, Niall made it extremely clear to Harry that he’d never make it easy on the taller boy. He may be small and innocent looking, but Niall Horan was a spitfire if Harry had ever seen one. Niall with his perfectly Irish accent, blazingly bright blonde hair, and sassy yet kind attitude, Harry never stood a chance.
“Do you want me to walk you home, or get you a cab? And of course you’ll see me. I can’t wait.” Harry blurts, unable to control himself at all around this kid. He knows his cheeks are red and he knows that his eyes are too bright, too excited and vulnerable but the way Niall holds on to his muscled bicep is worth it.
Niall’s hand doesn’t even begin to fit around the circumference of his arm, but he holds tight anyway, leaning up and kissing Harry’s cheek (much closer to his mouth, in Harry’s own opinion) sweetly before pulling away. “Already got a cabbie, Harry, but thank you, you’re the best.” He says solemnly, waving at Harry with his hand before rushing out the door and leaving Harry in a whirlwind by himself.
He can see Louis giving him a “I-knew-you-were-a-spineless-pussy-I-told-you-so,” look, but Harry’s too far off cloud nine to notice. He simply flips the blue-eyed brunette off and walks out the door, about ready to head home himself, all thoughts of the girl at the bar completely away from him.
* * * *
The thing is, Harry is good at what he does. He loves football and he loves playing for Chelsea with all of his friends but nothing will ever beat how good it feels after a harsh, terribly exhausting practice to be met with the gorgeous, positive sunshine ball that was Niall Horan. He came to nearly every practice along with his dad, who was head coach for Chelsea F.C.
He was just 18 and played football all his life before a horrific incident that involved a too-enthusiastic recreational team and a shattered kneecap when he was 16 years old. Instead of being bitter and angry towards the cards that life had dealt him, Niall was just… perfect. He’d encourage all of the players and helped with practice as much as he could, and Harry just couldn’t get over it.
Niall sits next to him as he heaves heavily on the shady bench on the side of the field. Subtly, the blonde hands him a water bottle and a towel, smiling at Harry as the brunette wipes his face thankfully.
“Hard day?” Niall asks amiably and Harry nods in response, chuckling a bit while he’s still breathing heavily.
“I can’t believe we’re almost in the play offs. Just two weeks.” The Irish boy sighs dreamily, like he was going to be playing in it himself. “So cool.” He continues, smiling to himself and Harry can’t help but stare.
They’re quiet for a minute, and it’s nice, loud whistles and blunt punting noises as well as grunts from the acting goalies. Harry’s stuck in a trance, just staring at (his) blonde beauty. He doesn’t even think before he inquires, “Do you want to come over later tonight? I could make you dinner. We could just watch movies. Anything you want.” Harry offers, ready to do anything Niall wants as long as they’re together.
Niall smiles at him and for a moment, Harry thinks that he might finally get an acceptance from the blonde. But, his hopes are dashed as Niall shakes his head. “I’m busy tonight, sorry Harry.” He shrugs, getting off from the bench.
“We can go any night? Tomorrow? Day after?” Harry calls loudly, but Niall just waves a hand behind him, jogging over to where Louis and some other guys are warming up.
Harry’s eyes drift as Niall walks, down his skinny shoulders and down the spine of his back and down….
the brunette jumps violently as he feels a harsh swat to his head. “Eyes on the prize, Styles, leave my kid out of it!” Coach Horan, a nice, older, but stern man with the same blue eyes as his son.
Harry smirks, playfully smirking at the coach, “I thought your son was the prize.” He winks yelping and rushing off the bench as the coach slaps him across the head again.
He winks over at Niall as he hears the blonde cackling from down the field, sighing as he begins to do more drills, wondering how in the hell he’s ever going to get Niall to be his.
* * * *
It’s the day.
Play-off days are always tense but for some reason, this day seemed even more than usual. They’re playing Manchester United, one of their biggest rivals as well as one of the best football clubs in their country. It was going to be a tough game to say the least.
The players are in the locker room now. There’s an agreeable silence among them, and everyone seems to be readying themselves for the game ahead of them. Coach Horan’s inspirational-movie-like speech had just finished and the game was to be starting in just a few minutes. Harry had yet to see Niall, something that was causing him extra anxiety because, somewhere deep down he knew Niall was his personal good-luck charm.
They get the call to leave the tunnel within minutes and Harry sighs, rubbing a hand along his face and standing up. But, as the rest of the team files out, Harry gets pulled back. He’s ready to fight someone, fists raised and mouth open, but he’s shushed by a familiar accent as he gets pushed down onto one of the more secluded benches.
“Niall?” Harry whispers in confusion, glancing up at the blonde boy, who looks a bit urgent in his meaning of talking to the brunette.
“Harry.” Niall answers calmly, sitting himself in the brunette’s lap, instantly making Harry alert and coherent. Harry’s hands instantly go to Niall’s hips, holding him close even despite his confusion. “I have to tell you something very important, okay? I need you to listen.” He says, so softly that Harry definitely wouldn’t be able to hear him had the blonde not been whispering directly in his ear. Soft, pink lips are brushing against Harry’s ear as the taller boy nods eagerly, Niall chuckles sultrily, “I just want you to know, that this game means a lot to me…” The Irish boy breathes, digging his nose into Harry’s neck, making the brunette shiver, wondering if this was actually even happening. “And if you win this… for me… I would do anything for you.” He says, nipping at Harry’s neck playfully before pulling back, small smile clear on his face.
“Understood?” He clarifies, sitting up rubbing his hands across Harry’s broad shoulders and down his muscled arms. Harry can do nothing but nod, mouth slightly open and Niall kisses the corner of his mouth slowly, pulling back and winking before walking out of the locker room, swaying his hips teasingly as he does so.
He can’t even be mad that he gets in trouble with the coach for being late.
* * * *
It’s down to the final moments of double overtime with the score tied 1-1. The team is huddled up, listening to coach Horan give orders to all of the defense members to be on their best game and enthusing the rest of them just before timeout ends. They break and Harry shakes his head, pulling his longer hair and re-doing the bun so that it’s more out of his face. They still have a few seconds left and he can’t help but notice Niall walking closer to him.
Harry grabs his shoulders as soon as he’s close enough, shaking them slightly, “Anything?” He explicates.
Niall grins, nodding. “Anything.” He returns.
Harry’s eyes narrow in determination as the siren blares, alerting them that their minute is up.
He’s got a game to win.
* * * *
It’s 15 seconds left when he gets the ball.
He’s halfway down the field, running harder than he’s ever done before. The defenders for Manchester look tired, they look worn, but they aren’t going to let him by easy. It’s 10 seconds and he feels like he can hear Niall screaming from the bench.
It’s five seconds when he gets to the right wing of the opponents field and he can feel the opposing players around him, trying to get the ball.
It’s three seconds when he kicks the ball with all his might with little sense of direction.
Two seconds, it’s in the air.
One second, it’s slipping past the goalie’s gloved hands and for a second he thinks he’s deaf because he can’t even hear himself as he yells out in victory as the siren blares.
He’s got eyes for no one but Niall, he doesn’t stop for his teammates who are huddled on the ground or coach Horan who’s throwing his clip board in excitement. Nope.
He’s only got eyes for the coach’s son, blue eyes bight and excited as Harry runs straight towards him, barely slowing down before they embrace as Harry shouts, “That was for you!”
* * * *
Niall holds up his end of the deal.
It’s two days later when Niall comes over to Harry’s house.
The aura is romantic and Harry’s casually dressed but the food smells gourmet and Niall is beginning to think that maybe Harry really is just that perfect. With his stupidly slow Cheshire accent, perfectly curly hair pulled up into a messy bun, and sweet and protective and perfect, Niall never really stood a chance.
“This is amazing. Why haven’t I agreed sooner?” Niall asks in a moan as he takes the first bite of whatever Harry’s prepared for them. The atmosphere isn’t that new to them. The flirting and touching was always a part of their relationship, but the nerves of the first real date were there and Harry was buzzing.
“Hey, I told you I was a good cook.” Harry says with a sly smirk on his face.
Niall rolls his eyes, remarking “Someone’s cocky.”
Harry simply shrugs, and the two continue on the night in comfortable conversation about footie and Louis and the coach as well as other stupid puns and jokes that both boys seemed to enjoy.
Before they can begin cleaning up from dinner, Harry makes a move.
He closes Niall in around the kitchen counter as the blonde is attempting to put away his dishes. “Harry…” He giggles in faux-frustration.
“Niall,” Harry repeats childishly, grinding against the blonde ever so slightly, making the shorter boy pause his giggling.
He turns in Harry’s arms quickly. “I thought you would never take me up on that whole anything, thing.” He says, and instantly Harry’s lips are crashing to his own.
It’s heated for a moment, something they had both wanted but held away from for so long. Harry’s grip on Niall is tight and unyielding and Niall knows that he’ll have some lovely battle scars from this night if it goes the way he hopes.
“The anything thing was this date, this is just a bonus.” Harry murmurs appreciatively and Niall begins to suck on his jaw lovingly, hands tight around his shirt and neck, the shorter boy lifting up onto his tip toes just to get a good grip.
They end up on Harry’s bed, Niall in the bigger boy’s lap, hands grabbing at his shirt and kissing him feverishly like it was their last chance. Harry’s hands are blatantly groping Niall’s arse, making the blonde whimper into his mouth and pull the brunette hair out of it’s bun, allowing it to fall down. Harry opens his eyes questioningly but Niall just shrugs. “I like having something to hold on to.” He explains, not wasting any time driving forward and kissing Harry hard once more. Now he’s tugging harshly on Harry’s curls and damn, Harry didn’t know he was into that.
Ten minutes later and they’re dry humping on his couch. Harry pulls away, patting heavily, trying to regain his stature as he breathes, “This– shit, this isn’t why I brought you here, Ni.”
Niall pulls away, breathing just as heavily as he nods. “I know that, but it feels good, yeah?” He mutters, leaning back in to kiss Harry.
Harry nods, but pulls away, not sure if he truly understood what Niall was saying. “But Niall…” He protests, trying to push the blonde away.
“Harry, I’m not… ’m not looking for anything temporary. I don’t think you are either. I want this. A relationship. You.” Niall says seriously, looking Harry straight in the eyes. “And right now…” He murmurs, looking down a bit shyly, “I want this.” He smiles softly, just like Harry knows and loves.
So Harry kisses him. It’s sweet and soft and maybe the most memorable of them all.
They continue on like that for a bit before Niall starts giggling completely out of the blue. Harry gives him a confused look that just makes Niall laugh even harder.
“Sorry, sorry, it’s just…. what’s me pa gonna say about this?” He asks and they both dissolve into fits of laughter. Yeah, this was going to work out just fine.
Aw yay I liked this one :) Thanks so much to the prompt-er and everyone reading! Also I’m sorry I know nothing about footie or sports at all sorry :\
PILLOW TALK IS EVERYTHING ALL I WANT TO DO IS WRITE ZIALL IM DED
The smell of unnecessary tiki torches and sweet pineapple-flavored liquor hangs heavy in the air as the sun falls out of the sky in a fireball colored the deepest orange he’s ever seen; he’s not sure whose idea it was to have a Hawaiian-themed birthday party in February, if it was Gemma’s sly planning skills from home or if Nick and Jeff did it all up themselves, but it’s California and — well, he likes it, appreciates the purity of the thought behind it and reckons he wouldn’t have done near as well if given the opportunity.
And it isn’t very… large, either. There’s people here that he knows, people here that he doesn’t know; cakes were brought from the house earlier, store bought and homemade, and now with tummies full of an endless buffet of sweets and Nick’s amateur barbecuing skills, something he’s been silently nursing, they’re all cracking into the supply of liquor that’s been sitting on ice all day and watching the sunset with his favorite records coming from the speakers.
He likes the pineapple liquor, odd as it is; it’s sweet, has a tang, one that settles on the back of his tongue, and is cold on the way down.
Niall’s got good taste, he thinks. And speaking of Niall —
Harry looks away from the orange-colored sunset, turns his head and sees that Niall’s approaching him with two sweating bottles of Heineken in both of his hands; he’s wearing shorts, khakis, and a plain black shirt, and his brown hair — his true color, the shade that Harry adores — makes him look older, darker, sexier.
Harry wonders what sort of delicious surprises Niall’s got planned for the both of them later on tonight when they’re able to sneak away from the party, half-hard and all the way shitfaced as they palm at one another’s groins and beg for an inconspicuous ride back to Harry’s place.
There’s a seat beside Harry, a light blue lawn chair that matches Harry’s green, but Niall prefers Harry’s knee and he sits, leans back against Harry’s chest; Harry wraps one arm around Niall’s waist and pulls him closer, keeps him closer, and uses the other to grab one of the beers from Niall’s hand, sitting it to the side. He’ll start on it once he’s finished with his pineapple liquor.
Niall’s weight is comfortable, relaxing; it’s been a rough few months for him, for all of them, and birthdays have passed and time has went on and he’s twenty-three now, as of today, and it doesn’t really feel like it. If he closes his eyes, slows his breathing — yeah, he thinks he can probably remember every single detail from the first birthday he shared with the boys.
Not a lot has changed, really, but everything has at the same time. It’s scary… but also exciting, too. It’s a new era for him, for all of them — it’s only just starting.
“What’re you thinking about, ‘arry?”
Harry smiles, puts his forehead against Niall’s neck and laughs into Niall’s shoulder, rubs the noise through the fabric and into Niall’s skin and hopes Niall can feel the love that’s swelling in his chest.
Niall hums, takes a sip of his beer; his tummy is soft and hard all at once and Harry loves having Niall in his arms, loves having Niall against him because if they’re careful their hearts will synchronize. And there’s not many things better than hearing your heart beat echoed by the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with, if the simple ring he’s got on his finger that matches the one Niall’s wearing around his neck is any indication.
"You havin’ fun, H?” Niall asks, deep and a bit slurred, and Harry nods, turns his face and presses his cheek into Niall’s shoulder and kisses absently at the firmness on the corner of his lips, nuzzles the soft fabric and inhales the smell.
Niall smells like Harry; it makes him proud.
He shuts his eyes, blinks, opens them; Louis is attempting to control Freddie as the little lad drops to the ground and begins to speedily crawl away, babbling adorably all the while, and Liam is guffawing loudly as Louis has to chase his son and Harry kind of thinks that Liam’s a lot more excited to be a father than he shows to them, to the world, and Nick’s not burned the place down and Jeff’s playing some great tunes and Glenne is wearing the shirt she bought to match the one Harry has on and there’s so much laughter, so much happiness, and Harry thinks this is the best way to spend a birthday.
“Yeah, baby,” he says, moves to press a lingering kiss against Niall’s neck; he settles, Niall does, and Harry wraps two arms around him so they’re touching from head to toe and heart to soul. “I’m having the time of my life.”