Actions

Work Header

With this Ring

Chapter Text

Times are a’changin, or so idealistic college senior Liam believes. While he has the looks, body and demeanor that could make many a Sub fall at his feet, Liam is all for free love, equality and the belief that Subs can and should make their own choices. The only difference he sees between the two identities is that Subs have an innate need for order and routine in their lives that only Doms are genetically predisposed to provide. This is why, Liam thinks, that like his own Sub mother, a piano teacher, Subs always make the best musicians and artists, while Doms like his stepfather mostly end up in the hard sciences or even the military. 

Louis and Harry are the most dysfunctional, disorganized and disgustingly sweet Sub couple that has somehow managed to make it work through the lack of any order whatsover in their lives. Together, they’ve coined Liam a Sensitive New Age Dom (SNAD), or as Louis has not-so-tactfully put it, a “Dom gone soft”. The two are completely at ease with their place in society, and Harry figures that he’ll just end up making a living out of baking when he’s done with school, since not many people are going to hire Subs like himself to work at a paper, no matter how good of a journalist he is. Louis is still trying to figure out what to do with his History degree while working part-time at the music store.

Harry and Louis’s favorite hobby, among others, is to watch Liam work himself up into a righteous rage over some injustice or another, usually triggered by waitstaff ignoring their existence and only speaking to Liam, or by freshmen who don’t know better and decide to pass inappropriate comments to Liam about his “two pretty Subs”.

Till now, nobody really knows how those two Dom freshmen ended up half-naked in a nearby lake in the dead of the night, but word has it that a certain football captain had something to do with it.

Enter Niall Horan, Irish, Dominant and not giving a fuck. Vice-Captain of Georgia Tech’s football team and Liam’s best mate since they were five, he’s always got his captain’s back. Niall understands Liam’s obsession with finding the perfect relationship - the perfect Sub who hands over control and his trust to Liam not because he has to, but because he wants to. After all, he was the one Liam had run to crying when the boy’s crazy-ass traditional Dom father finally upped and left after terrorizing the family for years, up to when Liam’s mother finally met Geoff, the kind, understanding military Dom who fell for a struggling Sub mother raising her Dominant child.

At 21, Liam Payne has it all - a happy, loving family, three of the best mates in the world, captainship of the state’s top college football team, and a possible career playing in the big leagues after graduation. 

But every story has it’s twists and turns, and Liam’s next twist comes in the form of one Yaser Malik, who turns up at his door offering his son’s hand in marriage. As it turns out, Liam’s crazy-ass traditional Dom father, who is now nowhere to be found, had made a drunken pact with his best friend, the equally crazy-ass traditional Dom Yaser Malik, to betroth their children to each other once they turned 21.

Times they may be a’changin, but the betrothal still stands in the eyes of the law (sealed with a rather dubious-looking contract that Yaser had managed to produce), and Liam is now faced with the tangled prospect of married life to a Sub he knows nothing about beyond his name, and the disturbing assurance from Yaser that “Oh, don’t you worry. He’s spent the most part of his life learning how to please you.

Chapter Text

“I don’t know what my father was thinking, Mr er...”

“Malik.”

“Yeah, Malik. But you see, this must be some kind of mistake. I haven’t seen my dad in years and I certainly wasn’t told that I would be er... married to your er... very lovely son,” Liam makes an aborted gesture at the lanky boy standing with his head bowed behind his father.

“Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise then? James and I have been friends since our boyhood days, and now we’ll be in-laws!” the dark-skinned man in front of him is either blissfully oblivious to Liam’s reluctance, or doing a very good job at pretending.

“No offense, Sir, but when did you last see my dad?”

“Why, that shouldn’t matter at all, Liam! And please, call me Yaser,” the smile never leaves the other man’s face.

“But I’m... I’m not really looking to get married, or into a relationship for that matter,” Liam ventures, reminding himself to be polite and not chew this man’s head off for disrupting his afternoon nap on a very nice Sunday.

Yaser grabs the boy behind him and shoves him firmly into Liam’s face, “But Zayn here has been so excited to meet you. He’s been waiting for this day all his life!”

Ah. Zayn. Now Liam has a name to match to the top of the boy’s head - which is pretty much all he’s seen in the ten minutes since the most WTF conversation he’s had in his entire life - since the boy adamantly refuses to look up and meet his eye. So much for being excited to meet me, Liam thinks.

“Um... Zayn, is that right?” Liam speaks at the head of hair still in his face.

“Yeah,” the boy’s voice is barely a whisper, and Liam has to remind himself to stop thinking of the boy as the boy, because the boy was apparently older than Liam, even if only by a few months.

“I’m very sorry to disappoint... but...”

“I can be good.”

“That’s um... er... good to hear, I guess? But...” Liam curses his sleep-addled mind for his inability to function at this time. But then again, who can actually deal with this entire thing shoved in his face like a bad TV trope at any time of the day at all?

Yaser whispers something into his son’s ear and Liam can literally see the boy’s entire posture change before he sinks gracefully to his knees and looks up at Liam through his very, very long eyelashes, his eyes the definition of caramel. Taken aback, Liam retreats a few steps, his mouth falling open, but no words come out.

“You are nothing like your father, Liam,” Yaser pipes, amusement evident in his voice as he looks over Liam from head to toe, his hand on his son’s shoulder, “And you evidently know nothing about keeping one of these in line.”

“But don’t you worry,” Yaser grins, “he’s spent the most part of his life learning how to please you. And you’ll find that taking him in hand, can be quite the pleasure.”

At that, Liam feels a rare surge of anger rise up in him as this man - this father - speaks about his son as though he were no more than an object to be toyed with and molded to his will. He could see why James and Yaser were best friends now. Evidently, they still held the same kind of outdated beliefs that had oppressed Subs for decades, turning relationships from being centered around love and mutual respect to control and humiliation.

“I’ll leave you two to get... acquainted for now,” Yaser says with a knowing glint in his eye, “the wedding’s in a month, and I do hope ol’ James is there.”

The second most WTF moment of the day, Liam decides, is when Yaser bends to kiss Zayn’s forehead and ruffle his hair fondly, telling him softly to “be good” and that he loves him. Zayn nuzzles into his father’s touch, smiling contentedly and nodding at his words.

Now that was unexpected, and Liam is too shocked to even process the moment that Yaser leaves and he is left with a Sub he barely knows, on his knees in the doorway of his apartment.

“I guess you better come in then,” Liam sighs resignedly, “Would you like to?”

Zayn nods and shuffles a little awkwardly to his feet, his eyes still on the floor.

“I’m not going to eat you, you know? Come in and sit wherever you like while I figure out this whole mess, won’t you?” Liam gestures randomly at the couch, running his fingers through his short hair and muttering curses under his breath.

He walks into the kitchen and returns with two glasses of orange juice. Zayn is still rooted to the spot, looking cautiously between the couch and the floor as though he were making a life-changing decision.

Liam raises an eyebrow and regards the other boy curiously, “Aren’t you going to sit then?” he asks, settling himself down on the couch.

In a flash, Zayn is by his feet, sitting down on the floor and looking up at Liam expectantly. He kind of reminds Liam of a little puppy, except he’s a grown man and the way he’s looking at Liam like he holds his entire world is creepy to say the least.

“You can come up on the couch if you’d prefer,” Liam offers.

“I don’t kn... Where do you want me... Sir?” Zayn tags on the last word hastily.

“Liam, Liam is fine,” Liam interrupts and takes a deep breath. Of course. This was a Sub who had been brought up the traditional way - clear orders, routine and rules were important - and also completely foreign to Liam by now, especially so since the arrival of Harry and Louis.

“Okay, Zayn. Sit on the couch, please.”

Zayn hastens to obey and Liam is about to be sick from just how obedient the boy is. “Okay, drink,” Liam hands Zayn the glass of orange juice and watches as he gulps it down quickly. Of course, he should have mentioned that he could take his time.

They spend the rest of the day in an uncomfortable awkward silence as Liam abandons all pretense of conversation after a while and potters around minding his own business, trying to pretend that the gorgeous Sub isn’t sitting on his couch, watching but not actually watching TV. The only time Zayn even ventures to make conversation is to offer to make dinner, but Liam says, “I can’t possibly let you, you’re a guest.” and proceeds to call for takeout, not noticing the crestfallen expression on the other boy’s face.

“You know what, Zayn?” Liam says over a mouthful of pizza.

“Yes?” Zayn lights up at being spoken to.

“We don’t have to do this, you know? I mean, we can get married and stuff, but I’m not going to stop you from seeing other people. And we can always get a divorce after that. No biggie.”

“No biggie?” Zayn whispers.

“Yeah,” Liam puts down the slice he’s holding and looks sincerely at Zayn, “My dad was a big jerk too, Zayn. But that’s over now. You are free. You can have a choice.”

Satisfied with his grand declaration, Liam turns to head to the kitchen for a soda, not noticing the tears that have been threatening to spill all day are now freely flowing down the other boy’s face.



There must be something wrong with him, Zayn thinks that night as he curls up in Liam’s bed all alone for the first time in his life, without Yaser, his mother or his sisters next to him, because Liam doesn’t want him, doesn't want Zayn to serve him, doesn’t want to sleep next to him and cannot even be bothered to punish him. Liam must hate him or something, because he had smiled, patted him on the shoulder and taken the spare pillows out to sleep on the couch instead of staying with Zayn. There must be something terribly, terribly wrong with Zayn, because from the time he knew how to read he knew that somewhere out there, there was a Dom who would take care of him like Yaser did, shower him with love and care and kind touches, and tell him he was good. But Yaser must have gotten it all wrong because his Dom doesn’t like him one bit, and he thinks Yaser’s a jerk, which makes Zayn angry and sad and guilty, because he must be the reason why Liam seems to hate everything about him and everything related to him. And he finds himself missing home - the smell of sweet spices, his mother’s singing, his father’s firm, reassuring voice and the playful bickering of his sisters. He’s wetting Liam’s pillow with salty tears, but right now, Zayn can’t bring himself to think of the consequences.

Chapter Text

Zayn is trying to be good, really. Sure, he had briefly panicked when he woke up today alone in a stranger’s bed, but he’d composed himself nearly enough to read Liam’s hastily scribbled note that’d he’d gone out for a jog. “The way to your Dom’s heart is through his stomach,” his mom had always reminded him, so here Zayn was, clad only in his boxers from last night and pottering around the kitchen trying to make an All-American breakfast, just like he’d been taught. 

Liam may not think very much of him now, Zayn knows, but something about the other boy makes Zayn want to please him desperately, even more so than Yaser. And perhaps Zayn is some kind of a masochist, because the more aloof Liam acts, the more he wants to please him and prove that he can be the perfect Sub.

Liam arrives home just as Zayn is dishing out the scrambled eggs, still deep in thought.

“Something smells good,” Liam comments casually, startling Zayn and causing him to jump about a foot in the air. 

Zayn looks up at the source of the voice, and takes in Liam, all sweaty and flushed from his jog, his shirt clinging to his chest and immediately drops his gaze, blushing furiously and shifting his feet.

“Is this all for the two of us?” Liam asks kindly, noticing that the Sub before him is nervously studying his floorboards as though they were the most fascinating thing in the world.

Zayn nods and mumbles a soft yes, still not looking up.

“Brilliant! I’m famished!” Liam answers and moves to sit as Zayn stands still, rooted to the spot. Liam sighs, “Zayn. Come, sit and eat.”

The morning jog had cleared Liam’s mind quite a bit from the confusion of the past day and the stress of having a total stranger taking up his bedroom. He knew nothing about taking care of a Sub like Zayn - his one and only relationship had fizzled out six months ago, and Danielle, his ex, was nothing like Zayn, other than the fact that they were both dark-skinned and exotic-looking. No, Danielle was like a hurricane, a Sub who knew what she wanted and just needed a little help sometimes - a little push in the right direction to continue chasing her dreams. Sometimes, Liam wondered if his little pushes might have been a little too helpful, for it sent her halfway across the country pursuing her dream to dance for the stars.

Zayn, on the other hand, seems nervous to even be in the same room as Liam. Those pretty hazel eyes can never seem to hold his gaze for long before dropping. It’s hard not to think of him in his head as a boy, though Zayn is technically older than him. There’s something about the Sub that makes Liam want to bop him over the head with a pillow to get him to loosen up and at the same time pull him into his arms and keep him safe.

Liam decides to do neither and instead looks up from his finished breakfast at Zayn, who’s just swallowing the last mouthful of his. Zayn makes a move to clear the dishes but Liam holds up a hand to stop him, gesturing for him to sit instead. 

“I’m not... I’m not very good with Subs,” Liam begins, “But since you’re going to be around for the time being, we should at least talk about our... er... living arrangements. You know, I’m not technically supposed to have someone else in here, but that’s seriously the least of our problems right now.”

Zayn nods timidly, still not looking up.

“I think for starters I’d like very much for you to look at me. It’s a little strange for me to be making conversation with the top of your head,” Liam laughs awkwardly. “I don’t really know how this whole wedding thing is supposed to go, and I’m guessing you’re completely clueless too eh? It’s not like we can just throw together something in a month or something, my parents don’t know a thing, and I’m not exactly thrilled by the idea either.”

“Baba says it will be a traditional ceremony at home, with all our relatives and friends,” the Sub replies softly.

“So you knew about this since when?”

Zayn shrugs and smiles a little sadly, “All my life.”

“And whose idea was it to spring this on me now?” Liam asks incredulously, his voice rising a pitch. He almost regrets it when Zayn flinches away, eyes on the ground again.

Liam sighs, mentally kicking himself, “I’m sorry. Got a little agitated there. It really isn’t your fault, Zayn. Please, look at me?”

The Sub’s head jerks up again and Liam has to force himself to look away from those sad brown eyes before continuing, “Listen, Zayn. Let’s at least try to be friends, okay? I mean, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I know nothing about you, for one, and I’m not even sure what I’m going to do after I graduate college, let alone get married at this point in time. I don’t know how to be the kind of Dom you’re looking for, or whatever prince that you were expecting when your insane dad appeared at my door. I’m just regular Liam, barely making a 3.0 GPA, with crazy friends and a life I haven’t even begun to sort out yet. So let’s take this one step at a time, okay?”

“Okay.” comes the soft reply.

“For starters, is there anything I can do for you to repay you for the best breakfast I’ve had in months?”

The first genuine smiles cracks across Zayn’s face for the first time since Liam’s seen him and he answers, almost timidly as though he can’t believe it’s real, “Can you pick out my clothes for me please?”

 

One of the perks of being a senior is that Liam’s only got class three days a week, which leaves his Monday free to take Zayn around the city.

“I’ve grown up in Atlanta all my life, but I’ve never explored all these places,” Liam comments to Zayn over ice creams in Atlantic City, “It’s mostly school, practice and weekly trips to Target for food.” 

“I should count myself lucky then,” Zayn smiles at Liam and for a moment there Liam swears the boy is subtly flirting with him, because there is no way anyone can be so effortlessly coy. But the Sub is all wide-eyed innocence and shyness - it’s like he walked out of a bad fetish porn scene - except Zayn’s for real, and Liam still has trouble believing it.

They finish their ice creams and Liam can’t help but sneak a few glances at Zayn sitting across from him - dressed in black jeans and a red tee that Liam had picked out from the few in his overnight bag. A feeling of warmth and pride wells up in Liam and he quickly tells himself to snap out of it, because Zayn is not an object or a pet, but a real live human being who just needs a little help adjusting to a new life.

Zayn continues to surprise him through the afternoon, revealing that he’d graduated college early after skipping a few grades, and had been teaching English to preschoolers pre-Liam. Zayn with children - Liam can barely resist smiling at the picture he’s painted in his head of little ones flocking around Zayn as he guides them through their ABCs and Dr Seuss.

Liam is almost sorry when he has to leave Zayn at home to go to Niall’s. They’re working on a particularly difficult paper due in a couple weeks for an Arts elective that they both absolutely need a pass in to graduate - though that prospect seems rather bleak now. Major American Authors really isn’t their kind of shit. But is it anybody’s, really?

“Be back in a bit!” Liam promises as he hands Zayn a set of spare keys and heads off to the other end of campus, completely missing Zayn’s hesitant wave. On second thought, it probably wasn’t a good idea to leave your apartment keys with a boy you’ve known for less than two days, but Liam figures it’s the less trying alternative to dealing with Niall’s reaction to his impending marriage, on top of Whitman and Plath and seriously,why do all these authors seem to be suicidal, depressed or both?

 

Between the two of them, they’ve cranked out 2,000 out of the requisite 8,000 words, and though it’s filled with mostly random quotes and phrases strung together from the three books they were supposed to reference, Liam considers it an achievement that 1)Niall hasn’t said “fuck all” and cracked out the beers and 2)he hasn’t lost his shit and thrown Niall’s Mac out the window.

After a night like this Liam usually just showers and crashes on Niall’s couch, but the thought of leaving Zayn alone in his apartment overnight makes Liam uneasy - and Liam does kind of want to make sure Zayn is safe, since he’s apparently his responsibility now. So he makes a quick excuse to a skeptical Niall and hurries on home.

What Liam doesn’t expect though, is the light coming from the kitchen and Zayn’s crouched form on one of the chairs.

“Zayn?” Liam calls out softly, “Why’re you still up?”

“Dinner,” the sleepy boy replies blearily, half-asleep.

Guilt hits Liam like a truck as he realizes that Zayn has laid out dinner on the table - his own share untouched as he’s waited for Liam for the entire night to get home. The food has gone cold by now, but Liam can feel the now-familiar warmth rising up in him again, and the impulse that makes him want to scoop Zayn up and twirl him around out of sheer fondness.

“You hungry, babe?” Liam pets Zayn’s hair and the Sub leans into the touch subconsciously, mind clouded with sleepiness. Zayn only shakes his head and it droops dangerously closer to Liam, prompting a chuckle from the Dom.

Liam gives in to his impulses and quite literally sweeps Zayn off his feet and carries him into the bedroom, tucking him in like how Geoff used to when Liam was still a child. He turns to head to the couch for the night, but a grip on his right hand forces Liam to turn.

“Stay with me please,” Zayn’s voice is a little more awake now, and Liam can hear the tinge of hopefulness in his voice.

So Liam stays.

Chapter Text

Surprisingly, Liam’s mother hadn’t been all too affected by news of his impending wedding after Liam made the call. Perhaps she’s been too used to the old man crazies to deem an arranged marriage particularly out-of-character for her ex-husband. But Geoff had taken it less well, promising Liam to do everything legally possible to deem the contract null and void.

Liam hadn’t wanted to let the boys know about the latest addition to his home, because really, how do you go about explaining a sudden marriage and Liam’s apparent lack of say in the matter at all?

But Zayn has those big watery eyes and mile-long eyelashes and those pouty pink lips and it would be an absolute sin to keep a face like that locked up in Liam’s apartment. Plus the fact that Louis and Harry would have his head on a stick if they’d found out about his not-so-little secret, Subs or not. 

Niall, Liam knows, he can count on to laugh the whole thing off, or simply accept it as true-to-form, James-style ludicrousness. 

And it wasn’t really that Zayn wasn’t good company. With a good amount of patience and gentle probing on Liam’s part, he had found out that Zayn loves superhero movies, comic books, literature, art and singing. Which is pretty close to Liam’s interests, except the literature and art part of course, because Liam can barely remember the last time he read a book outside of class, but he clearly remembers that C+ for Fine Arts, thank you very much.

In fact, Zayn’s dressed in one of Liam’s old Batman shirts today and Liam has stopped trying to resist smiling every time Zayn shyly stands in front of Liam’s closet and looks longingly at Liam’s clothes. Today, he’d picked one out from before he filled out - the black shirt fitting snugly and coming a little short just at his hipbone. The clothes in Zayn’s bag from the first day have been tossed on the couch, along with Liam’s spare pillows and blankets, which have been left untouched for the past week, with both boys opting to share the bed instead.

“Nervous?” Liam smiles at Zayn as he hands him one of his football jackets to put on.

Zayn gives him the tiniest of smiles in return and answers, “It’ll be nice to get to know your friends.”

Liam chuckles, “They’re a right bunch. A little on the er... insane side but you’ll get used to them in a bit. Brings out the inner crazy in you, Louis and Harry.” Beaming, Liam retrieves a group picture from his iPhone gallery and points out the two Subs.

“Are they... are they yours?” 

“What’s mine?”

“Louis and Harry. Are they yours?”

“Wha... No. No I’m a one Sub kind of guy, really. Though I haven’t had one for a while now,” Liam explains, “Louis and Harry... It’s a little complicated really, but they well... belong to each other, if you want to put it that way that is. Though I’m not really sure anybody owns anyone.”

“Is that allowed?” Zayn’s voice is incredulous and Liam looks up in surprise at the older boy.

“Two Subs, in love? Why not, Zayn?”

“It’s not allowed, back where I come from that is.”

“We live in the same state, Zayn,” Liam teases.

“I don’t mean it’s illegal or anything,” Zayn explains, embarrassed, “I’m just surprised their families let them.”

“Mama Tomlinson and Mama Styles are very understanding when it comes to the two of them,” Liam comments indulgently and moves on to the blond boy in the picture, “This is my best mate Niall. We literally grew up together.”

Liam gives Zayn a running commentary of his three utterly maniacal best mates throughout the car ride to the diner and Zayn visibly relaxes, laughing along when Liam talks about “The Silly String Incident of 2012” and looking appropriately horrified when he hears about the time Harry set his curls on fire.

Still, Zayn opts to hide behind Liam’s broad form when they finally exit the car. The big city is still strange to him and he’s not quite sure he wants to meet anybody new, especially since they’re Liam’s friends and their opinion of him would affect his Dom’s impression of Zayn. Would they like him? Or would they scoff at him because he comes from a small town and looks strange? Now surely he wants to believe that Liam’s friends are just like him - sweet, accommodating and always ready with a gentle smile. But Zayn knows - from the day he presented as Submissive and his old friends started being utter dicks to him - that people aren’t always nice, and those that are may not always stay that way.

Yaser had always drilled that into his head - the need to always please and seek approval. Life as a Sub will never be easy, he would say, but being docile and obedient would make it much easier to go through. So Zayn had spent his life since he presented ready to sit by someone’s feet, a picture-perfect Submissive. He still has some way to go, Zayn knows, because sometimes he still displeases Yaser or Doniya - and the consequences are almost always painful. When Zayn turned 16 though, Doniya had insisted that he sign up for boxing lessons, in case some dick of a Dom tries to get fresh with you she said. But now Zayn wonders if his fists would be any good against Liam, who seems to be at least 80% muscle and 20% puppy, or if he would ever muster up the courage to fight him if it ever came to it. No. Right now, looking at this Dom, the one who’s supposed to own him for the rest of his life and his open, lovely face, Zayn knows that he will never fight this boy, and Liam barely knows it, but he already has utter control of him, and Zayn is terrified.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Liam’s voice snaps Zayn out of his reverie and he looks around to see that he’s already been led into the diner and towards a table with three familiar faces.

Louis and Harry, as Zayn expected, are all over each other, having worked themselves into some sort of tickle fight while Niall looks on, amused. The blond boy catches Zayn’s eye as he peeks at them from behind Liam and winks, causing Zayn to flush quite badly and drop his head. Liam evidently has not caught the brief exchange, instead tugging Zayn forward and introducing him to the gang.

“So you’re the Payne bride!” Harry exclaims as he jumps up from his seat and envelops Zayn in a bone-crushing hug. 

“My condolences,” Louis gets up and chimes in faux-solemnly, “We’ve had to deal with him for years now.”

“Boys, please,” Liam scolds, though he can barely keep the amusement out of his voice.

Niall, on the other hand, has whipped out his cellphone and captured the precise moment the three Subs have bundled together in an awkward hug, grinning as he announces, “It’s like a harem, eh, Liam?”

Zayn laughs, the relief gushing out from him because he’s barely had to say anything and the three of them have already managed to make him feel right at home. 

“Niall!” Liam turns to his Vice-Captain now, scandalized.

“It’s true! He’s going to sell us and make a fortune out of our pretty faces!” Louis declares, prompting a few patrons to stare at their table in shock.

The five fall into easy conversation after Zayn’s resounding welcome and Liam is almost glad he brought Zayn along today, because if there’s anyone who can make a person feel right at home in this big city, it’s these three doofuses. But Liam doesn’t miss Niall’s flirtatious compliments thrown Zayn’s way and how Zayn blushes when their fingertips accidentally brush. In fact, if he knows Niall well enough, the Irish lad is definitely hitting on his Sub.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you all night,” Niall says as Harry and Louis drag Zayn off to pick dessert.

“Sup?”

“What’s the deal with you and Zee, man?” Niall asks, “Aside from this whole get-married thing.”

Yeah, Zayn is Zee now. Apparently. 

“There’s no deal. My father made some pact with his equally backward best friend, and you know the rest of the story.”

“So you’re not like, into him or anything?”

“Nope,” Liam affirms, “All yours.” 

“How did you... Ah fuck that. You know all my moves don’t you, Payno? 

Liam cracks a smile at the nickname, replying, “Yeah, Horan. Just, treat him right, y’know?”

“So it’s not going to be weird or anything?” 

“Nah.”

Chapter Text

Zayn, Louis and Harry had gotten on splendidly, as Liam predicted. In fact, Louis and Harry had come to call on Zayn the day after, brushing past Liam and tackling Zayn to the floor the minute they were let in.

“No love for me anymore, Lou and Hazza? I’m disappointed,” Liam faux pouts, holding out his arms expectantly and is met by an armful of Harry and Louis.

“We’ll never stop loving you,” Louis laughs, “but your new little kitten is just so pretty, I can’t keep my hands off him.” 

“He is,” Liam agrees, schooling his face into a solemn expression, “I should think twice about letting him stay here for free, since he’s stealing my friends as well.”

Zayn blushes and laughs too, feeling incredibly lucky and happy that he’s made new friends this fast, and so grateful that Liam’s friends like him. He may or may not have mentioned that Liam and Niall would be footballing and doing Dom things and he’d be all alone for the evening, and now Louis and Harry had turned up at Liam’s doorstep, intent on cheering him up with an entire night of cheesy romance flicks. In fact, Harry had made cupcakes and Louis, a self-declared disaster in the kitchen, had brought beer and declared today THE MOST EPIC SUBS’ MOVIE NIGHT EVER WITHOUT STUPID SMELLY DOMS TO INTERFERE. It was a mouthful but it had successfully provoked an exasperated reaction from Liam, who had reminded them to please kindly keep the volume down and don’t wake the neighbors and for God’s sake Hazza put your shirt back on does no one remember that this my house?

And Louis and Harry simply push Liam, all clad in football gear, out of his own house.

Zayn can only gape in surprise as the events unfold before him. He’d been in the city for only a week and known Louis and Harry for one day, but he seems to have seen all the most impossible things just from this merry band of pranksters alone. Such behavior from Harry and Louis would never be tolerated back home - you just simply didn’t talk back to your Dom or push him around, or in Liam’s case, quite literally climb all over his head. You treated all Doms respectfully and if they were kind to you, like Liam and Niall were, you were to be grateful, not call them names and provoke them.

“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost, Zayniepoo,” Louis jumps into his arms the minute Liam is out, almost knocking Zayn off his feet.

Zayn smiles and shakes his head, not wanting to say a word for fear of offending his new friends. 

“C’mon, Subs circle of trust. Nothing said here gets out,” Harry coaxes.

“It’s just... You’re not very good to Liam,” Zayn mutters, “Doesn’t he ever get mad?”

Louis and Harry exchange a look and burst out laughing. “Liam never gets mad,” Louis laughs, “We’ve been trying to get a rise out of him for years but he just nags at us and tells us to behave. We call him Daddy for fun sometimes.”

“He’s not like other Doms,” Harry supplies helpfully, “Some of the other jocks are awful. But not Liam.”

“I dated a Dom once. She was fucking awful!” says Louis, “She wanted to decide what we ate, what I wore, everything!”

“You’re just pissed that El didn’t want you wearing stripes every single day. And you’d better not let her catch you saying that. Eleanor’s a friend, by the way, Zee. And she’s not actually awful. Louis exaggerates.”

“Have you ever dated anyone, Zee?”

At Louis’ innocent question, Zayn freezes and he peers down at his feet almost immediately, biting his lip in nervousness. Almost instantly, two arms are around his shoulders and he hears Harry’s whisper, “Subs circle of trust remember?”

Zayn nods, safe in the knowledge that Louis and Harry won’t tell, and begins to tell Louis and Harry about the Dom he dated briefly before Yaser found out and everything went to shit.

“His name is Danny. I got to know him in high school. I was 15 and it had been two years since I presented. But my father... He already made the promise to Liam’s father and I wasn’t supposed to be dating,” Zayn explains, “But Danny was handsome and he was nice. He didn’t make me feel like scum for being Submissive. He didn’t care that I was two years younger than everyone in my grade, and he liked to talk to me. Like I was a person.”

“We were in his car, just kissing, when my father walked in on us,” Zayn winces at the memory of Yaser’s angry face was he was yanked out of the car and dragged all the way home. And of his leather belt coming down repeatedly on his back as Zayn knelt trembling, biting his lip and trying not to make a sound for fear of angering him further.

“I didn’t go back to school for two weeks after that,” Zayn finishes, “And Danny, he felt so guilty but we couldn’t talk anymore. He and I both knew what would happen.”

“That sucks,” Louis tightens his grip around Zayn’s shoulders comfortingly, “Your town sounds like an awful place to be.”

“It’s okay,” Zayn tries to shrug, “It’s a little old-fashioned but it’s a good place. Not something you city folks would like I assume. But it’s alright.”

“I know how that feels,” Harry says, “Where I come from is nothing like here, so when we moved to Atlanta it was all a little shocking for me. Until I met Louis in Freshman year.”

“I corrupted him!” Louis grins proudly, “And I am going to corrupt you too Zayniekins!”

They dissolve into a pool of cuddles after that, and Zayn remembers latching on to his two new friends desperately and hoping they don’t notice how starved for human touch he’s been recently, since Liam won’t touch him or do anything he considers inappropriate to Zayn. And yes, it is soothing to be able to bury himself in the warmth of Louis and Harry for now, but Zayn can’t help but miss the strong, soothing presence of a Dom’s assertive touch and the sense of calmness it fills him with.


Liam doesn’t want to be at this party, really. But it’s Saturday night and the boys are all buzzing after a particularly fruitful practice session. One of the frat boys had invited the rest of the team over and the night had quickly descended into chaos, what with a drunk Niall dancing half-naked on the ping pong table and couples making out all over the place. Like a good captain though, Liam had helped himself to a pint and smiled politely whenever someone asked if he was enjoying the party.

It’s almost a relief when Geoff calls and Liam has an excuse to make a quick getaway from the party.

“Dad?”

“Hey my man, Sorry I haven’t had the time to call all week. Reception is shitty here and you can barely get any Internet.”

Liam laughs. Geoff had decided to take Karen on a long-overdue trip through Southeast Asia and calls, which used to be a weekly affair, were now erratic and often plagued by terrible reception.

“How are things with Zayn?”

“We’re okay, I guess? Louis and Harry are doing a magnificent job of taking care of him. I’m just... kinda hopeless at it all,” Liam admits sheepishly, “I mean, Zayn is so different and sometimes I’m not sure what he’s thinking at all.”

“You know, Liam, sometimes it’s hard for Subs to tell their Doms what they want,” Geoff sighs, “I hear that Yaser and your dad were good friends, and you know it isn’t always easy living with… personalities like them.”

“You mean jerks?” Liam spits, “Dad, there’s no need to be nice and civil about men like them. He didn’t care about what Mum wanted, or what she needed. He just wanted everything his way, and he was an irresponsible bastard who walked out on us, don’t you remember?”

“Liam, please.” Geoff’s voice is stern and Liam feels guilty about his outburst.

“I just... I just feel bad for Zayn,” Liam sighs, “He’s so afraid of me, and he looks at me like he’s expecting me to hit him anytime. Not to mention the wedding, which is in three weeks time. How on earth am I meant to marry him? And can you believe that he’s known this for so long and just gone along with this whole freakshow?” 

“Li, you know Subs don’t get much of a say in life. Sometimes Subs have their destinies chosen for them. Don’t you think Zayn hopes and prays that you’ll be a good lot in life?”

Liam can hear the proud smile in Geoff’s voice as he continues, “Now, maybe your mother didn’t pick right the first time. But I’ve been a lucky man to meet her at the right time, and in the process, I got a son who’s going to be the best Dom to any Sub lucky enough to have him.”

“Now Liam, life may not seem like it’s very fair now, but if you don’t want him, you’ve got to let him down gently and slow. We’ll try to figure out the rest of this mess together when we’re back, but for now, Zayn’s your responsibility. You’ve got to take care of him, alright?”

“Yeah, Dad. Got you. Tell Mum I love her alright?”

“She loves you too. So do I. Bye Liam.”

“Bye Dad.”

 

Liam feels like a weight has been lifted off his chest as he gets off the phone with his stepdad. Sure, Geoff wasn’t his own father, but he had always been more of a dad to Liam than James was or ever will be. In fact, Liam can say safely that he couldn’t care less if his real dad was dead or alive. He can barely remember when Geoff wasn’t a strong, steady presence guiding their family through, and sometimes Liam feels like a Sub in his presence - looking to him for guidance. With him handling the business end of sorting out the contract, Liam can breathe easy as he tries to untangle the mess on his end.

Letting Zayn down easy is going to be difficult, Liam knows, not just for Zayn but Liam himself too. Liam can’t say that the week with Zayn in his bed has been entirely unpleasant, and he’s already made himself the unlikely fifth member in their little band of brothers. He can’t send him back in good conscience either, especially knowing the kind of home he comes from.

The little consolation Liam has, is that if things work out with Niall after all, Liam might end up the fifth wheel in their cozy little group. Niall will be good for Zayn, he knows. Though there is just that little part of him that wants to keep Zayn safely bundled up by his side forever so Liam can just take care of him.

And seeing Zayn cuddled between Louis and Harry, snoring gently on his couch as he tiptoes into the room, just tugs at his heart a little.

Chapter Text

On hindsight, Liam would say, going to that club was a bad idea. In fact, going to Primal with Niall, Louis, Harry and now Zayn in tow was a fucking bad idea. Because nights at the club mean drunk, zilch brain-to-mouth filter Niall, giggly and useless Louis and Harry... and Zayn.

He had been hesitant about taking Zayn out with them, because Zayn had apparently never been to a club before. In fact, he had adamantly refused to confirm or deny if he had ever drunk, and only after a significant amount of probing from Louis and Harry did he reluctantly admit that he sometimes snuck to a friend’s place for a beer or two, since his religion didn’t exactly allow him to drink.

In fact, Liam later learnt, that Zayn had never stayed out past 11pm and was always chaperoned by his sister or a friend at night. But aren’t you like, a grownup with a real job and shit? Niall had asked, but Zayn had simply shrugged it off and muttered something about family rules. Of course, Zayn hadn’t mentioned that Doniya, the only other Dom in the family, was allowed to stay out as late as she wanted and have friends over for sleepovers all the time, because it would seem like he was jealous, and he wasn’t.

But Niall had given him that face and Liam decided to suck it up and be a good wingman for his Vice-Captain who was evidently having no luck getting into Zayn’s (extremely oblivious) pants.

Which is how, with Niall and Harry’s fake IDs in tow, they ended up at Primal on a Friday night.

It all started when Liam left the the table for five minutes. Five.fucking.minutes to use the washroom. Alright, maybe it was six, but the technicalities are not important. Because Liam distinctly remembers telling Niall to watch over Louis and Harry, who were on their God-knows-how-many-ieth beer by now and Zayn, who was still sipping his first one slowly, God bless his soul.

By the time he had gotten out however, Niall had managed to get into a shove fight with a Dom with about 50 pounds on him while muttering incoherently and Louis and Harry were being... useless in a corner and Zayn was nowhere to be found.

And by the time Liam had made his way over to Niall’s side to try and break up the fight , the bigger man was about to punch him in the face... only to have his arm pulled back into a deadlock by a much smaller... Zayn?



Five minutes later, Liam finds himself panting in an alleyway after pulling Louis and Harry along with him while Zayn had grabbed Niall, screamed GET LOUIS AND HARRY and well, ran the fuck away from the club after possibly breaking the man’s jaw with a particularly powerful right hook.

“What the fuck, Zayn?” Liam demands as soon as he recovers his breath.

Zayn, who’s still trying to support a drunk, flailing Niall, flinches visibly at Liam’s tone, but retains a strong grip on Niall’s waist.

Feeling bad, Liam sighs and tries for, “Zayn, tell me what happened there.”

“He was going to hurt Niall,” Zayn mumbles, “And you weren’t there.”

“And if I were there? Zayn, the way you acted in the club was just so... different. You can’t blame me for having doubts about you.”

“I never meant to lie to you!” the Sub cuts in, looking up at Liam pleadingly, “He just, he just pulled me up by the collar when I was walking to the bar and started touching me. And I didn’t want him to... Then Niall came and i thought he could... but...”

“But he’s a useless drunk,” Liam finishes for Zayn with a wry smile, “And what are you, some kind of secret agent?”

“I box, sometimes,” Zayn’s voice gets smaller as he admits, “You weren’t supposed to know because they say that Doms don’t like it when we’re... aggressive. But my father and Doniya said that it would be fine as long as I kept it a secret. You would still want me.”

I don’t want you, Liam wants to say, or any of this. But Zayn is doing the bambi eyes, fluttering eyelashes, quivering lip thing and Liam wants to shoot himself for being a total sucker for it. Gently shoving Louis and Harry, who are already all up on each other, to a side, Liam moves a step closer to the Sub. “And why wouldn’t you tell me?”

There are tears in the smaller boy’s eyes now as Liam stares at him intently, his lips trembling even more as he softly admits, “Because I didn’t know if you would stop being good to me one day.”

“But I’m sorry! I’m really sorry,” Zayn desperately interjects when Liam falls silent, “You can do whatever you want to me. I promise I won’t fight back. Please.” 

“Put Niall down, Zayn.”

Slowly, Zayn lets go of a still-muttering Niall and lets him sink to the ground against the wall. Taking a deep breath, he walks toward Liam, readying himself for a slap or harsh words to fall from the other boy’s mouth.

What he doesn’t expect however, is to be pulled into a tight embrace by the Liam, his presence overwhelming Zayn’s senses and making him want to cling to the familiar scent of Dom and security and home that he hasn’t felt for so long. And Zayn wants to cry into Liam’s plaid shirt because fucking finally Liam is touching him but he’s so exhausted that he settles for letting his tears fall silently, forming a wet patch on his chest. He doesn’t know how long they stand in that position but somewhere along the line Zayn’s knees buckle and he’s just leaning onto Liam for support, his face still stubbornly buried in his shirt.

“I want you to be you when you’re with us,” he can hear Liam speaking softly, “We’ll never lay a finger on you, ever, Zayn. And thank you for taking care of my friends. I’m so proud of you.”

“I was good, Liam? I was good?” Zayn smiles. He can feel his mind drifting away and he feels so... relaxed now that he’s in Liam’s arms.

“Yes you were, Zayn. You were really good.” Liam’s voice is like a lullaby, soothing and just, safe.



Zayn doesn’t remember much else from that night except the scent of Liam’s plaid shirt and waking up in warm arms for the first time in two weeks. For a minute he thinks that he might be back home in Lakeview with his family and not in a strange student apartment in Atlanta, surrounded by almost complete strangers. Opening up his eyes with a start, he realizes that he is indeed back in Liam’s bed, and instead of a familiar, warm body carefully lying at least a foot from him, he's surrounded by very thick, muscled arms belonging to none other than the boy he’s supposed to marry in two weeks.

“Slept well?” Liam’s voice startles Zayn out of his thoughts and he turns immediately to come face-to-face with a beaming Liam.

“Yeah, I did,” Zayn smiles, a little shyly, for he’s never seen Liam’s face this close before.

“Sorry bout the morning breath. It’s worse today because I didn’t brush my teeth last night,” Liam chuckles and brings a hand up to ruffle his hair, “A little secret assassin fell asleep in my arms and wouldn’t let go of me.”

Zayn’s eyebrows shoot up as the events of the previous night come rushing back to him. “Niall! Harry! Louis! are they okay?”

“Louis and Harry managed to drag Niall into the car after you fell asleep. They’re in the hall now, nursing a terrible hangover, I bet,” Liam remarks, “That’ll teach them.”

Zayn nods, snuggling closer to Liam - might as well make the most of it, he thinks. It’s not often Liam touches him like that, it wouldn’t hurt to be a little greedy now, would it?

“Zayn?”

“Yeah?”

“We need to get you settled here in the city soon. There’s a preschool just a couple blocks down. We can ask if they have openings for teachers, if you’d still like to teach, that is.”

“That’ll be nice.”

“Maybe you could get out a little more, meet more people in the city, y’know,” Liam suggests. 

“I have you four. It’s enough.” Zayn smiles contentedly, eyelids fluttering shut again.

Looking down at the Sub in his arms who has peacefully drifted backto sleep, Liam wonders if there’s any way at all to tell Zayn that the wedding he’s been anticipating all his life is not happening, at least not if Liam can help it. There is no way, Liam decides, that anyone with a conscience can look into those eyes and say no. The worst part is, Zayn is one of the sweetest, most wonderful souls they’ve ever met who’s unwittingly wormed his way into all of their hearts and even saved them from a whole lot of trouble the night before.

But Liam can’t think about that now. He’s not going to get married because an outdated piece of paper says he has to. He’s not going to let two old men who know nothing about love dictate the person he chooses to spend the rest of his life with. He’ll help Zayn settle in the city, and that’s it. Besides, he’s told Niall that he’s stepping out, and it wouldn’t be fair to his best mate now if he just went along with the wedding, would it? Anyway, it’s not like Zayn is madly in love with Liam or anything. He’s just misunderstood the whole idea of love, or marriage entirely. Yes. That must be it.

It doesn’t stop Liam from pulling Zayn closer and nuzzling his hair, as though if he let go, someone would burst in and take Zayn away from him.

Chapter Text

Louis doesn’t think he’s the emotional, needy kind of Sub who needs a Dom to coddle him at every turn, thank you very much. He’s independent, has an (admittedly kind of useless) History degree, and is perfectly content with his job at the record store. He’s perfectly happy with his other half, the love of his life Harry Styles and they’re going to get married and have tons of kids and a house by the countryside one day.

The only days when life isn’t fine and dandy is when Harry and Louis get into one of their petty fights over Harry flirting with some Dom or Louis not cleaning up after himself again and there are slammed doors and hurt feelings and Liam gets an armful of pouting, huffy Louis while Niall takes Harry in by default.

While Zayn is relegated to making tea (tea!) for a whinging Louis who’s made a home in Liam’s arms (Not cool. Zayn’s. Off. Now.) and swears never to go back to that lying, cheating, son-of-a-bitch ever again.

In between trying to make Liam love him, looking for a job in this city, and fending off Niall’s countless advances, Zayn’s not exactly the most pleased person on earth at the spectacle on the couch now. Sure, he knows that Liam’s not interested in Louis in that way, and though Doms with multiple Subs are not exactly uncommon, Liam’s supposed to be a one Sub kinda guy, isn’t he?

It’s not his place to be jealous, he knows. After all, the younger boy has been more than kind to Zayn even after Yaser had sprung this whole betrothal thing on him. Zayn could have had it much worse, he knows - Liam could have just ignored him, or worse, used him and left him hanging. Back home, there were Doms who had four or five Subs, and Zayn always wondered how they would divide their love and time among so many clamoring for their attention at once.

If Zayn were honest, Liam’s pretty close to the faceless Dom of Zayn’s dreams. He was male, for one - and Zayn was relieved because he had realized he was gay before he presented, and was terrified that Yaser would pick a girl for him. He was tall, though not as tall as Zayn would have liked, but enough so that Zayn would have to tiptoe just a little to kiss him - if they ever got to that point, that is. Liam also had those thick, muscular arms that Zayn imagined could lift him right off the ground, toss him on any flat surface and... let’s not go there. He had always imagined he’d marry someone clever and brilliant with words, and they’d read poems and write songs together while his Dom played the piano, or the guitar - he wasn’t picky. But it turned out that Liam was better with balls than he was with books, and his grammar and spelling were honestly quite atrocious.

Still, Zayn thinks, Liam’s probably the best deal he could have gotten. Liam who gives him the literal butterflies in his stomach and who is so much like Danny in every way that Zayn can ever imagine - his patience, his willingness to hear what Zayn has to say and his earnestness. Except with Danny there were rules, and Danny expected certain behavior from his Subs that Zayn was eager to comply with. With Liam however, it’s a free-for-all - no getting up to do chores, no having to report his whereabouts at every hour of the day, no unquestioning obedience or strict routines. Hell, they rarely even take their meals on time.

And Zayn - Zayn loves this new life. Every single day was different with Liam, be it calling in favors from his Art student friends to sneak Zayn into the school’s studios, crashing Harry’s classes, or cheering Liam and Niall on from the bleachers - Zayn loves it all.

All he wants, is for Liam to feel the same way about him.

“You know Hazza would never cheat on you Lou,” Liam says reasonably.

“How would I know that?” the Sub in Liam’s arms retorts, “I saw him! He was laughing and flirting with that girl from his class, and he moved away guiltily as soon as he saw me looking.”

“You know he only flirts with them to get notes,” Liam replies as he runs a comforting hand up and down the raging Sub’s back.

“But I don’t like it!”

“I know, Lou, I know.”

“Tea?” Zayn asks pointedly and Liam shoots him a look of surprise.

“Thanks Zee,” Louis replies softly and Zayn almost feels guilty. It doesn’t stop him from sitting down quite forcefully next to Liam, as close as possible. Liam raises an eyebrow as though to ask what’s up with you but Zayn pretends not to see it in favor of glaring at the TV instead.

Niall chooses to ring the doorbell at this precise moment and Liam untangles himself from the mess of limbs to answer the door, re-enacting the same drill for what must be the 137th time in this year alone.

He isn’t disappointed. Niall’s wearing the same resigned look that Liam’s been sporting the entire afternoon, with Harry behind him looking properly chastised.

“Hazza’s got something to say to Lou,” Niall states, a tinge of amusement in his otherwise somber voice.

“Tell him I don’t wanna talk to him!” Louis says from his spot on the couch.

“Uh, he doesn’t want... ” Liam repeats before catching himself, “Hey, why am I taking orders from you? Besides, Hazza can hear you just fine.”

"I don't want to talk. Make him leave!"

There is silence for a while before Liam throws his arms up and stalks over to the couch, bodily pulling up Louis and pulling him to the doorway where Harry stands awkwardly, not knowing what to say.

“Now, talk. Seriously, this is getting out of hand,” Liam chastises, and this is the sternest that Zayn has ever heard Liam.

Harry mumbles something that Zayn can’t hear from his spot on the couch and Louis appears to soften. Liam is playing a moderator of sorts, speaking softly to the both of them, his brows slightly furrowed. Zayn can hear snatches of what sounds like act like grownups and talk it out before running out the door but honestly, he doesn’t really know what to do because now everything is awkward, the three of them are muttering, and Zayn just wants to sink into the sofa and pretend he’s not there.

He settles for heading to the kitchen, and if anybody asks, he’s just bringing out snacks for everyone.

“Here to hide from the storm?” a familiar, accented voice teases and Zayn turns back to see a grinning Niall. 

“Makes two of us,” Zayn teases right back, smiling. He does like Niall, really. As a friend.

“You know, I’ve never gotten round to thanking you for getting us out of quite a spot last Friday” Niall says, “Liam told me you broke that jerk’s jaw. Impressive.”

Zayn’s fingers scratch the back of his neck embarrassedly at Niall’s praise and mumbles, “It’s nothing, really. You guys would have done the same for me.”

“I’m just going to cut to the chase here,” Niall says as he crosses the kitchen to where Zayn is, “Liam tells me that whatever you two have is just contractual, so I’m thinking I still get a chance with you. So, one date?”

“But... I...”

“C’mon, Zayn. Just one date. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll still be friends and there’ll be no hard feelings. Live a little!”

Just one date, Zayn thinks. It doesn’t sound like an altogether terrible idea. After all, Liam did say that he needed to get out more, and Niall’s a nice enough guy. Besides, Liam had been (unintentionally) making Zayn jealous with Louis all day, it wouldn’t be all that unreasonable for Zayn to play a little hard to get sometimes, would it? Besides, what was it they had said in Sub class in high school - yeah - tantalize your Dom a little. Now Zayn has never tried that, opting instead to wear his heart on his sleeve, but hey, new city, new life right?

“Yeah. One date. One date’s fine I guess.” Zayn says.

He tries to quash the feeling of rising guilt at using Niall to attract Liam’s attention, and ignores the sick feeling in his stomach at doing something so bad and wrong and bordering on unfaithful. Sure, it’s not the way he was raised, but survivors adapt, don’t they?

“Right, I think they should be finished about now,” Niall beams and takes his hand, leading him out to where, sure enough, Lou and Hazza are embracing while Liam looks on like a proud father.

Zayn wants to let go of Niall’s hand but Liam’s catches sight of them soon enough and raises an eyebrow at their clasped hands before breaking out into a slight smile. Zayn tries not to be disappointed.

New city, new life. Right?

Chapter Text

Zayn loves Liam’s plaid button-down. It’s well-worn in all the right places and hangs slightly off his narrower shoulders. He has to roll the sleeves up to make it fit, but Zayn loves the way the fabric envelops him in a perpetual hug. The unmistakable scent of Liam, Dom and home  puts him at ease in a way no one else has ever done before.

Right now, he’s fiddling with the sleeves yet again as he watches the door, waiting for Niall to swing by for date night. Part of him already regrets agreeing. What would Yaser say about him going out with another Dom, especially one that’s his Dom’s best friend? The treacherous part of his mind supplies - But you want to find out how Liam really feels about you, don’t you?

Careful fingers find their way Zayn’s collar as Liam straightens it, smiling as he tells Zayn not to be nervous.

“You’ve always worn it better,” Liam comments, looking pleased at Zayn’s getup. Zayn can’t help the swell in his heart and the slight guilt that follows, so he settles for smiling back.

“Nervous for your first proper date?”

“A little. The place we’re going to... I hear it’s posh.”

Liam seems to freeze a little at this but recovers in time to answer, “It’s not a place I go to but you might like it. It’s a little... traditional.”

“Traditional?”

“It’s a popular place for dates. Um... Doms like to take their Subs there if they’re really serious about them and y’know... yeah.”

“But you don’t like it?”

Liam shakes his head and shrugs, “Not my kind of place. Not Niall’s either but we figured it might be more your style.”

Zayn doesn’t know how to feel because Niall and Liam discussed this and Liam agreed to let Niall take his Sub out and that should upset him. But he can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy that his Dom, Liam, took pains to think up a place that he thought he would like, even if it wasn’t somewhere he enjoyed.

He doesn’t have much time to ponder because Liam’s doorbell sounds and Liam is leading him up by the arm and guiding him gently to the door, smiling as he teases, “I feel like I’m sending my son off to prom.”

Zayn blushes and studies his converses as Niall soon comes into view, bright smiles in his crisp white shirt and blue jeans. He holds out a hand for Zayn to take and Liam just continues standing there, all proud parent-like.

It isn’t until he sends them off with a warning to Niall to have Zayn back home by 11 that Liam heaves a great sigh and heads to the bedroom to lie in Zayn’s spot for a while, burying his nose in Zayn’s (his) pillow and missing him already.

 

They head to a restaurant that’s a lot like the ones back home, single tables bathed in romantic candlelight set for one, with a plush red cushion placed just to the right of the solo seat. It does seem popular though - three-quarters of the place is already filled even though it’s early into dinner time. Zayn feels his stomach knot a little at the familiarity of it all, just like home, he thinks, but he can’t help but wonder what Liam would say about this. Would he be displeased? Wouldn’t he want Zayn and Harry and Louis by his side, squashed in a booth eating burgers and flinging fries at each other, instead of just sitting opposite Niall with his three friends under the table?

Zayn quickly wills his treacherous mind to focus on kind, bright Niall instead and allows himself to be led over to a inconspicuous table at the corner, sinking to his knees on the surprisingly comfortable cushion while waiting for Niall to order.

He lets his thoughts wander to the couples around him and the happy contented Subs eating out of their Doms hands. Zayn makes eye contact with a gorgeous blond boy just two tables away from him who’s currently eating dessert from his Dom’s spoon and exchanges a tentative smile. His Dom is a pretty brunette decked in killer heels and looks at him with such adoration that Zayn can literally feel the secondhand happiness from his spot. There’s a couple of girls just to his right - a double date then, and a young boy with curls who’s currently nuzzling his Dom’s thigh. Zayn watches Niall from the corner of his eye - the boy is clearly out of his element and uncomfortable with sitting alone. Zayn hasn’t been in this city very long, but he knows from the places that Liam, Niall, Louis and Harry have shown him that places like these are not very common anymore. City folk like Liam, especially, give this place a wide berth. All these modern people, Zayn thinks, a little sadly to himself as he watches the others - they’ll never understand how happy and content it makes him to be cared for like that.

“Niall,” Zayn calls for the boy softly as he puzzles over the menu.

“Yeah?”

“We don’t have to, if you don’t wanna. We can get burgers or something. I like burgers.”

Niall’s face breaks into a grin, “Really? I mean, I thought you’d like this place better or something but this seriously creeps me out.”

Zayn giggles a little and tugs on his hand, “C’mon, my big, strong Dom date. Let’s go get some burgers.”

Zayn allows himself to be led out by the hand as Niall apologizes sheepishly for not eating there after all. His knees ache with the desire to kneel but he forces his feet to keep moving, trailing after Niall as they head off to the car.

They end up eating burgers in the backseat of Niall’s car, talking and watching the city lights. Zayn learns that Niall lives alone in Atlanta as his family’s in Ireland and the lads are all the family he’s got. Niall’s shares embarrassing story after embarrassing story about Liam, Harry and Louis, and Zayn is in fits by the end of the night.

“And how about you then? How d’you like life in the city?”

“It’s all good,” Zayn replies.

“You like it better than your town?”

Zayn shrugs, “It’s different.”

“Different how?”

Liam. Liam is what makes it different, Zayn wants to say, the city is cold and strange, but Liam makes it better. But he replies, “People are different. Everyone seems to be in a hurry though.”

“Busy people here. Not as bad as New York though. You’ve ever been up to the Big Apple?”

Zayn shakes his head, “I’ve only gone out of state once. To Disneyland. When I was ten.”

“I love Disney! We all are. Liam especially,” Niall laughs, “his favorite one’s Toy Story. Have you seen his Buzz Lightyear jammies? They’re hilarious but they’re his favorite.”

Zayn laughs along with Niall because yes, he is very familiar with Liam’s multiple pairs of Disney-themed sleep pants. He’s been wearing the Woody ones to bed for the past week.

“What’s your favorite then?” Niall asks.

“Aladdin. I’ve always wanted to fly around on a magic carpet.”

“Say, you do look a little like Jasmine yourself,” Niall comments.

“Why aren’t I Aladdin?” Zayn asks.

“Liam’s Aladdin, Princess.”

“I’m...” Zayn stops himself as he realizes what Niall is saying, “Niall...”

“S’ okay Zayn. Liam’s my best mate and you’re honestly the prettiest, sweetest Sub I’ve ever met.... but don’t tell Lou and Hazza I said that,” Niall grins at Zayn, “And you’re completely gone for him, aren’t you?”

“Is it that obvious?” Zayn chews on his lip nervously, “I.. I didn’t mean to.”

“Your smile could power an entire building every time we talk about Liam,” Niall says, “And of course the fact that you insist on wearing his clothes even though they don’t fit that right. You smell like Liam, anyone ever told you that? It’s like he’s marked his territory with a big red X.”

“But he doesn’t feel that way about me, does he?”

“He likes you well enough. Liam cares for you Zayn. Differently from how he is with Lou and Hazza. He made me, his best mate, promise not to hurt you, you know that? You thought he’d trust me better than that.”

“He feels responsible for me,” Zayn says quietly, “Because we have to be married.”

“Zayn,” Niall says seriously, “Are you ready to marry him then?”

Zayn shakes his head, “It’s everything I know. I’m supposed to want to. But I don’t know.”

“But you love him?”

“I think I do, Niall. I think I do.”

 

Liam answers the door at 11pm on the dot in his Buzz Lightyear pyjamas and Zayn lets out a chuckle at the sight of him in his getup, despite seeing him in the same set of pyjamas several times before. 

“I take it the date went well then?” Liam forces a smile as he addresses Niall.

“Nah it sucked,” Niall waves dismissively at Zayn, “I’m more a Rapunzel kind of guy you know. This one expects carpets, lamps, genies... the works.”

“You’re a cheapskate who just wants to climb my hair,” Zayn retorts, elbowing Niall in the side.

Liam’s mouth falls open and a bemused expression finds its way to his face, “So it didn’t go well. But it did?”

“Yeah you could say that,” Zayn grins as he makes his way under Liam’s outstretched arm and into the hallway, “Bye Flynn Rider!”

“Bye Princess!” Niall performs an exaggerated bow and turns to leave, leaving an utterly confused Liam standing frozen by his door. What he doesn’t expect, is a warm body coming up to him from behind and Zayn’s arms around his waist.

“I missed you and I’m tired. Take me to bed please?” the shorter boy whispers.

Liam turns to face Zayn and pushes his chin up gently with a finger, “You okay?”

“Tired,” Zayn only says as he buries his head in the crook of Liam’s neck, “Sleep.”

Chapter Text

Like clockwork, Liam wakes up to go for his daily run. It’s funny how just less than a month ago he’d have to set two alarms, but relies entirely on biology now, since he’s got someone else in bed now and it just wouldn’t be nice to disturb Zayn’s sleep. Though Liam is convinced that Zayn could probably sleep through an earthquake - Liam walked home to an ink-covered Zayn once, still peacefully snoozing as Louis and Harry continued drawing all over him.

It took a long time for Liam to fall asleep after Zayn had curled up in his arms the night before, freshly showered and bundled up in one of his old sweatshirts. Having to smile while watching Niall take Zayn’s hand was probably the hardest thing he’d had to do ever since he moved in. And Liam may be a terrible person for thinking this way, but he was relieved when Niall and Zayn didn’t work out, because it meant that he could have Zayn for a little while longer, selfish as that sounds.

He’s been thinking about what this all means though - getting married, building a life with Zayn straight out of college, maybe even a family. He can’t quite say he minds having Zayn by his side right now, but the thought of marriage just terrifies him. He barely knows how to be a boyfriend or the kind of Dom that Zayn’s used to, and now he has to be a husband

Above all, Liam’s afraid of fucking it all up with Zayn. He knows that he’s the closest thing to family Zayn has out here alone, left to fend for himself by the man who raised him. What if Liam had kicked him out the day he arrived? But Zayn’s been surprisingly resilient, soaking up every new experience and wandering into new places with the a wide-eyed wonder that made him seem a lot younger than his 21 years.

It’s funny how Liam’s has had Zayn’s little quirks memorized by now - how he can fall asleep on any warm body in any place, but stirs restlessly and gets up when said body is removed. How Zayn has a bag of clothes in a bag on Liam’s couch, but prefers to wear Liam’s old shirts. How Louis can tease him till he goes red, but a minute later the two are plotting some sort of mischief, often with Harry as the victim.

And Zayn’s mind - it never fails to enthrall Liam. When Zayn talks about his favorite books or his hobbies, or shyly hums songs that he’s written - Liam can only wonder how a boy like him can contain so much and yet be so shy and self-deprecating.

Liam lingers a little a longer today - Zayn’s faced away from him, tucked into his arms, his back bathed in the early rays of morning sunlight. Liam traces the contours of his back, where his shoulder bones protrude, and runs his fingers over the barely noticeable faded scar that crosses his right upper back. He’s always wanted to ask about it, but he’s not sure if Zayn would mind.

“I cheated. Once,” Zayn mutters softly as Liam’s fingertips continue to stroke his skin, taking Liam by surprise as he’s never up this early.

“Cheated? Did your.. did your ex do this?” Liam asks, fingers never leaving Zayn’s back, his eyebrows furrowing into a frown as he thinks about another person hurting Zayn.

“No. I cheated on you, once. I got caught by my father. That’s how I got that. It didn’t heal right,” Zayn’s soft morning voice replies.

“But we’re not.. we’re...”

“No, don’t say it please. Please, Liam.”

“Say what?”

“Say that we’re not together, or that you don’t want to marry me. Or that you don’t like me, or boys. Just let me pretend for a while more that this is real.”

“Zayn...”

“You opened up your house to me, and you made this city home for me, and I’m grateful. You’re so nice, so sweet - you’re everything I imagined. And I knew I couldn’t be this lucky, I don’t deserve you. But let me pretend for a while longer before you send me back, please?”

“I’m not sending you back,” Liam says.

“You don’t have to keep me because you feel bad. I’ve imposed enough, and...”

“No, you listen to me,” Liam interrupts as he moves up to straddle Zayn, turning the smaller boy’s body so that he’s facing him as he looks Zayn in the eye, “You deserve this. But not this way.”

“What other way is there? I’m... I’m just sorry you don’t have a choice,” Zayn replies, “I’m sorry that I think I’m in love with you and you think it’s your responsibility to take care of me. And I’m.. I’m stupid to think that I could make you fall in love with me in a month and ride off into the sunset and...”

“Ride off into the sunset?”

“Oh god, Liam. Like in the movies, where they fall in love and they walk off in the direction of the beach with the setting sun as the background?”

“Yeah, I never really figured out why...”

“It’s supposed to mean happily ever after. Like walking into eternity together,” Zayn’s eyes flit away nervously. He’s pretty sure his cheeks are coloring by now and hopes that Liam doesn’t notice, though it’d be hard not to at this proximity.

“And you’d like that? With me?”

“More than anything.” And Zayn just wishes that Liam will get off him and leave him to cry into his pillow or something, because now you’ve gone and scared him off with your talk about commitment and love and happily ever after, and you know Doms don’t like that.

“I’d like that too,” Liam admits softly.

Zayn looks up in surprise, trying to detect any sense of pity or lies on Liam’s face, but all he sees in Liam’s earnest, earnest smile and those beautiful, kind brown eyes.

“But not this way, Zayn,” Liam continues, “Not because you’re a Sub and I’m a Dom and we’re arranged. And not because I know that you’ll be blindly loyal to me, and that you’ll forgive me even if I hurt you. I want to know you, memorize everything about you. I want to know about what you love, and what you hate. I want to get inside that pretty little head of yours and see the world like you do. I bet it’s pretty and colorful and full of good thoughts and kind words.”

“It’s not...” Zayn can feel the tears coming up now and he wills himself not to cry in front of Liam. Again.

“And I want to know why you think so little of yourself. Why you think that a person like you who’s so beautiful, intelligent and with goodness shining out of you would ever think that you don’t deserve Liam. Regular, plain, Liam who’s good with a ball but not so great with words. Liam who must have lucked out because you are the best thing in the world that has happened to me. And I’m sorry.”

Liam’s fingers move down to draw tiny circles over Zayn’s chest where his heart is, “I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel like I don’t want you around, because honestly, there’s nowhere I rather be than in bed with you in my arms, and coming back to your cooking, even if I have to run extra laps because of those.”

“You don’t have to say sorry. I... You never made me feel that way. And I’m not as good as you say.”

“But you are, Zee. You’re always so good for me. And I’m going to set this right. Gonna romance you, gonna court you like I mean it, because I do. And marriage terrifies me, I know it must be scary for you too. But we’re going to face it, work through it or around it. I’ll never take advantage of you, Zayn. So, what do you say to giving me a chance? Let’s be boyfriends. Let’s do dates. Watch romantic and cheesy movies. Hold hands. All that, I can give it to you.”

Zayn doesn’t reply. He can’t really - he’s much too choked up and his eyes are too clouded with relieved tears to actually respond. But when he feels rough fingers come up to wipe his tears away and a pair of soft lips kissing him, first on the forehead, and then on the lips, he know he’s home. Liam is home.

Chapter Text

If there was one thing that Zayn knows about life, it would be that if things seemed too good to be true, they probably are. And Liam’s a good thing. Too good.

They had fallen in a frenzy, making up for lost time as Liam held him in his arms and peppered his face with endless kisses and whispered things in his ear that made him blush and giggle. They stayed in bed and made pancakes and done every cheesy couple thing in the movies that he could think of. And Zayn’s cheeks had ached with the force of his smile and his heart burned fiercely with content as he made a nest of Liam’s arms by night.

The absence of said nest and hushed whispers was what roused Zayn from his sleep as he finds himself half peeking into the living area, wondering what it is that Liam’s going on about that has got his Dom so flustered, his hand coming up to card frustrated fingers through his short hair as Zayn overhears snatches of “but that’s not fair” and “I can’t do that to him”.

“Hey baby,” Liam looks up to see Zayn watching from the doorway, his hair standing up in places that make him look like a five-year old child and a sex kitten all at once. Liam swallows the lump in his throat at the sight. They haven’t had sex yet - Liam had been too afraid of overstepping his boundaries and taking advantage of the Sub to progress beyond heavy makeout sessions that got them both hot and bothered.

“Hi,” Zayn colors when he realizes he’s been caught eavesdropping, “What happened?”

Liam’s face crumbles a little. “Oh, sweetheart… I, I’m… I may have gotten my father to look into the contract Yaser dropped off that day.”

“And?” Zayn asks timidly.

“It’s not binding.”

“What does that mean?” the Sub asks, teeth worrying at his bottom lip as he tries to read Liam’s face for any sign of what’s to come.

“We don’t… legally have to get married. I mean, I’m not saying I don’t want to be with you, but...”

“But?”

Liam doesn’t know how to answer that innocent question. He can’t look into Zayn’s wide, hazel eyes and tell the Sub that he’s terrified of being responsible for another living, breathing human being.

They may both be 21, but their difference in status means that while Liam has pretty much free reign over whatever he decides to do with his life, Zayn is still under his Dom’s guardianship. His Dom - for now at least - is Yaser, but Liam will soon have to fill in his name and sign on the dotted line on the Transfer of Guardianship papers so that Zayn is well and truly his.

And since Liam is now of age and the agreement has been deemed null and void as he had never consented to it, and that his legal guardian who had agreed on his behalf had been absent from his life for a considerable amount of time, Liam is essentially a free man.

But those same wide hazel eyes are now clouded with realization and flashes of betrayal, and suddenly Liam doesn’t feel free at all.

“You don’t want me anymore,” Zayn’s normally soft voice is barely a whisper, and he says it like a statement, not a question.

“Zayn...”

The Sub shakes his head, defeated. It was always this way and it always would be. He’d have one good thing and then someone would take it away.

It happened with Yaser when Zayn first presented. He’d always reprimanded Zayn for being too “soft”, but when his only son had presented as a Sub, Yaser just could not keep the disappointment off his face. He had come round soon enough, teaching him how to please his Doms and growing to love his son, Sub or not. But it still hurt to think that he would never be everything that Yaser wanted. His younger sisters had yet to present, but Zayn wished with all his heart that they would be Doms. Because he knew - he just knew - that life would be a lot easier for them then.

It happened with Danny too. Yaser had taken that away from him - the first boy Zayn truly loved - and given him a scar to remember him by.

And now it was happening with Liam too. Zayn would always be unwanted.

“I… I’ll just go pack.”

“No, don’t. Listen to me, baby...” Liam’s pleading now.

“It’s fine.. I’ll just go,” he says and turns to hurry back to the room, desperately trying to quell that awful feeling that’s gripping his heart.

But Liam is having none of that, making a split-second decision as he crosses the room in two strides to grab him fiercely from the back, enveloping the Sub almost painfully in a tight, warm hug. Zayn struggles to break free, only to be held back as Liam whispers in his ear, “Don’t be difficult, please.”

Zayn finds just enough strength in him to turn around, glaring at Liam fiercely as he can, “Difficult? Did you call me difficult?”

“Zee, c’mon. We’ll work through this. I promised, remember?”

“Yes, you did,” Zayn’s voice is deceptively calm now, though the tears streaming down his face tell a different story, “You promised. You said we’d work through this together. You said you were going to be there. But now I’m going home alone, and everybody will know that I couldn’t even be a good Sub for my Dom. And what does that make me? A failure, Liam.”

“You’re not.”

“But I am. I’m shy and awkward, I don’t know anything about the city. I’m teaching preschool because I can’t get elementary school kids to even take me seriously. I don’t know how to be the kind of Sub you want, Liam. But I’m trying, I tried! I tried to not be difficult. I tried not to want you to touch me and tell me I’m good, or let me kneel at your feet like I should. In my place. I keep crying. And I know it’s tiresome for you… But… I don’t know anymore Liam. I’m tired.”

“Is that what you want then?” Liam pulls Zayn close to him, till their noses are almost touching, his voice dangerously low, “Do you want me to touch you like that, all the time?”

“Of course. What are you saying, Liam?”

“I’m saying that I’m ready to marry you, that’s what, Zayn Malik. You know what? Fuck Yaser. Fuck my dad. Fuck this whole thing about not taking advantage of you. I don’t know everything about you, but I know that I love you. I’m going to be selfish and bind you to me for life,” Liam suddenly stops his rambling to look up at Zayn, as though he’s suddenly remembered something.

“Wait here,” he says, and walks to the bedroom, searching his drawers until he finds the flat, square box he’s looking for.

“Here,” Liam pulls out the contents with a flourish, smiling at Zayn as the Sub’s eyes widen even further in wonder, “I’ll put them on for you.”

Zayn’s never received a gift like this before - a pair of expensive, brown leather cuffs that fit perfectly round each of his wrists and unfasten in the middle so they can be worn daily.

Zayn Malik-Payne is inscribed in neat cursive inside both cuffs and Zayn looks up at Liam when he sees the words, questioning.

“You’re going to belong to me now, but I want you to keep a part of home with you. To remember where you come from,” Liam smiles awkwardly and scratches at his head, “And also because, let’s face it, Zayn Payne just sounds absolutely ridiculous.”

Zayn cracks a giggle at that and Liam takes the opportunity to grab him by the hand, collapsing on the couch in a heap, “You know, you’re so hot when you stand up to me. I like it better when you let that little spitfire in you show.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Maybe if you become a Malik-Payne too,” Zayn quips cheekily.

“I just might, you disobedient little shit,” Liam laughs, breathing in his Sub’s ear, “Liam Malik-Payne. How’s that sound?”

“Not half as nice as Zayn Malik-Payne does. But it’ll do.”

“Yeah, it’ll do,” Liam brings Zayn’s lips to his and whispers into their shared kiss, “You know what else I wanna do?”

“What?”

“I wanna take advantage of you, so bad. I’m gonna take those pretty leather cuffs and cuff you to my bed. Then I’m going to make you beg. And then...” Liam grins cheekily, his voice trailing off as he studies Zayn closely.

“Then?” Zayn asks nervously, not quite used to the predatory look in Liam’s eyes.

“I might give it to you. I might not. It depends on how good you are.”

There’s a lump rising in his throat and a funny feeling in his gut that won’t go away. Liam’s gaze on him is intense and Zayn is torn between wanting to look away, shying from the scrutiny and staring right back into his brown eyes, usually shining with kindness but now have a wild look in them that’s making Zayn’s stomach do flip flops.

He’s about to speak when the doorbell sounds, startling them both out of their intense staring match as Louis’ unmistakable voice sounds from outside the door.

“LIIIAMMMMM! ZAYNIEEEEEEE!”

Liam sighs, rolling his eyes as he makes his way to the door, “Coming, Louis.” leaving Zayn on the couch, his heart going at a mile a minute as his face flushes a deep, dark red.

Chapter Text

“No, wear this one!” Zayn tugs at Liam’s loose red jumper insistently and shoves a blue, fitted shirt at him instead.

“Oh, how the tables have turned,” Liam half grumbles as he shrugs his favorite jumper off and places it in Zayn’s waiting hands, “I almost miss the times when you were afraid of me. Now I don’t even get dibs on my own clothes.”

Scrunching up his nose at his Dom, Zayn pulls on the article of clothing that Liam’s just shed, retorting, “It looks better on me anyway.”

“That, it does,” Liam chuckles, pulling Zayn into his arms and whispering, “Now, how about helping me get this damn shirt on.”

They’re traveling up to Zayn’s old home today, so Liam can ‘meet the folks’ half a week before their ceremony, which Liam has steeled himself for by memorizing the entire wikipedia page on “Pakistani Wedding Customs”, much to Zayn’s amusement.

“We’re not that traditional, you know,” Zayn laughs as Liam asks for what must be the fifteenth time that day, if it’s true that they’d be kept away from each other for three days before the wedding.

“When we’re back, I’m going to marry you again in a little chapel though,” Liam says, “I’m traditional that way.”

“Or you can’t get enough of me.”

“Cheeky,” Liam pokes at Zayn’s nose, which the Sub immediately scrunches up, sticking out his tongue at Liam. “But true. We should get married every month. We’ll have a Chinese wedding next month, an Italian one next month, then...”

“I’ll bankrupt you.”

“You mean you won’t love me if I’m poor?”

“I’d love you anyway.”


And really, that’s enough. Liam knows they’re both being extra cheeky and disgusting with each other today to hide their collective nervousness at stepping foot in Zayn’s childhood home - a place Liam’s not sure if he should love or hate. He’s gotten over his disdain for Yaser and his ways by now - the way Zayn’s speaks about his family so lovingly and regards his father with such reverence has finally made Liam accept that though their family runs different from his, they don’t love Zayn any less. The thought that Zayn will be seen as his lesser, though, still makes Liam’s stomach churn with discomfort, and he can only hope that Zayn never believes that again.

Karen and Geoff are heading up too - they’d been introduced to Zayn in a Skype conversation after Liam told them that he was going ahead with the wedding anyway. The resolution on the screen may have been shit, and the connection crappy, but Liam could tell that his parents had taken to Zayn almost immediately. The Sub on the other hand, had been thrumming with nervous energy throughout the conversation, and turned instantly to Liam to ask “How did I do?” the second they hung up.


“Zayn?” Liam asks just as they bundle into the car to make the two-hour drive to Lakeview.

“Yeah?”

“You’re lovely and I’m lucky to have you. I’m going to love your folks too. Trust me, okay?”

“Okay,” Zayn gives Liam a reassuring, yet shaky smile, “Love you.”

“Love you more.”

Zayn, predictably, falls asleep during the ride, leaving Liam humming along to whatever’s on the radio. It’s just as well he’s got a GPS installed in the car because he’s hopeless at reading maps and the snoozing, limp form in his passenger seat is pretty much useless for the next two hours.

Liam doesn’t mind though. It’s times like this that he gets lost in his thoughts for a while, thinking about the future ahead. He hasn’t told Zayn yet, but he’s got a couple of interviews lined up in the next month with a few state football teams that are interested in taking him. In fact, Liam’s easily one of the highest-sought college players in the country, which means that he might have to move after he decides on the best offer.

What he isn’t sure about though, is whether he wants to make a career out of the NFL. After all, there’s only so long he can play before newer, younger players come up and he gets relegated to the sidelines. A little while longer, and perhaps Liam Payne the starlet will become Liam Payne the coach, having given the prime of his life to football.

He knows Niall has decided he’s done with football after college, though he’s almost as good as Liam, and no less in demand. “‘M selling out and goin’ corporate!” he had declared.

Quite honestly, he’s worried about Zayn. He’s due to start his new job the following month at the preschool Liam had seen, and he honestly doesn’t want to disrupt Zayn’s life anymore than he already has. Now he knows the Sub will surely follow him to the other end of the world if he asked, but what would he do when Liam’s away, playing for his team?

“I can hear you thinking,” Zayn says as Liam stops at a cross-junction, “You’re worried.”

“And you’re up, sleepyhead.”

“Why’re you worried?”

Sighing, Liam turns to look at Zayn before confessing, “Honestly, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do after graduation. Y’know, married man and all.”

“You’re going to be a star.”

“Can’t be a star without you.”

“You’ll come home often, won’t you? And I’ll have you when it’s off-season?”

“I might move to the other end of the country.”

“You’ll fly back every week, right? I’m sure the team is generous with their allowances for their star players.”

“Wanna take you with me.”

“Can’t put my promising teaching career away for you,” Zayn teases.

“Babe...” Liam looks at Zayn, his Zayn, trying to be strong for him and he feels guilty, “Come with me, babe. You’re not going to be a burden. They’re plenty of schools in the country that need teachers like you.” 

“If you go.”

“You’ll always come, right?”

“Only if...”

“I’d want you to. Honestly, I don’t think I can go anywhere without you.”

“You think my dad’s gonna ask you about your plans for us in the future?” Zayn looks out of the window at the now familiar streets, remembering that he’s about to go home. There’s a sinking feeling in his stomach that accompanies the excitement of seeing his family again. That sinking feeling that he can only attribute to the fear of how Liam will react to his family.

“Well then it’s great that we’ve gotten it sorted out now, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. But he sure wasn’t thinking when he dropped me off at your place though.”

“You okay, babe?” Liam frowns. It isn’t like Zayn to say anything negative about Yaser or his family at all. In fact, Liam had expected more excitement on his part, after not having seen his family for a month.

“I don’t… I don’t think you’ll like them, or love them. I’m sorry,” Zayn sighs as the car comes to a stop outside his familiar, yet foreign home, “We’re different from you.”

“But I love you, don’t I? And I’m not going to love you any less just because your family is different. Sure, maybe I don’t agree with some things they’ve done, but as far I can see, a family that raised someone like you, can’t be all that bad, can it?”


Zayn gives a weary smile, stepping out into the cold as Liam comes up beside him, grasping his right hand in his tightly.

“Welcome home, baby.”


Liam honestly expected the Malik household to be more… different. But other than the exotic fragrance of Pakistani food wafting from the kitchen, Zayn’s childhood home is very much like Liam’s own, with pictures of the Maliks dotting the walls. A place that is unmistakably home, and a very warm one at that. 

Yaser heads for Zayn the minute the pair step in, pulling the boy into a hug and ruffling his hair fondly. He offers a Liam a hand, which Liam takes and shakes stiffly, their previous exchange not forgotten. As gesture of goodwill and out of consideration for Zayn though, Liam cracks a small smile and nods at Yaser as he’s offered a seat.

It shouldn’t unsettle Liam this way when Zayn instinctively goes to sit on the floor between his legs, his head coming to rest on Liam’s knee. Afterall, Zayn had begged him to go with it, as though Liam wouldn’t put up with anything for his sake. He settles for running his fingers through Zayn’s dark mop of hair and pulling gently like how Zayn likes it, earning a pleased hum from his Sub.

“He is sweet, isn’t he?” says Yaser, addressing Liam quite literally over Zayn’s head.

“He is,” Liam replies, looking down as he speaks to Zayn sincerely, “The sweetest.”

“Only because you haven’t met his mum.”

Liam raises an eyebrow as Zayn chuckles, prompting Yaser to give an amused bark of laughter before he says, “They say when you meet the one, you just know. Still as madly in love with her as when we first met.”

Liam laughs too, because, of course he knows that feeling, Zayn makes him feel it every single minute of the day. As if on cue, Tricia comes out of the kitchen with snacks and apologizing for not coming out to meet him earlier.

“There was a riot in the kitchen, what with Waliyha and Safaa being no help at all!” she exclaims, gesturing to the two young girls who’ve bounded out of the kitchen, excited to meet Liam.

Liam cannot help but notice how much Zayn looks like his mother and sisters, with matching deep set eyes and dark hair. Zayn’s smile, though, was definitely a product of Yaser’s - the same open laugh and possibly the same quirky sense of humor too. He thinks he can definitely learn to like this family.

“Is he your boyfriend?” Safaa, the youngest, asks Zayn and the older Sub instantly blushes, not having had to field such questions before.

“Husband,” Liam corrects, beaming at the little girl, “A little late to the party, aren’t you, Princess?”

“I’m not a princess! I’m a pirate!” Safaa declares before launching herself into Zayn’s lap, “Zayn’s the princess!”

“Safaa!” Tricia and Zayn both exclaim at her in a mixture of horror and amusement.

“Gonna grow up to be a Dom or the most impossible Sub ever, this one. Waliyha too.” Yaser comments, “You can always tell with your own. That’s what a friend of mine used to say.”

“My dad?” Liam ventures, feeling particularly brave now that the ice’s been broken.

“You’re a smart one, aren’t you? Yeah, James always knew. He’d tell me things about you. Always beaming with pride whenever he mentioned his Liam. And I’d never seen you or met you. But looking at my boy… I just knew.”

Liam can feel Zayn tensing from where he’s seated, as though preparing for Liam to make some kind of snarky remark the way he always does when his dad is mentioned.

Yaser’s right though, what he says about just knowing. Having a Sub changes you, and knowing he’s definitely the one has made Liam particularly soft and open when it comes to Zayn. He can feel Zayn’s anxiety and worry, and Liam wants nothing more than to tamp it down and to reassure him that everything’s gonna be alright.

“My dad… He’s made one good choice then,” Liam manages, smiling as he continues to play with his Sub’s hair, feeling his worry melt away at Liam’s civil reply.

The stereotype about Pakistani families is true though. After being introduced to Zayn’s older sister, Doniya, who’d given him the sister’s version of a shovel talk and warned him to take care of my baby brother, Liam had been shown so many Uncles, Aunties and friends of the family that he was about to lose track of who was Yaser’s sister’s husband’s brother, or which one of the cousins it was now running into the living room, playing catch with yet another cousin Liam couldn’t remember the name of.

There’s something about large families that warms Liam’s heart. He’d never had siblings or many cousins his age growing up, and watching as Zayn plays with his cousins and little sisters makes him wonder if his Sub would ever be up for adopting one… or six children and building a big family of their own. Harry and Louis would want in on them too, and they’d probably be the Uncles that spoiled their kids rotten. Niall would probably kidnap them from time to time and try to teach them guitar or football.

And Zayn? Zayn would be the best dad ever. He’d tell them stories and sing to them, teach them English and Math and important things like how to be a good person. And Liam would teach them football and deal with the bullies at school. He’d probably have to be the disciplinarian too while Zayn would kiss their boo boos, comfort them and coddle them. They would make the most lovely family.

Liam just knows.

Chapter Text

 

Liam adjusts himself self-consciously in the mirror as he tries on his outfit for the next day. The traditional outfit sits strangely on him, and he’s never actually worn anything this red in his life. They’ll be separated for a night before the actual wedding day, and Liam feels strangely out of place in Zayn’s home.

The thought is silly of course. Zayn is just two rooms away and Liam could definitely get away with sneaking in to see him. But Zayn’s heritage is important to him, and he knows he should respect their customs, strange as they may be to him. He’s lucky he’s got Niall with him though, and a couple of his best football buddies who’d come to throw him the equivalent of a bachelor’s party.

Of course, Louis and Harry had come to accompany Zayn as he was being fussed over by his mum and relatives. It’s funny though, because if Liam had been marrying anyone else, Louis and Harry would have thrown him the most epic bachelor’s party ever. But the two had defected to Zayn’s camp practically at the instant they met him, and Liam wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Zayn’s leather cuffs had stayed on throughout the entirety of their visit. In fact, the Sub had never taken them off ever since Liam had put them on him. That should have been binding enough, a promise to Zayn that he was Liam’s and vice-versa, but Liam wants their union to be special. He’d gone for matching silver bands, no flashy diamonds or gems, but simple rings. He knows Zayn isn’t expecting it - he was surprised enough when Liam gave him the cuffs - but Liam’s decided that he wants to spend every day of his life showing Zayn how much he loves him, and a reminder wouldn’t hurt.

Zayn, on the other hand, can’t stop himself from beaming as Tricia fusses over him, decorating his hands and feet with henna and peppering soft kisses to his forehead and face. His sisters are with him too, laughing and fawning over him as they trade their opinions of his Liam. Safaa and Walihya are already charmed by Louis and Harry, and Safaa’s decided that Harry’s going to marry her as soon as she’s old enough. Doniya’s a little reticent - not quite used to Subs like them who are well, nothing like Zayn.

“He’s claimed you then?” she asks softly as she watches her brother play with his cuffs again when Trisha leaves the room and her two younger sisters are too busy being enamored with Louis and Harry.

Smiling, Zayn shakes his head and replies, “He hasn’t… We… Liam says he wants to wait.”

“Never pegged him to be so proper,” she teases.

“He says I’m different,” Zayn says, growing red, “Special.”

“That, you are, baby brother.”

“‘M not a baby.”

“You’ll always be to me. You, and Walihya and Safaa. Always our babies,” Doniya counters, voice growing serious as she adds, “If he changes though… If he’s not the guy you thought he was. You know you can always come home to us.”

Zayn shakes his head, smiling resolutely, “No, Doniya. Liam… Liam is everything.”

“I’m glad, I’m glad.”



Liam never thought he’d be this ready to give up his freedom, but after a final night of partying in what’s probably Lakeview’s only bar, all he wants to do is see Zayn and start on the rest of their life already.

Geoff and Karen have arrived and are beaming proudly at him from the front of the audience. Karen looks like she’s cried a fair bit over the whole thing already, and Geoff is just a stable, reassuring presence. Niall, Louis and Harry are right next to them, waving excitedly every time Liam looks their way.

Liam’s unmistakably nervous, fingers worrying at the ring in his pocket as he waits for Zayn to enter. The entire room is three-quarters full with Zayn’s relatives, and Liam feels even more self-conscious as his heart beats a heavy rhythm in his chest.

Eventually Zayn does arrive, accompanied by Yaser. Half his face is obscured by a veil, and his beautiful brown eyes search out Liam from the moment he enters the room, crinkling up as he sees his Dom. The music starts up, but every note is shut out as Liam watches Zayn come toward him, his matching red outfit glistening in the morning sun. Zayn doesn’t stop smiling.

The room is silent even as the music starts up, because Liam cannot hear or see anything other than the beautiful, veiled being making his way shyly toward him.

They’ve gone through this verbally, but Liam’s heart still misses a beat when Zayn kneels before him, looking up with large, doe eyes as he waits for Liam to slip off his veil. Fingers shaking, Liam removes the material to rapturous cheers, and the music plays even louder, faster before Liam crouches too, kneeling awkwardly as he brings the silver bands up to Zayn’s eye level. 

“I know people don’t go with rings these days,” Liam says by way of explaining, “But I liked these. I want you to have one as a reminder of how much you mean to me and how much I love you and will continue to for the rest of my life. And I want you to put mine on for me too, because I’m yours as much as you are mine.”

Zayn wants to curse his useless tears because Liam is barely halfway through his sentence before he is nodding furiously, shoulders shaking and vision blurred by the tears that refuse to stop trickling out of his eyes. He can barely compose himself before he realizes that Liam is slipping on the cool metal for him and guiding his fingers to do the same too.

And if Zayn could look up and around, he’d see that he’s not alone - there’s hardly a dry eye in the audience. Harry’s eyes are puffy from sobbing and even Niall is dabbing at his. Yaser manages to keep a stoic front, but even his eyes are red-rimmed too.

There’s a lot more handshaking and smiling and introductions to relatives after that, but all Liam remembers about the day is how proud Zayn looks standing by him, and how much it meant to put his name to paper, to have Zayn forever. How Zayn signed his name without hesitation on the piece of paper that essentially turned over ownership rights from his father to another Dom, his unwavering trust in Liam, and the smile that never seems to fade from his eyes now that they’re well and properly married.



So Liam really shouldn’t be jittery about tonight - their first night together as husbands, but he is. It’s not like he’s never done this before, but with Zayn, it’s different. He seems so fragile, almost breakable, and Liam finds it hard to deal with the fact that he’s going to be the one robbing the Sub of his innocence.

Now Liam has absolutely no idea if he’s good in bed or not. Danielle and his few one-night stands never had any complaints. But Zayn’s definitely not just another one-night stand, and Liam hopes he isn’t so spectacularly bad in bed that he ruins it for him forever.

“Penny for your thoughts?” a familiar voice asks, skinny arms coming to wrap round Liam’s broad waist from the back.

“‘S nothing much really.”

“Lou and Haz have been making bets ever since the day we met on when you would finally jump me.”

“They did?”

“And I bet that you’d hold out till we were properly married and all, because you’re a gentleman that way. Looks like I was right then.”

“Does it scare you that you’d never know how shitty of a sexual partner I’d be until tonight?”

“I never thought you’d be shitty. In fact, I was hoping I wouldn’t win,” Zayn replies cheekily, mouth coming to nibble softly at Liam’s ear. 

“You’re a minx, you know that?” Liam turns over to pin his husband down on the bed, breath ghosting over Zayn’s lips, “A right temptation.”

“Do I tempt you?”

“You know you fucking do.”

“You should give in to temptation then.”

“When?” Liam teases, bending down to kiss Zayn.

“Right now. Right now would be good,” he mutters against Liam’s soft lips.

“Right now then.”

Chapter Text

The sun hangs bright in the sky on a Wednesday morning, and the Miami Dolphins’ latest sensation, quarterback Liam Payne signs a few quick autographs before heading to the departure gates, hand firmly clasped in the hand of one Zayn Malik.

It’s been two years of being married and another since Liam’s shot to the spotlight - the NFL’s new darling. Stardom has been surprisingly kind to Liam, and he’s become a sporting celebrity of sorts, granting interviews practically on a weekly basis. The press, it seems, can’t get enough of the soft-spoken, sensitive Dom and his adoring anecdotes about his Sub.

“I swear, you’re a bigger hit with the fans than I am,” chuckles Liam as he leans over to show Zayn the magazine he’s reading, an admittedly trashy publication with one of the headlines screaming “HOW TO DRESS LIKE LIAM PAYNE’S SUB!”

“They just want to get a Dom like you. Why else would anybody want to look like me?” Zayn answers dismissively. He’s never been fond of attention from anyone other than his family or Liam, and the fame that comes from being Liam Payne’s Sub is more frightful than flattering on most days.

Liam frowns a little at that comment. He’s always known that Zayn never thought much of himself, years of Sub education having been ingrained into him. Still, he thought that they’d been making progress.

“Have you looked in a mirror lately though, my beautiful lover?”

Eyebrow raised, Zayn tries for unimpressed, but fails spectacularly as he dissolves into soft giggles.

Two years on, and they’re still madly in love with each other. Despite Liam’s heavy training schedule, they still have date night every week, and Liam even came down for Career Day at Liam’s school to read to his preschoolers.

It’s the little things like these that Liam does that makes Zayn feel a little better about being away from Atlanta, where their friends have stayed. On nights when Liam’s away or simply too knackered from peak season training, he misses his little house in Lakeview and Louis and Harry’s inane bickering. Though they live a lot better now and Zayn’s more often than not papped exiting Whole Foods, rather than say, a Domino’s, he really misses the life they used to have.

“Penny for your thoughts, babe?”

“I married a millionaire and I only get a penny?”

“What’s mine’s yours too, you know that,” Liam ruffles his hair, a habit he never really got out of. “So, my love, what’s got you all thoughtful?”

“I’m just happy to be going home. Can’t believe I get you for two whole weeks now. And I can’t believe Harry and Louis are finally getting married.”

They’d received the invitation, addressed to Mr and Mr Malik-Payne just over a month ago, and Zayn had been a ball of energy ever since, skyping Louis and Harry nearly everyday just to find out how things were going with the wedding. In fact, they’d even taken Zayn Skype-shopping for their tuxes, much to Liam’s amusement. “It’s a Sub thing! You’ll never understand!” the three of them had said almost synchronously at his outward expression of confusion, and Liam had shut up ever since.




Liam is nearly tackled down by an excited Niall as he exits the arrival hall, followed by an armful of Harry&Louis. They quickly turn their attention to Zayn, messing up his hair and pinching his cheeks as they collapse into an all-Sub hug, reminiscent of the first day they’d met. 

“We almost thought you wouldn’t come!” Louis exclaims.

“We only ever get to hear about The Payne Train from the news! Have you forgotten us?” Harry demands.

Liam groans at the nickname that’s been fashioned for him by one of those up-and-coming Youtube starlets who happens to be a huge fan of his.

Sure, it’s flattering, but also sounds incredibly like a stripper’s name.

“Couldn’t if I tried,” Liam deadpans, “You’ve scarred me for life.”

“How do you live with him, Zayn?”

“I live for his wit, don’t you know?”

“And also his Paynis,” finishes Louis, “WE KNOW ALL ABOUT THE PAYNIS.”

Liam groans, rather audibly this time. Damn those gossip mags and the Youtubers and the fangirls who live on Tumblr.

Zayn’s flushed a bright red, an incredible feat considering that the sun in Miami has given his already dark skin an even darker tone. “Shut up Louis,” he manages weakly.

“So,” Liam starts, desperately trying to change the subject, “Tell us all about the wedding.”

“Oh... You’ll just have to find out yourself, won’t you?” Louis says, a gleam in his eye that Liam’s learned not to trust.




The thing about the Paynis though… is that it actually is a thing. 

Zayn hasn’t seen many dicks in his life, but he’s pretty sure that Liam’s sized much larger than most Doms. It’d hurt like a bitch the first, second, third and subsequent few times that Liam had put it in him, but he’d eventually got used to the length and girth on him, growing to love it in fact, every time Liam held him down and pounded him into the mattress. 

It’d been a long time since they’d got up to some proper lovemaking though, what with Liam’s busy schedule and all, and Zayn’s been feeling particularly on edge.

Now that they’ve got an entire suite on their own, courtesy of Liam’s particularly impressive paycheck, Zayn intends to spend it with his legs spread as far apart and for as long as possible.

So he’s a bit of a slut in the way he’s got himself all lubed up and ready while Liam’s off for a get-together with some college mates. Let’s just say that Niall wasn’t wrong when he called Liam “Aladdin” because boy, did Liam show him A Whole New World.

He’s just pushing the last of the plug in when Liam comes in through their door, mouth falling open at the sight of his Sub, one hand cuffed to the bedpost while the other works a bright purple plug in and out of his clenching pink hole. Zayn hasn’t even got properly undressed yet, black boxers pooled messily around his knees as he pants, eyes half-lidded.

“Now this is a surprise. Is it my birthday or something?”

“You gonna fuck me or what?”

“Don’t I love it when you talk dirty to me?” Liam smirks as he advances on his Sub, grabbing the hand thats working the plug furiously in and out of his hole and opting instead to cuff it to the other bed post.

“Missed this. Miss you.”

“I know. I’m sorry baby. Gonna make you feel good now yeah?”

“Yeah,” Zayn replies as his Dom licks a stripe down his torso, fingers pulling gently at his hair while his other hand rids the boy beneath him of his cumbersome boxers.

Moving down to the neat nest of hair that frames the smaller boy’s dick, Liam takes his Sub’s entire length in one breath, forcing Zayn to buck up and emit a high-pitched whine. He sucks on the smooth knob tentatively for a while before picking up speed, tonguing and licking at the cut tip and earning louder and louder moans from the Sub.

“I’m gonna… I’m gonna...”

Shaking his head, Liam only grins at his Sub as he pulls off, stroking him slowly, keeping him teetering on the edge but not quite enough to push him off it. He unbuckles his own jeans slowly, ignoring his own hardon as his husband squirms uncontrollably beneath him, begging for him to get on with it already.

“We’ve got all the time in the world today though,” Liam smirks as his nimble fingers move to fiddle with the plug, working it in and out rapidly of the boy bucking uncontrollably under him, “Wouldn’t want this to end so soon, would we?”

Pulling out the plug, Liam crooks three fingers in at a time, fingers expertly seeking out the now familiar spot. What he loved about his husband was how vocal and responsive he became after he’d gotten over his initial shyness, and how prettily he would beg for Liam to take him.

Right now, Zayn’s soft breathless moans are something exquisite, his body arching off, desperately trying to get whatever he can of Liam deeper, harder, though his feet remain firmly planted on the bed, just like the obedient Sub he is. And you could call Liam a bit of a sadist that way, but he loves to see how his Sub struggles to follow his word, wide eyes constantly seeking out approval despite his own want.

Zayn has always put Liam first. His pleasure, his hopes, his dreams and his wants and needs above everything. Right now, Liam just wants to give Zayn everything he wants.

“Gonna sting a little,” Liam whispers as he pushes in slowly, kissing his Sub’s brow.

“Hurts so good,” is Zayn’s only reply as he feels the now familiar burn of something large and hot breaching him.

Liam can barely wait for his Sub to adjust before he is fucking into him, folding the smaller boy nearly in half to take his rapid thrusts. The entire bed’s shaking and Zayn’s pretty sure the entire hotel can hear him screaming by now, but he’s too horny to care.

He can feel Liam rubbing insistently against that spot deep inside of him, and it’s not long before Zayn feels the telltale rush of his climax approaching.

“Li… Li… Can I?” he begs, remembering to ask for permission.

Liam nods.

His orgasm comes in waves and Zayn’s swears he blacks out for a while, barely registering his Dom moving in and out of his overworked hole before he spills over, white hot liquid searing his insides and branding the sub His, all over again.

Carefully shifting his weight so he doesn’t crush the smaller boy, Liam moves to pull out, but is stopped by Zayn’s legs determinedly clamping around his torso, pulling his Dom further into him.

“Eh?” Liam shoots his Sub a bemused glance.

“You’re not done here yet,” he replies cheekily, pulling Liam’s head down to initiate a kiss, which the Dom reciprocates eagerly.

They’re predictably late for dinner and if the knowing glances Niall, Louis and Harry shoot them when they finally arrive are anything to go by, their friends probably know exactly what’s transpired in the past few hours or so.




The past two years had seen some major shifts in the way Subs were treated, especially as more and more political figures and celebrities stepped up to speak for equal rights and better treatment for Subs. 

Still, two Subs getting married was a rarity, and frowned upon by most traditional families. Louis and Harry have found themselves incredibly blessed with supportive family members, but the affair is kept small and relatively quiet, limited to only a few close friends and immediate family.

They’ve rented a mansion in the countryside for the day, opting to have a ceremony by the pool and a local band that Niall knows play at the wedding.

It’s nothing grand, but Liam can’t keep the grin off his face from the moment he arrives.

His two best friends are getting married today, and it’s everything he’s wanted for them ever since they’ve known each other and Louis had drawn the once-quiet Harry out of his shell. He and Niall always had a protective streak over the two, knowing how hard it was to be Subs, and worse, Subs in love.

They’ve done well for themselves since graduating - Harry had gotten a job with a fashion magazine, which didn’t pay quite so well, but had an amazing work culture and allowed him the freedom to write about what he loved. Louis, on the other hand, had done so well at the music store he was working in that he’d gotten promoted to store manager, and is slated to manage the store’s upcoming franchises across the city.

There isn’t any of the fancy, waltz-down-the-aisle thing with Louis and Harry as they make their way to the makeshift stage, hand-in-hand with smiles wide on their faces.

“Friends, family and our lovely fans, HOW ARE YOU?” Louis booms as he addresses the small crowd, to cheers and whoops. “First of all, we’d like to thank all of you for taking the time out of your schedules to come out here into the middle of nowhere for us little Subs!”

“Though we know it’s really because we’re so pretty,” Harry adds at this point, to more cheers and laughter from the audience.

“We’d like to thank our amazing families, the Tomlinsons and the Styles, for being so fucking amazing, supportive and lovely about us,” Louis starts, “We’re gonna do you so proud as the Tomlinson-Styles!”

“And to Niall,” Harry adds, gesturing over to the blonde boy who was pretty wrapped up in his date until his name was called, “You’re amazing for looking out for us all these years, especially in the past two. We’ll never forget all the late nights you spent chaperoning us so we wouldn’t get harassed, and how you’ve made this entire wedding possible, our legal guardian!”

Niall smiles and waves awkwardly as all eyes are trained on him now. So he’s got Harry and Louis under his guardianship now, courtesy of him being a Dom. It was just a bit of paperwork they had to sort through before they could get married.

“And to Georgia’s pride and joy, our Miami Dolphin, the fucker who wouldn’t play for the Falcons, we forgive you for leaving our sorry asses here and jetting off with your pretty little kitten!”

“Thank you Louis,” Liam replies dryly.

“No, thank you Liam,” grins Louis as he continues, “Before we met Liam, we thought that Doms were mostly assholes who wanted to boss us around, and that being born this way meant that we’d just have to learn to live with it for the rest of our lives. Liam never judged me for being a mouthy Sub, and he never tried to teach me a lesson for convincing Harry to get in on my harebrained schemes, or getting into trouble with Doms and having to rescue us.”

“You’ve changed all our lives more than you know, and you’ve given us such great friends like Nialler and Zaynie,” Harry continues, “And we’d also like to thank you for the very nice apartment you got for us to begin the rest of our lives in. Though we must add, you sick millionaire, that we’re going to pay every cent back, however long it takes.”

“And Zayn, the newest addition to our group and the only other person other than Harry that I’ve successfully managed to corrupt,” announces Louis with a note of finality, “Prettiness aside, we’d like to ask that you believe Liam whenever he tells you how amazing and wonderful you are. Because you are, and Harry and Niall will back me up on this. We love you princess!”

“Love you too!” Zayn replies, grinning madly at his friends.

“Harry Styles!”

“Yes, Louis Tomlinson?”

“We’ve rehearsed every bit up to here, so listen up because this part is new,” Louis demands, turning Harry to face him as he says, “I’ve loved you since I set my eyes on you. From the time Liam introduced us and you started hanging round my store. I love your curly hair, your green eyes and your adorable drawly laugh. I love how tall you’ve gotten, even though you’ll always be that scared little boy from the small town to me. I know I get in the worst moods sometimes and honestly, I tend to become a bigger asshole than your average Dom. But you love me anyway, so I’d like to say, what an honor it’s been and will be, to spend the rest of my life with you, my husband.”

Louis and Harry are both on the verge of crying by now, not unlike everyone else in the audience as they wait for Harry to say his piece.

“Louis Tomlinson, I love you, you great big twat. For such a tiny person you’ve got a huge personality that fills the whole room and touches the life of every single person you meet. I’m so glad you picked me, my husband.”

“You can kiss me now,” Louis grins as he pulls Harry closer, sealing their union with a kiss to begin the rest of their lives. Together.