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14 June 2012 @ 05:40 pm
Title: Love me, because love doesn't exist.
Fandom: One Direction
Pairing: Liam/Zayn with a little bit of background Louis/Harry.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Oh yes, another AU fic from me, in which Harry drags Liam along to a college party (hosted by Louis, of course).
Note: Loosely inspired by a quote from Jonathan Safran Foer's glorious novel Everything Is Illuminated - "Love me, because love doesn't exist and I have tried everything that does."

Liam knew that going to the party would be a mistake. After all, he didn't want to go in the first place, and there's a reason why he isn't a usual party goer. The first college party he went to right before winter break, when his roommate Harry knew a guy who was throwing one and swore it would be "the time of Liam's life". It wasn't. He drank a lot of what at first he thought to be some sort of strange tasting punch, but turned out to be a mix of vodka and another strong, alcoholic drink. He spent half of the night on the floor of the guy's bathroom, holding onto the toilet as if it was a life raft, and later woke up on the floor of his own bathroom. Harry somehow managed to help Liam get back to their dorm safely, and still convince a girl he met at the party to go back with him, regardless of the very sick, probably mumbling nonsense boy on his arm, barely able to stand up on his own.

That part didn't really surprise Liam at all. He had only known Harry for the five months that they've shared a room, but that was enough to know that Harry was definitely what you'd call a "ladies man". He quickly lost track of the number of barely clothed girls he would awkwardly introduce himself to in the morning. Eventually it got to the point where he would offer to make them coffee and chat with them until Harry finally decided to get out of bed, which.. usually took quite awhile. Liam often made sure that they had a way of getting back to wherever they lived, and usually asked them how their studies were going and what they were majoring in if anything. When Harry found out about this, he took to calling Liam "Daddy Liam", because he had a habit of acting like an overprotective father, always watching out for everyone, even people he barely knew.

Harry should have known based on Liam's prior party experience - and his responsible habits - that taking him to a party would not be the best idea. Regardless, he convinced Liam to tag along in case things got out of hand. "Daddy Liam" jumped at the chance to protect his friend, even if it meant being subjected to freshman getting drunk off of cheap alcohol and making embarrassingly bad decisions. At least you would not be one of them, Harry reminded him. That was for sure.

Liam sat alone on a beer stained couch that looked like it previously belonged in someone's basement, drinking one of the few cans of soda he could find and keeping an eye on Harry, who currently had his arm around the boy throwing the party, Louis, and was leaning on him for support.

Louis was one of those people that not everyone could like, but was impossible to forget. He seemed to have no boundaries, always sitting as close to people as possible, often even playing with their hair or softly stroking their arms or whatever was near, and was as flamboyant as they come. Most of the time he acted like one of those girls who gets drunk and then wants to cuddle with anyone around, and talks quietly as if everything is a secret.

Regardless of all of these things, he sure had a lot of friends, and a variety of them at that. There were actors, musicians, science majors, athletes, and even the crowd that seems to always be high off of something. Louis wasn't the most likable of people, but no one could argue that he didn't through a damn good party.

He was considering taking a turn around the room to see if there was anyone worth starting a conversation with, before a dark haired boy that looked about his age swung his rather long legs over the arm of the couch and fell onto the seat next to Liam's, giggling. There had to have been a better way of sitting down, you know, normally.


"Uh.. hey." Liam scooted towards the other end of the couch to give him some room.

"Ah, someone who doesn't like contact with others. That's uncommon among most of the people in here, apparently. That one -" He pointed at Louis, who was absentmindedly running his hands through Harry's curls. "kept hugging me earlier. He said I looked like someone who just really needed a hug." He laughed, openly and loudly, which startled Liam.

"Oh yeah, that's Louis for you." Liam laughed with him, moving back a little as he felt more comfortable. "I don't mind contact, really. I'm just.. usually not the one to execute it. That sort of open affection, I mean."

The boy looked at him for a moment, smiling. "Do your eyes always do that?"

"Do what?"

"Disappear like that when you laugh. It's like your cheeks get higher and higher."

Liam laughed once more, not feeling at all self concious like he usually would. "Yeah, I guess they do."

"I'm Zayn by the way. Zayn Malik." He offered his hand for Liam to shake.

"Liam Payne." He shook his hand, pleasantly surprised at how formal this boy was.

"Well it's very nice to meet you, Liam." He replied happily, without an ounce of sarcasm. There was something attractive about the way he said Liam's name, something familiar.. like he was just meant to say it. "Why are you sitting over here all by yourself?"

"Well.. I'm not one for parties. I never really have been. I only came to make sure my roommate didn't get into too much trouble."

"Which one's your roommate?"

"Harry Styles? He's the one..." Liam's expression was a combination of digust and amusement as he noticed what Harry was doing. ".. giggling and trying to stick his finger in Louis's mouth."

"Is that normal for him?" Zayn asked, amused.

"Only when he's drunk." Liam sighed.

"Are you always the one looking after him when he's like this?"

"Always, yeah. I mean.. I suppose I could be the kind of roommate who leaves him at a party somewhere or tells him to fend for himself, but.. the one time that I went to a party like this one and got really, really drunk he was the one who took care of me. Well, technically he got me home and left me in the bathroom so he could tend to the girl he brought back with him, but.. he didn't have to do that. And even if he hadn't, I would still look after him, because someone has to."

Zayn stared at him, smiling. He kept his attention on Liam's eyes, which something that didn't happen often. "That's really good of you, Liam. Very.. genuinely decent. I wish my roommate was at least a little bit as caring as you are."

"Well thank you. Who's your roommate?"

"Niall Horan. You probably don't know him, he doesn't get out much. I mean, he goes to parties from time to time, but most of his nights are spent practicing guitar and eating my food."

Liam wasn't sure if that was meant to be funny, but he laughed anyway. Zayn laughed with him, so he took that as a yes.

They were silent for awhile, watching various people come and go from the living area they were in. Some left to go drink on the roof (which probably wasn't the best idea), and others escaped into one of the three bedrooms, giggling as they did.

"Hey." Zayn nudged him after awhile with his knee, making him jump.


"Who takes care of you?" He spoke quietly, sounding genuinely concerned.

"What.. what do you mean?" Liam hoped that Zayn couldn't see him blush under the dim lighting of the room.

"I mean, you're always taking care of Harry and making sure he's okay. So.. who's that person for you? Who's your Liam?"

"I suppose I don't.. have one. I look out for myself, I guess."

"Do you?" Zayn was closer to him now, the scent of weed and some familiar brand of cologne intoxicating Liam.

"I try to, at least. It's not like I'm much to handle."

"I'm sure you could be." Zayn breathed, keeping eye contact. God, Liam thought. This boy is going to be the death of me.

"I mean - I - ahh.." Liam suddenly found it difficult to form a proper sentence.

"Am I making you nervous, Liam?" He looked delighted at this.

"No - what would make you think that?" He hadn't felt the color leave his cheeks yet, knowing it must be entirely obvious to Zayn.

"Just a hunch." He laughed that lovely, glorious laugh of his. "Is that why you don't let anyone take care of you? Because people make you nervous so easily?"

Liam playfully punched him in the arm. "No! That's not why. It's not that I don't let anyone take care of me, it's just that..." He swallowed nervously, looking away from Zayn for a moment. "No one has ever really tried. Not really."

Zayn stopped smiling. "What about your parents?"

"My dad was an alcoholic. He abused my mother for years and she didn't even do anything about it. One day he just.. left. I came home from school and he was gone. My mom wouldn't talk, or even look at me. She thought I looked too much like him. I later found out that he found another woman to shack up with, and probably take advantage of."

"Wow." Zayn said quietly, looking at Liam sympathetically, but not in an expected, obligatory way.

"Yeah. She wasn't much use after that. She would avoid looking at me or talking to me as much as possible. She was.. probably afraid.. that I would turn into him.. into.. that." Liam rubbed his eyes with the side of his hand, embarassed that he was getting so emotional, especially in front of a stranger.

"Hey, it's okay.." To Liam's surprise, Zayn wrapped his arm around Liam's shoulder and pulled him close. "You aren't going to. I mean - hell - I barely know you but I feel like I kind of do, really well actually. You can tell a lot about a person by how they choose to act towards others. And how you treat Harry? And even me, some weird stranger?" He smiled, trying to make Liam feel better. "You, Liam, can't possibly be a bad person, even if you tried. I don't think you have it in you, and that's a good thing."

Liam felt overwhelmed by his kindness, but appreciated it all the same. There was something completely natural about the way Zayn was holding him in that instant, something that made him feel.. safe. For the first time in a very long time.

"You're too nice to me. I don't deserve that." Liam broke away from his embrace suddenly.

"Of course you do. You deserve to have someone look after you, for once."

"How is it.." Liam shook his head in disbelief. "That you, someone I just met, could be nicer to me and care for me more than people I've known most of my life. I just.." He looked into Zayn's kind, dark eyes and couldn't help but allow himself to smile. "Everyone I've ever known has let me down at some point, or have left me. I don't think.. if given the opportunity.. I'd know to properly be affectionate towards someone, because I haven't received that sort of affection from anyone.."

"Oh, I certainly don't plan on leaving you anytime soon, Liam Payne." Zayn grinned wildly. "And as for showing affection.. I think you're pretty good at that already, what with you treating Harry like he's your own child. But if you need help with that, you know, I'd be more than willing to help." He teased.

"I appreciate that." Liam laughed, starting to feel better already.

"Hey.. you want to get out of here? Go somewhere that isn't full of drunk college kids?"

"What about Harry?"

"Oh..." Zayn motioned towards where Harry and Louis were. "I don't think he's going home tonight." Liam found Harry and Louis instantly, even with all of the people around. Louis had Harry backed up against a wall, kissing him more aggressively than necessary.

"Yeah, not if Louis has a say in the matter." Liam smiled, watching as the tall, kind-eyed stranger stood and offered his hand.

"Come on. We've got lives to live, stories to tell...boys with adorable smiles to take care of."

Liam didn't hesitate when taking his hand, allowing himself to be pulled up, and to feel happier and safer than he has in a long time.

Current Location: at my desk, in my room.
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Give Me Love - Ed Sheeran
theweethearttheweetheart on June 30th, 2012 10:02 am (UTC)
This is adorable, absolutely fantastic. Both your Zayn and your Liam really come to life, You write really really well!
Paige Noel: zayn malikwendlaradical on June 30th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! :3 I appreciate it.