You Don’t Know

Niall really hated Danielle.

It wasn’t that he was jealous. It was just the fact that Liam spent all his time off with her, and when she wasn’t around Liam was always talking about how much he missed her. When she was around, Liam was always looking at her with those loving eyes. The same eyes that Niall looked at him with, but of course Liam never noticed.

But really, it wasn’t that he was jealous.

He just wanted to hang out with his friend.

It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that every time Liam leaned over to kiss Danielle, Niall felt a dull pain in his chest.

Luckily, it wasn’t something he had to witness when they had some time off. Oh sure, they were recording their album and doing the occasional photo shoot. But to be in London, and go home after a long day of work was such a rare occurrence. Niall treasured being able to go home to his own bed at the end of the day and not have to witness Liam walking into his hotel room with Danielle.

Even though he didn’t like it – Niall supposed it was for the best that Liam no longer lived in their complex. He remembered smiling and acting happy for his friend when he’d been told he was going to be moving in with Danielle. He missed having Liam live so close, but he figured not having Liam around at all was better than having Danielle around all the time.

A rare day off came partway into their stay in London, and Niall couldn’t have been more pleased.

He had intended to sleep in and spend the day in his apartment, doing nothing but watching the Olympics and possibly fooling around on the computer. But that plan was dashed once his phone started ringing.

He grumbled and pulled the covers over his head in an effort to go back to sleep. Whoever was calling him could wait.

But the ringing of his phone persisted. Annoyed, Niall rolled over and grabbed his phone off the nightstand. However, when he saw Liam’s face on the screen, his mood instantly changed.

“Hello?” he answered quickly.

“What, did I wake you?” came Liam’s lighthearted voice through the speaker.

“Yeah,” Niall admitted, sitting up in his bed and running a hand through his dishevelled hair.

“Sorry,” Liam said, but Niall didn’t think he had anything to apologize for. As far as he was concerned, being woken up by a phone call from his friend was the best way his day could have started. “I just wanted to know if you wanted to do something today, because I sort of had an idea?”

Oh, it just continued to get better and better. “What’s this idea?”

“Well, what if you and I got together with a couple of others and went to go perform a couple of songs at Westfield? You know, they could film it for that documentary management’s putting together.”

Niall raised his eyebrow. It sounded fun, sure, but he didn’t think any of the other members of the group were free. “Uh, I don’t think that the rest of the lads will be up for that.”

“Right, I know,” Liam said quickly. “I just thought you and me and maybe a couple of the guys from the band.”

Niall wasn’t quite sure he’d heard him correctly. Just the two of them? Lately, Liam never wanted to do anything with just him. He was always too busy hanging out with Danielle and attaching his face to hers.

“Yes,” he answered, perhaps a little too quickly. “Where should I meet you?”

“I’ll come by your place in an hour, can you be ready by then?”

Niall hopped out of bed. “Okay, yes, that sounds good, see you in an hour!” he said excitedly.

Liam laughed. “See you,” he said before hanging up.

Niall tossed his phone down onto his bed and pulled his shirt over his head. He couldn’t help but grin at himself in the mirror when he stepped into the bathroom. Sure, it wasn’t much. It was just a small performance with Liam and a couple of the guys from their band.

But the fact that they never did this, coupled with the obvious time he would get to spend with Liam, listening to his and only his beautiful voice put Niall in the best mood he’d been in in weeks.

And as he got ready, he sang louder in the shower than he normally did.

***

Liam was well aware that Niall was in love with him.

It wasn’t hard to guess, really. Niall wasn’t exactly a master of subtlety. He was always shooting little glares in Danielle’s direction and was always quick to join Liam in wherever he was going or whatever he was doing.

Liam felt guilty, of course. He didn’t, and couldn’t return Niall’s feelings. He loved Danielle and no matter what, he only saw Niall as a friend. His best friend, yes, but just a friend nonetheless.

He hadn’t breathed a word of this to anyone, of course. He hadn’t seen the need. Niall’s feelings towards him were harmless and in time, he hoped they would go away. Still, aside from all that he did feel a little bad. The pair had hardly spent any time together as of late, especially since Liam had moved out of the complex they’d once shared.

As Liam stood outside the gate, he couldn’t help but smile to himself when he saw the look of sheer delight on the Irish boy’s face. If there was one thing he admired about his friend, it was the fact that when he was in a good mood, the whole world seemed to light up.

“Ready to go?” Liam asked

Niall nodded, his guitar slung around his back. “Yeah, let’s go.”

The walk over to Westfield was short from where Niall lived. It didn’t take long for them to get there, but not wanting to waste the time they had together, Niall quickly chatted to Liam about everything he thought he could. He talked about the Olympics, and the sports he’d been watching. He laughed about some of the things he’d seen on twitter in the last few days. He even talked to Liam about his family, and how his mum was planning to come in for a visit.

The only subject he didn’t touch was Danielle. And Liam caught on to that quickly. He didn’t bring her up, know that Niall was avoiding doing so on purpose. Still, it saddened him that he wasn’t able to talk to his best friend about such a big part of his life.

When they arrived inside the mall, they were directed towards the small platform they would be performing on. Niall sat down on the ledge as the others got set up and looked up at Liam.

He watched intently as Liam held the microphone in his hands, smiling at the crowd that had started to gather around them. Then, just as Liam looked down at him, he shifted his gaze away. How embarrassing it would have been if Liam had caught him looking at him like that.

Liam wasn’t blind to the fact that Niall had been looking at him so lovingly. But he ignored it, just as he had so many times before. He sat down on the ledge and addressed the crowd with a smile, asking them if they’d like to sing along before turning to Niall.

“You ready?” he asked, giving his friend a warm look.

Niall’s heart skipped a beat. Yes, he was ready. He strummed the strings of the guitar lightly before finding his groove and beginning to play the song. He glanced over at Liam as he began to sing. The one thing he loved about him the most was his voice, and Niall had to make a conscious effort to look at the ground while Liam sang. Otherwise, he knew he’d just stare.

And then everyone would figure it out.

Liam sang the lyrics effortlessly, and kept looking over at Niall. He felt bad for his friend, who was trying so hard to keep his feelings undercover. He wished he could just confront Niall and tell him, but he knew he couldn’t. In time, if Niall wanted to confess his attraction to him, that would be when he would have to let him down gently.

So instead, he turned to Niall and sang his harmony in the song to him lightly.

Niall looked up at him, smiled a little, and then quickly looked back down at the ground. He was beginning to realize he was being far too obvious.

Liam continued to sing to him, frustrated with Niall’s clear avoidance of the situation. He held out the microphone for Niall to sing a couple lines of the song. Fitting, for the predicament they were in, even though Niall himself didn’t catch on at all.

“…you’re being shy, and turn away when I look into your eyes.”

Liam smiled a little at Niall as he brought the microphone back to his own lips and continued to sing. He stood up and looked out at the girls in front of them. They’d drawn quite a crowd – not that it should have been surprising, but Liam still found it to be so.

He looked back down at Niall, who seemed to be getting more into the song with every passing line. He was smiling now, and he hadn’t been before.

Liam continued to sing, stealing little glances at Niall every once in a while. He was his best friend in the whole world, and all Liam wanted for Niall was for someone who would love him just as much as he knew his friend loved him.

It broke his heart a little.

Niall looked up at Liam as he reached the bridge. He grinned as he played along, happy to see his friend so lost in the moment. He wasn’t stupid – he knew Liam didn’t love him back and probably never would. And perhaps in time he would get over it, but for now he was content to just look at his friend and love him from afar.

Moments like these made all of the suffering he went through when Danielle was around worth it.

The song ended, and Liam sat back down on the ledge beside Niall. “There we go,” he said into the mic, looking out at the crowd.

Niall glanced back at Liam, clapping as to congratulate him on a job well done.

Liam smiled and did the same.

No words were spoken, and none needed to be. It seemed as though they both knew where the other stood, and for a minute, they were okay with that. Though the cheers of the crowd, there was a mutual understanding between the two boys. Though their friendship was being slightly tested, nothing could break it.

They had too tight of a bond to ever let anything – even themselves – come between them.

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