[identity profile] finkpishnets.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ivoryandgoldd
signs of life by [livejournal.com profile] finkpishnets
one direction | niall/zayn | pg-13 | ~1,763
what niall and zayn have is just casual. pregnancy screws that up. mpreg.

a/n: written for [livejournal.com profile] looneyluna and the [livejournal.com profile] 3point5seats holiday exchange. first of all, i’ve never written mpreg before. i’ve never written anything about pregnancy before, actually, nor have i ever been pregnant. so, uh, please take everything in this story with a pinch of salt. secondly, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kohlrimmedeye for reading this over for me, especially since her mpreg knowledge is second to none, and to [livejournal.com profile] misprinting who is the best cheerleader ever.



The first time they sleep together it’s with too much adrenaline flooding their veins and laughter on their lips, the joy and excitement and disbelief spilling out into kisses and touches and cotton hotel sheets, and Niall isn’t as surprised by it as he thinks he should be.

Zayn’s even more beautiful like this, shadows and angles and skin, and Niall touches all of him, running his fingertips across the planes of his body and memorising every dip and curve and arch. Neither of them are strangers to sex but this is easy in a way Niall’s not used to, makes his heels skid against the mattress and his body curve into Zayn’s as Zayn mouths nothings against his collarbone and holds on tight.

They don’t take it too seriously, don’t talk about it afterwards except with sly grins and subtle innuendo that drags them through until the next time, and Niall wonders if that’s what comes of sleeping with someone who knows you as well as you know yourself.

It’s uncomplicated and comfortable, and Niall’s content.



+



Niall knows the results before the doctor opens her mouth – can see it in her hesitant smile, the one that screams Congratulations with an emphasised question mark – and tries to remember to breathe. He’d only come in to see if he had the flu or something, anything that could explain the bouts of nausea and constant tiredness, and then she’d asked him about his sex life and protection and started taking more tests, and--

And now she’s handing him a bunch of pamphlets on male pregnancy and writing a prescription for vitamins whilst she tells him how important his first trimester is, and Niall’s whole world feels like it’s crashing down around him.

“Can I get you a glass of water?” Doctor Everett asks, and Niall shakes his head. “This can be scary for a lot of people,” she says kindly. “If you don’t mind me asking, is the other father in the picture?”

“Yes,” Niall says, “I mean, not-- we’re not together but. Yes.”

“That’s good,” she says, and Niall nods and doesn’t tell her that Zayn can’t know.

He’s never been a good liar but he supposes now’s as good a time as any to improve.



+



The boys take it as well as he knew they would, holding him close and making jokes that barely cover their genuine reassurance to be there through it all, and Niall only cries a little less than Harry does, gripping Liam’s hand tight enough to bruise.

(Simon’s a different matter, of course, but Niall’s pregnant and it’s amazing how that puts things into perspective; the Powers That Be can shout at him as much as they want, he’s still having a baby.)

He lets Louis talk to his stomach in obnoxious voices and laughs at Harry and Liam fighting over potential names, and later he says “It’s not-- it’s not yours” and tells himself that it isn’t disappointment he sees flicker behind Zayn’s eyes.



+



They finish up the tour and then head back into the studio right away, the plan being that they’ll put the final touches on the next album roughly halfway through Niall’s third trimester so he can head back to Ireland and let his mum smother him until the baby’s born. Niall’s not particularly looking forward to a month of doing nothing, but there’s already an ache above his hip and Doctor Everett has him taking so many vitamins he feels like if you shook him he’d rattle.

The boys are being more careful with him now he’s showing, hugging him around the shoulders and not initiating bundles on the sofa, and Niall’s glad they’re taking it seriously but he misses the contact more than he knew he could.

They’ve all asked him about the father but they don’t push it when he shakes his head and changes the subject, and Niall loves them all the more for it even as he wishes Zayn would. He wishes Zayn would drag the truth from him, and it’s selfish and stupid, but Zayn’s been there every second of every day, making sure Niall sticks to his approved diet and then running out in his pyjamas to grab whatever crazy thing he’s craving at three in the morning; giving up drinking so Niall doesn’t feel left out and then looking guilty when Niall catches him dragging on a cigarette like Niall would ever try to change anything about him, and Niall--

Niall doesn’t let himself think about what that means, can’t let himself think about it, because if he did he might have to admit that he’s gone about this all wrong, and it’s too late to dig himself out of that hole now.



+



He blames Louis and Eleanor and their not-so-subtle escape for the bedroom combined with the constant presence of his hormones these days for why he blurts out “I miss sex” when Zayn’s the only other person in the room.

“Uh,” Zayn says, biting back a laugh and raising a curious eyebrow. “Can you even--?”

Niall’s read everything Doctor Everett recommended as well as, like, a thousand internet articles about The Do’s And Don’ts Of Pregnancy, so he blushes as he nods, running a hand across the back of his neck and avoiding Zayn’s eyes. “Yeah. I mean, not, like, rough sex, but--”

“Well, that sucks for you,” Zayn says, smirking, and Niall wishes the floor would open up and swallow him whole.

“I’m pregnant,” he says when it doesn’t. “I’m fairly sure that means you’re not allowed to use my sexual habits against me.”

“I’m fairly sure I am,” Zayn says, and Niall suddenly realises they’re flirting. “It’s one of the many perks of having seen you naked.”

Zayn’s leaning closer to him now, still smiling, and Niall can see every one of his eyelashes cast in shadows across his cheeks. He’s close enough to kiss, and Niall wonders which of them will make that move first, feels the need to touch like a physical itch in his fingertips and wonders if Zayn does too. Now that he thinks about it, he can’t remember the last time Zayn brought someone around, and maybe that’s why, as Zayn closes the distance between them, he says: “You’re the father.”

Which-- yeah.

Not how he saw this conversation ending.



+



Zayn locks himself in his room whilst Niall tries to get up the courage to explain things to him, but he must call Liam because he shows up half an hour later with a tub of the deli style potato salad Niall’s been craving recently and a stern expression.

“This is probably the worst thing you’ve ever done,” Liam says, and Niall cringes even as he nods because it is, he knows it is. “I really want to shout at you, but you’re pregnant so I won’t. Just, why the hell didn’t you tell him?

“I didn’t want him to feel trapped,” Niall says, and it sounds ridiculous even to his own ears. “We’re friends, we were having sex, I didn’t want him to feel like he owed me anything.”

“Like he-- oh, for fucks sake.” Liam runs a hand across his eyes, letting out an exasperated sigh. “You know he’s in love with you, right?”

“What?” Niall says, because what?

“You’re both idiots,” Liam says, but he sounds less mad. “Go talk to him. Now. Shout through the door if you have to. I’m going to grab Louis and Eleanor and take them…somewhere.”

Niall’s vaguely hears the others leave, Louis whispering questions as Liam ushers them out, but his head is spinning and he feels sick in a way that has nothing to do with pregnancy.

Zayn’s in love with him.

It’s stupid and crazy and actually really fucking obvious now that Niall thinks about it, and shit, Liam’s right, he’s an idiot.

Zayn’s in love with him, and Niall’s been falling in love back since about two seconds after they met, he’s just been too scared of ruining everything to let that sink in.

He needs to talk to Zayn.

Which is when the baby decides to start kicking.



+



Zayn comes down forty minutes later to find Niall sat on the floor, tears running uncontrollably down his cheeks, and he’s by his side in an instant.

“What happened? Should I call an ambulance?” he says, panicked. Niall shakes his head and takes Zayn’s hand, placing it over his stomach and letting out a choked sob as Zayn’s eyes light up.

“She’s been at it for ages,” Niall says. “I think she’s going to end up a dancer. Or a swimmer.”

“She?” Zayn says quietly.

“Yeah. I had the ultrasound last week. I haven’t told anyone else yet.”

Zayn’s staring at Niall’s stomach in awe and Niall’s heart aches with how much he wants this, wants Zayn and the baby for keeps.

“I love you,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

Zayn looks up and Niall hopes he understands, gets that Niall was scared, gets that he means it, because nothing’s ever been as important.

“You should have told me,” Zayn says, and Niall nods. “You don’t know how much I wanted her to be mine.”

“She is,” Niall says, and he’s sure he’d be crying again if he weren’t all dried out. “She is yours. We both are.”

When Zayn offers his arms, Niall falls against him - the relief overwhelming - and doesn’t let go.



+



“So, are you going to Ireland too?” Louis asks, ripping open the bag of prawn crackers and passing them to Liam.

“Yeah,” Zayn says. “Then my family are going to come over a week before the caesarean’s scheduled to help out.”

“So,” Harry says, grinning sheepishly, “are we invited to this shindig, or…?”

“My giving birth is not a shindig,” Niall says, throwing a spring roll at him, “but obviously. Fuck, why am I the one with boiled rice? I’m pregnant, I’m already the size of a whale, greasy food isn’t going to change that.”

Zayn rolls his eyes and let’s Niall steal some of his egg-fried rice like a good boyfriend.

“Oh, hey, I’ve taken up knitting!” Harry says. “I was going to make Baby Harriet some booties but, uh, that may have been too ambitious.”

“They’re not calling her Harriet,” Liam says as Louis chokes on his chow mein.

“What are we going to call her?” Zayn asks whilst Louis mocks Harry and Liam attempts to broker peace, tangling his fingers through Niall’s.

“I don’t know,” Niall says, his body thrumming contentedly. “I guess we’ll find out when we meet her.”

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