It Ain't No Use In Turning On Your Light Zarry AU

Zayn has moved to a new town, wanting to escape. Finding four new friends wasn’t part of the plan. Zarry AU

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9. Chapter 9

“This is it?”

After almost fifteen minutes of walking, Harry was expecting a grand building not one that was falling apart at the seams. Harry didn’t know why anyone would willingly go up the front steps.

“Yep,” Niall replied. “Now come on!”

“But what…” Harry’s words died in his throat as his friend pulled him inside and he finally saw what Niall had been bouncing up and down about. The place was filled with animals. Dogs, rabbits, hamsters, birds but especially cats that Harry would immediately flock to if he weren’t so confused.

“Niall do you think we are going to get one of these animals for Zayn?”

Niall nodded, glad Harry was catching on quickly. “I mean it’s perfect isn’t it? Zayn’s a foster kid,” Niall swallowed a bit at Harry’s glare but continued on because he didn’t mean it in a bad way. Harry was just being overprotective. “Just like Zayn did, all these guys need a home.”

Harry sighed. He honestly loved the idea and wish he thought of it but there was one small problem.

“What is Paul going to think? I mean we can’t just pick up a dog or cat and present it if Paul isn’t willing to have one in the house.”

Niall started chewing on his lip, running through the options in his head. He was so pumped about his brilliant idea that he hadn’t even thought about the consequences. Liam often told him this was a shortcoming of his and he found himself kind of wishing his crush was here to at least help him figure this out.

Sighing again, Harry pushed Niall further into the building.

“Come on. We can at least talk a staff member and I’ll text my cousin. He could probably take another pet on his farm. I mean he already has three.”

That had Niall grinning again, which led to Harry smiling. Maybe Niall’s idea would work out. Harry could imagine Zayn laughing, playing and caring for a pet. This might really make him very happy.

Finding a worker wasn’t too difficult and as usual Niall made friends with the man in about two minutes flat. The two joined forces and unfairly yanked Harry away from the selection of small fur balls to where some puppies were yipping at each other.

Niall and the brunette staff member (Josh if his name tag was to be believed) started giggling over some cute huskies and labs but Harry’s eyes were instantly drawn to a small golden retriever curled up in the corner. 

Josh caught him looking.

“O that’s Duncan,” Josh said. “He was kind of the runt of his litter. We found him and his brothers and sisters beaten up near a dumpster. He was really sick but is doing ok now. Took two months though and his whole family has been adopted but him.”

“We will take him,” Harry said immediately, walking over to the puppy. The poor thing cowered a bit until Harry crouched down. Duncan whimpered a bit before leaning against Harry’s hand, allowing the teenager to gently stroke him.

“Wait, what?” Niall finally tore his attention away from Josh. “Don’t you want to look around a bit more?”

Shaking his head, Harry reached out to pick up Duncan, pleasantly surprised when the dog snuggled closer to his body heat. “I don’t think I’ll be able to leave him here.”

Josh shrugged. “Sounds good to me. Now if you’re sixteen, you can sign the papers and we can get this little guy on his way.”

“I’ll sign them!” Niall followed Josh to the front desk quickly while Harry trailed behind a little slower, not wanting to startle the now sleeping puppy. Niall spent a little longer than was strictly necessary as him and Josh kept making stupid jokes. Getting the cage and supplies was a little bit quicker but when they finally left, Niall had a small piece of paper clutched firmly in his right hand, the left occupied with some food.

“What’s that?” Harry said, gesturing toward Niall but careful not to disturb the sleeping Duncan in his arms as they walked back toward the restaurant. The puppy had flat out refused the cage but Harry didn’t mind in the slightest. He just hoped Zayn would fall in love with Duncan this easily and then fall in love with Harry for getting him the dog but that was wishful thinking.

“Huh?” Niall replied.  “Oh. Josh gave me his number.”

“What about Liam?” Harry frowned. Call him a romantic but he knew Liam really cared for Niall and he thought maybe one day those two could love each other after Liam moved on from his past relationship.

Niall ran his hand through his hair, the brown roots starting to show in the blond locks. “I’ve liked him since I was 14, you know. It’s been three years. Don’t you think I should at least try dating someone and I don’t know, see if there is someone who wants me back instead of being pushed to the side?”

He had a fair point, although Harry didn’t agree. He was spared voicing his opinion about one true love as they descended upon the restaurant where Paul and Zayn were sitting outside at one of the tables, digging into what looked like cupcakes. Niall groaned.

“We missed dinner?”

Paul nodded, fixing Niall and Harry with a look that showed he was unimpressed with how late they were before his eyes widened in surprise at the puppy now wiggling in Harry’s arms. Zayn gave Niall a cupcake emblazoned with the number 16 before reaching over the gate to give Duncan’s head a pet. Harry couldn’t stop the wide grin that appeared on his face as the dog leaned into his touch.

“Harry why do you have a dog?”

Paul’s voice made Zayn immediately draw back, looking a bit sheepish. Duncan immediately started whining at the loss of contact.

“Um…well…you see…” Harry started, having absolutely no idea how they were going to sell this one.

“It’s for Zayn. We thought it would be the perfect birthday present.” Niall said, spraying crumbs everywhere and earning a glare from Harry for insinuating he had thought of this although to be fair he did go along with the plan.

“I don’t know if this is such a good idea…” Paul started while Zayn kept his head down. Harry frowned at this. It was obvious that Zayn really wanted Duncan but for whatever reason, being scared or wanting to keep Paul happy, he was going to go with whatever his guardian decided. 

“Please?” Niall begged, finally swallowing. “Josh said no one would adopt him because he was sick and a runt and we just want him to have a good home and we will help out and everything!”

Zayn looked up at that, eyes clouded over with sadness at what Duncan had already gone through.  Harry immediately noticed this, as did Paul who then stood up, taking Duncan from Harry and giving it to Zayn. Zayn looked completely surprised.

“Do you promise to take care of him? I’m not going to pick up the slack if you get bored.”

Zayn nodded vigorously, still looking shocked. Duncan merely barked happily.

“Ok,” said Paul, finally smiling as he watched his foster kid and the dog bond. “We probably should head out. I don’t think this restaurant allows dogs. Niall, Harry do you want to ride back with us or are you going to find Louis and Liam?”

“We will go with you!” Niall replied enthusiastically while Harry rolled his eyes. Of course he wanted to ride in a car with Zayn more than anything but it wouldn’t be fair to leave his friends in a lurch. They were probably wondering where there other two friends had been for the past couple of hours.

“I’ll send them a text,” Harry said, quickly shooting off a quick message to Louis. Even though he hadn’t thought about it much, he was still a little angry with Liam for losing his temper at Niall.

The response was quick. Louis texted back saying Liam was upset with what he had done and they should all meet up tomorrow but for now Louis would just take Liam home if Niall and Harry wanted to go with Zayn.

**************************************************

Not long after, with a stop at McDonalds for Niall and Harry, they found themselves zooming down the highway, Niall chatting away about football to Paul, while Harry, Duncan and Zayn sat in the backseat.

Zayn was a little concerned that Harry might find it weird that he couldn’t stop smiling but he just couldn’t help it. He had never, never had a birthday like this before and with Duncan sleeping in his lap, he was just so happy. Harry didn’t even mind that he wasn’t talking instead choosing the fill the silence by talking about how exciting it was that Zayn was sixteen and how he himself couldn’t wait until his birthday. He also explained to Zayn, in a hushed voice, what had gone down this afternoon and even gave Zayn some background on the group about how he had grown up in Cheshire and how Liam moved from Wolverhampton when he was six and was so shy, not talking to anyone until Harry saved him from bullies on the playground.

Apparently Harry knew what it was like to get picked on, having skipped kindergarten for being intelligent. Louis had arrived from Yorkshire when they were ten and immediately caught Liam and Harry’s curiosity with his humour. It took a while, as Liam was a bit wary of being involved in Louis’ pranks but he kept life interesting and was fiercely protective and soon they were best friends.

Niall had been a recent addition, moving from Ireland when he was fourteen years old. Although you couldn’t tell now, he also had been really shy and Liam was the first to befriend him. Harry and Zayn laughed at Niall chatting away in the front seat; obviously he had changed a bit.

They exchanged numbers and Zayn, careful not to disturb the sleeping dog, texted Harry a bit about him, how he had been in Bradford for a few years in foster homes before he moved in with another family in London and from then on just lived at different places around the city. Zayn didn’t elaborate much further than that and Harry didn’t press the issue, moving on to lighter subjects like Harry and Niall possibly staying for a sleepover before Duncan woke up and distracted them for the rest of the ride until they pulled up in front of Paul’s place, a bit abruptly as Paul slammed on the brakes.

Zayn looked out the window, his curiosity peaking as he saw a man around Paul’s age and a much older woman and two other men standing outside the house. Three of them were waving enthusiastically while one of the older males stood there glaring.

“Oh my God,” Paul muttered.

“Who are those people?” Niall asked as Zayn shifted in his seat, a bit uncomfortable with the angry-looking man.

“My family,” Paul replied in a very hesitant voice.

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