Scoundrels (One Direction Fanfic)

. “What are we playing for?” Quinn asked.
“Fame, glory, bragging rights,” Niall listed, counting the items off on his fingers with a cheeky grin. Quinn rolled her eyes and shoved him lightly, prompting him to shove her back. “Loser buys the winner dinner?”

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15. Niall vs Quinn

 

Niall vs Quinn

“Right, you!”

Quinn looked up as Niall poked his head into her room, neglecting to knock in his haste. She slowly shut the laptop screen and raised an eyebrow as he produced a football and tossed it in her direction, grinning. “Now?” she asked, catching and throwing it back.

“Now,” Niall confirmed with a nod, and disappeared around the doorframe, leaving it wide open. Quinn stood and tore her shirt off, reaching for something older and more suitable for football. She pushed her jeans off too, preferring sweats as they were more comfortable and gave her the mobility she’d surely need.

As she entered the hallway, she found Zayn and Liam leaving their respective rooms and they looked her up and down with sly grins on their faces. “What?” she asked, hands on her hips.

“Nothing,” Zayn replied, hurrying off to the lifts. Niall had disappeared; but she knew where they’d all be heading. There was a small park across the road that was fairly open, just enough space for a small one-on-one match. Liam waited for Quinn and she gave him a questioning look as they waited for the lift to come back up.

“How good is Niall exactly?” Quinn asked quietly, not wanting to make a fool out of herself. She wouldn’t deny that she was good at football, but she’d never played competitively, and was a little nervous that she’d be absolutely devastated in the game.

Liam gave her a reassuring smile. “He’s good, but you’ll be okay. He’ll take it easy on you until he knows you’re comfortable.”

She smiled, a little more confident, and stuck by Liam as they met with one of the three bodyguards who were accompanying them across the road. Normally they’d have more, but things weren’t overly mad and as long as nobody tweeted where the boys were, they should be able to get away with three. As soon as Quinn stepped on the grass, a loud shout of her name caught her attention; Xavier, Tyson and Ben were sitting in a line waving their arms madly, clearly being her cheer squad for the match. Liam laughed as he joined his band-mates and Quinn faced Niall in the middle of their makeshift football field. Four trees, two on either end, would make up their goals, giving them about fifty metres of space to play in.

Louis and Harry both shot Quinn a wave and she grinned back, trying not to let on that she wasn’t exactly confident now that this had come around. Seeming to pick up on her nerves, Niall chuckled softly. “Hey, c’mon. I’m not going to blitz you… completely.”

“Reassuring, Horan,” Quinn snapped, but she was smiling and her tone was anything but angry, taking away any sting the words might have held. “What are we playing for?”

“Fame, glory, bragging rights,” Niall listed, counting the items off on his fingers with a cheeky grin. Quinn rolled her eyes and shoved him lightly, prompting him to shove her back. “Loser buys the winner dinner?” Her eyebrows shot to her hairline and he picked up on how that might have sounded. “I mean, like pizzas for everyone or something,” he clarified quickly, and Quinn nodded to show she understood. “Ready?”

“Am I ever,” she retorted, trying to bolster her own confidence. Niall grinned at her and they both backed up three steps, looking to Liam- who had offered to referee, simply because he didn’t want to choose a side to barrack for, he was the fairest of them all, and nobody else wanted to run up and down with Quinn and Niall. Liam gave a wordless shout- they didn’t have a whistle- and everything else left Quinn’s mind. She ran forward, leaping over the ball and flicking it up over her head with a neat little kick of her heels. She heard Niall start laughing as she dodged around him, her smaller stature giving her a little bit more mobility.

The ball bounced in front of her and she used her knees to guide it to the ground again, dribbling away and beginning to really enjoy herself as she felt the freedom. She lined up to kick the first goal of the match… and felt a warm body brush past hers, the ball disappearing from in front of her trainers. “Gotta be better than that!” Niall hollered, already setting off for his goal at the other end. Quinn skidded as she stopped and turned, sending little tufts of dirt and grass away from her feet.

Her heart pounded in time with her footsteps and she broke even with her opponent. She tried to tackle the ball away but Niall was faster and she had to waste a precious two seconds correcting her course again. She swore under her breath as he lined up for a goal… kicked… and missed. “Ha!” she shouted, throwing a fist in the air. He just shook his head at her as Tyson ran to retrieve the ball and stood to throw it back in. Liam was watching carefully to make sure he didn’t throw it to advantage Quinn in any way, not that he could because Niall was on her heels with every step she took.

Almost exactly ninety minutes later, the score was one-all and they’d decided that whomever got the next goal would win. They’d drawn a bit of a crowd and security were getting a little antsy, wanting to move the party inside before it got too dark to see properly. Quinn was red in the face, breathing hard, and her hair was an absolute mess. Niall didn’t look any healthier as they returned to the middle to kick off again; he rested his hands on his knees for a moment or two and Quinn paced to keep her blood flowing.

“Give up?” she asked through gasps for air. Niall laughed, a ragged, breathless sound, and shook his head.

“I never back down,” he quoted her earlier tweet, grinning when she attempted to laugh and it came out as more of a wheeze. Standing up, he nodded to Liam and their signal came again. Quinn’s body was on fire, she wanted a hot shower, she wanted to collapse… but she didn’t want Niall to win so easily. She’d let him win the kick-off and was trailing now as he headed for goal. She tackled, her efforts were successful, and she showed off a little bit as she flicked the ball into the air and juggled it on her knees twice.

She regretted that decision as it let Niall catch her up and she took off, laughing, towards her goal. She hadn’t had so much fun in ages and would definitely do this again, even if it nearly killed her. She could hear Xavier, Tyson, Louis and Harry still shouting; Ben and Zayn had fallen silent and were chatting amongst themselves, only looking up when one set of supporters grew rowdy in anticipation of a win, and poor Liam was still keeping pace as Quinn and Niall shot from one end of the field to the other. The crowd of watchers had divided themselves, too- Niall’s fans were more numerous, of course, but Quinn was touched that anybody had decided to support her.

Quinn lined up to kick her winning goal, taking her eyes off the ball at the worst possible moment. Niall hooked his foot around it and kicked it out of her reach; she stumbled, her ankle landing the wrong way, and fell onto her side. She expected the game to continue and Niall to claim his victory while she lay on the ground and tried to catch her breath; instead, a red-faced, sweaty blonde appeared above her. “Alright?” he asked, clearly concerned.

She nodded, unable to stop beaming. “Oh yeah,” she replied as she scrambled for her feet. “You better get that ball, Nialler…”

He flashed her a bright grin at the use of his nickname and bolted, Quinn on his heels. No matter how hard she tried she couldn’t catch him, and he cheered as the ball sailed through his goal to score the winning point. His arms flew up in the air and he slowed to a jog, then a walk, and a complete stop. Quinn didn’t, and leapt up on his back just to scare him. The suddenness of her action caused him to stumble, and they both went down in a tangle of arms and legs and laughter, somehow ending up side by side and half suffocating on their laughter. “Oh, oh wow,” Niall gasped, holding his stomach. “You’re good! You almost had me!”

Quinn rolled onto her side to lean over him, half her hair loose and falling over her face. “I was this close,” she said, demonstrating by pinching her thumb and forefinger together as tightly as possible. “I want a rematch.”

“Oh, God, not straightaway I hope,” he groaned, his head falling back to thud against the ground. Quinn laughed louder as she pushed up off his chest, offering her hand to haul him up after her.

“I think that would kill me,” she said seriously, aware that six boys were pelting towards them now that Liam had declared the game over, and Niall the winner. “Besides, don’t I owe you dinner?”

Niall nodded, and pulled her in for a hug.

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