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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17. Waking Up

 

Waking Up

Quinn woke with something leathery pressed into her nose and the smell of freshly cooked bacon and eggs wafting into her consciousness. Frowning, she cracked open one eye to find herself facing the back of a lounge, which only deepened the puzzlement in her foggy mind… until she tried to move, and a screaming jolt of protesting pain shot up her legs and into her brain, jolting her awake with a little groan.

“Serves you right for sleeping on the lounge.” Quinn’s eyes shot open, recognising the voice, and she sat up with a wince to find Niall perched at the end of the lounge by her feet, as she’d curled up in the night and left just enough space for him- and his room service tray- to fit. He snickered at her expression and nodded to the small kitchenette area. “I ordered you some too. Figured you’d wake up hungry.”

Cautiously, Quinn slipped her feet out from under the blanket and onto the floor, sighing at the coolness and almost wanting to go back to sleep. But the food was tantalising and she was pretty hungry. And sore. She wanted another shower. “Thanks,” she said finally, her voice crackly and hoarse as one would expect at first thing in the morning. “What time is it?”

Niall glanced at the clock by his bed. “Just gone nine.”

Quinn groaned lightly. “Why are you awake?” she muttered, giving him a long stare. His hair was damp, though he was still in sweats and a white shirt. She couldn’t help but notice that he looked very good in both and had to look away, finding the promised food awaiting her if only she could stand.

“We’ve got an interview at eleven, a signing at one and then the show tonight,” Niall explained quickly as Quinn stood and grabbed her food before returning to sit beside him, shivering slightly in the chilly morning air. Niall inched a little closer, and she pretended she didn’t notice despite her arm brushing his was setting her skin on absolute fire. “I wanted… Quinn, I…” he trailed off, looking a little frustrated with himself, and she sipped some of the tea he’d ordered for her- honestly, she wanted to cry, she was so touched at the gesture- to give him time to collect his thoughts. “That phone call you took last night,” Niall said finally, but didn’t continue and she knew he was waiting for her to do so.

“I’m sorry you heard it,” she murmured, not sure what to say. She didn’t owe Niall an explanation for Evan’s behaviour. “My boyfriend-” Niall flinched a little at the word, and Quinn bit her lip and avoided his gaze. “He’s a little jealous, that’s all,” she finished quietly, pushing her food around on her plate.

She saw Niall nodding out the corner of her eye, though he wasn’t smiling. “If you ever want to talk…”

“Thank you,” Quinn smiled at him, and Niall’s lips twitched as he swiped a slice of her bacon off her plate, drawing an outraged, playful cry. Just like that, the mood changed and the tension melted away into comfortable liveliness dotted with laughter. “Niall!”

“Eat faster, then!” he taunted, as she rolled her eyes and slapped his hand when he tried to steal more. His bottom lip stuck out and Quinn sighed, relenting, as she pushed her plate closer to him and quickly downed her eggs and the tea, managing to have a bite or two of bacon before Niall ate it all. She placed their trays just outside the door, groaning as she stood straight, and looked back at him.

“I better go,” she said quietly, shrugging. If she was honest with herself, she didn’t want to leave; Niall was quickly becoming the best friend she’d ever had and the room was warm and he made her laugh with just a facial expression. Niall smiled at her and crossed the room, pulling her in for a famous Horan Hug. Quinn’s arms wrapped around his chest and her cheek rested against his shoulder; Niall’s arms around her shoulders, one hand rubbing her back lightly.

Niall gave the best hugs. He radiated security and affection and Quinn wasn’t immune to the feeling, no matter how much she might want to fool herself into thinking she was. She really, really shouldn’t enjoy hugging Niall as much as she did. Biting back a look of disappointment as she pulled away, Quinn tapped his nose and hurried away, not looking back in case she was tempted to stay.

She returned to her room, glad to see the beanie was removed from the handle. Xavier was still in bed, sprawled over his mattress with the sheets tangled around his waist. Whomever he’d brought home with him was gone, though a pair of pink boy-shorts were still crumpled up on the floor, tangled in Xavier’s discarded shirt. The room smelled musty and of cheap perfume; Quinn grabbed her overnight bag and headed through to the bathroom, wrinkling her nose. As she stepped under the scalding shower spray, she tipped her head back and let the water massage her body, taking the aches and pains of the football match away with it.

An hour later, she emerged into the shared room and prodded Xavier awake, before grabbing a jumper and heading down to the hotel’s lobby and Wi-Fi hotspot, iPod in her hands. Quinn looked up at the front doors, ducking her head when she saw the crowd lining the pavement. Mostly girls, naturally, and Quinn made sure to find a seat away from their line of sight to not cause any disturbance amongst them. With her earbuds in and her music loud- she was listening to Adam Lambert- damn, sexy much?- she didn’t hear someone approaching until a warm body sat down on her lap and, upon shrieking in shock, she inhaled a mouthful of curly brown hair. “H-Harry!”

He cackled as he slid off her, pushing her feet out the way so he could sit on the other end of the love seat. “I saw the Hat Signal,” he started, waggling his eyebrows. “Who’s the lucky lad?” The grin was at full wattage, the dimples in view.

Quinn rolled her eyes. “Jealous?” she retorted, not quite up to telling him the truth without a fight. Harry’s eyes widened at her as his mouth dropped open in shock. She tried not to giggle at the wheels turning in his head, clearly desperate to figure her out. Quinn wasn’t the type of girl to have one-night-stands, though Harry didn’t know that.

“I was kidding- so it really was you…?” he trailed off; the poor lad looked a little bit hopeful- Quinn tensed up slightly, shaking her head.

No!” she snapped, forcing her tone to sound lighter than she felt. “Xavier, I never saw who.”

Harry nodded, satisfied, before his eyebrows rose again. “So where’d you sleep?”

“Niall’s sofa.”

“Why didn’t you come to me?” he pouted, crossing his arms as Quinn smiled slightly, shaking her head and poking his gut to get him to lighten up. Harry wriggled and batted her hands away.

“Because you were asleep,” she replied, feeling herself relax in his company. Besides Niall, she was probably closest to Harry, simply because he was a confident bugger who had no reservations in kidnapping her at all hours of the day or night, or phoning her at 2am to ask if she thought tortoiseshell cats were cuter than gingers.

Harry nudged her with a tiny smirk that Quinn couldn’t decipher, though she wondered just what he had to be smirking about. “And Niall wasn’t?” he asked, digging for gossip.

Quinn decided that he didn’t deserve any; if Harry wanted juicy gossip, he’d have to work for it. “Unlike you, you toff-“ his face registered fake hurt for a split second before he lost control and grinned wider- “Niall stayed up and watched the movie.”

“So, to get you in my room, I’ve got to watch a whole movie?” he asked, sliding a little closer on the seat and placing his arm around her shoulders. Quinn struggled to keep her blush at bay, knowing Harry was only teasing and whatever flirtatious banter occurred between them was just that, banter.

“And beat me at football and share your pizza, neither of which you’ve done,” she ticked the items off on her fingers as she did, and grabbed Harry’s arm to remove it from her person.

He gasped loudly, a hand clutching his heart as he reeled in fake shock. “Oh, you wound me, Quinny, wound me deeply.”

“Yeah, yeah. Where’s my river of tears?”

Harry was about to reply something sarcastic and no doubt slightly dirty when a tall blur of stripes and colourful jeans landed on the space beside him, jostling both occupants of the love seat until he could get his arse settled properly. “Harry! We gotta go!” Louis crowed, though he didn’t look set to go anywhere as he reclined and grinned around Harry’s back. “Morning, Quinn… actually, d’you wanna come?” he asked, expression turning thoughtful, clearly considering the idea very seriously.

Harry’s face lit up and he nodded eagerly, eyes widening in an attempt to sway her decision his way. Luckily for Quinn, she was one of the few members of the female population who weren’t completely melted by Harry’s pleading face, and was thus able to rise above his influence and decline. “I’ll just be in the way, Lou,” she replied, smiling comfortingly when their faces dropped.

A third boy appeared seemingly from nowhere, perching on the armrest beside her. “Aww, c’mon,” said Zayn, pouting and raising his eyebrows at the same time. “We’re going for lunch after.”

“Thanks anyway, Zayn, but I’ve got three idiot boys to dress,” she replied, petting his knee and pointing up to the third floor, where Xavier, Tyson and Ben were no doubt still asleep. She’d woken her brother when she left the room but that was no guarantee that he’d stayed up. Liam had joined the group during the latter part of her refusal and gave Harry a little stare that clearly said ‘drop it’.

“If you’re sure,” Liam nodded, motioning for the boys to get up and go. “See you tonight?”

“Sure, Liam,” Quinn replied easily, looking forward to the concert and their quiet after party. With Harry still underage and Liam unable to drink, the boys didn’t like going out, especially not when they had early morning engagements the next day.

“Come hang with me again,” Niall offered with an easy smile. Quinn nodded instantly, ignoring the way Harry and Louis shared a smirk beside her. Niall noticed them too and his smile faded into a brief scowl, brightened only when Quinn raised an eyebrow in a silent demand for answers. Not that she’d get any. “Movies and room service,” Niall continued with a cheeky wink, as if he needed to convince her to do anything.

Quinn glanced at the elevator as it pinged and Paul emerged with the fleet of security on his tail; “How about I bring you some Nando’s?” she said to Niall, offering the food to the boys at large but choosing the restaurant just for him.

“You’ll… bring me…” he trailed off, beaming, and Zayn lightly punched Liam’s arm as they laughed to themselves. Harry snickered and Louis placed a hand on Quinn’s shoulder, gaining her full attention.

“Careful, Quinn, he’ll fall in love,” he said warningly. Niall’s foot shot out and caught Louis’ shin.

“Fuck off, Louis,” he snapped; the kick didn’t have much effect as Louis simply grinned wider and high-fived Harry, everybody except for Niall and Quinn seeming to be in on some sort of joke. The blonde however seemed to have more of an idea than she did; he scowled at his band-mates and took a breath to say something else…

“Oi, enough,” Paul rumbled, giving Niall a look and motioning for Harry and Louis to stand up.

“Sorry Paul,” the boys chorused, looking as innocent as they come. Quinn rolled her eyes and readjusted her seat on the sofa, getting comfortable now that she didn’t have to share with Harry and Louis. For such fit lads, they took up a heck of a lot of room.

“Move it,” Paul ordered with a smile, pointing to the doors. Zayn ruffled Quinn’s hair, Liam squeezed her shoulder, Louis and Harry pinched her cheeks and poked her stomach and Niall simply grinned as he followed the others, leaving Quinn to straighten herself out again after they’d made a mess of her. “Try to keep your head down, sweetheart, they’ve been asking for you too,” Paul offered as warning advice, and Quinn shot up to look towards the doors and the fans on the other side.

“Me? Ooh, really!” she exclaimed, genuinely excited to hear it.

“Be careful,” Paul insisted, and fixed her with his no-nonsense look. It wasn’t often Paul had to use that look on anybody aside from Louis and Harry, so Quinn nodded to show she understood and would follow his advice. “Don’t go out on your own.”

“Okay, Paul,” she flashed him the thumbs up and he nodded back at her, moving off to help the boys get through the crowd to their people mover. Quinn heard the screams through the glass and couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she brought up DoodleJump to while away the hours.

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