it takes time (iii)

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Although Zayn was happy to be going home with the nice men, it doesn't take away the scary "what if" thoughts. So as Harry carried Zayn, Liam had ahold of Niall and Louis as he led them all out to his car. At this point Zayn was basically terrified and Harry could tell which is why the man was rubbing soothing circles across his back. The gesture didn't do much, though, and soon enough Zayn couldn't help but beg to be put down.

"Okay, okay calm down, honey," Harry cooed as he set the boy down once they finished climbing the few steps up to their front porch. "What's wrong, lovey?"
"M'not a baby," Zayn mumbled while wiping away the couple tears that were forming in the corners of his eyes.

"Of course, sweetie. I just didn't want you to trip on the stairs, look how high that fall would have been," Harry coos as he sees the boy's eyes widen upon seeing the three steps he could have fallen down.

Liam then came up from behind the both of them and guided them into the house where Louis and Niall were already running to go get their toys. Harry guided Zayn to be closer to where the boys were playing as he made his way into the kitchen so that he could start restructuring their house rules so Zayn can have a better transition. While doing that, Liam was up in the nursery setting up their old crib that had been Niall's prior to them getting a lower railed one for the boy. Harry eventually finished making the rules chart which is just when the boys– Louis and Niall– decided they wanted their snack.

"Alright, boys, I'll get it ready. Louis, baby, come sit down. Niall, go get Zayn, bubba, be gentle though," Harry says and smiles as the blonde haired boy jumps with joy that he gets to bring the baby over.

"No fair, daddy, I wanna help the baby," Louis pouts which causes Harry to coo.

"You're gonna help me so much Blue Jay, s'just sometimes you can be a bit loud and right now Zaynie needs someone a bit calmer."

And true to his word, a quiet and calm Niall then walks into the room while holding the smaller boy's hand as he guides him into his own booster seat.

"No chair," Zayn whines.

"Niall's bigger than you, lovey, so he's gonna share his special chair with you. Look Lou's got one too," Harry points out and luckily no tantrums seem to follow.

So now the three boys are munching on a bowl of yogurt bites and cheerios, Zayn doing so much more tentatively than the other two. Eventually Liam makes his way down to the rest of the family, though, and finally the men decided it was time to go over rules.

"So, Zaynie, we have a couple rules in our house and we just think now is the best time to go over them before any can be broken," Liam says gently while grabbing ahold of the boy's hand.

"Alright so just to start we have some basics like make sure to put yours toys away once you switch games, if we say no then it's a no, no going outside alone, and you don't touch anything in the kitchen without the help of me or Liam," Harry says, making sure the boy understands everything. "Also if you need help with anything we expect you to come to us, or just in general you need to talk to us if something is bothering you."

"Also I know you don't like it, but along with your nappies staying so will the bottles, special chairs, and you're going to have a cool special bed. Also when we say we need to help you with things there's no arguing it; if we say you need help then you probably do," Liam concludes.

"S'lotta rules," Zayn mumbles while twirling a cheerio between his fingers.

"I know, bub, but they're meant to help," Harry coos. "Now who wants to play outside?"
+

The boys played outside for well over an hour– Zayn even shyly joining when the boys started using the slide– before finally Liam and Harry decided to call it a day. Next thing they knew two giggling boys were running inside followed by a much smaller, slower boy who just seemed to want anyone's approval.

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