Prompt: Five times the boys worry/are protective over Niall and one time they cuddle him just because.
It’s chilly in the small backstage room they have under the stage in Bogotá. Niall has goosebumps all over his exposed arms, and he can’t decide whether they’re from excitement, the change of altitude, or just the cold that doesn’t seem to escape him since they landed two days ago.
He’s sitting on a big sofa, mindlessly scrolling through twitter and glancing over at Zayn and Louis’ FIFA game every once in a while. They still have about half an hour before going on stage, and it seems like every minute comes slower than the other. He can feel the ground vibrating under his feet, the roaring of the fans making his knee bounce up and down in both excitement and nervousness.
He doesn’t notice he’s picking on his nails until Harry comes and sits beside him, taking his fingers in his very warm hands and hissing at him, “Stop it, you.” Harry says, there’s a playful frown on his face that Niall has only ever seen on his face. “Nervous?”
“Sorta,” he sighs out, wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans, “I’m not as nervous as I am excited, I guess, but still, it’s always nerve-wracking. First show of a new tour and all.” he smiles small up at Harry, who hasn’t let go of his hand quite yet.
“We’re gonna smash it out there. I was having a look around a bit ago and it’s crazy out there, we could mess up every word and they’d still love us for being here, it’s fantastic,” Harry says, letting his back fall against the sofa and taking Niall down with him. “You got them spanish words to make everyone go nuts,” he chuckles, squeezing Niall’s hand. It’s warm now that it’s been in Harry’s grasp for a few minutes, and it makes him want to cuddle into Harry’s chest to warm his arms up too, but he has too much restless energy to stay still.
“It’s just unreal, y’know?” Niall mumbles softly, fingers playing with the loose threads of his ripped jeans, barely gazing over the angry red scar. That’s another thing he’s quietly worried about.
It’s the first show after the surgery, and even though it’s been three months and physical therapy has done him well, he’s still quite uneasy about it. Scared that in the rush of energy that comes with performing he’s gonna do something wrong and mess it up again. It still feels weak sometimes, it still freezes up when he least expects it, but he’s been home when that had happened, or he had the support of his crutches, but he can’t let anything like that happen in front of a stadium full of people.
Harry clearing his throat brings him back to earth, and he remembers he was in the middle of saying something. “I mean, we’re in South America, in a sold out stadiums tour, when the hell did that happen?!”
Harry laughs, but he’s eyeing Niall carefully. “And you’re sure that’s all?” He asks simply.
“If you’re gonna ask something just do it, Haz.”
“Okay, okay. How’s the knee?”
“Good.” Niall replies. “It’s fine. Right now it’s fine, I’m more worried of how is gonna be after the show.” Niall says, looking down at his lap.
“Hey, you’ll be just fine. You’re well aware you can’t do those high jumps you love, but just take it easy. Enjoy it but don’t take it too far,” Harry smiles at him, still squeezing his fingers softly. It makes Niall feel calmer. Even if the calm lasts less than five minutes because Preston and Paul call them all out, ushering them out of the room and into the hallway that will take them to the stage. Niall is putting on his ear buds, fixing his mic so it’s in the right place, close but not too close to his mouth. He fixes the strap of his guitar when someone hands it to him quickly, gripping to it tightly and doing little jumps on his tip toes.