Summary: Niall is trapped, and Liam isn't there to help him for once.
A/N: My first story on this site! It's a Niam one-shot, inspired by a prompt I saw on 1Dkinkmeme. Please review. Warnings for language.
Liam was tapping his foot impatiently, waiting for the elevator, when his phone rang.
Liam could instantly sense the urgency in the voice on the other line. His accent was thicker than usual, the trait that only blossomed in times of intense panic.
"What is it, Niall, what's wrong?"
"The elevator. There was this loud noise, and then it just stopped. The lights went out too. God, Liam, it's so dark in here."
"Oh. Oh." That would explain why he had been watching the little arrow stuck between 3 and 4 for the last five minutes.
Niall's breath was heavy on the other end of the line.
"Don't panic, love. I'm right here." He kept speaking soothingly, at the same time motioning a hotel staff member over and informing her of the problem.
"They're trying to get you out babe, it's okay. Just keep calm." Liam spoke softly.
"I'm trying." Niall whispered back desperately. It was true; he was trying to think of anything else to keep his mind off the current situation.
"Tell me about your day." Liam suggested, trying to distract him.
Niall began listing off what all he had had for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. He was doing fine-until he ran out of things to talk about. That's when he began to get scared.
"And now, now I'm stuck in this bloody elevator, and I'm never going to get out!" Niall's voice escalated to one of panic.
"Niall, it's only been 10 minutes."
Liam could hear his boyfriend gasp for breath.
"Love, just breathe. Just listen to my voice." He pleaded, but nothing was helping.
"I need you." Niall whimpered.
Niall was a wreck in crowds and enclosed spaces, unless Liam was there. There was something about being crowded by Liam's warm presence, being enclosed tightly in Liam's arms, that Niall didn't mind so much.
But Liam wasn't here with him right now. And the walls were beginning to close in.
Liam could sense exactly when the flip switched in Niall and he was thrown into a panic attack.
"Baby please, breathe."
"Niall, stay with me."
"Do you have your inhaler with you?"
Liam could hear rustling on the other side of the line as Niall clutched desperately at his clothes for his inhaler, the one that he used specifically to ward off panic attacks like these.
"No." He said eventually.
Liam let out a shaky breath, reaching into his own pockets to look. "Fuck." He said as he pulled Niall's inhaler out of his own back pocket.
"There you are, Payne! You and Horan were supposed to be in your room 20 minutes ago!" a gruff voice from behind Liam exclaimed.
Liam whipped around to face Paul. "Niall's stuck in the elevator."
"Is he by himself?"
"Does he have his-"
Liam held up Niall's inhaler.
As Paul ran off to find more help, Liam tried to talk Niall down. It was no use, Niall's breathing became more and more erratic, until Liam was sure he was hyperventilating.
"Niall, love, please please please, just breathe with me. In, out. Just breathe dammit!" Liam shake off his own panic, trying to be strong for Niall, but he felt so helpless.
His boyfriend was on the other side of these metal walls, in pain and needing Liam, but Liam wasn't there. He had let Niall down. Niall needed him, and he wasn't there…
Liam banged his head against the metal in frustration. Niall was slipping away from him.
"Please, Niall, just hang on. Help is coming."
But it was like Niall couldn't hear him. His breath came faster and shorter until he was wheezing for oxygen.
"Liam." Niall managed to choke out. Then he mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like Gaelic.
The last thing Liam heard before the line went dead was a loud thump, something hard banging against the metal and reverberating down the shaft until Liam could feel the vibration against the metal doors he was propped up against.
"Fuck fuck fuck." Liam chanted, banging on the doors.
"Any news?" Paul asked, showing up once more behind Liam, this time with a maintenance worker.
"I think he's passed out." Liam said weakly.
"Shit." Paul replied, then yelled at the worker to get a move on.
"What's going on down here?" Harry's groggy voice asked from the hallway.
"Yea, you never came to tuck us in Paul-y." Louis whined mockingly.
"Elevator's broken." Zayn said simply. "We had to use the stairs."
"I know," Liam said as he slid weakly down the wall until he was sitting. He was afraid he might collapse too, from the fear of finding Niall not breathing. "Niall's stuck."
Louis looked like he was about to crack a joke, but then remembered that this was Niall they were talking about. Sweet, innocent, carefree Niall who's only fear was enclosed spaces and birds.
If it was any of the other lads trapped, the boys would have had no trouble teasing them for being afraid of the elevator. But this was Niall…
Louis' heart dropped into his stomach. The other boys sobered up as well. "How's he doing?" Louis asked Liam gently.
"I-I don't know. I was on the phone with him- he couldn't breathe- then the line went dead- been trying to call him but-but I think he's passed out." Liam's voice broke, and the tears that had been threatening to fall finally did.
Zayn sat next to Liam and pulled his head to shoulder. "Shh. It'll be alright. If he's passed out, then he's not panicking. Which means he can probably breathe." Liam was grateful to not be the logical one this time.
"Or he's knocked his head on the wall and is bleeding to death." He muttered darkly.
"Hush." Zayn said forcefully, stroking Liam's hair. "He won't die, Li. We won't let him."
Liam just sobbed and clutched Zayn's shirt.
Everything seemed so hopeless. The minutes ticked on by, and the elevator still wasn't moving.
Liam grew more and more worried, until finally-
The rattling of the elevator whirring to life startled Liam out of his sob-fest.
He was on his feet so fast that Zayn was knocked over. He stood impatiently, bouncing on the balls of his feet as he watched the arrow descend from 3 to 2 to 1.
Liam held his breath as the doors opened to reveal a limp Niall, crumpled on the floor of the cold elevator floor.
Liam made a choked noise as he rushed in, dropping to his knees beside the boy.
"Niall, can you hear me?" he asked frantically as he scooped up the unresponsive Irish lad and yanked him from the cruel clutches of the elevator. He laid Niall down on a couch in the lobby, bending over him to make sure he was alright and glaring at anyone who tried to come close.
Harry retrieved the broken phone from the floor of the lift, where Niall had obviously dropped it.
Everyone held their breath as Liam placed his ear over Niall's mouth, checking for signs of life.
"He's breathing." He whispered, and there was a collective sigh of relief.
"Niall," Liam pleaded, tapping his face gently. "You've got to wake up. You're safe now. "
He shook Niall gently, pleading with him to wake up, and then wrapping him in a tight embrace when his eyelids finally began to flutter.
Niall thrashed a bit for a second, the panic from before still gripping the edges of his mind, but then stilled in Liam's arms once more.
"Oh." He smiled weakly up into the dark brown eyes. "Oh. It's just you."
Niall reached up with both hands, wiping Liam's tears of relief away with his thumbs before anyone could see.
Then he brought Liam's head down for a gentle, sweet kiss that tasted of Liam's tears and Niall's peppermint gum.
"I'm never getting in an elevator without you again." Niall whispered against Liam's lips.
Liam just bent down and kissed him again.