"Liam, he's here!", Charlotte called from downstairs.
I sighed, my book met my dirty sheets with a dull thud as I released it. I stood up and looked at myself in the mirror. It had a little crack, which I had caused a month ago. I had lost my temper as Skylar - who was three years old - had spilled milk all over me at breakfast.
As I exited the room I went downstairs, skipping the three remaining steps. The floor creaked when my feet hit the ground and I met Charlotte's disapproval eyes. I knew she hated when I did that, seeing as the place was already falling apart. Smiling apologetically I watched her opening the frontdoor, revealing a blonde boy. He couldn't be more than two or three years older than me, and he was looking very lost as he stood there, his eyes glued to the floor and his shirt a bit crinkled. Charlotte greeted him with a hug and I could not help but notice how he shook and whimpered a bit when she touched him.
"Hello, Niall. It's nice to finally meet you.", she said with a genuine smile.

Let me start over from the beginning. My name is Liam James Payne and I'm 17 years old. I was born and raised by a alcoholic mother and an abusive father. My father started abuse me when I was six years old, and my mother died when I was ten. My father went straight to jail after our neighbour found me upstairs, in the bathroom trying to commit suicide by taking dozens of pills.
And that's where Charlotte comes in. She's a nice person with a good heart who's been taking in children to her house. The house was falling apart, but I still admired her for taking care of all of us. We were five children in the house; me, Skylar, Danny, Bethany, and Adam. Niall was the latest addition, and Charlotte had been telling me about him.
When Niall was four, he watched as his mother took her life with a gun to her head. His maniac to father raised him until he celebratet twelve years, that's when the police showed up and took him straight to jail. It turned out his father had been out killing people and he was an arsonist who burned down houses and buildings. Since then, Niall had been taken care of by the social services and he had been living in eleven different houses and families. He never talked, he lost his voice when he was thirteen, and he was an socially awkward person.

We sat by the table later that night, eating dinner Charlotte had cooked. Skylar's laughter and screams echoed in the quiet house, and the cutlery scraped to the plates. I was chewing on my food, gazing discreetly at Niall who sat in front of me poking at his food with his fork. Charlotte then had to leave for her work, she kissed us on the cheek goodbye and left.
When the kids started getting sleepy they went to wash up and go to bed. I made sure they were sleeping and then I went to my room that I shared with Niall. He was sitting in the bunkbed, poking at the hem of his shirt. I bit on my cheek to prevent a smile from creeping up as I watched him.
"I got to go wash the dishes, you can..", my voice trailed off as Niall's eyes met mine.
They were a dark shade of blue, and it looked as if they were going to burn holes in my face as he stared at me. He looked a bit scared to be honest, and I couldn't blame him. His adams apple bobbed as he swallowed quietly and he looked down at the dirty carpet. I heaved in a deep breath and scratched my arm as soon as it started itching.

The dishes took me about twenty minutes to wash, and after making sure the lights were turned off I climbed up stairs and checked on the kids one more time. Then I headed off to our quiet room. Niall's light snores was the only thing that I was hearing when I entered the room. I quietly pulled my shirt off and threw it on the ground. Then I couldn't help but notice that Niall was clutching something, holding it tight. I squinted my eyes and saw that it was a teddy bear. I bit my lip at the sight, and started wondering who had gotten the teddy bear for him. I climbed up the bunkbed and tried to not make any sound as I crawled under the thin sheets and layed my head on the pillow.
I couldn't sleep, as usual. I was staring at the roof and I examined the plastic, shiny stars that were stuck to the roof. There was something with the stars and the universe that fascinated me. Ever since I was a little kid I always had a thing for these kind of things and I still had.
My thoughts got cut off as I heard a pained whimper echo in the room. I tried not to move as I heard some more whimpers and soon the bed started shaking a bit as Niall moved in the bed. My heart was beating fast as I heard him for the first time today mumble something that sounded like "Please, no.. No please.."
He was having nightmares.

Day four, and it still was tense. I was watching some TV, the volume on mute so I could hear the rain patter against the windows. Charlotte was working late as usual, and the kids were asleep. Adam, the two year old, was lying in the couch with his head on my lap. I stroked him lightly on the head as I closed my eyes. I snapped them right back open when I heard someone coming down the stairs. I turned my head to the side, wondering if it was Bethany who was having nightmares again. But then Niall appeared in his black sweats, and I chewed on my upperlip as I turned my attention to the TV again. I saw from the corner of my eye that Niall sat himself down carefully on the sofa and I watched him.

As I usually took of my t-shirt I watched Niall. He was sitting in his bed with his back against the headboard and his teddybear tightly held in his arms. He watched me with suspicious eyes but when I gave him a small smile he seemed to relax a little.
"Is that yours?", I asked and nodded my head towards the bear in his arms.
He jerked, obviously surprised that I talked to him. He sucked in his bottomlip as he nodded at a slow pace. I nodded with a smile and rubbed my aching arm.
"It's pretty..", I continued. "Can I take a look?"
He narrowed his eyes and that suspicious look came rushing back to his eyes. I saw how tightly he held the bear and he whimpered when I took a step forward.
"I'll be gentle, I promise.", I swore and held out my hand.
He hesitated for a long while, until he reached out and placed the bear carefully in my hands. As if he was afraid I would drop it or rip it into pieces.
I examined the bear in my hands, it was a bit blotched and the right eyeball was missing. I smiled and gave it back to him.
"It's really nice.", I commented and I could see a small, proud smile creep up to the corner of his lips.

When the lights was turned off, the rain had increased and the clock was showing 3.56, I turned to my right side. Yawning, I rubbed my tired eyes and closed them after doing so.
I was about to fall asleep when I heard that familiar whimper I've been hearing since day one. It was coming from underneath me, and when the bed started shaking violently I sat up, and hopped down. Niall's teddybear was on the ground, and he was clutching the sheets crying in his sleep. He was whispering incoherent things and it was really starting to freak me out. I held in my breath as I started shaking him, hoping he'd wake up.
"No!", he screamed repeatedly and I shook him.
"Niall, wake up! You're dreaming! Come on, mate. Open your eyes!", I spoke. "That's it, you're dreaming Niall."
His eyes shot open, blodshot, but looking more blue than ever. I was a bit taken back when he sprung forward and I caught him in my arms. He shook violently and cried, soaking my chest with his salty tears.
"It's okay, Niall, it's okay..", I whispered and stroked his blonde messy hair. "It was just a bad dream, it's okay. I'm here for you, I'm here.."
I held the little, damaged boy in my arms, wondering with my whole heart what the hell was going on. Surely his past had scarred him but I never thought they haunted him this bad. But I knew one thing, he was not going anywhere. He was going to stay here. With me.