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Matt/Aiden Smart

The Things The Papers Say, X-Factor Fic, RPS, Matt/Aiden

Title: The Things the Papers Say
Word Count: 4,229
Rating: 12a I think
Disclaimer: Not Mine - real people, in fact. And this almost certainly probably definately didn't happen.
Summary: Falling in love is hard enough, doing so under a media spot light is downright impossible. In which Matt and Aiden deal with all of the stories in slightly different ways. Fluff, with a little angst.
Author's Note: Featuring the tinest, vague-est bit of Niall/Harry, because I want to include them even if I haven't quite figured out how to write them. Ends a bit abruptly maybe, because it just kept getting longer and I couldn't entirely see how to end.



The Things the Papers Say
by northern_rain





When the papers start running stories about him and Katie, Matt thinks the whole thing is about to come falling down around his ears. Not even stopping to yell at Katie, or hear her protestations of innocence, he runs through the house, desperate to find Aiden.

“It’s not true,” he doesn’t even look at Aiden, hands on his knees as he’s gasping for breath, and maybe he should give up smoking after all.

“I know,” Aiden is smiling serenely and Matt pulls up short, not quite sure where to go now his whole speech about love and faithfulness has been blown out of the water.

“You know?”
“Of course I do you idiot,” Aiden kissed Matt on the lips and didn’t protest when Matt clung to him. When Matt finally eased up his grip Aiden pulled back to look into his eyes. “You love me, don’t you?”
“Of course.”
“And you believe me when I say I love you?”
“Yes.” He wasn’t sure how it happened, but yeah, he believed that this gorgeous boy loved him, and he was stupidly grateful for that fact.

“And you believe me when I say that if you cheat, we’re through?”
“Yes.”
“Then why would you cheat,” Aiden was grinning and Matt was almost prepared to laugh, but he still couldn’t quite believe Aiden was taking it this calmly.

“Don’t stress Matt, it’s just Katie, and I believe you when you say it isn’t true, and I know her well enough to believe she’d push the boundaries of truth,” which was an understatement, “and frankly I live with both of and I think I would have noticed it.”
“I love you,” was all that Matt could find to say, pushing Aiden down onto the nearest bed and determining to show him just how much.

***

When the stories about Aiden and the dancers started appearing Matt managed to laugh them off, but it hadn’t escaped Aiden’s notice that they made Matt more possessive, more determined when it came to sex, and more territorial, if the love bites he’d started leaving were any indication. As he approved of all these developments he’d not really seen the insecurity behind them until it was too late.

“Dancers?” Matt had erupted, “you go running after dancers? It’s just sad,” it was the contempt on his face as much as the words that hurt Aiden but he just stood there as Matt yelled, ranting about love and fidelity and how he clearly wasn’t enough for Aiden. It took him a moment to work out what had set Matt off, then he’d glanced at the laptop on the kitchen table. Someone had posted a photo of him messing around with the dancers and yeah, it looked a little compromising, but nothing Matt hadn’t witnessed, or done himself.

Eventually Matt fell silent and Aiden just stared at him.

“Finished now?” Matt stood there stonily and Aiden didn’t flinch. “When you realise what a complete shit you’ve been and want to talk, I’ll listen. Until then, we’re through.”

He walked out of the lounge, head held high, and he only breaks down when he had made it into the safety of One Direction’s room, throwing himself at a worried looking Harry, who’d clearly heard the entire (one-sided) argument and patted his head awkwardly and mouthed ‘get Louis’ to a concerned looking Zayn.

(Harry had always been closer to Matt than Aiden, no small amount of hero worship leading him to lap up any crumbs of attention Matt spared from Aiden, so he wasn’t used to seeing this side of Aiden, because Louis was always the one Aiden went to in a crisis.)

Louis came running up the stairs, closely followed by Zayn, Niall and Liam. He let Aiden cry himself out, petting and soothing him while the other boys watched on awkwardly, wanting to help but not really knowing what to do.

“I know I’m just a kid,” Aiden sniffed eventually, voice muffled in Louis lap. “I knew it wouldn’t last, not properly, but I tried to be so mature about everything. I was even prepared to take it calmly when he finally got tired of me.” It didn’t really make a lot of sense but they let him talk. “I knew he’d been a bit of a git in the past, but I thought it was an infidelity thing, not an insanely jealous, total shit human being thing.”

It took Matt all of about five minutes to realise he’d been an idiot, and about another thirty minutes to climb down off his high horse and go looking for Aiden.

“Go away Matt,” Louis opened the door the tiniest crack and barely looking at him.
“I just want to talk to him.”
“Not now,” Liam pushed his way past Louis and pulled Matt away from the door. “He’s a complete wreck Matt, he really thought you loved him. We all did.”
“I do,” Matt insisted, looking as though he wanted to force his way into the room and make Aiden talk to him.

“Don’t,” Liam read his look accurately. “You force your way in there and it will be over for good.”
Matt believed him and backed off, adding only, “tell him I’m sorry and I’ll leave him alone.”

Matt had never been more alone in the house than he was that night. He’d done pretty much everything with Aiden, preferring the quiet company of the man he loved to the loud intensity of the house as a whole. Now he found that while his more outgoing boyfriend had lined up allies and support, Matt had no one. Frankly he felt it was exactly what he deserved.

***

Aiden spent the night with One Direction, bundled up in Louis’s bed (which really wasn’t big enough for both of them, except they were both tactile enough not to mind a little spooning) and in the morning felt more ready to face the world. And by the world he meant Matt.

“I said I’d listen when he was ready to talk,” he insisted as Louis protested, “and he’s hardly an ogre, yesterday’s little tantrum aside.”
“Shall I get him then?”
“Yes...no. I can’t have you fighting my battles for me. I’m going to talk to him and I’ll be fine. Or back crying on your shoulder again, at which point you have my leave to say ‘I told you so’ as many times as you want.”
“Ok Aidey.”

***

They went out into the garden, because Aiden knew that whatever was going to happen, they didn’t need an audience, and between them, he and Matt had found enough places in the garden that the paparazzi couldn’t see or hear.

Once they were away from prying ears, Aiden turned to Matt and found he didn’t have a clue where to start, and just stood there, playing with the ends of his scarf nervously.

In the end Matt spoke first, his voice rough. “I’m sorry. I know that it’s too little, too late, but I am sorry.”
“Where did it come from Matt?”

The older man fixed his eyes on Aiden, biting his hands like he was unsure he wanted to let the words out. “You act like you don’t care. You say you love me but you don’t even blink when people link me to Katie, to Grace, to...”
“Any girl with a pulse,” Aiden couldn’t keep the bitterness out of his voice.
“Exactly. You don’t seem to care.”
“I’m a kid,” Aiden shouted, “I’m 18 years old and I’m head over heels in love with a 28 year old man and I’m terrified that I’ll scare you off with my crazy insecurities and you will go running back to people your own age, not because you don’t love me but because you don’t think I’m ready for this.”
“I’m not ready for this either,” Matt admits. “I’m shit at relationships and I’m 28 and I’ve never been in love before, which I didn’t realise until I met you, and now I’ve got something important and I don’t want to screw it up and I’m terrified that I will. And I know I should be the grown up in all of this but I’m just petrified that I’ll lose you and it scares the crap out of me.”

They both fall silent and stare at each other.

“So that’s where we are then? A mess of insecurity and so terrified of fucking up that we’ve managed to fuck up.”
“Pretty much,” Matt laughs bitterly. “At least you know enough to know, and believe, that I love you. I can’t even trust myself to know that anymore.”
“Because I’m cold, or you perceive me to be,” Aiden bit his lip. “I go running to Louis, every time I panic, or the papers start printing rubbish, or I think I’ve done something to make you mad. I go running to Louis and pour all my insecurity out on him so I can be cool and grown-up around you.
“So where does that leave us? Do we just accept that neither of us is ready for this and walk away? Do we say that it’s either us or the competition, and right now we need to put our energies into winning, not into staying together? Re-examine things again in the new year?”
“No,” it’s harsher than Aiden intends and there is a desperation in his voice that Matt hasn’t heard before outside of the bedroom. “You want my full, insecure honesty, well here it is. I don’t want to stop this, because I’m terrified that we’ll never come back to where we are, and one day not too far away I’ll have sunk back into insignificance and I’ll have to find a way to live with seeing photos of you on the arm of every beautiful woman going. And then one day you’ll get married, and have kids, and I’ll end up hating you for forgetting me and hating myself for letting you go, and I’ll end up some sad, pathetic loner who never achieved his dreams, and people assume that’s why I’m sad and pathetic, but really it’ll be because I lost you.”

Matt laughs, he can’t help himself, he laughs at the picture Aiden paints and the desperation in his eyes, and the mere idea that he wouldn’t find his way back to Aiden. “If you think I would ever want anyone other than you then you’re crazier than I gave you credit for.”
“I liked your possessiveness,” Aiden confesses quietly, “after the stories started, you got more possessive, not in a creepy way, but you did and I liked it, liked that the thought of losing me could make you go all primal on me.”
“I liked seeing you wearing my marks,” Matt admits, “I liked that the others saw them and knew you were mine.”
“You laughed at my tale of woe,” Aiden’s mind jumps back to the original topic again.
“It was a great tale of woe indeed,” Matt smiles and Aiden returns it, hesitantly. “And probably not a million miles away from the horrible scenarios my brain would come up with if I let myself dwell on our age difference for too long.”
“Go on then,” there’s a gleam in Aiden’s eye, a playfulness that Matt was terrified he’d banished forever with his tantrum.

“In a nutshell, because I don’t have your way with hysterical words, you get bored of my grumpy old man ways, because I always want to go down the pub and you want to be off clubbing or doing exciting things. Eventually you notice one of your younger, more carefree friends,” Louis, but Matt is not planning to admit to that insecurity, not yet, “notice them noticing you and you think screw that sad bastard who’s ten years older than me and past it and go skipping off into the sunset to live a life of excitement and drama.”

Aiden laughs, and it’s not forced, not a retaliation for Matt’s laugh, but it is as genuine as Matt’s is. “I wear cardigans and happily spend most evenings babysitting for my mum, who totally has a better social life than me” he grins, “and I can’t dance, should never be allowed near a dance floor in fact. And I love pubs. And I love you,” there’s nothing quiet or hesitant about this declaration and Matt knows Aiden has made his mind up, has determined that they are worth fighting for.

“And I love you.”
They take a step closer but Aiden pulls up, “oh, and don’t think for a moment that I don’t know that it’s Louis you saw in that scenario.” Matt gives a sheepish smile and Aiden pulls him in for a kiss. “I’d never run off with Louis...Liam would kill me.” Matt tries to pull away in protest but Aiden holds on tight, kissing him again. “And I’d kill Louis. He may be my best friend, but I couldn’t live with him. And I couldn’t live without you.”

They kiss again. Matt wraps his arms tightly around Aiden’s waist and Aiden melts into the possessive grip in a way that would give Matt a very bad idea of what he could get away with, only he’s on his best behaviour having come so close to losing everything he holds most dear.

“I can’t promise you forever,” he admits as they finally pull apart, “not really.”
“No one can,” Aiden shrugs, because really he is more grown up that his insecure fits suggest. “Just promise me that you want forever, because I do.”
“And I do too.”
“Good.”

They walk back towards the house, hand in hand, and Matt groans as they get closer to the door. “What?”
“I’ve now got to go and have it out with the rest of them, convince them that I’m not a psycho and won’t turn into some sort of abusive boyfriend.”
“Yup,” Aiden grins, because frankly Matt deserves a little torture for the way he behaved, and if Aiden is way too weak, at least he has friends who will stick the boot in for him.

“Oh God.”

But to give him his due, Matt goes into the house with his head held high, and takes everything the One Direction boys throw at him.

***

Surprisingly, things go rather well after that. Aiden actually talks to Matt whenever he starts to panic that he’s done something that will make Matt stop loving him (to date, he hasn’t, because Matt finds everything about Aiden adorable) and Matt talks to people in the house other than Aiden in an effort to feel less separate from the rest of Aiden’s life (it turns out that the One Direction boys are not all that different to Aiden after all, they have the youthful enthusiasm that Matt loves in his boyfriend, but lack the streak of maturity that means he doesn’t want to murder Aiden after spending too many hours together – the boys have gotten surprisingly good at knowing when to duck out and leave Matt and Aiden in peace).

Matt wasn’t completely convinced that the rest of the house had forgiven him until Aiden’s elimination.

Once the rawness of the loss had subsided, he began to feel the gap that Aiden left day to day, someone to talk to in the morning, someone to walk to practice with, someone to eat with, someone to look after. Not remotely subtly, the others begin to fill those gaps. Rebecca is there from the first morning, ready to eat breakfast with Matt and not expecting any conversation, but welcoming his attempts at small talk when he makes the effort. Paige assumes Aiden’s place by his side on the way to rehearsals, chatting happily and forcing Matt out of himself so he doesn’t turn up at the studios looking completely depressed. Half the house are there for lunchtimes in the canteen, and for the first day no one expects him to try and join in the chat, but after that he is clearly considered fair game, and on reflection he thinks this a good thing. The One Direction boys are all clearly happy to receive any care giving that Matt wishes to bestow, and Harry has gotten surprisingly good at wheedling a cup of tea out of Matt with nothing but a wistful sigh. The boys also refuse to let Matt brood, and soon he has been completely adopted by them, and he’s grown close enough to Harry and Niall to feel they are his friends now, and not just Aiden’s.

And Aiden is always only a phone call away. His jealousy and Aiden’s insecurity should be kicking into overdrive right now, but somehow they are more certain, and more secure than before. Probably because of the sheer weight of mopey messages being exchanged between them, until Aiden announces that they are no longer allowed to feel sorry for themselves, because he has a million gigs already, and Matt’s going to go on and win this bloody thing, and then they will live happily ever after. Matt decides it is a good plan.

He still twitter stalks Aiden though, and watches every video of him posted, but instead of soppy messages, he texts things like you really can’t dance for shit, can you?! and do you actually remember any of these gigs, because you seem off your face ;). He even refrains from grouching about the fact that half the people listening to Aiden seem more interested in screaming their heads off than actually listening to him sing (at least, he saves that one for Niall while they are playing table tennis. Niall doesn’t mind because Matt distracts himself with his moaning, allowing Niall to steal an easy victory, at which point he runs off gloating. Harry is happy to reward his athletic prowess.)

The Ballad of Maiden takes a lot of the stress of missing Aiden away from Matt, because he can now watch, admittedly overblown and clearly faked, images of himself and Aiden kissing and fawning all over each other whenever he chooses, and it cheers him up no end.

The others confiscate his phone in the end, because no one should spend that long watching themselves perform, even if they all know Matt is focussed on the pictures.

When he starts getting ill, Matt wants Aiden in a way he never has before, as if in some way Aiden could cure him, like being near him would make everything alright again. Instead he gets a million anxious text messages, and more TLC from One Direction than he ever thought he could handle, and clearly they are reporting to Aiden, because he gets scolding texts whenever he appears too ungrateful.

When Harry falls ill too, One Direction’s focus is split, and Matt suspects that if it wasn’t for his snoring and Harry’s refusal to be separated from Niall, the two of them would be sharing a room so they could be looked after together.

Instead he is shipped off to his parents’ house (feeling a twinge of guilt that Harry isn’t allowed the same reprieve) where he lets his mum take care of him and tells her, at first croakily, then when she scolds him about vocal rest, writing it down, about him and Aiden. She just smiles and says that she is happy if he’s happy, but the gleam in her eyes suggest there will be more questions when he is able to talk. He doesn’t mind, he’s happy talking about Aiden to anyone who will listen.

As Matt gets closer to the final, the stories start up again, Matt and Grace, Matt and any random girl, really. Aiden phones Matt first, “I don’t like the stories,” he admits and Matt can hear the pout in his voice, can picture the sad face he is making at the phone. “I know they aren’t true,” he adds earnestly, “but if you could maybe avoid being photographed near any girl again ever that’d be great.”

Matt laughs and promises to do his best. He also promises to steal Aiden away and show him how much he loves him when he comes back for rehearsals.

The final weekend is both terrifying and fantastic, and yeah partly that is because he wins, but mostly it is because Aiden is back. His gorgeous, amazing boy barely leaves his side for the entire weekend, and Matt has to be almost forced out onto the stage for rehearsals because he finds it hard to understand why he shouldn’t just be kissing Aiden all the time. Even Dannii, who wants to have Team Maiden shirts made up to wear for when the relationship goes public, draws the line at this, making Aiden sit by her side while Matt rehearses because Matt kind of forgot to sing because he was too busy laughing at something Aiden was doing in the wings.

***

When Matt wins, everybody finds time in between congratulations to warn him never to read another newspaper unless he wanted to go completely insane. Those in the know took care to tell Aiden the same thing. They hadn’t told his mum – and she is incapable of not reading any and every article that mentions either him or Matt – but fortunately the stories are generally so contradictory that not even she, in full protective mother mode, can really find any reason to be cross with Matt.

A couple of weeks after the final, Aiden wraps his arms around Matt as he makes them both a cup of tea. Matt leans back into Aiden’s embrace and smiles as the younger man kisses his neck. “You know,” Aiden mutters, voice slightly muffled in Matt’s shoulder, “this is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.”

Matt twists in his arms, something proud and possessive about his smile as he leans up to kiss Aiden. “Good,” he says firmly when they separate. He looks down before adding, “this is the longest I’ve ever been faithful.”
“Good,” Aiden grins and kisses him again. “No celebrating that with anyone but me though.”
“As if,” Matt reassures him needlessly but Aiden likes hearing it and Matt likes saying it. “I barely know other people exist,” which was true; when Aiden was around Matt had a tendency to become positively rude.

“Excepting Rihanna,” Aiden pouted and Matt starts to protest, “you forgot my name!”
“For like fifteen seconds.”
“Matt!”

It’s true. They went backstage after singing Unfaithful, Matt trailing after Rihanna like a puppy dog. Aiden had been waiting with the One Direction boys, thumping Matt on the shoulder and shouting about how he’d just won it, right there. Rihanna had smiled at Aiden ‘hello’. ‘Oh, this is,’ Matt had paused, blinked, ‘Aiden. My Aiden.’ Aiden had gaped at him before spending a few minutes chatting politely to Rihanna while Matt just stared happily at the two of them. In the background Aiden could see the One Direction boys either slumped on the floor because they could no longer stand for laughing (Louis and Niall) or glaring daggers at Matt (Liam Zayn and Harry – Harry would have been laughing if he hadn’t had to spend the entire day listening to Niall gush about how wonderful Robbie was. Harry wasn’t used to people being thought prettier than he was, and he wanted Niall’s undivided attention back.) Aiden hadn’t had to say anything when Rihanna left, because Matt started grovelling the moment he realised he couldn’t deny it. His weak ‘we’ll laugh about this one day’ was met with a sad face and an ‘in like five years maybe’ and the argument was abandoned in favour of grinning like idiots over the idea of still being together in five years. Rihanna is still a sore subject though.

Matt starts humming ‘Unfaithful’ but comes to an abrupt halt at the glare Aiden shoots him. “Still not funny then?”
“Ten years Matty boy, give it ten years.”
“Babe,” Matt kisses him but Aiden pulls back.
“No kisses. People who forget my name don’t get kisses. People who then mention Rihanna in every bloody article definitely don’t get kisses.”
“Kelly Brook,” Matt retorts and Aiden concedes the point.

Matt knows that being able to joke about Rihanna and Kelly Brook are a measure of how far he and Aiden have come. He also knows that every joke brings them one step closer to coming out, to feeling strong enough to place themselves, or more accurately their relationship, under the glare of the media spotlight. Neither man is particularly desperate to come out, except that Aiden would like to be able to come on tour with Matt or follow him down to the studio without having to explain his presence, and Matt would like to be able to spend time with Aiden without allowing journalists to write more stories about how Aiden is some hanger on who should step away from the famous people.

They will come out though. They will move in together and work together and will be blissfully, nauseatingly happy together. And Matt will never forget Aiden’s name again (although for one mad moment he will consider it as he goes to collect his first Brit Award after coming out, tempted to shout ‘this is for you Rihanna’ but it hasn’t been ten years yet, and he doesn’t fancy sleeping on the sofa.)

Comments

*memories*

Loved it! :)
Thanks :)
“I know they aren’t true,” he adds earnestly, “but if you could maybe avoid being photographed near any girl again ever that’d be great.”

:D

Ah this was lovely.
Thanks :)
Thanks, very kind:)

I thought it was time Aiden got to be a little mature, and Matt a little less together.
This is wonderful; I love their insecurities and the way they work through it, and the ending regarding Rihanna was hilarious and exactly what I imagine happened. (Also, I would totally wear one of Dannii's Team Maiden t-shirts.) The Liam/Louis and Harry/Niall was also greatly appreciated (on account of them being my OD ships like woah!) Really lovely ♥
Thanks :)

I'm a big Niall/Harry fan especially - Niall rules and deserves to have the prettiness that is Harry in his life.
oh wow, i totally loved this. insecure boys are too adorable.

‘Aiden. My Aiden.’ the my made me melt alot. i also loved that aiden was the calmer one - he's sometimes portrayed as a bit hysterical in fics, but i like him this way alot more.
Thanks.

I figured it was about time Aiden got to be all together - I think it probably fits in with the things that have happened in his life. And Matt has lead quite a charmed life, so I can see him being younger and more childish at times.
This is brilliant. The dialogue in this is perfect. Good job :)
Thanks.

Dialogue is always impossible, so big thanks for think it was ok :)
I loved the whole thing but the last bit with Rihanna was amazing.... My favorite line was:(although for one mad moment he will consider it as he goes to collect his first Brit Award after coming out, tempted to shout ‘this is for you Rihanna’ but it hasn’t been ten years yet, and he doesn’t fancy sleeping on the sofa.)

That would have been hilarious
Thanks for commenting :)
Usual Suspects

October 2011

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