it was hard to sneak around somebody you lived with, zayn realized pretty quickly after harry so easily found out that he had cheated through looking at his phone. despite the size of his house, they were never really far apart from each other except for a quick trip to the kitchen or to let the dogs out, but otherwise they more or less preferred to orbit around each other. there were times when they sat together just silently minding their own business, but enjoying each other's presence nonetheless, and zayn loved that. after knowing one another for quite some time now and living in each other's pocket for a significant amount of it, zayn didn't feel any pressure to be any version of himself around harry. he could be as loud or as quiet as he wanted to be, and it was fine and nothing would ever change.

zayn regretted spraying up two of the walls in the harry room. he regretted it the moment he had woken up in the guest room right across from it. that morning, he pulled himself out of bed as the most miserable and hungover man he had ever been. the white paint was still drying up on the walls, some drops of it creating lines going towards the floor. but all the same, zayn looked upon the mess he made with the sinking feeling that harry would never come back to him, not after what he's done.

and zayn was usually hard on himself when it came to being right or wrong, but he was happy to be wrong this one time. when harry allowed zayn to hold him again, he was set on redoing the harry room for the younger boy's birthday. all things considered, it wasn't too bad that he needed to change things up. the fight they had was unlike anything else they've ever gone through before, and he couldn't help but feel a little closer to harry, a little more sure than before — a little less hesitant to talk about their future, and a little more excited for what else they would share with each other. he couldn't help but be inspired, and it was a good opportunity to let it all out.

so whenever he spotted harry falling asleep for his afternoon nap, zayn got to work. remembering to put on his mask this time, he put on a pair of wireless headphones so he could listen to music and took out the spray paint that harry had gotten him for christmas so he could start on rough outlines, which he eventually filled in with the color he intended. while sleep was something zayn loved more than most things, there were nights when he would get restless, too, his fingers itching and eyes fluttering in the dark until he would decide to get up and try to see some more progress into his little art project, all while harry was sound asleep. he was careful to never mention that he was working on the harry room, and he kept a close eye on the other boy just in case he'd ever stumble in. but every time he finished, he slipped back into bed, tightly winding harry up in his arms with a heavy, tired, yet extremely satisfied sigh.

if zayn ever smelled like fresh paint, then he must've smelled like it often enough not to stir some unnecessary interest. if he was ever paranoid that harry would question it, then zayn knew how to be a little bit more than distracting.

the two walls were first completely covered in warm colors, mixtures of oranges and yellows. zayn spray painted one side with deep blue colors with waves curling in and out under a big sun until it resembled something that reminded him of the view they had in their grand water villa in maldives while they lounged into the afternoon, only a few minutes before the sun was due to set. that whole trip might've been one of zayn's favorite weeks that he'll ever have in his life. in maldives with harry, zayn felt whole and balanced, completely rested without a single worry on his mind. harry knew how to take care of him like that.

on the other side, while pink floyd's shine on you crazy diamond played through his headphones on repeat, zayn ended up with a bird that covered a good amount of space right in the middle. he was a little ashamed to admit that he spent a good while redoing the eyes throughout three days, covering it up with black paint every time until he settled on it looking nice. he swirled whites, blues, and reds around the bird, feeling something swell inside his chest as he looked on to it coming together. this was worth losing sleep over. just the thought of the look on harry's face once he sees what zayn's been up to and been quiet about would be enough.

two days before harry's birthday, zayn was moving the furniture they had inside the room back into place from being kept in the center with a white cloth over them for protection. of course, this wasn't the only thing that zayn had to show harry on his birthday, but it would be the first of a couple of things he had planned. he was actually surprised with how well he was managing his time between finishing up the harry room and getting on the phone with people he was coordinating with for the next surprise.