1. Here’s One Direction’s new cover of Teen Vogue. Isn’t it lovely?
2. But while Zayn, Harry, Louis and Niall are all staring right at the camera and deep into their fans’ souls (I feel Zayn’s gaze, like always), Liam seems distracted. HE’S LOOKING ELSEWHERE.
Don’t worry, Liam doesn’t actually have Cyclops-style X-Men powers (that we know of). These “beams” are just to illustrate where he’s actually looking.
3. Has an attractive Teen Vogue fashion assistant caught his eye?
Nope. And that’s probably for the best, because they’d only get hate tweets by fervent One Direction fangirls if they had.
4. Is he just looking for a nicer pair of shoes? He did get stuck with the beat-up high tops, after all.
Wrong again — Liam keeps it casual in the footwear stakes.
5. Sources confirm to BuzzFeed Fashion what actually caught Liam’s attention: a veritable menagerie of cute baby animals.
Seriously, it’s all true. Here they all are:
6. This puppy who is SO CUTE AND TINY he can fit in a teacup.
(Of course there would be teacups on set during the photoshoot, because One Direction are BRITISH.)
8. And this fluffy puppy who’s technically sitting in Liam’s seat but, really, who’s going to say anything?
10. This is not Liam’s seat, because it’s far too small, but these teacup piglets are nuzzling each other and that’s that.
12. This clever bunny hid in a box of hairspray or something, just so they could get on set and swoon.
Don’t worry — that expression looks sad but really it’s just being overwhelmed at seeing the band, all of them, in the flesh. You’d get wide-eyed and weepy too, so don’t pretend otherwise.
13. And OMG this baby panda just popped up out of nowhere too!
When you’re this adorable you can sneak past the band’s security detail. #truestory
14. While this cunning little pug puppy didn’t take any chances, and bribed his way in. That’s fandom for you, fandom done right.
Also, he’s looking suspicious because Louis isn’t wearing any socks.
15. Says Liam:
(This time he’s pointing at all three of them, so nobody feels left out.)
16. This little puppy who can’t believe Harry’s hair looks this perfect in person. It’s too much to take in.
17. Says Liam: “Don’t cry, because…
Rinse and repeat this GIF after every photo, basically. All these baby animals are perfect.
18. This shocked baby pelican who just saw something happen and now she’s totally shipping Larry Stylinson.
YOU CAN SEE IT IN THEIR EYES.
19. This positively giddy baby slow loris who totally also just saw some twee faux-flirting.
She can’t wait to tweet about it!!!!!
20. This little anteater who still thinks he’s dreaming.
(Liam is also wondering if he could use the striped blanket as some sort of jaunty scarf.)
21. These aren’t real llamas but they’re still cute and I would be distracted by them, so there we go.
Also there’s five, one for every member of the band. That has to mean something!
22. And most importantly, this baby hedgehog who’s sashaying out of the Teen Vogue fashion closet in this season’s must-have hat.
Because that’s how you catch Liam Payne’s attention, ok? A big, flouncy hat.
23. In conclusion, Liam after seeing all of these baby animals:
24. Bonus: some behind-the-scenes photos from the Teen Vogue shoot. Just imagine how much MORE fun this would be with puppies and pelicans scampering around too.
That sort of thing should definitely play out on their next cover shoot. (After all, it worked out so very well for Wonderland.)
25. Except, oh wait, British GQ just took serious, close-up shots without a single, sparkly kitten in sight.
It’s babysteps for the GQ reader then: first the boybands and then the cute pets.