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I Will Love You For a Thousand Years

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Present Day

Harry felt his bones creak as he wandered over to the window, adjusting his glasses on the ridge of his nose. He watched the sunrise slowly burn an orange glow over the lake; a view he’s seen hundreds of times in his life, but it still never affected him any less. He loved it here because it had changed his life. It brought him his soul mate, the one person who was supposed to be his better half. Harry had only ever loved one person with all his heart and soul.

And that has always been enough for him.

He heard a knock on the door, and turned to find the nurse popping his head through the opening. He nodded in greeting, “Morning, Niall.”

“Mornin’ Harry,” Niall eased the door open with his shoulder, walking over to Harry to offer him a cup from the tray he was holding. “Got all your favorite colored pills here,”

Harry accepted them with a smile, shaking them in his palm. “Is he awake yet?”

Niall’s usually cheery face turned solemn. “He’s been up for a while, it’s been a bit of a rough morning. I think the reading will be good for him today.”

Harry’s jaw clenched, his eyes determined. Then that was what he would do. He marched over to his dresser to grab the journal off it and stood in front of Niall, his eyes pleading. “Can we go now?”

He reached out to give his arm a squeeze, nodding at the door for Harry to follow. They walked down the familiar hallway, stopping at the last door at the end to gaze in. Niall called out softly. “Louis?”

He looked over this shoulder, and Harry’s heart felt like it was caught in his throat. All these years later, he was still stunned by his clear blue eyes. He raised an eyebrow, the look on his face one that Harry had come to know as ‘what do you want, I was busy doing nothing’. Harry knew it, would always know it. Even if Louis didn’t. “Yes?”

“Harry’s come to read to you,” He motioned next to him, where Harry stood smiling softly.

Louis frowned, teeth worrying at his bottom lip. “I don’t know him.”

Niall waved him off, ushering Harry through the door. “You’ll like him. He’s funny.”

He winked at Harry and wandered back down the hall. Harry strode into the room and sat down in the chair across from Louis, his eyes fogging over with a memory. “I don’t know how funny I am, someone told me a long time ago I can’t joke for shit, but…” He peered down at the journal, running his fingers along the cover.

“But?”

Harry looked up and was met with a curious look. He flipped open to a bookmarked page, releasing a long breath. “But, he always laughed anyways.” He drew a fist to his mouth, coughing a bit to clear his throat, “Shall we start?”

Louis gave a little nod, chewing on his thumbnail, washing his eyes over Harry’s face. “Alright.”

Harry smoothed down the page. “It was just supposed to be another boring summer night when they met. At 17 and 19, they had their whole lives ahead of them. But fate stepped in and had other plans.”

 

Past

Harry and Zayn landed with an oof, falling into each other, Harry giggling as they wiped the grass off their jeans.

Zayn jumped up to his feet, offering a hand out to Harry. “Laugh it up you tosser, I damn near split my jeans because you refused to pay the entrance fee. “

Harry smacked his hand away, sticking his tongue out. “It’s a carnival and we’re on summer break. We’re supposed to be up to no good,”

“Don’t think hopping the fence at a carnival is considered that naughty.”

Harry rolled his eyes, dusting off his jacket. “Quit being a twat and come get a candy apple with me.”

Zayn groaned, pushing him towards the bright lights of the food stands. “Alright little lady, you want to ride the carousel as well?”

“Maybe.”

They wandered down the aisles, inhaling the familiar smells of popcorn and glare of blinking lights. They were almost at Harry’s candy apple destination when Zayn stopped in his tracks, tugging on Harry’s jacket. Harry lifted his head up so he could see over his shoulder, wondering what he was looking at. When he spotted the white blonde curls he was about to tease Zayn about being whipped; but instead he clutched onto his jumper giving him a shake.

“Hey, who’s that guy with Perrie?”

Zayn pulled out a smoke, trying to look effortlessly cool Harry presumed even though he and Perrie had been dating for ages. “Oh, that’s Louis Tomlinson. Their families are friendly with each other, Pez said they’re only up for the summer.”

As their group got closer to where they were standing Harry felt like his insides were seizing up. This boy, Louis, was gorgeous. Harry could tell from where he was standing that his eyes were blue, blue, blue; that he had a loud throaty laugh, showing off the graceful lines of his neck. And that his body was petite and curvy in all the right places. Harry’s heart kept beating faster as he approached, when his feet got a mind of their own and carried him over to Louis. He planted himself in front of this ethereal angel, mere inches from his face and blurted out the first thing that came to his cotton filled brain.

“You want to dance with me?”

The group all collectively stopped, looking at Harry like he was a complete nutter. He also caught the sound of a hand smacking a forehead which he had to assume was Zayn.

Louis stared at him openly for a moment, before his lips turned into a mocking smile. “No thanks, I’m good.”

He pushed past Harry with Perrie and her gaggle of girls shaking their heads at him. Perrie hooked her arm in Louis’, glancing back to wink at Zayn, mouthing ‘come on’.  Louis followed her eyes, nudging her shoulder to grab her attention back, “Who the hell was that?”

“That’s Harry Styles. He works down at the furniture store that Zayn's dad owns. He’s a carpenter. Good with his hands you know?” Perrie wiggled her eyebrows, snapping her gum obnoxiously.

Louis snorted, pulling her into the line for the Ferris wheel. “Babe, your mind has been in the gutter since you started dating Zayn. Now, get on this ride with me before I wash that little mouth of yours out with soap.”

Perrie shook her head, grabbing for Jesy’s hand to tug her to the front. “Go with Jesy. I want to make out with my boyfriend,”

Zayn suddenly appeared out of thin air and slid into the cart with Perrie, immediately attaching his lips to her face, while Harry stood off to the side smirking at Louis. He ignored him and stepped into the cart with Jesy.

However, he kept his eyes on Louis; a mischievous gleam in them as the ride started to move. Jesy bumped Louis’ shoulder with her own, stifling a laugh. “I think he likes you,”

“He doesn’t even know me…what the,” Louis watched with wide eyes as Harry jumped onto the cart below them and climbed, like a monkey, through the bars to get to their cart. And hung there in front of them, grinning like an idiot. Louis’ voice raised a few octaves as he waved his hands around in a fluster. “Are you mental! What are you doing?!”

Harry flashed his teeth. “Oh you know, just hanging out.”

Jesy hide her face behind Louis’ shoulder shaking with laughter. Louis just shook his head, clenching his hands against the bar that secured them in. “This isn’t funny, you’re going to fall and bash that big dumb head of yours in, get down!”

“I will, but only if you’ll go out with me,”

Louis could hear the ‘go out with him, go out with him’ chants coming from Perrie and Zayn’s cart above them, and Jesy whispering it under her breath as she poked him in the side. Louis noticed Harry’s fingers start to slip and he panicked.

“Fine, fine! Jesus bloody Christ, just stop hanging off that thing, please!”

Harry shook his head, his arms starting to tremble. “I want to hear you say it,”

Louis was on the verge of ripping out his hair. “Say what?!”

“Say you want to go out with me.” Louis narrowed his eyes. Harry took one of his hands of the bar. Louis’ eyes went wide again. Harry was enjoying this way too much. Despite the fact that yes, he could very well plummet to his death at any moment. Harry smiled, a trickle of sweat trailing down his cheek. “Say it then,”

Louis leaned forward, his cheeks giving off a warm rosy glow in under the neon carnival lights. “I want to fucking go out with you!”

Harry used the last of his strength to bring his arm back up; a smug smile spreading across his face, “Alright, alright, calm down. We’ll go out.”

Louis lunged forward to work at the buttons of Harry’s jeans, glancing up at him through his fringe to see the look of shock on his face. Once he had the last button free he slid Harry’s jeans down around his knees, leaning back to admire his handiwork. He quirked an eyebrow at him, tapping a finger against his lip, “Not so cocky now, are you,”

Zayn leaned over the side of his cart to holler down at them, “Harry, I think you’ve embarrassed yourself enough now.”

Harry glanced up with pleading eyes, “Um, a little help here please?”

And when Louis did that laugh once more, Harry knew that he wanted to hear that for the rest of his life.

Harry didn’t see him again until he was in town on the weekend, where he was supposed to be picking up groceries. That was put by the wayside when he spotted Louis, who was once again looking good enough to eat in tan trousers and a fitted dress shirt. Harry ran across the street and tapped Louis on the arm to pull him out of his window shopping trance.

Louis turned on his heels, linking his arms behind his back as he looked Harry up and down. “You again.”

Harry gave him a similar once over before meeting his eyes. “What can I say, I’m drawn to you.”

Louis rolled his eyes but his lips hinted at a smile. “What a line. I bet you use that all the time don’t you,”

Harry made a cross over his heart. “No, just you. I don’t know what is about you, but I have to know you. Go on a date with me.”

“Oh, you’re good, Harry.”

Harry’s eyes turned serious as he locked them on Louis’ “I’ll be whatever you want me to be.”

Louis laughed and reached out to give his arm a squeeze. “Let’s try and be less dramatic, babe. And you happen to be in luck because I was just going to meet Perrie and Zayn at the movies.”

Harry beamed at him and followed along to the theatre, which wasn’t that far of a walk, so Louis just spent the time casting amused sideways glances at him. Then, he decided to play hard to get sitting on the opposite side of Harry, leaving  them both awkwardly placed between Zayn and Perrie’s snog fest. Harry gave up 15 minutes in and plunked himself down in the seat next to Louis, immediately stuffing his hand into the popcorn he was holding. Louis sighed loudly, but Harry caught the little smiles and blushes every time their fingers brushed when they both put them inside the bag at the same time.

After the movie (which Harry had spent most of watching Louis instead) they parted ways with Zayn and Perrie, leaving them well, alone.

Harry nodded his head towards the sidewalk. “Go for a walk with me,”

The streets were quiet and deserted, and the moon high and bright in the sky lighting their way. Harry would have been content with the comfortable silence, but then Louis started talking.

“I never really get to do things like that, you know,” Harry flicked his eyes up from where they were following their footsteps on the sidewalk but remained unspeaking. Louis kept his own eyes straight ahead. “My family has expectations you see, the Tomlinson’s have to be successful. So, most of my free time is spent with tutors for piano lessons, and language lessons, and extra reading, and family appearances.”

“Hmm.”

Louis stopped then; a haughty look on his face. “What does that mean?”

Harry shrugged, dragging a hand through his hair. “Just thinking, I suppose. What do you do for fun? Like, for just you?”

He crossed his arms over his stomach defensively. “I do things. I do. I have loads of fun in fact,”

Harry pointed a finger at him. “I don’t believe you.” He kept his eyes on Louis, walking backwards into the middle of the street. He looked both ways and then folded himself down to the ground, lying underneath the blinking streetlight. He clasped his fingers together on his stomach, smiling to himself when he heard the irritation in Louis’ voice.

“Bloody hell, get up from there Harry,”

He kept his eyes up on the night sky, shaking his head back and forth against the gritty pavement. “No, see that’s your problem. You think too much. Just come here.”

There were a few muttered curses and a moment later Harry felt a warm body next to his. He turned to face Louis, who had a shy smile on his face for once. “What happens if a car comes?”

“You die.”

Louis lightly smacked him on the thigh, a breathy laugh escaping his lips. “Wanker.” He tilted his face to the stars as well, picking out constellations in his mind. He wants to remember this moment he thinks. “I like to paint. That’s what I do for me.”

They went still once again, only the sounds of their breathing sounding out around them. That was until a car blared its horn and had them scrambling to their feet racing for the sidewalk. Harry bent over clutching his stomach, trying to calm his heart rate down. He whipped his head back up once he heard the hysterical laughter coming from Louis. He looked at him, dumbfounded.

“Why are you laughing?”

Louis wheezed out a few choked giggles before he was able to speak again. “Oh god…that was fun. Your face!”

Harry felt his heart thump a little bit louder in his chest. He did that. He made Louis laugh and smile like that. He walked over to Louis and held out a hand. “Dance with me.”

Louis pressed his palm into Harry’s, his eye’s twinkling under the streetlamp. “There’s no music, though.”

Harry quickly brought him towards his chest; his hand splayed along Louis’ lower back, their fingers now intertwined. He hummed out a tune and sung low into Louis’ ear, spinning them in a circle. Louis pressed his face into Harry’s chest, smiling against the jut of his collarbone. “You’re a terrible singer.”

“No I’m not,” Harry whispered, his breath tickling the tip of Louis’ ear.

No, he wasn’t. Louis just didn’t want to admit that quite yet.

 

Present Day

Louis pursed his lips and titled to the side. “They fell in love didn’t they.”

Harry licked a finger, turning to the next page. “Yes.”

Louis nodded, a faraway look in his eyes. “Good. I like that kind of story.”

 

Past

After the initial first date and Harry nearly killing them (which was Louis’ favorite way of telling the story), they spent every waking minute together. They were inseparable; with most of it involving their mouths. Everywhere they went they were attached at the hip and lips; no place was off limits for kissing.

Louis would come by and visit Harry on his lunch hour at work, where Harry would press him up along the back of the building, tasting the rich vanilla ice cream Louis had brought for them. On the weekends they would ride their bikes down to a secluded grassy field and fall into the middle of it, Louis crawling into Harry’s lap and kissing him until he was breathless while he weaved wildflowers through his curls. Or, on especially scorching summer days they would go down to the lake with Zayn, Perrie and the girls, who teased them relentlessly as they bobbed in a far off corner of the lake trading lazy, wet kisses, their fingers dancing around the waistbands of their shorts, but never wandering too far.

The days passed by in a blur, each one better than the next.

It was another humid evening when Louis surprised Harry at his house. He tossed his bike against a nearby tree and bounded up to the steps, only to stop short when he saw Harry sitting in the swinging chair on the porch, quietly reading to his mother.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever. It’s loveliness increases, it will never pass into nothingness.”

Louis released the breath he was holding. Later, when they were alone, he would remember to tell Harry how beautiful he looked reading poetry. He started up the steps, startling Harry out of his quiet reverie. He put the book aside, easing out of the swing. “Louis,”

Harry’s mother jumped up from the chair she had been sitting in across from him, clapping her hands in delight. “Aren’t you handsome! I’ve heard so much about you, love.”

Louis blushed, picking up the package he had placed on the ground next to him. “It’s nice to finally meet you Ms.Cox…I um, I made this for you,” He took the wrapping off to reveal a painting and passed it over to Harry’s mother.

She drew a hand to her mouth, clucking her tongue. “My, my, good looking and talented. He’s a keeper, Harry,” She pulled Louis into a hug, patting his cheek once she let him go. “That was really sweet of you, Louis, thank you. Now, I was going to make pancakes for dinner and I insist you join us.”

She bustled into the house, muttering under her breath about hanging the painting above the mantel; while Louis sidled up to Harry and wrapped his arms around his neck. He toyed with his curls, his smile playful. “So, poetry hey? You surprise me more and more each day.”

Harry ducked down for a quick kiss, molding his fingers to the curve of Louis’ waist. “It’s how I learned how to read. Mum fancied Keats, so now it’s kind of our thing.”

Louis stood up on his toes so he could whisper into his ear. “Are you a soppy romantic, Harry Styles?”

“Guess you have to stick around to find out.”

Louis didn’t have to see Harry’s smile. He felt it all the way down to his toes.

Louis had gotten it in his head that he wanted to see the ocean, so Harry being the person that could never say ‘no’ to him packed them up into his shitty little car and granted Louis’ wish. The drive was easy enough, aside from Louis spending the majority of it trying to distract him with sweet kisses and singing ridiculous made up songs at the top of his lungs.

“Harry Styles, he drove for miles, so he could see me, Louis T, swim in the sea, completely naked and pants free!”

Harry’s hands jerked, causing the car to swerve. “Louis! I’m trying to get us there in one piece, Jesus!”

Louis sat back with a smug look on his face and thankfully for Harry, remained in his swim shorts once they got there. Not that Harry didn’t want to see Louis naked, he absolutely did, it’s just that they have only really kissed, a lot of kissing (and Harry was going to guess a lot of private wanking) and he didn’t want to rush things. He would know when the time was right.

For now he was content with watching Louis run down the beach and barrel into the waves, giving a loud shriek once he hit the water.

“Bloody fuck shit, fuck fuck fuck that is cold!” He spun around, arms wrapped around his chest, making exaggerated full body shivers. “Harry, come in and warm me up.”

Harry waited a beat so he could admire the sight that was Louis soaking wet; his hair pushed back, his smile so bright and hopeful, that it had Harry running into the water and picking Louis up around the waist. He latched onto Harry’s mouth instantly, laughing into a salty lingering kiss.

Louis pulled away first, squinting his eyes up at the sun to watch a flock of birds fly by. “I think I was a bird in another life,”

Harry rolled his eyes fondly. “Okay, Lou.”

He looked back at Harry, leaning down to nip at his ear. “Say I’m a bird,”

Harry squirmed as Louis tickled his ear with his tongue. “No.”

“Say it, Harry,” Louis traced his fingertips over Harry’s nipples.

He huffed out a breath, trying to ignore where Louis’ hands were. “Fine, you’re a bird.”

Louis brought his hands up to his hair, running them through the wet curls. His smile was soft as he searched Harry’s eyes. “Now, say you’re a bird.”

Harry held him closer, titling his head up as an invitation for Louis’ lips. “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

“Good.”

Once Louis’ family caught on to how much time they were spending together, Harry was eventually summoned to one of their Sunday family lunches. Which for a regular family would have been no big deal but for Louis’ family it was tradition; and involved crystal water classes, gold trimmed plates and lots of talk about money.

Harry was nervous but calmed down a bit once he was placed next to Louis; with Zayn and Perrie on the other side of him. He slowly chewed his salad as he listened to the conversations around him, when all of a sudden it was being directed at him by Louis’ mother.

“So, Harry what is it that you do exactly? For work? You do work I hope,”

Louis hissed under his breath. “Mum,”

Harry put his fork down, taking a sip of his water to clear his throat. “Yes, I do work Mrs. Tomlinson. I work in Zayn’s family’s furniture store.”

Zayn nodded enthusiastically. “Harry’s a brilliant carpenter.”

Louis’ mother dabbed a napkin on her lips, pursing them thoughtfully. “Can’t imagine there’s much money in that,”

Harry felt Louis’ hand under the tablecloth. He gave his leg a comforting squeeze. “I do well enough.”

Louis’ mother wasn’t finished though. “What are you going to do when the summer’s over? Louis got accepted for an internship. He’s going to be a doctor, did he tell you?”

Harry glanced at Louis, a tiny smile curving up his lips. “He hasn’t yet, but that’s amazing, Lou. Really.”

Louis tried to communicate as much as he could with his eyes. “I just found out, I was going to tell you later,”

“It’s okay.”

Louis’ stepdad Dan cleared his throat, holding his glass up for a toast. “Let the kids have fun, it's lunch, not the Spanish inquisition. Now eat up everyone!”

Harry tried to focus on his food after that, but all he could think about was getting Louis alone for a moment.

Louis tiptoed up Harry’s porch later that night, trying not to interrupt him as he read under his breath. His head popped up when the porch creaked under Louis’s weight and he was up in seconds, whirling Louis around and pressing him into the side of the house; his lips hungrily attacking every inch of skin he could get them on.

Louis clutched at his curls, stifling a moan between his clenched teeth. Harry stopped himself, leaning his forehead against Louis’. “Do you want to go somewhere?”

Louis nodded a bit frantically. Harry grabbed his hand and linked their fingers together, and kept them that way on the silent drive down a dark, unlit road. They pulled up to a rundown house, which had clearly seen better days. Louis followed him inside, intrigued by Harry’s sudden lack of talking. He stood in the entrance way with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans, while Louis walked around investigating.

Harry’s rumbly voice finally filled the room. “This place has been here as long as I can remember. I’ve been admiring it since I was old enough to know that I wanted to buy it one day. Fix it up. I think I can make it something beautiful.”

Louis ran his fingers along the peeling wallpaper, flicking a sly grin at Harry. “Don’t I get a say in this?”

Harry felt like his heart was going to burst out of his chest. He watched Louis carefully. “Do you want a say in this?”

Louis hummed. “I do. I think I’d like the house to be white. With blue shutters and a porch that wraps all the way around. And a room that overlooks the river so I can paint.”

Okay, Harry thought. I can do that for you. I will do that for you.

He wandered over to the dusty piano that was sat in the corner of what was once a living room, easing down onto the bench. Harry felt like he was in a dream as Louis’ tested out the out of tune keys, smiling at the sounds his fingers were making.

He walked over to him and gently brushed his fingers though the fine hairs at the nape of Louis’ neck. Everything felt a little hazy when Louis turned around on the bench, maneuvering his legs so that Harry could fit in-between them.  He tugged him down, arching his back to get that much closer to Harry.

Louis’ tongue and teeth were everywhere; sucking little bruises into Harry’s neck as he slipped his hands underneath Louis’ thighs to hitch him up, grinding him down against the piano keys, causing them to tinkle out a fevered tune to match their own. Louis grabbed Harry’s face, making desperate little noises after each open mouthed messy kiss.

He thrust up against Harry, who gripped his arse a little harder and choked back a groan. Louis panted, barely recognizing his own ragged voice. “Harry,…I want you to make love to me.”

Harry felt like he had been pushed underwater; he was drowning in Louis. He stilled his hands, squeezing his eyes shut. “Lou—“

Louis cut him off, covering his mouth with his hand. “Yes, I’m sure.”

Harry leaned back, turning to look around the room for something to make this more comfortable than the bare floor. He spotted a blanket and went to go lay it out, tugging his shirt over his head, dropping it down next to it. He turned back to Louis, nodding at him to come over.

He stripped off his own t shirt, his fingers starting on the buttons of his jeans. He was flushed and maybe just a bit nervous when he stepped closer to Harry. “Do you have…uh,”

Harry blushed a bright red. He kneeled down to riffle in the back pocket of his jeans to grab his wallet. Louis had an eyebrow cocked as he crawled over to him, down to his briefs now.

“Did you plan on having your wicked way with me, Harry Styles?”

Harry shook his head immediately. “No, of course not, it’s just, I like to be prepared, god that sounds awful, I didn’t mean—“

He forgot where his train of thought was going because Louis was now lying on his back; his eyes wide and innocent, his knees drawn up and his cock firm against his tan stomach. Harry swallowed hard, his hands shaking as he reached for the packet of lube. Louis’ eyes followed his every movement as he squeezed it onto his fingers and repositioned himself between his legs.

He placed a palm on Louis’ hip, stroking his thumb along the soft skin as he brought a cool finger down, running it along his rim. Harry started to gently press in, when Louis blew out a harsh breath. “Can you talk to me? I-I, wow this is a lot you know?”

Harry leaned down to kiss along his jaw, slipping a little further in. He could feel Louis’ whole body tense up. He quickly pulled out, dropping his face into Louis’ neck. “We don’t have to do this if you’re not ready, Lou. I don’t want to hurt you.”

Louis groaned, smacking a hand over his eyes. “Fuck, Harry, I’m sorry. I just…I haven’t done this before, and it’s kind of overwhelming,”

“I haven’t either. Really. We can wait.”

Louis tapped his shoulder for his attention. Harry leaned up on his elbows, drinking in his every feature. Even though he had barely touched him, Louis disheveled and well fucked. Louis cupped his cheek. “Nothing seems to phase you, couldn’t have a care in the world.”

“That’s not true…I love you, did you know that?” Harry held his breath waiting for Louis’ answer.

But the look in Louis’ eyes told him that he did. “I love you too.”

Louis placed a hand over Harry’s heart, wanting to share more with him.

The moment however, was fleeting. Because now that they had the ‘I love you’s’ out there, everything else around them had to come crashing down. Zayn was banging on the front door of the house, shouting about Louis’ parents and the police and soon they were rushing off and pulling into Louis’ driveway with a screeching halt.

Louis tore through the front doors, going directly for his mother’s throat. “The cops mum, really?!”

She kept her voice calm. “Well, how am I supposed to know you were out fooling around with that boy again? This needs to end Louis, I mean it. He’s a nice boy, but he’s nothing. You know that we accept you for who you are, but I will not have you extending this past the summer. Do you know how this would look on our family?”

Louis hung his head, wrapping his arms around his middle. “I love him.”

“Louis, you are 19, you don’t know what love is yet.”

Louis whipped his head up, his eyes flashing. “How can you say that to me? You don’t even look at Dan the way I look at Harry! Don’t you tell me I don’t love him,”

She pointed a finger at the door. “I don’t want to hear any more, you tell that boy to go home right now. I’ll deal with you in the morning.”

Louis watched her go, glaring furiously at her back. He found Harry pacing back and forth by his car; his fingers fiddling with his bottom lip. He stopped when he saw Louis approach and allowed him to pull him into a hard hug.

“Harry—“

Harry soothingly rubbed his back. “It’s alright. I need to go…I just have to think about some stuff,”

Louis pulled away, his brow furrowed. "What do you mean? Talk to me now.”

“You’re leaving. And I’m staying here. You have a life.”

Louis shook his head. “Fuck it then. I won’t do the internship.”

Harry circled his fingers around his wrist, holding tight. “You can’t do that, Lou,”

“What if you come with me?”

He shrugged his shoulders in resignation. “What am I going to do in London?”

Louis’ eyes pleaded with him. “Be with me.”

Harry tried to pull him closer. “She doesn’t even want you to be with me here, Lou,”

He yanked his arm from Harry’s grip, slowly backing away. “Just do it now then. Break up with me.”

Harry felt a stab of pain in his chest. “We’re not breaking up, I just need some time—“

“Just go, Harry! You already made it clear you don’t want this.”

Harry resigned, rounding his car to slide into the driver’s seat. He gripped the steering wheel, looking at Louis once more. “We still have time to figure this out. I love you okay?”

Louis felt the tears building behind his eyes. “There’s nothing left here, Harry. Please just leave.”

He sat on the front steps watching Harry’s taillights fade in the distance, dropping his head into his hands; his heart drumming a beat of ‘please don’t leave me.’

Louis woke up the next morning with a pounding in his head and an awful feeling in his stomach. He rolled out of bed to go and get a glass of water, opening the door to his room only to see his mother on the other side.

“Oh, good you’re up! You better start packing; we’re leaving in a few hours.”

Louis scrunched his face in confusion. “What? Where are we going?”

“Back to London of course. Now, hurry up darling, you don’t have much time.”

She hurried down the hall before Louis could open his mouth to protest. He clutched his stomach. No. They couldn’t go to London today, he…Harry. He had to see Harry. He had to fix this.

He went back into his room and threw on the nearest jeans he could find, pulling a hoodie over his head and slipped his shoes on as he took the stairs two at a time striding out the front door. He grabbed his bike from where he had thrown it on the ground the day before and peddled to Harry’s work so fast he had to double over and take a few deep breaths before storming through the front door.

Zayn was sat at the front counter reading a book, his face grim when he saw Louis. He put the book aside, his lips pulled down in a harsh frown. “He’s not here, Louis.”

Louis ambled up to the counter, clutching it so hard his knuckles turned white. “What? Where is he? I really need to talk to him, Zayn,”

“Don’t you think you did enough talking last night? You told him to leave. So he did. Just let it go, Louis.”

Louis shook his head in protest. “I can’t…we’re leaving today, I just need to see him. I can’t go back knowing that we left it like this.”

Zayn’s eyes softened. He placed a hand over Louis’. “Louis, I’m sorry, I don’t know where he went. Do you want me to pass a message along?”

“Just let him know it’s not over.”

By the time Harry had gotten back into town from a few hours of clearing his head, he had received Louis’ message. But he was too late. He never got to chance to say goodbye to him.

Not knowing what else he could do, Harry decided that he would write Louis a letter every day; telling him how sorry he was, that he should have fought harder, that maybe he should have just come to London.

He wrote him a letter every day for an entire year. None of them were ever answered.

Eventually Harry decided that he needed to start a new life. Everywhere he turned he was reminded of Louis; so he and Zayn packed a bag, headed for Europe and never looked back.

But no matter what country he was in, or how many days, months, years passed, he always wondered if Louis had fared any better with the pain.

Louis did go back to London, but only for a brief stay. He ended up accepting a different internship in New York and was happy to be away from his family after the way things ended with Harry. Harry, who he thought about every waking moment; Harry, who never tried to contact him again, no matter how hard he wished for it; Harry, whose beautiful smile was still the last thing Louis thought about before he fell asleep, even years later.

He wondered if he would ever get the image out of his mind.

Then one windy fall day at the hospital Louis was now working in back in London, something shifted. He had been running late due to a necessary coffee run, bursting through the doors to the locker room and ran smack dab into a solid chest. Luckily, he had already finished his coffee.

“Fuck, I’m so sorry, are you alright?”

Louis didn’t know why he was asking that though when he realized he had to tilt his head up to talk to this guy. Handsome guy that was. Louis subtly looked him over, and wow he was tall. Like really, really tall; with kind eyes and a cheeky smile. Louis could feel himself blushing, even though he was the one ogling.

“I think I should be asking you that, as it was your forehead that hit my chest,”

Louis rolled his eyes, biting back a smile. “Oh sure, make fun of the short guy why don’t you. I’m Louis by the way. I take it you’re new here?”

He stuck out a hand for Louis to shake. “Greg. And yes, first day; just transferred from here from a stint in New York actually,”

Louis raised his eyebrows. “No shit! I did my internship there. Small world that.”

Greg gave him a dazzling smile, still holding onto his hand. “Well, you’ll have to tell me about it over coffee sometime.”

And that was the start of their whirlwind romance.

It didn’t take them long to fall for each other, Greg had everything that Louis’ family approved of: he was handsome, charming and fabulously wealthy. All important aspects for Louis’ mother’s approval.

They were out one night at yet another black tie fundraiser with the same boring people Louis had seen nearly half his life, except that his time he at least had Greg along to make fun of them. They were pulling faces during the speeches, and drinking far too much and his mother didn’t even bat an eye.

Louis leaned over to whisper in Greg’s ear. “Why isn’t my mum giving me shit? She always gives me shit at events like this. It’s tradition.”

Greg squeezed his knee, shrugging his shoulder nonchalantly. “Maybe she’s just happy.”

Louis snorted, taking a sip of champagne. “Greg, darling, you’ve met my mum right? She is many things, but happy is not one of them.”

Greg twisted around to face him and plucked the champagne glass out of his hand, ignoring Louis’ protests. He took Louis’ left hand and placed it between his own, keeping his tone light. “So, I was thinking—“

“Oh, that’s never good,”

Greg ducked his head to hide his blinding smile. “Can I finish without being interrupted for once?” Louis mimed a lock and key with his fingers, nodding at him to continue. “Alright, I suppose I’ll just come out with it. I asked your parent’s permission and all that because I think we should get married.”

Louis’ mouth hung open, staring at Greg with a stunned look on his face. He shook out of it a moment later, smacking him on the arm. “Fuck off, are you serious?”

“Truly wonderful. I’ve always wanted my possible future husband to swear during our proposal, dreams really do come true!”

Louis spotted his mother out of the corner of his eye, giving him a subtle wink. He couldn’t be surprised that she approved of this. He smiled warmly, leaning over to press a kiss to Greg’s cheek. “Okay, where’s the ring then, I can’t say yes without it,”

So, Louis got engaged. It was good, he was crazy about Greg, and for once he was making his family happy.

But when he closed his eyes as Greg slipped the ring on his finger, the first face he saw was Harry’s.

When Harry came home from his years of drifting throughout Europe, things were a little bit different. His mother had gotten remarried and that essentially got the ball rolling for the next chapter of his life.

One of the most important chapters.

Because now that she was living with Robin she had sold their old home and bought Harry the property he had been dreaming about for what had seemed like his whole life.

He teared up when she handed him the keys and pulled him into a hug that only a mother could give. Harry choked back a sob, mumbling into her neck. “Mum, I can’t accept this, it’s too much.”

She held him out by the arms, tucking a loose curl behind his ear. “Yes, you can baby. You need this. Fix it up and make it yours. Just like you always wanted to.”

“Thank you mum, you don’t know how much this means to me,” he whispered, breathing in her familiar perfume, letting the comfort sweep over him.

“I do baby…I do.”

Harry threw himself into the project; gathering up floor plans and blueprints and paint and furniture, everything he needed to make the house perfect. Exactly how he had pictured it.

He was in London for the day when his past came back to haunt him. He had been picking up lighting fixtures and some things for the bathroom when he spotted his ghost.

Harry stood outside the window of a crowded restaurant but all he could see was him. And perhaps that was always the problem. He was the only thing he could see clearly. It was the same radiant smile, the same sun kissed skin, those playful blue eyes. He was glowing. If Louis was the sun, then Harry wanted to be the night sky that enveloped him while he was resting, waiting to brighten up another day.

However, Louis was heading straight into the arms of another man; looking at him the way he should have been looking at Harry.

He quickly backed away, almost running down the street to his car. His heart was used to the pain that was the hole that Louis had left behind, but somehow seeing him again had made Harry more determined than ever.

If he restored the house, Louis would find his way back.

 

Present Day

The afternoon sun shone brightly through the big bay windows in the dining room. Harry had put them there for a reason and smiled at the way it reflected at bit of a halo around Louis’ head.

Louis looked up from his lunch; eyes eager to know more. “Did they ever see each other again?”

Harry wanted to reach over and grab his hand, to reassure him. He didn’t. “I don’t want to spoil the story for you.”

 

Past

Harry worked day in and day out to finish up the house; he was like a man possessed. When he finally finished he stood outside the front of it and immediately thought about burning it down to the ground.

Instead, he got drunk for 10 days straight; leaving Zayn and Perrie to drag his sorrowful arse into bed every night.

After that he tried putting it up for sale, thinking that maybe selling it someone who was worthy would make whatever this horrible feeling that was pent up inside him leave for good. But every time he got a decent offer, he just couldn’t do it.

So he put his energy into working out; going out onto the lake and rowing every morning, running around his property, lifting weights in the makeshift gym he had set up in the barn.

And on those nights when he wanted to stave off the loneliness, he would spend the evening with a book or when he needed to; he would find a different kind of company from a neighbor down the way, Liam, who had his own reasons for being lonely.

Life was okay. But it was never enough.

Louis stood in front of a floor length mirror; people bustling around him taking measurements and fixing cuffs and fiddling with the buttons on his jacket. He rolled the kinks out of his neck, half listening to the chatter around him, when someone shoved a newspaper into his hands. He wrinkled his nose, because why the fuck would he care about the news? He flipped through it until his chest started to constrict; reading the name he has said thousands of times out loud. Harry Styles.

That was when Louis fainted.

Later on that day he was sat in the tub with bubbles surrounding him, a glass of champagne clutched in his hands because it felt necessary. He glared over at the newspaper article about Harry that he had propped up in a chair from time to time and finally thought ‘fuck it’. He knew what he needed to do.

The next day he gave a flimsy excuse to his supervisors about needing time off for a few days and caught Greg in an empty corridor, trying to kiss the reassurance into him.

“I’m fine, babe. I just need a few days to myself. Is that alright?”

Greg clasped his fingers around Louis’ waist, sighing quietly. “Of course, take your time. Figure it out, whatever it is.”

Hours later Louis was back at the lot that he used to know as abandoned. Today it was so much more. He shut the car off and climbed out of the seat, marveling at the transformation. He drew his eyes over it, wanting to drink all of it in, when he spotted Harry coming out of the barn. He hadn’t really known what to expect but Harry had transformed from a sort of innocent 17 year old, to a man. A full-fledged man.

He was wearing a lot of plaid, his legs were miles long in dark blue denim and though his hair wasn’t as curly has it had been, it still did that thing around his ears and the nape of his neck that Louis loved. He had a beer in his hand, his fingers clenched around it as he stood there staring unblinking at Louis.

Louis stepped forward, his fingers twisting nervously around one another. “I saw your picture in the paper…So, are you okay?”

Harry remained glued to the spot, the rise and fall of his chest being the only thing to let Louis know he was breathing.

Louis rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans, moving back towards the car door. “This was stupid. I shouldn’t have come here.”

He clamored into the car, firing it up with his jittery hands and slamming his foot on the gas to back out. Which would have made for the perfect dramatic exit. That was if Louis hadn’t crashed the car right into what was probably Harry’s brand new fence.

He sat there in a daze, his mind racing with ‘shitshitshit’ when a knock on his window had him jumping in his seat. He rolled it down to face Harry, who still had a blank expression on his face.

“Do you want to come in?”

 

Present Day

Harry closed the journal, nodding at the nurse who had come to let him know it was time for his checkup. He pushed out of the chair, Louis’ following his movements with a strange look in his eyes. He furrowed his brow as if trying to remember something, titling his head up to look at Harry.

“This is a good story…I think…I feel like I’ve heard it before,”

Harry held the journal up, giving it shake. “Then I’ll come back and read you more.”

A while later Harry was sat in an examination room with one of the newer doctors giving him the rundown on his health. He gave Harry a curious look as he took his blood pressure.

“So, you read to Mr. Tomlinson every day… You do realize Harry, that his condition is degenerative. I’m not trying to be cruel, I would just hate for you to get your hopes up.”

It’s nothing Harry hasn’t heard before, so he remained smiling serenely at the eyesight chart across the room from him.

“I read to him, and he remembers. He always comes back to me.”

 

Past

Harry set down a plate in front of Louis, offering him a cold beer. He took it; ignoring the brushing of their fingertips and held it up, “Cheers.”

They both finished their first beers in record time and by halfway through the second one, Louis was much more relaxed. He noticed that Harry’s features had softened at bit as well; his dimple almost making an appearance at times.

Harry leaned back in his chair, tipping his beer bottle at Louis’ left hand. “So, are you going to tell me about him?”

Louis shot a glance down at the ring, covering it with his right hand. “Oh, Greg. He’s-he’s a good guy. Charming. Brilliant doctor. Kind. And he loves me very much. “

Harry’s chair scraped back abruptly and Louis kept his eyes down on his hands; afraid of what he would see when he looked up again.

A few moments later a glass full of amber liquid appeared on the table. His lips curled into a smile and Harry’s voice came out smoky and slow, like the human version of the drink he had his hand now wrapped around.

“Let’s go sit on the porch.”

Louis followed him through the house, amazed at how much love Harry had put into it with every room they passed. When he reached for his coat off the hook by the front door, he noticed the piano in the corner of the living room…the very same piano from all those nights ago.

He could feel the heat of Harry’s eyes on him and was slightly taken aback when he found them in the dim entryway. Harry’s face had always been so expressive, but the way he was looking at Louis right now was unnerving; like he could feel the pulsing Harry’s veins from where is was standing, the phantom touch of his fingertips all along his skin. He looked like he wanted to devour Louis.

“Why…why are you looking at me like that?”

Harry snapped out from whatever spell he had been on, pushing through the screen door. “No reason.”

They settled onto the porch; Louis on the swing and Harry in the same chair that his mother used to sit in, and for a while they just sat there with dusk settling comfortably around them, listening to the night slowly wake up.

Louis pointed at the book sitting under Harry’s chair, his voice soft. “Read me something?”

Because he already missed the sound of Harry’s voice.

He reached under the chair, dusting off the book and opened up to a page that was dog eared, clearing his throat.

“I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion – I have shuddered at it, I shudder no more. I could be martyred for my religion. Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet.”

Louis pulled his coat closer and shivered into it, even though the air was around them was still warm. He climbed to his feet, moving over to the railing. He hung his arms over the side, casting a glance back at Harry. “We really loved each didn’t we,” Harry hummed in response, rocking back and forth in the chair. Louis nodded, pulling the keys out of his pocket. “I should go.”

He trudged back to his car; his heart feeling so heavy yet so light at the same time, creating a strange feeling in his stomach.

“Hey, Lou?”

Louis spun on his heel at the sound of Harry’s voice. “Yeah?”

“Come back tomorrow. There’s something I want to show you.”

 

Present Day

“He came back,”

Harry had picked a spot out in the yard for them to sit and finish reading, wanting to take advantage of the beautiful summer day. He smiled over at Louis. “He did.”

Harry started to turn to the next page when he caught a glimpse of the group of people being escorted over to them. His face visibly brightened as he stood up to greet them.

“Dad!”

Harry pulled his kids into a group hug, ruffling up their hair, which caused a chorus of groans. Louis sat with his hands in his lap, watching the scene unfold with fond eyes. “These are your children?”

Harry sighed inwardly. He hated this part; the visible fall on the faces of their kids, even though they knew what to expect every time they came to visit. He gathered them in his arms and faced Louis.

“Louis, this is Emma, Mae and Josh,”

A flicker passed in his eyes, and just like that was gone. He got up to his feet and was taken by surprise when they all came to hug him. Louis had a wobbly smile when he stepped back but his eyes were vibrant. “It was lovely to meet you all, but I’m a bit knackered. I think I’m going to take a nap.”

Niall was hovering close by and took Louis by the elbow, sending a warm look over to Harry and his family.

Mae wiped a runaway tear from her eye, leaning into the arm Harry had wrapped around her. “He seems really good today, dad,”

Harry squeezed her side, resting his cheek against the side of her head. “Maybe it’s a day for a miracle.”

Josh and Emma looked over to the empty spot where Louis had been sitting, shaking their heads. “Dad, can’t you come home yet? We miss you too you know.”

“I can’t,” Harry thought of all the memories they had shared in that house, the house he built for Louis. “That’s my sweetheart in there. I won’t leave him. Your dad is my home.”

 

Past

When Louis got back to the hotel room the phone rang almost immediately. He frowned, stumbling over to pick it up.

“Hello?”

“Lou, where have you been, I’ve been trying to get a hold of you!”

Louis chewed absently on his thumbnail. “Greg? How did you know where I was staying?”

He chuckled on the other end. “There aren’t that many hotels in Holmes Chapel, Lou, it was fairly easy. Are you okay?”

Louis pinched the bridge of his nose, shutting his eyes. “I’m fine…it’s just been a weird day, can we talk tomorrow?”

“Of course. I love you okay?”

It wasn’t until later that night that Louis realized he hadn’t said ‘I love you’ back to Greg.

The next day Harry’s place seemed like it hadn’t woken up yet, so Louis wandered over to the barn to check if he was in there. He dragged the door open and was struck with awe. The entire barn was full of different pieces of furniture: beautifully intricate furniture that should have been showcased in a store.

He was admiring an armchair when Harry poked his head through the door. “Ah, here you are. Ready?”

Louis wasn’t sure he was ready for anything today.

Soon they were set out on the lake, Harry’s strong arms rowing at a good pace, his eyes searching the greying sky. “Looks like we’re going to get a storm soon.”

Harry finally allowed the small boat to glide on its own through the water, passing through a clearing of trees to reveal what he had brought them here for. Louis gasped, hiding his smile behind his hands. They were surrounded by gaggles of white swans.

“Wow, Harry this is stunning!” Harry just handed him a bag of breadcrumbs, studying his gleeful reactions. Louis paused his delight to bring his attention back to Harry. “You look different you know? More grown up.”

Harry grabbed the oars, his expression neutral. “You look different, in a good way.”

Louis picked a bread crumb off his jeans, frustrated that he couldn’t get his point across. “No, but you…you may look different but you’re exactly the same. I mean you did it Harry, the house. It’s amazing.”

They first few drops of rain started then, leaving Harry to have to concentrate on getting them back before it really came down. But suddenly, Louis was irrationally mad. Why didn’t Harry say anything after his last confession?

Once they got to the dock Louis jumped out, storming down it in a fury. He twisted around, stabbing a finger at Harry. “Why didn’t you write me? Why? It wasn’t over for me. I waited for years for you and now it’s too late!”

Harry’s hand clenched at his side, his lips drawn into a thin line. “I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you every day for a year.”

“You wrote me?”

“Yes…it wasn’t over, and it still isn’t over.”

Louis didn’t get a chance to respond because Harry was there, clutching at his face and frantic to find his lips. All he could do was moan a ‘yes’ into his mouth and cling to his neck when Harry hauled him up by the thighs, wrapping them around his trim waist.

He carried them back to the house, their fingers tangled in each other’s hair, the same way their tongues were dancing around each other; kissing each other like they had done so many days like this, but this time there was a passion behind them that only came with years of yearning.

Harry didn’t let go of his hold on Louis until he had them in his room; settling him down on the bed so gently, like he thought he might break him. Louis yanked him back down, mumbling against his lips as his hands wandered under the hem of Harry’s soaked t shirt. “Don’t stop kissing me.” Louis leaned away quickly, tugging at shirt, “But get this off.”

He shifted back onto his knees, peeling the now almost sheer cotton off and tossing it on the floor. Louis sat up on his elbows, eyes raking over Harry’s chest. “Your tattoos…you have birds.”

Harry crawled over Louis until his was flat on his back, picking up one of his hands to trace his fingertips over the tattoo. “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

Louis surged up, threading one hand into Harry’s curls and the other grabbing onto a handful of his pert little bum, causing their hips to align just so. Harry groaned, testing out a thrust to see how Louis would respond, which was to follow suit; propping his feet flat on the best so his could grind back. He surprised Harry by flipping them over, but never left his plush lips.

He hovered over Harry, almost taking a sexual inventory; thinking about all the places on his body that he wanted use his tongue on. He dragged his own shirt off, ducking down to nibble on Harry’s v line and his voice coming out with a raspy crack. “I’m gonna ride you. But first…first I want to get my mouth on you; I’ve only waited years to get near your cock.”

Harry let out a hysterical laugh, rubbing a hand over his face. “Fuck, Lou. You’re going to kill me before we actually get any of these things done.”

Louis’ response was to inch Harry’s jeans and briefs down his legs, smoothing his hands along the bare skin of his legs as the jeans crumpled to the ground. He shed his own jeans and dragged his tongue up Harry’s thighs; trailing it lightly over the tip of his cock, making his hips buck up for more.

“Lou, just—“ Harry curled an arm around his bicep, yanking him up into his lap. He held onto his face, easing him down for a messy kiss, “Just fuck me, please.”

Louis leaned over him, fumbling around in the side table drawer next to the bed until he found what he was looking for. He took Harry’s fingers, coating them with wild look in his eyes; realizing what this moment meant for them. He took a deep breath, locking his eyes on Harry’s as he guided his hand underneath him. “I’m ready.” They both understood that Louis meant ‘this time’.

Harry nodded, never breaking their eye contact. He took his time, opening Louis up until he was on the verge of coming just from his fingers. Louis stopped him, pressing his hand into the birds and slowly sunk down onto Harry and built up such a rhythm that you would have thought they had always been doing this together.

It didn’t take long for them both to be moaning each other’s names; Louis slumping over onto Harry’s chest, his lips pulled into a relaxed smile. He listened to the steady beating of the hearts, tangling his fingers in the necklaces that were lying on Harry’s sweat slicked chest. He rolled onto his back, pulling at the chains to bring Harry down for a kiss, sighing happily.

“Let’s do it again.”

Louis wanted to make use of the fireplace in the living room, which led to Louis spreading Harry’s out on a blanket in front of it and using his tongue in ways that Harry didn’t even know were possible.

He was watching him now in dull morning light; noting the softness in his features, the way he mumbled under his breath speaking nonsensical things, the hair that was standing on all ends, but still looked soft and springy around his ears.

Louis was certain he had never seen anything better in his life. And that is was time for him to wake up.

He started on the soft spot behind his ear, sucking lightly, while tickling his fingers into the slots of his ribs. He moved down to his neck, pecking little kisses onto it until Harry starting to stir awake, his face scrunched into a frown. He tried pushing Louis away but the frown was bordering on a smile when Louis moved his kisses to his chest.

“Lou, I need to eat before this goes any further. I’m pretty sure I’m dying,”

Louis latched his mouth around a nipple, smirking as he bit down. “You’re not going to die, ever the dramatic, Harry.”

Harry slipped his hands into his hair, pulling gently to get Louis to look at him. “Food, then sex Louis.”

Fine. What if I blow you while you make pancakes?”

Harry shook with laughter; he was unable to contain it any longer. “I guess that’s a compromise if I ever heard one.”

The rest of the day was spent in similar fashion; not bothering with clothes, feeding each other cuddled up underneath blankets; avoiding talking about the things they knew they needed to in favor of lazy kisses and breathless moans.

The only brief interruption was a visit from Liam, which should have been awkward, but ended with him being charmed by Louis and telling Harry how lucky he was when he left. He hugged him close, squeezing a palm on the back of Harry’s neck.

“He’s amazing. I know why you’ve been waiting now.”

Louis woke up the next morning groggy and to an empty bed. He hadn’t even turned over yet, but he could feel that Harry was missing. When he did, there was a bunch of daisies on the pillow with a note attached to them.

“You looked so peaceful, I couldn’t wake you up. Gone to get breakfast, be back soon.

PS – follow the arrows for a surprise xx “

He brought the flowers to his nose, inhaling the fresh scent. He placed them on the side table, thinking that they would look lovely sat atop of Harry’s curls.

He grabbed the closest pair of joggers and a t shirt of Harry’s, padding down the hallway in the direction of the arrows taped to the floor. He reached the room they were leading to and swung to door open; clutching at the handle with a gasp.

It was the room; his room that he had asked for. In the middle was a blank canvas on an easel with different kinds of paints and brushes on a table next to it and a stool, just waiting for Louis to bring something to life. But the most important part was that it faced the lake…just like Louis had asked.

He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, because the last couple of days suddenly came together in a like a violent crash in his heart. His mind was a mess of thoughts that he was soon pulled out of by a knock on the front door.

He made his way downstairs and really, he shouldn’t have been surprised by who was on the other side.

“Mum…”

She gave him a pointed look, but didn’t comment on his state of dress. “Greg is on his way down here,”

Louis gave a high pitched laugh shaking his head. “That’s brilliant, isn’t it? What a great surprise mother, really.”

She arched an eyebrow, crossing her arms on her chest. “What was he supposed to do when his fiancé wasn’t answering any calls in the hotel room he was supposed to be staying at?”

Louis chose to ignore that momentarily. “Tell me about the letters mum, is it true?”

“Yes.”

Louis waved a hand out at his mother, the anger bubbling up inside him. “You watched me cry myself to sleep, for months and you never said anything. How could you do that?”

She reached out a hand, dropping it down by her side when Louis edged away. “I’m sorry, Louis,”

“You’re sorry?”

“Yes, I’m sorry, I am,”

He spun around, flopping down into Harry’s favorite chair. “Lovely that you’re sorry mother, but because of you, my entire life is ruined!”

She sat down across from him, clasping her hands in her lap. “Louis, I am sorry, but quit being so dramatic. You came here; you knew exactly what you were doing and what would happen.”

“What, so now this is my fault? I had to—I had to know.”

She leaned down and reached into her purse, pulling out a bundle of letters. She handed them over to Louis with a grim smile. “You know I can’t tell you what to do, but just know that I was young once. You think I don’t understand, but in fact I know all too well what it’s like to love someone you can’t have. But the decision is up to you now.”

She got up and walked over to Louis, smoothing the hair away from his forehead to place a kiss there. “I know you don’t think I love you right now, but I do Louis. Very much.”

Louis didn’t watch her go, his eyes too transfixed on the pile of paper in his hands. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there like that, but he knew it couldn’t have been long when he looked back up to see Harry’s eyes following the taillights of his mother leaving.

“Interesting morning?”

Louis sighed, hugging the letters to his chest. “Greg’s here.”

Harry’s mouth formed an ‘oh’ as picked at a piece of wood that was sticking out on the railing. He nodded at Louis lap, “I see you got the letters.”

“Yeah…yeah.”

Harry squinted at him. “What are you going to do, Louis?”

He played with the string that held the letters together, shaking his head. “I don’t know.”

Harry pushed off the railing, pacing around the porch. “So, we’re back to that? What about these past couple of days, Lou? They happened you know,”

Louis’ voice was low, trying to stave off tears. “I know, Harry, and they were wonderful, but they were also pretty irresponsible on my part. I have a fiancé waiting for me, who’s going to be crushed when he finds out what I did to him.”

Harry pulled at his hair in frustration. “So, you make love to me and then go back to him? Was that your plan all along?”

Louis jumped up off the chair, striding over to Harry. “Of course not, but I made a promise to someone who gave me a ring—“

“And now that promise is shot to hell Louis, don’t you think?”

Louis twisted the ring on his finger, wanting to yank it off. “I don’t know, but I owe it to him to explain myself. We were…we were happy.”

Harry scoffed. “Please, you were bored. You wouldn’t be here if you knew there wasn’t something missing from your relationship,”

Louis grabbed the letters off the chair and ran down the steps towards his car, yelling behind him. “You don’t know anything about our relationship, so please keep your comments to yourself.”

Harry ambled down after him, tugging on his t shirt to stop him. “Just…just stay with me, we’ll figure this out.”

Louis barked out a laugh, massaging the back of his neck. “Look at us though, we’re already fighting!”

Harry stabbed an arm back towards the house. “Don’t you see? This is for you, this, us, is worth fighting for. So it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re going to have to work at this every day, but I want that because I want you. I want all of you. Forever. Every day. You and me…every day.”

Louis wiped a tear away from his eye, his lip trembling while Harry pressed on. “Can you just do something for me? Picture your life 30 years from now, 40 years from now. What’s it look like? If it’s with that guy, then go, I lost you once and I think I could do it again if that’s what you really wanted. But don’t take the easy way out,”

Louis’ face crumpled. “Do you think there’s an easy way out of this? No matter what I do, someone gets hurt!”

“Lou, you’re always so worried about what everyone else wants. Think about what you want for once; not what I want, what Greg wants, what your parents want. What do you want?”

He wiped at his face with the back of his hand, reaching for the door of the car. “I have to go.”

Harry stepped away, giving him a pained look before stalking back over to the house.

Everything in Louis’ body was electrified. He continued to wipe away tears, trying to keep his attention on the road and not look at the pile of letters in the seat next to him. The drive back to town felt like a century and once he pulled up to the little hotel he was staying at, his curiosity got the best of him.

He carefully untied the string that had been holding the pile together and chose the very first letter, opening it with caution. He bit down on his lip; the paper shaking from how badly his fingers were trembling.

“My dearest Louis. I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy, and remember how we spend the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I hope to give to your forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you.

Harry xx”

 

Present Day

Louis turned his face to Harry; his eye’s a misty blue. “That’s a beautiful story.”

“It is, yes.”

Louis looked back over at the lake, his face unsure. “I don’t know why, but it makes me feel sad,”

Harry twisted around so he was facing him. “I know you feel lost right now, but don’t worry. Nothing is ever lost, or can be lost. The body may get frail, but it always remembers.”

He walked them back into the house guiding Louis by the elbow, but not doing anything too much to worry him. With the okay from the nurses, Harry had set up a candlelit dinner in the dining room which had Louis gasping in surprise.

“Who did all this?”

“I did, though not without a little help from the Niall and the rest of the nursing staff.”

Louis wandered further into the room, his eyes crinkling at the sides from the sight of the peachy purple glow of the sun setting over the lake in the open bay windows. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”

Harry couldn’t agree more, seeing the youthful look in those blue eyes that he had boxes of pictures of. “Neither have I.”

They sat down to a quiet dinner; Louis placing his fork down suddenly, straightening up in his chair. “So what happened? In the story? Who did he chose?”

 

Past

Louis sat on the bed as Greg paced around him, a familiar theme for this day it seemed. He finally sat down next to him, taking his hand.

“Well I have three choices here. I can shoot him, I can kick the crap out of him, or I can leave. Though, none of these options seem very good, because I don’t get you.”

Louis knew that that was going to be awful, but he didn’t think he could feel any worse. “Greg…I’m so sorry. It’s just, when I’m with him, I feel like someone different.”

He brought their hands to his lips, releasing them once he kissed the top. “Lou, it’s normal not to forget your first love. But I don’t want to share you. And I don’t want to have to convince you to be with me.”

“You don’t have to.”

 

Present Day

Harry closed the journal. “And, they lived happily ever after.”

Louis huffed, leaning his elbows on the table with his chin resting on his hands. “Who did?”

Harry’s lips quirked up; Louis’ following moments later. “Oh yes…of course.”

Louis’ closed his eyes, memories shuffling around like cards until he pulled out one that was exactly what he needed. He saw himself back at Harry’s; running into his arms, remembering the way he held onto him like a promise that he would never let him go again.

He opened them back up, hurriedly taking in all of Harry’s features. “I remember now…that was us. It was us.”

Harry was up in a flash, burying Louis into his arms. “Oh my sweetheart. I love you, Lou, I love you so much.” They clung to each other, mumbling out a string of incoherent ‘I love you’s’. Harry kissed every piece of Louis that he could get his lips on, pulling away so he could press them to his lips instead.

Louis stroked his cheek, his lovely features etched in confusion. “Harry, what happened to me?”

“It’s—it’s your memory, love. It comes and goes. But goes more often than not now.”

His face fell but he steeled his shoulders, his fingers tracing the lines of Harry’s faded tattoos. “How much time do we have?”

Harry took his hand, leading him out to the middle of the room. “Maybe 10 minutes,” Louis’ eyes welled up again. Harry drew him in closer and started to shuffle his feet. “Don’t cry, Lou. Let’s just dance.”

He hummed in place of music, feeling Louis’ finally relax in his arms. “How are the kids?”

“They’re good…they’re really good. They always took after you; that’s probably why.”

Louis smiled, leaning his cheek against his chest. “Time flies doesn’t it? Will you tell them I love them? And that--and that I’m sorry?”

Harry rubbed his back, spinning them around slowly. “Okay, love, okay.”

Harry glanced over at the journal, and shut his eyes as he tucked Louis under his chin, thinking about the inscription on the inside.

“To my love Harry,

The story of our lives. Read this and I’ll always come back to you."

And Louis always does.

 

FIN