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For Better, Worse And Mischief (I'm All Yours)

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Louis wakes up on the opposite side of the bed from where he usually sleeps, sheets tangled around him and with his face buried in a pillow that smells like Harry’s hair. He has no idea what time it is, and he doesn’t really care—happy to stay in bed until someone forces him out of it. Harry can probably be persuaded to bring him food so Louis doesn’t die from starvation.

Harry, who lives with him now. Who’s allowed to keep living with him for as long as they want.

Louis smiles into the pillow.


His good mood wears off about an hour into the photoshoot the PR team put on their schedules for the day. There’s nothing special about it, really, just the regular stand, stand, turn, pose, turn, smile, while melting into little puddles of sweat under all the lights that are on them.

The problem is the photographer.

It’s someone Louis knows he’s met before, recalls him shooting the band for some magazine cover last year. He’d been a rather awful flirt then too, but what Louis remembers from that time has nothing on how the bloke is behaving now.

It was fine when he was shooting the two of them together. Louis even thought it was nice, being told to put his arms around Harry and hold on tight, not having to think about whether there was enough space between them, or making sure his body didn’t face towards Harry’s, or that he was looking “too fond”, or whatever other bollocks the PR guy that normally directed their shoots liked to complain about.

It was nice and comfortable, simple as that. But now Louis is off to the sidelines, watching Harry getting shot on his own, and the photographer is behaving like an absolute arse, talking to Harry like he’s nothing more than an object.

A sexy object, if the kind of poses the guy is asking Harry to do is any indication.

Right now, he’s having Harry straddle a plastic chair—a completely transparent one, at that—and telling him to make eyes at the camera. While Harry’s only wearing a pair of briefs so tight they’ll probably turn off circulation in his thighs if he has to keep them on for much longer.

“That’s good,” the guy says, creeping closer to Harry with the camera in front of his face. “That’s excellent, love. Just, give me a little more. A little sexier. Imagine you’re right at home, just waiting for someone to come through the door and have his wicked way with you. Yeah. Like that. Perfect. So hot right now, love. Hold that.”

Harry turns his head after a few more frames and meets Louis’s eyes. He looks absolutely fantastic—Louis can admit to that much—but he also looks deeply uncomfortable, especially when the photographer walks right up to him and puts a hand at the top of his thigh, spreading Harry’s legs even more to “improve the angle”.

Louis is out of his chair and on the set before he can even stop to think. “That’s enough, mate. Move it along.”

The photographer looks up, then snorts. “Just doing my job, kid. Your management asked for a sexy shoot. I’m just giving them what they want.”

“Well, I’m sure Harry can move his legs just fine without your assistance,” Louis replies pleasantly. “In fact, I’ve seen him do it. He can walk, even, imagine that.”

“I don’t have time for this,” the guy says. “Why don’t you take your little hissy fit back to your chair and wait for your turn. I’m thinking nudes, what do you say?”

“I’m thinking you’re about to get reported for sexual harassment,” Louis replies, smiling oh-so-sweetly. “Might make people a little reluctant to hire you, with a reputation like that.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Harry bite back a smile.

The guy smirks, but there’s a glint of uncertainty in his eyes that Louis finds very satisfying. “You clearly know nothing about this business,” he says. “I could snort coke off your prick, tell The Sun all about it and still have agencies breaking down my door. Because unlike you and your little popstar boytoy here, I’ve got some actual skill to go with my pretty face.”

“Really?” Louis throws back. “That must be very nice. Good for you. How many copies did our last record sell in the first week, again? Harry, do you remember?”

“Um. About a million, I think,” Harry says, looking like he’s having a hard time keeping up a straight face.

“That’s right,” Louis says. “Nine-hundred-and-seventy-five thousand, to be precise. And it’s gone triple platinum since. And the one before that sold about 4.3 million, so that’s—cor, I’m just terrible at Maths. I guess I’ll just have to go back home and cry into all my money for being so completely without talent or marketable skills.”

“I think I have a wad of 100 pound notes in my coat,” Harry says. “If you need to dry your eyes before we get there.”

“That’s so sweet of you, dear,” Louis replies, demonstratively leaning in and pressing a lingering kiss against Harry’s jaw. “How about we do that now? Gosh, I’m so sorry, seems we have to dash.”

“Hey, now,” the guy says, clearly angry, “I haven’t got enough frames yet.”

“That’s a shame, because we’re leaving,” Louis says happily, taking Harry’s hand and pulling him with him off the set and towards the studio exit. They bundle up their clothes and bags in their arms as they pass the fitting area, and then take off at a run—half-naked and reckless—down an empty corridor.

Louis feels like he’s flying.

Harry stops them once they’ve made it down a few stories—running down the stairs instead of waiting for the lift—and pulls Louis into a smaller corridor and through an unlocked door on the right that seems to lead to some kind of unused storage space. He shuts the door behind them, chucks his bundle of clothes in the nearest corner, and slides his arms around Louis’s waist. And then they’re kissing, breathless and laughing, pulled together like magnets, their bodies sliding right back against each other as soon as they try to break apart.

In all fairness, Louis can’t say that they’re trying very hard. Not that he minds. At all, actually.

He sinks his hands into Harry’s curls, tilts his face up and leans back in for another kiss.

“So how does it feel to be the new power couple?”

They’re at a premier for a new film tonight—just the two of them, since the other lads are still out of the country, wisely hiding away from most of the media frenzy—and Harry has Louis’s hand in his, warm and steady, same as Louis’s smile.

“You hear that, Haz,” Louis tells him, “we’re the new Wills-and-Kate. Less crowns and tiaras, though.”

God, Harry is so stupidly in love with him.

“We try to keep those at home,” he deadpans, figuring humour is the way to go, keeping things light and easy.

“Same with the dresses,” Louis says, nodding seriously. “And the heels.”

“I have a terrible sense of balance,” Harry says. “Would end up falling flat on my face, and that’d be really embarrassing.”

“It would. So it’s sensible shoes only for red carpet events. House rule.”

“Yours have a little bit of a heel on them, though.”

“Well, yes,” Louis says, lifting his foot and showing off the underside of his low boot, “not all of us were born tall and gorgeous. Some of us vertically challenged individuals need a little help, or what do you say, love?”

The reporter—who is rather short, Harry supposes, at least in this kind of setting where practically everyone looks like they have a modelling career going on the side—laughs delightedly and lifts the hem of her dress, showing off a strappy sandal with a heel that’s at least three inches.

They move on to the next reporter, then pose for a group of photographers. Right before they go inside the theatre, Louis pulls him off to the side, leaning in for a long, slow kiss as they wait for their turn in the main photo spot.

It’s a perfect story moment, Harry thinks—a great opportunity for the mags to get HD-quality candids in good lighting for their articles about Harry and Louis’s fairytale romance. He wonders if Louis thought of it himself or if it was on the long list of instructions they got sent with the last management email.

“Think they got a good shot?” Louis whispers in his ear, and Harry can tell from his voice that Louis is smiling.

He raises a hand to cup Louis’s chin, hides the next kiss from view with his hand. It’s a silly thing to do probably, but it feels important, right then, keeping at least a small part of what they have away from prying eyes.

Louis moves his own hands up to Harry’s face in response, stroking along the jawline and sighing happily into the kiss, and Harry lets himself forget the flashes and people calling their names, losing himself in the fantasy.


The whirlwind of public appearances continues over the next couple of weeks. There’s photoshoots with arms around each other, where the same people who used to frown and ask Harry to change places with Niall or Liam are suddenly falling all over themselves to get a shot of Louis’s head on Harry’s shoulder, or of Harry’s hand in Louis’s back pocket, asking them to smile, to touch, to show the whole world how close they are to one another.

Harry is smiling, God, is he ever. Looking like a right loon most of the time, probably.

It’s just all so frighteningly easy. The way Louis meets his eyes, the way he moves into Harry’s every touch, and the way he gets sharp and sassy at anyone who even looks like they have something to say about them that isn’t wholly complimentary.

Or that is too complimentary. Harry’s always known that Louis’s the jealous type, but the way he acts whenever someone sidles up close to Harry now, well—

It’s heady. And dangerous, because it makes stupid hope flare in Harry’s chest every single time, makes him reckless with his looks and his touches.

And Louis keeps looking back. Keeps matching every touch with one of his own, willing to try anything. They spend nearly every free moment they have together in bed these days, learning the little quirks and secrets of each other’s bodies.

This the happiest Harry’s ever been, and the most miserable.

He still can’t bring himself to stop.

Liam and Sophia come back from France on the same day as Zayn and Perrie return from Thailand, so of course Niall—who is an absolute sap about airport reunions—picks the same date to fly in from Ireland as well.

Louis takes Harry to go pick them up (with security; neither of them is quite stupid enough to suggest going out in public on their own at the moment), the two of them loaded with teddy bears, cheap flowers and sparkly signs.

Harry’s sign simply says, Welcome Back! :), in bright, purple glitter.

Louis’s sign says, Marry Me?, and has a smaller sign with #TeamPolygamy taped to the bottom of it. He’s counting on, at minimum, one of the lads finding it funny. Harry seems to, at least, so it’s already a win in Louis’s book.

Niall is first to arrive, and quickly takes possession of one of the teddy bears and a mangled bundle of roses. They have lunch while waiting for Zayn’s flight to come in, and then a round of drinks as they all wait for Liam. They finally get everyone sorted, bags stowed away and security clearing their way out of the terminal. Niall, Zayn and Liam are all smiles, and it’s so good to have them back; Louis is practically skipping.

“Is everyone coming back to ours, then?” Harry asks as they walk, Zayn and Niall on either side of him with their arms around Harry’s shoulders. “I got actual food in the fridge, we could make you all dinner.”

“I could eat,” Niall says happily.

“Me too,” Perrie says. “Food on the flight was, well, I guess ‘absolute shite’ would be a bit harsh, but yeah.”

“It was rather shite,” Zayn agrees. “Yeah, sure, we’ll make a stop at yours.”


“What do you think, babe?” Liam asks, pulling Sophia a little closer. She looks tired, Louis notes, a lot more so than the rest of them.

When she looks up at Liam, though, her smile is bright enough. “Sure, why not?”

“We’re in,” Liam says. “You’d better be making a lot of food, though, Haz. Lou must be going through a tonne at the mo. You’re looking good there, mate. Finally took my advice and got yourself a PT?”

“Whazzat?” Louis replies, then follows Liam’s pointed gaze to his chest and stomach. Seems he has built up a little in the past weeks. His abs are certainly a lot firmer beneath his fingers than he’s used to.

He looks up at Harry and sees him looking at the floor, carefully biting down on his lower lip to hold in a smile. Oh. Right. That’s why.

“Guess I’ve been getting quite a workout lately,” he says, grinning. “Trainer’s a slave driver, though. I barely get any sleep.”

“Motivation is the key to success,” Harry adds solemnly, then mimics cracking a whip. “No pain, no gain.”

“Yeah, I actually don’t want to know about the pain part, if you don’t mind,” Zayn says. He’s looking from Harry to Louis with a smirk on his face, like he’s not even the least bit surprised at this turn of events. “Glad you guys are enjoying yourselves, though.”

“From the way Louis is walking, I’d say they definitely do,” Niall chips in, and then everybody’s laughing. And hugging and congratulating them, which is a bit weird. Perrie even gives them both high fives.

Louis frowns. And then suddenly realises what’s going on.


“Listen, I’m glad you’re all so pervertedly invested in our sex lives,” he says with a grin, “but don’t get ahead of yourselves, yeah? Hazza and I are still just friends.”

Now, there are definite looks of surprise going around. Louis rolls his eyes.

“Look, lads. And ladies,” he adds smoothly when Sophia raises an eyebrow at him. “There’s nothing fishy going on. We just both like to have a shag now and then, and for obvious reasons, we can’t get it anywhere else at the moment, so. Sorry for giving you the wrong impression.”

As one, their friends turn to look at Harry, who looks a bit tense at all the attention suddenly directed at him. He meets Louis’s eyes and looks uncertain for a moment. Then he rolls his eyes as well.

“Sorry, guys,” Harry says. “Don’t tell the tabloids though. Apparently, we’re the new ideal.”

“True love,” Louis confirms, snickering as he remembers the latest issue of Cosmo that Lottie sent him a picture of. “Star-crossed, even. Regular Romeo and Juliet.”

“With a better ending, hopefully,” Harry says. “I don’t fancy stabbing myself at this point in my career.”

Fine, we won’t ask,” Zayn says. “Now, what’s that about getting us some food? I’m starving.”


It’s late, possibly very late; Louis lost track of time somewhere after dinner.

He’s lying on the bed in one of the guest rooms, stuffed with homemade Chicken Vindaloo and woozy from the beer they had with it. It’s been a while since he last had a drink, he realises; he’s been too busy spending time in bed with Harry lately to go out on the piss.

The door opens, and Liams steps inside, walking over to the dresser and taking a set of extra sheets out of the top drawer before turning and noticing Louis on the bed.

“All right, mate?”

“Smashing,” Louis replies. “Just needed to lie down for a bit. Too much beer, too little sleep lately.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Liam says with a sigh, putting down the bundle of sheets and lying down next to him. “Feels like I haven’t slept in ages.”

“Sophia keeping you up now that she has you all to herself for a while?” Louis asks with a smirk.

Instead of the eye-roll, or possibly blush, he’d expected, however, Liam sighs. “Not exactly.”

He pulls up both arms, crossing them over his face, and draws in a series of sharp, uneven breaths. “Jesus, Lou, I’m so fucked.”

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Louis asks, rolling to his side and propping himself up on his elbow. “Liam, look at me.”

Liam keeps his arms over his face, just lies there next to Louis and does his best to breathe. After the first couple of minutes, Louis starts getting seriously worried. Should he leave and try to find someone else to help, or stay with Liam until whatever is going on has passed a little?

He chooses the latter, edging closer to Liam’s body and putting an arm around his chest, trying to keep him grounded. “Liam, talk to me.”

Liam takes another couple of shaky breaths, then uncrosses his arms, staring up at the ceiling.

“Sophia’s pregnant,” he says finally. “We just found out last week.”

Louis first reaction is shock, then something absolutely giddy surges up inside him. “Liam, that’s fantastic!”

Liam doesn’t reply.

“I can’t believe you’re gonna be a dad,” Louis goes on. “We’re all gonna be uncles! I have to tell Harry, he’s going to shit himself over this. I—”

“Louis,” Liam interrupts him, reaching out and grabbing Louis’s wrist as though he’s worried Louis is going to run right off with the news, “I’m not gonna be a dad.”

“What? Of course you are! It's a baby, Liam! A Baby Liam.

“It’s not,” Liam says. “Or it won’t be, I don’t know.”

Louis stops short, realising what Liam is actually saying.

“But—” he tries. “Liam, no.”

“Sophia's not ready, and I'm not either,” Liam says hoarsely. “I’m never home. It's hard enough keeping a relationship together. And I don’t want to be the kind of dad who’s gone for weeks and months at a time. If I have a kid, I wanna be there for them. I want to see them every day, kiss them and hold them and feed them every day. Not pop by for a few days every once in a while and have my heart broken by how much I’ve missed while being gone. If we did this, I’d have to quit the band.”

Louis doesn’t know what to say.

“And we’re both so fucking young,” Liam continues. “Sophia’s still at uni; I’m not even 22 yet. It’s just—the timing's absolute shite.”

Louis clears his throat, which suddenly feels much too tight. The tightness only gets worse; Louis tries again.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I get that this must be bloody awful for you. But I can’t say I’m with on the reasoning, because—well, it’s a baby, right? A baby means you make it work, no matter how hard it is. If Haz and I were having one, I’d be over the moon.”

“If you and Haz were having one?”

“Figure of speech.”

“Right,” Liam says curtly. “Well, it’s not you and Haz, yeah? It’s Sophia and I, and we’re going through an absolutely shite time right now, so I’d really love it if you could just bloody hug me or something.”

“Of course, yeah.”

He pulls Liam into a hug, wraps himself tightly around him. Liam hugs him back just as hard, and then starts shaking. Louis does his best to wrap his legs around Liam’s as well—give more comfort through more contact or something—while closing his own eyes against the burning feeling he can sense behind his eyelids. He’s not going to break down over this, needs to be strong for Liam—it’s not like it’s Louis’s baby, or even a baby yet. It’s just—

“You could bring them with you,” he says, pulling away a little, trying to think. The spinning in his head makes it slightly difficult. “They could come on tour with us. We’d all help out. It could work.”

"I can't bring Sophia and a baby on tour,” Liam replies, starting to sound angry now. “Babies need familiarity, steady routines, not constantly moving around and changing time zones every couple of days."

“Lou and Tom do it with Lux.”

“Lux is bigger, and Lou and Tom's not us.”

“Yours would get bigger too, though,” Louis argues. “We could time our schedule to get a few months off. The new album drops in three weeks, and we’ll be done with the world tour in six months. We could take time off. Stay home to write for a while. I mean, if you just think—”

“I’ve done nothing but think about it for days now!” Liam almost shouts, rubbing his face furiously with both hands as he moves off the bed, away from Louis. “What do you think we've been talking about since we found out, the bloody weather?”

“Liam, wait.”

“I should have talked to Zayn,” Liam says. “I don’t know why I thought you’d understand. You’ve always been mad about kids, same as Harry.”

“I do understand,” Louis argues. “I just don’t agree, that’s all. I think a kid’s something worth fighting for. If you want something enough, you can make—”

“Well I don’t want it,” Liam says. “I don’t even know if I’ll want kids later on. But I sure as hell know that I don’t want one now. And neither does Sophia. So just keep your mouth shut, all right?”

Louis bites down on his lower lip and turns his head away, mind reeling. There has to be a solution; he can’t believe that Liam would just—give up like that. Maybe the rest of them could help out somehow. Not just on tour but at home too. Maybe even most of the time—that would actually be really cool. Liam’s right, Louis has been mad about kids for as long as he can remember. Wants a whole house full of them if he can. And he has lots of space now, so—and Harry would be so good with a kid, coolest dad ever. He and Louis both. And Louis might be a bit pissed right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t know it when he thinks of something that has the potential to be really bloody wonderful.

“I’ll take it,” he blurts, not thinking past Liam’s I don’t want it that keeps echoing in his ears. “I’ll take it. I’ll want it. You’re right, it isn’t mine, and it’s not my decision, but what if it could be? What if we could—I mean, Harry loves kids. And I do too. And we’d take such good care of—”

“Fuck you, Louis,” Liam says cooly. “You don’t get to pretend you’re all mature and responsible when you can’t even be honest to yourself. You can’t even admit that you’re head over heels in-fucking-love with Harry in front of your closest friends—or that the reason why you just so happen to absolutely loathe every other person who so much as flirts with him is that you’re bloody jealous—but you want me to ask Sophia to go through with nine months of pregnancy—with all the pain and sickness and possible complications that might damage her for life—just so, what? So that the two of you can play house? Honestly, mate, fuck you.”

Liam slams the door behind him when he leaves. The bundle of sheets he’d come to retrieve—probably decided to stay over; Louis doubts he will now—are still lying at the foot of the bed.

He walks back to his own room, takes a long shower before crawling into bed. He’s still awake when Harry joins him—Harry, who gives the best hugs and always knows how to make Louis laugh. Who makes them tea in bed, and loves kids, and can get Louis off four times in one day. Who keeps trying to teach Louis how to cook, even though he’s utterly hopeless at it.

You can’t even admit that you’re head over heels in-fucking-love with Harry in front of your closest friends.

He’s not in love with Harry, is he? Liam must have got it all wrong.

He must have.

Jesus, what if Louis is a total wanker who’s cocked everything up? After promising that he’d be able to keep things cool, as well. That he wouldn’t fall in love, wouldn’t put that sort of pressure on their relationship.

On their marriage. Their fake marriage.

Louis can barely breathe.

“You all right?” Harry asks quietly, one hand coming up to touch Louis’s face.

Louis closes his eyes and hides himself in the touch, doesn’t want Harry to guess what’s going on right now, how Louis might have made a right mess out of everything.

“If we had the possibility to have a kid right now, you’d want it, right?” he says. It just comes out without Louis meaning for it to, but once he’s started talking, he can’t seem to stop. “Like, I obviously can’t get pregnant or anything, but if we, say, woke up and there was a basket on our doorstep or something, we’d keep it, right? Even if it bollocksed everything up with touring and things. We’d find a way, right?”

“‘Course we would,” Harry says, sounding worried now. “Lou, what brought this on? Is something up with your family? Is Lottie—”

“No no,” Louis says, shaking his head and pushing everything back, manages a small smile, “Lottie’s fine. It was just something—film probably, something stupid like that. I just had a really strange dream, that’s all.”

Lying to Harry feels horrid, but Liam’s secret is very much not for Louis to tell, and he feels awful enough about how he reacted in front of Liam already. Telling him he and Harry would happily take his baby, like it was a kitten, or a sofa or something. What the bleeding hell was he even thinking?

A piss-poor friend’s what he is. Louis rolls closer to Harry, wrapping his arms around him and burying his face in Harry’s neck.

Harry cards a hand through Louis’s hair, scratching at his scalp a little, just the way Louis likes, and, fuck, Louis’s emotions are all up in the air right now—a gigantic bloody mess of confusion and want and stupid fear.

“You’d make a really good dad, you know,” he murmurs, because he just can’t seem to shut himself up. “I’d have your babies if I could.”

“Louis…” Harry says, and there’s something new and trembling in his voice, almost like a question.

Oh, fuck. Louis is just doing a bang up job with everything tonight, isn’t he?

He can’t tell Harry about the mess of confused feelings inside him right now, not before he figures out how bad things are and has some kind of idea of how to handle the problem. If he tells Harry now, Harry might insist they back off a little, taking time to think or something similarly rational.

Louis can’t take that risk. Not tonight. Not when having Harry in his arms feels like the only solid thing in a world that’s spinning off its axis.

“Wow, that came out wrong,” he says, forcing himself to laugh. Light. Keep it light. “I just meant you’d be a good dad. You know, for when after this is all over and you meet someone you’ll want to start a family with.”

“Right,” Harry says, still sounding uncertain.

Louis moves closer and leans in to kiss him, makes it teasing, makes it sex. Sex is good. Easy. Louis could definitely use some easy sex right now. Clear his mind.

“Want you on your front,” he whispers into Harry’s ear. “Want to grab your wrists and keep them above your head, fuck you into the mattress until you come all over the sheets. Would you like that, do you think?”

There’s a short moment when Harry seems to hesitate, but then he’s rolling over and shoving his pillow away, moving his hands up to wrap around the wooden slats in the headboard.

Louis will take that as a yes.

Harry takes a long, shaky breath as Louis pulls out of him, manages to move to the side and roll over while Louis goes into the bath to bin the condom.

His hands are shaking, and his lower lip is swollen from biting down on it hard enough that he could almost taste blood a few times towards the end, keeping all the words that couldn’t cross his lips trapped inside.

It’s just a matter of time before he lets something slip, before he starts talking back when Louis takes him apart piece by piece by telling him every thought that goes through his stupid head.

Like I love you.

Or I never want to be apart from you.

Or Harry’s personal favourite: I wish I’d married you on the day we met.

He can’t do this anymore.

“I need to go,” he says, sitting up so that his back is facing Louis when he comes back from the bath. His legs feel like they’re made of water when he stands up, but he grits his teeth and makes it work somehow. Pants. He needs pants. And jeans. A shirt, preferably.

“What? Haz—”

Louis comes around the bed and puts a hand on his waist playfully, tries pulling him back towards the bed.


“No,” Harry says, pulling away from Louis’s touch and putting a bit of space between them. “I can’t right now, all right? I’ll take one of the cars, go to—”

Right. Where can he go? Zayn and Niall are still in the house, and Liam left with Sophia because they were both feeling a bit sick. Harry has plenty of friends who are normally happy to let him sleep on their sofa for a night or two, but it’s the middle of the week, and some of them have kids. So that really only leaves a couple of options.

“I’ll just go to Nick’s,” he decides, walking over to the dresser to look for some socks.

“The fuck you are,” Louis says heatedly, shocking himself as much as Harry, from the look on his face. “You can’t dash off to Nick’s in the middle of the night,” he continues, in a much more normal tone of voice. “We still have paps camping outside the gate.”

“So? They’ll get a few shots of me going to see a friend. I don’t care right now.”

“A friend, right.” Louis scoffs. “No one is ever just a friend at half two in the morning. Especially not a semi-famous gay bloke who you’ve been linked to in the rags before.”

“Louis,” Harry says quietly, “I don’t care. I’ll see you tomorrow, all right?”

“But why? Did I do something? Or is this about what I said earlier, because I didn’t mean it like that, I just—”

Something in Harry breaks, and before he knows it, he’s by the door, with one hand on the handle, practically shouting.

“I know you didn’t mean it! You never do, you just keep saying these things, and I—” His voice cracks, and he takes a slow breath to collect himself. “I keep trying to keep this light, keep it bloody casual for you, and you keep doing this. You keep telling me you love me, and that I’m the only one for you, and that you want my babies, and I can’t listen to it anymore. I’m sorry.”

“You know how I get,” Louis tries, reaching out and and taking Harry’s hand in his. “I just—it’s the sex talking, I—”

“Yeah, I know. I know you don’t bloody well mean it, but it sounds like you do. Really sounds like it. And I can’t handle any more of it right now. So good night.”

“Harry, wait.”

“I said good night,” Harry says. “Let me go, Lou. Now.”

He pulls his hand away from Louis and opens the door. Louis doesn’t stop him this time, just stands there, looking shell-shocked, as Harry walks away.

He takes the stairs two at a time and prays that the car keys are in the drawer where they’re supposed to be, because he needs to get away right now, and waiting for a taxi would weaken his resolve, give him time to have second thoughts and probably go right back up to their bedroom and lose himself in Louis’s arms all over again.

The keys are in their drawer. Harry breathes a sigh of relief and takes the first set he can get his hands on, then walks out of the house, not looking back.