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The Feeling Is Beating Now

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Two hours ago Harry was laughing in a pub with Nick and a dozen others, trying to see who could do the most tequila slammers, and now he's panting in Nick's bedroom, lips raw and sensitive from how much they've been kissing.

They don't do this.

One minute Harry was making fun of Nick's hair and the next they were kissing. Harry's not sure how it happened, but he thinks he probably started it.

Nick's hand is huge and warm on Harry's stomach and Harry's this close to rolling them over and seeing if he can start something else.

Then Nick's hand makes a slow and simple glide over Harry's hip, around his side, comes to rest on his bum, and Harry mmms into the kiss.

"Yeah," Harry breathes out between one kiss and the next, turning toward Nick so he can touch him more easily. He strokes his jaw with his thumb.

Nick's hand covers Harry's arse like it's no feat at all.

Harry drags blunt nails through Nick's short hair and chases Nick's tongue, tries to breathe through each grope of Nick's hand and not start humping his hip then and there.

Nick's in boxers and a t-shirt and Harry's in just his pants yet when Nick's fingertips dig into the meat of his arse, one edging just the tiniest bit into his crack, Harry sighs, stretches a leg out, throws it across Nick's.

"Oh," Nick breathes, fingers tensing and Harry nods.

"Yeah," he says, lips catching on the rough stubble of Nick's jaw. "You can."

"Can what?" Nick asks, capturing Harry's mouth again. He's groping him again, hand engulfing Harry's bum cheek completely. He has to know.

"Fingers," Harry says. "You can put your fingers in me."

Nick makes a noises that's mostly a groan and a faint "oh, god." He gropes at Harry again, still kissing him, mostly. "Yeah? That's -- yeah?"

"Yes," Harry says, nodding. He stretches his leg over Nick as much as he can, scooting closer. He can feel Nick's as hard as he is.

The pressure of Nick's hand disappears and then reappears just as quickly, only now it's shoved itself into Harry's pants, touching skin. Harry moans around Nick's tongue.

"I --" Nick starts to say. He keeps groping at him, keeps going from squeezing hard, leaving pink-white indents with his fingertips to running them lightly over his crack. Harry sucks harder on Nick's tongue and tries not to whine.

Nick's breathing goes heavy and he kisses Harry with purpose, pressing his head into the pillow, a finger finally slipping between his cheeks to rub at his hole. It's dry and rough but Harry feels it in his gut and moans, flushing hot all over.

"Get these off," Nick says, and then he's gone, rolled to the side of the bed to dig around in the nightstand.

Harry tosses his pants over the edge of the bed and lies back on the pillows, spreading his legs.

Nick looks a bit a mess when he rolls back over. His quiff has deflated into greasy strands on his forehead and his eyes are wild, taking Harry in. Harry is stupidly turned on by it all and wonders how he missed it before.

Nick's hand makes a slow slide over Harry's ankle, up his calf, coming to rest on his thigh, and Harry's legs widen just a bit more. Nick swallows, forehead creasing.

Harry bites his lip. Maybe Nick doesn't actually want this. "You don't -- if you don't want to --"

Nick laughs, sudden, choppy, and runs his fingers through his destroyed quiff. "Oh, I want to," he says. "I want to, and you want to and -- Right."

Harry can't help but watch Nick's hands as he uses them to talk. They don't look any different from usual, but they felt massive against him. He just wants to know. His cock throbs, and Harry covers it, pressing it against his stomach. Okay, he needs to know.

Nick ignores the bottle of lube in favor of kissing Harry again, crawling over him and pressing him down into the mattress. Harry's cock rubs against Nick's scratchy t-shirt, and he moans, hands flying to Nick's arms, hips twitching.

Nick kisses him hard, keeps kissing him like he's trying to eat him alive as he hooks one of Harry's knees in the crook of his elbow and opens the lube, pouring some onto his fingers, smearing it around his hole.

Harry's moan is lost inside Nick's mouth when the first finger slides in.

It burns, just a very little, nothing really, but it keeps going, keeps sliding in until Harry is panting and wondering how he's taking it. He's never -- he can't get his own fingers inside him like this, this deep. Harry's head falls back. "Oh my god."

"Harry?" Nick bumps his nose on Harry's cheek, hand stilling. "Is this --?" He moves to pull out and Harry scrambles to grab his arm and stop him.

"No, don't, stay, please, stay," Harry says, rushing his words. "Fuck." He swallows, forces himself to open his eyes back up. Nick's face is flushed and full of concern, and Harry touches gently at his jaw, brushes hair away from his eyes. "'S good. Really good. Keep going."

Nick's face softens out and for once he listens and does what Harry says without making commentary. Their lips catch and the burn fades, fizzling out into a dull ache that has Harry pushing down, wanting more.

When Nick fumbles for more lube and adds another finger, Harry knows he's never going to not want this.

"You like this," Nick says, suddenly, voice full of disbelief. He curls his fingers, hits something inside him, and Harry gasps, turns his head into the pillow, panting. Nick’s fingers are rough and unrelenting and he feels hot, overheated. "Like, really like it."

"Yeah," Harry says, twisting, moving, wanting more. He's a little surprised himself. He’s never -- he didn’t know it could be like this.

"I should have --" Nick curls his fingers again and Harry cries out. Nick curses. "I just think I should have known this."

"Okay," Harry says. Whatever Nick wants. Sure. Fine.

Nick laughs, mumbling something Harry doesn't catch, and then his hand speeds up, fingers fucking into Harry deep and hard, rougher, and Harry can’t do anything but hold onto Nick’s arms and try to breathe. He’s shaking, sweating into the sheets. Heat pools low in his gut and his toes start to curl. No one’s even touched his dick.

Nick kisses him again, his face, jaw, down his neck. Harry turns into it, mouth blindly seeking out Nick’s, then he feels it start to unravel, heat spreading all over, thighs tensing. He just. He wants. He needs --

It hurts, the sound that tears itself from Harry's throat as he comes, clenching down hard around Nick's fingers erratically, stomach jumping. His back arches, foot slipping on the sheets and it just keeps coming, pulsing through him in waves.

He’s never come with anything inside him before. He’s still shaking when Nick removes his fingers and lowers his legs to the bed. Little flecks of light are floating around the corners of his eyes.

“You okay there?” Nick asks, rolling to the side.

"Yeah," he says, and wets his lips. They’re going to be so sore tomorrow. “Yeah, I, uh. Wow.”

The bed dips when Nick turns on his side and reaches out, drags a finger through the come streaked across Harry's stomach and still softening cock.

"Wow's one word for it," Nick agrees. He stares at the come on his finger before wiping it off in the sheets, and then brushes sweaty curls off Harry's forehead.

Harry hums, sleepy already. Nick's a warm weight beside him. He could fall asleep easily.

Then he remembers.

"Shit," he says, forcing his eyes back open. "You." He slides a hand down Nick's stomach, hand curling around Nick's cock outside his pants. "You haven't come yet."

Nick makes a sound like he's been burned and his hips twitch, pushing forward. "It's alright," he says, trying to angle away. "I got it. You go to sleep."

"No," Harry says firmly. "Let me." He tugs Nick's pants down enough to get his cock out, hand already working him. He's wet at the tip and Harry uses his thumb to smear it around.

"Oh, god," Nick mutters, arm thrown across his eyes. He keeps peeking out from under it and Harry grins when he catches him.

It's nothing compared to what Nick just did for him. Harry should send him a fruit basket or something.

Harry's fist around Nick's cock makes a slick, wet sound when Nick jerks up into it. He presses closer, soft dick resting on Nick's hip as he asks, "Want me to blow you?"

Nick laughs, turns it into a cough. "Won't be necessary. Just -- keep doing that."

Harry presses a grin into Nick's hip, and keeps jerking him off. He loves doing this, making someone fall apart under him. The dust is settling and he still can't remember why he and Nick haven't done this before.

He feels it in the way Nick's thighs shake first and then with one final swell, Nick starts to come. He makes a low, cut off sound, and thick streaks land on his stomach and dribble down over Harry's fist, drip onto the sheets. It's messy and sticky and pungent and Harry loves everything about it. He wishes he had got to blow him.

Harry pushes himself up only to flop onto his back beside Nick. His hand is still covered in Nick's come but he can't be arsed to get up and wash it off. He uses one of Nick's t-shirts off the floor and ignores the outraged look Nick gives him.

"I'm going to the bathroom because I am not a savage," Nick says.

"Okay," Harry says around a yawn.

"You're going to be asleep before I come back, aren't you?"

Harry yawns again and tugs the blanket up to his ear. "Probably."

"Fine," Nick says, walking backward toward the bathroom. His eyes are wider than usual but he sounds the same when he says, "But you stay on that side of the bed. No rolling onto mine like last time, got it?"

"Sure," Harry agrees easily, already dozing off.

He's asleep before Nick returns.


Harry sleeps through Nick getting ready in the morning and doesn't wake up until partway through the show.

The radio is playing quietly in the lounge for Puppy, and Harry joins her on the sofa for a few minutes, listening to Nick and Matt bicker.

It's good. Harry's stomach swoops a bit at Nick's voice but doesn't lock up completely. Good sign.

He takes a shower and lets Puppy out into the back garden, and when he finally needs to leave, he sends Nick a text to let him know. going to Lou and Tom's. Babysitting duty awaits xx!

Nick texts back ok don't forget to lock the door this time and DO NOT GIVE PUPPY TREATS

Harry's hand is on the bag of treats and Puppy is looking at him so cutely when the text comes in. Harry pretends he didn't read it.


Harry sees Nick three more times over the next week and neither of them brings up what happened. He’s not sure how he feels about that.

He would almost think he made it up if just watching Nick talk with his hands didn’t make him half hard. Nick talks with his hands a lot.

By the end of the week Harry decides how he feels about it is frustrated.


They're in the pub a few days later and have been for the past hour, but Harry couldn't tell you anything about who is there or what they're doing because that would involve not looking at Nick's hands. Which he isn't willing to do.

He has also claimed one for his own, much to Nick's inconvenience. Harry isn't too concerned. One is enough for talking and drinking. This one is Harry's.

He might have done a couple of shots at the bar when they got there.

Now that Harry has one of Nick's hands in his, he can line them up and slip their fingers together. Just looking at how much longer they are makes Harry shiver.

Whatever Nick's been doing must be over because he tugs sharply on his hand, laughing when Harry locks their fingers together.

"What's up with you tonight?"

"Nothing," Harry lies, running the tip of his index finger up and down Nick's middle one.

Nick laughs, and leans down to peer at his hand with Harry. "Is that so." He jostles their hands again. "My hand fascinating or something?"

It's dark so Harry doesn't think Nick can see the pink that appears on his cheeks. "Yes," he mumbles.

Nick's quiet for so long that Harry's curiosity gets the better of him and he looks up, and then flushes all over, embarrassed and a little turned on. The way Nick's looking at him is heady and not at all what he was expecting.

Using the excuse of leaning over Harry to reach a tumbler full of whiskey, Nick lowers his voice and says, "We can go whenever you want."

Harry very nearly shoves Nick out of the booth.


There's a voice in the back of Harry's mind telling him he should probably slow down and not look so eager, but Nick is right here, right within arms reach, and they've been making out the whole cab ride back. Harry just wants.

"Yes," he says, clinging to Nick's shoulder as he's walked backwards through the flat. It's dark, neither of them bothering to turn a light on as they stumble toward the bedroom.

The splay of Nick's hands cover Harry's bum and he squeezes, lifting Harry a couple inches off the floor, crotches rubbing together. Harry moans, hands coming up to frame Nick's face, kissing him harder, open mouthed.

He shouldn't want it this much.

"Nick." Harry's lips tingle when he wets them and when he focuses, Nick's don't look much better. Nick's fingers flex on his bum and Harry's eyes flutter shut. "Yes. Want that."

"Yeah, come on," Nick says.

Harry loses his shirt in the lounge, jeans in the hallway, and pants in the bedroom, yet Nick is still fully dressed, rough denim material making Harry both hiss and moan when Nick presses him into the mattress.

"Take these off," Harry says, fingering the waistband of Nick's jeans. "And your shirt. All of it."

Nick laughs, pulling back far enough to tug the shirt over his head. "Why's it matter what I'm wearing?"

"Want to feel you," Harry says, fingers dragging through the coarse hair on Nick's chest. He lays his hand flat and takes in the rapid pounding of Nick's heart under his palm.

There are different looks Nick has for people, and Harry thought he had all of them figured out, but he's never seen the one he's receiving right now before. It makes Harry's blood run faster.

"For you, Styles," Nick finally says, and rolls onto his back.

Harry grows harder watching Nick's fingers on the button and zip of his jeans. He knows what they feel like. He knows how it feels to come on them. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it all week.

"Turn over," Nick says, kicking his jeans the rest of the way off.

Harry blinks at the sound of his voice and tears his eyes away from Nick's hands. "What?"

Rolling onto his hip, Nick curls a hand around Harry's neck, drawing him in. Harry's mouth falls open on a sigh.

"Turn over," Nick says again.

"Okay," Harry says, swallowing, nodding. He rolls onto his elbows and knees and wills his heart to slow down.

The mattress bounces and then Nick's a lot closer, fingers ghosting up the back of his thigh. Harry holds his breath. "Spread your legs."

Harry shifts, spreads his legs.

Nick's hands are warm and sudden on Harry's bum, and Harry lets out a shaky breath. They feel even bigger without any other distractions.

Nick parts Harry's bum cheeks and "Oh, god," Harry says, rolling his forehead on the pillow, cool air hitting his hole. He can feel the blood pounding in his head. His cock aches. "Nick, please. Put your fingers in me again."

The lube must be next to him already because a moment later there's a cool, slick finger rubbing over his hole. It slips in easily and Harry grabs a handful of blanket, needing something to hold onto, just. God, yes, that's what he wants.

He must make a sound or something because then Nick's other hand starts rubbing soft circles on his lower back. "You alright?"

"Ngh," Harry says, nodding. He can feel it in his toes, this full body ache being soothed.

Nick twists his finger in slowly, pushing in deeper each time and Harry breathes. He just can't do this himself. It's not like this. The only thing -- "Nick?"


Harry shifts on his knees, accidentally making Nick's finger slip further back in. It's really good, but. "Can I roll over?"

Nick's hands still. "Oh," he says, drawing back so Harry can lie on his back. "Yeah, of course, whatever you want."

Harry gets comfortable on the pillows, wiggling into them and uses his feet to draw Nick in between the splay of his legs. Nick laughs as he crawls in, arranges them so they're both comfortable. Nick's hard cock rests next to his. It's hot against his skin.

"Better?" he asks, and pinches Harry on the thigh.

Harry jerks, mouth falling open for a split second. When he focuses again on Nick, he's met with a raised eyebrow. Harry's face warms. "Shut up."

"Not saying a word," Nick says, and picks up where they left off. Harry sighs.

He goes loose and pliant by the second finger, eyes closed and head tipped back on the pillows, breath coming out in light pants. Nick fingers are so long. It’s like they never end, and they pull roughly at him inside, a little burn that Harry feels in his cock. He wants to do this all the time. He was so wrong. It's so much better than he remembers.

"You still with me?" Nick asks. Harry can feel his breath on his shoulder and turns blindly toward it, mouth seeking out Nick's.

Nick's tongue is hot and dirty and unrelenting, almost as unrelenting as his fingers and Harry lies back, moans around them both.

"God," Nick breathes, and Harry is right there with him. "Can you take more?"

Harry's nodding before Nick finishes the question. Nick pulls back, rests on his knees.

Three is more of a stretch, so Harry pushes into it, the arch of his foot resting on Nick's shoulder for leverage. "Yeah," he says, nodding, hand dropping to his cock and stroking slowly. "Yeah, that's good. Really good."

Nick's knuckles drag over his prostate with every other twist of his wrist, and once Harry lets the first rough sound get pulled out of him, he can't stop.

"God, Nick," he says. "Yes, that's it."

"I got it," Nick says softly, and Harry forces his eyes back open, sees Nick watching his fingers and touching himself.

The thought of Nick fucking him for real flashes through his head and he moans, jerking himself faster. It'd be so easy to make it happen. "Harder," Harry says, curling his toes, then stretching them back out. His free hand twists in the sheets. "Harder, please."

Nick's next thrust makes Harry cry out. Before Harry's caught his breath, Nick does it again and again and then again, fingers fucking in deep and rough and hard.

Harry's hand becomes a blur on his cock and he can't help any of the sounds being fucked out of him or how loud they are.

Nick twists his fingers, rubbing over his prostate again and staying and Harry gasps wetly, curling in on himself.

"Nick, Nick, oh, god, I'm gonna --" Harry feels his orgasm building in the pit of his stomach and just as quickly as it came, it backs off when Nick starts moving his fingers again. "Again, again," Harry moans, foot slipping over Nick's shoulder. "Nick, please --"

"Shh," Nick says, curling his fingers in deep and Harry whines, sound yanked from him.

He didn't know he was pushing back, chasing the feeling until Nick holds him down, hand on his hip. Harry stares at it, at his fingers and tries to process how those fingers are fitting inside him.

God, he doesn't know and he doesn't care. He strokes himself faster.

"More," Harry pants, swallowing hard. He digs blunt nails into Nick's arm. "Nick, please, more. Feels so -- Nick --"

"Shh." Nick shushes him again, covering Harry's mouth with his hand. "You have to - oh, god, don't do that either."

Harry licks between Nick's fingers, twists his head and opens his mouth wider, whining until Nick gives in and feeds him his fingers, three at once. Harry moans appreciatively and sucks them in, licking around the rough pads.

He feels so full, all over, ready to snap.

When Harry's eyes blink open, Nick is staring at him hungrily, lips parted, eyes lidded. He pushes his middle finger down on Harry's tongue and Harry pushes back, licks around it and Nick actually shudders. Harry grins as best he can.

It builds suddenly, starting at the bottom of his stomach and at the base of his spine. His eyes fall shut and he sucks on Nick's fingers, moans around them while Nick's others continue to fuck in and out of him harshly. Almost there. Almost -- Nick drags his knuckles down hard over Harry's prostate and that's it. Harry moans, mouth sealing around Nick's fingers, back arching as he tenses and comes, cock pulsing in his hand as he shoots all the way up his chest. Nick keeps moving his fingers until Harry stops clenching down on them.

“God,” Harry says, letting Nick’s fingers slide out of his mouth. He’s still in a daze, still buzzing as he rolls onto his knees, pushes Nick flat. “I love that.”

“Well,” Nick says, a bit halted. He’s flushed and his cock looks painfully hard against his stomach. “Good.”

There’s no reason to reply when Harry can duck down, drag his tongue firmly up Nick’s shaft and then swallow him down. Nick groans, leg kicking out, and Harry holds tight to the base and sucks hard, grinning to himself. He doesn't have nearly as much experience at this as he'd like -- no one takes him seriously, always thinking he doesn't mean it -- but Nick doesn't seem to mind, thankfully. His thighs shake again and Harry sucks harder, tries to take more on the next bob down.

There’s a soft touch at Harry’s shoulder and then a more urgent one, followed by Nick gasping, “Harry.”

It’s more than Harry expects and he gags, pulls back, pretends that was his intention. Come dribbles down his chin. It always seems so easy. He coughs, wipes his chin with the back of his hand and strokes Nick through the rest of his orgasm.

“Well,” Nick says, eventually, and Harry looks up expectantly. Nick still hasn’t lifted his head. “That was fun.”

“Yes,” Harry agrees immediately. “We should do it again.”

“Yeah.” Nick nods, eyes falling shut again. “We should.”


They don’t do it again.

It’s been a week and a half, and they have not done it again.

This time Harry is confused.


At Pixie’s fancy tea party, Nick sloshes hot water over his fingers and Harry is quick to blow on them. Nick watches him intently with dark eyes, and Harry thinks he’s got it, that they’re on the same page again and grins, kissing the tip of one very lightly.

But instead of standing and thanking Pixie for a lovely evening, Nick yanks his hand back and avoids Harry’s eyes for the rest of the night. They stay at Pixie’s so late that Harry falls asleep on her sofa, just as confused as before, if not more.


After that Harry drags Nick to Art14 because his third guest bedroom needs a change of scenery but ends up focusing more on Nick than any of the art. He doesn’t even mean to, but Nick won’t stop pointing at everything.

“Ooh, look at this,” Nick says, pointing at a glowing wall of text.

“Yeah, it’s wicked,” Harry says, eyes still on Nick’s hands, which are now hanging by his sides.

Nick laughs, getting Harry’s attention. “You’re not even looking. What’s with you?”

You, Harry does not say. Christ, he is going insane. He has never been this fixated on anything in his life.

It’s later, when he grabs Nick’s hand without noticing, that he realizes he might have a problem.

“I wasn’t going to touch it, I swear,” Nick huffs, blowing his quiff off his forehead. A couple strands go the other way and Nick makes to fix it, but Harry’s fingers tighten, again against his permission, and Nick frowns. “What?”

“I don’t know,” Harry mumbles. He really doesn’t.

Nick’s eyes narrow. He brings his other hand up, prises Harry’s hand away, and takes both of Harry’s wrists in one. Harry shivers. “We are in public. Quit it.”

“I know, I am,” Harry says, and Nick keeps looking at him like he has two heads. “I’m sorry. Later?”

Nick hesitates, and Harry tries to twist out of his grip. “Yes, fine,” Nick says, squeezing tighter. "Later."


Later does not happen. In fact, on the car ride back, Nick answers his mobile and invites Collette over to spend the night. Harry barely keeps his face blank.

So he goes home instead of back to Nick’s because if Nick isn’t going to do it, Harry will just do it himself.

It ends up being a miserable disaster.

He gives up halfway through. His wrist gets tired and he uses too much lube and his fingers just don't feel right. Everything is off, and everything is wrong.

And on top of all of that, it's kind of lonely. It's not the same without Nick's weight pressing him into the mattress and his sweaty quiff bumping Harry's forehead while they kiss.

It's not the same without Nick in general.

Harry sighs and rolls over, grabbing his phone off the nightstand. He clicks into his messages and finds Nick at the top, as usual, and sends I miss Puppy. I’ll be back over tomorrow goodnight xx

This isn't what was supposed to happen at all.


By the end of the week, Harry decides that he is done. He is not going to make any more moves. He wants it. Oh, god, does he want it, but he is done throwing himself at Nick.

Nick can come after him now. If he doesn't, well then, good. Harry can start to get over it.

“Hey,” Harry says, sliding in between Henry and Aimee at the table. “Do you know where Nick is?”

They're at the opening of a club, a friend of a friend of a friend of Nick's and it's alright. Harry's been to better. Or maybe he's just grumpy. He's working through it.

"Um." Aimee’s eyes flicker somewhere over Harry’s shoulder, and Henry hands him a shot. Harry's stomach twists uncomfortably.

“Mingling and being the social butterfly that he is, I reckon. Here, let’s get pissed tonight, yeah?” says Henry.

Harry lets Henry count them down before turning around. If Aimee saw Nick with barely a glance, he can’t be that far away. The place is packed but there are gaps, people grouped off in clumps on the dance floor, others sprinkled about in between. He has to be around here somewhere. Just look for a quiff towering over a group of enthralled listeners and that's where he'll be. Center of an audience, hands waving about as he holds court.

Except when Harry finally does locate him, that’s not what he sees.

It hits him, twisting tight and hot and ugly in the pit of his stomach. He didn't think –

He's moving before he realizes it.

“Harry, I don't know if that's a --”

Harry tunes Henry out and keeps moving, closing the distance between him and Nick and the bloke that has Nick nearly pinned against the wall.

There's a second before they notice him, and Harry's pleased to see that when Nick does, he stands up a bit straighter, breaking whatever moment he and the other guy were experiencing.

It's just. This is different. This is reason enough to lift his decision to not go after Nick anymore because if Nick wants someone to go home with, Harry will do it. Nick doesn't have to look any further.

He thought they had an understanding.

“Hey,” Harry says as soon as he's close enough to be heard over the music. He pushes into Nick's personal space, knocking the bloke back a few steps. Nick smells like sweat and herbal shampoo and a hint of Aimee's perfume. Harry not sure he's ever been more attracted to a smell. He touches lightly at Nick's hip. “Been looking for you.”

“Have you,” Nick says flatly.

“I have.” Harry steals a sip of Nick's drink. Nick watches his mouth.

“Rude,” Harry hears muttered behind him and then the bloke is gone.

Nick's shoulders drop and whatever air of aloofness he was striving for disappears. He gives Harry a look. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” Harry lies.


“I think you should take me home.” Harry steps closer. No one is watching them, except maybe Aimee or Henry. He doesn't care. “You should take me home and give me your fingers.”

Nick breathes in sharply through his nose. “Should I?”

Harry can feel himself starting to get hard just talking about it. He makes sure Nick can feel his cock, presses it against his hip. “Yes. Sooner rather than later.”

“You're very demanding,” Nick says. His breath catches too much to be a proper reprimand.

“You promised.”

“And when was that?”

Harry huffs, and then frowns at himself. He is better than this. He is smooth. Ish. Whatever. “After last time,” he says. “And at the art gallery.”

“Oh.” Nick touches Harry, finally lets his free hand drop to Harry's waist; Harry nods, encouraging him. “I guess I did.”

“You did,” he assures him. “So can we leave now?”



Harry tears his clothes off the second he can, leaving them littered about Nick's lounge and then turns to see Nick’s still fully clothed.

“Off,” Harry says, fingers scrabbling at Nick's jeans.

Nick catches Harry’s hands with his own, long fingers trapping them together tightly, holding him still. “Slow down.”

No,” Harry says, testing Nick’s grip. God, he is so close to getting what he wants. Why is Nick being like this.

“Harry,” Nick says firmly, and Harry takes a breath, meets his eyes.

Nick doesn’t look as calm as he sounds, and that slows Harry down, makes him get a grip. Right. He can wait a little longer.

Nick cups the side of his face and draws him in, slanting their mouths together softly and Harry sighs, falling into him, kissing him back. He’s missed this too. He presses closer, his naked body to Nick's clothed one, and one of Nick's hands goes to rest on his waist, massive and warm.

Nick thumbs across Harry's cheekbone, and he tilts his head, catches Nick looking at him through lidded eyes. There are lines on his forehead and around his eyes, and his cheeks are rough with stubble, a day or two's worth max. Harry wants him so much.

"Anything you want," he says.

For a moment Harry thinks Nick is going to say something back, maybe make a joke about how eager and demanding he's being, but he doesn't. Instead he ducks down, gets Harry's mouth under his again, kissing him hard and thorough. Harry fists Nick’s t-shirt and kisses back.

Nick’s warm and solid and holding onto him so tight. Harry wants it all. Everything.

With a step backwards, Nick starts walking them out of the lounge. Harry's knee hits the sofa and Nick's shoulder takes one from the wall as they round the corner into the hallway and then they're finally in collapsing distance of the bed. Harry tugs him down by a fistful of t-shirt while Nick flicks open his jeans and shoves them down. Harry quickly sneaks his fingers under the waistband of Nick's pants and pushes them down as well, making Nick jump and laugh.

“I thought you weren’t ticklish.” He reaches for Nick's side, but Nick's hands dart out, curling around Harry's wrists and pinning them above his head. Harry grins. “I’ll remember that.”

"Behave for just one second," Nick says, and lets go. He moves back and finishes kicking off his pants and jeans, tears his shirt over his head. His quiff is a disaster as usual. It's probably too long but Harry figures he doesn't have any room to talk. He likes it anyway.

Even the bed adds to it. Both times have been right here, probably this very spot and it all makes up why trying it at home, alone, was such a miserable failure.

"How do you want it?" The sight of the lube in Nick's hand kicks his heartbeat into overdrive and suddenly the room is too hot. A blurt of precome wets the tip of his cock.

"This way," Harry says, breathing harder already. He opens his legs around Nick. "Wanna be able to kiss you."

Harry's lips feel tender under Nick's when he kisses him again. It's urgent yet still just as soft as usual and Harry's sufficiently distracted that it's a surprise when he feels a slick finger at his hole.

Nick's not as hesitant this time, curling and twisting in deep, going straight for what takes Harry apart. It's not fair how well he can read Harry's body already.

“God, Nick,” Harry breathes out shakily, gripping the edges of the pillow. Nick smiles into the kisses he’s leaving down Harry’s neck.

Harry has to turn his head and pant into the pillow. This is it. This is exactly it that he's been chasing. Nick's finger is thick and solid and long and his weight holds him where he is and the sheets and pillows smell like him and Harry wants him so much.

"Yes," Harry says, mouth going on its own. "Yes, that's it. That's, yes." He trails off on a moan as Nick twists in another finger, both sliding in deep and rough. "Yes, yes, yes."

He can't stop making noise and twisting on the sheets, trying to both escape the relentless pressure and get more at the same time. It's so much and not enough. His cock is leaking onto his stomach and his hair is damp with sweat, matted at his temples.

It's with a twist of his wrist and a shift to get comfortable that Harry gets a flash of Nick's weight holding him down, fucking into him for real. How much he wants it is startling and he wiggles his hand between them to grab his cock and hold tight. It would be so easy. Nick's cock is hard right there on his thigh and Harry's slick and open, ready. He could take him. He wants to take him. With how things have been going, who knows when he’ll get another chance.

"Nick." Harry clutches Nick's arm. "Nick."

Nick lifts his head. "What is it?" he asks. A third finger nudges the rim of his hole, and Harry shudders, fights to keep his eyes open. "More?"

Harry nods then shakes his head then nods again. Nick watches him curiously, fingers sliding in and out without change. Harry swallows, shakes. He doesn't -- he's never asked for this before. "Not." He swallows again. "Cock."

"Want me to jerk you off?" Nick asks, already moving to lean back on his knees.

"No, no, not --" Harry breaks off to gasp when Nick's knuckle deliberately drags over his prostate. "Yours."

Nick lays a protective hand over where his cock is standing tall and hard against his stomach. Lines of confusion on his forehead are visible behind sweaty strands of hair. "My cock what?"

Harry grunts. Why is it so hard to ask for this. It's all just sex. And fun. Sex is fun. "In me," he says. There. "Fuck me. Want you to fuck me." He wants it even more now that he’s said it aloud.

It takes a moment for him to realize Nick’s gone still and not responded. His fingers have stopped moving, arm tense and frozen, and he’s staring, blinking, at a spot near Harry’s shoulder.


"You -- you want what?" Nick stutters. His eyes are round when he turns them on Harry.

Some of the urgency fades the longer Nick holds his fingers still, but the need is still there. He still wants it.

"Want you to fuck me," Harry repeats, louder. "Want your cock inside. 'M ready."

"You're ready?" Nick laughs, and then his fingers are gone and Harry's hole is clenching around nothing. "You're ready. No."

"I." Harry wets his lips, and frowns harder, trying to get his bearings back. He's still hard, but also confused. "What's wrong?"

"I can't do this," Nick says, closing Harry's legs. He scoots down, sits at the end of the bed.

"Oh. Okay, that's okay," Harry says, swallowing down the disappointment. It was just -- it was just an idea. "We can just --"

"No," Nick says, voice muffled. "I can't do any of this."

“Oh.” Harry's felt this plummeting feeling before. He’s had things he wants yanked right out from under his feet, important things, but this is somehow worse. "At all?"

“I’m sorry.”

“But.” Nick is confusing pretty much all of the time, but Harry has always been able to figure him out. He sits up on his elbows and stares at Nick’s back. “Why now? Aren’t you having fun? We can go back, pretend I didn’t --”

“No,” Nick says. “I can’t. This isn’t working anymore.”

That doesn’t make any sense, Harry wants to yell. He scoots to the end of the bed too, drops his legs over the edge next to Nick’s. "And what is this exactly?" he asks tightly, stomach twisting itself into knots already. He can’t believe he’s fucked it up before it began.

Nick looks like he’d rather be anywhere than right here, having this conversation right now. "This having fun thing. It doesn't mean anything," Nick says. He glances at Harry, only for a moment. "I can't do --" He waves his hands about and for the first time in weeks Harry doesn't watch them, eyes trained on the side of Nick's face. "I can't do this if it doesn't mean anything. I know; I’m shit. I’'m sorry. It's my fault for fucking it all up. I shouldn't have agreed to this at all."

"It means something," Harry blurts out as fast as he can, ignoring everything else he said. "It means something to me."

Nick smiles a bit ruefully. "I mean more than me being someone safe to fool around with. Not that you getting off really hard on my fingers isn't amazing for my ego --"

"Shut up," Harry says. "Did you miss how I made a total knob out of myself earlier?" Nick gives him a funny look. "With that bloke. I saw you almost take him home and panicked. Don't do that. Don't take other people home. Take me home instead."

Nick’s quiet. He chews on his lip, peeling a layer of skin off and then stops, spitting it out and making a face. He’s been trying to quit that habit for a while now.

It's very rare that Nick doesn't have something to say immediately. He always has an opinion, so the longer he doesn’t speak, the more Harry’s stomach twists itself up. He just told Nick everything he’s been ignoring for the past two weeks. He wants Nick to say something now.


Nick huffs. “This is stupid. Neither of us have got any clothes on. I can’t talk when my bollocks are hanging out.” He stands and swiftly retrieves his pants off the floor, sliding them on as he makes his way toward the door.

“Where are you going?” Harry finds a pair of Nick’s pants in his folded laundry and slips them on, following him out the door.

“I need coffee. Irish coffee.” Harry watches him bang around the cabinets until he finds a container of coffee. “You want some?”

“I’ll make tea, thanks,” he says.

“Yours is --”

“On the middle shelf,” Harry finishes. “I know. I put it there. I put the groceries away last time because you had a crisis over a loafer."

"It was an Italian loafer and Puppy chewed on it!"

Harry hip-checks Nick out of the way of the kettle. “You don’t even like loafers. Anyway, stop stalling.”

Nick watches the coffee drip into the pot for one, two, three, four drips before he wanders out of the kitchen. "It’s not that I wouldn’t love to take you and only you home every night, Harry. I would,” Nick says, voice a bit echoed. He must be kneeling on the floor with Puppy then. “But I want more than that."

Harry raises his voice, calls back, "Me too.”

"No, you don't."

Harry frowns at the kettle. "Yes, I do."

"If you did, something would have happened before now."

"Maybe I didn't know,” Harry says, voice getting louder still. "Just because it didn't occur to me before doesn't mean I don't want it now."

There’s an oof and a thud, and then Puppy is scurrying into the kitchen, bouncing around Harry’s feet. "You're nineteen and you want sex and I'm good at it. That's what you want. That's nothing to be embarrassed about. It just is."

Harry focuses on Puppy at his feet and not yelling at Nick. He counts to ten and gives Puppy a pet before heading into the lounge himself.

"I don't like how you're treating me like a kid and telling me what I do and don't think. You've never done that to me before." He leans in the doorway, looking down at Nick sprawled on the rug. "You are the only person who has never done that to me, and now you are."

Nick’s face goes pinched. "I didn't mean -- "

"I don't tell people I want something more with them just so they'll have sex with me. You know me. You know I'm not like that. So when I said it meant something to me, I meant it." Harry pushes off the doorframe and joins Nick on the floor. "Nothing's really changed. I still want to do everything we always do, but now I want to have sex with you too. Only you."

"But that's --" Nick makes a face, at himself or Harry, Harry doesn't know. "With me? Really?" He doesn't wait for Harry to reply. "Because I've decided this year I want a boyfriend and I have expectations, you know."

Harry's heard this speech before. It was drunken and incoherent at the time, but the gist is mostly the same.

"I'm aware," Harry says dryly. "You're not going to say anything that'll surprise me and make me change my mind."

"I haven't tried yet," Nick says.

"Okay," says Harry, getting to his feet. "You think on that while I have my tea."

"Wait," Nick says, sitting up. "Does this mean -- are we -- ?"

Harry pauses in the doorway. "I don't know. Are we?"

"I don't know." He shrugs. "I don't know what I'm doing."

"Well," Harry says, "that's nothing new then, is it?"

Nick's on him before he makes it to the kitchen.