It's the last hour of his night shift, and Harry wants nothing more than to burn his uniform and motorcycle license. And maybe shower for eight days. And go on one of those cleanses with Gemma where they could only eat fruit and wear headscarves.
"That's really not what those are about," Ben points out.
Harry glares at him. "Whatever. It'll be my cleanse, I get to decide what I put on my head."
Ben just rolls his eyes and goes to the front of the pizzeria. He’s used to it; Harry goes through this particular existential crisis at the end of every shift. It's only his third week as a pizza delivery boy, and he's already over it. Harry's a very positive person usually, but it's just this – being around pizzas all day and delivering to shitty tippers and navigating through dorms and working all night just to study during the day. All he wanted to do was go to uni and play tennis.
He'd say all that to Ben, if Ben weren't his boss and a genuinely nice guy. Instead, he looks at his watch again. Fifteen minutes and he can escape the furnace. Maybe he should just quit. Who even needs spending money? He could just stay in his dorm all day. Maybe get a cat. A cat would need food, though. And toys. Okay, maybe he won't quit until he can provide for his imaginary cat. Or boyfriend. Maybe he should get a nice boyfriend who'd provide for him. And his cat. Anything but pizza.
"Harry?" Ben asks, popping his head in again. He looks forlorn. Harry narrows his eyes at him. "Sorry, you got an order."
Harry sighs. "Is it one perfect slice with no toppings?"
"Actually, it's pretty funny. Four pizzas with five different toppings and five Cokes."
"There's also a special instruction."
Harry's interest is piqued. Special instructions are his thing. Usually it's something involving genitals (his clients are mostly comprised of uni students), but sometimes it's cat drawings or "surprise me", and that's when Harry's true genius comes to light. He's sort of a pizza savant. "Well?"
"It says special topping."
Harry cracks his knuckles. "On it."
So he has no idea what special topping means, but the order was for bacon, pepperoni, corn, olives and extra cheese, so he spend careful time constructing the toppings into a huge smiley face. He thinks it's pretty special. For the second box he makes a football, then a star, and then a wang. When he Instagrams them, the wang is the most popular, so Harry figures it's not too offensive.
He wraps the boxes up and goes to Ben for the address.
"Hey, do you have a relative called Jack?" Ben asks when handing him the note.
"Oh, the guy who ordered it is called Jack Styles." Harry blinks, trying to remember why that name sounds familiar.
When he gets it he bursts out laughing obnoxiously. How is he supposed to tell Ben that Jack Styles is a gay porn twink? And why the fuck would he order pizzas from Harry?
"Just a coincidence," he says eventually, and makes his escape.
It's not the dorm rooms, thank god, but a shitty flat complex off-campus. There is the issue of juggling all the food up three flights of stairs, since of course the lift's out of order, and Harry spends the entire trip composing his resignation letter to Ben. Maybe he'll write it on a pizza. Ben probably loves pizza, right? He owns a pizza place. He's fit as hell, though, so he probably doesn't eat that many pizzas. Or he does cleanses too, and in fact tried to keep Harry from going on one because there's this cult of -
"Coming!" someone yells from inside the flat, so Harry stops knocking on the door with his boot and hazarding his tower of pizzas. Who would even want so many pizzas so late at night?
Oh. Apparently short guys with shaggy brown hair and a scruff and bright blue eyes and heart-stopping smiles. That's who.
Harry's not even ashamed of how his brain goes blank and he nearly drops all the pizzas. This guy is gorgeous and Harry hasn't noticed anyone like that in ages, let alone provided services to them. If he opened his mouth right now the only thing that would come out is, "By special topping did you mean my dick?"
It's a good fucking job the guy looks up at him then (he'd been laughing at something someone inside said, but not in like, a way to brush Harry off, in a way that made him want to be included in the joke and make the boy smile and laugh like that and Christ, it's late and Harry's not thinking straight). He says, "Aces."
"Yeah," Harry blurts. "Pizzas."
The guy tilts his head and snorts. He looks like he's about to say something mean, but then he shakes his head and, instead of reaching for cash or a card or anything, he grabs Harry's elbow and pulls him into the flat. Which, well. Doesn't usually happen.
"This is a bit forward," he comments offhandedly.
The guy tosses his head back and laughs, how amazing. "Well we weren't gonna do it where anyone could see, were we?"
So Harry's a bit confused, but whatever. He's a laid-back kind of guy. If hot people want to invite him into their home to do something in private, he's down for that. It's his last delivery, anyway. It's okay this guy is making him breathless.
And then he's in the flat, and things take a turn. Because it's not exactly private when there are ten people occupying the living room. But, okay. Whatever floats his boat.
"Louis, finally," one of them, a girl with bleached hair, says, while. While sewing a dress. That's on a guy. Who might have been a mannequin or a robot or an alien if he weren't smoking. And wearing a dark green evening gown. The hand on Harry's elbow tightens, and he looks down to see the original fit guy – Louis – hiss at the girl and say, "Don't use my real name, you twat."
Before she can reply he drags Harry towards the kitchen aggressively, which would have been sort of hot if it weren't for the pizza boxes threatening to topple over. Once Harry manages to tear his eyes away from the dress-wearing demigod, he sees that every person in the living room is busy doing something clothes-related: sewing, cutting, sketching or measuring stuff. It's a mess of fabrics and takeaway boxes. Harry feels like he's just walked into the middle of a story. He wouldn't mind being a part of it.
Louis corners Harry against the dinner table and finally takes the boxes from him, so they can lay them out on the table. Then it's an awkward minute where Louis stares at the boxes, then at Harry, and then back at the boxes. He doesn't say anything. If Harry weren't busy observing his cheekbones, he'd probably start getting nervous. "So. Where's the stuff?" Louis asks eventually.
Harry shakes his head to clear his thoughts. He's got very nice eyelashes. "Um. In the boxes?"
Louis quirks an eyebrow, and then smiles brilliantly. "Oh, I get it." He comes to stand next to Harry and then flips open the box. If Harry expected a standing ovation for his giant pepperoni wang, he's left disappointed. Louis looks at him suspiciously.
This is about when Harry realises something weird is going on. He doesn't want to interrupt Louis, though, so he just waits him out
"That's pizza," Louis says.
"I agree," Harry agrees.
Louis picks up the pie with both hands and peers under the pizzas. Finally, he puts them back in the box and sighs deeply. "There's no weed, is there?"
Harry can't stop laughing for two minutes. "What?" he wheezes.
"I'm going to murder Niall." Louis’ making this face like an annoyed cat, but he's still achingly attractive so it doesn't faze Harry. He is starting to feel a bit self-conscious, though, seeing as this achingly attractive guy is staring at him snorting unattractively while wearing a greasy uniform and a "Ben's Buns" cap.
"You thought I was a weed delivery boy?" he can't help asking, just to make Louis' thin voice climb even higher with annoyance.
"My shit mate told me if you ask for special topping from Ben's you get – wait, was this your special topping?" he asks, suddenly looking at the pizza again. When he spots Harry's art a cheeky smile spreads on his face.
"I was being creative," Harry explains. He's still very much amused that Louis has been tricked into ordering four pizzas and expecting four dimebags.
"Yeah, I can see your artistic flare," Louis compliments him, patting his shoulder. Harry leans into it a bit. "Sorry about the cock-up. What's your name?"
He's suddenly overcome with residual giggles again. "Jack Styles was the best alias you could come up with to order weed?"
Louis glares at him. "It just popped into my head, Harold, I've never ordered weed before."
"Were you watching gay porn at the time?" he asks, still giggling.
Louis opens and closes his mouth a couple of times, and then gives Harry a subtle once-over. "Not at that time. And now I know you do."
Harry shrugs and smiles at Louis, to show exactly how absolutely not bothered he is with Louis knowing he enjoys a bit of gay action. "Prefer tops, meself. You might say… special topping."
Any interest Louis was shooting him is switched with exasperation. "Do they pay you by the awful joke?"
A thought occurs to him. "You'll still pay for the pizzas?"
"Oh yeah mate, of course. I've still got troops to feed." He opens all four boxes, and smiles at each of Harry's pizza masterpieces, which makes Harry indecently happy. When he's satisfied he leads Harry back to the living room so he can find his wallet. The dress-wearing alien is no longer wearing a dress, but is down to boxers and a scowl. He's very tattooed and narrow and Harry's trying to wrap his brain around his existence.
Louis walks up to the creature and touches his beard. Harry is overwhelmed by two boys this fit coexisting, let alone touching. "C'mon Zayn, don't pout."
"When you told me I'd just be trying on clothes, I didn't think it'd be 80% dresses and skirts," Zayn says, still pouting.
"That's because I had to trick you into agreeing, love," Louis explains, mock-softly. "You've got a very nice figure."
"You're as short as I am!"
"Please, my arse wouldn't fit in any of these." Zayn proceeds to smack Louis' arse. Harry could swallow his tongue. "Why are you even complaining, it gets your girlfriend hot."
The girl with the bright hair, who's still kneeling by Zayn, freezes. Zayn looks down at her curiously. "Babes?"
She turns the most acidic smile to Louis, and then leans up to whisper in Zayn's ear. The scowl, at least, disappears.
Satisfied, Louis comes up to Harry again and finally gives him the money. "Alright then," he says while Harry adjusts his cap.
He stumbles quickly to the door, before he turns from an odd part of Louis' night to an unwanted pizza guest. "Have a good one, Louis. I know a nice dealer if you're really short on weed."
Louis bursts out laughing and puts a hand on Harry's back. He's very... handsy. "You must be the most helpful pizza delivery boy in all of England."
"I try." He's hovering by the door. This feels very close to awkward. There's just something... magnetic about Louis that doesn't allow him to turn away.
"Well, don't worry about it; I'll make Niall bring the weed tomorrow and take over dress duty. To pay for my humiliation."
Harry would quite like to thank Niall for Louis' humiliation. It made his shift a lot more entertaining.
So this is where, if he weren't a delivery guy there via prank, he'd ask what the hell was even going on in that flat, if they were all drag queens or tailors or attractive aliens. But he is, so he makes do with being just a guest appearance. "Bye, Helpful Harry," Louis says at the door.
"Bye, Louis Styles."
Louis gives him a brilliant smile. So maybe he won't quit just yet.
It's a couple of days later, on another night shift, that they get an order from Jake Bass. Harry's laughing before he even remembers he's driven to that address before. "H, I know it's late again but – "
"It's okay," Harry cuts Ben off. "I'm on it. Any special instructions?"
"Well, that's the odd part." He looks like he's about to explain, but then just shakes his head and hands Harry the printout. Special Delivery Instructions: tall delivery boy with extra dimples!!
He reddens immediately, and thanks god Ben doesn't take the piss. So Louis' obviously gotten hold of some weed. Or he's an outrageous flirt. Or he's just bizarre. Either way, it's the same giant order, so Harry again has to struggle with heaps of pizza up three flights of stairs. This time he's decided to leave the ugly "Ben's Buns" button-up with his bike. He thinks his plain white undershirt is professional enough to not get him fired. And possibly get him laid.
At least this time he won't get the breath knocked out of him when Louis opens the door. Maybe. He might've been thinking about Louis quite a bit since they’d met. But that's totally normal. Harry thinks about a lot of things, chief among them cats and cute boys.
The door opens.
Oh, shit, he hasn't grown immune at all. Harry did not remember just how blue Louis' eyes were, and his hair's styled a bit more intentionally now, his scruff neater and his clothes nicer. "Hi," he says brightly.
"Oops," Harry blurts, before nearly beheading Louis with his own pizza order. It's truly amazing that Harry hasn't lost his clumsiness in all his weeks of delivering pizzas. And being a tennis player.
Somehow they save the food and drinks before everything spills on Louis' already dirty carpet, so Louis' holding two boxes and Harry's hand. For stabilising purposes, of course. Harry's too embarrassed to get any sort of rush out of that. Until Louis says, "Come in mate," and invites him in for the second time.
It's the same group of people with the same chaos surrounding them. Harry doesn't actually intend to study them, was about to make his way to the kitchen and put the food down, when someone yells, "Oi, it's Harry!"
Harry freezes and looks the guy over: he's not the one who wore the dress last time, and… that's all Harry can tell, really. He doesn't recognise him. And he would, too, the guy looks like a young David Beckham. And not like someone he'd usually pair with the frilly pink fabric he's currently shearing. Harry's not one to judge drag queens, though. "It is I," he says.
The guy laughs loudly. "Did the idiot order weed again?"
"Nope, just me."
"I'd expect a lot of pizza orders from this place," he advises Harry. "Lou couldn't shut up about – "
"How hungry all this work is making me," Louis says loudly, bursting from the kitchen and grabbing Harry's elbow again to lead him away. "You'll have to excuse Liam, he's obviously too high to function."
The strong smell of weed is starting to hit Harry. Makes sense. "Can I stop cutting this shitty fabric then?" Liam asks even as Louis closes the kitchen door.
"This shitty fabric cost more than your mum, you will cut it carefully and perfectly," Louis snaps. "Honestly, you'd think they didn't volunteer for this," Louis whispers for Harry's benefit. One of the guys in the living room hears him, though, and starts to protest, so Louis yells, "Shut it, minions!"
Harry puts down the pizzas and claps his hands, a bit tacky. Louis' sort of staring at his hands, though, and Harry likes that. He cracks his knuckles and laughs when Louis blurts, "Christ, your hands are two canoes."
"It's what got me this job," he says.
Louis' eyes snap to his face. "You wanked your boss off?"
Good, it's very good Louis' already associating his hands with the art of the penis. "No. I can carry a lot of things."
"Right. Of course. That would be wrong."
"Says the guy running a sweatshop out of his flat."
Louis smirks at him, like he's pleased Harry's being cheeky. "My degree show is five weeks away, if they weren't helping me I wouldn't even remember their names."
Harry crosses his arms and leans on the fridge. He tries not to let the cold hitting his shoulder affect his expression in any way. He's going for effortlessly flirty. "You study… drag shows?"
Louis frowns in confusion. "I – oh, Zayn." He starts chuckling. "No, I study fashion design. Zayn's my best mate right now, since he can model both my menswear and my gowns. He pretends that he hates it, but I've found my fair share of 'mysterious sketches' on my pillow."
Well, that makes more sense than a degree in drag. "So you've been holed up here since the last time I came?"
"Oh, no, that's absurd." He puts a dainty hand on Harry's shoulder with flourish. "We've been holed up here since last week. Do you realise how much work putting on a show takes?"
Not really. Since there are metres of fabric just hanging off the fridge, though, he can guess it's a lot. "A lot?"
"A fucking lot, good lad. I need all the help I can get."
Louis blinks and leans away, like he's suddenly remembered why Harry's even there. "Yup. I assume you wanna get paid again?"
"Oh, you know, that'd be nice."
"You boys are only after one thing, I swear." Louis rolls his eyes and leads Harry back to the front door, a wallet manifesting in his hand.
"Bye Harry the tall delivery boy!" young Becks yells, and Harry gives him a friendly wave to counter Louis' furious middle finger.
He's shoved out of the door before he can reply. "Good night," Louis says, more subdued than his friend.
"Don't work too hard," Harry mutters, prepared to leave it at that.
"It's because I play so hard," Louis says quickly. "I'm a tough boy to please, me."
Harry's brain is stuck somewhere between are you flirting with me? and I'd like to take a crack at pleasing you, so of course what he comes up with is, "It's important for productivity to balance work and fun." He'd very much like to kick himself.
Louis' unruffled, which doesn't answer Harry's unasked question at all. "Learned all that delivering pizzas?"
"Surprisingly enough, I have other interests. I'm a player." Louis smiles like Harry's just delivered him a joke on a silver platter, so he quickly tacks on, "I play tennis."
"Oh. That explains the…" He waves his hand around Harry's general torso area. "Situation there." Harry flexes his biceps, grinning helplessly when Louis' eyes jump. "Good with your hands, then?"
"Very. Balls, too."
There's a silence then, this tension stretching between them, born of Harry being suddenly, acutely aware that Louis is attracted to him. He's about to suggest – okay, cock up another suggestion, when Louis breaks eye contact and sighs. "Off you go, Helpful Harry. I've got a cocktail dress to bang out by morning."
Louis should stop trying to dismiss him while giving him opportunities to make innuendos. Bang out by the morning. He probably should get back, if he's got any hope to finish his paper before the weekend. "Off I go. Maybe a straight porn star next time? I need my boss to understand why your delivery calls make me laugh."
"But I've got more tattooed twinks lined up. Don't make me look up heterosexual porn, Harold."
He doesn't even mind the Harold, caught up on: "Lined up? How much pizza were you planning to order?"
Louis snorts. "Bye."
"Hey, did you notice I'm tattooed? And my last name is Styles, isn't that hysterical?"
Louis slams the door in his face. He can still hear the giggles from inside.
"Look, it's Helpful Harry!"
It's someone he doesn't recognise this time. Not that he's committed Louis' merry band of slaves to memory, but he would've remembered a bottle-blonde Irish lad. It makes it even weirder that he somehow knows Harry. Weirder, still, that he opened the door instead of Louis. Harry’d even done the whole causal-but-really-I'm-here-to-undress-you lean on the wall, but when this dude opened the door all the air left Harry's lungs in a whoosh of wasted sexual energy.
Harry wonders what part he plays in the group dynamic that he's known as Helpful Harry, but before he can ask the guy Louis shows up at the doorway and shoves him away. "Yes Niall, there's food, calm your tits."
The name sounds familiar, but Harry can't quite remember when Louis' mentioned him before. He can't remember his own name right now, as Louis' wearing a fitted dinner jacket over his naked torso. He's got tattoos on his chest, and he's this contrast of soft and hard, small and big, tight and -
"I'll take these then, while you're salivating," Niall says, grabbing all the pizza boxes from Harry's limp hands.
He feels a bit lost for a moment, standing in the doorway with no pizzas. Usually Louis would take him to the kitchen – this is their sixth meeting in almost as many days – but now his hands are empty and his job is done. How is he supposed to strike up a casual chat when all he needs is cash to be on his way back to Ben's? How is he supposed to say anything other than can I lick your chest?
He's seriously thrown off until Louis smirks at him and takes his arm. It's basically Harry's favourite part of every interaction with Louis. Not the dazzling smile or the snarky jokes. It's being dragged places. It's being reminded that Louis' cute and tiny but also aggressive and dominant and likes to take over things and be the centre of attention. He's the kind of person you just sit there and admire what he's like.
Louis doesn't lead him to the kitchen this time, just takes him straight to the living room and points at Niall. "Pizzas go in the kitchen, you heathen."
Niall's already stuffed a whole slice in his mouth. That's kind of remarkable. "I won't get anything dirty."
"I don't trust you."
"When have I ever lied to you, Tommo?"
Louis glares at him so hard Harry's feeling the whiplash. Niall starts laughing at the memory. "Was I supposed to know you'd take me seriously? It was the first time I ever had you on, you should admire me. Plus you got Helpful Harry out of it."
Oh. Niall's the weed guy. "I've been meaning to thank you for humiliating Louis."
Louis smacks Harry's chest and huffs at the room. Niall's quicker to answer. "Bro, don't thank me, without you we'd all have started eating the fabrics."
"It's true," five different people say. It's been two weeks since the first time Harry came over, but it looks like this place exists outside the normal flow of time. It's always the same group, minus a boy or a girl, and there are always clothes and noise and beer everywhere. Harry even recognises the pizza box from Wednesday on the sofa next to Zayn, since it's the one he drew a stick man boarding on. He's filled with this insane urge to make them all a real dinner and clean up everything.
"Well, I mean. You shouldn't eat fabrics anyway."
"Yeah, not fabrics I paid for," Louis says, hand still on Harry's arm. "Right, Curly?"
He nods gravely. The big guy, Liam, snorts. "Did he ask you yet?"
Harry is beside himself with curiosity. Ask me what? Ask me out? Ask me to make sweet sweet love to him?
"I was just getting to that, I'm not desperate," Louis says, glancing at Harry.
Harry's very desperate. "What, ask me what?"
"Well. You know how you said you were good with your hands?"
"Yes," I will fingerfuck you on command. Surprisingly, Harry doesn't let the second part slip.
"I figured maybe…" He clears his throat. Harry wants to strangle him. "You could help us with some accessories? If you're not busy."
Oh. Harry looks him over, tries to ignore the jacket-nakedness combo. His hair is dishevelled and the dark circles under his eyes seem to grow every time Harry sees him. Harry doesn't know the first thing about fashion design, but if Louis' this exhausted, who the fuck is Harry not to lend a hand.
Louis' eyes light up. "Really?" He sounds genuinely surprised by Harry's readiness.
"Yeah mate, I'll just ring my boss and tell him I had to go straight home. He likes me."
"Right, well, you did give him a blowjob at your job interview," Louis says smartly.
"It was a handjob, you idiot."
"What," one of the girls says, staring at him.
"Oh, no! It didn't actually happen. I mean, he's fit as fuck, but – I wouldn't do that."
She doesn't look convinced. Louis' high-pitched laughter pierces the room, and he shoves twine in Harry's hands. "It's alright. How do you think I paid for the fabric?"
"Well, I should think you wouldn't – "
"Harry, sweetheart, please don't engage the twat and come sit with me so I can walk you through it," another girl with a heavy accent says, and makes room for him.
"Oh Poopie, how long's it been since you've engaged the twat?" the girl next to her quips.
She hits her arm, and looks back at Harry with a sweet smile. "Has Lou ever actually introduced us when he hid you away in the kitchen?"
Harry clears his throat. He thinks he's gotten the hang of a couple of the names, but he doesn't want to a. embarrass himself if he's wrong, or b. embarrass himself if he's right. "Not really. He's kept me sheltered."
So the dress clique is made of Jade, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Perrie, who's dating Zayn, who's Louis' best friend/model, who's best friends with Liam the beefcake and Niall the drug peddler. The girls volunteered to help Louis because they're all studying drama and he promised to donate his degree collection to their costume department. The guys are there because they've been bribed, threatened or sweet-talked to. If you ask Louis, though, it's their hopeless devotion to him. They disagree and throw buckles at him.
Harry gets the hang of it after a little while and a lot of weed. Jade's got him sat next to her on the floor and making headgear, bending heaps of twine into complicated patterns. He goes off-script at one point, concentrating on the outrageous story Jesy's telling about her hot professor, and accidentally makes a flower crown out of twine and leftover pieces of taffeta. (Or chiffon. Harry has absolutely no idea, it could be plain cotton). Anyway, he's got this flower crown that goes with nothing Louis' designed, so he politely taps Jade's knee to get her attention and then hands her the crown. "For the princess."
Her smile is absolutely blinding when she takes the crown from him. And promptly puts it on his head. "Thanks love," she says, and kisses his cheek.
Harry laughs into his hand and pulls out his phone to take a selfie and check out what the crown looks like. Louis chooses that moment to plop on the sofa Harry's leaning on, and suddenly buries both of his hands in Harry's hair, so the selfie he gets is of himself beaming with strange fingers on his head. Fuck it, he still Instagrams it.
"That's quite pretty, Handy Harry," Louis comments, still playing with his hair. Harry's sort of melting into the cushion he stuck behind his back.
"Thank you, Lovely Louis."
"Aw." Louis suddenly buries his nose in Harry's hair and laughs. So they're all high at this point, and Harry guesses there are contributing factors, but he's still fucking giddy by Louis being so close to him and complimenting his accessorising skills.
"Tommo, I wore every item in this line-up, why don't I get a cuddle?" Zayn asks, pouty. Not that he's not cuddling Perrie right now, similarly to how Louis' draped over Harry's back.
"Because he doesn't wanna shag ya," is Niall's guess. Harry squirms under Louis' fingers and giggles kind of breathlessly while picking up more twine to make a crown for Niall.
"Impossible," Liam decrees. "Everyone wanna shag Zayn."
"Can we shut up please?" Perrie asks from her station at the sewing machine, finishing up a blouse perfectly. Zayn ducks down to whisper cutely in her ear. She seems pleased by whatever he says. Louis leaps from his sofa and launches himself at them, toppling both of them to the floor and over his own mannequins.
It’s slightly disappointing as far as Harry's hair is concerned, but at least he can focus on making another crown. Which Niall accepts extremely graciously. It's nice, because even though the group seems like they've been friends forever, Harry doesn't really feel left out. Maybe it's because they're all working on something for Louis, so it's easy to fit in. Maybe it's just because they're all good people. Leigh-Anne keeps trying to explain the different fabrics and Liam talks to him about footie and Louis' conducting them all without really doing much himself. Harry has no idea how many hours he spends there, but it's the most fun he's had in a while.
They're done with half the items and all the pizza when Louis decides they can take a break. Zayn and Liam immediately latch onto the PlayStation, while Niall and Leigh-Anne light up another spliff and Jade, Perrie and Jesy try on Louis' dresses.
"C'mon, I can't look at them for another second," Louis says, and helps Harry up gently.
"They're fantastic, though. Very punk rock but… flowy."
Louis' definitely onto Harry's utter incoherence regarding anything fashion-related, but he smiles at him wide, all crinkly-eyed and charming, and then punches his shoulder. "Thanks mate. Exactly what I was going for."
Before Harry can figure out if he's sarcastic or not, Louis draws him out to the balcony. It's just them, for the first time in… ever, actually. The air's chilly, especially since Harry's in his tank top, so he unwraps his headscarf and puts it on like a shawl. He looks at Louis proudly. "See? Practical fashion."
Louis makes an ungodly noise. "Harry Styles, I'm very much trying to like you, please don't let me discuss your fashion – oh god, don't pout." Harry pouts harder. Louis clamps a hand over Harry's mouth and glares at him. "Ugh, here." He takes off the blazer he'd been trying on and lays it over Harry's shoulders.
Which leaves him in a T-shirt. His nipples are hard. Harry's seen his naked chest, before Louis changed. He takes a deep, cold breath and looks out at their fantastic view of a brick wall. "How chivalrous. Thanks."
"Thank you. I honestly thought you were just gonna cut some stuff for Jade and leave as soon as possible."
Harry arches an eyebrow. "That wouldn't be very helpful of me."
"True." Louis nudges him with his shoulder, and then lingers, pressed to his side. Harry would really like to wrap an arm around him, but he's not sure that's where this is going. "You really are the most helpful pizza guy this side of the pond."
Harry bristles at the idea of Louis thinking some American pizza guy is better than him, but he tempers it down, because Louis' sort of given him an opening. "So… your friends are the only people you share pizza with?"
He's bloody awful at fishing for this kind of information, and he knows he's being painfully obvious, but he's rewarded with a flirty smile from Louis. "I'm quite attached to pizza. I never share."
He doesn't supply anything else, and Harry's too high to actually come up with a witty follow-up to the information that Louis' single, so he just stores that information. "Well, your friends are great. I'm really having a good time."
Louis doesn't answer for a while, so Harry looks down and – oh god, Louis' just staring at him with his bright bright eyes and chest-pain-inducing cheekbones. He's blinking alluringly and tilting his chin up. He's begging to be kissed. Harry's heart rate picks up by 590% in half a second, which can't be healthy, and places a gentle hand on Louis' hip.
"Tommo! Niall's bullying me!" Leigh-Anne yells, throwing herself into the balcony and making Louis do the unspeakable and stop leaning up.
Louis' friends are not great at all.
They are demons sent from hell to cockblock Harry. He actually whines into the ether and leans heavily on the banister.
So now there might be bird shit on Louis' blazer.
At least there's that crisis to keep him from thinking about missed opportunities with perfectly kissable boys. He tries to be smooth about it, slipping back into the flat and pulling Perrie to the side to ask her calmly how to get bird shit out of whatever fabric the blazer of chivalry is made of. She fucks up the secret mission by laughing too hard and alerting everyone's attention.
After working so hard for so long, comic relief is just what everyone needed, even if it comes in the form of dirty elbow patches. Harry's never been above humiliating himself for others' benefit.
Even Louis just takes it in stride, and leads Harry to the bathroom, where they're alone again, but no snogging takes place, unfortunately. Louis does say, "You should've known birds are evil shit-machines. Next time you're on fabric duty. So you can appreciate the things you ruined. "
Next time sounds nice.
"How many people are there in that flat?" Ben asks, bewildered.
Harry's just turned off the pizza oven, so he has to wipe his forehead and tear off his hair net. "What?"
"Just got another online order from the address that always asks for you, but this time it's from a Louis Tommo."
"Well that's hardly creative," Harry comments, already getting to work on Louis' customary order. It's become a common occurrence by now, but he still feels a bit excited when he gets an order from Louis.
"Yeah, it's not the usual order either, just one pizza with no toppings."
Harry's hands freeze. "Special instructions?"
Ben just hands him the order. Special Delivery Instructions: Happy Harry.
Quite alarmed, Harry makes the quickest pizza he can and asks Ben in advance to wrap up the shift after he drops the pizza off at Louis'. He parks his bike haphazardly outside of the flat and hops up the stairs two at a time. Balancing just one box is easy, even for him. It might just be the quickest delivery in pizza history.
When Louis opens the door, he looks completely downtrodden. His shaggy hair is a mess, his T-shirt's cut up in places, his beard's out of control and he's looking up at Harry with tired eyes. "Babe," Harry breathes without thinking, drawing Louis in for a hug. "What have you been up to?"
Louis chuckles into his neck, but he's sagging against him, small and pale and exhausted. "I didn't think I looked that bad."
"Are you kidding, you can't look bad. You do look dead on your feet, though." He's leading them into the flat, and is suddenly overwhelmed by how quiet it is. It's empty for the first time, and looks bigger and hollow. "Where's everyone?"
"Sent them away," Louis mumbles. "I guess they deserve to have a life, or something. We've been working non-stop. Like, literally. Like, I think my designs are trying to kill me? You know how you watch Project Runway and they start breaking down and you think they must be so weak, what's a bit of pressure, this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and then you remake your own evening gown for the fifth time and you're crying all over it?"
Harry laughs and hugs Louis tighter. "Yeah, I know the feeling. But you’ve already got so much work done, mate."
"But there's always so much left. I can't feel my fingers," he says in a small voice. He's never made himself this vulnerable, never spoken so softly or looked anything short of runway-ready. Harry's absolutely helpless not to be endeared by him.
"So pizza will make you feel better?" Harry asks, already letting Louis go to unstrap his messenger bag.
"Oh, no, I'm not hungry," Louis answers, like he's confused by Harry's question.
Harry clears his throat. "Then, um. Why'd you order pizza?"
It dawns on Louis, and he rolls his eyes at Harry like he's being the silly one. "Wanted to see you. Or is your helpfulness limited only to pizza?"
No, Harry will not be teased after that confession. "Oh my god, Louis, you didn't have to order a pizza just to see me, that's ridiculous."
Louis shrugs. "I never got your number. I've been cooped up here for the better part of a week, were you honestly expecting rational thinking?"
"Never, from you. Give me your phone, you lunatic."
Louis pulls out his phone and fits himself under Harry's arm again, like he's not ready to give up the cuddle. Harry's heart aches. It strikes him that it's not just the physical thing anymore, maybe. That Louis' got him wrapped around his little finger because he's kind and snarky and hilarious and thoughtful. It's disconcerting, but not as disconcerting as Louis leaning into him for support. He saves his number into Louis' phone as "Helpful Harry Styles" and then dials himself. "Okay, that's dealt with. Now tell me how long it's been since you left this place."
"Great, I smell too?" Louis asks, distressed.
Harry laughs again. "You always smell. Has it really been a week?"
Louis hesitates. "Maybe more? All my zippers decided to fuck up at the same time so I had to deal with that while redesigning my whole suit because it wasn't working anymore. Do they take breaks on Project Runway, Harry? No, they don't."
"Well, you're taking one, I don't care what Tim Gunn has to say," Harry decides, gentles his tone with a pet to Louis' ruffled fringe. "We're gonna pop round to a chip shop for one hour and then I'm gonna tuck you in. Okay?"
"I won't sleep, though. I keep having nightmares that I'm showing in fashion week and my models walk out naked and I'm thrown out of the tent." He says it in whispers, like it's the worst thing he could possibly imagine. Harry tries not to laugh.
"Okay, so I'll stay up with you. Sounds good?"
"You really don't have to."
Like he's going to say no to a tired boy with twinkly eyes. "I need to prove I'm good for emotional support as well as pizza."
Louis makes a heaving noise. "Please never talk about pizza ever again. Never ever. I've actually gained weight because of you."
"Sorry. C'mon, grab your coat. We'll get proper food in you."
Louis detaches from him slowly and putters off to find his coat among the million different outfits and patterns and fabrics strewn all around the flat. Without anyone there, it looks like the aftermath of some fashion apocalypse.
When Louis emerges from where Harry assumes his bedroom is, he's wearing a grey cardigan that must reflect his mood. "Um, d'you have anything warmer?"
"Of course I have – " Louis cuts himself off. "It's twenty degrees outside."
"Not on a bike."
Louis snorts. "You've got a double seat bicycle?"
Harry jingles his keys. "Motorbike, you loser."
"Oh." Louis' eyes light up with interest. "That's a different matter entirely." He ducks back into the bedroom, and comes out decked in a fitted leather jacket.
Harry's heart climbs up his throat. "You just have that lying around?"
"Of course not, you hang jackets up."
"No, I meant. The. The thing. The look thing." He points to all of Louis, hoping to convey you're the hottest thing I've ever seen even when you don't sleep for two days and stink up your flat. He must get something across, as Louis preens, looking ten times better than he had before Harry got there.
When he comes up to Harry again he loops their arms together and says, "C'mon then, wine and dine me."
Harry laces their fingers together and leads the way. "Whatever you say, old chap."
It's a brilliant night. Not even because of the way Louis clings to his back on the bike, though that's definitely a plus. They grab dinner at a health food restaurant Harry knows, so Louis won't complain about being fattened up, and then they just walk around for a while. The only rule is that they can't talk about the show, and Harry can see Louis slowly unwinding. Shockingly, it turns out he's got other interests than fashion. He's very verbal about footie and trashy television, and has a million funny stories to regale Harry with.
He does notice that when it's just them, Louis'… sort of different, calmer. Like when he doesn't have ten people to entertain, he can actually enjoy himself more, laugh at his own jokes and focus on making Harry smile. And Harry can't stop smiling, because Louis' chock-full of charm and opinions, and their elbows keep knocking together.
There's a Moment, when they're at a tiny park and Harry tells Louis about his demented tennis coach, that Louis sort of zones out and just leans his head on Harry's shoulder. "Am I boring you?" he asks, more amused than anything.
"To tears, dear Harold." It doesn't seem to sit well with him, as he's quick to look up at him seriously and put a hand on his hip. "I'm kidding. I just really needed this. Thanks."
He flutters his lashes, the shithead, and Harry nearly bowls over with how much he wants to kiss him, but then Louis' mouth spreads in a huge yawn and he laughs hysterically.
There was a Moment.
"Let's head back, love," Harry decides, steering Louis in the direction they came from. Louis tucks himself under Harry's arm again, and they walk closely together.
"Sorry," Louis says into Harry's jacket. "Maybe I will be able to sleep after all."
"Thanks again, Hopeful Harry."
Harry snorts and musses up Louis' hair. He might be imagining Louis holding him even tighter than before on the ride back to his flat.
He doesn't come up to tuck Louis in. Maybe it's not the right time. Harry's too busy trying to smother the butterflies in his tummy to say anything suave anyway.
Before he mounts his bike again he makes sure to text Louis, 'this is my number. Use it instead of harassing my workplace x'
Louis texts back within seconds. 'No promises. Goodnight, Hot Harry!'
That might be his new favourite nickname. He's smiling to himself as he puts his helmet on and rides off.
Louis' veiled threat isn't worth shit. He texts him the very next day, right as Harry gets out of the shower at the tennis court.
Louis Porn Name: sos come to me
That's absolutely ridiculous, there's no need for Harry to actually drop everything and hop on his bike to fly off to Louis' flat.
So he does. He realises that's quite pathetic only when he's outside the complex, so he gathers himself and calls Louis. He picks up on the second ring. "Hazza, thank god," is how he greets him, sounding frazzled. "D'ya get my text?"
"Yeah, I was playing. Is everything okay?"
"Absolutely not. Could you maybe come over if you're done with the tennis?"
Harry has no idea why he even tried to delay his bounding up to Louis' flat. It was obvious to both of them he was going to end up here.
When he knocks he can hear himself on the other line, and Louis says, "Hold up, maybe god finally heard my prayers."
He's smirking to himself when Louis opens the door for him, phone still pressed to his ear. His face splits in a grin. "Well, Heavenly Harry."
"D'you keep a list of these nicknames?"
"It's my artistic spirit," Louis says, waving his hand with flourish, and then dragging Harry into the flat roughly. He looks even more stressed than yesterday, but it's more blind panic than general exhaustion. It's not something Harry can fix with a hug.
Louis' momentarily distracted from said panic, just to scoff at Harry. "Really? A tiny ponytail and a headband?"
Harry frowns right back at him. "Coach Jarvis doesn't care. It was either that or cut my hair."
"Christ no," Louis says, hand reaching up to tangle in Harry's curls unconsciously. Harry nuzzles into his palm, appeased. His curls are especially bouncy, having driven straight after a shower. And fuck Louis, his headband is pretty.
"What's wrong then?" he asks, hanging up his jacket, like there isn't a maze of jackets on the floor. He's convinced Louis would get even more work done if he just cleaned the place up. "Everyone still on break?"
"Yes, including my useless model who bailed on his very important fitting." Louis' voice rises a notch with every annoyed word.
That explains it. "Well, that's shitty. Liam couldn't step in?"
Louis shakes his head. "No, it's not right for Liam at all." A meaningful pause.
"Well, d'you want me to call someone?" Harry asks, already pulling out his phone. Maybe he could drag Gemma's boyfriend here. Or Ben, even. Yes, Ben. Harry sighs just thinking about him being touched by Louis. Ben Winston shouldn't be in the pizza business, honestly.
Before he can consider alternative careers to fit Ben Winston's foxiness, Louis waves his hand in front of Harry's face. "I wanna use you."
"Yeah, okay," he says automatically, then flushes. "Wait, for what?"
It's very charming that Louis can smirk at him mercilessly while still obviously stressed out. No, it's not charming. It's the other thing. Infuriating. "Use you as a model."
"But." Harry looks down at himself. "I'm still in my gym shorts."
"I know, and your legs are very shapely and you're very tall and your shoulders are very broad and you're... so tall. Not that I'm obsessed with your body."
"I'm not very tall, you're just very short," he says without thinking, still embarrassed.
"How dare you. If you didn't want me to use your body you could've just said – "
"No," Harry cuts him off, actually reaching out. "Use my body. I'm all yours."
Instead of saying something cheeky, Louis nods happily. "Awesome. I hope you're not averse to tight pants."
Harry stares at him. "Oh my god, you've only ever seen me in my pizza uniform."
"Well, now I've seen your calves, so. Is that a yes?"
"The tighter the better," Harry says quickly. He needs to take Louis out on a proper date and wear his proper fuck-me jeans. It's a must.
"A man after my own heart," Louis says, and saunters off to another room.
He must be shuffling through several outfits, as Harry's left standing in the living room for a good few minutes. He feels awkward, or nervous, or hot. Whatever it is, his skin's crawling with it. He takes off his shirt, since Louis would've asked him to do it anyway, and then plops down on the sofa.
Louis comes out holding black trousers and a fiercely red coat, mouth already open to speak, and then he stops short and stares at Harry. "Well how the fuck am I supposed to put a coat on you now."
Harry throws his arms out over the backrest, stretching surreptitiously. "Let's start with the pants."
"Slacks," Louis corrects disdainfully. He grabs a pin cushion from the coffee table, and then drops to his knees between Harry's legs. Which. Is a nice visual.
It's like time slows down and Harry's suddenly aware of so much. Louis' manic energy, Louis' smell, the sweep of Louis' eyelashes, Louis' messy fringe, Louis' rugged scruff, Louis' delicate wrists and the tattoos accentuating them, Louis' pouty lips, Louis' hands on Harry's knees, the warmth coming off him in waves. He's glad he's shirtless, since the room turns stifling at Louis' proximity. Louis.
"Stand up," Louis asks, and Harry scrambles to do it so fast he nearly trips over Louis. His face is a racket's length from Harry's dick now. He wasn't sure if there was a moment he thought this process wouldn't be homoerotic, but if there was, it's certainly shattered by Louis' next request. "Take off your shorts."
Harry doesn't even hesitate. He'd probably do anything Louis asked him right now. He toes off his trainers and socks, and then slips the shorts off his hips. Louis sucks in an audible breath when Harry's left in his tight briefs, that leave pretty much nothing to the imagination. Harry might be imagining Louis wetting his lips.
It's a forever later when Louis tears his eyes away from Harry's crotch and shoves his slacks into Harry's hands. "Put these on for the love of god."
Harry makes a show of sounding exasperated as he pours himself into the slacks, but once he does, Louis looks slightly relieved. He's staring at Harry just as intently, but it's all about the work now. As much as it can be when he's on his knees and in eye-level with Harry's cock. "See what I mean? The seam's all wrong."
"Sure, Lou," Harry mumbles, tuning Louis' business chatter out. It takes all his strength to just stare ahead at the telly or the window or the dead plant or anything other than Louis shoving his face in his crotch so he can stick pins around his ankles. He can even tune out the flutter of Louis' clever fingers stroking his defined calf muscles, his little hands curving behind his knees.
Harry's not that strong. Definitely not when Louis' fingers play over his inner thighs to work on the inseams. His head snaps down when Louis doesn't stop fondling the sensitive area – who's he kidding, his whole body is sensitive right now, touch-starved. Louis' staring at him in intense concentration, his bottom lip sucked into his mouth and his pretty eyes narrowed. He's breathtaking. Honestly, Harry's too scared to breathe lest he'd move Louis into any other position but this.
He cracks when Louis accidentally brushes over his crotch when he's moving from his left thigh to his right. It's just too much, and he makes an embarrassing little noise and can actually see his dick twitching in the nice slacks. All the blood that isn't rushing to his hardening cock is rushing to his face. He's light-headed with it.
Louis' hands freeze on Harry's thighs, and he looks up slowly. He's flushed, just as much as Harry, but looks positively impish. Accidentally, right. "Heh. Horny Harry. Hard Harry."
"Louis," Harry reproves desperately, because this is certainly no time to joke, and his hand falls to the top of Louis' head and tugs on his hair more roughly than intended.
Which is when Louis' hand slips and he pricks his own finger with the pin he'd been holding. "Oh shit," he curses, immediately bringing his finger up to his mouth. His face is pinched in pain, but he's just kneeling there with flushed cheeks and a finger popped between his lips.
Harry apologises profusely even as he takes Louis' wrist gently and tugs it up, so he can kiss it better himself. Louis actually gulps, cartoon-like, when Harry licks over the pad of his index finger, pressing the flat of his tongue against the hurt. He can't resist and suckles on it gently, hollowing his cheeks. Louis' eyes go a bit glassy. He snatches his hand from Harry, carefully puts the pin cushion away, gingerly pulls Harry's slacks down to pool at his ankles, and then shoves him roughly back on the sofa and shuffles between his spread knees.
"Jesus," Harry whispers, barely able to do much of anything before Louis' palming his half-hard cock with one hand and tugging his neck forward with the other, to meet him in a messy kiss. Harry moans into it, buries his hands in Louis' hair and sucking on his pink lips, his tongue. Louis' eager in his kiss, clouding everything with lust and frustration, that's only slightly relieved every time he presses down on Harry's length. "Lou," he breathes, his lips wet and tingling.
"I wanna suck you off," Louis whispers in a low voice, nipping all along Harry's jaw and throat. Harry's hips jerk up into Louis' hand automatically, and his back's starting to hurt from crouching the way he is, but he will never in a million years put intentional distance between himself and kisses. He'll do his yoga positions if he has to.
"Yeah, fuck, I want you so much," he replies, barely coherent to his own ears. But he does, he's thought about this for nearly a month, he wants Louis' mouth and skin and hands and anything he can have, he's shivering with it.
Louis heaves himself up to give Harry another kiss, and then to pin him down against the backrest and slink down his body. He licks all over Harry's chest tattoos, pausing to tease his nipples with his teeth, and Harry feels drawn tight, his muscles jumping at every touch. Louis only presses down harder on his cock with the heel of his hand.
He's squirming, can't help it with Louis' scruff rubbing his skin raw, with his hot breath dancing over his still-damp stomach. Finally he's hovering over Harry's cock, right where he wants him, but it's still not enough because he's just mouthing over the thin fabric of his briefs. He's so hard by now that the head of his cock is peaking out under the waistband, dark and wet and carefully ignored by Louis.
Suddenly, a stroke of genius. Harry's back arches off the sofa and he taps on Louis' shoulder excitedly. "Hey, Lou. Teasing Tommo."
He can't describe the dirty look Louis shoots him at that. It's a mix between offended and bewildered and thoroughly-snogged. It's a good look on him. Especially when he's speechless and breathing on his dick.
He must be so affronted he decides to redouble his efforts to keep Harry quiet. He latches his mouth onto Harry's inner thigh and sucks hard, until Harry feels shivery and oversensitive, and then he bites over the sore spot. Harry's hips buck again, uncontrollably, so Louis clamps his hands on Harry's love handles and forces him to stay still.
It's even better, somehow. It's necessary when he starts lapping along Harry's length, still over his pants but so good it doesn't matter right now. When he reaches the head he swirls his tongue around it, moaning a little at the precome he finds, and Harry could stay here and be teased all night and die happy.
It's not what's on the menu, though. Louis' fingers dip under his waistband and tug until Harry hitches up and helps him remove them. For a split-second Louis' just staring at Harry's cock in awe, and then he glances at his face and this, this is the image Harry would like burnt into his brain. Louis kneeling for him and looking up with his pink cheeks and impeccable jawline and finger-mussed hair. He looks like… yeah, like impending blowjobs.
Harry must seem desperate enough. The next time Louis ducks down, he takes Harry almost halfway, and doesn't bother restraining him when Harry squirms again. He wraps his hand around the base of Harry's cock and swallows around him until his lips meet his fingers, until Harry's fully enveloped in hot and wet and Louis.
His eyes fall shut, too focused on the sensation and little, sexy noises Louis' making, until Louis pinches his thigh and sucks hard at the same time, like he wants Harry to watch. His eyes fly open and he finds Louis staring up at him, his cheekbones more prominent than ever and his lips stretched around Harry's thick cock. He's absolutely obscene, and he fucking loves it, starts moaning again the second he finds Harry's eyes. Always putting on a show.
Once he's sure he's got Harry's full attention he starts bobbing his head in earnest, tongue slick against the underside of Harry's cock. He feels ready to faint, helpless not to watch himself disappear in Louis' mouth. He curses again, louder still when Louis twists his hand, not really dry after he slobbered all over him. Just right.
Louis' focused and dedicated and lovely, gives Harry no room to regroup between his mouth his hand, so it's a while before Harry hears it. This rustling noise, not from him writhing on the couch, but from – oh, god, from Louis' hand stuffed down his own pants. Impossible heat rushes all over Harry, from his cock through his belly, and now it's all he can hear, Louis pumping himself fast while gagging on his dick, and it's so hot he can't even think.
It doesn't even sneak up on him, the coiling feeling in his gut, being so close to the edge. They both knew exactly what Louis was after. "Fuck, you – Lou, I'm gonna come – "
Louis takes his mouth off of him, drawing a long whine, and then blinks up and says simply, "Come on me then."
Okay, maybe Harry had no fucking idea what Louis was after. "W-what?" he stumbles over his words, tongue too heavy in his mouth, chest still heaving, Louis' hand still stroking him (and himself, Christ) firmly.
"You're wearing – ah – my clothes, you might as well mark me back. Isn't our relationship based on mutual appreciation of gay porn?"
He probably has more to say, in that newly-wrecked voice of his, but he didn't pause his hand for one second and Harry's done, finds himself actually coming on his face without another warning. He's streaking Louis' mouth and chin and cheekbones, and Louis' eyes flutter shut prettily and his mouth falls open and Jesus, Harry keeps on spurting. This. This is the image – the feeling – he'd like burnt into his brain. Louis reasoning him into a facial. Louis' pink lips coated with Harry. Louis' perfectly content expression.
When he's done shivering he leans back heavily, trying to merge with the sofa. Louis stays where he is, though, blinking at Harry with big innocent eyes like there isn't come on his face. Harry's come. His hand drifts up without command, thumb digging into Louis' cheek and slipping down to his chin. Louis darts out his tongue to tease at the tip of Harry's finger, catching some come as he goes, and Harry makes a helpless noise.
This is the definition of too much. He grabs whatever's in reach of his free hand and goes to wipe Louis clean, when Louis squawks suddenly. "Did you actually come your brains out? You are not using silk chiffon to wipe jizz."
He looks so indignant, and there's come on his face, and Harry can't articulate his protest. He makes a weak sort of nngh thing from the depths of his throat and launches himself at Louis, laying him out on the floor and taking over wanking him off, licking his filthy face clean. He likes that. He likes Louis falling apart over layers of rich red silk. He likes Louis. He really really likes Louis.
Louis ends up coming on Harry's butterfly tattoo, so maybe they're even. They're both panting for a while, until Louis demands, "Help me to the bedroom."
Harry doesn't waste a minute before wrapping Louis' legs around his waist and lifting him up. Louis makes a shocked sound and clings to him for dear life. "How are you doing this," he asks.
"They don't call me Handy Harry for nothing," he quips, and makes a pit stop on the way to the bed to grab a flannel. It's the first time he's ever been in Louis' bedroom, and he's weirdly excited about it, like this is The Big One, rather than getting his brain sucked out through his cock ten minutes ago.
"Whatever. Lazy Louis is tired," Louis says. As soon as Harry deposits him on the bed he stretches out rudely to take up as much space as he can, but he's not really staking any claim. He can't, not with traces of come still caught in his stubble. Harry joins him on the bed and cleans him up meticulously, until Louis' curling into his side and purring happily.
Sleep is starting to tug at Harry's eyes too, so he kisses Louis' hair affectionately and whispers, "Can I stay the night?"
"'Course babes," Louis mutters into his pillow. He's drifting off before his very eyes. Harry doesn't know why it thrills him to see Louis actually getting some rest on his watch. He's sentimental after getting head, sue him. He curls up around Louis and holds him for a while.
Louis asked for it, and got it. He's definitely Happy Harry.
Harry wakes up alone. It's not all that different to almost any other morning recently, only this time he didn't fall asleep alone, and it isn't even morning. Through the blinds he can see it's still dark outside.
Well, Louis can't have gone far. It's his damn flat. If he wanted to kick Harry out he could've done that hours ago, but no, when Harry woke up to take a piss earlier Louis was sleeping like a rock. He rubs at his eyes and yawns, contemplating just going back to sleep and checking again in the morning whether or not he was dumped. As a uni student, he definitely appreciates a comfy bed and a good night's sleep.
His plans are foiled by a soft curse, drifting from the doorway. He sighs. By the time he rolls out of bed and wraps a sheet around his naked self, the cursing has grown in volume and in explicit content. He finds Louis hunched over on the floor of the living room, thick-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. His lap is full of design knick-knacks (Leigh-Anne's explanations have clearly left a deep impression) and he's already got plasters on two fingers from nicking himself with scissors or pins. "Lou?" Harry rasps, approaching cautiously.
Louis doesn't look up from what he's currently sketching. "Sorry mate, I woke you up?"
"Nah, I just followed the sound of separation anxiety."
Louis laughs into the back of his hand. His fingers are littered with graphite, which he's bound to get pissed about later. "Poor dear."
"What are you doing up, anyway?" he asks through a yawn, coming to stand above Louis' kneeling form. Again. "I must've not done a good enough job at the stress relief thing."
Louis touches Harry's ankle gently. "You did too good. I woke up with an epiphany. Apparently a good fuck gets me inspired. What do you think Tim Gunn would say about that?"
Harry crinkles his nose. "No. Nope. I don't wanna think about Tim Gunn fucking."
Louis gasps loudly. "Tim Gunn is such a daddy, are you kidding? I'd let him spank me silly. D'you know he was such a boss they turned him into a Marvel superhero called Loaded Gunn?"
"Still nope. Super nope." He ruffles Louis' hair to lessen the blow. Louis smacks his lips like he's about to protest, but Harry cuts him off with, "Holy fuck."
Louis' finally straightened up enough for Harry to peek at his sketch, and it's bloody gorgeous, even to Harry's untrained eye. It's colourful and messy and fun, a lot of unrelated layers that somehow make a complete picture, in tones of earthy brown and forest green. There's writing next to it, a nearly unintelligible scrawl: goofy sharp woodland animal FITTED farmer lumberjack?? NO PLAID patterns colour headgear!! green green green legs legs legs butterflies layers sheer maybe? beautiful baby swan
It's like a horrifying glimpse into Louis' brain. Louis' quick to hide his sketch protectively, but Harry does catch sight of a certain piece. A flower crown on the figure's head.
The whole thing is… it's unbearably sweet and heart-warming. Which is getting ahead of himself, so Harry focuses on the fact that his dick officially provides fashion genius. Louis should be on it all the time, really.
"No peeking, fuck off to bed already," Louis snarls, throwing some fabrics over his sketchbooks.
Harry sniffles. "Don't wanna. Can I just watch you work for a while?" He keeps it simple, doesn't bang on about how lovely Louis looks when he's concentrating hard and creating something out of nothing and wears glasses.
Louis looks up at him, finally, wonder in his bright eyes. Harry doesn't even need to think about it before bending forward and planting a kiss on his thin lips. Louis hums, hand tightening on Harry's ankle for a moment. He ducks down and licks his own lips, pleasantly flushed. "You've got a good method of persuasion," he admits. Harry puffs out his chest, making Louis snort. "Alright, whatever. But no peeking. Or touching."
"Done." He kisses Louis chastely and then stumbles onto the sofa behind Louis, lying on his side with the sheet over him like a blanket. Louis goes back to work right away, one of his clever hands quick and sure over his sketch, while the other is rubbing silk absently. Harry notes it's the same silk they've defiled earlier.
He falls asleep to the scratch of pencil on paper and soft humming.
The next time he wakes up there's a person plastered to his front, and Harry snuggles eagerly before he even remembers that it's Louis and that they do this now. Louis' dead to the world, does nothing when Harry rearranges him into a perfect little spoon.
He can't seem to fall back to sleep, though. Sunlight's filtering through the blinds, and he's vaguely tired but content to let his deep thoughts keep him up. Should I do a fruit salad or a Greek salad? Does Louis even have fruit? What does he eat other than pizza? Maybe I should teach him how to make his own pizza. Or not, what if he gets sequins and zippers in it? What if I'm allergic to sequins? How can people check for that? It's not like you eat sequins every day. It's not like bananas. I hope he's got fruit somewhere. Ha, Healthy Harry. I should write that down.
He's interrupted from his musings by a noise from outside. Very slowly, he glances from the door to Louis and back. The noise continues, regardless of the fact Louis is definitely here and Harry hasn't achieved the ability to multiply yet. He can't even imagine having to deal with a burglar right now. He'd be completely shit at that. But what is he supposed to do?
He rolls away from Louis and putters stealthily to the open door. Which is to say he trips over ten pairs of shoes and nearly knocks over a mannequin. Miraculously, Louis' still asleep, probably exhausted from working all night. Harry suddenly remembers Louis waking him up in the middle of the night to move him from the sofa to the bed, grunting Heavy Huge Harry and dumping him on the bed. Amazing.
Harry remembers to pull on some shorts, so that he wouldn't faint in front of a burglar completely starkers. He then finds a pretty piece of cloth and wraps it around his forehead, just because. Alright, he thinks he's ready to fashionably meet his end.
Upon closer inspection, the burglar sounds suspiciously like Andy Gray, which is odd. When he rounds the sofa menacingly, he finally sees Zayn and Niall, sprawled in front of FIFA. Which makes more sense. Andy Gray wouldn't need to break into poor student pads. Like, unless he does it for fun.
"Hey," he says, making Zayn jump. Niall leaps on the chance to score, and cheers so loudly the blunt nearly falls out of his mouth.
Zayn punches his arm lightly, and then returns to Harry. "Yo H. Sick tattoos."
Harry looks down self-consciously, like he's forgotten about the tattoos he's had for at least two years. "Thanks bro. Your sleeve's amazing."
"Aw, bless," Zayn coos, and Harry thinks his greatness lies in that – being an uncomfortably chiselled heavily-tattooed huge softie. "I'm guessing you didn't just get here before us?"
Harry thinks it over. "Well, technically I did."
Zayn rolls his eyes. "All good then?"
He wonders if this is a crucial moment. Zayn, Niall and Liam have been Louis' best friends forever, it's probably important to charm their socks off. Unless they've adopted Louis' filthy habit of never wearing socks. Fashion statement his arse, Louis' just a lazy motherfucker. "All good. Want some breakfast?"
"God yes," Niall moans, blowing Harry a kiss. Well, that was easier than expected. "You're the best, Merry Harry." He side-eyes Zayn proudly, like he's asking him if he did it right. He didn't, but Zayn pets his head affectionately and doesn't say a word.
"You'll have to excuse him, breakfast is the only reason he came here," Zayn says.
Harry shrugs. "Totally understandable. You came for the PlayStation?"
"No bro, Sleeping Beauty sent out an SOS last night. Apparently he's rethought the entire collection after some brainstorming session."
Harry chooses that moment to turn around and walk over to the kitchen, so he won’t give anything away. By the time he comes out with a mountain of toast, eggs and freshly-squeezed orange juice, the living room is overflowing with the usual suspects. Except for Louis, who's either still asleep or making a statement.
Harry feels decidedly awkward, standing shirtless in the doorway with two plates in each hand. He feels… obvious.
He's reassured in two seconds, though, by nobody giving a shit. Only Jade and Perrie come up to him for a hug, stealing the plates for themselves in the process. No one cares that he's spent the night. No one cares that he only joined the crew a few weeks ago. It's like he fits.
Come to think of it, Harry doesn't even know what he was afraid of. He's already been added to their WhatsApp group. He's totally one of the gang.
Once his hands are free, he goes back to the kitchen to put the kettle on. He isn't trying to be cute when he wakes Louis up with soft kisses and freshly-brewed Yorkshire tea. So he isn't offended when Louis curses him out and burrows deeper into the covers. And he has to resort to tickling Louis' armpits until he's squirming and near tears.
"This is why I have trust issues," Louis announces, grabbing a towel and strutting out of the bedroom, presumably to take a shower. It takes him two seconds to run back in, hands covering his crotch. "Harold, there are people in my house."
"Apparently my dick was so inspirational you had to call everyone in."
Louis sighs and comes up to him, palming Harry's crotch lovingly. "'s a good dick."
Harry agrees. "And sharing is caring."
"True. Charity starts at home. Do I smell tea?" he asks, distracted.
Harry gestured to the cuppa he's left neglected on the nightstand, next to Louis' glasses.
Louis smiles brightly and leans up to finally kiss Harry good morning. Before Harry can run his hands over his body, though, Louis sidesteps him and wears Harry's gym shorts, for his second excursion to the living room with the people.
"Morning!" he says, energetic as usual, when they shuffle out of the bedroom.
Instead of mocking him for oversleeping, sending panicked SOS's in the middle of the night, or just being Louis, the very first thing Zayn says is, "Well, someone's been sucking the dick."
Louis scowls at him over his tea mug. Harry tries not to look too smug.
"How could you possibly know that?" Niall asks, flopping down on the floor next to Zayn to make room for Louis. "Does he do it loudly? Left jizz all over your old flat?"
"Nah man, his voice does a thing."
"I don't leave jizz anywhere," Louis huffs, climbing over the sofa and nudging Niall's head with his foot. "He knows because I used to suck his dick. Before I realised he wasn't gonna grow taller and he realised I wasn't missus material."
Harry looks from Perrie to Louis and back. "And you're cool with that?"
"Louis' obsession with tall people?" she asks, not bothering to look up from the sewing machine. "I think I lucked out there. Louis gives great head."
"Yeah," Harry agrees without thinking, and then blushes bright red when everyone laughs and climbs over the sofa to pet him.
Louis shoos them all and sprawls over Harry's lap. "Stop it, get off my boy."
Harry's very pleased when he wraps his arms around Louis' stomach. "But thank you, love," Louis adds, twisting his head to kiss Harry's cheek.
"'Course. I'm grateful for your obsession with tall tennis players too."
Louis rolls his eyes but kisses him again, this time on the lips, lingering. "Wait a minute," Niall says suddenly, obviously distressed and uncomfortable. Harry's heart gets caught in his throat for the second it takes Niall to tack on, "No more pizza?"
"Thank god," Liam says, rubbing his belly like his stomach isn't made of wrought iron.
"I can make real food," Harry offers. "Like, my fajitas are aces."
Niall moans again, unprompted. "Okay. You can have him, Lou. But we'll have to think of a better codename than Tall Pretty Helpful Pizza Boy."
Harry's stomach twists with happiness, and he knows the look he's giving Louis is embarrassingly sappy, but Louis looks back at him with just as much fondness. "He's right. Boyfriend sounds more practical, innit?"
Harry can't actually look at him for a moment, afraid his mouth will actually break off from smiling so hard. He taps his fingers over Louis' bony ankle and tries not to giggle. "Yup. Tall Pretty Helpful Pizza Boyfriend."
That gets a few laughs, and Louis swats at his shoulder. "Big dumb pizza boyfriend. Ready to prove your worth?"
Harry doesn't really have much to contribute in ways of helpfulness. The show is only one week away; everyone has to be at the top of their game. He's sad to say he doesn't have much fashion game. But he does provide food, and jokes, and is apparently the only one with the ability to calm Louis down when he's getting too worked up over something or another.
Leigh-Anne lets him use her favourite red nail polish, Liam keeps patting his shoulder discreetly (approvingly), and Jesy outright says, "I don't know what you replaced it with, but thank you for removing the stick from Tommo's arse, Hazza."
He doesn't know how helpful he's being, but he does fit here. And he's got a (not so) nice boyfriend (who doesn't really provide for him but will surely become a fashion mogul and allow Harry to finally quit the rough and demanding pizza business). So overall, he thinks he owes Ben Winston a thank you card.
"Welcome to Tommo's winter show!" Louis starts to the roar of the crowd, casual and gorgeous and owning the whole goddamn tent. "This one is dedicated to my muse, and the love of my life." Dramatic pause, even though everyone knows what's coming. He does this every show, the sap. "Zayn Malik."
"Oh my god," Zayn says, burying his head in his hands next to Harry, who's laughing hysterically.
Louis aims a mischievous smile right at him, and adds as an afterthought, "I guess my lovely partner Harry deserves a mention, though, but I'd have to state for the record that I did not dress him today. I gave up on fixing his horrid fashion sense five years ago. He repaid me by letting me name the cats."
Harry tries to paste on a beatific smile and not pout ridiculously, since he knows the cameras are on him full force. As soon as the flashes die down, though, Harry mouths to the stage you tit.
He doesn't think his fashion choices are even that outrageous tonight. Who doesn't like a sheer shirt and glittery boots? Louis' become such an elitist since he won his third BFA, it's absurd. Like, there's a difference between being chuffed with himself and suggesting to use the phallic award as a dildo. That was when Harry called the gang over to their house for an intervention. In which they all got high and redid Louis' entire collection.
"As you'll see by the fabrics and complex draping, I was heavily influenced by the French Alps, where me and Harold went for our honeymoon," Louis continues. "Think chic ski meets cuddles by the fireplace."
Harry feels warm all over just remembering their two weeks at Courchevel, followed by two very different weeks in sweltering Barcelona. He feels even warmer when Louis looks straight at him and beams.
That's the thing with Louis, though. He's ruthlessly snarky and teasing, but then these little bursts of loveliness rip out of him like he can't help it, has to gush about Harry as publicly as he can, and it's the best feeling in the world. Harry doesn't care that his eyes are probably as sparkly as his boots right now. This is Louis' best show yet, he wants the whole fashion world to see how proud he is of him.
Louis must be getting some director's cue to fuck off, so he cuts his rambling short. He was really meant to be a stand-up comedian, him. He thanks everyone for coming and even turns around and starts strutting back, but when he's in front of Harry's front-row seat he stops short and does their thumbs-up signal.
"I was joking before. Like any other show, this is for you, Husband Harry."