Okay, so Louis isn’t the typical teen, per se, has one lip ring and five tattoos too many to be that, but he’s still allowed to act like one when his crush walks into the room.
“Perrie, look,” he says under his breath, nodding towards where a group of boys now gathers a few meters away from them.
“What?” she asks as she peers at them, confused.
“He’s wearing a Christmas beaniefor fuck’s sake.”
“Come on, you know that when he wears hats his curls do that thing and he wears that stupid headband underneath and it has reindeer on it. A reindeer!” Louis urges, registering a moment later how crazy he sounds and noting Perrie’s amusement.
“Oh, shut up,” Louis snaps before she can mock him about his ‘cute, cliché infatuation with the school’s most wanted sweetheart,’as she calls it. Louis prefers the term ‘appreciation of a hot body and an irresistible smile,’ but, details. Details.
Their next class starts in a few minutes so they set off towards it, after Louis gives one last sorrowful glance back.
While their teacher drones on ten minutes later, Perrie slips him a piece of paper.
gotta come over today to help me w my outfit for the party
Louis looks around to check the teacher is facing the other way before replying.
you know, that is awfully stereotypical of you pez, gay men aren’t always good with clothes
She looks like she’s holding back a snort as she reads it.
you are though dear, my own personal dick craving stylist
Louis can’t deny it, has too many memories of of throwing Perrie’s clothes into a rejection pile and chatting to her about someone’s red bitten lips to do so.
not craving when you’ve got a queuewaiting to get a piece of this, dear
They’re not technically in a queue, but being out and twinky (not that Louis would ever use that term on himself, he’s rugged and scary and has metal poking through his lip and that’s manly, right?) does draw in more than one guy.
as if you notice anything other than your boy
He blushes at that--the insinuation that Harry is his when in reality Harry knows nothing about him, and probably doesn’t even notice he exists. It’s not what Louis would deem the dream situation, but it sure is a lot better than actually being let down by his dimple-sporting crush and knowing for sure that nothing will ever happen. This way he can pine and believe foolishly that something could happen, that there’s a sliver of a chance.
Their attention is called before Louis can answer back, so he crumples up the paper and tries to focus on what’s going on in front of the class.
“Why do I have to come along?” Zayn asks as Louis opens the door to Perrie’s house and lets him through. “It’s not like I’ll do anything.”
“We need you for moral support, Zaynie,” Louis answers, climbing up the stairs to where Perrie is already sorting out some of the shirts he picked.
“Plus, I need someone that gives me actual boy advice, and not just random names for our kid,” He adds, giving Perrie the stink eye and getting a stuck-out tongue in return.
“I’ve got Madelaine or Troy so far,” she tells Zayn, who scrunches up his nose in response.
“Urgh, I know,” Louis says, rolling his eyes before he crawls over to the pile of pants he’d deemed acceptable. “It’s obviously gonna be something prettier like Darcy or Violet.”
“Rekon you need to talk to him first, Lou.”
Louis freezes up at that. Just the thought of going over to Harry and saying anything makes all joy escape his mind and fear paralyze his muscles. There are too many chances of it going wrong, and what would he say anyway? ‘Hey, I know you like boys and I like you so please let me snog your face off’? Somehow that doesn’t sound like it’ll work.
“Do I, really?” he asks, allowing his body to fall back and hit the plush carpet.
Perrie and Zayn must notice how upset he is, since they come over and snuggle him.
“It’s not as hard as you’re thinking, babe,” Zayn offers, running his hand though Louis’ fringe which he knows Louis will never admit to loving. Louis has some sort of idea in his mind that he’s as tough as his exterior, and Zayn can only laugh at it for so long.
“He can’t be oblivious to you liking him, not with all the staring you do,” Perrie adds as if it’s helpful. “And he’s gonna be at the party tonight so it’s your big chance.”
She gets a dead stare from Louis.
It’s true about the party, though. It’s a Christmas party thrown by Liam Payne, best friend of the unsurprisingly popularHarry and Niall, members of the most popular group in school. They’re not stuck up, luckily, and they’ve invited everyone in their grade.
Louis didn’t want to go, initially, but there’s only so much puppy eyes from Perrie a man can take.
“But it's just-- he’s so cute and he must think I’m weird and stuff,” Louis mumbles, head tucked into Zayn’s shirt.
“When have you ever cared about that, Lou?” Zayn asks, hand still carding through the fine strands in an attempt to assure Louis. “You like who you are right now and you shouldn’t crush on someone who doesn’t get the real you. Or someone who you have to change for.”
Louis grunts, knowing deep down that Zayn’s right. “Too sober for your wise words, man.”
Zayn and Perrie chuckle, sharing a sad look when Louis claps his hands and moves on as if nothing’s happened.
As soon as they step into the party, Louis wishes they hadn’t come.
People gather in loose groups, sweaters and scarves piled on high as the speakers blast some remixed carols cut with popular pop songs. Louis, Perrie, and Zayn look out of place with their weird hair (red strand for Louis, violet for Perrie and higher than the eiffel tower for Zayn) and aura of ‘different.’
It’s simply not their usual crowd, but Louis urges himself to push forward until he gets to the kitchen. He finds some drinks, pushing the cups into his friend’s hands and chugging his own. It burns on the way down, but it dulls some of the nerves.
Perrie finds some boy to cling to some minutes later, and Zayn fades into the dark or something, since Louis is standing all alone by the time he mixes himself another drink.
The kitchen quickly fills up with people too keen to push Louis over to get to the alcohol, so he steps out of it promptly. There’s a spot on the couch and Louis beelines for it, sinking down into the worn furniture with a frown.
It’s not exactly what he’d pictured this party would be, but the current song is too bad to dance to, and his alcohol level is too low to justify plunging into the crowd alone. The people next to him start making out and Louis diverts his eyes with a disgusted groan, trying to block out the wet sounds.
As he’s averting his eyes, he catches a glimpse of a mass of deep red wool leaning against the wall. Upon further inspection, (and a whole bunch of peering because why did he even think leaving without his contacts would be wise?) Louis realizes it’s Harry and his heart stutters worryingly in his chest.
Harry is wearing what must be the tackiest christmas jumper ever, the red background contrasting dramatically with the green tree that covers almost all the front. It looks ridiculous, and Louis may or may not giggle at the sight of Harry stroking the green felt of the tree as he talks to Liam.
There is no beanie in sight, but Louis still feels the need to pull out his phone and text Perrie as his eyes feast on Harry’s look.
help me he is so cute did you see his christmas jumper with the green tree and his curls i want to take him home and kiss him for christmas
The woosh sound of it being sent brings Louis’ attention back to his phone and then he realizes, he’s sent the text to the wrong person. He has sent the text to fucking Harry.
His contact page must have remained open from when he was contemplating texting him for the tenth time an hour ago, and since Perrie’s profile is almost always the one open he hadn’t double checked, just clicked and sent it.
As Louis’ body goes into full shock he curses the day Zayn had sneaked him Harry’s number, wants to go back and tell him he doesn’t want it. (Even though Zayn being in the same social group as Louis’ massive crush and getting access to his digits is a rare thing).
Louis’ head snaps up to look at Harry, and dread floods his mind as he sees him take his phone out and read the message. His adorable face scrunches up, and Louis has a hopeful flashing thought that Harry doesn't recognize the number. Why would he? They’ve never spoken much past the awkward exchanged ‘sorrys’ on Louis’ first day at the school when they’d bumped into each other. The thought calms him and he’s about to drop back into his seat to slow down his beating heart when Harry’s eyes fall on him.
Oh no, he knows.
There’s no doubt about that, not when Harry is staring quizzically at him, from his text to Louis and then back. He seems to figure it out a second too late as Louis is bolting off his seat, snagging a nearby drink and going out the back door.
There’s a porch out here, and the railings are lined with fake green branches, colourful spheres hanging off them. Snow has recently fallen, and plain white stretches for metres beyond the stairs down to the yard.
The chill shocks Louis, and he snuggles closer in his coat, spotting a bench and going to sit down. He can tell his nose is probably pink, but there is nothing to deter him from remaining out here until Zayn and Perrie decide they’ve had enough.
Just. How is he supposed to face Harry now? He knows Louis fancies him and there is no way Louis can deflect and say he was referring to someone else. No one has those curls and the ridiculous jumper. Stupid trouble-causing jumper, stupid Harry Styles and stupid Louis.
He’s in the middle of considering moving to Alaska or faking some kind of memory loss when the door creaks open.
Of course, because the universe has decided that the humiliation he feels now is not enough, it turns out to be Harry. His cheeks are stained pink, and his breath is barely noticeable when he sits next to Louis, staring out into the iced yard.
The tension is palpable, and Louis is still deciding on what strategy he will use, when Harry speaks.
“I think you’re the only one here who likes my jumper,” he says, head turning around to face Louis and lips stretching out in a smile.
“Who says I like it?” Louis shoots back, trying to maintain a cool exterior. He can do this, has done it all throughout school and the fact that Harry is beaming at him with the prettiest smile should not change that.
“You did, in that text that I believe you miss-sent,” Harry cheekily says, a slight smirk ghosting the edges of his lips.
Louis feels his own cheeks burn.
“You should go back to kindergarden Harold, for I merely noted your jumper and besides, it’s impolite to read messages not intended for you,” he says, not knowing why or how his words come out so formal.
Harry sees right through Louis’ front.
“You still noticed me,” Harry notes, smile expanding slightly. Louis’ heart is working at full capacity.
“And I’m sorry for prying when a pretty boy texts me.”
This bit of information is too much for Louis to process, so he does what he always does when in situations he can’t control-- sidetrack.
“How do you have my number anyway?”
It’s Harry’s turn to blush.
“I just, uh, have it,” he mumbles, cheeks turning adorably pink. Louis may want to pinch them.
Silence falls over them, and Louis notices how Harry is are absentmindedly drawing circles on the planks of the floor with his Converse , almost as if he’s nervous.
“You’re not as scary as I thought you’d be,” Harry comments, and Louis pretends to be shocked.
“What? I am the scariest, have you seen my lined eyes?” Louis says, widening his eyes and playing it up. “I have a ring on my lip boy, I spell trouble.”
Harry giggles-- he actually giggles.
Louis’ heart soars.
“But seriously, you’re like a softie,” Harry continues, smirking as if he’s pleased that he’s getting to see this side of Louis.
“I’m so not, shut up,” Louis grumbles, trying to hide his smile.
“You so are!” Harry says, poking Louis in his side and repeating the motion when Louis shrieks and squirms away.
“Stop, stop!” Louis begs, breathless and lying on the floor after Harry’s assault. His eyes have fallen shut, but when he opens them he sees Harry staring at his lips, green eyes fully focused on the lower half of Louis’ face.
It confuses Louis, who sits up straighter and remembers that he hasn’t actually known Harry for that long, that endless pining is not the same as actually talking to someone. The tension is back, but now it’s charged with something electric that Louis can’t ignore.
Harry then takes out his phone and scrolls for a bit. Louis can’t help but feel disappointment wash over him. It’s not like he thought he had a chance, but there was definitely something in the air between them that Harry apparently didn’t seem to feel. He doesn’t mean to pout, but he fears that he’s already doing so.
Louis’ blue eyes wander across the yard and end up at Harry’s face, not so subtly taking in the features he’s admired from afar too many times not to have memorized (in a non-creepy way, of course).
Harry chooses right then to look at Louis, and their eyes meet. Louis definitely feels something and it shocks him when it shouldn’t, as he breaks the contact and looks down to blush embarrassingly.
While he mentally kicks himself for being so silly, he feels a warm hand engulf his and when he looks up, Harry is offering him a soft smile. Louis’ heart is back at full speed, and he can feel it pound in his ears as he looks away from their intertwined hands and into Harry’s emerald irises.
It feels like they’re on the edge, teetering between platonic and something else and it makes Louis nervous but has sparks fly up inside of him.
Harry breaks what feels like a spell.
“Look, Louis,” he starts, clearly anxious. Louis wants to snatch him up and hug him. “I know it’s not Christmas yet, and that I’ve basically avoided you all this time because of fear of embarrassing myself, but I’d love to kiss you right now.”
His eyes are scanning Louis’ and he looks so fidgety it could almost be funny.
“Are you for real now?” Louis demands, not fully believing it’s happening yet.
“Yeah?” Harry asks, unsure.
“Thank fucking god.”
And they’re kissing, Louis taking the front of Harry’s stupid jumper and joining their mouths together. It’s soft and warm against the chilly air, a simple peckthat’s all he dares, but Louis’ stomach flips over and he has to break the kiss because of how hard he is smiling.
They sit like that, grinning happily at each other until Harry seems to remember something. His hand goes to his back pocket, and he pulls out a wrangled up mistletoe.
“Guess I won’t need this anymore,” he says as he holds it up.
“What?” Louis asks, confused.
“I had it in case you kept your cute tough act a bit longer, and I had to use some dirty tricks to kiss you,” Harry explains, as if it’s the smartest move ever. Louis facepalms.
“You are the silliest person I’ve ever liked.”
“You like me?” Harry asks, hopeful, as if they haven’t just shared the best kiss Louis’ had in his life so far.
“Of course, you dumb manchild!” Louis exclaims, noticing with a shy smile, that their hands are still intertwined. “Ever since, like, my first day.”
Harry just grins, his face split open by rows of shiny white.
“What, no comment?” he pushes, suddenly nervous.
Harry draws Louis in with a hand behind his neck and giggles again.
“All I want for christmas is you,” he assures Louis, clearly delighted with his use of dumb Christmas lyrics. Louis is already done with life.
“Oh my god, you did not.” Louis shakes his head, trying to hold in his smile. He is not-so-secretly endeared.
“Oh I did,” Harry assures him, winking at Louis as he raises his arm and holds the mistletoe above them. “Now, I think there’s something we need to do.”
“Is there?” Louis asks, amused.
Harry just grins again and pulls Louis in, their lips molding together perfectly.
The party inside rages on, and Louis feels the gentle brush of the mistletoe against his cheek. Harry lets it fall in favour of pulling Louis closer, as close as he wants him from now on.