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Say You'll Remember

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i. louis

Louis’ eighteen and drunk the first time Harry kisses him.

They’re at a playground, squeezed inside a plastic tube, half a bottle of wine sitting precariously between their laps. It’s the early hours of 2011, and Louis can taste fireworks on his tongue. He knows it’s cold outside, can hear the wind whistling over the buzzing in his ears, can see Harry’s breath dance across his lips. Louis can’t feel it though. Between the alcohol and Harry - mainly Harry - he feels warm, like his belly is a heater, warming him from the inside out, skin prickling with electricity. 

Louis’ thought about this before; has since he was sixteen and woke up to Harry with a sheet wrapped around his bare torso, sweatpants low on his hipbones. Maybe it was the early sun trickling in through the blinds, highlighting Harry’s complexion just right, but Louis looked at his wild curls and eyelashes curved against his cheeks, and he knew he had never, and would never, see anyone more beautiful. That was the morning Louis realized not only that he was gay, but that he was also in love with his best friend. He didn’t cope well, and if he were being honest, he still doesn’t. He’s become good at compartmentalizing though - and lying, and pretending, and telling himself it can not and will not ever be.

Except Louis never factored in this. Never factored in too much alcohol, and Harry’s mouth, and Harry’s hands, his hips, neck, and tongue. The first few minutes of New Year’s Louis thinks, feels, tastes and breathes Harry, and he allows it.

Louis hadn’t even wanted to leave the party. But, Harry had pleaded, flashed him a stolen wine bottle tucked under his coat, and Louis couldn’t say no. He can never say no to Harry, and that’s the problem. Louis is supposed to be strong, but Harry is his kryptonite. Sometimes that scares him so much that he wants to run away, so fucking far away, and he has a few times, but he can never get far. That’s the other problem. The last thing Louis ever wanted to do was rely on someone to breathe, and without meaning to that’s exactly what he’s done with Harry.

They’re so close, Harry’s chest against his, knees dug into his hips, tongue in his mouth. Louis would never say he feels fireworks, or that Harry’s fingers are coals on his neck. Louis would never admit that all he wants to do is bring him home, hide under his warm blanket, and kiss him until their mouths are raw, until they swear their breaths are one.

“Lou,” Harry murmurs into his mouth, and Louis kisses the words away.

Louis doesn’t know how long they’ve been kissing, whether it’s been minutes or an hour, but he’s breathing heavier than he ever has in a football match. Louis loses all function to his brain when Harry shifts, bottom dragging over his crotch, but it's only for a moment before awareness comes screaming out the other side. Control is hanging by a thread, and if he were to lose it all to Harry, he would never get it back. 

Harry doesn’t make it any easier, mouth blindly following every time Louis tries to break away. Louis has to reach for his jaw, saying his name twice before Harry’s eyes draw open, as if awakening from a dream. For a moment Louis feels like they are, reality hitting as harsh as the wind outside.

“Hey,” Louis says, softly. 

Harry blinks, once, twice, eyes dark and hooded, filled with something Louis’ never seen before. Love and lust and fear have become so intertwined that Louis’ not sure which one it is that pools in his chest. “Hi.”

Louis leans forward, and brushes a kiss above his eyebrow, allowing it to linger no more than a second. “Happy New Year, Haz.”

He catches the look of disappointment that flashes across Harry’s face, too drunk to mask it, but then he’s nodding, smiling crookedly. “Happy New Year’s, Boo.”

Louis lets him hold his hand all the way back to the party, body warm and solid against his side.


Louis wakes up feeling fine, but when he gets a text from Harry asking how he is, he lies and says he’s thrown up twice.

Promise we won’t be awkward about this?  Harry asks.

About what?

Lou, don’t.

Nonsense, it made us better friends.

Lou, you PROMISE you won’t be awkward about this?

Louis gets up, goes to the washroom, has a shower, makes a cup of tea and a sandwich before replying back with a simple, promise. Louis’ definitely going to be awkward.

Fortunately for him it’s still winter break, meaning he doesn’t have to see Harry - or anyone - for four whole days. He decides his couch will be a good refuge.

The next day, while eating a bowl of ice-cream and watching X-Factor with his sisters, he receives another text from Harry asking if he wants to get Nando’s. Louis says he has a late family Christmas dinner. It’s clearly a lie, just like Harry knows it’s a lie because he doesn’t text back at all. By the third day, when Louis rejects his invitation to come over with an excuse of having to babysit the girls, his fear is replaced by guilt.

This time, Harry replies, Lou, you promised.

It’s not awkward.

Harry doesn't answer, and come the fourth day he doesn't try at all. 

Back at school it is awkward, up until lunch period when Louis steals a carrot off Harry’s tray, and tells the story of how he went into the basement to find Daisy had wrapped Pheobe as a present, complete with a bow on top. Harry laughs like it hurts, even though it's his second time hearing it.

New Year’s is not brought up again.


Louis is only just retreating from his team-mates celebratory post-game hug, when a pair of arms come flying around his neck, hot mouth hovering over his ear. “My hero!” the voice yells, causing temporary deafness.

Louis turns to punch Harry in the arm, but he smiles all the same. “When I’m fifty and needing a hearing aid, I’m making you pay for it.”

Harry smirks, sheepish, and says, “Did you see my sign?”

“How could I not?

In the three years they have been friends, Harry has missed exactly one of his football matches due to bronchitis (yet, according to Anne, she practically had to tie him down to stop him from going anyway). This also means, that in the three years worth of matches, Harry has made an obnoxious sign for every single one. They’ve ranged from sloppy, last minute doodles over graph paper, to extravagant cut-outs, nearly blinding with neon colours and an excessive amount of glitter.  It was a little embarrassing at first, mostly because Louis was only in year ten and spent the majority of the time on the bench. Though, over time Louis has grown to love them, looking forward to seeing what masterpiece Harry will show up with. Of course, he would never tell Harry this. Instead, he moans and groans and rolls his eyes, knowing Harry sees straight through it.

Tonight his sign falls more on the extravagant end, neon pink with #17 is my hero written in glittering gold letters. He can still see it flashing around at the top of the bleachers, where Niall is holding it, Liam and Zayn at his side. “And I see you managed to drag the lads out tonight.”

“I bribed them with pizza,” he says, admittedly, making Louis chuckle. “You want to go out for celebratory milkshakes? My treat.”

Louis’ team-mates are heading to the pub, where girls will undoubtedly show up. It always ends the same way; with a little too much beer, catcalls, and snogging a girl just to appease any suspicions. Somehow he has managed to escape most gay scrutiny, but still he worries. “Yeah, always,” he says, “just let me shower first, and hope the lads don’t notice.”

“Okay,” he sighs, as if it’s an inconvenience, “I guess we’ll wait.”

“Hey, Tommo, coach wants to talk to us in the locker room.”

“Yeah, sure, I’m coming,” he says, nodding towards Chris Ryan, a year eleven.

Chris continues off the field, but not before exchanging glances with Harry. It’s short, but something in it feels heavy, even for Louis, but Chris is gone before he can place it.

Harry laughs softly under his breath, arms wrapped around himself. “God, if it weren’t for you, I think I would’ve been beaten up a long time ago.”

“Don’t say that. It’s not true.”

Harry shrugs, seemingly unconvinced, but it’s barely a moment before he’s smiling brightly. “Okay, go on. Hurry up. I want a caramel milkshake.”  

Louis obliges, thinking over Harry’s words as he cleans up. Louis has gotten his fair share of teasing over Harry’s posters, but that’s all it was; teasing. At least, that’s how Louis’ seen it, and he can be fairly paranoid when it comes to his perceived sexuality. Louis doesn’t think he’s too overly entitled, but most of the time he feels like questions aren’t asked just because it’s him, because he’s Louis Tomlinson, team captain. Yet he’s doubtful to think that, that alone holds the power to keep Harry from getting picked on if they really wanted to. Everyone loves Harry, and they would even if Louis wasn’t there. How could they not?

Instead of returning to Liam’s car, Harry hovers next to the passenger side of Louis’, as if in habit. No one says anything as they all climb into respective cars, headed towards ShakeAway.

Harry grabs for Louis' iPod as soon as they're seated. Louis expects him to go through the playlist made up of all his strange, hipster music. He had gotten sick of Harry always  complaining about his 'soulless' pop music, so he had stolen a few of Harry's mix CD's to import onto his own iPod, for when Harry was around and tuning him out only went so far. Louis' surprised when he lands on the Spice Girls instead, blasting it loud enough that Louis' car is vibrating, Harry singing along almost as loudly. At first, Louis just laughs and rolls his eyes, but then Wannabe comes on and he can't help but join in, the two of them giggling over the console. 

They find a booth near the back of the restaurant, the five of them squeezing close. While Zayn and Louis go way back, they’ve all become a sort of unit over the years, a family. Something in Louis’ chest grows cold thinking of how he’s expected to leave them in a few short months.  

Louis watches Harry at first, always intrigued by the way something in him shifts when put into groups, even as close as they all are. When it’s the two of them, Harry is usually nothing less than a talkative ball of energy. In a group, however, he’s content to sit back and observe, offering comments and questions that hold weight. Most of the time Louis feels like he’s speaking for the both of them, while Harry hums and nods next to him. Tonight though, Louis opts to stay quietly on the sidelines with Harry, using his milkshake as a distraction. It’s not until Liam brings up Uni, that all eyes are on him; Harry’s the heaviest of them all.

Louis nearly has to shift his entire body to avoid Harry's heavy gaze. It’s slightly intimidating, the way he’s staring at Louis as if daring him to say something he won’t like. There’s not much Louis can say on this subject that he will, besides that he's staying in Doncaster, which is why Louis’ managed to avoid the topic altogether for three whole months.

“Yeah, I’ve applied to a few schools,” Louis says. “I haven’t heard anything back though.”

“Which schools?”

“Uh, I dunno,” Louis says, mumbled into his milkshake. “Sheffield, Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford.”

“Wicked, mate,” Zayn says, and all of them offer enthusiastic nods, all except for Harry. Louis pretends not to notice. “I’m sure you’ll get into all. Where do you want to go the most?”

“Um.” Louis sneaks a glance at Harry, torn on whether it’s better to be honest or to keep off Harry’s bad side. “Well, Oxford I guess,” he says. “But, I highly doubt I’ll get in.”

“Shut up, mate,” Zayn says. “You’re like, the smartest person I know.”

Louis snorts. “Hardly.” He gets good grades - excellent, at times - but he works his arse off for them. A-levels are three months away, and he’s already given himself numerous anxiety attacks. He goes through this every year, even before upper sixth, when A-levels and Uni were a thing of the future. Every exam, every test, he nearly loses his mind with stress and serious lack of sleep only to do well every time.

“You’re going to be a real life doctor,” Liam says between sips of his chocolate shake. “You’re going to be operating on peoples brains and stuff. I don’t know how I feel about that, to be quite honest.”

“Don’t worry, Li, doesn’t have to be your brain.”

“Oi, you can operate on my brain anytime there, Lou,” Niall says, flashing a grin.

“Mine too,” Zayn chimes in.

Harry slurps loudly from his milkshake.

After they’ve finished, they all say their goodbyes, Zayn and Niall joining Liam in his car. Harry hangs back though, indignantly like he doesn’t actually want to go with Louis either. He hasn’t spoken a word since the Uni talk, no matter how many times Louis’ tried to catch his eye and send him a reassuring smile. Harry does end up getting into the passenger seat, and once again goes for Louis’ iPod, this time choosing The Fray. Although it’s one of their most depressing songs, so the initial surprise is dissipated. He watches from the corner of his eye as Harry curls up into the seat, arms folded across his chest like a child who’s favourite toy was taken away.

“So, what’s going on? Am I dropping you off at home?”


“Okay, then,” Louis says, dragging each syllable, “so, you’re coming over?”

Harry says nothing. Louis rolls his eyes, and takes that as a yes.

Louis’ mum stops them on their way in, offering tea, and Harry agrees without hesitation. Louis’ mum has practically adopted Harry as her own, as Harry’s mum has with him. They all get along great, and it was not unusual for the four of them to go out together; shopping, eating, even excursions out of the city. They sit and chat with her for over a half an hour, and by the time they head to Louis’ room, Harry seems to be back to his usual self.

The door is barely closed behind them before Harry’s stripping off his clothes, left in only his underwear. Louis doesn’t bother offering him pyjamas anymore, already knowing that he won’t take them. (“I like to be free, Louis. Pyjamas are too constricting. You know how I sleep naked at home.”) Louis opts for a t-shirt, and avoids looking at Harry straight on.

They curl under his blankets, and watch a few skits on Comedy Central before Harry finally speaks up. “So…” he says, face peeking out of Louis’ comforter. “Edinburgh or Oxford, huh?”

“Ah, there it is,” Louis says. “I was waiting to see how long it would take to get it out of you.”

Harry rolls his eyes, and then flops onto his back, whining. “Why do you have to go away to school? Why can’t you just stay here and hang out with me all the time?” 

He laughs, rolling onto his side to face Harry. “As appealing as that would be, you know I have to go to school so I can make money to support your broke arse. Think of the children, Haz.”

Louis catches the brief smirk that sneaks across his lips. He counts it as a win. “Can’t you just go to Sheffield?”

“Maybe, but you know I have to go to the better school if I get in.”

“Like Oxford?” he asks, bitterly.

“Stop being so dramatic,” Louis says. “It’s like, a three hour train ride away. I’ll still come on weekends sometimes, and you can visit me. It won’t be that bad. You’ll barely even notice.”

Harry snorts, muttering under his breath, “Oh, I’ll notice.”

Louis pokes him in the side, and Harry bites onto his thumbnail in attempt to hide the smile.

“I could always skip sixth form and come with you.”

Louis thinks that he’s probably kidding, he has to be, but Harry’s staring at the ceiling so incredibly straight-faced that Louis’ worried that he might not. All Louis can think of to do is laugh, nervously, and say, “Oh, god.”

“You know I’d follow you anywhere, darling,” Harry drawls, gushingly. He turns back onto his side, pushing his face right up against Louis’. He’s close enough that Louis can feel his eyelashes fluttering.  

He laughs, relieved, and attempts not to focus on Harry’s breath against his chin, warm and sweet. “As lovely of a trophy wife you’d be, you know you have to go to Uni. I’ll foot the mansions in London and the French Riviera, but you’re buying the yacht. It’s only fair.”

Harry forces back his smile to pout instead. “I’m trying to be serious here.”

“No, you’re not,” Louis says, dismissively, turning onto his back. “You’re not following me to Uni. What would you even do? Live under my bed in res?”

“No, I could go to school to become a hairdresser, or - ”

Louis bursts out into laughter. “You can’t even tame your own hair.”

“Shut up, can too,” Harry says. “And, don’t pretend like you don’t love my luscious curls.”

Louis turns his head to look at him, lips pressed together to keep himself from laughing further. “I would never,” he says, seriously.

Harry punches him in the shoulder, pout returning. “I hate you.”

“Harry, stop it. You’re being way too over the top about this. It’s only April.”

Harry’s bottom lip protrudes further.

Louis sneaks his hand under the covers, and grabs a hold of his bare waist, tickling.

Harry squeals, flailing as he tries to knock Louis’ hand away. It’s too easy with him. “Lou-is,” he says, pitch loud enough to wake the dogs across the street.

“Harr-eh,” he mimics.  

Harry’s finally able to knock Louis’ hand away, cheeks pink and the corners of his eyes wet from laughing. Once he’s finally calmed down enough to stop flailing, he sinks back onto his side, eyes flicking over Louis’ complexion. Louis realizes their faces are inches away again, and Harry is very blatantly staring at his mouth.

Harry has made it abundantly clear that he wants to kiss Louis again. He’s never said it - they haven’t even talked about New Year’s - but Louis would have to be blind not to notice the way he’s been crowding into his space so much more than before, never hiding the fact that he’s staring at his mouth for far too long. That little shit even takes every opportunity to strip down into his tiny briefs, much like now, flaunting his bits. Louis’ done quite well at pulling away, sometimes even walking away completely. He can feel himself become weaker and weaker though, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before Harry breaks him completely. He thinks that as horrible as it will be to leave, maybe a break is exactly what they need right now; before they do something stupid, something irreversible, something they won’t be able to ignore quite so easily.

Louis would be lying if he were to say he hasn’t thought about what happened between them on New Year’s. Because he has - a lot. He tries not to, but it seems the more he tries to ignore it the bigger it becomes - in dreams where he wakes up hard and out of breath, the thoughts of Harry that trickle into his mind when he’s getting himself off. He, too finds himself zoning out to realize he was staring at Harry’s mouth, or his arse, or the way his body looks in his increasingly tighter clothing. At first he did try to push away the thoughts, tried to think of someone else, watch more porn but, eventually he gave up and succumbed to wherever his fantasies brought him. He already knows he’s probably been in love with Harry since the first day he met him in year eight, but somehow he had managed to (mostly) separate it sexually. Until now. Until New Year’s when Harry just had to go and kiss him, and Louis just had to go along. He knew that the moment he started imagining Harry in that way - naked, and moaning, and writhing underneath him - all self-control and willpower would eventually dwindle away into nothing. He still has some left, but he worries it’s only a matter of time before Harry kisses him again, and he won’t be able to stop him. But he has to, he can never again let it happen outside of his own mind and body. He can’t ruin what they have. He cannot lose Harry.

Louis blows a puff of air into Harry’s face, as if that itself will blow away the tension building up between them. He turns all the way around to his other side, facing the television. He can feel Harry’s eyes on the back of his neck, and he tries not to notice the way it prickles with heat.


On the first weekend of September, Louis’ mum throws him a going away party. It all feels too surreal; even with his friends and family surrounding him, bouncing from celebratory congratulations to tearful goodbyes. In a way, he has been waiting for this day since the moment he stepped into Hall’s Cross, but now that it’s here Louis’ not sure how to place it, doesn’t know if it will be as easy as he once thought.

He’s imagined it all - the clichés like strolling past ivy covered buildings and sipping tea, wearing school sweaters and wool scarves while watching football matches, classes full of hundreds of new faces, staying up til’ three a.m. to cram for a final with new friends. University means a new city, means a new life, a reinvention. He’s thought about what it would be like to shed Louis Tomlinson, football star, perfect kid. To find out who he is, instead of what people expect him to be. Maybe, just maybe, he could even be out.

It’s a whole new world laid out just before him, finally so close that he can touch it with the tip of his fingers. But then there’s a sadness as well. He didn’t think it would be this hard to leave his family and friends. Harry. Even the school he’s spent the past seven years hating.  But, mostly - mostly, he doesn’t want to leave Harry behind.

Once Louis received his acceptance letters, he had taken a few days to inform Harry, quite solemnly, that Oxford was his choice. Harry withdrew, as expected, and even though it was for no more than a week, Louis felt disorientated the entire time. In the four years they had been friends they never spent longer than a few days apart - aside from obligatory family vacations, or the rare times that Louis himself had pushed away. Once that initial week passed though, Harry spent the following three months clinging to Louis as if he were dying. Louis didn’t mind so much, but everyone else did; his own mother had even engaged in a silent power struggle over who was allowed more of Louis’ time. Despite the fact that she carried him in the womb for nine months and you know, raised him, somehow Harry still managed to come out victorious.

While Louis is ecstatic about having gotten into one of the best schools, he’s not exactly thrilled it’s one of the furthest away. He’s had his fantasies on how University will be, but the one part he was never able to reconcile was the fact that there would be a Harry-shaped hole. Harry had been his constant, his anchor in a way. Who would be there to laugh at his dumb jokes, or break down his walls when he shut down? There was a day or two that Louis had become so paralyzed in fear about leaving that he nearly considered going to Sheffield instead. Eventually, he had shaken out of it, telling himself that’s not something best mates do.

Harry’s putting no effort into pretending now, having spent the past two hours of the party moping in a lawn chair pushed away from the party. Louis’ hovering near the food table on the other side of the yard, watching as he flips his phone open and closed until Louis’ sure it will snap in half.

Zayn sidles up next to him, getting his attention by clinking his beer bottle against Louis’. “Cheers, mate.”

“Cheers.” Louis acknowledges him with a smile and nod, before looking back to Harry, who has now moved onto digging a hole into the lawn with his foot.

“He’s really not happy about you leaving. He’s been like a mopey eight year-old for the past week.”

“Try month.”

“Or three.”

Louis sighs, pushing his fringe from his eyes. “Give it a month. School’s only just started. He still has all of you guys, and he’ll be so busy with school that he won’t even notice until I’m back for the weekend.”

Zayn snorts, doubtful. “It’s Harry. He won’t be that busy, and both of us know that he’d trade all three of us to keep you.”

“Shut up,” Louis says, cheeks heating. “You’re supposed to make me feel better, not more guilty.”

Zayn laughs, slapping an arm around him, squeezing his shoulder. “I know, mate, and you’re right. He’ll be fine.”

Louis sighs once more, curling into Zayn's side. “I’ll miss you too, you know,” he says, mumbled into his t-shirt.

“And I’ll miss you.” Zayn frowns a bit, eyebrows furrowing. “I’ve been trying to picture what it will be like without you around.”

Louis hums in agreement. He may consider Harry his best mate, but he has known Zayn the longest. Long enough that Louis was even at the hospital when he was born, not that he remembers, being so young himself. Zayn has always been there, has been around for every part of his life - the significant to the mundane. He was the one that Louis had first discovered football with. He had learned every skateboard trick with him. He was the one that Louis was known to get into trouble with, and consequently get grounded with - once, even suspended - more times than they could count. They got high for the first time together. Got in fist fights - with each other and with others. They had sleepovers every weekend in primary school, staying up late and playing videogames. They both had their separate group of friends come secondary, Zayn with the artsy kids who smoked behind the school, and Louis with his football friends; but it was always each other they would come back to at the end of the day. Things had turned a bit tense when Harry first came into the picture. Zayn never admitted it, but Louis understood that it bothered him to see someone fit so easily into the space he had been for so many years. Harry did not replace him by any means, no one could, but he and Louis meshed so well and so quickly, in ways that he and Zayn never could.

“You are all acting like I am dying,” Louis says. “I’m only going a few miles away. I’m easily accessible by a three hour and fifty-two minute train ride.”

“Yes, yes, but who will possibly be a rebellious teenager and wreak havoc on society with me now?”

“Niall?” Louis suggests.

Zayn makes a face, and shakes his head. “Nah, he’s still a baby. Don’t want to corrupt his innocence.”

While laughing, Louis catches Harry watching them from the corner of his eye. When he turns to look at him however, to offer a smile, he instantly deflects his attention back to his phone.

Under most circumstances, Louis tends to act like more of the child between the two of them - not that he’s usually one to own up to it. He can get loud and hyper and boisterous, can never take rejection or criticism well, and has been known to lash out over the smallest of offences. Even though Harry was only twelve when they met, Louis had noticed the mature, collected air to him right away. Louis admired that about him, admired that he still allowed himself to act silly and quirky and wholly himself. Harry holds an innocent naivete that allows him to go with the flow, to take everything as it comes to him, always optimistic, to love freely and deeply. In that way he is more of a child than Louis will ever be, still holding something rich and full of hope that has long been taken away from him. He has always looked to Harry to be the light for him, to be the voice of reason and optimism, but now with Harry shut down, everything feels all wrong and out of place.

Louis keeps his gaze on Harry, half-listening to Zayn talk of his fit English teacher. Finally, Harry looks up, eyes meeting. Louis offers a small smile, sending him a thumbs up. Harry rolls his eyes, but there’s a smile that tugs at the corner of his lips. Slowly, he raises his own hand, thumb popped.


Louis can’t sleep the night before he’s meant to leave for Uni. He tosses and turns for two hours until finally admitting defeat and texts Harry. You up? he asks even though the clock reads 12:34 and Harry has school tomorrow.

There’s a five minute interval, Louis not expecting a reply, when his phone vibrates in his hand. Ya, can’t sleep either?

No. He waits a moment, then says, come over?

He’s surprised when not even a minute later, Harry replies back with a simple, ok.

Louis tells him to come around back, and he meets him in his yard, the grass cool on his bare feet. Harry sets his bike against the fence, and joins Louis on his garden swing, sweatpants low on his hips. They swing in silence, Louis’ thoughts just as quiet as he stares up at the moon. Louis pulls out half a spliff and a lighter from his jumper pocket.

“Are you scared?” Harry asks while Louis inhales.  

Louis nods, blowing out a stream of sweet smoke. “Yes.”

“Yes.” Scared doesn’t do it justice. Louis is fucking terrified. He’s still in a place of disbelief, waiting for Oxford to retract his acceptance at any moment.

“You’ll be great. You’ll do great. Good grades, you’ll be the popular guy on campus in - ”

“Harry, you know I’m gay, right?” Louis asks, abruptly, surprising even himself.

Harry opens and closes his mouth, once, twice, and then finishes with staring at Louis in bewilderment.

Louis takes two extra puffs, thrumming his fingers against his thighs in anticipation. It was easier than he thought it would be, even though he can feel his heart in his ribcage, steady and light.  

“I - I know,” Harry says, eventually.

“I’ve been thinking about being out. You know at Uni, and I figured I should at least try it out with you first.” He blushes, and shakes his head instantly. “I mean, telling you.”

“Oh. Okay, yeah.” Harry’s eyebrows furrow a bit. Louis hands him the now small stub, and he takes it between his thumb and index, graciously. He sucks back the smoke, lungs inflating in his old, ripped up Boyzone t-shirt. Once he exhales, he says, “Me too. I mean, I’m gay too.”

“I know.”

Harry looks at him, curiously, and takes the last hit before snubbing it out with his finger. He hands it to Louis, who pockets it. “Why have we waited so long to say it then?”

Louis shrugs. “Wasn’t ready, I guess.”

They both look at each other. Harry’s eyes drop to Louis’ lips, tongue brushing subconsciously over his own. Louis’ gotten used to this over the months, but he’s hanging by a thread now, one that’s been wearing with every hooded look, with everyday that passes.  

“You’ve never done anything with a guy, have you?” Harry asks.

Louis shakes his head. Only with you. “No, have you?”

“Once. Before year nine. At camp. Just a bit of groping behind a tree.”

Louis stares at him, shocked, something unfamiliar looming in his gut. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Harry shrugs, looking embarrassed. “Because… I don’t know. I didn’t even know how to tell you I was gay, never mind that I messed about with a bloke.”

Louis snaps his mouth shut, pressed into a thin line. The tugging in his gut is starting to feel a lot like jealousy, even though it seems absurd to him. Louis tries to think back to that summer, thinks back to the beginning of his eleventh year, shuffles through his memories to find signs in the awkward and still prepubescent Harry. He thinks that maybe that was the year Harry started to wear more pink and adopted a tote bag that looked an awful lot like a purse, but he can’t be sure. Either way, he cannot begin to fathom someone else touching Harry, kissing him. He doesn’t want to. Louis has put a lot of effort into making sure nothing happens between them, but suddenly he’s hit with an overwhelming feeling that no one else should be allowed to touch him. Before, after, or ever. Suddenly, he’s thinking about how one day Harry will meet a boy, and that eventually, he’ll have sex. Possibly even soon. Louis’ noticed the way people have started to look at him, the way he’s growing flawlessly into himself, seemingly more attractive every time Louis looks at him.

It’s ridiculous that he’s feeling this way, that he feels light-headed and a little bit sick over the idea of someone else getting there before Louis, kissing him and pressing into places that should be his. Louis’ never thought of Harry as strictly his, but with every person that does a double take at Harry lately, Louis has found himself becoming more and more possessive. A few times he’s had to consciously stop himself from grabbing onto Harry and hissing, mine.

“What are you thinking?” Harry asks, quietly.

Louis closes his eyes, and breathes out through his mouth. Maybe it’s the weed or the final last bit of self-control leaving his body, because he says, “About how the thought of another guy touching you makes me sick.”

He can feel Harry’s eyes on him, even with his own closed, and he realizes then that they’ve stopped swinging. “You - ” Harry starts, and then immediately stops. 

Louis opens his eyes slowly, forcing his gaze to meet Harry’s. He realizes how close they are, the way he can count his heartbeats in his ears. Harry exhales once, and then leans in, closing the space between their mouths.

Louis doesn’t even try to fight it; just sinks in and kisses him back with intention, already pushing Harry’s lips apart to get in deeper. In what seems like no time, Harry’s breath is coming out in heavy spurts, the same breaths that had gotten Louis instantly hard on New Year’s. He’s pressed up against Louis, so close he’s practically on top of him, and Louis has to pull away while they still have a chance. “Hey, let’s go inside, yeah?”

They have to tiptoe into Louis’ house and down the stairs, careful not to wake his entire household. Harry is gripping onto his waist from behind, open mouth sliding against the back of his neck with every step. Louis has never been more thankful for his room being in the basement, away from the rest of his family.

The second they close the door, Harry’s mouth is back on his, desperate. There’s boxes everywhere, and they knock into a few before finally reaching his bed. Louis can hardly believe that this is happening, that this is Harry against him, Harry making these noises, Harry’s fingers that are inching along his bare stomach.

Louis pins Harry underneath him, thumb stroking his cheek as he kisses him into his pillow. He’s already getting hard, and he can feel Harry against his thigh. He’s never done this with another guy, never even kissed one besides Harry. He’s torn between the part of his brain that wants it so badly that he might explode, to the part that’s freaking out enough to want to stop and tell him to get out. He’s watched his fair share of porn, even researched the mechanics of it in hopes that he’d meet a guy in university who’d actually want to sleep with him, but none of that prepares him for having a real life boy writhing underneath him. He may be nineteen, and about to go to university to become a doctor, but he suddenly feels very, very young.

Harry pushes Louis’ shirt up until it’s bunched under his armpits. Louis gets the hint and sits up, bringing Harry with him, mouths barely breaking. Louis pulls his own shirt off, and then Harry’s, in a speed with which he didn’t even know was possible. They fall back down, and Louis runs his hand from Harry’s flat torso over his chest to the clefts of his collarbone.

Louis had a list of the reasons why doing this would be a horrible idea, why this could never happen, and had gone over it so many times that he could probably recite it backwards. Yet, now he can’t think of even a single reason. Harry just feels so good underneath him. They fit perfectly, falling into a rhythm so easily for two who don’t have much experience. Though Louis isn’t too surprised, not when they fit so well together in every other way.

“They don’t have to, you know,” Harry says breathless, into Louis’ mouth.

Louis keeps kissing him, before willing himself to pull away long enough to ask, “What?”

“Other guys,” he says, while Louis latches onto his collarbone. “They don’t have to touch me.”

Despite the cloudiness in his head, Louis gets what he’s saying almost instantly, though he wishes he hadn’t. Not right now, anyway. So, instead of replying he kisses him again, almost painfully hard. Harry lets out a noise, and clings to Louis’ biceps. He wraps a leg around him, using the leverage to grind his hips into Louis’.

He gasps, mouth slipping, forehead dropping onto Harry’s. “Shit.”

Harry mouths at his ear, tongue on his lobe. “Hey, hey, Lou,” he murmurs, and somehow, Louis already knows what he’s going to say. “Can we - do you want to - I just want to be close to you. I mean, I know it’s - But. Please. If you - if you want to.”   

Louis’ not sure what comes over him, but he rocks his hips against Harry’s, breathing hotly down his neck, Harry’s curls tickling his nose. “Tell me, Harry. What do you want?”

“Fuck,” he says in a moan, “fuck, Lou. I want you, inside of me. I want you to be my first. I want to be yours.”

Heat flares in his chest, spreading all the way throughout his body, cock jolting. For a moment Louis thinks he might come from just that. “Shit. Yeah.” He sits up, tugging down his pants at an alarmingly fast speed. “Take yours off.”

Harry seems to be in a daze, back still on the mattress, as he stares up at Louis. He looks so gorgeous spread out beneath him, hair a mess, lips raw and cheeks pink. Louis has imagined this a hundred times, but none of that can prepare him for actually seeing it, laid out before him. There’s no comparison, and it takes everything in Louis to finish taking off his pants without falling back onto Harry and devouring him. There’s no doubt they could get off just like this, but that’s not enough for Louis. He wants it just as bad, to be inside of him, to feel him. He wants to leave for University tomorrow and be able to carry a piece of Harry with him.

“Harry,” he says after no movement. He slaps him lightly on the hip, and then crawls over him to dig into his dresser to grab lube. He remembers the box of condoms he packed in his bag, just in case, hoped it would bring him luck. He goes to retrieve them, but Harry grabs a hold of his wrist before his feet hit the floor. “It’s okay. We don’t need them?”

Louis looks at him, eyes searching. Harry’s pupils are so wide they seem to take up his entire face. He’s right, after all. It’s not like either of them can get pregnant, and with both of them being virgins in every way possible, he doubts there’s much to worry about. “Sure?”

“’Course.” Harry tugs him back, kicking his pants off the rest of the way.

All thoughts seem to temporarily vacate his mind as soon as their naked bodies press together. It feels electric, like tiny bolts are prickling throughout every inch of his body. He can barely breath, barely move, as Harry cups his chin, kissing him softly. “You okay?”

Louis nods, just barely.

Harry drops his head against the pillow, and runs his eyes over Louis, stroking his hair behind his ear. Louis can’t help but take the moment as an opportunity to look between their bodies, to where Harry is curved along his stomach.

“That’s your penis,” he says, dumbly, in shock.

Harry giggles, eyes crinkling around the edges. “And that’s yours,” he says, reaching between them to stroke a hand along it.

Louis moans, pressing his nose into his cheek, wondering where he got the guts to do that.

Harry strokes his hip, drawing circles around the bone. “On a scale of one to ten, how awkward is this for you right now?” he asks, whispered into his ear.

Louis blinks up at him. “I don’t know. A 3.5? It’s not really the first thing on my mind, to be honest.” His eyes sweep over Harry, his still raw lips, and wonders why the hell they’re talking right now.

“Fair enough.” He laughs. “What are you thinking?”

“Mostly, holy shit I’m about to have sex, and holy shit I’m about to have sex with Harry and he just touched my dick. And also, he won't shut up.”

Harry laughs, and he finally leans in to reconnect their lips, tongue running along his bottom lip. "Sorry," he murmurs. They exchange kisses, growing more heated with each one, before Louis finds himself asking, “Are you nervous?”

Harry nods. “Are you?”

“I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. I mean, I do, but to actually do it.” He swallows, nudging his nose along Harry’s, breathing in his smell.

Harry runs his hands up and along Louis’ chest, fingering his nipple. “I can do the first part, you know, the prepping or whatever, if it’s too awkward. I totally get it.”

Pulling back a bit, Louis stares at him, gut curling with heat and curiosity. “You mean - have you done it before?”

Harry turns his head to the side, as if trying to hide his blush into the pillow.

“Shit, you have.” Louis squeezes his side, and Harry laughs instantly, knocking his hand away, only to intertwine their fingers.

“Shut up,” he says, shrugging bashfully, “only a few times. Just to see.” He runs his thumb along Louis’, and arches his head up, kissing the skin above his mouth. “I thought about you every time,” he whispers.

Louis growls into Harry’s neck without meaning to, biting at the skin. “What.The. Hell.” He jerks his hip against Harry, breath catching as his cock slides against his thigh. “Okay, okay, let’s do this.” He grabs Harry’s wrist, pressing at his pulse point. “And as hot as that image is, I’ll do it.”

Harry doesn’t put up a fight as Louis coats his fingers, chest thrumming with nerves and anticipation and pure need. He does feel awkward, and so clueless, as Harry hooks a leg around his hip. He just kind of wiggles his fingers around, waiting for direction and approval from Harry. He works his way up to three, and he can’t even begin to wrap his head around how he’s going to fit in there.

He probably spends too much time at opening him up, just wanting to be sure, and Harry has to tap at his shoulder, insisting that he’s okay. He’s breathing heavy, a few moans between his lips, so Louis takes that as a good sign, at least.

They rearrange themselves, both of Harry’s legs wrapped around his waist, cock coated heavily with lube. He noses along Harry’s jaw. “Are you sure you want to do this?"

Harry nods, fingertips digging into the back of Louis’ neck just below his hairline. “Yeah,” he breathes, “positive.”

“I just - fuck. I’m so scared of hurting you.”

Harry tilts his head, smiling as he connects their lips. “It’s okay,” he says. “First times are supposed to hurt a bit.” He tightens his legs around Louis, pulling him forward, laughing. “Now, come on. Do it already, before I go and find someone else.”

“Fuck.” Louis laughs, shaking his head, and bites Harry’s lip in retaliation. He grabs onto Harry’s hips, fingers dipping into his hipbone, and lines himself up. He’s thinking he has five seconds to back out, before he’s pushing in.

“Oh, god,” Harry says, almost instantly, and yanks Louis down so he can bite onto his shoulder.

“Should I - ” Louis halts, halfway in.

Harry slaps his other side, and jerks himself back, pushing down into Louis. “Lou.”  

Louis gets the hint, and pushes himself in the rest of the way. It’s already too much to handle; he feels dizzy. He’s never experienced anything so tight and hot and wonderful. He could probably, actually, die right now, but he has a feeling Harry would not appreciate that much.

He wills himself to stop moaning, biting at Harry’s jaw as he starts a rhythm. Harry keeps his face pressed into Louis’ shoulder for the first few minutes, muffling small, choked noises into his slick skin. Every limb is wrapped around Louis, practically clawing at him, like he can’t get enough. Louis loves it, loves having Harry everywhere.

Louis can’t hold it in anymore, letting out a loud moan into his neck. He barely has enough mind to remember he’s in his house, his mum, his sisters, just upstairs.

Just when Louis is starting to worry that he’ll come before it gets good for Harry, he goes slack against him, head dropping to the pillow. “Oh, shit,” he moans, and drags Louis down with him, urging their lips together with bruising force. “Okay, that was good. Keep doing that.”

Louis keeps his focus, attempting to push in at the same angle. He seems to succeed, because Harry’s moaning even louder against his mouth this time. “Oh, thank god,” he says, breathlessly, and Harry laughs.

They don’t last for much longer, especially once Louis allows himself to pick up tempo. He musters up enough courage to reach for Harry’s cock and begin stroking as he feels his orgasm approaching. He comes first, causing him to lose all brain function, and Harry finishes himself off while Louis breathes heavily into his chest.

Harry whines when he pulls out, and Louis falls onto his back, pulling Harry with him. He kisses his cheek, his ear, before resting in his curls, damp with sweat. “Oh my god,” he manages to say, laughing a little bit.

Harry clings to him, arm slung over his chest, body half on top of his. Louis can feel his chest rumble over his in quiet laughter. “I can’t believe we just did that. I can’t believe I just had actual sex with Louis.”

“Did you just refer to me in third person?”

Harry tilts his head up, nose and smile pressed against his cheek. Louis turns his head, catching his mouth in a deep kiss. He cards his fingers through Harry’s curls; he just wants to touch him, always. “Well, I can’t believe I just had sex with Harry.”

Harry laughs, and nudges their noses together, eyes locked. He waits a minute, and then says, voice quiet, “I love you.”

Louis inhales, breath catching in his throat. Harry just stares at him, eyes wide, like he’s afraid he won’t say it back. Louis presses his hand flat against Harry’s chest, feeling his heart beat against his fingers. He brushes their lips together, soft and says, “Love you too, Haz.”

Harry smiles, so radiant that Louis is at a loss for air. He lays his hand against Louis’, fingers slipping between the spaces.