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finding you was so hard (but loving you is easy)

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It’s dark.

It’s the year 1575 and when Harry blinks his eyes open, he can see everything. He can see every speckle of dust and hear every little sound. He’s still not used to it.

He groans as he stands up, stretching, and he can hear the crack of his back. He looks back down at his former spot and it’s nothing but just another part of the dirty ground.

He brushes off his clothes which are all ripped. He figures one day, it’ll be fashionable. Not today though. Right now he looks nothing but a mess.

He runs a dirty hand through his crumpled hair before walking out of the alleyway. It’s around two in the morning and Harry resents that he can’t be out and about during the day.

Instead, he has to sleep in a dirty alleyway with just enough shade to keep him from burning alive. It’s quite the life.

Then after getting out of the alley, Harry is making an act of stumbling into the street. There’s a boy that looks to be not much older than him a few feet away and he startles when he sees Harry.

Harry stares at him for a few seconds before crumpling to the ground and he can feel gravel pressing against his back. The boy’s face flickers in surprise and he hesitates before calling out to Harry.

“Are you okay?”

Harry doesn’t say anything but he makes a low sound that could pass for a whimper. The boy’s face grows soft at that and Harry sees him take a step closer.

“Mate? Y’alright?” he asks and all the while he’s moving towards Harry inch by inch.

Harry turns his face into the ground then before making a sound of pain. The boy’s pace quickens at that and in seconds he’s beside Harry.

Harry can smell alcohol on his clothes but he doesn’t seem to be drunk. Not that it matters. The boy keeps pulling on his arm until he’s in a sitting position but he’s more slumping than anything else.

“What’s wrong?” The boy wonders and he’s prodding gently at Harry’s arm, trying to get Harry to look at him.

Harry blinks twice at the boy who’s still gazing worriedly at him. Within seconds, Harry’s whole face changes. It starts with a small smile toying at his lips before dark veins appear under his eyes.

The boy automatically startles back in shock but it’s too late. Harry knocks him to the ground, climbing over him until he’s nearly straddling him.

He looks down at the boy, catching his eyes and he looks seconds from screaming. “Don’t make a single noise,” Harry orders and the boy swallows thickly but follows Harry’s instructions.

“Good,” Harry murmurs and then the boy is letting out a silent scream as Harry’s teeth dig into the boy’s neck.

Louis has done some stupid things—okay, a lot of stupid things but this may quite possibly be his stupidest. It’s not as if he did it on purpose except for the fact, well, he did.

It was supposed to be a joke, really. It wasn’t supposed to become such a big deal, yet here he is, standing in front of his new dorm in London instead of Doncaster, with heavy bags on either side of him.

The worst part is that Louis doesn’t regret it all. He doesn’t regret that he pulled the best end of the year prank ever in the history of his old university and he doesn’t regret that now he has to go to a university in London either.

Still, he didn’t think they would actually make him transfer. He figured the threat was just a clever rouse to scare him off—it was definitely not that. He feels a bit sad for the loss of his old life but at the same time, he thinks it was destiny and he’s a big believer in fate so it all makes sense to him even if it doesn’t to his mother and step-father.

They let him go easy enough though and Louis doesn’t want to admit it, but standing in front of this dorm right now feels like a new beginning. It feels like an adventure and that first step inside the room is going to be his first exploration.

It does occur to him that he’ll probably get in trouble here too because that’s just what he does. He gets himself into the stupidest situations and everyone just follows him as if he’s a leader of some sort.

He’s not though. Louis is a lot of things—he’s dumb even while he’s book smart, he’s foolish and reckless, he’s confident and curious, he’s arrogant although he’ll refuse it, he’s daring and adventurous but he is nowhere near a leader.

Louis could never hold the weight of the world on his shoulders, even if he tried. It’s not just that though. It’s the fact that he doesn’t know how to be strong and brave and all the things that good leaders are. He doesn’t know but he still wants the whole world anyways and he thinks that might just be his biggest problem.

But right now, he gets to finally see a part of the world, albeit a tiny part in comparison to the rest. It’s still more than he’s ever gotten to see before and it makes his insides feel warm. He thinks if he were any more artsy, he’d be taking a picture and marking it down as ‘the start of something new’. Luckily, he’s not.

He drops half his bags and bends down to reach for the key that he stuck in his shoe earlier so that he wouldn’t lose it. It seems unconventional but Louis knows he wouldn’t remember where it was if he hadn’t put it there.

When he gets the door open, the room feels cold. It’s not what he’s expecting and goose bumps form along his arms. He’s confused for a second before ignoring it and dragging his bags into the room.

Louis shuts the door behind him before pushing his bags towards the right side of the room. His roommate isn’t there but there’s a few papers on one of the desks on the left side of the room and there’s a jumper slung over a chair too, evidently marking which side of the room belongs to his roommate.

He’s struck by how immaculate his roommate’s side looks. It’s impeccably clean with everything already in place and even the bed is made. It looks like all his books are sorted on the shelves and there are no bags anywhere in sight.

Louis looks back at his own bags and sighs dejectedly. It’ll probably take him days to get everything properly sorted. He, however, does not want to look like a complete lazy tit on the first day so he crosses back to his side of the room and starts to unpack.

The rest of his plans for the day consist of meeting his best friend Stan later and going to some club so that he can get properly acquainted. Louis won’t admit it but he’s jealous of the fact that Stan has been here three years and seeing the world while he was stuck at home taking care of his sisters. He’s not sorry though because he loves his family more than anything, but at the same time, it makes him a bit bitter.

Louis can’t lie and say that he’s not excited to be here because, he’s as excited as a fifteen year old girl that’s just been asked out by the boy she likes.

It’s only when he finishes unpacking some clothes and pinning up a few photos that the door finally opens. Louis immediately drops the pair of shoes he’s holding and turns around with wide eyes.

He doesn’t know what he’s expecting to see but he figures that the form he filled out will give him a compatible roommate (although he’s heard stories of mix ups and he wonders if he’ll be one of those unlucky people, and he wouldn’t be surprised if he was).

At the same time, he’s hoping for someone that can be his partner in crime. Someone he can goof off with just because. The prospect is too thrilling for Louis to even think about properly. He can already imagine all the fun they’d have together and it’s just—Louis wants to have some real fun for once in his life. He wants to live for himself and not for those around him.

When he looks at the doorway, there’s a boy standing there with dark skin, the color of mocha. His hair is in a weird mix of a quiff and a fringe but Louis is immediately struck by how attractive he is. He’s not Louis’ type, but he’d have to be blind to not see how good looking the boy is.

His cheekbones are sharp—better than his own, Louis thinks sadly—and they cut across his skin. His eyes are dark and his nose is pointed. His lips are turned down when he enters and then he turns to stare at Louis who immediately steps forward, holding out a hand.

“I’m Louis,” He introduces, smiling brightly and the tanner boy looks momentarily shocked, lips parted. He furrows his eyebrows, shaking his head before his eyes seem to widen in realization. He looks young then and Louis remembers that one of the few things he did know about his roommate was that he was twenty and that he’d been in the same dorm the previous year.

Louis watches as the dark haired boy groans, slapping a hand against his forehead in irritation. “Stupid Irish bastard,” He mutters under his breath and then he looks at Louis again, measuring him up this time.

“Zayn,” The boy finally says, reaching out to shake Louis’ outstretched hand. His grip is firm and the handshake doesn’t last more than a few seconds.

Then Zayn turns away, walking towards his bed and pulling a phone out from seemingly nowhere. His fingers fly fast across the screen and Louis stares after him blankly before looking down at his hand.

He immediately drops it and feels his face flush in chagrin. He’s never received that type of response from anyone after just meeting them. He feels all his hopes crumble to the ground pathetically.

“Okay then,” Louis mutters quietly to himself and he swears he hears Zayn snort but when he looks up the boy is sitting silently at his desk, still staring at his phone.

Louis frowns before looking back at his wall and shrugging to himself. He doesn’t know why the boy seems so shocked at Louis’ presence. It’s seems like Zayn doesn’t want to be rooming with him—or maybe anyone at all. Louis feels like he’s been cheated out of the perfect new friend.

Louis knows there’s really nothing he can do besides try to get the boy to warm up to him over the course of the year. He think he can at least do that although his roommate seems like the type that’ll never be in their shared dorm in the first place.

He isn’t sure whether that’s a good or bad thing.

The rest of the afternoon is spent with relative silence on both Louis and Zayn’s part. Neither says anything but once in a while when Louis looks up he sees Zayn glance up from his phone and watch Louis carefully.

It’s quite alarming actually but Louis is determined to ignore how weird his roommate is.That proves to be difficult as Zayn might possibly be the oddest person Louis’ ever met.

While he’s tan, he’s ridiculously pale too. Louis doesn’t know how that’s even possible but clearly it is. Also, he’s frighteningly quiet. At one point when Louis turns to pick up a pair of shorts he dropped, Zayn is on the other end of the room, digging silently through his own closet.

Louis didn’t even hear him get up, much less move across the entire room. When Louis tries it, the floor creaks just a tiny bit and his own footsteps are loud. He swears he even breathes noisier than Zayn does—if the boy breathes at all.

Louis isn’t used to being so silent for so long and he finds himself bouncing around and putting away clothes or pinning up more pictures to keep himself distracted. He can’t help it, really.

At some point he puts up some Marvel posters and he hears Zayn make a noise of approval. When he looks over, Zayn looks like he might almost be smiling.

That’s the closest they get to conversation before Louis’ phone goes off with a text from Stan. Louis gets up—basically jumping at the first human interaction he’s had in a couple of hours—to get his phone and Zayn leaves the room, slinging a jacket over his shoulder.

He doesn’t say goodbye and Louis scrunches his noise in distaste at the back of the closing door. He’s not used to being shut out by someone—he’s not used to be shut out at all. It’s pretty strange actually. It makes him feel like he’s completely cut off from the other boy but Louis knows it’s nothing he can’t overcome.

It’s just a bit sad, really, because he thinks that if Zayn would actually speak to him, they might be good friends. It’s not like Louis was put with Zayn for no reason—there has to be something compatible about them and he swears he’ll figure it out and get Zayn to be his friend because there’s nothing Louis takes to quite like a challenge.

Louis finds himself trying to think of a plan as he unlocks his phone to read Stan’s text which just tells him to meet the other boy outside.

He doesn’t hesitate to slip on a pair of jeans and some loose jumper that’s lying at the bottom of one of his bags. He takes the stairs this time all the while wondering whether his whole life is about to change. If everything is about to turn upside down and inside out.

Louis’ never really been away from Doncaster for an extended period of time but right now he’s going to be living in another city for the next few years and he finds that beyond exhilarating. It literally puts a jump in his step and he forgets all about his morbid roommate as he meets Stan with a grin.

“There you are,” Stan says as a way of greeting and before Louis can say anything, he’s being pulled into a bone crushing hug and he feels his grin grow wider. He’s missed Stan—missed the way they effortlessly understand each other because that’s just what happens after being best friends for so long.

“Here I am,” Louis agrees, pulling back only to see his best friend shake his head fondly. Louis knows Stan missed him too although neither will voice it aloud first.

“Come on, you’ve got people to meet,” Stan announces instead after a moment of affectionate silence, tugging them away from the building and Louis follows easily with a grin.

He has no idea where they’re going. He doesn’t know his way around at all frankly and he’s sure that he’s going to be incredibly lost his first day of classes but he doesn’t worry about that now. Instead, he takes in everything slowly. From the street lights to the students milling around campus, everything just feels that much bigger and brighter than Doncaster ever was.

They end up at the club sooner than Louis expects and the place is basically packed. Louis feels shocked at first because it’s a Tuesday night but clearly no one there cares because they’re all laughing loudly, throwing back shots and curling into booths. There’s several people dancing and Louis thinks they look like a unit as they move together.

Louis feels himself relax as he melts into the crowd, letting the music swallow him. Before he knows it, he’s in the middle of a large group of people, listening to them laugh as he talks animatedly. In a matter of an hour, he’s already gotten a bunch of numbers saved into his phone and people promising they’ll catch up with him soon. It’s nice—he feels like he’s been accepted and it’s only been the first night. He can see that Stan’s watching with a satisfied grin and Louis heads over to him near the bar after ending the conversation he’s having with the few people that are nearby.

Louis is used to making people laugh and smile and he’s used to them yelling loudly in his ears. He’s used to being the center of attention and as shallow as it makes him sound, he takes pleasure in it. He likes knowing people enjoy having him around. He likes feeling like he’s wanted.

“Mister Popular already?” Stan teases and Louis laughs, rolling his eyes before he can help it, throwing back a drink as he turns to his best friend.He can’t stop smiling, really. He feels ridiculously happy and it’s just a relatively nice feeling. It feels like everything is sliding into place.

“Working on it,” Louis promises and motion towards the bartender for another drink who happily obliges, passing one over. He turns back to Stan and before either of them realize it, they’re somehow in a full blown discussion. They talk about things like home and memories and plans for the year and just a lot in general.

Louis realizes he really has missed Stan and he’s about to say so when the urge to pee hits him really bad. He freezes where he’s standing, his mouth open to take another sip of his drink and realizes, he really needs to go. He’s sure the expression on his face is laughable.

“I’ll be right back, I need to use the bathroom,” Louis says quickly before he’s rushing off, missing what Stan says in reply but he swears it’s something like, “Be careful.”

Louis doesn't think too much of it as he pushes the door to the bathroom open, ignoring the couple making out against the wall in favor of going straight to the urinals.

Minutes later, Louis walks to the sink, washing his hands when he hears the couple become silent. Something buzzes which Louis can only assume is a phone and then he hears a hushed, "Babe, we have to go. Styles is here. I don't want you near him. He and his whole group are a bunch of freaks,” from the girl in the couple.

"Yeah, let's go. I don't want to be around him either. A bit too much for me," the guy agrees and Louis looks over his shoulder in confusion to see the two slam the door shut behind them.

Louis continues washing his hands, too drunk to really care what they were talking about but not drunk enough that it slips past him completely. Over the rush of water, he misses the nearly silent sound of the door opening. Instead, Louis frowns and stands on his tiptoes to grab a paper towel before whirling around as soon as his fingers close around it, bumping into someone.

His immediate reaction is step back and when he does, he hears the stranger in front of him mutter, “Oops,” and yet somehow it has a hidden mirth to it that Louis doesn’t quite understand. It’s as if there’s a joke which Louis missed the punch line to.

Louis is disorientated for a second, his vision blurring before his eyes focus on the person in front of him. When it does, he feels his own eyes widen.

The boy in front of him is staring at him with dark eyes, a rim of green surrounding the pupils and there are dark lines smudged around his eyes which Louis belatedly realizes might be eyeliner. Louis' eyes travel down to the boy's lips which are a pretty pink color before tracing over his jawline and the way his cheekbones are high up on his face. There are brown curls on top of his head that look like they belong locked in Louis' hands, like they're begging to be tugged.

Looking even more down, he can see the hint of a tattoo on the back left side of the boy's neck, leading down towards his spine but Louis can't really make it out. The boy’s wearing two shirts—an unbuttoned plaid shirt matched with a sinfully revealing, low-collared shirt which reveals the tips of wings on the boy's chest. Along the boy's left arm there are smaller tattoos littered across which Louis doesn't have time to analyze as he comes to the conclusion that the boy has realized Louis is checking him out, if the small smirk on his face is anything to go by.

"Hi," Louis squeaks instead, his voice being higher pitched than he intends and Louis clears his throat in embarrassment. He’s making a complete fool of himself and in the morning, he’s going to hate himself for drinking as much as he did.

"Hello." The boy’s lips are quirking up a bit more and twin dimples indent the sides of his cheeks. Louis’ life seriously isn’t fair.

"I didn't mean to bump into you. I'm sorry," Louis attempts to apologize, momentarily glancing down at the tiles on the floor before looking up and the boy is raising an eyebrow, a tiny grin on his face.

Louis notices then, how pale he is. His skin is nearly translucent and Louis wants to reach out and touch. He doesn’t though because he’s not that drunk.

"You don't have to be. Maybe it was my intention all along," The boy counters and his voice is slow, steady and holding and Louis thinks that something just clicks about him.

Louis tilts his head up and to the side before realizing that this boy is a good few inches taller than him. "I—what? I'm sorry, I don't think I understand."

The boy just keeps grinning before stepping away into one of the empty stalls.

When he goes in, someone else rushes out of the stalls frantically, belt unbuckled. They don’t even look at Louis before they run out.

Louis stands there for a few seconds confused before shaking his head and walking out of the bathroom himself. He doesn’t really know what’s going on but he doesn’t think he’d understand even if someone explained it to him.

When he gets back to the bar, Stan is slouching against one of the stools, cheeks flushed. “What took you so long?” Stan wonders as Louis slides up and sits in the stool beside him. It might just be Louis but there’s something shaky about the way Stan is attempting to speak nonchalantly.

He calls it an attempt because he knows damn well what Stan looks like when he’s lying.

“Just ran into someone,” Louis drawls and then he remembers what happened in the bathroom seconds before the boy walked in. “Also, who’s Styles?”

Stan freezes, turning to look at Louis hesitantly. “Why?”

The entire atmosphere seems to change, growing tense. Stan’s eyes are darting around anxiously and Louis feels completely bewildered at the sudden shift. “Um, someone in the bathroom was talking about them. I don’t really know. I got curious,” Louis admits slowly and it’s then that he takes notice of the way people around them are whispering mutedly to each other, worried looks passing between them.

“He’s—well. Just stay away from him, yeah?” Stan urges and his eyes are saying something that Louis can’t understand. While Louis is beginning to feel somewhat sober, he’s apparently still not sober enough to get what Stan is trying to tell him because what tumbles out of his lips is another question.

“Why?”

Stan grimaces and Louis doesn’t know what he said wrong. He wonders how he can backtrack the night and go back to a point where everyone around him was laughing and Stan didn’t look the mixture of worried and terrified.

“He’s—this sounds so insensitive of me, but, uh, he’s a maneater,” Stan explains, flinching near the end of his sentence which makes Louis stare at him blankly.

Louis is too stupid for this, honestly. “What the hell is that?”

Stan rolls his eyes then, shoving lightly at Louis and that makes Louis feel better because he doesn’t like the way Stan looks like he’s honestly terrified of something. “It’s a womanizer, basically. Only with men.”

“So he sleeps with a lot of guys,” Louis deadpans, blinking twice at Stan. “Why does that even matter?”

“Not a lot,” Stan corrects. “Literally all of them. Straight, bi, gay—taken or not, you name it and they’ve all slept with him. They just can’t help it. It’s weird. He’s weird—him and all his friends.” Stan looks distinctly bitter when he says it and Louis can’t help the dry chuckle that slips between his lips.

“Christ, what did you do, Stan? Did you sleep with him?” Louis teases, taking a sip of his drink but when a minute passes by without Stan saying something, Louis turns to him with a shocked expression.

“You didn’t, did you?” Louis wonders only to realize Stan isn’t listening to him, rather watching someone on the other side of the room with eyes that look as alarmed as they did before.

Louis follows his line of sight to a corner of the club where there’s four boys huddled around each other. Louis squints and is only slightly shocked when he realizes one of them is Zayn.

He’s wearing the leather jacket he took with him and a pair of sunglasses is hanging from the front of his shirt. He’s talking fervently to a blond boy who’s nodding along, a beer in his hands. Behind them are two other boys, but they’re obscured from Louis’ view and he doesn’t feel like moving to see who they are.

Only then does Louis notice that there’s a large amount of space between the four of them and everyone else in the club, almost as if everyone is purposely avoiding them.

Stan turns back to him, a distracted look on his face. “I haven’t slept with him. I keep my distance like everyone smart knows to do,” Stan informs quietly, lips turning down into a frown.

“So what, he sleeps with people and you guys shun him because of that?” Louis asks, bewildered because he doesn’t understand what kind of logic that is. He’s slept with a fair amount of people himself and he hopes he’s never treated like this Styles guy is being treated.

“Louis, you don’t understand,” Stan mumbles, eyes flashing back to the four boys before looking back at him. “He’s not—there’s just something wrong about him, alright? He gives off this bad vibe and it’s just. He’s creepy.” It’s a pathetic explanation and it makes Louis sigh loudly.

“I heard he’s here,” Louis says instead because he rather doesn’t like the way his best friend is mouthing off about this person. While Stan—and everyone else in the room probably knows more about the guy than Louis does, he just can’t stand the way all of these people are treating this guy at all. He finds it immature if he’s honest, and he’s the most childish person ever.

“Yeah,” Stan agrees slowly before tilting his head towards the group again. “He’s over there.”

Louis looks back over at the four guys and they’re all sitting in a booth now. He can see Zayn holding a red drink and the blond boy is laughing next to him.

It’s alarming how attractive they both are but Louis pushes that to the back of his mind. He still can’t see the other two from where he’s sitting and he cranes his head in attempt.

“Which one?” Louis wonders out loud, looking back at Stan.

Stan tilts his own head to the side before shaking his head and shrugging. “You can’t see him from here. But he’s got curly hair,” Stan offers and the first thing Louis does is think back to the boy in the bathroom.

He remembers how the person in the other stall ran out as soon as the curly haired boy disappeared into one of the empty stalls and he feels like a complete idiot.

“He’s really pretty, yeah? Green eyes, tattoos?” Louis asks, licking his lips uncertainly and Stan shoots him an alarmed look.

“Yeah?” Stan answers, eyes narrowing and Louis feels his face flush.

“He’s a slag?” Louis wonders in disbelief because while the boy was ridiculously pretty and alluring, Louis doesn’t see him as type to sleep with people left and right. Then again, Louis knows next to nothing about him.

Stan nods solemnly which makes Louis break into laughter because he can’t help it and because he doesn’t believe it’s possible. Stan shoots him a scandalized look but Louis just keeps laughing before standing up, making his way through the crowd.

He doesn’t know what he’s doing or why he’s stupid enough to be doing it but it has a lot to do with the fact that he’s impulsive and reckless. It’s thoughts like these running through his mind and yet he doesn’t stop what he’s doing.

He can hear Stan calling his name behind him but he really doesn’t bother with it, pushing past people before he’s in the empty space between the four boys and everyone else.

The blond is the first to notice him. He elbows Zayn in the ribs and Zayn glares before turning to where Louis is approaching. He raises an eyebrow before kicking the person in front of him.

When Louis gets to the table, it’s silent.

He can see the two boys he couldn’t before and as he predicted, one of them is the curly haired boy who’s grinning delightedly at Louis.

The other is a boy with brown hair and brown eyes and he’s pretty too—it’s absolutely ridiculous to be honest. Louis thinks he might ask if he can join their little group thing if only to be as pretty as the rest of them.

“Can we help you, Louis?” The curly haired one asks, lacing his fingers together as he quirks an eyebrow. Suddenly Louis realizes he’s an absolute idiot and he has no idea what the hell he’s doing.

He thinks the whole club has gone quiet and is watching them now but he can’t really hear much over the rush of blood in his ears.

It’s then that he realizes he didn’t tell them his name and he feels very uncomfortable before realizing Zayn could have easily told them. Then it occurs they’re all staring pointedly at him and he should probably be saying something.

“Right,” Louis says blankly and he sees the blond boy’s lip quirk up as he takes a sip of his beer.

He figures this couldn’t get any more embarrassing than it already is and if he’s going to do this, he’s going to do it right and not by looking like an idiot.

“Right,” Louis repeats again,“I was wondering, if you’d like to go on a date with me?” Louis makes sure to point specifically to the curly haired boy so as not to stir any confusion.

There’s a pause where everyone stares at him blankly before the blond boy interrupts the silence with, “Oi, Harry, I think this is the first time I’ve seen you get asked out in the past hundred years.” He’s clearly teasing and the curly haired boy isn’t saying anything, just looking at Louis curiously. He thinks the other brown haired boy kicks the blond because the blond yelps in pain a second later.

“You want to go on a date with me?” The boy—Harry—repeats slowly, a bewildered expression on his face.

“Yeah, I do,” Louis agrees, biting his lip as he tilts his head and waits for an answer. Even if Harry says no, at least Louis wasn’t a baby about it. He probably shouldn’t have taken what Stan said about Harry sleeping with people as a challenge but he did because, well, he’s him.

That and he sort of, kind of, really wanted to see if a good fuck was really all that Harry wanted or if there was something more there and whether everyone was judging him without any real reason to. He respects a healthy sex life and he can’t fathom why everyone is being such a prude about it.

Also, Harry’s pretty much gorgeous and Louis isn’t losing anything except maybe a bit of his pride if Harry says no. He’s willing to take the risk.

“Like a date-date? As in, you want to take me out?” Harry wonders and there’s something bright about his eyes. Louis realizes it wasn’t eyeliner smudged around his eyes before but rather dark circles. Louis is very glad he sobered up because clearly he’s a bit blind when he’s drunk.

Harry’s still as pretty as ever though, even with bags under his eyes. Louis can’t tear his eyes away from him.

“Yeah, that’s what dates consist of. Maybe we could go for some lunch or something tomorrow. I don’t know—whatever’s convenient for you,” Louis says amiably and Harry looks honestly confused.

Louis feels bad then because it seems as if Harry’s never been properly asked out before and that’s why he’s reacting so poorly. The look on his face makes Louis want to hug him and he decides even if Harry is some ‘maneater’, he’ll still want to be the boy’s friend just because he can be.

“You don’t want to sleep with me,” Harry guesses, mouth curling downwards and Louis nearly laughs because that’s honestly the last thing Louis doesn’t want to do.

“No, I do,” Louis disagrees, shrugging before grinning, “It’s just not the only thing. I’d like to go on a date with you first, if you’d let me. Maybe even more than one. But I’m not going to push my luck.”

Harry looks a bit awed by that and he hears Zayn snicker to his side, face pressed into the blond boy’s arm. The other brown haired boy looks positively delighted by what’s happening as does the blond boy, although he looks more amused than anything else.

“So you want to go on a date,” Harry repeats one more time and Louis laughs before he can help it.

“Yeah, that’s the plan,” Louis confirms with a grin and Harry shyly smiles at him. It’s a sweet smile and Louis wants to take a picture and shove it in the face of anyone who’s ever said anything bad about this boy.

“I’d like that,” Harry admits quietly and his dimples are showing and—how in the world has this boy fucked basically everyone in the club—it’s not possible. Stan has either gotten better at lying since Christmas or Harry’s a phenomenal actor.

“Then it’s a date,” Louis says and Harry nods, ducking his head before looking back up with a small smile.

“It’s a date.”

There’s a moment of them just smiling at each other before the other brown haired boy is shoving something in Louis’ hand that looks like a crumpled napkin. Louis notices there’s a ring on his left hand that looks distinctly familiar. He doesn’t have time to think about it as the boy starts talking.

“Harry’s number,” He explains and Harry lets out this giggle before slapping the brown haired boy on the back of his head.

“You would, Liam,” Harry mumbles, rolling his eyes fondly and Liam rubs the back of his head with a pained expression.

Louis has to bite down on his lip to keep from smiling too big as he starts to back away slowly, waving before he turns around and heads back to the other side of the club.

Everyone is staring at him—he’s not exaggerating when he says everyone because it’s literally every single person. They’re all staring with wide eyes and when he gets back to Stan, the brown haired boy is glaring.

“What is wrong with you?” Stan demands as Louis shoves the napkin with Harry’s number on it into his back pocket.

“A lot of things,” Louis answers, shrugging and Stan grumbles something unintelligible.

“What did you think you were doing? I told you they were bad news.” Stan is looking pretty close to ripping his hair out and Louis reaches out to pat his arm consolingly.

“I was just asking Harry on a date,” Louis says innocently and Stan just stares at him in disbelief.

“You did what?” Stan protests and this time, Louis is worried he actually will rip his hair out.

“I just told you, I asked him out,” Louis repeats, slower this time before sitting down on the stool, grabbing the drink he left behind.

He feels almost dizzy with the way he’s been alternating between half-sober and half-drunk throughout the night.

Stan stares at him blankly before sighing. He looks pretty appalled and Louis kind of feels bad for being responsible but at the same time, not really because it’s kind of funny.

“Was it a nice hit to your ego? Did you enjoy getting shot down? Jesus, Lou, I told you he’s the definition of a maneater. He’s not going to want to go on a date.” Stan is frowning and Louis can’t help but immediately raise an eyebrow at his best friend’s assumption.

“What are you even talking about, Stan?” Louis wonders and in his peripheral vision he notices that people are slowly inching their way back to the middle of the club, still seemingly wary of the four boys who aren’t doing much other than talking to each other.

It’s ridiculous, really.

If Louis looks at them from the corner of his eye, he can see that Harry and Zayn have switched places and that Harry is stealing glances at him every so often.

He pretends that he’s not itching to stare back.

“I’m talking about the fact that my best friend otherwise known as you is an idiot and that I hope the fact that he turned you down  is enough to keep you away from him,” is what Stan says in a way of explaining, still frowning disapprovingly at Louis.

He swallows the giggle that creeps up his throat. “Oh. Yeah. Of course. Never going to talk to him again. His rejection stung me so deep. I’ll never get over this. How will I ever go on? Will you kiss my battle wounds?” Louis’s voice is so flat that Stan smacks his arm.

When Louis peaks over at Harry from the corner of his eye, the taller boy is shaking with laughter, looking down at his table.

Louis almost smiles because for a second he lets himself believe that Harry’s laughing because of him before remembering they’re on opposite sides of the room.

“It’s not funny, Louis. You’re such an idiot. You’re literally begging for trouble. You know that Taylor Swift song about trouble? Yeah, it was written about Harry Styles,” Stan says and Louis rolls his eyes.

“Very funny,” Louis says drily.

“You’re lucky Styles said no. I can’t imagine exactly how much trouble you’d get yourself into with him around.” Louis isn’t paying much attention to what Stan is saying anymore, instead focusing on how people have finally stopped blatantly staring at Louis. They keep throwing him glances though and it’s clear he’s made quite the impression on his first night of university.

“Who said he said no?” Louis challenges when he turns back to the conversation and Stan looks appalled again.

“Of course he said no. Why wouldn’t he say no? He doesn’t date. He fucks.”

Louis just smiles dreamily in response. “Guess that’s where you’re wrong mate.”

Stan just continues staring flatly at him before he grabs Louis’ arm. “You’re clearly smashed. Let’s get you back to your dorm. I think you’ve properly acquainted yourself with everyone here,” Stan grumbles before sighing dejectedly and tugging at Louis again.

Louis pouts but Stan is adamant, still tugging until Louis gives in and then they’re slipping through the crowd. They’re at the door before Louis really understands what’s happening but just as he leaves, he catches Harry’s eye and watches the boy mouth the words, “See you,” and  it feels like a promise.

Louis wakes up in the afternoon with a pounding headache and a twinge in his neck. He sits up, rubbing his eyes before taking a bleary look around.

He’s in his dorm and his pants are on the floor but there’s a blanket over him, so it’s not as embarrassing as it could be and he makes a mental note to thank Stan for that later.

Zayn isn’t there but his laptop is running open on his desk and there’s a bagel next to it. Louis figures he couldn’t have strayed far.

Louis shakily gets to his feet, holding on to the table beside him for support and when he doesn’t immediately fall to the floor, he lets out a sigh of relief.

He reaches for a pair of sweats near the bottom of his bed and slides those on first, knowing Zayn could be back any minute.

After that, he rubs at his eyes again and yawns, wincing at the hammering in his head. He pushes everything out of his mind and makes food a priority. He doesn’t notice he’s eyeing Zayn’s bagel until the tanner boy walks in, raising an eyebrow.

Louis immediately looks away, pretending to be interested in a loose string on the sleeve of his shirt but Zayn doesn’t look like he cares all that much as he reaches around his chair to get the bagel.

“Here,” Zayn says, before placing it on the table next to Louis and sitting back down in his chair. He doesn’t say anything else as he starts to type.

There’s a beat of silence before Louis rasps, “Thank you,” and Zayn nods in acknowledgement.

It’s when he’s nearly done with the bagel that he remembers the events from the night before and nearly chokes on his food.

He eyes Zayn again, feeling wary but the tanner boy still has his back to him.

Louis is sort of really dumb and last night just further proves that fact. But at the same time Harry said yes to him, so he can’t be all that stupid (except for the fact he is).

It occurs to him only after finishing the bagel that he has nothing to drink. He sighs to himself, standing up and stretching his limbs. He grabs a beanie from where it’s hanging over his bedframe and he’s about to head out when he hears Zayn turn towards him.

“You going to get a drink?” Zayn calls and Louis stops from where he’s reaching for the door, turning around and nodding slowly instead.

Zayn pauses, clearly hesitating before he pushes his chair back and stands up. He moves a jumper from where it’s hanging off the side of his desk before knocking rhythmically against the wall in the space next to the desk.

After he’s done with that, he starts typing something into the desk where the jumper was hanging and Louis realizes it’s some sort of keypad.

When he’s done, he steps back satisfied and Louis can only watch curiously, hand still on the doorknob. He nearly trips over his own feet when an entire section of the wall slides to the left, disappearing behind the rest of the wall.

“What the fuck,” Louis mutters under his breath, watching with wide eyes as Zayn steps in the dark space where the wall was.

Louis can’t see anything as Zayn disappears but when he comes back, he’s holding a cold water bottle. Zayn tosses it towards him and Louis just manages to catch it with shaky hands.

He’s so confused—like seriously confused. Zayn turns back around and gives the part of the wall that’s still there a solid kick. Louis can only watch in amazement as it slides back in place.

“What the fuck,” Louis repeats bluntly and Zayn shrugs before grinning. Louis isn’t going to admit it but the smile scares him more than it reassures him of anything.

“Stick with me kid. I’ll take you places,” Zayn jokes flatly and Louis first thought is that if that’s his teasing voice they really need to work on it.

“I’m older than you,” Louis counters but he’s still staring at the wall in wonder, almost as if he can’t help himself. He honestly doesn’t know what just happened or how it happened—or what’s going on in general. He’s completely lost because there’s a fucking secret lair in his dorm.

“Wouldn’t be too sure of that.” Zayn’s cryptic reply does little to settle Louis’ questions and Louis kinds of wants to hit him as the dark haired boy sits back down.

“You’re twenty,” Louis accuses defensively and Zayn just grins his scary grin again in response.

“Just like Harry is nineteen,” Zayn agrees and his eyes are twinkling in a way that Louis doesn’t understand. He doesn’t really think he wants to either.

However, Zayn’s words spark memories and when Louis closes his eyes, behind his eyelids he sees pale skin and green eyes. It makes him want to smile. “Right. Harry.”

Zayn’s expression changes, turning amused. “Yeah, Harry. Who you’re going to get lunch with, right?”

“Right,” Louis repeats and he looks over at his jeans which still have Harry’s number in the back pocket. In the back of his mind, he knows what Zayn’s doing—he’s changing the subject. Louis’ done it enough times himself to know how it works.

“Try not to let him eat you instead of the meal,” Zayn mutters under his breath before turning around, leaving Louis staring at his back in confusion.

He would get stuck with the most cryptic guy in the school as his roommate—he just would. Louis eyes the wall one more time, wondering how the fuck Zayn opened  it up and why there’s a secret lair in the first place. He doesn’t think he can repeat the knocking pattern nor the combination even if he tries.

On the bright side it seems that one good thing is coming out of it. At least his roommate is speaking to him. That has to count for something. Probably not though.

After silently staring at the wall for a solid minute, he looks down at the drink in his hand. He briefly wonders if it’s poisoned before he shrugs to himself, taking off the cap and swallowing down a large portion of it in one go.

He sees Zayn texting someone from the corner of his eye and it reminds him that he should be texting someone as well—making plans with them.

He glances forlornly at his jeans before sighing and trudging over to them. He hears Zayn snicker and he almost wants to glare but he knows it’ll do no use.

Louis picks his jeans off the floor and reaches into the back pocket, pulling out a crumpled napkin. He eyes it skeptically as he drops his jeans back to the floor. He can already tell that his side of the room will always be a mess.

He stares at the number long and hard before shuffling over to his desk and grabbing his phone. Louis can see Zayn grinning from the corner of his eye as he types the number in.

The text is simple enough but Louis still hesitates to send it. He still ends up doing it because he’s afraid of a lot of things-like for example, squirrels-but not of sending a text to a pretty boy.

Hey are we still on for lunch ? :)

While he waits for the text, he stares blankly at the wall again still wondering how Zayn basically got half the wall to drop to move with a press of a few buttons and he decides that when he gets back he’s going to interrogate the younger boy.

Preoccupied with his thoughts, he jumps when his phone buzzes in his hand. Zayn laughs at him and this time Louis does glare before scrambling to unlock his phone.

If this is Louis, of course! If this is Niall again, I seriously will not hesitate to end your life .x

Louis has a fleeting wonder about who Niall is and why Harry is threatening to end his life before shaking his head and quickly tapping out a reply to curly haired boy.

pretty sure I’m Louis but you can never be 100 % can you ? But if we’re doing this, you’re going to have to be the one to take me places because I’ve been here for like… a day

Louis doesn’t know why but there’s a smile tugging at his lips as he waits for Harry’s text. He takes a seat on his bed, pulling his legs up and crossing them over each other. His phone buzzes against his thigh again and he reaches for it immediately.

I could’ve sworn you were the one that asked ME out…but I’d love to! You’re rooming with Zayn, right? Meet me outside your building in ten .x

Louis doesn’t even reply, falling dejectedly against his bed. There’s a beat of silence before Zayn starts full on laughing at him.

Louis groans and tosses his pillow at him, which of course the boy catches easily. “Wanker,” Louis mutters under his breath and Zayn isn’t supposed to hear but somehow he does because he just starts laughing again.

He kind of wants to throw his pillow again but he’s lost it to the enemy so he can’t. He sits up with a sigh and Zayn has an amused expression on as he tosses Louis’ pillow up in the air only to catch it again.

“Harry overdoes first dates. So my only advice is wear nice shoes,” Zayn offers and Louis flips him off as he slides off his bed, slipping to the floor slowly. He groans again before crawling over to his bags.

He’s being a bit melodramatic but he has less than ten minutes to make himself presentable and he’s allowed to be dramatic when he wants.

He sifts through before he finds a pair of skinny jeans which he knows makes his arse look good and baggy sweatshirt that he thinks he stole from someone. It’s comfy though so he doesn’t think twice about grabbing both articles of clothing and trudging out of the room to the shared bathroom.

Thankfully there seems to be only one other person there but they’re heaving into a toilet and Louis clucks sympathetically before going into a stall himself to change.

He’s back to his room in five minutes where he just manages to grab his key and slip on some shoes (and if they’re his nicest pair of Vans, that’s his business) before running back out. He doesn’t miss the look Zayn gives him, as if he finds this whole ordeal entertaining.

Louis thinks back to the advice Zayn gave him about not letting Harry eat him but he shrugs it off, taking two steps at a time as he rushes to get outside.

When he gets there, he’s met with a disappointingly empty sidewalk. He wonders if maybe Zayn looked amused because he knew Harry wouldn’t show up but those thoughts are cut off by someone clearing their throat behind him.

He turns around and Harry’s standing there, smiling. He’s wearing jeans that are ripped and some ratty band shirt. Louis notices his necklace for the first time then—it’s a paper plane hanging on top of the shirt that Harry is wearing and it has a blue stone engraved into it.

He studies it for a second before moving his eyes back up to Harry’s face which is still bright and earnest. “Hi Louis,” Harry murmurs and his voice is slow, like he’s giving importance to every single word.

“Hi,” Louis says back dumbly and he nearly hits himself in the face but refrains. Instead he tries—and finds it incredibly easy to smile at Harry.

Harry who holds his hand out then, fingers splayed. “Care to join me?”

Louis doesn’t hesitate to slip his fingers through Harry’s. He thinks that maybe he should have but he doesn’t worry about it because he’s too busy staring at their joined hands. Harry’s hand is much larger, almost engulfing his entirely. But they fit together nicely and Louis has to bite his lip to keep his smiling from growing.

He doesn’t know where they’re going but he follows Harry anyways until they get to a small coffee shop. When they walk in, everyone is quiet. They’re all staring at Harry but the curly haired boy doesn’t seem to notice as he walks towards the counter, still hand in hand with Louis.

Louis does notice though and he glares back at anyone staring until they avert their gaze. He sort of wants to yell at them because Harry hasn’t done anything to warrant that sort of behavior from them and if Harry’s not going to defend himself, Louis might as well.

He doesn’t yell though. Instead he turns to Harry who’s pursing his lips as he stares at the menu above their heads.

“Is this our date?” Louis asks quietly and Harry looks over at him, eyes bright.

“It’s the first part,” Harry answers, before turning to the barista. It’s a boy with unruly brown hair and a name tag that reads George. “I’ll just have some tea please. Two spoons of sugar and a bit of milk. Louis?”

The curly haired boy turns to Louis who blinks before he realizes Harry’s asking him for his order. “The same with no sugar.”

George nods at them and he gives Louis a certain look as he’s turning to make their orders. It isn’t necessarily bad or a mean look but it makes Louis’ skin crawl all the same. It’s as if this George person is genuinely curious as to what makes Louis so special and why Harry would be on a date with Louis of all people.

Louis looks down and tries not to think about it because he doesn’t want to get nervous—not over something as silly as a first date.

“Thank you,” Harry says and Louis looks up to see him paying George and grabbing their drinks with the one hand that he has free.

Louis is a bit confused how the curly haired boy manages to carry both drinks in one hand but then a different thought enters his mind.

He halts from where Harry is already tugging them towards the exit. “Harry, wait, I asked you out. I’m supposed to pay!” Louis protests mildly and Harry just winks, completely ignoring Louis’ outburst.

Harry,” Louis complains but the boy is still leading them out of the coffee shop and Louis scowls as he follows after him. He doesn’t let go of Harry’s hand though. Harry’s grip is firm and his hands are soft. He’s not warm but it’s comfortable.

“That’s my name,” Harry agrees before handing Louis his drink.

Louis takes it with a pout and that seems to make Harry smile. He has a pretty smile. It’s wide across his face and it’s sweet. His dimples seem etched into his skin and Louis wants to poke at one.

He refuses to believe that Harry is the guy Stan described because—he’s so—he’s just really fucking lovely. Also, he’s the most beautiful person Louis has ever seen.

He looks even better during the day if that’s even possible. Louis looks down at Harry’s arm then, inspecting the tattoos he didn’t have the chance to earlier.

Louis has no idea where Harry is taking them but he follows anyways, taking tiny sips of his coffee and examining Harry’s arm when he thinks the other boy isn’t looking.

There’s a rose that trails down his arm, over the side of his elbow and there’s three matching pins a bit above that and then up closer to his shoulder the words ‘can I stay?’ are inked. There’s two hands shaking to the left of it and to the right there’s a large black heart. Over them it says, NY and LA and Louis wonders if Harry’s ever been to those places. Thinks about how he’d love to go himself. There’s a LON there too but Louis thinks he knows what that one means.

Even if he tried to figure out the meaning behind each of them, he really doubts he’d get them right. He sort of wants to sit Harry down and make the curly haired boy explain all his tattoos to him but maybe that’s for another day.

He doesn’t think Harry’s the type to get tattoos for no reason and it seems that there’s such a story behind this boy and Louis wants to read him back and forth until he has every single word memorized.

When he looks up, Harry’s staring at him curiously and Louis flushes. “You’ve got a lot of tattoos.”

Harry nods and Louis doesn’t see the tattoo on the back of his neck that he thought he saw last night. It’s clear he had a bit too much to drink.

“Yeah. Lost count of them,” Harry murmurs, examining them briefly before his eyes flick back up to Louis. “Have you got any?”

Louis nods, turning the arm that Harry’s holding over and rolling his sleeve up to his elbow. He shows Harry the tiny stick figure on a skateboard. “Just the one.”

Harry glances it over and Louis watches as a slow smile appears on the boy’s face. Louis notices that he smiles a lot.

“Not as many as you though,” Louis adds after a second and he takes a blithe sip of his tea, nearly burning his tongue.

Harry giggles and Louis melts to a puddle—and no, it’s official, there is no way he’s a slag. Louis refuses to believe that’s even possible—it’s an absolute no.

“No, I think the only person who might have as many as me is Zayn.” Then Harry tugs on Louis’ hand to signal that they’re crossing the road. Louis looks around and he thinks they might actually be off campus at this point.

“That’s crazy, mate,” Louis murmurs when he turns to look back at Harry.

“Just a bit, yeah.”

They’re making another turn and Louis finds himself falling in love with everything that they see. He ends up staring in awe as he tries to take everything and while the scenery all keeps changing, one thing remains constant—Harry’s hand stays steady in his.

It seems that with every sip of his tea that Harry takes, his hand gets warmer. Louis’ own tea is half done and he takes another drink as they cross the street.

He has no idea where Harry is taking them but it feels like a secret adventure. As if they’re sneaking around and Louis thinks that’s partially because he still hasn’t answered the text from Stan that says are u doing anything 2day from hours before.

It’s really nice though, albeit the fact he’s ignoring his best friend. He likes that they’re doing this and that Harry’s taking him around the city without meaning to and that they’re having an actual first date and that Harry has this all planned out.

But he thinks back to how the barista George looked at him earlier and he gets a bad taste in his mouth. He drowns it out with tea before he decides to ask the question on his mind. “Why did you agree?”

Harry is clearly distracted by trying to find wherever they’re going but when Louis asks, he turns towards him with a confused expression. “Huh?”

“To going on a date with me,” Louis explains then he shrugs. “My best friend says you don’t date.” He tries to take another drink from his cup but there’s none left and it’s a bit disappointing when he has to drop it in a trashcan that they’re passing.

Harry tosses his too before he answers. “A lot of people say a lot about me.” There’s a short pause before he continues. “But I’m here, aren’t I?”

“Yeah,” Louis admits and he tries not to think of the way butterflies are exploding in his stomach. He swears he wasn’t this easily swooned by a few simple words the last twenty one years of his life. “But, why me?”

Harry’s grasp slackens for a moment. “You’re different. You’re not scared of me,” Harry says quietly while they’re turning into a nearly empty street.

“Are you saying I should be?” Louis wonders.

It’s not as if it doesn’t occur to him that they’re in a nearly deserted area of London now and that he doesn’t know Harry at all. That this could all be a lot more dangerous than Stan let on but somehow, it doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t feel scared—he’d even go as far as saying he feels safe with Harry which is ridiculous because it hasn’t been a full day.

“I’m saying it would be best for you if you were. But you’re not. Whether that makes you stupid or reckless is beyond me. I’ll take what I can get though.”

Harry’s pace slows and then they’re practically strolling down the street and Louis is sort of in love with the way Harry holds his hand and the way Harry smiles at him. It’s only been an hour.

“You lost me,” Louis confesses just as Harry comes to a stop outside a door that looks like it’s been abused repeatedly for the last ten years. Harry looks at it like it’s something amazing though and Louis guesses that they’re at the second part of their date.

“That was the plan,” Harry tells him, winking and Louis can’t help but snort because Harry seems a lot more suave at first sight then second. He’s a lot cuter now and a lot less intimidating.

“You’re a bit ridiculous, did you know that?” Louis mutters under his breath and Harry just grins before he pushes open the door.

Louis is greeted by a sudden shock of loud voices matched with loud music and he has to blink a few times before he can take in his surroundings. They’re at a bowling alley and there’s little kids running around, parents sitting around laughing, teenagers shrieking in protest while are bright strobe lights flicker on and off.

He dropped Harry’s hand when they entered and when he finally turns to look at the curly haired boy, Harry is standing there laughing at Louis’ face.

Next to him is a purple haired woman who’s hiding her face in what seems to be dismay. “I swear, Styles, I know I told you not to bring food into my-” The woman starts to scold but Harry’s eyes widen and he nudges her before she can finish.

She looks over at him with a flat expression before her face softens and she glances over at Louis before turning back to Harry. “Is he not?”

Harry shakes his head fiercely and Louis is confused and amazed but lately, when is he not.

“Oh,” The woman says blankly before her mouth falls open. “Is—are you—does he—um. Are you here to bowl? Or something else?” She asks and she’s looking at Louis more calculatedly now, much like Zayn did the day before.

“Just here to bowl, Lou,” Harry says before leaning in to whisper something in her ear.

Louis fidgets quietly, unsure what to do. He decides to observe the bowling alley and at first sight, while it does seem like it’s the inside of a rubbish bin, Louis realizes that it’s designed to look that way.

He glances back at Harry and the woman who looks shocked now, eyebrows raised and she’s really examining Louis as if he’s some sort of oddity that happened to stumble into her bowling alley. Which isn’t really wrong when Louis considers it but it’s alarming all the same.

Harry pulls away from her ear and that’s when she brings her hands together in a clap, a smile blooming on her face. “Well alright then. Hello love, I’m Lou Teasdale. Welcome to Atkin’s Bowling Plaza. If you want any help at all, ask me but I’m sure Harry knows his way around. Oh, and if you find a baby crawling around, please do me a favor and bring her to the front.”

“I’ll be sure to,” Louis agrees, his voice raising towards the end so it comes out like a question. Harry rolls his eyes behind Lou and as if she sees it, she reaches back and hits him on the chest. Harry makes an ‘oomph’ sound and knocks back into a pillar and falls with a loud thud.

Lou doesn’t look affected at all, still smiling at Louis as Harry looks up at them from the floor, rubbing the top of his head while pouting.

Louis hesitates before walking past Lou and offering Harry a hand to pull himself up.

Once Harry’s standing, he pulls Louis back towards a counter and it actually is quite a lot to take in but he’s not even focusing on anything except for the way Harry’s grinning as they reach a man covered in tattoos.

“Oi, Styles, haven’t you seen you around in a while. Lux’s been missing you,” The man says, raising an eyebrow as he wipes down the counter with a rag and Louis has a fleeting thought wondering who the man’s talking about.

“Not nearly as much as I’ve missed her, I’m sure,” Harry replies with a grin, dimples popping out before he turns towards Louis. “Lux is their three year old daughter,” Harry explains, hitching a thumb back towards Lou who is greeting someone else at the door.

Louis just nods dumbly and tries not to think of Harry playing with children because he’s sure that he’s going to lose his mind. He’s not sure when he turned into such a teenage girl but he thinks it has a lot more to do with Harry than it does with him.

Harry turns back to the counter, glancing behind the man and Louis realizes that it’s where all the bowling shoes are. He looks down at his own pair of Vans before looking back up.

“Tom, give me my usual. Don’t think my feet have grown recently,” Harry tells him and he gives the man a secret smile that Louis doesn’t understand but clearly Tom does because he chuckles before bending down to get a pair of shoes from underneath the counter.

“Thanks for sharing Harry,” Tom mutters as he hands off the pair to Harry before the man turns his gaze to Louis. “Will you be bowling with this idiot or are you just here as his snack?”

Louis blinks in confusion, turning to Harry because he’s not sure what the right answer is. The curly haired boy looks appalled by Tom’s suggestion and the tattooed man falters from where he’s reaching for another pair of shoes.

His eyes flicker between Harry and Louis for a few seconds before he straightens back up with a new pair of shoes. “Well, that answers that question. Have a good time,” Tom says, his eyebrow still raised and all Louis wants to know is how the man knew his shoe size.

He also wants to know why everyone keeps referring to him as if he’s some type of meal. He’s pretty sure he’s human and also that Harry’s not a maneater.

“Thanks,” Louis says flatly before grabbing the shoes on the counter and looking pointedly towards Harry who, of course, giggles. “Care to lead the way or will I have to do that myself?”

“I can manage it, I think,” Harry replies, fingers hooking on the insides of his own shoes before he starts down the alley, towards where most of the teenagers are.

When they get to an empty lane, Louis sits down in one of the chairs and begins untying his Vans and watches Harry do the same with his own boots. If Louis squints, he swears they have glitter on them. He’s not surprised.

When he manages to slip off one of his shoes, he hears the girls in the next lane over whispering and he can feel their stares boring into his back.

“Jess, is that really him?” A blonde girl wonders and if her voice is meant to be a whisper, she’s not doing a really good job of it.

A black haired girl next to her is a bit quieter, but not by much. “Think so but why would he be at the bowling alley? He’s not with Niall or any of the others, Jordan,” The girl says and Louis nearly turns to glare because he’s almost positive they’re talking about him.

The dark haired girl whose turn it was to bowl moves next to them, peering over at Louis. “Who the hell is that?” She asks and her voice is the loudest so far.

“If we knew, Tina, maybe we wouldn’t be so confused,” The girl named Jordan replies and Louis can hear her rolling her eyes. He wants to roll his own eyes and he also wants to throw the shoe in his hand at them but he refrains, instead rolling up his other sleeve so they’re both up to his elbows.

He slips off his other shoe and he can still feel their eyes on him. When he glances over at Harry, the boy is gone with only his glitter shoes lying abandoned on the floor.

Louis only startles from staring when the girls start talking again. “Then why do you care?” Tina wonders, frowning and Jess sighs from where she’s ducking behind Jordan.

“He’s here with Styles,” She says and Tina’s frowning face turns into one of incredulity.

“Harry Styles?”

“Is there any other Styles?” Jordan retorts, rolling her eyes at Tina who huffs back, crossing her arms.

Louis finally turns to them, glaring. “Is there something I can help you with?” He snaps and Tina shakes her head quickly, grabbing the arm of a girl Louis doesn’t know the name of.

“Elizabeth just wanted to know if you had a spare bowling ball is all,” Tina declares, shoving the girl forward and she looks at him with a bored expression.

“I didn’t ask for anything actually, but all the same, do you have a spare bowling ball?” She wonders, voice dry.

Louis feels an ounce of sympathy for the girl before he gestures widely to their bowling alley. “Take anything you want,” He offers, picking up his shoes and walking over to where Harry’s shoes are. He picks those up too and the one named Jordan opens her mouth when he turns around.

Louis doesn’t stick around to find out what she or they have to say as he walks towards the opposite end of the bowling alley, shoes in tow.

He finds Harry sifting through a bunch of bowling balls in the back of the alley and they’re all pink, differing in shades. Louis feels his lips curl up at the corners before he walks closer in attempt to sneak up on the younger boy but right before he manages to, Harry murmurs, “You’re not stealthy, love.”

Louis pouts and Harry turns around, holding a bright pink bowling ball in his right hand. He’s smiling fondly though and Louis feels his own face flush but despite this, he holds his ground.

“Can we get a different lane?” Louis requests before Harry can start to walk towards their old one. The curly haired boy falters, tilting his head.

“Did something happen while I was gone?” Harry asks and his voice is lower now, his eyes flashing dangerously towards where they’d previously settled down.

“Just some girls being too loud,” and it’s not as if he’s lying necessarily. He’s a firm believer in the fact that omitting the truth isn’t lying.

Harry frowns for the first time that day, eyes drawn tighter than before. “I shouldn’t have left you alone,” He mutters, ducking his head and Louis feels a surge of affection for this boy.

“Don’t be silly,” Louis insists before shrugging his shoulder. “I can take care of myself,” He adds on and Harry looks up again, eyes softer.

“I’m sure you can,” Harry agrees quietly before he looks off to the opposite end of the bowling alley. “C’mon, I know just the spot,” He says and Louis doesn’t hesitate to follow him, his feet sliding on the ground as he's not wearing shoes.

They end up in a cozier section of the bowling alley and on either side of them are two families, both with kids under the age of ten. Louis thanks anyone who’s listening for that fact.

Harry puts his ball down, fiddling with the touch screen set up in front of a table. Louis takes a seat on one of the couches and it’s comfier than he expected it to be.

He watches Harry type in a few things before it asks for the players’ names. Louis sits up straighter, putting on his bowling shoes and stretching to see what the taller boy is putting in as their names but he doesn’t put anything in.

Louis waits for Harry to do something which he finally does when he turns around and beckons towards the screen while picking up his own bowling shoes and putting them on.

“Put me in as Tommo,” Louis suggests and Harry goes to do just that, typing the letters into the system. It was mostly an excuse to watch Harry’s fingers a little longer but like hell he’s going to fess up to that.

“Tommo. I like it,” Harry murmurs thoughtfully, pressing enter on Player 1’s name before moving along to Player 2 and putting in Styles.

“Yeah? What else do you like?” Louis wonders, pushing himself off the seat to go choose from the bowling balls on their lane in attempt to seem indifferent to the question.

Harry chuckles from behind him before the taller boy walks over, plucking out a blue ball easily and handing it to Louis. “Matches the color of your eyes,” Harry explains when Louis looks over curiously and he can’t really help it when his lips turn up on their own accord.

He opens his mouth to say thanks when Harry cuts him off. “I like candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, puppies and hot chocolate. Are you in love with me yet?”

It takes Louis a moment to realize he’s being teased and another moment before letting out a sharp laugh in response. “I’m positively swooning,” Louis promises, placing his fingers in the correct holes of the bowling ball.

He walks over to the actual lane, testing the weight of the ball in his hands. “I suck at this by the way. Just thought I’d mention,” Louis calls to Harry who does nothing but laugh in response. He has a nice laugh though. Louis wouldn’t mind listening to it for the rest of the day.

“I’m being serious,” Louis warns, glancing back to see Harry’s grinning at him.

“Give it a go, I promise not to laugh,” Harry encourages, beckoning towards the bowling lane with his free hand. His other hand is occupied with the pink bowling ball from earlier.

Louis rolls his eyes and turns back to the lane in front of him to his smile. Despite this, he still knows he really is bad at bowling and it’ll be amazing if he can manage to knock down one pin.

Give him a football and he’ll run in circles around you but giving him a ten pound piece of plastic that he has to throw down a lane is like asking him to fly (and trust him, he’s been there and done that—he was eight and it’s still amazing to this day that he only got a broken arm out of the whole ordeal).

Louis shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath before swinging his arm back and letting go of the ball. When he opens his eyes it’s to track the ball with them and he can’t help but hope that he’ll knock down some of the pins and not completely embarrass himself.

It’s clear luck isn’t on his side because just as the ball goes to hit one of the pins, it ends up sliding to right and falling straight into the gutter.

Louis throws up his arms in a dramatic gesture. “Why does this always happen to me?” Louis complains, looking back at Harry who’s smirking.

“’S not that bad,” Harry reasons and Louis glares. He doesn’t bother to reply, going over to get his ball from where the machine spit it back out.

He goes back to the lane, his mouth set in a determined line. Louis swings his arm back, eyes squinted before he lets it go and watches the bowling ball hurtle towards the pin. It goes off tangent again, knocking into two of the pins before sadly falling into the gutter for the second time

“This game is stupid,” Louis mutters, pointedly not looking at the score before plopping down in the seat next to Harry with his arms crossed. Harry smiles at and Louis just huffs. He hears Harry laugh as the taller boy stands up, cracking his back.

“Gross,” Louis groans halfheartedly and Harry, honest to God, sticks his tongue out petulantly before strolling over to the lane.

Louis watches as he takes a few seconds pause before his arm swings back and the pink ball rolls down the bowling lane. He can only stare in disbelief as it hits dead center, knocking down all the pins.

“Of course. He’s pretty and he can hit a strike on his first try,” Louis grumbles under his breath, not intending for the curly haired boy to hear but the short, startled laughter that escapes Harry’s pink lips means he clearly did.

Louis glares at Harry’s back for a few seconds before standing up and shouldering his way past Harry to get his ball from the machine.

Harry just sits down, crossing his legs over one another and grinning. Louis thinks it would be more fun to sit in his lap than actually bowl but his mother didn’t raise a quitter so he grabs the ball and goes to the front of the lane.

He’s lining up to swing when there are fingers brushing against his arm, stopping him. Louis freezes before he realizes that it’s Harry, whose cold hands are reaching down to press against his.

“You’re holding it all wrong,” Harry scolds, lips brushing against his ear and Louis has to stop himself from shivering at the touch.

He can feel Harry’s lean body pressing against his and when Harry uses his body to maneuver Louis’ own, he goes easily. He lets Harry turn him the way he pleases and then Harry’s pulling his hand back, adjusting it how he wants.

Louis doesn’t say it but he thinks they kind of fit together.

“Now let go,” Harry murmurs, giving Louis’ hand a gentle push and he does. He’s so busy reveling in the feeling of Harry so close that when he hears the ball hit the pins, he nearly jumps.

He focuses in time to see all the pins fall over and his mouth falls open in disbelief. “No way.”

Harry just laughs in Louis’ ear, pulling away and Louis instantly misses the feeling of Harry against him. When he turns to Harry, the boy is holding his pink ball and he’s smiling so big that Louis can see his dimples.

The next hour goes the same way, with Harry’s laughter like music in his ears and his smiles at every turn. Louis is more besotted than he has any right to be and he thinks there might be literal hearts shooting from his eyes by the time they get to the tenth frame, he’s actually winning.

It’s mostly because during each of his turns, Harry always finds a way to insure a strike even when Louis is skeptical. The time Harry insisted he did it backwards is still fresh in his mind and even that was a strike.

Also, it would seem the curly haired boy was purposely losing with his sly grins as he hit only nine of the ten bowling pins each time.

But then, when Harry goes up for his next turn, Louis feels a pair of hands resting on his ankle. He looks down in surprise to see a girl that can’t be older than three sitting next to his feet, watching Harry bowl.

“And who are you?” Louis questions softly, reaching down to pick up the girl who stiffens in his arms. He pulls her up into his lap and she stares at him with wide eyes. “Are you lost?”

She gives him an appraising look over before her tiny fists grab one of his arms. “No,” She says, inspecting his arm and he laughs.

“Are you sure about tha-“ He goes to ask but then she’s lifting his arm to her mouth and biting down. Louis immediately flinches, tugging on the girl because her teeth hurt and he’s pretty sure she’s about to start drawing blood.

She doesn’t let up though and he gasps when the skin on his arm breaks but then seconds later, she’s being pulled away and Harry’s standing there giving the girl a disapproving look.

Louis looks down at his arm to size up the damage and there’s a tiny set of bite marks. He can see blood where the girl’s teeth dug in too deep and he frowns.

When he goes to look up at Harry, he’s standing several feet away with his back turned and the girl held in his arms. Louis slowly gets to his feet and starts to walk over but halts when he sees a reflection of Harry’s face on the bowling balls in front of him.

The image is distorted but it looks like Harry’s bleeding out of his eyes, dark veins running beneath them. His mouth is open and are those—are those fangs?

He falters momentarily before he reaches for Harry’s shoulder hesitantly. “Hey, Harry?” He calls softly and the boy immediately freezes and Louis swears he hears a hiss as the boy shakes Louis’ hand off his shoulder, turning away from the bowling balls.

“Harry?” Louis tries again, worry seeping into his voice and this time he hears Harry take a deep breath before he turns back to face Louis, bouncing the little girl in his arms.

Louis blinks in confusion because Harry’s face looks exactly as it did earlier and there are no veins and or sharp teeth in sight. The boy is giving him a tight lipped smile and Louis takes a step back because clearly he’s letting the bite on his arm get to his head if he’s seeing weird hallucinations in bowling balls.

“I’m sorry, Lux is usually well behaved,” Harry apologizes, tongue darting out to wet his lips as he gives the little girl an uncertain look. Louis makes a face of understanding as he remembers this is the owners’ daughter.

“I’m okay, it’s just a little bit of blood,” Louis assures, holding up his arm as proof and Harry flinches back. Louis widens his eyes, staring between his arm and Harry. “Are you okay?”

Harry laughs this nervous little titter that does nothing to reassure Louis at all. “I’m not the one who got bit,” is what Harry replies before he looks back down at Lux who’s staring in between them with a confused expression. “I’m going to go give her to her parents. I’ll grab some paper towels on my way back,” Harry adds on, an uneasy expression on his face before he turns to leave and Louis can just watch him go in bemusement.

He looks back down at his arm and winches. He runs his fingers along the bite mark despite the blood that begins to coat his fingers when he does. He didn’t even know it was possible for a child to bite someone that hard—none of his little sisters ever had.

On the other hand, Louis is a bit sad because their date was going so well and then some cute looking demon child bit him. He frowns just as Harry comes back with a handful paper towels, looking less unhinged now that Lux was gone.

Louis watches his lips turn down at the corners as he inches closer and sees the bite mark. “Here,” Harry says, handing him one of the paper towels which Louis takes gratefully.

He’s too busy dabbing at his arm to notice the way Harry looks like a kicked puppy until the boy finally speaks up. “I’m sorry for ruining our date,” Harry apologizes, eyes sad and Louis snaps his head up immediately.

“What are you talking about?” Louis wonders, scrunching up his nose before letting out a low noise of pain as he dabs too roughly on accident.

Harry’s eyes look even sadder than before motioning towards Louis’ arm.

Louis looks at his own arm before looking over at Harry. “You think a little bite is going to scare me away, Styles? You’ll have to try harder than that,” Louis teases because that’s what he does when situations get too heavy and he’s already having withdrawal from Harry’s smile.

It works because Harry’s face brightens considerably and it’s this hopeful face that Louis has no intentions of letting down. “Really?”

“Yeah, I’m a tough little boy,” Louis promises, flexing the arm without the bite mark and this time Harry smiles, eyes shining,

“I don’t doubt that,” Harry says quietly before holding out his other hand and Louis sees a large bandage in his palm. Harry shrugs, licking his lips uncertainly. “I figured you’d need one.”

“Very thoughtful of you,” Louis compliments with a wink and this time Harry lets out short laugh which he tries to hide by covering his mouth.

He reaches over to take the bandage and Harry’s palm is cool against his fingers. He thinks about taking his hand but he decides he can do that later.

Instead, he rips off the bandage wrapper before taking care to put it properly over the bite and Harry watches him from a distance. When he finishes, he gives it a soft pat before looking over at Harry with a grin. “All patched up.”

“I see that.”

There’s a brief moment of silence before Harry gestures weakly to the bowling lane and asks, “Do you still want to play or are you okay with leaving?”

Louis pretends to think about it for a second before he gasps dramatically, pointing an accusing finger at Harry. “You just don’t want to lose!”

Harry looks mystified at this before he realizes Louis is joking and rolls his eyes. Louis can’t help how big his smile gets or the fact that his eyes start crinkling. “I’m actually quite alright with leaving, if that’s okay with you,” Louis admits, shrugging.

His arm doesn’t hurt as much anymore but he doubts even with Harry’s help that he could keep playing and getting strikes, or even spares for that matter.

“Wouldn’t have offered if it wasn't. C’mon,” Harry says and then hesitates briefly before holding his empty hand out. Louis readily slips his hand into the taller boy’s for the second time that day.

“Where next?” Louis asks and the look Harry sends him is anything but reassuring.

“You’ll see,” Harry says with a smirk as they leave the bowling alley, with the curly haired boy stopping briefly to wave at Tom and Lou who are quietly discussing something behind the counter. They both look up with matching looks of anxiety before waving back.

It’s really none of Louis’ business but he can’t help but feel the look has to do with him and Harry. He feels an uncomfortable chill go down his spine and he turns back to Harry.

“That’s not an answer,” Louis accuses, watching as Harry pulls out his phone, his fingers flying across the screen. Louis thinks he needs some coffee because his brain is too slow for the way Harry’s fingers seem to be blurring together.

Louis isn’t prepared for when a car pulls up, the windows rolled down. He’s even more unprepared for the fact that it’s one of the boys from the night before, the one with brown hair.

Harry briefly lets go of Louis’ hand and walks over to the car. Louis watches with curiosity as Harry bends down to say something quietly to the boy who looks alarmed and shakes his head.

Harry says something else and the boy’s mouth falls open before his gaze flickers to Louis then back before Louis can do anything about it, like wave awkwardly.

Harry shakes his own head before forcefully saying something else and the boy hesitates before nodding. Then he’s speeding off just as Harry steps back from the car.

“What was that?” Louis calls from behind him and Harry turns with a gleam in his eyes.

“You ask too many questions,” Harry replies whimsically, reaching out for Louis’ hand again and intertwining their fingers. “You’re warm,” He says after a moment, eyes wide with wonder.

“And you’re changing the subject. Where are we going?” Louis pouts and Harry’s lips drift down to his lips before snapping back to his eyes. Louis doesn’t dare let himself hope that the curly haired boy was thinking about kissing him.

“To get lunch and then you’re going back to your room because you mister, are hurt,” Harry tells him, tapping his nose and Louis goes cross eyed trying to watch.

Harry giggles, leaning forward accidentally and brushing their noses together in an eskimo kiss. Louis stays still, watching Harry with a challenging look and Harry, the asshole, just laughs before leaning back.

“Not that easy, love,” Harry says, tugging their joined hands and Louis is helpless but to follow.

Before Louis knows it, their date is coming to an end and they’re walking up to the front of the building of his dorm. It feels weird now, knowing that there’s so much out there to see and when he was with Harry he felt like he was in an entirely different universe.One where he could lie on the grass for hours and count the stars or ride a swing as high as it could go. Harry was like a rush and Louis was on his way to becoming an adrenaline junkie.

And fuck, Louis loves it. He loves the feeling of exhilaration Harry brings, even when they’re doing something like just plainly walking. Harry’s an adventure and Louis wants to explore him.

Harry’s still holding his hand as they come to a stop in front of the double doors and Louis doesn’t even think before he blurts, “Thank you.”

Harry turns to him with a surprised expression. “For what?” He asks, tilting his head to look down at Louis curiously.

Louis flushes, feeling small under Harry’s gaze and he rubs the back of his neck nervously before answering, “I don’t know.” There’s a pause where he shrugs. “For going out with me, I guess. Just being you.”

Harry looks even more surprised at that. “You’re thanking me for being me?” Harry repeats, tacking a question mark onto the end and Louis isn’t shy—he’s far from it but in answer he does nothing but duck his head and give Harry a small smile that could definitely pass for bashful.

“Yeah, I am,” Louis agrees. “For being you and not who others expect you to be.” Another shrug. “You’re kind of wonderful, you know that?”

Harry’s smiling now too with dimples and everything and Louis swears he’s never seen someone so alarmingly beautiful in his entire life.

“Not so bad yourself, Louis,” Harry replies before he lifts Louis’ hand to his mouth and brushes his lips across Louis’ knuckles. Harry’s lips are incredibly soft and Louis wants to touch but he doesn’t do anything besides try to keep his smile from growing too wide and contain the fluttering in his stomach.

“You’re on a whole new level of charming,” Louis whispers and Harry just presses one last soft kiss on the back of his hand before dropping it completely.

“I’ll be seeing you,” Harry says and it sounds like a promise just as he starts to walk away.

Louis says nothing and just watches Harry’s back disappearing around the corner. He knows he’s smiling stupidly after him but he doesn’t think he’s ever been on such a lovely date with such a lovely boy.

He’s about to push open one of the double doors when someone yelling his name makes him fall short. “Louis! Louis! Lou, wait up!”

Louis flinches when he recognizes the voice as Stan’s. He turns slowly and gives him an apologetic smile. “Stan,” Louis greets as his best friend jogs his way over.

“You haven’t answered any of my texts! What’s up?” Stan wonders, coming to a full stop in front of him and Louis gives him a tight lipped smile because he isn’t sure what to say that wouldn’t be a lie.

“I was just out. Seeing things. Nothing major,” Louis answers vaguely, digging his toe into the ground before frowning at himself because he remembers these are his nicest pair of shoes.

He also plans on throwing these at Zayn when he gets back because his advice didn’t even apply since Louis wasn’t even wearing his own shoes for over half the date.

“Out?” Stan repeats with furrowed eyebrows, pulling Louis from his thoughts. “With who?”

Louis shrugs and winces when the sleeve of his jumper rubs the wrong way against his bandage. He sees Stan’s gaze immediately drop to where he’s now holding cradling his injured arm and he scolds himself mentally.

The brown haired boy raises an eyebrow and gestures to Louis’ arm. “Are you hurt?”

Louis does a one shouldered shrug instead this time and Stan looks thoroughly unconvinced. When he reaches for Louis’ arm, he hastily pulls it back and shoves his hand in his pocket.

Stan narrows his eyes and reaches out for Louis’ arm again and he’s helpless but to let his best friend grab his wrist and pull up his sleeve.

“What the fuck is that?” Stan exclaims and Louis doesn’t answer him, biting his lip so hard he’s nearly drawing blood.

He has a feeling Stan wouldn’t be too happy with him for going on a date with Harry and he’s not really keen on putting his feeling to the test.

“Stan, it’s fine. I’ve had worse,” Louis reminds, tugging feebly on his arm but Stan’s grip doesn’t let up.

“What exactly is it? Did you get a bruise?” Stan presses on and Louis sighs before rolling his eyes. He doesn’t know why Stan is acting as if Louis’ a five year old but it’s slowly getting on his nerves.

“It’s nothing, just a bite mark.” Louis mutters off handedly but that’s clearly the wrong thing to say because Stan’s grip tightens on his wrist.

“A bite mark?” Stan echoes warily and the look in his eyes is one that Louis doesn’t fancy being on the receiving end of.

“Relax, mate. And let go, would you?” Louis insists, prying Stan’s fingers off of him and Stan lets go without much of a fight.

He rubs his wrist with a frown before meeting Stan’s eyes. “Don’t be such a worry wart,” Louis tells him, trying to tease but his best friend isn’t having any of it.

“Who were you with?” Stan demands and Louis takes a step back in surprise. He’s rarely on this end of things when Stan gets angry because it’s something he tries his best to avoid. He doesn’t understand why Stan’s getting all worked up over a little bite.

“Does it matter?” Louis replies in an attempt to diffuse to the situation but Stan just gives him a hard look. Louis swallows before muttering, “It’s not any of your friends.” This doesn’t appease Stan either because the shorter boy just levels him with a disapproving look this time.

“Who?”

“Stan, just drop it,” Louis pleads but Stan shakes his head forcefully, eyes guarded and mouth set into a thin line. Louis doesn’t like the look at all.

“Louis, you don’t know the things I know. You haven’t seen the things I have. Nothing is what it seems here and you hiding shit is going to put you in danger,” Stan tells him, eyes flashing and Louis scoffs.

“What danger? I’m not a child Stan, don’t treat me like one,” Louis snaps and his previously happy mood evaporates into the air.

All his life he’s been treated like a child and it makes him want to scream. He hates being talked down to as if he’s not capable of understanding the simplest concepts. He’s not stupid, no matter how his reputation precedes him.

He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself, despite people thinking he’s irresponsible and lacking common sense. He especially doesn’t appreciate his best friend talking down to him so sue him if he’s getting a bit upset.

“Well you’re certainly acting like one,” Stan points out and Louis glares, clenching his fists.

“Fine. You want to know that badly? I was with Harry Styles and fuck you if you have a problem with that,” Louis spits out before turning on his heel and slamming the door behind him as he enters his dorm building.

It’s only when he gets to the elevator that he lets out a breath of air he didn’t even know he was holding in. He feels the anger drain out of him as the doors open up to his floor.

When he’s walking to his room, his phone buzzes in his pocket and he hesitates a moment before taking it out and looking at it.

He unlocks the screen and there’s two texts. There’s one from Stan which he deletes without reading and then a text from Harry which he falters before clicking on.

You thanked me earlier but I think maybe I should have been the one thanking you for not listening to what people say about me. So thank you, Louis, for being one of the most open minded and lovely people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet .xx

The text settles the feeling of anxiety in the pit of his stomach and he knows he made the right choice earlier, even if it might lead to a bigger fight with Stan. He knows his friendship with Stan will take this fight and spit it right back out with daisies on top.

Plus, it’s over some ridiculous bandage so maybe once Louis stops feeling like he might strangle his best friend, he’ll text him.

Maybe.

He replies to Harry’s text with a happy looking emoji and a thumbs up. By that point, he’s at his door and when he manages to get his key out of his pocket, he pushes open the door.

Louis expects to see Zayn but instead the blond boy from last night is there and he’s standing on top of Zayn’s desk with a flat screen television in his hands.

He’s holding it like a toy and Louis gapes at him for a second.

The boy turns around then, grinning brightly over at Louis. “Hi, I’m Niall! Nice to meet you. Well, we’ve already met but nice to formally meet you. I’d shake hands with you but they’re both currently occupied for which I apologize greatly. It sucks that we only have two hands, doesn’t it? If we were like monkeys then we could use our feet as hands and—“

“Niall, shut up,” A voice calls and Louis blinks in surprise. He’s still overwhelmed by how the blond boy talks a mile a minute that he nearly falls over when the wall slides open and Zayn steps out.

The wall closes behind him and the blond boy pouts. “That’s not fair, Z! Why can’t I be friends with him too? You and Harry shouldn’t get dibs!”

Zayn sighs, scrubbing a hand over his face tiredly like this is something Niall does all the time. Louis actually wouldn’t be surprised if it was. “Niall, no one has dibs. Louis is a human being with feelings. He is not a thing to place dibs on,” Zayn reminds gently and Niall’s pout grows.

Louis’ eyes shift between them in confusion because he’s not sure he understands what the hell is going on. His day is slowly but surely turning into a mess.

“Why am I the only one you lecture? You never do this to Liam or Harry!” Niall complains, letting go of the television with one hand and Louis nearly steps forward to make sure it doesn’t fall but Niall is still holding the flat screen easily.

Louis sneaks a quick glance at his own arms and thinks maybe he needs to start going to the gym more often. He looks back over at Niall and Zayn, the latter who’s rolling his eyes.

“Because we all know Harry would kick my arse before I gave him a lecture and Liam’s too busy giving me lectures on what’s acceptable in public and not,” Zayn reminds before he starts pouting himself. Jesus, how did Louis end up in a room full of pretty pouting people?

“Yeah, but I’m sure putting your dick into him is acceptable,” Niall mutters offhandedly before turning back to the television.

“Niall!” Zayn chastises and Niall shrugs. Louis is seriously beginning to worry for the flat screen at this point but he doesn’t speak up, too entertained by their argument that isn’t even an argument.

“It’s true!” Niall defends before sighing. “Fine, fine. I won’t bother the new guy that much, okay?”

Louis does speak up then, waving one of his hands idly. “I’m right here,” He reminds and they both give him withering looks.

“We know,” They say at the same time before giving each other suspicious looks.

Louis’ eye catches on the fact that Zayn is rubbing the skin between his fingers of his left hand and when Louis blinks, he realizes that Zayn has a ring on. It has the same blue crystal that Harry’s necklace has, if Louis is seeing things correctly.

He looks back up at their faces and Niall is looking at Zayn’s ring finger too, albeit with a softer expression than Louis he is (mainly because he’s confused).

“I can’t believe you two are still in your honeymoon phase,” Niall mutters but his tone is fond now and Louis has to backtrack because that can’t possibly mean what he thinks it means.

Zayn’s only twenty, he’s younger than Louis. There’s no way that he’s stupid enough to tie himself down and get married—especially with a face like that.

But it would seem Louis is wrong because Zayn smiles down at his finger with the softest expression that Louis has seen on the younger boy thus far.

“You say that like it’s been a while,” Zayn says softly, twisting the ring idly now as he looks back up at Niall through his eyelashes which, Louis sadly notices, are longer than his.

“Pretty sure it’s been a while,” Niall scoffs but the blonde boy is grinning and he turns his attention back to the wall, where Louis watches as he starts to set the flat screen.

Louis is only half listening to their conversation—mostly because he doesn’t know the background of what they’re talking about so it does nothing but leave him lost.

“You can’t measure in time when you have forever,” Zayn murmurs, before pushing his hands against the desk and climbing up himself to help Niall.

“Okay, you’re starting to sound like Harry and it’s freaking me out,” Niall replies, fiddling with a wire and Louis perks up at the mention of the curly haired boy’s name.

Zayn notices because he starts smirking and he whispers something into Niall’s ear whose eyes widen in reply. He lets go off the wires completely and hops off the desk.

“So, you went on a date with Harry,” Niall starts and Louis takes a step back automatically—he doesn’t know why, but his body moves without his assent.

“Yeah,” Louis agrees slowly, biting on his bottom lip again. He can taste blood on his tongue and he cringes at the taste.

Niall takes his own step back then, arm reaching back to nudge Zayn’s leg. “You’re bleeding. Also, how was it?” He asks, leaning his back against the desk.

“It was… nice,” Louis settles on saying before turning his back on them to grab a tissue from a box he’d set out the previous day. He dabs at his lip and wonders why he keeps bleeding today.

“Nice?” Niall repeats, before furrowing his eyebrows. “Did you say nice?”

Louis gives him a weird look because he’d think Harry’s friends would know better than to think he’s a maneater of some sort. It’s an option Louis had completely ruled out but the look on Niall’s face gives him second doubts.

“Well, he was nice?” Louis tries and he flinches when Zayn hops down from the table as well. The flat screen looks like it was set up by a professional and clearly his roommate has some talents they need to discuss.

“Harry’s always nice,” Niall says with a snort and Zayn nods seriously next to him. “But the dates never are.”

“What happened to your arm?” Zayn asks, gesturing widely and Louis frowns, remembering his conversation with Stan.

He answers anyways. “I got bit,” Louis says and both of the other boys freeze with matching appalled looks. Louis blinks in surprise because he doesn’t think he’s said anything wrong.

“What do you mean you got bit?” Zayn demands in a flat tone and Niall is starting to look nervous. Louis gives him another weird look for that.

“I mean I got bit. You know? Teeth in the skin? Biting?” Louis makes a biting noise and that seems to shake Niall out of his reverie.

“And you remember?” Niall asks incredulously.

“Why wouldn’t I remember? Not likely to forget a three year-old chomping on my arm,” Louis answers, eyebrow raised.

Now that he’s thinking about it, his arm really is sore. He kind of wants to go to bed and not get up for the next week or so. It’s a plan he’s considering carrying out.

“Three year—oh, oh.” And then Niall promptly starts laughing. Zayn looks like he’s trying to fight a smile too but he doesn’t say anything. “Lux is a bit of a biter, isn’t she?”

Louis gives him a dirty look as he turns throw away the slightly bloody tissue in his hand.

When he turns around, Zayn is nudging Niall meaningfully and he has his leather jacket swung over his arm. Niall looks apologetic when he turns to Louis. “We have some place to be. But, toss me your phone and I’ll program all our numbers in there if you ever want to hang out, yeah?”

Then he smiles all brightly, eyes wide and his pupils seem to dilate. Louis has no idea what he’s doing as he reaches into his pocket and tosses Niall his phone.

“You’re not supposed to do that,” Zayn hisses, looking in Louis’ direction.

“Oh, he’ll be fine,” Niall mutters, typing into Louis’ phone with his thumbs flying across the screen. “Won’t you, Louis?”

Louis finds himself nodding despite the fact he has no idea what Niall is talking about. He feels dizzy and he’s not sure why.

“Niall, don’t push it,” Zayn advises before pinching the bridge of nose. “If Harry seriously likes him, he’ll be mad at us. And become paranoid. And then make a vervain bracelet or something. It’ll be like that time he tried knitting except this time it’ll be while he’s mad at us.”

The blond boy sighs at that, rolling his eyes good naturedly. “I suppose you’re right.”

“When am I not?”

“Don’t make me answer that question,” Niall says before turning back to Louis who has been watching the whole ordeal silently. His eyes dilate again. “Forget this happened. Go take a nap.”

Louis’ entire mind goes blank and all he feels is his legs moving until he finds his bed. He’s asleep before his head hits his pillow.

The next week is a whirlwind of preparing for classes and settling in. Louis has to do it alone because he’s actively avoiding Stan and he doesn’t know anyone else except for Harry and his group of friends.

And he’s not so lonely to the point that he’s going to ask them to take him around campus. Not to mention, every time he so much as passes by someone, they give him this wide eyed stare like they can’t believe he’s a real person.

He hears whispers about how he was brave enough to go talk to Styles. Louis glowers at them because they say Harry’s name like it’s some sort of disease that will catch.

If he’s honest, he’s hoping they catch a few choice diseases themselves.

Despite the fact that the entire student population is made up of dumbasses, he likes the classes. He has meetings with a few of his teachers and he ends up liking most of them. They’re all witty and kind which Louis generally prefers in a person.

In the back of his mind, he’s filled with disbelief that he’s had more progress making friends with the teachers in the university than the actual students.

There’s Harry, of course.

Harry who texts him a few several times a day, usually something stupid and cute that will occasionally surprise a laugh out of him.

He likes what they have. It’s easy and uncomplicated.

With his whole roommate situation, he thinks they’ve made some progress. Zayn occasionally cracks a smile at Louis’ musings about how dumb everyone is and they watch America’s Next Top Model together sometimes.

At some point, Zayn must’ve set up the flat screen because he woke up from a nap one day and it was just there, waiting for use.

He sees Niall sometimes, the blond boy from their group, when he’s walking around campus. He seems to be a people person despite the rumors about him.

One time he’s in the library, checking it out, and he sees the last boy from the group, Liam. He doesn’t say hello but he observes from a distance for a while.

He notices that the brown haired boy has a ring on left hand similar to Zayn’s. He wonders if that means anything. He’s also noticed that Niall has a wristband with the same stone and he wonders if maybe they’re all in a cult.

It’s completely plausible but that makes him wonder why they picked such a pretty stone. Then he realizes his imagination is getting out of hand and he leaves the library after checking out a book for one of his classes.

Louis doesn’t see Harry around though and he doesn’t know why. He even sees Zayn brooding in a corner one day, lighting a cigarette with a match (which in itself is strange because why couldn’t he just use a lighter? But Louis doesn’t ask questions because the whole lot of them are weird).

His classes are all late afternoon so he sleeps in and usually when he wakes up, Zayn isn’t there. Louis was right before when he said the dark haired boy would barely be there because he’s only ever there a few hours before and after Louis’ classes end.

Louis doesn’t even think Zayn sleeps in their dorm most nights.

The solitude is nice though, in the way that he gets his own privacy and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t try the code to the secret lair a few times.

It’s a week after classes start that he sees Harry.

He knows the curly haired boy isn’t avoiding him like he is Stan because the number of texts he gets from the boy increases per day. They text late into the night and Louis sometimes wakes up with a stupid smile on his face and Zayn smirking at him like he knows exactly who Louis was dreaming of.

On a Tuesday, he gets out of class and it’s raining outside. Louis decides he hates England and wants to move somewhere where it never rains like Sahara desert. It seems like a better option than the water that’s pouring on his head as he walks to his dorm.

He curses under his breath for forgetting an umbrella earlier that morning and pulls his coat tighter again his body.

It’s when he’s halfway there that Louis sees something in the corner of his eye. When he looks, there’s nothing there. He frowns but keeps walking.

Louis sees it again but from the other eye this time and he full on stops, squinting though the rain but there’s still nothing there.

He narrows his eyes before he continues walking, faster than before and in his mind, he argues it’s because he wants to get out of the rain as quick as possible. He doesn’t believe it himself.

At some point, he sees the same thing from the corner of his eye zip right past him and it’s gone before he can blink.

He’s so startled that it takes him a moment to realize it’s not raining anymore. Louis looks up in confusion only to realize he’s underneath a large umbrella. He turns to look at the person on his side and it’s Harry with a side of dimples.

“I’d offer you a ride because you’re getting wet, but I don’t have a car and you’re not a girl,” is the first thing that Harry says, eyes twinkling with mirth.

It takes Louis a second to catch up with what’s happening before he lets out a laugh. “Was that supposed to be an innuendo?”

Harry shrugs, licking his lips and Louis follows the motion absently. “It was good,” Harry defends and his free hand rests on Louis’ back, pushing him forward gently.

Louis realizes he stopped walking and shakes his head before he starts walking alongside Harry. The taller boy’s hand doesn’t move from his lower back.

“It was bad. Really bad,” Louis tells him, a smile pulling at his lips.

Harry pouts at that. “But I’m funny, Louis!”

Louis’ worries fade away then and he grins, reaching up to pinch one of Harry’s cheeks lightly. “Whatever you say, love,” Louis mocks, before laughing.

“See if I ever let you under my umbrella again,” Harry grumbles under his breath but his hand is a steady weight pressed again Louis. He feels warm where Harry’s pressing and it’s nice.

“Sorry, did I hurt your feelings, love?” Louis teases and Harry makes an affronted sound.

“I like the endearment love, is that so wrong?”

“No, it’s cute. Just like the rest of you,” Louis says, biting back a grin at the look Harry gets because of those words.

“Cute. Huh,” Harry mutters to himself before smiling over at Louis. “So where is a man like you going to in this weather?”

“Just planning on heading to the beach actually. Care to join me?” Louis asks dryly and Harry giggles because he’s an idiot that Louis happens to be very fond of.

“But I haven’t got my swim trunks,” Harry points out which Louis raises an eyebrow at that. He has half the mind to kiss Harry but he refuses to give into the cliché of kissing in the rain.

Louis bristles quietly before he shrugs. “Nudity isn’t a problem.”

Harry just smirks at that and doesn’t say anything else. He lets Louis lead the way, following after him while humming something under his breath which Louis actually recognizes.

It’s something Harry sent Louis a link to a few days ago and the fact he remembers something simple and irrelevant should send him a huge sign but he chooses to ignore it.

They get to Louis’ dorm and he sighs regretfully. “This is me,” Louis reminds, gesturing behind him and Harry’s smiling like he knows something Louis doesn’t.

“Okay,” Harry says before nodding towards the doors. “Am I going to have to open the door or will you?”

Louis falters before raising an eyebrow. “Are you coming in?”

Harry gives him look that belongs on the face of a fifteen year old girl and it reads obviously. “Well you didn’t think I was going to stand out here in the rain, did you? Plus, I’ve only seen your room through the window late at night when you’re sleeping.”

Louis isn’t impressed.

Harry seems to get that because he frowns. “Either I’m a really bad liar or you actually want me to be watching while you sleep. I’m not sure which is worse.”

“The first, Harry. Always the first,” Louis informs before stepping out from underneath the umbrella to push open one of the doors. He holds it open for Harry who smiles gratefully.

Louis likes when Harry smiles at him.

When they get to his floor and Louis is trying to find his key, Harry speaks up. “I lied by the way,” He admits and Louis looks up with a curious expression.

He gets the door unlocked and pushes it open first, stepping inside. “About what?”

“I have been here before. Just not when you were in this school. It was Zayn and Niall’s dorm last year,” Harry says and Louis thinks a lot things suddenly make sense now before saying as much.

Harry smiles hesitantly as he steps aside, letting the curly haired boy through. Louis watches as he sets his umbrella down on the floor before making his way over to Louis’ side of the room.

Louis sits down on his bed, letting Harry make his way through the photographs he has pinned up. Two days ago, he got around to pinning up his concert tickets too and that’s the next thing he goes to.

Harry stops at one of them, reaching up brush his finger along the edge before looking over at Louis curiously. “The Script, Manchester, 2009?” He asks and Louis has never seen his eyes that bright.

“Yeah,” Louis answers, nodding slowly before crossing his ankles and leaning back on his arms. “Was a good concert.”

Harry grins, before ducking his head. “I know. I was there.”

Louis raises his eyebrows. “You’re lying, no way,” He says because fuck destiny, he could have met Harry four years ago?

Harry just shakes his head while looking at the ticket in awe. “I thought we already established I was a bad liar,” He replies and Louis can’t help the smile on his face.

“Cheeky,” He mutters before shaking his head. “We were at the same concert?”

Harry’s smile keeps growing, even as he nods. “Apparently so.” There’s a pause where he looks over at Louis, biting on his bottom lip. “Do you believe in fate?”

Louis laughs quietly before saying, “I suppose I do, just a bit, yeah.”

That makes Harry slowly walk over to Louis’ bed before sitting next to him. “Do you think we were meant to meet?”

Louis gives Harry a sidelong look before shrugging and murmuring, “I think we wouldn’t be here right now if we weren’t, Harry.”

“I think you’re beautiful,” is what Harry replies and Louis lets out a sharp laugh in surprise.

“Are we talking about Harry Styles? I think he’s always wonderful,” Louis whispers in a conspiring voice and Harry giggles before rolling his eyes.

“You’re so dumb,” Harry whispers back fondly and Louis doesn’t know why but that’s all it takes for him to lean forward and kiss Harry.

He pulls away just as quickly but he can still feel Harry’s soft lips against his and it’s better than words can explain.

Harry is staring at him in wonder, lips parted and eyes glossy. Louis is pretty sure it isn’t normal to want to kiss someone again so soon after just kissing them but somehow, this stupidly cute boy in front of him is making him act more bizarre than usual.

“You kissed me,” Harry murmurs, gaze falling to Louis’ lips before back up to his eyes.

“Did I?” Louis teases and if his voice is a little breathless, Harry doesn’t comment on it. Instead, the younger boy just smiles serenely at him.

“Yeah, you did,” He answers before his eyes lock on Louis’. His pupils dilate as he murmurs, “Close your eyes.”

Louis does just that and he feels a cool hand against his jaw. He holds his breath in anticipation but nothing happens. He’s momentarily disappointed before Harry starts to trace Louis’ lips with his thumb.

“I want to kiss you,” Harry tells him, voice quiet and Louis can feel Harry’s warm breath against his face. It smells like hot chocolate and Louis wants to lick the taste out of Harry’s mouth.

“What's stopping you?” Louis wonders and he still doesn’t open his eyes. He wants to but he doesn’t think he can.

Harry sighs and his noses brushes against Louis’. “There’s a lot that should be stopping me,” He answers and Louis catches the slip.

“Should?” Louis tries hopefully and his answer is lips pressed against his own.

Harry’s lips are closed but Louis thinks that’s okay because he can lick the taste out of them another time. He doesn’t mind this—this soft press of lips and Harry’s fingers playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.

Louis reaches one hand up to rest against Harry’s face but he starts a little when the skin beneath Harry’s eyes feels bumpy.

The kiss ends abruptly and he hears Harry get up. “Where are you going?” Louis asks and he can’t help the way his voice falls.

He can almost hear Harry’s hesitation before the boy leans down and presses one chaste kiss against Louis’ lips. “You’ll see me soon. Don't open your eyes until I’m gone,” Harry tells him and then there’s a rush of wind, followed by the door closing.

Louis blinks his eyes open to an empty room and he thinks it’s not the only thing that feels empty.

He doesn’t know what this thing he has with Harry is. He doesn’t know what he’s doing or what’s happening. Lately, he feels so lost but there’s some sadistic part of him that likes it. Likes that he’s lost because it means the adventure has only just begun.

He raises a hand to his lips and blinks like it’ll bring Harry back. It doesn’t.

Louis sighs and stands up, stretching before walking over to the concert ticket Harry had been looking at. He hopes that if fate is looking down at him right now, she’ll realize she did the right thing.

He’s about to get grab some food when he notices something on his desk. It’s a bracelet and it’s just a measly brown piece of string attached to a little pouch with an insignia. Louis picks it up carefully and when he looks at the desk, there’s no note attached.

It’s not heavy and Louis stares at it for a few brief seconds before deciding he’ll ask Zayn if it’s his or if maybe Harry left it.

In the meantime, he slips it on gingerly, testing the weight against his wrist and it’s comfortable enough that he decides to keep it on.

Later when Zayn walks in while Louis is doing some homework, he quickly slips it off before holding it up to the younger boy. “Is this yours?”

Zayn hums distractedly before looking over. Louis watches as he squints in confusion before walking over to Louis’ side of the room.

He carefully takes the bracelet from Louis’ fingers and lifts it up to look at it more closely. There’s a second where Louis swears that Zayn sniffs the thing before his eyes widen and he drops the bracelet into Louis’ open palm.

“I believe that’s for you,” is Zayn’s cryptic reply as he walks over to his own side of the room and collapses on his bed.

“Me?” Louis repeats, raising an eyebrow and Zayn chuckles in response.

“Was Harry by earlier?” Zayn asks instead while his laptop hums to life. Louis wonders what Zayn’s classes even are. He hasn’t had the nerve to ask but he’s sure he will one day.

Louis looks away from the laptop to look at Zayn’s face. “Yeah, why?”

Zayn laughs like the answer is the most obvious thing in the world and Louis shifts uncomfortably in response. “Who do you think got you the bracelet?” Zayn coos, before he starts typing and effectively brings an end to their conversation.

Louis looks back down at the bracelet in confusion and discreetly sniffs it himself. It smells a little like lemons which is strange. It actually happens to smell like Zayn’s morning tea a bit.

“Weird,” Louis mutters to himself before slipping the bracelet back on to his wrist. If it makes him feel a bit safer now too, he doesn’t know why.

When he goes to sleep that night, he can’t help but smile at the thought that Harry thought of him at some point in time and decided to get him something as meaningless as a small bracelet but at the same time it means so much that Louis doesn’t think he can begin to understand.

He’s never had that. A relationship where people get each other gifts like flowers or in this case, bracelets. He’s slept with more guys than his fingers can count but he’s only had one real relationship and it was with a girl when he was sixteen and still in the closet so he was the one getting her flowers.

This is—it’s different. This is Harry with his bright eyes and lovely smiles and cute giggles and charming personality. This is Harry who Louis likes more than he should.

This is Harry, the guy who’s finally setting him free.

It’s a few days later than he runs into Niall, quite literally and drops his books. Before he can even look down, Niall has picked them up and is holding them out to him.

Louis blinks in confusion before taking them. “Sorry,” He apologizes before adding, “and thanks.”

Niall laughs before shrugging. “No big deal. Where are you headed?” He wonders, eyes lighting up mischievously.

Louis understands that look all too well. “Just getting a snack before I start studying. What about you?” He asks, shifting the weight of his books to one arm.

Niall grins then, before grabbing Louis’ newly free arm and tugging. “I know just the place!” He says excitedly and Louis has no choice but to follow after him.

It’s not like he has many friends here anyways. The feeling is weird—having close to no friends. He’s used to being the center of attention and he likes it. He’s never known loneliness but now that he has it, he finds himself not really minding.

With four sisters at home, he’s never really had time to appreciate the silence that comes with being alone. He’s never had time to himself. When he wasn’t at home, he was with his friends doing all kinds of stupid shit that got him into trouble a good percentage of the time.

Now, it’s just him.

Still, he wouldn’t mind the company occasionally so he lets Niall drag him wherever they’re going. It turns out to be some burger place and Niall doesn’t even end up eating a burger himself.

Louis doesn’t complain though because Niall pays and leads them to some table in the front corner before sitting in front of him with a grin that’s slightly scary. He notes that it’s very similar to Zayn’s scary grin.

“So what are your intentions with my son?” Niall asks in such a serious tone that Louis actually looks up from his fries with wide eyes but the blond is still smiling so he can’t honestly be doubting Louis. He thinks.

“Your son?”

Niall rolls his eyes and Louis sticks another fry in his mouth, raising an eyebrow.

“My son, you know, like oh, my son! There’s my son, Harry! How are you, my son?” Niall tries and Louis splutters for a moment before choking on his fry. He quickly takes a drink of his soda before clearing his throat and laughing.

“My God, are you all actually in a cult?” Louis asks, wiping his eyes which are teary.

Niall furrows his eyebrows before shrugging. “Doesn’t matter. What are you intentions with my son?”

Louis laughs again before schooling his face into a serious expression. “My intentions are completely holy, sir. I swear.” He makes an exaggerated gesture of crossing his heart and Niall’s entire façade breaks as he starts laughing, head falling onto the table.

“I’m going to enjoy having you around,” Niall tells him, before running a hand through his hair and Louis can see his bracelet with the blue stone more clearly.

He’s about to ask what the whole stone thing is about when Niall’s phone buzzes where it’s on the table. Niall takes a quick glance at it before looking over at Louis.

“That would be my cue. Nice talking to you, Louis. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of each other soon,” Niall says, standing up and pretending to tip his imaginary hat.

Louis waves in confusion and the blond boy disappears out the door. Seconds after he’s gone, one of the waitresses come over looking anxious.

“Are you alright?” She asks, eyes wide with worry and Louis gives her a weird look.

“I’m fine, thanks. Just eating,” Louis informs, gesturing towards his half eaten burger and the waitress gives him a nervous smile.

She hesitates before saying, “You’re completely sure?” and Louis nods, taking a fry and pointedly biting into it.

The waitress looks flustered but she leaves. Louis isn’t sure why she came over until he remembers what Stan said on the first day about how Harry and his friends were ‘weird’ and how wary everyone in the club was wary like they were going to bite someone’s head off.

He feels offended on their behalf and although he hasn’t met Liam yet, of the three he has met none of them have been particularly rude or mean to him. They’re all a bit weird, yeah, but who isn’t. Louis feels the need to glare at the waitress but when he looks over, she’s with another two of the workers in front of a door and they’re all whispering while occasionally pointing at him.

Louis feels distinctly wrong footed so he grabs his food and wraps it up before shoving it into the paper bag that Niall bought it in. He leaves without saying anything and they watch him go.

It’s only when he gets outside that he thinks he smelled blood.

He’s in his Ancient and Medieval Theatre lecture class when his phone buzzes. Louis tries to discreetly take it out without getting anyone’s attention and when he looks at the screen, it’s a text from Harry.

Fancy going ballroom dancing?

Louis has to bite his lip to keep from laughing.

I say we should old chap..away to it now ??

He sees a little blob on his screen which means Harry is typing and in seconds there’s a reply. Louis has never met anyone who types as quickly as Harry and it continues to astound him every single day they text even though it’s been nearly three weeks.

Oh shut up, you’re in class right now, aren’t you? But I was wondering, if you’d actually fancy spending some time with me later this evening?

Louis can’t text back fast enough. The last time he saw Harry was two days back when he was getting coffee and promptly spilled it on the younger boy who just smiled like hot coffee was pleasant when it was soaking through his shirt.

He’s stupid in the best way Louis has ever known.

Depends on what are we doing !!

Louis sees the blob pop back up just in time for the teacher to dismiss the class. He grabs his folder and notebook, shoving them both under his arm and rushing out the door. Some people give him weird looks but he doesn’t care as he leans his back against the wall and looks back at his phone.

You’ll see.

They end up going to a drive in movie theater and Louis mocks Harry for it the entire time they drive there.

“I can’t believe we’re actually doing this,” Louis whispers and Harry just levels him with a flat look (it’s not as flat as he’d like since Louis still thinks he looks really cute).

“We’re not in an actual movie theater,” Harry reminds before he starts fiddling with the radio station. Louis doesn’t even think this is Harry’s car because it looks older than him but then again, Harry’s some kind of indie hipster freak so it’s entirely possible that he bought a car that looked this old on purpose.

“I know, that’s why I’m laughing at you,” Louis points out, grinning when Harry sticks his tongue out. He does that a lot. He has a pretty good Miley Cyrus impression going, actually.

“I meant that you don’t have to whisper, love,” Harry replies, before leaning back in his seat with a grin. There’s about five minutes until the movie’s meant to start and Harry’s apparently got it on the right station so Louis isn’t questioning it.

What he is questioning is how the fuck there are actual drive in theaters in London and how Harry managed to find one. When he asked, Harry’s reply was, “I know a person,” which did nothing to actually help Louis’ curiosity.

Louis isn’t even sure what movie they’re watching but he supposes time spent with Harry is never bad. Clearly Harry isn’t familiar with this notion because a minute later, he opens his car door. “I’m going to go get some snacks so you don’t miss the movie,” Harry explains and how Louis ended up on another date with someone so lovely is so beyond him.

Louis nods and Harry grins before shutting the door.

Then it’s just Louis in the car for fifteen minutes and when the movie finally turns on, it’s something Louis has seen a dozen times in the past. He’s not one to complain though (at least not when it’s important) so he sits there and watches.

Harry comes back soon enough with a large bucket of popcorn, a tray of nachos, a few packets of candy and a soda. Louis gapes momentarily because Harry’s hands are huge and then again because are they meant to be able to finish all that?

“What’s all this then?” Louis asks, taking the nachos from Harry’s left hand so he can get inside without dropping anything.

“Food for you, sunshine,” Harry answers with a teasing grin while setting down the drinks and candy. He holds the popcorn in his lap but he doesn’t look like he’s going to be eating any.

“Here, have a nacho, cutie,” Louis offers in the same tone and Harry shakes his head, a smirk on his face.

Louis looks down at the nachos and he doesn’t see anything wrong with them so he tilts his head curiously and Harry rolls his eyes. Louis shrugs and puts one in his own mouth.

At some point, Harry gets up and throws out the popcorn once it’s established neither of them are going to eat it and now all that’s left is the empty nacho container which is filled with candy wrappers. Harry is drinking the soda and all Louis can focus on his lips.

Halfway through the film, Louis starts to get antsy. It’s just that—he’s seen this film a lot of times. And Harry’s sitting there being all pretty and well, Louis has never been one to resist temptation.

It’s all Harry’s fault anyways with the way he’s suggestively sucking on the straw and you know what, okay, maybe Louis has heard one too many songs about car sex but that’s so not the point.

“Harry,” Louis calls softly and Harry briefly stops sucking on the straw to look over at Louis with a smile.

“Yeah?” Harry asks and then promptly starts sucking earnestly on the straw again because of course, fate isn’t all that nice after all.

“Well—actually, never mind,” Louis decides after a moment because it’s not like he can blurt out I’d really like to suck your dick, thanks without Harry spilling his soda all over himself.

Harry gives a bemused look before shrugging with a smile and turning back to the film. Louis tries to think of way that he can come out of this sucking Harry’s dick but really, he can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be awkward.

Finally Louis gives up on thinking of some clever plot and just turns to Harry. The curly haired boy gives him a curious side look and Louis clears his throat before announcing, “Harry, I’ve seen this movie at least thirteen times.”

Harry's eyes widen in confusion before his expression shifts to something more appalled. “Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

Louis sighs, rolling his eyes good naturedly before smiling. “I was watching you instead. You have a really nice—well, everything. I didn’t mind. But now I’m a bit bored,” He admits and gives Harry a suggestive look.

Harry doesn’t seem to get it because he puts the drink down and his expression is worried. “Do you want to do something else? Because we can,” Harry offers, lips turning down in a frown and well, fuck that.

“I had something in mind, yeah. But we don’t need to leave,” Louis says slowly, biting his bottom lip to keep from smiling at how oblivious Harry is being.

The curly haired boy’s frown deepens and he takes a quick glance at their surroundings before asking, “And what’s that?”

“This,” Louis says before pulling Harry by the scarf he’s wearing and tugging him into a kiss. Harry makes a surprised sound and Louis uses that as an excuse to slip his tongue in. He’s determined to lick the taste out of Harry’s mouth this time.

Harry relaxes after a few seconds and starts kissing Louis back, one of his hands coming up to cup Louis’ jaw. Louis tries not to grin as he pushes Harry against his seat and stops kissing him to suck a love bite at the base of his throat.

Harry makes a sound that goes straight to his dick and in return Louis bites down right above his collarbone before soothing it over with his tongue.

Harry’s hips thrust up towards nothing and Louis plans to change that as soon as possible but before he does, he goes to kiss Harry again whose eyes are hooded.

He bites down on Harry’s bottom lip and the curly haired boy lets out a breathy sigh before he murmurs, “You’re a bitey one, aren’t you?” and Louis grins, teeth and all.

“My sharp teeth come into use sometimes,” Louis agrees and his hands slip down to unbutton Harry’s jeans.

Louis nearly laughs at Harry’s response to that which is grabbing his scarf and covering his own face. He doesn’t though because his mouth could be busy with other things.

After he finishes unzipping Harry's jeans, he gives a tug and Harry’s hips lift off the seat just enough so that Louis can pull them down to his knees.

Louis leans down to mouth at the bulge in Harry’s pants and the curly haired boy whines behind the stupid scarf on his head. Louis smiles against the skin of Harry’s thighs before he decides they’re a bit too pale for his liking and gets down to marking them.

He’s too busy sucking bruises into Harry’s thighs to even acknowledge his dick but when Harry tries, Louis pulls away from his thighs and bats at his hands. “No,” Louis scolds before he slips his fingers into the waistband of Harry’s pants and tugs, letting his cock free.

“You’re actually sucking me off while we’re at a drive in,” Harry says in disbelief, voice muffled and Louis flashes him a pretty smile he can’t see before ducking down to press his lips to the underside of Harry’s cock.

He does that for another minute before Harry starts bucking impatiently and Louis bites him as a reprimand. Harry settles after that and Louis decides he’s teased him enough and presses his tongue against the head of Harry’s cock.

The younger boy is making pretty noises and Louis wants to make him make more but before he does, he pushes himself up and tells Harry, “Start driving back.”

Harry splutters for a second and then Louis hears him take a deep breath before he pulls the scarf off his head. “You want me drive?” Harry repeats and Louis just levels him with a look that makes Harry turn the key in the ignition immediately.

Louis just grins before ducking his head back down and guiding Harry’s cock into his mouth. Harry curses under his breath but then the car starts moving and Louis is very satisfied with how his life is going.

When they hit a bump in the road, Louis gags but he doesn’t stop. He just pulls back slightly to lick at the head before going back down and breathing through his nose.

In the corner of his eye he can see that Harry’s grip on the steering wheel is pretty much a death grip and he feels proud that he’s responsible.

His hands are rested on Harry’s thighs and he brushes his thumb against one of the bruises that are forming and Harry whines lowly in the back of his throat.

Louis looks up at Harry from his eyelashes and one of Harry’s hands reaches down to wipe a streak of pre-come on the side of Louis’ lip. He hastily pulls off at that and gives Harry an exasperated look. “Both hands on the steering wheel, Styles,” Louis reminds before taking Harry’s cock in his fist.

He can hear Harry’s shallow breaths and he smirks before going down on Harry’s cock again until he reaches his fist. He pumps what he doesn’t fit in his mouth and when Harry comes, he swallows it before sitting back up in his seat.

Harry’s face is flushed and he’s out of breath but he’s not moving to pull his pants up which makes Louis raise an eyebrow. He leans over to do it himself and Harry manages to give him a grateful smile just as they pull into the student parking lot.

“I can’t believe you did that,” Harry wheezes and Louis just shrugs, staring at his hard on which is clearly visible in his jeans and Harry looks over as he parks the car.

He pulls the key out before smiling mischievously, dimples and all. “Seems only fair for me to return to the favor,” Harry tells him and Louis decides right there and then that no one in this world is better than Harry Styles.

Louis is sitting on the grass outside his dorm one afternoon after his last class and writing a draft for his essay when a shadow looms over him.

He looks up and his stomach twists when he realizes that it’s Stan. His best friend who he hasn’t spoken to in nearly a month.

It’s automatic for him look down at his arm, where there’s nothing but smooth skin. He looks back up at Stan with a hesitant smile that probably doesn’t reach his eyes but that’s enough for Stan to drop into the space next to him.

“Louis,” Stan greets, voice neutral and Louis nods back as a greeting. He picks up his pen and starts writing again in hopes it’ll make Stan leave but of course, knowing his best friend like he does, it’s not likely to happen.

“Do you need something?” Louis wonders and his voice is far from pleasant.

Stan winces before he says, “Just wanted to talk.”

“Yeah? About what?” Louis scoffs but before Stan can answer, Louis feels his phone buzzing on the ground next to him. When he looks at the screen, it’s Harry calling.

He doesn’t bother to run it through with Stan as he picks up his phone and answers it, lifting it so he can cradle it between his head and shoulder. Louis clicks and unclicks his pen as he waits for Harry to say something.

“Hi love,” Harry greets and Louis has to bite his bottom lip to keep from smiling because Stan is staring at him pointedly as if waiting for him to hang up. It makes him want to laugh.

“Hi to you Harry,” Louis replies and he starts to doodle mindlessly on his paper. If he starts writing Harry’s name, well, it is what it is.

Stan clearly doesn’t see it that way because he’s starting to look a bit upset. Louis raises an eyebrow but doesn’t say anything to him.

“Are you busy tonight?” He asks and his voice is brimming with hope as if there’s possibility Louis will say no. Ridiculous.

He says as much. “You’re ridiculous. Of course I’m not. Did you have something planned?”

Harry giggles on the other end and this time Louis can’t contain his smile. “Well, you did say you have no classes tomorrow, right?”

Louis nods before realizing Harry can’t see him. The person who can see him is currently beside himself with anger but that’s not Louis’ problem.

“That would be correct,” He agrees and puts a big heart next to where he wrote Harry’s name particularly large.

“What would you say to impromptu trip to France?” Harry asks and Louis splutters on his end of the phone. He nearly drops it but he reaches up hold it steady just in time.

“You’re kidding,” Louis accuses and Harry laughs on the other end.

“Nope. Flight scheduled for eight, if you’re interested,” Harry informs and Louis nearly breaks his pen in disbelief.

“Of course I’m interested. What the hell? More importantly how the hell?” Louis demands but he’s smiling so wide his eyes are crinkling now.

He can almost hear Harry’s shrug on the other end. “Don’t worry about it. Also, you look like you’re in a bit of a tight spot,” Harry tells him and Louis blinks in confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there’s a very angry looking boy sitting next to while you chat away on the phone with me, so if that’s any indication,” Harry explains and Louis immediately whips around, looking for Harry and he spots him across the lawn holding two coffees.

The curly haired boy raises them towards him meaningfully and Louis doesn’t think before he’s dropping his phone and running towards him.

He vaguely hear Stan calling his name but he doesn’t care because he’s hell bent on reenacting those stupid love scenes where the couples jumps into each other’s arms. Plus, Louis really needs coffee.

He can see Harry’s laughing when he’s close enough and he watches Harry set down the coffees just in time for Louis to jump on him. He lifts him easily and Louis wraps his legs around Harry’s waist before leaning down to kiss him.

Harry laughs into the kiss and Louis pulls back muttering, “You’re a literal angel.”

“And you’re an idiot. Also, I think your friend might kill me,” Harry says, letting Louis down gently and picking up the coffees. He hands one to Louis which he takes gratefully.

He nods back towards Stan who’s standing where Louis left him with his arms crossed and a stormy expression. “Yeah, he just might,” Louis agrees before smiling cheekily at Harry. “Can I have one last kiss before you die?”

Harry laughs but he obliges, pressing his lips against Louis’ softly before pulling back. “Here I thought you might save me but I see where your priorities lie. Coffee over me. You wound me,” Harry drawls before he kisses Louis again, almost like he can’t help it and Louis is very approving if that’s true.

“Sorry, love,” Louis apologizes and takes a sip of his coffee just to be a dick. Harry shoves him gently and Louis nudges him back. “So what’s this about France?”

Harry brightens up at that, grinning. “Well, I kind of want to buy one of those hats that French people wear and I don’t want one from England obviously. The flight time is a little more than half an hour and I booked two seats in case you wanted to come with.”

Louis gives him an incredulous look but he’s pretty sure it comes out fonder than he intends. “You mean a beret? You have to go to France for that?” Louis asks in disbelief and Harry just nods solemnly.

“Can’t disgrace the French by wearing a knock off. Will you be joining me, chere?” Harry holds his hand out and Louis rolls his eyes before grabbing it.

Harry’s eyes look like they’re shining when his hand squeezes Louis’. “We can do whatever we want all night. We could go to the Eiffel tower or eat a croissant—maybe even yell at some French people. I’ll need to polish up on my French obviously, but we’ve got a few hours until the flight of course so—“

Louis laughs before placing his hand over Harry’s mouth. “Shut up and just pick me up at seven if you’re serious.”

Harry just nods before backing away and he winks once before he leaves.

Louis looks after him with a smile and he jumps when he feels someone tap his shoulder. He turns and it’s Stan who’s holding all of Louis’ things out with a resigned expression. “We need to talk.”

“I’m sure we do,” Louis mutters before tilting his towards his dorm. “C’mon.”

They end up in Louis’ dorm and while he’s putting away his books, Stan is looking around. When Louis finally sighs and turns to Stan, the shorter boy is frowning.

“Well? Out with it,” Louis demands and he sits down in Zayn’s spinning chair. He’s always telling Louis not to sit on it but he does it anyways just to annoy the tanner boy. Zayn will just sigh and let him spin to his heart’s contents for all of five minutes before he threatens to remove Louis’ body parts. Louis knew they were roommates for a reason.

“He’s dangerous, Louis. I know you think you know what you’re doing but you don’t, Louis. And I’m not trying to patronize you—but he’s not who you think he is,” Stan rushes out all in one breath and Louis gives him an unimpressed look.

“He reads to the blind on Sundays and finds homes for cats. I’m not really seeing the danger,” Louis says dryly and Stan gives him an equally unimpressed look back.

“You’re not getting what I’m saying,” Stan groans, looking seconds from punching himself, Louis and the wall.

“Nothing to get, mate,” Louis remarks and he spins a little.

Almost as if Zayn sensed the spinning (Louis is convinced Zayn isn’t human), he waltzes in and momentarily freezes when he sees Louis in his chair and Stan across the room.

Stan lets out a humorless laugh and gestures towards Zayn. “And what the hell is he doing here? You couldn’t just associate yourself with Styles? You had to become friends with the entire group?”

Zayn doesn’t look all that bothered at first but then when Harry’s mentioned, his face turns darker. “I live here, geek, and I’m pretty sure you don’t so you can either mind your manners or get the fuck out,” He growls and Stan immediately takes a step back.

“People will know if I’m gone,” Stan replies and Louis gives him a weird look because is he seriously implying Zayn would kill him or something? For the past few weeks, Louis has come to the conclusion that despite his whole reputation, Zayn couldn’t hurt a fly.

It’s beginning to dawn on him just how badly Stan assumes of Harry and his friends. It makes him want to punch Stan in the face a little because he may not really know all of them but he knows them enough to know they’re not dangerous.

When he looks to Zayn, the boy’s face is impassive. “That’s really lovely. Now get out of my room.”

Stan glowers but there’s still a scared look in his eyes as he walks towards the door. “We’re not done with this conversation, Lou,” Stan informs before he shuts the door behind him.

There’s a beat of silence before Zayn shrugs to himself and says to Louis, “You need new friends, mate.”

Louis nods, staring at the door before turning back to Zayn. “Do you think I have to wear nice shoes to go to France?”

Zayn just raises an eyebrow and Louis sighs before elaborating, “I don’t even fucking know, okay. Harry wanted a beret and—don’t look at me like that!”

He hears Zayn’s laughter for hours after that, while the younger boy relentlessly teases him. Louis just glowers in return.

At precisely seven, he gets a text telling him to go downstairs. Zayn is still laughing. Amazing. Louis flips him the middle finger before grabbing his coat and walking out of the dorm.

Harry’s waiting for him in front of the doors and he’s all bundled up. There are newborn kittens less cute than Harry Styles. Louis walks up to him before tugging on his scarf and Harry comes easily, letting Louis kiss him.

“We’re actually doing this?” Louis asks once he starts walking side by side with Harry, fingers interlocked as they head towards the car parking lot.

Harry’s smiling like he can’t help it and he’s just—he’s really beautiful and Louis never in a million years thought he’d get to be with someone like him. And the most ridiculous part is that Harry looks at Louis like he’s thinking the same thing.

“Of course we’re doing this. Do I look like someone who doesn’t keep their word?” Harry asks mock-offended and Louis reaches over to pinch him.

“Don’t get cheeky with me. Also, I have a feeling you could charm your way out of anything,” Louis teases and he expects Harry to stick his tongue out the way he does anytime he doesn’t have a proper rebuttal for Louis’ teasing.

Instead Harry laughs like Louis’ said the funniest thing before nodding. “You have no idea,” Harry agrees, eyes twinkling with mirth. It reminds Louis that there’s so much he’s yet to uncover about this boy and that he plans on figuring out every single detail.

They get to the parking lot and Harry opens Louis’ door for him because he’s Harry and well, that’s reason enough. By the time they’re halfway to Heathrow it occurs to Louis what’s actually happening.

They’re actually going to France unless this is some elaborate trick to get in Louis’ pants which he seriously doubts because Louis is really easy, especially for Harry.

Louis has never been anywhere aside from England and London itself is like an adventure but then here’s this curly haired boy who’s taking him to France in the middle of the night to buy a fucking hat.

He has no doubt that Harry’s NYC and LA tattoos are actually from going there now and he wonders where else Harry’s been. He wonders where else Harry will go. He wonders if he’ll be joining Harry on any more of his future trips.

He wonders how this became his life.

When they get to the airport, they’re parked in a no parking zone right outside the entrance to the terminal. Harry motions for Louis to stay inside the car for a moment before he steps out and talks to one of the security guards.

Louis watches as the guard’s eyes widen and if he squints he can swear he looks almost mesmerized by whatever Harry is saying to him. Louis thinks he understands that feeling all too well.

There’s a pause in the conversation before the guard nods and Harry comes over to open Louis’ door. “After you,” Harry offers and Louis rolls his eyes before stepping out. After he does, he leans in to get the keys and if Louis is staring at Harry bending over for longer than he should, it’s no one else’s business.

Harry gets out and tosses the keys to the guard, who catches them and gets in the car himself. Louis raises an eyebrow as the guard starts to drive off and he turns to Harry. “I didn’t know airports had valets,” He admits and Harry gives him a blinding smile.

“That’s because they don’t, love,” Harry assures and then he’s grabbing Louis’ hand and pulling them towards the entrance.

Louis gapes before he tugs Harry to a stop. “Did you just give your car to a random stranger?”

Harry just grins, tongue caught between his teeth. “Don’t worry you pretty little head about it. Now come on, we’re going to miss our flight,” Harry tells him and starts pulling him again. Louis is useless but to follow.

Once they get into the actual airport, Harry drags them towards a blonde flight attendant. Louis is actually incapable of believing that this is happening.

“Mister Styles,” The flight attendant greets and when Louis looks at her nametag it reads Perrie.

“Nice to see you Miss Edwards. I hope we aren’t too late,” Harry says and he’s smiling charmingly. Louis looks down to make sure their hands are still clasped together which they are because yeah, he’s a bit possessive, what about it?

“Of course not Mister Styles. Mister Malik called with all the details. We’ve only had to delay the flight for fifteen minutes,” She tells him, smiling before turning around. “Follow me.”

Harry follows after and Louis gives him an incredulous look. “They delayed the flight for you?” Louis whispers in disbelief and Harry shrugs.

“Just fifteen minutes,” He whispers back and Louis just stares at him with an expression of absolute loss. He’s back to convincing himself this is all an elaborate prank.

But then they’re at the platform and there’s an actual airplane outside the window. Louis stares at in awe because he’s never seen an airplane this close much less been on one.

“Will there be anything else, Mister Styles?” Perrie asks, smiling brightly and Harry shakes his head. Perrie hesitates before she adds, “Will you put in a good word to Zayn for me?”

Harry expression falls slightly, before he starts to say, “Pez, you know him and Liam are—” only to be cut off by her sigh.

“Yeah, I know. Doesn’t hurt to try though, does it?” Perrie replies before she fixes the bright grin back on her face. Louis is too busy feeling a little smug because he was right about Zayn and Liam.

It doesn’t explain the ring thing but then again, he’s putting that off to their cult thing that may or may not exist.

Harry is smiling sadly at Perrie but she isn’t taking any heed to it as she starts walking towards the tunnel that connects to the plane. “Just walk down this and first class should be to your right. Your seats are 1C and 1D.”

She doesn’t say anything more so Harry just nods before pulling Louis along. Only when they’re in their seats does it really occur to Louis they’re going to France.

“We’re going to France,” Louis says blankly and Harry just gives him a weird smile.

Harry reaches over to buckle Louis’ seatbelt for him and his fingers brush against the sliver of skin where Louis’ sweater is riding up. Louis shivers before looking back over at Harry. “I’ve never been on a plane before,” Louis admits quietly and Harry’s hands still where they’re against his waist.

“Never?” Harry repeats, eyebrow raised and Louis shakes his head. “Where have you been then?”

Louis sighs quietly before admitting, “I've never really been anywhere.”

Harry gives him a look of disbelief before he smiles and says, “I'll take you wherever you want.” Louis laughs, shaking his head but Harry continues, “Rome, Paris, Tokyo.”

He’s smiling cheekily at this point and Louis looks down to hide his smile. “You’re silly,” Louis replies and Harry shakes his head.

“I'll let you in on a little secret: there's a whole world out there waiting for you. Great cities, and art, and music,” Harry whispers and then he smiles down at Louis pointedly. “Genuine beauty.”

There’s another pause where Louis is just gazing at him in wonder before Harry speaks again, moving back into his own seat. “And you could have all of it. You could have a thousand more birthdays, all you have to do is ask,” Harry offers quietly and Louis bites the inside of his cheek so he doesn’t break into a stupid grin.

“Big promises,” Louis replies and the pilot’s voice comes over the intercom. It’s him telling the passengers to buckle their seatbelts and put away their luggage but since they have no luggage and they’re already buckled up, Louis settles back in his seat.

“I’m glad you came,” Harry tells him quietly after a second and Louis turns to him with a fond expression.

“Yeah? Why did you invite me anyways?” Louis asks and Harry looks away, his face flushing pink. Louis feels curiosity bubble up and spill over the edges in his mind. “I'm not talking to you until you tell me why you invited me here,” He threatens and Harry pouts.

He doesn’t expect an answer but he gets one anyways. “I fancy you. Is that so hard to believe?”

Louis splutters momentarily because they haven’t really gotten to the point that they start admitting their feelings but it seems that’s what this is now. “Yes?” He replies, voice pitching dangerously high and Harry laughs like Louis has said the most ridiculous thing.

“Why? You're beautiful, you're strong, you're full of light. I enjoy you,” He admits and Louis is in danger of passing out.

“Am I dreaming?” Louis asks out loud and Harry laughs again.

“Afraid not. Someone like me only belongs in nightmares,” Harry tells him and Louis gives him a considering look.

The curly haired boy sticks his tongue out because, of course and Louis can’t help the small laugh that escapes from his lips. “Not really that scary,” Louis tells him just as the plane starts to take off. His grip tightens on the edge of the seat.

Harry takes notice and gently pries Louis’ fingers off and holds his hand instead. “Hey, don’t freak out. We’re more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash,” Harry assures but that does nothing to soothe the nervous butterflies in Louis’ stomach.

“Hey, hey. Listen. Talk to me. Come on, get to know me. I dare you,” Harry challenges and it’s a bad attempt to distract him but Louis manages to give him a nervous smile.

His ears pop and he flinches before nodding quickly. “Fine. What do you want to talk about?”

Harry smiles and squeezes Louis’ hand reassuringly. “I want to talk about you. Your hopes, your dreams. Everything you want in life,” Harry murmurs, brushing his thumb over Louis’ knuckles.

Louis scoffs playfully and teases, “Just to be clear, I'm too smart to be seduced by you.”

Harry’s grin is blinding when he replies, “Well, that’s why I like you!”

He can’t help it when he leans over and brushes their lips together. “I like you too, in case it wasn’t obvious,” Louis murmurs against his lips.

Harry pulls away to grab a menu, hiding his face behind it and Louis laughs because he’s an idiot. Louis can’t believe this is happening. He’s always wanted to go places, to travel the world and just have fun but he knows there are too many flaws in that plan.

He might be young now but he won’t be forever. He’ll have responsibilities and a job and he’ll have to take care of himself. He can’t just do whatever wants now—not when it could lead up to the biggest mistakes of his life.

No, all Louis has to do is get through university and get a flat and a job and figure his life out. Because that’s what he’s expected to do. He can’t just hop on a plane and fly to where he pleases no matter how much he wants to.

But right now, maybe it’s okay to do that. Maybe it’s alright to sit next to Harry and fly to France in the middle of the night. Maybe it’s alright to be a little irresponsible. To be a little reckless. He thinks, together they could be alright.

“I want to travel,” Louis says quietly and there’s a beat of silence before Harry moves the menu from his face to stare at Louis. His eyes are urging Louis on. “Go everywhere, I suppose. See the world. Be young and have fun. That sort of thing,” Louis confesses, before shaking his head and chuckling. “Never really had time to do whatever, you know? I’ve got four sisters and my mum’s been divorced twice. It was kind of up to me grow up and take responsibility.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry apologizes quietly and Louis smiles deprecatingly.

“You have no reason to be. It’s not your fault. It’s just life’s never been, well, I don’t know. A walk in the park? A rollercoaster ride? Sounds like something Zayn would say actually. Don’t tell him I said that. But yeah, I suppose it’s never been really easy. I don’t know.” Louis shrugs and tries not to chew on his bottom lip too harshly.

“You deserve to be happy,” Harry replies before he pulls his legs up and turns in his seat, giving all his attention to Louis. “Would that make you happy? To be young forever and travel and see the world?”

Louis shakes his head, letting out a low laugh. “It’s not possible Harry, and I know that. So I’ll settle for this. I’m happy here with you right now,” Louis admits and his hand reaches out without his own accord to brush a stray curl out of Harry’s eyes.

Harry just gives him this disgruntled look as if that isn’t enough. Louis doesn’t want his pity though so he puts on a brave smile. “Why don’t you tell me about your family?”

That gets Harry out of his reverie and he actually cracks a small smile. “They’re—they’re great. I love them a lot. There’s my sister, Gemma and then my mum, Anne. My dad isn’t really in the picture but that’s okay because my step-dad Robin is sick. Plus, my mum really loves him and if she’s happy, I’m happy. Gemma though—she’s a nuisance. She’s older than me so she’s always bossing me around and all that but I love her too. She’s so weird though, always dyeing her hair and all that stuff. She says my cooking isn’t on par but I beg to differ. I make some mean fajitas, let me tell you. But anyways, they’re all just really great,” Harry explains and his smile grows as he speaks. Louis likes that Harry talks about his family like they’re the most important people in the world.

“They sound lovely,” Louis agrees, unable to help the upward twist of his own lips.

Harry nods before he licks his lips and says, “I think they’d like you.”

Louis raises an eyebrow and shrugs. “If they’re a fourth as lovely as you, I’ll adore them,” He says and Harry looks delighted.

“Tell me more about your sisters,” Harry insists then, expression eager and Louis rolls his eyes but pulls his own legs up and turns to face the curly haired boy.

“There’s four them. Lottie’s the oldest and she’s at the age where she’s too cool to be seen with her older brother. She’s got these fandoms and things now. Felicite’s just a bit younger than her and she’s almost to Lottie’s stage but not quite there yet. Then there are the twins, Daisy and Phoebe. They’d love you just for your hair,” Louis informs, reaching up to run his fingers through Harry’s hair and the pleased noise he gets in return makes him stop short.

“Is that—is that a thing for you?” Louis wonders and Harry gives him a shy sort of smile before shrugging in a way that means yes. “Good to know,” Louis mutters under his breath before tugging sharply and Harry’s breath cuts off abruptly.

Louis,” Harry protests hoarsely and Louis smirks before leaning over the arm rest in between them to latch his mouth against Harry’s pulse point and the curly haired boy gasps quietly. Louis’ eyes light up as creeps down further to bite at Harry’s collarbone and give it a nice, dark mark.

“Looking good, love,” Louis mocks because that’s his new favorite thing to do. He loves saying love just because Harry does all the time. Louis smirks before he tugs Harry by the hair at the nape of his neck into a bruising kiss. Harry makes an interesting sound at that and Louis has a feeling he’s going to like where this is going.

“Not—not here,” Harry finally says, pushing Louis away lightly. Louis looks around and there isn’t anyone else in the section so he shrugs, eyes twinkling.

“Why not?”

Harry has to take a deep breath before he answers and the fact Louis is reason he’s out of breath in the first place makes him giddy. “Flight attendants could walk in,” He reminds and Louis pouts momentarily before he grins again.

“Then what are we doing here? C’mon,” Louis says, unbuckling his seatbelt and getting to his feet. He holds his hand out. “Let’s go.”

Harry’s mouth falls open in surprise but after a moment’s hesitation he bites his bottom lip and slips his hand into Louis’ own. Louis grins and he has a feeling Harry is letting him do this because he’s afraid otherwise Louis might have a panic attack because they’re on a plane. He’s not all that wrong.

He pauses for a second though, meeting Harry’s eyes to make sure the younger boy is really okay with what Louis was doing. He’s always doing things like this—things that are stupid and reckless and bound to get him trouble but he doesn’t want to push Harry into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

Harry rolls his eyes, leaning forwards and kisses Louis briefly before pulling back. “Get on with it then,” He whispers and Louis grins in response.

Then he realizes he has no idea where the bathroom is and he gives Harry a helpless look. Harry rolls his eyes again before tugging Louis in the opposite direction, down a hallway before they come to a door.

“Fuck, you’re amazing, you know that?” Louis murmurs, squeezing Harry’s hand gently and the curly haired boy ducks his head with a smile.

“I’ve been told a few times, yeah,” Harry agrees, turning back with a smirk this time. “After you,” He says, gesturing towards the door.

“Someone’s getting cheeky,” Louis mutters, pushing the door open with his free hand and then tugging Harry inside.

Harry giggles, flipping on the light switch before he says, “Learned from the best,” but his voice cracks at the end because Louis pulls him into a kiss and their teeth clack. It’s messy and Louis loves it.

“Who would that be?” Louis wonders, pulling back so he can see Harry clearly and the taller boy’s cheeks are flushed. His lips are a darker shade of red and his eyes are blown so wide that there’s only a rim of green visible.

“Figure it out,” Harry offers and his fingers are fumbling to lock the door behind his back. Louis can’t stop smiling but there’s a flash of white heat in his stomach.

Louis’ hands drift to Harry’s waist and pulls him in, murmuring, “I think I’ve already figured out what I need to know.” He has to get on his tiptoes to really kiss Harry but then the taller boy bends so it’s a little easier. The kiss is different from the last—more heated. Louis runs his tongue along Harry’s bottom lip and the curly haired boy lets his lips part.

Harry’s teeth are sharp against his tongue so he’s careful not to hurt himself in the process but when Louis’ tongue runs over them, Harry makes a sweet sort of sound. Louis would grin if he wasn’t kissing him.

Louis runs his fingers through the hair at the base of Harry’s neck and tugs experimentally. It seems to be a good experiment because Harry keens in to his mouth. Louis pulls back to take another look at Harry he whispers, “You look really fucking beautiful right now,” and his breath ghosts along Harry’s lips.

“You’re one to talk,” Harry replies and his hands go to the Louis’ waist, pulling them closer. Louis doesn’t say anything but it’s really hot that one of Harry’s hands could probably span the length of his back.

Harry’s hands creep down to the hem of Louis’ jumper then, pulling lightly and Louis nods. He lets Harry slip the jumper off along with the shirt underneath and then motions towards Harry’s own jumper. “Off,” Louis demands and Harry complies easily, slipping it off in a quick motion that Louis barely even sees.

“Christ, are you even real?” Louis finds himself murmuring and his hand reaches out to touch Harry’s stomach where there’s a huge tattoo of what could either be a butterfly or a moth.

Harry just makes a quiet whining noise, batting away Louis’ hands. The only reaction Louis has to that is to kiss him again, until his lips feel raw.

“Do you even know how unsanitary this is?” Harry murmurs when Louis pulls away for a brief second and Louis can’t help his grin at that.

He turns to Harry, licking his lips. “I want to fuck your mouth,” he admits and Harry’s eyes darken in surprise. “But that’s unsanitary too, isn’t it?”

Harry doesn’t say anything in return—instead he drops to his knees and starts unbuckling Louis’ belt enthusiastically like if he doesn’t get Louis’ cock in his mouth right this second he’ll explode. Louis thinks he’s close to doing the same himself.

He’s quick about it too, Louis notices, because his pants are on the ground within seconds and then there’s lips on the tip of his cock. “Fuck,” Louis mutters and Harry laughs, sending vibrations down Louis’ cock.

Louis slips his fingers into Harry’s hair and tugs harshly. Harry’s response is to sink a few inches further down on Louis’ cock. When Harry finally looks up, his eyes are wet and his lips are stretched obscenely. Louis is pretty sure he’s never seen a prettier picture.

“Stay still,” Louis orders and Harry blinks in assent, his hands going behind his back. Louis thinks they might need to talk about how easily Harry takes direction at some point.

Louis brushes his fingers along Harry’s cheek where he can feel the outline of his cock and Harry swallows greedily. Of course he doesn’t have a gag reflex. All the better for Louis though.

He thrusts shallowly and Harry just blinks at him, as if telling him to go harder. Louis’ fingers slip into Harry’s hair again and he pulls Harry’s head back to which Harry makes this muffled noise of appreciation.

Louis sets a brutal pace then, fucking into Harry’s mouth and the curly haired boy just keeps making these noises like he enjoys it. His eyes are glossy and he looks so fucked out and good. Louis can barely keep his thoughts straight.

When Louis’ about to come, he tightens his fingers in Harry’s hair as a warning and the younger boy just blinks again so Louis figures he’ll swallow.

He does and when he pulls off, his lips are raw and Louis wants to kiss him. He helps Harry off the ground and pushes him against the wall before kissing him, gentle and slow. Harry sighs against his lips and Louis reaches his hand in between them, ready to jerk him off when he feels that Harry’s jeans are wet.

He pulls away immediately and stares at them in wonder. “Did you..?” He asks in disbelief and Harry flushes red before nodding.

Louis just stares in awe and he can’t help when he pulls Harry in for another kiss. “You’re fucking amazing, mate,” He mutters against Harry’s lips and the curly haired boy just smiles tiredly.

When they get back to their seats, the pilot’s voice is on the overcome again. He’s telling everyone they’re about to land and Louis blinks in disbelief. They’re in France, already?

“Are we really here?” Louis asks, moving to shuffle over the window but Harry grabs him around the waist and points to his seat.

“Safety hazard,” Harry croaks hoarsely and Louis pouts but he’s fighting off a grin because he’s the one that’s making Harry’s voice sound like that.

“Alright, don’t get your knickers in a twist,” Louis teases and sits down in his seat, putting his seatbelt on. Harry’s staring at him with this fond expression that Louis doesn’t even pretend to understand.

When his ears pop, Louis’ automatic reaction is grab for Harry’s hand and the curly haired boy takes it easily and like the end of their first date, he raises it to his mouth and brushes his lips against Louis’ knuckles.

Louis pulls his hand out of Harry’s hand then and traces his lips instead because they’re red and puffy and Louis likes to touch things he probably shouldn’t.

Harry lets him though and Louis thinks Harry is the best adventure he’s ever embarked on.

Once they land, Harry leads them out of the airport and into a cab (although first, they stop at a tourist shop and Harry somehow finds a pair of skinny jeans to replace the ones he’s ruined). Louis is too busy staring around in amazement to do much else. The air feels easier to breathe here and he knows his eyes are probably the size of saucers but he can’t help it.

This is crazy—his life is crazy. Harry is crazy for actually taking him to France for a hat. But fuck if Louis doesn’t love crazy.

The cab driver is speaking to them in French and Louis is at a lost for what to say but when Harry replies in fluent French, Louis considers dropping his pants for him right there and then.

“You can actually speak French,” Louis says in disbelief and Harry grins before shrugging.

“Just a bit,” Harry admits, leaning back in his seat and Louis watches him in wonder. It’s one of those moments he’s having a hard time believing Harry is real.

He’s just this bright eyed boy with the prettiest smile Louis has ever seen. Harry’s eyes are a bright, bright green now and Louis can see the lights of Paris reflected in them.

Still, Louis can stare into Harry’s eyes whenever he likes but he doubts he’ll get a chance to see Paris again so he turns towards the window, watching as they pass by countless shops and people.

“Where are we going?” Louis wonders, still staring at out the window and Harry giggles before picking up his hand and lacing their fingers together.

There’s a pause where he can feel Harry staring at him and then the younger boy says, “I doubt you’ll know what I’m talking about but we’re going to La Place du Trocadéro first.”

Louis grins in response and squeezes Harry’s fingers.

Their ride is silent but he can feel Harry playing with the fingers on his free hand so he assumes the curly haired boy isn’t too bored. Louis doesn’t know how anyone could be bored in a city that’s so beautiful. It’s enough to rival Harry’s own beauty but Paris doesn’t quite compare. Nothing and nobody compares, if Louis is being honest.

“Is this a date?” Louis blurts as the car comes to a stop and the laugh Harry lets out in surprise answers his question before Harry can.

“What did you think this was?” Harry asks, a grin tugging at his lips as he pays the driver and opens the door. Harry helps him out too but Louis is too busy blushing to look him in the eye.

He shrugs before muttering, “How am I supposed to know? You’re strange,” and Harry giggles in response. Then Louis looks up and his mouth falls open in disbelief. “Wait, what? What is this? Am I dreaming? Is this heaven? Why is everything so pretty? Harry, what,” Louis mumbles, eyes wide.

It’s quite possible he’s staring at the most beautiful place he’s ever seen in his entire life. It’s a garden—there’s a few people lingering around but Louis is too busy staring at the fountains and when he actually looks up, the Eiffel Tower is right there.

Harry,” Louis exclaims, tugging on his arm and Harry is laughing in his ear.

“Are you alright, love?” Harry teases and Louis just gives him an incredulous look before pulling him towards the fountains.

There’s a huge pool of water in the middle, surrounded by large patches of grass where he can see a few people lounging down by the pool. Up ahead there’s smaller fountains and a few statues that Louis wouldn’t know the name of even if he had them in front of him.

Still, Louis is pretty sure he’s in love with the place and he thinks he wants to live in one of those fountains. “Harry, is this place real?” Louis asks in disbelief and tugs them towards one of the vacated fountains. He can feel the spray of the water as they walk closer and it makes him grin.

“It’s real,” Harry confirms and Louis watches as the taller boy pulls his wallet out of his pocket. He pulls out a coin and holds it out to Louis. “Do you want to make a wish?”

Louis doesn’t say all my wishes came true the second I met you because that would probably scare Harry away and he kind of needs to get back to England. So he grabs the coin and takes the few steps necessary to be in tossing distance of the wishing well.

Louis closes his eyes and thinks, I wish my life was always like this before tossing the coin. He hears a splash and then he hears another one. He opens his eyes to see Harry standing next to him, staring at a rippling spot in the fountain.

“What’d you wish for?” Louis ventures and Harry turns to him with a smirk.

“If it comes true, you’ll see,” Harry replies, tapping Louis’ nose and it’s so much like their first date that Louis giggles.

Distantly there’s a shout and some cheering. Louis’ curiosity sparks and he decides to really listen for a second. He can’t hear everything but the things that he can hear make his mind itch with wonder and want.

He hears cars honking and water rushing and hundreds of voices speaking in French but then there’s lips pressing against his cheek and all he can hear is his own heart beating in his chest.

“I want to jump in,” Louis murmurs after a second, eyes meeting Harry’s own bright ones. He watches them light up further and then Harry’s lips curve up into a grin.

“The pool?” Harry asks to confirm and Louis nods. “Okay, let’s do it,” Harry agrees and Louis blinks in surprise. He didn’t think it would be quite that easy.

“Will we get in trouble?” Louis asks and Harry’s grin doesn’t falter.

He’s never met someone with such an infectious smile before but Harry’s dimples make his own eyes crinkle in response. “Don’t see anyone to tell us off,” Harry replies and Louis thinks Harry was probably made for him.

Louis always does stupid things like this but usually it takes a pep talk and a lot of convincing to get someone to join him—although they inevitably always do. Harry, however, seems to be just as excited as he is.

So they do it. Louis takes Harry’s hand and they cross over the grass towards the pool. All the tourists that were wandering around seem to be gone and it’s probably half past ten at night. He hesitates a second before he steps in. Harry’s about to follow after him but Louis uses the moment to splash him and then he proceeds to run away.

He’s laughing and he can hear Harry spluttering in shock. Louis turns around to stick his tongue out at Harry’s incredulous expression. Louis is getting absolutely soaked to the bone because the fountains haven’t stopped spraying water but he’s more worried about making sure Harry doesn’t get to him than being wet.

He stops momentarily to wipe the water out of his eyes and when he opens them, Harry is standing in front of him with a wicked look in his eyes. There’s probably a second where they’re just staring at each other—Louis with surprise and Harry with a smirk—before Louis gets a mouthful of water as Harry splashes him.

“Hey!” Louis calls, distraught but when he looks up, Harry’s gone. He feels a tap on his shoulder and he whirls around only for no one to be there either. He pouts and he hears Harry’s laugh from behind him. “How are you doing that? It’s cheating!” Louis complains, turning towards his laugh but Harry’s gone again.

He grumbles under his breath and this time there’s hands pulling on his waist, turning him around and then Harry’s kissing him. Louis instantly forgives him and melts into his touch.

Then Harry stiffens and pulls back. Louis gives him a confused look but Harry’s lips are pressed tightly together like he’s trying not to laugh. “We’re about to get in trouble. Come on,” Harry says, pulling Louis’ arm.

Louis blinks but then he distantly hears someone shouting, “Hey! Hey! You two aren’t allowed to be in there!” and he bursts into giggles. He lets Harry lead the way out, following after him and then they’re running.

When they get the edge of the garden, they stop. They’re both ridiculously wet and Harry’s hair is falling into his face so Louis gets on his tip toes to push it out of his eyes. While he’s there, he kisses the tip of Harry’s nose and then falls back on the flats of his feet.

His shoes are definitely ruined and his clothes are dripping but Harry’s giving him this smile so Louis couldn’t care less. “I feel like we’re in some bizarre romance film,” Louis admits, tilting his head and Harry doesn’t say anything in return.

Instead he presses a soft kiss to Louis’ lips before he pulls back with an expression that lights up his whole face. “Do you want to go to the Eiffel Tower?” Harry murmurs, licking his lips and Louis laughs at the absurdity of the situation.

“We’re soaking,” Louis reminds and Harry rolls his eyes, before he starts walking towards the Eiffel Tower itself which is quite literally not even five blocks away.

Louis jogs to catch up with him and his shoes squeak noisily against the pavement. He falters and then against his better judgment he takes them off before running after Harry. “Don’t walk so fast,” Louis calls and he can Harry’s laugh even from where he is.

He huffs exasperatedly and Harry stops walking, turning towards Louis and waiting for him to catch up. When Louis catches up, Harry gives him this weird smile and Louis knows he’s about to be told an awful joke.

“Hey, Louis, are you tired?” Harry asks nonchalantly and Louis sighs, rolling his eyes before nodding. “Yeah, I figured, since you’ve been running through my mind all day,” Harry says and he grins like he’s some sort of comical genius.

Louis just groans, shaking his head. “That was awful. Even worse than the banana one you told me,” He accuses and Harry pouts.

“The banana one was good!” Harry protests and Louis just shakes his head again.

“Absolutely awful,” Louis repeats and Harry just sticks his tongue petulantly before looking at Louis’ shoes with a pointed eyebrow.

Louis just shrugs so Harry shrugs back. Louis gives him a light shove before he starts walking again. “They’re not going to let us in,” He complains and Harry’ eyes light up.

“You’d be surprised.”

It turns out that they do let them in, despite the fact that they’re both still dripping water and Louis is carrying around a pair of shoes. It’s alright though because Louis gets to hold hands with Harry on top of Paris.

The view is beautiful and when he says as much to Harry. The curly haired boy just shakes his head and tells him, “If Paris is beautiful, then you’re Paris.”

Louis narrows his eyes and gives Harry a sidelong look. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

Harry shrugs, running his free hand through his wet hair. “Paris is all things lovely. Paris is waking up at noon to the warmth of the sun on your bare back. Paris is painting the sky in all the colors. Paris is where people bleed in beauty. Paris is full of life and it breathes the air just as much as we do. Paris is everything and nothing all at once. Paris is you, Louis,” Harry murmurs and Louis is quiet for a moment.

Then Louis turns and pulls him into a bruising kiss. When he pulls back, he whispers, “Then we’re so Paris when we kiss,” and Harry smiles.

So Louis falls in love with Paris and there’s really nothing more he could ask for.

Except for a new pair of clothes, but they get that when Harry stops for his beret. They actually get a beret. Louis is amazed this whole trip is even a real thing.

They’re on a flight back at three in the morning after they get some food and Louis falls asleep on Harry’s shoulder five minutes into the flight. He wakes up in his own bed.

The only proof he has that the night was real is that there’s a beret sitting on side table next to a plate filled with croissants. Louis decides right then that he is going out with the most ridiculous person to ever exist. He doesn’t really mind though.