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know you got that thing (that i like)

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It’s raining in London by the time Harry lands and he thinks Of course it fucking is as he chases after his duffel on the carousel.

Shouldering the bag, he walks over to Cal who’s talking with airport security about the best way to maneuver through the terminal. Security look nervous, like they’re not quite prepared for what’s about to happen, and Harry spares them a little sympathy.

He can’t see them yet but he can definitely hear them; a low thrumming, like bees in spring, anxious and excited and eager.

Because Cal’s with him, it’ll be a little easier getting through the fan crowds. Usually he doesn’t have a problem stopping to take photos and pull faces, but right now his problem is in his head. Specifically, right now his problem is at home and there’s an itch under his skin telling him to go face it, to go handle it, right alongside with the itch telling him to board the first plane back west. But with Cal, it’s easier to pull polite excuses like In a rush, sorry guys or Excuse me, excuse me, sorry, can we just—because Cal is impatient as fuck all and never likes idling while he chats with his fans. He’ll sulk off to the side and smack his lips and Harry usually finds it funny, thinks it’s hilarious to put Cal in that situation, but he can’t even think about Cal right now.

Grimfaced, they all start walking through the terminal. Harry shoulders through a frantic group of friends, all with their iPhones flashing in his face. He grits his teeth so he can move past them without swearing out loud and he tries to ignore the sound in his head but it keeps rising with the roaring of the crowd and it’s going

Louis, Louis, Louis.

Cal, on the other hand, doesn’t have to fake politeness, doesn’t have to show that he appreciates anything at all, so he takes Harry’s elbow and forcibly leads him through the worst of the mass. It’s so fantastically loud and Harry wonders not for the first time what it’s like to go anywhere, just common places, where that noise isn’t there. Usually with the other boys around it’s tolerable, he can handle it, because he can bounce off their energy; alone, it’s like being carried to the sacrificial altar.

Cal’s like a fucking bulldozer and his grip on Harry’s elbow is tight so he lets him pull them through and he lets the dozens of shrill voices calling out his own name deafen the one in his head.

By the time they get to the car, a mountainous black SUV, airport security has managed to keep the worst of the crowd at bay. The rain momentarily pelts Harry’s back as he moves from under the airport roof and into the open car door at the street. It’s enough to make him uncomfortable as he flops down on the leather, chucking his bag to the trunk. Cal stands at the open door, a blockade between him and the fans, and glances at his face questioningly.

The rain is falling on his bare head and sliding down his face, like tears, Harry thinks. In that moment Harry really, truly appreciates Cal with such a surging affection that he can’t speak. So he stares back, shakes his head, and is grateful when Cal smirks like he gets it and slams the door, moving to sit shotgun with the driver instead.

The silence is heavy. Harry leans his head back and sighs. London looks like hell. It’s overcast and dreary and not in the charming way, like right on the cusp of Christmas holidays, but it’s. Depressing, he thinks, so he closes his eyes to it, the taxis rushing by and the people hunched under umbrellas and upturned collars. For the first time since landing, he can’t hear the chanting in his head.

He can feel it.

Like a line on his heart, he can physically feel his body reaching, reacting.

At Cal’s voice he opens his eyes. “Where to?”

And for a second, he hesitates and he hates that he hesitates. He knows where he needs to go and he knows where he wants to go but he can’t figure out if they’re the same place. So he just says “Home,” raspy, like he’s exhausted already and they haven’t even talked yet. He figures that wherever he ends up is where he’ll be.

The driver turns on the radio and he and Cal make small talk as they maneuver their way out of the airport arrivals lot, hasty commuters rushing by. Harry lets the soft sound of their chatter drown out the sounds inside his head and he drifts to sleep.


The last thing he sees before his eyes close is the steady drip of rain down the window and down his reflection in the pane.

Like tears, he thinks.  




He wants to say that he’s surprised when he finally opens his eyes, the rumble of the tires on the gravel drive slowly pulling him out of sleep, to see his own house in front of him. His real home, the one he rarely gets to visit because he and the boys are so busy, the convenience of hotels being undeniable for making it to photo shoots, press junkets, and recordings.

The rain around his house makes it ethereal, clinging as it is to the windows and scoring paths down the ivy on the sides, dripping from the awnings and collecting in puddles near the door.

He hops out of the truck and walks to the back. He gets his bags and tries not to make it seem like he’s stalling, tries not to fuss over sorting his bags from Cal’s, and waves Cal away when he moves to get out and help.

“I got it, thanks bro,” he says, walking around so he can wave goodbye. Cal gives him the same look that he did earlier, like he understands, and smiles tightly as the driver reverses down the driveway.

For a minute, he takes a deep breath and just lets himself be there, the rain welcoming him home. Shuffling his feet around in the gravel, he stares at the vast field directly across from the house. It’s huge, miles and miles of untamed land stretching to the edge of a pine forest.

 He remembers when he came with Lou to see the property, the first time, and it was spring then so the field was overflowing, blooming with wildflowers and alive with motion and purples and yellows and blues. It took his breath away, all that land, all that vast and open space with nothing at all to stop it from growing, wild like a criminal. He had texted Louis a photo immediately and Harry can still remember his Haz…it’s perfect xx, can still hear in his head how blown away Louis was when he called later.

Blinking the rain out of his eyes now, he grimaces and turns to face his house and walks inside.



Whatever sentimental feelings he had outside disappear the moment he properly steps foot into the house.

Dropping his bags at the door and walking inside, he doesn’t call out because doesn’t need to. He can feel Louis in every bone beneath his skin, tugging at him.

But he can also see him.

The evidence of his existence is everywhere, like a ragged tornado with a bone to pick.

Dirty dishes lining the counter, spilling over from the sink, half empty brown and green glass bottles on the coffee table, the stereo set still on with the volume whispering, like he couldn’t be bothered to turn it off completely, game controllers haphazard on the floor, wires tangled, curry sauce staining the carpet.

Looking at the mess, Harry’s suddenly angry again, feels it rising in him like a fever, so angry at these signs of life that show that Louis, in fact, did not stop living after he left.

Angry that his absence apparently didn’t mean fuck all between playing FIFA for six hours one day and for five the next.

The rain pelts against the backdoor pane and he cuts off the stereo. Disgustedly, he bends down and has five beer bottles in his hands before he realizes that he’s stalling. Again. He pads into the kitchen and tosses the bottles into the direction of the recycling without looking. He should have known better. Clanging loudly, the bottles bounce off the precarious pile that Louis had let build up, of course he has, of course he has, and roll across the tiles, beer dribbling out the necks.

Harry rolls his eyes harder than he thought possible and makes a beeline for the stairs.

By the time he gets up there, he’s seething. His fingertips are tingling and he can recall each and every single reason why he left like he did. Storming down the hall, he can remember each reason clearly, can remember how he felt when he spoke and how it felt when Louis spoke to him, like nothing on earth mattered less.

And he was angry then, he was, and he’s angry now, pissed, but standing at the open door of their bedroom for a moment he feels nothing at all.

He can’t even feel his feet on the ground because Louis is on their bed, spread out, wearing one of his sweaters, with a finger in his ass.   

Harry opens his mouth to speak but croaks instead.

Louis’ eyes are locked on his and it doesn’t matter what Harry can and cannot say because Louis’ face is saying a lot. So is his mouth, apparently.

“I said, sit the fuck down.”

He’s gritty, Harry can hear that, can see it all over his skin, dirty like he hasn’t showered in days and voice rough like it gets after Zayn makes him smoke too much. He’s worked up a healthy sweat already, Harry can see it in the darkened spots on his—god, his sweater—the lavender turned just a shade deeper under the arms and at the neck.

Pulling his lips tight, he stands up straighter. White-knuckling the desk at the front of the room, he props against it and crosses his legs at the ankle, folding his arms.

“I’m good here, thanks.”

Dropping their locked gaze, Louis closes his eyes and shows a canine in a snarl, tugging at his bottom lip until the whole thing is spit-soaked.

It occurs to Harry, distantly, that this isn’t the weirdest thing they’ve ever done. Definitely not the weirdest sex thing. But there’s something about seeing Louis like this, so immediately and unexpectedly, after not having this intimacy for weeks, that makes Harry’s chest go tight and loose all at once.

In all the ways he thought about their reunion going, watching Louis finger himself open was not on the list.

And god, Harry can see it, can hear it, the in and out of it, and just as unexpectedly his anger starts to dissipate into something else, something equally wild, and he grips the wood underneath his palm before he says anything about it.

Propped by a flattening pillow, Louis is sprawled across half the bed. He looks down under his lashes. His knees are bent so Harry can see right between his legs and so he looks there, of course he looks, watching the soft fall of the lavender sweater fabric where it bunches around his too-tiny wrists, watching it bump, bump, against his thigh.

Their bodies are electric, crackling with anticipation. Harry stares and focuses on inhaling, exhaling, waiting for Louis to make the first move.

“Where the fuck were you.”

No preamble. Like a knife, the sound of Louis’ voice cuts the silence in slices.

Harry’s eyes dart to his face. His voice is demanding, like it often is. But there’s something else there and if Harry didn’t know him well enough he wouldn’t catch it. It’s hurt. It’s the well-practiced sound of Louis favoring anger over his own pain. And knowing that just gets Harry even more riled up, knowing that they can have feelings they refuse to talk about until they’re right in the thick of it, ready to claw each other’s eyes out.

So he looks straight back and says “LA,” expressionless.

And if Louis expects him to ask about the fingering, to even make so much as a hint that anything is amiss here, he’ll be goddamned. He steels his face and wills his libido to calm down. 


“Wanted another tattoo.”

“Fuck a tattoo,” Louis moans as he says it, on an exhale, because he’s added another finger, the middle, and Harry decides that he may have no fucking idea what Louis’ doing but he’s not about to tell him to stop.

“It’s true,” Harry shrugs, like it’s not a big deal, fingers digging into his biceps.

“What is it then? Let’s have it.”

And he knew it was coming but it doesn’t enflame his face any less, to know that now he has to say, “I didn’t actually get it,” muttering and looking away. His forehead’s gone sweaty.

Louis doesn’t respond to that but he flattens his mouth like he’s thinking, swallows like he’s prepping, and it’s obvious that he’s not asking, not really.


Harry knew that was coming too, knows that Louis isn’t talking about the tattoo, but suddenly he’s too angry to keep this up.

He makes sure Louis sees how pissed he is. “Because, Louis. You were just—we were—”

“We were what, Harry?” Louis cuts him off and raises his voice slightly but his fingers are still steady, in and out. The sweater is pooling around the fingers in his ass, so much fabric falling so that Harry can only see the tips of his blunt fingernails; a flash of skin and lavender.

“We were—exhausted, Louis, we were fucking exhausted.  And you were just, after me again and again about shit, the dumbest shit, and going at me in front of everyone—”

Arching his back, Louis gasps. “You fucking love it when I do that. Try again.”

It hits Harry like a slap in the face.

Because yeah, he loves it when Louis teases him: especially when he does it in public. For a moment he mentally cringes at just how much he loves it, the phantom pleasure of having Louis humiliate and praise him at the same time briefly washing over his skin, making his eyes cross.

But this time was different.

It was relentless, it was an onslaught of jabs and stories and words that had stopped feeling good a long time ago.

When he says as much now, Louis only rolls his eyes, half in pleasure, mostly in annoyance, and bites, “Well you should have fucking said something.”

“Are you serious?” Harry barks, eyes wide and laughing. Of course Louis would pull that card. Just because he’s cornered doesn’t mean he hasn’t got a lie on his teeth, at the ready.  

“You’re a child,” he says, and Louis’ eyes steel. He hates being called childish, mainly because he’d had to grow up so fast and in so many ways. Good, Harry thinks, malicious, as Louis finally starts looking like he’s interested in this and no longer calmly fingering his own goddamn ass with that blank look.

“I should—I should have—Louis, I did say something. Countless times. But you wouldn’t quit and I just—” giving up, he runs both hands through his hair and spins his whole body around, to face the wall, head raised to the ceiling, eyes closed, until he can find the words and the strength to turn back around.

Louis, however, would argue with a brick wall if he felt threatened by it.

“Oh, you did, did you?” He might as well be spitting fire.

Rubbing his hands across his face, Harry doesn’t turn around. Parroting what he’d said endlessly over the last few weeks and mimicking his own voice, why the hell is he doing that, whatever, Louis makes him insane, he says “Louis, stop…Louis, how about we…Louis, don’t you think...”

Louis snarls. “Exactly, Harry. Exactly. You didn’t bloody say anything.”

“I never had a chance. You kept brushing me off.”

Louis smacks his lips. “Oh please, don’t blame this on me.”

Whirling around, Harry flings his arms out. “But that’s the thing, this is on you. You brat around all poncey and regal—”

“Motherfucker,” Louis hisses under his breath.

“—what’d you think I was going to do, just—”

And Louis whimpers then, suddenly, a little bit like he does when he’s working his prostate and a little bit like he does when he’s running out of patience. “You just ran away is what you did. You just hopped on a plane and didn’t tell me shit for where you were going or who you were with and you just ranno you literally flew away, Harry. You fucking flew away from me for four days.”

His voice is—weird, Harry thinks, in a way he hasn’t heard it before. It’s so hard, yet delicate, like polished steel and it cuts him to the quick.

But he’s distracted by Louis’ hand.  He looks down at it and sees that he’s now at three fingers; index, middle, and ring and he desperately wishes that he didn’t but he knows what three fingers can do to Louis. He sees it on his face now, glances up to see his jaw gone that much slacker, his eyelashes fluttering that much more.

For fuck’s sake.

“For fuck’s sake, what’re you doing?”

He doesn’t mean to, but he shouts.

He feels wild again, off balance, and it messes with his head that Louis can make him wild with lust and rage all at the same time.

At first, Louis isn’t going to answer him.  He just smirks and crooks his fingers, scrunches his and turns his head into the pillow, matting his fringe even more. His legs are spread, knees crooked, and the muscles in his thighs keep tensing, flexing through his skin, as he scoots his heels even further apart. The headboard makes the only sound in the room, tapping the wall softly every time he pushes back against it.

Finally, he sucks in air and brings his eyes back to Harry’s. Harry’s jaw is so tight he can see it outlined through the skin.

“This,” Louis grits out. Pauses. “Is me ugh, doing what I’ve been doing since you left. What I had to—fuck, ahh—to do because you weren’t here,” voice high, he eases his fingers completely out only to ease them right back in.

And the theatrics are so goddamn unnecessary. Harry huffs out a laugh, rolling his eyes, knowing that Louis is nowhere near close to losing control over his speech, letting in little noises like he can’t help it.

Once, Harry pulled Louis’ hair so hard he cried, fat salty tears, and moaned for him to pull it harder. It took Harry ages to break his voice down and at the time he grinned like a lunatic, proud of the fact that the only words Louis could remember were “yes,” “please,” and “Harry.” Another time, Harry swirled two fingers around in his mouth for half an hour, until Louis’ voice didn’t even sound like his own and he screamed when Harry fit them in his ass right alongside his dick. So to hear this now, just from a few fingers and not even a fist, for christ’s sake, is Louis at his old tricks, pettiness with just a hint of malice.

Louis licks his lips. His voice is rough. “D’you expect me to stop just because you came back?”

He spits the words out, even as the sweater slips further down his shoulder and his fingers keep circling.

Harry digs his nails into his knee to keep his thoughts focused, ignoring the urge to dig them into Louis instead.  

Voice tight, he says, “Expect you to stop so we can have this out? Yeah, actually.”

Short and sharp, Louis laughs. “Don’t think so—we’re going to do it just like this. And you know the best part?”

Harry just stares.

Louis deadpans “Can’t touch me” and despite the heat of the room Harry’s skin goes cold.

It takes a minute to realize why that’s so startling to hear. Because…well, he wasn’t planning on touching Louis, not really. Not unless it was to throttle him. He had been considering his arousal, distracting though it was, secondary to his rage. But now he’s imagining touching Louis, really touching him, like he does after a show when it’s been hours since he got so much as a thumb on him. Those times, their fucks are quick and efficient, Harry’s hands grabbing and holding for as long as it takes until Louis comes and he comes, Louis biting his shoulder so he can feel him there, too.

Now, Harry watches the smirk spread effortlessly across Louis’ face, remembers leaving four days ago without saying a word, and thinks, just for a second, that maybe he deserves this.

Both of them know far too well what Harry’s like when he can’t touch.  

It was worse, far worse, during the X Factor when everything was so brand new and foreign, exquisitely charged and ripe for testing and pressing and discovering. They couldn’t go ten minutes without their hands on each other, their feet touching, their elbows knocking with every step they took from walking so close.

As they grew older it got better; they got better, at curbing their affections in public.

But that doesn’t mean it got easier.

If Harry was insatiable then, he’s ravenous now. Now that he knows what Louis tastes like, bends like, moans like, it’s like his hands always need it when they know they can have it. Any moment he can have him, in public if they can swing it and definitely in private, Harry has to touch.

There was the one time all through a Paris press conference when he kept his hand clasped around Louis’ knee, under the table, answering questions without a hitch and squeezing every time Louis was called on. There was the day they had interviews for three hours straight and he was sat behind Louis, hidden from the direct camera, so he stuck his hand in his back pocket and kept it there. Once, on the bus after a show, he flopped down, full weight, on Louis on the couch while he was Skyping with his sisters and he fell asleep, still buzzing from the show.

It’s just like. . .it’s always been a thing, and in private it’s worse because there’s no one to see or second-guess or deflect, it’s just them.

Harry touches everywhere, anywhere. His hands are firecrackers, skirting out and bursting. He pinches and pulls and scratches. He presses and caresses and holds still. He’s never had to curb it because he loves it and, most importantly, Louis loves it.

So to be told that he can’t touch, especially when Louis’ three fingers tipped on his own prostate, makes him honestly feel a bit like a child in time out.  

He’s not surprised to find his voice flatlined. “So you’ve put me in a time out.”

Louis laughs again and this time it’s less short, more familiar, less threatening. “Guess we can call it that.”

Harry brushes off the laugh and continues with the conversation that they are now, so pointedly, about to have with one half of attending parties sexually occupied.

He sighs before he starts, long and deep.

“Louis, it’s just—I just—Jesus Christ,” he puts his face in his hands, having to look away, because they can’t get two minutes in before Louis decides to change his position, inching that much lower, giving Harry a better view of his swollen balls underneath the hem of the sweater.

His mouth tastes like sandpaper. 

“Go on,” Louis urges, nearly breathless.

Harry glares and starts again, ruffling his hair.

“We were tense. We were doing so much promo and meetings and shows. The boys were just—they were being rattier than usual, not giving us free space and that’s. . .I mean, that’s super important for us. And you didn’t seem bothered, you were like, fine, and I was just. . .I was worn out.”

And he’s almost worn out now, talking about it, reminded of how things had been for the past three weeks. The pressures of touring were nonstop and everywhere all at once. Suddenly no one could remember their singing cues, nobody, including the crew, was getting started on time, their energy was weak at best, and Louis was trying so, so hard to keep everyone positive and joking but it wasn’t working. Harry couldn’t find it in him to tell him to stop, just stop.

But Louis is stubborn at the best of times, and didn’t pick up on Harry’s cues, or ignored them if he did, and shrugged off his coddling and his hints about having alone time and instead turned it all upside down.

He took all of Harry’s genuine good-intentions and unraveled them, twisted them into something belittling and plebian.

For a while, it was alright because it seemed to work—the boys got a bit cheerier, all ragging on Harry, but after a while it got lame. Tired. And Louis didn’t let up, even when Liam would say “Come off it, Lou” or Zayn would shake his head and walk away, not interested in listening for the tenth time to how sick it was when Harry did that one embarrassing thing six months ago.

And it’s dumb. Harry knows it’s dumb even as his anger stews now, climbing up his spine. He doesn’t need protecting. He knows how to stand up for himself, for god’s sake, and if he flew away every time Louis did something he didn’t like, he’d be traveling the globe on his second loop by now.

There was something inherently different about this time, though, that made Harry’s teeth ache.

Four days ago, they had had a rare week break between one leg of the tour and the next, so he took his chance.

Four days ago, he threw some clothes in a duffel and called Cal and hopped a red eye to LA.

Four days ago, he couldn’t articulate what he needed from Louis but he knew he wasn’t getting it.

He’s not sure he can articulate it now, but Louis whimpers again and he decides he’ll be damned if he doesn’t try.

“I was worn out,” he repeats, eyes darting.

“We’ve established that.”

“Look, you don’t need to be a shit. I’m trying to—get my thoughts,” and this is so very much the worst part about arguing with Louis. If Harry isn’t articulate as all fuck the minute he opens his mouth, Louis will pounce, like a shark sensing blood in open water.

Looking very much like a shark, Louis continues staring, smirking. Waiting. Miraculously, he slows down the pumping of his fingers and this seems to be the kick Harry needs to get his mind right.

“You can’t just take it out on me when you’re feeling shitty, Louis.” He feels weirdly like he’s said something profound; he doesn’t know if he’s ever actually said that out loud before. Louis’ expression suggests he hasn’t.

 He grunts out a laugh, unimpressed. “Why not? I’ve always done it before.”

“Because I’m not like—your punching bag. And it hurts! I’m here for you, you know that,” Louis’ eyes shift up, “but you have to talk to me. You can’t just talk at me or through me.”

“Thought I was.”

“You bloody weren’t.”

Louis scoffs, clucking his tongue. “Why’re you being such a pussy?”

Harry’s lip curls. Louis rarely uses that word, usually saving it for his most disliked enemies, but the way he says it now it might as well be shards of glass for all that it cuts.

The hand not currently in his ass is under it, and he uses it to sneak down to his balls and pull. He makes a funny noise, a delicate oh and Harry can feel the flush crawl up his own chest as he imagines putting his mouth there. Anywhere, really.

And no, this is not how this is supposed to go, so Harry snatches his eyes up and focuses on the evil twist in Louis’ mouth. It works for keeping his anger right at the surface where he wants it.

Louis says, “I don’t give a shit how I was acting, Harry. You can’t just up and leave me, you can’t just—”

“But I can.”

The words drop like stones.

Louis’ eyes go wide and his hands go still.

They’ve never explicitly talked about it, but it’s always been there, hanging over their heads like an imminent fog: breaking up. Because it’s only realistic, Harry thinks—isn’t it? Couples break up. People move on. Love fades. He ignores the fear clawing at his skin and carries on.

“Because I can, Louis.” His voice is rigid, concrete. He adjusts his position against the desk, standing taller so his shoulders will broaden out like he wants them to. “I can leave. If you—if we—if this turns into something toxic, I can leave. This isn’t just—”

“What’re you saying,” Louis whispers, body completely frozen.

“I’m saying that this isn’t just effortless, Louis. We have to fucking work at it. It doesn’t just exist. And if you push me away…” He trails off, looking Louis dead in the face.

Swallowing, Louis eases his fingers out and absently wipes them on the sheets, slowly sitting up and curling his arms around his knees. He pulls the sweater over them until he’s cocooned. He stares at Harry, flummoxed, waiting for him to continue.

Harry rolls his neck a bit to ease the tension there. “Lou,” the nickname comes out unexpectedly. “I really don’t mind the teasing, I really don’t. It’s not about that. It’s just, I was feeling so far away from you but you were right there and you were fine. It was like you were ok with not being with me. And I don’t mean physically, but really like. . .being with me. Talking to me. Listening to me. Being with me Louis, fuck.”

Running his hands through his hair for the umpteenth time, he watches the fading daylight cast shadows over Louis’ face. The rain is still drumming against the roof. Harry tries to swallow around his anxiety.

Louis looks speechless. After a few seconds he finds his voice.

“Harry, I. . .” He looks so small, wrapped in Harry’s sweater. It’s obvious that he doesn’t know what to say, so he follows Harry’s gaze to the window. When he speaks, his voice comes out like he’s floating in a dream, not really thinking it through but trusting that his thoughts are translating. “If you left me, I don’t know what I’d do. If you’re breaking up with me—”

Reaching his hands to the back of his head, Harry clenches large chunks of hair. “Jesus, no,” he says, exasperated. “We’re fighting; it’s not the end of the world.”

Slowly, Louis' head rotates back around. “Then why. . .” he gestures vaguely, drifting off.

“Because. . .you need to understand, this—this thing you do, it’s not healthy for uswhen you’re like, stressed or anxious or whatever, you need to handle it. You can’t just keep exploding all over everyone. . .over me, really. If you want us to work.” Harry pauses, deciding whether he should continue with what he’s thinking. Louis’ hair is curling at the sides and that seems a good enough reason as any to demand, arms folded, “Do you want us to work?”

Like he knew he would, Louis recoils. The fire sparks back into his eyes. Lord forbid someone best him at his own game, demanding anything of him.

“You can fuck right off if you think—”

“Then work at it, Louis. Put in effort. Don’t hide being vulnerable or—whatever,” Harry flings his hand. “I get it, you’re not good with your emotions. But you have to try, don’t you see? I’m not a—I’m not a sure thing, Louis.”

And Harry has said his fair share of lies in his lifetime but this might top the list for most blatant and most idiotic.

At this point, everybody, probably right up to the sodding Queen, knows that Harry and Louis are a sure thing. But right now, he doesn’t want that to be so obvious. It’s a weight, an expectation, and they’re only human. They mess up and they keep trying, because that’s what you do when you’re in love. You fight to keep it and you fight to make it better and it is so much easier to fight with two rather than one.

He doesn’t realize he’s spoken aloud until Louis makes noise, a thoughtful sound of agreement. He’s worrying with a loose thread on the sleeve of the sweater, rolling it into a ball with his fingers. His expression is still murderous, but at least his eyes look softer.  

He coughs, twice, before he speaks. “Harry, I—I get what you’re saying. And I know I haven’t been. . .like, I haven’t been—but, honestly, I could say the same to you!” He finishes in a rush, barreling through his half-assed explanation.     

 “What do you mean?” Harry asks, eyebrows furrowing.

“I mean, asshole, that when it’s obvious that I need you, like. . .need you to yell at me or put me back in line or whatever, then I need you to do it.” He’s gesturing now and Harry can tell he’s getting worked up.

His eyes aren’t looking soft anymore.

“I don’t. . .” puzzled, Harry just stares.

Louis squints and cranes his neck forward, like he can’t believe Harry is really this daft.

“D’you really not get what I’m sayin’?”

“. . .No?” Harry tries, grimacing, hands up and open, like he can hold the answer in his hands in front of him.

“Oh fuck’s sake, Harry!” and Louis spits the phrase out like he’s sick, throwing his hands up, which successfully un-cocoons the sweater from his knees so he, once again, is on Full Display. If Harry glances down and notices that Louis’ cock is starting to go soft, it’s only for a second and no one has to know. Especially not Louis, who is too keyed up to notice anything over his rising annoyance.

“I know I’m a twat! I get it!”

If they’ve made it to shouting, good, Harry can hop right on board that train.

“Well then why the hell d’you do it for!”

“It’s not about you, conceited!” Louis gestures animatedly, his accent becoming increasingly Northern, only like it does when he’s too careless to keep it in check, to give a shit about what is and isn’t considered proper.

 “It’s about me, innit! And my thing with being “vulnerable or whatever”,” he does massively violent air quotes then, mocking Harry’s words from earlier. “So when I’m out of line,” he violently jabs his own chest, “you,” points to Harry, “need to correct me, yeah?”

It’s so out of the blue, this twist in conversation, that Harry’s blindsided by it.

“Louis, what’re you—you mean you want me to snap at you?”

“Who bloody else?” Louis’ voice threatens screeching levels. Harry’s inability to put two and two together quickly is endearing at the best of times, exhausting at the worst.

In the span of two seconds, Harry can think of a hell of a lot of people who would, and have, snapped at Louis. Consistently, even. His being a terror is certainly not a surprise to anyone affiliated with them and to say that nobody attempts to check him is a blatant lie.

So excuse Harry for being a bit lost.

He speaks slowly, making his voice as placid as possible. “Louis. . .people do that all the time. You don’t listen. You actively defy them.”

Eyes popping, Louis sucks in a huge lungful of air. “Of course I do! They’re not you, ‘s’what I’m sayin’!” His expression is wild, his hair wilder, his body tight with the effort it takes him to remain sitting on the bed.

And Harry can do a lot of roundabout conversing, god knows he can, but this is too much. His head hurts.

“You need to tell me exactly what you’re saying, because I’m not following.”

And just like that, Louis’ self-restraint is gone.

He leaps to his feet and bounces the mattress and makes a strangled noise, bending to snatch at a pillow, quick as a flash.

Harry realizes what he’s going to do with it a millisecond before it collides with his face.

“I’m in love with you, you bleeding idiot!” Louis yells, voice filling the whole room now. He throws his arm back again, reaching for another pillow.  “Though I’ll be fucked if I can remember why!”

Harry’s too quick for it this time, ducking, eyes flashing angrily as he throws his arms up as shields and stray feathers drift over his head.

Louis' chest is heaving, up, down, the sweater hanging off one shoulder. “It has to be you, Harry! Not anyone else! You’re scared to get angry with me, I can see it. I’m not fucking blind.” Only the way it comes out is “fookin’” and Harry tries not to be charmed despite himself, he really does.

“But you’re so—you’re so—” he waves his hand around, snatching for the right word.

Louis hisses. “Don’t you fucking dare say anything fragile.”

“—unstable! I never know what you’re going to do until you’ve done it! You’re a ticking bomb, Christ! Every time I try to—”

“Tell me one time.”

“—to—What?” Thrown, Harry pauses and realizes that he’d started pacing. He’s by the window and it’s gone fully dark now, pitch black outside in a way that it isn’t in central London. Distracted, he finds himself wishing that they weren’t fighting so he could take Louis outside, to the back garden, and kiss him under the stars. The rain’s stopped and Louis’ skin would taste so very lovely, the rain giving it a sheen that would glow in the moonlight. Harry flicks on the lamp instead of saying anything and Louis is bathed in another kind of light, no less soft and looking no less beautiful.

He’s still standing in the center of the bed with his arms hanging at his sides and his expression is unreadable. Clumps of his hair point every which way, in disarray.

“Tell me,” he sneers, “one time you’ve tried to talk to me when I’m being, as you put it, unstable.”

Harry scoffs, “You can’t just—”

“I can,” Louis says, folding his arms over his chest.

“I’m not doing this with you.”

“Doing what, Harry? “Working at it?”

Louis looks entirely too pleased with himself and Harry recognizes his own words echoed back to him. He rolls his eyes and sucks at his teeth, making a noise that he knows Louis hates. Louis’ nose scrunches up in disgust.

Harry physically feels the tension in the air shift and suddenly a thought clicks so hard in him he reels. He doesn’t know why he didn’t think of it sooner.

Watching Louis watch him, he knows that Louis is expecting to be obeyed. His shoulders are squared, defiant, waiting for Harry to answer.  

But Louis said. . .he said he needed something else. And, well.

Let it never be said that Harry doesn’t give Louis what he needs.



Like a wave crashing over him, he feels calm flow all through his body. Focusing his gaze right at Louis, he stretches to his full height. Even with the added height of the bed, Louis still looks so tiny, swamped as he is in the sweater.

If Louis wants to be bossed around, then Harry will boss.

“Sit down.”

Not even slightly ruffled, Louis glares. “What.”

“I said, sit the fuck down,” Harry says, glad to hear just as much venom in his voice as when Louis said it earlier.

“What’re you,” Louis starts, but he’s quicker. “Don’t make me say it again.”

Louis purses his lips and looks as sour as he’s ever looked, but he folds his arms and plops down. The mattress squeaks.

Harry smirks, “Good.”

The windowsill is big enough to hold him, so he cranks the window open and sits on it. The air that tumbles through smells like rain, like the calm he needs to chill the sweat on his skin and start talking.

He looks directly into Louis’ eyes. His voice is scruffy.

The tables have, decidedly, turned.

“This is what’s happening. You’re going to go right back to doing what you were doing before.”

Louis looks confused, opening his mouth. Harry holds up a hand.

“Not like that. You’re going to do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. And you know the best part?”

Louis’ face falls, no doubt remembering that to call it “best” is probably debatable.

Wolfishly, Harry grins. “I’m going to tell you exactly what I should have said to you weeks ago, back when you were too goddamned prissy for your own good. And you’re going to listen. You’re going to lie there, and touch yourself, and you’re not going to say a word, Louis. You’re going to listen to me and feel everything I’m saying, feel it like an itch you can’t scratch.” His voice feels like syrup leaking out of him. “This is what you wanted. I’m giving it to you.” And Louis looks adequately affected, his cheeks pinking and his breath hitching.

“Now,” Harry says, voice deceptively sweet. “Put your fingers in your mouth.”

It takes a second for Louis to move, defiant till the last, but when he does he crawls back to the headboard. He spreads his knees, hesitantly, like he’s not sure it’s what Harry wants or not. But Harry doesn’t say anything, only looks, so his knees bloom open and he slowly lifts his hand to his mouth.

“Not that hand,” Harry says as Louis gets the non-fingering hand in front of his face.

He gapes. “But—”

“You speak when I ask you a question, and not otherwise.” His lips clamp shut. “You remember our word, yes?” Harry asks, waiting for the expression on Louis’ face to let him know he’s recognized just how far Harry could let this go.

His lips pull into a line. “Yeah,” he breathes out.

“Good,” Harry says, satisfied. “Put your fingers in your mouth.”

He only grimaces a little as he lifts his right hand to his mouth.

Harry is momentarily distracted by what he must smell there and his mouth waters once Louis gets his fingers in. He didn’t specify how many fingers, but Louis decides that two is enough. He makes a show about it, peeking his tongue out and licking his bottom lip before he gets his fingers knuckle deep and closes his mouth, hollowing his cheeks. He stares at Harry the whole time and doesn’t blink. It’s hotter than it has any right to be.

It’s fucking ridiculous, is what it is.

Ignoring the creeping doubt up his chest as to why he ever thought this was a good idea, Harry clasps his hands in front of him and attempts to look unaffected.

He forces his thoughts to return to a few days ago when Louis’ behavior had gotten out of control enough to be a nuisance. He was irritable during breaks in the day, running off to bother the crew instead of spending time alone with him, and at night would stay in their hotel no longer than it took to shower, change clothes, and throw an excuse over his shoulder as he slammed the door, leaving Harry sat on the bed feeling like an idiot.

All those emotions that had been so tender, but so untouched, come back to Harry now and he lets his anger feed them into something present, something harsh again.

“Suck on them.”

Obediently, Louis’ cheeks dent and hollow and he starts moving his fingers in a pale imitation of earlier.

“Don’t stop. Now,” and Harry starts, feeling his anger goosebump all along his skin, hearing how low and gravelly his voice has gone, “Louis, you piece of shit.”

When he moans, it’s as unexpected to hear it as it was for him to make it. His eyes go wide and he attempts to play it off like a cough. Harry notices and preens.

It’s not like he doesn’t know what his voice does to Louis, but they’ve never done. . .this, exactly.

Determined, Harry pretends that they’re back to four days ago. They had taken a 10 minute rehearsal break and Harry had been on the edge of the stage, pulling from his water bottle and scrolling through Twitter. The boys and some of the crew were surrounding Louis, helpless to the attraction of his attention. Harry hadn’t needed to hear his exact words to know what he was doing; he was reenacting that one time, that one time, he had managed to convince him that Caroline was in labor minutes before their first show of the tour. At the time, Harry was sick; he still got a little bit nervous before shows and his stomach had been unsteady all day, but when Louis burst into the room and said that, yelling, he almost lost it. It was months too soon and his heart rate skyrocketed. He had stumbled his way down the hall out of their room, Louis bouncing and egging him along, raising his voice like he, too, was a nervous wreck, until Harry had burst, hollering, through Caroline’s room, shirtless and wild-eyed, and seen her perfectly fine, on the phone and stuffing pretzel sticks in her mouth. She had dropped her phone in surprise, looking from Harry to Louis and back again, demanding to know what was up. Louis’ cackling had been all the answer she or Harry needed.

Later, after the show, Harry had sucked Louis’ cock and edged him for an hour until he let him come, finally, and the pillow had been soaked through with his tears. 

Watching Louis reenact it, for the umpteenth time, had raged a fire in Harry that was almost painful. What he had wanted to do at the time was march over there and, in front of everyone, remind Louis what had happened later that night. Ask him if he had enjoyed his punishment. Tell him to explain, in vivid detail, that when he came it was so much, and so strong, that he had blacked out for a second.

But Harry had done nothing but seethe and pretend he couldn’t hear them.

Now, he calls that moment up and revels in how his skin prickles.

“Remember how you told everyone, during rehearsals, about making me think Caroline was in labor?”

Louis nods mutely.

“You were such a brat that day. Had been, since we woke up.”

Louis turns his face away but keeps his fingers going in, out, circling. That morning he hadn’t said a word to Harry, used up all the hot water, then wore the jacket Harry had borrowed from Nick just to spite him.

“Look at me.”

Slowly, he cranes his neck back around.

“At the time, I wanted to—I wanted to choke you, Louis, god. You were doing so much and it was so obvious, the crew was barely tolerating you. The boys certainly weren’t. People hardly even laughed, but you were giddy as fuck.”

Lightning-quick, he feels his eyes flash. Harry grins.

“That get to you, then? Knowing you’re not funny?”

He can’t speak around the fingers in his mouth, so he frowns instead.

“It wasn’t funny at all. But you kept on, and it was so annoying. It was desperately pathetic.”

At that, Louis bares his teeth and slides his fingers out of his mouth, grating on them, before sliding them back in.

“You were pathetic,” Harry repeats. “You’re terrible when you get like that. Your emotions, or whatever, that’s about you. And you need to handle it, not be a dick. I’m not always going to be your cover. I shouldn’t have to. Take your fingers out.”

With a pop, he does. They’re so wet, saliva running down to his wrist, and Harry has to blink so he doesn’t say anything about it. Louis’ mouth is swollen and red again, and his breaths are coming harsher.

“Open yourself up.”

Louis looks desperately like he wants to speak, but he doesn’t , just opens his thighs farther until Harry can see all of him. Sneakily, the other hand moves towards his cock, presumably to get it out of the way, but Harry’s not ready for that yet.

“Did I tell you to touch that?”

Louis’ scowl is immediate. “No.”

“Then don’t fucking touch it,” he says, voice rough.

Defiantly, Louis sinks farther on the bed so he’ll have better access and flexes his ass up. He holds onto his thigh to get the angle and slides his fingers right back in. They go so easily, he’s still loose from earlier, and he sinks them in until the scowl falls right off his face.  

 “When I’m not here—” Louis’ eyes snap to him, “When I’m like—away, for whatever reason. When I’m not right beside you. Who’s going to put you in line then?”

Pumping his fingers and pushing his heels into the mattress, Louis shrugs, jostling the sweater that’s still hanging on him. “I don’t know.” Like he doesn’t give a damn.

Harry seethes. “Try again.”

“Paul, the boys, Caroline, Dave, the new sodding technician, Ms. Smith from down the chippy? I don’t give a—”

Anger crackles on Harry’s skin like sparks. “I’ll give you one more guess.”

Louis looks delighted, reveling in being defiant, thriving off disobedience. The twist in his mouth, when he opens it, tells Harry that whatever he’s about to say is going to be another smartass answer, so he beats him to it, says, firmly, with the evening breeze jostling his hair, “If you’re wrong, you can’t come. You can’t touch yourself at all. I’ll eat you out for hours, Louis, I swear to Christ, and I won’t let you come.”

There’s no reason to hide his moan that time, so Louis doesn’t and he’s shamelessly loud.

But he does sink his fingers in farther and Harry can see that he scissors them, almost impossibly wide, desperate to feel the stretch that he wants.

“Don’t scissor them. Answer me.”

Thrashing his head from side to side, Louis hisses. “God what the fuck, Harry. It’s me, alright? It’s me. I have to—ugh—” there we are, Harry thinks, watching him sloppily lick his bottom lip, “to—to not be a dick, I have to try.”

Harry slow claps. “You got it. So you have to start practicing, now. And practice doesn’t involve using me.”

Louis must hit his prostate then, because he groans. Sharp but sweet. He tosses his head back and bares his throat.

Harry’s eyes roam up the column, so much precious untouched, unmarked skin. “You look like a fucking demon,” he tells him, and he does. His forehead has gone sweaty again and his hair is tacky with it, glued to the pillow in clumps. The sweater is still hanging off his shoulder and it must only be making him hotter, but he hasn’t hinted at wanting to take it off.

And that thought alone is enough to make Harry’s cock stir, knowing that Louis still finds comfort in his clothes; even when he mostly wants to throw knives at him.

Louis’ voice catches when he says, “Good. I feel like Satan.”

“Mmm. Tell me how it feels.”

“It feels like how it always feels,” Louis says, voice croaking, turning his face to the open window in a silent plea that the wind will soothe him, chill the perspiration on his forehead. Obligingly, Harry moves slightly to the side so he’s not blocking the airflow.

Louis mouths thank you, sweetly, as he shuts his eyes and Harry loves viciously, like he’s never loved anybody else.

Expression fond, he peers down at Louis. “Not that. What I’m telling you. Hearing that you fucked up. Tell me how it feels.”

Whimpering, Louis strains his knees even further apart and opens his eyes, finding Harry’s gaze again. “Better.” He gulps in air, tongue heavy. “Like you’re not weak. Like I’m—Christ, like I need to be punished.”

“Good boy,” Harry nods, voice wrapped with desire. “And how do you think you need to be punished.” He doesn’t inflect at the end, makes his voice go soft and commanding like Louis’ does when they get like this.

“You could just fuck me,” Louis responds. He blooms his knees open, again, as welcoming an invitation as he’s ever given.

Harry purses his lips and tilts his head like he considers this offer. “I could.”

Suddenly, Louis takes his fingers out all the way, pops his ring finger, and sucks it hard and fast into his mouth. When it’s wet enough, he slides his hand right back into his ass, all three.  

“Yeah. You could,” he whines, high in his throat and looking straight at Harry.

“Who told you to add another finger?”

He flushes red all the way to his ears. Slowly, he pulls them out. He’s pouting and Harry wants to kiss it.

“Good boy,” Harry praises instead, loving how Louis flushes every time he says it. “Touch yourself.”

And Louis must know where he means, his cock keeps popping up, fully erect, searching for his hand, but instead, still watching Harry’s face, he moves his hands to his nipples. He pinches them, rolls them, and his face goes so slack in pleasure as to be the epitome of bliss.

Louis loves playing with his nipples, and will sometimes climb in Harry’s lap apropos of nothing and put his tiny hands on Harry’s huge ones, guiding them to his chest, breath hot against his ear as he whimpers and says Can you just—and Harry, please and harder, harder.

Harry can feel his blood pressure spike.

Before he can catch himself, he says, “Yeah,” on an exhale, and Louis’ face practically glows. It’s like the assurance was all he needed to keep going, so he takes one hand and presses it low on his stomach, like he’ll do sometimes when Harry’s inside him.

Harry doesn’t miss the gesture. He clutches the windowsill until his muscles firm up and he spreads his knees apart, so Louis can see the thick shape of his cock through his jeans. “You remembering how it feels when I’m in you there?”

Yeah,” and Louis’ pale imitation of pleasure earlier was nothing compared to now; his voice is thick and raspy and so very unmistakably turned on. He’s pressing on the soft expanse of his belly, canting his hips up until his cockhead rubs across the inked rope on his wrist.

Harry licks his lips. “But I’m not in you, am I? And why’s that?” And he’s bordering the line on cruel at this point, especially since he’s so hard he might pass out the minute he stands up, but he wants Louis to understand this.

Unblinking, he stands frozen as he watches Louis’ whole body come to life.

Hand on his cock, finally, Louis smears the wetness around. With his thumb, he trails a line all the way down to his balls, then back to the tip. Unbearably slow, he pinches the wetness in his fingers and takes it up to his nipple, where he coats it until it hardens. The whole time he doesn’t look away.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry croaks, and he wants, so suddenly he can hear it ringing in his ears.

Answering the question Louis gasps out, “Because—because I’m a twat when I want to be, but I shouldn’t be. Because I need to learn my lesson. . .because emotions aren’t the bloody enemy, I get it—ah, I get it. Because you’re a self-righteous maniac and if you don’t get over here in two seconds I swear to fuck, Harry—”

Before Louis’ even closed his mouth, Harry’s moved.



Louis had been propped up against the headboard, fluffed on pillows, but with one firm tug on his ankle Harry pulls him down until he’s completely horizontal. Louis goes easily, body curling like a wave, tucking into the space under where Harry’s suddenly looming over him.

He brackets an arm on either side of his head. He knows how menacing he must look. He doesn’t feel angry now though, looking at Louis like this, watching his face break into a smile.

Cheekily, Louis says, “About time. Was worried you’d have me touch myself all night.”

He runs one hand up Louis’ side, sighing blissfully as he finally touches warm skin, cupping his waist, and holds his weight up on his other arm. Louis’ eyes dart to his bicep, watching it bulge. He flexes the muscle again, so Louis grabs it and turns his mouth to nip at it.

“Now why would I do that when I am so. . .so crazy to touch you myself,” he whispers, and he’s glad to hear his voice has gone soft.

He leans down, close enough to brush their mouths together, but just as he’s about to press down, just as he’s about to sigh into it, Louis sneaks a finger up between them. He presses on Harry’s mouth, pushing him away slightly.

“I’m--,” he starts, eyes suddenly looking serious. “Harry, I’m. . .before, I didn’t—I wasn’t—”

And Louis’ never been particularly good at apologies but the nervous way he’s stuttering now is almost comical. Harry figures he’s had enough torture. He opens his mouth, successfully sucking the offensive finger in, and is delighted to see Louis close his mouth around the apology he doesn’t need to say aloud, moaning like he can’t help it when Harry hollows his cheeks.

“Haz,” he whispers, and the nickname is all Harry needs to hear to know that they’re ok.

He lets Louis pull his finger out and before he can say anything else, can delay this for one more second, he surges down and kisses him. He kisses him like he should have done days ago, weeks ago, should have just gotten him into a corner and made him shut the hell up already.   

Louis tastes like—like everything Harry’s ever wanted, like everything sweet he ever needed. He collapses on top of him, no longer trusting the strength in his arms, and Louis’ hands immediately tangle in his hair, his mouth immediately opening up, like a gift. They’re both whining, needy sounds, each time they press their mouths together more desperate than the last. Louis smells like sweat and rain, now that the breeze has cooled his skin a little, and Harry gets his tongue as deep as it can go. Their lips are smacking they’re so sloppy with it. Harry can’t stop making noise, can’t stop panting and breaking away just to look at Louis’ face again, eyes roaming around all the features he knows so well, everything he’s missed; he just stares, until Louis flashes teeth and smiles delicately, embarrassed, until he just has to kiss him again, he has to, so he fits their mouths together and Louis smiles right into it.

Louis’ knees come up to bracket his body in and his hands tug at the back of his head, where the curls are most delicate.

“Yeah, Lou, pull my hair,” he whispers, licking around Louis’ ear. Obediently, Louis yanks, and Harry closes his eyes, hips grinding down involuntarily.

“Harry, Harry, Harry,” Louis chants, rocking his hips up to meet him.

The denim of Harry’s jeans has to be rough on his cock but he hasn’t said anything. If anything, he moans louder every time the tip catches on Harry’s zipper, the button, effectively wiping his slick all down the front.

Breaking apart, Harry pushes himself back on his knees, one hand braced by Louis’ head, and takes his dick in the other.

“God, baby, you’re so wet,” he says, reverently. Watching Louis’ face carefully, he wraps his fist around the tip and bumps his hips forward, putting Louis’ slit right on the metal of his jean zipper.

Louis howls. “Jesus, Harry.”

Biting his lip, he does it again, sliding Louis’ dick up and down until the whole front of his jeans is wet. His own dick is about to burst right through the denim so he presses Louis’ dick up against it, fitting them both in his hand and sliding them together as best he can.

It feels insanely good.

Louis allows it for a while, his belly moving erratically, matching the breaths that he can’t quite take fully.

Abruptly, he tugs at Harry’s wrist and grunts, gesturing vaguely in a motion that he hopes conveys Enough. Strip. Now.  

“Yeah, yeah, ok,” Harry pants, nodding distractedly. He rolls off the bed and starts with his shirt, yanking it over his head and tossing it, thanking whatever possessed him to wear just the one layer today. Bending his head down to fumble with his jeans, he’s swiftly and wholly distracted by the sound of Louis’ hand sliding up his dick. Eyes completely black, Louis’ expression is smug.

“You just gonna watch?” He asks, blinking sweat out of his eyes.  

“The fuck do you think,” Harry answers, grinning. He gets his jeans open fully and kicks them away, doing the same with his briefs. The second his cock hits air he hisses and goes to move his hand toward it.

“Nuh uh,” Louis says, disapproving. “Come here.”

Harry climbs back over him, flattening his body completely, and kisses him as soon as their cocks touch. It’s electric like it always is, like coming to water after a drought. Louis’ tongue is everywhere, heavy and lazy, flicking around until he keeps it still so Harry can suck on it. His hands are back in Harry’s hair and he rakes against his scalp, gently, before he pulls without warning, hard enough to break the kiss. Harry bares his throat so Louis licks it, teething down the veins.

“You’re so good to me,” he says, kissing under Harry’s jaw.

“And you, love,” Harry says, mouthing across the back of Louis’ knuckles, “are the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Oh, don’t be a sap, Harold,” he says, but his cheeks pink up and he grins like he can’t help it.

Harry kisses him again, quick little pecks all over his face, just to hear him giggle.

He starts to pull the sweater over Louis’ head, suddenly offended that it’s even there, but Louis swats his hands away. He looks at him, perplexed, until Louis explains.  

He rolls his eyes like he’d rather not. “I like it. It makes me feel—safe, when you’re not here.” His voice is terribly small, he thinks, but he guesses now is as good a time as any to start feeling ok about his. . .vulnerable emotions. Or whatever.

Harry crooks an eyebrow, like he gets what Louis’ doing, and keeps quiet. Louis huffs and continues.

“It’s like—ok it just feels like you, right? It’s big on me and warm and cozy and I don’t have to really feel bad about anything when it’s on. It’s just. . .it’s here, on me. Like you,” he finishes, pinching Harry’s nipple.

And Harry knows that they’re taking baby steps here, with Louis talking about feelings he maybe probably most likely doesn’t want to talk about, but still: Harry’s heart grows three times its normal size. It’s not news that Louis likes wearing his clothes; he does that enough when they’re together. But apart, he had just assumed Louis wore the same outfit every day, helpless to the idea of clean laundry when he wasn’t around to actually do the washing.

“Louis,” Harry says, and his voice is back to fucked out again. “You—that’s so—”

Louis gives him a look. “Now don’t go all soft just because I get off in your clothes.”

Abruptly, Harry grabs his hand and puts it on his swollen cock. “That feel soft to you?”

Grinning, Louis tightens his hand and brings his legs in, trapping Harry between them. “Nah. Least soft I’ve ever felt it, even.”

Harry laughs, a quick sharp sound. He bends down, tugging the nape of the sweater down so he can kiss Louis there, at least, skating his lips through the sweat that’s pooled tracks in his collarbone, licking profusely through It is what it is.

And it is, he thinks, tongue looping through “what” as Louis hisses in his ear; it’s exactly what it is, and it’s everything.  

And Louis’ hand is so, so good on his dick; it’s always been good, even when they first started doing this. In breaks during the X-Factor they would run off to the bathroom two minutes apart, cackling, thinking they were clever. And without fail, before they could even get the door closed all the way, Louis would wrap his hand around Harry and breathe kisses into his mouth. His mouth would attack, taking what he wanted, and Harry would crumble and melt against the wall, helpless to doing much more than riding wave after wave of pleasure until he came, whimpering, then jerked, dry, as he watched Louis lick it off his hand.

Every single time.

Now, Louis wants something else. He tugs Harry’s cock a few more times, turning his head so his collar is better exposed, before he swallows. “Up here,” he says.

Harry pops his head up. Louis taps his own lips and raises his eyebrows.

Smirking, giddy, Harry leans back on his knees so Louis can adjust. He props the pillows around the headboard, fluffing them until they’re comfortable, and rests back on them. Louis spreads his legs and pulls at his own cock twice, three times, until he deliberately drops his hand away.  

All the blood rushes straight to Harry’s groin.

“You don’t want—you don’t want to touch. . .”

Louis looks about as turned on as Harry feels. “No,” he whispers, soft but sure.

“You don’t want me to touch. . .”

Louis shakes his head. “No.”

“You want my voice.”

Louis slips ever so slightly lower on the pillows and shudders. “Yeah, Haz.”

Groaning at the idea alone, Harry gets his dick in hand and knees up the bed until he’s poised right in front of Louis’ mouth; his slick, red mouth. At this angle, he can see the top of his head and the sharp bones of his face, his nose, his jaw, the dark line of his eyelashes. “You’re beautiful,” he whispers, knowing Louis will look away, blushing at it but refusing to acknowledge it.

“No,” Harry says, tilting Louis’ face up so he can look straight at him. “You’re everything.”

Louis whimpers then and closes his eyes, feels the words like a caress, and Harry doesn’t hesitate anymore before thumbing his lips apart and pushing in.  

Immediately, Louis hollows his cheeks and sucks and Harry slaps a hand to the wall to brace himself.

“Fuck, baby, not so fast—” he says, because Louis’ decided to deepthroat him on the very first breath. He’s got his jaw opened as wide as it can go and his eyes scrunched shut, but his throat is determined, expanding and adjusting, hands gripping the back of Harry’s thighs to push him deeper.  

Harry almost feels manic with arousal. “Your throat, your voice. . .I don’t want,” he says, but Louis makes a sound at that, impatient like he doesn’t give a shit, and what’s Louis if not determined to take what he wants.

“Lou,” Harry tries again, but even he can hear how weak that was. And he’s so deep already, almost all the way in, so he rocks nearly all the way out and, quicker, pushes back in.

Louis vibrates around his dick like that’s exactly what he wanted.

“This what you want?” Harry bites out, voice gritty like he’s the one deepthroating. “This what you want me to do to you?”

Popping his head off, Louis looks up so Harry can see how fucked his eyes are. “Yeah. You gonna give it to me?” He presses his finger on Harry’s slit just as a drizzle of precome seeps out. He runs the finger around his bottom lip, smearing it there, and gets Harry’s dick back in his mouth without a second thought.

Harry’s hips snap forward of their own accord, and he groans. “Fuck, yes, I’m gonna—gonna give it to you.”

With one hand still braced on the wall, he puts the other in Louis’ hair, right at the crown, where he massages the scalp until Louis melts around his cock, mouth hot and slick like butter.

“Yeah, you’re doing so good sweetheart,” he says, pumping his hips just a little. He can hear his own breath falling out of him in harsh pants, and he vaguely notes that the rain has started up again. A breeze ruffles the tiny hairs on his arms and it’s only then that he sees the sweat dripping off his forehead, feels it sliding down the side of his face.

Louis will do that to him, make him forget everything about himself that he ever thought was important, filling those spaces with Louis-centric things instead; the sweetest, most dangerous tunnel vision.

He pushes Louis’ fringe off his forehead so he can get a better angle, and Louis hums appreciatively as his hot skin is exposed to the air. Harry can feel his tongue bearing up on the underside of his cock, just like he likes. “Yeah, keep—just like that. D’you miss this?”

Sucking, hard, Louis flicks his middle finger.

Harry laughs. “Take that as a yes, then.”

For a few more minutes he just rests there, shallowly pumping his hips.

“But did you miss this,” he questions, and without warning he thrusts his hips forward as far as they’ll go. Like he knew it would, Louis’ gag reflex kicks in. He makes noise, choking, and Harry’s so turned on he has to do it again.

This, right here, is Louis’ thing; he’s thrown his head back but if Harry looked down, he’d see Louis’ dick shiny at the tip, bouncing up for any kind of relief, because once, on his knees in some dirty, dingy bathroom at the back of a club, Louis had looked up, stray specks of glitter on his face, put Harry’s hand at the nape of his neck, and told him to “Make me suck it until I choke on it.”

 “Baby,” Harry exhales, and Louis’ throat is still working, lips still moving around the shaft as he quickly adjusts. With his nails he cuts shapes into the back of Harry’s thighs, urging him to keep still for a second.  

Remembering that Louis wanted him to talk, Harry cracks his lips open. “I love when you let me do this. I love that you love it so much, god, that you want it so badly you could choke on it. You like my cock filling you up?”

Slowly, he pulls out all the way. “God, yeah,” and Louis’ voice is beyond wrecked, torn to shreds like ribbons left to spill to the floor. “I want it,” he continues, kissing up the side and base as Harry pats it on his face, taps his cheeks with it. “It’s like—like—”

“Like what?”

“Like it’s feeding me, like I’ve been without it too long and now I just—need more of it, all of it,” Louis says, whimpering as he purses his lips, desperate to have more of it.

Fitting back into Louis’ open mouth, Harry tries to focus on something, anything, other than coming. He could come so easily like this; Louis’ so intent with it, flattening his tongue so Harry can slide on it, opening his throat until Harry can feel his dick hit the back, and still Louis chokes like he wants more. Gritting his teeth and clawing at the wall, he forces his hips to slow down.

And a blowie is great, really it is, perfect, but it’s not how he wants to be with Louis again, not really.

So he dicks back in a few times, just to hear that pretty noise Louis keeps making, before he pops out and sits so they’re at eye-level.

And Louis looks so blissed out, content, so Harry presses their mouths together. He can taste himself where Louis opens up to him. He gets his hands under the sweater, roaming across Louis’ chest until he gets to his nipples and pinches. Louis bites his lip for that and Harry feels him smirk.

“Turn around,” he whispers, gently maneuvering Louis’ tiny frame until they’re back to front.

Sighing happily, Louis sinks his full weight into Harry’s arms. He tosses his head back on his shoulder, turning whichever direction Harry’s mouth goes as it works at his neck, biting and bruising.

It makes him crazy when Harry gets possessive like this. “Put ‘em where everyone can see,” he says, stretching completely until the skin is taut. “I want—I want Lou to tell me off tomorrow, I want to look at her and feel myself blush because—then I, then I have to explain how a—a vampire broke into my house—”

Giggling, Harry pinches Louis’ side until they’re both laughing. He keeps sucking marks, toying at the skin with his teeth. Eventually, Louis’ impatience gets the best of him and he bends away, down to the mattress, putting his weight on his palms and sticking his ass out.  

“Go get the stuff,” he throws over his shoulder, voice absolutely ruined.

The bed bounces as Harry moves away to dig around in his duffel. And the whole time, Louis hasn’t touched his dick at all, just like he said he wouldn’t, but he goes to touch it now, almost like his brain doesn’t know what his hand is doing.

Harry, predictably, catches the movement and tuts.

“That’s mine, princess.”

Cursing his traitorous hand, Louis pushes his hips back even higher, watching Harry’s eyes glaze over as they follow the roll of his back, skittering down the line of his spine where the sweater’s come up to expose skin.

“Oh princess, is it? Where’s my tiara?”

“It was in your mouth, oh,” Harry bends his head, checking an imaginary watch, “not but two minutes ago!”

Ecstatic, Louis squeals, the smile filling his entire face.

Harry could cry he’s so in love.

Getting back to the bed, he doesn’t waste any time. Popping the lube open, he gets two fingers coated before slipping them in, down in the slick where Louis’ tiny hand had already made a track.

He leans down until he’s right by Louis’ ear at the pillow. For a second he just inhales, nosing in his hair where the sweat is thickest, making sure to keep his fingers circling.

“Really wanna get my mouth on you,” he says, punctuating where he means by scissoring his fingers. Louis gasps, a tiny sound.

“But I really don’t think you can wait that long.” He kisses the side of Louis’ nose, where it’s pressed into the pillows, bites at his jaw.

“Because if I do eat you out,” he whispers, lowering his voice, “it’ll be hours before I stop.”

Louis moans so beautifully then, clenching around his fingers, impatience written all over the creases in his face. “Haz, stop talking.”

“Thought you wanted my voice,” he teases.

“I’ll—I’ll come, Christ,” Louis bites out, half laughing, half serious. “D’you know how long I was in here, before you got here? Cal was—”

Harry’s eyes widen. “So that’s how you knew. That bastard.”

Louis shakes the hair out of his eyes, impatient. “He texted me when you got here. Said that. . . you’d been weird, but he was bringing you to me. Figured I could fix you.”

For a second, Harry thinks about just how weird he must have seemed. He hadn’t really told Cal any details, after all, just mumbled that he wanted to get away for a few days and if he could stay at his place.

“Yeah, I didn’t really tell him much,” he says now, trailing off, distracted by how sweet the nape of Louis’ neck tastes. “And have you? Fixed me?”

In answer, Louis clenches around his fingers and rolls his ass back until Harry gasps. “Best way I know how,” he whispers, pressing the words right up against Harry’s lips.

Smiling, Harry kisses him softly, apologetically, before removing his fingers all the way then leaning back to roll the condom down. Louis grinds his dick down into the sheets.

“Stop doing that,” Harry says, pinching him. “You only get my voice, remember?”

Yeah, Louis remembers, but he’s also impatient as fuck. “Sorry, sorry,” he stutters out, leaning up on his elbows so he can brace himself. “Haz, for fuck’s sake, in me. Get it in me. Inside.”

He’s close to babbling now, and Harry can feel that manic look threaten to explode on his face, smug despite himself. Instead, he focuses on lining his cockhead up with Louis’ ass.

And this, god, this, is one of the best parts about fucking Louis. How hungrily his hole always pulls him in, like it’s calling for him, tugging on him so sweetly until it’s a challenge not to just thrust in all the way. And Louis won’t quit, pumping his hips back and snatching the sweater up so Harry can watch his lower back muscles work, pressing through the skin with the effort he’s  using to roll his ass.

Gritting his teeth, Harry holds his dick in one hand and splays the other over Louis’ back dimples, silently praying that this won’t end before it even starts. But Louis’ relentless, chanting yeah, yeah, yeah with each inch that Harry gets in, tight like a vice, until he’s fully seated and Louis’ eyes roll straight to the back of his head.

It feels like—like coming home, Harry thinks, crazily, a gust of wind coming through the open window and chilling the sweat on his chest. Like he read his thoughts, Louis rasps out “Welcome home,” over his shoulder so he can look Harry in the eyes. He lies there for a minute, head hanging down, until he pushes himself up so they’re back to front again. Harry’s arm comes up around him, hand coming up to his neck to hold him in place, groaning as his cock gets that much deeper. He pumps his hips shallowly once, twice, and feels Louis shudder right through to his bones.

Jesus, you’re tight,” he says, barely moving his hips at all.  

“Didn’t do anything while you were gone.” Louis’ mouth is hanging open, breaths coming harshly. The sweater’s almost a full shade darker now, both of their sweat mixed in the threads. Harry sinks his teeth in where his shoulder is exposed, snapping his hips at the same time so Louis lets out a sharp ah! and grits his teeth. He wraps his fingers around Harry’s wrist on his throat and holds on, feeling his body learn to accommodate again.

“No toys,” he elaborates, pulling at Harry’s hair.

“No fingers,” he continues, clawing at Harry’s neck.

“Nothing. First time I touched myself at all was when I knew you were coming,” and his voice is honeyed, disgustingly sweet.

Harry’s whole body goes cold, then hot.

“Nowhere?” he asks, voice gruff as he hooks his chin over Louis’ shoulder, still pumping shallowly. Like it takes some effort, Louis tosses his head side to side. “Not even here?” he asks, hands trailing down to Louis’ cock until his fingertips are right at the tip. With his pinky, he strokes the line of his slit. Louis keens.

No,” he bites out, slapping Harry’s hand away.

 “Christ, baby that’s so—” Harry says, overwhelmed, and to show he means it, where words fail, he changes the angle slightly and pushes his hips up, deeper than he’d been thrusting before.

Fuck,” Louis says, drawing it out. Harry doesn’t give him time to adjust before he does it again, fingers tightening around his throat involuntarily. The next thrust comes right as he presses down on Louis’ windpipe, hard enough to bruise, and Louis chokes on nothing and cries out, loud like he can’t help it.

“Do that again—again,” he says, dick throbbing.

Harry does it again, thrusts and presses his thumb in at the same time and Louis makes a sound like he’s sobbing.

It’s too hot, Harry thinks, there’s no way he was prepared for this, and his hips start snapping of their own accord. They get into a rhythm until the only sound in the room is their breathing and the faint sound of the crickets outside.

Gradually, Harry’s hand moves from Louis’ throat to fist in the sweater fabric, holding it up so he can watch his balls slap against the thick meat of Louis’ ass. Arching his back, Louis leans back impossibly so he can get at Harry’s ear with his canines.

“Don’t you ever fucking do that to me again,” he rasps, teething at the lobe enough to hurt.

Harry’s vision blurs for a minute, remembering how lonely he had been those few days in self-imposed exile, when the only person he wanted comfort from was the only person who couldn’t give it to him.  

“Don’t make me have to,” he says now, grabbing the back of Louis’ neck and pushing him down to the mattress, hand splayed between his shoulder blades. Louis turns his head so he can breathe better, panting and gasping like a man possessed. Harry stretches his body and leans down with him, letting the heat from their moans cover both their mouths.

He kisses him chastely. “I’ll never fucking do that to you again,” he whispers, and he means it.

To show it, he pulls his hips all the way back, just so the tip of his cock is stretching the rim, before he sinks back in, no warning.

Louis, predictably, loves it.

Christ, yes,” he says, pushing back. Sliding his hand across the sheets, he reaches back until he finds the skin at Harry’s waist, digging his nails in.

“S—stop, stop,” he says, and waits until Harry stills. Sucking in breath he punches his hips back, then forward, then back again, until he’s riding Harry as best he can from this position.

“Look at you,” Harry breathes out, like a secret. “Look how good you are.” Louis preens and smiles as a fat drop of sweat rolls into his eyes.

“Learned from the best, didn’t I.”

Harry laughs. “Yeah? You like it when I ride you, then?”

Louis’ ass clenches. He feels his slit start to leak, again, and Jesus, at this rate Harry could keep him here forever, just talking and talking and not letting him come until he forgot his own fucking name.

“Tell me,” Harry says, voice rumbling out of him.

He circles his hips again, because he can. He can’t get enough saliva in his mouth to speak so he smacks his lips, trying not to focus on how good Harry feels inside him. Desperately, he wants to press down on his stomach but it’s too close to his dick and he might be tempted.  

Too late, and he should have seen this coming, really, he starts to answer.

He manages to get out “I—” before he gasps unexpectedly, body propelled forward by the firm pressure of Harry’s hand slapping his ass.

“Not fast enough. Tell me.”

And honestly, it’s a miracle he hasn’t come at least twice already. He concentrates on the slow burn he feels, knowing that Harry can do much better than that love tap. The threat of being slapped again is too delicious to ignore, so he focuses all his energies on tightening his hole as much as he can, sliding forward until he’s nearly off Harry’s dick completely, like he doesn’t even want it anymore. He goes completely still, holds his breath, he’s almost there, the tip is barely in anymore, when he feels the rush of wind. This slap is much harder, much more piercing, and much more likely to be the cause of his untimely death.

Elated, he starts to speak, the words falling out his mouth. “Ah! I—I love you riding me. I love knowing that you need me like that, when you get like that, and that I can give it to you. You’re so hot, god, you’re always so hot, I remember the first time you did it I wanked for weeks remembering how you—how you look when you sit on my lap, like you—like you just need it and you’re gonna have it—“

“Yeah,” Harry says, eyes wild. He pushes his cock back in and Louis whines. “Gonna have you.”

“Have me, then. Fuck me, god, just fuck me, stop being a pussy—”

And there’s that word again, so Louis gets another slap, hard enough to jolt him forward and make him squeal.

Harry can hardly see anymore and he’s not sure whether it’s sweat or tears in the corners of his eyes, but grabbing the fat meat of Louis’ ass he decides that it really doesn’t matter. He starts thrusting, really thrusting, until there’s nothing sweet or innocent in the connection between their bodies. It’s dirty, as filthy as it ever is, the sound of their slapping skin drowning out the sound of the rain drumming the roof. And Harry’s so close, his balls drawing up tight, but he’ll be damned if Louis doesn’t come first.

“Louis,” he breathes out, snatching at the back of his head until he gets him up on his hands and knees. “D’you want to come?”

And Louis’ eyes are clenched shut, hand braced on the headboard banging on the wall. “Yeah, what kind of question—I’m so close, you gotta—”

“You’re so slutty for me, Louis,” Harry says, and suddenly he can’t speak fast enough. “I love that you didn’t touch yourself for four fucking days, you’re so good for me. You just needed this, didn’t you?” And quick as anything, he hits Louis’ prostate, does it again before Louis’ brain can tell him to suck in oxygen. “Yeah, you needed it so bad, baby, I knew it the minute I saw you. And you were so good, getting yourself ready. D’you know this was where we’d end up, hmm? You stretched out on my cock?” He leans down to bite the back of his neck, slapping his ass again for good measure.

The noise makes Louis startle. “I—I hoped you’d, ugh god there, again—hoped you’d forgive me and Christ, give me this, god I missed you so much—”

Harry pumps his hips faster, erratic now. “I missed you too. But you’re my good boy, aren’t you. You didn’t let yourself come, not once. You were waiting for me? Waiting for my voice, to tell you how good you were?”

And it’s no less hot than it was the first time it happened, the second, the eighth, but Louis’ proper crying now, Harry can see the tears leaking out his eyes, unbidden, and he doesn’t even think Louis knows it’s happening, the way he’s pressed his head into the pillow so he can arch his hips higher.

Yeah, love,—I wanted to make you happy, I agh—I wanted to save this for you, give you something—” and he’s still pushing his hips back, rocking with Harry as much as he can, but Harry’s thrusts are too wild.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Harry says, bowled over by emotions. It feels like his heart’s going to pop right out of his chest. “This—this is so good, it is, but it’s you I need, Lou.” He bends down until he can wipe at Louis’ eyes, hips pumping automatically now, voice tight with emotion. “Baby, it’s you. You’re my something. You’re my everything.”

Louis truly sobs then, a raw, animalistic sound.

Harry, I fuckin’ love you, I love you,” he says, tears falling freely as he clenches as hard as he can.

And Harry has no idea who decided he deserved something so precious, but he vows to fight for this for the rest of his life.

“Again. Say it again,” he says, eyes glazed, and he wants Louis to scream it, wants the world to see it on their faces, wants the chaotic force of it to wrap them in its arms.

Louis laughs through his tears, delirious. “Jesus, you fucking diva. I love you, I do, I really, really, really—” and he would have kept going, he would’ve, if Harry hadn’t chosen right then to tighten a hand around his throat.

He sees white, blinded for a second, and is suddenly very panicked, eyes flying open. “Harry, I—tell me, I can’t—I’m—please, I—,” he tries, frantic, to say something comprehensive but Harry gets it.

Hitting his prostate once, then again, Harry pulls him up by the back of the sweater until they’re flush again and the tears on Louis’ face fall into the crook of his neck. He looks down at Louis’ dick, sees it angry and purple, and it’s so wet, god, it’s so wet and he’s never wanted to see Louis come as badly as he does right then. He gets his mouth right by his ear and spreads his fingers around the whole span of his throat.

“Come, Louis. Come. God, you’re going to come so hard, there’s going to be so much, baby let me see it, come, oh Christ—”

Louis makes a gargled noise, then shrieks, like he’s dying, and comes.

He clenches around Harry’s dick so hard that Harry feels his breath leave him in a whoosh. But it doesn’t stop him from watching thick ropes of Louis’ come spurt out, hitting the headboard, the pillows, dribbling down his chest. It goes on for ages, Louis’ whole body wracked in spasms, dick dryly spurting long after the flow stops, and he had panted hot, wet breaths right into Harry’s neck.

Harry can’t peel his eyes away. “Shit, Louis, look at you,” he says, awed. Louis’ eyes are closed but his face is serene, peaceful and satisfied.  

There was no way Harry was going to last long after that, not after watching Louis spill four days worth of jizz, Jesus, and with Louis’ murmured praising in his ear, egging him on, he links their hands together and slides it through the mess on Louis’ stomach, pumping his hips until he comes, shouting, with his teeth in Louis’ shoulder.



For a long time, the only sound in the room is the pelting rain. It’s picked up speed, forcefully loud, and it’s a strong contrast to their slow-moving bodies, feeling their heartbeats slow down. They clutch each other as they catch their breaths.

“I love you. So much,” Harry says, pressing his lips to the back of Louis’ neck. Louis hums and turns his head so they can kiss, warm and lazy. 

Eventually, Harry slowly pulls out, tying the condom off. Louis grumbles and squirms like he always does, breaking away so he can flop face-first onto the mattress. He nuzzles into the blankets where they’ve piled up and where the pillows are still warm. He sighs loudly, dramatically, and makes like he’s about to fall asleep.

“Oh no you don’t,” Harry calls from the bathroom where he’s running water under a washcloth. “You left a mess downstairs.”

Louis groans loud and long, into the pillows, piling them over his head. “Harry,” he whines, and Harry can’t believe he thinks that’s going to work on him. “Just five minutes, I promise. You just gave me a mind-blowing, earth-shattering, record-breaking—”

“Ok, ok, stop,” Harry says, chuckling, back at the bed and pulling Louis out of the covers so he can clean him up. “My dick thanks you. And you say five minutes, but you’ll sleep for 8 solid hours and since I’m jetlagged I’ll be the one left to clean up.” Louis holds the sweater up so he can wipe at the sweat there. “I don’t even think you know how to count to five.”

Squawking, Louis chucks him under the chin with his foot. “Bastard! I do so! One, two, seven—”

“Exactly,” Harry says, smiling from ear to ear. Louis’ laughter peals through the room, lighting up all the corners and filling Harry to the brim. And ok maybe whining doesn’t work on him, but this Louis knows exactly how to wear him down. He’s soft and pliant and easy.

He’s still got the sweater on, he looks so cozy, and Harry remembers his words from earlier, how wearing it makes him feel protected and safe when he isn’t there.

Tossing the washcloth, he huffs dramatically and flops down beside him, dropping his arm across like deadweight and pulling him in.  

“Ok fine. You have five minutes, Louis. And not one second more. Close your eyes,” he says, and Louis does, still smiling. “Don’t act surprised when I kick you awake.”

“I won’t,” Louis says, linking their hands together against his chest and pushing back as far as he can, taking pride in his role as little spoon.

He remembers how empty the bed felt each night Harry wasn’t there, how he had to force himself to sleep in it and not text Niall to ask if he could stay over. Each night was miserable and cold and horrendous, but deep down he knew that he probably deserved it. “I won’t,” he repeats, voice softer, but it sounds like he’s promising something else, something bigger.

Breathing out, Harry closes his eyes and tightens his fingers around Louis, feeling all the spaces where their bodies connect. With his other hand, he tugs the comforter up until they’re covered to the neck. The open window is still letting a breeze in and it’s almost too chilly now, the air too crisp, but he’ll be fucked if he has the energy to get up to close it.  

“I know you won’t,” he whispers, kissing the back of Louis’ head, feeling fatigue settle in. “Neither will I.”

Louis brings their hands up and kisses the back of Harry’s knuckles, presses his mouth there until the skin goes warm.

He doesn’t say anything, but he can feel something, and it feels a lot like love, wrapped all around them.