Work Header

breathing in your dust

Work Text:


The word feels funny on Harry’s tongue but it’s a word that’s common in his world. It’s a word that’s sacred and it’s a word he has never felt right using.

Another word that’s common in his world is the word soulmates.

The idea that people are meant for each other, made to complete each other is completely lost on Harry. He doesn’t understand how that can be or why that would be.

Or at least, that’s what he tells himself.

He’s five when he first sees the engraving on the side of a bank. It’s etched into the wall, two hands and then words on top and beneath them.

Harry has to squint a little and think back to what he learned in school before he finally gives up and turns to his sister who’s waiting for their mother with him.

“Gemma, what does that say?” Harry asks, pointing his index finger at the wall.

It takes her a minute to read it but when she’s done, she leans down, quietly saying, “On top of that hand, it says ‘place your hand here’. On the other hand, it says ‘have stranger place hand here’ and on the bottom it says ‘remove hands when no longer strangers’.” Then she pauses, blinking. “It also says ‘warning: be careful because fate has a funny way of working itself out’. What does fate mean?”

Harry shakes his head, confused and that’s when their mother walks out.

She sees them staring at the wall and turns to look at it herself before laughing brightly, shaking her head. “Don’t worry about it. You’ll know what that is when you’re old enough.”

“Is it just for making friends?” Harry wonders and she smiles, carding a hand through his hair which is getting darker now that it’s summer. He worries one day it’ll turn completely brown.

“Yeah, H. It is for making friends. There’s more to it but that’s not for you to worry about. Now come on, your father is waiting for us.”

She gently nudges him before taking Gemma’s hand and walking towards where their car is parked.

Harry waits a beat longer, still staring at the wall curiously. He’s about to raise his hand and put it in the place of the first hand when his mother shouts, “Harry! Come on!” and he immediately drops his hand to his side before sprinting towards their car.

He’s ten years old when he hears someone talking about it again. There’s an engraving of the hands in the back of school but Harry’s never seen it. He’s only heard of it.

However, now that Harry’s looking, he knows that the hands are basically everywhere. They’re on all types of buildings and he even saw it on a tree once. He has no idea what to make of it but every time he asks, his mother tells him not to worry.

So of course, all he does is worry.

Now that Gemma is twelve, she knows and Harry is, without a doubt, jealous. He wants to know so badly but no one will tell him and it’s utterly frustrating.

The two people that are talking are two girls, whispering quietly like they think no one will hear. Harry can hear though.

“Your sister met her soulmate in the back of the school? Nicole, you have to tell me everything!” The first girl is saying, eyes bright with excitement.

“I didn’t even know that the hands actually worked! I thought it was a myth but Alma met him yesterday and their hands were stuck for hours, Fee!” Nicole replies, gesturing widely in disbelief.

In response, Fee giggles but then she spots Harry, clutching his notebook to his chest and immediately stops. “Erm, Nicole, we should—yeah.”

Nicole sees him then too and nods before they both disappear around the corner of the hallway. Harry frowns after them, wishing they would’ve stuck around just a little longer.

He’s twelve when he finally finds out.

“Alright, which gift do you want to open first?” Anne asks and Harry shakes his head immediately.

“No, I want to know about the engraving. Come on, mum! Everyone gets to know at twelve. I’m twelve! Please, please, please—“ Harry is ready to beg further but Anne cuts him off with a laugh.

“Okay, sweetheart. No need to be in such a rush,” She soothes, before patting the free space next to her on the couch. “Come here.”

Harry obliges and Gemma scoots over a little so he can fit in between them. She’s on her phone but he knows she’s paying attention because she squeezes his hand once just before his mother starts to speak.

“So Harry, I’m sure you know about the engravings we see every day. The two hands opposite of each other?” His mother’s eyes are twinkling and Harry pouts at her because he knows she’s purposely drawing this out.

She gives in though, smiling down at him. “Well, it’s for meeting new people. Making new friends and getting to know people. The thing is though, if two people who are fated to be with each other happen to put their hands on the same engraving, they’re stuck there until they know each other whereas with anyone else, you can always just pull your hand away.”

Harry’s lips part in curiosity. “If your hands are stuck, you’re meant to be together?”

Anne nods, still smiling. “Yes. The person is called your soulmate. Sometimes, you already know each other though so you’ll be stuck just until you reintroduce yourselves.”

“Soulmate?” Harry repeats, blinking up at her and she nods again.

“Yeah, H. Your soulmate. The other person who is your other half. It can be anyone.” Anne pauses, considering. “That doesn’t mean you can’t be happy with anyone else. Sometimes it takes a long time to find your soulmate and if you find someone who makes you happy, be with them. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your father and I—we weren’t soulmates but that’s okay because he made me happy and now I have both of you.”

Harry frowns at her. “Are you happy now?” He wonders.

Anne ruffles his hair before wrapping an arm around his shoulder. “Of course I am,” She answers resolutely but Harry isn’t sure if he believes her.

His mother deserves to have a soulmate and be happy just as much as anyone else but she isn’t and Harry doesn’t think that’s fair.

That’s why starting from the moment he knows about it, he doubts the entire idea.

He’s fourteen when his mother meets Robin and their hands get stuck accidently at the grocery shop down the street.

It doesn’t make him a complete believer in fate and all that nonsense, but he does believe his mother when she says she’s happy.

He’s still fourteen when he puts his hand to an engraving he sees at the library because he’s bored and still slightly intrigued by the idea even if he says he doesn’t believe in it.

A blond haired boy is walking past him but then he sees Harry and stops. Seconds later, he’s slotting his own hand into the empty second space.

Harry flinches in surprise and then looks at his hand. He wonders if he should pull away and see whether he’s stuck or not.

The blond haired boy is watching him curiously and Harry realizes it’s up to him to make the first move. He’s unsure for a moment, biting his bottom lip before sighing and holding his other hand out.

“I’m Harry,” He says and the blond haired boy grins brightly in response.

“I’m Niall, nice to meet you, mate,” He says and his accent is distinctly Irish. “D’ya think we’re soulmates?”

Harry tilts his head before shrugging. “I don’t think fate should tell me who my soulmate is,” He replies and Niall gives him a curious look.

“Well,” Niall starts before he lifts his hand and it comes away easily. “I guess today’s not the day that fate wants to prove you wrong.”

Harry stares at Niall’s hand blankly for a few second before laughing awkwardly. “I suppose not,” He agrees and Niall grins at him again.

“However, today might be the day we become friends. So, I’m just going to put my hand back if that’s cool with you,” he announces and then doesn’t wait for Harry’s answer before putting his hand into the empty space again.

This time, Harry genuinely laughs and nods. “Alright, Niall. Let’s do it.”

As it turns out, Niall comes to be Harry’s best friend so maybe fate did get something right that day.

He’s fifteen when he actually witnesses two people get stuck.

Niall is with him and they’re walking to go see a movie when they see a dark haired girl on the phone. Her hand is resting idly in the first empty hand of an engraving on the side of the movie theater.

Harry nudges Niall who snorts, nudging him back and shaking his head. “We’ll miss the movie if I put my hand there,” He reminds and Harry rolls his eyes but nods.

It’s clear Niall missed his chance anyways because seconds later, a dark haired boy walks down the street, earphones plugged in. His hand is running along the wall and when he gets to the engraving, his hand slips into the second slot. It’s clear he wasn’t expecting it to get stuck because he keeps walking and nearly falls over. He takes a step back and jerks his hand in surprise to no avail, eyes wide.

The girl is equally wide eyed, her lips parted in shock. She drops her phone and the boy hesitates for a moment before reaching down to pick it up for her.

When he hands it to her, they share a few words but then they just stare at each other in wide eyed amazement for a few moments.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Niall mutters and Harry lets out an incredulous laugh.

“They just—they literally just got stuck,” He says in disbelief, still watching them as they finally start to talk to each other.

Niall swings an arm around Harry’s shoulders and nods. “That’s how it works, remember? Fate and all that,” He teases and Harry scowls at him.

“Don’t be rude,” Harry grumbles and Niall laughs, reaching up to turn his own hat backwards.

“I’m just saying, Haz. I mean, you just saw it right in front of your eyes—it’s not a faux,” Niall informs cheerfully and Harry just sighs, not bothering to give his best friend an actual response back.

In the back of his mind, he thinks that, alright, maybe some people do have soulmates.

He’s sixteen when he meets his soulmate.

There’s dozens of engravings in the park—walls set up specifically just for them. Harry sees them all the time and he passes by a few as he and Niall walk back to his house.

They were studying with a mutual friend of theirs when they got bored and decided they’d rather be at Harry’s house messing about with the instruments in his basement instead.

Harry doesn’t see the boy at first.

Niall is telling him something when someone shoves into him on accident and because he’s the clumsiest person to grace the planet, he goes wobbling, ending up several steps from where he originally was.

He makes a grab for the thing closest to him and it’s a wall. He uses it to stop himself and he breathes out a sigh of relief. The woman that bumped into him is already gone, having mumbled a rushed apology before running off.

Harry goes to walk towards Niall when he’s abruptly tugged back towards the wall and he turns around, confused. Then he sees that his hand is in the second empty slot of an engraving and a few feet in front of him, a boy is staring at him in disbelief.

“Oops?” Harry offers and he waves stupidly, all the while feeling short of air.

The boy blinks at him through long eyelashes, blue eyes wide. “Hi,” He says, waving a hand back before looking at his other hand which is still in the first empty space. “Are—are you stuck?”

“Um—I think so?” Harry replies nervously and the boy opens his mouth before closing it a second later. He looks as unsure as Harry feels.

Harry watches as the boy takes a deep breath before lightly tugging his arm back but it doesn’t move an inch. The boy immediately inhales sharply before nodding to himself. “We—yeah. Hi. I’m Louis.”

“I’m—I’m Harry,” is his own dumb response.

Louis is smiling now, albeit still nervously. “Harry. I like it. Do you—“ He starts but then he’s cut off by the sound of laughter that Harry recognizes instantly.

They both turn to look at Niall who’s bent over, slapping his knee. His face is red and Harry wishes his hands weren’t preoccupied because the urge to strangle his best friend is relatively strong.

“Christ, this would happen to you, Harry,” Niall says, still laughing. “This is the most ironic thing to ever happen to anyone ever.”

Louis looks curious now, head tilted. “What happened?”

Niall snorts in reply, shaking his head and straightening back up. “I’m sure he’ll tell you when the time is right. It’s nice to meet you though. I’m Niall, hi. Can I ask why you were just standing there with your hand in the slot or is only Harry allowed to ask you questions?”

If Louis is taken back, he doesn’t show it. Instead, he sighs dramatically before pointing a tree down the road. There’s two guys sitting underneath it and it looks like they’re staring. “My best friends dared me to stand here like this for fifteen minutes and, well. Harry found me ten minutes in.”

Harry flushes, still unsure of what he’s supposed to say or do. He doesn’t believe in this kind of stuff but there’s no way to deny the fact that he’s stuck to this wall with this stranger.

“Those are your mates? I’ll go introduce myself. I like them already. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other,” Niall says before shooting Harry a smug smile. Then he tips his imaginary hat and walks off.

For a second, Harry thinks about calling him back but then decides against it. Instead, he turns to Louis who’s already watching him.

“Hi,” Harry says dumbly and Louis smiles. He has a nice smile—his eyes crinkle at the corners and he looks rather lovely if Harry’s being honest.

“Hi,” Louis repeats back at him, before his expression turns curious. “What was your friend talking about before?”

“It’s nothing, really,” Harry lies and Louis raises an eyebrow but doesn’t say anything else. It’s obvious he sees right through Harry’s bluff. “Alright, maybe not nothing.”

“Tell me about it. We’re going to be here for a while anyways,” Louis reminds, glancing at their hands pointedly which makes Harry almost giggle but he refrains.

“I—erm. I just don’t really believe in the whole soulmate thing, I guess,” Harry admits. He’s afraid to look at Louis’ face, afraid of his reaction.

When he finally gains the courage to look up, Louis is just watching him curiously. There’s no animosity of any sort there and Harry instantly feels lighter on his feet.

“Why?” Louis asks and Harry blinks at him, unsure of how to respond.

There’s this feeling in his chest like he wants Louis to like him, like he wants to please and impress him. He’s confused by the feeling but it’s what keeps him talking. He refuses to just give into the feeling. If Louis doesn’t like what he has to say, it’s just further proof that soulmates aren’t real.

Still, it takes him a moment to gather his courage before saying, “My—my mum. She didn’t meet her soulmate until last year so I guess—I just don’t get it. Why do we even have soulmates? Why is my hand stuck right now? None of it makes sense.”

Louis tilts his head, watching Harry with cerulean colored eyes that look like they can see straight through Harry, see right into his soul. Maybe that’s where the term soulmate came from.

“You don’t get it,” Louis repeats slowly and Harry nods, biting his bottom lip. He sees Louis’ eyes wander to his mouth for a second before they meet his eyes again. “Alright. How about this then—I’m not going to explain it to you or whatever because I’m sure people have tried before. How about you and I just talk and if by the end, you don’t want to see me again, we’ll go our separate ways?”

Harry has to blink at Louis in confusion a few second before it sinks in what the boy is offering him. His mouth drops open, slightly appalled. Even while he doesn’t agree to the soulmate thing, he knows that if you find them, you aren’t supposed to just let them go.

“But—you’ll be losing your soulmate?” Harry says, still blinking in dismay.

Louis shrugs in reply before he smiles at Harry. “Yeah, but you’re my soulmate so I want you to be happy. If not being with me will make you happy, then I’m not going to make you stay. But, I’m not letting you leave without knowing you first. So come on, get to know me. I dare you.”

His eyes are gleaming and dark as they stare at Harry but somehow, they still look genuine.

“Erm,” Harry pauses before nodding his head slowly. “Alright. Let’s—yeah. Hi. I’m Harry. I’m sixteen and I’m from Holmes Chapel.”

“Hi Harry. I’m Louis and I’m eighteen from Doncaster. My mum hasn’t found her soulmate either and when her and my father divorced, we moved here. That was a few years ago though.” Louis stops to scratch the top of his nose and the gesture is oddly cute in Harry’s eyes. “My mum remarried again but her and my step-dad have been fighting a lot lately. I don’t think it’ll end well but I’m pretending it will so my sisters don’t worry.”

Harry has no idea how Louis manages to keep a serene smile on his face the entire time he talks about his family but he does.

It occurs to Harry then that Louis is strong—a lot stronger than he is, at least. He isn’t about to say that aloud though.

“You still believe in soulmates though?” Harry wonders quietly and Louis nods before shrugging his shoulders.

“My mum will find her soulmate one day. Just because she hasn’t, it doesn’t mean that she won’t. It just means, it’s not the right time in her life to meet them,” Louis replies and even as his voice stays steady and lips stay curled up, Harry has a feeling there’s more to it than that.

Harry really wants to know what the more is. At the same time, he knows by his own logic, he has no right to know anything about Louis at all.

“You said you had sisters?” Harry says instead, changing the subject.

If Louis has anything to say about it, he doesn’t. Instead, he smiles brighter, eyes lighting up. “Yeah, I have four of them. They’re rather lovely when they’re not being total menaces.”

Harry cracks a smile at that before murmuring, “I know the feeling.”

Louis glances up at him through his eyelashes. The sun catches on them and he looks golden, standing there with his side leaned against the wall. “Do you have sisters?”

“Just the one,” Harry confesses as he reaches up push his fringe out of his eyes. Louis’ eyes track the motion and he looks to smiling again.

“Is she nice?” Louis asks and Harry nods.

Something about Louis is strange. There’s an aura around him, almost. One that vibrates with energy, almost as if he should be up and jumping around. He has this presence and Harry blames that for why he can’t tear his eyes away from him.

Looking at him right now though—he looks soft. His facial features are relaxed as is his body language and he looks completely at home, even as they’re in the middle of a park.

Harry glances behind him for a second, trying to spot Niall who he sees with the two boys under the three. The dark haired one is laughing, patting Niall on the shoulder and the lighter haired one is smiling at the two of them. Niall looks absolutely delighted, speaking animatedly.

“Who are your friends?” Harry asks without thinking, eyes flickering back to the tan boy.

Louis glances back at them himself, before turning back to Harry. “The tan one is Zayn and the one with the Bieber haircut is Liam. Wait—but don’t tell him I said it’s a Bieber haircut. I’m too young to die. Plus, I just met you. It would be tragic if I died today.”

He smirks and Harry realizes Louis is flirting with him.

“Oh. Um. Yeah. I won’t tell him. I don’t—yeah, don’t die,” Harry stammers, blinking rapidly and Louis laughs quietly.

He has a nice laugh. Well, he has a nice everything but a nice laugh in particular. His eyelashes are also particularly nice—in fact, they might be his favorite thing about Louis so far.

“I’ll try not to,” Louis teases, grinning. “Will you miss me if I do?”

Harry opens his mouth to answer but then nothing comes out and he flushes scarlet instead. Louis laughs again, shaking his head.

“I’m just teasing you, Harry,” Louis informs and then he reaches his hand over to poke Harry in the forearm. Harry doesn’t jump like he expected to—instead he just barely leans closer, almost on instinct. “I’ll miss you though. You’ve got curls. I like curls. I’ll miss your curls especially.”

When Louis reaches up and tugs on one of Harry’s curls, Harry definitely leans closer to him. Louis blinks at their sudden proximity but he doesn’t say anything, just tugs a little harder before letting go completely.

“So Harold, tell me what you like to do then,” Louis urges and now that there’s less space between them, his eyes look like they’re twinkling.

Harry is at a loss for what to say at first, too busy trying not to swoon. He feels like an idiot because he’s supposed to stick by his logic that soulmates don’t exist but Louis is so pretty and nice and witty.

He clears his throat before muttering, “I—I work in a bakery. I can bake,” and then instantly feeling more stupid. He obviously wouldn’t be working in a bakery if he couldn’t bake.

“Do you really? Is it—is it the one with the huge cartoon roll out on the outside? The one that looks like semen is coming out of it? The semen roll cartoon?” Louis asks, grinning and Harry nearly chokes on nothing.

Now that he thinks about it though, he supposes that yeah, there is a cartoon resembling a semen roll on the front of Barbara’s bakery.

“That’s me, yeah. Have you been there? I’ve never seen you,” Harry admits because he knows if Louis had come to the bakery, he would’ve definitely noticed.

It’s not hard to admit that Louis is really pretty, with his long eyelashes and sharp cheekbones and tan skin. It’s a little hard to admit that Harry has never looked at anyone the way he’s looking at Louis right now.

“No! I—wow, can you believe that I walk by there every day to pick up my sisters from school but I’ve never actually gone in? We could’ve met ages ago!” Louis looks excited now, grinning brighter and his eyes reflect stars that aren’t even visible.

“Must be fate,” Harry jokes, rolling his eyes and Louis’ face softens as he nods in agreement.

“Well Harry, we are soulmates after all,” Louis reminds as if he thinks Harry might’ve forgotten, even as his hand is still stuck to the wall. “Now tell me, what else do you like to do? Just bake?”

Harry feels his lips pull into a smile as he shakes his head. He doesn’t know why but he feels less nervous now. Something about Louis is making him feel more at ease. “I like to sing a bit. I was going to try out for The X Factor this year but I got too nervous.”

He doesn’t expect Louis’ reaction which is to gape at him in disbelief. Harry isn’t sure what he said wrong and he’s about to apologize but Louis cuts off whatever he was planning to say by exclaiming, “You’re lying!”

Harry shakes his head, furrowing his eyebrows in confusion. “Erm, no. I’m not. I was going to go with Niall but then we just didn’t because of my nerves.”

Louis is still gaping as he starts shaking his head. “That’s—I was going to audition for The X Factor this year too! I was going to go with Zayn and Liam!”

Harry suddenly understands why Louis is so surprised because his own jaw slacks and his eyes widen. “Are you kidding?”

Louis keeps shaking his head. “I’m being one hundred percent honest. We—that’s crazy. This is crazy.”

“I—yeah,” Harry agrees, still trying to process what Louis just said.

The word fate is on a loop in his mind but he doesn’t dare say anything. He doesn’t believe in this stuff but—Louis was going to audition the same year as him on The X Factor. Louis passes by the bakery he works at every day to pick up his sisters. Louis is here right now, with his hand stuck to this engraving, just like Harry.

After they get past the initial disbelief, they start talking more about The X Factor and then the conversation somehow shifts to school and then childhood stories.

Harry finds himself relaxing further and further with every minute that passes by and eventually, he forgets where they are and why they’re there.

He was right before—Louis is an enigma. He shines brighter than anyone Harry has ever met and it’s like making people happy makes him happy because every time he manages to make Harry laugh, he glows.

Harry has never met anyone like him—anyone that loves making people happy, anyone that’s so charming and witty, anyone that’s so delicate and strong at the same time.

Louis is so much more than Harry expected and Harry finds himself wanting more and more. He wants to know every single thing about him, wants to know what makes him happy, what makes him sad, what he likes to eat and what bands he likes to listen to.

Something about Louis feels right and Harry doesn’t know why but the word that comes to mind is home. It’s a dumb thing to think but after hours and hours, Harry still can’t think of a better word.

It’s dark when Harry finally remembers why they’re standing there and Louis is telling a story about the time he woke up in an airport.

“Louis?” Harry cuts in quietly and Louis stops talking to give him a curious look.

“Yeah, Harry?”

“Are we still stuck?” Harry asks, biting down on his tongue seconds after because a shadow passes over Louis’ face and he suddenly goes from bright to dim.

“I don’t know,” Louis admits, glancing at his hand. “Do you want to check?”

What Harry wants is to stay there with Louis all night but that’s not something he’s willing to admit. Instead he nods and Louis’ lips settle in a thin line.

“Alright,” Louis agrees. “At the count of three?”

Harry nods again and Louis takes a deep breath before he starts counting off.

“One… two… three.”

They both pull their hands at the same time and they come away easily. Harry looks down at his hand, wondering if something is different about it but it looks exactly the same.

He glances over at Louis then who’s already watching him as he rubs his sore wrist. “Well?” Louis asks and Harry blinks in confusion.

“Well what?” Harry wonders as he cracks his fingers. He sees Louis wince and immediately stops.

“Are you—do you still want to see me? Do you believe in soulmates and fate? Will you be happier if we’re not together?” Louis’ voice cracks on the last word and Harry’s shoulders slump.

He hates that Louis sounds that way because of him. He wants to wrap himself around Louis and hug him until he sounds cheerful again but he doesn’t know if that’s in the cards for him.

“I—“ Harry cuts off and rubs his eyes tiredly.

Louis is someone Harry wishes he could memorize. Harry wishes he could keep every part of Louis committed to memory for the rest of his life but all he has is this day, this moment.

Harry has never felt so conflicted in his life. He’s spent the last few years of his life adamantly refusing to believe in this life, this reality and he doesn’t know why Louis should change that.

Louis is just another boy. Their hands got stuck in the engraving but an engraving shouldn’t tell him how to live his life. It shouldn’t tell him who he should be with and Louis is terribly lovely but Harry doesn’t think he can let his fate be decided for him this way.

He shakes his head, clenching his eyes shut because he doesn’t want to see Louis’ reaction. He turns away and behind him, there’s silence.

Neither of them say anything but finally, Harry takes a deep breath and walks away. He doesn’t turn back.

Harry is staring sadly at a cupcake when Barbara tells him she’s going on her break. He nods and doesn’t look up as the door closes.

It’s been a week since he left Louis.

It’s also been a week since he started feeling incomplete.

The feeling is the worst feeling he’s ever had in his entire life and he hopes that Louis doesn’t have the same feeling because he already feels bad as it is.

He feels like a puzzle piece. He feels like someone started him and then left him undone. He hates it horribly because it only adds onto how terrible he feels.

Harry misses Louis—he misses his smile and his laugh and the way he glows. Harry has no right to miss Louis though. He’s the one that left Louis behind so it’s his fault that this is happening in the first place.

He almost wishes he didn’t but he regrets it. He regrets leaving Louis there because after a few day, he came to the realization that even if fate and soulmates aren’t real, Louis is.

Louis is a real person and Harry likes him. He likes him more than he should and it’s a very bad type of like. It’s the type of like that makes Harry want to wake up to him every morning and cook him meals and wash his clothes and clean after him and hear about his day—it’s the type of like that Harry definitely should not be feeling.

Harry also shouldn’t be wishing Louis was with him, but he is.

When the door opens again, a resounding ding going off through the bakery and Harry doesn’t look up. He just assumes it’s Barbara coming back but then someone clears their throat quietly.

Harry’s head snaps up immediately and Louis is standing there in the doorway, looking unsure of himself but standing straight all the same. Unsure is a strange look on the older boy and Harry finds that he doesn’t like it one bit.

Then, Harry realizes that’s Louis. Standing in the doorway of his bakery.


Louis waves awkwardly before stepping into the bakery and shutting the door behind him. He walks up to the counter slowly and stands there for a few beats of silence, staring down at the cupcake that Harry was staring at earlier.

Then it all comes out at once.

“I’m sorry; I’m really sorry. I know I said I wouldn’t bother you again if you left because I want you to be happy but—I still want you to be happy, I really do but I just wish it was with me. I couldn’t—we’ve only known each other for a week but I don’t know how to be away from you. You’re—I don’t know, alright. You’re just it for me. I don’t know what it is about you but I feel wrong when I’m not with you and I don’t know what to do. It’s just that—you’re all I want, so much it’s hurting,” Louis rushes out in one singular breath and then clamps his mouth shut, staring resolutely at the counter.

Harry stares at him in disbelief and he’s hesitant to say anything.

A random surge of bravery fills his veins then and Harry leans forward, tugging on the tie that Louis is wearing. When his lips meet Louis’, they’re soft and Harry doesn’t want to feel anyone else’s lips against his ever again.

He pulls back almost immediately, adrenaline disappearing. Louis is staring at him with wide eyes and Harry feels his cheeks flush in embarrassment.

He’s ready to apologize but then Louis is leaning across the counter and pulling him in for a kiss again. It’s short but it’s sweet and when Louis pulls away, the front of his button up shirt is covered in frosting from the cupcake.

Louis doesn’t even notice though because he’s too busy staring at Harry and Harry is entirely too busy staring back to point it out.

Harry is seconds away from passing out because this is happening—Louis is here and this is happening. Louis is here.

Louis is also the one to break the silence. “I know you don’t believe in fate and soulmates but—will you go on a date with me? If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out but I can’t just let you go without trying to make this work. I like you Harry and it’s not because of some weird destiny bullshit. It’s because you’re sweet and you’re a star, you know that? You’re a star—you’re every star in the entire universe and I just—please go on a date with me?”

Harry doesn’t hesitate, nodding immediately and he’s repeating, “Yes, yes, yes,” under his breath. Louis is looking at him like Harry holds every answer and Harry thinks he might be looking back at him the exact same way.

“Yes?” Louis wonders, breathless and Harry is still nodding.

“Yes,” Harry repeats. He wants to say it a million times because it doesn’t look like Louis believes him yet but moments later, Louis lets out a sigh of relief.

“Alright—Friday? I’ll pick you up after your shift ends?” Louis tries and Harry agrees by nodding again.

Louis finally smiles then, a bright grin that makes Harry knees feel wobbly and he has to tighten his grip on the counter to keep from falling over.

“I’ll see you then,” Louis murmurs, eyes soft and then he turns and leaves the way he came. He glances back though, eyes wide with awe. He’s about to exit through the door when he stops, turning to meet Harry’s eyes. “The semen roll is cute by the way, if I didn’t say before.”

“Thanks,” Harry calls and Louis grins, biting down on his bottom lip before closing the door behind him. Harry watches him through the glass until he’s gone and then looks down at the cupcake on the counter.

He remembers the frosting smeared on the front of Louis’ shirt and a giggle bursts from his lips. He thinks he should’ve told Louis but he’ll just save it for next time.

Because now there’s going to be a next time.

He's twenty when Louis surprises him.

“Why are you in such a hurry? Where are we even going?” Harry wonders, following after his boyfriend who just shushes him and tugs on his hand.

Harry rolls his eyes but follows after Louis anyways.

He isn’t sure where they’re going until they walk through the park entrance. “Wait, why are we in the park?” Harry asks and Louis doesn’t answer, still tugging on his hand.

It’s been four years since they met in this park and four years since he met his soulmate. He still doesn’t believe in the fate or soulmate thing but he does believe that Louis is his soulmate—his other half; his missing puzzle piece.

“Alright, close your eyes,” Louis instructs then, pulling them to a stop. Harry doesn’t recognize where in the park they are but he does recognize the excited look in his boyfriend’s eyes.

“Why?” Harry wonders, still confused. This morning when he woke up, Louis insisted Harry come with him somewhere and now for some reason they’re at the park but Harry doesn’t know why.

Louis and he are usually completely in sync but for the life of him, Harry has no clue what they’re doing here and why Louis is pulling his headscarf down so that it covers his eyes.

Once Louis is satisfied, he pats Harry’s cheek lightly and Harry gets a chaste kiss on the lips before Louis is tugging on his hand again.

Finally, Louis stops, dropping Harry’s hand.

Harry is about ask what they’re doing again but then Louis takes his hand, leading it somewhere. It takes a moment for Harry to understand but then his hand is fitting into a hand slot.

He goes to pull away but he’s suddenly stuck.

Unsure of what’s happening, he reaches up to push his scarf out of his eyes. In front of him he sees Louis grinning at him. His eyes are still as blue as they were the first day they met.

“Why did you do that?” Harry asks, pulling on his hand even though he knows it’s to no avail. He gives Louis an accusatory look but then he sees that even as Louis’ hand is still in the other slot, he’s down on one knee.

“Oh my God,” Harry mutters, eyes widening.

“Harry, I’ve known you for four years but I’ve never been sure of something as I have been of you. I was a little late on the uptake but I knew from the second that you said ‘oops’, that you were it for me. You’re so wonderful and lovely and everything about you is everything I’ve ever wanted, even if I didn’t know it. I don’t know how I spent the first eighteen years of my life before this without you but every minute of the last four years has been the best of my life. I didn’t know how to live before you—I didn’t know what life could be but you teach me every single day and I can’t thank you enough for that. You’re my fate, did you know that? I know you don’t believe in it, but you’re my fate. You make me happier than words can explain. You’re not just my fate but you’re my star. You’re every breath I take and you’re the answer to everything I ask. You’re the love of my life in this life and every life I’ve ever existed in. I want to spend every day of forever with you so Harry, will you marry me?”

Louis is holding a ring now and Harry is struggling to breathe.

“I—yes. Yes, yes, yes. Yes, a million times yes. Can you just—get up here so I can kiss you,” Harry pleads and Louis laughs but there’s water in his eyes as he slips a ring on to Harry’s finger and stands up.

After a watery kiss, they both pull away, staring at each other. Four years ago they stood here, exactly like this and now they’re here again.

There’s only one way to get their hands free so Louis holds his hand out for Harry to shake. “Hi, I’m Louis Tomlinson. It's nice to meet you.”

Harry takes Louis’ hand with his own. He ends up staring at his ring instead of saying anything but Louis clears his throat pointedly.

It takes a lot of strength to pull his gaze away from their hands but once he meets Louis’ eyes, he knows exactly what to say.

“Hi, I’m Harry soon to be Tomlinson. It’s nice to meet you, too.”