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“Has anyone ever told you that you have lovely eyes, darling?” Harry asks. He keeps his voice low so the girl has to lean over the counter to hear him. Harry’s already leaning in himself, so it puts their faces a few inches apart, the perfect arrangement for looking into each other’s eyes.

The girl - he thinks her name is Josie or Jennifer or Julia or something that starts with a J - blushes a little and lowers her eyes. Harry’s pretty sure that she’s playing at being coy, but it’s not really necessary. She’s attractive and funny and Harry’s twenty. He doesn’t exactly hold his hook ups to high standards.

She’s about to respond when they’re interrupted by a loud, disapproving voice. “Mr. Styles. I’m quite sure that you were told you had to be upstairs for your meeting thirty minutes ago.”

Harry straightens up and offers Simon his best innocent smile. “Oh, was it that long ago? I’m incredibly sorry, I got caught up chatting with lovely Jill here,” he says.

Simon snorts. “Yes, well, be that as it may, there are people waiting on you, so if we could,” he gestures towards the lift. Harry lifts Jolene’s hand and presses a kiss to her knuckles.

“It was quite lovely catching up with you, Julie,” he says, already striding away.

“It’s Jessica,” the girl says faintly. Harry winces and lengthens his stride. There goes that hook up.

He feels kind of bad about it, but he doesn’t drag his feet until he reaches the elevator. He doesn’t.

 

“Come again?” Harry says, blinking rapidly.

“You will no longer be having a female assistant,” Simon repeats slowly, like Harry’s a child that doesn’t understand simple statements. Harry’s vaguely offended. “You’ve gone through three in the last month alone, and six in the five months before that. The situation is entirely ridiculous.”

Harry runs his tongue over his teeth. “Yes, well, I’m not quite sure that hiring a bloke is going to have the effect that you intend it to have,” he points out - quite reasonably, he thinks. He hasn’t been to bed with a boy in over a year, and he’s mostly been linked to women during his career, but to say that Harry hasn’t had sex with a man since the band was formed would be a blatant lie.

“The main difference is that this one actually knows how to handle you,” Liam cuts in, before Simon can say anything else.

Harry raises an eyebrow at him. “The others have handled me perfectly well,” he drawls. Beside him, Niall laughs for a good two minutes before he finally manages to calm himself down.

“Try pulling that line on him, I dare you,” he wheezes out eventually. Harry looks over at him.

“So you know him then?” he asks. The idea that Niall knows this guy well enough to laugh hysterically at the thought of Harry using a pick up line on him is weird. The four of them have practically lived in each other’s pockets for the past three and a half years, and Harry’s pretty sure that Niall’s had all of his mates out on tour with them at one point or another. He’s not sure when Niall would have met a bloke and gotten to know him well enough to put him up for a job opportunity, especially not one that Harry doesn’t know.

Harry’s easily confused when he’s drunk, though, and he’s not too good at remembering names, so that could be it.

Niall laughs again, wheezy and out of breath. “Oh, this is going to be so much fun.” He doesn’t elaborate, despite Harry’s increasingly dramatic questioning.

 

Harry doesn’t actually end up meeting his new assistant for another week, which is a little bit disastrous in itself, seeing as Harry can’t actually manage to keep an up to date calendar of appointments and interviews and tour dates. He ends up being quite late for a few things unintentionally and gets chewed out by Paul every time.

Harry tries, he really does, but there’s a reason that he got a personal assistant in the first place. He’s not scatterbrained, but he is extremely busy, and without someone to help him keep track of his itinerary and make sure he actually ends up doing all the things he’s supposed to be doing, some things that definitely fall off the map completely.

He walks into yet another meeting, one that he’s mostly on time for, and finds pretty much every PR person that they’ve ever worked with in their entire careers, along with the boys and most of their management team.

Harry stops just inside the door and considers sneaking back out. He’s pretty sure that no one’s seen him yet, and meetings like these never go well for him.

He doesn’t get a chance to make a quiet exit, though. Someone runs into his back full tilt and immediately starts cussing up a storm. Harry stumbles forward a step and nearly goes down. He manages to regain his balance at the last second and takes a few more steps into the room.

“Oi, what the hell was that? You can’t just bloody stop wherever you feel like it! There are people in the world that exist other than you, you know. Did your mum never teach you any manners?” the person complains loudly.

Harry turns around, an apology on the tip of his tongue, only to get steamrolled right over. “I guess not, considering that you’re still standing in the bloody way. Move, you giant ogre.” The guy accompanies that by actually reaching out and physically shoving Harry out of the way.

Harry watches him flounce into the room and take a seat beside Niall, exchanging a weird fist bump hand shake combination with Liam.

“Harry, this is Louis, your new assistant,” Simon says. Harry takes a minute to look at him and - yeah, really? This is the solution?

“So you’ve really never paid any attention to the boys I’ve slept with, then,” Harry says. He has a type, and while Louis doesn’t fit it to a tee it’s close enough that Harry’s already picturing it in his head.

Louis is short, brown hair spilling out from underneath a beanie. He’s wearing Converse with black skinny jeans and a red t-shirt, all of which hugs his body. He’s got tattoos littered down one arm and the flex of muscles in his arms has got Harry’s mouth a little dry.

And Harry only got the briefest glance at his back, but he’s pretty sure that Louis has an arse on him that would make Harry whimper. He’s definitely the type of boy that Harry would remember.

“Eyes up here, love,” Louis snaps. “Not your eye candy and definitely not your play thing.”

Harry drags his gaze up to meet Louis’ eyes, and yeah, that’s a mouth that he’d like to see wrapped around his cock. “Wouldn’t take much to get you there, though, would it?” Harry murmurs. It’s the tone of voice that always gets to people, gets them thinking about how it would feel to have Harry moving inside of them, making them feel good.

Liam groans, long and pained. Louis shushes him absently, staring at Harry with slightly narrowed eyes. “It’s alright, boys, I can handle this,” he says, and then he’s up out of his seat and making his way over to where Harry’s standing.

Harry watches him, watches how he sways his tiny little hips as he walks, the shadow of his abs moving underneath his shirt. He blinks slowly when Louis comes to a stop in front of him, toes of their shoes touching.

Louis pulled off his beanie during the walk, and he stands in front of Harry peering up at him from underneath his fringe. “You have a gorgeous mouth,” Harry says, quiet but not a whisper. Louis sucks his lower lip in between his teeth slowly, biting down a little. Harry watches, wetting his own mouth unconsciously.

“You think so?” Louis asks once he’s let his lip slip out. It leaves it shiny and just the tiniest bit swollen. If Harry was closer he’d probably be able to see teeth marks fading slowly.

“Mm. Could think of plenty of things I’d like to do to it,” Harry says. Part of him wonders vaguely why no one’s tried stopping this, but most of him really just doesn’t care. He startles a little when Louis’ fingers slide against his own, but that feels sensual too, the rub of their fingers together, one step shy of holding hands.

“Yeah?” Louis asks. He pulls the ring off of Harry’s pinky, and Harry watches as he fits it onto his own middle finger. It fits, more or less, and Harry is mesmerized by the glint of silver against Louis’ skin.

“Yeah. Start with my tongue. Use my fingers later, if you’re lucky,” Harry says. Louis blinks slowly, and then Harry’s clutching his cheek and stumbling backwards.

Pretty boy slaps hard.

Harry gapes while Louis points a finger at him. “You’re gonna get a slap every time you insinuate that you wanna put it in me,” Louis says. He stops pointing and holds two fingers up in the air. “You’re gonna get a slap if touch me somewhere non-platonic. You’re gonna get a slap if I catch you ogling me bum for too long. You’re gonna get a slap if you try to use your sex voice to get me to do something, even if it’s not something sexual. You’re gonna get a slap if I think you’re getting out of hand. You’re gonna get a slap if you try to dirty talk me like that again. Understand?”

Harry swings his gaze to Simon. “He just slapped me!”

“In all fairness, you did have it coming, mate,” Zayn points out. Harry looks at him, betrayed. “Also, I think that using physical violence as a way to control your desire to hit on everything that moves is an idea that definitely has some merit.”

“I’m not just going to let this twink slap me in the face if he thinks I’ve done something wrong,” Harry protests. There’s a blur of motion in the corner of his eye and then sharp pain blooming across the same cheek. “Ow, are you fucking kidding me?” he yelps.

Louis takes a step back and crosses his arms over his chest. “You’re also gonna get a slap every time you call me a twink,” he says.

“Simon,” Harry says, looking back at Simon for support.

Simon looks thoughtful. Harry looks around the room and sees a similar expression on most faces. Those who don’t have an expression like that still don’t appear sympathetic.

Harry pouts. He’s not that much of a slag for them to be seriously considering hiring this boy to keep him in line. He’s not.

“You’re just a great big baby, aren’t you,” Louis says. Harry bristles, ready to get offended. “D’you want a cuddle?”

Harry frowns, offensive statement all but forgotten. “What, from you?”

Louis rolls his eyes. “No, from the Queen,” he says. He doesn’t wait for a response before slipping back into Harry’s space, curling his arms around Harry’s neck and fitting them flush together.

Harry’s arms go around his back instinctively. He likes a good hug more than he’d care to admit, and this is a great hug. He’d almost forgotten how it feels to have a boy smaller than him wrapped up in his arms and pressed all up against him.

Louis drags Harry’s head down. Harry goes dumbly, unable to stop himself. Louis presses a kiss against his hot cheek, sweet and close mouthed.

Then he breaks the hug and Harry is left clutching at empty air. “So I’ll expect the contract in a couple days, then, shall I?” he asks cheerfully. “Also I’m keeping your ring.”

Harry watches him walk out of the room, bemused, and drags his gaze back to meet twenty pairs of eyes.

It’s a long meeting.

 

 

During the first week, Harry comes home to find Louis in his flat a total of fifteen times. He’s late to five interviews and six photo shoots. He misses a doctor’s appointment completely because Louis didn’t pick up his dry cleaning, and when Harry threw a fit about it Louis had just raised his eyebrows, propped his feet up on Harry’s coffee table and went back to watching re-runs of One Tree Hill.

There’s something inherently frustrating about him. Every time Harry thinks that Louis is about to majorly fuck up - there’s no evidence that Louis has ever had a job like this before or that he actually knows what he’s doing - he pulls it out of the hat at the last minute and manages to smooth the situation over.

The slap thing is incredibly annoying, as well. Harry’s natural speech pattern involves innuendos, and Harry’s beginning to realize just how much he actually does it.

It fucking sucks that Harry isn’t allowed to fire him.

It fucking sucks that Harry isn’t going to get to fuck him.

 

There’s loud clattering coming from downstairs. Harry flings himself out of bed as quietly as he can manage and digs through his closet until he finds an ancient baseball bat.

He takes the stairs two at a time and skids to a stop in the kitchen.

Louis is on his knees on top of his counter, stretching up to reach the top cupboard.

“What are you doing,” Harry says flatly. Louis squeaks and nearly falls off the counter. Harry doesn’t move to help him, mostly because Louis broke into his house.

Also a little bit because his flailing puts his arse on display, and it really is a lovely arse. It would probably fit perfectly into Harry’s hands.

“I’m looking to see if you have any decent tea,” Louis says once he’s regained his balance. He goes back to digging through the cupboard, dropping things carelessly onto the countertop.

“What the fuck,” Harry says. He feels like it pretty much sums up the entire situation.

“Oh, and you have to be downtown in forty-five minutes for an interview, so I guess you better get on that,” Louis adds. Harry glares at his back for a full two minutes, but Louis goes on digging through the cupboard obliviously.

Harry is tired and in absolutely no mood to deal with whatever brand of crazy Louis is, so he turns on his heel and heads back to his bedroom. When he emerges, freshly showered and decently clothed, Louis is gone, but there’s a note stuck to his fridge with an address on it.

Harry doesn’t wait to be picked up by the car company. He learned his lesson the other day, after he waited for forty-five minutes to be picked up by the car service, that Louis sees no reason that Harry can’t drive himself places. He’d been twenty minutes late for an interview, and enduring the unimpressed looks of the entire crew had been horrible.

Harry really needs to come up with a way to get rid of Louis if he’s not going to get to fuck him. He doesn’t know how much longer he can stand having all of that up in his face every day making fun of him and slapping him in the face if he’s not going to get a chance to get up in it.

 

Louis, as it turns out over the next couple of weeks, is a completely shit assistant. Harry had already had a pretty good indication that was the case from the very first week, but now it’s confirmed. Louis refuses to pick up Harry’s dry cleaning or get him groceries, he answers personal phone calls in the middle of meeting with Harry, he steals things out of Harry’s house and doesn’t return them at all, he uses Harry’s credit card to buy himself drinks at tea shops and doesn’t bother getting anything for Harry, and he leaves his stuff all over the place. Harry tripped over a pair of his shoes the other day, and he still has no idea how or why they were abandoned in the middle of the master bathroom in Harry’s house.

Harry had nearly broken his ankle in the fall that had ensued, and his bum had smarted for hours.

Also, it turns out that the slap thing is totally a real thing that Louis is committed to. Harry’s cheek is bruised by the end of the second day.

Harry is sort of thinking that he won’t even have to convince anyone to fire Louis until Louis accompanies them to an interview.

It almost turns into a complete disaster. They’re on time for once, but only because Louis showed up in Harry’s bedroom at five in the morning and jumped on the bed until Harry grabbed his ankle and pulled him down onto the mattress.

Harry had wanted to roll him underneath his body, but Louis had shot him a look that clearly said that Harry was going to get slapped in the face if he did that, so he refrained.

Harry’s still not entirely sure whether Louis had just had a lot of caffeine or whether he hadn’t actually been to sleep yet, considering that the interview wasn’t until one in the afternoon and that was the beginning of their working day, but he’s too tired to spend any more time thinking about it.

But Harry let Louis drag him out of bed and cooked him breakfast just to get him to shut up for ten minutes. Harry had gotten about four hours of sleep, thinking that he’d get to have a lie in, so he’d not gone to sleep until one.

Harry had gone to shower and come back into his bedroom to find Louis wearing Harry’s sweatpants and an old t-shirt, sitting cross legged in the middle of his bed and flicking through the apps on Harry’s tablet.

The tablet has a password. Harry doesn’t want to know how Louis cracked it, or why Louis deemed it necessary to change out of his own clothes and into Harry’s. They look good on him, anyway.

Louis had clung to him for the entirety of the morning, there’s really no other way to describe it. Every time Harry turned around there was Louis behind him, talking about some new inane thing he was obsessed with or flicking bits of paper into Harry’s hair.

Harry is reluctant to admit that he got distracted by the movement of Louis’ mouth and the cadence of his voice more than once.

Nothing about the morning really makes sense until they get to the studio that the interview is taking place in and Harry catches a glimpse of a magazine cover out of the corner of his eye.

The cover is splashed with a headline about the band breaking up and Harry Styles becoming a solo artist.

It’s hands down the worst rumor about them and it crops up every six months or so. Harry still hasn’t learned how to deal with it. The idea that he’s going to leave his boys and venture out on his own always makes him feel slightly nauseous.

“Fucking People,” Louis says from behind Harry. He shoves at Harry’s back until Harry starts walking.

Harry can’t shake the tight feeling in his chest while they’re in the green room, despite Niall doing his level best to cheer him up. Louis disappears for twenty minutes without saying anything, even though he’s supposed to be detailing the rest of the day for Harry.

Harry barely even watches his arse as he walks out of the room.

 

When Louis finally returns it’s with a stack of magazines balanced precariously in his arms.

“What the hell?” Liam asks. Harry looks up from his phone.

Louis dumps the magazines into a pile in the middle of the room. “Zaynie, I need your lighter,” he says, holding out a hand. When he doesn’t get it right away he snaps his fingers impatiently, gesturing for it.

“I’m not sure that this is a good idea, mate,” Liam says. Louis looks up.

“Why? It won’t set off the smoke detectors, I already checked.”

“I am almost one hundred percent sure that you’re lying,” Liam says. Louis beams at him, slightly maniacal and unhinged. Harry still has no idea how he ended up with a job that requires such a business-like attitude. Louis would fit into the band no problem, but Harry still has troubles taking him seriously as a PA.

“Come on, just one,” he wheedles, which is how they all end up huddled around a stack of burning magazines when Paul finds them.

Louis is the first to notice him. He makes a weird squawking noise and darts out of the room, leaving the four of them to defend themselves. It involves a lot of pouting and hand gestures that do nothing to convince Paul of their innocence.

After they finish getting their dressing down from Paul, they’re ushered into the studio. The pyro helped a little, but not enough for Harry to forget about the article.

There’s some sort of technical difficulty, so they’re all squished onto a single couch waiting for the tech guys to figure it out. Harry’s aware that he doesn’t have his happy face on, but he figures that it can wait until they’re ready to start filming. He doesn’t feel like faking it until he has no other choice.

Harry picks at a loose thread in his jeans and lets the sound of the boys’ voices wash over him, content to sit quietly and tune out.

Until he gets a lapful of Louis.

Louis is very much not graceful about it, clambering into the tiny sliver of space in between Harry and the arm of the couch, all pointy elbows and knees until he finally manages to settle down.

“What are you doing?” Harry hisses, pushing ineffectually at Louis’ side.

“I brought you tea,” Louis says. He shakes the cup underneath Harry’s nose and manages to spill tea across his own wrist. “Oops.”

Harry can only watch as he licks it off, little pink tongue darting out to lap at his skin. When he finishes he holds the cup out with a bright smile. Harry takes it dumbly and glances down.

It’s half finished, luke warm and definitely not the way Harry takes it. “This is your tea,” he says.

Louis shrugs. From this angle Harry can see a silver chain dangling down underneath Louis’ shirt that looks vaguely familiar. “It’s your reward for lighting the first match,” he says.

Harry twists his mouth. “There weren’t any matches. Also, this is a pretty shitty reward, giving me your half drunk tea.”

“Oh, so now my tea’s not good enough for you? Okay. Maybe if you’re a good boy for the cameras I’ll let you have a kiss.”

The boys go quiet all at once. The only sound comes from the tech crew bustling around them. “A kiss?” Harry repeats, ignoring the blatant staring.

“Yeah, one kiss for good behaviour,” Louis says. He wiggles around a little and takes the cup back from Harry’s limp hand, draining the rest of the tea in one swallow.

Harry watches his throat work. A kiss from the prettiest boy in the room. A kiss that Harry can probably turn into two or three kisses. “Okay,” Harry agrees. Louis smiles and pushes himself up just in time for the crew to call out that they’re ready.

There’s a couple of the usual questions, then the interviewer goes, “Harry, you’ve got an awfully happy look on your face.”

Harry touches his face absently. “Do I?”

“Mm. Smitten, one might even say.”

“Well, a pretty boy did just promise me a kiss,” Harry says. The words just slip right out without any conscience thought, and Louis flips him off from the other side of the room. Harry laughs.

It’s a good interview.

 

It doesn’t take much trying to corner Louis in the dressing room after the interview.

“Louis,” Harry says. He boxes Louis in with his hands against the wall. Louis looks up at him with his eyebrows raised, glancing back down at Harry’s hands quickly.

“Harold,” he says.

“You promised me a kiss,” Harry says. He sways in a little, completely unintentionally, because the prettiest boy in the room promised him a kiss and now he’s going to get it.

“Yes, but you really should have gotten the terms and conditions before you agreed, shouldn’t you have?” Louis asks.

Harry frowns. “What?”

“I never said that it would be a kiss from me,” Louis clarifies.

Harry frowns harder. “No one else here is going to kiss me.”

“I’m not sure about that, but,” Louis drawls, but he turns his face to Harry’s arm and brushes his mouth across the inside of his elbow, warm and fleeting. “There.”

He ducks out from underneath Harry’s arm and wanders away. “That is not fair,” Harry yells after him.

Louis spreads his arms out wide and keeps walking.

 

The video of the interview goes up on the internet, and a couple of blurry photos of Louis flipping him off end up in the tabloids. The fans love it, and while their management seems to be a bit perplexed, Harry is pretty sure that there’s no way they’re firing Louis now.

If they had ever even planned to in the first place. Harry’s willing to admit that it might’ve just been wishful thinking.

It’s not so bad, anyway, having Louis around. He’s really fucking nice to look at, even if he does slap Harry when he looks for too long, and he gets things done even if Harry never actually witnesses him doing any work.

 

After that, Louis takes it upon himself to start offering rewards for good behaviour. It’s simple stuff, at first, actually bringing Harry tea or picking up some groceries, and it takes them a while to notice, but he actually does it with all of them.

He doles out back rubs and head scratches and cuddles if they do something he approves of, and he takes it upon himself to do what he’s paid to do for Harry for the other boys as well.

Harry isn’t all that surprised when they all get called in for a meeting and Louis’ contract gets re-written to have him assist all five of them, complete with a pay raise and a title change. It’s not Harry’s idea but he isn’t opposed to it, even if it does mean that something else gets a little bit less money or they take a tiny bit of a pay cut.

But something else is a little surprising.

“And what about the tour?” one of the management execs, Dave With Some Weird Unpronounceable Last Name, asks.

“What about the tour?” Louis asks. He’s sandwiched between Harry and Zayn, fingers tapping idly on the table. Harry’s mostly been tuned out for the entirety of the meeting, lulled into complacency by the gentle swing of Louis’ necklace underneath his shirt.

Harry’s pretty sure it’s actually his necklace. It’d gone missing from his dresser a couple weeks ago. Harry hadn’t bothered looking for it. He’d been pretty sure that he knew where it disappeared to.

“Paul could use an extra body to help him out,” Liam says.

“What, are you asking me to be your assistant tour manager?” Louis asks. He pinches Harry’s thigh hard. Harry jolts and smacks his knee against the underside of the table.

“Oww,” Harry complains. Louis rubs his fingers over Harry’s knee and leaves his hand there.

“I think that would be the ideal situation, yes,” Dave With Some Weird Unpronounceable Last Name answers.

“Wouldn’t even have to spend any more money if he just kips with me,” Harry offers brightly. Louis uses his free hand to slap him in the face. It doesn’t hurt, not really. No one even blinks.

“No, but really, I’d go on tour with them?” Louis presses. Harry rubs his cheek anyway, pouting, and then lays his head down on top of his arms. It means he can’t see Louis’ profile anymore, which sucks, but his head’s getting heavy. This might be one of the most boring meetings he’s ever attended.

“Yes, doing the things you do now but on a larger scale and for all of them, obviously.”

“But not like any of the security stuff, right? I mean, you’ve seen me? I’m smaller than all of them,” Louis says. It’s a valid concern.

“Oompa Loompa, do-ba-dee-doo, I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you,” Harry sings, under his breath and mostly to the table. Louis’ hand settles in his hair and yanks a little. Harry subsides grumpily, making a face at the table.

“No, we wouldn’t expect you to do any security,” Dave With Some Weird Unpronounceable Last Name says, smile in his voice. Harry laughs to the table, mainly at the thought of Louis trying to protect them from any of their more zealous fans.

He’d be eaten alive.

Louis pulls his hair again. “Okay. Yeah. That sounds like something I can do, then,” he says, and just like that, it’s decided.

Louis is coming on tour with them.

 

They all cram into the same car to get back to their houses, and Harry can already tell that everyone is just going to end up at his and he’ll be forced to cook.

He doesn’t really mind. It’s his boys, after all, and Louis, and Harry doesn’t mind cooking for them even if he does feel like he’s about to pass out on his feet.

That is the night that kisses on the mouth become a real reward, though, so all in all, good night.

 

 

Harry is meant to be doing something, he’s pretty sure, maybe shaking some hands or posing for some pictures, but he instead he’s hiding behind a potted plant with Zayn like no one’s gonna notice them.

And, well, so far no one has, so they’re sitting on the floor with a deck of cards playing Go Fish, because it’s the only game that either of them can remember how to play right now.

There is something to be said for an open bar, even if it does come attached to a night of being forced to chat to middle aged business men in ill-fitting suits.

Harry doesn’t quite remember where the cards came from, but that’s probably because he’s had six drinks in the past two hours. Someone probably should have stopped him from doing that, but Liam is really the only one responsible enough to do that without Paul around, and Harry hasn’t seen either of them for the past forty-five minutes. Zayn has probably had more to drink than Harry has, and Niall is - somewhere with a guitar, by the sounds of it.

“Do you have a Queen?” Zayn asks, staring intently at the cards in his hand. “Wait. No. I take that back. Do you have a seven.”

“No. I mean. Go Fish,” Harry says, squinting at his own cards. He doesn’t have a seven. Probably, anyway. He has ten other cards fighting for space in his hand, and that’s the right amount, right? It must be. “Do you have a Queen?”

“No. Oh, wait, there’s one,” Zayn says. He flings the card in Harry’s general direction. They both watch it go fluttering towards the floor on the wrong side of the plant.

“Look what you did!” Harry hisses. There are a pair of shoes heading directly their way, definitely because they saw the card. Stupid Zayn and his stupid drunk aim.

“I didn’t do anything,” Zayn hisses back, throwing another card at Harry. It misses, but it’s the thought that counts, so Harry throws his entire handful at Zayn and then somehow they’re wrestling, elbows knocking into the plant and threatening to send it tipping over.

“You do realize that they’re waiting for you in the conference room, right?”

Harry shoves Zayn off of him and rolls over until he hits a shoe. A black converse shoe, matched with beat up black jeans. “I thought this was a black tie event,” Harry says grumpily, fiddling with one of the shoelaces. He wants to untie it so he can knot it together with the laces on the other shoe, but his hands don’t want to obey his brain.

“It’s a black tie event for the people that are actually important. Also, I wasn’t actually supposed to have to come out from the kitchen, so,” Louis says. He nudges Harry’s side rather hard, so Harry grabs onto his leg and holds it against his body.

“You’re important,” Harry says earnestly. He tugs a little, trying to see if Louis will come down to their level, but he just pulls his foot away.

“Oh, I’m the most important,” Louis agrees easily. “But for some reason the thirteen year old girls of America disagree, so until such time that they change their minds I’m gonna need you to put on your big boy face and go shake a few dozen hands and pretend to be interested in what they’re saying.”

Harry’s busy rolling Louis’ jeans up more, so Louis’ ankles will be exposed, so he doesn’t really catch any of what Louis is saying. He rubs his thumb up the curve of Louis’ ankle bone, marveling at how fragile it feels under his hands.

“You’re completely useless when you’re drunk,” Louis sighs, but he drops down to his knees beside Harry, and that’s good. That’s great, actually, because it means that Harry can pull Louis’ legs into his lap and force his jeans up as high as they’ll go.

It’s not that high, considering they’re skinny jeans, but it’s enough to expose the spider web tattoo, and that’s all that Harry really cares about. He wants to put his mouth on it, but Louis would probably slap him like, twenty times for that, so he doesn’t.

He rubs his fingers over it, though, tracing the lines, until Louis smacks his hand away. “You’re gonna get me in so much shit with Paul, seriously,” Louis mutters, but he doesn’t move to take his legs out of Harry’s lap.

“You’re Paul’s favourite, though, Louis,” Zayn says. “He’ll forgive you.”

“He wouldn’t have sent you to find us if he actually expected us to get there promptly, anyway,” Harry points out. “He probably just sent you to make sure that we weren’t getting up to anything too stupid.”

“I’m not sure that I’m the person that he would have sent if he was expecting that, mate,” Louis says. Harry thinks about that for a minute.

“No, he would’ve come himself,” Harry decides finally. “But he still sent you, which means that we’re totally allowed to hide for at least another hour.”

“Hiding’s good. I approve of that plan,” Zayn mutters. He pulls a flask out of his jacket pocket, struggles to get it open and fails.

Louis grabs it out of his hand, sighing. “I really shouldn’t be enabling this,” he grumbles to himself, twisting it open. Harry watches him take a long swig of it, grimacing, before handing it back to Zayn. It leaves his mouth wet and shiny, which is distracting enough that Harry doesn’t see the slap coming until it hits him in the face.

“Ow,” he complains, rubbing his cheek. He pouts but doesn’t bother glaring. No amount of glaring will convince Louis that he wasn’t thinking about Louis sucking his dick, so it’s not worth the effort.

Plus he was kind of thinking about Louis sucking his dick.

Zayn gathers up the cards, and they play another round of Go Fish. Harry loses, pretty badly, and it seems like it might be time to actually go and do some work before Paul seriously murders them, so he lets Louis drag him to his feet and ends up in the conference room beside Zayn, sweating in his tux and trying to resist the urge to start stripping out of the clothes so he can just breathe, while Louis gets to disappear somewhere with a cold beer in his hand.

It could be worse.

 

“Harold,” Louis says, sing songs it, really, and Harry resists the urge to smother him with a pillow. As it is, he drags the pillow over his head and tries to drown out the sound of his voice. “Harold, it’s time to get up. Harold, your tour starts today. Harrrrrrrold, you have to say goodbye to your family and friends before you gooooooooooo. Harrrrooooold. I brought you tea.”

“I don’t want it. You probably put something gross in it anyway,” Harry tells his mattress. There’s a dip in the mattress as Louis climbs onto the bed.

“If you get up I’ll let you kiss me a little,” Louis cajoles.

Harry moves the pillow away from his face a little and frowns at Louis suspiciously. “Terms and conditions.”

“On the mouth for two minutes. No tongue and no groping,” Louis says.

Harry shoves his face back into the mattress. “Pass.”

Louis’ fingers drum on Harry’s back, a short staccato beat. “Alright, with tongue,” he relents. “Still no groping.”

Harry peers at him with one eye still closed. “And I won’t get a slap?” he demands.

Louis spreads his hands innocently. “No slap.”

Harry doesn’t even remotely believe it, but he only needs to think about it for all of two seconds. “Deal.” He hauls Louis down and ignores his squawking in favor of rolling him underneath his body, hips settling into the spread of Louis’ thighs.

He doesn’t waste time adjusting his body weight, partially because if Louis was uncomfortable there’d be incessant complaining but mostly because he learned the hard way that Louis starts the clock from whatever second he feels like. Two minutes can last fifteen seconds or fifteen minutes, depending on how Louis is feeling.

He’s only a little ashamed of how fast he falls onto Louis’ mouth, but it’s been a week and Harry’s been good, okay? He hasn’t even made eyes at anyone this week, much less made a pass at them, and he’s been doing all of his interviews and press stuff without so much as one complaint.

He licks into Louis’ mouth with no hesitation at all, all confidence and wet heat, and is rewarded with a tiny, tiny whimper. It pulses straight through his dick.

He slides his fingers into Louis’ hair and tips his head back a little more, kissing him exactly the way that he likes to be kissed best, slick tongue and a little bitey, the way that makes Louis clench his fingers around Harry’s biceps.

Harry trails away from Louis’ mouth and along his jaw, biting little kisses as he goes, until he reaches that spot just behind Louis’ ear that makes him gasp when he bites it.

Louis does it every time without fail, a breathy little ‘ah’ sound that always goes straight to Harry’s cock.

“You’re done,” Louis gasps. His hips rock up into Harry’s even as he speaks, and Harry bites him again, less careful this time. “Ah, fuck, your time is so finished.”

“Could make you finish instead,” Harry says. Louis arches underneath him.

Then Harry gets slapped again, and it rocks him enough to give Louis the space to wiggle out from underneath him.

“I fucking hate you,” Harry groans, flopping over onto his back. “You promised there’d be no slap.”

Louis straightens out his clothes while glaring at Harry. It doesn’t help. Louis still looks like he almost got fucked and Harry’s dick is still hard. “I said there’d be no slap if there was no groping and if you stuck to the two minute limit, neither of which you did. So actually I owe you another slap.”

“No,” Harry whines. He shoves his hair back out of his face and sends Louis his best pleading look. “I didn’t mean to. Besides, I didn’t really grope you.”

“You did give me a lovebite, though, and I did specifically say only kisses on the mouth,” Louis points out. “But if you’re ready to go in twenty minutes I’ll deduct one slap from your tally.”

“Fine,” Harry sighs. He knows that’s the best deal he’s going to get. He tosses the duvet to the side and rolls out of bed. When he looks up from fishing some jeans out of the pile on the floor, Louis is gone.

 

Harry goes round his mum’s and says goodbye to his family and some of his friends, has one more meal with them, and heads out to the curb two hours later.

Louis is waiting in the car, seat reclined and sunglasses taking up half his face. Harry’s pretty sure that he’s napping, even though he can’t have been there for more than five minutes.

“You should’ve invited him in,” Harry’s mum says, swatting at his arm. She’s met Louis before, only the one time, and taken an instant liking to him, even after she witnessed him slap Harry right in the face.

Harry’s still not quite forgiven her for that. “But if I invited him in how we would ever get rid of him,” Harry says, intentionally loud. Inside the car, Louis’ lips quirk up into a tiny little smile. He flicks Harry off without opening his eyes.

“Don’t be mean to him,” Harry’s mum says. She hugs him at the same time, which only takes a little bit of the sting out of it.

“He’s the one who’s mean to me,” Harry protests. He says a few more goodbyes and is about to get into the car when Louis yelps and flings his sunglasses onto the dashboard.

“Wait, wait, wait,” he says. Harry stops with his hand on the door handle and looks behind him instinctively. Usually when Louis does something like that there’s paparazzi behind him and Louis is trying to make sure they get the worst shot of him possible - usually one of Harry making a weird face or about to trip over something that doesn’t even exist.

There’s no one behind him, though, and when Harry turns back around Louis has scrambled into the passenger seat. Harry rolls his eyes and goes around to the other side of the car.

“You know, you could drive for once,” Harry says. Louis wiggles in his seat until he can put his feet up. Harry slaps them down absently and buckles his own seat belt.

Or I could sleep,” Louis says. He shoves a sweater underneath his head and slaps at Harry’s hands when Harry reaches over to buckle his seat belt.

“You know you probably get paid to drive,” Harry says, getting the belt done up despite Louis’ efforts to stop him, checking over his shoulder before he pulls out onto the road. Louis shushes him and curls up as much as he can.

Harry flicks the radio on.

 

Louis folds his arms across his chest and stares at the bus. “I thought it would be bigger,” he says. Harry pointedly doesn’t stare at the flex of Louis’ biceps around the gigantic board he’s holding and drops their bags onto the ground.

“It’s big enough,” he says, and if it comes out a little irritable no one can blame him, really. He just put up with a thirteen hour flight and a five hour layover that he literally spent every minute of signing things with screaming girls surrounding him. He’s hot and tired and he somehow got roped into carrying Louis’ bag as well as his own and he has a massive fucking headache.

He’s already missing home. He wants a nap and maybe a drink.

Louis turns to look at him, and Harry also hates those stupid sunglasses. They take up half of Louis’ face and he can’t tell what Louis is thinking if he can’t see his eyes, which means that he has no idea whether he’s about to get slapped in the dick or not.

“D’you say that to all the girls, or am I just special?” Louis drawls. He sets the board down and cocks his hip. Distantly, Harry’s aware of the other lads making a ruckus around them, as usual, Liam attempting to shove his bag in the luggage compartment of the bus despite Niall jumping on his back and Zayn swatting it out of his hands every five seconds.

“Why don’t you just fuck off,” Harry says pleasantly. He picks up his own bag and shoves past Louis, letting their shoulders knock together hard as he goes.

He throws his bag down beside Liam and then promptly throws himself down on top of it. He’s done with this day, just absolutely, one hundred percent done. His sunglasses are doing next to nothing to keep the sun from shining into his eyes but he can’t be bothered to roll over, so he just closes his eyes and waits for Zayn and Niall to stop squabbling about whose bag should get to be the closest to the front.

A hand claps against his shoulder. Liam, judging from the shuffling pseudo-fight he can still hear going on beside him.

“Y’alright, mate?” Liam asks, voice low. Harry nods. Leaving home never used to be this hard for him, but somehow, over the past three years, it’s become something that he dreads.

Don’t get him wrong, he loves what he does, loves touring, loves meeting people in every city they go to, loves experiencing new things and new cultures, but that first day has become increasingly hard to handle.

Liam doesn’t say anything else. Harry lets the sound of the boys’ voices wash over him, drifting off, only to jerk back into consciousness with the press of something cold against his bare arm.

“Drink this,” Louis demands. Harry opens his eyes, is momentarily blinded by the sun, and looks at the thing that’s pressing into his arm.

It’s a bottle of water.

Harry takes it and drains the entire thing in two swallows. Louis watches him, expression still unreadable.

“Better?” he asks. Harry shrugs and closes his eyes again. It’s too hot for the way Louis is pressing up against his side, but Harry doesn’t tell him to move.

He lies like that, slumped half on his bag and half on the ground, dozing off, and only half hears Niall shouting, “Oi, what’s this then? What’s - a slap tally board?” and then maniacal laughter.

 

They finally manage to get themselves onto the bus an hour later, bags sorted into the luggage compartment after a vicious round of rock paper scissors that turned into a wrestling match.

Niall had won, despite his dodgy knee or because of it, Harry isn’t sure.

Harry is about to fall face first into the same bunk that he always takes when Louis shoves into him with his whole body and pushes him all the way to the back of the bus, where the couches are.

Harry falls onto that instead and can’t even be bothered to muster up the energy to be surprised when Louis climbs up on top of him instead of sitting next to him like a normal person.

“This is the only freebie that you’re ever going to get, so you better be fucking grateful,” Louis says. Harry’s hands come up to steady him by the hips automatically, and then they’re kissing.

Their mouths don’t line up quite right at first, so Harry reaches up to Louis’ jaw and tilts his head. Harry’s pretty sure that Louis meant to make it dirty, but somehow it ends up being slow and sweet, instead, the soft press of their mouths together, tiny swipes of tongues against each other.

Louis pulls back after a couple of minutes, mouth a tiny bit pinker than it normally is. Harry does feel marginally better, so he rubs his thumb across Louis’ lower lip and says, “I think that you’re more fucking grateful than I am.”

It’s worth it, even though Louis does immediately slap him in the face.

 

 

It takes a couple weeks to really realize how much easier touring is when Louis is there. Harry doesn’t know what it is about him, but he has this quality that just puts people at ease.

It doesn’t matter who it is - Harry, the boys, the crew, Paul, the lighting guys, the hair and make-up people - Louis can usually make them crack a smile, even if they’d just been angry with him two seconds ago.

On the first show of the tour, Louis instigates a food fight so massive that Paul makes him spend the entire set cleaning off the walls.

It helps everyone’s nerves and makes them forget that they haven’t done this in half a year, and by the time they come off the stage they’re all full of adrenaline.

Louis somehow managed to sneak an entire bin full of water balloons past the security guys, so the entirety of the backstage area gets even more destroyed.

Paul doesn’t even get mad, which Harry thinks says something, and just like that, Louis is part of their small, co-dependent little family.

 

They’re backstage after doing an interview in France, and to be perfectly honest they’re all a little drunk because Paul’s actually let them have a real party, complete with people other than the five of them. One of the interviewers is actually very pretty, so Harry’s talking to her, in a corner of the room with a drink in his hand, leaning in.

He knows what his body language is saying, and he definitely knows what hers is saying, so he’s about to put his hand on her waist when someone barrels directly into his side and latches on.

At first he thinks it’s Niall, due to the size of him and how comfortable he seems to be attached to Harry’s side. Turns out that it’s Louis, though, who wastes no time in snatching the drink right out of Harry’s hand and draining it.

Harry watches the bob of his Adam’s apple as he swallows, a little confused. “Hi?” he tries.

Louis tosses the cup behind him. Harry’s glad that it’s plastic when it bounces off a table and onto the floor. “They aren’t letting me have any more drinks,” Louis informs Harry. He’s very serious about it, all solemn, wide blue eyes looking up at Harry.

“Is that because you’re completely smashed, do you think?” Harry asks, amused. He wraps his arm around Louis’ back to steady him. His fingers end up tucked into Louis’ pocket out of their own accord.

“I am not,” Louis says, all haughty and dignified like anyone’s going to believe him. Harry hums instead of answering, because he’s pretty sure that even though Louis is drunk he’ll still find a way to make fun of Harry.

They sway there for a minute, tucked together, before Louis hooks his finger through Harry’s belt loop and starts tugging him in the direction of the bar.

“Buy me a drink,” he demands, and by the time Harry remembers to look for back for the girl, she’s already gone.

Then he’s distracted by Louis slapping at his arm and demanding to know why he’d ordered beer instead of a cocktail, didn’t he know that Louis liked fruity drinks after a long day by now? And it doesn’t matter any more.

 

Somebody somewhere must have the shittiest phone security in the world or they’re selling pictures to the paps, because blurry photos of Louis start showing up in magazines and online on a weekly basis.

Louis inserted himself into the pre-show huddle on the second night of the tour, and for two weeks straight headlines are screaming about how One Direction is getting a fifth member. Harry’s kind of disappointed that none of them are talking about Louis being his fuck buddy.

Louis thinks it’s absolutely hilarious, though. He cuts out the articles from every newspaper that he can get his hands on and pins them up all over the bus. Harry wakes up a couple of times to them taped to his forehead.

He pretends to actually be in the band sometimes, mainly to gullible parents or preteens who just think that he’s cute. No one’s surprised. More surprisingly, no one cares.

Harry watches him hop off the bus and beeline directly for the fans scattered around the parking lot. It’s early still, so there aren’t an overwhelming number of them, but there’s more than a few. Harry watches from the safety of the bus while Louis spends twenty minutes signing pictures and chatting with the girls.

Harry knows from experience that he’s signing his name right over Harry’s face.

Louis eventually climbs back onto the bus flushed and smiling and flops down on top of Harry’s legs.

“I told them my name is Charles and that I’m Liam’s secret gay lover,” he says. His smile is incredibly bright.

“You do realize that story’s going to get media attention within the next ten minutes, right? Paul’s going to murder you,” Harry says. He rubs his fingers through Louis’ sweaty hair and slumps down as much as he can with Louis’ weight still on top of him.

Texas is hot during the summer.

“Oh! Next time I’m gonna tell them I’m Paul’s secret gay lover,” Louis breathes. Harry twists his fingers in Louis’ hair sharply.

“Don’t ever do that. Paul would actually kill you.”

“I know. But that would be like, the most epic prank ever,” Louis says. Harry tips his head back against the cushions and closes his eyes.

He doesn’t mean to fall asleep, but when he wakes up Louis is still curled up half on top of him and there’s drool collecting in the cut of Harry’s bare hip.

It’s gross and nice all at the same time.

 

Louis being someone’s secret gay lover with a different name every week becomes a thing that lasts well over three weeks before they get a conference call from Tina, who is easily the scariest management exec they have. She tells them in no uncertain terms to cut it the fuck out.

So in the next interview they have, it somehow becomes Harry’s responsibility to quell the rumour.

“So what’s this I hear about Niall being romantically involved with someone named Ivan?” the interviewer asks. Harry’s pretty sure that her name is Amelia, but he’s never been too good with names.

“That is actually just an inside joke,” Harry says. “It’s actually Louis, our assistant tour manager. He likes to play really terrible pranks on people.”

“So no one in One Direction is actually involved with him then?” the interviewer clarifies.

Harry smiles, the bashful one that somehow manages to fool people into thinking he’s way more innocent than he actually is. “No, despite repeated attempts he won’t let me put it in him,” Harry says.

“That’s because I am a lady, and I have class, Styles,” Louis shouts. He’s picking through things on one of the employee’s desks. Harry’s is absolutely, one hundred percent sure that he’s looking for something to appropriate as a souvenir.

The interviewer laughs and Niall charms her into changing the subject.

 

After that, talking about Louis during interviews becomes a thing. Harry’s not sure that’s what Tina wanted when she told them to quit it, but she doesn’t tell them off for it, so they keep doing it.

The fans like it, anyway, like Louis. He charms them just as well as he charmed their crew. Louis has fans of his own that seem to like him better than they like any of the actual band members.

Harry can’t really bring himself to care. It takes some of the heat off of him, anyway, with another cute boy for the girls to shamelessly ogle. Harry can’t blame them, considering how much time he spends with his eyes fixed on Louis’ arse.

 

 

“This guy from Kerrang! keeps calling, trying to get an interview with you. Do you want to do it?” Louis asks. He’s dangling his phone in front of Harry’s face, screen blank, like that’s going to help Harry decide.

Harry wraps his fingers around Louis’ wrist and pulls his hand down. “What do you think?” he asks. Louis can always tell when interviewers are going to be douchebags. It’s like a super power.

Louis shrugs. “He kept insisting that it had to be a solo interview, so I think he’s probably gonna try to sell the whole break-up story again.”

Harry slips his fingers into the space between Louis’, not quite holding hands so Louis doesn’t pull away, but close enough to keep them linked together. Louis glances down at their hands, one eyebrow raised.

“So that’s a no, then,” Harry says. He smiles up at Louis, keeping it sweet and simple. Hopefully that, combined with him being on his best behaviour for like, three whole days, will earn him a kiss.

“You do know that not every conversation requires touching, right?” Louis asks. There’s the beginning of a smile gracing his face, though, so Harry doesn’t take it too seriously.

Harry juts his lower lip out a little. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” he informs Louis seriously. “If you don’t touch someone when you’re talking to them how are they going to know what you mean?”

Louis blinks, a slow, heavy sweep of his eyelashes against his cheeks. It’s really fucking pretty, is what it is, and that’s completely unfair. “I imagine they know what you mean from the words you choose to tell it to them with,” Louis says.

“I guess that’s one way to figure it out,” Harry grumbles. He keeps his hand where it is, though, because if Louis doesn’t explicitly tell him to move it he’s not going to.

Louis starts backing away, but considering that he didn’t tell Harry off for touching him Harry stands up and follows, fingers still linked in between Louis’.

Clearly Louis was expecting him to follow, anyway, because he tightens his fingers and tugs Harry along behind him, down the hallway. Harry’s wearing ratty old sweatpants, a t-shirt that’s more hole than fabric, and no shoes. He’s pretty sure that’s a good enough reason for Louis to be leading them somewhere inside the hotel, but it becomes clear that it’s not when Louis drags him outside and across the street.

It’s the middle of the night and the location of the hotel is somehow still unknown to their fans, so they have no problems ducking into the corner store, the only thing that’s still open.

The man behind the counter eyes them warily, but he doesn’t say anything as Louis lets go of Harry’s hand and starts rifling through bags of crisps until he finds three that he wants. He piles them in Harry’s arms and heads to the refrigerated section, grabbing a two litre bottle of Coke.

By the time they make their way up to the counter, Harry’s arms are full of junk, so weighed down that he has to wait for Louis to start unloading him instead of helping with it.

It ends up coming to a completely ridiculous amount of money. Louis pins an expectant look on Harry.

Harry’s jaw actually drops. “You dragged me out of the hotel at one o’clock in the morning! I didn’t even grab my wallet!” he hisses. Louis grins, crinkly eyed and amused, and pats him on the chest.

“I got this, don’t worry,” he says, and proceeds to pull Harry’s wallet out of his back pocket.

Harry doesn’t even have it in him to be surprised.

He waits patiently for Louis to get his change, tuck Harry’s wallet back into his pocket and gather up a couple of the bags before they trudge back across the street. Harry barely avoids a broken bottle.

“If I end up cutting myself and getting hepatitis you’re getting fired,” Harry mutters.

“Stop being a crybaby,” Louis says. He pushes through the doors of the hotel and doesn’t hold them for Harry. Harry rolls his eyes at his back and shoves through, juggling his bags. He hopes that Louis has his room key, because Harry definitely doesn’t have that, either.

Louis does have Harry’s room key, because he swipes it and lets himself in without even asking Harry if that’s alright, barely waiting long enough for Harry to catch the door before going to drop all of his contraband onto the bed. He sinks onto his knees beside the bed and starts sorting it into piles, chocolate, sweet, sour, crisps.

Harry refrains from saying anything and dumps his own armload onto the bed, leaving Louis to sort it out how he wants. Harry grabs a bottle of rum from the mini-fridge and starts dragging the cushions off of every chair in the room, piling them up in front of the bed. He manages to get a blanket out from underneath Louis’ stash without disrupting everything, which is good, because Harry would never hear the end of it, otherwise.

“I want Grease,” Louis says. He doesn’t look up from his task, concentrating on tearing open a package of Skittles. Harry rolls his eyes and goes to dig through his bag for his laptop.

He manages to get it hooked up to the telly without only a minimal amount of cussing and queues up the film. By the time he’s finished, Louis’ curled into a ball on the cushions, hood tugged over his head and buried underneath the blanket.

It’s not really cold enough for all that, but Louis doesn’t retain heat very well. Harry settles down onto the floor next to him, on the minuscule half of a cushion that Louis’ left. He’ll wait until it gets to the Summer Nights scene. Louis always gets super engrossed and Harry’ll be able to move him without having to hear any bitching.

They’re halfway through the movie when the door opens again. Harry glances over, mildly concerned, because two out of the three people that have a keycard for this room are in it.

It’s Niall, though, hauling bags of McDonald’s in, followed by Liam and Zayn. Harry flaps a hand at them in greeting, and they settle in around them on the floor. Louis stirs a little but doesn’t take his attention away from the screen, even when Harry presses a bag of food into his hand.

Zayn lasts for all of five minutes before his head’s lolling on Harry’s shoulder, dead to the world. Liam and Louis make occasional comments to each other during the rest of the film, half formed sentences that Harry can’t follow. Niall’s engrossed in his food, practically cooing to it, same as he always does when he gets overtired.

None of them really say anything as they watch the rest of the movie. Harry spends it with his cheek resting on top of Louis’ head, Louis’ knee digging into his side.

The door opens again in the last twenty minutes of the film. Louis makes an annoyed noise. Harry shushes him and looks over.

“You boys all kipping together tonight?” Paul asks. He’s leaning against the door frame, and he looks tired. Harry can sympathize.

Harry gives him a thumbs up, because they live to make Paul’s life hell, all five of them, but he deserves a quiet night every now and again for being so good to them.

“You make sure that he stays here tonight, Styles,” Paul says, voice stern. “I don’t want a phone call in two hours making me get out of my bed to bail him out of whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into. You hear that, Tomlinson?”

Louis flips him off, but Harry can feel his smile anyway, pressed into his shoulder. Paul has an answering one on his face as he bids them goodnight and lets the door close quietly behind him.

 

Harry’s back isn’t happy with him in the morning, having slept on the floor with Louis and Zayn half on top of him all night. They’re both still on top of him when he wakes up, blinking up at the white ceiling.

Liam’s migrated to the bed, one of his feet kicked over the edge and dangerously close to Zayn’s head. Niall’s tucked into a cushionless armchair, hotel phone pressed to his ear. Ordering room service, then. Great lad, that Niall.

Harry shifts, moving Zayn’s elbow out of his ribs. He doesn’t try to get up, because both Louis and Zayn are heavy sleepers, probably won’t wake up until the smell of greasy breakfast food hits them.

Niall finishes with the call and comes back over, curling up beside Zayn and resting his head on Harry’s leg. Harry lets his eyes slip closed and drifts off again for a few minutes, until a knock on the door signifies the food arriving.

Harry shoves at the mess of limbs holding him down until he can push himself to his feet. He stumbles over to the door and pulls it open. It’s not until the girl’s eyes widen that he realizes that he’s only wearing his boxers, shirt discarded at some point during the night.

He smiles weakly and signs for the food, hoping that she’s not running to her phone to tell the world that Harry Styles wears boxers with little smiley duckies on them. She doesn’t seem like the type, but one never knows.

Harry locks the door and puts the food down on a table. By the time he’s finished that everyone’s awake and Louis’ systemically slapping Liam on the leg every time he goes to open his mouth. It’s probably for no apparent reason. Harry’s glad that it’s not him.

Niall’s laughing openly at Liam’s scowl. “You should stop laughing before he decides that you’re next,” Liam grumbles. He winces when Louis pinches his nipple, hand flying up to wrench Louis’ fingers off.

“Niall never gets slapped,” Harry mumbles through a mouthful of bacon.

“Hey! That’s not true, I got slapped last week,” Niall says.

“Okay, Niall doesn’t get slapped nearly as much as everyone else,” Harry amends.

Louis sniffs and takes the bacon right out of Harry’s hand. “Niall doesn’t get slapped as much as the rest of you because he’s less of a twat,” he says primly, popping the bacon into his mouth. Harry props his head up on his hand and watches Louis chew, jaw working.

“But why do I get slapped more than Zayn?” Liam asks. “Zayn’s just as much as a twat as I am.”

Louis shrugs and reaches across the table to take another piece of Harry’s bacon despite the pile on his own plate. Harry lets him. “Zayn’s just better looking than you, Li,” he says. “Also I just like him better.”

Of course, that starts off the wrestling portion of the day, which seems like it’s gonna be a pretty good indication of how the rest of the day is gonna go.

 

 

Harry can’t lie, he kind of enjoys bus nights, having all of the people he loves most (with the obvious exception of his family) close enough that he can reach out and touch them. Niall hates bus nights, mainly because Louis and Zayn stay up giggling together in the back until all hours of the night, and it makes him a little grumpy in the mornings, but Harry would still rather that than being in a hotel room all by himself.

It makes it harder to jerk off, though, which is what Harry is trying to do right now, teeth pressed into his lower lip and boxers pulled down just enough to get at his cock. Technically they’ve all agreed to a no jerking off on the bus rule, because they aren’t on the bus often enough for it to be really necessary, but Harry can’t wait until tomorrow, not after the day he’s had.

Not after Louis spent the day flouncing around in sweatpants that clung to the curve of his arse with nothing on underneath. Harry’s hands had itched with the urge to peel them down and just look at him for hours, to spread his cheeks and look at his tiny pink little hole, to look at his pretty cock fattening up from Harry’s eyes on him.

Harry stifles a whimper and tightens his grip a little. He has no lube, so the drag’s a little dry, but it doesn’t even matter at this point. There’s no way that Louis hadn’t known what he was doing, pressing up against Harry’s side and looking up at him from underneath his eyelashes all fucking day, playing at being coy.

Harry can hear Louis’ voice floating through the bus, too soft to hear what he’s actually saying, but it’s enough to have Harry biting down on his own wrist as he comes, trying to hold back the noise but mostly failing.

It takes him a minute to catch his breath after, images of Louis spread out bare arsed underneath him still floating through his brain. He’s almost thinks he’s in the clear, until he hears Liam’s indignant, “Harry!” and Louis’ loud laughter.

Harry doesn’t even care. He deserved that orgasm.

 

Harry twists around in his chair, trying to catch a glimpse of the clock on the wall behind him while Liam natters on about where they came up with the band name. The story is getting more and more embellished as the day drags on, but none of the interviewers have picked up on it yet.

The clock reads ten to three, which means that they’ve been here for less than five minutes and still have at least another ten to go.

Niall’s elbows Harry in the side. Harry flails a little as he turns back around to an expectant look on the interviewer’s face.

“Can you guys show us what you have in your pockets?” the girl repeats. Harry smiles winningly and starts emptying out his own pockets, since the other boys are already holding their items in their hands.

“I haven’t got anything interesting,” Zayn is saying. Harry digs out a wallet, a couple phones, a few receipts, a package of gum, and a couple pieces of random papers that probably have girl’s numbers written on them. He’ll have to throw them out later so Louis doesn’t see them and mock him for not being able to get a number from a girl his own age.

“Why do you have two phones?” the interviewer asks.

Harry glances down. “Oh, this is Louis’ phone,” he says. “Do you want to see what he was last googling?” He swipes his thumb across it and enters Louis’ passcode before she can answer, pulls up the internet browser.

“Oh man, he’s gonna kill you,” Niall says, laughing, but he crowds closer regardless.

Harry looks up and finds Louis across the room. He’s not paying any attention. “Louis! I didn’t know you wanted to buy a My Little Pony tea set!” he yells. Louis flips him off without looking and continues what he was doing.

“I’m joking, he was looking up places to eat,” Harry says, looking back at the interviewer. “Do you have any recommendations?”

The interviewer names a couple of places and Harry tunes out again, only for a second this time, to make sure that Louis isn’t getting himself into trouble. Last week he almost got kicked out by studio security who didn’t realize that he was with them. Apparently he’d been rifling through the lost and found. The lost and found that had been in a closed, locked office.

“So we’re going to do a bit of a quickfire, alright?”

“Oh, I love quickfire,” Harry says, tuning back in. Quickfire questions are actually his favourite way to do interviews, even if they do end up being the same ten questions, because all you have to do is give a simple answer and move on.

It’s lazy, maybe, but so are the questions, so Harry doesn’t feel too bad about it. “Okay, so, here we go. Who is the leader of the group?”

“Tommo,” Liam answers immediately. Harry cracks up so hard he has to put his head in between his knees. He can hear Niall and Zayn chiming in and agreeing, which makes him laugh harder.

“Annnd Harry’s lost it,” Niall says.

“Tommo?” the interviewer asks, confused. Harry sucks in a couple of deep breaths.

“Yeah, Louis, usually sings backing vocals?” Zayn says. “He couldn’t make it today, was feeling ill, but he sends his love to all our fans.”

“Okay,” the interviewer says. She doesn’t say anything about them only being a four-piece. Harry doesn’t know whether it’s because she doesn’t care or if she genuinely believes that there are five of them, but either way it’s hilarious.

She asks a few more questions, but none of them can keep their composure long enough to give actual answers, so it ends up being cut short, and they all head to the green room, still giggling.

Louis isn’t there when they tumble in, which is probably a good thing, else they’d crack up all over again.

 

Harry walks into the green room and stops just inside the door. Louis’ head pops up from behind the couch first, eyes wide.

“’s just Harry,” he says, and promptly disappears again. Zayn’s head comes up for a brief second, to check that Louis’ telling the truth or what, Harry doesn’t know.

Harry thinks about turning around and leaving them to it, whatever it is, because he’s not sure that he wants to be involved in whatever this is.

The crew’s busy setting up, though, and who knows where Liam and Niall have disappeared to, and Harry’s lonely and bored, so he rounds the couch and drops down on the floor beside Zayn.

“Pass me the cream cheese,” Louis says. Zayn hands it to him, and Harry watches as Louis packs the cream cheese into an emptied stick of deodorant carefully. He shapes it as he goes, and when he’s finished it does actually look like deodorant, at least enough to pass when someone opens it and gives it a cursory glance.

There’s a few more sticks laying beside Louis that look like they’ve already been finished. “You didn’t do mine, right?” Harry asks warily. Louis pats his cheek absently. It probably doesn’t count as a slap that’ll be deducted from Harry’s tally, which is kind of depressing. Harry had looked at the board on the way off the bus this morning and it seems like his total’s growing exponentially.

“We did something way worse to you,” Louis promises. He caps the deodorant and adds it to the pile.

“I really don’t like the sound of that,” Harry says. Louis gathers up the deodorants and pushes himself to his feet. Harry steadies him with a hand on the back of his thigh as he wobbles.

“Well you can either worry about that or you can help us sneak these things back into their places,” Louis says. Zayn stands up as well, holding a hand out to haul Harry up. Harry takes it, nearly knocking into Louis.

“You have the worst balance of anyone that I’ve ever met,” Zayn comments. He takes a few of the deodorants from Louis and heads out of the room. Harry follows him, mostly out of a sense of self-preservation. If they’re going to bring his name up in the fallout that ensues from this then he at least wants to be part of it.

He has to start mourning the loss of his short life when he sees who they’ve stolen them from, though.

“I’m going to die a terrible, painful death,” Harry says. He hovers in the doorway, reluctant to come all the way inside the room.

Louis barely spares him a glance. “She’s really not that scary.”

Harry’s eyes widen. Not that scary? “Have you seen her heels?” he hisses. “Those things are like five inches! She could kill me with one blow!”

“Maybe if you hadn’t spent two weeks trying to sleep with her instead of letting her do her work in peace she wouldn’t be harboring a grudge against you,” Zayn says. Harry glances over his shoulder. He’s pretty sure that he just hear the ominous sound of heels clicking along the tile.

“She’s pretty!” Harry says defensively. “And funny and smart, and I only hit on her once, two years ago! I left her alone when she turned me down!”

Louis zips up Clara’s bag and adjusts it so that it’s more or less the way they found it. It doesn’t matter, though, because she’s going to know and she’s going to know that Harry was involved in this and Harry’s going to get his eyes gouged out with a stiletto heel.

“That’s not the way she tells it,” Louis says. Harry pouts and glances over his shoulder again. She could be coming back any minute now.

“Well that’s the way it happened,” Harry says. He curls his fingers around Louis’ wrist as soon as he gets close enough and pulls him the rest of the way out of the room. It’s for his own safety. “Besides, why would I even hit on her now when there’s you?”

Louis elbows him in the side hard, but he doesn’t stop Harry from rushing them down the hallway, until they’re a safe enough distance away that Harry’s heart isn’t going to explode out of his chest.

“I wish you would hit on her instead of me,” Louis mutters. He snaps his fingers behind his back, and Zayn appears like magic, holding the rest of the deodorants.

“I think that we should definitely put one in Liam’s bag,” Zayn says thoughtfully, ignoring them like he always does. He holds them up to the light and examines them.

“Liam just opened a new stick, he’s not going to use this one for a while,” Louis says. Harry just blinks at him, because who knows when someone else has opened a new stick of deodorant? Harry doesn’t even know when he started his current one.

“That’ll make it even better, when he finally uses it,” Zayn points out.

“You think that’ll work? He might think to check all of his when people start complaining,” Louis says thoughtfully.

Zayn shakes his head. “Liam’s too trusting to check his. He’ll probably just commiserate with everyone and never think about it again.”

“Okay,” Louis agrees. Harry wishes he could get Louis to agree to something as easily as Zayn can.

Like he knows what Harry’s thinking, Louis passes him and smacks him on the cheek lightly, more of a tap than anything. That one probably counted, at least. Harry follows him, and watches as he and Zayn distribute the rest of the sticks into their owner’s bags.

“How do you know which one belongs to who?” Harry asks, keeping a lookout for anyone trying to come onto the band bus.

Louis shrugs. “Zayn wrote all of their initials on the bottoms in chalk so we’d be able to tell.”

“That worked?” Harry asks skeptically.

“It worked well enough,” Zayn says. He zips up Dan’s bag and pops back up to his feet. “Let’s go get food.”

Harry pokes his head out the door to make sure no one sees them as they sneak out of the band bus. He doesn’t think anything else of the pranks until he goes to get a clean t-shirt from his bag and finds a thin layer of chalk dust covering every single item in it, like it’d been shaken around to really spread it.

“They’re the worst,” Harry mutters to himself, still staring at the bag.

Looks like it’s laundry time.

 

Harry’s in his bunk on the bus with his headphones in when Gemma calls. He smiles and answers it, and they spend a few minutes talking about the new boy Gemma’s dating when Louis rips the curtain back.

Harry rolls onto his other side, facing the wall, and continues his conversation.

It doesn’t deter Louis. He climbs up into the bunk behind Harry and leans over and presses his head right up against the phone.

“Who’re you talking to?” His voice is a little loud, but it’s only because the bus is so quiet. Probably. Harry’s become immune to how loud he can be.

“Oh, is that Louis?” Gemma asks. Harry sighs, resigns himself to his fate, and hits the speaker button. It’s really not fair how much Harry’s entire family loves Louis. Harry always tries to exact revenge by talking to Louis’ little sisters when they call, but all of them are more interested in Zayn. Harry’s entire life is unfair.

Louis and Gemma chat for a couple minutes. Harry mostly drifts in and out of sleep until Louis’ incessant shoving at his ribs becomes too annoying to ignore.

“What,” he says.

“Roll over onto your back,” Louis demands. Harry considers not complying.

Non-compliance results in more annoying rib poking, though, which escalates into pinching, so Harry rolls onto his back and makes an irritated noise. Louis settles the phone onto Harry’s bare collarbone and wiggles down until he can put his head on Harry’s stomach.

He doesn’t add much to the conversation after that, and he keeps mostly still after he finally figures out how to curl his legs up comfortably.

Harry puts a hand on the back of Louis’ neck and talks to his sister.

 

 

“Bro, what did you do?” Zayn hisses. Harry shrugs his hand off and takes two steps away. He doesn’t bother looking at Louis’ retreating back.

“I didn’t do anything,” he says tightly. It’s true, even if he is having a hard time convincing himself of that. Louis gets irritated, sure, all the time, actually, at things like being out of tea or misplacing his phone or Niall hogging the telly, but seeing him actually get angry doesn’t happen.

Harry’s pretty sure that he just happened to be the first person to get in the way.

“Okay,” Zayn says, but he’s doing the Judgmental Eyebrows of Doom, so Harry huffs out a breath and takes off after Louis.

Louis is in the dressing room throwing darts. He’s missing the board every time - missing most of the wall, even. The darts are landing uselessly on the floor, which only seems to be making him angrier.

“Fucking useless piece of shit dart,” he mutters, throwing another one that follows the same path and lands on the floor. Harry folds his arms across his chest and leans against the door.

He watches Louis throw a couple more. One hits the board but thuds off before it can get stuck like it’s supposed to.

“I’m going to stab you with one of these if you keep standing there and staring at me,” Louis says without looking. He throws another one. It misses.

“I would really prefer it if you didn’t do that,” Harry says. He pushes off the wall, takes the two steps necessary to crowd into Louis’ space and tug the remaining darts out of his hand.

Louis doesn’t try to hold onto them. “Yes, well, I would really prefer to stab at least ten of these into your eyeballs repeatedly,” he says anyway.

Harry tosses them onto the counter behind them and puts his hands on Louis’ shoulders. “I would really appreciate it if you didn’t stab me in my eyeballs,” he says, voice low and soft. It works for a minute - Louis’ head tips back a tiny bit, he loosens up a little.

Then Louis is pulling away and gathering up the darts. “I like stabbing things,” Louis says thoughtfully, throwing another dart at the board. It thunks into the wall and stays there.

“Because that’s not disturbing at all,” Harry says.

“Your face is disturbing,” Louis says.

He’s eyeing the last dart in his hand like he’s actually thinking about stabbing Harry with it, so it’s mainly out of self-preservation that Harry says, “Paul’s holding a security meeting right now, so there’s no one guarding the golf carts.” It takes a minute, but Louis tosses the dart in the general direction of the board and lets Harry lead him out of the room, so that’s something.

 

Terrorizing people with the golf cart keeps Louis occupied for an hour before Paul catches them and forces Harry to get ready for the show. Harry goes, expecting Louis to be keeping time behind him, ready to wreak more havoc on unsuspecting victims in the dressing room, but he’s disappeared by the time Harry reaches the door.

 

By the time Harry makes it back to the bus after the show, Louis is in his bunk with the curtain drawn. Normally he’d have been fucking around with them after the show, and he had, a bit, but he’d disappeared fifteen minutes after their post show hug and hadn’t come back.

It’s bad manners to rip the curtain back on someone’s bunk, mainly because they might be jerking off despite the no jerking off rule, but Harry does it anyway.

Louis is curled up on his side facing the wall, decidedly not jerking off, which Harry spares a brief moment to be sad about, because fuck, wouldn’t that just be the prettiest thing ever?

“I’m adding another mark to your tally,” Louis says. His voice is thick, like he’s been sleeping. “For staring at me like a creeper.”

“That’s not fair, I wasn’t even staring,” Harry complains. He shoves his hands underneath the blankets and gropes along until he finds Louis’ back. He’s not wearing a shirt, skin warm against Harry’s hands.

“I could feel you staring. In fact, I can still feel you staring now. Should give you another ten marks,” Louis grumbles. He doesn’t protest when Harry digs his fingers into his sides and hauls him back, though.

“But you’re not going to, because you’re sad and I’m making you feel better, right?” Harry asks. He slips his hands around Louis’ waist completely and laces his fingers together on Louis’ belly. It’s awkward, because he’s still standing, but Louis feels good enough underneath his hands that he can’t even bring himself to care.

“You keep telling yourself that, Styles,” Louis sighs. He puts a hand on top of Harry’s and leaves it there.

“So Liam found this package of crisps hidden behind the couch in the dressing room from like, 1995 and dared Niall to eat them,” Harry says.

“What flavor were they?” Louis asks.

“Niall said he couldn’t tell and the package was in Japanese. Apparently they were soggy and disintegrating, but he ate the entire bag because Zayn bet him that he wouldn’t.”

“He’s going to get food poisoning one of these days,” Louis says, but he sounds more fond than disgusted.

Harry hums. “He’s eaten worse. One time he ate chocolate covered tuna.” Louis moves, abruptly, back towards the wall. He doesn’t let go of Harry’s hands, though, so Harry climbs in after him and wiggles right up until he’s pressed up against Louis’ back.

“That’s revolting,” Louis says.

“Mm. Then there was the time he ate an entire carton of molasses and then threw up for like, three hours afterwards.” Harry rattles off a few more disgusting things that Niall’s eaten before he lets his voice trail off. Louis makes a noise, half asleep, so Harry picks back up again, this time about stupid things that Liam’s said, until Louis’ breathing gets deep and even.

Harry stops talking and inhales deeply, breathing in Louis’ hair, soft and clean and smelling like Harry’s shampoo.

He lets his eyes close and means to only keep them that way for a minute, but when he opens them again it’s only because the alarm on his phone is going off.

 

Whatever Harry did sort of worked, in that it perks Louis up during the day, and he gets back to making a nuisance of himself before they play the show, but he’s quiet again after, even though he sticks around.

They’re in a hotel that night, and Harry has spent the ride from the venue to the hotel trying to coax Louis into coming into Harry’s room to watch a film when Louis’ phone rings. Louis answers it quietly, pats Harry’s chest twice, and darts out of the elevator.

He’s disappeared into his own room by the time Harry makes it down the hall, so Harry lets it go and flips through channels until he finds one that’s playing Hitch and settles on it, because Will Smith.

The film’s an hour in when the door opens suddenly and loudly. Harry flinches and yanks the covers up his bare chest, heart pounding. He honestly thinks that it’s a overzealous fan that’s managed to get past security at first, and he’s panicking, trying to remember whether he’s wearing pants or whether he stripped all the way down, right up until he recognizes Louis’ shape, even though the only source of light in the room is coming from the telly.

“You scared the shit out of me,” Harry groans, letting the covers fall back down into his lap. He is still wearing pants, now that he thinks about it.

“Sorry,” is all Louis says. He doesn’t wait for an invitation before shuffling over and climbing onto the bed beside Harry. He wiggles his way underneath the covers and elbows Harry in the side twice before he finally settles down.

Harry wants to ask, wants to ask so badly the question is practically burning in his mouth, but he doesn’t. He keeps his mouth shut and watches the movie, keeps his eyes trained on the screen.

Louis leans into his side, and Harry still doesn’t ask. He doesn’t ask when Louis practically climbs into his lap, and he doesn’t ask when Louis tangles their fingers together on his belly, and he doesn’t ask when Louis squeezes his fingers, but he has to ask when he glances down and sees the sheen of drying tear tracks on Louis’ cheeks.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks. He had thought about asking it quietly, but, well, that seems like it would do more harm than good, babying Louis, so he doesn’t.

Louis sighs. “Not particularly,” he says. “It’s just been a shit couple of days.”

Harry tightens his grip on Louis’ fingers. “You know what would probably make you feel better?” he asks.

“A beer and a pint of ice cream?” Louis says.

“No. Well, probably. But imagine if you grew, like, three inches. You’d be able to get things off of the top shelf of the cabinets on the bus and Zayn would stop hiding the tea from you.”

Louis elbows him sharply. “I fucking hate you, you know that, right?” he grouses. Harry smiles into his hair and tugs at his pajama bottoms.

“I know. I also know that these things are fucking itchy, so can you please just take them off already? My legs feel like they’re covered in mosquito bites.”

“You just want me to be naked,” Louis complains, but he doesn’t protest when Harry starts tugging at them in earnest, trying to wrestle them down Louis’ hips without any help from Louis.

“Why, are you not wearing any pants under them? If that’s the case I definitely think you should take them off,” Harry says. He gets them down Louis’ bum and thighs only to discover that Louis is actually wearing underwear, which is a crying shame. Harry’s never been subtle about wanting to catch an eyeful of that dick.

“As if I would come to your room without wearing pants,” Louis scoffs. “Need more than one layer of protection between my arse and your wandering hands, don’t I?”

“Hey, it’s not my fault if you have a bum worthy of J.Lo,” Harry protests. Louis elbows him again, and Harry tries to pin it to his side, and somehow it turns into a slap fight that ends with Louis’ pajama pants tangled around his knees and the back of Harry’s hands sore from where Louis kept slapping them.

“Stop, this is the best scene,” Louis screeches, slapping at Harry’s arms until Harry gives up and slumps back against the headboard. Louis kicks his legs until he frees himself of the pajamas and then leans back into Harry’s chest. It’s practically permission, in Harry’s book, so he puts his arms back around Louis’ stomach and they watch the rest of the movie in relative silence, because neither of them can actually keep quiet when they’re watching something.

Then American Pie comes on, so of course they have to watch that, and sometime between that and Armaggedon they both fall asleep.

 

“Are you planning on answering that any time soon?” Harry asks. Louis grunts and shoves his face further into the couch cushions. “It’s the third time it’s rung in five minutes,” Harry adds helpfully.

Louis doesn’t say anything, so when it rings again Harry looks at it. It’s not an invasion of privacy if Louis doesn’t tell him not to, right? “It’s Stan,” he announces.

“I know,” Louis says, voice muffled. He doesn’t offer anything else, so Harry rubs his back absently while he contemplates the phone.

“I’m gonna answer it,” he decides, picking it up before Louis can say something. “Hi, Stan.”

“Harry, good, listen, mate, Lou’s mum is getting really worried,” Stan says, rushed like he thinks that Harry’s going to hang up on him or something.

“About what?” Harry asks. If Louis won’t tell him he refuses to feel bad about prying the information out of someone else.

There’s a minute of staticky silence. “Wait, really?” Stan says. “I thought he told you everything.” Harry glances down at Louis, lying still on the couch, pretending to be asleep. He’s not, obviously, but Harry leaves it.

“He doesn’t even tell me when he’s going out somewhere. He just lets me think someone’s kidnapped him and doesn’t answer when I call to make sure he’s okay,” Harry grumbles.

“But he tells you the important stuff,” Stan insists. “Like, he told you when his mum got engaged, and he tells you when he’s feeling particularly guilty about not being there for the girls and all that stuff, yeah?”

“Well, yeah, but it’d be nice not to think that he’s been kidnapped five times a day,” Harry mutters. Louis flips him off at a painful enough angle that Harry’s back twinges in sympathy.

“What are you - he’s not going to get kidnapped, he’s a grown man,” Stan says incredulously.

Harry scoffs. “He’s like 5’7” and weighs less than Niall, even with his arse.”

“’m 5’9”, dickwad,” Louis says to the couch.

“Sure you are, baby,” Harry says, patting him on the bum. Louis kicks out at him and misses.

Stan’s saying something about Louis hanging up on him every time he calls. “He’s homesick,” Harry realizes.

“Yeah, and he keeps snapping at his mum when they talk and feeling guilty about it, so now he won’t answer her calls.” Stan’s still talking, Harry’s pretty sure, but it doesn’t really matter, so he ends the call and tosses the phone down.

Stan will understand, he’s pretty sure.

“Let me send you home for a week,” Harry says. Louis’ back muscles tense underneath his hand, so he hastens to add, “No, like, to visit. Let me buy you the tickets.”

Louis sighs deeply and rolls over, knocking Harry’s hand onto the couch. “You’re not going to buy me a plane to ticket so I can go home for a week,” he says flatly. Harry’s hand itches with wanting to be back on Louis’ skin.

“Why not?” he asks, drawing his hand back in so he can lace his fingers together. He’s pretty sure that this is a conversation that Louis would say doesn’t require touching. Harry thinks he’s wrong, but Harry thinks that every conversation requires touching, so.

“Well, first of all, I’m not going to let you buy me a plane ticket so I can go home for a week because I do actually have a job that requires me being here,” Louis says, sitting up.

“You can tell me on the phone,” Harry says. “Whatever we’re meant to be doing. You can tell me on the phone and I can relay the information to the boys for a week, and Paul will still be here. We’ll manage.”

Louis rolls his eyes. “Okay, no. Every time I try to have a conversation with you on the phone you end up going off about flowers or one of your stupid indie bands that no one cares about. I do not have enough minutes to deal with that shit.”

Harry frowns. “I don’t do that,” he protests. “But if I did it’d still be better than the way you always get distracted by people around you talking while you’re on the phone, even if you don’t know them.”

There’s a pause. “God, I hate that you know that,” Louis says, shaking his head.

“Call your mum, at least,” Harry says. “If you won’t let me send you home.” Louis looks at him, mouth twisted.

“It doesn’t help,” he says. He’s not looking at Harry anymore, and Harry’s had enough. He grabs Louis’ legs and yanks him across the couch until he’s practically in Harry’s lap.

“You’re not letting it help,” Harry says. He forces Louis’ shoulders down until they hit his chest and wraps his arms around him. “Hearing her voice will help, you just have to let it. It’s not going to be perfect, you’re still going to miss them, but it’s going to help.”

“Okay,” Louis says. “I’ll call her later.” Harry hums a little and rocks them as best as he can.

“Plus you have me, and I’m practically your home anyway,” he adds, and it’s totally worth the slap that he gets, even though it is right in the face.

 

 

When they get to the venue, there’s a woman waiting for them, short and blonde, pretty. She speaks fast but not like she’s nervous, more like she has a lot to say and a limited time to say it in, even though she’s mostly telling them about the off limit areas. There’s something endearing about her, regardless, and Harry can’t keep the bemused smile off of his face while she talks.

She reminds him of someone. He can’t quite put his finger on who, though.

“ - should be fruit and cookies in the dressing room. Any questions?” she finishes with a bright smile.

Liam’s answering her, asking something about empty spaces they can skateboard in, and Harry wonders vaguely where Louis is. He disappeared as soon as they got off the bus, and that never bodes well for anyone.

Something crashes loudly from behind them. Harry flinches and darts a look over his shoulder, but there’s just a few crates tipped over onto their sides, no Louis in sight. When Harry turns his attention back to the woman, he catches a glimpse of Liam’s face, shifty and distracted. It’s the look he always has on his face when he and Louis get up to something.

Harry relaxes a little. Even if the joke ends up being on him at least Liam knows where Louis is, which means that Louis is safe enough and not being kidnapped.

Harry still doesn’t believe that it’s paranoid to think that Louis might get kidnapped one day, because everyone who looks at Louis must understand how beautiful he is, thank you very much, Stan, and knowing where Louis is will always ease the tiny smidge of anxiety in his chest.

It’s not weird. It’s not.

 

Harry learns what Louis and Liam had gotten up to an hour later, when he goes to use the bathroom and somehow ends up trapped in a janitor’s closet with Louis, keeping very quiet while they wait for the irate, shouting woman to pass them.

“Did you have to steal the master set of keys?” Harry hisses. There’s really very little space in this closet, so they’re pressed up together, Louis’ leg slotted between Harry’s.

Normally Harry would approve of a position like this, but Louis stole the venue’s master keys.

“Liam wanted to see if they had any trophies hidden away,” Louis says defensively. His hands are bunched up in Harry’s shirt for a lack of anywhere better to put them.

Why would they have trophies hidden away?” Harry demands.

Louis shrugs. It’s dark, so Harry can’t actually see it, but he can feel it just fine. “They play football here,” he says weakly.

“That doesn’t even make any sense!” Harry says. Louis’ hands unclench in his shirt and smooth the fabric down over Harry’s hips.

“If I let you kiss me will you stop being mad at me?” he asks.

Harry considers it. “No,” he decides. Louis’ fingers dance lightly up his ribs, not quite tickling.

“Are you sure?” he presses. “Because, like, you could kiss me with tongue for ten minutes and I’ll even let you hold me up against the wall.”

Harry swallows. “Fifteen minutes,” he bargains.

“Twelve,” Louis says.

“Twenty,” Harry counters. Louis fails to hide a giggle, shoving his hand into Harry’s shoulder.

“Do you even know how bartering works?” he demands, shoving at Harry’s shoulder again. Harry catches his hand.

“Fifteen,” he says.

There’s a tiny pause. “Fine,” Louis huffs. He’s trying to sound annoyed but he’s mostly failing.

Harry doesn’t waste any more time. He finds Louis’ mouth by feel in the dark, lips sliding over his jaw until they settle where they need to be. Harry’s been given a time limit as opposed to a kiss limit, so he can take it any way he wants, puts one hand in Louis’ hair and tips his head to the right angle, kisses him slow and deep and warm for a few minutes, re-familiarizing himself with the taste of Louis’ mouth.

Louis gets impatient, though, a little bite-y, surging up onto his toes because he knows that it’s going to make Harry give it to him harder.

Harry does, every time without fail, and this time’s no different. His kisses turn biting, sucking Louis’ tongue into his mouth. He presses Louis into the wall, and Louis wraps his legs around Harry’s waist without any prompting.

Louis sighs into the kiss, fingers loosening on Harry’s shoulder. Harry tips him back further into the wall and leans into him, bites at his lower lip for the sound Louis’ll make.

Harry can never get enough of that noise, so he does it again, and a third time, and his cock’s so hard it feels like it’s going to burst out of his jeans.

Louis must be the same, hips shifting against Harry’s restlessly, and Harry feels bad for him, pretty little cock all neglected in his pants. He pops the button on Louis’ jeans open and drags the zipper down, reaching inside, wondering if this is the time that Louis lets him -

And then the door flies open, knob hitting Harry in the back. Harry groans in a decidedly unsexy way, stumbling a little. He manages not to drop Louis, but it’s a close thing.

“She’s gone,” Liam hisses. Louis’ legs drop from Harry’s waist, and he shoves at Harry until Harry backs up a couple steps.

“We were busy here,” Harry grouses.

“We need to return the keys before she finds us,” Liam yelps. His voice is seriously high. Harry doesn’t think the woman is that scary.

Louis pats Harry’s stomach as he squeezes by. Harry tries to catch his wrist and pull him back in, but he’s too quick, exiting the closet and leaving Harry alone with a stiff cock.

Harry sighs and presses his forehead against the cool cement wall for a minute before he can make his way back to the dressing room.

 

 

Interviews are generally the same. There’s a few repetitive questions, a nice looking interviewer who inevitably tries to flirt with one of them, and a camera crew who can’t wait to get home. Harry doesn’t really mind, so long as he has the boys with him. It takes some of the heat off of him, anyway, and it’s just so much easier to have fun when they’re all together.

Also they inevitably get off topic and it becomes a complete waste of time, which Harry not so secretly likes. If all of their interviews are going to be about which celebrity they have a crush on or what superpower they want to get they need a way to keep themselves from committing homicide.

Possibly Harry has been spending too much time around Louis if he’s contemplating murder even though the interviewer has been pretty nice to them.

There’s always a question about who Harry is sleeping with, though, and this time is no different.

Well. Actually it is different.

“And Harry, there’s been a lack of women spotted coming out of your hotel room lately. Care to comment on that?” the interviewer asks. It’s a guy, for once, and he doesn’t actually seem that interested in the question, which usually means that he’ll let it go with a vague answer.

But. Now that Harry thinks about it there has been a lack of women in his life recently. As in, he hasn’t slept with anyone in over eight months, since the beginning of the tour.

“I heard that he had the Queen in there the other day,” Liam cuts in, and it’s absurd enough to take the heat off of Harry. Harry sends him a tiny little smile, but he can’t stop thinking about it.

He hasn’t slept with anyone in eight months. Probably actually closer to ten, when he really thinks about it. The last time was before the tour started and Louis hadn’t been around for a couple of days to bother him, so he’d taken the opportunity for what it was. Sleeping with someone is so much harder with Louis around, which is exactly what their management wanted, Harry knows, but there’s a difference between being seen with fewer sexual partners and being seen with no sexual partners at all.

And to be perfectly honest, Harry hadn’t actually noticed until now. The tour’s been busy, and he’s only made a few token attempts, barely put any effort into them at all, and while that probably would have still gotten him laid it was always around Louis, who always manages to be close enough when Harry tries to pull to immediately start laughing and criticizing Harry’s technique.

He still gets off, of course, but he’s getting off by himself, in the privacy of his hotel room or his bunk on the bus, thinking about having Louis spread out underneath him, about how he’d arch up into Harry’s hands and pretend like Harry wasn’t giving it to him good enough until he couldn’t anymore.

Harry barely contributes to the rest of the interview, and when they’re finally alone in the dressing room, the four of them, Harry collapses onto the couch and says to the ceiling, “I think I might be totally whipped.”

Niall laughs so hard he ends up curled into a little ball on the floor.

Nobody says anything. Harry looks at them. “Were any of you going to tell me that he has me wrapped around his little finger?”

“To be perfectly fair, mate, he has us all wrapped around his little finger,” Liam says, only a tiny bit apologetically.

“And it’s better now, anyway,” Zayn says.

Harry blinks at him. “What?”

“Yeah, now that you’re not running around trying to fuck everything that moves. We’re better onstage, we’re better in interviews, and it’s way more fun when it’s just us, as well. He balances you.”

“He balances me,” Harry repeats.

Niall’s finally stopped laughing enough to sit up. “He’s known exactly how to handle you since the first day he met you. Doesn’t it feel like you’re not drowning anymore?”

“I never felt like I was drowning,” Harry says. This conversation is ridiculous. Fucking boybands. “And also the only way he handles me is by slapping me all the time. In the dick.”

“He did tell you straight off the bat the reasons that he was going to slap you,” Zayn points out.

Harry frowns at him. “Yesterday he slapped me for forgetting to replace the milk.”

“It was just a baby slap, not even on the face! And he kissed it better,” Niall says earnestly.

“He’s really very annoying and he has a lot of bad habits,” Harry says. He’s trying to prove - something. His point, maybe. “He’s constantly going through my bags looking for shirts.”

“I’m pretty sure he’s actually looking for things that you’ve bought him,” Liam says. “And the shirts are just handy.”

Harry frowns harder. “I do not buy him things often enough that he would go through my bags looking for them.”

Niall laughs. “Uh, yes, yes you do. You buy him things all the time. Remember that time we were at the smallest dirtiest little airport ever and you bought him a tiny little teddy bear because you thought he’d like it? And yesterday you bought him a candy bar while you were in that convenience store because he said he wanted one four hours before that? Oh, and the time you got him some shirts just because you thought he’d look pretty in them? You do buy him things.”

“Those things never happened,” Harry denies. There must be other things, though. “He plays his music too loud when people are trying to sleep, he makes me bring him tea in the morning even though technically I’m paying him to bring me some, he always forgets where we’re supposed to be at any given time, he pulls the most ridiculous, awful pranks, and he’s always trying to steal my phone so he can hack my Twitter.”

“But you love all that about him,” Zayn says.

Harry lets out a huff of frustrated breath. “I don’t know why I even try talking to you lot about things like this. You’re too romantic.”

“Well, we’re a boyband with approximately seven million love songs, so I’m not quite sure what you were expecting,” Niall says.

“I don’t think that it’s too much to ask to expect you all to not think that I’ve gone and fallen madly in love with my personal assistant,” Harry says.

Zayn groans. “Don’t ever let him hear you call him that,” he says darkly. There was a thing during the first few weeks where Louis would ice out everyone who called him a personal assistant, and Harry still isn’t quite sure why. Liam knows for sure, and Zayn and Niall act like they do too, but Harry’s never actually gotten an explanation out of any of them.

Harry’s pretty sure it’s why Louis gets treated like he does - he’s never heard of a personal assistant who gets treated better than the celebrity before Louis. They all orbit Louis like he’s their sun, even Harry, even Harry’s aware he’s doing it. He just can’t quite seem to stop.

Also the way Louis lights up under the right attention is so fucking pretty.

“That’s what he is,” Harry mutters. He’s not entirely willing to let this go, because the thought that he might be into Louis, like really, seriously into Louis is preposterous. He’s Harry Styles, well known for his love of casual sex and his ability to charm himself into the pants of anyone he wants. He’s a heartbreaker. He doesn’t go around getting attached to potential romantic partners like this.

“He’s not a personal assistant, he’s Louis,” Niall says, like it’s the thing that makes the most sense in the world.

“He’s practically a pet, Niall,” Harry snaps. “You gave him too many treats and too many cuddles and now he thinks that he’s important. He doesn’t know how to do his job and pretty much the only thing he can do is buy things on my credit card.” It’s a terrible thing to say, mean and cruel and completely untrue, and somehow Harry just knows that Louis has walked into the room and heard it.

He turns around slowly. Louis is standing there with his arms folded over his chest. Harry opens his mouth, but he can’t think of anything to say to take it back, to make it right.

“No, Harold, please continue,” Louis says, saccharine sweet. “What kind of pet am I, then? A dog? No, dogs are eager to please and full of love, aren’t they? A cat? No, I suppose cats are too regal and self sufficient to be me. Must be a fish, then, don’t you think, what with the way they laze around all day just getting fed and being completely useless.”

He takes the three steps necessary to slap a folder full of papers against Harry’s chest. “Here’s your schedule for the next two weeks. I rescheduled the Radio1 interview to this week because I know you’re missing home and it’ll help to hear a familiar accent coming from London. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I do actually have a few phone calls to make to ensure that you will actually have a house to go home to, seeing as you forgot to pay your bills yet again.”

He drops his hand without waiting for Harry to take a hold of the folder, and Harry watches dumbly as all the papers go fluttering towards the ground.

 

When Harry gets to Louis’ room after the last interview of the day, he’s half expecting it to be completely cleared out. He still hasn’t figured out what he’s going to say, but he has to do something, has to make sure Louis knows what he is to them. To Harry.

Louis opens the door, though, and a quick look inside shows him that it looks almost exactly the same as it did this morning.

As in, clothes strewn everywhere and just generally a complete mess.

“I’m sorry,” Harry blurts out immediately. “I didn’t mean that stuff. Any of it. I was - I don’t know. I was being immature and selfish and I’m sorry.”

“Yeah. I know,” Louis says eventually. “You should go to bed. You have an interview in the morning and a photo shoot right after. Busy schedule.”

“I could help you pack,” Harry says, fingers tight on the door knob. “You know you always forget something if I don’t help you.”

“Go to sleep, Harry,” Louis repeats, and closes the door in his face.

Harry stands there with his hand on the door and his heart throbbing painfully in his chest until one of the security guards starts edging him towards his own room.

 

Harry doesn’t get an in-person wake up call for the first time in a year the next morning. The hotel phone shrills loudly until he finally manages to roll over and pick it up, and the person on the other end tells him cheerfully that it’s his wake up call.

Harry lies in bed for another ten minutes, just breathing, before he can convince himself to get up. There’s a big part of him that wants to stay in bed until Louis is forced to come and get him, but the slightly more rational part of him knows that it’s not just his life that it’s affecting if he does that - he has to think about the boys, as well.

There’s also a part of him that’s scared that Louis would send someone else.

So he forces himself through a shower, forces himself to put on clothes, forces himself through the interview and doesn’t see Louis all day despite his best efforts to catch a glimpse of him.

They’re on the bus that night, and Harry gets on with every intention of talking to Louis, of apologizing again, only for Zayn to pull him aside and tell him that Louis is on the other bus.

Harry exhales hard once, because he deserves it, he definitely deserves it, even if that doesn’t make it suck any less.

He opens his bag to get some fresh pants out and finds every single shirt that Louis has ever stolen from him folded up neatly and placed on top of all of his other clothes. There’s a duffel bag on his bunk that contains every single item that Harry has bought Louis since the tour started and a few things that went missing out of Harry’s house that he hadn’t even realized that Louis had brought with him.

It’s like a punch to the gut. Louis has never given anything he’s taken back.

 

There’s eight days left on the tour, and Harry has absolutely no idea how he does it, but Louis manages to almost completely avoid him. They’re never alone, and Louis is generally only in the same place as him for five minutes at a time.

Louis becomes a complete professional, delegating himself to the background. He doesn’t take any of Harry’s stuff, he doesn’t touch Harry unless it’s by accident, and he doesn’t let Harry touch him for more than five seconds, despite Harry’s continuous attempts.

He stays on the other bus and takes whichever hotel room is the farthest away from Harry’s. There are no more slaps, not even when Harry squeezes his bum backstage before a show and whispers that Louis’ mouth looks especially good in that lighting.

And. Normally any comment about Louis’ mouth gets him at least two slaps, but Louis just steps out of his grasp and continues his instructions as to what tomorrow’s schedule looks like.

Harry’s man enough to admit that he cries a little, alone in his hotel room, after the first two days.

But he thinks that it’s going to get better. It has to get better. It goes on until there’s two more days until they’re flying home. Harry will be able to corner Louis properly there and apologize and start making it right.

The boys have been giving him half sympathetic and half angry looks the entire time, but the shows go on and Harry thinks, two more days. Just two more days.

They come off stage on the second last night of the tour, and they all look around for Louis automatically, because Louis is always there, ready to jump all over them and hug them and tell them how excellent they were that night and demand piggy back rides even though they’re the ones who just finished sweating their brains out onstage, but tonight he’s just.

Not.

Nobody they talk to knows where he is until they finally manage to corner Paul.

“He’s gone home,” Paul says.

What?” Harry shrieks. His heart is practically beating out of his chest.

Paul folds his arms across his chest. “You know that I know what you said about him,” he says. “And if I didn’t think that you were just too messed up about how you feel about him I would be on that plane right beside him.”

Harry can’t stop his face from crumpling. “I don’t - ” he starts, and has to stop because he doesn’t know how to finish that sentence.

“I know,” Paul says, implacable. “That’s the problem. You need to sit yourself down and figure out exactly what you want from him. And when you figure out what that is you need to start thinking about how exactly you’re going to make him forgive you, because that was incredibly insensitive of you, Styles, and I’m not happy about it.”

“Okay,” Harry says. “Okay. Yes. I can do that.”

 

The thing is, Harry is pretty much already sure of what he wants from Louis. He’s wanted to push him down onto his knees since the day they met, to bite him and bruise him all over and hear him sob out Harry’s name. To roll him underneath Harry’s body on the bed and open him up slow, push in carefully, gently, because he needs taking care of.

It takes him five seconds once he sits down to really think about it to realize that he wants to have those things for the rest of his life, that he wants to be slapped in the dick according to Louis’ made up and ever changing rules for the rest of his life, that he wants to go along with whatever stupid prank Louis comes up along with the boys for as long as the band stays together, that he wants to wake up when he’s seventy next to Louis’ wrinkly face and think I locked that down.

He has to make this right.

 

He leaves Louis messages until the recorded voice tells him that there’s no more space available on the answering machine, even though he’s pretty sure that Louis isn’t going to listen to them.

Then he’s finally able to board a plane to go home, and as soon as they land he hugs the boys and heads straight to Louis’ flat.

Louis doesn’t answer, so naturally Harry picks the lock.

In his defense, he hadn’t known how to pick a lock until Louis spent two hours teaching them all, so Louis really brought it on himself.

Louis isn’t there, though, and his mum says that he’s not with her when Harry calls her, and Harry is pretty sure that he’s not with any of the boys or Stan, so it’s like he’s dropped off the face of the earth.

Harry goes home. He doesn’t sleep well.

 

Nobody hears from Louis for three days, and then Harry gets an envelope in the mail a negotiating a contract break from Louis’ lawyer.

Harry throws up until there’s nothing left in his stomach.

 

He doesn’t make a conscious decision to start drinking, but somehow he’s on his second bottle of wine and all the boys have hung on up him several times. They’re sympathetic to Harry’s lovestruck heart, he’s pretty sure, but it’s also three o’clock in the morning.

And Harry really only knows one other person he trusts to take him in drunk off his ass at three in the morning, so he gets in a cab and ends up at Nick’s place because Nick won’t answer his phone.

Doesn’t Nick know that Harry needs to cry on his shoulder?

He bangs on Nick’s door for what feels like hours. Eventually, it’s wrenched open and Harry stumbles inside, almost falling flat on his face.

“Oh, Christ, not another one,” Nick sighs. He drags Harry all the way inside and closes the door behind him with his foot.

“Nick, he sent me divorce papers,” Harry hiccups. He’s crying again, but it’s okay because it’s Nick. Nick will understand. “He doesn’t wanna marry me anymore.”

“Yes, I know,” Nick grunts, hauling him back into the kitchen.

“But I just - I love him and I don’t wanna get divorced,” Harry says miserably. He stays in the chair that Nick shoves him down into while Nick fills a glass with water.

“Harry, I love you and think the world of you, you know that, but I have to say that I’m with him on this one,” Nick says. He wraps Harry’s hand around the glass and helps him lift it to his mouth.

“I know,” Harry moans. He lets the glass clatter onto the table and drops his head down. “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry. I just - I love him so much. He’s - I haven’t slept with anyone since the beginning of the tour and I’m always thinking about him.”

He looks up to plead his case to Nick’s face, but there’s. There’s Louis leaning against the door frame, arms crossed over his chest and in sweatpants and a vest. “Nick. Nick. Why is my Louis in your house.”

“Your Louis had to be somewhere, didn’t he?” Nick asks. “Finish the water.” Harry takes the glass and finishes it.

“Louis,” he croaks. Louis doesn’t move. “I’m sorry,” he says miserably. “I was stupid, so stupid.”

“You were stupid,” Louis agrees. He pushes off the wall and takes a couple steps towards him. Harry shoves himself out of the chair and stumbles right into him, wrapping his arms around Louis’ back.

“Stupid, stupid,” Harry says. He breathes in the smell of Louis’ shampoo and tilts Louis’ face up. Tries to kiss him.

Louis puts a hand against his mouth. “We’re not doing that anymore,” he says, and his voice is firm. Harry sags against him.

“Miss your mouth,” he says. “Miss your smile. Your eyes. Miss you. Don’t divorce me.”

Louis doesn’t move for what feels like an eternity. Harry pets him and babbles about how sorry he is and please Louis forgive him and he didn’t mean it he was being a right arse and Louis knows he loves him right?

“You should drink another glass of water,” Louis says finally. His voice sounds strange, and when he turns away Harry catches a glimpse of a sheen of wetness on his face, almost like he’d been crying.

He disappears down the hallway and Harry’s left grasping at empty air.

 

He wakes up in the morning mostly remembering what happened. He doesn’t really get the type of blackouts that the media likes to think all celebrities get, mainly because he doesn’t actually drink until he blacks out.

Until he’s drunk and crying in Grimmy’s house, sure, but not until he blacks out.

It doesn’t matter, though, because there’s a note from Nick taped to his forehead saying he’s gone to work and Louis is just gone.

Harry brews some tea and cries some more.

Eventually he drags himself up off Nick’s couch and heads home. He can be miserable more comfortably on his own couch than he can here.

 

The boys come in during the afternoon, banging around and waking Harry up from where he’d been sleeping on the couch. Harry opens his eyes but doesn’t move.

Zayn hugs him and pets him while Niall sets about opening some bottles.

Then they proceed to get Harry wasted.

 

In the morning, Harry throws up three times and nurses his hangover. Liam wanders into his bedroom and watches telly with him.

“Do you want to hear the story of how we met Louis?” Liam asks during a commercial.

Harry tightens his grip on the remote and says, “Yes,” because even if thinking about Louis hurts it doesn’t mean that Harry doesn’t want to hear about him.

“Do you remember how Zayn and I used to sneak away from security and wander around whatever city we were in, looking for things to do that didn’t have anything to do with the band?”

Harry nods. He’d gone with them a couple times, but it was really a thing they did together when the fame got to be too much for them, affected them in a way it never really affected Niall or Harry. Niall’s always too happy about everything for it to really get to him, and Harry’s always been a people person. He loves meeting new people, even if some of them do end up being douchebag papparzzi.

“Well, one time we were in Manchester and we decided that it would be an awesome idea to do the Coronation Street Tour in the dead of the night, so we skipped out on Patty and somehow ended up at this really small dive bar. Zayn still swears that it was a gay bar, but I think that there just happened to be a lot of not straight people there that night,” Liam continues.

“Not straight people,” Harry mocks softly.

“Gay and straight aren’t they only two sexual orientations, Harry,” Liam says firmly, which, obviously Harry knows that, considering that he’s neither. “But anyway, there were a few people who recognized us, so we signed some stuff and took some pictures, but for the most part they just left us alone and we had a few drinks. Then this bloke comes up out of nowhere and starts insulting us right to our faces, talking about us being wannabes and whatnot. We’re past the point of tipsy, but we’re still thinking that it’d probably be a good idea to get out of there. This guy was big and muscle-y and to be honest, neither of us would have been able to take him.”

“Is this 2011 Liam and Zayn or 2012 Liam and Zayn?” Harry asks. He’s having trouble picturing this in his head.

“2012 Liam and Zayn,” Liam says. Harry aahs. “So we’re about to make our escape when this tiny little thing coming hurling out of nowhere and grabs Muscle Dude’s hand right off the table. Muscle Dude tenses up, so much that I’m thinking that this is going to end in blood, when Tiny Dude goes ‘You know that neither one of them is going to get all up on your dick, right?’”

“He did not,” Harry says, laughing.

“He did,” Liam confirms. “So Muscle Dude is all like, ‘Bro, back off, I don’t want either of them on my cock’ like he thinks he’s convincing anyone. Louis did that thing he did to you when the two of you first met, slid right up to him all loose and small and looked up at him from underneath his eyelashes and goes, ‘I’d let you put me on your cock. Bet you would just open me up and force me down onto it until I begged you to let me come.’”

“Christ,” Harry says. He covers his face with his hands and pointedly doesn’t think about whether he’s doing it because of the secondhand embarrassment or because he’s thinking about Louis begging him to let him come.

“Right, and me and Zaynie were there thinking, oh, this is going to end so badly. But Muscle Dude just goes bright red and makes his escape so fast you’d have thought Louis was about to shove him down and ride him right there. Of course, after that Zayn and I had to buy him a couple of drinks for saving our arses without it blowing up all over the news, and he turned out to be a completely chill, funny lad, so we exchanged numbers and started talking.”

“This is starting to sound like it ends up with him on your dick,” Harry groans.

Liam laughs. “So completely not my type, mate. I mean, he’s pretty and tiny and curvy, but not my type. Anyway, we met up a few times after that, whenever we were close enough, and the more we hung out with him the more we realized that he was pretty and vicious and completely, one hundred percent willing to smack talk us right to our faces. He didn’t care about how famous we were or what or who we could hook him up with. He’s never had a problem pulling anyway.”

“But Niall knew him, too,” Harry says. He ignores the slow burn of jealousy in his stomach at the thought of Louis pulling.

“Yeah, we brought him back to the hotel with us one time. I think you were out getting some of your own? I’m not sure. But anyway, he demanded that we go on the tour bus instead of into the hotel, so we went. He found Niall’s Segway and made us call up Niall so Niall would come down and teach him how to ride it. He rode it around a deserted parking lot at four in the morning wearing an over-sized cowboy hat and a scuba mask.
And you know how much Niall loves weirdoes, so, that was friendship at first sight.”

“So you introduced him to everyone but me,” Harry says.

“Well, you were in the prime of your ‘fucking everything that moves’ stage, and we genuinely liked him and didn’t want to have to toss him away because you’d fucked him and were incapable of keeping a platonic relationship with him.”

“Okay,” Harry says.

Liam makes a considering noise. “Also, I’m pretty sure that he would have wrecked you. You know how he does that thing where he just gets people and their personalities? He would have been the best sex of your life and you wouldn’t have been able to let it go.”

“Thought you wanted me to have a relationship,” Harry says.

“Well, yeah, but the two of you would have kept having loud, angry sex every time you were close enough, and that would have been detrimental to your continued well being. Also, Louis isn’t exactly known for his rationality so that would have blown up in both of your faces.”

“Oooh, detrimental to my continued well being,” Harry says. Liam slaps him on the side of the head gently. “But it’s different now.”

“It’s different now,” Liam agrees. “It’s like you fell for him the minute you laid eyes on him.”

“You don’t think that would have happened if we met before?” Harry asks, honestly curious.

Liam thinks for a minute. “I think that you both finished coming into yourselves before you met. It seemed like you were going through the motions of sleeping with everyone you met, like it was just habit instead of you wanting to.”

“And Louis?”

“Louis just grew up a little, I think,” Liam says. “Enough not to be freaked out by getting into a long-term relationship.”

Harry exhales. “I hope so.”

Liam’s quiet for another minute. “Okay, this feels very strange to be saying to you, because you’re one of my best mates, but so is he, and if you hurt him I’ll be forced to punch you in the face quite a lot.”

“I was one of your best mates first,” Harry objects. Liam pats his hand. “What happens if he’s the one that hurts me?”

“Oh, he’ll hurt you all the time,” Liam says easily. “You’re much more emotionally fragile than he is, so if you end up hurting him it’s bound to be something pretty serious.”

“In which case you’ll punch me in the face,” Harry finishes.

Liam nods. “Exactly. To be fair, though, I think that Niall’s going to have this conversation with Louis, so I wouldn’t feel too bad if I were you.”

Harry folds his arms across his chest. He does feel kind of bad.

Liam drags him into a hug, though, tight and warm, and that’s better.

 

Harry drags himself out of the house on day five to the shop to stock up on wallowing food. His cupboards have been bare since he got home with no amazing boy to refill them and pretend like he didn’t do it.

When he gets back Louis is sitting on top of the counter in the kitchen, kicking his feet idly and reading the back of an expired cereal box.

Harry stops dead in his tracks.

“Put the groceries away, Harry,” Louis says. He doesn’t look up from the box.

Harry sets the bags down on the table numbly. He wants to say something, wants to blurt out every single thought he’s had over the past two weeks, wants to make Louis understand.

He doesn’t say anything.

Louis sets the box down and looks at him. He doesn’t say anything for a long, long minute. “The level of disrespect you portrayed with that comment was unbelievably insulting to me and every other person on your crew,” he says, soft and even.

Harry bites his lip and nods. “I thought that you genuinely respected everyone that you work with,” Louis continues. Harry can feel his face breaking, but he doesn’t try to stop it. He deserves this, deserves everything negative that Louis wants to say about him. “And when you talk like that it gives people a different impression of who you are.”

“I know,” Harry says miserably. He sinks down onto a chair.

“I know that you’re messed up about me,” Louis says, voice wavering a little. “And I know that I didn’t make it any easier for you by acting the way I did, but that’s no excuse to treat people who work with you like you did.”

“I know,” Harry repeats. “I’m sorry.”

Louis closes his eyes. “I know you are,” he says. “I know you didn’t mean it.”

Harry waits for him to continue, but he doesn’t add anything else. “I didn’t,” he says. “That interviewer, the guy, he asked me about the lack of people I’ve been sleeping with, and it just clicked that maybe you’re the reason why. I took it out on you and I shouldn’t have. I know that and I know that it was an awful thing to do and that I have no right to ask for you to forgive me.”

Louis exhales, long and shaky, and opens his eyes. “But?” he asks.

“But I want to,” Harry says. “I want to ask you to let me make up for it. I want to ask you to stay with us. I want to ask you if I can kiss you, and I know that it’s selfish but most of me doesn’t care.”

Louis blinks, and then he laughs, rubs a hand over his face. “Shit, sometimes I forget how honest you are,” he says to himself. Harry stays quiet and watches while Louis slides off the counter and comes to stand two feet in front of Harry.

“I needed time,” he says. Harry watches his face. “You weren’t the only one who was a little bit scared, you know.”

“You don’t have to be scared,” says Harry. He tucks his fingers together to stop himself from reaching out and touching Louis.

Louis sucks on his lower lip. “You’ve had sex with more people in your life than anyone I’ve ever met,” he says. “You don’t do committed very well.”

Harry doesn’t wince. He’s had sex with a lot of people, and he’s not ashamed of that, because sex between two legal, consensual partners is never a bad thing, but he knows that’s not what Louis is trying to say. “Never met anyone I felt the need to be committed to before,” he says honestly.

Louis’ face isn’t telling Harry anything useful. “And now?”

“I’ve been committed to this for nearly a year. I can’t see that changing.”

Louis tips his head. “And when an interviewer asks you about it?” There’s something challenging in his tone.

“I’m not going to lie about it,” Harry says. “I’m not going to lie about you.”

“And when people start demanding refunds for their concert tickets and boycotting your shows, shouting that you’re a faggot when you walk down the street?”

Harry can’t stop himself anymore. He takes Louis’ hand in between both of his own and tugs him into the space in between Harry’s thighs. “You aren’t going to be the first guy I’ve dated,” Harry tells him. “I don’t care what they say.”

Louis ducks his head so his hair falls over his eyes. “Fucking a guy and the media finding out about it is different then being in a long term relationship with one,” he says unevenly. Harry laces their fingers together and takes a minute to think about what he wants to say.

“I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy,” he says quietly. He rubs his thumb over the inside of Louis’ wrist. “It’s probably going to suck for a long time and there are going to be tears and fighting and swearing and there’s probably going to be some days when it hurts just to look at you.”

Louis tries to pull his hand out of Harry’s grasp. Harry holds on tighter. “Wow, not even in a relationship yet and you already have so little faith in us,” Louis says. He’s trying to be joking but it falls flat.

“I have faith in us,” Harry says. “I have faith that on the days when it hurts to look at you I’ll know that it would hurt even more not to be able to look at you. I have faith that on the shitty days I’ll come back and you’ll be there, no matter where we are in the world, and even if we fight I’ll know it’s worth it. That you’re worth it.”

Louis rips his hand out of Harry’s grasp and rubs it over his face. “Oh, you fucking bastard,” he mutters.

“That was good, right? I’m thinking of using it in our wedding vows,” Harry says. Louis laughs and collapses into Harry’s body. Harry hugs him close, rubs his back.

“They better have some surprises in them. You definitely won’t be getting laid on your wedding night if it’s just a compilation of things you’ve said to me in the past,” Louis mutters.

Harry presses his cheek against Louis’ hair. “They won’t be,” he promises.

 

 

“Sit down,” Louis says. Harry sits down on his own couch, feeling very much like he’s about to be scolded like he’s a child.

“Louis,” he says. Louis glares at him until he quiets.

“You know that I’m the boss of you, right?” he asks.

Harry laughs and leans forward. “What?”

“I’m the boss of you,” Louis repeats.

Harry just looks at him for a minute, but he seems to be expecting an answer. “You’ve been the boss of me since the first day we met,” he says, a little confused. Louis has been leading him around by the dick since the first day they met, and by the heart not too long after that.

Louis blinks. “So you know that?” he confirms.

“It’s pretty hard to miss, Lou,” Harry says.

Louis makes a face. “Well, you did miss the fact that you were into me for like a year, so.”

Harry holds up a hand. “No, I knew I was into you. I just thought that I wanted to be in you.”

Louis looks at him. “How do you picture the sex?” he asks abruptly.

“It’s going to be so pretty,” Harry sighs, because he can’t stop himself.

Louis waves an impatient hand. “No, I mean, when you think about it, what do you picture yourself doing?”

Harry raises his eyebrows. “You know I could just show you, right?”

“Harold,” Louis says. Harry takes a minute to look at him, to really look at him, and it clicks, suddenly.

“You think that the sex is going to be bad?” he asks incredulously.

Louis flushes a tiny bit. “No!” he protests. “I just - I want to make sure that you don’t have unrealistic expectations of how it’s going to be.”

“Unrealistic expectations?” Harry repeats. “As in?”

Louis grimaces. “Okay, look, most of the guys I’ve been with have expected me to be - different in bed than how I am.”

“Like how?” Harry asks, confused.

“I dunno, usually they think that I’m going to be super subby because I’m so mouthy otherwise or they think that I’m gonna be really bossy,” Louis says.

Harry blinks. “But, like, you like being fucked, right? And you’re gonna like to make me work for it and pretend like I’m not pleasing you until you can’t anymore?” He’s a little worried now, because he’s pretty sure that the sex is going to be good no matter what, but he was so sure.

Louis blinks. “I. Yes. That.”

“Yeah. So what are you worried about?” Harry asks.

Louis runs his hand through his hair. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

Harry rolls his eyes and pushes himself up off the sofa. He drops to his knees in front of Louis and takes Louis’ face in between his hands. “You know I’ve kissed you before, right? You kiss the same way you like to get fucked, you know that? Stubborn and pushy at first and then sweet and languid, once you’ve figured out that I know how you want it.”

“That is not true,” Louis says, but he’s breathless already.

“Yes it is,” Harry says, smiling. “You’re the boss of me but I’m the boss of your sexual satisfaction.”

“You can’t possibly know that,” argues Louis. “We haven’t even.”

Harry leans back. “Well, that’s not my fault, now is it?” he asks. “I would’ve been all up in you five times a day if you’d let me.”

Louis swallows. “We could now,” he says.

Harry loses his balance and falls onto his arse. “Are you serious?” he demands, once he manages to right himself.

Louis is flushing a dull pink. Harry watches it spread across his cheeks, rapt. “Yeah,” is all Louis says.

“You’re acting like you’re a virgin,” Harry says, because his brain to mouth filter has never been that great when it comes to Louis.

“You’re acting like you don’t wanna get laid,” Louis returns evenly. “And I’m not.”

Harry shakes his head. “No, no, I know that, but you’re acting all shifty like you’ve never taken a cock in your arse before.”

“Why are you acting like that doesn’t do it for you?” Louis asks, raising an eyebrow. He shifts his gaze to Harry’s crotch pointedly.

You do it for me,” Harry says. Louis groans and prods at him with his bare toes.

“You’re disgusting,” he says, but his smile is undeniably bright. Harry smiles back and wraps both hands around Louis’ ankle. He tugs a little, to see if Louis will let himself be pulled, and ends up with a lap full of warm, wriggly boy.

Harry kisses the corner of his mouth, bites at it a little, and revels in how easily Louis’ mouth opens up for his tongue. It’s warm inside Louis’ mouth, electric. Harry could spend the entire night just kissing Louis. Has spent entire nights just kissing Louis.

Louis twists one of his nipples, though, too hard for it to be playful, and Harry jerks back with a yelp.

“We’re gonna have to move this to a bed if we don’t want to end up with rug burn,” Louis says. Harry smoothes his hands down Louis’ sides and settles on his waist.

“You’d look so pretty with rug burn,” Harry says. Louis slaps him on the chest and pushes himself to his feet.

“You think I look pretty all the time,” he calls over his shoulder, already on his way to the bedroom. Harry watches him disappear and has to take a second to calm his breathing before he can get up.

He makes his way into the bedroom and stops short just inside the door.

Louis has already stripped all the way down and is lounging on Harry’s bed completely naked, one knee crooked up a little and a hand around his cock.

Harry swallows against the sudden rush of saliva in his mouth. “Now this is what I want to come home to every day,” he says, only joking a little. Louis strokes his cock a little. Harry watches, unable to tear his eyes away.

“Well, I’m not making any promises until I fill out the evaluation,” Louis says. Harry drags his eyes up Louis’ body, slowly, drinking in his fill of Louis’ skin, of Louis’ tattoos. He stays there until Louis makes an impatient noise and props himself up on one elbow.

“You just gonna stand there watching all night?” he demands. Harry spares a millisecond to think about it, because, yes, that is definitely something he wants to do, but not tonight.

He crosses the room, and it feels like it takes a lifetime and passes in the blink of an eye all at the same time.

Either way, he’s perched beside Louis on the mattress and curling one hand around Louis’ wrist, the one attached to his cock, before he even knows it. They both watch Harry’s hand, the way his fingers wrap all the way around Louis’ wrist without straining.

“Come kiss me a little, yeah?” Louis’ voice breaks the silence, and their eyes meet somewhere in the middle of their bodies.

“Yeah,” Harry exhales. He swings up onto the bed properly, settling onto his side beside Louis. He tucks his hand behind Louis’ neck and leans down.

There’s a split second of staring as Harry shifts to get a better angle, and with anyone else it would be awkward, but it’s Louis.

Harry is certain that they fit together in a way that no one else can.

Their mouths meet easily, and Harry immediately sucks Louis’ lower lip into his mouth. He bites a little, feels the soft flesh shift under his teeth. Louis’ nails dig into his back, and he makes a small whimpering sound that affects Harry’s dick in the best possible way.

Harry lets go of Louis’ lip and dips his tongue into Louis’ mouth instead, coaxes Louis’ tongue into playing. Their mouths move against each other’s slickly, and when Harry pulls away to gasp in a breath, he’s somehow ended up on top of Louis.

“You’re gonna mark up my back,” Harry says. Louis blinks up at him. He’s already sweating a little, at his temples and in the base of his throat.

“You’re gonna mark me up all over,” Louis says. “I’ve seen your cock, you know. I’m not gonna be walking straight for days. You can take a few scratches on your back.”

Harry groans and kisses him again, just for a second, just because Louis’ mouth was made for it, before sucking bites down his throat. He settles into Louis’ pulse point for a minute, worrying the skin enough to leave what he’s pretty sure is going to be a vicious bruise.

Louis’ fingers flex against his back, like he can’t decide whether to let Harry keep doing it or pull him off.

Harry moves on before Louis can decide either way and gets fascinated by a nipple, scrapes his fingernail over it.

Louis makes a noise and his legs fall open even further. Harry does it again and glances up to Louis’ face, watches how his eyes close and how he’s biting down on his already swollen lip.

“You like it?” he murmurs. Louis nods jerkily, so Harry does it one more time before putting his mouth on it. Louis’ hands fly into Harry’s hair, gripping tight, as Harry puts a bit of pressure on the tight little pucker. He can feel Louis’ cock digging into his belly, hot even through his shirt, and it seems like maybe it wants some attention, so Harry puts a hand down and rubs at it a little.

Louis whimpers more. Harry catches the head of it in his palm and squeezes a little, scrapes his teeth of Louis’ nipple at the same time. He’s rewarded with a blurt of pre-come against his wrist and Louis’ nails dragging down his back.

Harry thinks vaguely that it probably would have drawn blood if he hadn’t been wearing a shirt.

Louis’ fingers scrabble down Harry’s back, and for a second Harry thinks Louis is going for his bum - not that Harry is opposed, it’s just not where he thought this was heading - but then there’s tugging at his shirt.

“Get it off, get it off,” Louis says. Harry gives Louis’ nipple one last biting kiss and pushes himself up enough to pull his shirt over his head. He shucks his sweatpants while he’s at it, just to save time.

They both let out a little hiss of breath when Harry settles back in the spread of Louis’ thighs, a little higher this time. Harry pushes his hips right up against Louis’ and reaches down to take them both in his hand.

Louis’ head tips back on the pillow, and his eyes flutter closed slowly. Harry strokes them slowly, watches Louis’ lips part. Louis’ hands slip down Harry’s arms, stroke over Harry’s tattoos, fingers pressing against the bones in Harry’s wrist briefly before one hand settles over Harry’s.

He doesn’t move to help, just lets his hand be guided by Harry’s rhythm, fingers slipping into the space between Harry’s. Harry looks at the contrast of their hands, the difference in their skin tones, the size of their hands, the flex of their muscles.

It’s easy, this, and distracting, until Louis blinks his eyes open and says, “We’re never going to get to the main event if you keep doing that.” His voice is a soft, slow slur, and Harry twists his wrist absently, to see if Louis will say something else in that tone.

He doesn’t, though, just stares up at Harry with wide, blue eyes, lips parted. Harry kisses him, takes his hand off of their cocks to frame Louis’ jaw with his fingertips.

“That’s dirty, touching my face with the hand you just had on your dick,” Louis murmurs. Harry presses their mouths together again, just for a second.

“Gonna get a lot dirtier,” he says. Louis’ lips quirk up into a tiny little smile. Harry smiles back, helpless to resist it, and rolls to the other side of the bed so he can dig through a drawer.

He finds what he’s looking for easily and rolls back, tugging Louis’ left leg up over Harry’s hip. He presses his fingers into the smooth skin at the back of Louis’ knee and holds his leg there.

Hesitates.

“You can put one in,” Louis says. He brushes his hair off of his forehead and takes the bottle of lube out of Harry’s hand, snicks it open. “Thought you said you know how I’d want it.”

Harry lets him take his hand and slick the lube down his fingers. “I want to remember,” he says, quiet. Louis doesn’t look up from his task.

“You will,” is all he says, and lets go of Harry’s hand.

Harry drifts his hand back down to Louis’ bum and slips his fingers in between his cheeks. He rubs his fingers over Louis’ hole gently, feels the muscles tense up underneath him, and slips a finger in.

Louis wets his lips, little pink tongue darting out, face going slack. Harry moves the finger inside him, testing the give of his muscles, and slips a second finger in beside the first one.

It’s too soon and Harry knows it, didn’t even give Louis a chance to adjust to the first one, but somehow Harry just knows that it’s how Louis likes it, that he likes to feel it.

Louis gasps out a sound and his hands fly up to rub at Harry’s stomach. Harry wiggles his fingers, spreads them out, and watches Louis’ face. He adds a third finger.

“Ah,” Louis gasps, fingernails scritching across Harry’s belly. Harry slows.

“Too much?” he asks. Louis shakes his head. Harry scissors his fingers and savors the warmth clinging to them, how hot it is inside of Louis’ body where Harry’s cock is going to be soon.

One of Louis’ hands slips away. Harry glances down when he feels the warmth leave his stomach, follows the movement of Louis’ fingers where they’re fumbling around until he finds the rubber.

He takes his other hand away to rip it open, and Harry’s fingers come to a halt.

“Keep going,” Louis says. “No one told you that you could stop.” Harry moves his fingers absently, just enough to keep Louis from bitching, but most of his attention is focused on Louis pulling the rubber out of the wrapper.

Louis reaches down, takes Harry’s cock in his hand, and rolls it down quickly and efficiently. “That’s nice,” Harry says. Louis opens the lube again and slicks some down the length of Harry’s cock, fingers wrapped around it firmly.

Harry exhales hard. The grip of Louis’ hand is perfect, tight and warm. “You can put it in now,” Louis says, pulling his hand away. Harry bites him on the underside of his jaw, because he can and because it’s there and because it’ll look so pretty. “I’m beginning to think that you were all talk about knowing how I want it,” Louis says, gasping.

Harry bites him again, wraps his fingers around Louis’ cock and gives it a nice little tug. “Feels like you like it to me,” he murmurs. He uses his free hand to hitch Louis’ thigh back up around his hip, lets go of Louis’ cock to guide his own in.

Louis’ head tips back. He whimpers again, low in his throat, and it sounds breathless. Harry fits their mouths together, and he means to make it a proper kiss, but Louis is so warm and tight inside and he feels incredible, so they just pant into each other’s mouths, teeth clacking the tiniest bit.

Harry pushes inside slow, stops when he’s all the way there. Manages to open his eyes enough to look at Louis’ face, a little blurry because they’re so close together. Louis swallows, fumbles a hand down and clasps their fingers together. “Might like it a little,” he says.

Harry smiles against Louis’ cheek and pushes in a tiny bit more, pulls out to get a rhythm going, not fast but steady and sure.

He fucks Louis like that for a few minutes, sweet and tender and enough to have Louis smiling into his mouth, fingers in Harry’s hair, mouth moving against Harry’s. It’s a slow, hot drag of Harry’s cock inside Louis’ arse, and it feels amazing, the best thing Harry’s ever felt in his life.

Harry knows that it’s good for Louis, too, can tell by the expression on Louis’ face, but this was just the warm up, just to let Louis get used to it.

But Louis is used to it now, has to be, so Harry puts a hand on his knee, spreads him out a little bit more, adjusts the angle, and makes sure to nail Louis’ prostate on every other thrust.

Louis keens, fingers scrabbling across Harry’s back. Harry’s going to come, knows he is, and would be a little disappointed in his stamina if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s inside Louis, making Louis gasp and bite out little sounds that aren’t actually words.

“Lou,” Harry says, and puts his hand on Louis’ dick. Louis’ fingers dig into Harry’s back harder, definitely going to leave bruises, and Harry kisses him again just as Louis starts coming.

His muscles tighten on Harry’s cock, and Harry groans, snaps his hips forward a few more times, and comes.

They breathe together for a minute, after, Louis’ hands slipping through the sweat on Harry’s back as he rubs absently. Harry pulls out slowly and rolls to the side, knots the condom after he’s pulled it off and tosses it in the direction of the bin.

Louis barely waits until he’s settled on his back before curling up against his side, slinging a leg over Harry’s and tucking his face into Harry’s neck, despite the fact that he still has his own come all over him and it’s smearing into Harry’s skin.

Harry taps his fingers against Louis’ arm idly. “D’you think you could come without touching yourself?” he asks. Louis grunts and elbows him.

“I’m trying to sleep,” he complains.

“That’s not a no,” Harry points out.

“Ain’t a yes either,” Louis mumbles. Harry wraps his fingers around Louis’ wrist and smiles at the ceiling.

He has time to figure it out.