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They decide to call her Winnie around the time that Harry starts waddling like a penguin.

It’s like one day Harry’s got just his tiny pouch – a soft, round little bump that he shows off so proudly to anyone that’ll listen – and then the next day he wakes up and he’s big. No more of his little kangaroo pouch, as he liked to refer to it, but bulging out properly so that even a blind man could tell that yeah, Harry is pregnant as hell. Giant, almost, because apparently little Winnie had decided that she’d wanted her presence known already, jeez.

Like a true Tomlinson, always eager for a bit of attention.

Harry embraces it wholeheartedly. He becomes Big Penguin, waddling here and there with his hands on his hips and a wide grin on his face, and his little pouch becomes Baby Penguin – Winnie, for short. What had started out as a silly pet name, Harry earnestly latches onto and genuinely swears that the little Tomlinson inside him loves it just as much as he does. Like father, like daughter, as the saying goes.

He says they have this sort of telepathy thing going, so he knows that she approves of the nickname. They’re, like, connected at the soul and shit, quite literally. Louis thinks it’s quite cute.

Anyways, that’s how little Winnie Tomlinson comes to be.

▪▪▪

Louis finds out on a Friday in April.

He’s home early, because it’s Friday and it’s spring and his mum likes closing early these days to give everyone at the office a head start on the weekend. Sometimes he forgets how amazing it is to work for his mother until Fridays come around and he’s home by two in the afternoon, free from sick children and chatty receptionists.

“Haz!” he calls out when he steps through the front door, dropping his keys into the ceramic bowl and toeing off his shoes. “I got lunch on my way home. How do you feel about Greek? Zayn says this place makes the best—” He stops when he realizes that he still hasn’t gotten a reply back from his husband. “Harry?” he says a bit louder, walking into the living room and setting the bag of takeout on the coffee table. “Baby, you home?”

Harry’s usually home around the time, even on the odd chance that he has to stay behind a little because one of his preschooler’s parents is running late. When another minute passes and he still does hear anything, Louis starts to get worried. He’d seen Harry’s car in the driveway, so he knows that Harry’s home.

Unless he ran out real quick – Louis doesn’t know what Harry would run out real quick for, and that’s what confuses him. They went grocery shopping just yesterday and they’re not expecting any guests, so that’s out of the question. On a normal day, Louis’ barely got a foot in the door before Harry’s jumping at him. He was kinda looking forward to the dramatic leaping into each other’s arms and snogging senseless by the front door, too.

At least when he pouts to himself no one’s there to call him out on it.

“Harry?” he calls out, searching through the kitchen and the dining room to no avail. “Babe?”

Just as he’s about to take out his phone and give his husband a ring, he hears a loud, “Upstairs!” Louis turns to the staircase, a quiet sigh of relief escaping his lips upon finally hearing Harry’s voice.

“Bedroom,” a monotonous Harry informs him, voice like an echo in the empty house.

Confused, Louis makes his way up the stairs, past the bathroom and the guest room, all the way to the far end of the hall where their bedroom is. It’s not very common for Harry to speak in one-worded answers, especially on a Friday afternoon when he’s typically bubbling with excitement. Louis tries to keep himself from imagining the worst possible scenario.

“Babe?”

There’s no one in their room or on the bed and Louis thinks that Harry’s seriously fucking with him for a second before a very clearly not-Harry voice sighs, “Over here, pet.”

Louis follows the voice where it leads him to the side of the bed. He finds Harry in the arms of his mother. His hair is ruffled, knees pulled up to his chest, and Louis’ mum, Jay, has him coddled up underneath her chin. He’s way too big for that and it almost looks ridiculous, but Louis’ been caught in that same position too many times to not notice the telltale signs of a breakdown.

“Hey, hey,” he coos softly, crouching down to become eye level with them. “What’s going on here? Why the long faces?” He reaches out to touch Harry’s hand, but his husband’s got them tight against his stomach, hidden behind his knees. He wraps them lightly around Harry’s ankles instead. “You alright, love?”

“Hazza, baby,” Jay speaks quietly into Harry’s hair. Louis notices from the corner of his eye how she rubs his sides, the way he normally would if he had Harry in his arms. “You need a minute?”

Harry shakes his head, but he still doesn’t look either of them in the eye. Louis turns to his mother, raising an eyebrow.

“When did you leave the office?”

“Left a little earlier,” she explains. “Harry picked me up. He has some news he wants to share.” She brushes her palm up Harry’s arm, gives him a reassuring squeeze. “Don’t you, H? You ready to tell Lou?”

Louis doesn’t know what to expect, but he’s terrified nonetheless. There’s only so much tomfoolery Harry could really get into, knowing him, and it at least settles his nerves a bit that he’d gone to Jay, who doesn’t seem stricken by grief or horror or anything bad, based on what Louis can read from her face. In fact, she looks like she’s trying her best to bite back a smile and failing rather miserably at doing so.

Still not looking up, Harry pulls his right hand away from behind his knees, palm up, and Louis gets a little light headed immediately.

“We’re pregnant,” Harry says as he shows Louis the pregnancy test, a bright blue positive sign screaming in Louis’ face. “Like. Really, really pregnant, Lou.”

And then he shows Louis his other hand, where five or six or seven other pregnancy tests are clenched in his whitened fist, every single one of them a positive. When Louis catches his eye, Harry’s face is blank and hesitant, like he’s afraid he’s going to be yelled at or something. It makes Louis want to cry.

“Can we have a minute alone, mum?”

“Of course,” she answers easily, pressing a kiss to Harry’s forehead, where he’s still curled up under the safety of her arms. She whispers something in his ear that Louis can’t quite hear, but when she goes to stand up Harry whimpers so softly that Louis would miss it if he weren’t hyper-aware of Harry as it is. “I’ll be in the kitchen,” she tells Louis, squeezing his hand quietly before leaving the room.

“Wanna tell me what that was about?” Louis asks the second he hears the door close, scooting over to sit beside his husband. He doesn’t think Harry is ready to be touched quite yet, so he just sits, letting Harry control where they go next. It feels like there’s a fucking conga line in his belly, fireworks all up and down his veins, but for Harry’s sake he stays calm and neutral as best as he can, wondering if Harry can feel the joy radiating off of him.

There’s beat of silence and then Harry is setting the tests on the floor, stretching his legs out and dropping his head on Louis’ shoulder. He doesn’t nuzzle into him, just rests his head on Louis’ shoulder like he’s trying to get used to the crushing weight of the world on his shoulders. He closes his eyes and sighs.

“It’s been so long that I keep thinking this is a dream,” Harry whispers like a secret. “Feel like I’m gonna wake up and everything will be gone again. I’m so tired, Lou.”

Louis thinks he actually feels his heart crumbling in his chest. Fuck, his instincts scream, and he wraps his arms around Harry’s sluggish body, tightening his arms until Harry gets the hint and crawls onto his lap. As if on cue, Harry shrinks once in Louis’ hold, small and terrified and cold where Louis holds one of his hands in his own.

“Did you see a doctor yet?” he asks quietly, because this has gone unexpectedly wrong too many times for him not to take precautionary steps now. Louis’ seen enough false positives in the last two years to last him a lifetime.

Harry nods against his chest. “Jay and I just came back from there, but I – I didn’t. I needed more, I think.”

“So you drank ten liters of water and bought half the nation’s pregnancy tests?”

“Something like that,” Harry mumbles.

So it’s, like. It’s official, then.

Louis exhales a shaky breath and tries to control himself once more. “What did the doctor say?”

“Six weeks in.”

“That’s…”

“Early, yeah,” Harry finishes for him. He picks at his nails nervously and Louis can feel it against his belly. “I don’t know when it’s supposed to start feeling real.”

“You wanna try another test?” Louis tries to joke in an attempt to lighten the mood. Harry only shrinks in on himself even more, almost as if he’s aiming at disappearing in Louis’ arms.

“Why is this time supposed to be any different from the rest?” Harry asks in a voice weaker than Louis’ ever heard. “What if I go back to the doctor in two weeks and he tells me that he just read the tests wrong? What are we supposed to do then?”

“Then we kick his ass,” Louis answers defiantly. “And then we try again, and again, and we keep trying until we’ve got a baby, Haz. Even though, you know, I’ve got a good feeling about this time.”

Harry lets out a shaky, long breath and pokes his head up just the smallest bit to look Louis in the eyes. “Yeah?” he chokes out quietly, eyes reading desperately for some encouragement, hope, something to keep him going.

Louis slips a hand underneath Harry’s shirt and palms at his warm tummy. His heart flutters in his chest because there’s a baby in there now – their baby. Finally. “Of course,” he nods, hoping that his eyes convey his honestly well enough. “One hundred percent, yeah.”

Harry slides his hand over Louis’ on his tummy and looks down at their hands, wedding rings side by side, thick like a promise of forever on their fingers. “We’re having a baby,” he exhales in awe.

“We’re having a baby,” Louis hums back, grinning wildly.

They go back to the doctor two weeks later. Harry is eight weeks pregnant. They’re having a baby.

 ▪▪▪

It all starts during halftime of the Merseyside derby.

The second the referee blows his whistle, Harry plops down on Louis’ lap, pink cheeked and pupils blown. “Who’s winning?” he asks nonchalantly, as if he isn’t facing the television and grinding down on Louis’ crotch.

“Harry—” Louis chokes out, but his husband is persistent and cuts him off.

“Been waiting all fucking day for your cock, Lou. Gonna ride you ‘til the second half starts, okay?”

He asks it like a question, but doesn’t bother waiting for a response before he’s standing up and pulling Louis’ ankles so that he’s flat on his back on their couch. He shimmies out of his trousers, throws his pants across the room, and pops Louis’ jeans open with one hand as he grabs off the floor the bottle of lube he’d brought with the other.

“I’ve got, like, 15 minutes, yeah?” Harry asks as he wraps a hand around Louis’ cock, not yet hard, but getting there at an embarrassingly rapid rate.

“Just about—” Louis pants out, hips snapping up when Harry runs his thumb at his slit. Fuck, Harry is so bloody good with his hands.

Harry hums to himself and nods, “Alright. I can work with that.”

Louis wants to tell him to please, for the love of God, forget the second bloody half of the match – he doesn’t even give a fuck about the Merseyside derby. It pales in comparison to literally everything else in the world, especially Harry wrapped around his cock. Harry should ride him for as long as he wants; Louis will never protest to that.

Harry watches Louis pensively, still standing by the side of the couch. He keeps a tight fist around Louis’ cock and speeds up his wrist. It’s almost like he’s doing the math in his head, trying to figure out precisely how long he can have Louis’ cock inside him for, down to the exact second. And he’s always been rather good at maths, actually, so Louis is nothing short of amused.

“Did you—” Louis shivers under his husband’s touch, eyes rolling to the back of his head. “Did you get yourself ready yet?” he asks breathlessly, wondering if it’s obvious in his voice how badly he’d like to help with that; finger Harry straight through halftime and into the second half, keep his fingers tucked inside him until he comes from that alone. He’d really like that.

He feels himself twitch in Harry’s fist and Harry must decide that’s enough, apparently, because he lets go of Louis’ cock and pulls his joggers down to his ankles. “What do you think I spent the entire first half doing? Braiding my hair?” He huffs sardonically, climbing onto Louis’ lap and turning around at the last second so that Louis’ staring through half-lidded eyes at his back. “Don’t move your hips, okay? Wanna do all the work here. Let me ride you, baby.”

Louis doesn’t know how he manages to not come from that alone, but he’s shook into focus when Harry throws the half empty bottle of lube over his shoulder and tells Louis to slick himself up – and hurry, because they’re already getting to the beer commercials and 15 minutes isn’t very long, Louis. He coats himself generously, hissing at the coldness, and tosses the bottle onto the floor. With a few generous tugs and a squeeze to the base, Louis decides that it’s now or never and slaps his cock against Harry’s cheek, signaling that he’s ready.

Harry could do this in his sleep, Louis thinks to himself as his husband rises to his knees and twists his arm behind his back to grab Louis’ cock and guide it to his entrance. He’s never been too graceful a lad, but you’d never even dare think that if you watched him ride cock. It’s like an art, with Harry, something that he devotes himself to entirely; perfected it solely through sheer will and determination. Riding Louis is not a matter that Harry takes lightly, Louis’ learned over the years.

He only gets a short moment to glance at Harry’s rim and that’s all he needs to notice how wet and pink Harry is, clearly having fingered himself more than well enough. Though, as he nudges Louis’ cock inside, it feels like the complete opposite. Louis feels like his air supply is being cut off as the head of his cock pushes through Harry’s ring of muscle at a dangerously slow rate, dragging out the overwhelming sensation.

Maybe it’s the view of his cock sliding in between Harry’s cheeks and feeding into him, or maybe it’s Harry’s relentless grip around him and how bloody determined he is to get Louis inside him and fuck down onto him in the short amount of time that he’s got – whatever it is, Louis is out of breath almost immediately and grabbing onto Harry’s hips, nails digging in like little crescent moons into his pink, flushed skin.

Fuck, Harry, you’re so tight,” Louis chokes out, but Harry’s still taking him in at a painfully slow rate, back arched and breathy moans escaping his lips like a melody.

Fifteen minutes really isn’t very fucking long at all.

“Only used two fingers,” Harry says between pants as he takes Louis in. And takes, and takes. “Didn’t wanna come. Had to take breaks.”

Louis digs his fingers even deeper – he feels like he’s on fire, but there’s no release – and Harry takes him in entirely, nestling onto his cock and twisting his hips to adjust to the nearly painful stretch. He lets out a long, overwhelmed exhale. How Harry managed to prep himself for 45 minutes and still be so tight and hot and all-encompassing is beyond Louis. It’s just one of those things about Harry that he’s realized he’ll never understand.

“Should have let me help you out,” Louis offers in a shaky breath, waiting for his husband to move. “Would’ve loved to have you wrapped around me for so long, love.”

Harry whimpers low in his throat at that. Louis can feel him dig his nails into his thighs, gripping at them as he begins to bounce lightly, barely anything, almost like he’s terrified of Louis’ cock slipping out of him. Like that’s precisely what he’s trying to avoid.

Louis can see him shake his head, finally responding. “Didn’t wanna interrupt your match.”

Good God in heaven, Harry needs to not be so earnest when he’s got Louis’ cock inside him.

Louis wants to tell Harry as much, but Harry is clearly not very interested in talking right now. Instead, he begins twisting his hips in figure eights as he bounces higher, pulling himself off and sinking down in triumph. He arches his back sinfully, to the point where Louis knows he’ll be complaining in the morning, begging for a massage before he gets out of bed, but he holds himself like he wants Louis to get the best view possible.

He wants Louis to watch as he takes his cock in with every bounce, wants him to keep his eyes on his rim as he clenches around his cock like a steady pulse. He wants Louis to memorize the way his arse looks being stretched out for him, the thin sheen of sweat across his back and the dimples at the bottom of his spine. He’s always aiming to please, Harry, but especially when he knows Louis’ got the best view possible.

And it works every time, is the thing. It’s a full-proof tactic, because with Harry wrapped around him, all Louis can think about is how he’ll never be able to look at his cock and not immediately imagine it stretching Harry out, fucking into him and being taken in entirely, hungrily.

He can’t get his mind off Harry’s beautiful body and his pert bum, how much he’d like to spread him out and kiss all along his soft thighs. His mouth waters at the thought of Harry’s legs; mouthing at his smooth inner thighs where he’s always so warm and sweet underneath Louis’ tongue. He closes his eyes and thinks about leaving marks all over those lovely thighs, making his way up to nuzzle and mouth at Harry’s balls before taking in his cock and opening his throat eagerly, letting Harry fuck into him and then coming off with a pop. His chest aches with how badly he wants to kiss his husband’s tattoos – the laurels at his hips, his butterfly, their birds – and nibble at his nipples, suck at them until they’re red and bruised all over, aching with even the lightest touch. He’s short of breath thinking about his mouth making its way across the jut of Harry’s collarbones, up the sharp edge of his jaw, leaving purpled bruises on his skin, lips finally finding their way home against Harry’s pillowy lips.

 God, he wants to kiss Harry so bad.

Louis holds onto Harry’s hips, hard enough to bruise, to keep from fucking into him. Harry begs for harder, please.

When Sky begins airing replays of the first half, Harry gets restless, knowing that he’s short on time. As the commentators go on about Liverpool’s defense, Harry quickens his pace and tightens around Louis like sin, arse jiggling with every relentless bounce. He pants out Louis’ name and Louis knows that Harry’s thighs burn painfully. He knows that his cock’s hitting the right spot – because Harry rides cock like a professional, knows how to get himself off without any help at all – and he knows that Harry’s close, is well aware that he’s even closer.

“C’mon,” Harry begs through gritted teeth. “Wanna feel you come, Lou, please.”

The sound of skin slapping against skin echoes in the room, almost as loud as the television, but neither of them nearly as loud as Harry, who moans Louis name like a prayer and screams that he’s close, so fucking close, just wants to feel Louis come inside him; that’s all he needs.

Louis slides his left hand to grab ahold of Harry’s cock and tightens his fist around him, pulling and tugging and twisting him closer to release. With Louis’ palm around his aching cock, Harry fucks down onto him erratically and loses all his technique, nothing left but desperate whimpers and white hot heat around Louis’ cock.

Louis comes, he knows that. He thinks maybe it’s the whistle signaling the beginning of the second half that does it, but he’s pretty sure it’s mostly just Harry coming in his hand, his blunt nails digging into Louis’ thighs and still taking him in like his orgasm isn’t complete if Louis’ not right there with him as well.

He comes, he knows that, but he doesn’t know when it starts or when it ends, just watches with half-lidded eyes as his cock fills Harry up and thinks, in the back of his hazed out, mid-orgasm mind, that it’s the most beautiful sight in the world.

▪▪▪

Louis should have seen it coming.

Harry’s always loved being naked. Anyone who’s ever known him, ever spent even just five minutes with him, knows that much.

When they first met, Harry was stark naked and running around the Styles’ backyard with nothing but a ragged dish towel wrapped around his head. Granted, Harry was four years old then, but Louis thinks that he probably shouldn’t have expected anything to change, not from someone who spent three-fourths of his childhood unabashedly naked. Of course, it would help if Louis didn’t still find it as amusing now as he did when he was six.

So when the second trimester comes around and Harry starts to thoroughly show, Louis knows that he should have seen it coming: Harry decides he’s not interested in wearing clothes around the house anymore.

In his defense, it’s mid-July and uncharacteristically hot for the suburbs of London, but one day it rains from sunrise to sunset, dropping the temperature to mid-October weather, and Harry still doesn’t put on any clothes. Louis realizes that it’s not really a July thing or a summer thing in general. It’s just a Pregnant Harry thing.

Sometimes he wears his pants, when he feels like being ‘decent’, but usually he just waddles about the house, belly out and munching carelessly on his snacks. Louis has to start keeping the shades pulled shut at all times of the day, worrying for his neighbors. Just because he loves the view, doesn’t mean that the Neighborhood Watch will. Jade and Niall are quite the pests as it is.

Harry doesn’t really care, though. The preschool’s closed during the summer and he’s always loved being naked, anyways. Now that he’s pregnant, it just means that he’s ten times more comfortable in his skin, completely forgetting what purpose clothes are meant to hold.

Louis tries getting him a pair of yoga pants one day, something to make his naked yoga sessions in the living room a little more comfortable. Harry’s amused with them for about a week, but even that’s only because every time he wears them Louis gets weak in the knees and fucks him senseless, the sight of his husband’s pert bum stretching out the thin black material his own personal kryptonite. Harry wears them for a while, decides he’s not crazy about being so constrained, and saves them for when they’ve got guests, much to Louis’ horror.

Harry feels hot, now, more than he ever has. His skin is the best it’s ever been, he’s soft and firm all over, his bum is huge, and his nipples are always hard. Louis looks at him like it’s physically taking every ounce of self-control he has to not fuck him on any and every available surface around, whether they’re at home during dinner or at the maternity store looking at breast pumps. Harry’d never really known that body worship was, like, a real, all-encompassing thing until he took note of the way Louis looks at him now that he’s pregnant.

It’s another reason why he loves being naked so much. It riles Louis up like mad.

So Harry sits on his bare bum on the couch and paints his nails, reruns of Anne’s favorite episodes of Oprah on a DVD she’d made for him and using his bulging belly to hold his hand up, trying not to lose his cool every time Winnie kicks against his palm. When he wants to nap he cuddles square in the middle of their bed and on top of the covers, one palm on his belly and the other underneath his head. When he comes out of his baths, skin pink and warm, a little damp and a lot bare, he doesn’t bother with a towel – as if even that around his waist is too much – and beckons Louis over to rub lotion all over his glowing skin, blissed out and doted on.

Harry feels so loose and pliant and free now. He gets like that a lot in the summer, but this year it’s different. This summer he’s almost four months pregnant, skin glowing and hips soft. He’s carrying the most important person in the world inside him, is with her every minute of the day. It feels like everything he’s waited for for the last 25 years is finally here and the weight of the world has finally been lifted off his shoulders.

He feels good and happy and more confident than he has in years, so clothes are out of the picture indefinitely, and Louis lets him.

▪▪▪

Sometimes being pregnant hurts, but Harry will never admit that.

It’s late October and Harry is seven months pregnant. His ankles are swollen and his heartburn is out of control and it feels like luck’s just really not on his side lately. God is punishing him for something, he just doesn’t know what.

The preschool’s Halloween party is a few days away and Harry genuinely has no clue why he agreed to plan it out all those weeks ago. Maybe he was just trying to prove to himself and everyone around him that he could handle a tiny little Halloween party, that being pregnant wasn’t going to stop him from doing everything he typically would. He’s so bloody proud like that sometimes.

Obviously, though, he was well over his head all those weeks ago because he wakes up the Wednesday before the Halloween party feeling miserable. It feels like his skin is on fire, damp and sweaty and gross, and it doesn’t get any better when he steps out of the shower or when he munches through his breakfast. His heartburn is seriously acting up and as much as he wants to spend the rest of the day in bed stuffing his face with pickles lathered in peanut butter, his stomach begs him to not even bring up the thought of food.

“You alright, love?” Louis asks later, when he’s dropping Harry off at the preschool. He stops the car by the back entrance of the school and leans over the console, gently brushing Harry’s fringe from his eyes. “You look a little tired, darling, are you sure you don’t wanna stay home today? Could use a day off, couldn’t you?”

Harry shakes his head, going a little red from the attention. He doesn’t like it when it’s obvious that he’s not well, but especially when Louis picks up on it (he always picks up on it), being the worrywart that he is.

“No, I’m okay,” he sighs, trying to steel his voice, but hearing himself how weak it sounds. “I’ll be okay.”

“Are you sure?” Louis pushes again, brows furrowed in worry because he knows Harry’s putting up a strong front. “I can call out today if you want,” he offers. “We can stay in bed and get some more sleep if you’d like, darling. I don’t mind.”

Louis, I’m okay, I’m promise.” Harry tries to sound as reassuring as he can, yet again. He wraps a hand around his husband’s wrist, kisses the back of it. “It’s only six hours with a couple of four year olds. I think I can handle them, I swear. I’ve done it before, you know, once or twice.”

Even with Harry’s little joke, Louis makes a displeased noise in the back of his throat, arguing internally about what his next step should be. He is running a little late, not that that even matters where Harry is involved, but Harry doesn’t look like he’s going to give up any time soon – or ever, for that matter – so he sighs and decides to let it go.

“Is Matty dropping you off today?”

“Yes, Louis.”

“Okay,” he sighs once more, deeply and regretfully. “Alright. Fine. But call me the second you’re not feeling your best, okay? Don’t think I won’t check up on you during nap time.” He unbuckles his seatbelt, stretching out even more to hold Harry’s tummy in his palms and press a long kiss over his sweater. “Go easy on daddy today, alright Winnie? We needa take care of him, too.” He kisses Harry’s belly again and rubs a soothing hand over him. “I’ll see you later, princess. Be good, baby.”

Harry watches Louis whisper a few more words to Winnie, knowing how much he hates being away from her for even a minute. He scratches lightly at Louis’ scalp, aware of the time, and Louis brings his head up. He’s still frowning petulantly.

“I’ll call you later,” Louis pouts, lips pursed in request for a kiss. Harry obliges happily, bringing Louis in by the back of his head and kissing him soundly, something to keep him going for the next few hours.

“I’ll be fine, Lou,” he repeats against Louis’ mouth, like if he says it enough he’ll actually start believing it and it’ll actually come true.

“I don’t believe you, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take care of you afterward.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “I look forward to being taken care of, then.”

“You should.” Louis pecks him once more. “M’quite good at taking care of my baby.” He pecks him again and again, until Harry is giggling and pulling away.

He unlocks the door and steps out with a heavy sigh, ducking his head inside for one last kiss and a goodbye. “We’ll be fine,” he promises a disbelieving Louis, who drives off with a pout still on his lips.

Needless to say, Louis was right and Harry was wrong and the earth is still round.

By the time Matty, the teacher who’ll be taking over Harry’s class once he goes on leave, drops him off at their house later that day, Harry’s back feels like it’s been hit with a bulldozer and his ankles are swollen twice their normal size. He’s had a headache all day thanks to the 20 children screaming and yelling his name, and there’s a painful amount of tension in his shoulders so bad that it makes him want to cry.

Well, he wants to cry as it is, because Winnie’s been kicking all day and he’s exhausted beyond belief, but all his hormones are acting up and one second he’s thanking Matty for helping him onto the couch and saying goodbye, and the next he’s calling Louis, sobbing into the phone and begging for his husband to come home, shamefully admitting defeat.

It takes Louis 15 minutes to get home, another 15 to get Harry to stop bawling against his chest, and just five to set the bath and get them in.

Harry leans against Louis’ naked chest, hiccupping sheepishly between his husband’s legs and feeling proper mortified for being so emotional and needy. The last half hour plays on a loop in his head, making him hiccup more tears, completely ashamed of himself. Louis’ dealt with his random mood swings and breakdowns apropos of nothing, but he’s never had to leave work early because of them. Now, on top of everything else, Harry feels guilty as well, and that only makes him want to cry ten times worse.

Louis hears Harry’s sniffles and stops where he’s rubbing his thumbs at his lower back, trying to relieve the tension. “Baby?” he coos questioningly, pulling closer and bringing his arms around to envelope Harry in them. “Shhh, it’s okay, darling, you’re alright. M’right here love, you’re okay. Don’t cry, baby.”

Harry shrinks into himself at the sound of Louis’ voice and the pet names, soft and so warm like the water lapping at his skin. He pulls his knees up to his chest – the best that he can manage, now that he’s bulging out and huge – and tries to catch his breath. Dr. Nelson’s always going on about how he needs to go easy on himself, but Harry thinks that’s a lot easier said than done.

“Sorry,” he chokes out, voice weak and raw. “I’m such a mess, m’sorry. You shouldn’t have to take care of me like this. God, I’m so—”

“Harry. Don’t,” Louis grits out, voice firm and demanding, shutting Harry up immediately. “It’s my job to take care of you and I do it happily,” he says after a beat of silence, much more softly this time, but no less definite. “You never apologize for needing me, alright? I want you to never, ever feel like you have anything to be sorry for, darling. Do you understand that?”

Harry nods, voice caught in his throat.

There’s only so much Louis can do, physically, to calm his husband down when he’s got his back to him. So he curls himself around Harry’s shaky figure, burying his face into his shoulder and pressing feather light kisses all across the nape of his neck. He brings his knees up to bracket Harry’s, squeezing their thighs together and splaying his palm wide over Harry’s belly. Harry’s so tense and negative all around that Louis can feel the sadness and guilt radiating onto his own skin, bringing him down as well. He hates it so much.

Louis sighs and kisses Harry behind his ear, feels him shiver at the touch. “You’re gonna be such a good dad, Hazza, do you know that?” he whispers like a secret into Harry’s damp curls. “Gonna take such great care of our baby, be so good to her.” He runs his thumbs across the underside of Harry’s belly, unaware he’s even doing so until he feels Harry fit his own hands over them.

“M’not doing a very good job right now,” he mumbles self-consciously, and Louis refuses to let him continue like that.

“You are,” he presses. “She’s healthy and happy and that’s all because of you, H, do you know that? You’ve got our baby inside you and you’ve been taking care of her so beautifully these last seven months.” Louis rubs his palms up Harry’s belly, across his ribs, caresses his sides with soft touches and reassuring fingers. “Darling, you’re so good to her and she knows that. She knows her daddy loves her so much.”

He hears Harry gulp and exhale a shaky breath, watches him wrap his arms around their baby protectively. He’s quiet for a minute, fighting against the tears pooling up yet again. “I love her so much,” he croaks out. “She means everything to me, Lou.”

“And she knows that, baby, she can hear you every time you tell her you love her.” Louis kisses the back of his husband’s head and hums encouragingly, “She knows you do everything you can to make sure she’s healthy, love, and she loves you too. I bet you’re excited to meet your daddy aren’t you?” Louis coos a little quieter, tucking his chin over Harry’s shoulder and bringing a hand back around to rub at his tummy. “You can’t wait to see your daddy, can you, Winnie? Can’t wait to tell him how much you love him, how thankful you are he took such great care of you. Right, angel?”

“Louis—” Harry squirms in the water, flushing red at the praise.

“I don’t thank you enough for doing such a great job, darling,” Louis sighs into Harry’s neck. He closes his eyes and lets the sound of Harry’s soft breaths relax his jumpy heart. “You’re so good to us both, love. Need to tell you that more often.”

“You really don’t,” Harry tries to argue weakly, voice even quieter.

“But I do,” Louis hums back. His mouth moves slowly against Harry’s wet skin, lining his neck and throat and shoulder with kisses. “You’re giving me the greatest gift I could ever dream of, Harry. I wish there was a way I could let you know how much I owe you for being so good to me. To Winnie, too. Owe you the world, darling.”

Harry moves to wrap Louis’ arms around his bump again, shuffling backward in the water so that they’re pressed impossibly close together, and rests his head against Louis’. “Couldn’t have done any of this without you, Lou,” he whispers in something like a daze. “Love you.”

“Love you more,” Louis argues back.

Harry sighs, “We’ll see about that,” but Louis knows there’s a smile on his lips, finally.

Later, when Louis’ positive that Harry’s calmed down, he drains the tub and dries them both off, wrapping Harry up in his favorite lavender towel and leading him to their bed. He sits Harry between his legs once more, but this time he gets out the cocoa butter and massages his shoulders and all across his back, digs his thumbs thoroughly into Harry’s skin until he’s sure the tension’s gone and his muscles are loose.

When Harry starts to get sleepy, Louis lays him flat on his back and massages his feet, pressing little kisses to his tiny pink toes, the soles of his warm feet, all across his ankles. He lotions Harry’s skin all over, across his belly and over his soft curves, massaging his calves and kissing every inch of warm, glowing skin. Harry falls asleep thoroughly taken care of, the softest thank you, love you, slipping from his sleepy lips.

▪▪▪

Harry is horny. All the time.

Louis gets a text from Harry when he’s in the middle of looking inside a squirming seven year old’s ears. Normally he would wait until he’s done with a patient to check his phone, but he hears Harry’s personalized tone and can’t control himself. Harry’s eight months along and on pregnancy leave alone in the house, so Louis says a quick apology and pulls out his phone.

Come home and lick me out. Wanna sit on your face x.

Louis nearly chokes on his tongue. Before he can even manage to relax his face for the poor kid in front of him, his phone buzzes once more in his hands. Harry’s sent another text; an open-mouthed emoji, a peach emoji, a tongue emoji, and nothing else.

Louis puts his phone on silent and rushes through the confused child’s check-up, trying his best to keep any and every image of Harry out of his head. He takes his lunch break an hour early and breaks only a handle of laws speeding to get home.

And it’s worth it, because the first thing that he sees upon stepping into the house is Harry on the couch, naked and pushing a finger inside himself.

“Harry—”

Harry snaps his eyes open and sits up. “Fuck,” he exhales in relief. “Thank God you’re here. Hurry up and take your trousers off, come on.”

Louis doesn’t need to be told twice before he’s stripping down to just his socks and making his way into the room, licking his lips unconsciously as he stalks toward Harry’s naked body, round and pink and flushed on the couch in excitement.

Louis raises an eyebrow and chuckles. “Started without me, huh?”

“You were taking too long,” Harry tries to explain.

He’s cut short when Louis pushes their mouths together and licks open his lips, kisses him heavily and hungrily, like he’s trying to express with his mouth how ridiculously riled up Harry’d gotten him with just his stupid little text. He licks and hums and bites, reminding Harry that this is what he’s asking for when he begs for Louis to eat him out. The thought makes Harry shiver down to his toes, whimpering softly and pulling Louis onto the couch by his neck. He’s been hard for so fucking long – all the time these days – and he just really, really, wants Louis to press his tongue inside him and let him fuck down on his face until he comes so hard that he forgets his name. It’s not so much to ask for, really. That’s what husbands are for, anyways.

It takes only a handful more dirty kisses before Harry gets impatient and forces Louis onto his back, flat on the couch and mouth bruised already.

“Fuck,” he pants, straddling Louis’ hips and inching backwards towards his mouth. “Fucking – love – being married – to you.”

Louis grabs him by his soft thighs and watches with his pupils blown wide as Harry arches his back sinfully and brings his pink rim closer to Louis’ watering mouth. He squeezes around nothing, already wet and puckered and eager, clean and perfectly groomed as always. Harry begs in breathy moans for Louis’ tongue, digging his nails into Louis’ stomach, and throws his head back.

Louis gives in, of course he does, but decides that he wants to go slow and drag this out. It’s good for Harry, but it’s unbelievably, overwhelmingly hot for Louis, gets him hard like nothing else. He moves to cup Harry’s arse in his hands, squeezing his palms full of Harry’s pink cheeks and humming in awe. He loves the way Harry fits in his hands, how soft and round he is, especially now that he’s pregnant.

Harry must notice Louis’ cock twitch because he wraps a hand around him and tugs. “Love getting you all worked up,” he says proudly, still hovering an inch or two away from where he really wants to be.

Louis digs his teeth into Harry’s right cheek and sucks, laves his tongue long and slow to remind his husband how all of this started. Harry gasps at the feeling and pushes himself closer to Louis’ face. Louis can feel it when he clenches desperately, the muscles in his arse flexing underneath his teeth.

“C’mon, Louis, please,” he begs, twisting his hips just the smallest bit.

Louis removes his mouth and kisses the bruise he’s left before quickly gripping Harry by the hips and forcing his tight rim to meet his tongue. He licks a fat strip in between his cheeks, keeping him pushed apart with his thumbs, and sucks little kisses all the way up and down, until his lips brush against Harry’s balls and then back up to the bottom of Harry’s spine. He wants his mouth properly wet for all of this, so he makes sure to take his time with every lick and dirty kiss, reveling in the taste of Harry; strawberry lube and hot skin.

Harry is responsive as ever above him, twisting his hips and pushing down onto Louis’ mouth, getting everything from the top of Louis’ nose to the bottom of his chin slippery wet. Louis encourages it, though, and hums in approval, knowing how the sensation makes Harry shiver and moan.

Harry squeezes his palm around Louis’ cock and Louis repays him with kitten licks to his hole, dipping his tongue in experimentally, just the slightest bit, before quickly pulling out and sucking again. He hallows out his cheeks, lips pursed against Harry’s barely stretched out hole, and sucks mercilessly until Harry’s panting loudly and calling out his name like a prayer.

Louis fucking loves the feeling of Harry on top of him like this, how he grinds his hips against Louis’ face and makes it hard for him to breath, but not really caring because he’s desperately chasing after Louis’ tongue and reveling in the bruises his husband leaves across his arse and thighs and hips. Louis adores how desperate Harry gets for him, forgetting that it’s him on top with the upper-hand because his brain’s all clouded with frantic need. He lives for the way Harry clenches around his tongue and tries to pull him in, tight, white hot heat enveloping the tip of Louis’ tongue and making the both of them roll their eyes to the back of their heads, breathlessly overwhelmed by the sensation. Louis really fucking loves eating Harry out.

“Louis, please—” Harry chokes out in a cry when the kitten licks and sucking stop being enough. “Need. More.”

Without warning, Louis pushing his tongue all the way in and Harry screams out his name. Pleased, Louis curls his tongue and moans into Harry’s smooth walls, trying his best to not fuck into him just yet, but his resolve is so bloody weak, especially with Harry squeezing all around him and taking him in religiously. He’s needy and so, so unabashedly demanding that Louis gives in and pulls his tongue out only to fuck it back in. Like that he continues over and over again, digging his nails into Harry’s skin in encouragement, signaling him to start fucking down as well.

That’s all the notice that Harry needs before he starts bouncing and twisting and pushing back erratically, clenching around Louis and panting his name like a prayer. They work like that for what feels like forever, fucking down and licking out, squeezing around and moaning into. Harry thumbs at Louis’ cock the entire time and Louis slips a finger beside his tongue, curling inside and rubbing at his prostate with practiced ease.

Harry’s movements get frantic and Louis can barely breathe and somewhere in between, the two of them both come, exasperated and clinging onto the other desperately in what’s the most overwhelming orgasm either of them have had in weeks.

Louis loves eating Harry out and Harry loves being married.

▪▪▪

The kids want to throw Mr. Tomlinson a party, so they ask for Louis’ help.

Louis gets a phone call from Matty in late November, the week after the baby shower and a couple before Winnie is due. He explains sheepishly that he’d accidentally mentioned Harry’s baby shower to one of the kids during recess and she (Niall’s daughter Millie, go figure) had gone around excitedly telling everyone about Mr. Tomlinson’s party. And now, he explains in between nervous coughs, they’d really like to throw one for Harry as well, if it’d be okay with Louis.

“They wanna throw Haz a baby shower?” Louis repeats, just to make sure he’d heard correctly. He’s only slightly in awe. These kids only had Harry as their teacher for a few months before he had to take off, but apparently that’s all it takes to become completely enamored with Harry. Louis’ finding it hard to breathe. “Like, you’re telling me that 20 four year olds want to throw my husband a baby shower. That’s what you’re saying, Matty, if I’m getting this right.”

Matty giggles on the other end of the line. “Yeah, mate. They’ve actually been pestering me all week to give you a call. Sorry if it’s a bother, but, like.” He pauses for another nervous beat. “They just miss him a lot, I think. Plus Millie’s gone and made herself Executive Party Planning Director. She’s making everyone save up for a gift, too, so please don’t break their itty bitty hearts, Lou.”

“Matty—” Louis laughs almost ridiculously loud, staring at his office ceiling in awe. The receptionists can probably hear him slowly losing his mind. Everything makes a lot more sense now, if it’s Millie behind it all. “I’m in, mate, completely. Just tell me what I need to do – and please don’t let them spend too much, alright?” he quickly adds, guilt eating him up at the thought of all those little kids spending their allowances on a baby shower for Harry, who would probably feel even worse if he found out.

There’s the sound of paper rustling on the other end of the line before Matty chuckles once more, lighter this time. “I’ll see what Millie will let me get away with. She’s quite the menace, I’m sure you know.”

Hey, now,” Louis pouts. “That’s my goddaughter you’re talking about.”

Louis would usually defend her a lot more passionately, but Millie Horan is a menace. It doesn’t really help that she’s taken on so much to Louis, whom she adores unconditionally. He thinks maybe that’s why she’s the Executive Party Planning Director; she loves Harry just as much as Louis does, maybe even more.

“I’ll have a talk with the class tomorrow and we’ll figure out the details. I’ll fill you in when I can, alright?”

“Sounds good, yeah. I’m surprised Millie’s managed to keep quiet this long anyways,” Louis hums fondly. She really is quite the menace, calling nearly every day to check up on Uncle Harry and pestering him with questions. He doesn’t even want to think about how excited she’ll be when she finally gets to meet her cousin Winnie. His heart seriously can’t handle all that cute.

And he’s a pediatrician, so that’s saying a lot.

Matty hums in agreement. “She’s quite determined when she wants to be, especially if Winnie and Harry are involved, at least. I’ve gotta go now, but I’ll talk to you soon?”

“Of course, mate. Send my love to kids and all.”

“Will do, Louis. And tell Haz I said hello.”

They hang up and it goes on like that for the rest of the week, quick phone calls while a blissfully oblivious Harry waddles around the house preparing for Winnie. It’s surprisingly easy planning a baby shower with a bunch of four year olds (and Matty, though he’s not much better, really), Louis quickly learns. Easier than putting together an official one for their family and friends, at least. Four year olds are a lot less concerned about color schemes and cake flavors. They just wanna see the giant belly and share overly-detailed stories about when their mum or older sister or Aunt Patrice was pregnant and gassy all the time.

It’s the thought that counts, anyways.

By the time Friday comes around Harry is two weeks away from his due date and Louis is calling out of work to spend the morning at the preschool. Matty will drop Harry off in the afternoon for a nonexistent meeting about the specifics of his pregnancy leave with the principal – right after he says hello to his kids, of course. Millie tackles Louis’ leg the second he steps into the room and from there, it’s pretty much all excitable energy and ridiculously fast rambling about babies and Harry and arranging some sort of babysitting schedule (led by Millie, obviously, Winnie’s self-proclaimed godmother).

Matty heads out around half past eleven to pick Harry up, leaving Louis with twenty preschoolers and a cherub looking student teacher called George. They manage to scrounge together last minute details, all of the boys and girls having dressed up in their fanciest clothes for the occasion. Millie had put in place a mandatory Pastel Colors Only requirement, so the room and everyone in it is soft and warm and delicate, contrasting completely against the bitter November cold. It makes Louis’ belly tickle with excitement as he crouches behind one of the ridiculously small desks, waiting to pop out in surprise.

Almost there! Matty texts him just as everyone gets in their position. Your husband is insanely oblivious! xx

Louis chuckles at his phone and pockets it, quickly whispering to the kids to get ready. It’s the most exciting ten seconds of his life, Louis thinks, and he doesn’t really know why. It’s just a baby shower thrown by preschoolers, it’s really not that big a deal, but the look on Harry’s face when he walks into the room and is met with a shrill chorus of Surprise! reassures Louis that it is, in fact, a very big deal.

Above all the noise and excited giggling and running to pet softly at Mr. Tomlinson’s tummy, Harry’s eyes scan the room, going wide and even more wet when they find Louis’. He looks so bloody confused and dumbfounded, and Louis just shrugs his shoulders in faux innocence.

“Love you,” he mouths as he watches Millie grab Harry’s hand and drag him to the center of the room’s magic carpet.

Harry fish-mouths for a moment, taking in the pastel colors and the bows in all the girls’ hairs, the punch bowl and the penguin onesie the kids make him unwrap (so that’s the gift they’d been saving up for; how fitting, Louis thinks). He meets Louis’ eyes once more when some of the excitement has died down and there’s a tiny little onesie clutched to his chest. “Love you,” he mouths back, face splitting with the most grateful, overwhelmed smile Louis’ ever seen.

▪▪▪

Seven pounds, five ounces.

She doesn’t cry when she’s born. Doesn’t wail or make a sound or even lift her hand to wave a hello papa, hello daddy, I’m here! – nothing. She gives them nothing.

Louis panics almost instantly because newborns are supposed to cry, aren’t they? They’re supposed to wail their little hearts out; that’s how you know they’re alive. So why in God’s name isn’t Winnie screaming her lungs off? She’s a Tomlinson, that’s in their genetic nature; they’re supposed to cry so hard you admit defeat in seconds.

They don’t get a minute to even gather together their senses before she’s being taken away and Harry is looking up at Louis, drugged off his mind and ready to cry on Winnie’s behalf. He looks pale and terrified, desperately squeezing at Louis’ hand for what feels like forever.

It turns out that she’s just quiet, is all. Healthy, soft, and lets out the warmest little whimpers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with her, the nurses assure them once she’s brought back, clean and shiny and tiny as ever. She’s apparently more Harry than Louis, it turns out; not a wailer at all.

She’s got ten fingers and ten toes, all in the right places. One itty bitty button nose, two delicately curved ears, a pair of lips pink and pouty already, just like her dad. She’s got all the right parts in all the right places, Louis makes sure, because he’s still trying to wrap his head around the fact that she’s real. They’ve waited so long for her.

She can’t open her eyes just yet – growing in daddy’s belly for nine months is apparently very exhausting work – but Harry holds her close to his chest and coos her name quietly until she hums softly, acknowledging his existence and giving them the tiniest little smile. She looks peaceful and so bloody warm in Harry’s arms, like she’s finally relieved to be where she’s waited months for. She’s waited so long for them.

Winnie is a Tomlinson and she’s Louis’ baby as well, but he’s not blind. He knows that she and Harry have got a different connection, a weird, father-daughter-telepathy thing going that only comes from carrying one inside you for nine months. Harry holds her impossibly close and carefully, because he probably knows it as well. They’re on the same wavelength, the two of them, but Louis doesn’t mind. He gets it.

Louis crawls into the hospital bed when Harry beckons him over, after their families have rushed in and met her, kissed all three of them for hours and cooed for even longer. Their little hospital room is warm, the lights dimmed down as Winnie continues to be lulled to sleep by the soft sounds of Harry’s voice and his gentle, grateful kisses. Louis stretches his legs out, wrapping one arm around Harry and bringing the other to rest on the small bundle of joy against his husband’s chest.

The room is crowded with flowers and balloons and teddy bears – the largest of them being from Harry’s preschoolers, of course – and Louis’ still waiting for any of this to feel even remotely real at all. Harry whispers to him that this feels like every dream he’s had for the last three years and Louis kisses his temple, behind his ear, across his cheeks and by the edge of his jaw. He runs the back of his finger across Winnie’s sleep-warm cheeks and sighs, the weight of the world finally off his shoulder.

He decides it’ll all feel real soon enough. It’s okay. They’ve waited this long, they can wait a little longer.