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nonstop earthquake dreams of you

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Harry didn't believe in fate until the first time he held his boy in his arms. The boy who, all those months ago, told Harry that he knew Harry was going to be famous someday. The boy who asked Harry for his first autograph and fan picture. The boy with the blue eyes and the pixie hair and the laugh like bells.

The boy who he's now in a band with, apparently.

He's chanting, “I told you you'd make it, I told you, I told you,” into the curls just above Harry's ear, his heels digging into the small of Harry's back and his fingers dug tight into the soft flesh of Harry's shoulders.

And there's so many things Harry could say in that moment--he could say thank you, he could say, 'and now you're coming with me,’ he could just sob, because his chest is so tight and he needs to cry it out. But instead he says, “don't brag.”

It makes Louis let out a bark of laughter into Harry's neck, and to everyone else it's just one of the joy from being put through, but Harry knows, and maybe that little secret is what starts it.

Harry lets Louis down, and he feels the blond, Niall, clap him on the back and bring them in for a group hug.

Harry isn't sure what he's doing, is he laughing or crying? It's incredible, the swirling of emotions in his stomach. The most prominent is the sheer happiness rocketing up and down his spinal chord, but just under that, with it's own thrilling zing, is this premonition, this gut feeling like gravity. The pull behind his navel telling him that this is the beginning of something big.

And somehow all five of them have made it offstage and everyone's tear streaked, and it really hits Harry then. He's going to be in a band with these guys, and, like, hopefully they'll end up being together for a long, long time. But how do they even start going about that? What kind of music are they going to sing? What is their name going to be? What are they going to wear?

"What are we going to wear?" He asks aloud then, and everyone takes the question like it's a perfectly logical first question. The boy named Liam, with the straightened hair and determined brown eyes pulls his eyebrows together. Next to him, Zayn purses his lips in thought. Louis is looking at Harry, just smiling. And the blond boy, Niall, whose cheeks are still ruddy from crying earlier, is looking excitedly at Louis' TOMS.

"I like his shoes!" He says, pointing excitedly, and then looks up at all of them. "We should wear his shoes."

Murmurs of agreement ripple through them all and Harry can't help but grin, excited about something that hasn't even happened yet.




They all stay at Harry's step-dad's bungalow for two weeks before the Judges' Houses performance. Niall is the first to arrive, holding his suitcase and a case of beer and sporting a huge grin. Harry doesn't actually know all that much about Niall, but he thinks that beer and a smile is a good overall description of him. Also Irish. Shortly after that Liam shows up, apologizing profusely for being a whole three minutes later than he said he would. He has two suitcases, but Harry doesn't mind helping him carry them in. Next is Louis, a full half an hour after Liam, who just lets himself in. He props his suitcase up against the wall and then jumps onto the couch next to Harry, looking excited and bright eyed.

It's another hour until Zayn arrives, his mum kissing his cheek at the door. Once he's all settled in and sat on a bean bag chair in the living room with the rest of them, the conversation dies down. No one really knows what to do with themselves.

"So, last night I was thinking about song ideas for the Judges' Houses, and I've thought of a few ideas, I don't know what you guys would like to sing, but I just couldn't sleep, so--" Liam starts, but Louis cuts in.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on. Don't you think we should become friends before coworkers? I mean, like, we're gonna be a boyband, and boybands break up if they aren't friends, yeah? I just think we should, like, take the first few days to get to know each other.”

Liam's jaw tightens a little and he looks concerned, but he doesn't object.

"He's right. We could, like, do an ice breaker thing? Like, when you'd go to camp as a kid." Harry says. Louis smiles at him, closed mouth, and pats at his curls.

 "I know a good one." Zayn says quietly.

"Or we could all get pissed." Niall says, holding up his case of beer, "'ve got some harder stuff in me case."

They opt for getting drunk, obviously, and they sing.

They sing things like the Friends opening theme, and Louis and Harry completely take over in 'Summer Nights' from Grease, but then Liam starts in on Torn by Natalie Imbruglia, and Harry joins in, then Zayn and Niall and Louis on chorus, when they remember the words, and there's that feeling behind Harry's belly button that has nothing to do with the alcohol and they all end up singing through huge smiles.




Harry finds himself curled up against Louis. He can't remember the course of events that got him here, but he knows that he's very warm and tingly, and maybe that's from the alcohol in his veins but it could also very well be something else, unnamed. It's soothing, his head tucked into Louis' shoulder while the other boy tells Niall (Liam and Zayn have both already fallen asleep, curled up with their knees pressed together and a half empty bottle of beer between them) about this dare he made his best mate Stan do one time in Year Ten, feeling the rise and fall of his chest; the way his body jostles as he talks with his hands; the steady, muffled thud of his pulse under his skin.

"Harry over here looks like he's gonna pass out any minute." Harry hears Niall say, and he realizes he can't see him anymore and that his eyes have somehow closed. He likes it though, likes how just his toes are dipped in sleep and how everything is louder and clearer, how the angles of Louis' body under him are just that much more pronounced.

"Oh, let's get him a bit comfier then. Take the bottle out of his hand, will you?" Harry feels calloused fingers pull his own apart easily, removing the beer bottle while Louis shifts underneath him. He feels arms wrap around his middle and his whole world is tilting.

"You gonna sleep the whole night with him on top of you?" Niall asks.

"What better way is there to get to know my new bandmate?" Louis replies. Harry doesn't hear Niall respond, so he assumes it's nonverbal.

"Nighty night, Louis."

"Night, Niall."

Harry makes two incoherent sounds in the back of his throat.

"Sweet dreams, Curly." Louis says softly, pulling Harry slightly into a more comfortable place.

Harry's heard that babies are comforted by the sound of their mother's heartbeat, that they become familiar with it. The sound stays with them and that's why they calm cradled to their mother's chests. It's how they learn who their mother is. So if that's true, Harry wonders what listening to Louis' heartbeat as he falls asleep will do to him.




He wakes up the following morning to a voice in his ear. Louis.

"Harry... Harry... Harry mate I'm really sorry, but I've gotta piss like you wouldn't believe and you're pressing right on my bladder." There's a slight tugging sensation on Harry's scalp, pleasant and relaxing, and it takes him a moment to realize that Louis is playing with his curls.

It takes him another minute to connect his brain to his mouth, and once he does he finds it open and wet and sticky, pressed to Louis' shirt. Embarrassing.

“Sorry,” he murmurs.

“S'alright, it's early, you should probably go back to sleep. Only once you let me up, though.”

“Yeah, okay.” His voice box is too tired to work properly, and the words come out with more breath than voice. There's another minute and then, “Harry? Curly, you still haven't moved.”

“Oh, yeah, right,” Harry sighs, and drudges up the energy to roll over toward the inside of the couch and off Louis. A groan is punched from Louis' lungs.

“Pretty sure that was my liver. Kinda vital. Learn to discipline your elbows, please.” Louis jokes.

“Will do,” Harry replies, eyes still closed, as he wiggles his hips against Louis to burrow into the soft fabric of the couch. He feels Louis ruffle his hair and then get up, footsteps soft on the wood floor.

Sleep takes him under again before Louis is even back.




The first thing Harry learns when he comes back to consciousness is that Niall is hungry.

“Harry. Harryyyyyyyy.” Niall whines.

Harry unsticks his tongue from the roof of his mouth, decides that once he's fully conscious he'd really like to brush his teeth. “What?”

“Christ, morning breath much?” Niall says, and Harry opens the eye not pressed into the couch in time to see him wrinkle his nose. He likes that even though they've only really known each other for a day, Niall isn't afraid to take the piss out of him. Liam and Zayn are hitting it off as well, judging by the way their legs are tangled up on floor while they sleep in this Harry wonders where Louis went off to, and then registers the warmth he's pressed against and the arm around his waist, the small, tan hand, loosely curled against his chest.

“Did you wake me up just to insult me?” Harry grumbles, and Niall breaks into a grin, apparently also liking how quickly friendship is happening for them all.

“Ugh, shut up,” Louis groans thickly from behind him, and Harry can feel the warmth of his breath on the back of his neck. “'ve got a bit of a hangover. Niall, do you have to shout?”

“Yeah, I do, because ‘m wasting away to nothing over here. I am starving.” Niall replies, clutching at his stomach.

“You don't need all ten toes. Let us sleep,” Louis says, tightening his arm around Harry.

“Actually, when people have toes removed it really fucks up their balance. M'uncle had his pinky toe removed, gangrene it was, he's gotten used to it now, but he used to have a lot of trouble walking.”

“Niall, please,” Louis implores. And then Niall's stomach growls so loudly that Harry's eyes fly open again. It's long and continuous and Niall looks at Harry pointedly. There's a moment of silence and wide eyes.

“Hazza, get the poor boy some food, there’s a good lad,” Louis says suddenly, sparking laughter from both him and Niall.

“Who's Hazza?” A sleepy voice says, and they turn to see Zayn lifting his head up from the floor.

“I've given Harry a new nickname.” Louis informs him, tightening his arm again around Harry's middle, and Harry feels him rest his chin on his shoulder.

Niall looks between where Harry and Louis are cuddling and where Zayn and Liam are slightly tangled and pouts. “Who's gonna be my best friend in the band?”

“Whoever feeds you first, I'm assuming,” Louis answers. That earns a giggle from everyone.

Harry thinks Niall is quite like a golden retriever. Like, if he had a tail, it'd always be wagging. And his blond, shaggy hair kind of makes him look like one too. In the span of time Harry has had the privilege to know him, Niall has made it apparent that he's one of the most carefree people Harry has ever met. In bootcamp he'd seen him sometimes, and he always had a gaggle of girls around him while he played guitar and sang Justin Bieber. One time, Harry heard him talking, and he was telling whoever it was that if he didn't get through that it'd be alright because at least someone else got to live their dream. Harry thought that was kind of beautiful, and hoped Niall would get through anyway.

Harry's own stomach growls then. “Okay, yeah, brekkie.”

“But it's noon,” Liam pipes in, lifting his head and looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed, with half of his hair completely matted from sleep.

“Okay, we'll order pizza then. I'll ask my dad for some money,” Harry amends. He goes to stand up, but is immediately restricted when Louis steels himself, his arms surprisingly strong.

“No,” he whines. “You're warm.”

“Louis, now is not the time,” Niall warns. Harry looks between the two of them indecisively for a moment. Niall's health or Louis' warmth?

“I could piggyback you,” he decides.




It only takes Harry three days to admit to himself that he is in total, major friend-love with Louis, and it takes the same amount of time for him to speculate that Louis might feel something similar. Friend-love, in Harry's mind, is when you act like you have a crush on each other, but really it's just like falling into friendship a little too quickly. It looks like love, but it's actually just best-friend-ism.

For the past two nights, all five of them have slept on the trampoline in the backyard. They lit the mosquito fire things (though they still ate Niall alive) and got a bunch of pillows and blankets and their respective sleeping bags and they all slept in some kind of dog pile, but no one was closer than Louis and Harry. They whispered until well past Liam stopped telling them to be quiet, too full of s'mores to really fall asleep and too infatuated with each other to stop talking.

It's almost strange how well they get on. Louis has told Harry five or more times already that they're going to be best mates. It was right from the word go, really. Or, maybe it was from 'oops' and 'hi.’

It was Louis who brought that up the day before, and Harry really can't believe he actually remembers their first words to each other. The conversation was pretty memorable, but, still. He remembers their first words.

“It just stuck with me, for some reason. Like, I knew I'd need to know in the future, or something, y’know?” Louis had said, blowing the flames out on his marshmallow.

And Harry pinched Louis' bum once, because he does that to all his friends back home, but he's only really known Louis for three days.

And Liam had seen and said the same thing, and Louis replied, “nah, it's been longer than that. Right, Curly?”

Harry didn't know how to respond, because he was still too embarrassed and frankly quite shocked at just how wonderfully squishy Louis' arse was between his fingers, so Louis continued for him. “Feels like we've been together since forever started.”

And that was what sealed the deal. It's been three hours since then and Harry has been just spiraling, spiraling down. Every time Louis glances at him (which is often), Harry's heart stutters, and every time Louis touches him (which is often), heat zings up and down his spine, dinging on each vertebrae like a xylophone. And every time Louis calls him 'Curly' or 'Hazza,' his armpits prickle and his cheeks heat up, and the problem is Louis notices. It's like when he was little and his cousin was really attractive--he knew it wasn't a crush, because, ew, his cousin, but he was just attractive and your body can't differentiate between who it should be attracted to and who it shouldn't.

And Harry notices Louis noticing. He smirks every time and musses up Harry's curls more, or pokes his finger deep into one burning dimple and wiggles it against the feeling of Harry's teeth for a moment.

All he knows for sure though is that he needs to get over this, because having a friendcrush on your bandmate cannot be good for show biz.

But it's so hard when Louis is so pretty. And how the hell did he get to this point in three-ish days? But he's got these blueblueblue eyes and pretty, pink, thin lips, and his skin is just this beautiful expanse of gold, like a desert from a bird's eye view. Golden sand without a flaw extending for miles and miles. And his hair is so soft and silky, and as much as Louis plays with Harry's hair, Harry probably equals him. He loves how it feels slipping between his fingers and he wonders how it would feel in knots around his knuckles.

"Curly! Curly? Harry? Are you with us?” Louis' voice filters through Harry's brain, and right, yeah, Truth or Dare.

“Yeah, sorry, just zoned out.”

“Well I've just put peanut butter in me belly button, courtesy of Niall, and now I've asked you--truth or dare?”

Harry thinks for a moment. “Dare.”

Louis grins, and Harry knows him well enough already to know it's a mischievous one.

“I dare you to lick the peanut butter out of my belly button.”

The room erupts, Niall, Liam, and Zayn making a combination of excited and grossed out sounds.

“Hey, c’mon now, it's just like a body shot.” Louis shrugs, lifting his shirt up and over his head. And really, did he have to take it all the way off?

Harry drags his eyes over every inch of Louis' golden torso, wishing his eyes were hands, and when he meets Louis' gaze with slightly crinkled corners, he's one hundred percent positive that Louis knows. Louis has a small smirk on his face and he's leaned back on his hands so his shoulders are up and his collar bones are out--god and what Harry would give to press his face into that hollow there.

Harry can feel the way his face has gone--slack with shock and wide eyed.

“Well, come on, no chickening out.”

So Harry crawls across the small circle tentatively, hears Liam whisper to Zayn, “that is so gross,” to which Zayn replies, “I know, but it's wicked.”

“I promise I'm clean, just showered this morning,” Louis says, like Harry doesn't know. He'd come out with his waist wrapped in a towel and water droplets racing down his back and stuck to his eyelashes asking if Harry had a blow drier in the bungalow.

“Here.” Louis lies down completely and Harry tries his best to memorize the way his ribcage expands when he breathes.

The only sound is Niall's continuous laughter and Harry's quickened breathing as he lowers himself down and pokes his tongue into Louis' belly button.

It's interesting, really, something he never really planned on doing. Working peanut butter out of a belly button with his tongue was not on his list of priorities in his life, but the best part of it is the way Louis squeals with laughter.

Harry pulls back and wipes his mouth once the peanut butter is gone and Louis lets his giggles subside, wiping at his spit-wet tummy.

“Well that was...” Liam starts.

“Disturbingly sexual.” Zayn finishes.

Louis just grins.




The fifth night at the bungalow, they watch a horror movie. Harry'd been in the bathroom when they voted and he finds it horribly unfair that he didn't get a say, but he'd have lost anyway.

But Harry doesn't do well with horror movies, is the thing. He screams and he cries and he needs constant contact with another human for at least twelve hours after. And this is no exception. Thirty minutes into the movie, his hand flies out and grips Louis' arm tightly, and he can feel all the different layers that make up Louis' forearm. Skin, veins, muscles, bones. It's only for a moment though, because Louis replaces it with his hand, lacing their fingers together and putting his other hand on top. He rubs small, slow patterns into the back of Harry's hand with his thumb, squeezes at the scary parts, and when the main character's love interest is brutally murdered and Harry starts crying kind of loudly, Louis forgoes hand holding for cuddling, pulling Harry up and into his lap. He doesn't stop petting his hair until the screen has gone blue. Niall, Zayn, and Liam are all asleep, but Harry is still shaking in Louis' lap, his face pressed into the softness of his tummy.

“Sorry we chose that movie, Haz,” Louis whispers.

“It's okay, I liked it,” Harry answers, voice hoarse.

Louis chuckles. “Like shit you did.”

“Yeah. You're right. I really hate horror movies.”

“What's your favorite movie then?”

“Titanic or Love Actually,” Harry answers immediately.


“Titanic because it's tragic and beautiful, and Love Actually because, like, I like it's message I guess? Love, actually, is all around.”


“Yeah, well.”

“My favorite movie's Grease, thanks for asking.”

“Why? He only loves her when she changes for him.” Harry's eyebrows thread together.

“No, he falls in love with the natural her over the summer, and he loves her just the same in a leather cat suit. He loves her no matter who she becomes. And she loves him without his bad boy persona. She loves who he really is.”


“Yeah, well.”

They fall asleep a couple minutes later, both of them mid-sentence, lying on the couch and facing each other, Louis tracing the sides of Harry's face with his fingertips and toying with a particularly springy curl, talking about nothing, anything, and everything, until his hands slow and stop all together, curled and twined with Harry's fingers.




It's when Louis suggests the eighth footie game on their ninth day together that Liam finally snaps.

“Louis, no, we've played enough football! We planned on finally rehearsing today, and I don’t know, maybe we should come up with a name or something? We only have, like, four days left!” He's obviously frustrated, pulling at his straightened hair.

“Liam, calm down. We'll rehearse, but I just thought maybe we'd like to play a game first,” Louis says coolly, relaxing back into the fabric of the couch.

“No, I will not calm down!” Liam nearly shouts, and Harry looks at Zayn with wide eyes, then turns to Niall who's biting his nails nervously. “I have wanted this so badly for so long, and I'm not going to let you lessen our chances of getting through because you're fucking obsessed with fucking football!” The swearing comes as a shock to Harry. Liam is really upset. In the nine days of knowing Liam he’s heard him swear a handful of times, and they were minor.

Louis stands up then, angry. “You need to stop being so bloody serious all the time! Lighten up! Jesus christ, okay, we'll rehearse now, but you need to learn how to work and play at the same fucking time. I don't suggest football or other games for no fucking reason, you know. For this thing to possibly work, we all need to be friends before colleagues.” Louis, on the other hand, swears like a sailor all the time.

Liam fumes. “We're already friends! You and Harry might as well be married!”

Louis flushes but continues. “Well, Liam, I don't know if you've noticed, but you and I aren't exactly doing well in the ‘friend’ department.”

Liam doesn't respond, just sits down in a bean bag chair looking angry.

“Um. I was thinking One Direction.” Harry says tentatively, and everyone looks at him, “I know we were considering Status Single like my dad suggested, but like, it just kinda came to me the other night? Like we're all together now, we're all going the same way. One Direction.”

It takes a moment, but soon Niall and Louis are both nodding. “I like that a lot.” Niall says, and Louis makes a sound of agreement.

“I like it too. I like, like, what it means,” Zayn adds.

“I got chills when you said it, is that weird?” Liam asks.

“Me too, actually,” Louis says.

“So are we One Direction? Just like that?” Niall pipes up.

They all nod, and it seems like that's it.

Fifteen minutes later, they finally all sit in a circle with the lyrics to Torn in front of them, singing and harmonizing, and they're One Direction.




It's the day before they go to Spain and neither Harry nor Louis can sleep. They're on the trampoline again for their last night, and Louis keeps tossing and turning next to Harry.

“Lou?” Harry asks after Louis tries to settle again.

“Yeah, Haz?”

“Wanna go drink some wine?” Harry offers.

So most of a bottle and an hour later, they're both pretty buzzed, sitting in the middle of the lawn far away from the trampoline, so as not to wake the boys.

The fireflies are out, buzzing about around them and it makes Harry feel like they're sitting amongst the stars. It's somewhere around two and there's no moon tonight, just the stars and the fireflies to see Louis by. Harry likes the way the tiny lights reflect in Louis' eyes.

“Lie down with me,” Louis says, leaning back and patting the grass next to him. The world twirls when Harry moves and it doesn't stop once he's facing the sky. It's like he can feel the world racing around the sun and spinning like a top.

Louis takes his hand, threads their fingers together.

“One direction,” He says, and Harry doesn't think it's capitalized.

“Together,” Harry adds.

They lie there for a while, and Louis tells Harry about how his dad left him when he was ten days old. He tells him about his step-dad and how he’d been so good, always, just as good to him as to his four half-sisters. He’s says he’s scared, though. Because people leave, so many people, and he can’t help but worry for his mum, for his sisters. He tells him that it's dumb, but that he still believes in love after all of that.

They end up facing each other, knees tucked up in the grass and still holding hands, and Harry listens. Louis tells him how he helped raise his sisters when his dad didn’t, tells him about Mark, who was wonderful enough to let Louis have his last name.

They fall silent for a bit after that, Louis closing his eyes and Harry watching him. Have his eyelashes always been so pretty? “What about you?” Louis finally asks, and Harry doesn't have to think too much about it when he says, “I think I might like guys.” It’s the first time he’s said it aloud, and maybe he should be terrified, but he can’t imagine coming out to anyone else first.

But he thinks a lot about it when Louis replies softly, “yeah, me too. I'm not sure, though. I don’t know if I even like girls at all.”

“What about Hannah?” Louis had told him about her the other day, the girl he’d taken to prom and lost his virginity to.

“I'm actually her 'beard,’ believe it or not.”

This sends them into fits of giggles, foreheads pressed together and grass tickling at Harry's cheek, fingers still clutched together.

And it's not this big thing when Louis kisses him. It's as normal as breathing, as blinking, as pumping blood through his veins. It's lips on lips at first, intermittent with giggles and sighs. Then Louis' tongue tastes like red wine and his teeth feel incredible biting softly at Harry's bottom lip.

They kiss instead of talking. They pass their information directly. It's nothing but a conversation and they kiss for hours, stopping for breaths every so often but ending up laughing anyway and starting all over again.

Louis' hand ends up absolutely knotted in Harry's curls and Harry's end up cupping Louis' jaw, rubbing circles with his thumbs.

As it goes on, it turns into just leaving their lips together and breathing, the occasional caress of a tongue, or dragging bite at a lower lip.

“Is this weird?” Louis asks at one point, mouthing at Harry.

“No. It's as easy as being,” Harry replies, whispering the words to Louis' bottom lip, and he means it. Louis responds with a fevered kiss, tongue and teeth and slick pink lips.

The sky is suspiciously lighter when they drag away from each other, stumbling back to the trampoline. Harry's lips feel pleasantly like balloons.

They fall asleep the same way they have the past few nights, Louis behind Harry with an arm around his waist and knees bent to fit like puzzle pieces. This time, Louis presses a kiss to Harry's curls, and that's all it takes for sleep to drag him down.




The blood and the way Louis' face is contorted in pain is all that registers in Harry's brain. They're in Spain, near Simon's house, at the beach, and Liam is hauling Louis out of the water. There's a menacing looking spine stuck in his foot, and before Harry really knows what's happened, Louis' at hospital, and he has to stay overnight.

And as much as he's worried about him being okay (god, he's so fucking worried) what do they do about the performance tomorrow? Will Louis be back by then? What if they’re automatically disqualified? Harry doesn't think he can handle another rejection. He'll probably have a heart attack or something, die of too much sadness. And he might never see Louis again. And maybe that's the real tragedy here.

And they haven't talked about what happened yet, and Harry knows Louis couldn't have possibly been drunk enough to not remember. Harry had woken up the morning after with a turning stomach that was decidedly not just from the alcohol in his system. He was nervous the whole day--every time Louis would talk to him he'd wait for the, ‘that was a mistake.’ It never came, but neither did anything else. So Harry's lips have just been buzzing and tingling and yearning.

And it might have actually hit him just today in the ocean, not when their tongues were tangled and their breathing mingled. The ocean loved Louis, worshiped him. His eyes were bluer than the sea itself and the salt clung to his skin and all Harry could think about was licking it off. And then the idiot went and stepped on a sea urchin, and in the face of possibly losing the competition and with it all his hopes and dreams, all Harry can think about is the fact that he may never kiss the ocean off of Louis' lips.

He sleeps fitfully that night. He's cold.




Louis' homecoming is ridiculously staged, cameras milling about everywhere and they're instructed to run at him like he was near death. Harry's still the first one to reach him, wrapping his arms around his waist and squeezing tight.

“Nice to see ya,” Louis says, hugging him back while all the boys pile on. His foot is swollen, but it looks a lot better than it had. It still looks painful, though, so Harry moves to pick Louis up. Zayn sees and follows Harry, taking Louis' other leg, and Liam and Niall move to help. They carry him until just before where Simon and the guest judge are waiting, when he demands to be let down.

“Lads, I'm a big boy, I can walk myself. Barely even hurts anymore,” he says, and everyone rolls their eyes, already used to Louis' dramatics. But Harry knows it's because he doesn't want to seem weak, knows that after years and years of being a caregiver to his sisters he knows how to act more okay than he is. He lets him down anyway. Louis masks his limp well, but not quite well enough.

They walk out onto the pool area and Harry's heart is shaking his ribcage. If his chest were the earth, he'd be experiencing an earthquake of the highest magnitude. Everything is blurry and his ears are fuzzy and he can barely register that Liam has begun to sing, but it's happening, this is it, and, fuck, they should have practiced more.

But then he hears his cue and he's opening his mouth, and the words are spilling out, but he can't really hear them. All he knows is that he's making the appropriate dramatic hand gestures because his hand keeps coming into the scope of his tunnel vision.

Zayn and Liam and Niall are oooh-ing, he can tell that much, but Louis' voice isn't there. He's supposed to be backing. Why isn't he backing?

But then the song is over with Zayn's last note and they're dismissed. Harry nearly trips, his legs are trembling so badly.

Louis is lagging, his limp more pronounced now that they're not in front of the judges, and Harry hangs back with him. “Louis, why didn't you sing?”

Louis shrugs, looking what can only be described as melancholy. His eye lashes cast long shadows against his cheek bones and the corners of his mouth are turned down in the slightest of frowns.

Before thinking about it, Harry darts close to him and presses his lips to his cheek. “Missed you. Was cold last night.”

Louis lets his mouth quirk up the tiniest bit but still keeps his eyes on the ground in front of him.

“I feel like if I talk too much my guts are gonna come up out of me,” he finally says, carding fingers through his fringe and then biting at his already stubby nails.

“Nervous?” Harry asks. Louis nods. “Me too.”

“I feel like I fucked up our chances. I don't want this to end. I don't want us to end.”

Even worse than how completely disconsolate Louis' voice sounds is the fact that Harry doesn't know which 'us' he means.

“We should've practiced more, and I shouldn't suggested so much bonding time, and I shouldn't have stepped on that stupid fucking sea urchin.”

“Louis, if we don't get through it's not your fault at all. You have to know that.” Harry tells him, pulling his eyebrows together. Louis doesn't get a chance to respond though, because the camera men want some footage of them looking concerned. Which isn't hard at all for Harry now.




They're told to walk in in a certain order, Harry first, Niall, Louis, Zayn, and then Liam last, but Harry's shaking so much he really wishes he had Louis next to him. His rock in his hard place, even if that's not the expression.

“D'you understand why I did this in the first place?” Simon asks from his position in his chair. Harry wonders how many low-necked white shirts he owns.

“Yeah,” Louis answers quietly and quickly. His arm is around Niall and Harry feels warmth where his knuckles brush his shoulder.

“Because I think once we got through to the bootcamp stage, there were weaknesses,” Simon continues. Harry wonders what he did wrong, but he wouldn't change it for anything. He's only been in this band for two weeks and he can't imagine doing it on his own. “Which is why we made the decision about each of you individually. To a point when you came in at a disadvantage because you didn't have the time the other groups had.” Harry's whole body feels like it's on fire waiting for Simon to give them an answer. Louis is gripping tightly to the muscle next to Harry's neck, his fingers digging in like Harry is the only thing tethering him to the ground. Maybe he is. “On the... more positive note, when it worked, it worked. My head is saying it's a risk, and my heart is saying is that you deserve a shot, and that's why it's been so difficult.” Louis grips harder, harder. Niall lets out a deep breath next to him, his back muscles twinging under Harry's hand. The pause lasts forever and Harry ages a good fifteen years in those fifteen seconds.

“Guys,” he finally says, with another pause, “I've gone with my heart. You're through.” And Harry's heart is gone. It had been beating so hard and so fast and now it's either pounding so quickly he can't hear it or it's stopped altogether. All he knows is that he's yelling and he's instantly started crying, like a dam had just shattered. They're pulled into a group hug but Harry wiggles himself out of it to run and hug Simon, trying to stop the sobs from erupting out of his throat. It doesn't work and he's crying into Simon's shoulder while Niall runs over and blubbers in an unintelligible Irish accent. He feels someone else hugging and recognizes Zayn's sounds of happiness.

He manages to pull away from Simon but he can't stop crying for the life of him, this relief, this happiness, is greater than any pain he's ever felt. No one ever told him how good it hurt to be so happy.




They're thrown into the X Factor house almost haphazardly, and of course for the five of them they get probably the smallest room. Bunk beds. (Harry gets the bottom bunk under Louis, so it's okay as long as he doesn't sit up too fast. He wanted the top bunk, but Louis tickled him until he gave in, gasping and squealing.)

“I can't believe I'm here,” Liam whispers in awe, sitting down on his bed even though he has to hunch his shoulders so as not to hit his head.

Harry wants to correct him with a “we” but he knows how much this means to Liam, and he hopes that he realizes soon that he can't work the same way he did when he was a solo artist.

“Did you know I almost didn't get out of bed the day I auditioned? My mum made me,” Zayn says, looking at his hand where it rests on the thin blanket of his bed.

“If I'd been born one day later I'd have missed the cut off,” Harry adds.

“I only wanted an opinion,” Louis says. And Harry nods as if to say, ‘me too.’

“Me ‘n’ Liam were roommates in bootcamp, d'ya know that?” Niall says. It's suddenly very solemn in the room.

“I was dead when I was born. The doctors had to bring me 'round.” Liam says, fingers tracing over a spot on his stomach.

Harry had believed in fate when he first held a boy in his arms, but it's sitting with his boys that he learns of destiny.




So they all eat dinner together in the house that first night and the table is packed with people and food. Everyone's jabbering, eyes bright and excited and ready to conquer the world. And it's so sad that not all of them will.

Louis' sat next to him but on his other side is a guy named Aiden Grimshaw, who Harry'd talked to a bit during bootcamp. Problem is Aiden is flirting, and Louis is flirting back, and he's letting out these little giggles and fluttering his eyelashes like some fucking cliché and Harry is so irrationally angry about it. You kissed me, he thinks hotly, trying desperately to send the words to Louis. You kissed me and now you're flirting with him?

“Hey, love, you alright?” A heavy accent says next to him and Harry turns, a little startled. First thing he sees is very, very thin eyebrows and dark hair. He remembers her name to be Cher, and he remembers her bootcamp song. She was good. Different.

“Yeah, just,” pining pathetically for my band mate, “it's all overwhelming, you know? Can't believe I'm here.”

And it's not completely a lie, not really, this is all so amazing and like a dream come true. Literally. It is his dream coming true. Hopefully.

"Aw, babe, we're all the same too. Can you believe you're gonna perform in Wembley Arena?” Cher asks, eyes sparkling excitedly.

So he falls into conversation with Cher easily, telling each other their stories animatedly and laughing loudly. He thinks he rather likes her, and he hopes they become good friends. She's quite pretty as well, but, like, yeah, he likes girls, but he really does prefer boys. Specifically, boys who look like pixies with oceans in their eyes.

It's over halfway through dinner when Harry feels hands on his shoulder, and Louis' face is next to his.

“Sorry, love, can I steal my bandmate's attention for a mo'?” Louis asks, and his breath smells faintly of wine, and Harry is thrown into memories of their kiss in the grass. Cher waves her hand in a not a problem gesture and Harry turns to face Louis instead.

“Did you need something?” Harry asks, cocking his head slightly.

“Nah, just getting a little jealous. Talk to me, I missed you.” Harry knows he shouldn't feel so satisfied, but, god, does he ever.

“That's dumb, I'm sitting right next to you.” Harry giggles.

“S'not enough, Curly, gotta have constant attention from you or I wither away.”

Funny how in sync they are.




“You think we're gonna make it?” It's dark. Harry forgets the course of events but somehow the night had ended with him curled up against Louis on his bunk.

“I think we could do anything, Haz.” The words are smudged against his forehead, and it's like the syllables soak into his pores and tell his brain to turn off, and then he's asleep, all wrapped up in Louis and a reality that seems more like a dream.




So Louis' got a bowl cut, Niall looks like a diamond, and now they're sat on the stairs filming their first ever X Factor video diary.

The red light comes on, signaling that they're rolling, and Harry hears Louis from where he's sat diagonally behind him. “Hi we're One Direction, and this is our video diary.”

Harry finishes for him, like they'd rehearsed. “And you can come back here every week to find out what we've been up to, how we're feeling--” there's suddenly fingers massaging into his scalp, and he knows it's Louis, “--and everything that's going on.” Louis keeps massaging his curls for a moment and then strokes down his face, and Harry barely manages to hold back a smile and shiver.

It goes on for a couple minutes. It's their first one, so obviously there isn't going to be as much to talk about. All Harry knows is that Louis keeps touching him and looking at him and Harry never wants him to stop.

Also, Niall seems to have gotten it into his head that that's just how to be friends with Harry, and Harry doesn't have the heart to tell him that he only likes it when Louis does it because, well, Louis is Louis. Harry doesn't pine after Niall hopelessly. Niall would probably be easy anyway, too carefree. Besides, Harry loves Niall as a friend and he just doesn't see anyone else like he sees Louis--like he's surrounded by colors and light and he's always glowing, and Harry always wants to be inside that halo with him.




Their first live performance is something magic, something magicked by entities Harry couldn't begin to imagine. There's the lights and the cheers and the music all swirling around in Harry's veins. It's like a homecoming.

First is the opening verse which is all Liam, and of course it's impeccable, and then Zayn's bit is coming up and Harry's stomach turns. He'd had a timing problem in rehearsals with Savan, their vocal coach, he always came in two beats early. But the two beats pass and there's his voice, and he's so good. Like, Harry already knew Zayn was a good singer, but something about the stage and the atmosphere and Wembley Arena just makes him sound so much better. He was born to be a vocalist, Harry thinks.

And then Niall's up, and Harry can't help but smile at the energy in his voice. He's giving these four lines his all, so much life. Like he's been waiting for this moment his whole life, training and working for much longer than seven days.

And then it's the chorus and Harry raises the microphone to his lips, hears words fall into the gridded wires and hears the cheers of the audience, hears Louis and Zayn's voice mix with his and it's magical.

And that was when I ruled the world.

All Harry wants to do is push Louis up against a wall and kiss to get the adrenaline out of his system. They'd all been buzzing the whole way home, spewing out quotes from the judge's comments and boasting. (“None of them were really negative! They just have to have a criticism like it's required!” Niall had insisted.) But it's like he's champagne, and when his resistance is taken away he just explodes.

Problem is, they still haven't talked about it. They cuddle, and they kiss each other's cheeks and have pet names for each other, but they haven't kissed again. Harry wants it more than almost anything in the entire universe.




It's torture, is what it is. Harry can't do this anymore. Louis is so--god--he's so beautiful and he's so hot and he's so funny and Harry wants to fucking drown him in kisses. This is ridiculous. Louis is ridiculous. Harry is ridiculous.

Niall, though, is the most ridiculous.

“Just tell him! Idiot,” he says, like that's actually a plausible solution.

“Niall, don't you know anything? It doesn't work like that.” Harry's pacing. He's been pacing for fifteen minutes, actually, since Louis left to go shower and Harry saw his bare butt in all it's globe-like glory. Harry wanted to grab it and knead it and feel the muscles tense up as Louis moved his hips, and. Yeah. So pining has expanded into sexual frustration. But Harry is a sixteen year old boy and Louis looks like a god, so, really, who's at fault here?

“But... I'm pretty sure that's the only way it works,” Niall says, looking confused while munching on a muffin he stole from breakfast.

“No, you're ridiculous. I'm gonna talk to Zayn. Zayn's wise.”

“Zayn is wise, but he's gonna say the same thing I did.”

"No he won't.”

"Yes he will.”

“No he won't.”

“Yes he will.”

"No he won't.”

Louis chooses this moment to walk in, and suddenly Harry is parched and wants to drink the water directly off his skin.

“What are we talking about?”

“Harry has something to tell you!” Niall announces.

“No I don't!” Harry protests.

“Yes he does.” Niall tells Louis.

“No I don't!”

"Yes he does.”

“No I don't.”

“Yes he does.” Louis looks back and forth between them before moving to his suitcase, picking out some sweat pants and a t shirt.

“No I d--” And then Louis drops his towel.

Harry has to flee the room.

He may or may not groan Louis' name when he has a wank in the shower later.




“So. You're telling me you fell in love with him in the toilets.” Zayn says, as if this were a complicated math problem.

“No, Zayn, pay attention--we met in the toilets and I thought he was pretty.” Harry corrects him.

“Can boys even be considered pretty?” Niall asks from his bunk behind Harry.

“Niall, we've already discussed this. I'm going to need you to give Zayn all the thinking room he needs.” Harry says, tossing the words over his shoulder. He turns back to Zayn. “Anyway, so I've asked Niall's opinion, but he was all 'just tell him, ya idjit and--”

“Wait wait wait, so basically, you fell in love with his willy.” Zayn still doesn't seem to understand the real problem here.

“You would have too, if you'd seen it.”

“It's actually quite impressive, while soft too,” Niall interjects, drumming a rhythm with his hands into his belly.

“Why haven't I seen Louis' willy?” Zayn pouts.

“Ask to later! Really, please, I'm begging you for help here,” Harry pleads, clasping his hands in front of him.

“Right, okay.” Zayn still looks offended.

“So, Niall was all, 'just tell him ya idjit,’ and that wasn't helpful and I need your help.”

Zayn thinks for a moment, then, “just tell him, you idiot.”

Harry sighs, shoulders slumping. To think he called Zayn wise.

“But what if he doesn't feel the same?”

“He does.”




It's movie night in the X Factor house, and so Harry, Louis, Niall, Cher, Aiden, Wagner, Katie, Mary, and all the Belle Amie girls are watching Titanic, which Harry had suggested. Everyone's crying now. Wagner's the loudest, and Harry's got his face half pressed into Louis' chest so he can watch and soak up his tears at the same time. Louis' pretending not to be crying, but Harry can hear him sniffling and can feel the way his fingers tremble as he pets over his curls.

“Let's be Jack and Rose, but minus the dying,” he whispers.

“You do look like a young Leonardo DiCaprio,” Harry tells him, and Louis pinches his cheek, then swipes his thumb over the tears he finds there.

“Thought you said this was your favorite movie?”

“It is.”

“Then why are you crying?”

“I like sad movies,” Harry explains simply. Mary shushes them, then, so they stop talking, but Louis keeps his hand near Harry face and wipes under his eyes every so often.

“You're my favorite tissue,” Harry says quietly enough that only Louis can hear, and grins when Louis has to hold back a laugh.

So the movies finally ends and someone still has enough strength left to get up and turn on the lights. No one talks for a minute, everyone trying to compose themselves, and Harry tries not to giggle at the constant chorus of sniffling.

“The part where that guy shoots himself is what gets me,” Niall pipes up, twisting a finger into the corners of his eyes. Someone murmurs agreement.

“Same, after that I'm just gone from there,” Cher says, wiping at the eyeliner dripping onto her cheekbones.

“I like the sex scene,” Louis says, and Harry giggles.

“Of course you do.” Mary rolls her eyes, “You're a teenage boy.”

“Do the windows really fog up like that?” Niall asks, and they all laugh, starting to recover from being heartbroken. They all just talk for a little while and Louis gets up to pee at some point. As soon as the bathroom door closes in the background, Sophia from Belle Amie turns to Harry and just says, “dish, now.” And it's such a classically teenage girl phrase that Harry forgets what it means.


“Are you and Louis a couple? Are you dating? Have you kissed?” Wagner asks, looking as engrossed as Sophia. Which is honestly funny. Harry feels kind of bad for Katie, who he'd been set up on a date with during bootcamp, and Cher, who's been flirting with him pretty intensely, but he has no intention of passing up an opportunity to get advice on this.

“We're not, like, together, but we did kiss once.” He says, blushing.

“I knew it! Jess you owe me five quid.” Sophia says, grinning. Then, “what was it like?”

“Um, nice? I don't know what you mean.”

“Like where were you, how long did you kiss for, were there fireworks, et cetera,” she reiterates, moving in closer. Everyone's looking at him now and he can feel his cheeks burning.

“Um, we were at my dad's bungalow for rehearsals for Simon's house. It was the night before we left for Spain and neither of us could sleep. We, like, drank a lot of wine and sat in the grass, and then lay down in the grass, and I think we might have been holding hands.” Someone awwws. “And we were just talking, like, a lot, and then I think Louis kissed me, but it also could have been mutual? But it wasn't, like, fireworks and stuff. It was just kinda like, like, it was normal? Like it was something we'd been doing a lot, like, just an extension of talking and being friends. Like, it felt like something that was just right for us to do, I guess.”

Sometime during his description, Sophia had looked away from Harry and behind him, and it only occurs to him once he's stopped that Louis is probably behind him. He turns his head to look over his shoulder, and, yeah. Louis' leaning against the door frame and one corner of his mouth is quirked up in an expression Harry can only describe as wistful. But maybe he's projecting.

“Well, I think I'm off to bed, everyone,” Louis announces, and everyone murmurs awkward goodnights. Once he's gone again, Harry drops his burning face into his hands and groans. “Oh god.”

Harry sleeps in his own bunk that night.




"Harry is the flirt,” Louis says and Harry's nerve endings zing. He said that. To, like, the entire internet. And maybe they won't know, like, really what that means, but Harry does and he can't stop smiling. Like, there's two ways this is going in Harry's mind. One, Louis' jealous because Harry was literally just with Cher and he was playing with her hair and Louis walked in and then promptly turned on his heels and walked out. Two, Louis knows Harry has a crush on him and he's recognizing it. That can be bad and good, but Harry has decided he's an optimist.

The next question, then, is what do they look for in a girl. And, yeah, Harry likes girls, but he's more into boys at the moment. Specifically the boy sitting diagonally in front of him, even though he's parted his fringe and it looks rather stupid. It's, like, endearing. Which is dumb. Harry's so dumb for this boy.

Liam says he likes girls with nice eyes, which, yeah, alright Liam, pick a more cliched answer. Harry's imagining all sorts of unlikely scenarios, where Louis stands up and proclaims, “I like girls with green eyes and curly hair named Harry Styles except he's a boy. I hope that's not a problem.” But what he actually says is infinitely better. “I like girls who... eat carrots!”

Harry's falling hard and he's falling fast, so it's only appropriate when he says his favorite song is Free Fallin' by John Mayer.




This time, after the performance, he does kiss Louis. He never thought it'd be throwing up twice and Kelly Clarkson that would drive him to do it, but he was belting out 'cause we belong together now’ to thousands of people, but the only person he wanted to hear it was standing right next to him.

“Lou, I want to kiss you,” he says. It's late. They should be asleep. The performance buzz should have dissipated by now. Harry shouldn't be falling this hard for his bandmate.

There's a pause in which Harry's heart prepares itself to shatter, then, “Okay,” Louis says, moving closer to do just that, and it shouldn't be that easy. Harry can feel his pulse pushing up his skin.

“No, like, I want--” Harry huffs, not knowing exactly how to word what it is he wants without letting out all the embarrassing things he wants (like a steady relationship and to call Louis his boyfriend and to hold his hand in public and to get married on a boat and six kids, one dog, and three cats and, like, 70 years together.) “Just, not like last time? I want more.” Harry wants the fireworks and the angels to sing. Somehow, Louis seems to gets this. It's their psychic link, and he murmurs, “God, me too, so much,” and he crashes their lips together like Harry is an oasis in the desert and he's a dying man.

And there's heat behind it, blazing, plasmatic, like stars crashing together, like an explosion in space, like a supernova, like a black hole--everything else sucked out of existence. There's no bed and there's no pillow and they're not lying down, just floating somewhere, somehow, and there's no room and there's no X Factor house and there's no Niall snuffling or Liam's deep, even breathing and there's no wind or traffic outside and there's no hum of the heating unit and it's all just Louis. All encompassingly Louis.

When they come up for air Louis' eyes bore into Harry's own. “You wouldn't believe how long I've wanted to do that.”

“But we already did,” Harry whispers, instead of the try me he'd originally thought up.

“It was different this time,” Louis says, and Harry knows exactly what he means. He tucks his head into the crook of Louis' neck, breathing in the scent of his skin and body wash.

“So what does this mean? Like, what are we?” He asks quietly, letting his finger trail patterns into the skin of Louis' forearm.

“We could be, like, dating, I'd like to be dating you, Harry,” he says quietly. Harry leans back, so he's over Louis, holding himself up by his arms.

“Yeah?” He asks.

“Yeah.” Louis smiles. Harry launches himself forward and kisses him again, this time messily, just lips on lips and happiness squared.

“Why did this take so long?” He asks, smudging the words against Louis' lips like a prayer. “I could have done this every day for the past, like, three weeks.”

“I thought you thought that night at your dad's place was a mistake,” says Louis sheepishly, his eyelashes flicking down and then back up. Harry is close enough to count each individual one, and he's on seven when he remembers to reply.

“No, never. Anything that involves you could never be a mistake.”

Louis kisses him again.

“Oh my god, learn how to make out quietly for fuck's sake.” Zayn groans, and Harry doesn't think he's tasted anything better than Louis' laugh.




Harry's trying to figure out how to sing from his belly and not his throat in vocal coaching with the boys and Savan and he just can't seem to get this song right. Part of it may be that he doesn't particularly care for the song but another part is that he's insanely distracted.

He's dating Louis. Like, they kissed and they discussed it--it's mutual--and they walked down the stairs to breakfast that morning holding hands. Sophia had looked at their interlocked fingers and grinned, and suddenly the whole house was congratulating them.

And now that he can, like, whenever he wants to, all Harry wants to do is kiss Louis. Kiss him til his lips are swollen three times their size and chapped and he feels like he's just had a bottle of wine all to himself.

Harry's entire body hasn't stopped tingling since the night previous. He feels like he can feel every atom whirring in his body, every electron buzzing. He feels weightless, like he's been turned into candy floss.

“Harry, c'mon, focus,” Savan urges, snapping in front of his face. Harry's vision comes into focus and he realizes he's been staring for a pretty long time at Louis, who's somewhere between grinning like a loon and looking bashful.

“Yeah, sorry, just...” He trails off, lacking an excuse.

“Staring at your boyfriend, yeah, we know,” Zayn teases. The air lodges in Harry's throat and he splutters. Liam sighs exasperatedly from somewhere behind him, but he doesn't really hear that, because he's back to staring at Louis and the way he's grinning at him.

“Well, I'm sorry, it's just difficult for me to sing from my diaphragm. I'm pretty sure your voice box is somewhere in your throat anyway,” Harry snaps at Zayn. Harry really didn’t mean to be rude, he's just a little frustrated.

Louis walks around the piano so he's next to Harry and lays his hand out flat on his lower ribcage. “Try to sing from where my hand is,” he says, and Harry closes his eyes and imagines he doesn't have a voice box and that the whole reason he sings is Louis' hand warm on his skin.

It works. Harry belts out the notes from his diaphragm and Louis keeps his hand pressed to his stomach for the whole rehearsal.

After, they kiss each other silly on the car ride home, and everyone in the van with them pretends not to notices.




They're sent out to go shopping for some footage and a tweet is sent out with their location, so that by the time they get to the store there's easily a hundred shrieking girls in the store and men with cameras.

In the seat of the car next to him, Niall grabs his forearm and squeezes.

"Lads, have I told you I'm claustrophobic?” His voice shakes.

“Me 'n' Curly will stay with you, Ni. Right, Hazza?” Louis says, rubbing at his shoulder.

“Yeah, of course. If you need anything we'll get you out of there.” Harry adds.

“Harry, Louis, I think that's actually not the best idea,” their minder says, and Harry turns to him in confusion. “You're just kind of... obvious when you're together. I think maybe it'd be best if you didn't shop together. Harry, you could go with Liam, and then Louis and Zayn could mind Niall.”

“Why can't me and Harry stay together?” Louis asks, voice small, like he already knows the answer.

Their minder sighs. “Look, kid, if you wanna make it big in this business you're gonna get closeted. It's best if you start early. This is easy, okay? Twenty minutes apart. Buy matching shirts or something. Learn sign language, or morse code. I'm sorry to be so blunt about this but it's only gonna get worse.”

Harry turns to look at Louis, and finds Louis already looking at him.

Louis puts on a grin that maybe doesn't quite reach his eyes. “Don't worry, Curly, that won't happen to us,” he says cheerily, and yeah, why would anyone want to hide this? This is something that is going to be absolutely beautiful, if it isn’t already.

They listen to the minder's advice, though, and Harry has some nice bonding time with Liam.

He also buys matching checkered boots with Louis.

(And Louis downloads a sign language app on his phone.) (But Harry doesn't know that.) (Louis doesn't want him to know how right the minder probably was.)




By Wednesday, everyone has stopped being endeared with how inseparable Louis and Harry are and are now discussing a no-PDA rule for the house.

“Just, like, don't think of it as PDA.” Louis shrugs, lips still glossy and eyes still a little foggy. Harry's half hard in his pants, but it's been like five days since his last wank and this is to be expected.

“What else could it be? You're snogging all the god damned time.” Niall rolls his eyes, but Harry knows that he likes them together.

"It's just like talking, like an extension of our conversation.” Louis side eyes Harry, and Harry grins back at him. “Only closer.”

"You two are absolutely ridiculous,” Katie says, laughing. Louis squeezes Harry's hand, and Harry had forgotten it was there. Their fingers have been intertwined for so long he got used to it, like after you take off a ring and you can still feel it's ghost.

“How's this, every time we see you two making out, we'll sic the cameras on you for an interview or something?” Cher suggests, and everyone agrees. (Except Louis and Harry.)




Since they can no longer make out in the comfort of their own living room, after dinner when the rest of the contestants are socializing, filming, watching movies, or playing a game of some sort, Louis and Harry can be found on Louis' bunk, and there's no real way to tell where one boy ends and the other begins. Niall came in once for his gameboy, said, “you look like you're swallowing each other,” laughed when Louis gave him the finger without disconnecting, and left.

It's when Louis rolls them over so he's straddling Harry that he notices. He breaks them apart, eyes still closed and forehead resting against Harry's, and asks, “Harry, is that...”

Harry can feel himself flush, even though he was probably already red from lack of unnecessary oxygen. “Um. I'm sorry. I just, um. I'm sixteen?”

Louis throws his head back and laughs, and the column of his throat is all Harry can look at. He wants to lean up to attach his lips to the spot at the base of it and wants to hear Louis moan.

Louis moves his hips then, pressing down into Harry's hip, and Harry feels it. The hard line of Louis' cock, rigid in his sweatpants.

“Don't think age has much to do with it, love,” He murmurs. Harry can't respond, suddenly hit with a wave of disbelief. Is this a dream? Is he having a wet dream right now? Is he gonna wake up with sticky sweatpants and have to use toilet paper and the tap to wash off in the bathroom?

“Curly? You alright?” Louis asks, sitting up further and looking concerned at Harry's silence.

Harry gasps. “Yes, fuck, just kiss me again.”

Louis doesn't argue, just leans down and connects their mouths, hot and heavy and Harry loses himself in it, in how Louis tastes and how new it all still is, until he feels Louis reach down and press his palm against Harry's dick. Harry groans low in his throat, and it's embarrassing how badly he wants it. Louis slips his thumb under the waistband of Harry's sweatpants.

“No pants?” He asks, amused.

“Commando's better,” Harry says, panting slightly.

“You alright with this?” Louis tentatively pushes his hand further down Harry's pants. Breath leaves Harry's lungs in a gasp when he feels Louis' fingers wrap around the base of his cock.

“Yeah, yeah, anything,” he replies. “Please.”

“Needy, aren't you?” Louis smirks, lifting his lips from where they were sucking a bruise in the hollow behind Harry's ear. He strokes his hand down Harry's length once and a breathy moan escapes Harry's lips. He still can't believe this is actually happening.

“S'funny, always thought maybe you'd be less of a tease in bed.”

“Oh, so you've thought about me in bed?” Louis asks against Harry's neck, swirling his thumb around the head of Harry's dick, spreading the precome that's already beading there. Harry tries to respond, but his brain has lost all capacity for thought. Louis leans up so his lips are brushing Harry's ear.

“I have too. 've thought about you naked.”

“You've seen me naked. Truth or dare.”

“Different. Flushed and moaning this time, hard. Had a dream the other night about you, all spread out on my bed. God, Haz, I’d fucking wreck you.” His fist is tight and just a bit dry, moving a little quicker now, while pushing down Harry's sweatpants with his free hand so they're around his knees.

“Oh my god,” Harry moans, partially from the friction on his cock and partially from the image. It hits him, then, that, perfect as this is, it could get even better. Because someday it might be Louis’ lips wrapped around his dick, Louis’ hands working him open, Louis himself fucking Harry. Harry's only ever had two of his own fingers in himself and he comes so hard every time. How an entire cock would feel- splitting him open, hitting all the right spots. God, fuck, he's close even just thinking about it.

“Louis, do it together,” he gasps. “Want you to come too.”

“You're close aren't you? From just that.” Louis whispers, and it sounds like he's almost in awe.

“Like I said, sixteen.” He grits his teeth. “Now, please, together. Just--” He pulls Louis' joggers and pants down all in one go and almost wants to cry when he sees Louis' cock. He'd seen it soft twice and it was pretty impressive then, but some how he's managed to be a shower and a grower at the same time. It’s so thick--god, what it'd be like to have it inside him.

Louis notices Harry's reaction and smirks, and fuck how is he so calm at a time like this? Then he lines them up and strokes his hand down. Harry loses himself then, lost in the feeling of Louis' cock against his and his hand pumping them both. He feels like he's on fire in the most wonderful sort of way. Like electric currents are coursing through his veins alongside the dopamine in his blood. At some point Louis presses the flat of his hand against Harry’s mouth to muffle his moans, and Harry can’t help but bite down. All his senses are shattered, fragmented, he can only feel perfectly. He wants, more than maybe anything, to memorise the look on Louis’ face, but with each tug, his eyes slide closed. All he can hear are Louis' gasps, landing perfectly against his lips.

“Louis, please. Kiss me,” he begs, arching up into Louis' touch. When Louis does, his breath is heavy, whimpers falling into Harry's waiting mouth.

The moment they connect, Harry feels himself spill over with a gasping moan. That's all it takes for Louis to follow, lost in the heat and each other.

They hold each other through the aftershocks, and when they’ve finally come down, the first thing they do is, naturally, laugh.

Harry can't believe that just happened.

“I can't believe that just happened,” Louis says.

“I can't believe we both jizzed on my favorite shirt.”

When they get up to clean off in the bathroom, they find Zayn, Liam, and Niall sitting outside the door with their fingers pressed against their ears.

“Fucking finally, we've been waiting for ages,” Zayn groans. They get up and file in, Liam shaking his head at them in a way that could easily be described as fond.

“Oi, it smells like sex in here,” Niall shouts. Harry giggles. Sex, imagine that. Actual like sex with Louis, not just a hand job. To be with him like that... even now that he's not desperate for an orgasm, he wants that someday.

After Harry and Louis clean off in the bathroom, Niall is the only one left in the room.

“We're gonna do the video diary now, if you two are up for it?” He's tapping away on his gameboy and doesn't bother to look up.

“Yeah sure,” Louis says, but Harry feels a bit sleepy, wants a cuddle.

“Cool, Liam and Zayn are already on the stairs, I'll be down in a minute, just gotta finish this level,” he says. Harry and Louis nods and walk down hand in hand.

They pass Wagner in the kitchen, having a late night snack. “Gonna have to invest in some ear plugs,” he says, grinning, as they walk by. Harry's cheeks flame up and he ducks into Louis' neck.

“Cuddly one, aren't you?” He whispers as they continue on to the stairs.

“Mm. Sleepy,” Harry says.

“Such a boy,” Louis laughs.

“Well, you were just holding my dick, so you'd know.”

When they reach the stairs, they find something pretty interesting. Liam's hands are on either side of Zayn's face and Zayn's are on Liam's waist. Their foreheads are pressed together, but they're not kissing. It's like they're just suspended there, both of them waiting for the other to make the move.

“Um,” Harry says, and they spring apart, wild eyed. Liam coughs.

“Right, uh, sorry. Zayn just, uh, had something in his eye.”

Harry doesn't miss the way Zayn rolls his eyes at that.

“Shall we get goin' then?” They hear Niall yell from up the stairs. “I picked some questions for us, s'funny, there's some in there about 'Larry Stylinson.'” He plops himself down on the middle stair.

“Who's that?” Liam asks quickly, apparently thankful for the distraction.

“S'like a combination of Harry and Louis. Like Brangelina.”

Louis perks up at that, grinning. “Harry, we're a super couple!” Harry just blinks sleepily and leans on his shoulder, nuzzles there happily.

“Jesus, Lou, what'd you do to him?” Niall asks, laughing, taking in Harry's slightly dopey state.

“Absolutely nothing you wouldn't approve of, Ni. His biology is just telling him to go to sleep. Boys are wired to fall asleep after they come, you know.” Louis explains, running fingers through Harry's soft curls.

“Then why aren't you tired? I don't do that,” Niall asks.

“You and me just have more practice then.” Louis grins, and Niall flushes.

“Before this gets any more uncomfortable than it already is, can we film the video diary?” Zayn suggests.

They all agree and sit in their respective places, Harry and Louis in front, Zayn and Niall in the middle, and Liam in the back. Harry doesn't pay too much attention, just wants to curl up into Louis and sleep for a good long while, and he makes sure to maintain constant contact with him out of camera shot. All he wants is to kiss him all the time always. Every second spent not kissing Louis is  frankly a waste.




“Baby, your secret's safe with me, there's no where else in the world that I would rather be...” Harry's voice is soft in the dark room, the performance buzz has finally worn off, and sleep is tugging at Harry's eyelids, threatening to pull him under. But he doesn't want to sleep, he wants to stay here with Louis for as long as possible.

“It's 'could ever be,’” Louis whispers.

“I know,” Harry replies. Louis get it, presses a kiss, soft, to Harry's lips. Sleep takes them both at the same time, and Harry doesn't dream. Right now, he has everything he wants.




So it's probably dumb. No, scratch that, it is dumb, but Harry's such a jealous person. It doesn't help when the person he's dating/his boyfriend/bandmate/best friend/person-whose-tongue-was-just-down-his-throat-fifteen-minutes-ago is sitting quite comfortably in the lap of another boy.

They're filming Question Time Week 4 and Aiden and Louis are the hosts and Louis is just perched so comfortably in Aiden's lap and it's making Harry want to rip Aiden's stupid fucking quiff out of his scalp.

Worst part is, he likes Aiden. He's a nice guy, friendly enough, but Harry's about to pee on Louis to mark him as strictly Harry's. Problem is, he's not. They're dating. They kiss. They've had an orgasm together. That doesn't mean that they're exclusive.

Harry wants to be.

Like desperately.

So he can't be held accountable for his actions because he's a little angry and frustrated and he wants Louis in his lap. Or, better yet, him to be in Louis' lap.

"I've got to go to the toilets, can we pause recording for a minute?” Harry asks, moving to stand from the couch. Everyone agrees and stops the camera and Harry totters off to the loo, already formulating a plan in his mind.

It's when the three dots that should signal that Louis is typing don’t appear that Harry regrets it. And now Harry’s wondering if Louis will even respond, 'cause he’s been gone for so long it must seem like he's taking a shit.

What suddenly comes through is, Harry.

Yes? Harry replies.

As much as i appreciate the gesture, u r suposed 2 b hard in a nude

Harry's cheeks flame up and he wants to bash his head against the linoleum. Another text buzzes in.

But after we finish filming this that can easily b fixed ;)

Then another text comes through

Boys... you know this is in a group message with the whole house, right?

Harry does smash his head into the linoleum now. And Louis is still in Aiden's lap when he finally gets back to filming. Louis does call him Hazza Curly McHazzaman, though, so not all is lost.

(But Harry does say that he thinks Aiden is the fittest person in the house, to give Louis a taste of his own medicine.)




Later, once Harry's breathing has returned to normal and Louis' wiped them off with a flannel, Louis asks, “Harry, what was the whole thing with that picture earlier?”

Harry blushes, so embarrassed that everyone in the house has seen his flaccid dick. Embarrassed about why he sent it.

“I was just,” he huffs, unsure, “like, jealous, I guess. I know we're not, like, exclusive, but I just... You were so like flirty with Aiden and I wanted to make you want me again. I guess.”

“So, let me get this straight. You sent a picture of your soft penis to the entire house because I was sitting in Aiden’s lap during filming?” And the way he phrases it is just so typically Louis, and to anyone else it might’ve been cutting, but it’s so soft, infinitely fonder than Harry honestly expected.

Harry flounders for the correct response. “Yeah. I’m so sorry, I know we haven’t talked about it, like, yeah, okay, we’re dating, but...I guess I just. I want more? I think. Is there more? Like--”

“Haz, it’s okay. Just. Christ, Harry. I thought I’d made it so, so clear. I’m yours, don’t you know that? I’m yours. I’ll sit in Aiden’s lap, yeah, like I’ll kiss Zayn on the cheek to piss him off or tap Niall’s balls just because. They’re my friends, and I’m just… Just that, like, kind of person, really. But don’t think for a second I wouldn’t have rather been in your seat, with you on my lap. I’m sorry, Curly. Maybe… Fuck. Maybe we should have talked this through.”

Harry's heart feels like it's expanded a thousand times, like it's taking up his entire body, stuffed into all his corners and the tips of his fingers and the shells of his ears.

“I--oh.” That’s all he can manage, eyes wide and taking in all of Louis he can. Blueblueblue eyes that the sea envies and skin the earth clings to and eyelashes spun by spiders and thin lips a color roses covet, and this boy, this absolutely exquisite boy wants Harry.

Harry doesn't know how he ended up kissing Louis now, but it doesn't matter because he wants to anyway. It's a sweet kiss, nothing like the dirty, tongue-heavy, hot kisses from a few minutes prior. Just soft lips pressed to soft lips, fingertips on still-blushed cheeks.

“And, just so we’re clear,” Louis says, words blurring into Harry's skin, “I'd really like it if we could be exclusive.”



“Like boyfriends?”

“Like boyfriends.”




Louis stands up at dinner two nights after the official conversation and hits his fork gently against his water glass.

“Everyone, Curly and I would like to make an announcement--”

“Isn't it too soon to get married?” Wagner interrupts, laughing. Married should absolutely positively not send the trill of electricity down Harry's spine that it does. He's sixteen, marriage should be, like, the equivalent of death. And they've only really been together, like, going on two weeks. And only exclusive for less than forty-eight hours. Harry never knew how fast he could fall until he hit the bottom.

“Very funny Wagner, thank you, but actually we'd like to announce that we are officially boyfriends. If I had my class ring I'd have him wear it like Danny and Sandy in Grease, only I probably wouldn't elbow him in the boob. That's all. Carry on.”

Most of them applaud, some just carry on eating (or a combination, like Niall.) But it feels pretty momentous to Harry. He called his mum the day after he and Louis decided and told her everything, excepting the hand jobs, and she was a blubbering mess, going on and on about how her baby was famous and in a relationship and how she wasn't there to see any of it. After a while she'd had to go calm down and put Gemma on the phone, and she asked about the good stuff. Like how many times they'd kissed (already lost count), if they'd done anything sexual (a bashful yes), when their first kiss was (bungalow), if Louis was a good kisser (yes!!!!!!!!), and if he had a nice penis. (Harry couldn't answer for that one, couldn't put into words just how absolutely wonderful Louis' penis is. Also, he didn’t exactly want to disclose that information to his sister.)

Then Louis had gotten off the phone with his mum and made the hand signals for a Mario Kart tournament, so Harry had quickly cut the conversation short, grabbed his gameboy and raced Louis down the stairs to the living room. Louis may have let him win out of pity after he tripped down the last couple of stairs, but a win’s a win.

The thing is, Louis and Harry are best friends before anything else. They may be officially boyfriends and they may kiss excessive amounts, but they were friends first and that will always be the most important part of their relationship, Harry thinks. Even now, sitting at the dinner table, if Harry hadn't lived the past few weeks, he'd think they were just best friends. That's what they are, really. Louis makes him laugh like nobody else can and they play video games and listen to music together. They're best friends who just so happen to also be romantically involved.

When Harry'd fantasized about relationships when he was younger, he never realized how important the friend aspect of a healthy relationship was. And, like, of course they've only been together a limited amount of time so he doesn't know everything, but he'd be so incredibly bored all the time if Louis wasn't his friend before his boyfriend. He and Louis just work in every aspect, and Harry can't help but feel like this announcement pertaining to the status of their relationship is only the first of many.




Harry's not really sure what course of events got Louis to be blindfolded with one of his scarves, but it is disappointingly PG. They're all sat on the stairs in the same order as last week, and Louis' up to more extreme antics than usual.

Harry doesn't know why he finds this absolute dork so endearing and frankly hilarious. Of course, Niall laughs more, but he's Niall. He'd laugh at gunpoint because the gun was 'cocked'. Also, Niall doesn't have to push through a haze of affection and desire to find his humor. Harry often does have to sift through his emotions to find the correct one, so that when Louis makes a joke he laughs instead of kissing him, like his first instinct so often is. He thinks that his lips are starting to become permanently puffy and pinker from all the kissing they've been doing.

Not that he minds, really, not at all.

He feels like he's floating most of the time, suspended from the clouds by a cord he can't see. Connected to Louis with something similar, so they're always rotating around each other. The moon and the sun.

But he was thinking the other night, what if? If they make it big, like he so, so hopes. What if he and Louis break up? God, they've only been together a couple weeks, they're not a done deal yet. Are they both going to be the Yoko Ono's of One Direction?

It's hard to imagine, though, with the way Louis is trying to tuck a smile into his shoulder after only touching Harry's hand.




It's somewhere around one in the morning and Harry can't sleep.

"Harry? You still awake?” Louis asks, the words skimming the top of Harry's head. Louis tightens his arms around Harry's middle.

“’Course,” Harry replies, and his voice sounds sleepier than he expected.

“M'nervous. 've got a solo this time. I mean, Liam's backing me but that doesn't count.” It’s just a bit scary, really, the way Louis’ voice shakes just a bit, because excepting at Simon's house after their performance of Torn, Harry doesn't think he's seen Louis get nervous yet. He always seems so strong, never unnerved, and Harry wonders if he should be more nervous than he is if Louis is nervous.

“Solos are the best part though, the crowd goes wild and just hearing your voice in that arena is amazing. It's okay to be nervous, though,” Harry says, turning over so he's facing Louis, whose eyes are glittering in the dark. It looks like there's fireflies trapped in those endless blues, and Harry wonders if he swallowed them that night at the bungalow, took them into his soul where they belong.

“But I'm not like you and Liam and Zayn, my voice isn't as strong. What if I hurt our chances of winning?” He sounds so small, and it's such a contrast from how he acts around other people and when they're filming things. It's amazing how guarded he is, and amazing how soft he is under the armor.

“You won't, Louis, you've been at rehearsals. You were there. We sounded incredible. You sounded incredible. You're incredible.”

"You think so?”

“After tomorrow, Bonnie Tyler’ll be jealous of us,” Harry grins, and Louis smiles back even though they can barely see each other in the dark.

“Don’t jinx it, Curly,” Louis says, and then pulls Harry close. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Harry asks, turning into the warmth of Louis' neck.

“Just being you, being Hazza. It's wonderful, you know.”

Harry presses a kiss to the beat of Louis' heart where it showcases itself in Louis' neck in lieu of a response.




Bright red eyeliner usually isn't something Harry puts on his list of things that make him want to kiss Louis against a wall, but he's learning that there's actually quite a few things on that list.

“How do you manage to make that look good?” Harry asks, trying to resist the instinct to wipe his own off.

“Innate talent, innit?” Louis grins and Harry rolls his eyes.

“It's so uncomfortable,” He groans. Cher looks over at him from her make up chair, where the finishing touches are being put on her incredible display of black eyeshadow, “You're a big baby.”

“Yeah,” Louis says, slinging an arm over Harry's shoulders, “but he's my baby.”

So, yeah, it's decided. After the performances Harry's shoving Louis against a wall and kissing the living daylights out of him.

Actually, he's going to wash the eyeliner off first.




The other contestants stay true to their promise.

After all the performances were done and they'd all changed into comfy clothes and taken off their makeup, they all sat backstage trying to relax away the performance high. Harry still had enough buzz of adrenaline in his bloodstream that he was desperate to make out with Louis, but he doesn't want the other boys around because they'll spoil it.

He and Louis were stood together listening to music on Harry's iPod, and maybe the playlist is titled 'louis.’ “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson came on then, and it's not really a song Harry would usually listen to but he thinks the lyrics are really cute and he thinks of Louis whenever he listens to it. He hummed along to the beginning, interrupted when Louis snorted. He looked at him questioningly.   

“That lyric!” Louis laughed. “'Maybe I wanna do what bunnies do with you if you know what I mean.' That's really funny.”

Harry made the mistake of pressing the button on his iPod and Louis read the playlist title.

Then, somehow, they were making out probably obnoxiously with Louis pressed up against the wall and Harry with one hand flat on the wall behind his head, making out to the song Harry thought he'd be least likely to make out with someone to. Really, ‘let's buy everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance’ isn't really the hottest lyric he's ever heard.

And apparently Matt had had enough and located a camera crew and sent them over, because now they're being interviewed. Harry's lips still feel slick and Louis' eyes are hooded and he's just realized his hand is still on the wall behind Louis and it's quite obvious what they've been doing.

It's their karma for kissing too much.

But really, is there such a thing as kissing too much?




Harry wakes up the first day of the fifth week with Louis' morning wood pressing into his bum. Not just pressing though, Harry can feel Louis' hips rotating and his breath coming in short little puffs, but he's decidedly asleep.

“Louis,” Harry whispers, nudging him with his elbow. There's no response, just the same incoherent whimpers and the hard line of Louis' cock pressed perfectly between Harry's cheeks.

It shouldn't turn him on as much as it does, his own dick beginning to fatten in his sweatpants. It's actually kind of embarrassing how much power Louis has over him.

Louis' whimpers get a little more desperate sounding, and Harry wonders what he's dreaming about, if he's going to come against Harry.

Harry would like to be the one to make him come.

And then he gets the idea.

The other boys are still asleep, he can hear Zayn's deep breathing and Niall's snuffles and Liam's soft breaths, and maybe Louis will make some noise, but probably not enough to wake them up, right? So he ducks his head under the comforter and shimmies down so his face is level with the bulge in Louis' boxers.

“Harry? What're you doing down there?” Louis mumbles drowsily, and Harry breathes a sigh of relief. He wanted to do this, but he'd much rather Louis be awake for it.

He pulls the covers down so he can see Louis, who's blinking at him sleepily.

He's just gonna come right out and say it. “Can I give you a blowjob?”

All the tiredness leaves Louis' face and he looks just as alert as ever. “Fuck. Was I talking in my sleep?”

Harry's confused for a moment, raising one eyebrow, before he realizes Louis was dreaming about Harry blowing him. He's not sure if he's more flattered or turned on.

“I, um, no? I just, uh, want to,” Harry stammers. This is off to a great start.

“You want--Jesus. Jesus. I mean, yeah, if you want to, yeah.” Louis may actually be blushing more than Harry.

Harry's not so sure how to start now, but the most natural thing seems to be pressing a soft kiss to the skin just below Louis' belly button and working his way down with the faint trailing of hair until the only thing separating his lips from Louis' dick is the thin cotton of his boxer briefs.

He looks up at Louis, unsure, and Louis nods. Harry pulls his pants down.

Every time he sees it he always forgets how big it is, and he doesn't get it. It doesn't make sense. Louis' hands and feet are so tiny and then he has this thick dick and it doesn't make sense. Getting his mouth around it will be okay, but how is he ever going to get that up his arse? God. He shivers just thinking about it, how full he'd feel.

But, right, focus on the task at hand, Harry. Sucking a dick. He's watched enough porn to do this right, right? Right.

But it's not just a dick. It's Louis' dick. This is precious and must be sucked as best as possible.

“You sure you wanna?” Louis asks, noticing Harry's pause. He doesn't mean to sound so reverent when he says, “God, yes, wanna make you feel good, Lou.”

“Shh, don't wanna wake up the boys, right?” Louis whispers. Harry shakes his head fervently. Louis pets over his curls. “Then whenever you're ready.”

Harry's ready, suddenly. He feels like he's never been more ready for anything in his whole entire life. Even that geography exam he studied for three days straight for that one time. Though this is very different than a geography exam.

He looks away from Louis' face and to his dick, which is slick at the top and hard against his stomach. Harry wants to lick it--and he actually can.

So he does. Without giving a chance to second guess himself, Harry runs the flat of his tongue from the base of Louis’ cock to the ridge beneath the head, tracing along a thick vein. Then he flicks his tongue across the slit, and he's never actually tasted precome, and it's just… It’s Louis.

He keeps exploring with his tongue, just wants to get even the smallest reaction from Louis.

“Harry,” Louis’ voice comes out rough, lower than it’s ever been. “Please stop teasing.”

Harry really wasn't aware that he had been teasing, but now that he knows he has this strange sort of power over Louis, he doesn't want to stop. He continues running his tongue from base to tip, each stroke pulling soft whimpers from Louis’ lips. Finally, because he can and because he’s wanted to for so many weeks, Harry takes the head of Louis’ cock in his mouth, tonguing at the slit before sucking gently. In the corner of his eye he sees Louis' fingers twist into the sheets.

 It's that tiny reaction that does him in.

He's gone from there, mostly unaware of what he's doing and just taking Louis down as far as he can go without asphyxiating and doing anything that makes Louis scrunch up his eyes and bite back a moan.

No one's woken up yet, but even if they had Harry doesn't think he could stop. He's getting this weird kind of second hand pleasure from this and he's impossibly hard in his sweatpants. Each time he tastes more precome leaking from the head of Louis' cock, his own dick gets harder. And Louis' holding back these tiny whimpers that just squeak out of him, and it’s weird and strange and so incredibly endearing, and all of a sudden Louis' hips buck up like he couldn't even control it. Harry’s throat closes around him and he pulls off, spluttering.

 “Fuck, Harry, I'm sorry.” Louis gasps, reaching out to make sure he's okay, but something about that turned Harry on so intensely. He wants Louis to do it again and again until his gag reflex is all but obsolete. He quite literally wants Louis to fuck his mouth, and that is a desire he hadn't prepared himself for. But it's intense, he thinks if Louis did it he could come from just that and nothing else.

“No,” his voices comes out rough and wrecked. “I, um, liked it.”

“And you're not saying that like you did about that horror movie?”

Harry giggles. “No, I--I want you to fuck my mouth.”

“Jesus,” Louis breathes, chest heaving. “You can't just giggle and then say that. It's giving me whiplash.”

Harry giggles again.

“Stop that!” Louis laughs.

“There's a way to shut me up, you know,” Harry says coyly, and when did he get so suave? Louis fish mouths for a moment before reaching out for Harry and suddenly Louis' over him, kissing him like he's oxygen and Louis almost just drowned.

“Not what I had in mind. But it works,” Harry gasps when Louis moves to his jaw.

“Apparently not well enough,” Louis replies, then, “You still want me to...”

“Fuck my mouth? Yeah, I do.”

“God, Harry, you're incredible.” Louis' breath shudders. Harry kisses his cheek.

“I think it'd be easiest, if I like, lied down and you were over me?”

“Shit, yeah okay,” Louis says, and they shift as quietly as they can, Harry loose and splayed on his back with Louis' groin directly above his mouth. The older boy is bracing himself against the headboard with his thighs resting near Harry’s shoulders, and, god, maybe he should feel trapped, should maybe even feel scared, but it’s just everything he’s wanted come true.

“Don't forget to warn me when you're gonna come, yeah?” Harry whispers and Louis nods. Harry places his hands on Louis’ hips, tugging him gently forward, and then Louis’ hand is feeding Harry his cock, and it’s just. He opens his mouth, accepting eagerly, and swirls his tongue around the head, lapping at the precome there and relishing in the taste. It's just manifestation of the fact that Louis feels good, it makes Harry happy that Louis is happy.

And it’s like he can’t get enough, with his hands moving of their own accord to grasp at Louis’ arse, pulling him down so he pushes farther in. His nose brushes the light hair dusting Louis’ navel, and Louis lets out a low groan. Harry squeezes his hands then, kneading Louis, as if to say c'mon, and Louis obliges, pulling his hips back slowly and gently thrusting them forward. It's not really mouth fucking, more like mouth making love, and that's just not what Harry signed up for. He wants Louis to treat his mouth like anything else he'd fuck, like any other hole. His fingers press harder into the curve of Louis' bum, helping to push him down faster and faster until it just seems to click.

And it’s just brilliant from then on, really, with Louis completely letting go. His hips snap forward, pushing himself deeper into Harry’s mouth. And, okay, Harry gags around him a couple times, but. It’s not long before he gets used to it, taking Louis in his mouth easily and trying not to moan too loudly. His own cock blurts precome nearly continuously in his sweatpants, probably soaking through the thick fabric.

The bed is creaking a little, but no one sleeps under them, and Harry's finding it harder to keep alert for signs of the other boys waking up. He keeps getting too absorbed in the taste of Louis' cock and Louis' strangled whimpers and the realization that, if this keeps going, Harry could maybe come untouched.

“F-Fuck, god, Jesus,” Louis gasps as Harry sucks, hollowing his cheeks and tonguing as best he can around Louis' dick. Harry wishes he could see Louis’ face, pictures it instead with mouth wide open and eyes shut tight, ab muscles and thighs tensing, fingers twisting and grabbing at the wood above their bed. Harry reaches down a hand to palm at himself through his joggers, desperate for some friction.

“'M so close, shit, oh--” Louis cuts off and Harry pulls off of him as best he can. He doesn't have enough time to move, apparently, because suddenly Louis' letting out a soft stream of swears, mixed with what sounds like Harry’s name, and he's coming all over Harry's face.

The second Louis' come splatters across Harry's cheekbone and swollen lips, he's gone, arching up off the mattress and biting down on his tongue to keep from screaming.

“Fuck, Harry I'm so sor--” Louis starts, but then notices Harry still trembling with aftershocks and the wet patch in his pants and he nearly chokes.

“Did you--?”

“Yeah, shit, oh my god.” Harry says, blinking. God, his throat is fucking wrecked. He flicks out his tongue in reflex and tastes Louis' come there. Then flicks his eyes up to Louis and licks it all off his lips, holding eye contact.


Then there's a creaking from across the room and Liam stands up, rubbing his eyes and stretching. He's got quite the noticeable tent in his pants.

“Had the strangest dream, boys, I was like trapped in a closet or something and I was watching you two fuck. Please don't ever do that to me,” he says, eyes still shut. And then, Liam opens his eyes and takes in Louis' softening cock and the come painting Harry's face.

“I'm. I think I’m going to go eat breakfast. If I don't puke it up it'll be a miracle,” He says sullenly, and all Harry can do is giggle to mask how strangely turned on he is knowing Liam's seen him with Louis' come all over him. Liam leaves, stomping down the hallway.

“It's not like you've never seen porn where the guy comes on the girl’s face, Liam!” Louis shouts down the hallway and Harry snickers.

“Let's get you cleaned up, yeah?” Louis says, turning his attention back to Harry.

“Okay.” Harry says, and Louis’ eyes widen. His voice is completely ruined, raspy and barely there.

“Shit.” Louis says, clapping a hand over his mouth, but looking amused all the same.

“We can blame it on all the singing I've been doing, right?” Harry says, and Louis just laughs at how his voice sounds.

“Yeah, yeah, if Liam hasn't told the entire world yet. Now, c'mon, off to the bathroom, let me wash me off of you.” Louis says, helping Harry down to the ground. Harry tries not to shiver at that, wash me off of you.

“You know, maybe this could be, like, a new look. A trend. We could call it the Donut,” Harry suggests.

“Why the Donut?”

“'Cause I have a hole and now I'm glazed.”

Louis snorts, “Oh my god, I fucked the mouth of a child.”

“Technically, yeah, that was pretty illegal actually.”

“Oh shut up,” Louis swats at his bum, pushing him quickly toward the bathroom so no one sees the state he's in.




Once he's all cleaned up and they've eaten breakfast, they're headed off to meet with Simon to talk about this week's performance. Since Belle Amie was eliminated last week, One Direction is Simon's only act and so they're getting his full attention. But the house was suddenly a lot emptier when they left. Harry wonders just how empty they'll see it. For all they know, this week could be their last performance. It's all very humbling.

“Lads, you think if we get eliminated we'll stay together?” Louis asks the car. Apparently the telepathy link between the two of them is alive and well.

There's a beat of hesitancy, and Niall is the first to answer. “Well I sure hope so. I think we could really make it.”

“I don't wanna go solo, not anymore, don't think I could do it without you guys,” Zayn says.

Harry leans his head on Louis' shoulder and looks around at the other three boys, his other three boys, and yeah, he could never do it without them.

“I could never leave you boys,” He says solemnly.

“My dream was always to make it on my own and be Liam Payne and have that mean something, but now I'd absolutely love to hear thousands of people screaming ‘One Direction,’” Liam says.  Harry rubs at his slightly watery eyes.

“If we’re eliminated, I just… I’d rather be eliminated with you lot than win on me own. This right here--what we’ve got, that’s the dream. It’s not gonna go away, not even if we lose. So, thanks for that. Just. Thanks for everything.” It’s an emotional little speech, an outburst no one quite expected from Louis, least of all Harry. It makes sense then, to finish with a joke, because that’s just how his stupid boy is. “And if someone could make me a pro footballer and owner of a club as well, that'd be great,” Louis says, and maybe the mood’s just a little bit lighter after that.




“Hey, anyone wanna go see the girls?” Harry asks the room. They haven't gone out to do autographs or anything in a couple days, and some of the girls camp out just to get a chance to see them.

Zayn shrugs, “Sure, I'm up for it.”

"Me too,” Niall says.

Liam nods and Louis agrees, so they all put on their shoes and grab Sharpies and head out.

When they come into view the chattering turns into shouting and Harry watches as all the girls try to fix their hair and clothes. It's quite funny to him, really, because two out of five are really off the market. And there's been a weird tension between Zayn and Liam ever since they caught them on the stairs. So he hopes they all like Niall. Then again, who wouldn't like Niall? Niall is great.

He signs some autographs and takes some pictures and gets some gifts and has some conversations until most of the girls have gone home, and then, “Harry, are you and Louis dating?”

He turns to the girl, she has long wavy blonde hair and hopeful brown eyes and a Larry Stylinson poster tucked under her arm.

She's one of three girls left, all of the rest gone home because it's begun to get dark.

And it's probably dumb, but he just raises a finger to his lips and nods. The other two girls don't notice, fawning over Liam and his deep v-neck.

Her eyes widen and she nods frantically. “I'd never tell, oh my god, you could be the most famous boy band in the world and it could make me a millionaire and I'd never tell I swear to god, thank you, oh my god I wish you the absolute best.”

Louis walks over, slips and arm around Harry's waist and says, “Hazza, love, what's going on?”

Jenna just squeals, looking at them. Harry would never have thought he'd meet someone as invested in his relationship as he is.

“Well, I've got to go, my mum's gonna kill me for being out so late. I love you!” She says, beginning to walk away.

Harry hopes he made the right decision.

“Did you see her poster?” Louis grins.

“Yeah, she asked me if we were together,” Harry says.

“What'd you say?”

“I nodded,” Harry says sheepishly.

“Oh, Harry, you can't--”

“I know, I know, but she was so hopeful and just wanted us to be happy, you know? I don't think she'll ever tell.”

Louis kisses his cheek. “You're a good person, Harry.” And if Louis’ smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, well, it was pretty overwhelming out here, and Harry doesn’t give it much thought.




Louis stops drawing circles on Harry's back suddenly. Harry thinks maybe he's fallen asleep, but then Louis shifts them so they're looking at each other.

“Curly, what's gonna happen after the show? Whether we win or not, I mean,” He asks.

“Well, like, hopefully we'll work on a record or summat, I guess. X Factor tour, too.”

“No, I mean us. Like, you and me. We're not gonna be together all the time. How will I ever fall asleep without you?” Louis looks genuinely concerned about this. Harry's heart squeezes in his chest. He thinks for a moment, and the idea of sleeping in his bed alone with Louis miles away is unfathomable.

“What if we got a flat together?” Harry says slowly, the image coming together in his mind. Cooking breakfast together in their kitchen in nothing but their underwear and watching telly on their sofa and sleeping in their bed and making love on their sheets.

The biggest smile Harry has ever had the privilege to witness spreads on Louis' face.

“Is that a good idea then?” Harry asks, smiling back.

Louis doesn't reply, just launches himself forward and kisses him.




Treyc is eliminated, and when they all get back to the house it feels a fraction emptier. And they came in third again, all Harry wants is to win a week. He gave this performance his all, and all he wants to know is what they're doing wrong.    

Louis, being the all knowing and ever wonderful boyfriend he is, notices and tries his best to cheer Harry up.

“Hazza, babe, chin up. Treyc will get picked up by some label, you know it. And we'll win one of these weeks, I promise,” He says after pressing his lips to Harry's forehead. They're sat on their bunk, Liam, Niall, and Zayn are downstairs socializing and whatnot.

“C'mon, let's play ping pong. I'll let you win to cheer you up. And we can see what rehearsal slot we've got this week,” Louis coaxes.

It takes Harry a minute, but he finally says, “You and I both know you're shit at ping pong.”

“Yeah, well, then you'll definitely win,” Louis says.

So they go downstairs, and finding out that they have the first rehearsal slot this week and therefore have to get up at the ungodly hour of six doesn't really cheer Harry up, but beating Louis five times in a row at ping pong sure does. He takes his victory in the form of making out sat on top of the ping pong table.




Harry wakes up to lips nibbling on his earlobe and quiet whispers.

“Hazza, Hazza wake up,” It's Louis (who else?) and Harry blinks open his eyes slowly, waits for light to hit his pupils. It never comes except for the three green numbers that tell him it's three a.m.

“Why is it so early?” He asks, but it comes out as more of a grumble.

“What's that, Mumbles? C'mon, up up, we got the first rehearsal slot, remember? And we need to bathe.”

“Overrated,” Harry sighs, turning into his pillow.

“Bathing is necessary, Harold, come on, I set up something special,” He coaxes, and Harry does love surprises. He manages to manipulate his eyelids into opening and his legs into moving and Louis helps him down to the floor. Crossing the floor, though, is a whole different story. They haven't really kept the room very tidy. They pick their way across the floor carefully, and the fear of tripping and falling or stepping on a plug or something wakes him up a little bit.

Once they make it out of their room it's easy going to the boys' bathroom.

“Close your eyes,” Louis whispers and Harry does. He hears the door open and then Louis guides him through.


He does, and it takes a minute for him to figure out what it is that he's seeing, but when he does he lets out a gasp.

The bathtub is covered in candles, some birthday candles even drilled into someone's poor bar soap, and there's bubbles covering the top of the water.

“Ever had a bubble bath at 3 am?” Louis asks, smiling.

“Can't say I have, but it looks like I'm about to,” Harry says, smiling back. Louis steps forward and kisses him then, slow and soft and sweet, and the air smells so potently of various types of flowers that that combined with the sudden lack of oxygen he almost passes out in the absolute best way.

Hands tug at the hem of his t-shirt. “Can't bathe with clothes on, can ya?”

“Suppose not,” Harry replies, chewing on his bottom lip as he lifts his shirt over his head. Louis leans forward again and attaches his lips to the skin above Harry's collar bone, suckles there gently for a moment before pulling away and taking off his own shirt.

The second his shirt hits the floor Harry's hands replace it, feeling every inch of Louis' skin that he can and reveling in the way he radiates heat. Muscles contract in Louis' stomach under Harry's touch, and he loves that Louis' whole body responds the same way as his mind.

They are kissing again in the next instant, hands on smooth backs and tongues tracing lips.

There's another few moments of kissing in the dark-mixed-candlelight before they both take off their pants. Harry blushes and he's glad for the cover of darkness.

“Let me get in first, and then you can sit across from me, yeah?” Louis asks.

“Yeah, alright,” Harry nods, and Louis steps into the water, making a small noise at the temperature. He starts to sit himself down, lowering slowly and gently into the hot water. Harry's eyes are glued to the curves and edges of his body, someday hopes to have a king size bed all their own so that he can just kiss and lick and bite and worship every inch of this boy.

"Come on in, water's fine,” Louis smiles, and Harry steps in, quicker than Louis, eager to hide himself in the bubbles.

“I used most of Liam's body wash for this,” Louis says, picking some bubbles up in his hand, “He said he had to go to Tescos this week anyway.”

It should not be as endearing as it is.

“So why are we taking a bath together at 3 am?” Harry blushes with how intimate it sounds, with how Louis' delicate features flicker in the candlelight.

“Much better than a rushed shower at six, innit? Now scooch closer, I wanna shampoo you,” Louis says, beckoning Harry closer. Harry slides across the large tub, legs tangling up with Louis'. Louis reaches out, fingertips skidding over Harry's cheekbones.

“Do you know how pretty you are?” He breathes, and Harry's heart climbs into his throat. He can't reply. “C'mere,” Louis says, pulls him closer so he's basically straddling him. He wraps his legs around Louis' lower back. He feels warmer than the water.

Louis dunks a plastic cup he must have found in the kitchen into the water.

“Tilt your head back.” He says gently, and Harry does. Louis pushes back his curls and pours the water over them gently at the same time he presses a kiss to the column of Harry's throat. He keeps doing that, soaking Harry's thick hair through to the roots while placing a kiss in a new spot each time.

Then he picks up a bottle of shampoo and pours some into his hand.

“Found this in the girls' bathroom, it's curl enhancing,” He says, massaging his hands through Harry's hair.

“How long have you been up doing all of this?” Harry asks, tilting his head back down so Louis doesn't have to stretch so much.

“Since one. I set an alarm on me phone last night and put it on vibrate then put it in my underwear so it'd definitely wake me up but not you.”

Harry has to bite back a loud laugh, because it's so Louis.

“When’d you come up with this?” Louis' hands feel so wonderful working on Harry's scalp. Harry wonders if he's ever considered being a masseuse.

“I dunno, just kinda started formulating when we got our rehearsal slot, I guess.” How are Louis' eyes so blue even in the dark like this? It's like the ocean has been swirled with gold from the candles. It looks magical.

Harry darts forward quickly and presses a soft, short kiss to Louis' lips.

“You don't think it's too much?” Louis asks, bringing the cup up to rinse Harry's curls again.

"No, not at all.”

“I just, like, we haven't even been on a proper date yet, y'know? And like had we had a first date I would've done something profoundly romantic like this with less nudity but I never got that chance and I really wanted to woo you.”

“I am incredibly wooed. Been wooed since oops and hi,” Harry says, eyes turned up toward the ceiling now. Somehow he knows Louis is smiling.


“Yeah, I have. Never really believed in love at first sight until you,” Harry freezes, realizing what he just said. The 'L' word. They've known each other for like eight weeks now, it's way too soon. But he didn't like really say it, really.

He waits for a reaction, but Louis just hums and tilts Harry's head forward again, pressing a kiss to where his dimple would pop into his cheek.

“Now you,” Harry says, voice suddenly softer, and he takes the cup from Louis. He wets his hair, shampoos it, and rinses it, all the while peppering kisses over Louis' shoulders and collarbone. The bubble bath tingles at his stomach as the bubbles pop, but maybe that's the butterflies.

“C'mere, lean against me, I'll wash you,” Louis says once his hair is completely rinsed, making grabby hands. Harry turns around and the water sloshes around in the tub. Harry wonders where Louis found all the candles, if he was supposed to use them. They're all lined up on the bathtub and the vanity and the back of the toilet and the shadows are all dancing.

Louis wraps his arms around Harry's middle and lays his hands flat on his chest, pulling him down and back so his back rests against Louis' chest. He can feel Louis' heartbeat, fast and hard, under his warm, wet skin.

“Took this from the girls' bathroom too,” He says, picking up a light blue puffy thing, “My mum has one, and when the twins were littler and I'd give them a bath I used to scrub their feet with it, made 'em giggle til they begged for mercy. Now they're too old to have their brother give them a bath, I guess.”

“S'called a loofah, I think, my sister Gemma has one, only hers is orange. Sometimes I use it with her fruity body wash so I can smell pretty,” Harry says, watching Louis pour even more of Liam's body wash onto the loofah.

“You're a dork, you know that?” Louis says fondly.

“Yeah, but I'm your dork,” He replies. Louis smiles against his shoulder as he starts to drag the loofah over Harry's soft tummy. His belly flutters under the touch and he giggles as Louis repeats the motion, watching Harry's skin jump.

Then he runs the loofah up his sides, following the soft, barely there curves of his hips and the dip of his waist and sudsing him all up thoroughly. It’s gentle, intimate, and Harry can almost sense something blooming inside him. It’s a deeper feeling than what he’d come to associate with Louis--big and terrifying and safe and soothing all at once.

Harry turns his head to look at Louis behind him, a look of entranced concentration on his features.

“I like you a lot,” he whispers, dropping his head into the crook of Louis' neck. He hears Louis' breath hitch, revels in that sound.

He stays there, tucked next to Louis' pulse, and tries not to think about all the things that could symbolize.

He doesn't realize he's fallen asleep until he wakes up to tugs at his hair. Gentle, stroking, and realizes Louis' combing conditioner through his hair. He doesn't open his eyes, but knows Louis knows he's awake by the change in his breathing. Louis rinses the conditioner out and massages at Harry's scalp some more, then sits back and pulls Harry up closer to him. Harry turns himself over, so his tummy is pressed to Louis' tummy and his legs are tangled with Louis' and his arms can squeeze around his middle.

Harry is awake enough to feel that Louis actually is warmer than the water now, and he wonders how long he was asleep for.

“Morning sleepyhead,” Louis murmurs when Harry flutters his eyes open. The candles have all shrunken since the last time Harry saw them.

“Hi,” Harry rasps.

“Ready to go back to bed?”

“Mhm.” Harry nods against Louis' chest, then thinks, “But I haven't washed you or conditioned your hair.” The words are slurred.

“Already took care of it, you were out for longer than you think, love.”

“Mm, sorry. Could hear your heartbeat. Makes me fall asleep. Like you lots,” Harry doesn't think he even understood what he said, so he sure doesn't think Louis could.

“Shush, sunshine, let's get you dry and in bed, yeah?”

“Yeah, okay.”

He's not sure how Louis gets him dry and dressed or how he blows out all the candles without setting off the smoke detector or how he makes it down the hall but he wakes up at six am in Louis' bunk curled up with him and the only clue that it was real is his damp curls.

“Louis, Harry, didn't you say you had to shower?” There's Liam, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

“Already took care of it. Wake us up when we have to leave,” Louis says, muffled.

"Yeah, okay,” Liam says, then walks out of the room. A moment later they hear, “Oi, what's with all the candles?” and even though Harry's on his way back to sleep a slow smile spreads on his lips.




“Well don't you just look dapper.” Louis grins, looking Harry up and down. Harry does a little twirl for him, so he can see all angles of him in his suit.

“Love the little red flower,” Louis comments, poking at it.

“Thank you,” Harry blushes, he had picked that part of his outfit out himself. “You look great yourself, babe.” He only realizes the pet name two moments too late to do anything about it, but he notices the sudden pink hue of Louis' cheeks and the way his eyelashes cast shadows on his cheek bones, and maybe they're at the pet name stage.

“Thanks, babe,” Louis says it like he's tasting it for the first time, getting a proper feel for the weight behind the word. Almost reverent. Harry kisses his cheek and Louis grins.

“I can't wait to snog you in that suit after this thing,” He says.

“This thing being the Harry Potter premiere,” Harry laughs.

“Well, yeah, but I think snogging my boyfriend is probably better, if I'm honest,” Louis shrugs, and it's crazy how boyfriend still makes Harry's stomach do a pirouette.

“But it's a premiere, you know? Like this is what actual celebrities do. Like, we're proper celebrities now.”

“Love, I think we've been proper celebrities for a little while now, just like... Z list.” Louis says and Harry giggles.

“So now we're the X list? Get it? 'Cause, like, X Factor?” Harry grins, and Louis slaps both his hands to his face, groaning into them, which just makes Harry throw back his head and laugh. “I guess I'll leave the humor to you.”

Louis doesn't get a chance to respond because then they're all told to sit down and talk quietly amongst themselves.

And then Daniel Radcliffe walks in and Harry thinks he might be dead, that this might be heaven, because Daniel Radcliffe is a fan of them. Maybe they're W list celebrities, then.




Louis' been up in the room on a Skype call home for a little while, and Harry's wanted to give him his privacy, but he also really wants his gameboy. He'd slid down the stairs on Niall's mattress twice and played four games of ping pong (and won them all) and he just really needs his gameboy. Or his boyfriend, that'd be cool too, actually. It's been, what, two hours since they last kissed? Far too long, in Harry's opinion.

He knocks on the door quietly to announce his arrival and then turns the knob. Louis is sat on their bunk talking animatedly with his blue eyes bright and happy. He looks like he does when he talks to Harry, almost, with a slight variation.

“Oh, Harry! Think it's time you met the other Tomlinsons, don't you? If you're up for it,” Louis says, and god, meeting the family?

“S'Just me sisters, they're all bark, no bite,” Louis adds. Harry hears a tinny, indignant heeeeyyyyy from the laptop.

“Sure, I'd love to,” Harry smiles and picks his way through the absolute disaster they call their room. He climbs up on the bed and Louis makes space for him. When he looks up at the screen he sees four pairs of familiar, matching blue eyes looking back at him.

“Hiiiiii!” He says, waving.

“Oh, how is he fitter on a crappy camera? That's not fair,” The eldest says, and Harry just grins.

“Let me introduce you, girls this is Harry,” there's a chorus of ‘hi, Harry,’ “And Harry these two,” he points to the screen where the two twins are, “are the twins Daisy and Phoebe. It's okay if you can't tell them apart, I still struggle.” He's obviously teasing, Harry can tell by the way he grins mischievously when they make an indignant sound. “Phoebe's the good twin, Daisy doesn't like it when I hold her hand.” Phoebe blows a raspberry at Daisy and Harry thinks his heart swells.

“This bugger here is Fizzy, short for Felicité. She's not quite old or young enough to hate me yet. Unlike Lottie, short for Charlotte, who has recently entered her teen years, and therefore wants nothing to do with her big brother.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Harry smiles.

“Do you kiss our brother?” Daisy? Phoebe? asks. Harry flounders for a response, and in the tiny screen he can see his eyes have gotten wide. Lottie snickers into her hand.

“Yes, he does,” Louis says for him, shaking his head at them and laughing. The other twin wrinkles her nose and says yuck at the same time the first one shouts off screen, “Muuuuuum! Louis has kissed Harry! Tell him that he's grounded like Fizzy!” Harry thinks that one is Daisy.

“Fizz! Did someone kiss you?” Louis gasps, getting closer to the camera, “I'll beat them up, who was it?”

Lottie laughs when her sister's face turns beat red, “Daisy I'm gonna kill you,” Fizzy growls, swatting at her sister's arm.

“I promise they're usually a lot nicer, when I'm around to keep them in line,” Louis says to Harry.

“Puh-lease,” Lottie rolls her eyes, “you start fights. You know Phoebe still thinks Fizzy put her teddy in the fridge.”

“Shhh,” Louis says, raising a finger to his lips, but Phoebe whips her head around and looks at him.

“That was you? You made Teddy nearly freeze to death?”

“Pheebs, it was early, he was on the counter next to the milk, I just mixed them up, I'm sorry,” Louis explains, and Harry can barely hold back his laugh.

“Yeah, well, tell that to Teddy's frostbite,” Phoebe crosses her arms and pouts.

"Well, when I get home I'll kiss him better, how about that?” Louis negotiates.

“Yeah, okay,” Phoebe concedes, relaxing.

Then a new face appears on the screen, older, with darker hair. Louis' mum, Johannah.

“Lou, I'm afraid they've got to go to bed, school tomorrow,” She says before seeing Harry, “Oh! Hello Harry! I've heard a lot about you.”

“Hi Ms. Tomlinson, I've heard a lot about you as well,” Harry smiles politely.

“Please, call me Jay,” She smiles, “And I'm sorry to take them away from you but getting them to bed is a bit of work, especially without their big brother to sing to them or read to them.”

Harry finds that absolutely adorable, how good Louis is with his sisters.

“It's alright, mum, talk to you soon, miss you.”

“Miss you too, boo bear.”

Mum,” Louis whines.

“Oh, I'm sorry dear, did I embarrass you in front of your boyfriend?” She teases. Louis doesn't respond, his cheeks just flame up.

“Nuh night, boys,” She says then, and the girls all chorus their goodbyes, before she disconnects. Once the screen goes dark, Harry turns to Louis.

“Boo bear?”

“Don't, please, don't,” Louis pleads, looking pained.

“Boooooooo bearrrrr,” Harry sing songs.

“Shut up!” Louis laughs, eyes crinkling wonderfully and a hand cupping his tummy.

"Only one way to properly get me quiet, boo bear,” Harry tells him. Within the next second, Louis has caught Harry's lips in his, laptop forgotten on Louis' lap.




After they've filmed an episode of Mega Mind they come into the living room. Walking in they had thought it was empty because of the silence, but upon entry, they find Zayn and Liam.


Not kissing, not a friendly peck, but full on open-mouthed, tongue-heavy snogging. Liam's hands are spread out wide on Zayn's back, fingers relaxed and pliant, whereas Zayn's fingers are wound tightly in Liam's hair, which is damp and wavy after his shower. Zayn's hands shake, and Harry wonders if it was from how tense the muscles in hands are, or something else. Relief, fear, a combination of the two.

Louis grabs Harry's arm and pulls him out into the hallway, where they stay listening. They hear separation sounds and, ew, Harry turns to Louis, mouths, “Do we sound that gross?” Louis just shrugs in response.

“I, um,” They hear Liam say. “I, um, I like Danielle. You know. The dancer with the curly hair?”

There's a pause, and Harry thinks he hears Louis murmur “fucking wanker.”

“I- yeah. I um, just thought I'd try that. Give it a go, and whatnot,” Zayn says, stumbling over his words, accent thicker. Harry's always found his accent to get thicker or more muddled when he's about to cry.

Neither of them talk for the most painful thirty seconds of Harry's life, and it's not even his heartbreak.

“So, I'm, um, gonna shower now, yeah?” Zayn says, they hear him stand up, and they don't even have time to move before he's in front of them, jamming the heel of one hand into his eye. He sees them and opens his mouth to say something, but Louis just puts a finger up to his lips and envelopes him in a hug.

"C'mon,” Harry mouths, wrapping one arm around Zayn's waist. He goes without protest, sandwiched between them as they lead him through the house. Louis and Harry seem to be on the same wavelength, because they both stop in front of the kitchen.

Harry dashes in and asks for a pint of ice cream and four spoons, explains it's for heartbreak, and when they look appalled assures them profusely that it's most definitely not his or Louis', and they give him some chocolate with brownie bits.

Then they head off to find Niall who's playing ping pong with Matt, and Harry stays with Zayn as he's started to really cry now. Louis emerges a moment later with a concerned looking Niall not far behind. He launches himself at Zayn, holding him so tight Zayn squeaks.

"C'mon, up to the room,” Louis says.

“What if he's there?” Zayn asks, quietly. His voice shakes.

“We'll kick him out then,” Louis replies. His voice sounds almost cold.

“But I have a feeling he's still sitting there,” Harry adds.

They make their way up to their room and all crowd together on Louis and Harry's bunk with the pint of the ice cream and their spoons.

Zayn starts to properly cry the second Louis slings his arm around him. He curls into him, his face buried in Louis' neck, and his whole body shakes.

"Why'd he kiss me back, then? If he doesn't like me. Why'd he kiss me like he did?” Zayn asks. Niall frowns through his bite of ice cream, still not having heard the whole story.

“Later,” Harry mouths to him, and he nods.

“Y'know, Zayn, I have a feeling Liam isn't very secure in his sexuality, whatever it may be, and I think he's just very confused. But I think he does like you, but doesn't know what to do with that,” Louis says softly. He looks so in his element, as the caretaker, and it's just another facet on the diamond that is Louis Tomlinson. Harry wonders how many more he'll have the privilege to discover. Hopefully all of them.

And he's going to keep it to himself, for now, because it's not supposed to go so fast, but he thinks he's quite in love with this boy.

“He doesn't have to do anything with it, just, fuck.” Zayn sits up then, wiping at the tears on his cheeks angrily, like they're what did him wrong.

“Well, Zayn, I think if he's insecure with his sexuality fucking probably isn't an option,” Niall says, making gestures with his spoon, but obviously joking. It gets a chuckle out of Zayn, who has scooped some ice cream onto his spoon now.

The door opens then and in comes Liam, eyes red and cheeks streaked, and he stares up at the four of them wide eyed and fish mouthing. There’s a moment of awkwardness that seems to last for years, all of them unblinking and perfectly still, like if they don’t move he won’t see them.

“Right,” Niall says, crawling to the end of the bed and climbing down. This breaks the spell and they all move again, Louis turns to Zayn to see if he’s alright. Harry watches Niall move across the messy room. Liam is still frozen with his hand on the doorknob, and Zayn is suddenly enthralled with a loose thread on Harry and Louis' blanket. Niall picks up a bowl from near his bed and climbs halfway back up to where the rest of them sit.

“Don't worry, this only had dry cereal in it,” he says while he scoops a large amount of the ice cream into the bowl with his spoon.

He starts to climb down and Zayn looks at him questioningly.

"M'not taking sides,” he says, “just think Liam could probably use some ice cream, comfort, and advice as well, don't you?”

They all nod and soon Niall has left the room with his arm around Liam's shoulders.

“I just don't get why he kissed me back like that if he didn't like me,” Zayn says again.

“Well he never said he didn't like you, he just said he liked Danielle,” Harry points out around the melting ice cream in his mouth. Zayn looks up, eyes wide.

“And then you did tell him you just thought you'd 'give it a go', not that you actually liked him,” Louis adds.

“I think it was a classic case of miscommunication,” Harry says.

Zayn looks between them, eyes beginning to dry. “Well it's absolutely shitty that not everyone has the telepathic link you two have.”

Harry laughs and Louis says, “I think it's a soulmate thing.”

Harry's heart may or may not have just frozen in his chest.

“Can we watch a rom com? Let me be happy by vicariously living through other people's relationships?” Zayn asks. Harry laughs again and Louis agrees and grabs his laptop.

They all squish together on Louis and Harry's bunk and watch “27 Dresses” until they fall asleep, Zayn in the middle and Louis and Harry's heads on either of his shoulders.




Harry can't even hear the judge's comments.

It's absolutely incredible.

When his solo came it was like he left his own body, like he was in the audience watching himself, and Harry's never been one to compliment himself really, but it was near to flawless. He could hear himself so clearly and he loved what he heard. And they all harmonized so well on the chorus. It's probably Harry's favorite performance of the show so far.

And now he can't even hear what Cheryl is saying, but he knows that it's good, how could it not? They've rarely gotten negative comments on something that actually mattered.

Harry's absolutely buzzing, his veins singing, he doesn't think he'll ever come down from this performance high, doesn't think his ears will ever stop ringing with the screams, doesn't think he'll ever close his eyes and not see that standing ovation, how proud Simon had looked, Louis smiling at him.

And it's only going to go up from here.




All Harry'd wanted was a nice half an hour nap. He was a little tired after rehearsals and the previous week of getting up at six in the morning so he'd set an alarm on his phone and took a cat nap. But now it's an hour and a half later and Louis is shaking him awake, telling him he's slept well past dinner.

“Oh damn it,” Harry groans, rubbing the crust out of his eyes. “Why didn't my alarm go off? Why didn't anyone wake me up?”

“You were so tired and you're so pretty when you sleep,” Louis answers. Harry'd woken up when he felt Louis lie down on the bed with him, and now he's tracing over Harry's skin with his finger tips. The light tickling sensation ghosts into Harry's skin, makes him shiver.

“I'm less pretty when I'm hungry, though,” Harry tells him, managing to open one eye and keep it open. His mouth feels sticky, and he moves a clumsy hand to wipe at it. Pretty, sure. Louis is a giant sap.

“Well your amazingly wonderful and incredibly handsome boyfriend has a solution to that,” Louis grins.

“Oh did Niall cook me something?” Harry says, unable to keep a straight face.

“Oi!” Louis squawks, batting Harry's shoulder. Harry just laughs, rolling onto his back. Louis leans down and presses his lips to Harry's exposed collarbone, “Mine,” he whispers.

“Only ever yours, you know. I mean, I kissed a girl once and asked another to a dance one time, but you're the only one who's ever really, like, mattered,” Harry says quietly. Somehow Louis' fingers lace with his and his lips interlock with Harry's. That's all the response he needs.

Louis pulls away after a few moments. “C'mon, get dressed in something kinda nice, and then come down to the rec room.”

“What for?”

“Think it's time we went on our first date, don't you?” Louis smiles. He squeezes Harry's hand once before leaving Harry alone in the room, his heart thudding against his ribcage. He sits up and scrubs a hand down his face. Date. This is all the nervousness that he thought he managed to skip. No, apparently they're fond of doing things out of order. Kiss, then decide to be together, hand jobs and blow jobs, then bathe together, talk about moving in together, and now they can go on their first date. They're probably going to end up doing something dumb and romantic like getting couple tattoos before they're married. Married. Is he supposed to be thinking about that?

He climbs off the bunk and rifles through his suitcase. He pulls on a blue button down and some khakis and leaves his fuzzy socks on. Shoes are overrated and his feet are cozy.

When he opens the door to the room in the hallway he finds Niall holding a large piece of cardboard, like ten feet long kind of large, cut in the shape of a car. The word “limousine” is painted in what is clearly Louis' hand writing.

“Niall?” Harry asks.

“Ah yes, hello Mr. Styles, I'm Mr. Horan and I'll be your chauffeur for the evening. You'll find your door already open.”

There's no actual door, but Harry goes around the end of the “limo” so he's stood next to a “window”.

“How did he get you to do this?” Harry asks.

“Lord Tomlinson is actually paying me quite the sum of money,” Niall answers, his chauffeur voice still on. Harry snorts, Lord Tomlinson. Then he looks at Harry behind him and whispers with his usual Irish accent, “Five quid, I kinda wanted to do it anyway.”

Harry throws his head back and laughs.

“Are you ready to depart, Mr. Styles?”

“Actually, Mr. Horan, I prefer Your Majesty or Your Highness, as I am a prince,” Harry says, picking off a fraying bit of the cardboard. Niall huffs, as if to say this was not a part of the five quid.

“Yes, of course Your Highness,” He says.

“Then yes, let us go,” Harry says. Niall picks up the “limo” by a handle duct taped to the inside and Harry does the same. They “drive” down the hall and then down the stairs and to the rec room.

The rec room is a room in the house with nothing in it, it had had the ping pong table and other games in it but it was more convenient to move those to the living room, so the first week that's what they did. Now it's entirely empty, just walls and a hardwood floor. But when Harry and Niall get to it there's a small two person table with a crisp white table cloth over it. Two long candle sticks are lit in the center, and a small vase with two purple flowers in it. There's two chairs and two of the house's finest plates and champagne flutes. The lights in the rec room are dimmed, giving it a romantic atmosphere, and there's soft music playing from an iPod dock plugged in at the corner. Harry has shared Louis' iPod with him enough to know that this is probably his “harry” playlist. Then Louis steps out, hands clasped in front of him and smiling.

"Oh,” Harry says, more of a sigh really, raking Louis in with his eyes. He's in a tux. With a black tie. Even fancier than he wore to the Harry Potter premiere. He must have changed while Harry was making his way down. Suddenly Harry feels hopelessly under dressed. For fuck's sake, he's wearing rainbow fuzzy socks without shoes.

“Lord Tomlinson, I present to you, His Majesty, Harry Styles,” Niall says, then pulls the car away like Harry's stepped out.

“His Majesty?” Louis raises one eyebrow.

"Yeah, said he's a prince. More of a queen if you ask me,” Niall says, rolling his eyes.

“Oh, thank you Niall!” Harry says, mock happily. Niall just shrugs and drags the car out into the hallway and doesn't come back.

“So what's all this?” Harry asks, stepping forward into the rec room.

"Our first date,” Louis answers simply.

“Did you know you're an incredible sap?” Harry informs him.

Louis pokes at his dimple, says, “You should've stopped at incredible.”

“You're an incredible,” Harry says flatly.

“Yup! Now c'mon.” Louis takes Harry by the bend of the arm and leads him to the tiny table.

“So I may or may not have disabled the alarm on your phone so you'd sleep through dinner so I could set this up. Well, everyone else helped too,” Louis pulls out Harry's chair for him and Harry sits down, the butterflies that took permanent residence in his stomach when he met Louis start to go crazy. “Katie and Wagner cut out the limo, obviously Zoe and the rest of the kitchen staff helped prepare our meals, Rebecca set the table for us-- lovely isn't it?-- Matt let me use his iPod dock, and Liam supplied me with this magnificent tux.” Louis prattles on and on, but Harry is just so fucking endeared with this boy, with his boy, that he's not sure if he's actually hearing any of it. He can't stop looking at the way Louis' eyes light up when he talks and the way his lips move around certain sounds and how soft he looks in the dimmed lighting and he can't stop thinking about kissing him silly, kissing every inch of his beautiful body and. God.

The song playing is absolutely perfect for the moment, and Harry has never felt more connected to Elvis Presley. For I can't help falling in love with you. He reaches onto the table and takes Louis' hand, hopes that conveys what he's feeling well enough.

“Harry?” Louis has stopped rambling, looking at him questioningly, “Are you okay?”

“I just- I really like you, is all. Like looking at you. Like hearing you talk,” Harry says, and Louis blushes, sending Harry's mind into a swirling chaos of lovely things. He's so smitten with this boy.

“I really like you too, Harry. S'kinda scary almost, never felt like this about someone before,” His fingers squeeze around Harry's. Harry's heart clenches in the most wonderful way, because Louis was nearly all his firsts, hopefully will continue to be all his firsts, but he knew he probably wasn't any of Louis'. So to know that he is something Louis hasn't experienced yet, that's incredible.

Then there's footsteps and Harry turns around to see Zoe bringing out two plates of food and a champagne bottle. She smiles at them and sets down their food, then uncorks the champagne and pours it.

“Thank you,” Louis says and she just nods, looking fondly at their entwined fingers. She leaves the rec room and Harry moves his hand from Louis'

“So we've got spaghetti and meatballs with just raw veggie sides, because I know you prefer raw over cooked,” Louis tells him, then, “And I fully intend on doing the lady and the tramp thing.”

Harry giggles. “How did you become such a romantic?”

Louis just shrugs in response, then moves to pick up his champagne. “Toast?” He suggests.

Harry raises his own glass, “To oops and hi,” he grins.

“And you're calling me the sap,” Louis rolls his eyes, then, “To oops and hi.” They clink glasses and drink. The bubbles barely register with Harry, his whole body already buzzes when he's with Louis.

They eat and they talk and they laugh and Louis insists Harry take the other end of one of his strands of spaghetti, and they meet in the saucy middle. They clear their plates eventually and empty their champagne flutes three times. Zoe comes to take the empty dishes away a little while after they're finished and Harry thanks her, a little giggly from his champagne.

When he looks away from her he finds Louis next to him, holding out his hand.

“Dance with me?” He asks. Harry's whole body is made of champagne, his heart has turned to golden bubbles. He nods, wonders how he got so lucky, how he met this wonderful perfect glorious exquisite boy and how he gets to kiss him and sleep with him and fall in love with him.

He takes Louis' hand and Louis leads him away from the table and more towards the iPod dock.

"Just gonna chance the song real quick,” Louis says, making his way toward the music, “Pretty sure it's already played but I want to play it again.”

The familiar notes start playing and Harry smiles at Louis.

“I suggested this song to you, you know,” He says.

"And now it's my favorite, so I guess you do have good taste after all,” Louis teases.

"Heyyyyyy,” Harry replies indignantly, but quietly. Louis has reached him now and he's interlocking their fingers and placing his other hand on the small of Harry's back. Lightning shatters it's way up Harry's spine. He pulls Harry closer so that he has to rest his head in Louis' shoulder. Not that it's a chore or anything. Harry lets his own hand fall wherever it feels natural, loves how warm Louis always is.

They start to sway back and forth gently, turning slightly with each movement. They don't talk, just feel each other and the song and Harry's still in rainbow fuzzy socks and it's so incredibly perfect. Harry is the luckiest boy in the world.

And then there's the last line of the song and he makes his decision. He opens his mouth and whisper-sings, “For I can't help falling in love with you,” at the same time Louis does the same thing.

Harry squeezes him tighter, closer, his heart beating out of his chest. They didn't actually say it, but it was very, very close.






"What're your thoughts on fate?”

“Wasn't a believer til recently.”

“Me too.”




Harry's just walked into the room after getting out of the shower when Louis launches himself at him, peppering kisses all over the back of his neck and shoulders.

"Hazzaaaaaa,” he whines.

"What is it Lou?” Harry asks, giggling when Louis tickles at his sides.

“Well we've got a good hour or so until dinner and everyone's downstairs doing stuff... so I figured we could stay upstairs and do stuff,” the explanation is broken into parts, separated by a kiss or a nibble to Harry's chest.

“You could've joined me in the shower you know,” Harry says. Louis moves up and kisses him, tongue slipping between his lips. His hands are everywhere, lightly scratching down Harry's spine and making him shiver, thumbs brushing over his nipples--all of them, as weird as that is. Harry lets out a breathy moan when Louis leans down and attaches his lips to one. He'd already discovered how sensitive Louis' nipples were, but they hadn't explored Harry's. Obviously Harry already knew he just hadn't told Louis.

“Yeah but the water would have gone cold and you would have slipped,” Louis finally says, and it takes Harry a moment to remember what he was talking about.

“Yeah, yeah that's true,” Harry says, breathing coming heavier now.

“Wanna try something, if you wanna,” Louis says, his lips moving against the skin just below Harry's ribcage, it feels like a butterfly.

"Yeah, yeah, I wanna,” Harry replies, nodding probably too much.

“You haven't even heard what it is yet,” Louis teases, his lips still pressed to Harry's skin, traveling lower and lower.

"Don't care,” Harry gasps when Louis kisses the tip of his dick through his towel. Louis fingers play at the knot holding the towel on his hips. “May I?”

“Such a gentleman,” Harry says, and then Louis undoes the knot. The towel drops, and it's like before it even hits the floor Louis' taken Harry as far as he can into his mouth. Harry lets out a gasped expletive and his knees buckle. He leans back against the wall for support.

“W-what happened to being a tease?” Harry asks, moving his hand down to Louis' hair. Louis looks up at him, and fuck, his already-watery eyes should not be that much of a turn on, and he winks. Then he pulls off most of the way and just sucks, tongue tracing the ridge beneath the head. Harry's chest is heaving already, with this feeling like fire rocketing up and down his spine.

Louis fists around the base of Harry's cock where his lips can't reach and strokes in time with the pressure of his mouth.

“So good, Lou, feels so good,” Harry moans, trying to stop his hips from bucking into it. Louis hums in response, the slight vibrations scrambling what, if anything, is left of Harry's sanity. His fingers tangle harder in Louis' soft hair. He wonders if he made Louis feel this good when he blew him.

Louis stops for a minute, mouth still stretched around Harry's cock, eyes still closed, to palm himself through his jeans. Harry can hardly stand it--the sight of Louis’ hollowed cheeks around his cock while he fiddles with his own pants, tugging himself out and stroking his length. He starts back up with Harry then, and Harry's absolutely mesmerized with how he can see the outline of his own dick stretching Louis' mouth open. He places his fingers over Louis' cheek and Louis shifts around so that when he bobs down Harry's cock pokes right into the inside of his cheek.

It's fucking obscene, how hot Louis looks. His eyes are watering a little and the tears have gathered in his eyelashes. His skin is dewy with the beginning of sweat and his hair is all mussed up from Harry's hand. And not to mention his pretty, pink, thin lips stretched wide to take Harry in.

“Lou, you're so pretty like this, fuck,” Harry says, hips jerking a little. Louis stops touching himself and shifts a little again, this time moving his hands so they're both grabbing into the meat of Harry's ass. He kneads his fingers there and takes Harry a little deeper. Harry moans when Louis' throat constricts, only increasing the tight heat around his head. He's getting close, his orgasm building steadily. It's only a couple more bobs of Louis' head before he's almost there, groaning and babbling unintelligibly.

“Gonna come, fuck,” he says desperately, barely managing to keep his hips from bucking wildly. Louis doesn't make a move to pull off, and fuck he's gonna let him come down his throat. Just the thought sends him hurtling toward the edge, two seconds and he'll be falling over. His hand flies up and he bites on the flesh next to his index finger to keep from screaming. He's so close, so so close, fuck, and then--

And then Louis pulls off and away, stopping all contact and leaving Harry metaphorically screeching to a halt. He's so hard it nearly hurts and he watches precome drip onto the discarded towel.

“You still up for trying something?” Louis asks.

“What kind of question--” Harry gasps, “yes I'm up for anything right now, as long as I get to fucking come.”

“Then turn around and stick your arse out,” Louis tells him. Harry's heart was already pounding so hard he could practically see it through his skin, but now he thinks there's actual danger of a heart attack.

“Butt stuff?” He squeaks, obviously nervous.

“Only if you want love, only ever if you want. I'd never ask you to do something I didn't think you'd like or want to do, y’know,” Louis says. Harry goes quickly through the pros and cons of this. Pros: he gets to come, butt stuff, Louis. Cons: he didn't really mentally prepare himself as much as he had always imagined he would, but he can do that during, if necessary.

“I want to, yeah,” He finally says, and turns to face the wall, then bends over so his ass is presumably in Louis' face.

“Fuck,” Louis breathes, and Harry tries not to let that go to his head. (Either of them.) He feels Louis grip a hand into his left ass cheek and then warmth, like Louis' gotten closer. He feels breath and he's confused for a moment, and he gets it half a second before Louis' tongue licks a flat stripe over his hole.

“Oh my god,” Harry gasps, more from surprise than anything. The actual thought might be the thing to make him finally come- Louis is eating him out. This is happening. This is real.

And then the actual feeling makes it's way to Harry's brain and his knees nearly buckle with it. Louis is licking over him again and again, small kitten licks and long, flat stripes from his balls to his hole. Harry thinks he might actually explode every time Louis circles around his rim with the tip of his tongue.

“Louis, oh my god,” he groans, pushing his bum back for more. His fingers have curled into fists against the wall and his legs are shaking more than they ever have, the muscles in his thighs jumping with each spike of pleasure.

And then Louis pokes his tongue in, and tears actually form in Harry's ducts with how good it is. He's going to collapse. This is it. This is how he’s going to die, with Louis’ tongue in his arse and a rock hard dick. What an interesting headstone he’ll have.

Louis,” he moans, eyes squeezed shut. He needs to come so badly, gonna fucking burst. He's right back at that peak again, just about to topple over, when Louis stops again. Harry lets out a whine of frustration, pushing his arse back toward Louis' face. But then there's contact again, and it's decidedly not a tongue, and Louis pushes his spit slick finger in. It's just one, but there’s still a slight stretch, a minimal burn to it. But it just reminds him that this is happening, that it's Louis, and it feels so so good.

“Alright?” Louis asks.

“So so alright,” Harry answers, panting. He drops his head between his shoulders, glad that the towel fell where it did because there's a considerable wet spot of precome on it. His whole body thrums with pleasure. He can feel left over water running down the indent of his spine and he knows that it’s mixed with sweat. It’s like his whole body is hyper aware, every nerve ending picking up more than usual, waiting for Louis’ finger to move inside of him. And he does, Louis pumps his finger ever so slowly in and out and Harry's never felt so good in his life. It's like every nerve ending is going super nova, continuously exploding forever, so good and so bright. Then Louis licks around his finger, adding to the sensation, and Harry cries out when Louis hardens his tongue and slides it in next to his finger, the slight stretching feeling returns, but it just sends a jolt through Harry’s whole body. Precome dribbles down his shaft.

“Louis, m'gonna come, please,” he's not sure what he's begging for, all he knows is that he needs it. Louis pulls his finger out and his mouth away. And Harry keens, actually hits the wall in a burst of frustration.

“Want you to come in my mouth, wanna taste you,” Louis says gruffly, grabbing Harry by the hips and turning him around. He wraps his lips around the head and hollows his cheeks, making Harry cry out. He knows somewhere in the back of his mind that he should be quiet, but god it feels so fucking good he can’t be bothered to care.

Louis reaches behind him then and slips his finger back in and sucks him down farther, his other hand stroking his own cock. He keeps thrusting his finger in different angles, and Harry's almost scared for when he finds what he's looking for. He's never been able to find his own prostate, only started fingering himself a couple weeks before bootcamp, his own fingers are just a bit too short to reach it himself. Not to mention what he's feeling is already so intense, he's not sure he can handle it when-


Oh my god,” He nearly screams it, back arching of the wall and his cock blurting copious amounts of precome in Louis' mouth. His fingers clench and unclench against the wall, toes doing the same thing, like his entire body is waiting for the release. He's so fucking close, and then he hits the back of Louis' throat and Louis starts to rub over his prostate incessantly. There are actual tears on his cheeks and he's begging, begging his own fucking body to release.

And then Louis swallows around him and he's gone. His vision whites out and he can't hear himself, only knows his mouth is moving and he's coming so fucking hard and Louis is taking all of it down his throat.

When he comes down, he literally comes down, he slides down the wall to the floor, his whole body shaking and quivering. His vision comes into focus and he sees come pooled in Louis’ fingers and his cock softening in his hand, eyes wide.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Harry asks groggily.

It takes Louis a second to put his brain back together. “You're so fucking hot, oh my god.”

“Says the boy with my come on his chin,” Harry replies. Louis quickly wipes it off with his clean thumb and Harry groans when he sucks it into his mouth. Even just that was almost too much. Thankfully, Louis wipes his own come on Harry’s discarded towel, wrinkling his nose.

They just sit and breathe for a few minutes, both of them unmoving, trying to piece together their remaining sanity.

“I feel so bad for girls,” Harry finally says.

“Why?” Louis asks.

“Because so many boys wanna do butt stuff with them but they don't have prostates. S'just like reverse pooping for them.”

“Oh my god,” Louis groans, hiding his face in one hand.

"It's your fault, you know, sucked my brain out of my dick,” Harry laughs. Louis kisses him then, all over his face and then his tummy, tickling him until he's giggling, begging him to stop.




During filming of the video diary Harry can't stop thinking about the day previous with Louis' mouth around him and his finger inside him, tongue everywhere. It's really incredible he didn't start snogging Louis in the middle of the video diary, or make comments about it.

Seems Louis is the same though, but with less restraint, because after Harry replies to Liam's choice of being a birthday cake with, “Because at least I'd know everyone would be happy while eating me,” Louis turns to him with a smirk and says, “I know I was.”

They do manage to cut it out of the video, along with the solid two minutes of horrified reactions from the other boys.




“Oh my god this was the best week ever,” Harry says, sitting in the van between Niall and Zayn. Of course, to the cameras it's because they just saw England vs. France and met pro footballers and it's Beatles week. But to Harry it's all of that plus the most romantic date he's ever been on and probably will ever go on and he got a blowjob and rimmed and mildly fingered by his fit boyfriend. Pretty damn good week, really.

And tonight they get to go on stage again and sing to all those people in that arena and at home. God, Harry doesn't love anything more.


Maybe one thing.




Sometimes it's so intense, too intense. Like he breathes in Louis and breathes out love instead of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Like his heart beat is whispering Louis' name, like his veins carry that message to the rest of his body. Like his vision is blurry, unclear and unfocused when he's not looking at Louis.

And it hurts. No one tells you how much being in love hurts. And it's definitely love, what other feeling would cave in his chest like this? What other feeling would make Harry want to open up his ribcage and let Louis nestle inside next to the most vital of his organs?

His fingers shake with it while they pet over Louis' hair. He's fallen asleep in Harry's lap while he, Harry, Matt, Zayn, Cher, and Niall watched old Doctor Who episodes, too strung up from the eliminations show to sleep. He had warned Harry that this would happen, that he'd already seen all these episodes and he can't do rewatches of things that aren't super hero related. Harry hadn't anticipated how devastating it would be, though. How Louis' eyelashes would brush against his cheekbones in his dreams and how his lips would relax and pout out, soft and pink and delicate, how he'd subconsciously pull himself closer to Harry, burrow into him as close as possible.

“You're in heaven, aren't ya?” Cher asks from where she sits on the couch behind him. Harry just grins at her, dimple popping into his cheek. She pats his shoulder and leans back, eyes going back to the screen. Harry turns back to Louis and runs his fingers through his bronze hair and down his neck, drawing small circles in the skin there.

“I think I'm gonna take him up to bed, actually,” Harry says, sort of to the rest of the room.

“Can you carry him?” Zayn asks.

“Yeah, I think so, he's pretty small,” Harry says, beginning to position his arms under Louis' knees and back.

He manages to stand and pick Louis up. He's pretty steady in his arms, not all that heavy.

“Night guys.”

“Night Harry,” They chorus. Harry heads off to his and the lads' room, trying his best not to jostle Louis too much. He wakes up anyway, on the last few stairs.

“Why are you carrying me?” He mumbles, eyes still closed.

“You fell asleep on me, thought it was time to get you to bed,” Harry answers. Louis doesn't reply, mouth slack and eyelids fluttering again.

Somehow, god knows how exactly, Harry gets Louis onto the bunk. He settles down next to him, the big spoon for the first time. He could get used to it, he likes the solid warmth of Louis' back pressed against him. He knows Louis likes to be the big spoon, he had a fit one time when Harry tried to cuddle him, but Harry's still growing and Louis isn't, so Louis is going to have to just get used to it, isn't he? Harry's doctor says by the time he's eighteen or nineteen he's gonna be around six foot, maybe five eleven.

He presses a kiss to the hinge of Louis' jaw.

“Curly, are you acting as the big spoon right now?” Louis says sleepily, voice muddled.

“Yes,” says Harry, pulling his arms tighter around Louis' middle. “What are you going to do about it?”

“Fall back asleep, I think. You're rather warm. But I think I wanna face you,” Louis answers, then turns himself around in Harry's grasp. He pushes his knee between Harry's thighs and wraps his own arms around Harry, so they're clutching each other and perfectly intertwined. Louis' breathing evens back out.

Harry's brain is too swirly, too engulfed in a cacophony of Louis and love to possibly sleep, so he resorts to counting Louis' eyelashes one by one.

He wants this all the time. He wants this for the rest of his life. He wants to be a world famous band and he wants to fall asleep every night with lyrics in his mind and Louis in his arms. He wants Louis there with him, a constant. Sometimes it's like it's all he wants, almost like he could forgo the fame and go back to working in a little bakery as long as Louis was there with him. Louis is all he wants, so much it's hurting. A constant ache somewhere in his chest suspiciously close to his heart.

He's not sure when he falls asleep. His dreams are just an extension of his thoughts. Fast forward three years- albums, screaming fans, awards. Four years after that- proposal, wedding, honeymoon. A year after that- kids, more kids, cats, more cats. Seventy years- wrinkled hands, wedding ring resizing, prune juice and whiskery kisses.

He wakes up knowing that Louis has six more eyelashes on his left eye than his right and that he is hopelessly and devastatingly in love.




Simon is listing off a few song ideas, none of which they know, for this week's theme when it hits Harry.

“What about 'Summer of '69?'” He suggests.

“Harry, I swear to god if that's another allusion to when you and Louis did last night or whatever--” Zayn says.

“No! No, by Bryan Adams! You know got my first real six string da da da da doo doo,” Harry sings.

“Oh! Oh yeah I love that song!” Liam says, pointing excitedly. Harry had described Niall as a golden retriever but Liam could easily be one as well. Just like a trained one. A seeing eye dog, or something.

“I think that could really work.” Simon is nodding.

“I used to sing it with my old band when I was like fifteen. Played at weddings and stuff. Proper professional,” Harry says jocularly.

“I'd love to see that,” Louis grins, nudging Harry.

“Yeah! I'll show you later, there's a video on YouTube somewhere,” Harry replies.

“Okay, so that actually wraps us up for the day. Learn the lyrics to that tonight and also 'You Are So Beautiful' and then you'll head to Savan tomorrow,” Simon says. They all take a few minutes to gather their coats and things before shaking his hand goodbye. Then it’s piling in the minivan, it’s loud jokes and Louis tickling Niall and someone’s shoe may or may not end up in Harry’s lap. The typical ride back to the house, then.

Harry feels almost as if he's been in a bubble for the past eight or so weeks. He's barely texted any of his friends back home and he doesn't really know what's going on in the world. Now it's late November and the trees look cadaverous, and any leaves that still cling to them are brittle and pathetic looking. How strange it is that Harry lied down with Louis in green grass in August humidity and kissed among the fireflies. It feels like it was yesterday but lifetimes ago all at once. He reaches for Louis' hand and even that feels different than it did in the grass all those weeks ago. Then it was a novelty, a moment that stopped Harry's heart and scrambled his mind more than the wine ever could. Now it's comfort, it's a constant, it's home. Holding Louis' hand is something as natural as breathing, kissing him is something as easy as blinking. Someday, saying “I love you” will be something as effortless as the beating of Harry's heart.

When they get back to the house Louis keeps Harry's hand clasped with his and they head up to their room. They settle down on their bunk with Louis' laptop and talk while Louis gets it up and running and goes to YouTube. Harry takes it from him and searches for the video someone from a wedding party had uploaded. He finds it in a few minutes.

“Okay, just remember this was like over a year ago. I was like early fifteen, my hair was really dumb.”

“So no different from now, then?” Louis teases, poking at Harry's dimple when it appears with his indignant, “Heeyyy!”

He presses play on the video and his voice starts it off.

“Aw listen to you! So high pitched,” Louis grins, mussing up Harry's curls. They sit and listen to the whole thing, then watch White Eskimo's performance of “Valerie” and anything else Harry can drudge up.

“You used to be in a band, anything from The Rogue make it online?” Harry asks, backspacing the search.

“No, but I did have a channel and I'd post covers when I was like, sixteen,” Louis says. Sometimes Harry forgets Louis isn't the same age as him, and that sixteen is forever ago to him.

“I'd love to hear them,” Harry says. Louis makes a hesitant face.

“Pleeeeease?” Harry begs, sticking out his bottom lip and batting his eyelashes.

“How am I possibly meant to say no to that face?” Louis says, then darts forward and kisses Harry's nose, making him giggle. “But, like, they're not the best, so just prepare yourself.”

“Louis, they're gonna be good no matter how old you were,” Harry assures him. Louis just shrugs and types in his channel name. When it comes up he clicks on one.

“Chris Brown?” Harry asks.

“I'm pretty sure this was before he hurt Rihanna and also before my music taste matured. I used to listen to nothing but like hip hop and rap,” Louis explains and then the video finishes loading and starts playing. During the chorus Harry asks, “Lou, why'd you auto tune yourself so much?”

Louis shrugs. “Dunno, liked it better like that I guess. I have another one, it's less auto tuned, if you want.” Harry agrees and Louis goes back to his channel and clicks on the “Look After You” cover video.

“I played the piano in this,” Louis says.

“When we have an album you should do all the piano playing for it,” Harry tells him. Harry's not very familiar with the song but he recognizes it from Louis' “harry” playlist.

Be my baby and I'll look after you,” Louis sings the lyric near Harry's ear, nibbles at the lobe.

When the song ends they don't start a new one, too wrapped up in each other's mouths for that.




“Mum, how early is too early to be in love? I'm asking for a friend,” Harry asks into the phone, he hasn't even said hello yet. Her laugh comes a beat late, like she was frozen.

"Yeah, 'asking for a friend', says the teenage boy in his first relationship.” His mum’s voice is decidedly not his mum's voice.

“Gemma? Why are you answering mum's phone?” Harry's cheeks flame up.

“She's at work and forgot her cell today, I've been taking her calls,” Gemma explains quickly, “Now, about this love situation. How do you feel? Like what's making you think you're in love?”

"I told you, it's for a friend,” It's only like 80% a lie, Niall had taken a bite of his waffles that morning and asked Harry if it was too early in the relationship to propose to them.

"Okay, well then how does this friend feel?” says Gemma, and he can hear her roll her eyes.

"Um, like, he's kinda fuzzy? Kinda achy, like when you've got the flu, muscle aches and stuff, but in a kinda good way. Yearn-y. He's warm a lot of the time, like cozy. Like he's just come in from being out in the sun, or like he’s just taken off a sweater. His dreams are all real life, no nonsense stuff. I've been--I mean, he's been really unfocused all the time. Like he's only really alert when the other lad is around. Well, not to say that, like, he's dependent on the other guy, just, like, I guess he really likes him. Like he wants to burst sometimes, but if he did it would all be birdsong and confetti and lollipops.”

"That it?” There's a smile in her voice.

“Well, those're the major points, I guess,” Harry shrugs.

“You're in love, my sweet Harold, my baby brother. You are head over heels in love. When are you gonna tell Louis?”

“It's for a friend! How do you even know what love is?”

“I read romance novels, obviously,” Gemma replies.

Harry sighs exasperatedly into the phone.

“That's not even the point. I already knew I was- shit, he already knew he's in love, but is it too early?”

“How long have you been with Louis?”

"Well we kissed for the first time at dad's bungalow but we officially got together like six weeks ago. But we met at our auditions in like March, so that could be a factor I guess. But it's for-”

“A friend, I know, I know. Just tell him, you idiot.”

Now where has Harry heard that before?

He hangs up.




They are quite literally bored out of their minds. Harry and Louis have had three staring contests, four breath holding contests, and seventeen thumb wars. Now they're left with some chocolate coins and a camera crew.

“This is a special challenge with special money,” says Louis, donning a comical voice, “Let's see who can wrap--or unwrap--the most money in one minute. Go!”

Harry, from where he's sprawled out over the brown couch, starts to unwrap his chocolate coins as quickly as possible. God knows why they made this so difficult. Louis gets the first point and Harry's not soon after. Both of them are giggly with the ridiculousness of the competition, especially when Louis accidentally eats some wrapper with the chocolate.

Louis goes to sabotage Harry, grabbing his hand and messing him up, and so to retaliate Harry grabs his coins, which are coincidentally right near Louis' crotch. Louis squawks and starts throwing wrappers and chocolate at Harry.

“Now kiss me you fool.” Harry giggles, throwing more things at Louis. Louis launches himself at him, hands mussing up his curls and he presses a quick kiss to the side of Harry's neck, where the cameras can't see.

They come out of it rumpled and giggling. Louis' beanie is askew from Harry's hands and the camera man is smiling at them, rolling his eyes fondly.

Both of them stay sprawled on the couch, making dumb jokes for the sole purpose of making each other laugh.




This video diary is possibly Louis' weirdest yet. Liam's been a bit irritated with his antics during the diaries, and Harry thinks this time is what's gonna set it over the edge. He's making everyone tea while they talk. Problem is he's pouring tons of salt in the cups and then just teeny, tiny drops of tea.

Liam lets out tiny irritated sighs whenever Louis does something particularly strange, and Harry knows from past diaries that the camera won’t pick up on them, but they're there. He thinks Liam is trying to go along with Louis, realizes that's just how he is. But even after his “head and shoulders, please” joke, he seems a little irritated and tense.

Actually, Liam's been tense the whole week. Things with Zayn still haven't been completely resolved. They're talking but it's like they've just brushed the whole incident under the rug. Zayn's flirting with Rebecca now, which is a little odd, and Harry thinks it's almost like he's trying to make Liam jealous like he does to Zayn. Not that Danielle is just a way to make Zayn jealous. Harry watched him talk with her at rehearsals the other day and he actually seems really into her.

It's all kind of a mess with them. Louis had described it as “an actual real life love triangle, just like in Twilight. Liam is Bella, Zayn is Jacob, starring Danielle as Edward.”

Harry asked him then if he thought Zayn would fall in love with Liam and Danielle's child, and Louis had looked so pretty while laughing that suddenly their mouths were too occupied to talk.



Week eight of the X Factor, the quarter-final, is the first week in which each act performs two songs. It's a blessing to Harry, double the stage time. He loves being on stage more than anything, it's his own personal heaven. He loves hearing the audience scream and sing along, loves hearing his boys' voices echo around the arena. It's magic.

And he gets to do it twice in one night, almost almost like it's their own show.

Not to mention they get to do the X Factor tour once the show ends, however that may be.

Harry really wants to win, wants it with all his heart. If they win they have a higher chance of getting to perform to crowds like this for the rest of their lives. The spotlights and the music so loud it feels like a second heartbeat whenever there's drums and the sea of people all there for them.

If they win they have a higher chance of keeping the band together.

If they win they have a higher chance of keeping Harry and Louis together.




It's strange, how empty the house is. It's just Matt, Rebecca, Cher and the other four boys. The semi-finalists.

Harry still can't believe a talent like Mary is gone and that they aren't. And it’s just so incredible, how they’ve come this far after originally getting a no. Really, it's all thanks to the small fanbase they've picked up. A small group of dedicated girls, mostly, who call in to vote loads and loads of times. Harry loves every single last one of them. He loves the ones who leave comments and likes on their videos on YouTube, and give them so many views, the ones who follow them on Twitter, going so far as to retweet even the most inane comments. They'd be nowhere without them, really.

“What’cha thinkin' 'bout?” Louis asks, booping his nose without looking up from the screen of his gameboy.

“Winning.” Harry answers simply.

“God, I just finally got myself to think about something else.” Liam complains from his bunk, laughing.

"Sorry Li.” Harry giggles.

"Anyone seen Zayn?” Niall asks from his bunk which is under Zayn's empty one.

“With Rebecca maybe?” Louis suggests, still engrossed in his game. They hear Liam make some sort of scoffing noise.

“Liam, how're things with Danielle?” Harry asks, rolling his eyes but keeping it out of his tone. Liam has no right to be angry with Zayn for fancying Rebecca when he rejected Zayn for Danielle.

“Is it like a love square now?” Louis whispers in his ear. Harry giggles silently into his hand. Louis kisses his nose, because they're gross and couple-y like that.

“Pretty good actually, I kissed her yesterday.” Liam answers.

“You don't sound too excited about that.” Niall points out.

“No! I was! I am! She's really fit and nice and I really-” He's cut off when Zayn barges in, eyes wide.

“Lads, I've just proper snogged an older woman,” he says. Niall and Louis hoot and holler and Harry claps excitedly. Liam does not have a reaction that Harry can see or hear.

“Close the door then, lad! Tell us all the dirty details.” Louis implores, and Harry grins, remembering a similar line from the video of Louis playing Danny from Grease. He'd loved that video so much he watched it three times, but the pang of jealousy that went through his chest when Louis kissed the girl who played Sandy never faded. Louis had kissed him quite thoroughly to make him feel better.

Zayn climbs up onto his bunk, lips glossy and eyes bright.

“D'ya touch her tits?” Niall asks, leaning out from under his bunk to look at Zayn.

Zayn nods excitedly, “Yeah! They were so nice, it was incredible. She's such a good kisser, too. 'Cause she's like, experienced. Like, say you kiss a seventeen year old, they're gonna have poor technique. Too much tongue, too much spit. She used her teeth in the best ways, too. I've never had a better kiss. Ever.”

“Oh, well, I kissed Danielle yesterday, and she's young but a great kisser. Dunno if experience is a good thing? Like, it means she's kissed a lot of other people. Dani's just like, good by nature. A born good kisser. Perfect tongue, normal amounts of spit. And she, like, even moaned a little when I nibbled her bottom lip.” Liam pipes up.

“God, are they gonna start comparing dick sizes?” Louis asks, leaning over to Harry's ear.

“If they do it's gonna end in handjobs, too much tension between the two of them.” Harry replies.

“Speaking of, when we go to bed tonight, d’ya want a quiet one?” Louis asks. Harry shivers, nods.

“Oh really? It was probably in pain. It was kinda hard when you did it to me,” Zayn says, voice steely. The tension, fizzling in the air before, is now palpable, the air thick and congested with it.

"Yeah, well, I sure hope you didn't kiss Rebecca like you kissed me, was like a really shitty horror film. Attack of the Slimy Tongue,” Liam retorts. He's visible now, not in his bunk but nearly standing next to it.

“Oh my,” says Harry quietly. Zayn is climbing down his and Niall's bed then, crossing the floor in three, confident strides, cups Liam's face in his hands, and crashes their mouths together.

Oh my,” Harry gasps again.

Liam kisses back, hands winding themselves into Zayn's shirt, pulling the fabric taut. Zayn has Liam pressed back against the bed, both of them making small noises of pleasure or pain or maybe even both.

“This was a turn of events.” Louis says to Harry. All Harry can do is nod.

When they finally break apart Zayn opens his mouth to say something, but Liam beats him to it.

“Better this time, should practice more,” and he pulls Zayn back to his mouth.

There's a beat of shocked silence, save the wet sounds of tongues and lips, then, “Oh my god.” Niall says. It really does look like they're trying to swallow each other.

“Is this what me and Hazza are like?” Louis asks.

"Yes.” Niall answers simply.

“Gross.” Harry says.

“I still don't feel bad.” Louis says.

“Me neither.”

“I want to snog someone.” Niall pouts. Everyone laughs, or, rather, Louis and Harry laugh and Zayn/Liam make some laughter-like noise into each other's mouths.





They've got some time alone and Louis is stroking both their cocks deliciously slowly and licking into Harry's mouth like there's treasure in there when Harry makes his decision.

“Louis, I want you to-” Harry says in a pause between meetings of their lips, cuts off and furrows his brows, uncertain how to phrase this.

"What is it, sunshine?” Louis asks, pressing a kiss to Harry's bare shoulder.

“I want- I want to go all the way.” Harry says and winces at the childish phrasing.

Louis sits back and the sudden loss of contact sends goosebumps racing over Harry's body. Louis looks panicky, eyes unfocused and fingertips unsteady.

“You mean-” he chokes off.

“I can't be any clearer, Louis, without being rude about it,” Harry says, it's soft but assertive. When Harry's horny he's quite demanding, but almost always in a quiet way. In an, “I'll take whatever you give me, but, god, give me something” sort of way.

“Then I think I need you to be rude about it, I'm just-”

“I want you to put your penis in my butthole,” and there it is. Harry Styles, forever a poet. Harry watches Louis flounder, heart plummeting. He knows he should say something reassuring to calm Louis down or tell him that he doesn't have to, but he can't find the words.

“But Harry I- I don't know how, I mean, shouldn't we have researched first? When I did it for the first time with me first girlfriend we like spent a few days googling stuff and watching amateur porn,” Louis tells him. Harry's heart clenches. He wasn't sure if he'd be Louis' first or not, but he wanted desperately to share that together.

“Lou, now really isn't the time to tell me about when you had sex with your previous girlfriend.” Harry doesn't mean for his voice to come out as hurt as it does, especially when he sees the effect it has on Louis, how much more panicky he looks and fluttery and scared.

"But, like, it's a lot different than a vagina down there! Vaginas push out babies, Haz, the biggest thing butts generally see are summer shits when you've had too much corn!” Louis suddenly changes tone, instead of scared and flighty he's softer and loving, “What if I hurt you? I don't want to hurt you. That's, like, my worst fear. I don't know what I'd do knowing I hurt you. I lo- I just, I don't want- I want your first time to be as good as it can possibly be. I don't want to give you a crappy first time. I want to do it right for you.”

“Louis,” Harry says. The word is steady, calm, decisive. “I trust you.”

It sounds an awful lot like “I love you.”

Louis leans back down so their warm chests are pressed together. He presses dry lips to the spot just under Harry's ear. “I know you do, I know, and that's why I wanna make it as perfect and amazing and as good for you as possible. I wanna take care of you, you know? I wanna make you feel good and I wanna make you happy. I need to make sure I can do that properly.”

Harry sighs.

“Please, baby.”

That's what melts him. He loves Louis so much. Even though neither of them have said yet, he knows. He knows he loves Louis like he knows the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning.He knows that life is fleeting and everything is ephemeral and will come to an end and he knows that some might say it’s stupid to give your heart away at sixteen. He knows it all, just like he knows that he is in love with Louis William Tomlinson.

“Yeah, okay.”

Louis kisses him, doesn't stop kissing him til they've both calmed down and they're under the covers, cozy and warm and so totally and completely in love.




The rest of the week not spent rehearsing or freaking out about winning or watching disgustedly as Liam and Zayn make out with either each other or their female counterparts is spent watching amateur gay porn with Louis and clearing their google search history.

“Niall did you know that prostate stimulation only feels good when you're hard so that's why when you go for your prostate examination it's just awkward and uncomfortable?” Louis says reading off his computer screen.

“No I did not but I also never needed to know that.” Niall replies.

“Niall! It's important that you understand your own body.” Harry says informatively.

"I know that my dick gets hard and touching it is nice and that's all I need to know.”

"Did you know precome can actually impregnate a girl? So like people only put on condoms right before they're gonna come and whoops she might already be pregnant.” Harry tells him.

“Hazza, we don't really need to worry about pregnancy.” Louis says.

“I know it's just in a list of facts about dicks.”

"Oh my god just fuck already.” Niall groans.

"Niall we've already explained this to you, anal sex is a very delicate and potentially dangerous procedure, and we don't want to have there be any pain or tearing or anything,” says Louis.

“Well I think shoving a dick up your asshole is gonna hurt like fuck no matter what.”

“Au contraire, not with proper prepping. Lube and fingering is a must. You can't just stick it in.” Harry says.

“I'm going to find Liam and Zayn. Watching them try to digest each other will be better than this.” Niall huffs, taking his gameboy and laptop and stomping out of the room.




“Louis, do you think maybe for this diary you could be, like, just a bit more serious?” Liam asks while Zayn and Niall set up the camera.

There's a pause.

“Oh, uh, yeah, sure. I can do that. I've just gotta go for a wee, yeah? Be right back down.” Louis says and Harry watches the bright blue of his superman shirt go concernedly.

When he comes back Harry has to bite back a grin. It seemed so out of character for Louis to do what Liam asked without a fight, so naturally he's gonna take the piss out of him. He’s wearing a button up shirt and the buttons are closed all the way up to his chin. He’s found a black bowtie and fastened that on as well.

“Niall, c'mere.” Louis says, motioning Niall over and begins whispering in his ear. Niall laughs loudly and nods, “Yeh, yeh, I'll do it,” more laughter, “you're a fuckin'legend mate.” Louis grins and claps Niall on the shoulder, then sits on the middle step. Harry sits on the step in front of him.

“Hazza, would you make my hair look exceptionally dumb?” Louis asks.

“Don't have to try all that hard do I?” Harry grins cheekily.

“Ohhh! Cheeky one you are.” Louis laughs, bopping Harry's nose. Zayn accidentally knocks the camera over and Liam gets up to help him, giving Louis enough time to tell Harry the plan while he fixes his hair.

Louis is absolutely the most ridiculous person he's ever had the privilege to meet and he loves him so fucking much.




“If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?” Louis sings, arms wide open from where he's lying on the bed.

“Are you asking me to cuddle with you?” Harry asks, pulling off his jeans.


“Alright then.” Harry answers and climbs up onto the bunk. Louis gathers Harry up in his arms. They'd been in the same position about an hour previously, except Harry was having a bit of a cry, mourning the loss of Cher. Louis had calmed him down and kissed his face and told him everything would be alright and reminded him that they're in the final and they're gonna win and they're together. Harry had calmed down and the three little words bubbled to his lips more than once but never pushed through.

“I don't quite know how to say how I feel.” Harry sings softly.

Those three words are said too much but not enough.




“I love you.” Harry says, quietly, calmly. It's not right.

His reflection doesn't reply, just looks as sick and worried as he does.




They have to wake up grotesquely early to talk to Ireland. What a strange thought, talking to the whole of Ireland. After that they're going to Louis' old school in Doncaster. Louis told Harry he wanted to find a moment and kiss him against his former locker. Harry won't object, frankly. After that they're going to Holmes Chapel to Harry's house, and Harry's so excited to see his mum. (And introduce her to Louis.) Then to an HMV in Bradford for a signing and then to Wolverhampton for a gig.

But for now, Harry's having difficulty even dragging himself to the shower, never mind all over the country.

“Love, you gotta shower so I can shower after so we can get some food in your tummy and get going.” Louis says, poking at Harry's soft belly.

“Nuh uh.” Harry groans, eyes still shut tight, turning into the warmth of Louis' body.

“Yeah huh.”

“Nuh uh.”

"Yeah huh.”

“Nuh uh.”

“C'mon, sunshine, Niall wants to talk to his country. Do it for Niall, how could you ever make him sad? He's like the sun, or summat.”

“No, that's you.” Harry says, maybe he's a little wonky and half asleep. He hears Louis chuckle.

“Alright, up and at 'em.” Louis says determinedly and Harry feels arms slide under his back and the underside of his knees. Suddenly he's airborne, and he supposes that's okay with him as long as he gets to keep his eyes closed and pretend they're not awake before the sunrise.

“Where are we going?” Harry asks when he feels Louis carry him out the door.

“To shower.” Louis answers. That makes Harry open his eyes.

“Together?” He asks. Louis looks down at him fondly, “Well, only if you want.”

“Do I get to undress you?”

Louis laughs, eyes crinkled and head back, “Yes, if you want.”

“Okay then.” Harry agrees. Louis laughs again and then they reach the bathroom. Louis sets Harry down gently on the sink and then closes the door.

"What time is it even?” Harry asks, rubbing the crust from his eyes.

“Far too early to worry about it.” Louis answers, then crouches down and slides Harry's rainbow fuzzy socks off.

"How'd you get so good at taking care of me?” Harry asks sleepily, standing up from the counter so he can pull his sweatpants off.

"Dunno, guess s'just 'cause I always took care of my sisters and stuff.” Louis says, “But I definitely don't see you like a sibling.” Harry raises his arms and Louis pulls his t shirt up and off.

“Well that's good then, considering we're gonna have sex in like three days.” Harry says, his head still stuck inside the shirt. Louis pops it off and then plants a quick dry kiss to Harry's slow to respond lips.

“Only two now, my love.” Louis says quietly. Harry tries his very best not to preen at my love. But the thing about trying your very best is that it doesn't always work.

“Now you.” Harry says, making grabby hands to tell Louis to come closer. He complies and steps forward. Harry has noticed his eyes are always bluer in the mornings, like they recharged overnight. Harry's fingers fumble with the hem of Louis' t shirt and he presses his thumbs into Louis' hips instead, feeling the soft, warm skin. His hands glide up Louis' sides, into every curve and dip and angle, hitching up the shirt all the while. He slides his hands to Louis' chest and collar bone and Louis lifts up his arms. Harry pulls off his shirt and then goes for his boxers, pulling them down slowly. Louis trips trying to step out of them, and Harry does not try to disguise his laughter at all.

Then they turn the shower on and get it at the proper temperature and step under the droplets. They get their hair wet in turns, Harry's takes longer because it's thicker and Louis' left shivering so Harry pulls him close so their both under the spray.

They shampoo each other's hair and the feeling takes him back to their three am bubble bath. This time, though, they're standing and their arms are tangled together as they work at the same time, giggling and playing with the bubbles.

Once Harry has rinsed his hair Louis steps under the water to do the same.

“Wanna kiss you, Lou.” Harry says. The corner of Louis' mouth quirks up and he nods. Harry's hands find a place on the curve of Louis' back as he steps closer and fits his mouth with Louis'. He remembers the first kiss back in the last days of August and how absolutely right it felt. It wasn't something new, it was like coming home after a long vacation. It was familiarity after a long time of something foreign. Almost as if Harry'd been living his whole life waiting to get to Louis, get back to Louis. Harry has always toyed with the idea of soulmates and every time he kisses Louis it's just confirmation. Every time he kisses Louis, slots their lips together, tastes him, it's like fitting the last piece into a puzzle. The love rises up in him, a tidal wave, a tsunami, he feels the words prickling on his tongue, feels Louis lick them off, hopes he swallows them and understands how truly and completely and deeply Harry has fallen for him.

They end the kiss mutually. Water droplets trail down Louis' nose, pool in his Cupid's bow, hang from his eyelashes. He blinks and they disappear. It's all slow motion to Harry, watching Louis like this. Watching every strand of hair shift when water from the shower hits it. A shampoo bubble pops near his ear. Harry watches the light dapple softly in Louis' blueblueblue eyes. His lips part slowly, the pink skin opening gradually like how the sun rises in the morning. He takes in a breath and Harry can hear how it rattles slightly on it's way down his windpipe. Harry can see how every muscle around his mouth and jaw moves, the characteristic quirks of his mouth with his speech, how the tip of his tongue presses to the roof of his mouth in an “L” sound, how his teeth hover just above his bottom lip and air hisses between them in a “V”, watches in awe as his lips purse out just the slightest, cradling the “U” sound.

Louis closes his mouth.

Time catches up.

Harry's brain grinds into motion, gears working and sparks passing through his synapses with realization.

He replays it in his mind, Louis' voice soft and sincere and a little shaky, “I love you.”

Harry takes in a quick intake of breath and it hitches there, his whole body buzzing with those words. His fingertips feel tight, like something is trying to burst from them.

It rolls out of him like quiet thunder, like one single beat of his heart has leaped from his body and into the air between them, “I love you.”

They're kissing again before Harry even registers the look of absolute elation on Louis' features.




Harry's mum, Anne, absolutely adores Louis. He's even gotten Gemma's approval. Harry thinks they're going to be great friends. Gemma had made a snarky comment and Louis shot one back and she'd just given him this look of approval that could only mean she likes him. Just about everyone adores Louis, actually, as well as the rest of the boys. Robin had said something about them all being family now and Louis had just shot Harry this happy little look.

After the initial surprise of the party poppers and such they all just socialize with people from Holmes Chapel Harry knows and his family. It's nice to have all the people he loves most all in one room, his mum, his step-dad Robin, Gemma, Louis, the other boys.

“So, did ya tell him yet?” Gemma asks, sidling up next to Harry when Louis leaves with Niall to get more cake.

Harry can't keep the ear to ear grin off his face. “Yeah, this morning actually.”

“So how'd you do it?” She asks excitedly.

“Um, he said it first actually.”

“Said what?” Anne asks, turning away from her conversation with Liam. Harry's eyes widen, floundering around in his head for a response without making his mother cry. She already cried earlier when they were being filmed, something about you'll always be my baby.

“Mum, our little Harry's in love!” Gemma says. He knows that she knows that he didn't want to tell Anne yet and he shoots her an evil eye.

Anne's eyes widen. “You told him?”

Harry doesn't bother asking how she knows he'd been worrying about it, assumes it has something to do with his jerk of a sister. His face is burning. “Uh, yeah, this morning.”

Then Louis appears back at his side with a mouthful of red velvet cake and Anne begins to blubber, pulling Louis in for a hug.

“Um.” Harry hears Louis say before he wraps his arms around her. She's usually a very strong woman, but when Gemma went to prom with her first boyfriend Harry had been at home and he had to calm her down, bringing her chocolate and watching movies with her. She loves her children more than anything in the world and when good things happen to them she just gets weepy.

When she finally lets Louis go she’s wiping under her eyes. “Sorry, sorry, I'm just really happy for you two.” She gestures to both Louis and Harry. “Living your dreams and falling in love all at once.”

Louis' face lights up at the word 'love', just like it had the first time and the four other times Harry's already said it today.

“Take care of my baby.”

“I'm going to kill you.” Harry whispers to Gemma.

“It would've happened eventually.” Gemma replies.

“At least we didn't tell her we wanna move in together after the X Factor,” Harry says, and maybe it was a little too loudly because Anne looks over at him, eyes wide and brimming with a new wave of tears. Harry has never known his mother to cry this much, and now she's soaking the shoulder of his shirt. Louis is tucking a laugh into the palm of his hand, eyes shining at Harry.

“My mum's gonna be worse.” He mouths.




Harry can't sleep. Yesterday he slept like a baby after their long day going to everyone's hometowns but now he's wide awake at two am.

It's just.

Tomorrow's the day, and then the day after that is another the day. Tomorrow is the day he and Louis go all the way. They've planned it all out, bought lube and condoms, and they know everything there is to know. They made arrangements to sleep in one of the other contestant's old bed, a double instead of a bunk and pretty far away from the boys, Matt, and Rebecca.

The next day is the final, three songs, one with Robbie fucking Williams. Those few hours will be the ones to shape the rest of their lives, everything rests in the hands of Saturday night. He could go to sleep that night elated or devastated.

His stomach turns with nerves and even cuddling closer to Louis doesn't help because that just reminds him how close they're going to be tomorrow night.

But god he loves Louis so much, and he wants that closeness with him so badly. Some of the nervousness he's feeling may actually be anticipation in disguise, but he can't be sure. Emotions are so confusing.

The only one he's ever been clear on is love, really.




Harry's eating dinner, or rather picking at it and making it look like he's eating, with the boys when Zayn joins them.

“Sorry I'm late.” He says.

“Nothing we're not used to.” Louis jokes.

“So Rebecca broke it off with me.” Zayn says, stabbing some food onto his fork.

“You don't sound too upset.” Niall comments.

“M'not, not really. Like it was fun, you know but nothing serious.” Zayn shrugs.

“You know,” says Louis, “I just don't see the point of flings. I like serious relationships. Like just don't date someone you can't see yourself being with for a long time.” Harry's heart flutters in his chest, and Louis brushes his fingers over the back of Harry's hand on the table.

“You two are gross.” Zayn says.

“Don't think we haven't figured why you're not sleeping in your bunk tonight.” Niall adds. Harry's face heats up and he knows he's beet red.

“Why aren't they sleeping in their bunk tonight?” Liam asks. Zayn whacks him. Niall makes the universal 'sex' symbol with his fingers. “Oh.”




“Deep breaths, Harry, just breathe.” Harry says to his reflection. The extra oxygen does nothing to calm the twirling of his stomach. It's like it decided to become a ballerina, twirling and jumping and doing splits.

He fusses with his curls one last time, they're still slightly damp from the shower he'd taken earlier to, um, prepare himself as well as calm down. Not that it really matters, they're going to get fucked up. Just like Harry. Which is the whole point. Oh god.

Now or never.

Harry leaves the bathroom, shuts off the light behind him and walks down the hallway. When he opens the door there's just Louis and a bed and some stuff on the bed. A condom package glints in the light and there's a miniature lube bottle next to it. Harry's stomach rolls.

But then Louis looks up at him and green meets blue and all the nerves just flit away and he remembers who this is and how much he loves him and it's all okay. Everything will always be okay, as long as he's with Louis.

It’s like it’s always been, as easy as breathing, and he’s kissing Louis like it’s all he knows. It goes like it does, like they’ve done so many times before--Harry coming ‘round in little bursts to find himself naked and his clothes flung somewhere unimportant, to find his mouth attached to Louis' neck, to feel Louis' hand gentle on his cock.

“C'mon, up on the bed, yeah?” Louis says. They had just been sitting on the edge of the bed. Harry nods and crawls up on the bed. He stays there on his hands and knees and follows Louis blindly.

From there it's nothing but love. Louis kisses every last vertebrae, starting at the top and working his way down to the base of Harry's spine. He opens Harry up with one, two, then three slick fingers to the last knuckle, crooking his fingers just the right way until Harry's shaking, writhing with it, on his knees and begging for Louis to kiss him, fuck him.

After rolling on a condom and slicking up, Louis turns Harry over and hitches up his legs. He kisses Harry, and when he slowly, so slowly, slides in Harry sees stars. Or fireflies on an August night. He stills for a moment. Harry breathes, revels in the fact that Louis is inside of him and they're connected and nothing has ever been so good. The burn, the ache, the stretch; it's there, he knew it would be, but it's Louis. They're connected, they're one.

“I love you.” Harry gasps when Louis moves the first time, just pulls out less than an inch and slowly rocks back in.

“Good then?” Louis' breathing is labored. Harry revels in that. He is making Louis feel good, his body.


Louis pulls and presses again, the tug and the friction more incredible than Harry could ever have imagined.

“You are so beautiful.” Louis tells him. Harry smiles and fixes Louis' slightly damp fringe. He moves again, Harry arches into it, wants more.

It's give and take, push and pull, a rhythm so sacred the very sea designed its motion after them.

Harry's fingers tremble, fluttering over Louis' hair, his back, down to the curve of his bum. Every slow, careful thrust is a rush. Every gasp from Louis' mouth sends Harry spiking higher. Louis' hand flying over Harry's cock is liquid fire, it pulses through him in waves, pushes sounds from deep in his gut to the open air.

When he comes he blazes with it, shatters. Louis is the epicenter, the bottom of the stem of the mushroom cloud. The bloom of the explosion sends Harry's arms out, fingers stretched, clutching at the sheets. Toes curl, heels dig into the back of Louis’ thighs. The inside of his eyelids burn white- then to violet and spikes of red. He's vaguely aware of the small sounds dropping off his bottom lip like honey. Vaguely aware of the thin ropes of come he’s painted up his chest. Vaguely aware of Louis choking off a shout and that he can feel Louis pulsing with his orgasm inside.

He comes down hard, shoved back into his body casing. He feels like lead compared to the weightlessness of the past hour. He winces when Louis pulls out, realizing he’ll probably still feel everything tomorrow morning. Or, not quite--more like the soreness, or the way his body feels almost empty without Louis.

His head lolls to the side to look at Louis, eyes hooded.

“Good?” Louis asks, breath heavy. Harry can't find his motor skills, can't find his mouth to reply. He hopes his slow blink conveys his feelings well enough. Louis twines his fingers with Harry's.

“Come back to me, love,” he says softly.

It's a few minutes, but surprisingly his ankles come back first. He rolls one, then the other. Then it's the toes, flexes and points. His knees and hips crack when he rolls over closer to Louis. His tongue unsticks from the roof of his mouth.

“Hi.” He says.

“Hey, sunshine.” Louis smiles.

“That was incredible.”

Louis grins, kisses him slowly, dry, “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Harry replies.

“Let's get you cleaned up, yeah?” Louis sits up slowly, his hip pops audibly. He walks on trembling legs across the room to the door, “I'm going to go get a wash cloth, I'll be right back.”

Sleep has already dragged Harry halfway down by the time Louis comes back and wipes him clean, taking extra care around the place where he's sore. Climbing back on the bed, Louis folds Harry's various bendy and floppy limbs up and curls him on his side and cradles him close.

Harry falls asleep as Louis'.




The stage is black. He knows no one can see them, not even when Liam's spotlight beams down, washing the small amount of fog around him white. Harry's heart is in his throat. This is it, this is the final.

It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside...

Liam's voice sounds like it's coming through a thick wall, muffled and warped. Harry can't breathe. Louis is somewhere behind him on the stairs and all he wants is to hold his hand.

The lights come on for the chorus, and there's words falling into Harry's microphone and his heart settles back into place and his hearing clears.

How wonderful life is, now you're in the world

He fits his microphone into the stand and steels himself. He's practiced this solo a hundred times, he could sing it backward if he wanted. It's a love song, he knows love. There's nothing to be afraid of.

But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song. It's for people like you that keep it turned on.

Somehow his voice works it's way through the rest of the song, even his long note which has him doubling over with the effort it takes.

There's the judge's comments and Simon looks so proud. Harry's so proud. Look how far they've come, their little band of rejects. He wants to go farther, wants to soar, wants someday to perform to arenas filled with people just for them, maybe even stadiums.

For now, though, this is their two minute slice of heaven.




Robbie Williams is a little too handsy with Harry's boyfriend on stage. But he gets to touch Louis after this, therefore touching Robbie Williams by association. Although he's already touching Robbie Williams.

Robbie Williams. How is this happening?

He thinks it's one of the best performances the show has seen. He's not biased at all.

There's just this feeling of elation coursing through Harry's veins. They're gonna win. He knows it. They're going to win. They have to win.




This time he can hear Louis backing him, can hear their voices mixing.

And this is it, this is the performance that means everything. This is the performance that changes their lives.

Louis reaches out and puts his arm around Harry's back and Harry does the same, standing there and singing and he feels that strange tug in his gut he felt that first day they were put together that says this is only the beginning.




The first act through is Matt. Harry isn't surprised, he'd come in first every week except the first live show. Harry was next to positive that he would get through and they would have to compete against him. Or him and Rebecca would compete, but he's not going to let himself think about that.

Except he's thinking about it. God he's so nervous he can't breathe. His stomach is in knots, entire body trembling. He thinks he's praying, but he's not sure, too nervous to work out his own thoughts.

Louis gives him a little pat on the hip. It says it's okay, I'm here, we're here. They are in the final. They made it this far. It will be okay if they don't win, they'll stay together and release like EPs if they have to.

But god does it sting so badly when “Rebecca” leaves Dermot's mouth.

Harry's lungs collapse. His entire soul deflates. He wants to let his legs give out and just lie there on the stage.

God the stage, he's going to miss performing more than anything. Loves the rush and the screams and the pounding music. It's all over, it's all gone. He's going to go back home and work in a bakery and go to college and study law and business and sociology and he'll be content but he won't be happy.

His eyes are hot, stinging, his throat is tight. Keeping it together is his main priority. He can cry backstage, he can cry as much as he wants, as much as he needs.

Niall's fingers are pressed into his hip, pressing rhythms there like he's trying just as hard as Harry to keep his head on.

“This is just the beginning for these boys.” Simon says. But it feels so heart achingly and soul crushingly like an end.

Somehow he makes it backstage, eyes too blurry to really tell where he's going, and he only knows by rote how to find his way into Louis' arms. Louis folds him in, holds him tight, voice breaks when he says, “I love you.”

That's when the first sob claws it's way up Harry's throat, animalistic, and bursts painfully from his mouth. He tucks his face into Louis' neck and cries, holding him tight, needing the solidity, the permanence. Distantly he can hear Niall crying and Zayn soothing him, making the sounds a mother makes to her crying child. Liam sniffles somewhere to Harry's right.

“C'mon, lads, group hug.” Louis says. Harry's close enough to him to hear how it echoes through his body.

Something warm and wet presses to Harry's side- that's Niall. He moves his arm to envelope him in. He feels Zayn's hand on his waist and Liam push up against Louis' other side. They stay like that for god knows how long, sniffling and crying it out, all pressed up against each other.

A few minutes later, they've ended up in a pile and tangle of limbs on a couch backstage. They've all calmed somewhat, called their families and broke the news even though they just watched it live. Simon walks into the room.

“Hello boys.” He says, voice softer than Harry's ever heard it. He wonders if they're going to get the same talk he gave the other rejected artists, something about working hard and whatnot.

It doesn't happen, what he says instead is, “I'd like you all to come with me to my office, if you're up for it. It's just a short drive.”

They all agree and get into a van with Simon and his driver. The atmosphere in the car is muted and no one talks. There's the occasional sniff, but other than that it's silent.

The reach Simon's office and Harry remembers coming here in week five. It had all gone by so fast, in a whirl of performances and rising fame and Louis, but now week five feels like lifetimes ago. There's the five pristine white leather chairs in front of his desk and Simon motions for them to sit.

They do and Louis holds Harry's hand across the gap.

“So,” says Simon, “I don't usually do this, but since I put you through back at my house in Spain I've been going with my heart this whole competition and I truly believe that that has driven me to make some great decisions.”

Harry's dead insides churn weakly, some of the familiar nerves seeping back. His crushed soul inflates just the slightest bit with tiny bits of hope.

And then something wonderful happens.

"So, with that in mind, I just can't ignore what my heart is telling me. I just can't let you boys go, you're too talented and too hard working.” Harry's heart is in his throat in the most beautiful way, Louis' grip on his hand is crushing, “If you're interested, I would like to sign you to my record label.”

It's like light explodes in Harry's chest, shatters all the grey and the sadness that had nested there. His hands shake violently, eyes brim with a new kind of tears. It buzzes in his veins, the elation he thought he had missed. There's shouting, Liam leaps up from his chair. Niall laughs hysterically. Zayn collapses in on himself, folding over and wrapping his arms around his knees. Louis' hand stays tightly twined with Harry's but his other wipes away his first tears of the night.

It's like it's all gone to slow motion for Harry. He watches the way a slow smile spreads on Simon's face and a tear drops to Louis' cheekbone and Niall clutch at his stomach with debilitating laughter. Zayn claws his fingers into his jeans, face hidden but Harry knows it's a smile. Liam jumps up and seems to float back down. These are his boys. They are staying together. It's only the beginning.

Harry had believed in fate when he held a boy, had learned of destiny with his boys, but it's with signing a record deal that heknows of dreams come true.




There was a crack in one of the tiles on the wall of the bathroom. Harry has studied it nine ways to Sunday and yet he still is not done peeing and he is bored. Yeah, it was his own fault for drinking, like, eight water bottles before his audition, but he was nervous and therefore shouldn't be held accountable for his actions.

Someone stands at the urinal next to him, and it's, like, bathroom etiquette not to look, but that crack in the tile is just not entertaining enough, so he glances over.

His heart stops and his hand jerks, sending droplets of pee flying. Harry sees his entire life reflect back at him in those two droplets, he prays to whatever deity will listen that they will land safely and not--

on the pretty boy's hand.

Of course.

Instead of just fucking ignoring it like a normal person would, a normal person who knows and understands the rules and regulations of bathroom etiquette, he says, “Oops.”


Fucking oops.

There go all his chances of chatting up this pixie boy and getting to know his blue eyes a little better. Harry wants to melt, liquefy and join the piss of hundreds of men down the urinal drain where he belongs.

Then the incredible happens. Bluey says, “Hi.”

Harry finally registers that he has, in fact, stopped peeing and is now just standing with his willy out and a dumbstruck expression on his face. He shakes off and tucks himself back into his trousers. Bluey seems to be done as well and moves with him to the sinks to wash his hands. Harry notices that Bluey keeps glancing at him in the mirror.

“Oh!” He gasps suddenly with recognition. “You're Harry! I saw your audition! You're incredible, mate.”

Harry breaks into a grin. “You think so? Thank you so much.”

“Yeah, mate, like you were wicked. You're gonna go far, I know it,” He says, wiping his hands off on the back of his jeans. “Like, this might be weird, but can I have, like, an autograph? Maybe take a picture with you? When you're the most famous boy in the world I wanna be able to say I got your first autograph. I won't sell it on eBay, promise.”

Harry gapes at Bluey, wracks his brain for an appropriate response, and comes up with, “Are you like clairvoyant or something?”

“Nah, but fit boys with great voices generally go very far in the world. Then there's you, fit boy, great voice, bakes, you're the whole package. Gonna be hard competing against you, innit?”

“Oh, you got through too! Congratulations!” Harry says, clapping happily.

Bluey grimaces. “Yeah I got through but I had to do two songs. Something just went wrong and I was so off key. Absolutely murdered ‘Hey There Delilah.’”

"Well, hey, the important thing is that you're through,” Harry says.

“Yeah, that's true. So how 'bout that autograph? If you're up for it?”

“Oh! Oh yeah, um, what do you want me to sign?” Harry asks, patting his pockets in search of a piece of paper.

“My tits,” Bluey says with a straight face.

“I--oh, um--”

“I'm just kidding with ya! I don't have anything, I guess just...” he reaches over and pulls out a paper towel. “One of these? 've got a pen.”

Harry giggles. “Yeah, sure.” He reaches for the pen and paper towel. “What's your name?”

“Well, up until my audition it was Louis, but then Simon pronounced it all French, and I decided I liked it, so, yeah, Louis.”

“Hey! That rhymes!” Harry gasps, beginning to scrawl a message.

“What rhymes?”

“Louis and Bluey.”


Harry looks up and hands Louis back the pen and paper towel, then realizes his mistake, “It's what I've been--oh god. It's what I've been calling you in my head.” He sounds so insane right now.

“Bluey? Why Bluey?” Louis laughs, pocketing the pen and reading the message with a smile.

“'Cause you've got these, like, eyeballs. They're blue, nice and stuff.” Oh god.

Louis nods like he understands. “You still up for a picture?”

“Yeah, sure.” As long as I stop embarrassing myself, Harry thinks. They get closer together and put their best prize-winning smiles on and Louis snaps the photo on his phone.

“Well, I better be going. My family probably thinks I'm taking a dump by now,” Louis says, pocketing his phone and holding the signed paper towel tightly.

“Yeah, wouldn't want that,” Harry agrees while Louis walks toward the door. “See you at bootcamp hopefully!”

“Yeah, and hey,” Louis pauses, door open and he looks back. “Bring me back a star when you're up there with them, will you?”

Harry doesn't believe in fate, but as looks at this pixie boy with his soft bronze hair and eyes like tropical oceans, this feeling tugs at his heart, the strangest feeling that tells him that this is neither the first time they’ve met, nor the last. “Yeah, I promise.”