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wild flower, my face of love

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The flowers in Harry’s hair match the watery blue of Louis’ eyes. It’s one of the reasons Harry had picked them for the bouquets in the first place, he explains, liked being able to look around and be reminded of the brightest blue he’ll ever have the pleasure of calling home. Louis’ been pulling them out of the bouquets and weaving them into Harry’s curls all night, because he likes his boy in blue and because he likes the way Harry giggles with flowers in his hair. There are so many tucked in there that every step they take, every time Harry throws his head back in laughter, leads to one or two of the baby blue forget-me-nots raining down on his shoulder, eventually ending up on the marble floor by their feet. Louis looks down and there’s a smaller one on the top of Harry’s black shoes, more cerulean than anything under the golden fairy lights and the Yorkshire night.

Harry is sappy and Harry is drunk and Harry is stepping on Louis’ foot with every other step. But they’re officially married now, so Louis’ just going to have to deal with it, Harry tells him. He’s got two left feet when he’s drunk and Louis knew that going in. What good is a husband anyway if he can’t even handle a clumsy first dance? For better or for worse, that’s how it goes.

At least now, alone under the stars, it doesn’t matter if Harry steps on his foot or if he gets all the words to their song wrong or if he throws his tie out of the gazebo and kicks off his shoes. Louis does the same, and there’s no one there to take a photo or coo at them. They’ve shared every minute of this day with those closest to them and in a few moments they’ll probably go right back, but for now no one will ever know of a moment as private as this; the two of them, their baby blue forget-me-nots, and Frank Sinatra underneath the stars.

Harry falls into his arms easily. He buries his face into the crook of Louis’ neck, one hand cupping the back of his head and the other pressed over his heart, steady in its beat against Harry’s wedding band. The champagne giddiness lulls into a peacefulness that he only gets when he’s this close to Louis, pressed against him and finally able to breathe easy. Sinatra echoes from the tent across the gardens and Louis repeats the words right back to him in a voice more soothing than even the way their bodies sway together.

“And all my bright tomorrows belong to you.”

//

The first time that Louis sees Harry after the Rovers fiasco is the day before his mother’s wedding.

He’s barely got a foot out of his car when he looks up and sees Harry bouncing out of the front door and skipping toward him. Oddly enough, the first emotion that overtakes Louis is a sickening nervousness, followed immediately by a wave of humiliation and embarrassment. He doesn’t know why, but his skin heats up and his face turns red and his body moves a little slower than it normally does as he steps out of the car and locks it behind him. By the time he’s got his keys in his pocket Harry is barely two meters away, speed walking in his rolled up jean shorts and that raggedy Stones shirt he never takes off.

Love,” is the first thing that comes out of Harry’s mouth. Not hello, not how are you, not are you okay, not even the usual I miss you – but love, an endearment and a statement all in one.

“Hey.”

And that’s all that Louis gets out before there’s a long pair of arms tight around his neck and a chest begging for him to bury his face in. Louis does, because even with the waves of embarrassment crushing him in, drowning him, there’s still a desperate need to touch and hold and be held; a desire too deep for his pride. Louis squeezes his arms around Harry’s small waist and lets himself exhale shaky releases. “Wasn’t expecting you here already,” he mumbles against Harry’s chest. His husband smells like fresh cut grass and pink lemonade and fabric softener, the way he always does in the summer. Louis presses in closer.

“Drove out the other night,” Harry explains into his hair. His voice is quiet, a little sad, and Louis hates that he can pick up on that so easily. “Didn’t feel like being home without you.”

What Louis knows is that Harry spent Thursday night sulking at a party, attached to his phone, while Louis had been in a too-large bed in a too-large hotel room in Portugal at the time, filling him in on the details of the Rovers fallout and grateful for once that he didn’t have to be there to confess it in person. (Because there’s no way he would have been able to control his emotions with Harry right in front of him, probably would have broken down at just the sight of his husband.) Even then, texting Harry and receiving the sad little emojis that Harry’d sent every few minutes, Louis found himself tearing up. He felt guilty then for ruining what was meant to be a fun night out for Harry, and right now he’s not feeling much better.

But the part that he doesn’t know is that Harry ditched the party early to go home, pack, and drive straight out to Doncaster. He doesn’t know that luckily, by the time Harry had gotten there, Jay had been up feeding the twins and had opened the door for him. And he certainly will never find out that Harry spent the early sunrise holding babies and being held by his mother-in-law.

Louis takes a step back, ready to let go and head inside, but Harry steps forward, pulls him back in, and tightens his arms even more. “Little bit longer please,” he pleads, swaying their bodies just the slightest. Louis can feel his husband’s heart beat against his temple, slow and steady and soothing. He lets himself close his eyes for a moment longer and take in the only quiet moment he knows he’ll have all weekend.

“Okay, okay,” Harry eventually says, pulling away. “Let’s get you inside. Everyone’s gonna head out for the rehearsal dinner soon. You’re not too tired, are you?”

“Nah, I’m okay,” Louis lies. As of right now he feels drained; from touring, from football, from the drive over. He could sleep for the next 48 hours straight and still feel exhausted.

Harry takes a step back and fixes him with a doubtful purse of his lips. One of his hands draws down the length of Louis’ bare arm, locking their fingers together at the end. “You look like you need a cuddle.”

Louis scoffs, “Are you trying to say that I look like shit, Harold?”

“I’m trying to say I wanna cuddle,” Harry corrects. “Go inside and say hello to everyone, I’ll get your bags out of the car.”

“I can do it meself, Haz, it’s only a few things.”

He moves to unlock the trunk of his car, but Harry grabs the keys out of his hand before he can and pushes him toward the porch. “Go,” he insists, palm flat against Louis’ chest. “I’ve got it, seriously. Go and say hello to your mum, alright. She’s going mental, Lottie and I had to spike her lemonade just to get her to breathe normally again.”

“Should I be worried about my mother losing it the day before her wedding?”

“Naaah,” Harry shrugs. He brings his palm down to Louis’ stomach and nudges him again until he starts walking backward toward the house. “It’s more excitement than anything,” he explains on Jay’s behalf, having heard her (love) drunkenly ramble for months about it by now. “I think she might kidnap Dan and elope any minute now. I guess that runs in the family, huh?”

Louis can see the sly grin on Harry’s face as well as the eyebrow that he raises, and tries his best not to roll his eyes. “That was just the first time!” he yells across the porch, one hand on the front door and head whirling with memories of the first time they got married. “I still gave you your traditional wedding, didn’t I?”

“And ten more afterward!”

This time Louis doesn’t bother holding back his eye roll. He gives Harry the middle finger and steps inside his family’s Doncaster home, ready to face the weekend with recollections of all the times he’s promised himself to the boy in the driveway with the rolled up jean shorts and the raggedy Stone shirt running through his mind.

//

“Your mum is well on her way to plastered, Lou.”

Louis looks across the room to where his mother is sat beside Anne, champagne in one hand and holding Anne’s hand in the other. The two of them laugh wildly, throwing their heads back and downing their flutes in one go. They look like drunken twenty-somethings in uni on a girl’s night out, not the mothers of world famous popstar husbands. It’s nice to know that some things really never change no matter how big your world seems to get.

“I think she’s trying to make up for the nine months of sobriety she had to go through,” Louis shrugs. “Don’t know what your mum’s excuse is, though, unless you left her that permanently scarred, Harold.” He points at where Anne is now refilling their flutes and calling a waiter over for another bottle of champagne. Her hair’s completely fallen out of its bun and it doesn’t look like she’s planning on putting it back up any time soon.

Beside him Harry giggles close to his ear, chin hooked over his shoulder and curls tickling his neck. “She’s trying to make up for thelack of grandchildren, I believe.”

Really, Harold?” Louis deadpans. He twists around and faces his husband, unable to hold his laughter at bay. He’s really too tired from his drive over and running on too many emotions all at once to deal with Harry’s baby fever, but he has to commend Harold’s determination, if anything. Even at the best of times (and the worst of times) Harry’s got a one-track mind. It just so happens that its current focus is on baby-making like a couple of seahorses (“They pop out babies by the dozens! And it’s the daddies that give birth! How amazing is that?!”) “You didn’t even try to be subtle with that,” Louis scoffs.

“I’m just saying,” Harry pouts, enough champagne in his belly to have him sticking his bottom lip out and throwing a leg over Louis’, inching closer to him. “It’s a friendly conversation starter, is all. Procreation, grandchildren, a house by a lake. These things come up on their own all the time.”

Louis tucks a curl behind his ear and lets his fingers trail down Harry’s neck, skin soft and a little damp from the sweat he pulled dancing around with Daisy an hour ago. Louis just sits there admiring his husband for a long moment before he pulls him in for a chaste kiss. “Soon, darling,” his mumbles into Harry’s mouth. “You’re not still sending threatening emails to Ben’s dad, are you? I don’t think that’s going to help your case very much.”

It feels like butterflies across his skin when Harry laughs into mouth and wraps his arms around his neck. “I’ve lowered it to one email per week,” he giggles proudly. “And I have a word limit now.”

“Please tell me it’s below 2000 words, Harold.”

“Fifteen hundred,” Harry mumbles sheepishly, though Louis knows that taking it down to just 1500 words a week about why Sir Winston needs to hurry up with his research on male pregnancy is a very hard task for Harry, one that he’s had very much trouble shutting up about since he found out. “M’just very devoted to the cause,” he admits.

“I can see that.”

Harry licks into his mouth and hums at the taste of champagne and Louis and the chocolate strawberries they’ve been munching on. He inches closer and closer until he’s practically on Louis’ lap, shameless even in the middle of his mother-in-law’s rehearsal dinner and driven by just the mention of having offspring with Louis. Nothing turns Harry on faster than domesticity and fatherhood.

“You know we’re literally all right here,” Niall points out loudly.

Louis just cups his hand around Harry’s neck and pulls him closer, shooing Niall away with his free hand.

“This is a family event,” Niall tries again. “Think of the children, Harold.”

At the mention of children Harry pulls away, breathless and pillowy lips bruised red. “He’s right,” Harry pants, even though his eyes are still locked on Louis’ thin lips, shiny and wet and so fucking inviting. “Family event. Gotta think of the kids. Right?”

Niall throws a raspberry at his head. “You could start by not staring at Louis like you’re going to eat him, mate. That’s not exactly toning it down much.”

Harry gives Niall a grumpy look, but it’s the equivalent of a frustrated kitten so it doesn’t do him much good – not that it ever does, really, unless he pulls it on Louis. Louis kisses his cheek and fixes Harry’s hair down, running his fingers through it and easing out the few knots left over from their shower earlier. “Leave my baby alone,” Louis coos. “Haven’t you got a hotel room you’re supposed to be violently masturbating in or something?”

It’s late in the night and most of the dinner guests have already left, but for some reason Niall’s still here along with Harry, the girls, Anne, and a few people from Dan’s side of the family. It’s most likely for the free drinks, Louis suspects, but everyone’s gotta be at the church by noon tomorrow, so he reckons it’s probably not a good idea to stay up all night drinking. That’s never stopped Niall Horan before, though.

“That was literally one time,” Niall grumbles, biting furiously at his strawberries. “And there wasn’t even any proof, just some stupid article online or whatever.”

“And that’s all it takes, young Horan,” Harry sighs wistfully. He turns around in Louis’ lap and pecks him on the lips, still sugary sweet and warm. “You wanna head home now? We could take the twins with us. I think they’re both passed out underneath the tables somewhere.”

“Yeah, sure.” As if on cue, a long yawn escapes from Louis’ lips despite his best efforts. “I think Dan’s mum took Doris and Ernie with her earlier, but Daisy and Pheeb should be around here probably.”

“Last I saw them they were dipping their chicken in the chocolate fountain,” Niall pitches in.

Harry fixes him with a stern, unamused (and quite fatherly, actually) shake of his head. “I wonder who they got that idea from,” he scoffs.

Niall turns back to his fruit and shrugs his shoulders, waving them off. “I’m admitting to nothing.”

//

The house is quiet when Louis and Harry finally settle into bed later that night. Louis doesn’t have his own room in this house, so they’re tucked into the far end of the second floor in a guest room that is more or less Louis and Harry’s than just another guest room, really. The sheets smell like the ocean breeze in the winter and there are photographs lined all across the walls, little anchors on the sheets and the ceiling painted a hazy blue that reminds Louis of kissing Harry by the Australian coast a few years back.

Exhausted is an understatement for how Louis feels right now, tucked against Harry’s chest with heavy bones and taut muscles. He’s silently thankful that he didn’t came straight here from Portugal, because he really doesn’t think he would’ve been able to handle his family and the jet leg at the same time, not to mention not having Harry to provide as a distraction and the wounds from the football disaster still painfully fresh. He tries not to think about it, forces his brain to focus on the feeling of Harry’s warm palm drawing circles at his lower back and pressing kisses to his temple, but no matter how hard he pretends like nothing’s happened, his attempts are weak at best and fitfully in vain.

It makes him feel guilty for not being able to enjoy this occasion properly, as well. It’s his mother’s wedding and Harry’s here and warm and holding him. But even an appearance by Eleanor tomorrow on top of it all isn’t enough to pull his thoughts away from his crushing disappointment. He sort of wants to bury himself in a hole and not come out for the next 15 years, if he’s honest, and he thinks that he’s rightfully allowed to feel that way.

“Stop thinking so hard,” Harry whispers against his forehead. He scoots closer, sliding a leg in between Louis’ and trailing his free hand up and down his husband’s arm. His touch is light, but constant, a reminder of his presence; a promise that Louis will never have to be without it.

“Sorry,” Louis replies weakly, though he really has no reason to be. His eyes are closed, but the room is too dark to see anyways, so all he can feel is Harry around him, the scent of his cologne and summertime skin, the toothpaste he’d brushed his teeth with and the vanilla lotion he dabs behind his ears before bed. He can feel Harry’s touch all over his skin, held tight against his chest by long limbs and an overwhelming love that Louis’ still not sure he’s used to quite yet. It almost feels like he’s drowning in a sea of HarryHarryHarry, but it’s comforting more than anything, feels like home more than any house that Louis’ ever lived in.

(A fleeting memory flashes in Louis’ mind; him and Harry at 18 and 16, jumping on the trampoline in the back of Harry’s dad’s bungalow and belting out home is wherever I’m with you, two beats too slow and out of breath from jumping and laughing and falling uncontrollably in love, faster than anyone could have ever expected.)

“I just realized I have no clue what you’re wearing tomorrow,” Harry utters apropos of nothing.

“It’s supposed to be a surprise,” Louis yawns sleepily. “Gotta wait and see like everybody else.”

Harry pinches him on the hip. “But I’m not everybody else,” he fusses. “I’m your husband, Louis. If you look bad, then I look bad, and if you look good, then I have to spend all of tomorrow declining offers to dance on your behalf. This is serious business, mate, what do you have picked out?”

“I’m pretty sure everybody who’s going to be there tomorrow knows better than to cross you by now,” Louis chuckles. He’s glad that the room is too dark for Harry to see the blush that spreads across his face, cheeks heating up thanks to Harry’s little possessive streak. It feels good to still be able to have that effect on him, even four years and an endless amount of weddings later. (Their own, of course.)

“Not everybody, though.”

“No,” Louis sighs, knowing what Harry’s referring to. “Not everybody.”

“I can make it plenty obvious tomorrow, you know.” Harry shuffles onto his back and brings Louis over to rest on top of him, content with the steady weight of his boy against his chest.

Louis snickers, “You’re always painfully obvious, love. It’s not really something you have to try to do.”

“I know, but I can up my game tomorrow. Like, be subtle… but not really. Go the whole nine yards without having to actually say anything.”

Louis fumbles around in the dark searching for Harry’s mouth above his head, promptly holding his palm against it when he finally does. Harold’s funny, but he hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about. “Go to bed, darling. We can worry about what to do with your breasts tomorrow.”

Heeey—”

“Don’t think I’m not aware of what you’re planning, Curly,” Louis scolds. It’s not like Louis doesn’t regularly check up on Harry when they’re apart, and Harry isn’t an idiot, he knows that Louis does that; there’s a reason why he lets everything out after all. Louis pinches Harry’s lips, poking and prodding at his mouth teasingly until he begins to giggle underneath him, chest rocking with little laughs against his own. “Sleep,” Louis mumbles sleepily, “I’ll see you tomorrow, love.”

“Love you.”

Harry kisses the top of his head, tightens his arms around the small of his back, and Louis falls asleep slowly letting himself sink deeper and deeper into Harry’s all-encompassing hold. He sleeps better than he has all week.

//

When Louis wakes up the next day the house is quiet. He doesn’t wake up to an alarm or Lottie yelling at him to get off his skinny arse. He doesn’t even wake up to Harry playing with his hair and kissing his face. For a minute he thinks he’s back in some hotel in the middle of nowhere, still on tour and having slept in on yet another meeting, but a quick, sleepy-eyed glance around the room tells him that he’s still in his mother’s house in Doncaster. It’s suspiciously quiet, but the clock on the bedside table reads half past eight. There’s still another two hours until they’re supposed to be at the church, so Louis takes his time getting out of bed and making his way downstairs.

It isn’t until he’s reached the bottom of the stairs that he finally hears the sound of someone else’s voice.

“Yeah, that’s right. Just the red and green apples, mhm. And the lights are set to go off… At seven, yeah, make sure—”

Louis follows the sound through the halls and down to the kitchen where he finds Harry sat atop the island, phone pressed between his ear and shoulder, sipping from a large mug.

“Well the wedding’s going to start at noon,” he says into the phone, “but we’re probably going to be at the church by half ten or eleven, I think.”

From his view by the kitchen entrance Louis can only see the back of Harry’s body, his sleep-ruffled hair and the thin material of his vest. He can’t see it, but something tells him that Harry’s dangling his feet like a child and grinning even wider. He can hear the smile in his voice as he speaks. It isn’t until Harry ends his call and Louis walks inside that he can confirm those suspicions.

“Hey,” Harry greets him happily, “didn’t hear you walk in.” He purses his lips and waits patiently for Louis to cross the kitchen and kiss him. It’s not much, just a little good morning peck that he follows with another to the corner of his husband’s mouth, but the look on Harry’s face when Louis pulls away says the complete opposite. It takes very little to please Harry in the morning.

“What are you so happy about?” Louis chuckles. His palms find the bare skin of Harry’s thighs on instinct, pushing underneath his shorts and caressing his smooth skin.

“Nothing,” Harry shrugs. He sets his phone down beside his mug in order to give Louis his full attention. “Just feel good,” he hums, and the look on his face only confirms it. “S’good day to be happy.”

Louis can’t help himself when he leans in further, letting Harry wrap his legs around him and hook his chin over his shoulder. When he squeezes his chest against Harry’s it only makes him want to hug his husband tighter, harder, closer, unabashedly giddy from just his touch alone. Harry’s good like that, has something about him that make anyone in his company unexplainably happy. And Louis certainly isn’t immune to it. If anything, Harry’s effect is ten times stronger on Louis, requiring nothing more than just a look or tender touch to get him weak-kneed and blissed out.

“Where is everyone?” Louis asks, palms still gripping his husband’s thighs.

“Jay and the girls went over to Shelly’s for breakfast. Hair and makeup are supposed to take care of them there, and Dan’s still at his mum’s with Dorie and Ernie, so.”

Louis takes a step back. “So we’re home alone?”

“We’re home alone,” Harry nods, grinning slyly. It’s not hard to miss the mischief in his eyes or the way he locks his ankles and digs them against the small of Louis’ back.

Louis raises an eyebrow. “Why do I get the feeling this isn’t just a coincidence?” he asks.

“Because it’s not. Did you really think I’d help mum plan out her entire wedding and forget to leave me some alone time with the best man?”

Louis trails his fingers higher and higher up Harry’s leg, until the material of his shorts scrunches up against Louis’ wrist and his touch grazes the hem of Harry’s briefs underneath. “And what exactly did you have in mind, Mr. Wedding Planner?”

Well,” Harry starts out dramatically. He brings a hand up to Louis’ face, eyes significantly darker than they were ten seconds ago, and touches along Louis’ jaw and his chin, against his upper lip and down his neck. “We’ve got to get you shaved, haven’t we?” He runs the back of his fingers against Louis’ beard, a little rough, but lost in an awe nonetheless, and sighs longingly. “Hate it when you have to shave,” he whispers in a much lower voice.

“And why is that?” Louis asks, even though he knows the answer.

Harry’s dazed-out focus drifts up to Louis’ eyes. He’s quiet for a moment, green boring into blue, and it’s almost like Louis can watch Harry’s pupils enlarge by second; witness the entire process before him. The heat between their bodies thickens just as quickly.

“I think you know why,” Harry answers.

//

If there’s anything that Louis’ grateful for, it’s that over the last few months Harry has managed to plan out the weekend of his mother’s wedding down to the very last minute. That means that when he’s got Harry bent over the kitchen counter, he doesn’t have to worry about anyone walking in on them. And maybe that had been Harry’s plan all along because as Louis drags his tongue in between his cheeks, his head is clear of worry and all his focus is centered in on where his mouth is attached to his husband’s skin.

Fuck, Lou, don’t tease,” Harry groans above him. He pushes back against Louis’ mouth, and Louis doesn’t need to be able to see him to know how obscenely his back is arched and how tightly he’s gripping at the marble countertops.

And normally, Louis would choose to drag it out and go even slower just to spite him – and for his own pleasure as well, of course – but Harry’s been so good recently, on his best behavior for his in-laws. Fuck, he helped plan Louis’ mum’s wedding for her; he deserves to be in the position he is right now and then some. But it’s been a while since Louis’ had his mouth on him, so he doesn’t have nearly as much self-control as he thought he did, not when Harry’s skin is so smooth and soft and pink underneath his mouth, a little red from Louis’ beard already and squeezing in staccato patterns for Louis’ tongue.

Louis,” Harry whines again, a little more desperate this time. “Baby, please. I need you—”

He’s cut off when Louis bites into the soft flesh of his cheek and digs in, sharp little canines leaving Harry gasping, toes curled against the kitchen tiles. Louis laps his tongue over the little crescent marks he’s left and sucks, wet and slippery until he can hear the sound of it himself, loud in the empty kitchen and harmonizing perfectly with the breathy grunts that Harry lets out.

It isn’t until he’s left an identical mark on Harry’s other cheek that he digs his thumbs into the bruises and pushes his cheeks apart, enough to bury his face in there and leave Harry crying out his name. Harry is warm against his tongue, unbearably tight and sensitive as ever. Harry always reacts with his entire body in bed, but there’s something about getting eaten out that makes him the most desperate, completely losing his cool no matter how threatening Louis’ voice gets.

Like now, as Louis runs his tongue up and down, alternating between small kitten licks and slippery laves, Harry circles his hips against Louis’ mouth and meets him with every lick, clenches painfully tight with every bite. He waits until Louis pushes in the tip of his tongue to fuck down on it, and from there his voice just gets higher and less understandable. It only makes Louis push his entire tongue in deeper, until it gets hard to breathe and he can feel Harry squeezing his cheeks against his face, rubbing against the rough hairs of his beard.

It gets sloppy faster than it normally does, Louis fucking in and Harry fucking down. Everything from the tip of his nose to his bearded chin is wet in no time and his knees ache against the cold, hard tiles. But he keeps his eyes open as best as he can and watches, breathing heavy, as the morning light filters through the kitchen windows and highlights all the curves of Harry’s body, from his broad shoulders down to the dip of his waist, his soft love handles down to his thick thighs, where Louis keeps his hands tight. Harry’s skin is beautiful at every hour of the day, but in the bright rays of the morning sun Louis is drawn to the freckles painted across his shoulder blades and how the pink flush of his skin looks even softer, more delicate and begging to be touched so early in the day.

He lets his hands roam, leaving their beloved place at the muscles of Harry’s thighs to get a taste of his bony ankles and taut calves. As his tongue licks against and inside Harry’s pink, fluttering hole, his palms move up to grip at Harry’s hips. He splays his fingers across his husband’s stomach and with a tight grasp forces Harry’s arse onto his face even more roughly.

Louis—” Harry cries, and Louis doesn’t miss how overwhelmed he sounds.

Louis hums his approval and from there he takes complete control, moves Harry’s hips for him and stretches out his velvety walls with his tongue. It’s easier for Harry this way, because the tips of Louis’ fingers just barely graze against his painfully hard cock and Louis knows that his husband won’t last much longer.

And when Harry collapses onto his forearms, Louis’ breathing gets that much heavier as he’s still painfully hard himself. Unlike Harry, completely naked in the empty kitchen, Louis has his briefs on and his cock aches against the soft material because of the lack of friction. It doesn’t take more than a handful more thrusts inside him to feel Harry come across his own stomach, dripping down until Louis’ fingers get wet as well. As Harry rides out the waves of his orgasm, Louis pulls out his tongue and makes sure to leave his husband’s soft skin stinging and red, rubbing against his cheeks with his rough beard and marking Harry up with his sharp teeth even further.

He must move at some point, he knows that, but his head is fuzzy and it’s hard to breathe. One minute he’s on his knees, face buried against his husband’s arse, and the next he’s on his back, flat against the kitchen floor and coming down Harry’s throat. He feels like he’s been hit with a truck – a beautiful, orgasm-inducing truck that includes Harry kissing across his sweat-slick chest.

“Hey,” Harry breathes into his mouth. He wastes no time kissing Louis, licking into his mouth and giving up on any pretence of shame. “Love you,” he mumbles between kisses.

With his entire body feeling like a wobbly plate of jello, Louis doesn’t manage more than a pleased hum, not even able to pick his arms up and wrap them around his husband.

“You’re the best husband,” Harry assures him. “Let’s get you cleaned up, we have a wedding to get to.”

And Louis doesn’t even pretend to be displeased when Harry carries him up all the way up the stairs and straight to the bathroom. That’s what husbands are for, anyways.

                                                                                    //

“Stop moving,” Harry grunts. “M’gonna nick you if you don’t sit still, Lou.”

Unable to stop giggling, Louis squirms on the bathroom counter. He bites into his bottom lip to keep from laughing, but it proves to be in vain when he gets shaving foam into his mouth. “Oh, gross,” he groans, nose pinched and brows furrowed. “Ew, fuck.”

“That’s what you get,” Harry frowns at him.

It’s hard to really be intimidated by Harry Styles (Tomlinson, technically), Louis thinks. Not when he’s got a bright pink towel wrapped around his head and some of his damp baby curls still poking out and framing his face. Even though he’s holding a very sharp razor in his hand, the pout on his lips doesn’t do much to help his case either.  He looks so bloody torn about having to shave Louis’ beard – especially after this morning – that Louis suspects he’s stalling on purpose, like maybe Louis will change his mind and keep it, take Harry back to bed for round two if he just drags it out a little longer.

“Oh, for Christ’s sake, Harold, it’s going to grow back, you know.”

Harry pouts even further. “I know, but still.” He lowers his hand with the razor and his shoulders droop right on cue to match. He looks like he’s just seen a puppy get kicked in the belly. “It’s just gonna take so long to grow back,” he groans. “I got used to it, I’m attached to it. Emotionally invested and stuff.”

“Hey, you told me I had to clean up for today, remember?” Louis picks up the can of shaving cream beside his leg and sprays some onto Harry’s chin, spreading it out until it gets foamy and thick. “Let me do you first, then,” he offers, grabbing Harry’s razor from his toiletries pouch. “It’ll give you some time to say your goodbyes or whatever.”

And at least that gets a little giggle out of Harry. “Go easy on me, I haven’t exactly got a lot to take care of here.”

Please,” Louis rolls his eyes, “as if I haven’t taken care of you and your pubescent facial hair from the very beginning.” He runs the razor in small strokes above Harry’s lip and then down his chin. “I’ve always taken the best care of you, you tit.”

“M’not complaining,” Harry grunts, doing his best to stand perfectly still as Louis makes due with his task. “I like it when you take care of me.”

The entire process takes next to no time because Harry really hasn’t much to clean up after all, but Louis is especially careful anyway. He’s done this too many times to even keep count, so when he moves aside to let Harry rinse the remaining foam off, he sits back proudly and views his work.  Almost spotless this time, except for that one tiny patch right underneath the edge of his jaw that Louis misses every time for some godforsaken reason. Like always, Harry dries off his face and hands Louis his bottle of aftershave, fitting back in between his legs and waiting patiently.

“You’re a child, do you know that?” Louis scoffs. Harry preens happily regardless and Louis slaps on the aftershave for him, pinching his cheeks enough to make Harry giggle. “I’d kiss you, but I’ve still got all this foam on my face. It’s your turn to take care of me now, come on.”

“Okay, okay,” Harry groans, “let’s do this poo.”

Louis tries not to roll his eyes and giggle this time, but he’s still gotta steam his suit and get his hair done and eat the breakfast he so pleasantly forget when he had his face buried inside his husband’s arse. They’re not in too much of a rush, but they will be if Harry goes any slower than he already is. (He still hasn’t started.)

Surprisingly enough, Louis still doesn’t feel nervous or stressed about how huge this day is for his mother and entire family. He thinks maybe it has to do with Harry’s presence and getting to start this morning off with just his husband, quiet and private and inside his family’s home. It’s calmed him down significantly, the way being around Harry always does, but it’s different today. Today is about family and Harry’s been family from the very first day that Louis met him. He’s home, no matter how many flights they get on or borders they cross or miles in between. Even in this large, fancy house that he never grew up in, Louis feels at home because Harry is here, is with him.

“Stay still this time, Wolfie,” Harry warns. “Mum’s gonna kill me if you walk her down the aisle looking like Edward Scissorhands.”

Louis shrugs. “S’okay. Wolfie trusts you.”

So Louis decides to be on his best behavior for his boy (because he deserves it, but also because his mum still scares the shit out of him and probably would whack both Louis and Harry upside the head if he showed up looking like a mess). He sits patiently on the counter as Harry works slowly, even slower than Louis, and carefully cleans him up. Harry runs the razor slowly across the sharp cut of Louis’ face and rinses it out under the water after every stroke, creates a slow little pattern for himself that makes Louis shiver from the sheer level of domesticity they’ve seemed to reach in just four years’ time.

Louis’ shaved his own face more than enough times by now and it’s usually a task that he’s not fond of or can be arsed to do, but when Harry shaves for him it’s completely different. It’s gentler, slower, kind of like all of Harry’s languid movements and sleepy drawl combined into one. Harry works and Louis zones out, distracted by the jut of Harry’s collarbones and the laurels at his hips, the bottom lip he’s pulled into his mouth and the light grip his free hand keeps at Louis’ neck, fingers splayed out wide. There are little droplets of water still dotting his honey colored skin that Louis wants to sleepily kiss away. It’s slow, mesmerizingly slow, and it makes Louis close his eyes and sag his shoulders. He likes being taken cared for.

Harry finishes sooner than expected. He rinses Louis’ razor and puts it away before getting a warm flannel and wiping down his face. With his eyes closed, Louis feels so thoroughly, happily taken care of as Harry dries off his newly smoothened skin and takes his time lightly patting in his aftershave. (Louis likes smelling like his husband, but not nearly as much as his husband likes it when Louis smells like him.) “There,” Harry sighs when he’s finished. “Good as new.”

And when Louis reopens his eyes to find Harry staring right back at him, still cradling his face in his large, warm palms and head tilted to the side curiously, he forgets that he’s only had this boy in his life for four years. It feels like a lifetime’s worth of adoration when Harry kisses him – just to kiss him, just to feel his lips, because even 15 minutes without them is 14 minutes and 59 seconds too many – and when Louis holds him back, wraps his arms and legs and lips around him, it’s like an inexplicable familiarity between their souls that just four years can’t explain.

In this life and the last, Louis thinks.

//

The next hour is spent cooking and consuming breakfast, Harry trying his best to not talk the hairdresser’s ear off as she does Louis’ hair and makeup, and Louis forcing Harry to go distract himself while he steam presses his outfit one last time.

“Hazza!” he shouts into the hall a little while later when he’s finished. “Babe, c’mere for a sec, I need you.”

Louis hears him exchange a few more words with someone on the phone before he’s bounding toward the stairs and up to their room.

“Hey, what did you—” Harry stops mid-sentence by the door, his feet glued to the floor.

“Do you like it?” Louis asks timidly. He does a small turn in his suit and tries his best to not let his cheeks flush like they’re desperately ready to or trip over his own feet out of nervousness. When he’s back to facing Harry he lets out a shaky sigh and explains, “Lottie helped me pick it out. She said it’s a good color on me or—”

“It is—” Harry quickly assures him. "Shit, sorry. No, yeah, it looks — you look great in it Lou, Jesus." Harry's hand drops from where it'd been gripping the edge of the door, muscles wound tight and eyes wide, running over Louis' entire body at an incessant speed. "Are you wearing my shirt?"

"This?" Louis runs a finger over the soft material of his button down, the one that Harry'd bought for his birthday the other year; the one that Louis owns in an identical navy color all thanks to his very soppy husband. "Couldn't very well wear mine with this suit; it wouldn't have matched. You don’t mind, do you?"

Harry's eyes stop raking up his body to meet Louis', twinkling in recognition. "I don’t, no. Hard times calls for drastic measures, I guess. If only you had a little money lying around to spare on a new top for yourself."

"Nah," Louis shrugs with a sly grin. "M'quite content with me hand-me-downs, I think."

Harry makes his way across the room in just two short strides. “Hand-me-downs, hmm?” He slides his palms underneath Louis’ suit jacket, fingers trailing lightly until they settle at Louis’ hips and squeeze. His eyes run all along the beautiful blue of his suit and up close he can see what Lottie must have seen all those weeks ago – Louis’ eyes look unreal; brighter, bluer, clear like the summertime sky reflected against the sea, in this suit. “You look amazing, baby,” he exhales in awe. There’s so much to take in; the sharp cut of his cheekbones, his soft hair slicked back and golden brown, the little curve of his delicately shaped eyebrows. Harry wants to kiss him all over his face and down his legs, a few extra pressed to his ankles and wrists because those will always be some of his favorite spots.

“Hey,” Louis interrupts Harry, forces him out of his daze.

Harry meets his eyes and is surprised by how calm and serene Louis looks now, gentler in his hold than he’s been in months. He squeezes his hips once more.

“I have something for you too,” Louis says.

“Me?”

Louis nods, “Mhm. Close your eyes. This might take a while.”

“Lou…”

“Just trust me, alright?” Louis takes a step back, out of Harry’s reach, and, “Take your clothes off.”

Harry’s eyes snap open. “What?”

“What did I say about keeping your eyes closed, Harold? Honestly, you’d think after all these years—”

“Okay, okay, they’re closed,” Harry forfeits easily.

Tapping his foot impatiently, Louis sighs, “Well, go on, then. What are you waiting for?”

And Harry listens to his husband, because when doesn’t he? He doesn’t expect something kinky out of this – mostly because there just isn’t any time, and Louis knows that – but he enjoys the surprise nonetheless, happy to oblige in getting stark naked for his boy. He strips out of his shorts and pulls off his t-shirt, kicking aside both pieces. He loves being naked, but it he loves it the most when it’s just for Louis’ eyes.

“Good, baby,” Louis hums. “Now, I’m going to get you dressed, so promise me you’ll keep your eyes closed, alright? Can you do that for me, love?”

“Mhm,” Harry supplies, squeezing his eyes a little tighter just for show. He gets a chuckle from Louis as a result and it makes him blush proudly, always pleased with himself whenever he makes Louis laugh. It’s like the ultimate prize in life – something him and Niall compete for on a regular basis – besides getting to call him his husband, of course. Nothing could ever beat that prize.

“Great. And try not to fall on my face for the next five minutes, love, can you do that for me as well?”

Harry nods his head once more and then lifts his feet up one at a time for Louis to get what feels like a pair of boxer briefs on for him. “I was going to get you a cheeky little pair of knickers,” Louis informs him, “but I thought that might have been a bit much for mum’s wedding, don’t you think? You haven’t exactly got the best self-restraint.”

“Good call,” Harry says, stepping into a pair of dress pants. They fit like they were tailor exactly for him, oddly enough, hugging his thighs perfectly. Louis even tucks him in and zips him up, and while usually that would make him squirm and shiver, beg for something more, this time it just elicits a childish little giggle out of him.

“Almost done,” Louis informs him.

Louis puts him into a dress shirt, moving his arms this way and that way before smoothing it over his shoulder and down his chest. He pauses for a second when buttoning him up, though.

“Is there a problem?” Harry asks curiously. “Don’t I look nice?”

“No, no—” Louis quickly corrects him. “You look beautiful, I just…”

“It’s my breasts, isn’t it?”

Louis barks out a loud laugh, sunny and bubbly enough to tempt Harry into opening up his eyes just to get a glance of the crinkles by his eyes and the subtle little dimples in his cheeks. He doesn’t, though, because he knows better than that, but it’s incredibly hard to keep the smile off his own face and keep his eyes closed.

“I don’t wanna button up,” Harry confesses. “I like having them out.”

Louis snickers. “I’ve noticed.”

So he does the bottom few buttons of Harry’s top and leaves the rest undone, decides there isn’t really a point in arguing with Harry on his special day.

“There,” he sighs. “Now you can strut these pert little things of yours happily.”

“And my birdies,” Harry adds, “like having them out too.”

Louis’ eyes jump up to his husband’s beaming smile, heart fluttering in his chest a little faster now. “And your birdies,” he whispers back. It takes him a moment to clear his voice and get his head back into focus. “Okay,” he coughs, “one last surprise.”

As Louis helps him into his suit jacket and grabs the scarf from the bed, Harry bites his lip, confused. “Where did you get all of this anyway?” he asks.

“What? You think you’re the only member of One Direction who can pull a few strings with Saint Laurent, Harold? Please. I had to do something to get my mind off the Rovers.”

At the mention of the football club Harry’s eyes snap open, just as Louis’ wrapping a thin black scarf around his neck. “Lou—” he chokes out, frowning already. Louis has a bad habit of shopping – for Harry, mostly – when he’s upset, and if he keeps it up at this rate, Harry’s going to need a third drawer for all of his scarves.

“No, it’s alright, it doesn’t matter,” Louis shrugs. He fixes the collar of Harry’s top and takes a step back to admire his work. It’s easily one of his better picks, if he’s honest. “Sorry if you bought something else for the wedding, by the way,” he quickly apologizes in an afterthought. “You do like it, though, right?”

Harry turns around to look at the mirror and finds himself more than just pleased with his reflection. The clothes fit perfectly on him, the dark color a heavy contrast to the pale skin of his exposed chest. Staring at his reflection he notices Louis behind him, thumb in his mouth as he bites at his nail. “Stop that,” Harry scolds, quickly turning back around. He grabs Louis’ hand out of his mouth and twins their fingers together, until their palms are pressed flat together and he can feel Louis’ pulse light against his wrist. “We have to be at the church soon, but we’re going to talk about this when we get to LA, okay? How are you feeling right now?”

Louis rolls his eyes, the smallest of smiles escaping his façade. “I’m good, I promise.”

“I don’t believe you, but that’s okay. I’ll get it out of you at home.”

“And until then,” Louis emphasizes his last word stubbornly, “we’re going to go watch me mum get married and try our very best to not out-cry Daisy and Pheebs, right Harold?”

Harry smiles back at him, unable to hold it back at this point, really. “I can’t make any promises.”

//

Jay is sitting in front of a mirror toying with her engagement ring when Louis and Harry find her in the church some time later. She’s sat primly on her chair, back straight and feet tucked to the side. The train of her gown sits on her lap, underneath her perfectly manicured nails to keep from tripping over. From a distance she looks distracted, lost in her own mind, but when Louis steps inside the room he sees the blindingly wide, private smile on her lips and his nerves settle down. She’s daydreaming again.

“Boys,” she cheers softly when she hears them walk in, snapping out of her daze. “Oh, my, don’t you two look stunning. Come here, give mama a kiss.”

She’s up on her feet before they can even say their hellos. Louis is far from surprised when Harry beats him to her, practically bolting across the room to get to her first. It gets a little chuckle out of Jay, if anything, one that makes Harry giggle himself. For a moment it looks as if he’s about to pick her up and twirl her around, the way he wraps his arms tight around her waist and hooks his chin over her shoulder. Jay must get the same suspicion because she lets out a wild yelp, laughter booming out of her in an instant.

Heeey, m’getting jealous over here,” Louis pouts.

When Harry puts her down, he and Jay turn around to face Louis, still standing side by side, his right arm over her shoulder and her left snug around his small waist. If Louis were a stranger – if he wasn’t Harry’s husband or Jay’s eldest son – he’d think that they were mother and son, easily. The way they hold onto each other, Harry’s head tipped over to rest atop hers, spells out the kind of comfort you can only find in your family; in the people that care about you more than you do yourself.  

“Well?” Harry calls out. “What’re you waiting for?” He breaks out into a wide grin, that creepy frog-like one that takes over his face and makes his eyes scrunch up. Louis is disgustingly endeared by it, if the way he crosses over to them in half a second is anything to go by.

When the three of them separate Harry presses himself back to Louis’ side, arm finding its place around his shoulders on instinct. “How are you feeling?” Harry asks Jay.

“I’m good, yeah. Excited. Ready to piss meself if I have to wait a second longer, I think.” Jay puts a hand out between them, one that Louis fits his hand over without so much as a second thought. She smiles a little wider. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t have my boys with me, though. I don’t think I’d be here right now if weren’t for you two.” She leans over to kiss them both on the cheek once more, back to back like she can’t really contain herself at this point. “How’s it looking out there? Dan’s not ready to run off on me yet, is he?”

“Of course not,” Harry quickly assures her. “I think the only person more excited than you is him, probably. Do you have everything you need?”

Jay nods her head and points to the necklace around her neck, “Something old, from me mum,” picks up the bottom of her dress to reveal the shiny little anklet Louis had bought her, “Something new, from my boy,” and then turns her head to show off the jewelled clip in her hair, “Something borrowed, from Anne, and the something blue I can’t show you, but it’s there nonetheless.”

“Oh, gross, Mum,” Louis groans, making a face. “At least save that for the honeymoon, Jesus. Virgin ears here.”

“I’ve dealt with you two for the last four years, I think I’m allowed to be a little gross, Lou. Virgin ears,” she scoffs sardonically. “That’s bloody rich coming from you. Shameless, the both of you.”

Harry giggles proudly, pulling a disgusted Louis close to his side. “We learned from the best,” he jokes, aiming to make Louis as physically uncomfortable as possible.

And it works.

Stop it!” Louis groans. “We are not having this conversation, for God’s sake. This is a wedding, we are in a church. God can hear every word of this conversation.”

“Good thing God wasn’t there this—”

“Harold!” Louis practically screeches. He jumps out of Harry’s arms and whacks him across his shoulder. “God,” he repeats with emphasis, pointing to the ceiling, as if God really is up there and shaking his head in disappointment. “My mother,” he tacks on, pointing to Jay. “Have some decency.”

“Alright, Pastor Tomlinson. I’ll try and contain myself.” Harry puts his hands up in defeat and takes a step back. “I should get going, anyways. Gotta make sure everyone’s arrived and seated in the right place.”

“And tell Daisy to stop fidgeting with her hair, will you? She’s going to mess up her curls if she doesn’t stop.”

“Will do,” Harry hums, leaning over and pursing his lips for a kiss.

Louis makes a show of feigning reluctance and exasperation, but he kisses him nonetheless, a small little peck on the lips that he’s sure God and mum both approve of.

“I’ll see you two later,” Harry says. “Try not to trip down the aisle this time Lou, yeah?”

He steals one last kiss before quickly running out of the room, giggling so loud that Louis can still hear him even when he's gone.

“That was one time!” Louis screams after his husband in vain, grumpy and cheeks reddened in embarrassment.

Honestly. He trips walking down the aisle once – just once, the one time it was actually him walking down the aisle – and Harry still won’t let him live it down even now. It’s not Louis’ fault that Harry’s had more practice strutting down the altar; Louis can’t be blamed for Harry only ever being able to control his fawn-like legs when there’s the promise of another wedding ring waiting for him at the other end of the room. It’s not fair.

Louis turns on his heel and faces his mother, who’s been watching him with a fondness in her eyes that normally has Louis welling up in seconds. “This is all your fault,” he grumbles, “you let him get away with too much. All this wedding planning has inflated his ego to the size of Jupiter.”

Me?” Jay chuckles in disbelief. “You get married to the boy every other month,” she reminds him.  “Don’t you put this one on me now.”

Louis didn’t think it was possible for his face to heat up any more than it already is, but sure enough he feels like his face might burst from how red he’s gone. This is what he gets for letting his husband plan a wedding with and for his mother. “Whatever,” he huffs, trying to play it cool. He’s not very good at pretending to be unaffected by these sorts of things and he doesn’t know why he bothers anyway because his mother sees right through it every single time, but especially now. “Let’s get this show on the road before Harold gets any more ideas. You are a terrible influence on him, Johannah.”

“Oh, hush. Don’t talk about my baby like that.” She reaches out for Louis’ hand and pulls him in for a little kiss on the forehead. “Come on, I wanna get married already,” she chirps eagerly.

Louis looks at her, heart racing like mad in his chest. He knows exactly what it feels like to be in his mother’s shoes; has for four consecutive years now.

//

For a very long time Louis has been the most important man in his mother’s life. That’s not an exaggeration, and it’s definitely not bragging – it’s the simple truth. One man left and then another and then the few boyfriends in between, who weren’t much of anything to be honest, didn’t stick around long enough to even meet the kids either. Louis thinks that maybe it should have felt like a burden, or something, to be the only male in a house with five other women, but it never really did. A lot of it had to do with his protective nature; taking care of his girls was a part of his life that just was, always. He can’t remember a time where they weren’t the center of his world, no matter how many of them kept popping up.

He’s been his mother’s eldest baby, her only boy, her favorite boy, her best friend, and her confidant for as long as he can remember. He’s been there for her from the very beginning because she’s his mum and she’s loved him for every that breath he’s ever taken in his entire life. She’s loved him when he could barely manage to love himself and she’s taught him more about taking care of those you love than anyone he’s ever met. Everything he has and everything he’s ever been, he owes to her.

He owes her more than he’ll ever be able to give her, he worries sometimes, because he left her. Granted, she pushed him into that X-Factor audition in the first place and she was the one who refused to let him turn down the opportunity of a lifetime, but still. Louis left her and his four little girls all on their own. And even though Dan came along not long after, it still eats him up that he’s not there for them every day. His visits are few and far in between and he’s not there to tuck Daisy and Phoebe into bed anymore. He’s not there to pick Fizzy up from school or lecture Lottie about boys or help Ernie and Doris take their very first steps. He’s missing everything, it feels like.

And as much as the guilt swallows him up, he knows not to worry. For the longest time Louis’ been the only man in his mum’s life, but that’s not what it’s like anymore.

The thing is, in a few minutes she’s going to be Dan’s, and for the last four years she’s had Harry to take care of her as well, to wipe away her tears and make her laugh and tuck her girls into bed at any and every visit. Louis is no longer the only man in his mother’s life; hasn’t been for a while, technically, but the realization hits him only when it’s time to let go.

The organ begins its sound and the old chestnut doors of the church open wide. Louis swallows past the lump in his throat and just barely manages to take that very first step when Jay squeezes his bicep from beside him, their arms locked together. Instinctively, the way it always goes, Louis finds Harry’s eyes all the way across the room and he’s able to let out the breath he’d unknowingly been holding in. Harry smiles at him, warm and proud and grinning like mad. He blows a kiss that Louis knows no one else will notice, and it's near impossible to resist the temptation to blow one back, but he somehow maintains his resolve. He lets out another deep breath, the organ rings again, and the next step is that much easier to take.

//

Harry sneaks up on him five minutes to seven, breath champagne-sticky and damp against his neck. “Come with me,” he slurs happily, two of his fingers lightly pressed against Louis’ wrist where he will always know, even in his drunkest of states, where those little quotation marks sit. “I wanna be with you right now.”

Louis tears his eyes away from the small dance floor where Niall’s got Sophia spinning and twirling in what’s got to be the least coordinated, absolute worst tango routine he’s ever seen. (Excluding that one night in Dallas on their first American tour when Harry had discovered what tequila really tasted like in the south.) “You’re already with me, silly,” he chuckles, nudging his shoulder against Harry’s as if to remind him of how little space separates them almost always and even now. “What’s up?”

Harry laces their fingers together and presses up against Louis’ side, curling into him. He’s completely drunk off champagne and his usual wedding fever; from walking around all day reuniting his in-laws and being allowed to hold Louis’ hand without restraint once certain people had left.  “Just come with me,” he whines into Louis’ ear impatiently. “I needa show you something, but it’s a surprise. C’mon.”

And he all but drags Louis out of the wedding tent, not even bothering to wait for Louis’ response. It’s not like Louis would have said no, anyway, so he follows Harry onto the field where small groups of family and friends are spread throughout, sharing drinks and reminiscing, reflecting on their favorite parts of the day and drunkenly attempting to get in a selfie or two before they part ways. It’s not as loud as it was an hour or two back, but the band is still playing and the night sky is still shining and that’s good enough for family, Louis’ thinks.

“Harold, where are you taking me to?”

“Be patient,” Harry offers, but he doesn’t turn back to look at him or give him any sort of hint as to where they’re headed. “And no more questions!” he adds. “My brain is too fuzzy to not be tricked into ruining the surprise.”

Louis sighs and forfeits, instead focusing on the large, grassy greens spread long and cut perfectly beneath his feet. Though their wedding party only covers a small area of the land, there’s no one else at Wentbridge House today, something that Harry went out of his way to ensure months and months ago. A lot of the guests have left already, but they’ve still got another hour before their time is up. Louis is exhausted, completely drained, and he hasn’t got a clue how he’s still on his feet right now, much less why he’s allowing Harry to drag him all the way across the gardens to the middle of nowhere.

“If you wanted a safe spot for blowjobs we probably could have just snuck into one of the limos, Harry—”

“This isn’t about blowjobs,” Harry interrupts, before quickly tacking on, “—yet. This isn’t about blowjobs yet. That’s for later, when we go home.”

And just the mention of home – of their home, the one in LA that belongs solely to and for them – makes Louis’ heart beat a little faster, a little louder. He knows that his palm’s sweaty in his husband’s hold, but Harry just squeezes tighter and doesn’t bring it up.

Home, with the swimming pool in the back and the garden out front, where Harry never wears any pants and Louis baths in sunlight ‘til he’s golden; where they fuck on the porch until their bones ache and Harry doesn’t have to keep his voice down; where the pool has seen more sloppy kisses than it has laps across its waters. Home, where Louis never has a reason to loosen his hold. It’s their little secret, tucked away where no one can bother them or give them orders. And even for just those few days of escape that they get every so often, Louis still thinks it’s the best investment they’ve ever made – besides the fact that it was their first as a married couple.

Louis’ so caught up in his own head about LA and home and that carpet on the second floor that they never got the raspberry stains out of, that he completely misses Harry’s abrupt stop. “Heeey—” he groans, rubbing at his nose where he’d accidentally bumped into Harry’s bony shoulder. He’s cut off, though, when he looks up and catches sight of the view before them.

“We’re here,” Harry sighs.

Louis’ mouth snaps shut. Mostly in shock, but also because a lump builds in his throat so fast that in the time it takes him to blink twice and pinch himself, he can’t form any words no matter how hard he tries. In his head he thinks he calls out Harry’s name, maybe reaches out for him to make sure that this is real; that he’s here right now. But in reality he’s stuck. He’s frozen in his spot and all he can muster is a shaky breath, overwhelmed with a flood of emotions.

“It looks nice, doesn’t it?”

Louis hadn’t noticed when, but at some point Harry must have moved behind him to envelope him in his arms. He hooks his chin over Louis’ shoulder and presses their bodies closer, closer, until his lips brush against his sweat-damp collarbones, the buttons of his shirt long undone.

“S’like the first time you brought me here,” Harry hums into Louis’ skin, nosing his way up his neck.

Louis stares back at the gazebo before them, the marble rotunda laced in grassy vines all down its pillars and illuminated by the fairy lights strung around the edges of the dome and, more importantly, by the dozens of small lights that line the gardens for meters on end. They stretch out for some distance, the grass lit up with baby blues and golden yellows, in soft pinks and forest greens. Under the navy blanket of the Yorkshire sky it feels like looking out at the stars, at an entire galaxy before their very feet.

Louis’ eyes move across every little centimeter in front of them. His vision gets blurry with the rainbow of color seeping through the darkness and demanding his attention, his awe. He swallows past the lump in his throat – or tries to, at least – and chokes out a little incredulously, “The first time I brought you here we got married.”

Somewhere far behind them in the tent, the band begins to play the first few notes of a Sinatra song that Louis could write the words to in his sleep; the same one that he sang into Harry’s ear two years ago in that tiny little gazebo just a few meters away. He isn’t sure if Harry had that planned out as well, but the way he slowly starts to sway their bodies in harmony to the soft, languid melody convinces Louis entirely. He did, after all, plan this entire wedding down to the very last minute.

“I can’t believe it’s been two years already,” Harry whispers. He places another wandering kiss to the column of Louis’ neck and then another, and another, keeps kissing until the reality of the moment sinks in.

“And how have these two years been for you?” Louis asks. He places his hands over Harry’s, tight around his waist. From the corner of his eye he can see the wedding ring Harry’d snuck onto his finger a few hours back, Louis’ own lined up perfectly against it. Just the thought of Harry’s impatience makes him giggle a little bit.

He can feel it all along his back when Harry shrugs, “Eh, they were alright.”

“—Harold,” Louis groans, pinching his wrist.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” Harry giggles in defeat. He squeezes Louis once, twice, in reassurance or maybe just because he can. “Best years of my life, with you,” he says after a small pause, more serious this time.

There’s a moment then that Louis doubts any of this is real. The boys, the band, the last four years. The tours they’ve been on and the stadiums they’ve sold out. The money he’s made and the thousands of faces he’s seen, flashes of bright smiles and watery eyes.

And then there’s Harry, who loves him and takes care of him without so much as a doubt in his mind. Harry, who’s held his hand from the very first day and has decided since that he doesn’t plan on letting go any time soon – ever, for that matter, just so happened to scribble it down into a vow or two over the last four years.

Somehow, Louis thinks, if he had to give up the music and the success – if they all disappeared one day, or were never there to begin with – he would be perfectly fine as long as he still had Harry by his side. He could give up every last penny and devoted fan if it meant the promise of tomorrows with Harry, a guarantee that in this universe there’s nowhere that their rope comes loose. That aspect of his life, the part where he’s devoted his entirety to the boy pressed against his back, he knows will never be anything but unconditionally good; genuine to the core and decided by fate.

As far as he’s concerned, there isn’t a world out there where the ends of their souls aren’t tied together.

Harry voice is low in Louis’ ear when he ducks down to hum along with Sinatra, eyes closed and lips warm. “And all my bright tomorrows belong to you,” he reminds Louis.