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Use Your Hands and My Spare Time

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"Good morning, Nicholas," Matt trills Monday morning, grinning manically with the eager amusement of someone who lives shamelessly through others.

Nick summons his most diva glare and flops into his chair, burying his face in his coffee cup. "Swear to God, Fincham, if there's a Showquizness question about it I will kill you."

Matt just smirks and keeps typing away, which Nick doesn't really know how to interpret, as far as signals go. On the bright side, Fiona tuts at him sympathetically and Ian comes over to give him a cuddle. He came in early for this shitstorm. Despite his pouting, Nick is touched.


See, dealing with the fallout of a sex tape is not how Nick wanted to spend his weekend.

He doesn't even remember making the damn thing that well. It had been some model or other, suggesting something fun, and Nick had been drunk enough to say why the fuck not instead of something sensible. How was he supposed to know the little twink was planning on selling him out to the Daily Mail or what the fuck ever?

"You always wanted to be Kim Kardashian," Aimee suggests when they're deep into a bottle of wine, and Nick snorts.

"I am feeling a newfound kinship with her. I should ring her, see if she wants to have a party. The theme is: men are all backstabbing bastards."

“I’ll drink to that,” Collette says, raising her glass in salute. Ian sighs at them all like he thinks they’re terrible people, shaking his head in the corner.

Whatever. He’s got a dot-to-dot to keep him occupied anyway. He’s just lucky Nick hasn’t teased him about it yet.

“No, just think,” Aimee says. “You could be Kim Kardashian.”

“Or Paris Hilton!” Ian adds, head popping up.

Whooooo?” Nick crows, just as Aimee looks straight at Ian and does a very impressive eye roll before continuing.

“Seriously Nick, we could use this to build you a multi-million empire.”

This is why Nick loves her madly. “Aims, what makes you think that plan hasn’t already been implemented?” he says, with a wicked eyebrow wiggle. Aimee cackles back maniacally.


The worst thing about this whole process is that people just know. Understandably so, from the endless newspaper headlines and online articles and blog posts; Christ, Nick had no idea he was this famous, really. But it’s a thing now—he can see it in their eyes when he shakes their hand or says hello. Oh, that Nick Grimshaw. And he hates it.

Calling his parents was probably the worst. The way his dad answered with "Hold on, let me get your mum," all gruff and distant had sort of already made Nick want to cry, but then explaining the whole thing--yes, I knew we were being filmed, yes, I was very drunk, no, I had no idea he would put it up, no, there's no way I can get it taken down--actually had made him cry, a little bit. His mum was so uncomfortable and upset and protective and angry on his behalf that he sort of couldn't help it, ended up sniffling into his Caffe Nero coffee right in public for the whole world to see.

Then he'd made them promise a million times over not to watch it before hanging up.

His friends have been so great, though. Gellz came over and rubbed his back while he cried the first night, Aimee is the best for making him laugh about it, Daisy baked him a fucking cake and Collette assures him on a daily basis that not everyone will see it, love, I can barely work the internet. Matt Fincham launched into a three-minute rant about it in Nick's defense on Monday--on air, no less--and Fiona offered to beat the guy up. (He still sort of wishes he took her up on it.)

Still, he hasn’t yet stopped dreading the first few seconds—a cringe, or a well-meaning frown, or anything that just signals, yeah, we both know that if I ever chose to do so, I could Google and view your most intimate moments whenever I like.

So it’s nice that he has that moment with Harry over text.

Well, not that moment exactly. Harry just texts and says, you around?. Which is always what he says when he’s in town and wants to hang out. This is normal. Nick is trying to appreciate it.

It’s just hard when so many of those fucking articles bill him not just as Radio 1 DJ, or television presenter, or British Fashion Council representative, but noted friend of One Direction’s Harry Styles.

He sends back, where else would i be popstar, i have a NORMAL job.

Harry sends back the emoji with the closed eyes and its tongue sticking out, saying he’ll be at Nick’s place at seven. Nick mentally adds an hour, because that boy never knows his schedule, really.


Harry shows up at his doorstep like a whirlwind, pulling him into a hug and smelling like something expensive and warm. He immediately drops down on his knees to greet Pig before he and Nick have really said more than two words each, cooing at her absolutely showering her with affection so ridiculously that Nick sort of has to hide his laugh behind his hand.

“Should I leave the two of you alone?” he finally asks, chuckling again when Harry pouts at him.

“I don’t get to spend a lot of time with her,” Harry says, and the I need her to love me best sort of goes unspoken. Harry always sort of has that thing with people--a pulse-deep need to make them like him, and Nick doesn’t say anything because they all have their hangups. Sometimes it will make Nick roll his eyes, to watch Harry charm the pants off strangers on the street who he’s never going to see again, just for the sake of being likable, but when it’s his stubborn determination to win over Nick’s dog, it’s genuinely making him melt a bit.

Instead of the circus in his head, Nick just says, “Well, don’t mind me then,” pretending to be all put out and Harry stands, rolling his eyes fondly and pulling Nick into another hug, this time nuzzling into Nick’s neck and sighing contentedly, which makes Nick’s throat tighten a bit.

“Y’alright?” Harry asks, with more weight behind it than usual--a tiny bit more consideration in his tone--and Nick tries very hard not to feel ill at what the simple question implies.

“Course, popstar,” he replies, too fast, knowing right away that Harry’s seen straight through his brave face when their eyes meet, Harry’s lips drawing down into a frown.

“You know what you need?” he asks, continuing on without waiting for Nick’s answer. “Let’s order a pizza and watch shit telly,” he says, instead of anything but substance, face lighting up like he’s found the solution. Nick laughs, head thrown back and genuine, because god, Harry’s just so, like--good. So lovely to have around.

“Don’t insult Bake Off like that, Styles,” he replies, untangling himself from Harry’s hold.

Harry’s face is the picture of innocence, hand over his heart. “I would never, Nicholas,” and then goes straight into the kitchen, to the fridge, and pulls out a glass of wine, and everything in Nick just… relaxes.


"Did you watch it?" Nick asks, hesitant after a few glasses of wine, once he’s worked up the courage. They’ve done a lot of giggling over Bake Off innuendos and Harry’s been talking about work--the dumb thing Liam said that made them all laugh, the cute thing Lux did the other day. It’s felt homey and comfortable and Nick doesn’t want to change it, but he also wants to address it before it becomes like an awkward--thing. Because they’ve both sort of skirted around it and avoided it, and Nick feels just enough of a buzz to think that this can’t possibly be so bad.

Harry does not look up from his pizza as he answers. "Yep."


He's only the second person to own up to it. Aimee was absolutely shameless about telling him she had, which is no surprise. Most people say no with their words, but sometimes their eyes give them away. The only people whose "no" he really, truly believes right now in his circle of friends is Collette's (obviously), and Henry's, since they used to fuck sometimes on nights when there was no one else to go home with. Henry's seen all there is to see already.

(The worst liar by far was Daisy, which Nick finds sort of amazing and hilarious.)

But there's nothing but complete serenity on Harry's face right now. He's telling the truth. Nick sort of wants to die.

"Why?" he squawks instead, hoping he doesn't sound as desperate about it is he is. He's certain he fails.

Harry shrugs, smirks, and sits back, eyes on the screen. But Nick can see the slight flush in his cheeks, and oh, Nick is all over that. That has the potential to be very, very interesting.


"Shhh!" Harry protests, pointing at the TV. "Don’t talk over Mary Berry, Nicholas. Show some respect."

Nick eyes him suspiciously as the judges tear a contestant apart. All signs point to the fact that Harry is clearly embarrassed. Or hiding something. Or both. Nick's not sure.

Obviously, the best way to handle this situation is to get wasted.


Harry's not exactly a lightweight when it comes to drinking, but he is compared to Nick. Before long he's all giggly and glassy eyed while all Nick feels is a little lighter. To be fair, he's been refilling their glasses at the same rate--every time they dip below half-full--not that Harry's noticed.

"So you watched it," he finally says, and this time Harry turns beet red, nods, still smiling.

"And again, why?" he continues, but he's pretty sure any righteous indignation he possesses is currently being undercut by the mile-wide smile on his face. Shit, even when he should be mad at Harry he’s just so fucking adorable. It’s impossible.

"Dunno," Harry says, pulling Nick towards him so he can lean his head on Nick's shoulder, nuzzling in. Harry is a very fumbly, touchy sort of drunk, which is sometimes a special kind of hell for Nick. Other times--like now--it's sort of the greatest. "Just, like. Curious." He hides his face in Nick's arm, and oh god. How is he expected to deal with this?

"I see," Nick replies, laughing a little bit. It's just hard not to when Harry's being such a messy, affectionate human. Christ. "Did I live up to expectations, popstar?" he asks, poking at him, entirely teasing.

Then something happens which Nick did not expect. Which he did not expect at all.

Harry lies down with a sigh, like he's giving up, pillowing his head on Nick's knee. His eyes are darker and he's gone all frowny, which, what.

"Nicholas," he says, drawing it out like a whine. Before Nick can even ask what's wrong, Harry's squeezing his eyes closed almost like he's in pain.

Instinctively, Nick's fingers cradle his head, like Harry's physically hurt and he's needs to be gentle, even though intellectually he knows this isn't the case. He has absolutely no idea why this is his immediate response to Harry acting like he’s in pain.

Well. He might. But maybe he should worry about that later.

"What, Haz?"

Harry rubs at his eyes. “I didn’t like seeing you with him,” he admits, soft as a whisper, and Nick can feel his own breath catch.

He--fuck, for once in his life he has no bloody idea what to say. Harry’s lips have gone all trembly like he might cry and Nick doesn’t understand what’s going on. He needs a script for this. He needs advance warning. He needs--he needs another drink, Christ.


“I didn’t,” Harry continues, scrubbing over his face. He is all drunken honesty, but his eyes are so clear. Nick doesn’t know how to feel. “He--he hurt you, Nick.”

Nick rolls his eyes. “I’m alright, Haz.” As much as he appreciates the sentiment, he can take care of himself. He’s been doing alright so far, hasn’t he? Besides, it’s not, like, the most comfortable thing in the entire world, in the grand scheme of things. He’s not dying.

“Still,” Harry says, his eyes dark and serious on Nick’s own, mouth set in a firm line. “You deserve better.”

Nick’s stomach twists and--he thinks he knows what this is. Harry’s gone all frowny like… like a puppy or a kitten or some other small animal that tries to look upset but only ends up looking really cute, somehow. Nick bites down on a smile because… because he definitely shouldn’t find this endearing. Or enjoy it. At all.

“Harry Styles, are you jealous?” he asks, and even from the tone of his voice he can tell he’s not hiding how adorable he’s finding this whole thing.

Harry groans, turning and hiding his face in Nick’s jeans. The tips of his ears are pink. “Shurrup,” he says, half a giggle, and Nick leans down, fingers light on Harry’s sides.

“Oh my god you are, aren’t you? Little popstar’s outgrown the California girls? You want a go?” he teases, diffusing the moment the only way he knows how--humor.

Harry grins, absolutely wicked. "Well, I'm not saying we wouldn't do better, but..."

"Fuck," Nick laughs, head thrown back, before he tickles Harry’s sides in retaliation. Harry thrashes, protesting, giggling so hard no sound comes out.

“Stop, stop!” Harry cries out, smile stretched wide and wriggling around. Finally he catches Nick’s wrists to stop it, and just like that the mood changes.

It’s like the whole world goes quiet around them, or like a vacuum has sucked all the oxygen out of the room, because Nick can’t breathe. Harry’s looking at him, pink lips slightly parted and eyes blinking slow, focused intently on Nick’s face. He’s caught Nick’s hands on either side of his own head and Nick’s leaning down over him, one thigh on each side of Harry’s waist, and their faces are quite close. For a second, Nick is sure they’re going to kiss.

“Nick,” Harry murmurs, voice so gentle that Nick has to swallow hard around the lump in his throat.

God, he can’t do this. Not with Harry looking at him like… like…

He moves to sit up straighter, but Harry lets go of his wrists like they’ve burnt him and something sharp lodges itself in Nick’s throat. Nick stands, turning around and facing the wall, unable to see Harry’s face.

“You’re drunk,” he says, all forced and false laughter that isn't convincing anyone, hands shaking as he wipes them on his jeans.

There’s a beat of silence between them that goes just a beat too long, and then Nick can hear Harry sitting up, the rustling of the couch. “Nick.”

“I’m to bed,” Nick says, louder than necessary. “Um, settle in wherever, I should brush my teeth.” He ignores Harry’s sigh as he rushes off to the bathroom.

He stays in there while, splashing water on his face and giving himself a long, hard look in the mirror. Pull yourself together, Grimshaw, he thinks, before taking a deep breath and heading into his bedroom.

Immediately he sees Harry there, curled up on the opposite side of the bed, chewing nervously on his lip. Nick’s chest swells with affection for Harry, for being the braver of the two of them, really. He stands frozen in the middle of his room, suggestion of a dopey smile on his face until Harry spots him.

“Grim,” he says, urgent. He sits up straighter and Nick can see he’s shirtless now, his top and jeans lying in a messy pile on his side of the bed. Nick hates a little bit how much he likes it, how much even the most annoying things about Harry can make his heart kick it up a notch. “Nick, I--I know I’m drunk but I--”

Nick sighs, unfreezing himself and getting in on the other side. “Don’t worry about it, Haz,” he says. “I’m planning on chalking this whole night up to too much alcohol and forgetting about it.” He shuffles under the covers, turning off the light. He can hear the resignation and exhaustion in his own voice, and doesn’t even believe himself.

“Nick,” Harry says, and he sounds truly heartbroken this time. “I’m sorry, I know I’m drunk but that--Nick, I mean it. I want to, with you, I do.”

It’s probably the least eloquent proposition Nick’s ever had. Nick wonders how much of that is the drink and how much of that is just Harry, naturally, always a bit of a flop in the best way. But Harry’s chin is quivering, and even in the darkness his eyes are so bright and so sincere.

The good thing about the darkness is Nick can pretend not to see them.

He lets out a chuckle he doesn’t feel in the least, leaning forward and pressing a quick kiss to Harry’s forehead before lying down on his side, facing away from Harry. “That’s sweet, babe,” he hears himself say as if from far away, gruff. “That’s sweet of you to say. I appreciate that.”

“Nick,” Harry says, sounding absolutely gutted, but Nick just shuffles deeper into the duvet, as far from Harry as possible.

“Go to sleep, Haz,” he says, quiet but firm. He holds himself very still, counts the seconds and holds his breath but does not turn to look at him, refuses to allow himself that out. He knows, just knows he’d see Harry’s face and be gone, be kissing him before he could even stop himself, desperate and needy and tearful, and… he can’t.

He waits. He waits until he hears Harry sigh and lay back, and only then does Nick squeeze his eyes shut. A tear rolls down his cheek, unbidden, and Nick prays for morning.


When he wakes up in the morning Harry’s already rubbing his eyes and smiling at Nick, all morning-soft across the pillows that makes Nick smile back on instinct, almost forgetting the weirdness of last night before it all comes rushing back to him.

“Morning, popstar,” he says, voice a little more wobbly than usual, but maybe he can blame it on the hangover. God, he just needs to--to act like everything’s normal. If he acts like that, it will be, right? “How do you feel?” he asks, voice croaky, rubbing at his eyes as Harry edges closer, pillowing his head on Nick’s chest.

They would do that normally, right? ...Yeah, they would. Nick tries not to think about it too much.

Harry yawns. “A little headachey, little nauseous, but… mostly alright.”

Nick groans, and Harry turns his head and smiles sunnily up at him. “Ugh, youth,” Nick says with an exaggerated shudder, making Harry’s smile turn into a full-on grin, all teeth. Nick feels vaguely like he’s been hit by a bus, to be honest, and he didn’t even drink that much.

Just. Last night was a lot.

“Well,” Harry drawls, and before Nick can process what's happening (which was possibly Harry's plan all along) he's leaning in--leaning in, Christ, they’re kissing, just like that, and Nick’s brain is short circuiting a little bit because he was not prepared for this, had already chalked last night up to drunken impulses. Fuck, Harry kisses with single-minded focus, even when it’s the early-morning lazy type, like he could do it forever. It makes Nick’s stomach go all fluttery, as does the way Harry looks at him when he pulls away and continues to speak like something completely normal’s just happened. “I know a good hangover cure.”

It takes a second for Nick to catch on to what he’s saying. That kiss made him lose the plot a little bit, but then Harry’s running a hand lightly down Nick’s side and he gets it.

“Haz,” he says, heaving a fortifying breath and squeezing his eyes shut. “Last night… Neither of us were sober, I would never--”

“I meant it,” Harry says, face so serious it would be almost funny, if this wasn’t happening to him. The words hold you to anything die in Nick’s throat. “I remember, and I meant it. I--I want to, Nick.”

Nick lets out his breath, slow. He actually can't speak, which is maybe a first. Harry's eyes are glued to him and just, that's a lot of pressure. He swallows hard.

Harry moves slow like he doesn't want to spook Nick, opening his mouth against Nick's chest and running his lips lightly across skin, eyes focused and full of intent. It's almost like he's daring Nick to stop him, but Nick can't do anything more than be still, frozen with shock at finally getting what he resigned himself to never having.

"If you don't want this," Harry says softly, chin resting on Nick's stomach, "Please--please tell me now." He sounds a bit like it would break his heart, and Nick's eyes prickle with heat. He blinks rapidly, gives himself a mental shake for being ridiculous, and slow as molasses, moves his hand towards Harry's to lace their fingers together.

"Nick," Harry says, and his voice sort of wobbles all over the place even as he leans down, presses a kiss to Nick's hipbone right above the elastic of his waistband. God, their words are so, so soft in the early morning quiet, but to Nick they feel like full volume declarations. "Nick, please, say something."

Christ, what is he supposed to say? I've wanted this for as long as I've known you and I'm not quite sure this is real life right now?

I'm pretty fucking sure I'm in love with you?

I could never say no?

"Um," he manages, which is not much better, hand moving slowly to Harry's face. He strokes over his cheek with his thumb, and Harry's eyes flutter shut and he shivers--Nick can feel it everywhere. He presses another kiss to Nick's skin, light and soft and... jesus, tender, and something inside Nick breaks.

"I'm bloody mad for you," he says, blushing immediately afterwards, because what a thing to say, really.

Harry grins, slow, and there's this victorious smugness to it that's almost blinding. "Anything else?" he asks, still tentative, already hooking his fingers in the waist of Nick's boxers, waiting.

Please don't hurt me, Nick thinks, but cannot bring himself to say. He hasn't had sex since the video leaked and... fuck, that sex meant nothing and he's paid for it a hundred times over--there's no counting the ways Harry could hurt him, this boy who spends more than half his time out of the country and makes Nick laugh and smile till his face aches. And who has his heart, even if he may not know it.

Nick smiles a little, playing off his nerves and insecurities with false confidence. "Let's see if you live up to the hype, Styles."

Harry laughs and promptly works Nick out of his pants and gets his mouth around his dick. He hums, starting slow and using his hand to make up the difference, but then he goes deeper and deeper and Christ, this isn't bad at all. Especially considering Nick knows for a fact that Harry's experience with men, though he does have some, is nothing compared to with women. It isn't long until Nick’s gone sort of embarrassingly breathless and flushed, fingers tightening in Harry's curls as Harry swirls around him with his tongue. Harry groans at the slight pressure, guttural, and hm, that little kink is definitely worth some further exploration. But the vibrations make Nick whimper and then he's pulling Harry's hair for real until he gets the message.

"What?" Harry says as he pulls off, wiping at his mouth and fuck, the boy looks like sex. It's really unfair. "Was that okay?"

Nick rolls his eyes, urging Harry up and then fumbling with the hem of his tshirt, which Harry must have put on this morning. Unfair. "What do you think?" he asks as he pulls it over his head, Harry's little grin thrilling through him. "Just, if you wanted to do any more than blow me, thought we'd better stop. Some of us aren't twenty."

He's expecting Harry to make a crack about how old he is, or some kind of joke, at least, but instead his eyes go dark and he loses his breath a little. "Yeah, okay," he agrees almost too quickly, and now it's Nick's turn to grin.

"Any ideas?" he asks--partly to be polite and partly because he's been wanting this for so long he sort of doesn't know where to start.

Harry leans in, kisses him hot and needy, panting into Nick's mouth a bit and it's quite gratifying, to know Nick isn't the only one who's getting really worked up over this. Nick kisses back, curling a hand around Harry's waist, moving slow over the warm, tan skin contrasting with the black, inky leaves. It's like Harry doesn't want to stop kissing him to talk, but finally he pulls away enough to manage, "Will you fuck me?"

Nick's heart does a little trip in his chest and he breathes out, “Yes, yeah,” feeling somewhat dazed before he gets his lips back on Harry’s. Harry sighs into the kiss, a contented sound, as he pulls Nick down onto the bed and then rolls Nick on top of him, Nick’s hand anchored on his hipbone and the other cradling the back of his head. They’re not drunk anymore but they kiss like they are, each press of lips and curl of tongues flowing naturally into the next like they may never stop, slow and slick and everything. Nick’s hands move slowly to ease his hands under the elastic of Harry’s boxers, fingers digging slightly into the flesh of his arse and Harry lets out a little whimper in response, hand clutching a little tighter at Nick's upper arm. Nick continues, getting Harry out of his boxers completely and then... God, he takes a moment to drool over Harry's cock--hard and flushed and, well, big, which just isn't fair. He's already a bloody popstar, must he have everything in life?

"C'mon," Harry whines, shifting his hips a little, and then cheekily, "Get a move on, Grimshaw."

Nick wants to grin wickedly and say something like patience, child, or eager, are we?, but the heady neediness of Harry's expression makes him lose his train of thought. Nick can't do anything more than nod obediently, crawling over Harry again to press a kiss to the swallows on his collarbone, then bare his teeth against them, simultaneously pressing his fingers lightly against Harry's hole and then circling them around.

"Fuck," Harry gets out, voice half a sob already, bloody hell. "You're... jesus, you're good at this," Harry pants, voice cracked and broken.

"Lots of practice," Nick murmurs, lips brushing so so lightly against Harry's skin and then blowing over it. Harry goes all goose pimply and trembles, but something makes his jaw set tight, like something’s gone wrong.

“What?” Nick asks, soft, because… Well, if he’s being honest with himself, he’s waited too long for this for it to go wrong.

“Just,” Harry whispers, face still all stormy as his body goes a little squirmy, “Don’t wanna think about him,” he mumbles, and Nick is confused for a moment about who the him is before laughing at the realization that Harry’s still all mad at the guy in the video.

He fumbles up to kiss Harry, trying to keep his grin just far enough away to do it properly, hands greedy all over his skin. “Love,” he says when he pulls away, unable to keep the tenderness out of his eyes. “You need to stop torturing yourself over this.”

Harry is immediately on the defensive. “But Nick, he--”

“I know,” Nick replies, half a laugh, nodding. “No one knows what he did better than me, Haz. But I want this to be about you and me, alright? He’s long forgotten, anyway.”

That’s not quite true, in the sense that Nick would sort of definitely like to sue the pants off him and then see him pushed off a cliff, but it is in the sense that with Harry in his bed, that guy is the last thing on Nick’s mind. In this moment, Nick doesn’t care how that guy hurt him, or even that there’s a sex tape of himself on the internet. Right now, all he cares about is that Harry’s here, and he’s all pressed up against Nick’s skin, warm, and surging up into his touch and kissing him back like he wants this just as much as Nick does. Nothing else matters.

Harry’s looking into his eyes like he wants to get lost in them, something so tender on his face that Nick would almost feel embarrassed, if he didn’t bloody love him so much.

God, he's already thought it once already. No point in denying it now, when the dam's burst.

“Okay,” Harry sighs, like that’s everything, pulling Nick down again and kissing him hungrily, needily, desperately, and whimpers into Nick’s mouth when Nick reaches to the bedside table to fumble for the slick.

Harry’s impatient, is the thing. Nick’s barely got one finger inside of him before he’s gasping into Nick’s mouth for another, and it’s all Nick can do to keep up with him. It’s hard enough to say no to Harry under normal circumstances, but saying it when he’s flushed and clutching at Nick’s sheets, letting out little moans every time Nick brushes over that spot just right? Pretty much impossible.

“Haz,” he says when he feels like he can catch his breath. Harry’s eyes are dark when he opens them, a little bit unfocused and he drags his teeth lightly over his bottom lip, a truly sinful shade of pink that makes Nick’s hard dick twitch with interest. He’s going to say something like slow down or we have plenty of time but finds that he can only stare, transfixed, at Harry’s face.

“Nick,” Harry murmurs back, the sound high with need as he twines their fingers together, gives them a squeeze. “Please, I need to feel you.”

Nick nods, feeling a little bit frantic, gently pulling his fingers out and tapping Harry’s hip gently. “Wanna turn over, love?” he asks. He knows Harry’s slept with men, just… it’s not very many and it’s not very often and Nick just wants to make it good for him, really, but Harry frowns, shaking his head.

“Wanna see you,” he replies, all breathy close as he runs his thumb across Nick’s cheekbone, almost tender, and Nick should argue, maybe, but he feels sort of hypnotized by Harry and just--goes, reaching across to grab a condom.

Harry sits up, reaching forward and taking it from Nick’s hands, tearing it open with his teeth and then making eye contact as he slides it on.

And suddenly, Nick understands.

“Jesus Christ,” Nick exhales as Harry pumps once, twice over his dick, eyes fluttering shut and something fluttering in his stomach. “I… I know what you’re doing, Haz,” and Harry just lies back, grinning up at him all smug, like he isn’t pulling exact moves from Nick’s sex tape and using them against him.

“Wanted to see if we could do better,” he says as he wraps his legs around Nick’s waist, heels nudging at the small of Nick’s back. He tips his chin up, eyes bright with challenge. “How’re we doing so far?”

Nick chuckles low in his throat and then pushes inside, and the smug smile is wiped off Harry’s face in one fell swoop as he groans, shudders, and now it’s Nick’s turn to grin.

“‘A’ star,” Nick breathes, giving a shallow thrust and Harry laughs, deep in his throat.

He sort of appreciates it a bit, if he’s honest. He hasn’t had sex since the video leaked, and his last time was with that guy, no less, and it’s like Harry’s just--just cut out that part of the story and inserted himself in instead, like he can rewrite that shitty part of Nick’s life and kiss it better, just like that. But god, it’s not even like there’s anything to compare because this is so much better there are sort of no words for it--because it’s Harry and Nick’s wanted it for ages, and it’s everything he wanted and more. It’s Harry’s voice moaning around Nick’s name, it’s Harry’s hands clutching at his skin, it’s the way they can still banter and laugh even when they’re in bed together, and Nick can barely handle it.

He goes slow until he’s fully seated, and then he’s leaning over Harry so, so close and Harry’s looking at him like he’s in awe, which is completely ridiculous and makes Nick blush, trying to hide it as he ducks Harry’s gaze a bit.

But it only makes Harry whimper, reaching under Nick’s chin with two fingers and tilting his face back up. He reaches out with his other hand and pushes Nick’s wilted quiff off his forehead, and a lump forms in Nick’s throat.

“You’re so beautiful, Nick, god,” he whispers, voice shaking, and Nick has to swallow hard. “All of you… just.” Harry pauses, blinking up at Nick and his smile going a little wistful, a little sad. “So beautiful.”

“Harry,” he replies, eyes tearing a bit, too full of emotion. At the best of times, his relationship with his own body is… complicated, and since the tape it’s been even worse, knowing that basically every inch of him is out there on display for people to pick apart. He’d hated every second of watching himself on that gritty little camera screen, cursed every angle and remembered every bag of crisps, hated it.

And now Harry--Harry, with the physique of a teenager and the face of, well, a popstar, really--is telling him he’s beautiful, and he means it, eyes tracking over Nick like he’s trying to take all of him in at once, and holy shit, how is Nick supposed to survive this?

“Sorry, sorry,” Harry says immediately, rolling his eyes at himself a little bit, like he realizes how ridiculous he’s being. Nick would be inclined to agree but instead just thrusts inside again, hiding his face safely in Harry’s neck.

From then it’s nothing but their breathing mingling together, their groans and their cries as Nick speeds up, Harry’s whine of Nick’s name when he hits Harry’s prostate just right, over and over, and then his heady gasps when Nick works his hand around Harry’s cock, tight.

Harry’s sobbing, by that point, and Nick just keeps jerking him off in time with the way he’s thrusting inside, increasingly frantic and arrhythmic. “Fuuuck, Nick,” Harry sobs, fingers tangled in Nick’s hair at the back of his neck. “Wanted this for so long--”

And Nick--can’t help it, comes, out of nowhere, muffling a shout into Harry’s skin at the words because… holy shit. Then Harry’s hand joins Nick’s both of them pumping him fast and then Harry’s coming, too, gasping and whining and coming between them, a mess on both their stomachs before Nick collapses on top of him and they both breathe for a minute.

Eventually Nick rolls off and to the side, staring up at the ceiling for a minute before turning back to Harry, who looks a little sheepish as he cleans off his stomach with tissues from the night stand. He offers some to Nick wordlessly, still a little pink high on his cheekbones as Nick gives himself a cursory wipe-down, tying off the condom and tossing with the tissues into the bin.

“Well,” Nick says, rolling into Harry’s side that makes all his hesitancy evaporate, melt into Nick’s body easily and lips turn up into a barely suppressed grin. “Certainly earned top marks, popstar.”

Harry’s smile escapes. “We did better?”

“We,” Nick says as he angles in to kiss him, “were on another fucking plane.”

Harry sinks into his mouth, giving back as easily as Nick takes, their tongues sliding together easy and lazy with morning until they have to pull away to breathe. Harry’s still smiling at him like he’s the sun, and Nick toys idly with one of Harry’s long curls. “Did you, um. Did you mean what you said, about--”

“Yes,” Harry replies, voice and face plain and open and maybe a little bit in disbelief, like he can’t believe Nick hasn’t figured it out yet. “God, since forever, Nick. Long before the video. Though, speaking of, do you know how many times I watched it?”

Nick groans, his happiness at Harry’s words tempered by the memory of his fucking sex tape. God, that’s never going to stop being weird, is it? “Please, god, don’t remind me. Shut up about it, I’m still enjoying the afterglow, Styles.”

Harry relents, letting Nick kiss him slow and easy for a while until they’re both on their way to hard again, but with no urgency behind it now. It’s still morning, and they have all the time in the world, apparently. Plus, Nick’s still hungover and would definitely like a strong brew. And some brekkie, come to think of it.

Anyway, he’d quite like their next time to be in the shower. He says as much to Harry.

Harry shrugs, unbothered and still smiling like he finally got something he really wanted, letting Nick pull him out of bed.

“Besides,” Harry says as he steps under the spray, “We’ve got a lot of practicing to do until we’re camera-ready.”

Nick squawks, but the sound is swallowed when Harry laughs, pushing him up against the shower wall and kissing him silent.

I’m in love with you, he thinks over and over with every touch of their skin, every breath between kisses. He keeps it to himself for now. Because he’s right, they have lots of time.

Harry looks at him like he knows anyway, and Nick can’t help but smile.