Actions

Work Header

read you for some kind of poem

Work Text:

Harry shows up late to school on Thursday. This wouldn't be a problem by itself, obviously, since Louis skipped yesterday just because he didn't feel like getting out of bed. If he's sick of his final year of public school two months in, then Harry, on his third or so go-around, definitely is. The problem lies in that he's been late every day this week, always half an hour into class, when their irritable and sardonic teacher is neck deep in his lecture.

He rushes in quietly, always a showstopper even when he doesn't mean to be, and walks around the back to place his pass on top of the teacher's desk, making sure not to cut across the board. He has an iced coffee and bag in his hands that he places on Louis' desk before he sits down.

Silence for a moment, and then—"Mr. Styles! How nice of you to finally join us! To grace this class with your presence and effectively interrupt my lecture for the fourth consecutive time this week. Tell me, what is it that's so important for you to blatantly disrespect me so consistently?"

Louis flexes his fingers. "Nothing," Harry says. "I overslept. Sorry."

"So you have time to stop by Starbucks and buy your darling little boyfriend a full breakfast but you can't wake up ten minutes earlier for my class?"

Harry doesn't say anything, just shrugs one shoulder and levels Mr. Russell with the same blankly polite look he gives everyone trying to get a rise out of him. Russell opens his mouth like he's got more to say, some other pointless comment to fuel his ego and make sure he's attacked at least one student this week.

Louis raises his hand, but starts speaking before Russell's even acknowledged it. "Just a thought, but if you spent less time trying to piss people off with your poorly disguised homophobia and more time teaching, you'd probably have a higher pass rate and a smaller chance of getting fired because you're such a shitty teacher. Just an idea, though."

Louis gets detention for two weeks.

-

"You didn't have to do that this morning," Harry says at lunch. As always, he's brought home lunch, some giant sandwich and appallingly healthy snacks as a front. Louis never remembers to bring anything, and his eating habits are shitty enough as it is, so since they've met and become—whatever they are, Harry's been pressuring healthy eating onto him. He slides the sandwich across to Louis, sat close on his right.

"I don't do things just because I have to or don't have to," Louis answers, removing the neatly wrapped saran around the sandwich. "He's an asshole."

"Not the first time I've ever had to deal with assholes," Harry says carefully. "I don't like you getting in trouble because of me."

"Hell what you don't like," Louis says, stuffing his mouth with the sandwich. It's good, fancy bread and turkey and the works, some fancy green dressing spread across the bread. Harry's a good cook, for someone who can't taste anything he makes.

Harry throws a look at him for talking with his mouth full, but Louis ignores him, chewing that much louder just to make him sigh. Harry opens a bag of chips, taking one out and rolling it between his fingers. They're not even real chips, just baked vegetable sticks apparently, and if Harry thinks Louis is going to put those in his mouth, he's got another thing coming.

"I'll pick you up after every day," Harry says, knocking his shoe against Louis'.

"Look at that," Louis says, swallowing. "My lifeless Prince Charming." Harry smiles.

-

He tells his Mom that the reason he's staying after school for forty-five minutes every day for the next two weeks is because he volunteered to help his teacher solve an issue. This isn't exactly a lie: he's stuck in detention because his Macro teacher has a problem with not being a piece of shit and Louis tried to point it out to him.

The teacher on detention duty this week likes Louis, though. Mrs. Touissant (or Stephanie, as Louis has grown used to calling her outside of school) is part of PFLAG and has been Louis’ biggest fan since he came out at the ripe age of eleven and his mom went crazy in making sure he knew she still loved him.

She rolls her eyes when Louis explains what happened, and implies that the department head of social studies (i.e., her) has been contemplating putting him up for review to the principal. She lets him go after twenty minutes, waving it off when he asks if she’ll get in trouble. He can’t wait to be smug all up Russell’s ugly face tomorrow.

He calls Harry.

“Yeah, baby?” Harry answers. “You out already?”

“Stephanie was on duty,” Louis says. “Where d'ya want me to wait… Seriously?” he adds away from the phone, hanging up and stepping forward to the curb, where Harry has already pulled up. “How?”

“I was already in the parking lot,” Harry explains, reaching across to open the door for Louis from the inside. Louis likes to pretend that it really annoys him when Harry’s severely outdated manners come into play, but it’s not as if Harry can’t tell when he’s lying. "Was gonna wait for you,” he explains.

"You were gonna spend forty-five minutes just sitting alone in the parking lot?"

Harry glances at him from the side as he drives away from the school, smiling wryly. "About an hour isn't exactly... a long time for me, Lou."

"Oh, look at me," Louis mocks, deepening his voice as much as he can and getting comfortable in his seat. When he asked Zayn why they were driving an Audi when they were doing the whole average middle class façade, he shrugged it off and said something about an out of town father and abandonment guilt. Harry has a car habit. "I'm a big strong scary immortal vampire, time is a human invention and nothing scares me but God himself."

Of course the only thing Harry gets out of that: "I'm not scary. You make me sound like a fuck when you badly mimic my voice."

Louis puts his feet up on the dashboard, leaning forward to tighten his shoelaces. He needs new black Vans, and wonders if he can fit it in with his next paycheck. "Hate to break it to you, pal, but..."

Harry rolls his eyes, moving his right hand from the console to flick Louis' thigh. "Get your leg off the dashboard. That's a safety hazard."

"You're worried about safety hazards?"

"I'm worried about safety hazards when it comes to you," Harry corrects, pulling up to 31st. "My place or yours?"

"Yours. Sorry about my weakness and pathetic human fragility."

Harry doesn't answer. Sometimes Louis wishes he was fucking someone less good-tempered and more likely to go along when he wants to pick fights.

Inside, Harry asks, "would you like dinner? Theresa went shopping yesterday." Theresa, a wonderful and witty middle-aged vampire that's been around for more than two centuries, has been Harry and Zayn's fake-mom (adopted, in Harry's case) whenever they’ve done the teenager gig in the past two decades. She's apparently very much Filipino, but her skin tone is close enough to Zayn's that no one bothers digging very much into it. Humans are very unobservant, apparently.

“What I want,” says Louis, leaning against the entrance of Harry’s kitchen and toying with the string on his hoodie, “is a mouth on my dick and a few fingers up my ass. If you’re so inclined.”

Harry runs his hand through his hair. “I’m always inclined.”

Half an hour later, he’s sat on Harry’s cock, lightly circling his hips and idly wondering if he could come just like this, without lifting up or letting Harry properly fuck in.

Maybe another time. He braces the flat of his palms against Harry’s torso, lifting up easily and clenching tight when he goes back down. He got over his weird shame over preferring to bottom a while ago, when he ended up on some questionable site while desperately trying to avoid reading The Crucible for English, and had a very long chat with Stephanie’s son, Pierre, about it at three AM. Harry is down with whatever Louis is down with (“I can have sex with anyone on the spectrum for the next actual forever; it’d get boring fast if I had super rigid sexual preferences, wouldn’t it? I have things I like more than others, but I'm willing to try most things at least once.” Louis never answered because he gets ugly on the inside when he thinks about Harry having sex with other people, but he supposes it makes sense.). And he loves riding Harry, obviously, since there can’t be a single person on Earth who wouldn’t want to be on top of Harry like this, watching his reactions and feeling his stupidly big dick press everywhere, and sometimes—when soccer season is on and he’s getting daily activity and his thighs aren’t ready to give out on him after ten minutes—he imagines he could go forever. His definition of forever, anyway. Not Harry’s.

Soccer season doesn’t start for another two weeks, though, and his mom will be calling if he’s not home in the next fifteen minutes.

“What’s the point of fucking someone with super strength if they’re just gonna make me do all the work?” Louis complains. Getting the words out takes longer than he’d like, with his hips unable to stop shifting.

Harry doesn’t give the obvious response to that, which is that Louis is the one who poked and prodded at Harry until he flipped them over and put Louis on top. He just raises his knees higher up until they’re bracketing Louis’ back, and fucks up into him until Louis is sex-stupid and spilling come over his stomach.

The first time they fucked, approximately twenty whole days after meeting each other, Louis thought he was going to die. And this was before he even knew that Harry was supernatural; back when Harry was still holding out on him, making it seem like the fact that he could go all night when Louis’ past boyfriend was out cold after a single round of jackrabbiting was incidental; smiling bashfully when Louis couldn’t speak above a murmur after coming three times in two hours; having the nerve to say, “oh, I don’t know, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, I guess I’m just a natural,” as if he hadn’t been having sex since 1976.

Post-supernatural admission… well. Louis doesn’t—Louis has to get home.

“I think you’ve ruined all other sex for me,” Louis garbles against Harry’s chest, collapsed there for a few minutes of post-coital relaxation before Louis’ mom finally rings. He’s going to have to take a shower the second he’s gotten home, belly sticky and flaking as the come quickly dries.

“Don’t say that,” Harry says, trailing his fingers up, down, sideways, on Louis’ back. “Lemme take you home.”

-

Louis doesn’t let Harry and Zayn pick him up for school in the mornings. For one, he has an established morning routine with Niall, Liam, and Hiroaki that he’s not willing to shatter because of a fuck. For another, they’re unreliable.

Aside from the disappointment that vampires don’t burn (“or sparkle,” Zayn said derisively) in the sun, or melt from holy water (“I was a really devout Christian when we were in England,” Harry told him, fingering the cross hanging from his neck. “It was an affirming church—” “Am I supposed to know what that is?” “—like, acceptance across every board, even with sexuality—I went every Sunday like a good little boy, and somehow didn’t burst into flames when I got baptized. Hallelujah, and all that,” stupid grin on his face), Louis was also shocked to hear that they sleep.

“Kind of,” Harry explained, sitting on his bed across from Louis, criss-crossed legs and hands lying lamely in his lap. “Like, three hours a week is fine for us to be functional. We don’t have to, but—I know a lot who choose to? Like. We don’t really get the folklore that says we never rest. Zayn says he doesn’t see how we wouldn’t have all collectively agreed to off each other if we couldn’t sleep at all, but Zayn’s a little dramatic and spent the entirety of 2002 to 2005 fully asleep, so.”

“Three whole years asleep,” Louis said in disbelief.

“Kind of,” Harry repeated. “It was after 9/11, and—y’know. He woke up to, um. To drink. But mostly he slept. And he woke up on the fifteenth of May in 2003, and he was planning on it being for good, at least until the next decade, and we were gonna go backpack across Asia, maybe, but then five days later, Bush announced 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'," he physically made air quotes around the title, mouth curling down a little like he didn’t even realize it, "and we went back to our cabin in the woods—"

Louis interrupted him here. "Two queer vampires camped in the woods with nothing to entertain themselves but each other. You're sure you two never fucked?" He still isn’t sure what he would have done if Harry gave the wrong answer.

"All vampires are technically queer. Fluid? I don't know, it's weird putting names on it. Gender's not that important. You realize how inconsequential everything like that is when you start having to leave deer on the footsteps of the local butcher in the middle of the night." Harry watched him carefully after he said that; sometimes he says things like that like he expects Louis to run away screaming and report supernatural activity to the government. Sometimes, when Louis remembers the striking fear that sped through him the first time he saw Harry in the sun, or the pounding fight or flight he has to actively ignore when Harry gets the slightest bit upset or drops his fangs—sometimes he wants to. He doesn't. “And, God, no. I can’t even imagine that. It's not like that with us. I managed fine when he was asleep.”

“Doesn’t that get lonely? Just sitting there alone, watching him sleep and not speaking to anyone?" Harry seemed like he was naturally a people person, and Louis couldn’t really see him holing up in the middle of nowhere of North England.

Harry shrugged. "I spoke to people, sometimes. On the Internet, and stuff. Ran to town when it got really bad, went to church, but for the most part I didn't want to leave him alone. I'm always lonely to some degree, anyway," he added so casually, like just an afterthought, and Louis just. Fuck. "So, yeah, we migrated back. Zayn took it as a sign that he didn't need to be awake while everything went to complete shit."

"What made him wake up for good?" Louis asked. It was getting late, and his mom would be calling for him to get home soon.

Harry licked his lips. "I made him get up to feed and I was, uh. In a bad place. I guess. The only person I always sent my information to no matter where I was was my mum—mom, sorry, I forget accents sometimes—and she'd emailed me, and, she'd, um." Harry paused, and looked away for a moment, silent and tense. When he spoke again, it was so low that Louis had to strain to hear. "She'd been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer?"

"Harry," Louis whispered, devastated.

Harry shook his head, but didn't make any indication that he'd heard Louis speak. Like he had to barrel through or he'd never get it all out. "So Zayn got up to help me get to her. And it was like, I'm from Miami, originally, which I know is really weird to imagine, but. I made it there, but it was fucking, like, March, and that's middle of summer down there, so we had to pack up everything and move my mom to some gloomy town in Appalachia so that I could be with her, 'cause I was selfish and didn't want to not be with her. God, I'm sorry, this is so—I shouldn't be bothering you with this, it's just morbid and depressing, no one wants to hear it."

Louis scrambled across the bed to get on Harry's lap, threading his fingers through Harry's hair and letting him rest his face against Louis' sternum. "You're not bothering me, babe," Louis told him, "and I want to hear anything you ever want to tell me," and this was the first time that he'd realized just how true it was.

"She wouldn't let me turn her," Harry said against Louis shirt, voice cracking on turn. "She said that she'd lived a long and happy life, and that she didn't want to be seventy-one 'till kingdom come, and she wouldn't let my sister and I put her on chemo, tried to make a joke out of it and say that she'd spent too much time fretting over her hair when she was younger to let it go to waste now, and she was dying. I didn't get sleep the entire time I was there, and I was scared to go out and feed because what if I wasn't there and she—well. Y'know."

Louis didn’t know. Louis didn’t know how anyone could know.

"She died on June fifteenth, and the last thing she told me was that she'd love me longer than I'd be alive." His breath hitched. "So it goes, I guess."

How does he deal with it? "I don't," Harry once told him, laughing humorlessly and looking nothing like the smiling and easygoing boy Louis had first met. Fuck.

Louis got off track. Something about unreliability and being heavy sleepers. It doesn't matter.

-

“Z and I are thinking of hiking up to Vancouver for the long weekend,” Harry tells him Friday morning. It’s the last class of the day, Journalism, and as sports editor, Louis should be finishing his piece for the online weekly and making sure that his freshman from Journalism I have finished theirs as well and saved them on the server.

Instead, he’s hiding in the corner, feet propped up on Harry’s lap and sending dirty limericks into the group chat to make Liam uncomfortable, and watching as Harry works on the designs for the site, maps out the layout for the quarterly print, and emails someone about ads. At the same time.

Whatever. His article on the football team’s devastating loss will get the most site hits, anyway. He’s the best at promotion, because he talks about it to every single person he sees until they give up and check it out just to get him to shut up.

“Hiking,” Louis says. “To Vancouver. Walking. To Canada.”

Harry’s lips quirks up. “Yes, Louis. Walking to Canada. There’s no school Tuesday and it’s expected to be sunny on Monday, so we wouldn't have been able to show up. Would you like to come along?"

“How Twilight of you,” Louis says, grinning when Harry bares his teeth a little. "Walking to Canada doesn’t seem like something I’d be interested in, though. For one, I can only deal with nature in, like, small doses. For another, there’s no way you can get to and back in four days. By walking.”

Harry opens his mouth to say something, but then their teacher is walking towards them. Well, Louis doesn’t see, but Harry mouths it at him, so Louis grabs his notebook and pen and pretends like he’s been doing something all along.

“I don’t buy it, Louis,” Dr. Cho says, “and if it’s not on the site by midnight, you’re working for an F.”

“I’m practically done with it already,” he lies, beaming up at her.

“Then pull it up,” she challenges, raising an eyebrow.

“If I do that, it removes the full effect of how clutch I am, Maggie. 11:59, no sooner, no later.”

She pats Harry on the shoulder with the usual approval. “Call me anything other than Dr. Cho again and you’re working for an F even if it’s on my desk in the next five minutes.” As editor, Harry is her objective favorite, but she lets Louis get away with more shit, and that has to count for something.

Once she’s walked away, Harry puts a hand on Louis’ ankle, rubbing them over his socks and fixing his rolled up jeans so the edges are perfectly symmetrical in a way a human wouldn’t be able to discern. “You wouldn’t have to walk all that much.”

“You’re not carrying me from Seattle to Vancouver,” Louis says flatly. “I’m not going to be that extra human burden.”

Harry looks over at him. “You’re not a burden.” Louis isn’t sure what context they’re speaking in now.

Louis looks down at the notebook still in his lap. Harry makes him fluctuate so much and so often. “I’d have to find my passport, and I have no idea where it is.”

“You don’t need it,” Harry tells him. He’s deadly serious. Serious and dead.

“Harry, babe, I know you’re meant to be insanely intellectual, so it seems to me like you have to really be trying to be stupid if you’re ignoring that you want me to cross into another country,” Louis responds.

“You don’t need it,” he repeats. “Like—if you really don’t want to, I won’t, I’m not going to force you. Obviously. I’ll bring you something back, if anything. It’d just make me really happy if you said yes, but it’s your choice, baby.”

It’d just make me really happy if you said yes. “You’re a raging piece of shit,” Louis tells him. He wishes that punching Harry in the face wouldn’t give him a broken hand.

Harry smiles and taps him on the calf. “We can go shopping for your gear and food tomorrow.”

-

A midnight side-of-the-road scene, a one-sided and desperate fight. There were too many trees in their small suburban sect of western Seattle, and Harry got Louis into the habit of going for long drives to help clear both their minds. Most times, it helped. Other times—

“I don’t know what you want from me!” Louis shouted. “Nothing you ever fucking say or do makes any fucking goddamn sense, Harry!”

“Don’t yell, Lou,” Harry said quietly, barely loud enough for Louis to hear him. “You have a speech for debate tomorrow.”

As if he didn’t know that there’s literally nothing Louis hated more than being told to shut up when he was angry. “Fuck you!” he yelled, louder than he had yet, his throat shaking with it, hands thrown in the air. To his right, the trees rustled as whatever creatures that hadn’t already fled at the smell of Harry scuffled away at Louis’ voice. “Stop acting like you’re above fighting! How are you supposed to play off being seventeen when all you are is some, some passive aggressive fucking asshole? What seventeen year old can’t even talk back in a fight?”

“It’s a good thing I’m not seventeen, then, isn’t it?” Harry answered mildly, putting his hands deep into the pockets of his coat.

There were only a few and widely scattered lights down this path, and they weren’t in the way of any. The only source of brightness was from the glare of the headlights on Harry’s pretentious ass Audi, illuminating Louis in the darkness where he stood in front of the car. Harry was leaning back against the hood, looking as effortless and absolutely fucking fake as he always did on the rare occasions they fought.

“Come the fuck off it,” Louis spat. He spoke with his hands too often, and when he was angry, he felt like he couldn’t control them at all. “You have such a fucking complex, like, like, like some giant walking pity party. ‘Poor fucking me, immortal and perfect and twenty years old until the world ends. What torture! What tragedy! All I do is read depressing poetry and feel bad about all my old fifty-year-old girlfriends and dead boyfriends and that I almost killed a few people the year my current fuck was born—’”

“Fuck you,” Harry said lowly. It was hard to be positive, but in the dim of the setting, Louis swore he saw Harry’s eyes flash red, blood-bright and still as disconcerting as the first time and setting Louis’ pulse into double time. The most base nature of Louis’ brain was telling him
to calm down and stop pissing Harry off, back off with his neck bared and his head lowered.

Fuck that. Louis’ pretty sure what made humans as high up on the food chain as they were was the ability to acknowledge and ignore good sense, and as Harry loved to remind Louis with every afterthought and automatic action, he was very much human.

"Don't say dead boyfriends like it's some, some trivial fucking fact, when you don't even know what happened to them, when you don't even—calling me a pity party, Louis, right, when the only reason we're having this argument is because you're pissed off I didn't answer your text messages for a few days. Yeah? Sorry I'm not exactly the cute and happy-go-lucky human you thought you were fucking when this all started, sorry I'm not as shallow and baseless as you want me to be. But I'm the one with a complex, right, baby?"

Louis swallowed, bunching his hands into fists. As if Harry knew anything. As if any of it was that neat and simple, set out in the burning baritone of Harry's voice.

“Oh, it lives,” Louis said hysterically, refusing to acknowledge anything Harry just said. “Except that your whole issue is that it actually doesn’t. Right, baby?”

“It,” Harry repeated.

And just like that, Louis felt all the fight go out of him, replaced with a deep and gut-wrenching regret at his last words.

God, this was why they never fought. Harry hated confrontation, and would rather beam at Louis behind dry comments and forced apathy than actually be aggressive when he got too stubborn to talk about his feelings, keeping all his anger compressed and hidden until Louis got absolutely fucking sick of it and yelled at him until he let even a little bit of it out.

Louis hated yelling at Harry. He hated making Harry sad. Sometimes, it felt like he was the only one who could, and he didn't know what that meant. He didn't know how to process it.

"I'm sorry," Louis said, arms flat against his sides. "I shouldn't have said that, I didn't mean it like that. You know I wasn't—you know I don't think of you that way. You know that."

He did. Try as Louis may, screwing around with a supernatural being made effective lying impossible. It didn't mean that Louis didn't, but when he did, Harry usually gave him the courtesy of not acknowledging it.

Harry looked away. "Yeah. Yeah, I know that. It's fine."

A brief reaction, a brief respite from Louis feeling like he was in this all alone, and then he was shutting back down.

"H," Louis said. He'd hate himself if he started crying. He always felt so weak and stupid and emotional and human.

Harry removed a hand from his coat and wrapped it around his torso. "It's fine, Lou. It's getting late. Your mom's probably expecting you back."

"Please don't fucking do this." At times like this, Louis really wished that his voice was deeper and didn't sound like it was cracking and broken whenever he was upset. At times like this, he really wished he could learn to better shadow that as an excuse for why his voice was cracking and broken when he was upset. "Is it because I’m human? If I wasn’t, would you be able to actually fucking talk to me without thinking I’m going to run away from the hills because you drink blood from fucking forest animals?"

Finally, Harry was looking at him. If they kept the headlights on any longer, the battery would die out. "You know that's not true."

"I don't," Louis said, shaking his head, mouth curved up with melancholia. "I really fucking don't. Sorry for the teenage drama, but I'm kind of really in love with you, babe, and sometimes you won't even look me in the eye."

They stared at each other for a few more minutes until Louis' teeth started chattering from the cold, and Harry begged him to go in the car for the heat. And then he started driving.

"I'd let you turn me," Louis murmured into the tense silence of the car, and Harry had to stop driving for ten minutes because he couldn't get his nails back to human dullness or his fangs out of human sight.

So.

-

"I'm not going to pack," Louis says decisively, flopping back on his bed.

“I literally asked you to choose two tops and an extra pair of trainers,” Harry says, sitting backwards on Louis’ desk chair, long legs spread out in front of him. “Sneakers, sorry.”

Harry makes it too easy, sometimes. “You’re the only top I need,” Louis says in his most exaggerated sex-voice, rising up on his elbows and spreading his knees just the farthest inch apart.

Harry’s face does something convulsive and strange, but its goal ultimately fails since he still ends up holding his face in his hands and giggling at Louis’ joke for a full minute.

“And I’m the one who’s bad at jokes,” he finally murmurs, rolling his eyes.

“H, babe, sweetheart, full offense meant when I say that my worst barb is better than your best knock-knock joke about Icelandic cows.”

“I don’t only make knock-knock jokes,” he says, taking as much offense as Louis intended.

“No one’s laughing at your ‘intellectual puns’ about Fido Dior other than Zayn.” Maybe if he can divert the conversation Harry won’t make him do a deep analysis of every shirt and jacket he owns just for a four day trek in the woods when they both know Harry will give Louis the shirt off his back if whatever Louis wears loses a single thread.

“I know you know how to pronounce Dostoyevsky and are only saying it wrong so that I complain about it and don’t make you choose a single sweatshirt,” Harry says calmly.

“Did it work?” Louis asks the ceiling, splaying back down.

“No,” Harry says. Seven seconds later: “But it’s actually really rude for you to mock his name when he…” and doesn’t stop rambling about it until Louis has to change the subject again by sucking his dick.

I can’t believe I want to spend more than the rest of my life with you, is what he definitely doesn’t say aloud, because they’ve been hotter than cold lately, and he doesn’t want to be the one to ruin it.

-

“Nice to see that you’ve joined us today, Louis,” Zayn greets, leaning against the kitchen doorway. Louis’ sat on top of the counter, watching as Harry takes out plastic containers and wrapped sandwiches (“I wasn’t positive what you’d be in the mood for, so we should have a little bit of everything,” he said earlier, as if it’s completely casual that he prepackaged a four day feast and that Louis was going to eat better in the wilderness than he did at home) and arranges them into Louis’ backpack. “Wasn’t all that sure you’d make it.”

“Well, you know how Harry can be," Louis answers, grinning. They all know he was going to say yes no matter when or how Harry asked. Well, Louis knows, and Zayn has always seemed to just get him, but Harry seems to not believe how in deep Louis is. Another thought for another time. "All those teenage hormones and his angst over dating a nineteen-year-old man when he's still just a little boy."

"Oh, I'm the little one," Harry grumbles good-naturedly, placing an honest-to-God full box of strawberries on the counter next to Louis' hip.

"Mocking my height won't get your dick wet," Louis warns him. "Harry, you're not seriously about to start cutting up fruit when we could be leaving instead for Canada."

"I got them from the Farmers' Market this morning," he replies, popping a claw to break the seal. It's seven o'clock in the morning. The market, as far as Louis' limited knowledge and Lottie's health-nut hipster phase tells him, opens at 5:45. He's so ridiculous. "And I'm not cutting them, baby. You are."

Louis glances over at Zayn. "Is he always this overwhelming with his flings?"

Harry doesn't look up from rinsing the strawberries, but Louis can feel the mood in the kitchen shift for half a second. He's told Louis before that probably the coolest and most otherworldly thing about being a vampire, as if everything else is just a mild and boring aftertaste, is that members of the same clan can telepathically communicate with each other. Louis doesn't think they do it often around him, but who the fuck knows.

Zayn smiles, sharp and predatory, and raises an eyebrow. "I wouldn't know," Zayn finally answers, still smiling at Harry's back. "He's never tried this hard before."

"Z," Harry cuts in before Louis can try to digest that, "can you get me my black Nikes? They're in my bathroom, I think."

Zayn rolls his eyes, but after saluting Louis goodbye, he goes.

"What were you and Zayn talking about?"

"Accelerated depletion and cultural eutrophication of the Ogallala Aquifer," Harry says easily, handing Louis the rinsed strawberries and a small knife. "Trim the tops, please."

Louis kicks him in the ass, even though all it means is Harry laughs and his big toe hurts for a solid half hour.

-

Hiking isn’t as bad as Louis expected.

In fact, it's even enjoyable. They climb up Mt. Baker from the northwestern sector of the park, Zayn and Harry keeping their pace slow and steady so Louis can keep up. Harry is unbelievably smug when it gets cold enough that Louis is forced to pull on the second sweatshirt, but it's so gorgeous up here that his attention is shifted and he forgets to ask Zayn to pinch him. They see a bear, even. (Well, the other two see a bear and Louis jumps onto Harry's back and kicks at his side until he moves close enough that Louis will be able to brag to Niall that he got within clawing distance of a bear without being clawed. He'll leave out that he didn't die because the bear was more afraid of Harry than he was annoyed by Louis' pointing, but. Niall's brain can only handle so much stimulation.)

It's all great fun. It's fantastic. He loves it.

Anyway.

They're deep inside the forest, trees close together and underbrush littering the floor. Louis is not entirely sure that this area is fully permitted for beginners, as they registered, but Harry and Zayn have a complete distaste for some aspects of the law.

Harry is trying to show him something weird and irrelevant, maybe how to differentiate between poisonous berries—as if Louis will ever go hiking if not for him—but Louis is obviously paying attention despite his mild disinterest.

He leans over for a closer look when Harry gestures, shooting Zayn a look of shared amusement at Harry's Harryness. There's a shift in footing, though, his heel pressing down on a slippery patch of leaves, and he slips. Falls.

The shock has him slow to rise and slow to realize the prickle of pain. It fades faster than it came, thankfully, but when he looks down, there's a smear of red across his palm.

"Well, that's annoying," Louis says idly, bringing it up to his tongue to lick the welling away. He hears a noise.

It's Harry. "Y'alright, babe?" he asks, looking up at him from under his eyelashes. He wonders for a second why Harry seems to be in partial shift, red streaming into his eyes and his body shock-still, but then—Jesus fucking Christ, he's in the middle of nowhere with two vampires and he's bleeding. "Babe," he repeats carefully, forcing himself to stay exactly where he is, lowering his hand. Harry's eyes track the movement.

"He's fine," Zayn dismisses, leant against a tree. He is entirely human, the sharpness of his eyes on Louis' skin aside. "You probably won't die today," he adds, cracking a smile in an attempt to diffuse the tension.

"Shit, thanks, Zayn, 'probably' makes me feel really good about this." It does; his joints feel less prepared to spring. It helps that Zayn would've been the first one to move Louis away if Harry was ever in any danger of losing control.

"I'm fine," Harry repeats, running his fingers through his hair.

"You're saying that," Louis says, "but your eyes are saying something pretty different." And he looks like he wants to eat Louis, which, while usually encouraged, might not be the type Louis gets pleasure from.

"I am," Harry insists. "It's just. Right there. I haven't fed in a while, and it smells really, really good. Like really good. But I'm fine. It's just—good."

Harry has never spoken about blood smelling like anything, but it makes sense. He'll make him explain that later, but now Louis just wants to know: "What does it smell like?"

There's no hesitation when he answers. "Like mine."

Oh. Huh. "'S'little possessive of you, isn't it?" Louis says lightly, bringing his hand back up to his mouth. The cut must be deeper than it looks; the blood is still flowing in a constant trickle. He licks it.

Harry looks like he's gagging for it, mouth parted and nostrils flaring. Louis is not sure what to do with this new information, but he has an idea.

He tilts his head so his neck is showing. Presented. "You wanna?"

-

Zayn vetoes going all the way up to Vancouver. Probably because both Louis and Harry have been woozy and pretty out of it since Harry drank from him, slow to react and Louis still coming off the overwhelming neediness that washed over him after, the mind-blanking want. Like no close could ever be close enough.

God.

He is aware of his body in a way he thinks he’s never been before. His neck, mostly. There’s this ghost feeling of Harry’s teeth still buried in his jugular, the controlled numbing of Harry’s venom still not gone away.

Aware of Harry’s eyes on his body. Harry’s eyes on his neck. He likes to imagine that he’s always aware of Harry’s eyes on him, but the spark that flashes across his body at how often Harry licks his lips while looking at his throat doesn’t feel like something he’s explicitly and consciously acknowledged before, but it feels familiar. Usual. Right.

“Alright, this is ridiculous,” Zayn says, stopping in the middle of the path. “Vancouver isn’t going to work out.”

“Huh?” Louis asks. It took him a moment to register what Zayn was saying, or that he was even saying anything at all. He and Harry are a lot closer to each other than he thought. He wonders how soon is too soon to demand to be put back on Harry’s back, to be able to properly touch him, squeeze his legs around his waist and slide his hands under Harry’s shirt.

He reaches a hand out and grabs onto the hem of Harry’s shirt. Harry’s fingers haven’t straightened back out.

“We’re not going all the way up to Vancouver, because I don’t want to be there when you two inevitably start fucking on the dirt.”

“We’re not gonna start fucking on the dirt,” Louis mumbles, gaze glued to Harry’s thighs. God, he’s got the nicest ones, too; Louis wishes he was on top of them or grinding up against them right now.

Zayn sighs. Louis imagines he would be able to better imagine where he’s coming from if he was actually looking at him, but he just—that doesn’t seem like an option. It doesn’t seem like he has a choice but for the person his mind is fixated on so obsessively. “I’m here, trying to appreciate the call of the wild, and H is blaring out thoughts about coming on your collarbone and biting down when he’s licking it up.”

Lous flushes. “Really?” Objectively, he’s aware that he sounds completely out of it. His voice is out of range, slurring and slipping over itself like it usually only does when Harry’s eating him out or, well, basically any sexual activity with Harry; it’s softer and embarrassing and like some extended sexual overkill.

When he and Harry finally make eye contact, Harry’s eyes are very, very, very red. Louis isn’t sure how it switched from something to be a bit worried about to a sudden and intense sexual kink, but he’s not saying he minds and he’s not saying he’d be upset if Harry lost a bit of his carefully crafted chill and fucked Louis so hard against a tree that he had bark burn for a week.

Zayn groans. "Harry."

Harry blinks, scrubbing his face. One of his claws catches on his cheek, but Louis doesn’t have time to freak out about the scratch. The skin heals in the span of half a breath. “Sorry," he says, voice heavy and rough with his fangs down. "Sorry.” His eyes aren’t full on now, but they keep flickering between blown-out red and his usual disguised green.

Louis bites his lip.

"You know I'm not going to," Harry snaps, palm resting over his jaw. Louis blinks, looking around and wondering if he's missed something.

"You're responding out loud," Zayn says calmly. "You need to shift back and calm the fuck down." Pauses. "Or I'll go with him."

Harry—Louis' nice, mild, funny and favorite person, who showed up to last year's talent show shirtless and spent the vast majority of his performance grinding up against the mic stand while covering Beyoncé's Baby Boy just because Hiroaki thought he cared about appearances and dared that he wouldn't—that Harry, the one desperate and always grasping at his humanity, as if he's not more human and real than anyone else Louis has ever known—snarls.

Louis lets go of his hem, and kind of hates himself for not being sure if he's freaked out or turned on.

All Zayn does is cock an eyebrow. He stares him dead in the face until Harry drops the animalistic annoyance that doesn't look right on his features, and then he says, voice softer now, "look at him, babe."

Harry looks down at Louis. It's a bit of a challenge for Louis to meet him head-on, but he does; doesn't allow the overwhelming sense of being prey take over. If Zayn thinks that them staring at each other for the next however is going to help Harry calm down, then Louis will stand here for the next however and look into his boyfriend's weird red eyes.

Just gazing into each other's eyes gets old within the first fifteen seconds, though, so Louis alternates between pulling ridiculous faces at Harry and poking him into cheek so frequently that if Harry was in a right state of mind he'd already have bunched Louis' fingers up and pulled him in close until he stopped squirming and let Harry cuddle him to calmness.

Louis watches Harry's usual green ease back in and stay there, the lines of his face smoothing out. Louis doesn't stop poking him, obviously, feeling a bit less woozy and more centered as he watches Harry center himself.

"Hi, babe," Louis murmurs, bringing his index finger back in to press under Harry's eye. He doesn't quite reach, because Harry's hand is there, grabbing onto Louis' ring digit and gently bunching his fingers up until his hand is folded within Harry's. "There you are."

Harry's mouth curves up. "Hi, baby. Sorry for... Sorry." His free thumb traces Louis' bottom lip.

"It's fine," Louis says truthfully. "You don't scare me."

He means it, too. Not that vampires in full shift aren't inherently a little frightening, but like—Louis can't connect Harry, no matter what the context, as someone who would ever even think of putting Louis in harm's way, even if that harm was himself. If Theresa shifts in front of him, as intimidating and stately as she already is, Louis will probably shit his pants, yes, but he isn't afraid of Harry. He never has been.

"We're veering back onto thoughts I don't wanna hear," Zayn cuts in.

"We're having a moment, Zayn," Harry drawls, and pulls Louis in for a kiss.

-

They were in Louis' room, and it was two in the morning.

It'd been a few days since the fight, and they weren't talking about it and definitely not about how Louis said he'd turn for Harry, but Louis couldn't sleep and he had to know this one thing.

"H," he mumbled into the back of Harry's neck.

"Hm?" Harry asked, tangling his legs even more with Louis' own and rearranging his head so that his hair was less likely to suffocate Louis in his sleep. After this new shared piece of Harry’s history, though, he wouldn't get any rest for three nights.

"Remember the thing we're not talking about?" His feet didn't reach Harry's, but neither of them even really noticed it anymore, not when they were rested up like this, like they still are half the time, since the first night they slept in the same bed and Louis said he big spooned very defiantly just to see how the kid would react. It's Harry. Louis knows now that expecting some grand disapproval was even more unrealistic than thinking that he was actually a fifteen year old virgin when he was that good at sex.

If things weren’t still tense between the two of them, Harry would turn around and smirk against Louis’ mouth, ask which one? and maybe use the moment to get Louis off while they were both awake, crawl down and lick him out with a hand over his mouth to keep him from waking up the entire house.

Things were still tense. "Hm?"

"The dead boyfriend thing that really pissed you off, and you said I didn't know anything about it, yeah? Am I allowed to know about it?"

Harry shifted a bit, and when he spoke, it was muffled by the pillow. "It was only one boyfriend. The rest were friends and neighbors. It was in the early eighties, right after I'd been turned and went up to New York from Miami, and, uh." He paused. "I don't really wanna talk about it, Lou, I'm sorry."

"Okay," Louis said amicably, tightening his arm around Harry's waist.

It was quiet in the room. It wasn't until Louis was on the brink of falling asleep that Harry spoke, maybe like he was hoping that Louis would drop off and ignore it in the morning. "I'm, like, sure I've always been at least bi, but Florida in the 70s wasn't really the place to date across, so when I went up to New York, I really, like, involved myself. And I got a boyfriend, my first one, this really gorgeous guy living in Harlem, and we got pretty serious, but then all of a sudden he got really, like, sick."

Another pause. Louis had this sinking feeling in his stomach, and he really, really hoped that the inkling in his mind wasn't right. "Your mom made you join all those gay clubs when you first came out, right? " Louis nodded against his neck. "You know that thing no one ever talks about, even though we should, and how I really, really fucking hate Ronald Reagan?"

"I'm sorry," Louis said, squeezing as far in as he could. His body twisted and curved to get closer to Harry's, until it felt like he was more on top of him than he was behind. "Shit, Harry, I'm sorry, I'm an idiot."

Harry rearranged them so that Louis was sprawled across his chest, and pulled him in tight. "Hey," he murmured, taking hold of Louis' hand and pressing it against his lips as he spoke. "You're not. You didn't know. I shouldn't have blown up on you like that or said any of the things I said. You're not an idiot."

"I definitely am. But thank you. I'm sorry for the things I said, too. They were stupid and wrong, and I was being a bigger asshole than Russell."

"I wouldn't go that far," Harry reassured him, laughing a little, rubbing his hands down Louis' back. "Maybe we should both stop saying mean things we don't mean to each other, yeah?"

"Want me to stay sweet on you?" Louis asked, nipping at Harry's chest.

"Already sweet on me, baby," he answered. "Always sweet for me."

-

Louis' discovery of Harry's vampirism is, when he looks back on it, kind of funny.

It was the very start of his of his junior year, and the Pacific Northwest was having a rare sunny day. Niall's neighbor was okay with a bunch of teenage kids fucking around in her pool, so they were going to soda up as much of it as they could.

Harry wasn't answering his phone, but his house was on the way to Niall's, so Louis had Hiroaki drop him off there, and then he'd just make Harry bring them over in the ridiculous and inexplicable black Audi he and Zayn shared.

He didn't bother knocking, because Theresa's car wasn't in the driveway; he just tip-toed up to grab the extra key where they foolishly kept it over the door, and let himself in. Zayn squinted judgmentally and unhappily the first time Louis told him this, but he still doesn't regret it.

No Harry in the house. He could hear something coming from the backyard, though, where he knew Harry and Therese kept their garden, something that sounded like Harry's voice, so he went there. And it was Harry, at least from the back, bent over and harvesting tomatoes.

"Babe," Louis called out, when it didn't seem like Harry'd noticed him.

He remember Harry biting out, "fuck," and having to move closer in because Harry still hadn't turned around. Harry says that he still doesn't know how he wasn't aware of Louis' presence or how he was able to shut his senses off that soundly.

Louis still believes that he deserves some sort of award for not running away screaming when he saw the boy he'd been fucking for the past nine months with claws instead of fingernails, literally bloodshot eyes, and fangs stretching his lips. He looked like something ethereal and frightening out of a morbid Grimm fairy tale.

Harry claims that he fainted from shock, but Louis, being a man of seventeen at the time and not queasy or prone to passing out, doesn't believe him.

Natural selection's proudest predator harvesting fruit in bright yellow shorts to go sell at the farmer's market downtown with his adopted mother. Funny, right?

-

They're headed back to Seattle, down I-5 in the dim of the descending sunset. Zayn decided to run back, so it's just them and this rented car. Louis' house is a mere fifteen minutes away, and in the leather seats of this rented car, in the softness of the sky and the sharpness of Harry's jaw and the dirt smudged under his nails from spending three and a half days in the forest, he doesn't think he's ever felt more content. He wants to be able to do this all the time, be around Harry all the time, sharing his space and happiness and loving-kindness for everything around him.

There's been idle chatter, but nothing deep or serious. For the most part, just sitting here, head resting back against the seat with his eyes closed and his toes wriggling in his socks where they're propped up against the dashboard against Harry's better wishes, is good enough for Louis. He doesn't like deep or serious, and he's glad that he's found someone who can tell and go along whenever Louis is in the mood to be still and silent.

Harry says, "I submitted my application to USF on Thursday."

"What?" Louis asks, cracking one eye open.

"Yeah, like, you're still gonna wait for midyear scores to get your GPA up, right? So I figured I might as well send mine in now, so that I can get us good housing before everything gets crazy."

"Since when are you going to college?"

Harry glances over at him. "You're going, aren't you? So of course I will, Lou."

"Literally what," Louis says, dropping his legs from the dashboard and angling his body towards Harry. "You can't 'of course, Lou' me when this is first time that you've even—"

"This isn't the first time we've spoken about college?" Harry tells him, brows furrowing.

"No, this is the first time that we have spoken about college, because what it usually is is me talking while you sit there, say nothing, and change the subject as soon as you can. You don't just spring this up on me, Harry," Louis replies.

Here's the background: back in August, right after school opened and Louis tightened down on his college search, he'd spent a lot of time looking at schools in Northern California. All along the northwest, really, because he's never been fond of going so far away from home too soon, but he had his sights on University of San Francisco, because the city fascinates him; because they have a great business program; because he can get the price lowered after his freshman year with residency status; because they have a lot of cloudy days and aren't exactly known for their bright bursts of sunshine.

Not that Louis is opposed to sunshine, but he knew a guy, and.

So he'd brought it up. They'd just had sex, and were sat side by side on Harry's bed and marathoning old X-Files episodes on Netflix, and he thought the vibe was right. Imagine his hopeful and faux-casual voice: "I've been looking a lot into U of San Francisco."

Imagine Harry tensing minutely next to him. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," more excited now, "they have a cool biz program, and I could minor in communications, and they even have, like, this fast track to get your Masters in five years. And I was looking at sports, and their soccer team looks insanely fucking good, babe. It's not super big, since America isn't exactly known for being the biggest fans, but it'd be fun, y'know? I'm pretty fucking into it."

What Harry said after this doesn't matter. What matters is what he said after Louis added that their climate would work for him and Zayn and that maybe, if he likes, he could apply there, too, and they could room together? “Oh, Zayn and I weren’t really—we weren’t planning on going to college this go around. We were thinking of opening a record shop, maybe, and. Yeah. But it’d still be really good for you, yeah, baby? Sounds like it’s an awesome fit for you.”

“Oh,” Louis answered, voice uncharacteristically small, and tried not to think about how their relationship was nothing more than a ticking bomb for Harry.

Right here, in this car, he wonders if they’re near ready to go off.

“I’m not springing it up on you?” If he keeps speaking in question marks, Louis is going to jump out of the car. “It’s November, not May 1st.”

“Wow,” Louis says. He crosses his arms over his chest and slouches down, leaning his head against the window. He doesn’t even know if he has it in him to rage and yell about this. Shit, he’s just so tired of the flipping and the turning and uncertainty. He just wants to get home and maybe have a good cry about it to Lottie and pretend Harry didn’t say anything in the morning.

Of course this is when Harry pulls the car over.

“You’re mad,” he starts. “Why are you mad?”

Louis shrugs with one shoulder.

“Baby, I have no idea why you’re upset right now, and I don’t get it. Isn’t this what you wanted? I’m doing what you wanted. I need you to talk to me right now,” Harry says, and maybe he keeps talking, but Louis doesn't hear any of it, mind trying to process this sudden turn-around.

Harry is so—He needs Louis to talk to him, but he keeps how he’s really feeling from Louis all the time. Three months ago, he was all ‘I don’t care what you do because I’m going to stay here and open some ugly pretentious hipster music store with Zayn and forget you ever existed in three years’ and now he’s telling Louis that he submitted an application five days ago without thinking to bring it up beforehand.

"What if I don't want to go to USF anymore? What if I'm fucking off to Wisconsin?"

Harry stops the engine. "Then I'd apply to Wisconsin," he answers.

Louis grits his teeth, and refuses to acknowledge the part of his brain, the larger and more desperate part of his brain, the part of his brain that seems to usually win out, that's telling him to get over himself and be happy with what Harry is implying, with whatever Harry is giving him. If he can't be selfish and wild over his first love while he's still a teenager, then what the fuck can he do. "What if I want UCLA?"

"Louis," Harry starts.

"Phoenix? What if I get a full ride for New Mexico? What then?" He can feel Harry's gaze on his face, but he refuses to look over, because if he looks over at Harry, he's going to start bawling and try to knee Harry in the balls and let himself be folded up and held down until he stops fighting. "What if I'm suddenly really into the University of Miami?"

"Baby," Harry says, a tone of hysteria in his tone. "Baby, Lou, I don't—what are you saying? I don't get what you're saying."

Louis doesn't answer. He feels ridiculous and thirteen when he thinks it, but he feels so strongly for Harry that he genuinely cannot see himself ever being with someone else or falling for another guy as hard as he has for this one. Sometimes he's sure that Harry loves him, even though he's never said it out loud, but other times he isn't. This type of whiplash can't be—he doesn't know how he can keep up with it.

"I'll go," Harry tells him unwaveringly, cutting into the blank silence of the car. "Louis, I'll—wherever it is you want me to go, I'll go."

"Stop being so ridiculous," Louis replies, fidgeting with his nails and swallowing almost convulsively, heart pounding out of his chest. "You have another five years here, don't you? A business to open?"

"I don't care about that, like, that's, that's irrelevant to me, now," he says, totally sincere. "I just want to be where you are."

"What if," Louis says, putting a hand under his thigh, "I disappear to Argentina one day and don’t tell you I’m there until after I’m settled in? What then?"

The car is quiet. Harry doesn't say anything for a moment, but Louis can feel the weight of his stare.

"I know," Harry starts, slow and careful, "that it really pisses you off when I brush things aside. And I've been trying to work on it. It's slow-going, I know that, and I'm not going to say that's because I've been so rigid in my ways for the past, like, forty years because that’s a lame cop out. But I also really need you not to say things like that, sometimes, because you'll say them even when you know that I know you're lying, and it really bothers me. It's not that I think you have to hold back things you want to say to me, but I want you to want to hold them back. ‘M'sorry for saying I need you to talk to me, Lou, 'cause I realize that was hypocritical of me. That's what bothered you, right?"

"Yes," Louis answers, resisting the urge to cross his arms over his chest. The petty part of him is upset that Harry diverted the conversation away from a fight, but the moderately bigger thread wants to kiss him. “I fucking hate when you change your mind about things in the middle of the night and don’t think to tell me until after the fact. It’s not fair to me.”

“Okay,” Harry says, letting out a long exhale. “You know that fight we don’t talk about it?”

“How would I know about it if it never happened?” Louis snarks, leaning his cheek against the cool glass of the window.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Harry bite back a smile. “Let’s pretend it did. I think we should talk about it.”

“It’s nine o’clock on a school night,” Louis points out.

“Oh, school nights are a thing for you now, baby? But okay. Okay. We have a date for Friday, when it won’t be a school night, and I’ll be there no matter what, and we’re going to hash this shit out.”

“I’m a teenager who can’t talk about my issues,” Louis says. There is merit in Harry’s idea, but Louis wants to make him work for it. If it was up to Louis, they would have hashed everything out that very night, but Harry’s preference for shoving down all his problems and letting them build up under a guise of passivity got them here. “Prone to temper tantrums and fits of drama. Maybe I’ll just sit there and hate you and not say a word.”

“Maybe you will,” Harry agrees, starting the car back up and getting into drive. “But then you’d have to listen to me talk the entire time, and there’d be no control to the topic, and we all know how good I am at staying on track.”

“Niall says I’m just as bad, if not worse.” Harry puts his hand on the console, palm up.

Louis places his pinky and ring finger on top of it. He does not pull away when Harry covers them. “‘S’cause Niall can’t fathom your genius,” Harry tells him. “Obviously.”

“Obviously,” Louis repeats. He sighs and officially admits defeat. “I’m sorry for trying to pick a fight.” Harry squeezes his fingers.

-

“You’re a vampire,” Louis said, sitting on the loveseat in Harry’s living room. The word felt strange on his tongue.

“Technically,” Harry said.

“I’m pretty sure,” Louis started, digging his hands further into the pouch of his hoodie, “that there’s no technicality to having fangs and, like, inhuman abilities.”

“Then yeah. I am a vampire. I’m, um. Sorry?”

“Oh my God,” Louis said, pitch of his voice rising. He pressed two fingers against the bruise Harry’d given him last week on his thigh, just now fading out. “Is that why you bite me so much?”

“I don’t bite you a lot,” Harry argued, pulling one leg under his thigh. Louis was thankful that he’d taken up residence on the sofa instead of fumbling up on top of or besides Louis like he usually did. He’d had a vampire on his lap, before. He’d sat on a vampire’s lap. He’d had vampire teeth around his cock, and a vampire tongue in his ass, and really big and really nice vampire dick coming in him. Oh God. He’d let a vampire fuck his mouth before.

Louis bared his teeth at him before he remembered that he was baring his teeth at a vampire. “You bite me so fucking much that I had to have a really awkward conversation with my seven-year-old sister the one time she caught me shirtless. Shit. Harry—if that’s even your real name—did you turn me into a vampire? Shit.”

“No, Louis, I did not turn you into a vampire. ‘M’not gonna turn you into a vampire. It’s not that easy, there usually has to be some intent behind it,” Harry replied, pulling his lip between his teeth. “And Harry is my real name, yes. ‘S’what my birth mother gave me and everything.”

At least some things were as they seemed. “Does that mean you know where your birth mother is? What happened to her?”

Harry mouth tightened incrementally, but when he said, “don’t worry about it,” his voice was as slow and easy-going as always. “Does it freak you out? What I am?”

“Yes,” Louis said automatically. He paused and chewed on the inside of his cheek, mind racing on everything he knew about Harry and how the images he had in his mind of vampires didn’t fit as neatly as he’d like. Some things made a lot more sense now, but others seemed like they were just. Harry. “I don’t know. It’s only been half an hour, I need more time to think about it.”

It was quiet for a moment, Louis trying to digest it all and Harry watching him. He opened his mouth, but before he could get a word out, Harry was saying, “I’ve never killed anyone.” Louis shut his mouth.

“That’s reassuring,” he said mildly, as if his entire body didn’t collapse with relief. “Do Zayn and his mom know that you’re a vampire?”

Harry cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh my God,” Louis said for approximately the fiftieth time in the past ten minutes. “I’ve called a vampire my bro.” Harry looked like he was trying pretty hard not to laugh at that one. “Oh, fuck you. I’m glad you can find some humor in this. But. I thought vampires were supposed to be really pale?”

“What? No. That’s a really racist and American-developed ideal, actually. There’s no, like, secret strand of supernatural ability that can only affect white people. Also, Tupac was a vampire.”

“You’re fucking me,” Louis said, shooting up straight in his chair. “Harry, you’re fucking me so hard right now.”

“Usually,” he grinned, tongue poking out between his teeth.

“If I punched you in the face, right now, what would realistically happen?”

“It’d feel like a soft breeze,” Harry told him, pulling his leg out from under his thigh and slouching down where he was. His stupidly long legs were spread wide, just enough room in between to produce a low burn in Louis’ gut and fit him if he was in his knees in front of Harry. “And you’d prolly break your hand, baby, and that’d make me really sad.”

“You’re an asshole,” Louis reminded him. “I’ll just have Zayn punch you for me. Why’d you say ‘American-developed’ like that? Are you not American?”

Harry’s voice dipped lower, into a dragging British accent. “I can be whatever you want me to be, baby.”

Louis willed his cock to shut up, because there were significantly more important topics to cover. “Is this… is this my karma for seeing all the Twilight films in theaters with Charlotte?”

Harry’s face darkened. He squinted at Louis.

Louis smiled. He wondered if he hit a sore spot. “If it makes you feel any better, the dude who played Edward sparked some of my sexual awakening.” Wait. "We need to talk about how many of your weird sexual kinks are because you're a vampire and how many are because you're you."

"That's what you're focusing on?" Harry asked in disbelief.

"Would you rather I ask how you get your blood intake or how big the age gap between us really is?" Louis asked, cocking his head.

"Sex is fine," Harry said. "Sex is really fine."

-

Friday rolls around. Hiroaki drops him off at Harry’s house after soccer practice, when the sun is setting low under the sky and he has just enough excess adrenaline to not dread the upcoming conversation at all.

“Be safe! Wear protection!” Liam calls out from the car, honking so repeatedly that Harry’s neighbors will bitch about it and make Theresa chastise him later on. Louis flips them off.

“I love you,” is the first thing Harry says once they’re settled on the couch.

Louis raises an eyebrow. “What?” Ploys at chill work a lot better when the object of his desire can’t hear how quickly his heart picks up and tries to pound out of his chest.

“I love you,” Harry repeats. “I’ve never said it, which is stupid of me, but I love you very much. A lot. So much that I feel, like, sick and selfish with it. But Z and I had a talk—well, I asked him to lay out all my faults to me, and he was obviously quick to jump on that—and he told me, well, I know, that I have to stop assuming that what I think I’m projecting is actually being projected.”

“Oh, wow,” Louis says, relaxing in his seat. There's a warmth blooming across his chest, and it takes all of his sizable self-control not to beam over at Harry. He really feels his age, sometimes.

He and Harry are sat across from each other. It’s the same position they were in when Louis first found out, and the inner romantic in him preens. Harry, being Harry, is shirtless, and clad only in thin Nike shorts that give the impression that he doesn’t even have briefs on. He shifts, a relearned habit to make sure he doesn't come across as unnaturally still, and then Louis cannot stop staring at the line of his cock underneath. It’s very counterproductive, since they’re meant to be having a deep and heartfelt conversation. But. “Zayn and Theresa aren’t here, right?”

“No, they went down to Portland for the weekend. Why?”

Louis squirms. He wonders how much of this he can blame on adrenaline and not just him being easy for it. Easy for Harry. “Babe,” he says, placing his palm right over where Harry bit him on Tuesday.

Harry’s been staring at him in confusion, but once he sees Louis’ hand placement, he sits up straighter, eyes flashing red for a millisecond, nostrils flaring. “Lou,” he answers, slight whine in his voice. “We haven’t even spoken about anything yet.”

Louis shrugs. “You said you love me. That’s all I needed to hear.”

“Literally nothing is ever as simple as just that, Lou,” he argues, eyes fixated on Louis’ neck. He’s breaking.

Louis spreads his legs wider. There hasn’t been time to get off since that frantic mess in the woods, and Harry should have expected this to happen, with an empty house and his being half naked and how hot Louis gets when he’s coming off a physical high and him finally telling Louis that he’s in love with him. He should have planned for this. He knows Louis gets distracted once he considers a situation done with. “Yeah, but, like. I want it to be. I want it. You just not gonna give it to me?”

The only thing that comforts Louis about how easy he is for Harry is that Harry is even easier. In the blink of an eye, Harry is across the room and pulling Louis onto his lap. His mouth immediately goes to Louis’ neck, because he’s embarrassing and a cliché and in love with Louis. “‘Course I’m gonna give it to you, God. You’re the worst.”

Louis pats his head, feeling very self-satisfied. He thinks they’re alright.