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forever & always

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                “Louis?” The older boy didn’t even move as Harry slipped down into the bunk next to him, pressing a gentle hand to the boy’s back. “Louis, are you okay?”

                “Do I look okay?” he asked softly before he curled up into a tighter ball on the bunk, pressing his face into his arms. “I’m brilliant, Harry. Does that answer your question?”

                “No…” Harry sighed and he gently rubbed Louis’s back before pausing, trying to figure out how in the world he should even continue his thoughts. It had been two days since Eleanor had broken up with him, and over Twitter nonetheless. The fans had been in an outrage sending her hate messages and all Louis had tweeted since then was a plead asking them to stop harassing her. “I just…I want to know what I can do to make you feel better, Lou.”

                Louis shifted away from Harry, pressing himself up against the wall. It was a serious movement, one Harry responded to poorly. He just scooted closer and touched Louis’s shoulder, frowning. “Please don’t push me away.”

                “I don’t want to talk to you,” Louis responded instantly as he looked up at Harry, the obvious pain showing in his eyes. “I don’t want to talk to you because you remind me of-…nothing. Forget it.”

                “No,” Harry responded simply. “I won’t. What do I remind you of?” he asked softly, trying to resist the urge to frown. What had he done to offend Louis? Was he the reason that they’d broken up? God, he hoped not.

                Harry had been struggling for almost a year to hide the fact that he’d fallen in love with Louis. At first it had been easy, but soon enough, he realised that Louis didn’t feel the same way. Especially after he and Eleanor had gotten together. At that point, Harry had known that he’d had no chance when it came to getting Louis’s attention in the way that he wanted. He just hoped that the reason Louis and Eleanor had ended wasn’t because his feelings for Louis were obvious. God, if it was…Louis probably hated him right now.

                The mere thought made Harry recoil and completely back away, earning Louis’s attention. “Harry?” he barely questioned, reaching out for him slightly before pulling back, knowing that he wasn’t supposed to be doing this, comforting Harry, when all he wanted was for the boy to leave him alone. Still, he couldn’t help but ask, “Are you okay?”

                “Fine,” Harry responded quickly as he struggled to calm his stupid overreaction to Louis’s statement down. “I just…what do I remind you of?” he repeated, his voice softer, the tone suggesting that he didn’t even want to know the answer on some level.

                Louis looked at Harry for a moment before he bit down on his lip, looking away from Harry. “She didn’t break up with me over twitter.” It wasn’t an answer, not even close, and yet Harry felt like it was Louis’s attempt to try and explain everything he’d been avoiding over the past two days. “She called the day before,” he barely whispered. “When I locked myself in my room…”

                “I thought you’d just been fighting,” Harry responded as he looked at him. “And that you were in a foul mood. I never figured that you’d broken up with her, Lou. Why didn’t you let me be there for you?”

                “Because I couldn’t,” Louis whispered as he shook his head. “You don’t understand, Harry. We didn’t fight. She just explained something I’ve been avoiding for a long time, something that just…it was the reason we didn’t work together and it involves you and I couldn’t…I can’t…”

                Harry stared at Louis for a moment before he dropped his gaze. “I’m sorry, Louis. I’m so sorry I never meant it to cause you to lose Eleanor.”

                “What are you talking about?” Harry glanced up to find Louis staring at him curiously, confused. “Harry? Does this have to do with before?”

                Didn’t he know? Harry was so confused because obviously if the breakup had involved him then it meant that Eleanor couldn’t handle Harry’s love towards Louis, but didn’t she tell Louis? Didn’t she explain to him that the idiot that he called his best mate loved him? Surely she would have if that was why they’d broken up, right?

                “I just…” Harry pressed his palms together, letting out a heavy sigh as he did so. “She broke up with you because of me, right?” He didn’t have to look at Louis to know that the lack of a response meant that he was correct. “It’s because of my feelings for you, right?”

                There was no response from Louis, leaving Harry to look up at him, his eyes locking with the older boy’s and the words that he was going to say completely gone. “Harry…what feelings for me?” Louis whispered and Harry’s breath caught in his throat. Here it was, the question that he’d been avoiding for almost a year coming to finally face him.

                “I…” Harry paused. “I love you, Louis,” he whispered. “I always have.” There it was, finally out in the open, and all Harry wanted to do was run. Louis now knew the full truth and he would hate him for ruining his relationship. He would absolutely downright hate him.

                But before Harry could bolt from the bunk, Louis reached out and wrapped his fingers around Harry’s wrist, holding tightly. “Say that again,” he whispered, his gaze so intense that Harry wasn’t even sure he could look back at Louis, but he didn’t dare break his gaze. “Say that again, please… Just once again.”

                Harry almost asked Louis why but the way that Louis looked, the expression on his face… All Harry wanted to do was make him smile, and if telling him that he loved him made him smile he would do it even if it led to possibly losing him.

                “I love you,” he whispered. “I love you, Louis. I always have.”

                “How long?” Louis questioned. Harry merely shrugged in response and Louis tightened his grip on the boy’s wrist, almost in a painful sort of grip. “How long, Harry?”

                “Dunno,” he barely responded. “Since right after X Factor. I liked you before then, but I really fell in love with you after that.” Louis’s fingers loosened on Harry’s wrist but he didn’t let go. His silence left Harry with so many questions that he was dying to have answers to. The best part was that Louis hadn’t rejected him, but what did this mean? “Louis?”

                “Yeah, Harry?” Louis barely responded as he looked up at him.

                “What does this mean for us now?”

                Louis stared at Harry quietly for a moment before he scooted closer to Harry, tugging lightly on his wrist as he did so. Harry obediently moved closer until their knees were touching and Louis’s face was just a few inches away from his. “I think…I think I tell you the truth.”

                “And that is…?” Harry asked softly, worry seeping into his tone.

                Louis’s hand tightened around Harry’s wrist again and he squeezed gently before smiling. “I…I love you too, Harry,” he whispered. “That’s why Eleanor broke up with me. Because she knew how much I loved you and she couldn’t compete with it anymore.” He paused. “I love her and I miss her, but she’s nothing compared to you.”

                “Oh…” Harry breathed out softly before he leaned in slightly, pressing his forehead against Louis’s gently. “So does that mean…?”

                There wasn’t an answer. There was no need. Louis leaned in and he pressed his lips against Harry’s, a smile quirking at the corners of his lips as he pulled Harry closer, his hand resting at Harry’s waist as the younger boy reached up and tangled his fingers in Louis’s hair, tugging hard to pull him closer and kiss him with everything that he had in him.

                They’d been waiting for this for a long time coming and now that it was here, it felt so perfect. When Louis finally pulled back, Harry wasn’t sure that he was able to breathe anymore. “Harry,” Louis whispered as he looked at him. “You’re the only one for me. You’ve always been the only one for me.”

                “But what about-“ Harry didn’t bother to finish. Louis had explained about Eleanor. He knew now that Louis’s feelings towards Eleanor didn’t compare to the feelings he felt for Harry and the curly-haired boy was overjoyed to have this knowledge. He was overjoyed to just have Louis really. “What do we do about the band?”

                “We’ll figure that out when the time comes,” Louis responded simply before he shifted, letting go of Harry’s wrist and taking his hand gently, intertwining their fingers. “Just…right now I want to revel in the fact that you’re mine,” he told Harry. “I- you are mine, right?”

                “Forever and always,” Harry responded with a smile. “I’m only yours.”