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Long Nights, Hard Times

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"Have you ever noticed that Harry is a giant slag?" Louis said to the room at large.

"Right here," Harry said, not looking up from his phone.

"I don't know if I'd say giant slag," Zayn said contemplatively.

"Easy, then." Louis said. "Open for business. Giving it away like a handshake."

"Don't shame me, mate," Harry said.

"He's fine," Niall said.

"Don't encourage him," Louis said, pointing accusingly. "I worry about our little Curly. I think his sweet naive nature is being taken advantage of. We should be looking out for him."

"I think you need to take a page from his book," Niall said. "You've been a bit much since you got dump--" Liam slugged him. "Ow," he said. "Sorry, was that tactless?"

"It's fine," Louis said after a moment. "I'm going to bed. I am trusting you all to keep an eye on what's left of Harry's virtue."

"Guarding it with my life," Zayn promised, with every appearance of going to sleep.

Louis retreated to the back of the bus, and pulled the curtain shut against the light and noise of the rest of the band.

Not even ten minutes later, Harry pulled the curtain open and lifted the blanket to slide in next to him. "You okay?"

"Amazing," Louis said. "Look at what this fan linked me to on twitter." Harry wiggled up until he had his head under Louis's arm and could see the phone. Louis narrated his Twitter feed until he felt like they weren't going to be having any kind of serious discussion. Harry just lay there listening until he eventually shut up, and then he patted Louis on the hip before climbing the ladder to his own bunk. Louis fell into a restless sleep, dreaming of things he was running for but couldn't quite catch.

The next morning they had to be off the bus far too early in order to do a radio show. "I have so much hate," Louis said to everyone and no one in particular. "Just so much." Naturally everyone ignored him, except Harry who broke off half his doughnut and passed it over.

The interview cheered him up. They did a round of call-in questions, and Louis had a whole bit going about the zoo he and Zayn were going to buy. "I'm in charge of the lions," Zayn said. "We'd make good friends because neither of us swim."

Someone called in, quizzing Niall about his fight with Justin Bieber over Selena Gomez at the Kid's Choice Awards, which was still Louis's favorite topic, only because Niall got so red. "Uh, nothing happened. Justin Bieber is great, he's just great and we're totally friends. He follows me on twitter, so. Friends. Close friends."

Louis was barely holding in his laughter so he was taken off guard when the DJ turns towards him. "Louis, we've got a question for you. @BigTimeAbby hears that you're newly single. What's that like?"

"Uh," Louis said, looking around wildly.

"I wouldn't say single," Liam jumped in.

"He's sort of married," Zayn agreed. They both grinned at Louis who relaxed and blew kisses at Harry.

"It's true," Harry said. "My relationship with Louis is very special."

"Oh really?" the DJ said, rolling her chair closer to Harry's chair. "That must have devastated the fans who have their own fantasies about you, Harry."

Harry winked at her. Louis rolled his eyes.

"Okay," he said in the van after they were done. "I have revised my theory."

"The Susan Boyle one?" Niall asked.

"No, that one's solid, and I'll win her some day. I've decided Harry has a sex addiction."

"I do not," Harry said, turning around indignantly.

"Do you dare tell me to my face you didn't get that DJ's number." Louis said, pointing at him.

"I didn't ask for it! She gave it to me!" Harry said, defending himself.

"Addicted!" Louis said. "That's why you never stay in relationships while we're on tour, because you're a maniac."

"This is so intense," Zayn said. "Who needs television?"

Harry turned so he was kneeling on the seat, staring intently at Louis. "Are you seriously saying I can't go a month without sex?"

"No, I am just--okay, yes, yes I am saying exactly that."

"You're on," Harry said. "We'll see which one of the two of us breaks first."

"I," Louis said, "have been in long distance relationships the entire time we've been a band. This is not going to be a problem."

"But you wank basically every night. You'd have to give that up too."

"Whaaaat," Niall said. "How do you know how often he wanks?"

"I listen!" Harry said. Then he paused and rewound. "Okay, I don't listen but I can hear pretty well. "

"I think you two would have a healthier relationship if you stopped thinking about each other's dicks so much," Liam said.

"Don't worry, Liam," Louis said. "I have plenty of brain space left over for yours too." He met Harry's eyes. "You're on. No orgasms until the end of tour. Unless you break first, which you will."

"And if I don't? What do I get?"

"Hmm," Louis said, and leaned back. "That is a great question. The consequences of failing." He eyed Harry thoughtfully. "Open season for one day. No refusals of any dares, no matter how embarrassing."

"Yes," said Harry.

"No," said Paul who was driving.

"Oh, come on," all five of them said at once. Louis gave the other three looks. Niall shrugged. "This is basically a win-win for us, when you think about it."

"I like my job and I'm not planning to let Simon fire me because one of you idiots jumped into the Channel naked on television," Paul said.

Louis considered that for a moment. "I'll allow Liam veto privileges."

"Deal," Paul said to which they all applauded, except Liam who looked like he couldn't decided whether to be offended or not.

Louis crossed his arms smugly. This was going to be a piece of cake.

It was not. He purchased and wore comically huge mittens to bed for the first few nights to the amusement of pretty much everyone. Harry just rolled his eyes, and smiled at Louis like he was demented. Louis pretty much lived for that smile, so that was a plus in his book.

Then the second week passed and Harry morphed right into a cranky asshole. "I don't want to go out," he said moodily, throwing himself down on the hotel room bed. "There's no point."

"Don't be such a baby," Louis said. "You love dancing. You love drinking."

"I love hooking up," Harry said, muffled by pillows.

"You big slag," Louis said. "Are you giving up?"

"No," Harry said.

"Then let's go," Louis said, and held the door open.

It probably would have been better if he and Harry had stayed home. "Come on," the girl he had been chatting with said, and she pulled him onto the floor. It was packed with people, and he could feel the body heat pouring off everyone. The music was loud, and everything was lining up exactly the way he liked it. Kaitlyn spun around and pressed her back to his front, moving in time to the music. He put his hands on her waist, and moved with her. God, he was so hot.

"Do you want to leave," she whispered into his ear, one hand trailing down his side.

Yes, he thought. "I can't," he said regretfully. He didn't offer further explanation, because "I'm in a no-sex bet" would probably cause more questions than it would answer.

She shrugged her shoulders. "Worth a shot." Moving back a few inches, she resumed dancing, and he willed his goddamn libido to shut the hell up.

"I thought you were totally going to lose the bet with that girl back there," Harry said on the way home.

"I'm stronger than I look," Louis said, flexing his bicep at Harry, who laughed and jostled him. Louis pushed back, and then just stayed there, pressed side to side with Harry's body warm against his.

It just got harder (no pun intended) from there. They were both cranky in the morning, fresh from cold showers, and were in no mood to joke about it. The other guys and the crew started calling them the blue ballers behind their back, and Louis was sitting outside regretting his stupid big mouth that caused him to be in this stupid predicament when a girl sat down next to him and introduced herself. It took him a few minutes to sort out whether she was a fan or a groupie but as he started to relax into the conversation, he saw Niall and the shadow of a curly-headed figure peering around the corner. Something clicked.

"Did they send you to hit on me?" he said, his voice unusually high.

The girl, Lisa, cracked up. "They did, but honestly, it wasn't that big a chore," she said, watching him from under her long, dark lashes

"Oh my God," Louis said, and took off running. Harry bolted but Louis got hold of Niall and tripped him, landing on top of him with a grunt. "Are you sabotaging me?"

Niall was laughing so hard he was choking. "Come on, that would have been funny as hell."

"If this is how you want to play," Louis said, "that's fine."

That night he left porn playing on Harry's laptop when he wasn't looking, and then made everyone leave the bus to listen from the outside.

Harry, who didn't fall for it at all, retaliated by leaving a blow up doll in Louis's bed on the next hotel night. Louis got the last laugh by taking a picture of the receipt with Harry's name on it and posting it to twitter.

"It's like the lack of sex is actually making you both dumber," Liam said. "This should be studied by anthropologists."

"Shut it," Louis said, as he set up his iHome to play Barry White into the bathroom while Harry was in the shower.

But then things got twisted. Harry came out of the bathroom, walked over to his bags, and dropped his towel, just as he had done literally hundreds of times. This time, however, Louis had been in what felt like a permanent state of semi-arousal for three and a half weeks, and Harry's ass seemed mesmerizing. "See something you like," Harry said, amused, and Louis's gaze snapped up, caught.

At least, he comforted himself, he wasn't alone. The next day, they were on stage when he noticed a post on one side of the stage. During Stand Up, he hooked his ankles on it, and swung around. He looked up to see Harry stopped and staring intensely at him from across the stage. He couldn't help himself, he smirked. Harry flushed and hastily turned back to the audience

"Put that on Tumblr," Liam said, laughing and Louis let go and took a bow for the fans, who were near howling with pleasure at this point.

From then on it was a different kind of game, one they weren't exactly acknowledging out loud. Harry walked around in the least amount of clothes he could be wearing and not be arrested. Louis found every possibility to get him worked up in public until Harry went red or Liam intervened, whichever came first. He didn't know about Harry, but Louis was so insanely frustrated he thought he might actually die from it.

"This has gone to weird places," Niall observed, as Harry reached for something on the top of a bookshelf directly in front of Louis.

"I know," Louis said, eyeing Harry's ass. His pants were riding down, and his shirt was riding up, and Louis was pretty sure he was wiggling far more than necessary. "I thought he'd crack so much faster too."

"That's not--" Niall started, and then gave up, sighing.

The moment Louis knew he was in too deep was when Harry started the whispering. He came up behind Louis on a random night on stage and leaned down and said right into Louis's ear, "How much do you think they'd scream if I went down on you, right here?"

The air in Louis's lungs whooshed out in one gust. Harry backed up, staring at him intently and Louis felt it right down to his cock. He turned back to the crowd, giving all appearance of paying attention when it was all he could do to stop picturing Harry on his knees, with Louis's hands in his hair.

It was possible, he thought, that this had gotten way out of hand.

Harry didn't stop, either. Nearly every day he found an opportunity to lean in and whisper absolutely filthy things, his breath ghosting hotly against Louis's ear. Louis was most definitely going to die.

The others had noticed, but like everything else Louis and Harry did, they acted as if it was completely normal behavior. Louis sometimes thought that they were definitely ruined for any other band, based on what they thought was okay personal space. That kind of pleased him.

The tour was coming to an end though, and it was less than a week until break was coming, with mostly free days and sleeping in, and eating things other than hotel buffets and fast food. Louis wanted it so bad, but he couldn't help wondering what they'd do if the game was still going when they were alone in the flat. A knot formed in his stomach and he couldn't tell if it was anticipation or fear. He shook his head, and went out for a run.

When he came back, Harry was sitting on his bed, holding his phone. "Missed call," he said flatly and Louis knew from his voice who it had been. He reached for his phone, and Harry held it back farther.

"What the hell?" Louis said.

"Are you getting back together with her?" Harry said, standing up.

"I don't know. I don't even know why she's calling."

"But you would, if she wanted." Harry's face was grim, and Louis felt cornered and defensive.

"I told you I don't know. She probably just wants her hair straightner back, but she's not getting it. She can take me to court and I'll plead--"

"Don't you dare," Harry said, edging into real anger, "Don't joke about this."

Louis leaned against the wall. "I don't know why you're mad at me, like I've gone done you wrong." He let the end come out with a twang, which probably went against Harry's no joking rule but he didn't know how to face this head-on.

"Stop it," Harry said, stepping forward, inches away from Louis. "Don't pretend that it's been just me, that you haven't been right along with me the whole time. Don't pretend you weren't the one to startthis just because you were a jealous coward."

Louis stepped back. "It wasn't like that," he said, and he was aware how feeble that sounded. "It was a laugh, you were the one who--" and Louis knew instantly it was the wrong thing to say.

Harry's fists clenched. "Fine. Make it like that all you like. But I'm not going to sit back and watch you get your heart broken again by someone you don't even really want." He tossed Louis's phone on the bed, and said, "I'm done. Game over, you win." He slammed the door behind him as he left.

Louis slumped onto the floor, and stayed there until Liam came to get him. They had Simon's birthday dinner that night, and Louis knew there was no chance in hell he was getting out of it. "Up," Liam said, and pulled Louis up by the wrists, made him dress, and guided him downstairs where they piled into a van and Harry never made eye contact once. The other boys were subdued, and whatever they knew of it, they didn't ask. Louis mustered the energy to turn his charm on, and smiled for the cameras.

He did, however, snag a drink off the first tray that was carried by him. It was foul, but he tossed it back and carried on talking with some exec or another, and when another waiter came by he grabbed that one too, until he felt less like he was going to snap in half with tension. Harry, who Louis wasn't even trying to pretend he wasn't watching, was drinking too. He wasn't trying to hide it either. Louis kept an eye on him, as all five of them made their rounds.

As the party started to wind down, Louis was counting down the time before they could escape, when it occurred to him that Harry had been locked into conversation with the same man for awhile now. He was debating whether Harry would even welcome it if Louis was the one to rescue him, when he noticed Harry cock his hips. His eyes flew up to the man who was smiling, and he catalogued with disbelief that they were actually flirting. A lock of Harry's hair fell forward into his face, and the man brushed it back with a word. Within minutes they were leaving, the man ushering Harry through a door out to the side porch.

Louis was moving before his brain even really caught up. He pushed through the crowd, earning shouts and curses as he went. When he got outside the door himself, Harry was pressed up against the wall, arms wound around this random asshole's neck. Louis grabbed the guy by the shoulder, pulling him off. "No," he said, breathing hard. "Hell no."

"Oi," the guy said, wiping the back of his mouth. "Bugger off, this is a private party."

Louis stared at Harry, whose own mouth was flushed and pink. "Tell him to go, Harry."

"Uh," Harry said, avoiding his eyes. "I'm sorry, Bruce."

Bruce groaned. "How do I always end up with the ones with boyfriends?" The door clattered as he left, and the porch was silent other than the sound of them breathing.

"I'm sorry," Louis said, finally, for lack of anything else to say.

"For what?" Harry said. "For messing up my night? For screwing with me today? For this whole tour? I can keep going, if that helps."

"Yes," Louis said desperately. "For all of it. I'm sorry. Don't be done. We're not done." He surged forward and kissed Harry, crushing their mouths together, pleading.

Harry responded instantly, pulling Louis in even closer. They kissed furiously for what felt like hours, but was barely minutes, and Louis's head swam. He broke off and leaned his forehead against Harry's, panting. It took him a second to realize Harry was unbuckling his belt, and reaching inside his pants. "Harry," he hissed, scandalized, "Not here."

"Yes, right here," Harry said. "It has been over a month." He got his hand around Louis's cock, and stroked.

"Sex addict," Louis managed, and leaned on the wall behind Harry for support.

"I'll show you sex addict," Harry said, and dropped to his knees.

Louis's eyes nearly rolled back into his head when Harry's lips closed around him. The cold air alternating with the warm suction of Harry's mouth was destroying him, and he stuffed his fist in his mouth to keep from moaning. Harry held his hips tightly, and his lips were stretched obscenely around him. He closed his eyes trying to hold on for longer, but it had been so long, and it was Harry. He still came embarrassingly quickly, with barely enough time to pull off and shoot onto the wall. Harry came up off his knees and said, "Simon's probably going to kill us."

"We'll get him more presents," Louis promised, and yanked Harry's pants open. He had seen Harry's cock before, anyone who had known Harry long had, but it was different somehow, being allowed to look. He wrapped his fingers around it, and was mesmerized by the way his fingers looked.

"Louis," Harry said, strained, and Louis snapped back to attention, kissing him as they both worked Harry's cock, fast and filthy. Harry was making these noises, little involuntary noises from the throat, and Louis wanted nothing more than to get him home and see how loud Harry could get. When Harry came, it was with a shout as he spurted over Louis's fingers. Louis tentatively lifted them to his mouth, and sucked it off. He enjoyed, if not the taste, the look on Harry's face when he did it.

"Come on," Louis said tucking them both back in. "I bet they're looking for us."

"Let 'em look," Harry said, and reached out to haul Louis in again when the door opened and Niall and Zayn stuck their heads out.

"Found them!" Niall hollered over his shoulder, and they both stepped out onto the porch. Liam came crashing out a moment later, took one look at Harry and Louis and cracked up.

"So who lost?" Zayn said, grinning.

"He did," Louis said at the same time as Harry. They both turned in unison to glare. "You gave up!" Louis said

"You still actually came first!" Harry argued.

"Gross," Niall said, but held up his hand to high five Louis.

"Liam's sex bet commissioner, he should decide," Zayn said.

Liam eyed them both consideringly. "I'll hear arguments in the car."

"Oi," Louis said. "You want to be bribed, don't you? The state of the world today, I'll tell you."

Harry grabbed his hand and twined his fingers around Louis. "C'mon, stop being a bad loser," he said, and led them towards the car.

"I'll show you bad loser," Louis promised, and Harry grinned and shoved him inside.


"Tonight we have a very special surprise planned for you," Liam said into the microphone. "Why don't you tell the audience why, Louis?"

"Well Liam," Louis said, in his best morning show voice, "I have, unfairly I might add, been judged the loser of a very important bet with Harry. Young Harry over here has been daring me to do embarrassing things all day, in order to shame me. Do you think I have shame?"

The audience screamed their noes, and Louis grinned and turned to Harry. "They agree, I think. But keep trying, by all means."

"I will," Harry said. "Bring it out!"

A few crew members dragged out a large, heavy looking stripper's pole. The lights on stage dimmed to a reddish color, and the opening notes of "Milkshake" came out of the speakers. Louis laughed so hard he doubled over.

"Well," Harry drawled. "You too embarrassed? I'm sure the fans would forgive you." The fans politely registered the falsehood of that statement.

"No," Louis said, gasping for breath. He walked over to the pole, and jumped it, landing towards the top. Hooking his ankles above his head, he let his body hang down, and with his eyes on Harry, removed a brace, and tossed it to him. Harry laughed, and caught it in his teeth. Louis swung around the pole and dropped down, grinding hard against it. He popped the other brace and let it fall.

"Are you guys feeling okay? No one overheated?" Liam asked the audience in mock concern.

"I kind of am," Zayn said, and dabbed his throat with water from a bottle. Louis crossed his arms to tug at each side of his shirt, pulled it fluidly over his head, and let it fly at Zayn who immediately threw it into the croud.

Eyes on Harry, Louis mouthed the words to the song, and popped the button on his jeans. "Don't you dare," Harry said into the mic. "Didn't you hear what happened to Jim Morrison?" The audience was openly weeping.

"Now I need a shirt," Louis said, and immediately had to point at the front row, "No one else takes off theirs. You stop it until you're of age, young lady."

They dimmed the lights again, and they ran off stage, Louis hurriedly pulling on a shirt a crew member gave him. In the chaos, Harry leaned over and whispered right into Louis's ear, "We're repeating that later."

"Can't wait," Louis said, meaning every word, and they ran back on stage.