Liam Payne is a traitor of the highest order to the English nation and the worst part is that he looks positively delighted by it.
Louis is perfecting the dick he’s drawn over the photo of the Irish national team inside Liam’s Quidditch World Cup commemorative programme when the traitor in question drops into the seat beside him. He’s wearing a smile entirely too cheerful for someone whose true team got eliminated in the quarter-finals. His whole face exudes uncapped excitement, like a Labrador puppy on its first trip to the dog park. Worse still is the jersey on his back, a disgustingly vibrant forest green if Louis does say so himself, now complemented by an equally hideous orange, green and white scarf. The shades don’t even match. So Louis gives Liam a satisfied smirk as he turns around the programme to show off his masterpiece, one gigantic red penis over the Irish team and TRAITOR scrawled above it in big red letters. He left the photo of the Venezuelan team opposite relatively unharmed. The poor placement of the IRELAND VS VENEZUELA caption which cuts off the heads of half the players in the opposing team is enough embarrassment. Liam sighs and takes back the programme, tucking it between the plateful of chips that he’s brought back from the bar. If they hadn’t already gotten midfield seats to the final match, Louis might have never spoken to him again after he stepped out in that Irish jersey.
Louis steals a chip and props his feet up onto Liam’s lap while smoothing out the bright red crest on his own jersey. He pretends to not hear Liam’s protests and busies himself with admiring the view. They’re in a midfield box about halfway up the stands, allowing a full 180 degree view of the pitch and a good angle for high and low-altitude playing. They’re excellent seats. The best really, even though the rest of the box is fleshed out by a crowd of Irish supporters. The room buzzes on anticipation and free booze; murmurs of odds and plays are punctuated by the uproarious cackles of the Irish WAGs in the corner. It’s also a sea of green; green jerseys, dyed hair, face paint and glitter transform the box into a hazy, sparkling ocean of rampant Irishness. Even the bloody nonics are stencilled with shamrocks for the event.
It is the private box for the guests of the Irish National Team after all.
Liam lets out a laugh and pokes at Louis’ jersey with a greasy finger.
“I can’t believe you’re still wearing that,” he says as Louis slaps his hand away to lean over and take another chip.
“Now why would you say that Li?” He widens his eyes as he crams the potato snack into his mouth, making a show of glancing around the room with furrowed eyebrows.
Sophia takes this moment to lean over from Liam’s other side and also swipe a chip.
“Because you stand out like a Chelsea supporter at a Tottenham game,” she counters, tossing her long, caramel-tipped hair back over her shoulder to display the word HORAN on the pocket of her Ireland jersey. Liam sniggers at the reference, but Louis doesn’t understand it so he assumes that it’s Muggle thing and ignores it. Liam and Sophia do that a lot when they’re together; they use weird Muggle words and expressions in normal conversation. Liam tried to translate for him, but he received so many blank stares for his efforts that he eventually gave up. It’s not that Louis isn’t interested in the Muggle world and their weird idioms and “gadgets” and football, it’s just that – well, when would he ever use it?
Sophia makes a face at his England jersey, adding to the looks of contempt he knows he’s getting from the Wives And Girlfriends in the corner.
“Niall’s going to have a heart attack when he finds out you sat in here in your England jersey.”
Louis rolls his eyes and shrugs.
“If Niall finds out, he’ll be either too mopey to care – in that case I’ll say some nice things about Ireland and tuck him into bed – or, he’s gonna be too busy celebrating to care about my attire! And besides,” he points accusingly at the other two, “I’m pretty sure I earned the right to wear this after hesaved every single one of my shots, and then seduced all of you to the dark side.” This only draws out a high laugh from Sophia. At least she resisted Niall’s attempts at conversion for a fair few weeks, demonstrating a strength of will and national pride that Liam clearly did not have. Niall, meanwhile, had taken great joy in gloating about the Irish defeat over Louis and his English team during the quarter-finals.
“At least you didn’t wear a Venezuela jersey,” Liam adds and Louis punches him in the arm at the mere suggestion, not that he makes even a dent in Liam’s bulging biceps. Louis may despise Ireland, Niall, and Niall’s stupid team, but Louis will be damned if he even considers supporting the Venezuelans. He’s loyal to his best friend, even if Niall has become the darling of Irish nation.
There’s ten minutes before the match starts, and the nerves in the Irish VIP box spike. A photographer wanders in to take photos of the guests, and the glares the WAGs send over at Louis’ jersey is enough invitation for him to take his leave. He whispers to Liam that he’s headed for the bar and slips out the door behind the photographer.
Thankfully, the bar is free of Irish supporters. In fact it’s entirely empty save for the bartender who sprints up and down the counter loading free drinks onto floating trays that zoom down the corridor to the VIP boxes. Of course, no one else in those boxes has a reason to leave now. So Louis slides onto a stool and gives the frazzled-looking wizard behind it an understanding smile as he rushes to keep up with the demand.
Despite himself, anticipation starts to flutter in his stomach. Ireland has a really good chance at taking home the World Cup tonight. Their defence is strong, and Niall particularly has been on fire, his save rate doubling from the League season three months ago. The Venezuelans may have premium equipment, but their team is rather inexperienced and rely too heavily on the speed of their brooms. Louis reckons that it’s beginner’s luck that they made it this far, but they did manage to convincingly defeat New Zealand, the favourites, so perhaps they aren’t totally useless.
Louis sighs and looks out through the large window on his right to readthe signs from Venezuelan fans on the other side of the stadium.
“You look a bit out of place,” another voice reaches the bar. It’s extraordinarily deep and gravelly to Louis’ ears, but its harshness is sanded down by something like amusement. And more importantly, it’s not Irish. Louis turns from the window.
The owner of the voice is almost bent in half over the bar so he can rest his elbows on its surface. A pair of long, lithe legs stretch out behind him and cross at the ankle, wrapped in the tightest black jeans Louis has ever seen. The man’s thighs bulge a bit at the seams of the jeans, but they are mostly hidden by the sheer black shirt dusting over them. Louis tries to ignore the images that accompany the man’s current position as he looks over his shirt, buttoned only halfway up a deliciously toned chest and gaping wide to show off even more skin. Skin that is covered with tattoos. A pair of swallows take flight by his collarbones and…is that a moth? Tearing his eyes from the naked skin, Louis’ eyes reach the man’s face and oh.
Dimples dig at the corners of his smile; it’s less a smile and most definitely a smirk, actually. And it’s directed at Louis. This utterly gorgeous man bent over the bar is smirking at him. Louis swallows and tries to order his thoughts into something vaguely flirtatious.
“I could say the same for you,” he manages, and it’s not the worst thing he’s ever come up with. He gestures at the man’s attire and that’s when he notices the camera placed carefully on top of the bench. The man’s long fingers are curled around the lens easily, protective but relaxed. Four silver rings gleam from his fingers, such lovely delicate fingers. Louis bets they’d look just as pretty wrapped around his-
“Press box?” He asks before his thoughts can run away further, nodding to the camera. Not many people in the VIP boxes have the time or patience for taking photos of the game, unless they’re here for work. The man follows his gaze, and his smile widens as he shakes his head. Long curls bounce about his jawline, and Louis is surprised the sharpness of it doesn’t slice them straight off.
“Just watching tonight.” Louis grins even wider. So Curly is here for pleasure, not work.
“Makes you a bit of a voyeur then, doesn’t it?” He gestures again to Curly’s outfit, letting his eyes linger on line between his pecs leading down to the moth on his tummy a bit longer than he really intends to. “No team colours, no scarf. Someone might think you’re here for nefarious reasons.”
Curly purses his lips and nods slowly, contemplating.
“Who says I’m not?”
“Well if it involves sabotaging the Venezuelans, I’m listening.” Curly chuckles.
“So you’re an Irish supporter in disguise.” His comment isn’t even remotely funny, but Louis howls with laughter. He claps Curly’s shoulder and squeezes just a little, and it’s rather firm underneath his fingers. Not Liam “I work out every day for the fun of it” firm, but still pleasantly so. Very much so.
“Only for tonight. But if you tell anybody I’ll deny it.”
Curly nods and mimes zipping his lips shut. Louis’ eyes follow the trace of his fingers. Curly eyes him expectantly.
“And what about you?” Louis questions, leaning his body over the counter like Curly.
“What about me?” Curly repeats, only after miming unzipping his lips again.
“Yeah, well besides your observing and evil plotting. What’s an English guy with no national pride doing at the Quidditch World Cup?”
“Oh, I’m not really much of a Quidditch fan,” Curly turns his body so now he’s stretching out from the bar, arse in the air and his back arching like he’s a smug ragdoll kitten. His eyes drag lazily over Louis’ body, pausing for several moments at his lips before they reach up to his eyes, “I’m just here for the view.” Louis bites his lip.
“Good view then?” Curly’s smirk deepen his dimples.
It’s at that exact moment that the ringing voice of the President of the World Quidditch Association vibrates through the stadium welcoming the crowds to the final of the Quidditch World Cup. A cheer follows the announcement and Louis scoots off his stool, grabbing the beer that the bartender must have poured for him when he was talking to Curly. Fuck. Niall will kill him if he misses this match because he was busy flirting with someone at the bar. Niall’s pretty chill, but even he has some limits.
“Fuck. Sorry, I have to get back. If I miss a second of this match, I think my mate will actually murder me.”
Curly smile has faded a little, but he nods genially.
“Course. Good luck.”
Louis nods a thanks and sprints back to the Irish box with uncomfortably tight trousers.
It turns out that sabotage and nefarious schemes are unneeded. Ireland demolishes Venezuela from the whistle blow and they’re already sixty points up when the Irish Seeker Fitzroy seizes the Snitch after forty minutes of play. It’s the best game Ireland has played all season, maybe in several seasons, and Louis roars with the Irish supporters when the horn blares to declare Ireland the champion of the Quidditch World Cup.
The victory party takes place at a club that Louis doesn’t remember the name of, but it reminds him vaguely of a Muggle one Liam dragged him to once. It’s decked out with billowing sheets of fabric across the ceiling and tumbling over the stone walls, charmed to glitter and glow in varying shades of green. For once Louis doesn’t even mind the colour. The building is packed; it’s a melting pot of the Irish team, their VIP guests, and high-profile Quidditch fans who have slipped in for the celebrations. Louis loses the others early on in the night. Last he saw, Sophia was doing shots with Taylor Swift (the young witch making a killing in the Muggle music market), and Liam was chatting with Nick Grimshaw from the Wizarding Wireless Network.
Niall spots the jersey he moment he lays eyes on Louis.He frowns at it for several moments before prodding it with his wand, and it fades from its brilliant English red into an awful shade of green (Louis suspects certain enchantments prevent him from tampering too much with it). Dissatisfied with the outcome, Niall forces Louis to buy him a couple of rounds in retribution, but soon enough he’s dragged off by some euphoric teammates and Louis is alone. He’s been restless the whole night, ever since he left Curly at the bar, so it’s probably pent up sexual frustration that leads him to agree when Fitzroy and a few of the girls invite him to the dancefloor.
The music and booze consumes them. It’s hot and sweaty and Louis is sure that he’s spilt most of his drink on one of the girls, but she don’t seem to mind, merely giving him a smile under glazed eyes that he only sees in brief the flashes of light. Then the bass drops, and what can only be described as a roar pours from the crowd, and a chant of “Ireland” rings over the pulsing beat. Louis laughs and throws his head back, losing himself into the voices around him. His body sways with the music, one hand fisting the air and the other clutched around his empty cup, both pumping with the beat. He couldn’t slow down his movements even if he tried. He’s boneless and restless at the same time, the image of Curly bent over the bar and his overt infatuation with Louis’ lips burning on his mind. He needs to know what those lips feel like on his skin, how those fingers of his would have measured against his cock. He’d bet Curly is brilliant with his hands. The chant fades with the song and the crowd devolves back into the sticky haze of alcohol and adrenaline. It seems that Fitzroy and the girls have become otherwise occupied. Louis sighs and glances at his empty cup grimly, already starting to press against his trousers as well. Maybe he should head back to the bar and find someone to blow him out of his misery.
He’s about to do exactly that when he feels two hands slip around his waist and a firm body presses up to his back. Louis pauses, his thoughts momentarily drawn from the bar to the long fingers grazing the top of his hips over his disgusting jersey, and the hot breath at his ear. Somehow, before he even speaks, he’s sure that it’s Curly.
“You’ve changed!” Even yelling to be heard over the music, but certainly pleased it sounds like, Curly’s voice is rough on Louis’ ears. “I was looking for you.”
Louis grins and turns around and presses his hands to Curly’s chest, thumbing the sheer material of his shirt. He grinds his hips against Curly’s crotch, sighing in relief at some sort of contact onto his hardening cock, as his eyes graze over the mass of exposed skin in front of him. It’s a wall of muscle, glistened with sweat from the club and he swears he sees Curly’s pec twitch when Louis rolls his hips upwards. He wants to lick it. He wants to put his tongue all over Curly’s skin, to trace over the swallows and lick that moth clean off. Then he wants to nibble at his jaw, see if he really can cut himself on that bone. But instead he tilts back his chin so he can catch Curly’s eyes. They shine bright against the strobes of light flashing over them, a thin rim of green bordering blown-out pupils. Curly stares down at Louis, the look of want in his eyes unmistakable. He’s even more gorgeous here amongst the celebrations, all sharp lines and cutting features against the bodies flowing around them. Fuck, Louis wants him. He feels a bit desperate now with Curly on his mind practically all night, but the fact that he’s been lookingfor him too, that’s what really does him in.
He mouths bathroom, jerking his head in the general direction he assumes them to be. Curly’s grin widens to match his own, and he links their fingers together, pulling Louis past the other bodies melting into one another on the dancefloor.
Gratefully, the bathroom is empty when they burst in and head for the nearest stall without the smallest attempt at subtlety. Curly crowds Louis against the door of the cubicle the moment it shuts behind them, turning the lock with one hand and his other wrapping around the back of Louis’ neck, his fingers dancing along the bumps of his spine while his thumb rubs a small circle into the inside of his shoulder blade. Fuck, they’re such big hands and they feel like fire, completely different to the sticky heat of the club outside. It trickles down Louis’ back and pools in his belly and throbs into his cock. Curly’s lips suck at the angle of his neck and collarbone, a hint of teeth grazing over the skin as his other hand moves to his arse, kneading at the muscle and pushing more of his weight onto the door. Louis lets out a loud moan and lifts his hips up. His cock aches for some relief. He’d hoped that getting to the bathroom would bring this sooner, but Curly seems intent on teasing him the entire way. And maybe if Louis hadn’t wanted those long fingers on his cock since before the game he’d indulge Curly a bit. But Louis doesn’t like waiting. So he presses his hips up again and lets their crotches rub together, and slides a hand over the bulge in Curly’s tight jeans for good measure. Curly pauses, and Louis can feel his lips opening into a smile against his neck. Then his tongue dips next to his collarbone and Louis lets out a second, louder moan.
“Hmmm,” he groans against his neck, “you’re a loud one.”
When Louis doesn’t answer, Curly pulls back and stares at him, his face finally fully visible in the light of the bathroom. He’s gorgeous, absolutely fucking gorgeous. His lips are parted and pursed, full from sucking at his neck, his breaths heavy, and his eyes haven’t left Louis’. Louis glares at him with as much impatience as he can muster, which just elicits a smirk from those gorgeous lips.
“Do you want me to blow you then?”
“Yes.” Louis breathes out. It’s less domineering and more exasperated than he had intended, but it seems like Curly is done with the teasing for now since he quickly dropped to his knees and pulled down Louis’ trousers and pants together. Louis actually breathes out a sigh of relief when he feels his dick released from his tight pants. He’s hard, has basically been sporting a semi since the bar, and it feels divine when Curly’s long fingers wrap around the base of his cock, squeezing a little as he twists his hand around him. Curly presses his lips to the tip of Louis’ cock, feather-light as he works him over with his hand. Louis exhales and bites his lip to stop himself, his fingers scratching at the doorframe, searching blindly for some leverage to hold as Curly works him over. His hands reach Curly’s shoulders, pulling the sheer material through his fingers. He thinks Curly noticed its effect, because he does it again. A dribble of pre-come leaks from Louis’ slit and Curly laps it up, the roughness of his tongue carefully striping along the sensitive tip, sending goosebumps up Louis’ spine. Then, gazing up at Louis with huge black pupils, Curly opens his mouth wide and sinks down onto him.
Louis sighs and closes his eyes at the feel of Curly’s warm lips wrapped tight around his cock. His tongue is incredible, slipping out from his mouth and licking up the vein on the underside of Louis’ dick, igniting every single nerve along it. His hand twists up to meet his lips, leaving no inch of Louis’ cock untouched. Louis groans and threads his fingers through the namesake curls, forcing himself to focus on keeping his hips from buckling under the ministrations of Curly’s tongue. It’s difficult enough, and then he has the poor sense to glance down at Curly and see him hollow his cheeks and suck. Another groan escapes from his mouth, loud even to his own ears.
“Shit,” he cries and his fingers tug on Curly’s hair, jerking his head forward. Louis blinks and lets go immediately, his forehead creasing. “Shit, sorry,” he says. Curly’s lips twist into a smile as he pulls off.
“’S okay,” he replies in a voice about three times lower than Louis remembers it being, then takes Louis straight back into his mouth, deeper this time. Louis feels a familiar tightening in his belly.
“I’m gonna come,” he says, a bit breathless, but at least he suppressed another moan. Curly makes no effort to move and Louis groans again, louder this time, glad for the privacy of the empty bathroom. After a few short moments, he’s spilling into Curly’s mouth.
Louis catches his breath slumped against the cubicle door and gazing down at Curly. His hair is an absolute mess, dampened from dancing and being knotted around Louis’ fingers, and there’s strands stuck across his forehead and along his jaw. He looks obscene when he smiles up at Louis, a tiny drop of white staining the corner of his mouth, a manifestation of the night’s events.
“Good view?” Louis asks, eventually. Curly nods.
“Come on, let’s get you finished up.” Louis wraps a hand around Curly’s arm and pulls him up to his feet, spinning them around in the tiny area of the cubicle so that Curly’s back presses against the wall. Louis’ fingers go straight for the fly of those ridiculously tight jeans and tug on Curly’s cock, pulling him out of his pants. He’s hard still, and it doesn’t take too long before he comes, shooting up over Louis’ hand with a gasp, his big hands gripping the walls of the stall.
Somewhat fuzzy after their orgasms, Louis grabs some toilet paper and cleans them off as the music outside filters back into the room and brings them back to reality.
“Guess I owe you a congratulations, by the way,” Curly says, his voice even rougher after having Louis’ dick down his throat. He unlocks the cubicle and lets Louis out first. Louis laughs and heads towards the door.
“Thanks.” He grabs the handle and turns to Curly, “Drinks?” He offers.
Curly’s answer is lost when the door to the bathroom bursts open again. Louis pulls his hand away and jumps back in surprise, narrowly missing a door to the nose and another vaguely familiar face under a large styled quiff pops into the doorway.
“There you are Harry, we’ve been looking for you! I’ve got some friends I want you to meet.” And Louis watches in surprise as Nick bloody Grimshaw grabs Curly’s wrist and drags him off, Curly sending an apologetic smile over his shoulder. Well that’s….unexpected, as far as the end to anonymous hook-ups go.
Louis blinks a couple of times after the fleeting figures before letting out a sigh and stepping back into the dark club, his ears still a bit clouded by the throb of the base and a receding orgasm. He barely makes three paces however when another body slams into him and a loud roar of laughter cuts over the music.
“Now this is who needs some Irish pride!” And without further explanation, Niall slings an arm around Louis’ shoulders and carries him off the bar. The Irish Chasers, Patrick and Gerald, accompany him on either side and they’re flanked by a couple more of the Irish guests. Niall introduces him to a team of models at the bar, none of whom make a lasting impression beyond their impressive stature and glamorous smiles. Louis is then handed two shot glasses with a pat on the back and he proceeds to down them to the tune of the Irish national anthem.
It’s sometime not long after the ceiling dissolves into a shower of green sparkles that he stops remembering the finer details of the night.
The break between the World Series and the League Cup leaves the remainder of the summer free of obligations. August is trade month for the domestic British and Irish League, which means for those who’ve signed contracts with both national and domestic teams like Louis and Niall, the slipping summer days are spared from negotiations and training camps, and instead form a haze of lie-ins, leisurely breakfasts, and a long string of pub nights. For Louis and the English national team, knocked out in only the quarter-finals of the World Series, their break had been considerably longer this year. Meanwhile, Liam, as their trainer at Manchester for only six months out of the year, fills out his summer with personal training sessions with all his other clients (the ones that Louis tends to forget exist during Quidditch season).
Soon enough, it’s 9am on a freakishly chilly Monday morning in September, and Louis is grumpy because he’s already been at the pitch for two hours. Liam’s put them on shuttle runs which Louis absolutely loathes, and Bulbus – a transfer from Falmouth – is being a pureblood piece of shit and making snide comments about Liam’s choice of Muggle drills at every opportunity. Which is few, since he hasn’t experienced a season’s worth of the Payno Plan like the rest of the Manchester team, and struggles to catch his breath after a one hundred metre jog. But Bulbus isn’t the only one who despises cardio. Louis isn’t built for it either; his thighs are more suited to straddling a thick shaft of wood than they are sprinting and stopping and pivoting over slippery grass. But at least heappreciates Liam’s efforts to get them in their best shape for the approaching Quidditch season. Bulbus, though, he just wants to punch in the face.
It’s still a new thing, bringing in Quidditch trainers for the sole function of improving the players’ physical and cardiovascular fitness. Wizards don’t do fitness. They don’t do cardio, and they certainly don’t lift weights when Wingardium leviosa exists. Only a handful of teams worldwide have hired personal trainers like Liam. Manchester is the only one in Britain to do so. But somehow (not that Louis really understands the science behind it), the Payno Plan works.
Thankfully the others ignore Bulbus. Maybe it’s more pragmatic since Quidditch Weekly is sending in someone to report on the dynamics of their new line-up this morning.
Louis flicks his sweat-sodden fringe off his forehead and waits beside Niall for their final set of sprints. Liam’s promised them a break after this and Louis sneaked a ham and cheese croissant in his Quidditch bag that might just improve his foul mood. Liam’s constantly reminding him that keeping a healthy diet is just as important as exercise, but Louis plans on shoving it down his throat before Liam sees or suspects a thing. The whistle blows and they leg it, trainers sliding over the muddy grass more often than them making actual steps. Louis arrives back before Niall but he’s too exhausted to muster the energy to smirk at him over his shoulder as they trudge off the field.
He does however manage to groan at the sight of Simon Cowell, their director and fearless leader, standing outside the changing rooms accompanied by two tall, slim figures that can only be Quidditch Weekly.
Simon welcomes them back with a closed-lipped smile, clearly as overjoyed as Louis is with the addition to their morning. Louis hangs at the back and studies the specks of mud on his shoelaces as a woman’s voice joins Simon’s and introduces herself as Eleanor, a reporter for Quidditch Weekly. Her voice sounds sweet, but there’s a professional tone cutting through it that dares anyone to try her. Louis’ hearing glazes over the finer details of the day’s individual interviews and the candid training shots that will be taken by her photographer until Niall jostles his shoulder and nods towards Eleanor with raised eyebrows. Louis follows his gaze and looks her over before shaking his head at Niall.
“Nah mate. She’s out of your league,” he laugh-whispers to Niall as his eyes fall to the man standing next to her, recognising him immediately.
The first thought that enters Louis’ head is that Curly’s idea of a professional wardrobe is perhaps more misguided than his concept of acceptable attire for a Quidditch match. He’s got those insanely tight black jeans on again, this time paired with a billowing white T-shirt that hides away his firm chest and toned stomach and tattoos. Louis is admittedly frustrated by the loss of uncovered skin until it really clicks in his mind that that is Curly, and Curlyis here in Manchester, at Louis’ pitch no less.
It only worsens when Curly actually winks at him while he introduces himself as Harry Styles, photographer for Quidditch Weekly.
So Curly was from the press box after all. That explains why he was in the VIP boxes, and why he got dragged away by Nick Grimshaw of all people at the club afterwards. Oh, this is excellent. Today is just excellent.
Simon sends them off on their break and the rest of the team step eagerly into the changing rooms where their morning snacks await. Simon leads Eleanor down the hallway to the offices, but Harry makes no indication of moving. Instead he stands back, hands clasped behind him, nodding at the Manchester lads as they pass him. Louis reaches him last.
“You.” He says by way of greeting, poking a finger at Harry. Harry raises his eyebrows.
“Me.” He teases, his voice turning falsely accusatory, “You didn’t tell me you played forEngland.”
“Didn’t have to, did I? You didn’t tell me you worked for Quidditch Weekly,” he counters, his voice light.
“I didn’t, actually. Not during the World Cup. They offered me this role two weeks ago since their photographer is on maternity leave for this season, and the other replacement dropped out.” Harry’s smirk widens and pulls out his dimples. He watches Louis under lowered lashes, “Had I’d known you were famous, I might have asked for an autograph. But I’m not much of a Quidditch fan, remember?”
Louis does remember.
“Would that have been before or after the blowjob?” Harry throws back his head when he laughs, his curls tumbling back over his shoulders.
“During, if you’d prefer it.” Louis snorts at this and offers his hand.
“Well then, introductions are in order. Louis Tomlinson, chaser for Manchester.”
“Harry Styles. Photographer.” Harry clasps his Louis’ hand between both of his own and shakes it, and at least Louis has the self-control not to glance down and remember how they looked around his cock.
“Yeah, I remember.” He slips his hand from Harry’s grasp after only a beat too long, eventually jamming them into his shorts to give them somewhere to be. “I make a point of remembering pretty photographers who claim they have no knowledge of Quidditch. It’s blasphemous.”
“Blasphemous?” Harry repeats and raises an eyebrow, though his amused tone indicates he hadn’t missed the compliment.
“Unjust, heretic, whatever you want to call it. How can you expect to be a top-notch Quidditch photographer if you don’t know your Feint from your Backbeat?”
“Maybe my work speaks for itself.”
“Maybe. Or….” Louis steps closer, allowing his eyes to trace leisurely along Harry’s neck to his jaw and then to his face. Harry’s gaze follows his and when Louis’ eyes meet his, he detects something hinting from behind those big green irises. “You could consider getting a more intimate knowledge of the game. From the professionals.”
“Is that an offer?” Harry questions. Louis smirks. Too easy.
“Yes, it is.”
“What offer?” Another voice echoes through the hallway from the changing rooms, causing Louis to jump. It’s unmistakably cheerful, inquisitive, and certainly Irish. It takes most of the remainder of Louis’ self-control not to groan outwardly. Niall must have either noticed his absence after the meeting or spied the croissant in his bag. Or most likely, both.
“It seems that ourphotographer here hasn’t got a clue about Quidditch.” Louis sends an exasperated smile at Harry as he spins to face Niall. He throws an arm around Harry’s shoulders, having to stand on his tip toes to do so, and Harry doesn’t tense at the contact, which makes Louis’ smile grow even more, “I told him that we’ll fix that.”
Niall’s eyes flit between Harry and Louis, his expression unreadable and smug. He can sense the sexual tension in the air, Louis knows he can. But fair enough since Louis was a couple of minutes away from jumping Harry anyway.
“So you two know each other then?” He asks, leaning against the doorframe and tossing his towel over his shoulder. Louis looks to Harry, his arm still slung across his broad shoulders.
“Oh we’re old friends,” he answers with an easy smile, “the lone English supporters at the World Cup final.”
“Impressive game, by the way. Big fan,” Harry nods and leans forward to offer Niall his hand, which he clasps firmly.
“Thanks mate. Always nice to meet a fan.” He throws a wink at Louis, certainly not buying it, “I’m Niall.”
“So are we educating Harry then?” Niall asks and he approaches the two of them, slinging his own arm around Harry’s other shoulder and sending Louis the biggest shit-eating grin his face is capable of creating. Louis shoots him the most deadly of glares.
“Of course! You up for drinks tonight after training Harry?” Harry glances between the two Manchester players hanging off his shoulders with a smile.
“Sure.” Niall must be content with his contribution to Louis’ flirting efforts and he removes both himself and Louis from Harry’s shoulders, his grin never fading.
“We’ll bring Liam too! He needs some work on his Quidditch knowledge. But if you’ll excuse us Harry, Louis and I have a croissant issue we need to work out. See you out there.” He nods to the glimpse of green at the end of the hallway and shit, Louis almost forgot they still had several hours of training left today. Several hours that Harry will be shooting. Harry waves after them as Niall drags Louis into the changing rooms.
Niall howls out laughter as he slams the door behind him and tosses Louis into the wooden benches against the wall. The others in the changing room barely notice the raucous.
“Fuck. That was him, wasn’t it?” Louis gives Niall a coy smirk. “Oh fuck off Louis, “lone English supporters” my arse. I was the one guarding that bathroom the whole time.”
The gleam in Niall’s eye is so self-satisfied that Louis can’t tell if he’s being serious or if he’s just fucking with him. So he calmly pulls out the croissant from his bag and scoffs the whole thing in two huge bites as Niall watches.
“Learn how to cast a Silencing Charm!” Niall scowls, stalking back to his own bag and boring Liam-approved carrots and hummus.
It’s not even a question for them to go to The Golden Snitch.
It’s a small place tucked away at the end of an alleyway off the main thoroughfare of Diagon Alley. Its interior is narrow, barely enough for the bar to span across it lengthways, but the high walls and vaulted-ceiling are more or less a museum of Quidditch memorabilia from the last 300 years. The owner Vera is a former Chaser for the Italian national team and maintains a loyal following of fellow professional Quidditch players across Britain with her no-nonsense shop talk and lethal mixed drinks. It’s the perfect setting.
Harry puts up no resistance when Louis insists that he try the Volcano.
Liam blanches at the idea and is quick to assure Harry that he is not required to order a drink that entails consuming actual fire just because Louis says so, but Louis chatters right over him, jumps over the bar to greet Vera with a peck on the cheek and orders four. Harry shrugs at Liam and takes the glass Louis offers him with a grin. They settle into a booth underneath the signed and framed jersey of Bulgarian Seeker Victor Krum and Harry nearly singes off one of his curls when he goes for his first sip. Niall and Louis roar with laughter, Harry is sure to tuck his hair behind his ear for every subsequent sip, and soon they’re all talking over the top of each other on the issue of teaching Harry about Quidditch. At one point, Vera overhears them and launches into a furious whirlwind of Italian hand expressions that Louis assumes to be admonishment and ends with her walking back to the bar shaking her head and muttering “Cristo”.
Harry looks especially pretty tonight. The flames dancing across the four glasses flicker streaks of orange light across his cheeks and plush lips as he smiles at Liam and laughs at Niall calling after Vera, pleading her to help them. Given their conversation topic for the night, it comes as no surprise when Harry tells them he’s Muggleborn. The first wizard of his family, he describes, much to the jealousy of his older sister. Liam looks so excited by this that he might have a heart attack. The conversation rapidly turns to a discussion of trying to keep up with the news of both worlds, a topic Louis isn’t exactly an expert in but listens along anyway.
How did running into Curly again end in watching him gossip with Liam about The X Factor, whatever that is?
Sometime later, Harry slips a thin object out from his pocket. He taps it once, watches it illuminate, then taps it again and goes to slip it back into his jeans when he notices Louis staring at it curiously.
“Whatcha got there Harold?” He asks. Harry holds up the foreign object, a coy smile on his lips.
“What, this?” It’s strange and alien-looking, about the size of a small envelope, and made of silver metal. Louis stares at it blankly and Harry’s smirk widens, evidently pleased by the confusion it’s causing Louis. It’s unfair. Louis only lets his friends who have known him for ages tease him like this, and Harry’s up on the game in a matter of hours. He’s also pretty, so that makes this whole situation worse. Liam chuckles.
“Louis, it’s a phone. Like mine.” He takes out a similar object from his jacket pocket and holds it across the table for him to inspect. Louis glances at it once and frowns. Liam’s shown it to him before, but he’s never been interested in the weird Muggle letter-writing machine. It’s a silly device he uses to send virtual letters to his family and probably a fair few love letters to Sophia. Besides, it’s not nearly as thin or as shiny or as exciting as Harry’s.
“So you’ve got the iPhone 6, Harry?” Liam mentions. Harry’s smile brightens.
“Yeah, I picked it up just after I got back.” Louis makes grabby hands for Harry’s phone and Harry passes it over, before turning back to Liam, “The camera on it is brilliant though. The resolution of Muggle photos is much better than magical ones.”
“Yeah, but our photographs move,” quips Niall, while watching Louis turn the device over in his hands. Louis taps his finger on it as he saw Harry do earlier but nothing happens. He frowns and taps it again. The screen remains black. Louis pouts and goes to poke Harry with the phone when he realised that he’s been watching him the whole time, clearly amused.
“And it’s broken.” Harry reclaims the phone and presses his thumb to a small square at its base. A picture of a fluffy kitten appears and is covered by several smaller icons. Harry taps on one and turns the phone to face Niall.
On the screen is a moving photograph of a cat stuck inside a small box, with only its head visible over the pink paper base. It even has sound – Louis can hear it meowing pathetically as it struggles and paws at the box. He looks at Harry aghast.
“Why do you keep a cat trapped inside your phone?”
Harry and Liam burst out in laughter. Louis and Niall share confused expressions.
“No! No, no, no. That’s not how it works, Louis,” Liam clarifies between giggles.
“No Liam, that’s exactly how it works,” Harry insists, and even Louis can tell he’s taking the piss.
“Alright then. How does it work, Muggle expert?” He asks Harry. Harry’s smirk is verging on manic now, and if Louis didn’t want to kiss it off him so much he’d probably want to smack it off him instead.
“It’s a video. They don’t work like paintings, they’re more like magical photographs.” Harry brings up another. This one is of a concert with purple lights and red strobes and cheering from the crowd. After ten seconds, the video repeats itself, just like a photograph.
“They’re not actually inside the phone.” Liam adds needlessly, because Harry’s stupid grin has explained that perfectly already.
“That’s fucking weird.” Niall comments, Louis nodding in agreement. Harry taps at his phone and holds up the screen to Louis. Louis sees himself on it like a mirror, only this reflection is rather deformed by the angle Harry’s holding it at.
“Do you want to try it?” Louis takes the phone from Harry’s hand and his finger slips over a button on it, making a sound like a camera shutter. Harry doesn’t even try to suppress his smirk and takes back his phone.
“Here.” He scoots closer to Louis, winds a hand around his waist, and presses his body against the side of Louis’. Harry holds the phone up above them so they’re both in the frame and takes another two photos. Louis smiles along, his mind more occupied by the way Harry’s finger slips under his shirt and grazes at his hips. He brings the phone down and shows Louis the photos.
“They’re not moving,” Louis complains, poking at the screen. Harry takes a swing from his Volcano without a second thought on the magical flames licking at his lips and the ends of his curls, “Alright, let’s take some videos.”
In the following hours they take videos and photos of everything and anything. Of each other and their drinks, the Quidditch paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling, of Vera behind the bar, who laughs and covers her face with her hand until Niall clambers over wraps her into a hug. Harry’s body remains flush against Louis’ for the rest of the night, his arm rarely leaving his waist, and his thumb grazing his thigh when he ducks it down. The original purpose of the night, whatever it was, is long forgotten in the haze of flaming drinks, camera flashes, and the heat sparking at the base of Louis’ spine every time Harry glances at him.
Eventually they’re forced to stop when Harry’s phone buzzes and two lines of text appear on the screen.
Storage Almost Full
You can manage your storage in settings.
Louis is amazed so much film could fit into that tiny object in the first place, but he still pouts and insists that Harry takes one more photo of him. Harry obliges, then tucks his phone away into his jeans pocket for the night.
Niall’s getting this round, or at least he’s supposed to be, but when Louis glances over he’s mid-conversation with Vera and Louis hears mention of the World Cup so he doubts there’ll be any more drinks coming soon. Liam’s back on his phone now too, probably messaging Sophia. He and Harry have managed to press themselves into the deepest corner of their shared booth seat, taking up only half the length of the booth between the two of them. Louis’ arm is draped over Harry’s broad shoulders and Harry is muttering something about emojis, but Louis isn’t paying much attention to what’s actually coming out of those lips. Harry’s got very pretty lips, really. They’re wide and plump and Louis knows from experience just how soft they feel running over his skin. The worst part is that Harry knows this too and seems to take great joy in hovering them an inch from Louis’, just daring him to break and bite them. He’s not drunk yet, but there’s a pleasant fuzziness between his ears that makes Harry’s voice even deeper and his eyes even greener than Louis remembers.
Harry has remained perfectly still for the last several minutes. His hand lies over Louis’ thigh under the table, and when Louis runs his tongue over his lips, Harry takes a sharp intake of breath. Harry’s words fade from his lips as Louis’ gaze zeros in on them. Fuck. Harry’s gorgeous. And all Louis wants is to take him back to his bed and get those lips on his again.
It is then that Liam announces his departure. (Who even does that?)
“Gotta get home to missus, you know?” He says by way of explanation, and Louis has never been so grateful for Sophia’s influence on Liam’s curfew. They say their goodbyes and ‘nice to meet you’s, and Niall calls over at him from the bar. Then, Harry noses at his ear.
“We can head back to mine too, if you want,” he breathes into Louis’ ear. Louis feels shivers trickle down his spine as Harry’s hot breath meets his neck and his lips press over the same spot.
They extricate themselves from the booth and Louis lets Harry guide him to the door. They bid farewell to Niall separately, trying to keep the indications of their intentions as subtle as possible. But Niall doesn’t seem too perturbed by staying with Vera in the nearly-empty pub, and winks at the both of them as they head on outside.
Harry leads him through the backstreets that branch from Diagon Alley like vines off a grove, twisting around each other in endless horizons, lit only by lanterns hanging off doorways to homes and stores. Louis’ hand is interlaced with his, practically swallowed up by Harry’s long fingers, which wrap easily around his wrist. He wonders if Harry can feel the throb of his pulse under his fingers, full and thick and filling him up nicely under his jeans. They turn another corner, and between the streets of magical London and the fuzz between his ears from those Volcanos, Louis feels wonderfully disengaged from the world. Harry slows his pace and turns to face him. Louis slows too and stares at him. All he sees and feels is Harry and want.
Harry leans into meet Louis’ lips as Louis pushes up onto the balls of his feet and their mouths crash together. It’s an instant feeling of heat; fire curls around the base of Louis’ spine and spirals up each vertebrae. Harry’s hands leave his wrists and find the back of his neck and the small of his back, pulling Louis flush against him. His tongue runs along the seam of Louis’ lips and Louis opens them willingly, a heavy feeling rushing through him as Harry licks into his mouth. Louis moans and threads his fingers through Harry’s hair, pulling his head away.
“Excited, are we?” He teases, but it’s a foregone conclusion from Harry’s gaping mouth and the fact his eyes haven’t left Louis’ lips since they broke apart. Harry smiles and nods towards the terrace behind them.
“We’re here,” he says, as he steps forward and draws his wand from his pocket, tapping it twice on the door. It opens soundlessly, revealing a narrow hallway and a staircase. Harry heads up the stairs, leading Louis with their linked hands, turning right at the landing and pulling out a key. Louis leans up against the wall next to the door, and huffs impatiently as he watches Harry struggle with the key. Harry sends him an apologetic smile,
“New place,” he says and after a couple more jiggles, the key clicks into place and the door swings open. Louis launches himself off the wall and past Harry into the flat. Even in the lack of light Louis can tell it’s sparsely furnished. There’s an oven, some cupboards, and a kitchen sink along one wall, and a small loveseat along the other. Cardboard boxes are lined up next to the window, partly unpacked, with several piles of books stacked up next to them. The window hasn’t got any curtains over it yet, so the small room is illuminated by the orange glow of the lanterns hanging along Diagon Alley.
Harry closes the door behind them and tosses the key in the general direction of the benches.
“Haven’t had much of a chance to unpack yet,” his voice says, and Louis hears his footsteps reach him before he feels him. Then Harry’s big hands are slipping underneath his shirt, running up his sides from the crest of his hips to his ribs as his mouth finds the curve of his neck and Louis can do little except sigh.
“Do you at least have a bed then?”
Harry chuckles. It’s a deep, knowing cackle that sends more heat rushing to Louis’ throbbing cock.
“Yeah, in here.” He doesn’t let go of Louis. Instead Harry leads him to the bedroom from behind, hands pressed to his hips and the hard line of his cock against his arse as they move through the doorway beside the couch into a small bedroom – probably the only one in the flat – set up with just a bed and another curtain-less window and an old wooden wardrobe.
They slow to a stop just in front of the bed. Louis hums.
“I guess this’ll do.” He grinds his hips back and moans, appreciating the feel of Harry’s dick against him, because he’s been hard more or less since Harry fucking arrived at Manchester pitch this morning. He turns around and presses his lips to Harry’s, grabbing the top of his neck to pull him down, licking into his mouth and tasting lingering traces of flames.
Louis walks them backwards one step before his legs hit the edge of the bed and he collapses onto it. He’s sitting with his legs bent off the edge of the mattress, and Harry opens his thighs to straddle his lap, his cock hard and pressing against the tight fabric of his jeans right against Louis’. Louis moans at the contact, and Harry takes that as an invitation to rock his hips upwards again. His long legs are being put to good use, with Louis perched right on the edge of the mattress, Harry’s feet still reach the floor even spread across him like this, giving him extra leverage to propel his hips forward. Louis feels sparks at the bottom of his spine as he shuts his eyes and relishes in how Harry’s tongue licks out every inch of his mouth as though he wants to save every last bit of his taste while he rocks his hips back and forth in tiny circles. Louis’ hands fall from Harry’s neck to his hips and he briefly considers if he could come just like this.
Instead, he digs his fingers around Harry’s hip bone, and hisses for him to stop. Harry breaks the kiss abruptly and stares down at him, questioning. The light in here is as low as the other room but Louis sees enough to know that Harry’s eyes are all black, pupils blown so wide the green in them has nearly disappeared. His hair, tangled in Louis’ hands throughout the night, is mussed around the borders of his face and his lips are parted, pink and flush. He looks so fucking gorgeous. Louis’ wanted this since the Irish party. Actually, no. Since the bar that he bent himself over wearing that fucking smirk. The memory spurs Louis to roll his hips up, with Harry on top of him, and he latches his lips to Harry’s collarbone and nips there.
“I wanna be inside you,” he breathes into Harry’s skin, digging his fingers harder into Harry’s side, “that’s all I’ve been thinking about. All fucking night long.” He thrusts his hips up again, their crotches rubbing together again, harder, deeper. And Louis gets louder and louder. “How tight you’ll feel around my cock. Is that what you want?”
Harry groans, slapping both hands on Louis’ shoulders and grinding gown, trying to get any additional pressure on his aching cock.
“Yes. Oh God Louis, yes.” Louis releases his hips and pulls at the bottom of Harry’s shirt. Harry’s quick, reaching his hand behind himself and pulling at the collar of his shirt, over his head and tossing it somewhere on the floor. Louis adjusts his perch on the edge of the bed and removes his own shirt. Harry’s hands creep over the bare skin of his lower back and loop together around his arse, and he lifts them both up to standing again. His fingers find the fly of Louis’ jeans and undo them, drawing both his jeans and his pants down to his ankles together. Louis’ cock slaps against his belly, hard and thick, the cool night air prickling against his skin. He helps Harry out of his jeans and oh. His cock is just as pretty as Louis remembers, so long. He gets his hands on it as quickly he can, giving it a few tugs to tide Harry over, relieve just a little bit of the pressure. Harry’s giant hands paw at his bare arse.
“On your front or your back?” Louis asks. Harry says nothing. He just smirks and crawls across the bed, settling himself down. He takes several agonising moments to fluff up his pillows like he hasn’t got a full leaking cock between his legs that is obvious to the both of them. He lies on his back with his legs apart, knees bent, and reaches underneath one of the pillows to toss a roll of lube to Louis. Fucking tease.
Back it is then.
Louis settles himself between Harry’s legs and slicks up his fingers. His eyes graze over Harry’s body stretched out under the golden light afforded to them from the town outside, separated by a single pane of glass over the lane. Harry’s torso, firm and toned, is pale skin littered with tattoos – mostly, if not all Muggle, Louis guesses – with a pair of swallows under his collarbones, and a moth centred on his torso. They’re all so strange, and Louis makes a mental note to ask him about them later. Right now, all he can focus on is the dip in Harry’s stomach as his abs clench in anticipation, his hand ghosting towards his cock to pull at himself while he waits on Louis. Teasing him to get on with it.
Louis grasps his wrist and places it down on the sheets, breathing out a laugh.
“Relax. We’ll get to that.” But he realises that he’s been staring at Harry’s body entirely too long and not focusing on the task at hand. So Louis squeezes his fingers around Harry’s wrist then release. He leans down and slips one finger in quickly, his eyes never leaving Harry’s. Thankfully, Harry seems like the type to enjoy watching the show as well as experiencing it, because he watches him too, and the deep sigh Louis receives in response as he pumps his finger in and out, Harry’s muscles relaxing around them, is enough indication to add another.
To his credit, Harry does leave his cock alone as ordered, his fingers twisting the bedsheets into tight knots while Louis stretches him wide. Louis looks down at his hand and curls his fingers a little inside Harry, searching for his prostate as they dive in. A low moan escapes from Harry’s mouth. It’s deep and jagged and it sends sparks to Louis’ balls. So he grins and does it again. His fingers brush against Harry’s prostate a second and a third time and Harry shudders. Louis glances back to his face. He’s shut his eyes now, lost in the feeling of Louis’ fingers.
Harry’s hole gradually relaxes around his fingers again and Louis slips in his ring finger, eliciting a hiss from Harry as he buckles his hips. He lets go of the sheets, and Louis slows, watching his face carefully.
“Too much?” He asks, his voice breathless. He hadn’t even realised he’d been holding it. Harry’s eyelids flutter open and with some exertion, he shakes his head, curls brushing against the inside of his arm from where it’s now bent behind him, gripping the pillow.
“No, I like it,” Harry pants out, and sends Louis a lopsided smirk, to which Louis grins and hastens his movements. The slap of his fingers in and out of Harry is obscene, and between that sound, the ragged breaths of Harry in front of him, the haze of alcohol, and the throbbing in his cock, he’s nearly dizzy from arousal.
Harry’s hands make their way back to Louis, grazing along his thighs as he kneels between Harry’s legs, fingernails scratching lightly over skin.
“Get-get in me,” he says, hands finding Louis’ arse and pulling so Louis rises onto his knees. The angle of his fingers changes and then he’s hitting Harry’s prostate even harder. Harry yells and digs his heels into the mattress, arching back to meet Louis’ fingers. Louis would be quite content finger-fucking him like this for another hour or so, please at the cries he’s drawing out of Harry at this moment, but he’s also horny and slightly tipsy and doesn’t want to wait much longer either, so he obliges to Harry and pulls out his fingers. He wipes his hand on the sheet (somewhat guiltily, but they’ll clean it later, that’s what spells are for right?) tucks Harry’s legs over each of his shoulders and lines himself up with Harry’s hole, gaping and pink and beautiful.
The moan Louis lets out when he pushes into Harry is entirely too obscene. He feels hot all over, but the feeling of his dick enveloped in pure heat itself is overwhelming. Harry groans and his fingers tangle into the sheet again as Louis moves in slowly, inch by inch, savouring every explosion in every one of his nerves until he bottoms out. He sighs and doesn’t move for a moment, just enjoying the feeling of Harry wrapped around him. He’s around him in every way possible: legs over Louis’ shoulders, hands alternating between grasping the sheets and Louis’ calves, as though he can’t decide where to touch, and of course, Louis’ dick in his arse. Then, Harry shifts his hips a little. Louis smiles, pulls out and pushes in again. He gets a feeling for Harry quickly, his hips snapping up faster and faster as he makes a catalogue of each other Harry’s moans.
When Louis goes for his cock, massive and pink and just aching from looking at it, it only takes a handful of strokes and Harry’s clenching around him and shooting into his hand. Louis dives in to kiss him through it, and comes not long after Harry, filling Harry up with his cum. His thrusts slow as he empties inside Harry, because it must be getting a bit painful for him. He pulls out cautiously and lets Harry’s legs off his shoulders, rolling over and sitting up beside Harry, carefully avoiding the wet patch. Their breaths slow, eventually.
“I guess this’ll do,” Harry repeats mockingly, his voice rough and cutting through the buzzing between Louis’ ears. Louis chuckles.
“You should see what I can do with a proper set up.”
“I’ll take you up on that offer when I finish unpacking.”
“I look forward to it.” Louis leans over to the edge of the bed and picks up his discarded jeans from the floor. He pulls his wand from the pocket and with a flick of his wrist and a mutter, the white stains disappear from the sheets and them. There’s always something anticlimactic about using magic to clean up after sex. A cop-out, or something. The fun of a shower afterward gets lost in this world. Louis hears Harry snigger from where he lies, too boneless to move.
“The wonders of magic, huh? No cum stains on the sheets,” he murmurs. Louis crawls back onto the bed and collapses next to Harry, wand in one hand. He runs a hand through his hair, pulling his fringe from his face.
“Best spell I ever learnt.” He glances at the window over them, “I hope for your neighbours’ sake you cast a Covering Charm on that.” Harry says nothing, but Louis spies his smirk.
They lie quietly, listening to the sound of their breaths, sprawled on top of the tangled sheets. Harry’s room faces away from the street, and the blue light of the moon streaks through the glass above them, covering everything in a vague hue of aqua. Louis studies Harry’s profile in the small amount of light. Sharp cheekbones cut the incoming rays in half and cover the pillow in shadow, a strange contrast as the curve of his ribcage expands and contracts with each breath. Harry turns his head to look at Louis, a smile on his lips.
“Thanks for inviting me out tonight.” It’s not quite a morning voice, but Louis wouldn’t mind hearing that too. He laughs.
“Not exactly how I imagined tonight would turn out when I first approached you, but we got there in the end. I’m glad you enjoyed it.” He feels the mattress move as Harry shrugs his shoulders.
“I did. Niall and Liam, they’re really cool.”
“You realise they were serious about teaching you Quidditch. Not like my subtle ulterior motives.” Harry chuckles and rolls his head around the pillow,
“I’m not opposed to either,” he admits, “and I do know how to play Quidditch. I went to Hogwarts and did flying classes and everything.”
So Harry did go to Hogwarts. Louis had wondered about this, how they had never met before. He hasn’t asked Harry how old he is, but he’d guess that he was close in age to Louis. Chances are that they both attended Hogwarts, and around the same time. Sure, lots of magical children are homeschooled by their parents or are sent to schools in other countries, but Muggleborns like Harry don’t really have the luxury of knowledge and choice.
“Which house were you in?” Louis asks.
“Slytherin.” Harry’s eyebrows are furrowed; he must be wondering the same thing, “You?”
“Gryffindor. But I left straight after my OWLs and started training with the Manchester Junior Development Squad.”
“How long ago was that?” Louis counts back in his head.
“About six years ago.” Harry frowns.
“I would’ve been a third year then.” Louis shrugs.
“Big school, can’t remember everyone’s names and faces. I looked rather different too, back then. Doubt you’d have recognised me.” Harry hums something like agreement, moving his head to stare up at the ceiling, thinking. Louis doesn’t take his eyes off him.
“What did you do after Hogwarts then, Harry?” Harry lifts his hand and slips it on the pillow, under his head.
“Decided to take a gap year, that’s what some of my mates from home did, took a year off before uni to travel and stuff. Wanted to find myself.”
“Did you?” Louis grins. Harry’s quiet for some time, rubbing a loop of the sheets between his long fingers, before answering. His answer is not what Louis expects.
“You know what’s shit about being a Muggleborn, Louis? After you find out about your powers, and go to Hogwarts and take your exams, everyone expects you to stay in the magical world. You know like, why would you want to go back to a world without magic?”
Louis stares at Harry’s profile. It’s true, why would you want to go back to a world without magic? Wouldn’t it seem so boring, using things that act as a poor replacement for spells you learnt in second year? Everything in the Muggle world seems so much more difficult, time-consuming than magic. Why bother? Harry sighs.
“But you still have family there. And friends, and interests. The Muggle world keeps on going even when you’re not in it. It’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to feel included.”
Louis shifts, turning himself onto his side. His mind wanders to Liam asking if Harry had the new phone, like it was a routine occurrence. But how much could change in a year, really? Harry’s rather contemplative in his answer, which is hardly what Louis expected when he asked it in his post-orgasm haze. He wonders how much Harry thinks about this.
“So that’s what you did? Went back to the Muggle world?”
“Yeah. I knew I wanted to do photography, so I managed to get a job as an assistant to a Muggle landscape photographer. Really nice guy, he let me travel with him and his wife for a bit. I caught up with the news and technology of home, learned a lot about photography from him too.” Louis knows Liam did a similar thing, trained and worked as a Muggle personal trainer before Simon scouted him and brought him back to the magical world. He’d never considered why Liam had done so. He’d always assumed he just wanted to be close to his family again after several years at Hogwarts.
“So why’d you come back then?”
“I realised if I hadn’t gone home, if I’d stayed and trained in the magical world as a photographer, I probably would have never seen those places. The magical world avoids things that have no magical significance, and Muggleborns are encouraged to do the same to assimilate. I want to change that.”
“I don’t think that’s true. I don’t go out of my way to learn about Muggles and Muggle things, but that’s because it’s not my world. It’s not my place to join in with it.” Harry grimaces.
“Don’t you want to know though? Don’t you want to know what the other 75% of the world does? Or since it doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t matter?” This gives him pause.
“Well when you put it like that you make me sound like a right twat.” Louis pouts, and Harry laughs softly.
“It’s not that you’re a twat. It’s just that Muggleborns like me, we’re expected to embrace the magical world so fully, but it doesn’t go the other way. Not for most wizards.” Louis thinks back to all the demands he placed on Harry today; talking about forcing him to learn Quidditch, dragging him out, how had Harry reacted under that constant smirk?
“I hope we didn’t offend you, talking about forcing you to learn Quidditch.” He says. Harry shakes his head.
“Not at all. You and Niall are more open than a lot of wizards.” Louis would never have considered himself open to Muggledom, but he’s a far sight better than Bulbus. And, the Manchester team in general is less averse to Muggledom than most of society, thanks to Liam really. “And you’re right. I should learn my subject matter. It’s a two-way street.”
Louis doesn’t have the faintest idea what a two-way street is, but he guesses it’s another one of those Muggle idioms to talk about cooperation.
“So what’s your plan? Get the magical world hooked on that camera phone thing of yours?” Harry smiles.
“Not quite. I want to do it through photography, at first at least, to garner interest. I want to capture the magical and Muggle worlds together, using magical and Muggle technology. I want to show where they fuse, what people like me see and feel.”
Louis can imagine it; a private exhibition space in Diagon Alley, iPhones like Harry’s in frames, scrolling through photos of dragons and Quidditch games and televisions and cars. He can imagine Harry in his V neck shirts and a blazer, shaking hands with pureblood art collectors and charming them into buying an iPhone. No magic needed.
“That’s...that’s really cool actually.” Even in the limited light filtering through the uncovered window, he can see Harry’s grin. It’s endearing, the way he emanates excitement talking about this stuff, just like Liam. Louis exhales. He’s going to make the effort. “So will you be taking those photos on your phone?”
Harry seems the tiniest bit surprised when Louis asks this.
“Some. Some on my DSLR too.”
“DSL?” Louis repeats, the strange string of letters twisting his tongue around.
“DSLR, it’s a kind of Muggle camera.” Harry explains.
“Huh. There are different kinds, then.” The fact that Muggles have more than one kind of camera to do the same job, it all seems so Muggle to Louis.
“Many. Most don’t use negatives, so no darkrooms either. Had to learn that here.” Harry shifts too, so he’s facing Louis with one hand cradling his own head. Their conversation turns to all the kinds of cameras Harry’s used, and even though it’s about cameras of all things, it’s probably the deepest conversation Louis has ever had following sex. Harry is certainly the most interesting person he’s ever had sex with - other Quidditch players and faceless men at clubs hardly stick around for more than a smirk and “good luck at the game”. It’s refreshing, really. And he’d be keen to do it again. All of this, again.
But Louis also has to be on the pitch again in less than five hours. So eventually he tears himself from the mattress with a sigh and pads over to his clothes again, pulling them on. He hears Harry sit up on the bed, feels his eyes grazing over his bare back.
“You should get a phone too,” says Harry, more as an afterthought. “It’s faster than sending letters by owl, and how else will I tell you when I’m done unpacking?”
Louis doesn’t hide his smile at the thought that Harry would like to see him again too.
“Okay. But if I do, I want to teach you Quidditch hands-on.” Harry smirks.
“Liam and Niall might have something to say about that. They put a lot of thought into their plans on helping me tonight.”
“Fine, they can come too. But here’s the deal: I get a phone and you teach me about Muggle-ness, and I’ll get you up to scratch on Quidditch. Deal?” Harry’s eyes glance over his uncovered torso again, before meeting Louis’ eyes.
On Thursday, Louis forces Liam to take him to Muggle London. It’s not really ‘force’ as much as it is ‘ask’, because Liam is delighted by the request and his newfound interest in Muggles and plans out an entire sightseeing tour for them. When they finally do make it to something called an apple store, Louis finds it even more mystifying. The massive glass-façade building has absolutely no fruit in sight, and Louis is nearly convinced Liam is having him on until a shop assistant approaches them with a book-sized version of a phone in hand. Muggle shops are weird. He ends up with an iPhone 6 from the foodless fruit shop, which is apparently the same one as Harry. Liam makes him buy a cover for it too, with the ominous advice of “you’ll need it” and the assistant gives them a curious look when Louis pays for it in cash, which really is handing the wad of Muggle money to Liam and ordering him to count it out because he doesn’t understand it.
Liam sets it up for him back at the flat and shows him the messaging app. It’s set out almost like a tiny floating typewriter. After a few attempts, Louis manages to send Harry a hi. The phone buzzes a few moments later.
You got it?! Harry’s reply reads. Louis wonders just how surprised by this Harry really is. A second message comes directly after the first.
What colour is it?
It takes another five minutes for Louis to type out his reply (silver), Liam snickering the entire time. He gets more confident with his third text though, asserting that Harry must now hold up his end of the bargain and come to Quidditch on Saturday.
Harry’s reply arrives in an instant.
I’m a man of my word. see you there x
Louis feels a bubble form in his chest as he stares at the message. He shakes his head and blames it on the effects of Muggle technology before grabbing himself a beer after a hard day’s work.
Harry doesn’t seem at all perturbed by the Serious Business that is Quidditch Lessons because on Saturday he arrives at the park wearing tight, ball-choking skinny jeans and a brilliant orange shirt that is only buttoned halfway up and shamelessly gapes open to reveal his chest. He’s got enough sense to have pulled his hair back into a loose bun and carries a camera around his neck, looking every bit like one of those arty-type Muggles Louis spotted back in London. Evidently, Harry has no respect for Louis’ dignity.
He sits himself on the grass between Louis and Liam, placing the camera carefully beside him and tilting his chin up to the sky to enjoy the warmth of the evening sun licking his face. Louis watches him from behind his sunglasses.
“All right there, Harold?” The corners of Harry’s lips twitch upwards.
“I love summer.” He replies. His voice is low and draws out his words as he stretches his arms further back, exposing more of his chest, “The afternoon light is stunning, really perfect for outdoor shots. And it’s warm, don’t have to wear a shirt…”
“I hate to break it to you, but it is officially autumn now.” Liam lilts, glancing at Harry’s chest curiously before having the decency to avoid looking at it again. Harry shrugs.
“As long as I’m not wearing a jacket Liam, it’ll remain as summer.” Liam barks out a laugh.
“You sound like Tommo.” Louis lets out an involuntary yelp at his name, most definitely not spying on Harry’s open chest from behind his sunnies.
Harry spends the next twenty minutes blatantly ignoring the true purpose of the afternoon and instead downloading “essential” apps onto Louis’ phone. Something called Instagram is the first of them. Liam considers this a worthy interruption of their Quidditch time, explaining this to be where Muggles put up photos for each other to see and comment on and, he adds, is a great way for Louis to get involved too. Louis resists the urge to roll his eyes. The whole thing seems a bit pointless. Why would anyone want to look at your lunch? Or your dogs? Or the thousandth photo of your face? Harry creates an account for him anyway.
“Who would even want to follow me on Instagram?” He complains, though making no effort to take the phone back. He rests his head on Harry’s shoulder and watches him tap several blue “follow” buttons, whatever that means.
“The only Muggleborns I know are you and Liam and Sophia. And they see my face all the time. I still have to owl letters and pictures to my mum and sisters.” Louis chooses to ignore look he knows Niall is giving them and lifts his head slightly to gauge Harry’s expression.
Harry snaps a photo of them from the low angle he holds the phone at, making them both look like they have triple chins. It’s truly awful, but Harry seems quite pleased with it as he fiddles around with the colours in the editing mode. Louis watches his fingers glide over the screen and turn their faces from black and white to Irish national team green. He shudders.
“Niall could get one too,” Harry says, glancing up at Niall who looks amused by the suggestion, “and there are loads of wizards like me on there. You guys could become Quidditstagrammers.”
Quidditstagrammers. Louis suspects that the Ministry of Magic would have something to say about that, since International Statute of Secrecy that decrees the magical world must hide away from Muggles and all. That is something Harry and Liam don’t seem the least bit perturbed by.
“You’re just lucky I’m highly interested in the wonders of Muggle life,” Louis replies, poking Harry’s bare rib cage with a grin. Liam makes an indignant noise.
“I’ve tried to teach you football for months!” This is true, but Louis got bored quickly of the no-hands rule and instead spent the rest of the games casting charms on the ball to first avoid Liam and then attack him at random intervals. Harry raises an eyebrow.
“He tried to tell a Quidditch player to not use his hands, Harry. I will not be so disrespected!”
“Speaking of which, I think it’s about time we start.” Niall jumps to his feet and moves to the pile of brooms at the centre of their semicircle. He tosses Louis’ broom over, which he catches deftly though he’s forced to lift his head from Harry’s shoulder. Harry sighs and shuts off Louis’ phone.
“I have played Quidditch before, Niall. I’m not completely clueless,” his deep voice draws out his exasperation, which only makes Louis grin more manically. He extricates himself from Harry, a rather difficult feat really, and stands over him spinning the broom on its axis with one finger.
“Ah but you promised Haz! Two way street! Two way street!”
Harry quirks a smile and sighs again only slightly more exaggeratedly, accepting the broomstick that Liam hands him. It occurs to Louis that he’s never actually asked Harry about his flying ability, much less seen it. It’s the downfall of growing up with magic and spending his childhood scaring his mother by flying over the house on her broom, it doesn’t think to question his ability.
“You’re okay with flying, aren’t you?” Louis whispers, stepping forward so only Harry can hear. His eyes dart over Harry’s face watching closely for any sign of hesitation, but none materialises. In fact, Harry’s lips form a smirk.
“It’s been a while, but I’ll manage.” Harry knocks the broom with his foot so it lines up between his legs, the shaft resting against his dick, “It’s just like riding, isn’t it?”
Niall hoots from above them.
“Oi! Get your bloody arses up here!” So Louis forgoes a witty response and winks at Harry as he straddles his broom and kicks off to join Niall.
Harry shares a look with Liam that Louis doesn’t quite catch the meaning of and they drop their phones and glasses onto the grass. Louis watches Harry wrap his legs around the smooth wood and float up to join them in the air. His handling isn’t as precise as Louis and Niall’s, but at least he’s not falling off the end. He seem to be a decent enough flyer though: good balance, even if he has the poor technique of crossing his ankles and tucking them underneath himself. Several opportunities where Louis can help with that flash through in his mind.
Liam joins them with a Quaffle tucked under one arm and his other hand holding tight on his broom handle. He’s never been as comfortable in the air as he is on the ground, but Louis has seen him do an impressive no-handed loop-de-loop on more than one occasion. If they can get Liam up to standard, Harry will be a breeze.
“Right boys, how does two-on-two sound?”
Harry wasn’t lying when he said he’d played Quidditch before, because he doesn’t fall off the broom the moment the Quaffle comes flying at him. But it doesn’t mean he plays well.
Louis makes an allowance for the fact that this is his and Niall’s careers, but Harry has a general gracelessness about him that can’t be attributed to a lack of practice. He holds one hand on his broom while trying to throw the Quaffle with the other and proceeds to lose grip on the both of them and somersault forwards with a yelp. Louis tries not to laugh too hard as he speeds over to steady Harry. He plants one hand on the broomstick between Harry’s thighs to stop it moving and rests the other on the small of Harry’s back to right him. Surprisingly, the sexual nature of their position doesn’t immediately occur to him. It takes Harry’s eyes flickering from Louis’ hand between his legs to his slightly puckered lips and a gigantic smirk carving onto his face before Louis catches on. Never someone to ignore an opportunity when it presents itself so perfectly, Louis squeezes Harry’s thigh as he withdraws his hand.
“Use these. Grip with your thighs so you can leave your hands for more important things.” Harry says nothing, his gaze following Louis. Louis simpers as he moves away, “Show me how well you ride!”
Harry plays the remainder of the game hands-free.
They call it quits when the sun dips below the horizon, Liam and Niall leading Harry and Louis by four goals. Despite their defeat, Louis deems Harry the best Quidditch teammate he’s ever had, ignoring Niall’s scandalised protest. Liam suggests that Louis take a photo of the four of them with his new phone, and after a few attempts, it becomes his first post on Instagram, #quidditch.
The next morning Louis wakes up to twenty likes and a text from Harry.
My thighs hate you x
He decides immediately that he wants to do it again.
It becomes a thing after that, Saturday evening Quidditch at the park.
Louis takes to his new Muggle thing like a dolphin to water (“Fish to water,” Harry corrects). He texts Harry several times a day, mostly emojis, some funny things that happened at training, or just a hello. He remembers to reply to Liam every other day. (In his defence, Louis works with Liam, so he sees him nearly every day anyway.) Niall has started wearing a knowing smirk every time Louis’ phone so much as buzzes, and Liam becomes concerned enough with his data usage that he sits him down to explain phone bills during one of their breaks at training.
His follower count climbs on Instagram too, Nick Grimshaw of all people among them. #quidditch proves quite popular.
And Louis has also visited Harry several times since The Golden Snitch. As promised, they bang on his couch to celebrate unpacking all of his boxes, and the day that Harry finally buys a coffee table for his flat, he rides Louis on top of it. He remains coy when Louis asks him if he really did cast a Covering Charm over that bloody window, which still has no curtains over it, but Harry just grins and turns on Made in Chelsea. Louis wonders idly if Harry has a bit of an exhibitionist kink.
They’re sprawled across Harry’s couch one afternoon when Louis finally gets around to the relationship talk.
He’s lying practically on top of Harry, his fingers tracing over the pair of swallows adorned there with Harry’s arm wrapped tight around his waist to stop him from tumbling to the floor. They’re shirtless and a bit sweaty, lips puffy from kissing, and Harry’s hair is tucked under the cushion anchoring his head to the couch. Louis loves this couch. There’s a lot of great memories that come with it.
Harry’s long legs trap Louis’ between his, preventing him from struggling, while he tells Louis a story from when he was a photography assistant. Louis lost the entire point of this story five minutes ago (around when the Russian lady lost her kittens), tuning out Harry’s actual words and instead listening to the rumble of his voice through his chest and against his ear, letting it wash over him. Louis hadn’t even arrived under false pretences tonight, he’d simply texted Harry asking if he was free and Harry sent back a For you pal, of course x. That’s more or less how he’d come to at Harry’s flat most nights this week.
He realises that Harry’s stopped talking after only about two minutes of pure silence.
“What?” Louis giggles, pushing himself up onto his elbows and hovering over Harry. His heart has started catapulting itself against the bars of his ribcage, though hopefully Harry hasn’t noticed. Harry keeps staring at him, his mouth pressing into a small pout.
“You weren’t listening.” He says with a hint of accusation. Not that Harry would ever accuse him of anything seriously, because it’s Harry, and Louis was listening, maybe not to the exact words or storyline, but he got the gist of it.
“Course I was! All about the lady in Russia and her dying cats.”
“Mmm?” Harry raises an eyebrow, “What were their names?” Louis rolls his eyes and presses his lips to Harry’s chest, just beneath the bird he was tracing,
“Do you really expect me to remember that? What the hell am I going to do with that knowledge, Harold?” He dips his head and swirls his tongue around Harry’s nipple.
“Recount this story to your adoring fans, obviously. You weren’t listening.” Harry’s voice doesn’t break from its semi-serious tone yet, but Louis can hear the smile behind it. He crawls down Harry’s chest and scratches lightly at his tummy.
“To be fair Harry, you do talk a lot of shit.” Harry’s hand trails down to Louis’ arse and covers it with his massive palm.
“You like my shit-talking.”
“I like it better when you’re shit-talking and playing with my arse,” Louis growls. Then Harry tucks his fingers under Louis’ chin and brings his lips to meet his as his other hand clenches around his arse and everything else leaves Louis’ brain for a bit.
Like most things in their relationship, it begins disguised as education, in one form or another.
Gogglebox has just gone to an advert when Louis thinks of it again and asks if Harry has any other students in this Muggle culture class of his. Harry raises an eyebrow and fumbles for the remote to mute the television.
“Nope,” he replies, when the flat returns to silence. He glances over at Louis, tucked into the other end of the small couch under their shared blanket, his feet propped on Harry’s lap. Louis rubs his toe on Harry’s chest.
“Do you want to keep it that way?” He asks, and Harry laughs.
“You can just ask me to be your boyfriend, Louis. Like normal people.” Louis scoffs, slightly offended by this.
“Fine.” Louis sighs, drawing out the i and scooting over to Harry. He sits himself on Harry’s lap, blocking every view of the television and looks into his bright green eyes.
“Harry Styles, how do you feel about becoming a WAG?”
They miss the rest of Gogglebox.
Sophia joins them for their last Saturday Quidditch game, the week before the League matches begin. By now it’s truly autumn and it’s growing cooler and darker every week. The latter half of their games are played under one of Niall’s quite remarkable Lumos Maxima charms that illuminates the park in a yellow moonlight and makes Louis feel like he’s flying in outer space, up amongst the stars. Harry has even been forced to start wearing a jacket over his V necks, which makes the whole thing more mournful for Louis.
The thing is, the start of the League season means the end for these informal games. While Manchester doesn’t play every match, Harry’s shooting all of them, so his next three months’ worth of weekends are going to be spent working. He’s definitely ready now, Louis thinks. Last week he named Niall’s Wronski Feint on sight and listed every member of the Manchester team by name and position. Niall whooped and dragged him into a hug, Liam patted his back, and Louis fucked him into coffee table so hard he still has bruises on his hips later that night.
Harry’s already there when Louis and Niall arrive. He’s lying on his back spread-eagled on the grass, so still that at first Louis wonders if he’s fallen asleep. Then a smile quirks the corners of Harry’s lips upwards.
“The last one, hey?” He says. He’s got a camera sitting either side of him, which is both unusual and completely normal for Harry. One is his magical camera, antique-looking with its maroon bellows next to his sleek DSLR. Louis’ rather impressed with himself for remembering that particular string of letters after Harry showed him how to take shots with it the other week. Harry seems to read Louis’ mind, “I’m gonna try to get in some shots with both today, practice before the match on Saturday.”
Niall drops the bundle of broomsticks he’s carrying on the ground next to Harry and slumps next to him. The news of Louis and Harry’s relationship actually proved to be rather uneventful for anyone interested, except for the industrial-strength Silencing Charm Niall took pains to cast over Louis’ room.
“I keep forgetting that you’re our paparazzi on the field. Make sure you shoot me from me good side.” Harry doesn’t move a muscle, but his smile widens.
“Of course, Niall. You know you’re my favourite player in the League.”
“Hey! And what about me?” Louis cries, falling to the ground next to Harry’s head. His eyes flicker to Harry’s lips as he hovers over him.
“Hi,” he whispers before leaning down and pressing his lips to Harry’s. Harry smiles into the kiss and whispers back a hello. Then Louis hears the loud snap that announces Liam and Sophia’s arrival by Apparation, and he hides his stupid gigantic grin on his face by turning to yell a greeting at them. The grin swiftly drops from his face at the sight of the Ireland jersey Sophia is sporting over her running tights. Traitor, Louis thinks, while Niall cheers.
The only problem with the larger turn-out is that there are now five of them, which doesn’t sort into two-on-two, and while the obvious answer is three vs. two, it still leaves the question of how to split it. Harry has been Louis’ teammate at every match thus far, and while they work excellently together, Sophia’s Ireland jersey is most definitely a challenge and he’s out for blood. Harry’s improved beyond sight since they started this ridiculous plan, but they’ll get crushed by a Liam/Sophia/Niall trio.
Sophia is rather gifted at Quidditch, though she only learnt how to play at Hogwarts. Louis knows that technically she plays as a Seeker, but since backyard Quidditch rarely includes the Snitch, she makes a fair Chaser too.
Louis points this out as he watches Harry sit up and run his hands through his curls, pulling back the threads from his temples into a bun. For the briefest of seconds, he imagines his hands in the place of Harry’s. Niall suggests a couple’s match, eyeing him and Harry, and Louis barks out a laugh, dropping an arm around Harry’s shoulders and dragging his head to his chest.
“Yeah, sure Niall, me and my protégé here will wipe the floor with you.” Harry smiles.
“Actually, I might sit this one out,” he says, with the additional excuse of, “bum’s a bit sore,” after a glance at Louis. Niall mimes gagging and stands to collect the brooms. Louis cards Harry’s hair through his fingers.
“Are you sure, Haz? We can do three vs two.” Harry shakes his head.
“No, I want to be photographer today,” he urges. Louis eyes him cautiously a moment, before pecking his lips and straddling his broom.
It seems that in the absence of a couple’s match, Niall has demanded that he and Sophia be on a team together. Irishness and all. All of them are up in the air by the time Louis joins them; Sophia’s tying her hair into a ponytail as she balances side-saddle on her broom, which in itself is rather impressive, amused by Niall and Liam’s debate over the teams. Must be nice to be in such high demand, Louis muses. Liam holds out his arms as Louis approaches them.
“It’s all good guys, I’ve got me mate Tommo here right?” Louis nods and makes an “I’m watching you” gesture at Niall and Sophia. Then Harry calls over if they’re ready from the ground, and tosses the Quaffle up into the air to start the game.
Louis can hear every snap of Harry’s various cameras as they play above him, though he refuses to let himself look down. It’d be a terrible habit to get into, he reminds himself the third time he catches himself doing so. Harry’s going to be at their League matches for all this season, and Louis can hardly afford to lose his concentration staring after Harry at those. It proves to be a mighty lesson in self-restraint.
Later, when Liam’s got possession of the Quaffle and is leading both Sophia and Niall on a wild chase down the length of the park, Louis does sneak a glance down at Harry again and he doubles over his broom with a hand clutching his chest. Harry looks equally beautiful and ridiculous down there. He’s taking shots with his iPhone now, one hand cupped around the lens to block the glare of the receding sun and the other holding the iPhone steady with two fingers. His hair is pulled back now in a ponytail, which swings around as he twists his body to follow the brooms with the lens. The two other cameras hang around his neck, each nested in the double layer of his V neck and blazer, because even now he refuses to button his shirts the whole way up. His hardened nipples betray his insistence that he doesn’t feel the cold. But despite all this - or perhaps because of it -he looks completely, utterly, and purely within his element.
Louis can feel his heart soar like the Quaffle that’s hurtling directly towards him.
His reflexes are well-trained enough to catch it before it makes contact with his head, but Louis is still propelled backwards from the strength of Liam’s pass. Jesus. Liam could be a bloody good Beater with that arm. He lets out the breath that caught in his throat when he nearly got decapitated as Niall shoots past him a foot away, snatching the Quaffle clean from his grasp. Louis yells half-heartedly after him and looks back down to the grass, where Harry’s now watching him, shaking his head, long hair swinging.
This is it, he muses. This is what life could be like. Playing Quidditch with his mate, his teammates, with Harry in the stands shooting and cheering while wearing a Manchester jersey, maybe even one with Louis’ name on it. Harry working at Quidditch Weekly. That would be perfect, their schedules would be very agreeable. Could they visit Muggle London between training and work, he wonders. They could travel too, maybe. A trip to France via that underwater train for a long weekend. Longer trips between seasons, even.
Niall and Sophia smash them. Louis blames Irish luck and chooses not to hear Liam muttering under his breath about distractions. He hardly cares when Harry wraps his arms around him.
Louis doesn’t see Harry properly for nearly three weeks afterwards.
They’re both hammered by work. Training has picked up for Louis as Manchester’s first match approaches, and Harry’s been gallivanting around the country on various assignments between the weekly League matches, so most of his downtime is spent either sleeping or in the darkroom. Though Louis sleeps over whenever he doesn’t have training the following morning, neither of them is often up for more than lazy snogging and falling asleep in front of the television. Wild young sex maniacs, they are.
Finally, Friday the week before Manchester’s opening game, they find a free night.
Technically Harry invites all of them over that night. Then it transpires that Liam and Sophia have a date night planned in Muggle London so they can’t make it, and Niall begs off to go out for drinks with a group of model friends.
“Models?” Louis repeats when Niall relays this to him. His mug of tea is paused a centimetre from his open lips as he stands behind their breakfast counter. He doesn’t mean to sound as incredulous as he does, but Niall looks just as smug. This is impressive considering he’s currently sunken into their couch with a bowl of something oozing with cheese balanced on his naked belly and The Daily Prophet’s sports section hovering in front of him.
“Yeah. Babs and a few of her friends are in London this weekend.”
“Since when do you hang out with models?” From across the room, Louis can see Niall’s smirk grow.
“Funny what winning the World Cup does for ya, inn’t Louis?” Louis glowers and flicks his wand at Niall, watching with glee as the bowl flips over and covers his joggers with cheese. Niall yelps and scrambles up the couch, but doesn’t allow Louis the satisfaction of looking the least bit annoyed.
“I figured you and Harry would want to catch up just yourselves anyway,” he adds with a grin.
This is true, but Louis is hardly one to sexile his mate (yet another term he picked up from Made in Chelsea). He protests weakly and when Niall insists again, Louis is pleased all the same. After spending what felt like every free moment with Harry before the season started, he’s feeling the withdrawal of attention and Muggle TV and sex. They text when they can. Harry still messages Louis blowjob jokes and replies to every dirty text quickly, but it’s not nearly enough. The yellow smiley face after the three water droplets and hand emoji feel inadequate.
What he doesn’t expect is Harry to be so off when he lets Louis into his flat that night.
Louis arrives with a bottle of wine he picked up especially from the off-licence, where he counted out the Muggle money himself and everything, he assures Harry. Harry gives him a small smile that Louis takes to be pride and presses a short kiss to Louis’ lips. There’s Indian food steaming on the coffee table, which is properly set with plates, serving dishes, and wine glasses and everything. Harry still hasn’t gotten dining table yet, even though it’s nearing three months now since he moved in. Then Louis notices the thick midnight blue material draped over the window.
“You got curtains!” He exclaims, kicking off his shoes next to the couch and flopping onto it. “I’m disappointed Harold! How will the neighbours know you’re getting properly fucked now?”
“I think they’ll still suspect. Not even that industrial-strength Silencing Charm Niall cast here can gag you.” And well, Louis is loud during sex. Louis’ eyes float over the room, cataloguing anything other changes Harry’s made without his notice.
They eat their dinner on the beloved couch together, sitting at opposite ends with their legs tangled in the middle so they can balance their plates on their laps. It’s not so much the middle really, since Harry’s legs reach up to Louis’ ribs while Louis’ only reach Harry’s knees, but it’s still very comfortable.
But Harry is definitely off tonight. On the surface, he’s just being Harry. His fingers still graze Louis’ legs for no particular reason, and his thumb catches on Louis’ hand when he hands over his refilled wine glass. But his laughs cut off half a beat short, his smile never quite reaching his eyes. It’s not long before Louis finds out the cause.
“I got offered a permanent job at Quidditch Weekly,” he announces while Louis swirls his naan through the remainder of his paneer tikka masala, tracing a picture of a dick in the sauce. Louis’ hand freezes, and he blinks twice at Harry, processing this news.
Harry. Quidditch Weekly. Permanent. He tosses aside his plate and tackles Harry.
“That’s fucking brilliant Haz!” He cries and he launches the entirety of his bodyweight onto Harry as he throws his arms around him, propelling them both into the arm of the couch. Harry gasps as they collide with the arm and elbows Louis in the chest, winding them both, but Louis could hardly care. “Look at you! A proper Quidditch photographer! Harry, I’m so proud of you!”
He feels Harry’s arms wind around his waist tentatively, a flat palm pressing against the small of his back. Louis tries not to let his smile falter as he pulls away.
“What?” he laughs, his eyes searching across Harry’s face. Harry frowns, wrinkles creasing his forehead under the wayward curls. His eyes avoid Louis’, falling to his lap where by some miracle Louis hasn’t knocked over the food there.
“I thought you’d react like that.” Louis hears him mutter. He feels his gut twist itself into a knot.
“React like what?” Harry shifts away from him, removing the plate and placing it on the coffee table amongst the glasses of wine and the stack of DVDs he compiled for Louis to choose from tonight.
“I’m not taking the job, Louis.”
Harry’s sat up now, his broad shoulders turned away from Louis, his hands clasped together on top of his knees. Louis can see his fingers rubbing together, silver rings sliding over one another.
“You’re not taking the job?” He repeats, his voice the slightest bit uneven. His tummy feels like jelly. Harry shakes his head, “Why not?”
Harry sighs heavily, exasperated.
“You don’t understand Louis. I know you’re trying to understand Muggle things, but you just don’t get this. You were brought up here. Everything in your life is here, in the magical world. Your family, interests, your job. But I wasn’t. I don’t want to give up half my life, I can’t spend the rest of it here.”
Of course, they’ve talked about this before. Harry mentioned it the very day they met, the second time round. Of course he wants to keep ties to both, of course he wants to live in both, but is that all really possible? Working at Quidditch Weekly, covering the League, six months out the year he’d have significant downtime for other interests. He could build his profile as a Quidditch photographer, branch out from there.
Louis pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to organise his thoughts.
“Is this a Muggleborn thing?” He asks warily. Harry flinches.
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” he snaps, turning his head enough that Louis sees his profile and the thin unforgiving grimace his lips have formed, “And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t reduce it to another “Muggleborn thing.”
Fuck. That had been rather insensitive. Louis swallows.
“I’m sorry. That was...that was rude. I just don’t want you to fuck up by missing this opportunity.”
“What did you expect me to do, Louis? Shoot matches and training days for the rest of my career? Working there now, I’ve barely had a chance to see you, much less check in with Muggle London. Did you expect me to follow you and Niall to every match with my Manchester jersey and press pass? You’re fooling yourself.”
“Of course not, I-” Louis trails off. What hadhe expected of Harry? Harry twists around more, his whole upper body contorted so Louis can see face fully. His mouth, his pretty lips, are pulled tightly downwards, his eyes flash with annoyance.
“And I’m not fucking up,” adds Harry, his voice steel, “it’s not like I said no without having something else planned.”
Louis chews on his lip. No, of course not. Harry’s smarter than that.
“It’s nice to know your feelings on the subject,” he finishes darkly.
“I’m sorry.” Is all Louis can say, though Harry doesn’t respond, just collects his plate and carries it to the sink. Louis follows him, after clearing the mess he made of his dinner on the couch with a flick of his wand.
Harry dumps the plate in the sink and grips the bench with both hands. Louis watches him for a moment, his broad shoulders heaving with each deep breath, shifting under the thin fabric of his tee.
“I’m sorry,” Louis repeats, “you’re right. I don’t understand, not really. I guess I...I got this idea in my head of us both working in Quidditch you know, having work calendars that lined up and fantasies of travelling during the breaks between seasons and…” He huffs out something between a breath and a laugh, “that was rather selfish of me. I don’t want you to give up anything.”
He steps up and places a hand lightly in the dip between Harry’s shoulder blades. Like gas hissing from a balloon, Harry’s shoulders collapse. He stays quiet, but doesn’t recoil when Louis slips his hand from Harry’s back and wraps them around his broad chest instead, linking them in front of his ribs. He can feel his heartbeat under his palms. He kisses Harry’s shoulder blade.
“Tell me what you’ve got planned,” he says with his mouth a centimetre from Harry’s back. Harry brings up a hand and covers Louis’ with it.
“Do you know Nick Grimshaw is a half-blood?” He asks. Louis didn’t, he rarely keeps track of people’s blood purities, celebrities even less, never needed to know if they were brought up with magic, without, or with exposure to both. Evidently, Harry does, “He’s designing a fashion line that he wants to sell in both the magical and Muggle markets. He needs a photographer with experience in both kinds of technology.” Louis remembers the quiff in question dragging Harry away to meet some friends.
“And that’s you?” He can practically feel Harry’s grin emanating through his chest.
“That’s me,” he says. He releases Louis’s hands and turns around so Louis can crowd him against the bench. “My contract with Quidditch Weekly was only for this League season anyway. Seemed like perfect timing.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about any of this?”
“I suspected you’d tell me to take it, and until Nick got the green light on Monday, I didn’t have a good reason not to.”
“Even though it wasn’t what you wanted,” Louis voices his thought aloud. Harry hadn’t been wrong either, because Louis had done exactly that. He wished he’d known. “I’m sorry,” he says again, wrapping his arms around Harry again into a hug. He’s just feeling very cuddly today.
Louis pulls away after several long moments with a grin.
“Okay. Movie. I want a movie and then I wanna fuck with those damn curtains finally closed.”
Louis grips the shaft of his broom tight in his palm, running his hand up and down the smooth length as he stares at the closed changing room door. He can hear the rumble of the crowd clear. Even though it’s still only the quarter-finals, the stadium is packed. Admittedly a good portion of Manchester fans are really Irish fans at heart, and Louis can practically smell the Irish green lurking in the crowd amongst the Puddlemere blue and Manchester scarlet, but he’s hardly one to talk about excessive team loyalty.
Niall plants an arm around Louis’ shoulders and pulls him into a side-hug.
“Nervous or horny?” He queries, and Louis scoffs.
“You’re practically wanking off your broom.” Niall points to Louis’ hand running up and down the broom with increasing speed. “Do I need to have a talk with Harry?”
Louis laughs. Unfortunately the Manchester team is required at the stadium about four hours before press and any fans are, and Louis hasn’t seen Harry since he sucked him off in bed this morning as a pre-game memento. Maybe he is a little jittery. Pre-game nerves and all that. Normal stuff. Harry will be in the press box now on the west side of the stadium about twenty floors up. Not quite the VIP seats Louis offered him, but Harry insisted that he was here for work and not pleasure, so he put on his press pass and stowed away his WAG tag in his camera bag. They really do need to think of a more inclusive name.
“I’m being well cared for, thank you very much Niall,” replies Louis, releasing his broom and fiddling with the collar of his red Quidditch robes.
Now that he knows Harry’s days as official photographer/supporter are numbered, he almost feels the urge to put on a show at his matches. For the memorable shots and all. Harry met with Nick Grimshaw on Thursday and came to Louis’ flat giddy with excitement. Perfect timing indeed, Nick hopes to get the look book shot early in the new year, after League season.
Liam appears and plants a hand on each of their shoulders.
“Ready boys? I know we are. We’ve prepared for this, we’ve just gotta focus now. We’ve gotta be the Quaffle.” Technically Liam’s not even required to be here for matches, since he’s a personal trainer to the team and not a coach, but Louis suspects he enjoys wishing good luck to every member of the team individually anyway, just to reassure them that they have at least one person supporting them out there. Two, since Sophia’s down here too - how did she even get in here? - with slightly fewer words on the sweet side, and warning them about the next Payno Plan should they lose this match.
They’re summoned out to the pitch eight minutes later. Louis’ eyes take a moment to adjust to the blinding light of the stadium, the airspace lit by the hundreds of Lumos Maxima charms cast around the stands in addition to the camera flashes coming from every possible angle, the most from the west side of the stadium. In a stadium this big, he can’t possibly hope to spot Harry in the crowd. He imagines him standing in the press box, wearing his sheer black shirt probably, since they’re banned from wearing team colours and appearing biased there. Maybe next season he’ll be in the VIP boxes in a Manchester jersey. Maybe.
Louis wraps his legs around his broom and follows his team into the air, hovering in place around the middle of the pitch. Despite the crowd, the players in the air are silent, making only the smallest movements on their brooms, itching for the whistle of the ref.
The ref stands on the midline underneath them, the Quaffle in one hand, the whistle readied between her lips. Louis’ eyes follow her.
The whistle blows. The ref throws the Quaffle into the air. Louis’ hand reaches it first.