"I've figured it out," Louis proclaimed in the middle of a very good pizza (which they had had for breakfast and lunch, but could you ever really have enough? Actually Harry was a little sick of it, but if it was what Louis wanted, that was what he was going to get).
"Fyuh wuh ouh?" he asked through a massive bite.
"How to get you to wear a belt, and keep your trousers up," Louis replied.
Harry swallowed. "I don't like belts. And you're one to talk, you practically showed your entire arse onstage the other day."
"Because I was wearing your trousers," Louis said, pointing at him with his pizza.
"I didn't realise it was such a big deal for you," Harry said. He wasn't going to ask Louis not to wear his trousers. He loved it when Louis wore his clothes and they came back all Louis-shaped.
"It'll be a big deal for you too, angel, trust me." Louis raised his eyebrows but declined to expand upon that statement, and left Harry to wonder until after dinner.
He was stretched out on the couch, barely listening to the telly, almost asleep, when something hit him in the chest. He jumped nearly out of his skin before he saw what had attacked him – a little bag. Agent Provocateur. Louis smiled narrowly down at him.
"Go on, open it up," he said with that extra bit of smugness that meant Harry was going to be doing something mad soon.
He poked into the bag and pulled out a pair of underwear, little boy-short things that were black satin on top and black lace on bottom. "What the hell, Louis," he asked unevenly.
"They're for you," Louis said. "I got the largest size, hopefully they fit."
"You want me to wear them?" His voice cracked, and he guessed it was a testament to how much he was used to obeying Louis that he didn't throw the knickers at him, and instead stood and began to slide off his jeans and boxer briefs. He was a bit grateful his belly was very full, because without that bit of discomfort he might have got really hard straight away. As it was, he was a little hard when he held up the knickers and examined them to see which was the front and which was the back.
Louis didn't answer for a second, and Harry turned his head to see Louis leaned against the wall, arms over his chest, watching him. "Yeah," he muttered, then, "of course. Why else would I have bought them. Keep up, curly."
"I don't think these are going to be comfortable," he said dubiously, but he slid them on anyway. The lace wasn't scratchy, like he'd thought it would be. It was soft skimming up his legs, a little ticklish on the insides of his thighs, and by the time he'd got them up over his dick and his arse, he was definitely more than a little hard. He started to turn away from Louis, but it wasn't as if Louis hadn't seen him with an erection before, and under the occasional strange circumstance even, like the time he'd got hard whilst they made him watch Saw. He hadn't even been paying attention to the movie because he'd hidden his face in Louis's leg and Louis had petted him and stroked his hair until suddenly he was hard as a rock, and then Niall had said, "Harry, why have you got a boner?" and they teased him forever about his amputation fetish.
"Do they fit?" Louis asked, but it was obvious he was taking the piss because they were never going to fit properly, they were girls' underwear and he wasn't a girl. The satin crotch was just a scrap and barely covered his balls, and he had to tuck his dick in sideways because there was no pouching in the front like there was in boys' pants.
"Not really," he said, sliding his fingers under the leg bands to straighten everything out. "But they feel kind of nice."
"They're called lace cheeky pants," Louis said with a smirk.
"They do show about seventy per cent of my arse," he admitted, twisting to look. He didn't have much of an arse really, which was how the whole problem with the trousers began, so he expected the pants to make a nonexistent situation even worse, but actually the lace was sort of...enhancing. The magic of girls' clothes. He did love them so.
"Well, they fit. Good," Louis said brusquely. "That's what you'll be wearing tomorrow night."
Tomorrow night, when they played at the O2. In front of a lot of people. A lot of a lot of a lot of people. He sat down without pulling the pants off.
"You all right?" Louis asked. He never asked anymore if Harry was willing or able to do the things Louis told him to do. He'd learnt that Harry would simply not do them if he didn't feel he could, but that had only happened twice and they both had to acknowledge that Harry couldn't do the more extreme stuff in front of his mum, he just couldn't. The other instance they never talked about. Otherwise, if Louis told him to do something, Harry obeyed.
"Fine," he said weakly. He was getting that weird feeling he sometimes got when Louis asked him to do something that was really difficult. It was like his thoughts, rather than coming into his head and rising and falling like normal, were burrowing deep down, taking with them the ability to talk or focus.
"Come here, Haz," Louis said, pulling him to his feet and sliding the knickers down. He didn't bother to try to wrangle Harry back into his clothes, just helped him out of his shirt and led him to his bedroom for a lie-down. He turned on the telly, curled up behind Harry, and stroked his back and his hair in long, smooth sweeps like he would a cat. Niall always asked him why he did what Louis told him, even the things he clearly didn't want to do, and Harry couldn't tell him the truth, which was that it felt good. He couldn't simply say well, Niall, the best feeling in the world to me is when Louis tells me to do something so risky that if I were ever caught, I'd be humiliated in front of the entire world. Because he couldn't explain it to himself, either. He trusted that Louis would never actually let him be harmed, but the very possibility of it, the knowledge of his obedience and Louis's total dominion over him, acted as some kind of trigger and there he'd be, in Louis's arms, shivering at how good it felt to be held by him.
They had to be careful. Sometimes it happened when it shouldn't. There were more than a few interviews where he'd completely lost his words, more than a few shows where he struggled and had to pull himself back because Louis had pushed him too hard. It never happened anymore at the lyric changes, even the really naughty ones, except sometimes Harry looked to Louis for his approval and Louis looked at him like he'd just turned everything to gold and Harry would forget everything except the fact that he'd done well.
He actually couldn't remember the first time it had happened, but it was probably onstage. The bossing thing, though, that was always there. Louis said, "Bet you won't," and Harry worked hard to prove that yes, yes he would, and eventually they both seemed to come to the realisation that there was nothing he wouldn't do if Louis told him to.
There was the one time, the bad time, though. One night after a show, Harry was so restless, physically and otherwise, felt like his skin was too tight and he wanted to break something. He bit Liam and Liam let him, which was annoying when he wanted resistance. Zayn only smiled lazily at him and petted his hair and he liked that, of course, but not as much as he wanted someone to play with him.
"Haz," Louis said from the bathroom door, and Harry was relieved because of course Louis would find something for him to do. He went in and saw Louis was sort of dressed up like he was going out.
"We going somewhere?" he asked.
"Yeah, you and me and Niall, out dancing," Louis said with a mischievous light in his eye, and Harry knew something was about to go down.
He changed clothes and let Louis play around with his hair until he was satisfied, and then they went out to a club Niall had heard of from one of the security guys at the show. When they were in Louis got him a drink and sat him down at the bar and whispered, "All right then, here's what you're going to do," and he shivered with pleasure because yes, exactly, that was exactly what he needed. "I'm going to pick out a girl, and you're going to chat her up, take her up to the room, and do whatever she wants."
That was when it all sort of went to shit, because even though he smiled and nodded and said yes Louis, he suddenly wanted to say no Louis, and that had never happened before. And the itchy feeling under his skin turned to fire, and he almost felt like he'd swallowed rocks when Louis found a girl who was exactly the kind of girl Harry might have picked out on his own, long-legged with a fantastic bum and lovely dark red hair, and shoved Harry toward her.
"Hi," Harry said with what he thought was a smile, and he asked her if she'd like a drink, and he asked her questions, and he told her she was very pretty, and she said thank you and that he was very sweet, and every time he looked across the bar Louis was watching and nodded at him approvingly. That nod was one of the best things in his life, the thing that meant he was doing it right, whatever it was, but not just then. Just then the nod meant he was moving deeper and deeper into a completely different kind of territory, not a pleasant one at all but one that made his stomach twist and hurt and he felt sick and the lights were too bright and he didn't want to do this.
It took about forty-five minutes for her to say, "You're a bit shy, aren't you?" and ask if he'd like to go somewhere more private, and he fumbled in his pockets and said he had a room if she wanted to go back with him, although she'd have to follow at a discreet distance.
But they got to the room and he was almost doubled over and she asked, "Are you all right? God, are you sick?" and he couldn't breathe, and he felt like he was about to cry.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm sorry," he said, holding onto the door frame. "I don't feel very well, sorry."
"It's okay," she said, patting him, "do you want me to get someone?"
"No," he choked out, "I just, I'll be fine, I think I just need to lie down."
"All right, don't worry," she said, "some other time maybe."
After he'd apologised about a hundred times and given her his mobile number – maybe even his real one, he wasn't sure – she left and he let himself into his room and was crying before he'd even hit the bed. His fingers shook so badly he could barely get his clothes off, but they were making him feel as if he might suffocate, and his chest had loosened a little once he was naked and under the sheets. But he still couldn't stop crying, hoarse and deep and horrible, like something was clawing its way out of him, even when the door opened and Louis slipped in.
"Jesus, Harry," Louis muttered, and climbed into the bed with him. "What's wrong, hmm?"
"I don't know, I don't know, I'm sorry," he gasped, and Louis gathered him in until he was wrapped close and warm and tight.
"Poor Haz," Louis whispered, petting him.
"I'm sorry," he said again into Louis's shirt, and there was some kind of panic happening, he couldn't understand it. He clamped down on Louis like Louis might leave him, which made no sense, because Louis stroked his hair and held him so tight and murmured poor Haz, poor sweetheart, I shouldn't have, I won't do that again. But he was drowning in it, unable to take a complete breath. That was all he could focus on, the inability to breathe himself full, or to swallow, and Louis made him sit up and breathe in and out and do diaphragm exercises until he yawned and discovered he could fill his lungs to capacity again. It took him ages to stop crying and even longer to snap back into himself.
"Hi," Louis said when he had calmed.
"That wasn't fun," he croaked, realising his muscles were locked and he was sore and shaky.
"No," Louis agreed lightly, and they didn't do any kind of playing for weeks and weeks after that. When Harry finally tugged on Louis's arm in frustration during a show and whispered that he really needed to do something fun, come on Lou, Louis gave him easy, silly lyric changes until they'd worked themselves back to normal – well, normal for them, anyway.
He thought maybe after seeing what the knickers did to him, Louis would backtrack and tell him he didn't have to wear them at the show. Maybe he'd only have to wear them afterward, and show the other boys – which would be bad enough, Harry thought. It wasn't like he hadn't worn stupid knickers before, or shown them off to make everyone laugh. But none of the knickers were bought by Louis, specifically for him, intended as some kind of strange pleasure-punishment. That afternoon, Louis had set the bag on his bed and the sight of it made him so hot and nervous he shuddered all over when he so much as touched the outer paper.
After he showered, he slid the knickers on and was horribly conscious of them under his trousers, so soft against his cock. He had to pee before they left for the show, and when he pushed them down he could actually feel himself blushing. He wasn't a blusher, as a rule. But there was lace all around his cock and the underside of his arse and he felt really weird having it rub against the corduroy of his trousers. He cinched his belt tight at what he thought might be his actual waist, and it was uncomfortable because he liked some room down there, but there wasn't any room anyway with his dick tucked to the side so it would fit into the underwear.
Louis smiled at him when he came out of his room, his usual bright hey there Harry smile, with his eyebrows lifted and his head tilted, before his eyes dropped to Harry's hips and the smile faded.
"Got them on," Harry said, lifting his shirt and hooking a thumb in the stretchy waist of the pants to tug them up and show Louis a peek. When he looked up again Louis was staring with his mouth open a little. He blinked and rubbed his finger over his lower lip.
"Good," he said, low. "Good boy."
He didn't tell Harry he was good outright, usually, until after he'd already performed a task, but Harry supposed Louis knew how difficult this was and was trying to work him up. He shivered at being called a good boy, which might have sounded innocent coming from anyone else's lips but sounded like sex in Louis's voice. There was a clear line in their play – Louis teased and teased him, but it was never sexual. Except there was a month or two where he told Harry when he was allowed to wank (only during the breaks in their shows, which resulted in him frantically trying to get off in the toilet and finish dressing before the breaks were up, and Louis only laughed at him when he had to go onstage with his cock still stiff and throbbing in his trousers). But he'd never considered that sexual because Louis didn't seem to consider it so. It all fell under the category of things that amused Louis: tickling him when he had to wee really badly, talking about blowjobs in great detail when Harry wasn't allowed to wank, and making him look stupid onstage – all par for the course. Harry generally ignored any inconvenient feelings and stuck to appreciating how lucky he was to have found a friend as demented as he was.
But that look Louis was giving him, that hot, restless look, that wasn't par for the course at all. "Lou–" he began, but then it was time to go.
During the show Louis refused to go near him. He wasn't the only one who liked to do a bit of torturing; Harry knew how ticklish Louis's ears and neck were, and exploited it as much as he could without arousing Louis's suspicion. Whispering was his favourite, but Louis wouldn't let him close enough to whisper, and he went so far as to switch places with Zayn during the last part of the show so when they took their bow, Harry couldn't touch his neck. It was probably the only thing that saved him from going to that weird drifty place the entire show, because if Louis wasn't looking at him he wouldn't be forcefully reminded every moment of the black lace and satin under his trousers.
Harry had not even thought about the fact that Liam, Niall, and Zayn would see his knickers whilst they were changing costumes backstage.
"What the hell are you wearing," Niall asked him, and he went shocked and hot and his hands tingled.
"Like them?" he asked when he'd recovered, although he was still shaky. "Got them from your mum."
Niall made a face. "Never mind, I don't want to know what you and Louis are up to now."
And when they were back in front of the audience Harry thought god, they know, they know I'm wearing them, and suddenly he was dropping, losing his ability to focus on anything but Louis and how Louis made him feel. Everything started to go slow and thick as honey, and warm, and if they were alone he'd have gone over to Louis and curled into his lap because there was nothing else in the world he wanted but that. Louis saw his face and looked alarmed, stalked across the stage to him and shook his arm.
"Not on stage, love, come on, you can do it," he whispered, and he struggled to get out of it but when Louis was touching him it was even harder.
"Niall saw them," Harry replied, licking his lips, hyper-aware of his tongue on his own skin. Louis watched him do it and Harry wondered if it was like that for him, too, if it went beyond just amusing himself and Louis had his own zone he went into when he was telling Harry what to do.
"Think about ice cream," Louis said, and went back to the other side of the stage. It was one of the ways they'd worked out to snap Harry out of it, to focus on something that wasn't Louis, or humiliation. If Louis said stop it, you're going to embarrass yourself, he'd only go deeper. Finally Louis had seemed to realise there was a point where Harry was simply not in control anymore, so he took over and figured out how to keep the reins on Harry and still allow him to function.
It worked, but every time he glanced over at Louis he had to go back to thinking about something else because the instant he saw Louis's hands or the set of his body in his braces and the way he'd rolled his sleeves up as if he were about to get to work, he'd start to go down again. He'd come to associate braces with Louis and their games, and now whenever he saw a man on the street wearing them he was automatically drawn there.
He made it through the show with only a few slip-ups that could be passed off as just typical Harry things, and if he was a bit quiet backstage and in the car, he could put it down to being upset that he'd not been perfectly on his game.
At home the only thing he wanted to do was put the kettle on and retreat to his room with his tea to recover, but he barely had a chance to remove his coat before Louis said, "Hold on, you."
He stopped with his back to Louis, shivering in his trousers and Ramones t-shirt, chilled after being so overheated the whole show.
Louis stalked over to him, getting up close behind him and reaching round to unbuckle his belt. "Still wearing them, Haz?" he asked, right into Harry's ear.
"Yeah," he moaned, cock stiffening instantly. Louis wasn't the only one whose ears were sensitive. Louis's fingers skated under his trousers, loose now with the belt undone, and then to the soft edge of the pants.
"Oh my god," Louis said under his breath, and Harry rocked back against him and sucked in a gasp when he felt the clear, hard press of Louis's erection against his arse. Louis pulled away immediately and Harry thought he'd leave, but then he pushed forward again, more forcefully, and his fingers were back on Harry's trousers to undo the fly.
Harry moaned helplessly, shocked by the zap of surprise and arousal at the same time, and Louis shushed him, pushing his trousers down to his knees.
"Jesus, look at you, Harry," he said. His fingers lighted on the outside of Harry's legs and then the inside, on his thighs. It tickled a little but mostly felt like little darts of heat going right to his cock, straining in his knickers. "You should be in girls' pants all the time."
He thought about always wearing them, always half-hoping and half-afraid someone would see them, and shuddered. "They feel good," he whispered, and knew he sounded a little slurred.
"Do they?" Louis asked, sliding his fingers up and slipping them under the lace on his arse. Harry gave a small cry and flailed before he was able to brace himself on the door. His skin was so sensitised, and he was so sensitised to Louis, and the lace of the underwear kept rubbing over his cock because he had to tuck it in sideways and it was driving him mad. Louis continued to skim under the knickers, just under them, along his arse and his hips, and he thought please, please don't stop, go on, go further just as Louis went between his legs and cupped his bollocks where they spilled out on either side of the satin panel.
He pulled away suddenly and Harry's breath hitched like he was crying. "No–"
"Come on," Louis interrupted him. He stepped on the back of Harry's trainer and said, "Get your kit off and get in the bedroom."
Harry turned around and kicked off his shoes and socks and trousers and went for his shirt, but Louis held it down.
"I like the way you look in your t-shirt and your pants," he said. Harry watched Louis's pale fingers running over the black lace covering his cock, his hips moving out of control, trying to push his cock into Louis's hand. "You're so pretty."
Louis wasn't wearing braces, but his trousers and shirt still showed the solid set of his arms and thighs, and Harry reluctantly admitted to himself that, no matter how many times he'd told himself he wasn't supposed to want Louis, it was something he'd sought out in other men – that Louis was what he'd sought out. He gripped Louis's shoulders, thrilling at the feel of them under his fingers, and bent his head to kiss. Louis gave him one moment of weakness, moaning into his mouth, then bit down on his lower lip to still him. They breathed shakily for a beat before Louis got both hands up into Harry's hair and kissed him, not hard as Harry might have expected, but sweet instead, langourous, gently tugging Harry's hair to tilt his head this way or that. He spent a lot of time on Harry's ears and Harry, gasping and shivering, dug his fingers into Louis's shoulders and tried not to grind against him too obviously.
"God, you're so pretty," Louis whispered in between tugging on his earlobe. "You're so lovely, Harry, I can't take it sometimes."
The door of Harry's room was half shut and Louis nudged it open with one foot and guided Harry in with a hand on his back, rubbing his fingers in little circles through his t-shirt. At the bed Harry turned to him, wanting to be kissed, and Louis pulled him close and obliged. He kissed him warm and soft and sweet and backed him onto the bed, murmuring, "Hazza goes down," against his chin and making him laugh.
Louis stood and quickly rid himself of his clothes, smiling when Harry made whinging noises and reached for him, wanting to be under him again. He lost his breath a bit at the sight of Louis's cock – it wasn't as if he hadn't seen it before, but there were contexts to consider. Louis crawled back onto the bed and over Harry's body, pushing Harry's t-shirt up and kissing his stomach. It tickled in such a good way and he squirmed a little, stroking Louis's hair until Louis bit playfully at the skin under his belly button and said, "See if you can stay still," before slipping down to suck on the head of Harry's cock through the lace.
He managed to stay still for exactly seven seconds before his hips bucked erratically, trying to get more friction. Louis held his wrists down to the bed and tried to control his lower half, until finally he said, "Harry, what did I say?" And he tried, he tried so hard, because he always wanted to do exactly what Louis said to the letter. But he couldn't stop, he needed it so badly, needed more of Louis's mouth, and just as he calmed himself Louis would suck, hot and wet and almost enough to make him come, and it would feel too good and he'd writhe, arching his entire back to get more of it. Finally Louis knelt up, his mouth red and swollen.
"You never disobey me," he said breathlessly.
"I'm sorry," Harry panted. "I can't stop. I don't – I'm not sure why."
Louis tilted his head, and when he spoke it was a genuine question, with gentle curiosity behind it rather than anger. "Do you need something else?"
Harry paused, then nodded. "I think," he said, and took in a hitching breath, "maybe you could punish me."
"Punish you like how?" Louis asked.
He couldn't quite get to that place Louis always got him to so easily and he wondered if maybe it was because he felt somehow too strange, or because the night had taken a different turn than he'd expected and he needed to be pushed hard, fenced in and made to obey. He'd always sort of wanted to be punished. It was one of those things new sex partners teased about and never did, and he was never with anyone long enough to ask for it. But he'd fantasised so many times about being taken over someone's knee – the someone was always pretty vague, but he always had powerful arms in Harry's imagination. It wasn't the kinkiest thing he'd ever got off to, but there was something underneath it, as if being spanked as a reprimand might make him feel a little bit safe. He could be a very good boy and still sometimes not be exactly perfect, and he could be punished and then cuddled and soothed after. That was the way it went in his fantasies, anyway.
"Maybe if you, like, spanked me," he said, and had to clear his throat because his voice cracked. Louis licked his lips and stared at him thoughtfully.
"Turn over," he said finally, and Harry rolled onto his stomach so fast he almost fell off the bed. He waited, not moving his hips because he could be good as long as Louis wasn't sucking on his cock, even though the wet material of his knickers was maddening and he could hardly stop himself from thrusting against the bed. The first smack to his arse made him cry out in surprise – not in pain. It didn't hurt beyond a little sting. The second smack, to his other arse cheek, was harder, and smarted a bit, followed by a tingling warmth. By the seventh, with what he thought was probably Louis's full power behind it, he couldn't tell where the warmth began or ended; the hot throb that pulsed with his heart was everywhere from the round part of his arse to his upper thighs.
He was rubbing frantically against the bed, desperate to come and more than a little dazed by the pain and the fact that Louis was actually spanking him, by the time Louis stopped and said, "Turn over again."
Louis settled between his thighs again and bent his head to suck, licking through the lace, and Harry felt little rivulets of wetness trickling down to his hairline and realised he'd been crying. "Louis please," he said hoarsely, and his eyes stung, welled up and spilled over. It felt so good and his orgasm was right there, just out of reach. He could almost get it if he dug his heels in and shoved up hard. His arse was so hot and swollen and painful he could almost envision it like a cartoon, pulsing and bright crimson, and when it scraped against the bed he shuddered and, inexplicably, felt himself sliding closer and closer to coming. But Louis wouldn't let him – he stopped sucking and squirmed down a little bit to run his tongue along the edges of the pants over Harry's balls, then began to suck on the skin at the curve of his arse, where it burned the worst. The little nips hurt so much and felt so good, and then Louis's cool breath over the wet skin was like rain.
"You're still moving," Louis said, soft but with a warning behind it. "More punishment?"
He gulped in a few breaths, and then – "Yeah," he said, wiping his face. "Yeah, I think I need it."
This time even the gentlest smack hurt, and Louis wasn't gentle. Harry had the brief thought that his hand must throb as much as Harry's arse did, and then he only thought of each individual blow on the curve of his arse or his thigh, sharp as knives. When Louis stopped again he was really crying, though he'd barely noticed. Louis pushed at his hip and he turned over, and then Louis was flush against him, covering him, kissing his lips and his wet cheeks and pressing his hips down into the bed. His cock rubbed hard against Harry's through the knickers, and suddenly everything slid together with an almost audible click and he was down. Hard. He'd never experienced anything like it and realised that all the other times he'd only barely dipped below the surface.
"There you go, love," Louis whispered, propping himself up on his elbows. He lifted up a bit so he could cup the side of Harry's face and stroke the skin with his thumb, and Harry was drifting and blissful but Louis's fingers still registered, even under the drugging pleasure of Louis's cock slowly driving him toward orgasm and the heat, so deep it was almost cold, of his arse rubbing against the bed with each thrust. "You're so lovely, so so lovely, I can never stop looking at you."
There was something tight in his chest he hadn't realised was even there until Louis's words took it apart, and he came, without warning, spilling into the knickers and holding onto Louis so hard he had a couple of bruises on his arms the next day. His hips were still jerking when Louis lifted up and, wetting his fingers with Harry's come, he began to frantically stroke himself, gasping out Harry's name twice before he rested his forehead against Harry's neck and moaned, and Harry felt the wet warmth seeping into his pants.
Louis stayed there, face buried in Harry's t-shirt, breathing warm and cold through the fabric by turns until he lifted his head. His hair and eyelashes were spiky with sweat, and he looked a little lost. Harry smiled and reached out to touch his face with a shaking hand, still marvelously drifty and happy, and Louis gathered him close and rolled them both until they were completely intertwined. He sank in and sank deep, and slept with Louis all around him.
The next morning, he woke feeling brilliant, if sore. He was alone in the bed but not terribly concerned about it until he scooted over to the table – no rolling over onto his back for a while, he thought, smiling – and found three text messages from Louis on his mobile.
im at the gym. we should talk when i get back, last night was a bad idea.
im sorry, i feel like ive ruined everything.
we were well set and ive fucked it up.
He stared at the texts, biting his lip and trying to formulate a text that said what he wanted to say in a few pithy words – he'd settled on you are a daft fucking fuckhead – when there was a knock at his bedroom door.
"Lo?" he croaked.
Zayn's head appeared when the door opened. "Morning."
"What are you doing here?" he asked. "I mean, hi, morning. But what are you doing?"
"Louis asked me to make sure you didn't do anything weird." Zayn picked his way through the bedroom and sat on the bed beside Harry. "Did something happen last night?"
"We had sex," Harry said bitterly, curling up on his side to give Zayn more room. "And it was fantastic, and now he's off somewhere being all Louis because he thinks he's done something wrong."
"What do you mean, you had sex," Zayn asked, and Harry pulled back the covers so he could climb in and get cosy. "So what."
"What do you mean, so what?" Harry touched his arse and hissed a little at how raw and hot the skin felt. "It's kind of important."
Zayn was quiet for a moment. "Was that. Like. I'm sorry if this is a weird question, but was that the first time you've ever had sex?"
"Yeah," Harry said, scowling. "Like I said. Important."
"Oh my god. Are you telling me that like all this time, you've never," Zayn said. "I feel like my entire life has been a lie."
"It's never been like that," Harry grumbled. "We're just friends."
Zayn looked at him like he was really, extremely certifiable. "No, Harry, you and I are just friends. I don't tell you when you can and cannot wank."
Harry smiled. He still got a little rush sometimes when he touched himself, imagining Louis in his ear telling him it was time to go onstage and he needed to stop.
"Yeah, see? You don't smile like that about me." Zayn shook his head, stopped, stared at Harry, and shook his head again. "I get a contact boner when I'm standing next to the two of you sometimes. What's wrong with you?"
"I dunno." Harry shrugged. "I guess I sort of talked myself out of thinking about it because Louis never wanted it."
Zayn laughed incredulously. "Oh my god, Harry. I love you, you're one of my best mates ever, but you are so so stupid. Louis wants that. Louis wants that like he wants...I dunno, world peace."
"Louis doesn't care about world peace," Harry said.
"It was the first thing I could think of," Zayn said. "He wants it like...air, or something. I can't believe you don't see it."
"Well, he never said it!" Harry felt he really could not be blamed for not being able to read minds. "And any time I got...you know, aroused, or whatever, he'd leave."
"Don't ask me to interpret Louis's fucked-up state of mind," Zayn said. "All I know is this: we should definitely not let Niall have Mexican food on this tour, Liam needs to work on keeping his voice down when he's sex-chatting with Danielle, and you and Louis are in love and need to sort yourselves out because you're making everything weird."
"Fine," he snapped, wanting to roll over in a huff but unable to.
"Come on, you two just need to learn how to say words." Zayn petted his hair and he reluctantly allowed it, because Zayn was quite a good cuddler when you were feeling really shit. "So tell me about it, was it kinky?"
"Erm, not really," he mumbled. "Much."
"Cos Louis said you might have trouble getting out of bed."
"Oh my god." Harry put his hands over his face and curled into Zayn's chest, and Zayn laughed because he was crazy and actually liked Louis's total absence of boundaries.
Later, when Zayn had left and Harry was eating naked at the kitchen counter, Louis finally came home. He saw Harry, paused, dropped his gym bag, and walked warily into the kitchen like he'd spotted a burglar.
"Hi," he said.
"Hi," Harry replied, hoping the implied "you twat" came across clearly. Louis's eyes fell to his bare, bright pink arse, and he went on eating, unconcerned.
"So." Louis pushed himself up onto the counter. "You got my texts, I guess."
"And your Zayn," he said.
Louis licked his lips. "It's just, like. I've read up on what you're supposed to do, after. I didn't want you to wake up and feel like I'd totally abandoned you or whatever."
"I did feel a bit abandoned, but," Harry said, chewing thoughtfully, "that's probably only because you abandoned me."
Louis let out an exasperated breath. "I didn't, though, Harry, I was just trying to give you space, or something. I didn't know what to do."
He thought of the way Louis had woken him after they'd slept for a while, undressed him, pulled him into the shower and held him, washed him, dried him off and carefully combed his hair so it wouldn't tangle, rubbed lotion over his arse and got him into bed, on his stomach. They had laughed over the total ruination of the black knickers, and exclaimed over the state of his arse, and he'd fallen asleep feeling pretty settled and certain with Louis's mouth pressed against his temple.
"You could have just talked to me," he said, putting his sandwich down. "We've never talked about this."
"I don't –" Louis spread his hands out in frustration. "I don't know how to talk about it."
"I like it when you're in charge of me," Harry said, trying to stay calm because there was part of him that really just wanted to go into his room and hide in his bed again. "I want you to stay in charge of me. I like having sex with you. I want to stay having sex with you."
"See, that's the problem, right there," Louis said, jumping down from the counter with a thud. "I can't be in charge of you and have sex with you."
"Why not? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," he said.
"It's not stupid, it's the truth. You'll do anything I say," Louis said with a challenge in his voice, but Harry didn't deny it. "See? Anything. Including having sex with me. And that's the one thing I told myself I wouldn't do, because it would be taking advantage of you. And I did it anyway, because of those stupid fucking knickers I couldn't stop myself from buying."
"I can say no, you know." Harry felt himself starting to get a little chokey and hated himself for it, but it was no use, he always cried when he got angry.
"What about the time with the girl?" Louis asked. "I thought I'd fucked you up permanently. Like, this isn't really just us playing around, I've read things."
"The time with the girl, I didn't want to do it because." He stopped, glaring at his feet, and blew out a shuddery breath. "Because it's always been you I wanted to be with, and you were pushing me off on someone else, and I hated it, and I don't want to talk about this anymore."
Louis didn't say anything for a while and Harry thought about turning and going back to his sandwich, but he wasn't hungry. "I didn't know," Louis said eventually. "Is that – I mean, I thought it was just me, it took me six months to admit to myself I wanted to kiss you."
"You kiss me all the time," Harry said, sniffing.
"Not like that, and anyway it's because you kiss me, but Harry – you're just like that with everyone, I thought," Louis said in a small voice. "I'm sorry."
"Well, you should be." He turned away and poked at his sandwich. "I've been really, really obvious to anyone with eyes."
"Not me, I don't have eyes apparently." Louis crept up behind him and kissed his shoulder, hesitated for a moment, then left a line of kisses between his shoulder blades, and he tried not to let on that it made him shiver, or that he wasn't particularly angry any longer. There was a hand, tentative on his hip, and another kiss along the side of his neck, and a fingertip running down his spine, and he fought not to smile.
"We still have to talk," he said, somewhat unevenly.
"I know," Louis mumbled against his neck. "Tons to talk about. But can I just –" He put his cool hand on Harry's arse and Harry couldn't have held back the gasp if he'd tried. He turned around and bent his head to kiss, happily giving up the fight in favour of Louis's arms around him.
"Too bad about the knickers," he said after a long, long while. "I did like wearing them."
"I might have bought five other pairs," Louis replied. "Hypothetically. Because there was a sale."
"Hypothetically," Harry said, "there might be a ladies undergarment fashion show tonight in my bedroom."
But he thought he'd probably see about having the black ones cleaned anyway, just because.