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Louis is not a plant. He doesn’t fuck plants. He also doesn’t fuck himself. Well, not in that way at least.

“Do you only fuck gay plants?” some mindless middle schooler shouts.

Louis sighs, but can’t help but shut his locker just than little bit harder than usual.

“Maybe he doesn’t even have a dick,” chips in one of mindless middle schooler’s equally mindless friends.

Louis is not gonna hit a kid. He’s not. He’s not gonna cut the kid’s school tie off either. Not on the first day of school at least. If he gets suspended today he might never find out his timetable. Also, there’s only so many more marks he can get on his record before expulsion becomes a possibility, and Louis is so close to finishing this shit storm, he’s not giving up yet. One year before school shit becomes Uni shit. Hooray.

He’d always thought secondary school would be magical, like in Harry potter or maybe he’d get to be a spy like in M.I. High. And all the American telly shows he used to watch painted high school in this really weird surreal light of cliques and school dances and cheerleaders, and whereas Louis always knew how wrong they were about calling footie “soccer”, he never realised just how different everything was here. It’s not like he’d rather live in America or anything, definitely not, he thinks that school system would be too much for him. He was just disappointed with reality. Or maybe just disappointed with how it was portrayed on telly.

No, he’ll stick to The Inbewteeners for educating himself about British state schools and teenage boys in general. It’s actually hilarious how different it is to how they depict glamourous American high schools. Maybe there was something symbolic about both countries in general in there. Either way, The Inbetweeners prepared him for this shit fest like nothing else could. It was a special show that. The second film’s shit though.

And he sees a lot of him and his mates in that cliché invetweener lads sorta thing. And not just in the dance moves they’ve borrowed from the show. Like, they’ve always played footie but it’s like as soon as they reached year 9 they stopped playing to win and started having a kick about while one of ‘em tried to knick a beer from their parents. Sometimes it was so cliché it made his brain hurt. He’s never been a big fan of stereotypes or expectations. But, in fitting into both those things, boy do his mates like to talk about sex.

Louis’ not exactly surprised. It’s not like the media and things didn’t prepare him for that sorta talk and expectation. But there’s massive difference between fancying girls, or not in his case, and never shutting up about wanting to stick your dick in one. It’s like going from High School Musical, which Louis is not ashamed to say he loves, to Skins over one break with no transition show. Romance and all that wonderful stuff to crude sex jokes and fretting over losing your virginity. It’s like year 9 is a literal watershed in the life of a teenage boy. But don’t get him wrong, Louis’ not against sex. It sounds quite nice, especially if wanking is anything to judge by. And men are fit as fuck. But he’s never really found anyone he would ever consider doing it with. Except David Beckham. And Mr Grimshaw who taught him media studies for GCSE’s, but that crush got seriously out of hand, he’s pretty sure Mr Grimshaw hates him now an-

“Oi plant boy, head’s up!” he’s startled out of his thoughts by the shout, jolting a bit and narrowly missing getting whacked in the face with a football. He picks it up and chucks in the vague direction the shouting came from. The girl who catches it thanks him, and despite having just insulted him she doesn’t look cruel. She probably didn’t even know it was an insult, probably just heard other people yelling that at Louis and thought it was a nickname. Probably doesn’t know he’s Asexual. Well, demisexual technically, but there isn’t a chance in hell any of the nutcases at this school would have a fucking clue what that means, so. Asexual.

When he reaches the sixth form common room, full and bustling with the new year 12’s cowering in the corner, Niall’s in the middle of telling Liam the story of how he fucked three girls at once which is so untrue it’s laughable. Louis plonks himself down next to Zayn and once Niall sees him he stops talking mid-lie, giving him that horrible pitying look he always does when they talk about sex around him.

Louis sighs. “Is this really how I’m to be greeted by my loyal subjects?” That does enough to ease the tension for now as they start greeting him, chatting about their hols like they haven’t been in contact the entire time.

Zayn shaved his head, even let Louis do a bit, but he’s got his nose pierced since Louis last saw him. Liam’s got himself a proper girlfriend and despite how much Niall pesters him, he still refuses to talk about their sex life, even though they all know he must have lost the V card by now. And Niall had to get his knew worked on again, which meant n footie all summer, seeing as three people isn’t quite enough, and Louis still hasn’t forgiven him for that. He also seems to have lost his tie already, which Louis is not surprised about in the slightest, but he knows that Niall’ll end up knicking some of his.

“So, what were you guys talking about then?” he asks. He didn’t mean the sex stuff. And the reason he didn’t mean the sex stuff is exactly because of this. There people awkwardly avoiding his gaze, and one of these days he’ll probably end up punching one of them to get them to stop.

It’s Liam who answers, “Nothing important.” He’s obviously trying to end the topic of conversation before things get any weirder, and Louis really appreciates it, but he’s determined to normalise this shit. It’s been a year since he told, and they’re a lot better than they were at first, so he knows he’s just gotta keep pushing to get them to realise how unimportant this issue is.

Louis laughs, “What because it’s the biggest fucking lie I’ve ever heard? If Niall’s fucked three girls at once then so have I.” Zayn and Liam chuckle at that, but all Niall does is cringe.

He rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, “Yeah. Ah. We don’t have to talk about it.” Liam and Zayn have gone back to the comic they have spread across their thighs, and Louis wants to ask them which one they’re reading, but Niall is still looking at him in that way.

Louis rolls his eyes. “What because I’m gay? That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the ladies of your life. I’m all ears.”

“You know I mean the other thing,” Niall mutters, and yeah, this is not what Louis needs right now.

Louis tries his best to remain composed, he picks at the exposed foam of the shitty sofa he’s sat on, trying to remain calm and level headed, “For the last time, Ni, that doesn’t mean-”

Niall jumps up, obviously tense, “Oh, there’s a mate of mine, I’ll see you guys later,” and with that he rushes off to the other side of the common room.

Louis hates this. The way Niall always acts like Louis would explode if they ever mentioned sex in front of him. He gets better, a bit, remembering that Louis isn’t some alien creature or blushing bride, he can be cruder than all of them put together if he tries. Normally he can cope with Niall’s confused little moods, but today’s already shitty and he just wanted to have a bit of banter with his mates. He’s explained to them time and time again that he has no problem with sex talk or any of that shit, and Zayn and Liam seem to accept that for the most part, Zayn probably because he understands Louis nearly enough to make him feel good about himself, and Liam because he doesn’t understand at all and pretends that nothings different, which, really, Louis is more than fine with. He knows Niall means well, that he doesn’t want to offend Louis or frighten him or whatever it is he thinks he’s protecting him from, but Louis can only cope with a certain amount of awkwardness over his sexuality and he’d really rather not have that come from his friends.

Zayn and Liam have started talking about the new Avengers Assemble film, and Louis relaxes a bit more at that. It’s not like all they talk about is sex. They’ve passed the completely rampant stage, of course they’re still all obsessed with losing their virginity, and Louis finds it quite entertaining to watch them fret over it, but they’re proper mates and they talk about normal things too. Like superheroes. Louis’ favourite.

The atmosphere is completely defused by the time the head of sixth form comes to do a mini assembly/welcome back bit before she sends them on their way to class. As people are packing up their shit Louis tries to find Niall, as they’ve both got computing first thing. It must have been long enough for the awkward to have worn of and for Niall to just be feeling really guilty. It’s not like he wants his mates to feel guilty, but things are always a bit better after that. He finds Niall out in the hallway talking to a boy Louis’ never seen before. And Louis would know, because holy shit that’s a beautiful boy. Louis doesn’t fancy people often, let alone at first sight, but curly-haired, long-limbed, green-eyed boys are an exception to that rule, apparently. Louis stares open mouthed at him until Niall approaches him like a puppy with his tail between his legs.

He know Niall’s about to do his version of apologising, but there are more pressing matters at hand.

“Who was that?” he demands, rather aggressively.

Niall looks worried for a moment, like he’s scared that Louis’ still pissed off at him, which he’s not, not really. Niall’s not a bad person, not in the slightest, he’s just a little confused about some things. But anyway, back to the boy. Niall seems to have worked it out too. “Who? Curly? That was Henry,” he pauses, looking confused, “No, wait. Not Henry, something else.”

Louis would laugh, but he’s still completely bewildered. “Where did you find him?”

Niall down right cackles at that. “Find him? Well, he’s new, year 12, I met him at the induction yesterday, which you ditched.”

And. Ok that’s not good news. That can’t be true, Zayn would have told him if there was an induction. “There was an induction yesterday? But we already know where everything is. Never mind, let’s get to computing.” He heads toward the computer lab, Niall following after him. They’re almost definitely late, which isn’t ideal on the first day back, but he has to doubt in his mind that Mr Corden will be even later than them.

Niall doesn’t seem to have moved on though, “Do you have a crush on Not-Henry, Louis?”

Louis doesn’t blushes. He does walk a bit faster though. “Absolutely not, I literally just met him. Not even met him, saw him from a distances for about ten seconds.” He’d looked very beautiful from a distance, but maybe he’s a troll up close. Although Louis doesn’t believe that for a second. He’s undoubtedly completely gorgeous. It’s probably for the best if he never comes into close range of him.

They turn the corner on the next hallway, their classroom the first on the left, and bollocks, the doors closed, it seems Mr Corden’s on time for once in his life. Or maybe Louis and Niall are even later than he thought. Niall grabs his elbow before he has the chance to actually reach the door. “Not-Henry’s very nice, I think you’d like him.”

Louis scoffs. “You can’t call people Not-Henry, Niall, you’re a really shit mate If you don’t even know his name.”

Niall shrugs, “Eh, Not-Henry’s good enough for me. I bet you’re calling him that in your head right now anyway,” he says smirking as he reaches for the door handle.

Louis blinks at him. “Absolutely not.”

 

 

Louis sees Not-Henry in the halls a lot. Like all the time. Sometimes with Niall but mostly just by himself of with other year 12’s. Niall must know the boy’s actual name by now, but Louis’ doesn’t want to ask about him too much in case Niall gets any ideas. Because Louis isn’t romantically interested. Ok that’s not strictly speaking true, Louis is very romantically interested, but he’s not about to pursue some eligible 16 year old kid who’s probably not into Louis’ type of genitals but if he is would be too interested in them and want access to them before Louis would want anything to do with that. So Louis just watches from afar and sighs longingly, like his sisters do whenever they see that boyband they like. He gets to know him a little bit, not properly, but by observation and from what Niall slips into conversation. He only calls him H when he talks about him, which is annoying but also maybe his name really is Henry. He hopes not, it’s a shit name and curly is the opposite of shit, a.k.a. totally hot and awesome.

On Monday Not-Henry nearly knocks into him as he runs past and shouts a quick sorry as he goes. It’s the highlight of Louis’ day. On Tuesday Louis walks into the common room to find Niall and Liam huddled over some magazine with a topless woman on the front of it. Louis thinks a school is a bit of an inappropriate place for a wank magazine but Niall lets Louis look at it from over their shoulders without making too many strange comments, so he’ll suck it up just this once.

On Wednesday Louis feels so tired he kind of wants to die. He didn’t think it was possible for school to get any harder than As levels but what do you know, add the “2” and louis feels like running away from all responsibility. Maybe he shouldn’t even have bothered with A levels, he should have auditioned for X Factor like he’d considered, maybe he’s be rich and famous right now and a million miles away from coursework. Or he could have at least joined the circus.

 So really Louis wants nothing more than to go home and curl up in bed with the telly on. He has a free period and then P.E. which he is so not in the mood for, he doesn’t even fancy having a school lunch right now, and if it were any other day he’d say fuck it and go home. But today is Wednesday. And Wednesday lunch means time for “+” their LGBT club, of which Louis is second in command, to meet for the first time this year. It’s not exactly the biggest club in school, or anything, and he’s pretty sure Eleanor only started it in the first place to see what girls she stood a chance with, but Louis can’t exactly blame her. And she’s definitely taken to the roll, turning what was honestly the most half-arsed and naff club to ever exist, into a proper if slightly small group for LGBT+ people. They use one of the art classrooms, mainly because Miss Flack fancies herself a bit of an activist, but it was also the nicest room available that they were allowed to decorate with the various pride flags they had collected over the years. Louis’ pretty sure, positive in fact, that if it weren’t for him, + would just be one big gay and lesbian party, maybe a couple bi people here and there. He thinks maybe that’s the reason there are several gay and lesbian people he knows who don’t want anything to do with their club, but Louis likes educating people on the + part of LGBT+ (hence the name, but he thinks Eleanor just gave it to him after she implied that the A stood for ally and Louis went off on her). They only have ten people on a good day, but Louis’ optimistic that there might be some new year 10’s or 12’s that are interested.

And there seems to be. A couple people Louis doesn’t know awkwardly sitting in their chairs, two girls that he thinks he recognises from when the school did Hairspray last year, and Niall’s curly friend from the common room. Not-Henry. Sat in the same room as him, looking as lovely as always, in in the naff green, black and white uniform. The jumper really suits him, brings out his eyes. Louis adjusts his fringe self-consciously. If curly boy’s here then it’s quite likely he’s at least a bit interested in other boys and that is something Louis can definitely get on board with. Not literally. Probably. He wants to go and talk to him, but maybe he should wait until afterwards. Just so he can know a bit more about him. Just for research purposes.

Louis does, however, have no qualms about staring at him. He like a good stare, him. And Not-Henry’s too busy on his phone to notice, probably. And he really is lovely to look at. Louis doesn’t know why this boy of all people is the one who’s got him hooked, but it’s like just looking at him is making him forget how shit the day has been so far.

Once everyone’s sat down in the fairly awkward AA style circle Eleanor starts the introductions. Louis kind of hates this bit, mainly because people always look at him like he’s insane when he introduces himself, even if they’ve heard him say it before. Which, fine, not everyone will understand straight away and this is a space for learning and all that shit but it’d be nice if people could be a little bit less ignorant sometimes.

As people go around the circle stating their names and sexualities and whatever, Louis kinda tunes it out. To be fair, most of these people were here last year and Louis already knows all about them, and those who are new he can get to know as they go in a less forced and mechanical way. If they decide to stay that is.

By the time it gets ‘round to curly Louis precariously balancing on the back legs of his chair despite the glares El keep sending his way. He’s second in command. He can do what he likes.

“Hiiii, I’m Harry,” curly boy says, and Louis nearly falls over at the sound of his voice because it is truly mesmerising. Harry. Not Henry or Not-Henry. Harry. It suits him so well. Yes that is definitely a name Louis can doddle in his notebook accompanied by hearts. The group all say hi back, proper cringy AA style. Louis refuses to participate. But Harry smiles at everyone like he’s loving life, which he probably is, before continuing, “and I’m grey-asexual and biromantic.”

Louis does fall out of his chair at that.

Holy fucking shit.

Christ on a cracker. Buggery fuck. Holy hell.

He kind of forgets that he’s lying in a heap on the floor, everyone staring at him with varying levels of concern and amusement, until Eleanor pulls him to his feet again. Which yeah. Embarrassing. Or at least it would be if the only thing he could think about wasn’t the fact that Harry, beautiful Harry, was ace.

He’d never met anyone like him, not really. There was a girl in their year, before she went to a different sixth form, who was very religious and didn’t believe in sex before marriage who thought Louis was trying to keep himself pure. That’s not true, and Louis knows celibacy is in no way the same thing, but it was nice having someone who didn’t automatically ridicule him for not being interested in sex, someone who wouldn’t try setting him up with this girl or that boy to try and prove him otherwise. She was nice to him. She’d tell him about her purity ring and when he’d compliment it say bless your soul. He misses her. He thinks she wouldn’t have been as nice if she knew he was gay, but the memories are still pleasant ones.

But to think that here is this boy who totally gets it. Someone he won’t have to explain himself too, someone he could maybe even talk to about this sorta stuff, if he wanted. Someone he could tell that Greg actually dumped him when he still “wouldn’t put out”, or that he and Mr Grimshaw had been proper friends and then Louis had ruined it by developing full on feelings –  of every kind – on him. Things he’s never really told anyone before because he knew they’d never really get it. Sure, his friends try their hardest, and he knows they could be a hell of a lot worse, but he also knows they still find him a bit weird and contradictory. Hell, Niall’s the one who came up with “plant boy” as a nickname, and while he never meant it cruelly and still apologises whenever he hears someone else say it, Louis can tell he still finds it funny.

But Harry is like him. And he likes harry. And maybe Harry could learn to like him and they can be this big ball of love and understanding and likeness and-

“Louis.”

“What?” And oh. Yeah. Room filled with people. Well, not filled, half-filled maybe, he doesn’t know the room’s capacity-

Eleanor kicks his chair, rather unsubtly, but at least she looks more concerned than worried. “It’s your turn.”

Right. They’re here for a reason. Yes.

He clears his throat, shuffling a bit where he’s sat. He’s never felt nervous to introduce himself before, well not in this way at least.He doesn’t have much time to think about it though, these people probably already think he’s insane, and there are certain people here he really doesn’t want to think that.

“Hi,” he says slowly, “I’m Louis, I’m second in charge of this joint.” The groups choruses back their hello’s, and he turns in his seat so he’s facing Harry head on, making sure to look him right in the eyes as he says, “and I’m demisexual and homoromantic.”

For a second he’s worried that Harry will think him creepy for the way he’s staring at him but then he sees the biggest smile break out across his face, and he hardly listens to the confused mumbling about his confession or Eleanor explaining their code of conduct.

Harry mouthes talk after? At him, smiling beautifully all the while, and Louis’ heart does a funny little twisty thing. He nods vigorously, not caring if he seems over eager. Harry smiles at him for the rest of the meeting.

 

 

“Hi” Louis breathes, when he walks into the hallway and see’s Harry, lent against a block of lockers like he’s in some sort of high school movie.

Louis tried to leave as soon as the meeting ended, worried that if he took too long Harry would go off to class without him. But because he’s second in bloody command Eleanor would sooner throw a chair at him then put them away all by herself. He grumbles, but complies, not listening to a word she says – although she’s probably talking about one of the girls she met today – Louis too busy thinking about the boy he met today.

She finally lets him go just as the bell for next lesson rings, and he runs out that door so fast he nearly falls over. Again. Panic set in his bones because he really doesn’t want to miss this opportunity.

But Harry’s there. Smiling sweetly and shyly, breathing back, “Oh- Hi” with the same sort of disbelief and awe that Louis had used.

He doesn’t quite know what to do now. They’re both just staring at each other in the mostly empty hall, but it doesn’t feel quite right to just say so you don’t experience sexual attraction often either. Cool, cool.

When the hallway’s finally empty and class has started, though, Louis can’t help but ask, “Don’t you have a class to get to?” because yes he wants to talk to Harry about something, anything, but he doesn’t want to be the reason the boy is late. He might not want to talk to him at all then.

“Don’t you?” he asks with a little lopsided grin, one dimple coming out in full force and wow. Dimples. That is so not fair.

“I have a free period,” he tells him.

“Me too,” Harry says back and. Ok. Louis can work with that.

“D’you want to go to Maccy D’s?” because they can’t stand in the hallway forever and Louis desperate needs something to do with his hands to stop them shaking. Eating a gallon of salt will have to do.

“You’re on.”

So they go to McDonalds and Louis nearly offers to pay for Harry’s food but that might be a bit too date like. And whereas he thinks he’d love to do on a date with Harry, there’s no way in hell he’d let their first date be at a fast food joint. He still counts the change in his pockets just in case, and, yeah, maybe not today.

They take their food, each paid for separately, to the park ‘round the corner. It probably was a nice park before they built the comprehensive and the visitors became teenagers wanting to smoke without the teachers seeing or wanting somewhere to make out. All things considered, them eating fast food sat on a wall is a minor offence.

They talk about A Levels. What they’re studying and how Harry’s worried it’ll be so much harder than GCSE’s. And they talk about X Factor and who they want to get through to the live shows. They talk about their families and how annoying they are but how much they love them anyway. They talk about the footie and tennis, even though Louis knows fuck all about that. They even talk about the bloody weather. They use up all the small talk in the fucking world, probably. And the whole time all Louis can think about other than wow this pretty boy is talking to me and he’s so nice is we’re the same you understand we’re the same.

It’s like there’s this big ace elephant in the room. Well, park. And it’s not like Louis doesn’t want to talk about it. He really, really does. And surly Harry wants to too.

“So. Sexual attraction. And stuff.” Louis’ never mentally face palmed before, but this is definitely a deserving time to start.

Harry chuckles, eyes bright. He seems more relieved than annoyed or anything, and maybe he’s glad that the topic’s finally out there. Sorta.

“Sexual attraction and stuff,” he responds, and that’s good. Matching Louis’ ridiculousness in kind is good.

But what does Louis say now. “Or lack thereof.” That apparently.

Harry smirks. “Or rare instances of.”

Does this count as flirting or is it just banter? “Or special requirements for.”

And it’s so weird talking to someone who knows what he means without explanation. Not only that, but someone who’ll just join him in his silliness. It feels rather liberating. And Louis loves a good sense of humour.

Harry hops off the wall, reaching to pulls Louis with him, until they’ve reached a decent patch of grass they can collapse on. Normally Louis would be weary of grass stains, but he’s a weak boy and he knows it, so next thing he knows he’s on the ground next to Harry.

They lie there for a bit, just listening to the various Park Sounds™, but Louis really wants to get back to the conversation, properly this time. He sits up a bit, leaning his weight back on his arms. “I was so worried you were gonna smack me for making a joke about it.”

Harry turns his head from where he was basking in sunlight to look at him, it’s like he radiates the warmth his just absorbed. He probably does, Louis was never very good at science. “Nah,” he says dismissively, “If you’d’ve been solemn I probably would have been scared shitless.” Which, yeah. Louis knows the feeling.

Louis moves to sit cross-legged, facing him. “I’ve never met anyone else ace before.”

Harry smiles, sitting up to mirror Louis. “Me neither. Well, except for online, a bit.”

“I have so many things I want to talk about but I have no idea what to say.” He just feels so overwhelmed. He’s never really thought about what he’d do if anyone ever got it.

“Me too. You don’t have to say anything though. I mean,” Harry shrugs, looking nothing short of content, “I think it’s just nice having someone I could say stuff to.”

“Me too.” It feels a bit like circle time from primary, especially with them sat cross-legged on the floor. It makes Louis wanna talk about his feelings or something. “Well I guess I can start by being able to say demisexual to someone without having camp rock songs sung at me.”

Harry laughs, but he look a bit apologetic. “People do that?”

Louis shrugs. Not really. “Eh, they used to, not so much anymore. Although, that’s mainly because I’ve stopped saying demi around people.”

“That sucks,” Harry’s frowning now, and it’s just not fair that he can still looking stunning with his eyebrows furrowed and a pout on his lips. “Well you can say demi around me all you like.”

Louis smiles a bit sheepishly. “And you can be as grey as you want. I don’t imagine many people get that either.” And yeah. Basically everything sucks, doesn’t it?

“Nope,” Harry says, popping the p and his lips should be illegal. Anyone who makes Louis care about lips should be illegal. “One time this girl got me the full fifty shades trilogy as a birthday present because she thought I was obsessed with Christian Grey.”

Which is funny and gross at the same time. “Oh no.”

“I know. But what can you do.” And Harry just seems so at peace with everything. Louis want to know all his secrets.

“Ace it is then.”

“Yeah ace it is,” Harry agrees. “Well, I assume people would start buying me playing cards if I just said ace.”

Which Louis wouldn’t mind that much, the twins keep stealing his packs and it makes playing cheat really difficult. “True. But at least people have somewhat heard of the concept.” Which Louis knows is true, he reminds himself all the time. People do have a slightly warped concept, but at least that’s something.

“Mainly in plants though,” he points out, indicating the general greenery around them, and yeah, Louis is far too aware of that.

“Ugh I know, I get called that all the fucking time. Once I got so pissed off by people calling me plant fucker that I sulked home and stomped all over my mum’s snowdrops.”

“Poor flowers.”

“Yeah well, I was grounded for a week so I think they got the last laugh.”

Harry giggles at that, and Louis’ heart aches. Harry laughs at a lot of what Louis says, really. And he is very proud of his sense of humour, but even Louis doesn’t find himself that funny. It’s rather flattering, really.

“So I see you’re mates with Niall,” he asks. It’s both confusing and self-explanatory. Everyone’s friends with Niall. He’s more wondering why Harry never came over to meet the rest of them, but he’s not gonna say that out loud.

“Yeah, he’s a right laugh. He’s you best mate, isn’t he?”

Louis smiles. He doesn’t like to pick between Liam, Zayn and Niall, but. Yeah. “Yeah.”

Harry seems concerned all of a sudden, or maybe more contemplative, and Louis really hope he hasn’t said anything wrong. That Niall hasn’t said anything wrong. “If I were to tell him about me being ace, d’you think he’d be alright with it?”

And oh. Isn’t that a question. These things are always a little more complicated than he’d want them to be. Louis thinks Niall’s absolutely smashing, but sometimes he wonders if he feels the same. Maybe Liam’s his best mate and not Louis. Which would be fine, like, objectively, but it doesn’t mean Louis would be very happy about it. He’s also worried that Niall is crueller about ace things than Louis realises, and maybe he’s just too biased to notice. He really, really hopes not.

“He’d be fine. Just a little weird. I don’t think he quite understands it,” and, he thinks, in for a penny, in for a pound. If there’s anyone he can say this to, it’s Harry. “He never talks about sex in front of me. And it’s not like I’m desperate to hear about the girl he felt up once, but it’d be nice if he could be himself around me without feeling weird. That’d make it a whole lot easier to be myself around him too.”

Harry still looks worried, and Louis has never wanted to hug someone more than he does right now. He doesn’t though. “I think he’s just trying not to offend you.”

Which Louis knows. But. “It’s just weird, because when I told him I was gay he was completely fine with it, and he still talked about girls all the time. Like, regardless of how I felt towards them. Why isn’t it the same?” they might never have fully understood Louis, but Louis has never understood what the big deal is. People calling him plant boy is hurtful, but his mates talking about sex isn’t. He picks at the grass petulantly. “I have no problem with talking about sex, and I may not be interested in women or men like that all the time, but why should that stop him talking about it. I dunno. He probably thinks I’m talking shit anyway.” He’s sulking now, he can tell. This is turning out to be more like a counselling session than a date, but Louis really hopes the date things is still a possibility.

Harry studies him a bit, and he can feel his face go bright red. Then Harry’s reaching to cover Louis hand, where it’s picking at the grass, with his own, and that is nothing short of wonderful. And if that’s wonderful, what Harry says is pure magic. “Niall told me about your club,” he starts, softly, “I told him I was bi, so he told me that he had a mate who had an LGBT club,” he squeezes Louis’ hand a bit, “He seemed really proud. Talked about how cool it was, and how important it was to you. He may not completely understand. But I promise you he only wants what’s best for you.”

And Louis feels like crying. Which is not something he plans to do in front of a boy he fancies. Not yet anyway. He didn’t even know Niall was that aware of the LGBT stuff. He tends to keep his stuff with Eleanor separate from his mates because it really feels like two different worlds. And to think that Niall takes an interest in this other part of his life is kind of mind blowing. He wonders if Niall’s ever looked up what asexuality is. If maybe he’s done all this research into how people feel about it and that’s why he’s so apprehensive to talk about these things around Louis. When he thinks about it, it does sound like a really Niall thing to do. Maybe they should have a proper talk about this. And if this is the effect Harry can have on his life in less than a day, well then he never wants to let him go.

“Wow,” he says, pulling his hand away from Harry’s to wipe his eyes as subtly as possible. That’s enough intensity for now. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this serious on a Wednesday afternoon before.”

Harry smiles, obviously pleased that he’s managed to help Louis. “We can save the serious stuff for late night existential crisis time, if you’d rather,” he suggests.

Which is definitely an interested proposition. “And how do you propose I communicate with you at night. Maybe we can teach the stars Morse code-”

“Or you could give me your phone number, like normal earthlings do.”

And wow. Yes please. This sounds like flirting. Louis’ got to remain cool. “I’m anything if normal. But, if you insist.”

They both unlock their phones and pass them over, Louis having a bit of a hard time remembering how his phone number ends, but he’s pretty sure he’s got it right.

“Is it weird that this feels like the beginning of High School Musical?” Harry says, passing Louis’ his phone back.

“What, the start of something new?” he says with a wink.

Harry laughs. “I meant the swapping numbers at the same time thing, but yeah. That too.”

And that’s it Louis is keeping him forever.

He goes to put his phone away, just quickly checking the time as it does and. Oh shit. “Oh shit, we’re late for class.” He hurriedly gathers all his stuff together, Harry doing the same.

When Harry’s got clumsily back to his feet, he says, “If I get detention because of you, then you’re in for it.”

They head out of the park, not quite running, Harry making sure all their rubbish gets thrown away as they go. “First of all you should take responsibility for your own actions. And secondly, no one would ever give you a detention. You could probably charm your way out of jail.”

“You’d probably charm yourself into jail just for the street cred.”

Louis gasps, mock offended, holding the door to reception open as they go. He’s got P.E. now and he’s no idea where Harry’s got to go, so they probably have to say goodbye here. “How very dare you. I’m an angel.”

Harry smirks, coming to a stop. “Satan was an angel too.”

And ok whether this is flirting or just banter, Louis loves having someone who can keep up with him.

They’re standing quite close together. It’d be so easy for Louis to reach for his hand, its right there after all, but surly you can’t do that before you’ve talked about what’s going on, that must be in the rules of dating. Oh god. Dating. They might end up dating. Louis’ not very good at dating, has Harry dated before? What if Harry’s dating now and he’s just being really friendly to Louis and just wants to be friends? What if Louis’ got this all wrong? What if Harry’s stood there thinking about his boyfriend, wondering why Louis’ all quiet and weird, and he’s stood there staring at Harry’s hand longingly like he’s never seen one before.

He doesn’t want to have made this all up in his head. He wants it to be real. He wants this stupid crush to be mutual and for them to be together. No expectation about stupid things. Mutual understandings. And Harry’s beautiful. Like really fucking beautiful. Inside and out, it seems. And Louis knows he’s not terrible looking. Maybe Harry will think he’s beautiful. He deserves someone to think he’s beautiful, doesn’t he? Maybe they can be beautiful together.

 It sounds too good to be true, but god does Louis want it to be true.

He figures he might as well try. Honesty is the best policy, after all. “So seeing as we’re all ace here, and everything,” he starts, looking at the floor and hoping his voice isn’t noticeably shaking. “Would you be offended if I told you that you’re incredibly attractive, and also very lovely and whereas I have no current desire to wank you off I can see it as a possibility in the future.”

Harry’s quiet for far too long, and Louis would half think he’d run off if he wasn’t literally staring and the boy’s shoes. When he does look up, though, not only is Harry still standing there, but he’s looking at Louis like he just heard the best news of his life, and yeah, that’s quite promising.

“That depends,” Harry starts, and Louis has never felt so nervous. “Would you be offended if I told you you were gorgeous, a delight to be around and are currently fitting into the grey part of my grey-ace identification, but I am also completely content for no orgasms to be exchanged for the foreseeable future if ever.” And Louis is literally stunned into silence. Harry just keeps smirking at him, pleased with Louis’ reaction. “Well, there we go,” Harry says, patting Louis on the shoulder. “I’ve got to get to class, but I’ll definitely see you around Louis.” And with that he’s gone.

He knows he’s got to get to P.E. now but he feels like he’s feet are glued to the ground. Louis must be dreaming, because there’s a pretty boy who’s like him and seems to like him and how can that be real.

 

 

He doesn’t realise it’s actually Harry until he’s stood right in front of him. To be fair he had been thinking about him for the past hour whilst not paying attention to the game of hockey he was supposed to be it, and he wouldn’t be that surprised to start hallucinating about him too, although he was hoping he wouldn’t go insane until a lot later in his life, but Harry makes him want be crazy.

So he’s actually surprised that the curly haired vision standing at the bus stop smiling at him actually isn’t a vision at all, except in how beautiful he looks. It makes sense that Harry’s at the bus stop, he has to get home somehow, but a part of him couldn’t really picture Harry outside of the school grounds. Or McDonalds. Or the park. Like that movie Pixel Perfect. Harry does seem rather perfect, maybe he’s a hologram too.

“Hello again,” Harry says when he reaches him, a light blush dusting his cheeks and wow. Louis doesn’t think he’s ever made someone blush before. It makes his feel powerful and full to the brim with happiness.

Louis smiles and blushes back. “Hey.” There’s a different sort of atmosphere surrounding them now than before. Before they were tentative and excited and chatty and now their tentative and excited and blushy. They’re not saying anything. Should Louis say something? What should he say?

A bus comes hurtling around the corner, not Louis’, but apparently Harry’s based on how he edges towards the edge of the pavement, and Louis can’t help but be disappointed that they don’t get to spend more time together. He grips the straps of his backpack to stop himself from doing something stupid like reach out to Harry.

Harry turns back to him, still blushing but determined. “D’you wanna go out this weekend?”

What. “What.”

They seems to deter Harry a bit, which is not what Louis wanted to do. Like, at all. “Do you wanna go out this weekend? Like, with me. On a date,” he asks again. And Louis feels like flying he’s so happy. Oh my.

Harry still looks a little sad and he’s edging his way towards the bus that is now filling up with students and. Oh. Right. Louis still hasn’t said anything.

This time he does reach out to Harry, fingers gripping the sleeve of his scratchy school jumper, grazing the skin underneath. “Yes!” he yells, and yeah, ok, maybe he should have been a bit quieter ‘cause people are giving them weird looks but Harry just looks so happy that Louis doesn’t mind at all. “I’d love to,” he says at a more normal decibel, just to see Harry’s smile grow. Also because it’s true.

The bus is nearly ready to go now, so Louis, regrettably, let’s go of Harry and nudges him towards the doors. Harry’s still beaming, so is Louis really, and he keeps his eyes on Louis, but he obediently makes his way towards the bus.

The driver’s impatiently waiting but Harry pauses for a second. Then he turns to Louis and kisses him on the cheek, right on the curve of his cheekbone, and rushes onto the bus with a simple text me called over his shoulder. Louis’ still staring open mouthed as the bus drives away.

This must be what cloud nine feels like. Louis would like to live there forever please. With Harry, of course.

 

 

Once he gets home he waits all of five minutes before texting Harry. And it only takes that long because he can’t think of what to say. Does he just say hi, or would that not be enough. Does he ask him to be his boyfriend or would that be too much. He settles for being intentionally awkward with a hey this is me texting you because he hopes Harry will appreciate his weird streak.

He’s sat in the middle of his bed, anxiously awaiting a reply, when his mum comes in. He’d call her out for not knocking, but he’s so distracted he didn’t even notice if she did or not.

“Love, you ran right upstairs without saying hello,” she says, leant against his doorframe.

“Sorry,” he mutters, still staring at his phone with batted breath. She looks at him with concerned eyes, and he feel so guilty.

“Are you ok, sweetheart?”

He is. He really, really is. And he could play this of as being happy he’s back with his mates or even stressed because of the work load. But he’s just so excited about what this thing with Harry could be and he want to tell someone. He wants to tell the whole world really, but his mum’s a good starting point.

“I met a boy, mum. And he’s like me.” He knows he sounds like a teenage girl with a crush, but he is, really. And he’s beaming so hard his cheeks hurt.

She looks confused, and he doesn’t blame her. She was probably planning for the worst in her head, going into concerned but supportive parent mode. This isn’t what she would have been expecting, but when she finally processes what he said she look equally ecstatic and apprehensive. “He’s like you? Like. Like you?” and hearing someone else say it, even in those vague terms, makes Louis’ heart flutter with excitement.

He nods so vigorously he’s surprised his head doesn’t fall off. “I really like him, and he likes me, too.” That part he still can’t believe.

She smirks. “He likes you? Like. Likes you?” and he knows she’s poking fun at his pining but he’s far too elated to care.

He goes to throw a pillow at her when his phone buzzes in his hand, making him jump. His mum chuckles and backs out of the room with a knowing smile. Louis does not blush. Except he totally does.

The reply is not what he’d expected, and it’s the single most heart-stoppingly sincere and soppy text he’s probably ever got:

I’m so glad I met you.

And yeah, Louis thinks, me too. This year is gonna be ace.