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Louis doesn't know how his life came to be like this.

He was a good person; he had partied hard in uni, yes, but he studied hard enough to make up for it. He's nice enough to leave at least a ten percent tip every time he gets the check, and certainly nice enough to drop coins in the tip jars of the baristas who make his coffee. He calls his mum a lot and he loves his sisters and he takes good care of his plant, a cactus he'd named Steve. He's hilarious and witty, his friends love him, and he makes a decent enough living.

So it doesn't explain why he's lying on the floor, with Harry Styles, of all people, planking on top of him.

As in, seventeenth most influential person in London, pop-star-turned-rock-star Harry Styles. The same Harry Styles who has had countless model girlfriends, left, right and centre. Also  the same Harry Styles who has been the subject of Louis' wet dreams since he was about eighteen.

(What can he say, he's consistent. The kid might change his look every few years but the dick wants what it wants. Or something.)

Anyway, the point is that, currently, Louis is looking straight into Harry's gorgeous green eyes and he can feel the heat of Harry's body radiating onto his. He can also feel one of Harry's soft curls brushing against his forehead, and he knows, that if he looked down, he'd see Harry's pink lips, quirked amusedly, like Louis is something of a particularly endearing animal.

In summary, Harry looks like something straight out of Louis' wank bank, and Louis is frantically trying to think of his nan naked in an effort to stop the stirring of his cock in his trousers. (It's not working.)

"Do you, uh, work out a lot?" He blurts out, his mouth temporarily disconnecting from his brain, and he watches as Harry blinks, his long lashes brushing the tops of his cheekbones.

There's a pause, and then he hears a snort.

"Is this a dating show, mate?" Nick Grimshaw, the twat, says, half-laughing from his seat at the radio console. He raises his voice in a poor imitation of Louis', stuttering out a do you, uh, work out a lot in between his giggles.

Louis turns his head to look at him and scowls. "Shut up," he says, trying to ignore the cute way Harry is giggling on top of him. It doesn't really work, but at least he tried.

Nick raises his hands defensively. "Hey, I'm bringing us back on track. You're supposed to be asking him questions about his new album, not asking him if he works out. You're tiring out the little pop star there."

"Nah," Louis hears Harry's low voice drawl from above him, and he turns his attention back to the hot boy on top of him. "`m not tired yet. Besides, I'm kind of enjoying the view." He shoots Louis a cheeky wink, and Louis feels his face flush.

"Okay," he says loudly, mostly for the benefit of himself. He vaguely wonders how red he looks on camera, and whether or not he can get the ground to swallow him whole right about now. Maybe he should retire after this. Radio 1 would just have to look for another person who won't choke in the vicinity of Nick's hairspray fumes.

Every day at one to four pm, Nick and Louis host "The Future is Now", a radio programme where they play music, talk about celebrity gossip and teasing each other. It's supposedly nothing special, just two gay lads making fun of each other and making fun of celebrities and their drama and occasionally talking about football, but apparently their banter has made it the most popular rated programme on BBC Radio 1. So popular that a few months ago, their producer sat them down and told them to "come up with more shenanigans", an order Louis was happy to comply with. He and Nick have then proceeded to do almost everything, from innuendo bingo with a twist to organizing a huge water fight in Radio 1.

Their latest shenanigan is interviewing their celebrity guests in the weirdest way they can, and last time Nick had interviewed Taylor Swift through trying to interpret her answers through drawing. It was massively funny, a huge failure, and also very exhausting, according to Nick, because who knew that Taylor was such a terrible artist?

Which is also why it's Louis' turn to do the interviewing this time.

However, he's ninety-nine point nine percent sure that Nick did this on purpose. Drunk Louis might have let it slip a few weeks back that he has a not-so-small crush on a certain very straight Harry Styles, and Nick, because he was apparently close friends with Harry, invited him to plank over Louis.

Louis' going to light a match near his hair and watch his twatty quiff burn down.

"Okay," Louis says again, because no matter how much he wants to go back in time and ensure Nick was never born, Harry Styles with his hair and his dimples is still above him, smiling like it takes no effort to plank like this at all. He's the most attractive man Louis has ever seen in his entire life. "We're going to have a quickie--" and he resolutely ignores Nick's sniggers from the console and the way his face heats up, "--which is like a lightning round of questions, until you feel you need to lower yourself down or until the timer runs out. Alright?"

Harry nods at him, grinning even wider, and Louis decides to pin his focus on Harry's left dimple so as not to be distracted by the rest of his face.

"Nachos or Tacos?" He asks, starting the game immediately.

"Tacos."

"Red or Blue?"

"Blue."

"Favorite emoji to use in a text message?"

"The tongue and the peach." Louis ignores the almost-obscene way Harry says it. He also ignores Nick's snorts from the table. He can do this. He just needs to ignore the way his dick is twitching in his trousers and get this done like the professional he is, before he can go home and wank his way to oblivion.

 "Favorite song from your new album?"

"Um," Harry says, and Louis feels his forearms shift from where it's beside his head. "Stockholm Syndrome?"

"Are you asking me or telling me?" Louis asks Harry's left dimple. See, he can be normal.

"Stockholm Syndrome." Harry repeats, much firmer. "It's about a nympho."

Louis' eyes fly off Harry's left dimple and into his eyes. "I don't think you can say that on radio."

Harry just shrugs, a mischievous smile playing on his lips. "Sorry."

"Cheeky," Louis mutters, before plunging on. "Most important feature of your ideal girlfriend?"

"I don't know if I can say it on radio," Harry shoots back almost immediately, his smile widening.

Somewhere from his place on the radio console, Nick cackles. Louis hopes he chokes on his own saliva.

"Something radio friendly, then," Louis answers, keeping his voice level.

"Well," Harry drawls out, seemingly lost in thought, "I'm much more of a bum kind of guy," and Nick's cackles get louder and louder. "I like a nice, firm, handful of bum. But if it has to be radio friendly, maybe the smile."

"I'm going to get suspended because of you," Louis deadpans.

"`s the truth." Harry smiles innocently. He shifts on his forearms again, and his long curl brushes over Louis' eye. His cross necklace also falls out of his shirt, brushing against the hollow of Louis' throat.  "Do you like bums, Louis?"

"I like mums? I like my mum," Louis says absently, half blinded by Harry's curl. He feels more than hears Harry laugh from above him, his abs quivering from above his body. Which, hey. Why is Harry laughing at him? He's just trying to keep this show together, for the sake of his job and his listeners and because Nick is a useless idiot.

He clears his throat. "Ideal date?" He asks, blinking his eye against Harry's rogue curl. He focuses on it, tries to get it off his eye with just the power of his blinks and his eye lid muscles. It doesn't really work.

Harry wiggles his eyebrows above him, and Louis feels a slight sense of dread settle against him.

"A walk on the beach, then a candlelit dinner, then back to my place--"

"Favorite hobby?" Louis interrupts, because he cannot do this. He can't. His dick is already half-hard in his trousers, and he doesn't know if it'll stay that way while Harry implies vaguely sexual things.

"I like to bake," Harry answers easily, as if he wasn't on the verge of saying obscene things a few seconds before. Louis hates him. Louis also kind of wants to suck his dick.

"Last thing that made you cry?"

"Um," Harry furrows his brow and bites at his bottom lip. Louis can't stop staring. "I...fell?"

"Fell where?" Louis asks.

"I was getting out of the shower," Harry answers slowly, still seeming deep in thought. Louis tries not to imagine a naked Harry, with little droplets sliding down his skin. He mostly fails. "Then I, like, slipped and fell. There were a few tears."

Louis makes a noise of sympathy, his eyes glued to Harry's lips. "What did you hurt?"

"My bum."

That makes Louis tear his eyes away from Harry's lips and into his green eyes, which are already shining with mirth. "What is it with you and bums?"

"I told you, I'm a bum man." Harry winks. He shifts on his forearms, and Louis realizes that the planking must already be taking a toll on him. He doesn't seem close to giving up though, and Louis admires his determination. His dick admires the rippling of the muscles in Harry's forearms and the strength of his core.

"You seem to be a little bum crazy to me."

"Heyyy," Harry says, a cute little pout making its way onto his face. "Only for certain bums. The nice ones."

Louis doesn't answer. "Favorite app on your phone?"

"Instagram."

"Last photo you took?"

"It was, like, a photo of my sister's dog in, um, space buns."

"Space bums, nice," Louis says, because he can. He might get suspended from radio for a few days, but he's already half-hard on camera and they've been talking bums since a while ago, so.

"Yep," Harry says, playing along. "They were out of this world."

Louis opens his mouth to ask another question when his phone starts ringing, signalling the end of their quickie. Harry unceremoniously drops himself down, his entire body now in contact with Louis' own. Louis can feel his skin heat up from where Harry's touching him, their entire lower half aligned. He feels Harry shift in surprise, discovering Louis' little problem, so Louis just. Closes his eyes. Wonders if he can probably retire gracefully and run away to Guam.

Nick is still cackling like a madman. Louis doesn't think he's even stopped to take a breath since he started.

Good, he thinks viciously. Maybe he'll run out of oxygen.

"Hi," he hears Harry whisper to him, his voice almost drowned out by Nick's laughter.

"Fuck," Louis whispers, without opening his eyes. "Leave me here to die." He can't believe he ended up here, embarrassed and horny and half-hard in front of the guy he's been wanking to since he was eighteen. He doesn't think life can get much worse than this.

"It's natural, you know," Harry whispers, his breath ghosting over Louis' face. "Also, you're not allowed to swear on radio."

Oh, so now he's concerned about radio content. What is Harry Styles.

"Please do not try to make me feel better about this," Louis says through his teeth, ignoring his second statement. They're going to get taken off air because of this interview, anyway. He raises an arm to cover his eyes. "Just....ignore it. Please."

Harry, because he's nice, doesn't say anything anymore, instead pulls himself off of Louis, so that he's sitting on his knees beside Louis on the carpeted floor. Louis takes three deep breaths before he opens his eyes, sits up, and runs to the radio console, where Nick is still cackling obnoxiously. He lets Nick take care of the goodbyes, shakes Harry's hand once and refuses to meet his eyes, and doesn't say anything until Harry has left the room and Stockholm Syndrome is playing on air.

"So?" Nick hedges, nudging Louis with an elbow. "That was fun right?"

"I'm going to murder you in your sleep," Louis answers, glaring. "That was fucking humiliating."

"Oh come on, it wasn't that bad," Nick says, dismissively, wrapping an arm around Louis' shoulder. Louis wants to saw it off his arm.

"You're not the one who got a hard-on in front of like, three cameras," Louis hisses back at him.

"It was barely noticeable anyway," Nick says, rolling his eyes.  He pinches Louis' shoulder, waggling his eyebrows . "But Harry, eh? That was some intense flirting you had going on there."

"Nick," Louis says, deadpan. "He's as straight as a pole. You should know this, he's one of your best friends."

Nick frowns, but before he can open his mouth to say something, Louis beats him to it. "Never mind him. He's probably going to get us suspended anyway, with all his obscene answers and talk about bums."

Nick cackles again, with his head thrown back. "That was pretty funny."

"Yeah, well let's see how funny it is when we get taken off air for a week straight," Louis answers, rolling his eyes, before reaching over to queue up the next song.

Nick, the twat, just keeps laughing.

. . .

They don't get suspended, thank God, but Louis and Nick still receive an earful from their producer, Fiona. Nick just laughs through it all, while Louis maintains that it wasn't his fault. He did his part. How was he supposed to know that Harry Styles was going to go rogue, forget his media training, and talk about bums, of all things?

The answer: he wasn't. So Louis just goes home, wraps a hand around himself and wanks to the vision of Harry on top of him, before trying to forget it ever happened. It doesn't really work, because Zayn and Liam call him up dying from laughter, the video of the interview is immediately Radio 1's most popular video,  'Harry and Louis' is, apparently, trending on twitter, his follower count seems to be increasing by the hundreds, and his mentions are blowing up because, apparently, Harry Styles tweeted him.

Harry is not funny. He really isn't.

"Is it sad that I kind of miss 'Tomlinshaw'?" Louis asks Nick as they leave Radio 1 together the next day, scrolling through his twitter mentions. Everybody seems to be replying to the tweet with some type of variation of a jumble of capital letters, and Louis doesn't know what to make of it. "I mean, this is insane, Harry and I have got, like, sixty fanfictions of us already."

Nick just snorts beside him, leaning over to peek at Louis' phone. "You do not miss 'Tomlinshaw'. You ranted about how disgusting it was to the producers when it started and asked them if you could be teamed up with Greg James instead."

That's an overreaction.

"That's an overreaction," Louis tells him primly, eyes still glued on his phone before him. He wonders if there are actually words in these. Some of Harry's fans seem to be having a conversation in jumbled, capital letters. "Besides, you asked to be transferred to Scott Mills as well, if I recall correctly."

"Because Scott is nice," Nick says, running a hand through his quiff. "You brought a water gun to work every single day and sprayed me with it at the most random times. Sometimes you filled it with coffee instead of water."

"You must never let your guard down, Nicholas," Louis says ominously. "In war, you get shot when you least expect it." He locks his phone and pockets it, before turning to Nick with a quirked eyebrow. "And anyway, don't lie, you yourself enjoyed 'Tomlinshaw'."

Nick groans, laughing. "Like I've said a million times, I was drunk and sad. Besides, you kissed me back."

"And what a mistake that was," Louis sighs, covering his face with his hands and pretending to cry. "I didn't know what I was thinking, almost getting myself suffocated by your highly flammable hair fumes."

Nick shoves him on the shoulder, laughing good-naturedly. " Just answer the tweet, mate," he says as he turns around and dramatically walks away from Louis.

He looks like an idiot. Louis makes a mental note to bring his water gun tomorrow. He also makes a mental note to fill a cup of ice water and dump it on Nick's head.

But first things' first.

He quickly types out his tweet, reading and re-reading it, before quickly pocketing his phone and walking to his car. He ignores the way his phone burns in his pocket on the drive home, and tries not to think of his mentions and his follower count again.

. . .

Nick takes to mentioning the interview anytime he can in the next week, laughing and teasing Louis about it, so he obviously deserves it when Louis 'accidentally' drops honey into his quiff. Zayn and Liam also take to teasing him about it, which, Louis doesn't understand how they even have the time to do so, seeing as Liam is off on his latest tour, being a pop star and all that, and Zayn is probably with him, 'coincidentally' being a model in the same cities Liam is in.

 The views of the interview increase, and his mentions are now full of people asking him if he thinks Harry Styles is fit. Which, he does, but he doesn't need to let the thirteen-year-old girls know that. They also ask him if he and Harry are going to date in the near future. Which makes him pause, because, last he checked, Harry was straight and had just recently broken it off with some Victoria's Secret model.

Eventually, it does trickle down, the ship 'Larry Stylinson' losing momentum after a few weeks. His mentions stop blowing up with questions about Harry Styles, Nick stops mentioning the interview, and life pretty much goes on as it did before. At least for a while.

He doesn't encounter Harry again until two months later, while Louis is storming the backstage of BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend looking for Nick. They're hosting it, because the producers clearly want Louis to die a premature death, and Nick had grabbed Louis' hair wax and fucked off to do something with it. Probably style his hair some more. Whatever. In any case, Louis needs it back right now.

He's just in the middle of composing a very angrily-worded text to Nick when he bumps into someone's really firm body. It sends his phone clattering to the floor, and he winces at its impact.

"Fuck," he sighs, crouching down to retrieve his phone. "Sorry, mate."

He's just finished picking his phone up when he realizes that the body hasn't moved from its position in front of him. He looks up curiously, and is met by familiar green eyes and dimples.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk," Harry Styles says, his voice low, lower than Louis remembers. His lips are curved in a smirk, and his eyes are shining bright. His curls are full and bouncy and frames the shape of his face and there is a hat perched on his head and he looks good, looks better than Louis has ever seen him, even under the harsh fluorescent lights back stage. "It's the second time I've met you and the second time I've heard you swear."

Louis swallows, because Harry is standing in front of him, looking for all intents and purposes, like some sort of God, and Louis is so painfully attracted to him.

It just so happens that Harry is so painfully straight.

"It's a free country, mate," Louis says breezily, his inner turmoil thankfully not inflecting itself in his speech. "I can say what I want."

Harry sighs dramatically, the corners of his lips curved up. "Maybe, but it's sad that such words come from your mouth." Louis is certain he imagines the way Harry's eyes dart down to his lips, before finding its way to his eyes again. Harry raises a hand and takes his hat off his head and holds it out to Louis, bottom-side up. "Put a pound in the swear jar."

 Louis laughs. "A swear jar? What the hell are we, ten?"

Harry pouts at him. "Heyyy," he says, as if insulted, but his eyes are still shining with barely-concealed humour. "That's two pounds now."

"Expensive swear jar, that," Louis mutters, lips twitching as he makes a show of patting his pockets. "Back at my mum's we only put ten pence in."

Harry shrugs. "It's a special swear jar," he says, putting his hat back on. It's a little lopsided, but Louis doesn't tell him. He looks cute either way. "We can use it the money to like, do good things."

"Do good things?" Louis asks, incredulous. "That's incredibly vague. I'm pretty sure that's how people get scammed out of their money."

"Oh, come on," Harry says, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow. "Do I look like someone who would steal your money and run?"

"Well, you said that you would 'Steal My Girl'," Louis jokes, albeit lamely. Sometimes, he honestly doesn't know why he's allowed to speak to the greater population of the United Kingdom.

Harry still throws his head back and laughs, though, so Louis' counting at as a point in his favour. Harry finds him funny, so the United Kingdom must find him funny too. But then again Harry's a pretty bad basis; his humour is made up of horrible puns, really bad knock-knock jokes, and penis jokes.

Oh, and bums.

"Tomlinson, everyone knows that you don't have a girl to steal," Harry says, grinning widely.

Louis gasps, mock-offended. "Are you saying that nobody wants to date me? Are you calling me ugly?"

"No," Harry answers, rolling his eyes. "I'm saying that you're gay. Because you came out as gay, didn't you?"

And, well, yes. He did. But he didn't really come out as gay, more like he was outed, but, whatever. He doesn't want to think of it that way.

"I did," Louis says slowly, "but that doesn't mean I don't have a girl you can't steal. Like, my sister's my girl. What if you stole my sister from me? Or like, my mum. Do not steal my mum." He points a finger at Harry, so he looks very threatening. "Or date my mum, for that matter."

"Wasn't planning on it," Harry says, shrugging. "She's not really my type."

"What is your type, then?" Louis can't help but ask.

Harry smirks. "Someone with a nice bum."

And. Louis has to admit, that was his fault. He walked right into that.

But at least they're not on air anymore, so Louis can answer back. Hopefully he can get Harry flustered. It'd be fun, he'd look really cute.

"I don't know," Louis says, thinking. "I think bums are overrated. I prefer a nice, large cock."

Harry doesn't really get flustered, much to Louis' disappointment. Instead he barks out a large laugh, before slapping a hand over his mouth. There's a slight flush on his cheeks, though, so Louis counts that as a win.

"Nice to know," he says, still grinning, when he puts his hands down from his mouth. "I'll keep that in mind, for...whenever I need that information."

"Maybe you could find me a boyfriend with that criteria," Louis jokes.

"Yeah," Harry says mischievously. "I mean, Nick."

Ew. Harry is disgusting. Louis can't help but wrinkle his nose, shuddering at the disgusting thought of actually sleeping with Nick. Drunken make-outs are one thing, but sleeping together? No, thank you. Louis would choke over Nick's hair fumes and his own vomit.

"Yeah, thanks for that Harold," he says. "Now I have to bleach my brain of the mental image. Eurgh."

"No problem," Harry says cheerfully, and God, what is wrong with him?

"Hey, speaking of," Louis says, suddenly remembering why he's been going through the backstage. "You haven't, by any chance, seen him, have you? He stole my hair wax and fucked off somewhere."

"Three pounds in the swear jar," Harry says, grinning, but he schools his expression to something less happy."Um, I saw him in the loo a few minutes ago. He was, yeah, he was in the loo."

"Oh, thanks," Louis says, turning away from Harry to go to the loo. He's taken a few steps away when Harry grabs him by the elbow.

"Just so you know," Harry says casually, pulling Louis closer. He's so close to Louis, his breath ghosting against the shell of his ear. "I think your hair looks better in a fringe than pushed back." And then he's letting go of Louis' arm, walking away towards where his dressing room probably is. Louis can do nothing but stare.

It's just friendly advice, isn't it? Mates tell each other what makes them look good all the time, don't they? And he and Harry are obviously mates. They've had two conversations and a handful of shippers and Louis is pretty sure that constitutes friendship. Or at least mate-ship.

He ignores the sudden pounding of his heart and slams into the bathroom, where Nick is, as he predicted, styling his hair.

"I hate you," Louis says, deadpan. "Use your own."

"I ran out," Nick explains, while scooping up a handful.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't use it that liberally, then," Louis says, reaching over to snatch his hair wax from Nick.

"Well, you don't need it," Nick snaps, but lets Louis have it anyway. "Your hair looks better when it's down."

Louis just ignores him and makes his way to his dressing room, where he proceeds to leave his hair down in a fringe. For aesthetic purposes. Cause if two people said he looked nice with his hair down, then who is he to argue?

. . .

Harry finds him again a few hours into the after-party, sidling up next to him at the bar. His curls are a bit sweaty now, and he seems to have lost his hat, but his eyes are still bright, his face is flushed, and his voice still sends shivers down Louis' spine.

"Hello again, Louis Tomlinson," he says, voice still deep and smooth like honey, "I believe you owe me money."

Louis quirks an eyebrow at him. "And I told you, your swear jar is far too expensive for me to participate in," he says slowly, wrapping a hand around his third gin and tonic. "You can't even give me a decent enough reason to participate except for 'it's for a good cause'."

Harry simply dimples at him, looking radiant and beautiful and happy. He looks a bit tipsy, and Louis feels a surge of want throughout his whole body. He lifts a hand a gulps down at least half of his drink, hoping that the alcohol will kick in much sooner than later. He doesn't feel drunk enough to handle a radiant, happy, beautiful Harry Styles yet.

"Why don't you trust me?" Harry asks, batting his eyelashes innocently. "Do I not look trustworthy enough?"

"I automatically don't trust people with curls, sorry," Louis says, as he leans forward.

Harry purses his lips into a pout. "That's unfair," he accuses lightly. "You're insulting everyone with curls out there. See, this is why we need the money from the swear jar."

"You are so weird," Louis says, shaking his head. "I never knew. If all your fans knew how weird you truly were, they'd drop you faster than a hot potato. It's tragic, truly."

"I think my fans like me for me," Harry argues.

"No, I'm pretty sure they see you as this cool rock star persona thing, like a Mick Jagger of their generation," Louis says, squinting at him. "You do kinda look like Mick Jagger, to be honest. But whereas Mick Jagger is cool, you are 'tragically cool', meaning, you aren't. At all."

"I am cool," Harry argues. "You're still talking to me, aren't you?"

"I mean you're kinda cute, if that's what you were wondering," Louis says, and then he's momentarily blinded by the reappearance of a dimple. It's really deep, his left dimple. Louis wonders if anybody has tried to take a shot out of it.

"Has anybody ever tried to take a shot out of your left dimple?" Louis asks, because he's drunk and he has no filter. "Is it deep enough to hold liquid?"

Harry blinks at him, confused. "Um, no," he says. "But you can try if you want?"

"I'll pass," Louis says. He takes a sip from his gin and tonic. "Leave it to one of the ladies in here."

There's a brief moment when Louis sees a flash of emotions go through Harry's face, before he's back to normal, dimpling really hard and leaning forward, closer to Louis.

"I see you took my advice," Harry says, and Louis has a brief moment of confusion before Harry is reaching out to card a hand through his fringe. He's so close, close enough that Louis can probably count his eyelashes, should he want to. His breath fans across Louis' face when he speaks. "You look much better with your soft fringe."

"Excuse me," Louis says, looking down at the drink in his hand as Harry plays with the strands of his hair. Harry is probably drunker than Louis thought. "I think I look good all the time."

"Well, that's true," Harry says, leaning back, and before Louis can open his mouth to respond to that, Harry's pulling his hand. "Come dance with me!"

Harry leads them to a spot in the crowded dance floor, and moves closer to Louis. Louis has a brief moment of wondering how platonic this looks, before he shrugs, gulps down the rest of his drink, and places it on a nearby flat surface. It doesn't really matter at this point. If it looks compromising, he can always say that he was drunk. Drunk people become more touchy, don't they?

They dance for a bit, Harry moving like some sort of drunk giraffe, and Louis laughing at him when one of his flailing arms hit other people. They don't really speak much, choosing instead to smile and twirl at each other when they deem it appropriate. Louis tries to ignore the way Harry moves closer and closer to him, the long length of his body pressed to his own. He ignores the way he can smell Harry's cologne on his neck, something that smells rich and expensive, and instead focuses on bobbing to the music.

By the eighth time one of Harry's long arms knock into a person, Louis pulls him to the bar where they proceed to do four shots in succession, before exiting the venue and walking to the nearest McDonald's. They order Happy Meals and trade toys and share stupid drunk stories and take stupid photos of each other and it's the most fun Louis' had in a long time.

. . .

"Do you think," Nick asks Louis on air the next day, after Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran's song about love at first sight, "that you can be in love with someone the first time you see them?"

Louis hums through his pounding headache, his hands curled against his really large mug of tea. "Well, I mean, you were in love with me the first time you saw me," he says to Nick, who then proceeds to elbow him in the side.

"I'm serious, though," Nick insists, as Louis rubs his (probably bruised) side and pouts. "Why do you reckon so many people sing about love at first sight then?"

"I don't know, maybe it depends on the person," Louis suggests. "Maybe we should ask our listeners?"

"Hm, maybe we should," Nick says. "So, listeners, what do you say? Do you think you can fall in love with someone after first seeing them?" He rattles off the number to call as Louis reaches over to cue the next three songs and the ads.

It's only when the song starts that Louis pushes his tea away and slumps down, pressing his forehead onto the table. "`M tired," he whines to the white tabletop.

"You and me, both," Nick answers, leaning back on his chair. "We shouldn't have partied that hard last night."

Louis snorts. "You think?" He asks the white tabletop, and closes his eyes.

He feels horrible. He's massively hung-over--his head is pounding, his stomach is churning a bit, and he's pretty sure he's got tired bags under his eyes. He couldn't muster up the energy to dress himself properly today, and showed up to Radio 1 in a pair of old sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt. He also couldn't find the energy to do his hair, and it now hangs over his face like some sort of bird's nest.

His only consolation is that Nick looks similarly horrible. Except Nick, in a truly Nick fashion, was still able to style his hair into a quiff this morning. Louis doesn't know how he does it.

They sit in silence for a few moments, dozing off and enjoying the peace, all while, on the other side, Fiona briefs the callers and queues them up. Louis only lifts his head from the table when the stinger plays on air.

Fiona is signalling something on the other side of the glass, but Louis leaves it to Nick to decipher. If it's anything important, he'll let Louis know.

"Alright," Nick says, once they're back on air. "We've got about a handful of callers on to share their thoughts about our question, which, to repeat is, 'Do you think you can be in love with someone the first time you see them?' Who've we got on the line, hello love, what's your name and where are you from?"

"Kate," the caller says. "I'm from Bristol."

"Oh, lovely!" Nick says, and Louis rolls his eyes at him. "Now what's your answer to the question posed?"

"I don't think you can be in love with someone when you've just met them," Kate answers, her voice slightly muffled on the line. "You hardly even know them!"

It goes on like that, Louis and Nick talking to about five callers, trading opinions and bantering back and forth. It's a bit fun, once Louis finally gets into it, getting to know these people and learning their opinions and hearing them share stories about their lives. It makes him relax a bit, reminds him why he went into radio in the first place. Or maybe that's just the tea kicking in. Either way, at the end of the five callers, Louis is feeling much better.

"Louis," Nick says, once the last girl has hung up. He suddenly looks really smug. "I know I said we only got five callers, but we've actually got a surprise sixth caller."

Louis just raises his brows. He's suspicious now, especially of the way Nick seems to be gleefully grinning at him.

"Alright," he says slowly. He pointedly takes a sip from his mug of tea.

"Apparently, he called because he really wanted to talk to you," Nick continues on. "I know you like him a lot, and he likes you a lot as well, I think."

Louis' eyebrows would climb even higher, if that was possible. "Okay," he says, "why don't you put him on the line?"

"Oh, I will," Nick says smugly, and suddenly a very familiar voice is flooding the studio.

"Hiiii," the voice says, muffled through the line, but it's deep and smooth and familiar, and Louis' jaw drops.

"Alright there, pop star?" Nick says gleefully, as Louis leans over to try and shove Nick off his seat. "Still sleeping off the hang over?"

"No, `m fine," Harry says through the line. "Louis' there, yeah?"

"Yeah," Nick says, just as Louis says, "No."

Harry and Nick laugh. Louis is an idiot.

"Hi, Lou," Harry says happily, and Louis can already picture his dimples and his smile. "One, you owe me about forty pounds and two, you left me alone last night."

"No," Louis says, as Nick laughs again from beside Louis. Louis doesn't even understand why Nick is laughing. He's just horrible.

"You alright, Louis?" Harry asks.

"No," Louis says again, because he is really an idiot. There's a small pause and Louis can imagine the way Harry is furrowing his brow, before he's speaking again. "I mean, yes, yes I'm good, I'm fine and dandy, aren't we all? It's a great day today."

Louis is pretty sure he shouldn't be allowed to speak anymore. Louis is also pretty sure that everyone in the greater United Kingdom area probably can tell that he has a massively embarrassing gay crush on womanizer Harry Styles.

Harry laughs again, through the line, and it makes something warm burst through his chest. "I'm glad, yeah? Now, you have to tell me why you ran off with the forty pounds you owe me."

Louis did not run off. God, Harry's making him sound like some sort of Cinderella. And he's not Cinderella, okay? If he had to be a Disney princess, he'd be Elsa. Or Mulan. Mulan is good.

Besides, the only reason why he ran off was because one of Harry's gorgeous, model, hipster friends-slash-rumoured-girlfriend went inside the McDonald's (why she was even there, Louis doesn't know; aren't models supposed to be, like, allergic to fast food?) and Harry went over to greet her. Drunk Louis then took the time to remind himself that Harry is straight and, with all the grace he could muster, extracted himself from his seat and ran out into a cab, just so that he wouldn't embarrass himself by throwing himself at Harry.

But how does he even begin to explain this to Harry without further embarrassing himself?

And if Nick is to be trusted, then it was Harry who had wanted to call him and talk to him. However,  Nick is probably not to be trusted, meaning he probably told Harry to call today. Which means Louis doesn't need to have a crisis over this.

Louis instead chooses to focus on a different part of his sentence. "Oh, come on," he says. "I do not owe you forty pounds."

"You do," Harry says, laughing delightedly. "After last night, it's forty pounds now."

"What are you on, mate," Louis argues, smiling. "I only owe you two pounds."

"Noooo," Harry drawls, before collapsing into a fit of giggles. At least one of them's pretty happy today. "It's forty. The swear jar says so."

"It really doesn't, stop scamming me," Louis deadpans. "But hey, since you're on the line, what do you make of our deep intellectual question? Got an answer to share with the class?"

"Hmm," Harry hums for a bit, before speaking slowly, like he's choosing his words. "I think you can definitely be infatuated with someone, first time you see `em, and then maybe, fall in love with them afterwards."

"Infatuated, nice vocabulary," Louis says approvingly.

"But no love at first sight then, for the mighty Harry Styles?" Nick asks, and Louis almost forgot that he was still here.

"Nah," Harry says, without hesitation. "You can be attracted to someone when you see them, but I don't think that's love."

Louis' about to open his mouth to respond to his answer, but Nick beats him to it. "Got a question for you though, pop star. Are you currently infatuated with someone?"

"What do you mean?" Harry asks, sounding confused.

"Have you got your eye on someone? Someone you like? Your fans want to know." And Nick turns to Louis and winks, like he's in on a secret and Louis should be in on it too, and honestly, Louis is just lost.

"Umm," Harry says, "well, there is this one person."

"What're they like?" Nick asks.

"They're great," Harry says, and Louis tries not to get his hopes up with the use of the gender neutral pronoun. Last he checked, Harry's been traipsing with leggy models on his arm, and there's honestly no use pretending that he's not attracted to girls. "They've got a nice smile, they're, um, funny and witty, and they've got really nice...eyes."

"Is that their best feature?" Nick asks, like the nosy bastard he is.

"No," Harry says, without hesitation. "It's their nice, firm, handful of a bum."

There's a pause while Nick and Louis look at each other, eyes wide, before Nick is throwing his head back and laughing, obviously remembering Louis' embarrassment of an interview.  Louis flushes, and he can hear Harry giggling down the line, muffled as if he were stuffing his face into his shirt.

Louis doesn't know how he got stuck with these two idiots. It's probably why they're such good friends.

"As flattering as it is to be reminded of our wonderful topic of conversation the first time we met," Louis says to Harry, as Nick chokes himself from laughter beside him. Nick is useless, he's telling you. "this is a family show, and it's not exactly appropriate."

"You weren't complaining the first time," Harry shoots back, an undercurrent of laughter in his voice.

"I did complain," Louis says, as dignified as he can. "You just refused to listen."

"Aww, Lou," Harry replies happily, and there's something about the tone of his voice that makes him dread the next statement out of Harry's mouth. "Are you just jealous that I'm not paying attention to your bum?"

Louis' jaw drops open. Nick, who was finally calming down, starts up again.

"Because I can," Harry says, still sounding very happy, like a naughty kid getting away with something. "I mean, it's a fine specimen of bum, a model bum, actually--"

"Harry," Louis says frantically, as Nick loses it beside him. This was not how he imagined dealing with his hang over today. "Please stop."

"I could write sonnets about your bum," Harry says, laughing over the line, and now he's just taking the piss. Louis' going to go over to where he lives and smack him on the bum.

Um. Not the best train of thought.

"You don't even know how to write a sonnet," Louis says desperately. Why is Fiona even allowing this to go on air?

"I do too," Harry says, as Louis looks across the room to find Fiona dying of laughter as well. "`S the same as a haiku right?"

"No," Louis says trying to give her the evil eye, "no it really isn't." He wants to hang up the call, but Nick's got his weird hands on the console as he presses his face into the table. Nick's probably dead now.

"Songs, then, I'll write a song about your bum."

"Bye Harry," Louis says desperately, trying to get Nick's hands off the buttons. "You must be tired now, you should go to sleep."

"No, I'm really not," Harry says, bursting into laughter, as Nick fights to keep his hands on the buttons. For a dead man, he sure has a tight grip on the console. "I could do this all day."

"Yeah, well, I can't," Louis says, reaching over and twisting Nick's nipple. Nick jerks a bit, but keeps his hands firmly above the button. "I've still got the rest of the show, so if you could please...?"

He finally manages to pry Nick's hands off the button as Harry shouts, "Don't forget the money you owe me!"  before the line is finally going dead.

"Well, that was something,"  Louis says, as Nick's shoulders shake with laughter. "Harry Styles is certainly...something. Now, we have to cut because I think my partner here finally died of laughter, which is good for me, and bad for his family." Nick twitches beside him, like some sort of fish. He's such an idiot.  "So this is 'Alive' by Liam Payne, for your listening pleasure."

He reaches over to cue the song, and the opening riffs fill up the studio.

"You've really got to talk to Harry about his bum obsession, mate," he tells Nick, when Nick finally rejoins the living, sitting up and wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "It's a problem.

Nick doesn't spiral back into laughter, which is a good thing. "Harry never even talks about bums when we go out," he says delightedly. "He only ever becomes bum crazy around you."

"Hm, why is that," Louis muses, as Liam's voice fills up the studio. "Can you make him stop? It's not funny."

"I can't make Harry do anything, mate," Nick says, leaning back on his seat. "He's his own person. Who happens to like bums. Yours, to be specific." He reaches over to pinch Louis' bum.

Louis doesn't blush. He doesn't.  "It's strange, though, innit," he says, as he slaps Nick's fingers away. "I mean, Harry is straight. If he's just saying things like that it just makes it seem like he's making fun of me. Cause I'm, like, gay and stuff."

Nick's face suddenly drops. "Oh, um." He stutters, like he doesn't know what to say. Which is odd, because Nick never stutters, and he always looks like he knows what to say. "I'm guessing he didn't--um, well, Harry doesn't really mean any harm, when he, uh, says things like that. And besides, maybe he's not straight?"

Louis gives him a look. "He's had more girlfriends than I can possibly count."

Nick shrugs, still looking awkward about the topic. "I mean, I don't really know, it's Harry mate, he's a load of fun. Maybe he just knows how to be appreciative of a really great bum?"

Louis decides to let the topic drop. "It is pretty great, isn't it?" he says, preening. What can he say? He really likes his own bum.

"Greatest bum in all the land," Nick says, rolling his eyes, and Louis takes the compliment for what it is.

 But he still shoves Nick off his chair. Bastard had it coming.

. . .

The bum interview, as predicted, gets a sudden resurgence of views. So do Louis' mentions. He also gains another twenty thousand followers, so now he's got about one thousand more followers than Nick. He takes to gloating about that every day.

Lottie calls him up from Doncaster and confirms his previous beliefs: that practically everybody who listens to the radio knows that Louis has got a huge, embarrassing crush on Harry Styles. His mum asks if he's ever tried to ask Harry out on a date, to which he has to explain that Harry is straight. His mum clucks her tongue at him and says, "Boo, if the way he was looking at you in that interview is any indication, the boy is far straight."

Whatever, his mum doesn't know what she's talking about.

The number of fanfictions about them increase as well, and so do the number of shippers. There now seems to be thousands of them who believe that Harry and Louis should embark on a romance, and that Harry is in love with Louis but is staying in the closet because of his management. Louis once checked Tumblr and was absolutely shocked by the different posts and drawings and arworks and photoshopped pictures of him and Harry. He vowed never to go there again.

(He still wanks to Harry, though. It's not really his fault that when he's in the shower and wrapping a hand around himself that his mind conjures up images of curly hair and green eyes. Okay, maybe it is kind of his fault but he can't really control it. Besides, it gives him really good orgasms, and that's all that matters, isn't it?)

He doesn't encounter Harry until next week, when Harry shows up to the studio in the middle of their programme, a box of cupcakes in hand, and distributes it to everyone.

"Harry Styles has just shown up in the studio," Nick says to the microphone, "with a bunch of cupcakes for everyone. Harry say hi!"

"Hiiii!" Harry says cheerfully, as he's handing Louis a cupcake. His dimples are out in full force, and his curls are bouncy and full of life, and he looks like some sort of Disney prince, distributing cupcakes to the homeless in Radio 1's studio. Or something like that.

"What are you doing here then, Styles?" Nick asks, teasingly. "Can't get enough of Radio 1, can you?"

"I'm just here to collect the money I'm owed," Harry answers teasingly. "Louis, my forty pounds please."

"Shut up," Louis says, "I don't even owe you anything."

Harry gasps dramatically, placing his large palm on his chest. "That hurt, Louis. Really now. Is that how you're supposed to treat me?"

Harry is an idiot. Louis rolls his eyes so hard that he's momentarily scared it'll fall out the back of his head. "Mate, I treat you how I want to. You're the one scamming me out of my money." He deadpans. "You can literally give me no good reason as to why you want me to pay!"

"I told you, it's to ensure people with curls are given a chance to be trustworthy," Harry says, laughing delightedly.

"That literally makes no sense," Louis says, "also, how will forty pounds go about helping affect this change? What are you gonna do, bribe them?"

"I haven't thought about it yet," Harry answers still laughing. "But the money is really important. We curly-haired people need to be trusted."

Louis rolls his eyes. "See how shaky his platform is?" He says, addressing the microphone. "Don't vote for him."

"You don't need to because I'm not campaigning for anything," Harry agrees. "I just need Louis to pay me my forty pounds."

"You're really just scamming me out of my money," Louis says, quirking an eyebrow. "Seriously. Can I call the police through radio? Officer, help, a rogue pop star is trying to con me out of my money on live air, arrest him!"

"Ooh," Harry says, his tone turning wicked. "I'd love to be bent over the hood of a car and be made to wear handcuffs."

"That's a nice thing to inform the world of," Louis says, shaking his head. "You know, like your  young fans and their parents and their baby siblings and maybe their grandparents."

"What?" Harry asks innocently, "I didn't say anything wrong."

"Children, the both of you," Nick interrupts with a sigh. Louis glares at Harry, but Harry is simply blinking at him innocently. Louis knows better, though. Harry's going to get them banned.

It's like that for almost a month. Harry randomly shows up in Radio 1 during their programme, bringing brownies and cakes and flowers and on one special occasion, Nick's beloved puppy, flirts with Louis, answers some questions, before flouncing off to do whatever it is internationally famous people do. One time, Harry couldn't make it, so he'd texted Nick to play a song for him. Nick almost pissed himself laughing at Louis' face when the opening bars of Rihanna's Bitch Better Have My Money played.

Their ratings have gone even higher, to the immense pleasure of their producers and their bosses at BBC. Despite the slightly inappropriate content that has them toeing the broadcast code, they're still allowed to have free reign over their program, and they're left to handle Harry as they see fit. Their bosses seem to have accepted that they've somehow adopted a rogue rock star, who is charming and unpredictable and completely insane.

A good thing about frequent exposure to Harry Styles, though, is that Louis no longer feels like an idiot about to shoot his load around him. It's probably because Harry is a bigger idiot than him, what with his ridiculous jokes and his baked goods and his love for bums. Nevertheless, Louis is now very comfortable around him to the point that when Harry flirts, Louis can easily match him, much to the delight of their many shippers.

Sometimes, though, the flirting gets to be a bit much, and it causes media articles to be written about them, and for Louis to get bombarded by questions from his mum and from Liam and Zayn.

Liam and Zayn are the strangest best friends Louis has ever had the pleasure of meeting. They're close, so close that you'd be hard-pressed to find one without the other. They share a flat and a bed when they're in London, they answer each other's phones, hang out with each other's families, and are weirdly supportive of each other. Liam makes it a point to attend all of Zayn's fashion shows, and Zayn tries to go to Liam's concerts every time he can. On the off chance that you'd find them separated from each other, they'll be glued to their phone, texting each other funny things and pictures or engaging in a three-hour FaceTime call. It's cute, but also kind of weird. Louis is about ninety-five percent sure they're secretly fucking.

They also seem to have appointed themselves as Louis' second set of parents, judging by the way they're sat with Chinese takeaway in Louis' living room two days after they arrived from Heathrow, asking questions as if they're entitled to know everything. Which, they're not.

"So," Liam says, as Zayn unsubtly tries to steal his chicken from beside him. "Are you sure there's nothing going on with you and Harry Styles?"

"For the last time, no," Louis huffs, as he pushes his food around with his chopsticks. "We're just friends okay? Friends who flirt a lot."

"More like 'friends whose sexual tension can be felt from oceans away'," Zayn mutters, without looking up from Liam's food.

"I didn't know we were talking about you and Liam now, Zayn," Louis says sweetly. "The chemistry in the room as you steal his chicken, Jesus, I'm sweating."

Zayn flips him off. Liam simply angles his carton closer to Zayn. It's cute and domestic and a little bit sickening. Louis wants to vomit.

God, see what he means? If he's going to be lectured about sexual tension, he'd rather not have the two people with the most sexual tension in the history of humankind do it.

"You should really stop sharing your food with Zayn," Louis says, narrowing his eyes at them as Zayn continues to pick out the pieces of chicken from Liam's carton. "You're spoiling him. He'll end up thinking that the all food you order is for him."

"Well, I mean," Liam says, "I ordered this because I knew Zayn wanted it."

There's a slight pause.

"Honestly, that's not helping to convince me that you two aren't fucking."

Zayn snorts as he finally picks the last piece of chicken. "Don't worry babe," he says, as he platonically pats Liam's knee in thanks (it doesn't look platonic at all), "Louis' just jealous because he wants to share his food with someone. Particularly a certain rock star with long, curly hair and green eyes and a fuckload of tattoos."

"Yeah!" Liam says, leaning forward. "Are you sure you and Harry aren't dating?"

"Liam, for the last time, I'm sure Harry and I aren't dating," Louis says, rolling his eyes. "Are you sure you and Zayn aren't dating?"

"Stop turning this on us," Liam scolds him. "Why aren't you and Harry dating? I mean, you said he's always there in Radio 1 flirting with you, right? Plus, we've watched that interview with you and Harry a billion times and the way he looks at you is certainly not platonic."

"He even complimented your bum on air right?" Zayn says, picking up where Liam left off. "If he noticed your bum that means he likes you."

"Um, I don't know if you two have been too engrossed with each other in the past years," Louis interrupts before they can get even farther, "but Harry is straight. He's had, like, a ton of girlfriends in the past five years, and isn't he currently dating that Kardashian?"

"Well," Zayn says, "you're sort of a Kardashian too, Louis. You've got the bum for it."

Zayn absolutely deserves it when Louis throws his rice in his face.

"Anyway, the fact is that he's straight," Louis says, as Liam tries to help Zayn clean up. "He was just being friendly. He's like that."

"But it's kind of strange, don't you think, that he moves on from girlfriends so quick," Liam muses, dumping the rice in his hand onto an empty carton. "I mean, no one really dates like that. Unless they're using them for a certain purpose. Like promo or summat."

"What are you saying?" Louis asks, intrigued despite himself. He may work in media and the entertainment industry, but he doesn't have access to their inner workings the same way Liam does. It's interesting, the stories Liam tell him, the shady things that go on behind the scenes, and Louis loves hearing the dirty gossip.

"I mean, he might be promoting them," Zayn says. "I've heard a bit behind the scenes that if a female model wants some good promo she has to strike up a deal with Harry Styles. I'm not sure how true that information is, but..." he shrugs.

"He might also be using them to hide something." Liam says, right after Zayn's sentence. It's kind of scary how in-sync they are. "Like, sexuality or something."

"Are you implying he's a closet case?" Louis can't help but ask.

Liam shrugs. "I don't know him personally, I've met him like once or twice, but there are always rumours behind the scenes."

That makes Louis pause. If Harry were a closet case, it would actually explain a few things. His inappropriate banter and flirting always seems to border on sincere, to the point that Louis tends to forget that he often has a girl on his arm. But don't people often make the assumption that men who work in pop music are gay? Maybe that's just it. Harry started off as a pop star, after all, before transitioning his way into a much more mature sound and a much more mature fan base. That's probably where the rumours are coming from.

"I don't know," Louis says carefully. "I mean, he hasn't told me anything, I don't think we're close enough for that, but I always assumed he was straight. Maybe my gaydar's broken."

"Hm, I don't think so," Zayn says. "You've had the hugest crush on him since you were eighteen, right? Maybe you already sensed it before, but, like, you convinced yourself he's straight."

"Maybe." Louis concedes.

They don't talk about it again for the rest of the night. Instead, Liam and Zayn regale him of the places they went to together in America, and of the pranks they played on Liam's staff, and Louis tells them about what he's gotten up to here in London the past few months. It's nice to be back in the company of his two best friends, and he's missed them a lot, even though he won't admit it.

. . .

"And Radio 1's stray puppy walks in the studio again," Louis says on air, on a Monday, during a lull in a conversation between him and Nick. "Will someone please, please pick him up? I'm scared he's going to pee on the carpet."

Harry scoffs as he takes a seat beside Louis, pushing a container filled with cookies towards him. "Hello, Louis," he says into Louis' microphone. "Nice to see you too. How was your day? Mine was fantastic, thank you for asking. I went to the recording studio and had a lovely nap."

Louis rolls his eyes as he opens the container and takes a cookie, before passing it to Nick, who is seated on the other side of the table. "Where did you even nap? I'm pretty sure you're homeless, judging by the insane amount of time you spend here in Radio 1."

Harry pouts at him, his eyes still twinkling with mirth. "Maybe I just wanted to see you, Lou."

"And me," Nick throws in. "Because it's not like this is my radio show too, or anything."

"Hm," Harry says agreeably, not tearing his eyes off Louis. Louis just crosses his eyes and makes a face at him.

There's a pause where Harry and Louis just look at each other, before the silence is broken by Nick moaning rather dramatically. "I can't do it," he says, throwing his hands up in the air. "I can't penetrate this level of flirting anymore. I feel like an awkward third wheel. Fifi, can you kill me on air, please? Maybe they'll finally remember I'm in the room."

Harry throws his head back and laughs, as Louis throws pieces of his cookie towards Nick, trying to get it stuck in his quiff. He'd throw the whole cookie at Nick's face, but it's really too good to be wasted.

"Watch it, Grimshaw," Louis says threateningly. "I have more twitter followers than you. A veritable army."

"You only have a thousand more twitter followers, that's not a lot," Nick shoots back, sticking out his tongue.

"It is," Louis insists. "The extra one thousand people can easily infiltrate your house and steal your beloved puppy."

"Not if I get Harry here to help me," Nick says. "Harry, you'd help me, wouldn't you? Louis's followers wouldn't touch you, they're mostly your fans anyway."

"Harry's on my side," Louis says, grabbing Harry's hand for effect. "He wouldn't want to suffocate on all the fumes your quiff gives off."

"What, compared to the stench of your feet?"

"Children," Harry tries to say sternly, all while stifling his giggles. "Don't argue on air."

"He started it," Nick and Louis both say at the same time, before all three of them burst into laughter. Louis squeezes Harry's hand before letting go, picking up more crumbs of his cookie to throw at Nick's hair.

"So, anyway," Nick says, still laughing. "Still here to claim your money?"

"Yep," Harry says, popping the 'p' sound. "It's been a month since Louis showed me how dirty his mouth is."

"See," Louis interrupts before Harry can say something even more obscene about his mouth, "if I haven't paid in a month, that's really a sign that you should forget about it."

"Hm," Harry says, leaning forward and resting his chin on his hand, his long curls falling down and framing his face. He's looking at Louis, eyes sparkling with something like amusement, similar to the way he looked all those months ago on top of Louis, and it makes the back of Louis' neck erupt in goose bumps. He's planning something naughty, Louis knows it.

"Maybe," Harry says, his voice slow.  "I'm here to offer you an alternative, though." He leans forward, closer to Louis.

"Hope you're not going to scam me out of something else," Louis says haughtily, but he leans closer anyway.

"Nah," Harry says, smiling, his dimples making dents in his cheeks. "Have dinner with me after this."

There's a silence.

"Aaand this is 'Worth It' by Fifth Harmony on BBC Radio 1," Nick says, breaking the silence. "We'll be right back after the ads." He presses a button on the board and the sound of the saxophone fills the studio. Louis has never been thankful for Nick than this moment. He should apologize for all the pranks, or something. Maybe send him some flowers.

He would say thanks, but he can't seem to tear his eyes away from Harry, who's smiling at him beatifically, as if he didn't do anything wrong. As if he didn't single-handedly make Louis' mentions go crazy. Harry Styles is the devil.

Nick takes one look at them, pushes back from the table and walks off, leaving Harry and Louis alone in the radio studio.

Louis clears his throat. "Well played, Styles."

Harry shrugs, like it's no big deal, still dimpling at Louis. "I was being serious though. Have dinner with me."

"Are you sure this isn't just another way to con me out of my money?" Louis says, raising an eyebrow. "I don't know why you're so insistent on those forty pounds, you're practically a multi-millionaire."

"It's the principle of the thing," Harry insists. "You swear, you put money in the swear jar. See?"

"Why don't you put money in the swear jar, then?" Louis asks, narrowing his eyes.

"I don't swear," Harry says, smirking. Louis rolls his eyes. As if.

"Come on, though," Harry interrupts, before Louis can open his mouth to say something. "Come to dinner with me. I'll show you what a great date I am, I'll even pay."

"I'm pretty sure you're a horrible date, though," Louis says flatly. "I mean what kind of gentleman  corners their date on air to say yes? That's probably why all the ladies dump you, I bet I'm probably a better date than you are."

"You aren't," Harry says. There's a small smile on his face, like he thinks Louis is some sort of tiny endearing animal. Which he is not, thank you very much. He's not tiny and okay maybe he's a bit endearing but he's also threatening and intimidating. He'll prove it.

"I am," Louis insists, because Harry is being stupid right now. Honestly, Harry's life would be much easier if he just listened to Louis. "I'll prove it."

"How?"

"Take me to dinner tonight," Louis says haughtily, "and I'll take you on a date tomorrow. Then you'll finally realize that I'm the better date."

Harry breaks out into a dazzling grin, his dimples digging pockets into his cheek. His green eyes catch Louis', and he extends a hand out to Louis. He looks beautiful.

"Deal," Harry says, and Louis takes his hand and shakes it. Friends do that, don't they?

. . .

They go for dinner in a nice, posh, and private restaurant near Radio 1, away from the eyes of Harry and Louis' shippers. Harry lets him order the most expensive thing on the menu, and orders an expensive bottle of wine for them to share. They talk about everything, ranging from Harry's album to his upcoming tour next week to his home life. Harry talks extensively about his pet cat Dusty, who's back home in Holmes Chapel, and Louis watches the way the dim light of the restaurant reflect in his glassy, green eyes. His lips are stained red from the wine, a contrast to his pale face, and his curls are loose waves brushing his shoulders. His movements are languid, almost poetic in motion, and when he laughs at Louis' jokes, Louis watches the way his body shakes and briefly wonders what it would feel like beneath his fingertips.

And that should've been Louis' first clue, honestly, because Louis isn't a poet, but Harry makes him want to be one.

The next day, Louis takes them to a cinema he'd found that only plays those black and white, artsy films. He lets Harry pick one at random, and they sit in the silence, watching the monochromatic images move. Louis gets bored, but Harry seems engrossed, so Louis instead watches the rest of the film in the shadows of Harry's face.

He then takes Harry to a small, cozy cafe known to have great food, because he's competitive and he wants to prove he's the better date. Because of course he is. He spends the rest of the date throwing pieces of bread from his soup to Harry, who tries to catch with his mouth. They get dirty looks from the patrons, most of them little old ladies, but the instant Harry smiles at them, they're charmed.

(Louis is charmed too.)

On Wednesday, Harry takes them mini-golfing. Louis hates golf, and proceeds to let Harry know this in the loudest and most annoying way possible. Harry ignores him, and so Louis spends an entire two hours lining up shots that probably won't go into the hole. At one point, Harry wraps his arms around him to correct his form, and Louis tries not to react too visibly to the way their skin brushes together, the way he fits in Harry's arms, the way he can feel Harry's breath against his ear. He adjusts Louis' position with light touches of his hand, and Louis' heart feels like it's run a marathon.

He doesn't make the shot, but Harry smiles happily at him and tells him he's improving, before lining up his own shot. Louis watches his broad shoulders and the strength of his arms and wonders what it would be like to be held up by them.

Louis doesn't plan a Thursday date, because he thought it ended after three dates, but Harry shows up to Radio 1, as always, and drags him around London. His clothes are subdued, more casual and less loud than the bright button ups he's usually sporting, but he still looks good, his body filling out the creases of his shirt perfectly. They wander aimlessly for a bit, chatting about nothing, before Harry takes his hand and drags him into a pet shop.

The employees look a bit starstruck, but they graciously let them through to play with the kittens. Harry signs a few autographs and poses for a few photos for them, before he's taking out all the kittens from the pen and cooing over them adorably. Within minutes, he's seated on the floor and has got about five kittens on him; one on each leg, one on his stomach , one tucked in the crook of his elbow, and one dangling from his shoulder and pawing at his hair. He looks ridiculous, grinning widely, and Louis can't stop laughing at him.

They play with the kittens for an hour before they bid them goodbye and put them back to the pen. Harry takes his hand the instant they're out of the pet shop, pulling him along. They have dinner at a quaint diner, ordering a burger each and sharing fries.

Of course, by the time he gets home, both Twitter and media have caught wind of he and Harry's 'date', exploding with blurry shots of him and Harry holding hands and fans demanding explanations. He also gets some death threats from some of Harry's more crazed fans, which he just...elects to ignore. He's not forcing a sexuality on Harry, thank you very much, so those fans can just shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

On Friday, during an impromptu date in Louis' flat (Because Harry followed him into his car with a bag of Indian takeaway), Harry invites him to a small get-together he's throwing at his house the following evening.

"It's just me and some of my mates," Harry says from beside him, placing his empty carton on the coffee table in front of him. "There'll be a few drinks, some laughs, maybe a spot of dancing, just to celebrate me going back on tour on Sunday. You can bring some of your friends too, if you want."

"What, you and your hipster mates?" Louis says, appalled. He mirrors Harry's action before turning to face him. "What makes you think I'll fit in with them?"

"Nick'll be there," Harry says. "You get along well."

"Harold, the only reason why we get along is because of our mutual hatred of you," Louis says haughtily, batting Harry's hand away from where it comes up to pinch him at the side. "Plus, Grimmy's half in love with me. He's a twat, sure, but I like the attention."

"You're a twat," Harry huffs, leaning over to shove Louis. The corners of his lips twitch up, threatening a smile. "No way you hate me."

"I do," Louis says faux-solemnly. He used to act in sixth form, he can totally commit to a role. "I hate your curly hair and your stupid dimples and your weirdly-shaped nose--"

"--My nose is not weirdly shaped--"

"--and the way  you eat, tongue first," Harry's still looking at him like he's about to laugh at any moment, and Harry should be taking him seriously.

"That's how I like to eat other things," Harry says lasciviously, before breaking character and giggling. Louis kicks him.

"Not in my house. See, you're proving exactly why I hate you," Louis says, rolling his eyes. Seriously, why is this kid such a dork.

"You don't hate me," Harry points out, laughing. "You wouldn't have let me come over if you did."

"It was an act of charity," Louis answers back, "helping out the homeless. Because you clearly don't have a home. Millionaire musician, probably sleeps on a pile of YSL coats on the curb."

"Yeah," Harry says, still laughing, "I'm inviting you and my friends to hang out on my pile of coats tomorrow."

"Sounds grand," Louis says sarcastically. Harry just giggles at him, and Louis tries not to coo over how adorable he sounds.

They let the silence ring over them for a few minutes, basking in each other's presence, before Harry is breaking it, leaning forward to place a hand on his thigh.

"Seriously, though," he says earnestly. "It'll be fun."

Louis studies him, takes in the way his green eyes reflect nothing but sincerity, the way he's biting his lower lip like he's nervous, and the light flush dusting his cheeks. He looks as if Louis' answer to his simple question is the most important thing in the world for him, and, honestly, what else is Louis supposed to say?

"I can bring friends, right?" Louis asks, and he basks in the way Harry's face lights up.

. . .

Harry's house, for all his teasing, is decidedly not a pile of YSL coats on a curb. In fact it's large and spacious, with a front yard and a backyard in a gated community. Louis is impressed, but he probably shouldn't have expected anything less; Harry, after all, truly has a lot of money.

It's Nick who opens the door when they ring the doorbell. His quiff is slightly droopy, and his eyes are glassy, but he's got a wide smile. Tipsy, already, then.

"Started early, Grimmy?" Louis asks, as Nick pushes past him to give out hugs to Liam and Zayn, who are  standing behind him.

"It's like ten in the evening," Nick replies, pulling away from Zayn and patting him on the shoulder. "You're all late. And I just saw you yesterday, how annoying."

He points at Louis, before he goes and hugs him as well, even going so far as to press a kiss onto Louis' forehead. Louis blinks at him.

"Come on," Nick says, gesturing for them to cross the threshold. "He's been looking for you, Tomlinson."

He doesn't turn around, but he can still feel Liam and Zayn share a glance, before bursting into conspiratorial whispers and snickers. He ignores them, choosing instead to look around.

The inside is almost monochromatic; almost every piece of furniture is either  ebony black or bright white, giving it a classy vibe. The only pop of colour is the artwork hanging from the walls, the hundred of polaroid photos stuck on one of the bedroom doors, and Harry's numerous colourful boots, spilling out from the closet in the front hall. It's sophisticated, and lived in, and immediately it makes Louis feel right at home.

They follow Nick through the front hall and into the living room, where their faced with a circle of about ten people seated around the living room. They all look up when they come in, and Louis suddenly feels like he's back in school, with all the eyes looking at him. He suddenly has the overwhelming urge to run.

A figure jumps up from one of the couches, disentangling himself from one of the other guests, and Louis realizes it's Harry.

"Lou, hey, you came," Harry says, quickly walking over to where Louis is standing and giving him a quick hug. He smells a bit like alcohol and sweat, but Louis still hugs him back.

"Yeah," Louis says, after Harry pulls away. He runs a hand through his hair, suddenly feeling incredibly self-conscious. "Yeah, I did, I said I would. Um." He looks behind him and quickly pulls Liam to stand beside him; Zayn, who was apparently attached to Liam, follows immediately.

"This is, um, Liam and Zayn," Louis says, gesturing to them. "They're, uh, well, they're my friends." He's lame. He's the lamest. He wishes the ground would swallow him up. Right now, if it were possible.

Unfortunately, it doesn't happen.

"Liam!" Harry exclaims, extending a hand to Liam, who shakes it firmly. "It's great to see you again. Heard you'd just finished up a tour. How was it?"

"It was great," Liam says, happily. "Always fun being on the road and performing on tours. Started to get a bit homesick, though, at the end, so it's great to be back in London. You're heading out to one yourself, aren't you?"

"I am, yeah," Harry says. "I'm excited, a new show, a new set-list and everything. It's going to be fun."

"Ace," Liam says. "I'll try to catch a show when you come back to London, see the whole Harry Styles experience."

Harry turns to Zayn, who'd started fidgeting where his arm was linked with Liam's. "Zayn, right? It's nice to meet you."

"Same," Zayn says monotonously, because he's cryptic and mysterious and wants to give one syllable answers. Louis internally rolls his eyes at his friend.

"Zayn, you bloody wanker, why don't you reply to my texts anymore?" A female voice cries out from behind Harry, interrupting them. All four of them turn to the source of the sound, a tall, thin, blonde girl with a quirked eyebrow.

There's a moment of silence before Zayn is breaking into a smile, pushing past Harry.

"Cara!" He exclaims, as he goes over for a hug. "I'm sorry, I'm rubbish at texting, and American shoots are so bloody long. How are you, though?"

After that, it's as if the tension's been broken. Everyone in the group goes back to their previous conversation, chatting and laughing happily. Harry intertwines his fingers with Louis and pulls him to the couch, where space has been magnanimously left for the two of them.

"Louis, yeah?" A blonde, Irish man asks him from across the circle, cups and bottles of alcohol scattered around him. "Pick your poison. Number one, two, or three?"

Harry leans closer to him. Louis can feel the warm length of his body pressing against his. "That's Niall, he's my guitarist," he says in Louis' ear, way too close to be a whisper, and Louis has to hold back a shudder. He feels like he's going to die. "And don't pick number three, it tastes like rubbish."

"It does not," The girl on his other side, who Louis recognizes as Rita Ora, speaks up, apparently having overheard the conversation. "Three tastes perfectly fine, you're just being a baby, H."

"We'll see who's being a baby, Rita," Harry says, addressing her, "when you're dying of liver poisoning and I'm healthy and happy as a clam."

"You'll be dying of diabetes," she shoots back, and Harry sticks his tongue out at her. The tip of it hits Louis' cheek.

"Oops," Harry murmurs, before lifting a thumb and wiping his cheek. "Sorry, Lou."

It's official, Louis is going to die tonight.

He might as well get drunk first.

"Um, I'll have number three," Louis says to Niall, and both Rita and Niall whoop. He watches his drink get made as Harry talks to the other people around him, laughing at funny stories and making comments here and there. He'd try harder to participate, but Harry's still holding his hand, and he can't seem to focus on anything other than that. He feels like he's burning.

When Niall passes him the drink, he has to hold back a wince. Harry's right, it tastes like rubbish.

He downs it all in one go, anyway.

. . .

A few hours later, Louis is happily tipsy. He's got his head resting on Harry's shoulder as one of Harry's hands card through his hair, and he's listening to Nick tell some random story about Radio 1. He's not really listening.

The rest of the group seems entirely invested, though, so Louis decides to tune in.

"...so Fiona had to get a pair of really sharp scissors," Nick is saying, as he gestures with his hand. "Because the box was taped shut with, like, duct tape, and there were tiny holes on the top but she couldn't see through them. She was so excited, thought it was a present for her, bless."

Louis rolls his eyes, because he knows where this is going.

"So when she gets it open, and Louis and I were on air, just after the ads, she opens it, drops the box and just screams her head off. In the radio studio."

The group laughs, and Louis finds himself giggling as Harry's shoulder moves up and down. It's not really a funny story, but, they seem to like it, so.

"Where'd it come from?" Alexa Chung asks.

"Apparently it was Louis'," Nick says. "So, anyway, she drops the box, and the lizard scurries off somewhere, we didn't see where it went, and then Fifi started screaming about equipment and wildlife and exterminators, of all things, so we had to take another ad break as we looked for the bloody lizard. We found it eventually, though, and nothing got damaged, right Lou?"

Louis just shrugs.

"Why would you leave a lizard on her table, though?" Alexa asks him, slightly horrified.

Louis shrugs again. "It wasn't a prank, though," he says, feeling the need to defend himself. "I bought it as a present for Zayn, and I didn't know where to put it. I didn't expect her to open it. I didn't even expect her to notice it."

"You didn't tell me you lost Arnie in Radio 1," Zayn says from across their little circle, an eyebrow quirked. He's got Niall's head on his lap, and is absent-mindedly feeding him crisps. "I would've skinned you, bro."

"Technically he wasn't Arnie yet," Louis says defensively. "He wasn't even yours yet. I was allowed to lose him as I pleased."

"Fifi wasn't too happy, though," Nick interrupts cheerfully, before standing up. "I'm gonna go get a glass of water."

He stumbles his way through the circle, clearly very drunk, and he makes it half way before he falls over. On Louis.

"Watch it, Louis," Nick snipes half-heartedly, pulling himself into a sitting position on Louis' lap. Louis rolls his eyes and shoves his shoulder.

"Get out of my lap, twat," Louis answers with no venom, and Nick just leans over and plants a quick kiss on Louis' lips before he's standing up and stumbling his way into the kitchen.

Nobody seems to have noticed the quick exchange, already deep in the middle of another topic, but Louis suddenly feels self-conscious. He doesn't really know why; he's been to a lot of parties with Nick, and Nick has this tendency to kiss everyone when he gets drunk so Louis is kind of used to it. Maybe Louis' just drank too much, to the point that he's paranoid. That happens, right?

(Or maybe it's got something to do with the way Harry tightens his grip on Louis' hand.)

He tries to immerse himself back into the conversation, but it's hard when he's suddenly hyperaware of how his fingers are tangled in between Harry's long ones, his large palm pressing Louis'. He suddenly feels hot all over, his heart pounding in his ears and he needs to move. He lifts his head off Harry's shoulder and subtly tries to move away, hoping Harry doesn't notice.

It doesn't work.

"Are you alright?" Harry murmurs to him, and Louis stops squirming.

He pastes on his most charming smile. "Fine," he says, and judging by the way Harry is frowning at him, he probably looks like he's in pain. He pointedly tugs at his hand, and Harry's frown gets even bigger as he untangles their fingers.

"I just, I need some air," Louis says, standing up clumsily. Across him, Zayn and Liam catch his eye, a silent question in their eyes, and Louis shakes his head. He's fine.

"I'll come with you," Harry offers, standing immediately, much more gracefully than Louis would've expected from his inebriated state. He takes one look at Louis' face before he pauses, and when he speaks again, his voice comes out smaller. "Louis? Do you want me to come with you?"

Louis blinks at him for a few moments, trying to make sense of the words through the roaring of his heart in his ears. When he finally understands, he just nods, and Harry silently directs them through the kitchen and into the backyard, where Louis breathes out his sudden onslaught of panic.

He keeps silent, breathing in the cool night air, and exhaling it, again and again, rhythmically, until his heartbeat recedes from his ears. He feels a bit dizzy, most likely the effect of the alcohol, and there's a tingling starting from his fingertips and extending all the way through his body.

"Louis?" Harry's timid voice breaks through his reverie. "Are you alright?"

Louis turns to look at him, and he feels his breath knocked out from his lungs. Harry is standing in front of him, illuminated by the stars, and he's lovely. The starlight bends to the sharp curve of his jaw, bounces off the pale line of his neck, and his eyes almost seem to glow. He's all shadows and light, like a study in chiaroscuro, and Louis wants to touch.

So he does.

He takes a step forward and fits his hands on the line of Harry's neck, marvelling at its softness, the feel of his smooth skin beneath his fingertips. He lightly presses the pads of his fingers on the back of Harry's neck, enjoying the way he can feel Harry breathe. Beneath his palm, he feels Harry's pulse flutter, and it seems to reverberate through Louis.

"Lou?" Harry asks, and it's only then Louis realizes how close they are, that he has to look up to catch Harry's eye. The thought makes him strangely breathless.

"Yeah," he says into the tiny sliver of space in between them. "I'm good."

Harry doesn't really say anything after that, and they simply breathe in sync, inhaling the dustings of stars, letting it swirl within their lungs. Louis studies the way Harry's eyelashes frame his green eyes, the way his nose slopes, the way his plump mouth is resting, pink and slightly open and looking very, very inviting.

In the end, Louis doesn't have to kiss him. Harry leans down and presses their lips together, gently, oh so gently, like he's afraid of dislodging the delicate balance between them. It's only a few moments before Louis responds, tilts his head to fit their lips together, and kisses him properly.

Harry's hands snake around his waist, holding him like he were something delicate, something pure, something precious. He opens his mouth and lets Louis use his tongue to explore, lets Louis paint a picture in the arch of his mouth. He tastes of mint and vodka and something so indescribable, so overwhelming that Louis can't get enough of it.

Stardust, Louis thinks somewhat insanely, before all his thoughts are lost in the sweep of Harry's tongue against his lips, broad enough to make Louis shiver and press closer to Harry. Harry makes a noise at the back of his throat before throwing himself into it, kissing Louis like it's the last thing he ever wants to do in his life. He kisses with his whole body.

It's not long before the gentleness of the kiss gives way to the heat building, and in an instant, the kiss is hotter, slicker. Louis feels Harry's hands drop lower from his waist before he's grabbing a handful of arse and squeezing it. He makes a sound at the back of his throat and Harry swallows it down, before pushing Louis back until he hits the wall. Louis tangles his fingers into the curls at the nape of Harry's neck and pulls, and is rewarded with a groan he licks down eagerly. He sucks at Harry's tongue obscenely, and hitches a leg up around Harry's waist. Harry uses that to press closer.

It's a few minutes before they break off, the need for air burning in their lungs. Harry keeps his hand on Louis' arse.

"The bum on you, Jesus Christ," Harry murmurs into his ear, and catches Louis' earlobe between his teeth. He nibbles at it, and Louis uses his distraction to grind up against him, suddenly aligning their clothed cocks.

The moan it rips from Harry will fuel Louis' wank bank for decades.

"Do you want..." Harry trails off, but Louis understands what he's asking anyway. He nods.

They try to be subtle, sneaking into Harry's bedroom upstairs, but Louis' is pretty sure they fail--they're both drunk, first of all, and they can't keep their hands off each other. They bump into walls and stub their toes into doors and fall into each other, but really, Louis couldn't care less.

Harry kisses him against the bedroom door the instant they get in, his tongue diving in almost immediately. He grabs Louis' arse and pulls him closer, grinding against him, and it's good but it's not enough. Louis needs more.

He scrabbles for the buttons on Harry's shirt, his fingers clumsy. Harry understands him though, and quickly pulls away to unbutton his shirt; Louis decides to be proactive and pulls off his shirt as well.

Harry's chest is pale and littered with tattoos, and his nipples are a gorgeous, dusty pink. Louis reaches out to brush a thumb on them, and memorizes the way it makes Harry shudder and throw his head back.

"I didn't know," Harry murmurs, one of his long fingers reaching out to touch Louis' chest. Louis feels his finger drag across his skin, and he looks down, before realizing that Harry's tracing the swirls of his chest tattoo.

"Oh." He feels his face heat up, and he looks back up to Harry, who is focused on Louis' tattoo. "Yeah. I tend to keep it hidden when I'm at work. It's probably not as nice as some of your tattoos..." He trails off as he catches sight of Harry's pink tongue, swiping at his lips.

"It's gorgeous," Harry says reverently, and Louis feels his mouth dry up. He swallows, and watches as Harry's eyes darken with lust.

Or at least, he thinks it's lust. It might just be the alcohol.

Harry spins them around and kisses him again, this time more urgently, before none too gracefully shoving him backward until he falls onto the bed. Harry climbs up over him, hovers over Louis on his hands and knees, before he catches Louis' eye and grinds down, hard.

Pleasure floods through Louis and he moans, before Harry's pressing their lips together, sticking his tongue into Louis' mouth roughly. He lifts his hips and grinds down, his hips moving in small circles. Louis can feel Harry's length in his jeans, probably already painfully hard. Normally, Louis would take a moment to celebrate the effect he has on a drunk, fit, boy, but he's on the same boat. His cock is painfully trapped in his jeans and he needs Harry naked now.

"Off," He murmurs into Harry's lips, sticking his fingers into Harry's belt loops and tugging down. It's not very effective, but Harry seems to understand anyway, quickly divesting himself of his trousers and his pants as Louis does the same.

The skin-on-skin contact is hotter now, and they both moan loudly when their cocks come in contact with each other. Harry's leaking pre-come, smearing a bit of it onto Louis' stomach and on his cock.

"Lou," Harry moans, as he grinds down once more, and Louis uses the same moment to plant his feet on the bed and push his hips up.

Harry makes a choked-off noise, before burying his face into Louis' neck. His hips are moving downward almost relentlessly now, and Louis tries to meet him per thust.

"Harry," Louis wedges a hand between their bodies, smearing the pre-come from his own cock down his shaft and trying to get a hand around both their cocks. It's difficult, because Harry is big. "God, Harry."

"Fuck, Lou," Harry whines into Louis' neck, before one of his big hands is coming down to wrap around them, effectively covering the parts Louis couldn't. His thumb brushes Louis' sensitive head, and Louis' vision almost whites out.

They jerk off together, using the precome to ease the slide. At the back of his mind, he hears a high-pitched whining; it takes a moment before he realizes that it's coming from him.

"The noises you make, Jesus," He vaguely registers Harry's voice before Harry's lips are covering his own, his tongue easily gaining entry into Louis' mouth. It's slick and it makes everything ten times hotter.

Harry 's hand starts moving faster, his hips starting to move, and Louis knows that Harry is close. He lifts his other hand from where it was resting on Harry's back, grabs a fistful of curls, and pulls, hard.

Almost immediately, Harry shudders, moaning obscenely into Louis' mouth, before he's spilling all over Louis' stomach and his still-hard cock. Louis jerks him off through his orgasm, watching the way Harry falls boneless on top of him. It takes a few moments before he realizes that Louis is still painfully hard.

Harry scrambles down, and studies Louis' cock, covered in a bit of Harry's come. He doesn't move for a few moments, not until Louis is bucking his hips up and hissing "Jesus fuck, Harry I--"

"Shh," Harry says infuriatingly, before leaning down and slowly licking a stripe up Louis' shaft. When he gets to the head, he wraps his mouth around it and sucks.

It only takes a bit until Louis is falling apart, whining and coming in Harry's mouth. Harry doesn't even choke or sputter, simply swallowing it all.

It takes a moment for Louis to come back to his senses, and by the time he even thinks of moving his limbs Harry's already cleaned up the last of the come from his stomach and put him under the covers.

Harry Styles. Poster boy for proactivity.

"I should go," Louis murmurs, but he makes no effort to get off the bed. Instead, he throws an arm over his face and yawns. Wow. He didn't realize he was this drunk. Or exhausted.

"You don't have to," Harry replies, his voice timid.  Louis wants to lift his arm and look at him, but his arm weighs so much. "You could stay here, just for the night. It's late and you're exhausted."

"Ziam, home," Louis replies. He doesn't even know what he's saying anymore, all he knows is that Harry's bed is so comfortable and he's warm where he is and he doesn't want to move.

"They can find their own way home," Harry soothes. He moves closer, so that their bare arms are almost touching. "Just, stay for the night. Please? I'd worry about you falling asleep on the wheel if you went."

"Wouldn't do that," Louis tries to snipe back, but he's tired and he can't seem to form his words properly anymore. Instead, he just closes his eyes, and lets himself sink into the mattress. "`m not dumb."

He thinks that Harry says something after, but he can't be sure. He's already asleep.

. . .

He doesn't know how long he sleeps. All he knows is that when he wakes up, he's got a mild headache and he's alone.

He vaguely remembers Harry lightly shaking him awake a while ago, pressing a light kiss on his bare shoulder before bouncing away, off to do whatever. He doesn't know when that was, exactly, it may have been minutes or hours ago, so instead he just lies in Harry's bed, and thinks. Thinks about the way Harry looked, coming apart, above him, the way he'd taken Louis' cock in his mouth and swallowed without any difficulty at all, the way he looked at Louis with lust in his eyes.

So. Harry Styles might not be straight after all.

It doesn't freak Louis out as much as it would've a few months ago.

Because subconsciously, in between all the flirting and baked goods and dates, he might've already known that.  He maybe refused to acknowledge it, because he was afraid of getting his hopes up, but it's been there, an tiny seed of thought in the back of his mind ever since Liam mentioned behind the scenes rumours.

What does kind of freak Louis out, though, is that he slept with Harry Styles. While they were drunk. Don't get him wrong, the orgasm was fantastic, better than all his wanks combined, and he feels more rested than he ever did, but he and Harry were friends. Flirty friends. What does that make them now? Friends with benefits? Friends with a drunken one night stand between them? Something more?

He resolves to ask Harry as soon as he gets back. Which....might be a problem. Because when he checks his phone, he finds that there are two texts from Harry, wishing him a goodbye and telling him to lock the door when he leaves. It confuses him for a moment until he realizes that Harry's already gone on tour. For six months.

He gets out of bed in a daze, hurriedly pulling on his clothes, before making his way down the stairs. The living room is trashed, empty alcohol bottles scattered around and crumbs on the floor, but it's also devoid of people, which means Louis is probably the only one left. He vaguely considers cleaning up, before dismissing the idea; Harry's probably already hired a cleaning lady or summat. Instead, he just steals a banana from Harry's fruit bowl (it'll be rotten when he comes back, anyway) eats half of it, and tosses the rest of it into the trash. He makes sure to lock the door, and texts Harry a thumbs-up emoji once he's done, before going to Costa to order a cup of tea and contemplate his crisis.

. . .

Harry doesn't call him the next day, nor the day after that. Louis tries not to dwell on it.

He's probably busy, what with his tour kicking off in America and other stuff. Louis doesn't really know what pop stars do while on tour (do they just show up and sing or do they have to do other stuff too?) but he imagines that whatever it is, it must occupy Harry's full attention. It's his job, after all, so he probably takes it seriously, the same way Louis has to show up to Radio 1 five days a week to give announcements. It's just that Harry's is more glamorous and much more high-paying. 

Nick starts teasing him about that night before he quickly stops. He must be able to tell that this isn't the bum interview situation revisited, that it's something on a different level and Louis doesn't really want to discuss it. Louis doesn't know if he should be grateful that Nick Grimshaw can read him, or horrified that, well, Nick Grimshaw can read him. They spend too much time together. Maybe he should ask his bosses if he can switch to a different programme.

Although it's sort of touching, because Nick tries to distract him the best he can, offers up amazing opportunities for banter that Louis only half-heartedly takes. They argue and tease each other over air, and Louis knows he doesn't sound any different , but he knows Nick can tell.

The three hour show suddenly seems long, and to Louis, it feels as if they're missing a voice.

Which is stupid, because Harry had only been at Radio 1 for a month. It's not nearly enough time for him to have carved a position for himself in between Louis and Nick's banter, nor is it enough time for Louis to expect him to walk through the door, wearing a ridiculous shirt and carrying something new.

So Louis pushes on. He tries to continue like he did a few months ago, and after a week, his old habits kick in. It's not long until he's back to his old, loud, and fun-loving self, spraying Nick with a water gun during shows and teasing Nick about his hair fumes.

He hangs out with Liam and Zayn as well, who don't bring up the Harry incident at all. He knows they know what happened, but being good friends, they leave it well enough alone. Instead, they play FIFA and eat takeaway, or go out clubbing, or, if they're feeling particularly cuddly, they stay in and have movie marathons. Sometimes they pull out the pap pictures of them stumbling out of clubs, have a laugh, and pick which one of them looks particularly bad.

He also decides to spend time with his mum and sisters, even taking a trip up to Doncaster for a weekend. Of course, they ask him about work, and then Harry, but he gives them a vague answer and they leave him alone after that.

He doesn't really forget about Harry, but it becomes easier, because Louis is strong and he'd decided it's just plain stupid to mope over everything that happened between them. It was fun. But Harry doesn't seem keen on keeping contact, so neither will Louis.

Of course, Harry proves him wrong and eventually calls him. Two months into his tour.

"Hiiii," he says when Louis ends up having to answer his FaceTime call at five in the morning. He looks flushed and sweaty, his cheeks red and his eyes sparkling. He looks more beautiful than Louis remembered. "Sorry, did I wake you?"

"Yeah," Louis yawns, not bothering to lie. He blinks blearily at Harry's grinning face for a moment, before he shifts, making himself comfortable on his bed. "Time's it there?"

"Past midnight," Harry says, cheerfully. "Just finished a show."

"`S nice," Louis yawns again, rubbing a hand over his eye. "It's like, five in the morning here."

The change in Harry's demeanour happens in an instant. "Oops," he says bashfully, lowering his eyes. "Sorry. You should go back to bed."

Louis tries to roll his eyes. Leave it to Harry to be the type of person to wake him up then act all embarrassed about it and tell him to go to bed. "`m in bed, mate. Just not asleep."

He's honestly less pissed about it then he expected it to be. Once Liam called him while he was sleeping, and Louis got so angry that he refused to answer any of Liam's calls for a week. It would've been longer, except Liam had a break from his promo tour after that week so he'd flown home, knocked on Louis' door, arms laden with chocolate, and apologized.

"Sorry," Harry says sheepishly. "You should go back to sleep."

 Louis yawns again. "Maybe later," he says, blinking the tears out of his eyes. "You called, what's going on?"

Harry's head snaps up so fast that Louis doesn't catch it through the slow blinks of his sleepy eyelids. "You're gonna talk to me this early in the morning?"

"Yeah," Louis answers. "I mean, we're friends right?"

"Friends," Harry echoes, before nodding. "Right. Uh, would it be weird if I said that I called because I miss you? A lot."

Then why didn't you call earlier? A small part of Louis asks. He's tempted to blurt it out loud, but doing so would probably spiral into something else and would open the floodgates of drama and it's a bit too early for this. Maybe next time.

"I miss you too," Louis says instead. It's still the truth. "I miss your cookies. And your brownies. And your cupcakes."

Harry smiles even wider. "I knew you were being nice to me for my baked goods."

"Damn right," Louis says. "I told them you were only allowed in Radio 1 if you brought me presents. Otherwise, they'd have to kick you out."

"Do you even have the authority to do that?"

"Mate, I can make anyone do anything."

"Somehow I believe that."

"As you should."

There's a silence, before Louis is sighing, a small smile tugging on his lips. "I really do miss you too, you know. Your curls and your weird shirt and your lame stories and anecdotes."

"They are not lame," Harry says. "I'm simply quirky."

"The way you eat your food isn't quirky," Louis disagrees. "It's borderline obscene. Pornographic, even. X-rated."

Harry giggles happily, that Louis is momentarily blinded. He's bright, so bright that Louis can feel him in his room, lighting up the dusty crevices and making the whole world seem to burst with life. Even he can feel the way his body wakes in response to the tinkling of Harry's laugh; it's as if Harry were physically beside him, touching him, even though they're an ocean away.

It's times like these he wonders how Harry Styles even exists. How he never seems to run out of light to give, and the way he always seem to be shining, even through bleary mornings and pixelated iPhone screens. He's a marvel. He's a star.

"It's charming," Harry insists, coming down from his giggles.

"It really isn't," Louis deadpans. "I don't know why you're even allowed to eat in public. When you come back here, I'll show you how to eat. Properly."

"I'll hold you to it then," Harry's still grinning, full of life, and it's not long before they're sharing stories again, Harry regaling him with his stories, the ones with the really bad endings. Louis still listens, fascinated, teases him in all the right places, and, in the end, goes out to the balcony to watch the sunrise as Harry slowly falls asleep beside him.

. . .

After that, Harry calls almost every day.

He's much more careful when he calls now, timing it so that Louis is actually awake, despite Louis telling him that he really doesn't mind.

(He does mind. But Harry's an exception, okay?)

Harry chats with him about his shows, telling him of the really funny signs in the audience or of what he gets up to with Lux, his stylist's daughter and his goddaughter. He always invites Louis over, telling him to come visit him on tour when he can, and that they can explore the American cities together. Louis simply reminds him that he's on those cities to work, not to vacation, and that even if he did come, they'll probably end up getting mobbed.

"But Lou," he'll always say, his eyes twinkling, "I'd be fine getting mobbed if I'm with you."

Louis tells him about what he and Nick tend to argue about on air, and Harry tries to help him plan new pranks for Nick. Tries being the operative word, because Harry has some of the worst ideas ever. Louis likes listening to them anyway.

Sometimes Harry calls again when Louis is already in Radio 1, right before he goes on air, just to say hi to Nick. He suggests songs to play on air, most of them from his weird, hipster bands, and Louis vehemently vetoes them. Nick just laughs at them, as he does most of the time he's in their presence.

It's about two weeks into these daily FaceTime calls when something happens between them.

Louis is busy telling Harry about the time he covered Nick's car entirely in post-its, when Harry, in the middle of his giggling, suddenly perks up and pauses the FaceTime video.

"....Harry?" Louis hedges, unsure if he should proceed. Maybe Harry's just got an important text or something.

"Yeah, I'm still here," he hears Harry's voice through the tinny speakers of his iPhone. "Go on."

"Um, did you get a text, or..." See, Louis' not comfortable talking to a black screen. He'd rather a person were on it.

"No, just, really quick okay, I just want to tweet something," Harry says vaguely. "I'm still listening, though."

"Is tweeting really more important than me?" Louis tries to sound affronted.

"Nothing is more important than you, Lou."

"Then get back here, Harold."

The video unpauses itself, and suddenly Harry is on the screen again, grinning, in his dressing room. Louis is suddenly reminded that Harry called him a few hours before his show, and it's probably not long now before he needs to go on stage.

"So what did Grimmy do?" Harry asks, dimpling at full force. Louis narrows his eyes.

"You realize that because you interrupted our call to send a tweet, I'm going to need to find it now and see if it really was that important?"

Harry simply blinks innocently at him, still grinning. "You don't really need to see it, Lou. It wasn't important."

"So you interrupted our FaceTime call to tweet something unimportant?" Louis gasps, placing a hand on his chest. "Now I'm going to have to find it and demand you delete it."

He doesn't see Harry's reaction, instead, he presses the Home button, exiting the FaceTime app.

"Why are you being jealous of a tweet?" he hears Harry snicker.

"I swear, Harold," he grumbles instead, tapping on the Twitter app, "if it was something like 'I can't wait to play for you today, 'random American city', I'm ending our friendship."

"You're being mean to the 'random American city'," Harry says. "I truly am excited to play for them."

"You tweet the same thing every time," Louis says, as he waits for the app to open. "I'd honestly think you weren't the one tweeting."

The app finally shows him his timeline, and he refreshes it, before going all the way to the top. It doesn't take him long to find it.

There are already a hundred replies to that one tweet, but Louis is stuck. Harry felt the need to tweet this. Harry felt the need to tell his millions of fans that Louis was making him laugh. Is currently making him laugh, despite everyone knowing that he's in America and Louis' in London and there are a thousand miles between them.

"Louis, did you see it?" Harry asks impatiently. "Can you come back already?"

Louis clears his throat, his heart racing. "Yeah," he says gruffly. He feels strangely touched, he doesn't really know why. It was just a tweet. People tweet him all the time. It's nothing.

It should be nothing, but for some reason, it isn't.

"Yeah," he repeats, still staring at the tweet. "That's....really sweet of you, Harry."

"Come back to FaceTime already," Harry says. "I might need to go soon."

Louis reads the tweet again, before exiting the Twitter app and going to open FaceTime. It's Harry's expectant face that greets him, asking about the end of the story. Louis opens his mouth to continue it, he does, he honestly does, but it doesn't quite come out that way.

"Are we dating?"

The question makes Harry freeze and blink at him. An icy feeling runs through Louis the longer he takes to respond, making his heart thud faster in his chest.

"I mean," Louis stammers, trying to recover the situation. "You don't have to answer that. I--"

"Hey, no," Harry answers, his voice calm and soothing. "It's a valid question. Do you want us to be?"

Louis tries to listen for a hint of emotion in Harry's voice, but he's too distracted. His chest seems to clench within itself, shrinking about two sizes smaller, and his pulse seems to roar in his ears.

"I," and Louis can't seem to find his words, can't seem to make his mouth work. He just looks at Harry, desperate and unsure.

It's only when Harry gives him a small smile, a hint of his left dimple peeking out that something in Louis snaps. A warmth rushes through him, giving him the courage to speak.

"I mean, I'd like that," he says, averting his eyes. He doesn't really want to look at Harry right now. "But only if you want to. Be dating, that is." Louis winces. He can't believe he even got a job as a DJ when he's being such an idiot right now.

"Louis," Harry says, his voice warm and....fond? Is that fondness? "Can you maybe look up for me, Lou?"

Louis shakes his head, shutting his eyes tight, before taking in a deep breath and letting go. It's already out there. He just needs to face the consequences.

When finally looks up, Harry looks....happy

He's smiling so wide, his dimples dug in his cheeks.  His eyes are sparkling and he looks beautiful, so incredibly bright and beautiful that Louis momentarily loses his breath. A thousand miles away and through a pixelated video and Harry can still have this effect on him.

He's incredibly radiant. He's a star. He's the brightest star out there.

"Lou," he says exasperatedly, and yes, that is fondness laced through his tone, "I literally asked you out on your show."

"I thought that was just you being friendly!" Louis sputters. "I genuinely thought that you were just being nice to me because I was Grimmy's co-worker! I thought you were straight!"

"Louis," Harry says dryly, "did you miss the part when I complimented your bum on air, or...?"

"Well how should I know," Louis huffs, his lips twitching upwards. "I thought you were weird and bum crazy. And ridiculously confident in your heterosexuality."

"Confident enough to sleep with you?" Harry says, quirking an eyebrow, still grinning, and ah, there it is. The drunken one night stand. "To suck your cock?"

"Maybe you were so drunk you thought it was a bro-job," Louis says, rolling his eyes. "You didn't call, though. You left me and you didn't call for two months."

"I had to go on tour," Harry protested. "You didn't call either!"

"I didn't leave," Louis says, dignified. "I shouldn't be expected to call. That's all on you."

"I said goodbye," Harry tries to defend himself. "I literally said goodbye that morning.

"I didn't hear it," Louis says. He thinks of the vague feeling of lips pressed against his bare shoulder. "You knew I was sleeping. It's stupid to talk to an unconscious person. They won't hear you."

Harry sighs, a terse moment of silence falling over them. Louis watches as Harry looks down and bites his bottom lip, looking nervous and scared all at once.

"I was afraid," he says finally, still not looking up at Louis. "You were drunk and I wanted you so bad, Lou, and I was afraid that you wouldn't want me the same way when you woke up."

"You were drunk too," Louis says, because he has to. "That night, at your house, you were drunk, and you kissed me, and I kissed back. How could you think I wouldn't want you?"

"It's different," Harry insists. "You were so breathtaking that night, yes, but it's already been a constant thought in my head. It's as if it were a fact of life; my name is Harry Styles, I'm twenty-one, and Louis Tomlinson is the most beautiful person to walk the earth. It was something that was a given to me, because I wanted you like I've wanted nothing else, Lou. I wanted to watch the sunrise on your skin and kiss you on snowy days; I wanted to talk to you about the secrets of the universe and hold your hand. I've wanted you since the first time I saw you, and I wasn't going to think you wanted me back sober just because you thought I was acceptable drunk."

"You're far more than acceptable though," Louis says, "You--Harry--you're beautiful. Whenever you're around it's like world gets so much brighter. Even waking up at five in the morning doesn't seem so bad, anymore, with you. You have so much light to give and you just keep giving and--" he takes a deep breath, lets it out in one fell swoop, "and I do want you. God, my mum could tell I was gone for you from the beginning. Hell, I'm pretty sure the entire United Kingdom knew. But if it needs to be said: sober or drunk or high or whatever, I want you."

Harry exhales slowly, and it's silent between them, just the minutes of their FaceTime ticking away. Louis wants to reach out to him right now, wants his arms to stretch across the oceans and lands and feel Harry's fingers in his.

There's a knock from Harry's side of the call, and Harry turns away, listening to a muffled voice. When he looks at Louis, there's a small frown on his face.

"It's show time," Harry says, standing from the couch. "I have to go."

"Oh," Louis says, emotionlessly. He doesn't really know what his face is doing right now. Something normal, he hopes. He wishes they'd had more time. "Uh, good luck."

"Thanks," Harry says, before his mouth is quirking into a small smile. "I wish you were here."

"I'll be there in spirit," Louis answers. "You'll feel me."

"I'll sing to you, tonight," Harry says. "I'll dedicate all my songs to you."

And then he's hanging up, the FaceTime call ending, and Louis is left staring dazedly at a dark screen with Harry Styles' name and number on it.

. . .

Louis is still dazed when he wakes up the next day, his heart pumping out a mixture of giddiness and dread. He tries to ignore it, but it's there--running through his veins, spreading into the deepest parts of Louis. He doesn't know if he'll ever feel normal again.

He's too distracted when he gets to Radio 1, ignoring Nick's jabs at him. When he speaks, it sounds like it comes from far away, and in the end, it falls to Nick to keep the programme running for three hours. Which he does very gracefully. Louis should probably thank him. Maybe send him flowers or something.

The producers also seem to be able to tell that Louis is strangely off-kilter, and they let him go without a word. So Louis just climbs into his car and drives home, intent on being alone with his thoughts for a little while.

He heats up the leftover takeaway he has in the fridge, before stepping into the shower. The hot water that rushes over him helps clear his thoughts, and he comes out of the shower feeling much more human.

He's just finished pulling on some pants when his doorbell rings. He rolls his eyes; it's probably just Liam and Zayn, who've come to bother him again. They probably heard how off Louis sounded and have come to make sure he's alright, to cuddle him or whatever. Maybe they've come to get him drunk. The thought does sound appealing to Louis.

He doesn't bother putting on a shirt, just runs the towel through his wet hair to catch stray droplets. Liam and Zayn won't really mind, they've seen him in worse states of undress before. Like that time he jumped into the lake naked in the middle of winter. Or the time they all woke up naked in  the same bed after a wild party, and they all had to run around like idiots looking for their clothes. Which they found hanging from the roof of the house. Wild times.

They really have been through a lot together, him Liam and Zayn. They're the ones who know him the best, and they try to make him feel included. It's not really their fault that sometimes they get caught up in each other. It's probably just the side effect of being in a secret relationship. Not that they'd admit that they are in a secret relationship, it's just that, Louis is ninety-eight percent sure they are. Ninety-eight point nine percent sure.

He should probably be much nicer to them. Liam, especially. He should probably admit that he's the one who broke that vase Liam's mum gave him two years ago, and not Zayn's dog like he'd blamed it on. Yeah, maybe he should come clean.

The doorbell sounds again, and he sighs, padding out of his bedroom barefoot. He quickly unlocks the door, humming a song to himself, before pulling it open, ready to ask Liam and Zayn if they brought alcohol.

His mouth freezes in its movement. It's not Liam and Zayn.

It's Harry, and he looks exhausted. He's got dark circles under his eyes, and his curls are wild, his skin doesn't seem to be glowing like it usually does. His mouth is pursed in a straight line, but he's looking at Louis', his eyes filled with a manic energy. He takes a step forward.

Louis doesn't notice the door slipping from his grasp until it slams against the frame.

"Fuck," he swears, scrambling to pull open the door again. When he does, Harry's still standing there, rubbing a hand over his forehead, a pout on his lips. So he's not a hallucination then. Um.

"Oops," Louis says meekly. He's an idiot.

Harry doesn't seem too badly hurt, though, which is good. He just smiles, his left dimple making an appearance. "Hi," he says. "Can I come in or are you leaving me out here?"

Louis blinks at him and then pulls the door wider, beckoning him inside. Harry steps over the threshold, and suddenly he's in Louis' house, in Louis' space.

He's painfully aware of how much clothing he lacks. He gulps loudly.

"You're here," he says, voice disbelieving, because last he checked, Harry was in America, playing a killer show. "Um."

"I am," Harry says, a wry smile spreading over his face. He exudes calm, but Louis can see the energy dancing behind his eyes. He takes a slow step forward. "I left as soon as I could."

Harry takes another slow step forward, a question laced in his movement. In that moment, Louis realizes that Harry is giving him an out, an opportunity to step back, to say he's changed his mind in the twenty-four hours since they talked.

Louis stays where he is.

Harry takes another step forward, putting him a breath away from Louis. One of his large hands come up to hover beside Louis' neck, and his green eyes bore into Louis' own, searching.

"Can I...?" He asks, his voice moving like light through Louis, spreading warmth all the way down to his core. He shivers.

"Yes," he murmurs, and then Harry's hand is making contact with his neck and he's leaning down, pressing his lips against Louis'.

Louis meets him halfway, moulding his mouth against Harry's, and his hands wrap around Harry's waist, pulling him closer. He opens his mouth, letting his tongue touch Harry's lower lip lightly, before Harry is responding, opening his mouth. The kiss is warm and gentle and Harry tastes like something rich and indescribable, and insanely addicting. Louis can't get enough.

They stay like that for a few minutes, basking in the taste of each other, before separating to draw air. Harry presses his forehead against Louis', his eyes closed and his brows furrowed.

"I missed you," he whispers into the space between them, into the delicate stillness of air between their mouths. "So much, Lou."

"I missed you too," Louis answers back, and he watches the corners of Harry's mouth move upward.

He can't help it, he leans in and kisses Harry again.

Harry responds eagerly, and he kisses the same way as Louis remembered, putting his whole body into it. His hand trails down from his neck to his waist, before dropping lower and covering an arse cheek. He squeezes it.

"And I missed this," Harry murmurs into their kiss, before breaking out into laughter against Louis' lips. Louis just rolls his eyes inwardly, kissing Harry harder and swallowing the sound of his laughter.

It's not long until Louis' back is against the wall with the length of Harry's body pressed to his front. Louis can feel his cock stirring in his pants, and he knows that Harry is in a similar state, judging by the way he keeps shifting against Louis' thigh.

Louis moves a hand, pulling at Harry's shirt, and Harry immediately gets it; he untangles himself from Louis and quickly unbuttons his shirt, tossing it somewhere behind him. He keeps his gaze on Louis, though, heated and wanting and filled with lust.

"Come on," Louis says, pushing himself off the wall. He pulls Harry deeper into the apartment, and they stumble and trip over their own feet, laughing as Harry turns him around to press heated kisses onto his lips.

Louis pushes open the door to his bedroom, and they spill inside, giggling and laughing like giddy schoolboys. Harry pushes him back until the edge of the bed hits the back of his knees. He drops to sprawl on his mattress.

Harry hovers above him, planking, and its reminds Louis of the first time they met. Except this time, Harry aligns their lower halves together, before he leans forward to suck a bruise into the junction of Louis' neck and shoulder. Louis' cock twitches at the feeling, restricted by the material of his boxers.

"Hm," Harry murmurs, pressing a smirk into his skin. "Someone's a little eager."

Louis doesn't respond, simply presses his hips upward as Harry works to suck another love bite into his neck. His cock is already leaking pre-come, and he needs attention on it now.

"God, you're so gorgeous, Lou," Harry says, nipping at the bruises. "I'm gonna stay in this bed with you forever."

"I have to go to work," Louis says, as Harry works his tongue against his neck. "And you have to go back on tour."

"It's Friday," Harry says happily. "You don't work weekends. And I'm off tour for a week." He slams his hips downward, and Louis throws his head back and moans. "I'm gonna stay in this bed and fuck you for a week."

He continues to grind against Louis' hard cock, leaving no room for coherent thought. Louis makes a noise as Harry laves a tongue over his nipple, pulling at the bud with his teeth.

"Off," he says, when he can finally speak again. "Take it off, please."

He knows he's being vague, but Harry understands him anyway. He pulls Louis' boxers off, until Louis is left naked and writhing on the bed.

"Fuck, look at you," Harry says, his eyes dark. His tongue darts out and swipes against his lower lip, making it wet and shiny. "Bet you taste so good."

He doesn't give Louis a chance to respond, instead leaning forward and catching his lips with his own. He bites at Louis' lower lip, nibbles at it until it's red and swollen.

"Turn around for me, Lou," he says, and Louis complies eagerly, shifting so that he's lying on his stomach.

"Your arse, Jesus," he hears Harry say, and he can feel the way Harry's eyes trace the expanse of his back. "`ve been dreaming about putting my mouth on your arse for months."

"Months?" Louis manages to get out, as Harry splays his hands over his arse cheeks.

"Since the first time I saw you," Harry confirms, before he's pressing his lips against the knobs of Louis' spine, trailing wet kisses in his wake.

He stops right above the top of Louis' arse, his breath warm against Louis' lower back. "Can I?"

Louis shivers. "Yes."

And then Harry's spreading his cheeks with his thumbs, his breath ghosting Louis' hole just for a moment, before he presses a light kiss against it.

Louis turns to putty when Harry licks at his hole, burying his face into the sheets to muffle his loud moans. He's been told he's loud during sex, and especially responsive when he's getting eaten out. What can he say, it feels good.

"Y'alright?" He hears Harry mumble from behind him, stopping in his ministrations. Louis tries not to let out a groan of frustration.

"Don' stop," he pants. He has to turn his head to the side to be heard. "Please don't stop."

He clenches his hands on the sheets when Harry starts licking him again. He doesn't bother to muffle his moans, letting in fill up in the room.

"Fuck, you sound..." Harry uses his teeth to scrape at his rim and Louis moans even louder. He doesn't finish his sentence, just goes back to licking his hole, alternating between broad sweeps of his tongue and little kitten licks. "You taste so good, Lou. "

Louis reaches a hand back to tangle into Harry's curls, jerking on them once. "Harry," he says breathlessly.

Harry licks at him, getting him wet, mumbling something into him that has Louis shaking from the vibrations. It's not long before Louis gets impatient, and he's pulling on Harry's long curls again.

"Harry, please, I--" He doesn't get to finish, because at that moment, Harry flattens his tongue and pushes it through the tight muscle of Louis' rim. Louis almost screams.

Harry fucks him with his tongue, in and out, and Louis is wriggling against the sheet, his cock smearing pre-come. It takes him a moment to realize that he's whimpering, his voice high-pitched and wanton, and he's completely at the mercy of Harry and his sinful tongue.

"Fuck, Lou, the noises you make," Harry says, pressing the words into his arse. "I could make an album with them."

That would be incredibly inappropriate, and Louis' just about to tell him so when Harry pushes a thumb into Louis rim, stretching him open.

His mouth comes back to lick around it and it feels so good that there are tears leaking from Louis' eyes.

"Fuck me," he begs, as Harry continues to eat him out. "Harry, please fuck me."

Harry shifts, and then suddenly the heat of his mouth is gone. "Where's your stuff?" he hears Harry ask.

"Night table, first drawer."

Harry takes a moment to rummage through the different knick knacks in the drawer, and Louis thinks he's going to die, until Harry makes a noise of triumph and pulls out both a half-empty bottle of lube and a condom.

"Are you sure?" Harry asks. Louis hears the click of the lube bottle opening, and God, he wants a finger in him now.

"Yes, Harry, yes," Louis babbles a bit desperately, and then Harry's pressing a cold finger into Louis' wet hole.

The cold of it shocks him, but he quickly forgets about it as Harry slowly pushes a finger into him. Louis feels him press a kiss to his lower back.

"Your skin taste so fucking good, Lou," Harry murmurs into his skin, as he presses the finger in and out of Louis. "You taste amazing."

He pulls a finger away, and Louis is left feeling empty until Harry pushes two fingers deep into him, scissoring them to stretch Louis out. Louis hears himself whimper as he feels Harry stretch out his walls.

It's another minute before Harry's pulling away again, this time coming back with a third finger. Louis feels him crook his fingers, and it isn't long until Harry grazes his fingers against Louis' prostate and Louis moaning, his body erupting in goosebumps.

"There," he gasps, and Harry grazes it again, and again, and Louis is honestly about to explode.

"You're fucking gorgeous Louis," Harry says, his voice wrecked, "You're so fucking beautiful like this."

"Harry," he whimpers, and then Harry's shushing him. He feels the length of Harry disappear, and he hears the rustle of fabric as Harry moves to take off his jeans and his pants. He pushes himself onto his elbows and knees as Harry puts on the condom and slicks himself up, before he's covering Louis with his body.

"Like this?" He asks. Louis nods, and then he feels the blunt head of Harry's cock against his hole.

"Are you okay, baby?" Harry asks, as he pushes into Louis.

"`m good," Louis answers breathlessly. It's slightly painful, but Louis likes the feeling of it.

Harry pushes slowly into Louis, until he's fully inside. Louis takes a minute to marvel at Harry's size, to appreciate how full he feels.

And then Harry starts moving, and all his thoughts are scattered.

Harry fucks like he kisses, with the same focus, with the same single-minded determination. Louis feels himself melting, feels his elbows slipping as he gasps in time with Harry's thrusts. Harry's grunting loudly behind him, the uh-uh-uhs reverberating in the room.

Harry wraps an arm around Louis' chest and pulls him up, the other snakes around his waist to circle around his cock. He jerks Louis off in time to his thrusts, and Louis simply bounces along, resting his head on Harry's shoulder.

"Remember when I first saw you," Harry pants. He looks beautiful, sweat dripping from his temples, his eyes closed. His brows are furrowed, like it's taking all his effort to fuck Louis, like all his focus right now is Louis. "Underneath me. All soft and gorgeous and I had to stop myself from getting you naked and fucking you right there."

Louis moans loudly when one of Harry's particularly hard thrusts slam into his prostate. Harry takes a minute to adjust and change his angle, and then he's fucking Louis harder, each of his thrusts slamming into Louis' prostate relentlessly.

"I wanked to you for months," Harry continues, his eyes still closed. "I imagined myself inside you, or you inside me, imagined the way you would look when you came--" he breaks off with a moan. "God, Lou, you're so fucking amazing."

"Harry," Louis whines. "Harry, fuck."

"Fuck, Lou," he pants, as Louis bounces along. "You're so tight, oh my god," the rest of his sentence is lost when he turns his head and captures Louis' mouth in his. He kisses Louis hotly, drags his tongue through Louis' mouth, bites at his lower lip, and when they separate for air, Louis' lip is bleeding.

Louis turns his head to mouth at Harry's neck, to suck love bites at the pale skin of Harry's throat. "Harry," he moans, and the hand on his cock speeds up, in time with Harry's thrusts. "Harry, please."

"`m close," Harry says, "Lou, I'm so close."

"Harry, yeah," Louis says. He closes his eyes and buries his face into Harry's neck, trying to muffle his moans. "God."

"You sound so good, Lou," Harry pants, "so fucking good. I want to hear you."

Harry starts fucking into him faster and harder, and Louis can do nothing but bounce along. The head of his cock pushes against Louis' and Louis can feel tears well up in his eyes.

Louis snakes an arm around Harry's neck, tangling his fingers into the hairs at Harry's nape. He turns Harry's head towards him and they kiss again, a clashing of teeth and tongue and lips that has whimpering into Harry's mouth. It's only when Harry starts fucking his mouth with his tongue does Louis cry out, and he's coming, spilling all over Harry's hand  as Harry fucks him through his orgasm.

It takes him a minute to come back to his senses, and when he does, he realizes that Harry's the only thing holding him up, his cock still fully hard inside Louis.

"You okay?" Harry asks, panting, his muscles quivering with the effort to stay still. Louis nods, and then he's leaning his head back on Harry's shoulders.

"Go on, then," he says, and Harry doesn't need to be told twice. He keeps thrusting into Louis, his breath coming out in short pants.

It's slightly painful, so Louis decides to try and help speed it along.

"I've been wanking to you for years," he admits, his voice low in Harry's ear. He hears Harry's breathing pick up. "Since I was eighteen and you were this little sixteen year old cherub in the X-Factor. With your really curly hair and your adorable dimples."

Harry's thrusting faster now, his breath coming in little whines.

"I've wanted to wreck you since then," Louis admits conversationally. "Wanted to ruffle my hands and pull at your hair and completely destroy you."

Harry whines. "God, Lou." He's fucking Louis roughly now, completely gone, and Louis can't help but feel a bit smug.

"Come on, Harry," he says, and he clenches his rim against Harry's cock--he feels the way it throbs inside him, before Harry's spilling into the condom with a loud shout, which he muffles into Louis' neck.

They collapse into the bed as Harry keeps coming, breathing into Louis' neck. It's a long moment until Harry comes back to his senses, and he's pulling out, tying the condom and disposing of it somewhere.

Louis hums contentedly as Harry wraps his long arms around him, nuzzling into his neck.

"So Harry," Louis says, after a few beats of silence. "How much do you owe the swear jar now?"

Harry groans, his hiding his face into Louis' neck. "Nothing."

"No, no," Louis says. "Mr. I-Don't-Swear. You're going to need to put some money down. I thought you wanted curly-haired idiots to be seen as trustworthy."

"It's all your fault," Harry says into his neck. "You're just so...ugh."

"Wow, I am flattered with compliments there," Louis says, laughing. "So 'ugh', first I've heard of that."

"Stop teasing me," Harry pulls away, pouting at Louis.

"Can't," Louis says, shrugging. "It's fun."

Harry is silent for a few minutes, before he smiles a truly evil smirk.

"Why are we discussing me when we could be discussing you?" he asks innocently, batting his eyelashes. He leans in, nipping at Louis' earlobe. "I mean, since I was sixteen? Wow."

"Shut up," Louis says, his face flushing. Harry is horrible, doesn't he know that he's not supposed to bring up the things said in the heat of sex after? It's like, the law. "You were cute, I was horny."

"I was also underage," Harry offers helpfully. "And jailbait."

"You're making me sound like such a creep, go away," Louis tries to shove Harry away, but Harry simply tightens his arms around Louis. "I never even touched you."

"But the intent was there," Harry says ominously.

"That's it, I'm kicking you out," Louis says, trying to extract himself from Harry. "Go away, go back to America or something, I don't want you here anymore."

"Noooo," Harry protests, laughing. He uses his sheer size to pin Louis' down beneath him, and then he nuzzles his nose against Louis'. "You're stuck with me for the rest of the week. And every day after that."

Louis sighs. "Might as well start getting used to it then," he says, and feels his heart flutter when Harry beams at him.

. . .

It's hard having to start a relationship with a currently touring musician.

There are lots of FaceTime calls and iMessages and Skype, and although they seem to have gotten the hang of the entire Skype sex thing, sometimes Louis still feels lonely and it's painful and he wishes Harry were just with him right now, so he could simply call him up and tell him something funny without having to google the time zone of each place.

It's difficult, but they make it work. 

Louis attends the last concert of his tour, the one in London, and watches as Harry shines on stage, watches as he engages the audience and sprinkles light onto the people. He looks like he was born to do this, born for this life, born to entertain. And at that moment, Louis realizes that everything difficult is worth it, if, at the end of the day, he gets to call Harry his.

(And he resolutely doesn't cry when later that night, after he's fucked the concert high out of Harry, Harry holds him in his arms and tells him of his plans of coming out, early next year. He doesn't. Really, he doesn't.)

. . .

FOUR YEARS LATER

"We've got a treat for all you listeners," Nick Grimshaw says on-air, grinning happily at Louis. "And of course for you too, Louis. Harry Styles is on the line, ready to promote his new single. You might know of him, he's the one who's got Louis whipped."

"He does not," Louis huffs, but there's a small smile playing on his face. "If anything, I'm the one who has him whipped."

"Yes, yes, we know, you're both as bad as each other," Nick says, laughing. "Four years and still going strong. Harry, say hi!"

"Hiiii," Harry says, laughing, and God, Louis never tires of hearing his voice. "Hi Grimmy, Hi Lou!"

"Hi Harry," Louis greets. "How's my baby?"

"I'm fine," Harry says. "Just woke up from a nap."

Nick coos. "Look at them, they're sickening. Can't even bear to be apart from each other for three hours."

Louis ignores him and rolls his eyes. "I wasn't talking about you, idiot," he says to Harry, who simply laughs down the line."How's Paulie?"

"She's fine," Harry answers, still laughing. "She's beside me right now, she's gonna say hi." Down the line, there's a sound of a tiny kitten meowing, and Louis coos.

"Aww, there she is," he says happily. "Hi baby! Is Papa treating you well?"

"Hey," Harry says fondly. "I treat her well. You don't even know how to take care of her."

"Lies," Louis says. "That's all lies. That's why I love Paulie more than you."

"Aaanyway," Nick interrupts, laughter in his tone, "before they start being domestic and argue about the cat on-air, Harry, tell us about your new album."

"Well," Harry drawls slowly, "it's going to be a bit more personal, I guess, like, there's going to be a lot more...it's gonna to be a lot deeper--"

"Is it as deep as your voice?" Louis interrupts, smirking. "Just checking."

There's a sound of Harry clearing his throat, and then suddenly his voice is much higher. "It's gonna be a lot deeper than the previous albums," he says, as Nick and Louis burst into laughter in the studio. "Like, the songs have come from a much more personal place, especially after the coming out I did three years ago, and everything I've experienced since then. It's a new perspective on life, and it's not, like, depressing or anything, it's just, it's a lot closer to my heart."

Louis feels his heart twist at the memory. He was there when Harry came out; he was there when, despite the overwhelming acceptance, there were still others who hated on him, who called him 'poof' and 'fag' and all the ugliest names in the book. How, despite the positive reaction to his coming out, Harry still felt attacked by the far and few comments he'd seen on twitter and on gossip sites. He was there when Harry cried himself to sleep, because the comments told him to kill himself, told him that he was an abomination, that he was going to hell.

But Harry's still here, and the fact that he's able to move on from the experience, channel it into writing a few dozen songs never fails to make pride well up in Louis. Harry is strong, and Louis loves him so, so much.

"Your first single, the one we're going to play now, it's not slow though," Nick says, bringing Louis back into the present. "It's got a very strong, very empowering vibe to it."

"Yeah," Harry says. "I think that, um, I did intend for it to be very empowering, cause, like, sometimes we need to be strong, don't we? Like despite the difficult times we go through, we have to keep moving forward, and not let ourselves get....dragged down by things."

"It sort of helps when you have someone on your side though, doesn't it?" Nick asks.

"Yeah. Um, yeah. It really helps when you've got someone who's stuck by you through the hard times. Someone you can draw your strength from, like your mum or your sister or brother or something."

"Who's yours, then?" Nick says, teasingly. "Come on, who's your inspiration? Who'd you write the song for?"

"Um, well, a little bit of it for my mum, I guess," Harry says, obviously knowing where Nick is going with this, and refusing to play along. "And my sister."

"That's it?" Nick asks, faking disappointment, and Louis shoves him from where he's seated. He's already feeling awkward enough as it is, Nick doesn't have to bring emphasis on it. God. "The fans want to know, Harry."

"Not really," Louis interjects. "I mean, nobody's really asking."

Nick points at him. "This is my interview," he says. "You aren't allowed to interrupt. And what do you know, you hardly even check Twitter. The fans are going wild with theories."

"They always go wild with theories," Louis says, but Nick is shushing him like he would shush a puppy.

"Ignore your fiancé, Harry," Nick says. "He doesn't know anything."

There's a pause wherein Louis stares at Nick, wide-eyed.

"I mean," Nick stammers, suddenly looking incredibly sorry and truly terrified. As he should be, because he knows how particular Louis is about his personal life, and he knows that Louis likes to keep things private. He also knows that the engagement is still currently a secret, and that they're going to drop the public announcement in a few days. God, Louis hasn't even told his mum yet. Bloody Nick Grimshaw.

"Well babe," Louis sighs, as he gives Nick the evil eye. "Guess the cat's out of the bag now."

"Our mums are going to kill us for keeping this from them," Harry says, sheepishly. "Yeah, Lou and I are gonna get married. Hi mum, Hi Jay!"

"We love you," Louis adds, wincing as he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket. "But we don't like Grimmy."

"Well, I mean it was obvious anyway," Nick says, trying to defend himself. "You two were perfect for each other since the moment you met! Congratulations to the both of you, wish you all the best, don't forget to invite me to the wedding....Harry. Now that everyone knows how serious you two are, maybe you'd be more open to sharing your inspiration with us?"

"Well, I mean," Harry says resignedly, sounding bashful--Louis can practically imagine him now, all flushed but still smiling, dimples out. "Most of it was about Lou, though."

"Aha!" Nick crows into the microphone as Louis buries his face in his hands. "Well, you've heard it here first, Harry Styles' latest single is about his fiancé, Louis Tomlinson! Can we spell 'whipped'?"

"Shut up," Harry says, but he's laughing too.

"You really didn't need to push for it though, Grimshaw," Louis says, shoving him again. "No one needed to know."

"I think everyone needed to know," Nick says self-importantly. "I'd bet the whole album is about Louis. I bet there's an ode for Louis' bum there somewhere. Keep an ear out."

"You're just jealous that Harry loves me enough to write songs about me," Louis fires back. "No one writes songs about you."

"Hey, I maintain that 'Happily' was about me," Nick says, raising two hands defensively. "Isn't it Harry?"

"Uh, no comment," Harry says, and both he and Louis are laughing at Nick's expense.

"Our friendship is over, Harry Styles." Nick sniffs into the air, affronted before returning to his happy demeanour. "Anyway, it's time to play the single! Harry, do you want to introduce it to us?"

"Um, alright," Harry says. "This is my new single, Drag Me Down."

"Perfect," Nick says. "Well, thank you for chatting with us today, Harry, lovely to talk to you. We'll see you soon, or whenever you decide to drop by Radio 1 again."

"Bye Nick," Harry says cheerfully. "Bye Lou, love you!"

"Love you too, babe," Louis says, smiling so wide that he can feel his eyes crinkle at the corners. He flips Nick off, who's pretend-vomiting off to the side. "See you at home later!"

"Well," Nick says, when Harry's off the line. "That was incredibly sickening. To all those asking on Twitter why Louis didn't do the interview, that is why. But here it is, Drag Me Down!"

Louis presses a button to cue the song, and soon the entire room is filled with a sound of the guitar. He leans back on his chair, glancing over at Nick, who's bobbing his head.

"It's a good song," Nick tells him, and Louis' mouth quirks up, the feeling of pride fluttering in his chest. "A really good song."

"That's my boy," Louis says proudly, and he and Nick sit in silence, listening to Harry's voice. Louis feels a warmth build up in his chest, the same warmth that only Harry can make him feel, and he looks down at his right hand with a smile, playing with the ring on his finger.