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everything i can arrange, every part of me you change

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1. What is 1 + 2?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 789
d) -1

2. Paint an identical copy of the entirety of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece, with emphasis on The Creation of Adam.

Louis needs a drink. No—Louis needs at least 10 drinks, at the rate his day has been going.

“And then Karen A. said to Jessica B. that if she made her noodles in one of her pots, she would set the curtains on fire and Haley’s mom’s sister sewed those curtains by hand whilst she was in the hospital for chemo, so Haley got really mad then, too, and she was like—”

Louis stares at Alex as he speaks, trying his best to not actually retain any of the “information” spurting out of the boy’s mouth. He’s not even sure why Alex is the one telling him any of this when he doesn’t live with Karen A. or Jessica B. or Haley. He doesn’t even live on Louis’ floor, for God’s sake, he is 110% Liam’s problem.

Louis rubs his temples and takes a deep breath.

“—And that’s when Karen A. said she would take a shit in the quad if Haley didn’t—“

Alex is cut off by a rapid knock on Louis’ door. “Jesus, thank fuck,” Louis mutters under his breath. He looks up just in time to catch a head of brown curls popping through the open gap and he can’t help the relieved sigh that escapes him.

“Hiiiiiiiiiii,” Harry grins, bashfully peeking through the door with dimples curved in deep. “I’m not interrupting something, am I?”

“Absolutely no—“

“Yes!” Alex hisses, spinning in Louis’ chair to seethe at the gangly boy by the entrance. Alex’s pale face reddens so hard Louis could swear even his freckles go two shades darker. “We are having a serious discussion here, Styles. Don’t you have your own RA to bother right now?”

To Harry’s defense, he maintains his cool entirely as he steps inside of the room and leans against the wall, the picture of nonchalance. “Yeah, mate, but I could hear you all the way downstairs. Where we live together. In the same room. Next to Liam. Who is our RA.”

Poor Alex looks as though steam is about to blow out of his ears. Louis feels terrible for finding it amusing, but the younger boy grips the back of the chair like it’s Harry’s neck and—no, this is not supposed to be entertainment. Louis is a grown adult. He is an RA. He is not meant to find freshmen biting each other’s heads off amusing (that is literally the exact opposite of what he’s supposed to be doing).

Especially not where Harry’s pretty little curly, perfect head is involved. “Did’ja need something, Hazza?”

“Um.” Harry suddenly straightens up, long lashes blinking slowly under Louis’ gaze. “I…”

“Have you got something there?” Louis asks, motioning to the rolled up paper in Harry’s hand.

“Oh! Yeah—um, wanted your help on an assignment.” His eyes flicker to a grumpy Alex. “If you have time.”

Louis knows he’s not supposed to play favorites with students, but technically neither Alex nor Harry live on his floor or are under his watch. Technically. So what if it’s only three weeks into the school year and Louis’ already found himself besotted with the sweetest 18 year old on campus? As long as he maintains his chill and doesn’t cross any lines, it’s fine. It’s cool. Alex is a gossipy twat and Harry is the light of his life. Whatever.

The two of them stare at one another from across the space, Alex in between them and completely oblivious to the elephant in the room. (Which is him; Alex is the elephant in the room and Louis needs an out.) How much longer is he going to be here? Harry grumbles with just a look in his eyes, his patience running thin. He’s your roommate! Louis’ eyes argue back. Where’s Liam when we need him!

“Hey, mate, I think, uh, Liam was looking for you,” Harry says. “Mentioned something about getting you into lacrosse tryouts?”

Louis can tell just by the quirk of his lips that he’s lying, but he lets him go on anyway because Harry is a business major and he doesn’t know shit about acting and it’s endearing as hell watching him make something up on the spot. His thick brows furrow deep as he tries to Be Serious when Alex jumps up and asks him if it’s true. “Yeah,” Harry continues, his face not giving an inch, “I ran into him in the library just now.”

The library, which happens to be on the other side of campus. Harry is more than just a pretty little head of curls.

“You should go and see if you can catch him before he leaves for the weekend. He’s gonna be in Manchester until Monday morning I think.”

“Shit—yeah, you’re right!” Alex is out of his seat and running out of the room in half a second, shouting over his shoulder, “See you later, Lou!”

Harry watches his roommate prance off until the sound of his shoes thumping against the hallway floors dies off. Harry turns his head to Louis and raises an eyebrow. “‘Lou,’ huh? That’s a thing between you two now?”

Louis rolls his eyes, tummy warm at the hint of jealousy in Harry’s tone. “That’s a thing between me and everyone on this planet, Harold,” he smirks, patting the empty space on his couch beside him. “You do know that, yeah?”

He watches Harry bite the inside of his cheek as he walks over and sits down next to him. In the few weeks that he’s known him, Louis has realized that Harry is the kind of person you can read in entirety on just a single glance alone, his little behaviorism so obvious; his heart always on his sleeve. It’s hopelessly endearing seeing someone with a personality as giant as Harry’s flitch with nerves or stumble over his words. He’s like a delicate little flower in full affect and—Louis needs to build on that metaphor, but it’s going to come to him one day.

“So you need help with something for class?” Louis asks after a pregnant silence between them, Harry’s head ducked and fingers distractedly toying with the bracelets on his wrist.

“Oh. It’s not for school, actually.” He sits up and Louis can feel the heat radiating off his giant form. Big green eyes stare at him dead straight, pink lips hanging open and shiny. Louis has (shamelessly) thought about those lips every single day since freshmen move-in, and he doesn’t think he’s going to be able to stop any time soon. “I need you to help me with something else.”

+

3. The earth is a…
a) square
b) triangle
c) not an actual planet

4. Name the song Harry heard on his way home when he was 11 days old. Write the lyrics, symphony, and explain the meaning. MLA format only.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Louis asks, staring down at the flyer in his hands. Netflix and Chill Buddy Application stares back at him in bold font with a vengeance. It takes every ounce of self-control in him to not tear the entire thing apart.

The copy machine coughs out another 10 copies and Harry presses a couple of buttons to push out more. “Yes, Louis. I’m sure. I know I’m not like that guy in your sculpture class—”

“Zayn,” Louis fits in for him.

“—Right, Zayn. I know, like, aesthetically I’m no Zayn or whatever, but there’s gotta be at least one person on campus willing to have a cuddle with me, right? Statistically and stuff. Everybody loves a good cuddle.”

Louis leans against the wall, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t Niall the one taking three maths classes right now? Shouldn’t you be asking him about statistics?”

Harry looks at him over his shoulder and puts on his sweetest, most saccharine smile. (Louis’ knees absolutely do not buckle on him, thanks.) “Yeah, but he’s no you, Lou. I trust you. Here, take this stack with you.” He hands over another pile of the applications and drops them in Louis’ arms. “I just need a couple more, but I think if you do everything left of the quad and I take everything past the econ building, we could probably be done in time for the X-Factor, right?”

Louis grips the stack of papers in his arms tightly, albeit with distaste. Maybe if he glares at them hard enough they’ll catch on fire and Harry will fuck off with his silly ideas. Instead, he sighs, tired, and looks up at Harry. “My room or yours?”

Harry’s eyes crinkle up so hard when he grins that Louis can’t get himself to move for another ten minutes.

+

5. How old was Harry’s great nan twice removed when she lost her first tooth? Be sure to use a clear thesis statement and at least 5 academic sources. MLA format only.

6. Harry likes Egypt. Steal all of the pyramids by dawn. No points will be given past sunrise.

The first time Louis had met Harry was in the toilets on move-in day. Some nerd had run into him while carrying their fucking fishbowl—which didn’t even have a fish in it, for God’s sake; it was just filled with dirty tap water for whatever reason—and completely ruined the white Resident Advisor shirt Louis was wearing. After cursing under his breath for a good 30 seconds, Louis politely excused himself from the blubbering mess apologizing endlessly and headed straight for the loo.

And that’s when he ended up walking into the toilets with a dripping wet white t-shirt halfway over his head while innocent Harry was standing there having a wee.

Innocent, that is, up until the point when he spun around so fast his pee went flying directly at Louis’ shoes. “Oops!” he’d squeaked, voice painfully drenched with nerves, but Louis had gotten stuck in his t-shirt at that point, the sudden shock of being pissed on and tangled up in a dirty, too-tight top being too much too soon for him.

Later, Harry would explain that he’d stood there with his willy out watching Louis struggle for a good 15 seconds before his brain started to work properly and he tucked himself in. He helped Louis pull the damned shirt off afterward, though, and once Louis’d met those big, green eyes, he’d forgotten all about the piss and fishbowl water clinging onto him.

Hi,” he remembers sighing dreamily, probably much too airy for a grown 20 year old, but there’s only so much Louis can pretend to be embarrassed about at once, so at that moment he couldn’t care less about what he sounded like.

Louis’d never thought love at first sight was realistic (infatuation, yes, love—no), but the second his eyes had come into contact with those deep craters for dimples, every one of his beliefs went flushing down the toilet. Like where Harry's pee should have gone.

That’s how Louis first met Harry. Everything afterward has been the beginning of his demise.

+

7. Give the full recipe for Harry’s mum’s Christmas roast. Illustrations required, will affect your overall score.

8. Harry has always enjoyed astronomy. Build him a rocket ship that will take him to Pluto and back before his 8:30 lecture tomorrow.

He’s sitting at Nando’s the following Monday afternoon, both him and Liam fresh out of back-to-back lectures and eating too much chicken for their first proper meal of the day. One of these years Louis is going to learn to not fuck up his metabolism every time he goes back to school. This probably isn’t that semester though.

He’s sitting across from Liam, watching him nastily shred through his chicken and rice, mumbling something about making gains in time for Sophia’s sister’s wedding, but he’s too self-consumed at the moment to make sense of anything Liam is saying. That, and the other boy is an absolutely horrific eater when he’s starved. Spits his food out and everything. It’s no wonder the boy’s from Wolverhampton; he was probably raised by bloody wolves. (Karen is a lovely woman, Louis would never say that aloud.) (That's also the kind of joke that he knows only Harry will enjoy. He'll have to text him it later.)

“Can we talk about Harry now?” Louis interrupts him sporadically, once his patience has run thin. There’s only so much nonsense fitness jargon he can pretend to understand before it becomes frustrating.

Liam looks up at him, fork halfway into his hanging mouth. “I think that’s the longest you’ve ever gone without bringing Harry up, to be honest. I was waiting for you to say something, but you just let me keep going and going.”

“I don’t talk about him all the time,” Louis tries to defend, but it’s a lie. Just hearing Harry’s name alone sends the butterflies in his belly aflutter and makes him push his food aside, too nervous to eat anymore.

“You do, but that’s beside the point. What has young Harold done now anyway? Did he finally get those bird tattoos with your faces that he was talking about?”

That was a joke. And who does Liam think he is calling him Harold? Who told him he could say that? That’s not even Harry’s name, thank you very much.

“—Because I know he wasn’t joking when he said that.”

Louis glares at his friend viciously. The poor boy made one drunken joke at a party about matching nautical tattoos and all of sudden no one wants to let him live it down. Harry’s so lucky to have Louis defending his honor because their friends are honestly ruthless. “Have you seen the signs he made me help him hang up over the weekend?”

“Oh, the ‘Netflix and Chill’ ones? Yeah, bro, everyone in my marketing class was talking about it today. Alex sent me a text at like eight in the morning asking if it was too late to switch roommates.” Liam chuckles to himself fondly. “Harry’s driving him nuts, mate. You need to do something about that boy before he sends Alex off.”

“Well that’s just bloody offensive, Liam. Maybe if Alex could get his pants out of a twist some time he’d be less bothered by poor Harold. I won’t stand for that kind of defamation, if I'm honest.”

“You’re sitting down right now,” Liam points out with a straight face.

“Then I won’t sit for that kind of defamation either. Tell Alex to fuck off and stop it with his tings at my boy already. There’s no need for that kind of dramatics.”

There’s a moment where neither of them say anything as Louis wolves down his fries and Liam stares at him, dead on. Louis only realizes what he’s said until after it’s all come out and he blushes red, keeps his head down just to avoid looking his friend in the eye. Liam puts his utensil down and says, sympathetically, “You can’t keep calling him that, you know.”

Louis knows what he means, but he plays dumb anyway. “Calling him what?”

Your boy, mate, like you’ve already figured it out. You two have been obsessed with each other since the day you met, but you keep pretending like you’re just pals. You can’t say that kind of stuff unless you’re saying it in front of him, too.”

Louis’ stomach twists uncomfortably at the serious tone in Liam’s voice, the unwelcome honesty of his little spiel hitting the nail too hard on the head. It’s true, though, in his defense. Anyone who’s encountered Harry and Louis in the last month knows just as well, too, but it’s not fair. Louis’ aware he’s being childish and petulant but it’s—just—

“It’s not fair to him, Li.” His shoulders slump when he takes a deep, tired breath, stomach lined with disgust. “He’s only 18 years old, and he’s not even been in uni for a month. I can’t just swoop in and call dibs, you know? That’s, like, being selfish. I don’t want to keep him from sewing his wild oats or whatever.”

Liam places a consoling palm on his hand. “It’s not selfish if what Harry wants is you.”

Louis shrugs, “He only likes me ‘cause he met me first. I’m just a familiar face at this point. That’s why he put up those flyers anyway, isn’t it? He knows he hasn’t met enough people and he wants to branch out.”

“Sew his wild oats…”

“Yeah,” Louis nods. “Exactly.” He can feel himself frowning already, but he doesn’t have the energy to hide it anymore. “Whatever, mate. It’s silly anyway. I can’t spend the entire semester worrying about Harry and still expect to get passing grades.”

Liam looks at him sadly and Louis can tell that he wants to say more, that this isn’t really the end of the conversation (there’s a lot that Louis wants to say too), but it’s only Monday afternoon and they’ve still got the rest of the week to be fake deep and serious. Liam picks his fork back up and just as he’s about to return to his meal, he pauses and says, “You should still give the kid more credit than that, Lou. Just because he’s 18 doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he wants. Stop trying to convince yourself otherwise.”

+

9. The neighbor of Harry’s cousin in Australia had a duck for how many hours?
a) 465
b) 9
c) 525600
 
10.  Harry is half Jewish. Recite the entire first half of the Torah in Hebrew immediately upon finishing this sentence. You have 3.5 minutes to do so.

Louis is pretending to be invested in a swim meet when Niall comes and attacks him on Wednesday.

“Louis fucking Tomlinson, you motherfucking idiot!”

His entire section of the bleachers tears their eyes away from the action in the pool to the pink-faced blond by the bottom of the steps and then immediately back to Louis. Shit. Louis picked the wrong bloody day to wear jeans so white they can be seen from the International Space Station. He tries to shrink in his seat, but it doesn’t take long for Niall to come bounding toward him, two steps at a time and relentless. By then almost everyone but a few curious eyes are still staring, though it doesn’t stop him from throwing his hood over his head and ducking.

“Don’t you try that shit with me,” Niall spits the second he reaches Louis, pulling off the hood with force. “What the hell is this?” He plops down next to Louis on the empty bleacher and unceremoniously pushes a sheet of crumpled paper in his face.

Netflix and Chill Buddy Application

It’s like no matter how hard Louis tries, he can’t seem to run away from this stupid fucking flyer. All the girls (and some of the boys) in every one of his classes have been talking about it all week. It’s on every wall of every building on campus. Louis went for a jog last night and he nearly tripped and died over a loose one on the football track.

It’s like a constant reminder of what he can’t have. Louis’ basically at a point now where he’s ready to beg Ed to teach him some of the computer hacking shit he’s always going on about just so he can take down Netflix from the internet altogether. He is not above playing dirty.

“Harry’s looking for a big spoon to cuddle him. Haven’t you heard?”

“I leave for a week to go to one conference for me finance class and this is what I come back to?” Niall practically waves his hands wildly, face already red and sweaty by his hairline, and not just because of the humidity in the room. “Have you two lost your bloody minds?”

Louis furrows his brows, completely confused, and says, “What in God’s name are you on about, Horan?”

Niall points a grubby finger to the bottom of the flyer. (This one is on a bright pink sheet, because Harry got bored of the plain white after a while and decided it was only right his empire be built on a rainbow—whatever that means.) “It says he’s ‘holding auditions’ tomorrow after class in your dorm? Mate, how is this even legal?”

“Well it’s not exactly illegal, so—”

“So you’re helping him find someone to Netflix and Chill and eventually fuck his brains, is what you’re telling me.”

And there comes the nausea again. Louis’ skin prickles at just the thought of Niall’s words, heat building up under his arms and making him queasy. He must be the masochist of the year for agreeing to help Harry with this ridiculous process, but. “I’d rather be there to vet whoever he ends up picking then just let some twat come in and sweet-talk their way in,” he tries to reason pitifully, because it’s the only answer he could think of at the time and he’s sticking by it, apparently. “Harry’s too nice for his own good.”

“And you’re too stupid for your own good,” Niall bites back, pinching him on the arm. Louis hasn’t got a clue what’s gone into the tiny Irish smurf—who used to be his mate once upon a time—but he is decidedly not being very nice right now. Louis should revoke their friendship wholly. “You kids these days with all your Netflixing and Twittering… This is madness, Louis. I won’t let you let Harry walk right into the arms of another bloke—”

“Or a girl,” Louis corrects, “he could walk right into the arms of another girl, too, technically.” But even saying that sentence aloud makes him feel stupid.

Niall stares at him, unamused, and deadpans, “This is Harry we’re talking about, remember? The chances of him walking into the arms of a female for this—” he picks up the paper and waves it in the air again, like he’s got a very personal grudge against the thing “—ridiculous quest to get you to finally ask him out, is right up there with me and Liam having an orgy with fucking Alex.”

“Fucking Alex,” Louis hisses under his breath.

And Niall repeats, “Fucking Alex. How do you seriously not see that Harry's just trying to get you to be his big spoon?” he asks, dumbfounded. “He literally wore your football jersey to class the other day, mate.”

“I… Never gave him me jersey.”

“Well, then, your boyfriend is apparently a thief, too.”

Louis slumps in his seat just as the horn is blown and a race has been completed. He doesn’t even know who was in the lead or who came in first or what the fuck one does at a swim meet, anyway, but he likes coming here to sit when he needs a breather, something about the splashing of water and the repetition of the strokes calming. He’s been faking his way for the last two years, so he figures any one of these days he’s bound to care about these meets enough to finally learn something.

“At least tell me you’re going to try and sabotage these auditions tomorrow,” Niall begs.

Louis peeks up at his friend and the corner of his mouth tilts upward in a mischievous grin. “Me? I would never do such a thing…”

The look on Niall’s face says he knows Louis’ full of shit.

+

11. Harry likes flowers. Go and ensure the permanent safety of the world’s bee population. Buzz buzz.
 
12.  Write the script of The Bee Movie. No grammatical errors allowed.

Louis is obviously full of shit. He’s been prepared to sabotage the chances of every man and woman (and everything in between) who dared to walk through his door from the very moment that Harry had come to him with the proposition.

Louis knows his school. He knows his campus and he knows his fellow classmates and he knows, undoubtedly, that there is not a single bastard within a 20 kilometer radius worthy of Harry Styles. For what it’s worth, probably no one in the entire country (or this planet) is worth Harry’s love, but Louis will be damned if he lets one of these soul-sucking leeches try to cuddle his Harry.

(Because, like, the thing is… Harry is the best person Louis’ ever known, even though it’s only been a month since they’d stumbled into one another’s lives. He is patient and warm and silly and loving. He’s supportive and earnest and makes the best goddamn cupcakes in the world and always pats Louis’ belly afterward. He goes on runs at six in the morning and sniffles like a baby cub whenever he falls asleep on Louis’ couch and it shouldn’t be so endearing how often he tumbles over his two left feet, but it is. Everything about Harry is so lovely and sweet, like the slow drip of honey on a summer day—and Louis’ always had a sweet tooth, for what it’s worth—that Louis has to restrain from touching his hair and playing with his hands and tickling under his arms at every chance he gets. He can’t seem to stop. It’s been four weeks and every time Harry walks into the room, Louis takes a deep breath and forgets where he is for a moment. His every instinct screams at him to touch and squeeze and hold; to make the younger boy giggle so hard his curls bounce against his shoulders. And Harry has just the most beautiful laugh, too. It’s all one giant recipe for disaster.)

So, yeah. Louis fucking came prepared. He’d spent all of Sunday night preparing a test specifically for the purpose of failing anyone applying for Harry’s big spoon position, when he definitely should’ve been studying for his quiz the next morning, but. Louis has priorities. And enemies.

He goes to sleep on Wednesday night 50% nervous and 50% ready to destroy. He’s very determined when the right thing comes along, and over Louis’ dead body will he let just anyone Netflix and Chill with Harry Styles. That is not what he was put on this earth to do.

+

13. Go dunk your face in the toilet and hold your breath for 15 minutes. Points will be deducted if CPR, a hospital visit, or death certificate is required.
 
14. Harry finds Seaworld cruel and irresponsible. Release every animal there with your bare hands. No help will be provided. Jail is not an excuse for failure.

Harry invites himself over to Louis’ the next day just as he’s gotten back from a mandatory Liam Payne Workout From Hell. (All under the guise of helping Louis de-stress before auditions, but Louis knows it’s really because Liam ate three of Harry’s red velvet cupcakes for breakfast and needed to cardio his guilt away.)

“Have you been working out?” Harry asks, following Louis down the hall and into his room. He sprawls out on Louis’ bed without bothering to ask permission, fluffing up the pillows and getting comfortable.

With his back to Harry, Louis throws a glance over his shoulder just in time to catch the boy gazing at his bum. “Enjoying the view, Harold?” Harry’s never been very good at hiding his fascination with a good, proper bum before. The two or three parties he’s been to with the lad have all ended with him drunkenly (and very cheekily) feeling Louis up, but Louis doesn’t really mind all that much. Harry’s got nice big, warm palms, and he’s always so eager to compliment all of Louis’ features, physical and otherwise. He’s very good about spreading the love, and Louis likes being loved.

“Has anyone ever told you how ridiculous your bum is?” Harry gawks, not even pretending to be above checking Louis out at this point. Louis slips his hoodie over his head, standing in front of his closet, and he can feel the heat of Harry’s gaze burning all over his skin. It sends goosebumps all down his back, and he’s sure Harry must notice that too.

“Yeah,” he answers, trying to keep his voice collected. “You do. A lot, in fact. You just texted me during your psych lecture this morning to ask if I’d ever tried to measure it before.”

“But have you?” The bedsprings creak under Harry’s weight and Louis can tell just by the sound of his voice that he’s gotten himself too excited too fast.

Louis pulls his trackies down and quickly switches into a pair of joggers and a loose t-shirt before finally turning around. “Why were you thinking about my bum at nine in the morning, Curly?” he asks, but Harry’s sat still on his bed, mouth hanging agape the slightest bit. He blinks slowly as Louis walks towards him, eyes raking up and down and up and down Louis’ body until Louis stops just by the end of his bed and half a foot away from Harry’s face.

“Hmm?” the other boy hums distractedly.

“Why were you thinking about me arse, Harry?”

Up close, the green in Harry’s eyes have gone a dark foresty color and his gaze stays glued to the column of Louis’ neck, where the scoop of his shirt is too big and his collarbones protrude outward on display. Harry licks over his lips, making the red color of them shiny and slick. Louis places a palm on Harry’s thigh to get his attention. “Earth to Hazza.”

Slowly, Harry’s eyes drift upward until they land on Louis’ lips, not even trying to make eye contact. “Hmm?” he repeats.

Louis bites down on his bottom lip just to watch the younger boy’s breath hitch. It sends a thrilling rush through him, almost makes him feel like he has even just the smallest effect on Harry. “You wanna go get something to eat before all your loons invade my place?”  

“Yeah, sure,” Harry answers, still in his daze. He’s completely unmoved when Louis laces their hands together and drags him out of his bedroom and toward his pathetic excuse of a kitchen. “Do you have anything other than cereal this time?”

Louis drops his hand in favor of plucking a box of Cocoa Puffs from atop his fridge. “You say that like there’s something wrong with eating cereal for every meal. How else do you think I got this hum?”

“Genetic superiority.”

“That’s a good answer.” He pours himself a bowl of some milk and chocolatey cereal before doing the same for Harry and carrying them back into the living room. “S’not gonna get you anywhere, m’afraid, but thanks for the effort.”

They sit down on the couch next to one another, thighs pressed close and sneaking glances over the edges of their bowls. “You know, Liam told me you do, like, 30 sets of squats every time you guys work out.”

“Yeah? And?”

And,” Harry continues. A bit of milk drips out of the corner of his mouth and Louis wipes away at it with his thumb. “—Thanks. Anyway, that just proves you care about the upkeep of your bum—or your thighs, but whatever. It’s all relative.”

Louis has to put his spoon down because he hasn’t got a clue what Harry’s trying to say. “Relative to what, Harold?” he asks incredulously, chuckling. “You do talk some shit, mate.”

“Relative to my interests.”

It’s little comments like those that make Louis’ stomach ache with nerves. Harry's been dropping them like nothing these last few days especially, but it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s got cartoon mushrooms on his socks and milk on his chin. Louis takes a deep breath and brushes Harry’s chin clean, “Didn’t they teach you how to eat properly back in Holmes Chapel?” he asks teasingly. “You’re like a baby, love.”

Harry eyes go bright at the term. Baby love. “Would that make me your baby?”

“If by baby you mean a small human who can’t hold their head up and needs their nappies changed for them then, yes, Harry, you’re my baby.”

He says it flippantly, but Harry finishes the rest of his cereal with a big grin on his face and Louis pretends like he doesn’t feel butterflies as an old episode of Friends comes on. They stay close to one another and it doesn’t take long for Harry to rest his head on Louis’ shoulder, the two of them fitting together seamlessly, bodies warm and bellies full of cold cereal. They sit in a comfortable silence—one that usually makes Louis fidget nervously—but with Harry, it just feels like the most natural thing in the world. The minutes go by quickly and before they know it, they’re so invested in the ugly naked guy’s death that they nearly miss the knock on the door.

Louis really hates the universe sometimes.

+

15. Name every color Harry has ever painted his nails, in ROYGBIV order.

16. Harry thinks the Eiffel Tower is romantic. Go back in time to have it built in rainbow colors and out of jellybeans. Note: jellybeans must be organic, gluten-free, made of tofu, and not made with refined sugar.

Harry sets up “try outs” for three nights in a row, all of them in Louis’ room. On the first night, almost two dozen people show up, but not even half of them make it through the threshold. Louis gets one look at most of them and immediately closes the door on their faces, telling Harry that he refuses to waste their time on hopeless cases.

Those that do make it through take one look at Louis’ written test before asking Harry if this is a joke. The first night a group of girls from the field hockey team come in together, bubbly and sweet and big, eager smiles on their shiny lips, even bigger hearts in their eyes when they glance at Harry dreamily. Louis hands them the sheets and it takes a good four seconds before one of them looks up.

“What are you trying to do, Tommo?” Haley asks, gum popping in her mouth and an unamused scowl on her face.

The second night more or less goes the same. Harry sits on the loveseat in the corner and watches everything with a smirk, lips sealed shut and letting Louis run (and ruin) the show; like he trusts Louis with this decision more than he does himself. (And rightfully so.) As a result, Louis’ place constantly reeks of either too much Axe or too sweet body perfume. Everything is a mess of strawberry lipgloss and crumpled sheets of paper, to the point where Louis accidentally hands in one of his ridiculous tests instead of the homework for his marketing class.

It doesn’t help that he’s getting glares from his classmates left and right. Just walking across campus he prays that he doesn’t run into one of the people he slammed the door on, but, honestly, what did they expect? Louis can’t be blamed for his impeccably high standards where cuddling is involved.

(Louis now understands what all those songs about haters making you famous are on about.)

It’s only on Saturday night that things come to a halt.

He’s coming back from his shift at the bookstore when he reaches his floor and is met with a long, endless line that stretches down the entire length of his hall. He walks past one ridiculously buff guy in a jersey after another and another and another until he gets to his door and sees that they’re all waiting for him. At the head of the line, as luck would have it, stands Niall, with a shit-eating, faux casual grin on his face.

Louis stops dead in his track and points to the line of thirty or so guys he recognizes from the footie and lacrosse and rugby teams. “…What the hell is this, Niall?”

But Niall just waves cheerily and says, “Hey, mate. How was work?”

“Fantastic. Corden burnt all the books down and killed a man—what do you think? Why the hell have you got the entire bloody athletics departments on my floor?”

“Yo, Tommo!” one of the guys somewhere down the line shouts, creating an uproar of obnoxious cheers by everyone else. It turns into clapping and foot stomping and Louis can literally feel the floor shake beneath him. It’s no surprise that the chaos has everyone popping their heads out from their doors to check out the cause of commotion.

“The lads heard there were tryouts,” Niall shrugs, pointing a thumb over his shoulder. “They decided this is how they wanted to pregame, so. Here we are!” He claps his hands and smiles so sickeningly wide that Louis almost punches him in the face. He knows what Niall is trying to do and he knows that Niall is never this excited about anything without a reason for him to be wary.

He’s about to tell Niall to go shove a lacrosse stick up his arse when the door to his room opens and Harry’s head pops out. Louis doesn’t even know how the boy got in there to begin with, but that’s what he gets for never locking his door and trusting an 18 year old with curly hair.

At just the sight of Harry’s face, all 30-something guys begin to cheer and whistle again, some more loudly and crudely than others. “What’s this?” Harry giggles at the sudden applause in his honor, stepping outside and next to Louis. His body radiates warmth like sin and Louis nearly melts at the spot, aching to lean over and touch. “Have we got company?”

Louis half expects it when they start chanting Ha-rry, Ha-rry, Ha-rry, like a group of testosterone-ridden animals ready to hunt on their prey. It’s mostly harmless and it gets the rest of the freshmen who are peeking at the scene to laugh wildly, but it doesn’t stop Louis from stepping closer to Harry and placing a tentative palm to the small of his back.

“Someone put your Netflix and Chill applications all over the locker rooms,” Niall informs them.

Louis skin prickles at how unfazed Niall appears. “Mmm, yes. I wonder who would think to do such a thing…”

“It’s crazy, innit? So crazy. So crazy!”

“Maybe if you say that a few more times it’ll sound a little more believable,” Louis deadpans.

The guy behind Niall—a massive bloke in a rugby jersey whose biceps nearly threaten to tear at his sleeves and who's holding a bottle of beer in his other hand—nudges him in the side and says to Louis, “Bro, we brought our number two pencils and everything. We’re totally here to do this shit.” He puts extra emphasis on shit that sets off another round of commotion and howling.

Louis doesn’t want to think about how many drinks these guys have already had. A part of him wants to see how they’ll manage to read the instructions on the paper, much less try and build a fucking rocketship to send Harry to Pluto, but an even bigger of him just wants to shut all of this the fuck down. He doesn’t like the idea of Harry standing so close to so many half-drunk, always-too-handsy, overeager athletes as it is. Louis’ been with these guys at parties before and he knows exactly how they think and what they want. They’re funny, insanely witty mates of his, but that doesn’t mean that Louis trusts them with Harry.

Absolutely the fuck not.

“No no no no no,” Louis waves them off, shaking his head fervently and tightening his grip around Harry’s waist. “We’re not doing this, no way, nope. Niall, send your animals back to their den. Auditions are finished, we are officially not looking for candidates any longer. Thank you for your time, have a good night.”

He doesn’t bother to wait for everyone’s response before he spins Harry around and guides him right back inside, kicking the door shut behind him. He’s still got his hands tight on Harry’s hips when the chorus of boos and grumbles echo from outside and Harry turns around in his arms.

“We’re not looking for someone anymore? Isn’t that something I should be deciding for myself?” There’s a bite in his words that doesn’t quite reach his eyes, but it sets Louis off nonetheless.

“Are you saying you would honestly consider any of those guys?” Louis scoffs in surprise, palms slipping off the other boy's body. “Hazza, Jesus, come on—”

“No, no, I don’t care about them.” Harry takes a step closer and Louis can feel it against his cheek when he exhales, brows digging deep in his forehead and green eyes wide now. “I don’t want any of those guys.”

Outside his door, the volume begins to come down. Louis can hear the sound of their boots slowly making their way down the hall and doors being closed as a result. He thinks he hears some kind of cheer for him, but he’s pretty sure that’s all in his head.

“Then what do you want?” Louis breathes out. His feet ache from his seven hour work day and while he promised to go out with Ed tonight (mostly to drink away his sorrow after another night of auditions) the last thing he wants right now is to leave his room, probably ever again.

Harry’s fingertips brush against his wrist. “I just want to be close to you.”

Louis can feel a rush of blood to his head, every one of his nerves on fire. He doesn’t know what to say or how to respond. How does he even breathe? How does one stand three inches away from Harry Styles' mouth and stay composed? What is Louis supposed to say to a sentence like that?

Luckily, Harry responds for him with a soft press of his lips to his cheek, his mouth lingering for a moment too long to be just casual. “Can I have a cuddle, Lou?” his voice comes out in small whisper, desperate words ticking Louis’ cheekbone. “Please?”

And Louis’ heart leaps in his throat. He wants to scream yes! off the top of his lungs, but he’s so physically dumbfounded from just being this close to Harry that all he can manage to do is close his eyes and nod his head. With a careful hold around his wrist, Harry leads them toward the couch, flipping the lights off on his way and painting the room in darkness.

They settle down and Harry doesn’t waste his time before moving them around until Louis finds himself sprawled out in the corner with a gangly limbed Harry pressed against his chest, face tucked into the corner of his neck. Harry inhales a deep breath and his fist tightens around the material of Louis’ jumper. “Much better,” he hums quietly.

Louis waits a moment, counts to 28 in his head, before speaking. “Harry?”

“Mmm?” Harry’s deep hum vibrates against his neck, making his skin prickle.

He's so soft against Louis, little curls of brown tickling the tip of his nose as he rubs his cheek against Louis’ shoulder and nuzzles into him like a kitten. It’s incredibly warm and soothing and Louis can practically feel his aching bones praising him for this, for the comfort of a warm boy in his arms.

It’s hard to think that just less than 5 minutes ago they were basically being propositioned by a bunch of semi-drunk uni athletes, and yet here they are now, spending their Saturday night cuddling in the dark.

Louis has no complaints, even as he tries to put his thoughts together.

What are we doing? What is this? Do you want me the way that I want you? Do you think about me when we’re not together? (And even when we are?)

“Do you wanna watching something on Netflix?” he asks instead.

+

17. Harry believes that all countries should be united. Bring back Pangea.
 
18. Make David Beckham follow me on Instagram. I will provide the sexually explicit photos necessary to gather his attention. It amuses Harry to see me happy, so this task is the most important.

Harry kisses the way that he holds hands. It is tight and secure, anchoring Louis to his love. Sometimes it’s loose and easy, just a couple of fingers tangled up in Louis’ own. (Those are like Sunday morning kisses; when Louis tickles him mid-kiss and their teeth clash together because Harry can’t stop giggling.) Whether it’s a how was your exam? kiss or holding each other’s hands in their sleep, every little touch of Harry’s skin on his own leaves Louis feeling like he’s on fire. Everything about Harry is dizzyingly addictive.

And it doesn’t help that he’s just there, all the time. He shows up during the middle of Louis’ shift with a cup of coffee and cherry pink lips; waits for him after games when footie season picks up, begging to blow him in the locker rooms; has practically moved out of his dorm with Alex and into Louis’. (He and Liam are really shitty RAs, for what it’s worth, but Harry is every exception to every rule.)

He knows they’re attached to each other and it’s sickening to everyone around them, but it’s impossible to stop. Harry tells the best stories and has the deepest voice in the mornings and stares at Louis like he hung all the stars in the skies for him. He’s never been in love before, but he’s pretty sure this what the beginnings of it feels like.

+

19. Harry and I really want to have kids, even as young as we are. Figure out a way to make male pregnancy a reality.
 
20. If Train A leaves Chicago at 9AM and Train B leaves Tokyo at 3PM and Michael Bublé is on the shoulders of Rocky, wrapped in  flag, on a moose, riding in here, covered in syrup, on poutine, how much do I love Harry?

Late in December in the middle of a snowstorm Harry and Louis find themselves sprawled out on the couch watching House of Cards. Outside, thick snowflakes pelt at windows and quickly bury the city in inches of white. Classes have been cancelled for the day and Louis knows that they should be using the day off to their advantage, probably studying for his two remaining finals, but yet he’s not. He’s on the couch with his boyfriend in the middle of a snowstorm bingewatching a dark, gritty show on his television. The room is dark and the only source of light comes from the tv and the Christmas lights hanging off of it. Harry had put them up two weeks ago and Louis likes the juxtaposition of bright, neon colors dangling over the screen as Kevin Spacey’s monotone voices lulls them to an eerie quiet.

As usual, Harry’s tucked himself into Louis’ arms, trying to make himself as physically small as possible, with his mouth pressed to Louis’ neck and legs thrown over his lap. He prefers to stay quiet when he’s watching something with vested interest—always the better listener between the two of them—but something about him is off today. He spends more time with his eyes gazing around the room than he does focusing on the show. He toys with the material of Louis’ jumper (which is actually a reindeer jumper that Harry’s nan knit for him 2 Christmases ago) with his fingers trailing off underneath the thick top every so often. They’ve been watching Netflix for almost two hours now and Louis can’t keep track of how many times Harry has silently tilted his head back and pursed his lips in request for a kiss. Louis keeps giving it to him, even if he doesn’t understand, because Harry’s mouth tastes like gingerbread cookies and chocolate milk.

(Even though he’s sweet enough.)

Kevin Spacey’s character is a throwing a lamp onto the floor when Harry begins to kiss his neck. Little pecks trail his skin, closed-mouthed and nothing but a gentle press of his lips. It still sends Louis shuddering, trying his best to suppress the shiver that runs through him. Goosebumps bloom all along his body and he can feel it when Harry notices and smiles into his neck. “Louuu,” he sings softly, a little giggle escaping him.

Louis makes a nonsensical noise in the back of his throat as Harry teasingly pushes him onto his back. Louis falls with a thud against the couch and he’s barely got a chance to open his eyes before Harry’s climbing on top of him and mounting himself on his thighs.

“Hi, baby,” he whispers coquettishly, leaning down to continue pressing kisses into Louis’ skin. Up and down his neck, nosing into the collar of his sweater to spare a few nibbles, and then back up to nuzzle behind his ear, kissing the soft skin delicately. “Can I do something for you, Lou?”

Louis arches his neck, unable to help himself when his hips cant upward and Harry jiggles on top of him. “Nngh—mmm, baby, yeah. What did you—what did you want?” He may be dizzy with excitement right now, but Louis’ still in his senses well enough to remember that any time Harry has asked to do something for him, he has ended up needing to reevaluate his entire life.

But then Harry lowers himself completely, until his chest is flat against Louis’, and he whispers into the corner of his mouth, “Wanna ride you, Lou.”

Anything Louis could hope to blurt out is muffled away when Harry presses their mouths together. He dives his tongue in first and sears their lips together into a hot kiss, little moans escaping the both of them as they fit together like lock and key. It’s slick, hungry, has Harry and Louis latching onto one another as they kiss passionately. A heat builds between them in the dark and cold of the room that Louis can’t tear himself away from, even when it gets hard to breathe.

“You wanna do this?” he asks in a pant. They haven’t gotten past handjobs and sucking each other off yet and Louis’ pretty sure that’s only because they’re trying to wait until after finals to get stuck into a black hole of endlessly fucking each other’s brains out everywhere and anywhere. They’ve been good so far, but—

Yeah,” Harry says, before kissing him again. “Gonna give you something to remember me by when you go home for Christmas.”

Louis grunts, his hips snapping up on their own accord and meeting with Harry’s. He’s glad they’re both already half hard or Louis would be embarrassed at the impact his boy has on him. “Fuck, yeah, H. Let me go get the lube.”

“No no no, don’t need to.” Harry pulls away and sits up again. “Already took care of that when you were on the phone with your mum.”

“You’re kidding,” Louis deadpans, but Harry just sucks his bottom lip into his mouth, a little proud and shameless, and shrugs. “You were fingering yourself while I was in the room next to you. On the phone with me mum. Talking about the twins.”

Harry runs his fingers through Louis’ damp fringe and shrugs sheepishly. “I like the way your voice sounds when you’re on the phone with your family. You get all soft…” He kisses Louis’ forehead, “And sweet…” Nuzzles against his temple. “Domesticity goes well with you, Lou.”

“And that…” Louis' breath hitches. “You get off on that?”

“Mmm. Could listen to your voice all day.”

Louis can’t be blamed for how quickly he makes do with tearing all their clothes off after that. They nearly fall off the couch while stripping down to nothing and getting their limbs tangled together, but it’s worth it and so much more when Louis presses two dry fingers in between Harry’s cheeks and feels him wet and loose against his fingertips. “Jesus Christ, you weren’t kidding.”

Harry leans over and digs a hand underneath the couch to come up with a small, travel-sized bottle of lube and some condoms. He twists his hips, squeezing his cheeks around Louis’ hand sneakily, and grins. “I take my prepping very seriously.”

“I can tell.”

“And you,” he says, popping open the bottle and pouring a generous amount onto his palm. “I take everything about you very seriously too.”

He says it with such honesty that Louis nearly forgets where they are and what they’re doing until Harry wraps a wet palm around his cock and starts to tug him to full hardness. The tv screen has stopped on a shot of DC at night, Netflix asking them if they want to keep watching or start from the beginning. Thick, December winds howl against his clouded windows, and in the dark of the room, Harry leans down to wrap his lips around the head of his cock. It’s a short suckle, all of the attention around the head and his tongue lapping over his slit. Louis almost fucks right into Harry’s mouth, but the other boy keeps strong hands on his hips and holds him down until he’s done.

Fucking—”

“Ready?” Harry pants, pulling off with a pop and rising to his knees. He rips a packet with his teeth and rolls the condom down Louis’ length. A thin sheen of sweat glistens on his skin, little droplets pooling up at the base of his spine where Louis’ hands hold him and he is soft. “Fuck, I’ve been thinking about this for so long.”

“Yeah?”

“Mmm,” Harry hums. “When we met on move-in day, in the toilets. You got stuck in your shirt and I could see all of you. Your stomach…” Fingertips trail down Louis’ torso reverently, Harry’s voice a little distant. “Fuck, you looked so good, Lou. You were practically glowing, your skin was so golden. I almost broke my wrist wanking so hard that night, you don’t even know.”

It's the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to Louis, even if it does leave him giggling and swallowing down a giant lump in his throat. “You’re so fucking ridiculous,” he says wetly. He cups the back of Harry’s neck and pulls him down for a sweet kiss. “You make it so easy to love you.”

“Keep that in mind,” Harry pecks his lips once more. “Tell me where you stand with that after I ride you, okay? Gonna be so good for you, Lou, promise.”

And fuck if Harry isn’t the best thing that Louis’ ever experienced in his entire life. The way he squeezes around Louis’ cock, slowly sinking down with nothing but hot heat and a smooth glide to engulf Louis like his life depends on it. He bottoms out without breaking a sweat and Louis can’t even let out a breath until Harry starts to move.

“Oh my God, Jesus, fuck,” he grunts. Blunt nails dig into Harry’s love handles, sure to leave bruises tomorrow, but Harry doesn’t take any mercy on him. He clenches tight around Louis’ cock, his hips beginning to stutter, and slowly he picks up his pace as he starts to bounce. Little uh uh uh’s leave his shiny mouth and Louis could die with how fucking gorgeous his boy looks just sitting on his cock, a sight for the eyes, like he was made for this. Louis should’ve known Harry could ride cock like it’s his art. The way he gives head should have been warning enough.

“Why—didn’t you tell me—before—you were so good at this?”

Harry's little ringlets bounce when he moves, a halo of curls falling in front of face. Deep dimples pop out as he balances himself against Louis’ chest and giggles, breathily, “Wanted to keep you on your toes.”

“That’s the worst idea you’ve ever had, Harry.” Louis snaps his hips roughly, enough to make Harry jump and whimper at the force of it, his back arching as he takes it happily. “And that’s counting the shit you did with your Netflix and fuckbuddy applications.”

“Had to get your attention,” Harry pants, bouncing with a vigor. “Needed you to get your shit together.”

“Could've just told me you liked me too,” Louis argues. “Would’ve saved us a lot of paper.”

“I know, I still feel bad about it. Had to plant, like, 20 trees with the gardening club just to clear my conscience.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Louis giggles. “C’mhere.” He sits up, cupping Harry’s jaw, and tilts their heads until their mouths meet again and he can kiss his boy senseless, all while embracing him in his arms and holding him close. “You’re a fucking wonder, Harry.”

His words seem to have some kind of effect on Harry, because he begins to lose his rhythm. It gets faster and he fucks down harder, but it’s clear that there isn’t the same level of coherency anymore. What began as a way to get Louis off is now just Harry chasing his orgasm, desperate and whining low into the crook of Louis’ neck. And Louis can’t blame him because he’s right there with Harry, hips rocking upward as a coiling builds low in his stomach, threatening to release. Harry fucks down and Louis fucks up and Louis’ jaw aches with how hard he grits this teeth together.

Louis tightens a fist around Harry’s cock trapped between their chests, leaking and red at the head. Harry’s entire face is flushed, his skin burning and damp, arms wound tight around Louis’ neck. “Please,” he whimpers, swiveling his hips in sloppy eights as he fucks down on Louis’ cock, “Almost there, Lou. Right there, wanna—wanna come with you, Louis. Wanna be close to you.”

Louis picks up the flick of his wrist and starts to really fuck up into Harry. The sound of their skin slapping together echoes in the room, their panting breaths and whimpers offering the perfect harmony. Louis can feel his entire body on the precipice and he doesn’t know how much longer they go at it like that, fucking so hard and desperately, nails scratching at skin and teeth baring down on muscle, until they finally release, one after the another. Harry comes with a sinful arch of his back and Louis follows him right after, his cock throbbing with the tight clench of Harry around him.

Harry paints both their chests whites for what feels like years as they come down from their highs and their orgasms flood their systems. “I think I’m in love with your dick,” Harry mumbles, out of breath against Louis’ chest once they’ve learned how to breathe again. “We need to do that…all the time. Every day.”

“We’ll be so much more productive than we already are.”

“Exactly,” Harry giggles tiredly. He pushes down on Louis’ chest until he ends up on his back and Harry curls up in his arms. He whispers quietly, in a small, honest voice, “I like being with you.”

Louis knows he should pull out and get rid of his condom before they can properly cuddle, but he’s so tired and he doesn’t quite feel like ruining the moment, even for a second. “I like everything about you,” he whispers back, kissing the crown of Harry’s head.

Harry is entirely dead weight on top of him, a little bit sticky and a lot sweaty, but he nuzzles deep into Louis’ arms, completely unbothered. Louis wants to be this close to him all the time, could spend the rest of his life with a warm, sleepy Harry in his embrace forever.

“I can’t wait to love all of you,” Harry mumbles around a sleepy, kittenish yawn. His words are slow and his voice languid, deep. Just when Louis thinks he may already be out, Harry hums into his skin, “I think I may already be there, Lou.”

And Louis can't wait to meet him there.