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"I don't like it."

Harry's keys land on the nineteenth century sideboard, the metal producing a satisfying thunk on the ebonised mahogany. Louis had filched it, piece by piece, from the Victoria & Albert museum several years ago. It's a gaudy monstrosity, the sort of sleek lines and practical look an englishman produces upon imitating japanese art. Harry had loved the horrible thing the moment he'd stumped his foot against it, crammed into one of Louis' storage places. They'd been looking to furnish their new home and Harry had complained long enough, until Louis had blown him, just to shut him up, perched right there against the sideboard.

His boots hit the hardwood floor beside it and he stretches his toes while leaning down to arrange Louis' sneakers, too. "What's that?" he asks while peeling off his jacket, wincing when it sticks to his arms. If there's one thing he dislikes about London, it's the damn weather. He could have taken an umbrella, but he refuses. They've been to Mauritius for an art show not two weeks ago, he's not going to give in to this climate, convinced if he ignores the rain hard enough, it will eventually go away.

His heart skips a beat when out of nowhere, Louis is by his elbow, vibrating with barely contained anxious energy. Harry could have sworn he'd seen him sitting cross-legged on the sofa all the way through the arched doorway in the sitting room. "I told you to make more noise. This isn't a sound-triggered bank vault." Honestly. He'll have to buy him a bell or something. Smiling at that mental image, he leans down for a kiss but encounters stiff, closed lips instead. He pulls back with a frown. "What's wrong?"

"I don't like it," Louis repeats. His pout is put on, but beyond it Harry catches something deeper, something worrying.

The next moment, Louis stomps off down the hall. Harry follows, still clueless as to the exact root of the problem. While racking his brain for what he might have done wrong, he still appreciates the view. Louis is wearing soft trackie trousers that pull tight across his lovely bum as he walks, and a tank top that's been in the wash so often it's criminally soft and paper-thin. Harry finds himself helpless when Louis wears it around the house, has to come up behind him and run his fingers over Louis' chest, feel the soft material and Louis' muscles jump underneath. The trousers are similarly loved and often worn. Harry distinctly remembers buying them for himself, though Louis chooses to ignore that fact, having adopted them as his own instead. It's okay though, because they're just a bit big on Louis, sliding down indecently low. It's an acceptable compensation, Harry thinks, passing the two guest rooms and entering their master bedroom.

The light wood furniture from his old apartment is combined with crisp white sheets and a single, orange splash of colour on the wall. It's van Gogh's 'The Old Tower in the Fields'. It had been one of his first solo missions, barely seventeen at the time. The con had been too long and convoluted for stealing a painting from a private collection. He'd do it differently now, more aggressive and with his eyes on the prize instead of getting lost in details. But back then, he'd needed to play it safe, get his confidence up. Improvisation had come much later.

Louis is rummaging through his bedside table. A dissatisfied sound spills from his lips as he shoves the drawer closed again. He heads to the attached bathroom next.

O-kay then.

Harry shrugs out of his clothes, picks up Louis' discarded towel from an earlier shower and drops it all into the laundry basket. He leans against the doorframe, watching Louis intently. His eyebrows are drawn together in concentration and he purposefully inspects the glass-fronted cupboards interior, fingers flying over its contents.

"What're you looking for?" he asks as cotton swabs and face wipes land in the sink.

"Nothing. Go take a shower."

Harry opens his mouth to protest but -- he's already naked so he might as well. He walks up behind Louis, pressing against his back. Louis' clothes rasp nicely against his skin, warmed by Louis' body heat. Goose bumps raise on his skin as the edge of a nipple catches on the hem of Louis' shirt.

Harry leans down and inhales Louis' scent, rubs his nose against his neck. He's tried describing Louis' smell before but his descriptive powers have fallen short. Louis smells of Louis, of love, of home.

He searches out Louis' gaze in the mirror, hoping to get a clue as to what's bothering him. But Louis is having none of it, too busy pushing Harry's unopened moisturiser and nail polish remover aside. Pouty from his lack of success, Harry decides to change tactics. He grabs for Louis' hips and circles his own. Cock perking right up, it slides easily along the crease of Louis' bumcheeks while Harry digs his fingers in deeper.

"Gonna join me?"

Louis gives a slow blink, clearly affected even though he hides it well. "Can't, looking for something. Now let go and take your damn shower."

Harry doesn't mention that moments before, Louis also said he wasn't looking for anything at all. Instead, he brings up the important things. "I want a kiss first. A proper one."

Louis sighs, shoulders sagging after an exaggerated eyeroll, like Harry is the biggest burden to bear. He also wriggles in Harry's arms until they're face to face, pressing close, and Harry knows he isn’t really bothered at all. Louis looks up at him, the frown right back on his gorgeous features. "Bloody sasquatch," he mutters. He hops onto the edge of the basin and wraps his legs around Harry's hips. Usually Louis loves fisting the front of Harry's shirts, pulling them taut against his back, driving Harry crazy with each slight twinge of the possessive touch. But since Harry is naked, there's no clothes for Louis to hold onto, so instead he wraps his arms around Harry's neck and pulls him in until their lips align.

Kissing Louis is easy. They always know where their noses go, who gets the bottom and who gets the top lip. Harry doesn't have to remember fifty things, the way he does when kissing a mark. He doesn't have to play into his persona, be submissive when he wants to push, be dominant when he wants Louis to be.

He smiles into the kiss, leans forward until Louis' back touches the cold mirror. Louis squeaks and struggles against his chest.

"You're a bloody menace," says the actual bloody menace sliding down from the sink, body a torturous drag along Harry's.

Harry pouts at his semi and then at Louis. His hair flops into his face, ruining the effect -- Louis must have nicked his hairband again, one of his favourite pastimes as of late. "You should shower with me."

For a moment, Louis just chews his bottom lip, cheeks stained a pretty pink. Then he shakes his head. "No." It visibly costs him enormous effort to turn around and walk out. Harry grins, happy in the knowledge that Louis wants him just as much as he wants Louis. He heads for the shower, a light spring to his step.

+++

Ten minutes later with skin scrubbed clean and hair curling from the damp, he emerges in a billow of citrus-scented steam. There's no use in getting dressed, so he just dries off before returning the towel to the rack. He gives his cock a friendly stroke before he heads to the bedroom.

Just as his feet hit the plush carpet, he freezes. There's a loud clicking sound when he tries to swallow, managing to almost choke on his own spit. Eyes wide and toes digging into the soft fibres underneath, Harry stares unabashedly.

Louis is propped low -- and gloriously naked -- against the headboard. A pair of handcuffs dangle from his forefinger, two silk scarves from Harry's collection draped partially over his torso.

Harry's breath stutters at the tantalising sight and he stumbles forward until he's close enough to touch, leaning over the edge of the bed awkwardly. His hand slides up the inside of Louis' thigh, squeezing the warm flesh. "That for me?" he asks in a thick voice.

Something flashes in Louis' eyes. "No." He takes the first scarf and wraps it around his wrist, tucks the end in neatly. Then he does the same with the other side.

And then he pulls out a second pair of handcuffs from somewhere and leans over to fasten his hand to the headboard. He hooks the first one on the opposite side with his remaining free hand. The cuff clicks closed with finality, dangles with a certain weight that has nothing to do with gravity and everything with the situation at hand. Louis holds his still-free wrist up to it. "Close it," he says, nodding at it. The entire situation is laden with so much meaning that Harry almost forgets to breathe.

Fuck.

He reaches up with shaky fingers and slips Louis' scarf-wrapped wrist between the two metal pieces. With a sound that bounces off the walls, they click together. He's surprised he can hear anything over his desperate breaths and the heart hammering in his chest. He checks, but there's still enough space to fit his finger between. He licks his lips. "And now?"

Louis' right eyebrow arches, half question, half teasing, "Now? Isn't it obvious?"

Is it? Harry can imagine several scenarios that would definitely prove loads of fun, but he has no idea what Louis wants right now. And while Louis might be the one tied up, it's clear as day he's also the one in charge.

He looks at Louis' position thoughtfully. "Can't rim you like that."

Louis snorts. "Oh please. You'd find a way to rim me in outer space with zero gravity."

Harry doesn't object. There are few things he loves more than eating Louis out, and 95% of it is due to the way he reacts.

He trails a finger up Louis' chest. "What do you want?"

Louis sighs and closes his eyes. "You're good at making people believe stuff, right? I mean that's basically your job." Louis leans his head back, exposing his neck. A deep-purple bruise would look lovely there.

"Sure."

Louis' eyes open slowly, like a sunrise, brilliantly blue and full of -- hurt? Sadness? Louis takes a deep breath and whispers, "then make me believe you won't leave me for one of the marks." He closes his eyes again, like it pains him to continue. "It drives me insane when I think about you flirting with them. I spent the last four hours pacing the house and watching Liam's video feed of the club."

Harry wants to laugh, because Louis is jealous? It's an utterly ridiculous notion; no one comes close, no one compares to him. However, he knows Louis enough to understand the importance of not laughing right now. Louis is shockingly blunt with his wants, a very refreshing way to handle a relationship, Harry finds. But other things, things he perceives as his own shortcomings, he'll keep inside, let them eat away at his self-esteem, let them fester.

Harry leans in for a sweet kiss instead, pecking Louis' nose and cheekbones and still-closed eyes. "Look at me, please." It takes a moment, but Louis does. Defiance covers the hurt and confusion now. It's an emotion Harry is more familiar with when dealing with Louis. Defiance, he can handle. "I love you."

Louis makes a sort of harrumphing sound.

Harry nuzzles his cheek. "I do," he promises while getting on the bed, lips dragging down Louis' torso. His cock lies half hard in the crease between leg and hip, pretty as all the rest of him. Harry pulls the foreskin back to kiss the exposed head, suckle it into his mouth. He revels at the familiar taste, at the way it twitches involuntarily. Lovely, so so lovely. He blinks up at Louis, still mouthing at his cock and not caring about the strain this position puts on his neck. The stare is intense, intimidating in the very best way, neither feeling the urge to break it. There's heat in Louis' gaze, unbridled and honest before he blinks, letting an almost bored expression wash over his face.

And fuck if it isn't the hottest thing ever.

If Harry didn't feel him harden fully under his ministrations, he'd think Louis was unaffected by all this. And okay, yes okay, he can definitely do this. If Louis wants him to work for it, Harry will.

He sits up, deciding to test the waters. "I should dim the lights, maybe get some candles out?"

Louis' nod is slow and controlled, like he's mulling it over. "If that's what you want to do."

His façade is practically perfect, all cool aloofness and fuck, there's something wrong with Harry because his cock is fully hard and leaking in seconds. The fact that he knows Louis to be the most caring, loving person is irrelevant right now. Because that expression of arrogance goes particularly well with the cut of Louis' cheekbones, with his icy-blue stare -- and shit, Harry wants to come on his face, wants to paint those perfect planes.

But right, no. Maybe later, he consoles himself, while clumsily getting off the bed and dimming the lights. The distance helps and he takes his time setting candles out and lighting them. Louis' eyes track his every movement, mockingly raised eyebrow sending another shiver up Harry's spine. He catches Louis in the mirror though, watches his eyes drop to his arse when he thinks Harry can't see.

Soft music fills the room over the built-in speakers and he keeps his back turned, hips swaying gently while selecting the right playlist.

Louis watches him like a hawk, eyes skimming up and down his body, boring into the back of his head. And Harry preens under the attention, realises it's the only reason he's dragging this out. He can't help it, enjoys Louis looking at him with that fierce want, needs it.

Mood set, he saunters over to the foot of the bed. Louis is a vision, staring defiantly from the prone position he put himself in. Harry understands the sacrifice Louis is making, the gift he's offering Harry. Louis has exactly two ways of dealing with his problems; fight or flight. The fact that he's willingly restraining himself, taking away both those options, speaks volumes.

Eyes never leaving Louis', he crawls up slowly, trailing kisses up Louis' body until they're face to face.

Louis probably expects a kiss, so Harry veers right and rummages in the nightstand instead. His fingers close around the bottle of lube and he brings it out triumphantly. Only then does he straddle Louis' thighs and lean in for that kiss.

"What do you want?" he whispers against the softness of Louis' lips.

"I've already told you that."

Harry's bottom lip pushes out in an exaggerated pout. Then he shrugs. If Louis won't tell him what he wants Harry to do, then he'll just have to use the reliable method of trial and error.

They both enjoy talking during sex, so he starts there, pitching his voice low just the way Louis likes it best. "When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is you." He settles back on Louis' legs and pops the bottle cap. "I wonder if you slept well, if your dreams were okay. I want to tell you about mine, because you weren't there for them, and I want to share everything with you," he kisses Louis' neck. "I want you to know everything there is to know about me."

Louis' skin feels heated under his lips, as he drags them over sharp collarbones to pointy shoulders. He play-bites the fleshy part of Louis' upper arm, assuring himself with a quick glance down at Louis' lap. He smeers the pearl of precome over Louis' cockhead there, content with the muffled yelp. Back to holding Louis' gaze, he slowly drags his thumb over his tongue, licking off the residue.

Louis' eyes darken, transfixed, but he doesn't comment.

There's usually only two reasons why Louis is this quiet during sex. Either he's got Harry's cock in his mouth, or he's whimpering too hard for actual words.

But that's okay, Harry loves a challenge.

"I can't stand being home but not in the same room as you." He pours some lube onto his fingers and spreads it around with his thumb in great concentration. Then his eyes flick back up to Louis’. "I want to touch you, hear you, watch you. God, I always want to watch you. You're amazing, soft and rough, loud and quiet, always perfect. Can't ever figure you out, but never grow bored of trying."

Without warning, he gives Louis some rough strokes with his lubed up hand, cock pretty and shiny when he's done. Louis' mouth has fallen open on a silent gasp, a gorgeous blush high on his cheeks. No one looking into Louis' eyes could mistake the emotion there: lust, pure and simple. But his body is calm, shoulders hanging low. There's no strain on the handcuffs, and Harry can't have that.

So he reaches behind himself, eyes searching for Louis' as the tip of his finger explores his own rim. "I -- ah." His hips jerk when one finger slides inside, eyelids heavy at the slow drag.

He forgets everything around him then, focussed only on the gentle stretch and the searing heat of Louis' gaze.

"Always so good, the sex we're having," he pants eventually. His forehead connects with Louis' collarbone when he pushes in a second finger, too fast, but the slight burn still ratchets up his arousal. He pants wetly and helplessly against Louis' skin, twists his fingers and whimpers. "Wanna always touch you, always." Harry looks, but the handcuffs still hang slack. "Louis," he whines, frustration creeping into his voice. "Tell me what you want. Please."

Louis shifts, just enough to whisper directly into Harry's ear, "make me believe."

Harry almost cries, because his fingers in his arse are a slow, unfulfilling torture and because he doesn't understand. "I -- I don't know how," he admits.

Louis smiles at him, all soft and warm and with so, so much love. "You do, I know you do."

Strangely empowered by that, Harry decides to just go with his gut feeling. He shifts at another burn. "'M up to three now," he mumbles drunkenly. "Maybe I should turn around, so you can see?"

"Fuck."

Emboldened by Louis' response, Harry picks up his pace, chest slipping against Louis'. "Want me to turn around? Watch me all spread out for you, get myself ready for your gorgeous cock?"

Another thick blob of precome bubbles from Louis' slit. Harry’s control slips and he gets restless, antsy. He wants Louis so desperately, wants Louis’ cock, needs the stretch, the burn, the knowledge that it's Louis.

"I would, you know," he chokes out, twisting his fingers, spreading them. God, he needs Louis' hands on him, needs their heat, their dexterity. He kisses Louis, clumsy and uncoordinated, more panting into his mouth than anything. "I'd do anything for you."

Louis' gaze leaves a trail of fire on his skin. He arches into it, clenches around his fingers before pulling them out, having had quite enough of that. Without any further preamble, he shifts, reaches behind himself to line Louis up. The wide head pushes against his rim and he keens high in the back of his throat, sinks down into the stretch, Louis' grunt spurring him on. Slack-jawed until he's all the way seated, he eventually starts babbling, "So good, so good, so good, want you always, always. Feel so good inside me, fuck."

Louis isn't any less affected but he still holds himself back, like he's waiting for something.

"You've gotta tell me," Harry whines, rising up and sinking back down, sweat slipping down his temple while his eyes close at the perfect drag of Louis' cock. "What you want."

Louis stares at him, hectic flush spreading as far as his tiny nipples. Harry spreads one hand on Louis' chest, feels the erratic heartbeat there. He doesn't understand why Louis isn't giving in, why he's holding himself back, why he's holding Harry back. Because Harry will be damned if he just gets himself off with Louis' cock without giving Louis what he wants.

He winds his arms around Louis' neck, shifts his knees so he's in a better position. Then he speeds up. The moment Louis' cock grazes his prostate, Harry lets out a desperate whimper. It's good, it's so, so good -- yet it isn't perfect. "Louis," he sobs. "Louis, I want you to -- make it right. I want... I need -- "

And god, that's it, isn't it? He can make it good all on his own, can make his own cock bounce against his tight stomach muscles, angry red and leaking heavily. He can make himself come like this, sure, it's easy, a single stroke would do the trick. But he doesn't want that. He wants Louis. No, needs him.

"I need -- " you to take part in this, tell me what you want, make me come.

He sobs again, feeling actual tears well in the corners of his eyes at his desperation, at the impossibility of scratching that itch on his own. "Please," he chokes out, head falling onto Louis' shoulder, his hips in a frantic, unsatisfying rhythm.

"I need you."

The moment the words leave his lips, the dam breaks. Harry cries at the frustration of an orgasm so close at hand yet unbearably out of reach, some of his tears falling onto Louis' skin.

And then they're choked off in a surprised gasp when his back hits the mattress. Louis is suddenly on top of him, handcuffs dangling open from the bed frame. "How --"

Harry forgets to breathe, staring into Louis' burning gaze. He does need him, needs him like breathing, would still be drifting in life if not for Louis. The realisation isn't new, not really. But he's never understood it with so much clarity.

Louis reaches down to steady his cock and slide back in. Harry arches, Louis moving at the sort of pace and angle he hadn't managed on his own. Hd spreads his thighs wider, rakes his nails down Louis' skin. "You could go anywhere," Louis says. "Be anyone."

Harry shakes his head fiercely, like the mere thought in his mind is wrong, has no place there. He could, of course he could. He's proven that over and over again. But he'd be nothing without Louis, washed out like a painting exposed to too much sunlight. Somehow, his own happiness has been irrevocably entwined with Louis and he feels beyond selfish when he clutches Louis close and rasps, "no. I need you." He chokes on the words, on the truth, then slurs it out regardless. "Can't be me, the real me, without you."

Louis hefts Harry's dead-weight legs higher on his arms, lifting his hips and almost folding him in half. Their lips connect in a messy kiss, too much teeth, followed by a sharp sting to Harry's lip. Harry just opens his mouth, lets Louis' tongue push in while his knees bump against his chest. There's a freedom to giving up control like this, to letting every muscle go lax and just enjoying Louis' body move above him, sucking on his bruised bottom lip. Louis' thrusts are rhythmic and deep, will stay like this until he's ready to come. Then he'll speed up, erratic for just a bit.

"Need you, too," he hears Louis murmur, faint beneath desperate pants. He hitches one knee onto his shoulder, drives in deeper, perfect. "Need you to need me."

Harry groans, back bowing as he clenches down around Louis' cock, still feels its slick slide as his orgasm takes him by surprise. He shouts, cock pulsing untouched and spurting between them, some drops landing on his heaving chest.

Boneless and pliant, he sinks into the mattress. He’s reeling, his fingers twitching like he’s exposed to a low current. His mind on the other hand is taffy-slow, sticking to one thought and holding on to it. Breathing is difficult but he can’t think of that, because Louis is still above him, in him, hasn’t missed a single stroke. He demands all of Harry’s attention, scattered as it is right now. He’s beautiful in his intensity, in the way he watches Harry throughout, bites his lip each time his gaze drops to Harry's mouth.

Louis' eyes fall shut, eyelashes resting on his cheeks for a moment. Then his eyes flash open and Louis shifts, drags two fingers over Harry's chest. His hips slow but never stop, fucks Harry more shallowly now, and as the orgasm wears off it’s too much, too intense, not enough.

"Open," Louis says while pushing in all the way. His cock hits Harry's prostate and he whimpers in sensitivity, a full-body shiver spreading to the very tips of his toes.

Harry eagerly closes his mouth around the proffered fingers, sucking his own come off with a desperate greed he can't quite understand right now, too busy with sensation, still unsure if it’s too much or just enough.

Louis watches avidly as he pulls his fingers out, slow drag of Harry's lips over knuckles apparently endlessly fascinating. And then he's fucking Harry with both cock and fingers, his body sliding along Harry's skin in such a way that makes him want to purr.

Louis is panting, laboured breaths as he fixedly watches Harry's lips mold around his fingers. "Fucking indecent mouth," he says as he pulls free and grabs onto Harry’s shoulders with both hands, covers Harry's mouth with his own in another bruising kiss.

Harry's leg begins to cramp and he tells Louis as much. Louis' expression gets all serious as he pushes himself upright, slips out rather too abruptly. Harry is about to protest, but Louis rolls him onto his belly, heated skin hitting a cool patch of linen. Harry rubs his face in the lavender scented sheet while Louis straddles his thighs, holds him open with one hand before pushing back inside.

Harry grunts at the slight twinge, the feeling all but forgotten when Louis leans forward, sparse chest hair rubbing along Harry's back deliciously. "Want me to stop?" The question is paired with sharp little teeth sinking into the side of his neck, like Louis is holding him in place while he fucks into him.

"No," Harry manages finally, past the little sounds spilling from him, just in case he decides to stop. "Never."

He extends his arm, feels the sweat that's accumulated in the crease of his elbow cool as he reaches behind to pull Louis in all the way. His sensitive dick rubs against the bedsheets, causing Harry to flinch back, into Louis, groaning instead at the overstimulation of his rim and prostate.

It's -- well it's intense. Too much in many ways, none of them important. He knows Louis would stop the very second he said something. This knowledge is possibly the reason for why they do push like this during sex, reach for something new and untried. But a little pain during sex has never hurt him, so to speak. Instead of stopping, Harry lifts his bum to give his cock a bit of respite.

If he'd ask, Louis would pull out and wank off onto the new tattoo on his lower back, maybe turn him around and aim for his tongue instead. But he doesn't want that. And while he's still mostly whimpering, it's not all due to being sensitive. Deep in his stomach, he can feel another wave, feels it in his twitching cock, which hasn't yet had time to flag.

"Don't like it when you flirt with the mark," Louis says in his ear, fingers digging into his hips roughly. "Don't like it when they look at you. Like you'd fuck them at the drop of a hat. Like you'd let them fuck you."

Harry buries his face in the sheet and groans, pushing back into Louis' thrusts but getting no real traction with his legs pushed together, bracketed by Louis' strong thighs.

Louis' hand slips from his hip, finding its way to Harry's still sensitive cock. Small fingers clasp around him and squeeze. Harry shouts, tries to twitch away, not wanting Louis to stop, doesn't know what he wants, babbles incoherently instead.

Louis bites his shoulder, and whispers into his ear. "But you only spread your legs for me, don't you?"

Harry nods frantically, actually spreading them when Louis maneuvers until Harry's legs are on the outside, thighs spread, arse lifted slightly and face still pressed into the sheets. Harry knows how he must look and he hopes Louis enjoys the view because he's not repositioning. Like this he can fuck forward into Louis' tight grip, back against his cock. Any discomfort has overflown into bliss, and he chases it mindlessly, babbling yes, and please, and fuck me. Louis shifts, angles every stroke just right. Harry sees stars, hears himself mutter you, only you without recalling making the decision to say anything.

Louis lets go of his cock and grabs his hips with both hands instead. His thrusts are erratic now, nothing like the smooth, even rhythm from before. Harry issues a loud moan on a particularly rough one, feels Louis pulse deep inside him, shuddering while he comes.

Harry is frantic now, hips moving when Louis stops, almost cries because he's close, so close again. He tries to rut into the bed in desperation, push back onto Louis but it doesn't help, isn't quite enough. "Shhh," Louis says weakly, body flopping forward and panting into his neck. "Hold on."

"So close," Harry says and his voice cracks. He's about to cry again.

"Not like this. Got something better for you." Louis pulls out slowly and Harry doesn’t just feel empty, he feels bereft. He’s somewhat glad the not-quite hurt is gone, while missing it terribly. He shifts when Louis kisses his shoulder blades, groans when he moves on to lick the knobs of his spine, the small of his back. Warm hands slide over his bum, digging into the flesh. Then they spread him open.

Harry doesn't usually blush during sex, but his cheeks heat when he feels himself clench on nothing, feels a hot glob of Louis' come slide out slowly. He hides his face, knowing Louis can see every last bit of it and --

-- and then he forgets everything else, because then Louis' lips are on his hole, his tongue lapping rapidly and sliding inside. A violent tremor rakes his body, because Louis is eating him out after fucking him and Harry has an extensive catalogue of all things rimming, but he hasn't done this, hasn't had this done to him and, “fuck.”

"No, baby," Louis chides. "We've already done that."

And before Harry can think of something clever to say, Louis' lips close around his hole, tongue poking -- and then he sucks.

Harry muffles a scream by biting the sweat-dampened bedsheets, his hips snapping forward without finesse. Louis just grips him harder, spreads him wider and hums, tongue still licking relentlessly, lips sucking on his abused rim. He pulls back only to say, "come on, wank yourself for me, yeah?" And Harry does, mindlessly, not even caring to muffle the sounds he's making now.

It’s surreal, he hasn’t felt like this in -- ever, hasn’t been this riled up while at the same time completely out of his mind. And he’s close because his hand has the perfect pressure and Louis is relentless, murmuring into Harry’s skin before diving back in. His mouth, his tongue, it’s all just right and Harry needs that, needs Louis so much.

He pushes back one final time, fingers just a loose ring around the base of his cock, his entire being focussed on Louis, on Louis’ tongue, on his lips. And then it crests and Harry falls, body twitching uncontrollably while he comes with Louis suckling the come from his arse, his cock sticky and hot in his hand, his face pressing into the sheets, mouth open on a silent scream. The orgasm feels endless, suspended in bliss and only ends when Harry needs to breathe, is already seeing spots.

Aftershocks shoot up and down his spine as his muscles give out as he collapses into a messy, contented heap. Strands of his hair obscure his vision, but he's too fucked out to care, smiles idiotically instead. There's a weightlessness to it, something he hasn't quite experienced before.

Through the haze, Louis turns him over, kissing him deep until Harry tastes Louis' come on his tongue.

"Okay?"

Harry doesn't answer, just leans up for another kiss, another taste.

His sense of time fucked out of him, he has no idea how long he lies there, staring at the ceiling with Louis draped half over him, idly tracing the lines of his tattoos, switching between soft murmurs and softer humming.

He turns his head and gets a mouthful of hair. Louis looks up as he sputters, chin resting on Harry's chest, soft smile on his face.

Sex makes Louis agreeable, his face softens in a way Harry has never seen it around anyone else. That thought spikes something in his chest and he smiles back just as dopely, brushing Louis' fringe out of his eyes. It's getting long, not that he's complaining.

He knows they need to finish talking about this, but Harry just needs a moment. "Will you teach me how to get out of the handcuffs?"

"I'm sure we can come up with some sort of exchange," Louis says before leaning down for a sweet kiss. "But maybe not right away. Maybe I want you in them once, knowing you can't get out."

A delightful shiver runs up his spine. Maybe he wants that, too.

He drifts off a bit, listening to Louis’ soft murmurs, telling him about his day. It’s not the story he’s concentrating on but the soft cadence of Louis’ voice, slightly scratchy after sex, content. After some time, Harry plucks up his courage, knows it needs to be said. "Any sort of flirting with the marks, that's just for the end result. You do know that, right?"

Louis' finger draws circles on his chest, idly playing with his piercings until Harry gently catches his hand. He unties the scarf from around Louis' wrist while Louis gathers his thoughts. "I know," he says finally.

Harry nods and drops the untangled scarf over the edge of the bed. He motions for Louis' other wrist, starts loosening that scarf, too. He's stalling, maybe because he understands the importance of the next question. He watches Louis' wrist become unveiled, sees the rope tattoo there, the one that goes with his anchor. It's still relatively new and Harry hopes the next few words will not make him regret getting it.

"Do you want me to stop?"

He doesn't look at Louis, doesn't have the guts for it. Instead he concentrates on the last two loops of the scarf, before it too flutters to the ground, joining the other.

Louis clears his throat. "Wouldn't ever want to ask you to stop being you."

Harry sniffles a bit, because of course Louis would understand. If anyone on this earth understands their way of life, the need to do what they do, it's Louis. He lets out a shaky breath, gathering Louis up in a hug. "Thank you," he whispers against his temple, rolling them over in one quick movement. He settles between Louis' thighs, looking down at him intently. "Tell me what I can do to make you feel less bothered, then."

Louis' smile is still gentle as he reaches up to trace the contours of Harry's face. "Think you made it quite clear earlier."

"I can do more. I want to."

Louis shrugs, eyes following his finger trailing over Harry's skin. "Maybe -- I mean, maybe we can just pick the cons according to the mark? I mean the last ones were fine, but this one, this Arran guy --" Louis doesn't bother keeping the distaste out of his voice. "I can't stand the way he looks at you. I want him to know."

"Know what?"

Louis wraps his legs around Harry's hips, arms like a vice around his shoulders. Finally, he searches out Harry's gaze, burning and intense. "That you're mine."

+++

The following evening, they're back at the mark's nightclub.

For the past half hour, Louis has been driving him insane, leaning over the bar to get the bartender's attention, his arse getting the attention of absolutely everyone else while doing so. He's wearing skinnies again, combined with flat-soled vans that somehow accentuate the curve of his legs even more. The tank top is kind of useless too, showing almost as much nipple through the armholes as Harry's own unbuttoned shirt.

Jealousy would be churning inside of him at every stranger's look, if it weren't for the simple fact that Louis shows interest only in him. It's amazing really, how distant Louis can be to people that hit on him. A guy comes up to Louis at the bar and Harry can make out his disinterested scowl from across the room. A few words and a nod to where Harry is sitting have the guy looking over once before retreating.

The moment he's handed his drink, Louis comes over to Harry's booth. There's plenty of space but Louis still climbs into his lap, letting Harry try the fruity concoction. It's sweeter than the stuff Louis normally drinks and he grins when Harry smacks his lips before leaning in and licking the taste out of Harry's mouth.

"The guy at the bar asked me to dance," Louis says when he's done with the kissing. He wraps his lips around the straw and looks at Harry innocently. "Told him I already promised the hottest guy in here I'd dance with him."

Harry looks over at the mass of people, guys mostly, sliding and grinding against each other to the deep bass beat. His dick's been hard since shortly after arriving and he's not sure what would happen if they actually did go onto the dance floor together.

"Don't think that's a good idea."

Louis wriggles in his lap, sucking on his straw. Harry has to bite his lip to keep from moaning. "But what if someone touches me without my consent? I need my big, strong boyfriend to protect me."

While Louis keeps a straight face, Harry chuckles at the absolute absurdity of that statement. Of course he lets himself be pulled onto the dance floor, grips Louis' hips when he plasters his back to Harry's front.

The next ten minutes can't really be considered dancing. It's foreplay with a dash of exhibitionism.

Louis' fingers twine in the back of his head, pulling Harry's ear close to his mouth by tugging his hair. He arches, round bum rubbing Harry's erection. "Would you stick your hand down the front of my jeans? Wank me off right here?"

Harry spares the people around them a quick glance, not really surprised to see a lot of them surreptitiously watching their little spectacle.

There's very little in regards to sex he wouldn't do with Louis. But others seeing Louis' face when he comes is one of them. "No."

"Well then," Louis says and grabs his wrist, yanking him along. "We better find something more private."

Harry stumbles behind him, past everyone on the dance floor. On the way to the club's bathrooms he catches Arran's eyes from his private booth overlooking his club. Harry knows he's the kind of mark that's easily manipulated with the mere promise of sex. Arran is exactly the type of guy to get off on the idea of fucking someone like Harry, would count him as a personal trophy. He'd be more than agreeable beforehand, malleable until he got what he wants. He'd be so, so easy to con.

Harry looks back at Louis, dragging him through the throng of people, small fingers wrapped tightly around Harry's anchor. And suddenly he doesn't care one bit that it will be more difficult to get Arran to trust him, doesn't care that conning him without any sexual undertones will be that much harder. He's Harry Styles. He's known for the most complicated cons.

Louis pushes him inside a stall and locks the door behind them. They look at each other for a moment, hunger an almost physical force between them. They move at the same time, meeting in the middle for a heated kiss, hands scrabbling over trouser buttons.

Life might be more difficult like this, but Louis Tomlinson is fucking worth it.