Harry is woken up on Sunday morning with a heavy weight jumping onto his back.
“Harry wake up!” a little voice squeals. “Harry!” Limbs dig in all across his back as a face pushes its way close into his shoulders and screams, right in his ears, “We gotta get punkins, ‘arry, get up!”
He barely registers the attack before it’s suddenly gone and replaced with a soft palm cupping the back of his neck. “Jesus—Daisy!” Louis’ voice is sharp and warning in the early morning, waking Harry’s senses up all at once. “You know he’s got a bad back, Daise.”
Harry groans, flipping over. It takes a moment for his sleep-blurry eyes to adjust to the bright light, but when they do he comes face to face with the entire Tomlinson family flooded into his bedroom. And Jesus, hell, if that isn’t the way every 17 year old wants to be woken up on a Sunday.
And it would be, of course, if Harry were wearing any clothes.
“Oops!” Quickly, he grabs the blankets pooled around his bare waist and pulls them all the way up to his chin. He can feel his torso flushing red underneath the covers, mortified, but it’s worth it (just barely) for the chuckle that bubbles out of Louis.
“Hi,” he kisses Harry’s forehead sweetly, sitting down next to him on the bed. (Harry’s skin tingles at the touch. He absolutely does not flutter his eyelashes and preen.) “Sorry for waking you up. Gemma said to just come in and the girls couldn’t help themselves. Animals, all of them.” He watches as Louis throws a glare at Daisy and Phoebe behind him, Lottie and Fizzy by the door and saved from the scrutiny of their older brother. It’s harsh in a way that is completely unlike the palm caressing the small of Harry’s back gently and Harry can’t help but inch closer to him, a grin blossoming across his lips. “Don’t you have something to say, Miss Daisy?”
“Louis, it’s not—” Harry tries, but Louis shushes him.
“Go on, Daise.”
Daisy, who is dressed head to toe in orange, pouts. Her orange sweater (underneath an orange vest) matches the orange of her jeans and her little orange boots. The entire outfit is topped off with a bright orange bottle hat. She looks painstaking adorable, as ridiculous as her outfit may be, and Harry’s heart breaks a little as the toddler scuffs her boots together in shame. “Sorry, Hazza,” she mumbles sadly, head hanging between her shoulders.
“And what are we sorry for, exactly?”
“Sorry for jumping on you,” Daisy responds too formally. Harry could just die right now. “I got excited, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
Harry can’t handle it anymore, he is only human. “Louis, stop it!” he cries. “This is terrible! Come here, Daise,” he coos, torso naked as he launches himself at her. Behind him, Louis carefully holds the covers around his middle tight. “Don’t listen to your brother, Daisy. He’s mean.”
Daisy’s head snaps up, the look of guilt quickly washed away “He is!” she agrees, wide-eyed, and it doesn’t take her long to jump back on the bed and throw herself at Harry. Chubby arms squeeze tight around his neck and Harry giggles, kissing her temple. “I am still sorry, Harry. I know your back hurts very much a lot. That was not nice of me.”
“Apology accepted, miss.” Daisy pulls away from the embrace and settles onto his lap. Harry barely notices the kiss that Louis drops to his shoulder. “What’s got you so excited anyway? It’s only—” he glances at his wrist, “nine in the morning. Since when are the Tomlinsons early risers?”
“Since Louis lost a bet to Dan last night so now he has to take us to the pumpkin patch,” Fizzy informs him.
“And since he’s obsessed with you,” Lottie pitches in, “here we are.”
“Will you come with us?” Phoebe asks. She looks up at him with wide, pleading blue eyes, and beside him, her older brother digs a thumb into his lovehandles. “Please?”
He turns to face Louis again and is met with soft, baby blues crinkled at the ends, that make his heart race far too fast for this early in the morning. “Am I allowed to tag along, mister big brother?”
Louis rolls his eyes and—God, Harry can’t wait for the girls to leave his room because he wants to kiss their brother so very badly. “Like you even have a choice, curly,” he grins.
(Harry doesn’t wait for the girls to leave to kiss him.)
With Halloween less than a week away, the pumpkin patch is as busy and crowded as it’ll ever be. It takes them 10 minutes just to find parking and the moment that they do, all four girls hop out of the car—Lottie holding Phoebe’s hand and Fizzy holding Daisy’s—and run right out of sight, before Louis’ even managed to turn the ignition off.
Neither of them can be bother to yell, though. The sun is out, the weather is just the perfect level of crisp, autumn cool, the air smells like leaves and hot cocoa, and Louis holds Harry’s hand the entire time. Harry’s so glad he decided against his gloves because he loves the way Louis’ palm feels pressed against his own, his thumb brushing against the back of his hand, the two of them walking so close together that not even the wind can come between them.
“That one looks like you,” Louis says, pointing to a tall, oval pumping a few feet away from them. From the corner of his eye Harry can see the girls giggling as they help Phoebe pick up her pumpkin.
“I would be offended, but I think that means the one right next to it is you.”
Beside the tall, oval pumpkin sits a rounder, stockier one, the two of them sitting peacefully on the earth together and just the perfect shade of orange.
“Very cute,” Louis hums approvingly, tugging Harry along to look at them more closely. “Ha!” he barks, dropping Harry’s hand to pick up the bigger one and hold it up. “Look, Hazza. It’s even got a little freckle just like you.” He points to a small brown spot closer to the bottom of the pumpkin that, lo and behold, does look very much like the freckle under Harry’s left dimple.
“I think I’m gonna buy this one,” Louis says, just before leaning over and kissing Harry’s freckle. (Close to his mouth, but not quite close enough.)
Little goosebumps awake all down Harry’s thighs. A breeze blows his curls from his eyes, but his skin still feels like it’s on fire. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever be graced with a sight cuter than his boyfriend standing in the middle of a pumpkin patch in October, holding the pumpkin version of him against his hip.
Harry wants to be the one held up against Louis’ waist. Not a silly pumpkin.
“Gonna the return the favor or what, curly?” Louis motions to the cute little stocky half of the orange dream team behind him and winks. “I’m a good enough pumpkin for you, aren’t it?”
Harry doesn’t even waste a breath bending over and hoisting it up. “Yes, of course, always.”
“Good lad,” Louis hums cheekily. “C’mhere, gimme a kiss.” He pulls Harry in by the collar of his sweater and pushes their mouths together. Harry can feel his boy smiling against his mouth, can almost taste the giggle that’s ready to bubble out of the both of them, but he kisses back with deep dimples and a palm to Louis’ cheek. The kiss tastes like the maple syrup he had at breakfast and Louis’ Yorkshire tea and the cold of late October. It’s so terribly sweet and lovely and wonderful that Harry nearly drops his pumpkin trying to press himself closer.
(They only stop when a couple of parents start complaining.)
“Yo, have you decided what you’re dressing up as?”
Harry looks up from where he’s been drawing little hearts against Louis’ thighs for the better part of half an hour when Niall pops up out of nowhere in the library, completely disrupting their study group.
“Dressing up for what?” he asks. His hand squeezes the thick muscles of Louis’ thigh underneath the table before stilling.
“For my Halloween party on Saturday,” Niall groans, throwing his lanky blond form across one of the free chairs. “Bressie and I are going to throw the sickest party of the year and as my best friends, you guys are legally obligated to show up. In costume. And none of that pathetic shit like last year, Tomlinson.”
Next to him, Louis hooks his chin over Harry’s shoulder and shrugs. “Harold and I did dress up last year,” he tries to defend.
“You came dressed up as each other,” Liam points out from across the table. “Mate, that hardly counts.”
Niall shakes his head in disdain, like he’s reeling at just the memory of last Halloween. “You lazy sodding bastards. Throwing on each other’s fuckin’ jumpers and pretending like that counts as a costume. I should’ve had you sued for that shit,” he seethes.
“Then what are you going as?” Harry asks, “Since you’re the head of the costume judging committee, apparently.”
“I can’t tell you. It’s going to be a surprise.”
“You and Bressie aren’t going to try doing a two-man human centipede again, are you?” Liam makes a pained face, sinking into his seat and covering his face. Harry nearly vomits at the imagery. “You two try that, like, every year, and it’s a bloody mess every damn time.”
“No pun,” Louis mumbles blandly.
Harry barks a loud laugh—far too loud for the library on a Tuesday afternoon—and has to throw a hand over his mouth just to contain himself. “Sorry,” he giggles apologetically, shrinking under the glares from the other students in the room. “You are in no position to shame Lou and I if that’s what you’ve got in mind, Niall.”
Niall sits up and crosses his arms. “Who says it’s going to be a two-man human centipede, huh?”
“For the love of God, Niall, please, you’ve got to let this go.”
“I’ll let it go, Louis, whenever you and Harry get proper costumes and stop embarrassing me at my Halloween parties.”
“It was literally just one time,” Louis scoffs. “You act as if Haz and I have been dating and ruining your life for years.”
“Well it sure as hell seems like it!”
Liam leans over to pinch the boy into lowering his voice. “He does have a point though, you know.”
“What do you mean?” Louis asks.
“You and Harry do seem like you’ve been together your entire lives. You guys are proper obsessed with each other. You’re like an old married couple, but with less arguing and more PDA,” he says wistfully.
Harry feels it when Louis’ knee stops shaking underneath his palm. He’s pressed so close to Louis that when he turns to face him, his boyfriend is just half a breath away, already staring back at him. (So beautiful. The most beautiful.) Harry loves him madly. “Maybe we should just go as an old married couple, then,” Louis jokes, the corner of his lips tilting upward.
“Maybe we should,” Harry whispers back. His heart is fast and unapologetic against his chest.
“Harold, up for it?”
And even with Niall and Liam making rude fake vomiting noises behind them, Harry doesn’t care enough to feel ashamed about how stupidly clear it is that he’s gone for this boy. He doesn’t care if Louis’ just joking, and he definitely doesn’t care if they go dressed up as an old married couple or a couple of pumpkins, as far as he’s concerned. He just wants to kiss Louis right then and there, so he does.
(Maybe he gets off to the idea of being old and married with Louis one day, later that night, but it’s worth it for the way Louis’ mouth drops when Harry tells him the next day.)
Harry had met Louis in the toilets on the first day of school two years prior. Louis had walked into the loo and Harry had peed on him out of excitement, and it only took them four months to finally get their shit together and ask each other out. Louis still claims that their first kiss (on Christmas Eve, nonetheless, under the mistletoe in Louis’ kitchen) is the best birthday he’s ever gotten, but Harry thinks he’s full of shit.
He still loves being Louis’ boyfriend, though. He likes wearing his footie jerseys at games and having sleepovers with his little sisters. He likes sharing recipes for apple pies with his mum and talking about nautical tattoos they could look into one day. He likes that he has someone who can make him laugh so hard his stomach hurts, but also make him feel so unconditionally safe that Harry could trust him with his whole life. He’s so happy, all the fucking time.
He loves who he is with Louis, and he loves that he has Louis.
(Harry loves Louis, and it’s just that simple.)
Later that week, Harry and Louis find themselves sprawled out across the Tomlinson living room, pumpkins in between their legs and pretending to babysit the girls. They’ve got sweets, hot cocoa, and Halloweentown playing on the tellie. Their thighs are pressed together and everything is sticky and messy, but Louis’ laugh is loud and the girls keep complimenting Harry artistry, so everything is good. Everything is great.
He’s carving out a little ship into his small pumpkin, the cute little thing that it is. If he stretches his finger out wide enough, he can basically hold the entire thing in just one hand, and it drives Louis’ mad. Harry loves it, though. It reminds him of Louis’ perfect, delectable bum.
He’s almost done and scraping off the last details of his design—a rustic looking old time-y boat with its sails open on the sea—when Louis groans tiredly.
“This is impossible,” the boy huffs, blowing his fringe away from his eyes. His shoulders sag in defeat and Hardy frowns.
He drops his knife in favor of carding his fingers through the soft strands of Louis’ hair, pushing it back for him. “You’re almost done, though. And it looks so good, babe,” he encourages.
Louis’ pumpkin, nearly the size of his torso, sits in between his thighs. There is the meager outline of a compass that is evident, but Louis’ been complaining about all the scraping and cleaning out he’s had to do that now his wrist hurts and his hand is cramping up. It does look good, though. He’s taken his sweet time with it, but it’s a clean cut and perfectly round compass. Harry is so proud of him.
“What’ve you got left?”
Louis bites at his bottom lip. “I’ve just got, um. I have to carve out the directions and that should be it…”
While Lottie and Fizzy argue about who gets to wear the glitter face paint tomorrow, Harry pushes his pumpkin aside and holds his hand out. “Do you want me to finish it up for you? I don’t want you giving yourself carpal tunnel just for a silly pumpkin, Lou. Gimme here.”
The other boy considers his options seriously for a moment, hesitant and slow, before nodding his head and finally giving in. It’s a little odd how unsure of himself Louis looks for a second, but Harry tries not to think about it.
“Um. Yeah, okay. Can you just—” Louis crosses his legs and inches closer to hover by Harry’s shoulder, watching him place the pumpkin on his lap. “Can you have the needle pointing to home?”
Harry nearly drops the knife into his leg. “What?”
“Like. Instead of an N for north, do you think you can just have to point to Home?”
Louis’ eyes are blue blue blue and so deep. Harry makes sure none of the girls are paying attention to him before he goes to bury his face into the crook of Louis’ neck. “Any reason why?” he asks, a little out of breath. Harry’s entire body shivers as Louis begins to rub a palm across his back.
“I’ll tell you later, one day.”
Harry nods his head. He doesn't need more from him, probably can't handle it right now. “Okay. Yeah, sure. I can do this for you.”
Something about the request and Louis’ closeness has Harry worried his hands’ll shake the entire time and he’ll end up ruining Louis’ pumpkin, but—it’s the complete opposite. His hands glide across the thick skin, first an H then an O, an M, and finally an E. Neat and clear in block letters, just big enough to be noticeable thanks to the size of the fruit. Harry carves out the E, S, and W for the other directions before pushing aside his knife and looking up at Louis.
The light off the TV reflects onto Louis’ face, casting his feature in a soft gold. They’re sat by the foot of the couch and the girls haven’t even looked at them for the better part of 20 minutes. Louis stares at him with wide eyes and shiny lips. “S’perfect, yeah.” He gulps. “Thank you, love. I’ll go put some candles in ‘em and put them outside.”
The two of them rise to their feet, their knees a little wobbly from having sat down for so long, and carry their respective pumpkins to the kitchen where the candles are.
“I was thinking,” Louis says as he drops a small candle into Harry’s pumpkin and hands him the lighter. “Maybe we should take up Niall on his challenge tomorrow night.”
“How do you mean?”
Louis coughs into his fist. “Like, dressing up as an old married couple for his Halloween party. We could wear the jumpers your mum makes you wear for church and I checked the other day and we still have my nan’s older walker and cane in the basement.” He looks so cute and hopeful, standing under the dim kitchen lights and wearing one of Harry’s too-large t-shirts. “I don’t think the makeup or accessories will be too hard, either. It could be fun, like… If you wanted.”
“Do you really think I’d ever say no to matching outfits with you?” Harry asks incredulously, his cheeks aching with how hard he’s smiling. Louis quite literally wants to be old and married with him. This is the most beautiful concept he’s ever heard. “I’ll be old and married with you any day of the week, Lou.” He steps away from the counter to pull Louis in by the hips and kisses him on the mouth. “Is that what you want?”
“Yeah,” Louis breathes into his mouth. “It’ll drive the lads wild.”
“Gonna keep pretending like that’s the only reason you’re up for it?”
Louis pecks his upper lip over and over. “Maybe for just a little longer.”
(Harry loves the way their kisses feel when they laugh into each other’s mouths.)
“Get the fuck out of my house,” are the first and only words the Niall says to them when they show up on his front porch the next night, two hours late and having just finished taking the girls trick-or-treating.
“Woah!” Liam pops out from behind him, beer in one hand and Iron Man mask in the other. “Shit, I didn’t think you guys would actually take me seriously,” he laughs wildly, throwing his head back in glee. He only gathers his senses long enough to shake his head and shout over his shoulder, “Ed! Get over here! You gotta check out Harry and Louis’ costumes!”
Niall pushes Liam off of his back where the other boy has been clinging onto him, trying to catch his breath. “Which poor, innocent lady did you steal that cane from, Tommo?”
“My Louis here would never do such a thing,” Harry croaks out in his best elderly voice. He moves toward the entrance shakily, the way he’s seen his grandpa do. “Now get out of our way young man. My husband and I here were promised great quantities of alcohol and possibly some—sweetums!” Harry slowly looks over his hunched shoulder, chin wobbling. “What else was it that you wanted, pumpkin?”
Louis, bless him, in his oversized spectacles and spot on makeup, raises his eyebrows. “What?” he yells too loud. “I didn’t hear you!”
“I said—” Harry repeats, “what did you want—”
“I can’t hear you!” Louis interrupts. His voice is nasally and deep and Harry has to do his best to not break character right then with how badly he wants to laugh. “I think my hearing aid is acting up again, pumpkin! Weren’t you supposed to get me new batteries for these things last week?”
His words come out like obnoxious capital letters and Harry thanks whatever greater power is up there that Niall chooses then to stop them because he is just half a sentence away from being on the floor, clutching his stomach.
“Just get the fuck in already,” Niall groans in defeat. “You’re letting all the cold air in.”
And just because they can—and because both Harry and Louis are in the drama club and take their art very seriously—they take their sweet old time walking into the house with their respective cane and walker, no faster than two millimeters a minute. Needless to say, it drives Niall mad, but that’s what he gets.
They spend the rest night driving all of their friend mad. Louis yells all of his sentence, Harry lectures people about getting theirrequired daily intake of fruits and vegetables (which isn’t too far off from his usual behavior, to be fair), and together they make sure to dance in the middle of the makeshift dance floor embarrassingly slow and without any rhythm at all. They even request Ed to put on the Beach Boys (wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? Louis sign to him) at one point, which effectively frees the floor for just them to dance with their walking aids and index fingers wiggling in the air excitedly.
They call each other babycakes and sweetcheeks and make up stories on the spot about the last 50 years of their lives together. They build a home for themselves just outside of London where their four kids—Finn, Darcy, Louis Jr., and Karen—visit with all nine of their grandkids every weekend. Louis has just recently retired from coaching a local football team and Harry’s eldest daughter Karen looks over his flower shop now.
(And it’s easy and hilarious and Harry doesn’t even need any alcohol to feel as weightless and happy as he does.)
It’s only when it hits half past two in the morning and most of the house has emptied out that Harry and Louis finally declare the night an accomplishment and give their closest friends a break. They end up in the basement, wiping off their makeup and kicking off their shoes, before they join the circle by the fireplace. Louis sits on the floor in between Liam and Ed and Harry doesn’t think twice about plopping down on his lap. He’s rewarded with a kiss to the back of his head and strong arms around his waist.
“Oi! I thought you two were done with the old married couple act,” Bressie slurs around a mouth full of marshmallows.
Harry furrows his brows. “We are done…?”
“Then what’s with all the—” He wiggles a finger in the air, motioning between him and Louis.
“What? Can’t a guy cuddle his boyfriend after a long night of wreaking havoc?” Louis asks.
“No different than any other day, then. Huh, Tommo?”
“What was your costume even supposed to be?” Harry comes to his boy’s defense, squeezing a hand around Louis’ against his stomach. “We didn’t get a chance to ask you two,” pointing to Niall right next to him.
“Oh!” Niall straightens up excitedly at the mention of his name, a bit of marshmallow dripping from the corner of his mouth. God, he’s drunk. “Bressie and I are you and Louis!”
Behind him, Louis freezes. Harry feels it like a cold shower. “What on earth are you on about, Horan?”
“We’re dressed up as you and Harry!” he repeats. “Couldn’t you tell?”
Harry’s shoulders slump. Well. He’s kind of ashamed that he didn’t notice it much earlier, considering when Niall and Bressie turn around their shirts reveal blue and green lettering on the back that read, Mr. Louis Tomlinson and Mr. Harry Tomlinson. That would explain the terrible curly wig Bressie’s got on and why Niall’s been speaking in the worst Yorkshire accent all night. Fuck, Harry and Louis are so self-absorbed.
“So, what? Are you two supposed to be the newlywed version of Louis and I, then?” he asks, a little in awe, because how many people get to say that their friends dress up as them for Halloween? He’s only kind of blushing, in all honesty.
“Maybe we should bring back the cane,” Louis laughs into his neck, “show ‘em how the Tomlinsons really do it.”
“Oh, God,” Liam groans. “Please do not do that. I’ve already got enough scarring images of you two at 70 grinding on each other to last me a lifetime.”
“Heeeey,” Harry and Louis groan at the same time.
And from there the group dissolves into a fit of laughter and nonsense, popcorn and sweets being thrown all over the place and the last of the beer being handed down the circle. Louis stays close, pressed against his back, and Harry lets the voices of his favorite people lull him to a lazy boneless slump. He melts in Louis’ arms and curls up against the crook of his neck. It is warm and lovely and Harry kisses his boy’s collarbones, unbearably happy to spend the next 50 years—and then some—growing old with him.