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The sun hasn’t yet dawned when Harry wakes, but it still happens to be the most rested he’s been in months – hell, years – and he can’t help the small groan that escapes him as he pushes himself up from the pillow, stretching his arms high up over his head and arching his neck.

When his sight adjusts to the dimness of the hotel room, he attempts to make way to his trap mobile, resting on the nightstand, but he’s distracted by the bottle of champagne that rests on its side by the phone, all but empty as its contents dripped to the fur carpet during the night. Beyond the pool of sparkling wine on the floor, Harry makes out his suit, strewn all across the room in the hungry fit of his lover for the night.

He can’t help the small smile that inches its way onto his face as he recalls it all, but it’s rivaled by the guilt that’s currently making itself noticed in the back of his mind. He was supposed to kidnap Dr Mark Tomlinson’s heir and beloved son, torture him for the initial information, and then subsequently blow his head clean off before heading to his next location.

He bloody sure wasn’t supposed to make love to him, but old habits die hard.


The voice is raspy yet undeniably richly accented, and Harry looks up slowly, aware he should probably be knicking his pistol out from underneath the mattress to finish what he came to do, but finding himself utterly incapable of doing so.

Louis William Tomlinson is gloriously naked, leaning against the pillars surrounding the in-room loo. His lips are stark red in contrast to the scruff around his mouth, and there isn’t enough light for Harry to see his crystal eyes, but it’s no matter – he can feel them watching him, like a fox, sharp and beautiful and absolutely predatory.

“Louis,” he replies.

The tension in the room isn’t particularly thick, but it’s there in the silence and dark, until Louis steps from the entryway and takes a few steps towards the bed. The minimal light slanting in through the heavy, elegant tapestries shadow only his face; his unmarred, strong and supple body is on full display, and Harry could reach out and take a fleshy handful if he simply pleased.

And pleased he did, the previous night; letting Louis shed him of clothes before returning the favour, popping the cork of that ridiculously pricey bottle of champagne, letting it rivulet down the planes of Louis’ chest and sucking hard in its wake, everywhere, tasting sugar and grapes and caramel skin, reveling in the shocked, indulgent gasps tumbling from the body beneath him. He’d then wrapped those excellent thighs round his waist and rocked into Louis’ center, the two of them writhing to a climax that had him wanting to climb out from his skin.

“Edward,” Louis says again, breaking through both the silence and his fevered thoughts. “You were fantastic, if you hadn’t realized, although I’m certain your back was not salvaged in my throes.” Harry is only aware of his accompanying smile as his lips curl upwards to show off his sharp teeth. “Would you like me to check for you?”

“It’s quite alright,” Harry says, straightening up from the hunched, cowardly position he’d unknowingly been sporting. He’s let Louis too close under the influence of fine wine; now that it’s all passed, Louis is aware of their positions, and while Harry may be too trusting, always desperately trying to find the good, the salvageable, amongst his missions, he’s not fool enough to let the enemy touch him once they’ve passed that line of cat-and-mouse.

Now it’s all about killing Louis. Grabbing the pistol from underneath the bed, cocking it, and placing a bullet neatly between Louis’ arching eyebrows, leaving him an easily recognizable bloody mass for his father to stumble upon, for his father to understand the dire consequences about the game he’s setting up.

It’s easy enough, he supposes; God knows he’s done it enough times. And Louis' wicked smile should just be the cherry on top. He has to, he needs to –

He can’t.

“As it is, my back is no stranger to the throes of one in passion,” he says, and smiles back easily. Now that his attention has been drawn to it, he can begin to feel the burning in his muscles from Louis’ blunt nails digging in and claiming. “It’ll heal. Always has, always will.”

The thought that Louis William Tomlinson would take unkindly to being told about lovers that aren’t him crosses his mind a moment too late, as does the thought that Louis may be armed as well, sauntering around comfortably because he knows he’s protected, but he just tosses his head back and laughs, short but pleased. “My,” he breathes, “I’ve always loved a cocky bloke.”

“Have you? You may not be all that pleased with me, in that case. I’m really usually quite modest.”

“Oh, I believe you are,” Louis says, in a voice that indicates he doesn’t, not at all. “But none of it matters, Edward; I’m comfortably pleased with you.” He shifts, and Harry can finally see his whole face – the heavy, pillowy eye bags, the sharp jaw, the hollow cheekbones, the quaint and upturned nose. “And it displeases me wholly to tell you this, but I must be on my way.”

He gives one last smile before padding back over to the loo, leaving the door ajar as he begins cleaning himself up, giving Harry an easy look at him, and an even easier shot at him. Harry’s fingers would be twitching now for his pistol, but not now; they twitch to grab Louis by his bird-boned wrists, pin him to the bed and rid his elegant face of any indication of betterness, reduce him to a quivering mass yet again.

He closes his eyes, swallows tersely and forces the thoughts from his mind; when he opens them once again, Louis is gone.


It was quite simple, really.

Harry is called in to HQ a week or two after a particularly large mission – one that included a  beautiful and brief lover going under, two Mercedes SUVs tumbling off the crevice of a Swedish mountain, three destroyed hotel rooms, and four headlines in international news about the five subsequent explosions downtown Stockholm.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

S distributed a thick manila folder to him over the top of his desk, and Harry flipped it open, greeted by a photo paper-clipped on the inside of the cover showing the profile of a vaguely familiar bloke.

“This is Doctor Mark Tomlinson,” S said, and that’s what had set the next ball rolling. “Trusted sources have verified his participation in a currently under-wrap project, one with dire consequences.”

Harry studied the bloke’s face for a moment, his careful smile and overall blank look, before shuffling the papers to find his background information. “And?”

“I want you to find him by any means necessary,” S had replied simply, “and I want him dead.”

Any means necessary had led Harry from Britain to Italy – Dr Tomlinson was apparently taking a short vacation out of the public eye for a while, but his socialite son was quite openly posting his luxurious getaway from the University of Cambridge.

He was a pretty thing, an enigma of both masculine and feminine traits, and Harry hadn’t known what more to expect as he settled next to him at the hotel bar.

“May I buy you a drink?” he’d asked, and Louis had looked up from the Heineken he’d been nursing, blinking owlishly before smiling just as honeyed.

“That would be excellent,” he had replied. “Make it a dirty martini, please.”

“Not a problem.”

He ordered the martini, and then a red for himself, and they’d clinked their glasses and chit-chatted as they drank, Louis about classes and his younger sisters, Harry about his fictional school abroad and his equally fictious elder brother, and when Louis extended his plus-one invite to a gala taking place in the hotel ballroom later that evening, Harry had accepted, and slipped the vial of poison he was directed to slip into Louis’ drink back into a hidden pocket sewn in the inner lining of his jacket.

He’d made a silent promise, a silent vow, to take care of Louis later, cleanly and in private.

But the gala had been so much more stellar than he’d ever dreamt of, and he had drunk the finest wines and eaten the finest finger foods and swept Louis across the marble floors to the finest orchestra on the face of the planet that when Louis’ clever hands found their way to the nape of his neck, not gentle or innocent but with crystal-clear intent, tugging at the fine hairs there, Harry had delayed the man’s death sentence and shoved him up against golden-gilded lift walls, kissing him dirty and breathless before taking him to bed.

He is only human, after all, and Tomlinson’s eyes were his human downfall.


“In a twist surprising absolutely no-fucking-body, 007 let Dr Tomlinson’s son slip right through his bloody fingers,” Z says into Harry’s earpiece. There are armed men behind every single door Harry is currently hiding behind; he has approximately no time to listen to how he’s just as weak for beautiful blue eyes nowadays as he’s always been. “Might let you know that maybe perhaps the blokes behind door three are quite close to breaking the lock – pull your gun in three, two –“

Harry tsks and shoots twice at door three just as it is ripped from its hinges; the two blokes immediately in front go down without a shout. “Actually, he didn’t even let him slip through his fingers,” Z continues ranting, “he just opened up his fingers and let Tomlinson right through! That’s it. Door two is going down in three.”

Harry contemplates turning off his earpiece but there are still two more doors he needs assistance with making it through, so he plasters on a fake charming smile for the camera’s Z is watching him through and expertly shoots the henchmen behind door two, and then, after consecutive orders, doors one and three.

When there’s only but a bullet in the chambers of his favourite pistol and he’s standing in a smoking mass of debris and the bodies of Dr Tomlinson’s muscular men, he reaches up and taps his left ear. “Z,” he says.

“I have zero threats of enemy bodies on my monitor, which means – ah, good, you’ve time to listen now. Anyway. Why the fuck did you let Tomlinson –“

Harry taps the earpiece once more, effectively shutting it off and plucking it from around his earlobe, sliding it into the pocket of his trousers before gingerly making his way over the bodies. He takes a moment to let himself mull it over – if Z, merely the quartermaster, is so astonished by his failure, then he wonders how the rest of MI6 is currently reacting. All of them in a tizzy like headless chickens, presumably, but they’re not the problem.

S is.

There’s no doubt that S is going to have him by his maimed head if he heads over to HQ, so he comes up with a different, less face-to-face plan. That evening, he checks into a soaring hotel overlooking the river, letting himself revel in the expansive shower, the hot water pelting his sore muscles and washing the blood of the damned from his skin, before toweling off and booting up a courtesy tablet.

He sends Z a vague enough message through a public domain, since it’s all he can get his hands on – going to catch him ;) – and prays that if it somehow makes its way into the wrong hands, the wrong hands will just assume he’s going to catch a sexy shag for his night.

The hotel has its own casino on the roof, so he climbs his way into the bloke next door’s room, knocks him out from behind, and knicks a suit from him, doing up the bowtie as the elevator doors ping open and the free air splashes over his face, rows and rows of Roulette tables and dapperly dressed guests sweeping around as far as the eye can see. There’s a bar stretching along the side of the floor, and the noise level is quite high, clashing with the traffic and car horns belonging to Aston Martins and limousines from below.

He strides out onto the deck, adjusting the lapels of the jacket as he idly glances around, weighing the fellow guests. It’s a fanciful affair and he’s aware that everyone here feels the underlying heaviness in mucking the air – that this isn’t all that legal, perhaps, that their fancy dress code and multiple bodyguards aren’t any protection against what could go wrong, or who could have everything go wrong.

He doesn’t pay too much mind to all the grandiose and people milling about though; he’s on a mission, one that hasn’t been sanctioned by MI6, one that, if he did his calculations wrong, if he carries it out wrong, could certainly have him assassinated without a word to anyone, his body disposed on some corner of the planet, never to be found and even if so, marred beyond recognition.

He licks his lips and prays.


At half past, he’s halfway through his first martini (shaken, not stirred), pitching in with feigned disinterest at a pool table, watching the young ornamental boys and girls cling onto their trust funds, and his hope is already sinking.

A half hour doesn’t seem like much to most but in Harry’s world it’s detrimental because time is constantly of the essence, and his heart is simultaneously sinking and thumping quicker and quicker as his target continues to be a no-show. He’d been so sure in himself, sure that Louis would appear, because he has to; this is the place Louis would positively thrive, Harry knows.

And because – not that he’s essentially going to ever let himself admit it – the look in Louis’ eyes paired with that last smile he had given Harry – there couldn’t be any way he was going to leave with a whimper, no.

Louis will go out with a bang or he will go out with nothing at all.

“Sir,” says the young dealer at the top of the table. Her blonde hair has been pushed behind her shoulders instead of resting messily atop them, giving him a clear view of the stitched insignia on the breast of her uniform. “Would you like to place a bet?”

“You know what,” says a voice right by Harry’s shoulder, “he would, actually. Deal him in. Three hundred.”

Harry’s frozen, something that would probably get him sacked from MI6 – secret agents will do anything and everything but freeze in front of anyone, but most especially their bloody target – and the dealer is hesitating, eyeing him for his consent. Louis is undoubtedly getting impatient, pinching Harry’s side and bringing him back to life.

“Er,” he says, and then nods, because fuck it. Money isn’t the issue. The girl nods, and then continues to the dame sitting by Harry’s left side as Harry glances over his shoulder.

Louis is smiling back at him, fresh and smelling faintly like cologne. He’s ditched the jacket of his suit and rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt, paired with beige trousers that go tight around his ankles and a clean pair of Oxfords. He’s foregone socks too, showing off the hollow bones of his damely ankles, and the whole sight makes Harry feels odd inside himself, because he’s so relieved.

And it’s strange, because he can’t seem to figure out why he’s relieved, because – Louis is going to die today, by Harry’s hands.  And Harry’s never been relieved to kill anyone, even if he was aware that killing them meant it was all over, the mission was finished, everyone was safe and he could return home.

And Louis isn’t even his main target, his number one priority. He’s just a peg to knock down and step around. He only realizes he’s frowning when Louis’ wicked smile falters momentarily.

“Do you reunionate with everyone this way?” he asks teasingly, and if it were anyone else other than a well-trained agent, or anyone other than, well, Harry, they’d never notice that little off-sounding note in his voice. “Pardon me, then; I’m aware when I’m not needed.”

The wheels in Harry’s head finally settle back together properly as Louis begins to turn around, and he reaches out, holding Louis back with a disgustingly gentle grip on the bend of his elbow. “Nonsense,” he says, and clears his throat. “You’re not pardoned.”

The tiny shiver the words elicit from Louis has something other than odd confusion blooming inside of Harry, and his lips are wet when he glances back again, meeting Harry’s eyes. “Is that so?” he asks.

“’Course.” Harry leans back in his seat, spreading his thighs and using his free hand to wave over his lap. “You’re my lucky charm, are you not?”

Louis’ icy smirk turns into a gape for a split second, and Harry likes that reaction dearly, especially when Louis’ Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows like his throat has gone parched all of the sudden, and licks his lips again. “I suppose I am quite lucky,” he says slowly.

“Come on then.” Harry squeezes his arm once, giving him an encouraging smile, but the way Louis tilts his head back and stares down at him from the bridge of his nose makes it clear that, as he steps back close to Harry and settles down on his right thigh, that he isn’t doing this because of coercion, but because he’s going to make this his own game somehow.

As it happens, Harry can’t wait to see how he does it.

The dealer rolls the dice over to him, and Harry takes the two pieces into his hand, fingers tightening protectively around them. He’s about to shake his fist and toss them back out when both Louis’ hands appear, sliding around his fingers and dragging his wrist up to his mouth. Harry watches as Louis gives him a brief glance from underneath his lashes before blowing over the dice in his palm, then letting his hand go free once again.

“For luck,” he says, and bites his bottom lip.

He rolls the dice and ends up landing on Snake Eyes. Everyone around the table oohs and ahhs, but he doesn’t care, just glances at Louis through his peripheral vision.

Louis’ smiling, watching him in turn.


Italian summers aren’t for the weak.

The weather is sweltering, and the masses of tourists milling about makes it no easier as you wade your way through the hot days. The asphalt shines with puffs of steam billowing from its surface.

The only thing worth it is the gelato.

And that’s if you’re licking the gelato directly from Louis Tomlinson’s tongue – Harry’s hands are sliding up the silky material of Louis’ dress shirt as he tries to decipher which flavour Louis had snacked on before meeting him at the casino. It’s minty, but he can’t seem to decide if it’s mint chocolate or mint mint.

The image of Louis perched on a black iron wire chair in front of a gelato stand, though, with his legs crossed, Ray Bans shielding his eyes from both the sun and the crowds as he laps at a cone of cold green goodness, has Harry smiling for some reason or the other against his mouth. Louis makes one last indulgent moan before leaning back, hands sliding from where they had been knotting into the luxurious bed sheets to squeeze Harry’s shoulders, giving him the leverage to shift his weight on Harry’s lap and rub his arse back against Harry’s crotch.

Christ, that perfect, perfect, soft, round swell of arse. Harry bites the inside of his cheek and barely registers the pain, instead focusing on copping two big handfuls, helping Louis along in his mission to get them off while they’ve both got their trousers done up.

When Louis whimpers at a particularly well-aimed thrust, the bulbous shape of Harry’s cock sliding between the crease of his pants, Harry’s eyes snap up from between their working bodies and to Louis’ mouth, pink and hanging open. It’s enticing enough that he secures his right hand tight on Louis’ hip before reaching his left hand up to slide two fingers into Louis’ mouth, watching him narrow his eyes but still close his lips around them, sucking and running his silky hot tongue over the calloused pads.

Harry comes first, expectedly; how could he not?, with Louis warm heat above and around him, sucking on his fingers with half-shut eyes like it were a cock, humping against him like a baby pup. His jaw goes slack around Harry as he comes, and he snakes a hand underneath the tight waistband of his pressed trousers, flicking his wrist quickly until he’s streaking ropes of come over his knuckles.

He then collapses unceremoniously atop Harry, burying his face into the crook of Harry’s neck, lapping at the sweat that’s gathering at the bend of Harry’s shoulder.

It is the moment, the perfect moment; he can break Louis’ own neck with minimal strength right now, and be on his way. But they’re both fairly filthy at the moment, and either he showers the come from his body with Louis’ corpse on the bed and then separately showers the come from Louis’ corpse, or –

“Just a suggestion,” he says slowly, fitting his fingers over the dip each side of Louis’ hips, rubbing the firmly plush V there, “but you’re probably aware that the showers here are quite large, and quite stellar.”

Louis doesn’t reply for a moment, busy licking all the salty sweat from Harry’s throat and replacing it with his salty saliva, before he props his chin on Harry’s collarbones and leers at him. “You are correct, Edward,” he muses. “Those jets are simply marvelous, are they not?”

He isn’t wrong.


It’s slightly ridiculous, and should have been completely expected.

After a simply marvelous shower, in which they spent the majority of their time under the spray decidedly not showering, they’d tumbled back onto the sprawling bed, each of them expertly ignoring any topic with weight and instead indulged in fizzy non-alcoholic drinks and strawberries dipped in fondant, whispering sweet nothings about exactly how they were going to fuck each other into the bed before dawn.

And that was how the night proceeded, and now Harry wakes up with his body pleasantly sore and achy, very unlike the soreness of fighting his way through a manor of bad guys.

The bad part is that his hands have been neatly handcuffed to the headboard of the bed.

Agent 004 comes to his rescue. Sort of.

“My goodness!” she says, and pulls her mobile from the pocket of her jumper to snap a photo.

“P,” he sighs, moody and irritable. She shoots him a dirty look, slipping her mobile away.

“Please refrain from using any variation of my real name, doll, would you?” she mutters, and hauls a conspicuous black bag up onto the bed, unzipping it and pulling out a long white tube. “We don’t know if your lover’s got the place, like, bugged or summat yet, and I quite like this name; I really don’t want to change it yet again, if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Of course,” he says, and stays perfectly still as 004 pulls slim picks from her case and begins to work them inside the lock of the cuffs. He doesn’t know what to think – on one hand, Louis used the oldest trick in the book to tie him up, so how exactly would he be clever enough to bug a room and then monitor it?

On the other hand, Louis cuffed his hands to the headboard of the bed they shagged in, multiple times, and that’s pretty evil. Bugging a single room can’t really be too far-fetched for him.

By the time he’s drifted out of his thoughts, 004 has successfully pried the cuffs open so they slide from the board easily, and he gently pulls his hands down from above his head, rubbing his wrists.

Before he can utter his gratitude, as 004 packs up her suitcase, she says, “S wanted you to contact him,” and tosses him a trap phone.

“Shit,” Harry says without thinking. 004 looks back over at him.

“Don’t worry,” she says, and hitches the bag round her right shoulder. “I saved your sorry arse, said that you were going to carry out the assassination, but Tomlinson outsmarted you. It wasn’t hard to sell at all.” Before Harry can reply, she wrinkles her nose, plucking at the soiled bedsheets between thumb and forefinger. “Quite telling that you didn’t have any plan whatsoever to kill the prick, huh.”

She then gives him a two-fingered salute before opening up the latch of the tall window nearest to the bed, making quick work of stepping over the ledge and disappearing from sight.

Harry tries to breathe. His co-worker just jumped from the 54th floor of a hotel. He can call his boss.

The phone dials once, and then S picks up. “007,” he says.

“S –“ he begins, and the one syllable is vibrant with panic. S silences him with one low shh.

“It’s quite alright,” he sighs. “004 told me the situation.”

Well. Apparently the story was just as easy to sell as she’d said it was. He’s not sure whether to be worried or relieved.

He decides to not think about it, and waits for instructions, someone to tell him what to do next.

“Anyhow,” S continues. “There’s been … word that Dr Tomlinson is currently laying low in Switzerland. How long do you guess it will take to land?”

“Not long at all,” Harry says.


Downtown Zürich is where Harry finds himself the next day. He’s foregone the whole fancy suit and tie getup, opting for trousers and a pressed shirt with the first five buttons undone, and he doesn’t feign modesty at the locals eyeing him appreciatively as he heads down the sidewalk.

“Z,” he murmurs once he’s found himself in a mostly spotless square of town. He can hear the distant, fast tapping of Z’s computer through the earpiece, and then, “I’ve sent agent 003 out a few hours prior, so give him a couple more mins, yeah babes?” He doesn’t wait for the reply before he continues. “All I can recommend is heading west for now.”

“Alright,” Harry says, and emerges from the shadows, immersing back into the crowd. He lets his eyes wander around, checking out all the shops; downtown is by far his favourite place in every city, even if he’s never been. It’s familiarity and yet it’s always something different.

He never stops to actually go inside any of the stores, mind always whirling, too busy to be fooling around with silly little things like shopping. Besides, N always has the newest Burberry and Saint Laurent delivered to his flat in London, straight from the runway, so it’s not like he needs anything a hidden and privately-owned shop has to offer.

Except one specific one now, apparently.

He stops on the sidewalk so suddenly someone knocks into his back, and usually he’d be turning around and apologizing profusely, offering collateral in form of a coffee or something of the likes, but now he’s too busy trying not cry out. Through the hazy shop window, he can make out a back, a familiar back, and –

It’s embarrassing, how swiftly he knocks into the shop, the quaint bell swinging above the door and signaling his wild entrance, breathing hard as he stares at the empty spot where he’s certain the figure had stood. The girl manning the register is blinking at him, and he sends her a look he hopes seems apologetic but realistically probably bordered on snide before stepping back out, stumbling blindly onto the sidewalk and bothering another handful of pedestrians.

It’s a Godsend when Z buzzes in his ear. “Negative,” he says on a sigh. “003 needs another evening, tops. Retreat for the night.”

Harry agrees before going offline, concocting what seems like a sound plan as he turns on his heels and heads back South to the hotel – he’ll get blackout drunk, mourn what could have been, and have a leisurely wank.

And maybe he’ll even let himself wonder what exactly what could have been even means in the first place.

When he arrives to the hotel, he strips his clothes off and folds them neatly, draping them over the back of the chaise by one of the floor-to-ceiling windows, and then crawls into bed in only his briefs. There’s a bucket of ice with two bottles of red perched inside sat on the nightstand, and he studies them sadly, wishing his asthma didn’t constrict him from smoking a cig or two. Christ, he could certainly use a pack or two, in actuality.

He is halfway through the first bottle, wondering if he’s on a pleasant enough buzz to have that slow and guilty wank now, when there’s a knock on the door. And it’s not a normal knock, an everyday knock; it’s evenly paced, two sharp and hollow raps on the center of the doors.

He’s out of bed in a flash, fumbling for his pistol in the pocket of his suit, and holding it behind his thigh as he pads over to the doors slowly, mind reeling. It’s absurd. There’s no way. It’s utterly impossible.

“Hello,” he calls, startled by how low his voice has gone. He can feel the rumble in his chest.

“Room service,” says the person who is not room service on the outside of the door.

Harry unlocks the door without a thought, foolishly, and Louis steps inside the room without being invited in whatsoever – it at least dispels the thought that Harry had been vividly dreaming of in the recent days, that Louis was perhaps a vampire.

Crazy madmen who wanted to destroy the world and then rebuild into their own empires, Harry can deal with. Vampires? Not really.

“I want you,” Louis breathes. His hand comes to rest atop Harry’s on the smooth maple of the doors, sliding them back together before he does the lock. His eyes are wide and blown, mouth agape, cheeks a flush creeping up his neck and sprawling over the upper cut of his cheekbones. He looks utterly blown apart yet he is easily the most put-together person in the room. “Inside me, Edward; I want to feel you. I cannot seem to stop thinking about you.”

Because Harry, as people around him have put it kindly enough, has never been the brightest of the bunch, he doesn’t immediately pull his cock and offer it up. Instead, he fishmouths for a good minute before stuttering, “how did you know –“

“I have me ways,” Louis says, and hooks his fingers under the elastic of Harry’s briefs. When Harry doesn’t respond, just widens his eyes, he huffs and smirks. “I saw you in the reflection of that shop downtown,” he explains impatiently, as if he were repeating this to a young child for the tenth or hundredth time. “And I followed you. It isn’t hard, Edward.”

When Harry still doesn’t respond, Louis licks his lips, eyebrows going softer in their arch. “Do you – do you not want to –?“

God,” Harry breathes, and presses him up against the door, catching his mouth in his own. He does; he does want to, so badly, but he was so certain that the next time he and Louis happened upon each other, it would have been the last time.

Louis makes a surprised noise, nails digging into the sinewy muscle of Harry’s back, and Harry anchors his own hands underneath Louis’ trench coat, holding onto his hips, licking into his pliant mouth until they’re making soft hurt little noises, hips working together, one of Louis’ legs slung low around his thighs to keep them close.

It’s beyond idiotic, his behaviour, and he’s painfully aware of it. He knows next to nothing about Louis, other than the fact that his father is a bad man and Louis probably is too, and that he’s going to have to kill them both. He’s had flings on missions that lasted longer and went deeper than this, and yet none ever affected him anywhere near this very relationship, or whichever name fits it more properly.

But then again, he has always been the hopeless romantic, hasn’t he? Never kissing a girl upon the lips until the third date, getting his first boyfriend a bouquet of roses for their one-week anniversary, and all the rest of the embarrassing cheesiness a romantic can be. Love at first sight wasn’t very far off for him at all.

He just can’t help but wish he knew what the draw was here; what made him unknowingly but inexplicably ache for Louis.

Even more so, though, he wishes he knew what Louis thought about it all, but for now, he’s content to let Louis fling his arms around his shoulders, kissing him breathless, the two of them slumping to the floor as they touch and breathe and hold on.


Inky evening-night light creeps into the room, and they fuck up against the wall farthest from any doors or walls joined to another room. They’re utterly naked, clothes strewn over the floor in a similar fashion to the first night, and Harry tries to ignore that feeling of dread, of this being the closing, and instead hitches Louis higher up on the wall and tries to bury himself all the way inside his hot little body, fuck him so hard the walls crumble and the ceilings topple and the hotel shakes apart.

“Like that,” Louis breathes in his ear, resuming his duty of marking Harrys back right up, holding on tight for the ride. “I want – I want to feel it for weeks, want you to fill me right up, claim me,” and it’s ridiculous, how someone moaning about how badly they want to be owned seems to clearly have the upper hand in this situation.

When Louis comes, legs tightening around Harry's waist walls have shattered, but they are not the ones belonging to the hotel.


They rest on the floor, afterwards.

It had been a hard and sluggish journey, but Harry ended up reigning champion in the battle to reach over from his spot on the ground to the bed, pulling a comforter down from the mattress and sliding it underneath themselves, the fur throw folded into the corner of the chaise a comfortable option to drape over their sweaty bodies.

Harry folds one arm underneath his head, Louis’ cheek resting on his chest, fingers tracing the two swallows tattooed each side of his collarbones. His warm breath comes out in gentle puffs, goosebumps following in their wake, and brush of Louis’ hair against his skin whenever Louis shifts always sends a shiver down Harry’s spine.

It’s quiet, and Harry realizes in that moment, that it hasn’t felt like this in a while, silence. Silence, for him, is heavy breathing from the bloodied gag in his mouth, or the gasping bodies in his bed, or the hushed whispers in the room he’s supposed to be dropping into, or the nightmares contained in his mind whenever he closes his eyes and attempts to sleep.

It’s not like this. Never like this.

At some point, Louis arches up to lay a chaste kiss upon Harry’s cheek, and then the underside of his jaw, before pushing himself up from the floor and drifting towards the loo. Harry watches the curves and slopes of his bodies in the bare light through half-shut eyes, before letting his head loll back up towards the ceiling, letting his eyes slip closed.

It’s only a few minutes before he’s startlingly awake once more.

“Who do you work for,” Louis snarls, and Harry can’t respond, because – one of those thimble, dainty hands, the same hands Harry brought to his lips and kissed the knuckles of – one of those hands has found its way to his throat, and for all that it appears to be bird-boned it truly isn’t. Louis’ thumb squeezes over his pulse, and the barrel of the same gun Harry had left carelessly on the floor earlier is pressed right over the center of his lower abdomen.

“I repeat,” Louis says, “who do you work for, Edward,” and between harsh, shallow breaths, Harry blinks up disorientedly into Louis’ face, watching a slew of different emotions twist his mouth into an undecipherable form.

Louis’ hold on his throat loosens for a second, giving him a moment to answer, and Harry pants, “nobody,” before Louis’ fingers squeeze around him again, twice as hard as before.

I’m not a bloody idiot,” Louis shouts, voice echoing once, twice, three times around the spacious suite. Harry desperately wants to tell him that he never doubted that, but Louis’ already continuing on, pressing the gun snug against his bare skin. “This is because of father.”

Harry doesn’t make any motion, any indication to deny, and the breathless laugh Louis gasps out feels like he’d already pulled the trigger.

“Why?” he asks, tighter around the throat. “Why not just get it over with? Why drag it out, pretend like you had any feelings for me, make me feel –“ He stops, on a harsh intake of breath, and then, “is this your twisted type of torture?”

Harry gurgles, chest arching upwards, and widens his eyes. Louis sneers.

“Why not just kill me, Edward?”

Harry’s mind finally falls back into gear, and his hand lunges for Louis’ just as Louis grins, his hand counteracting.

The last thing Harry feels is undeniably the heel of the pistol smashing against his skull.


He’s not been out on the field for three months.

His hands are steady as he makes his way down to the basement of HQ, knocking the doors to the range open with his shoulder. Agent L and N watch him from a distance as he lifts the headphones over his ears, sliding the protective glasses up the bridge of his nose.

Still, when he pulls the trigger, aiming at the brain of the target, he can feel the punch-back rattle his bones, the spot by his temple where Louis had slammed the gun.

It had been called a ‘miracle’ around HQ – Louis had narrowly avoided injuring a major vein – and he’d been able to get up without a splitting headache after only a month of bedrest.

S is still adamant about letting him back on the field.

“You’ve become a liability,” he had said the last time Harry visited his office. He was in his chair, chin resting on his knuckles, eyes glazed over as he gazed out the windows pelted by heavy rain. “And until I can find it in myself to have trust in you, until I can have faith in you once again, you will be downgraded to desk agent.”

Being a desk agent really isn’t his forte.

“What on earth,” Z screeches.

Harry had stayed overnight, sorting out dossiers in alphabetical order – Z was an important asset to MI6, always being kept on his toes, so surely that was the reason his desk had looked like a complete and utter disaster zone – he probably simply had no time to organize it all. Harry isn’t any good at most of the work desk agents do, but he’s quite good at tidying things up. He’d thought it’d be appreciated.

Watching Z stare at his desk in horror now says otherwise. “Who – who did this …?” he trails off, slumping in his chair. “How’m I s’pposed to find anything now? I’m absolutely ruined.”

“I don’t think it’s all that serious,” agent J says lightly. She’s blowing on a mug of coffee, perched on the corner of her desk, watching on amusedly as Harry tries shrinking away. “You’ll have it in a tizzy all over again in no time, Z.”

“But what about now?” he demands. “How can I work like this?”

Harry decides it’s about time for his exit, and he gives J a quick nod before collecting his mobile and jacket, heading out through the exits and into the light drizzle of rain. His flat isn’t very far from HQ at all, seeing as it was given to him by the agency, and he decides to skip out on the bus or a taxi in favour of walking, breathing in the fresh air and trying to let it clear his mind, flush all the dizzying thoughts away.

It doesn’t quite work, and when he arrives home to the achingly empty flat he supposes is the only place fit to call home, he sheds his clothes and pops the cork on an old red he finds in the kitchen, leaning against the island and knocking it right from the bottle.

His mobile buzzes a few minutes later, and he ignores in favour of more alcohol, but then it rings again.

And again.

And again, and again.

He groans the sixth time, tossing the bottle into the sink before fishing for the phone in the pocket of his wrinkled jacket. “Sod off,” is how he answers, and the person over the line chuckles.

“You’re doing well then I presume, Styles,” Daisy says.

“What do you want,” he slurs, because yes, Daisy probably one of his closest acquaintances, but these days he finds he can’t stand himself, let alone anyone else.

“There’s word going around you’re stuck in town for a while,” she says, “so I thought I’d take you to dinner. Some steak, good wine that isn’t the years-old bottles in your kitchen.”

He stiffens up. “’M not in mood, D,” he mumbles, “gonna sleep,” and he’s about to hang up when she takes a sharp breath.

“No, you aren’t,” she says. “You’re going to shower, freshen up, and meet me for dinner, because I know where Tomlinson is.”


Harry is a self-professed lightweight, but as soon as the words left her mouth he’d been sober, even more so after a quick shower and a few paracetamol.

Daisy is already at a table, and he lists her name off for entry. She glances up from the heavy-bound menu as he approaches, waxy plum mouth stretching into a grin.

“Harry –“ she starts, but he presses a palm down on the table, his tie swinging too tight from his neck. He needs – he needs to loosen it, but he can’t focus. Instead, he leans in close to her, locking eyes with her, and breathes, “where.”

She studies him for a moment, not leaning back in her chair but instead leaning forwards, meeting him halfway, eyes stony. “Sit down,” she says finally, and he licks his lips, mouth pulling in a tight line as he complies.

A waitress approaches their table, but Daisy simply dismisses her with a wave of two of her fingers.

Before Harry can repeat his question, she’s smiling at him, both entertained and grim. “Did you think I meant Louis Tomlinson?” she asks, and Harry’s blood goes cold. “So the rumour is true. You have some sort of feeling towards him.”

“I don’t understand.”

“People are talking, Harry. About you and Louis. It’s –“

“No,” he says calmly, a contradiction to the feelings slowly erupting inside of him. “I don’t understand what you meant by asking if I had thought Louis Tomlinson.”

“I don’t know where he is, H.”

Harry shoves the chair back so suddenly, so loudly, a few guests at the tables by theirs glance over curiously. Daisy curses under his breath, her fingers grasping his wrist, holding him back.

“I don’t know where Louis is,” she grits out, “but I know where Dr Tomlinson is, and isn’t that all that matters? He’s the link, the one to end the game.”

Harry shakes out of her grip, glaring back at her, and she licks her lips, keeping his gaze, until he slowly settles back in the chair, fingers gripping the end of the armrests. “And what is the game?” he whispers, voice shaking. “What are we fighting against? Does Louis even have a hand in any of it?”

“I assume you’re aware of just exactly how influential Dr Tomlinson is nowadays,” she says, and Harry nods slowly, “well – he’s concocting a remedy that isn’t remedial at all. It’s a sickness in disguise, Harry, one he knows that will spread by word of mouth, gaining him not only riches and notoriety but power. People will die, Harry.”

There isn’t much to say in response – it’s twisted, horrible, but he’s dealt with worse – so he says the first thing that comes to mind.

“It’s impossible that Louis has anything to do with that.”

“Just because you shagged him a few times doesn’t mean you know fuck all about him.”

“It’s impossible,” he repeats, because she’s right, but because he’s right, too.

“So have dinner with me,” she says, “and I’ll give you Dr T’s location, and you can clear your lover boy right up from Britain’s most wanted list, right underneath his father. God knows the world can wait for a couple hours. I’m beyond starved.”

“Dinner can wait,” Harry says. “It always has. What can’t wait is the truth.”

She peers at him over the rim of her glass. “Of what now?”

“Why you didn’t tell MI6 about Dr Tomlinson’s location, but told me.”

She’s unreadable for a moment, before a slow grin spreads over her face. “Because you mean more to me than the lives of everyone else on earth,” she says truthfully. “And because Louis means more to you than your own job.”


It’s a lavish mansion on the dreary, desolate outskirts of London; for a man with a doctoral PHD from Cambridge, it’s not exactly the smartest place to lay low.

But then again, you never know.

Harry breaks his way in easily – there are no neighbours, no nothing, for miles and miles, and only one BMW parked in the driveway. And even if there were a surprise, Harry wouldn’t be surprised at all, pistol cocked, eyes narrowed as he steps down the still corridors. The place smells faintly of gas, and the quicker he’s out, the better.

Find the man. Waste no time before shooting; he used to muse about whether to put it in his head or in his heart, but now he’s decided to do them both in quick succession for Louis’ sake, for all the misery he’s caused his own son. Then he’ll be on his way, back to HQ to clear Louis’ name and track him down.

All of which suddenly happens to be unnecessary, apparently.

“Edward,” Louis says coolly. His father’s brains are sprayed over the walls, his body crumpled by Louis’ feet. Louis himself is spattered in blood but otherwise not a hair is out of place; he slides the safe of his gun back and smiles at Harry. “How are you? I see you’re not severely hurt, which is splendid; I spent a while feeling guilty about that hit being particularly hard.”

Harry is surprised.

“Louis,” he says, and then raises his gun as an afterthought, his aim all off, fingers trembling around the hook. “What –?“

“There’s no time,” Louis tells him, and only then does Harry notice his smile; plastic, fake, resigned. He tosses his gun over his father’s body, and it skids over the floor by Harry’s feet. Harry is distracted by it, eyes snapping down towards it, when he hears a snick noise. Looking up, he sees the lit match in Louis’ hand. “My love.”

Harry’s chest tightens. “Louis –“

“Go,” Louis says, and tosses the match too, and it glints on the pool of gas Harry notices just now before erupting. Louis is stock still behind the flames, his face ashen, and it’s already impossible to both get to him and then bring him back out safely and Harry –

Go, Edward,” Louis says, his voice louder now, yet still in danger of being drowned out by the crackle and roar of the flames. Now Harry can see that the gas had been splashed everywhere; the flames are spreading rapidly, and Harry drops his gun, shaking his head.

“I’m not going without you –“

“And I’m not going anywhere!” Louis yells. “You know this, Edward, you’re smart, I know you are –“

“Harry,” he gasps, “my name, it’s Harry," and Louis’ face crumples, but not in anger or betrayal, but in – but in relief.

Harry,” he shouts, “go.”


Harry wakes up in the sterile white of MI6’s operation room.

He’s not conscious for long, just enough to see the liquidy masked faces above him, blocking out the harsh UV light before dipping back under.


“His father found out that authorities had found out,” Z says.

Harry doesn’t reply.

The sheets MI6 puts on their healing beds are more cardboard than sheet, and if Harry had any energy left in him he’d probably tear them all up. But alas, failing his mission, watching Louis burn down, and then having debris knock him out long enough he inhaled copious amounts of smoke and suffered minor burning has sapped all his strength for a good while.

“So he decided to transfer all the stocks and whatnot under Louis’ name,” Z continues. “To frame him, clear his own name, y’know.”

Harry blinks owlishly at the far wall.

“And Louis, well, he found out,” Z sighs. “Obviously.”

Harry wishes he’d stop.

“But – I guess now’s the time to tell you that – that we found the doctor’s body, but not Louis’ body.”


They tell him that it’s useless to try and find Louis himself, because they aren’t even certain if he’s alive, let alone exactly which corner of the whole bloody planet he could hypothetically be hiding at, and Harry knows they’re right, knows he should listen, but finds that it’s harder to do so when it comes to Louis.

S sends him on missions all across the world, and Harry knows it’s an attempt to get him to stop thinking about Louis, to put his mind back on things that matter, but everywhere Harry goes, whenever he has a moment to breathe, those moments few and far between where he doesn’t have men aiming their guns at him or tying him to railways, he always finds himself glancing around as if Louis’ just simply frolicking around, as if it’s that simple.

He always feels foolish for doing so but he can never seem to stop.


He’s sent back to Italy a few months later.

He’s never been so close to death as during that particular mission; he fucks and kills his way through the whole thing, and after he kills his target but before he heads back to HQ he burns down the hotel he and Louis had first met in.

It feels better than it should.


A mission in Dubai where he destroyed a few Jaguars, blew up a few buildings, and successfully captured a crypt hard drive has him returning home in one miraculous piece, but a few scars that J helps him with in the nurse’s office.

“Go home,” S tells him when he limps out. “Take a break.”

Harry glares at him.

“Christ,” S says. “I’m not taking you off duty, 007, I’m simply saying that you need to take a bloody shower.”

Harry can’t deny that, so he heads to his flat, and the shower is marvelous, hot water running down his sore muscles, clean tees waiting in his dresser instead of stiff and pressed dress shirts.

He picks out a soft gray one with holes, and then pairs it with navy blue sweats, going commando because he can, and pads to the kitchen, sorting through the cupboards and coming up empty-handed.

He leans back on his heels, raking a hand through his hair, tumbling past his shoulders due to lack of attention – admittedly he’s become quite fond of it though – and decides to head outside for dinner, treat himself to something nice, because why not?

So he goes.


Harry isn’t easily surprised.

As he’s flipping through the menu – he chose a dapper restaurant, and is contemplating a nice glass of red with a plate of pasta al forno – someone slides into the vacant seat opposite of his, folding their thimble hands over the tabletop.

He knows he would have the upper-hand if doesn’t look up, but he can’t hold himself back.

Louis looks better than he’s ever seen him, radiant, hair neatly trimmed and piled in a soft quiff atop his head. He’s wearing a fitted shirt underneath a black blazer, and the thin gash in his upper lip does nothing to disrupt his dapper look.

He smiles at Harry, and Harry smiles back.

“How did you know?”

“If I recall, I’d already told you,” he says. “I have me ways, don’t I?”

His ankle hooks with Harry’s underneath the table, a childish move that makes Harry blush.

“You’re right,” he says, “you did tell me. One of the only things you ever told me about yourself, actually.”

“I told you all about me school and lavish vacations, did I not?”

“Those aren’t the things I care about,” Harry says truthfully. “Painfully cheesy, but I never cared about all the superficial things. I care about your interests, your likes and dislikes, your ticks and all. I don’t care about your diploma; I care about you.”

“Oh my,” Louis says, “a romantic.”

“So I’ve been told.”

Louis’ raises an eyebrow, biting his bottom lip, before his gaze flickers from the front cover of the menu to Harry’s face. “… Then we’ll make a deal, what do you say? Buy me a drink, and I’ll tell you everything you want to know. That MI6 hasn’t already told you themselves, obviously.”

Harry grins. “Deal. How does a martini sound?”


“Couldn’t have it any other way for the one and only Louis Tomlinson, could we?”

Louis smiles faintly, his sharp, narrow eyes meeting Harry's in a careful, unwavering stare. His mouth is blood-red and Harry has the strongest urge to lean over the table, to kiss him breathless. “That would be excellent, Harry …?”

“The name is Styles. Harry Styles.”