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Coffee's for Closers

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It’s the beginning of the spring semester and Harry is in a rush to get to class. He’s never really been late before – for anything, really – and this new feeling of desperation is starting to make his skin crawl. He’s running through the campus frantically, his book bag bouncing up and down and making his loose white t shirt ride up.

He almost misses him. Almost.

Almost misses the tall, brown haired boy standing behind the counter of the campus coffee shop, almost misses the huge, brown doe eyes that somehow don’t match the well toned muscle-y body. Harry stops right in his tracks – literally stops, smacks right into one of those parking timers – before righting himself and trying to catch his breath.

At this point, two options cross his mind. He can go on his merry way, to class – be early or. Or he could walk in and try to say hi to this god and hopefully not embarrass himself in the process. While option one seems nice and such a Harry thing to do, he’s feeling a little light headed by this boy and well.

Harry walks in.

It’s warm and cozy with light brown walls and modern style furniture, smells like cinnamon and nutmeg and freshly ground coffee beans. Harry looks around at the crowd of people and takes notice that a lot of them are wearing shirts he has no time to decipher, dark jeans and boots. Some easy listening alternative is playing in the background and it’s nice. Harry walks up to the counter, looking through the glass case of assorted baked goods when a warm voice startles him out of his food induced dream.

"Hi, can I take your order?"

He's met with the same warm brown, doe eyes he saw through the window and a cheerful smile. Harry has to stop and take a breath because he doesn't think he's seen anyone so beautiful.

"Hi..." he barely stutters out, which leaves Harry cursing himself internally because he doesn’t want to embarrass himself.

There's that ridiculous smile again, making Harry blush and clutch the straps of his backpack tighter. “Anything I can get you, mate?”

“Uhm,” Harry glances up at the big chalkboard menu tacked onto the wall, going through every single item, unsure of what to get. “What do you recommend?” He finally settles on asking.

“I recommend the blueberry muffins and a cup of our signature house coffee."

Harry composes himself as best as he can, before nodding in agreement, "Yes, I'll have that please." He offers up a warm smile.

"Who do I make this out to?"

"Uhm, what?" Harry asks. He hates to admit it but he's never really been to a coffee shop before, mostly drinks the ones he can buy at the convenience store that come in the little cans.

The barista smiles at him again before asking, "Whose name do I write on the cup?"

Harry blushes and mentally tells himself to stop being such an idiot before responding, "Harry.
You can write Harry."

"Okay, then Harry. Your coffee should be done soon."

Harry gives a small nod before taking a seat at a table by the window, stretching out his limbs in the process. He watches from his seat as the handsome guy at the counter makes his coffee, the tight black shirt straining against his arms.

He wants to go up there and flirt, maybe ask for a name – but Harry’s always been so awkward. He watches as the barista opens up the glass case housing all the sweets and puts Harry’s muffin in a brown paper bag.

On a whim he decides to call the only person he knows could handle a situation like this, Louis. Louis is Harry’s flat mate and comical best friend, gives great dating advice when he isn’t shitfaced and sometimes, sometimes he actually gets out of bed and goes to class. Harry’s hoping today’s one of those days where Louis decided to just fuck everything and stay home.

It is.

He answers on the third ring, voice wrecked from whatever party he was at last night. “Whaddaya want Harry?” Louis asks through a yawn.

“There’s this really amazingly, cute, handsome guy at the coffee shop and I don’t know what to do.”

Harry can hear barking laughter through the phone. “Say hi, you twit.” Louis responds between lapses in laughter.

“It’s not that easy!” Harry pouts against his cell phone, eyes darting to where the barista is still preparing his order. “What do I say after that? What If he doesn't like me? What if – Louis, stop laughing I am serious!” Harry’s getting extremely flustered and annoyed at Louis - sometimes his inability to take things seriously really gets on Harry's nerves.

There's a silence on the phone before Louis speaks. "Why don't you just ask him for his name? C'mon Harry that can't be too difficult. Not even you can fuck that up."

Harry sighs against the phone, "Thanks for the vote of confidence, mate."

"Cheers!" And with that Louis hangs up.

Harry puts him phone away and his head down, embarrassed at himself.

"Harry!"

He hears his name being called and the thought of just grabbing his food and running crosses his mind twice on his way to the counter, but before he's actually made a decision he hears that same warm, deep voice saying, "Here you go, Harry." 

The barista is smiling.

"Thanks..." he leaves it hanging intentionally, hoping the barista will pick up on his hint.

The cute barista doesn't, simply smiles again before walking off to the other side of the counter.

"Wait," Harry hears himself say before he can control himself not too. 

The barista turns around and looks up at Harry, eyes alight with something he can't read.

"What's your name?" Harry asks, trying to sound casual, and forcing the blush on his cheeks to stay down. 

The barista blinks before responding, "Liam. My name is Liam."

Harry offers up a big smile, and rolls the name around his head for a few moments before saying, "Nice to meet you, Liam." And because he's feeling a bit lightheaded still, (maybe it’s the coffee, it tastes heavenly) he offers up a wink before exiting the cafe. 

Harry pretends not to notice the faint blush appearing on Liam's cheeks. 

***

"So how did it go?" Louis interrogates the moment Harry walks through their flat door around five in the afternoon. “I want details, Styles.”

Harry blushes at the fond memory of the barista – Liam, his mind supplies – as he kicks off his worn converse and sits on the couch.

“It was fine,” Harry tells Louis and well – if you count uncontrollable blushing and a slight stuttering fine.

“Only ‘fine’? No ‘sparks flew as we stared into each other’s eyes as he realized I’m the one’?”

“No. . .But I did wink at him.” Harry’s blushing at his little confession and is quite pleased with himself.

“Winked? You actually winked at him? This is the start of something entirely new! Who are you and what’ve you done with Blushing Harry?”

Harry’s face goes red at the stupid little nickname. “What should I do now, Lou?”

Louis gives Harry a once over before fixing a misplaced curl. “You could start with maybe dressing more nicely Harry. I think white shirts are a little outdated.” Louis makes a face at him, still trying to fix the stray curl before Harry bats his hands away.

“Go see him again, tomorrow even. Ask, Harry! Ask him questions like what his favorite drink is or what his major is! C’mon Harry, use that brain of yours!” Louis pokes a finger at Harry’s forehead before jumping off the couch.

“Okay,” Harry mutters to himself once Louis is out of earshot. “I’ll stop by tomorrow.”

***

Harry doesn’t get the chance to drop by the coffee shop, waking up fifteen ‘til his first class and practically flying to the lecture hall. He gets to his English Class right before the Professor walks in and heaves a sigh of relief. Harry enjoys this class, they spend almost the whole time talking about books and discussing the pros and cons of literature that Harry will sometimes just sit and listen to what everyone else has to say – he likes hearing others opinions on such things and always files it away in my mind for use later.

Today the class is lecturing on Animal Farm, and Harry’s sort of tuning it out because he’s read that book at least three times and as it being a literary classic, he’s pretty sure everything their discussing has already been said before.

He pulls out his worn copy of the Lightning Thief, and even though it’s classed a children’s book, Harry enjoys the ideas of Greek mythos and he truly adores the writing. After reaching the part where Percy gets to camp, Harry feels a paper ball being thrown at the back of his head and quickly turns around to see his friend Niall trying to coax his attention. Niall is the only other friend he has besides Louis and sometimes he can be a little shit too.

“What?” Harry mouths to where Niall is sitting two rows behind him.

Although Harry has practiced in the art of reading lips, Niall still insists on acting every word out. “Can we,” he points to himself and then to Harry, “go?” Niall points to the door of the lecture hall with his thumb.

Harry eyes their professor and sees he’s still in deep discussion with the first two rows of students on what Orwell really meant with that book when Harry thinks okay, he’ll skip just this once.

He and Niall leave the class without even a glance from anyone and before long they’re making their way towards the campus café.

“What are –where are we going?”

“Well, I don’t know about you but I’m hungry mate, so I’m gonna eat.” Niall opens the door to the coffee shop with a ding and Harry tries desperately not to look so desperate.

He fails.

Harry spots Liam behind the counter preparing someone’s order. He’s dressed like yesterday – tight black shirt and jeans – except this time he’s got an apron on that says Java Hut and Harry’s realizes he’s never even looked at the name of this place.

“Harry, I don’t think you’re staring hard enough.” Niall says and Harry jumps at the sudden voice in his ear, blushing all the way down to his neck.

“Shut up, Niall.” Harry says as he buries his head in his hands.

Niall just laughs before asking, “So, what’s his name?”

“Liam,” Harry mumbles, head still on the table.

“Hey, Liam!” Niall shouts and he’s never been one for subtleties – ever, and Harry just wants to disappear.

Liam turns at the sound of his name, and Niall lifts Harry’s head up to meet Liam’s gaze.

Liam gives him a small smile and Harry smile halfheartedly back, waving. Liam turns back to his next customer and Harry jumps off the chair angry. “Niall – why, just – oh my god, I am so embarrassed.”

Niall just gives a light shrug before grabbing Harry’s shoulders and saying, “Man up, Styles. That is one fine piece of ass there. Don’t let it go to waste. Now go over there and be friendly, be flirty, or I will.”

“I don’t know how to flirt.” Harry says back lamely.

“You’ll figure it out, now go.”

Harry knows Niall’s not bullshitting – he flirts with everybody – so before he even realizes what’s happening his feet are dragging him over to the counter where he lines up to order something.

The boy in front of Harry orders quite a lot, and with each passing moment Harry is getting more and more nervous. Finally, the boy moves and its Harry’s turn.

“Hi, Harry.” Liam says in that beautiful voice of his. “What can I get you?”

“Hi, Liam,” He draws out the older lads name. Harry motions at the fruit in the back. “Are those on the menu?”

Liam turns back and glances at the bowls of fruit before shrugging slightly. “No one’s ever asked that question before.” His brows knit together as if stuck in deep thought, like he’s afraid he’s going to get a low score in customer satisfaction if he answered the question wrong.

“Could I get a hot cocoa instead today?” Harry asks, glancing at the big chalkboard menu tacked high on the wall above Liam. “And that banana?” Harry makes a face about the fruit as Liam starts to make his cocoa.

“Did you know that banana’s are my favorite fruit?” Harry says truthfully. “They’re really delicious, and big. They’re a big fruit…lots of bites on one banana.”

Harry has to hold back the high pitched laugh that’s stuck in his throat. Is he really talking to Liam about fruit?

“What’s your favorite fruit Liam?” His voice cracks a little as he asks, and Harry hopes Liam doesn’t notice.

“C-cantaloupes,” Liam stutters out, voice slightly cracking, and Harry doesn’t feel that nervous anymore. “They’re orange. Orange is a nice color.”

Harry smiles at that, thinks that orange is such a tacky color – but presses on for more information, even if it’s as trivial as taste in fruits because this boy is the prettiest thing he’s ever seen and he wants to learn more.

“What about school, Liam? Do you attend classes here?”

Liam, who seemed to have composed himself, answers, “I’m going to school to be a doctor.”

“Someone’s an overachiever now, aren’t they?” Harry offers up a half smile because he’s pretty much the same as well, except he wants to be a teacher.

Liam blushes – like actually blushes – it paints across his cheekbones and across his face, Harry wants to know what other ways he could make Liam’s skin do that. “I just like helping people, I guess.”

Harry takes a deep breath before asking, “So, if I ever got hurt, would you help me?” He juts out his bottom lip, and makes what he hopes is a cute pouty face, hoping Liam likes his sad attempts at flirting.

Liam gives him a smile, hands him his banana and hot cocoa.

Harry pays him and is about to turn to go back to Niall when Liam says, “Yeah, Harry. I’d help you.”

Harry has to fight down the girlish squeal that wants to come out of his mouth.

***

It's not the last time Harry and Liam exchange words – or talk over the weirdest topic. There’s the time when Harry tells Louis that Liam’s favorite color is orange so Lou gets him a loose fitting orange tee, forcing him to wear it the next time he goes to the Java Hut – but not telling Harry he got Liam’s name printed across the back hem in big, bold, black letters , so that day Louis and Niall, and Zayn (a bloke Harry caught Niall snogging to death when he was walking back to their table after that first talk with Liam and just sort of stuck around) are watching from across the café as Harry tries to flirt more and laugh when Liam notices his name. There’s the time Harry spills his coffee on Liam’s apron and without even thinking about takes his shirt off in the middle of the Java Hut to the whoops and hollers of a few patrons and the ever present blushing Liam who Harry hands the shirt to before running out of the café, coffee forgotten. Harry’s never been the type for awkward confrontations and it takes him a full week before actually stepping foot back into the café and by then the whole ordeal is mostly forgotten - that is until a few days later Liam hands Harry back his shirt with a polite ‘thank you’ and Harry has to bite his lip to withhold the blush threatening to spread across his face. When he gets back to his flat, he sniffs the shirt and it smells like cinnamon, ground coffee and something that is probably just Liam, that Harry puts the shirt away in the hopes that the smell with never fade away. He gets shit for it – from Louis, Niall, and Zayn who’s somehow become a new addition to their ragtag group of idiots. Zayn’s the complete opposite of Niall – he likes bands that none of them have ever heard of, smokes about four fags a day and the occasional joint. Harry enjoys Zayn’s company when the lad can be fucked to get out of bed or when he’s hanging off Niall like an extra limb.

The four of them are hanging out in the café right now, spread across the two couches kept up in the back. Zayn’s got some song playing on his little stereo and they’re all jamming out, having some fun singing along to the lyrics. Louis’ gone off to get their food order and Niall and Zayn are practically sandwiched together on one couch even though there’s enough space for the both of them.

Harry looks at them and shakes his head, smiling to himself. He’s happy really – for his best friend, but he can’t help but feel a little jealous at how in awe of each other the two are. He looks away when they sneak a kiss, thinks how much he wants someone like that for himself, before Louis’ walking back with none other than Liam in tow.

Shit.

“Hey, guys! Look who I brought along!” And Louis looks at Harry with the biggest shit-eating grin plastered across his face, telling him with his eyes “you better thank me for this.”

Liam just sort of stands there awkwardly at first, before introducing himself to the rest.

“Oh, we know all about you!” Zayn says, laughing against Niall’s shoulder.

“Yeah,” Niall agrees, “Harry never shuts up about you!”

Harry’s eyes bug out of his head as he sends two death glares towards the happy couple before biting his bottom lip to control his blush.

“Hi, Liam.” Harry says, still blushing.

“Hey, Harry.” Liam says and offers him a warm smile. “It was a little weird not seeing you at the counter today, I thought you weren’t going to come down.”

Zayn makes an ‘aw’ noise and Niall shuts him up with a kiss. Louis barks out a laugh and Harry just covers his face even more, dreading the day before it’s even begun.

***

They hang out a lot more after that, with less embarrassing Harry banter and more ‘getting to know each other’ banter, because as it turns out Liam has a lot in common with the four of them.

Liam and Zayn both have this weird affinity for old songs, Liam brought over his Journey album once and left it on repeat, trying to teach the rest of them all the words. Liam likes reading too – something that Louis gives Harry shit for because he never thought he’d ever meet someone who read as much as Harry. Liam doesn’t embarrass very easily and he’s got a pretty thick skin, tells jokes that are half funny but always bring tears to Harry’s eyes, which after Liam’s left their little impromptu get together he gets teased at for from Niall.

On one particular night, where there was no work for Liam and no school for Harry, Louis, Zayn, and Niall the next day, they brought out the shots and played one vicious game of ‘never have I ever.’ Generally speaking, Harry doesn’t like to play drinking games because the only time he ever got drunk he ended up passed out in someone’s flat and missing his left shoe – figures he’s just not the ‘drunk’ type and left it at that.

But none of the other boys will have any of it, persuade Harry to take that first sip and it’s gone downhill from there. The five of them are in a circular formation, with Harry sitting next to Liam, their knees touching and Liam keeps giving Harry this look, and he’s so far gone for this boy he doesn’t even try to hold back the blush.

“Okay, guys, my turn to ask,” Niall says and he doesn’t even seem drunk at all, which makes Harry jealous because Niall’s probably drank the most out of all of them and he isn’t even fazed.

Niall huffs out a breath, “Never have I ever slept with a bloke,” and Niall downs his shot in one gulp, gives Zayn this very suggestive look, making the older lad blush which is something that doesn’t happen quite often.

Harry looks around the group, sees Zayn pick up his shot and thinks ‘okay, that’s that’ before he sees Liam grab a glass and chug it down.

They all look at him in shock before Louis starts whooping loudly, and cheering. Harry pretends not to notice the smirk Louis gives him when they make eye contact.

“Why didn’t you ever tell us you’ve been with a guy?” Niall asks.

Liam just sort of shrugs. “It was a while ago – wanted to try something new, and well, you guys never asked.” He chuckles lightly at the end, before giving Harry a look and then turning back to Zayn.

“That’s cool, man. Test out all the waters.” Zayn’s blowing smoke away from them and Harry just shakes his head. Niall shouldn’t have bought Zayn that Confucius book for holiday.

They all laugh again at Zayn before Louis exclaims that it’s his turn to ask, so they let him.

Louis clears his voice and asks in the most dramatic voice, “Never have I ever had rough sex with my boyfriend on my best friends bed when said best friend walked in on us.”

“Fuck you, Louis!” Niall says as he downs his cup.

“You said you’d never mention anything!” Zayn says, embarrassed, holding his cup in his hand.

“Well,” Louis clears his throat. “I lied.” He breaks out into a peal of high laughter, clutching at his stomach while Niall and Zayn share looks of embarrassment.

Liam and Harry exchange a look before Liam shrugs and starts laughing with Louis, this rumbling, throaty laugh that makes his eyes crinkle at the corners and his lips turn up into a big smile.

Harry just stares in awe at Liam, watches the way his eyes sparkle, the way the sound kind of echoes around the room and goes straight to his heart, pulling at the strings and playing a piece he doesn’t ever want to forget.

He tries to memorize it – remember the ways Liam’s laugh makes him feel warm all over like someone just poured honey on his chest and locks it up for days when he feels he’ll need it again.

Harry’s glad no one is paying him any mind – too busy laughing at Niall and Zayn still – to notice that he can’t take his eyes off of Liam.

***

Harry passes by the coffee shop again, on his way to class. He’s got a few minutes to spare so he decides for a quick cup.

When he lines up he’s behind this bottle blonde who’s got about five layers of makeup too much and a shirt that’s about three sizes too small. He doesn’t think anything of it really, until the girl gets to Liam and she’s all flirty face, and batted eyelashes, leaning to far over the counter and showing a little too much boob.

Harry wants to puke.

There’s this tight, tight feeling in his chest and he can feel his jaw clench, the overwhelming irrational want to slap this girl and scream “he’s mine” fighting against the rational side that’s reminding him that Liam is just one of his mates – hot, mate – and he’s not Harry’s, no matter how many times Harry catches him looking his way. And he really believes Liam’s probably going to flirt back, maybe - Liam didn’t specifically say he was gay when they played truth or dare last week, and well.

Harry tries to tune it out.

Except, it never comes.

Liam is his polite self, courteous to a tee and smiling – the excellent employee – but Harry can tell Liam’s a little bit. . . off.

His nose scrunches up a bit when he’s irritated, and Harry slaps himself mentally for actually knowing how Liam looks when he’s irritated. After a while, the girl gives up, shrugs and takes her food with her.

Harry steps forward and is greeted with the usual, “Hey, Harry, what can I get you?”

He tries, but fails to keep the smile off his face as he looks at Liam. “The usual.” Harry realizes that he’s been coming here way too much for him to just be able to say the usual and that Liam would already know, frequented the Java Hut more in the last couple months than in his whole first half of uni.

“Here you go, Harry,” Liam gives him his food, and a big smile. And Harry tries not to skip out of the café.

***

“How are things going between you and Liam?” Louis asks as he plops down onto the sofa, bag of chips in hand.

Harry mock laughs, “Define things, we’re not even together, Lou.”

Louis rolls his eyes. “Honestly, Harry. You’ve been hung up on Liam for like what? Two, maybe three months now? You go to the damn Java Hut every single day, order the same damn coffee every single day when we have a perfectly good coffee maker here – don’t tell Liam I said that, he’ll be crushed, all I’m saying is make a move, Harry. I’m so tired of your heart eyes and pining.”

Harry sighs exasperatedly, and falls back into the cushions. “It’s not easy.” He sighs, reaching a hand to grab some chips.

“It is.”

“No it’s not.”

Yes, Harry, it is and if you don’t tell Liam within this week – I will.”

Harry looks at Lou with huge eyes. “You wouldn’t.”

Louis smirks condescendingly and says, “Yes, I would. And we both know that you know that I will.”

Harry huffs.

“Fine. I’ll tell Liam.”

Oh shit.

***

Harry’s alone in the apartment right now, reading a book. Louis’ gone off with his drama friends and Niall and Zayn buggered off to Niall’s flat (to do things Harry probably doesn’t want to know about) and finally gave Harry some peace and quiet. It’s the first time in a while that Harry has actually been alone.

His thoughts drift right to Liam (as if on cue) and he thinks about how he’s been sort of skirting around Liam bordering on three months and maybe he should just tell him already.

His phone buzzes and it’s a text from Louis.

Today’s your last day, Harold. Tell him or I will xx Lou

So.

Harry has only one option really, doesn’t want Lou to be the one telling Liam so he sighs and figures well, why the hell not.

I’m going to do it now x Harry

Okay, he’s going to tell Liam he has a small (massive) crush on him and maybe – maybe Liam likes him back and wants to date.

He grabs his raincoat and heads out the door of his apartment before he can change his mind.

***

It’s raining even harder when Harry reaches the Java Hut and his curls are a little soaked, so he shakes his hair out in front of his face. He keeps walking whiles trying to dry them and inadvertently slips on one of those plastic lids for the coffee cups and he tries to brace his fall by grabbing something, but that something ends up being a someone and they both land on the floor hard and Harry feels his arm bend in a way it probably shouldn’t.

Ouch.

“My arm,” Harry groans as he tries to bend his it back towards him, which only causes his entire arm and shoulder to hurt even more.

It’s too late before he realizes the person he fell into was Liam and of course it was Liam because who else would Harry have the luxury of running into?

“Sorry Liam, I’m sorry,” Harry starts muttering as he’s trying to lift himself up but it’s really difficult with only one working arm and yeah, maybe he should go to the doctor.

“Are you hurt?” is the first thing Liam says to Harry, not even acknowledging his apology. Liam gets this look on his face where his brows knit together and his lips form a tight line and wow – Harry tries his best not to stare.

“I-I’m fine,” Harry stutters out, turning to leave.

“No you’re not, Harry.” Liam says and his name sounds weird with the tone of voice Liam’s using, not his usual chipper mood but a tone that if Harry reads too much into sounds a lot like pain or discomfort. “Does this hurt?” Liam asks as he runs a hand over Harry’s shoulder and – ouch. That hurts.

Harry’s wince is enough to convince Liam. “You’ve dislocated your shoulder, Harry.”

Harry merely nods in acceptance and turns to leave before he feels Liam’s hand on his uninjured arm. “Where are you going?”

“I think I’m – I was going to go to the doctors?” But it comes out more like a question than a statement and Liam is shaking his head.

“Don’t you remember when you asked me if you ever got hurt, and I said I’d help you?” Liam gives Harry this cute little eyebrow quirk and Harry wants to die.

His cheeks flush red as he remembers that yeah, Liam did say that and it was the second time they met – two and a half months ago and wow, Harry’s surprised Liam remembered.

Harry makes this sort of unintelligible noise as Liam grabs his arm and calls out, “I’m taking my off day now!” before dragging Harry out the door of the Java Hut and down the street.

There’s an awkward silence around them and Liam still hasn’t let go of Harry’s arm when Harry asks, “Where are we going, Li?” And the nickname sort of just falls from his lips without Harry being able to stop himself. He bites his lip and hopes that Liam didn’t hear him but there’s a faint smile playing at the corners of Liam’s mouth and that makes Harry blush even more.

“I’m studying to become a doctor remember? I’m going to help you; I’ll just take you to my flat.” Liam blushes a little as if just realizing what he said and mutters out, “I mean . . . I know you’ve never been there before . . . if not I’ll just take you to the doctor.” Harry can see Liam’s face fall a little so he quickly says, “I’d love for you to help me, Doctor.”

Liam gives him a small smile and tightens his grip on Harry’s arm just a little bit more.

***

Liam’s flat is just like Harry and Louis’ except it’s only a one bedroom with a smaller sized kitchen. It has white walls and smells just like the Java Hut, which makes Harry giggle because it just seems so like Liam to bring his work home.

“You can sit here in the chair, Harry.” Liam points to the small dining table he has parallel to the kitchen and Harry takes a seat while he waits for Liam to come back.

Liam walks back into view with a white first aid box in tow and what looks to be a sling over his shoulder. “Okay, Harry . . . you’ve dislocated your shoulder so this’ll probably hurt a bit.”

Liam firmly grabs Harry’s upper arm with one hand and feels around the joint tenderly, backing off when Harry winces. “It’s only an anterior dislocation, so I can fix that just fine.”

“What if it wasn’t?” Harry asks and he’s not really sure why he did but he can’t really control his mouth when Liam is this close.

Liam makes a cute little pout before saying, “Well . . . I didn’t learn that yet.”

Harry laughs and he’s not sure whether it’s from nerves or something else entirely.

“Get absolutely relaxed, Harry or it will hurt more.” Liam grips his wrist and tells him to make a fist. “Alright, ninety-degree angle with the elbow . . . ah, yes like that. . .” Liam’s voice has taken on this sort of calm quality Harry has always associated with doctors and it’s soothing and relaxing and kind of sleepy.

“Okay, Haz? I’m going to try and relocate your shoulder now, tell me if it hurts.” Liam slowly raises Harry’s bent arm and shoulder towards his chest, causing Harry to hiss in pain, and back out away from him.

Harry’s on the verge of tears because it’s really fucking painful but after a few more rotations and soft words from Liam, Harry feels his shoulder pop, and relief just floods through his entire arm.

“Thank you, Liam.” Harry says as he runs his uninjured arm over the one Liam just fixed.

“Here, Harry, wear this sling, it should help keep your arm steady.” Liam puts the sling over Harry’s head as he slips his arm into it and Harry’s not even aware he was crying until Liam hands him a napkin.

“I’m sorry,” Harry says, wiping at his eyes.

“For what?” Liam asks confused.

“For running into you today and knocking you over and dragging you into the mess that are my friends – oh god – that orange shirt – it wasn’t even my idea! That was Louis’ thinks he’s a real riot and I’m just really, really, sor –“

Harry is cut off by a hand caressing his cheek, slowly bringing his eyes up to meet Liam’s.

“Don’t be sorry, Harry. You and your friends are the most fun I’ve had in a while.” Liam offers his a small smile and Harry tries to smile back.

“Our,” Harry corrects.

“What?” Liam says.

“You said ‘your friends’ when you should’ve said ‘ours’ cause they all love you too bits cause you’re really amazing and everything – and you’re such a good guy and – “ Harry cuts himself off, feeling embarrassed from his ramblings.

There’s another awkward silence again before Liam asks Harry, “Why’d you stop by the Java Hut today? You could have texted me or something and we could have met up anywhere else but that godforsaken coffee shop.” Liam offers Harry a smile and Harry tries to reciprocate it, but he’s pretty sure he looks like a cross between a pained expression and like he just smelled something bad.

“I – I actually came to talk to you. . .” Harry says, fidgeting with the sling.

“About what?”

“Well, see. . .I – I was,” Harry takes a deep breath. “It’s all Louis fault.” He buries his face in one hand and looks down, not wanting to meet Liam’s eyes.

Liam looks at him strangely. “What’s Louis’ fault?”

“See, he only gave me a week and that wasn’t enough time and then I thought ‘okay, I’ll get it over with’ but I don’t think I can anymore and, ugh. . .” Harry says, peeking out from behind his hand.

“Harry, you lost me. Try explaining it again.” Liam’s voice has taken on that soothing quality again and Harry just wants to stay wrapped in his voice forever.

“I like you, Liam.”

“I like you too, Harry.”

“No,” Harry gets off the chair and huffs, “not like that, I mean – I really, really, like you – like ‘let’s date’ like you, or ‘I think you’re real fit’ like you and I just. I like you.”

“And I said,” Liam moves a step closer to where Harry is hovering over the couch. “I like you too.”

Harry looks up and sees Liam standing right next to him.

“I’ve been waiting, to see when you were going to tell me.”

Harry blushes at that, and hides his face. “I can’t believe you knew.”

“I’m not going to totally lie here – Louis and Zayn and Niall sort of clued me in.”

Harry’s face goes even more red as he mutters ‘thundercunts’ under his breath.

“You’re really cute when you blush,” Liam says, smiling at Harry which only serves to deepen the red of his face as he asks, “You think I’m cute?”

“I think you’re very cute.” Liam says moving closer to Harry. They’ve both migrated over to the small loveseat in Liam’s living room and there isn’t much room left between them. Liam pushes some of Harry’s curls back. “I thought you were cute the first time you walked into the Java Hut, red faced like you had just run a marathon, I thought you were cute when you didn’t know what to order, or when you asked for that banana and I spent my entire shift trying not to remember the way you looked while eating it. I thought you were cute when you walked in wearing that bright orange shirt even though I could tell by the look on your face that orange was not your color – adding my name to the back hemline was such an adorable touch, really, I was blushing mad if you didn’t notice. I think you’re cute Haz, like really cute. And I’d love to go on a date with you – if you want.”

“Haz?” Harry questions.

“It’s a nickname?” Liam says, scratching the back of his neck.

Harry gives him a big goofy grin. “I like it, Li.”

That makes Liam smile.

“I think you’re really cute too,” Harry says and this time he’s the one moving closer. “You looked cute every single day I walked into the coffee shop and you’re always wearing that tight black shirt, or the nights when it’s all of us and you’re just so yourself, like that night we played ‘never have I ever’ and you started laughing, I just wanted to grab your face and kiss you mad.”

“So do it. . . . Kiss me.” Liam says like it’s the best idea he’s had in a long time (and it probably is), but Harry’s not going to even think about it a second longer before he’s closing the nonexistent distance between them and pressing his lips to Liam’s.

Liam’s lips are soft and warm, slightly moist from licking it maybe and he tastes like blueberry muffins and sugar, freshly brewed coffee and peppermint gum. Harry licks his way slowly into Liam’s mouth, wanting to taste every inch of it. He runs his tongue along Liam’s bottom lip and Liam concedes easily. Harry licks along the roof of Liam’s mouth causing him to moan and he just kisses and kisses and kisses Liam until he no longer tastes like anything but Liam. Halfway through their kissing, Harry ditched the sling, figures Liam could always help him again and resituates himself into Liam’s lap, running his hands through the soft shaggy curls that are just like his, except entirely different. Liam’s curls are like milk chocolate and so, so soft, basically feather light to the touch while Harry’s are wild and all over the place. Liam’s arms have tightened around Harry’s body as he pulls him closer, his hands running up and down Harry’s spine like electric shocks through his system.

“So, about that date?” Liam asks and he’s entirely breathless.

“Yes, yes – I want to date you.” Harry answers against Liam’s lips. He runs his fingers over Liam’s scalp scratching it lightly and it makes Liam moan even more, smiling against Harry’s lips when he realizes that Harry’s going to keep playing with his hair so it’s only fair Liam gets to do the same.

Harry’s not sure how long he and Liam sat there and kissed each other but he definitely knew it wouldn’t be the last.

***

Harry walks back to his flat with the biggest grin on his face; lips kiss swollen and dark red. His hair’s a mess and his shirt is a little wrinkly. He tries to sneak back into the flat, fingers crossed that Louis is still out.

But of course he’s not.

Louis is sitting in one of the dining room chairs, giving Harry what he refers to as his “best hard-ass glare”. Harry blushes and tries to fix himself but it’s too late because he can already hear the onslaught of Louis’ laughter.

“Looks like someone had fun?” And Louis is wiggling his eyebrows and moving his body suggestively that Harry’s face goes red even more as he tries to make a mad dash to his bedroom.

“Not so fast, punk.” Louis says in what he calls his semi-intimidating-but-still-your-friend voice. “Details. Now.”

Harry sits on the couch and sighs. “Long story short – I am a klutz, Liam is studying to be a doctor so he had to help me, we ended up back at his flat where I basically confessed that I like him and he said he likes me too and asked me out on a date and then he asked me to kiss him – so I did, a lot, I might add and now we’re together.”

“All thanks to me, I might add.” Louis says ruffling Harry’s curls.

Harry rolls his eyes. “I still can’t believe you three told him before I did. He knew! Now embarrassing.”

Louis gives Harry an affronted look. “Well, it worked out for the better didn’t it Harry?” Louis lets out a laugh and Harry shrugs and joins in. He’s blushing mad but he doesn’t care, the realization that he and Liam are dating finally hitting him full force and he’s just so extremely happy with everything, he could literally frolic through a meadow.

***

When Niall and Zayn find out it’s actually really funny because Harry’s at the Java Hut (when is he not, really) and without even thinking he leans over the counter to press a light kiss to Liam’s lips before turning to leave. He hears the unmistakable laughter that belongs to his Irish friend and the throaty chuckle he’s come to know as Zayn’s, echo across the café. He turns around and spots Niall sitting on Zayn’s lap while the older of the two rifles through what looks to be his bag, smirk playing across both of their faces.

When Harry walks over to where the two are at, he’s instantly tackled by Niall in a bear hug and almost spills his coffee down the front of his favorite jumper, and meets eyes with Zayn whose giving them both this incredibly fond look.

“When were you going to tell me you cunt,” Niall says as he slaps Harry’s back.

“I dunno,” Harry says as he rubs his free hand on the back of his neck. “We’ve only been together for like a week and I don’t want to mess this up.”

Zayn gives him this calculating look and glances at Liam before saying, “Harry, I don’t think there’s any way for even you to mess this up.” Niall laughs at Zayn’s comment says, “I knew there was a reason I kept you around,” before kissing the boy in a way not meant for outside the bedroom.

“Uh…” Harry sort of says awkwardly because Niall and Zayn are still attached at the lips and he’s just standing there.

Niall and Zayn break apart both with flushed faces before Niall says, “Harry, what are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you go be with your boyfriend?”

Harry blushes at the word ‘boyfriend’ before opening his mouth to say something, but thinks better of it. He shakes his head as he walks away from where the two are still kissing each other and chances another look in Liam’s direction.

Liam’s looking at him and Harry sees him mouth the words my flat, tonight which makes him giggle like a little school girl as he nods at Liam and gives him a big smile before leaving out the door.

***

It’s become a routine now.

Every day after classes and Liam’s done for work the pair will run off to Liam’s flat and hangout. They talk about a range of things but always end up going back to their debate over who’s the better superhero.

“It’s Batman,” Liam argues one night as he places a chip in his mouth.

“Batman wasn’t even a superhero. Superman is better.” Harry challenged.

Liam always gets this affronted look as if Harry had just insulted his mother. “You take that back, Styles.” Liam would say with no real malice behind his words.

Harry would just smirk and say ‘never’ until Liam would kiss the smirk off his face.

It’s the days like those that Harry really lives for, the little moments between he and Liam that add up and build in his memories and the special ones he keeps locked away in his heart. There’s the first time they kissed on the sofa, and even if that doesn’t really count, to Harry it does because it was the beginning of something he never hopes will end, the time when they went on what Louis called a “proper date”, which was some lame dinner at a restaurant that after twenty minutes had them both running out the door to do something more exciting – they spent that night lying in the small campus park, counting the stars until it started to rain – Liam wanted to go back inside but Harry wanted to dance in the rain, and they danced together while singing a bad rendition of Hit Me Baby One More Time, giggling through the first half of the song.

“I’ve always wanted to kiss someone in the rain,” Liam says. His curls are soaking and he’s probably going to get a cold but Liam doesn’t think he’s ever seen someone’s eyes as green as Harry’s are right now, someone who looks absolutely amazing as Harry does, even if they’re getting rained on.

“Me too,” Harry says before he closes the distance between the both of them and captures Liam’s lips in his own. He cups Liam’s face to get a better angle and swipes his tongue alongside the inside of Liam’s cheek, causing him to make these delightful moans.

They both end up lying on the grass again, kissing for just a little bit more before breaking apart and just laying side by side. After a while they get up and head back to Liam’s flat where they kiss even more before stripping off the wet articles of clothing and going to bed.

Harry snuggles up into Liam’s body more, radiating in the older boy’s warmth. Harry wraps his hand around the hand Liam’s got around his waist and breathes a contented sigh. He could get used to this.

The time Liam told Harry he loved him though, that’s the one Harry keeps locked away in the deepest corner of his heart, goes back to it whenever he hasn’t seen Liam for a while or whenever he needs to be cheered up.

Just as he is about to fall asleep, Harry hears Liam’s voice.

“Harry?” his voice sounds so little compared to earlier, so Harry turns around.

“Yeah, love?”

“I know . . . we’ve only been together a couple months but . . . tonight was perfect, Harry.”

“It was,” Harry agrees, smiling. They had gone off campus, into town and spent their time frolicking through the different shops, shared some ice cream at a parlor and ate at Liam’s favorite burger restaurant.

“I love you.” Liam’s voice cuts through Harry’s reverie, brings him back to reality.

Harry eyes go wide a little before he’s leaning forward a pressing a light kiss to Liam’s lips.

“I love you too, Liam.” Harry whispers it right into Liam’s ear. He can feel Liam smile against his neck and Harry moves back to look at him in the face.

“I do. I love you.” He snuggles closer to Liam and feels Liam’s arms wrap tighter around his body.

Harry’s never had a better sleep.

Liam is the most fascinating person Harry’s ever met. He likes things organized and proper, takes his coffee too sweet and always puts too much salt on his eggs. Liam likes listening to Journey’s Greatest Hits album and loves singing in the shower – though he’ll never admit it. He loves taking care of people, Harry especially, like the time Harry slipped and cut his hand while making dinner and Liam sutured it up for him, or the time Harry tripped down the stairs and sprained his ankle, Liam wouldn’t let him do anything and that somehow led to their first fight, which only ended in kisses and tears and a litany of sorrysorrysorry, Liam being extra careful because of Harry’s sprained ankle.   Liam likes poetry and believes in chivalry, which always makes Harry blush because he is not the girl, (although he secretly loves it.)  Liam’s got so many different things about him that make him so loveable, his uncanny ability to know when something’s wrong, he can read Harry like an open book and Harry likes to believe that was a quality Liam learned recently and not something he’s had forever. 

The first time they made love – because Liam is a hopeless romantic and refused to call it sex, thinks it’s tacky and rude – was the happiest moment of Harry’s life. He likes the way Liam’s face scrunches up in concentration, how he’s still so wrapped around the idea of doing the best job he can, the way the muscle’s in his legs flex when Harry can tell Liam’s going to come, or how after they were done he wouldn’t stop pressing kisses to the side of Harry’s throat whispering apology after apology because it was Harry’s very first time, Harry having to comfort him with a blowjob and lots more kissing, which only led to more sex and more apologies from Liam.

 

Harry’s lying on his bed; it’s a Sunday and is Liam right next to him as he plays with Liam’s fingers.

“This still freaks me out,” Harry says out loud, it’s been nagging at his brain for a while and he finally thought he should say something.

“What does?” Liam asks, turning the television off to face Harry.

“You . . . us. I – Liam, I passed by that coffee shop every single day for a whole year before ever noticing you. In fact, the only reason why I stopped in there was because I was late for class and rushing and I just so happened to turn and – I saw you.”

“It does put things in perspective, right?” Liam agrees, playing with Harry’s fingers.

“You made me coffee and stole my heart,” Harry jokes. “I fell in love with clean cut corners and pale white walls - alphabetically organized book shelves and hot coffee in the morning that's always this side of too sweet, a kid at heart – who loves Batman too much and lazy Sundays.”

Liam gives Harry this look and he wipes a tear from the corner of his eye, “Did you write that?”

“Eh,” Harry says, “Just something I’ve been thinking about . . . you know, about you and all.”

Liam smiles and kisses Harry’s lips.

“I fell in love with stacks of English papers, dancing in the rain and badly sung Britney Spears – coffee with only two sugars and one crème, chocolate curls and a bright green that contains an innocence no one could ever get rid of. I fell in love with the boy who stopped by the coffee shop I work at every morning, bag slung over his shoulder, the biggest grin on his face whenever I’d say ‘Hi, Harry, what can I get you today’”?

Liam climbs on top of Harry and presses a soft kiss to his lips.

“I love you, Liam Payne, best coffee maker.” Harry whispers to Liam. They both laugh and kiss some more, slowly, and passionately, they’ve got all the time in the world.

“Mm,” Liam smiles against Harry’s lips and looks up to meet his brightly shining green eyes. “I love you too, Harry Styles, my best customer.”