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Love your man, and love him twice

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It starts slowly, a few harsh words, snapping at Niall when he wakes him up on the plane, hitting Harry harder than he normally would. Little things that he wouldn’t have noticed if not for Zayn.

But Zayn sits him down one afternoon in May and says “Lou, when was the last time you took your suppressants?” Voice gentle, a low rumble that puts him instinctually at ease, even as he starts to panic.

“Shit. I don’t... I don’t know.” and he really doesn’t, sinks down onto a chair and puts his head between his knees.

“Shh, it’s okay. Shhh.” Zayn is saying, hand carding through his hair and it helps a bit, until Louis starts thinking about how he’s felt all week, pissed off and turned on at everything. He’s lucky he has four other boys willing to fuck him sideways, he’s not sure he wouldn’t have done something stupid if he hadn’t been sneaking off with Niall for quick handjobs, getting Liam to blow him over lunch, settling into bed with Harry and getting knotted on a regular basis.

“What am I going to do?” Louis moans miserably, trying to calculate how long he’s been taking suppressants without a heat. He stops counting when he gets past seven months and starts to panic instead.

Everyone is taught what happens when omegas come off of their tablets unexpectedly, like a drug addict stopping their daily dose cold turkey. It starts small, being angry and horny for a week, maybe a week and half, and then the real symptoms set in, like heat only much worse. It’s the build up they think, the way the medicine just pushes the hormones and the instincts back, pushes and pushes until you stop taking them and then it explodes out of you. Depending on how long it takes to work the drugs out of his system, Louis could be in a fully fledged fever heat for four or five days.

It’s a disaster. They hardly have time to have a regular 30 hour heat every three or so months, like Niall had a couple of months ago, never mind the nearly week long one Louis will have now. The only real perk is that he has two Alpha’s rather than one. Double the alpha, double the knotting. Some omega’s, especially those without a stable Alpha influence, go mad from the fever heat, from the constant need and arousal, from the lack of fulfillment, from their inability to come without an alpha knot inside them and an alpha’s hand around their dick.

“We don’t have time for this Zayn.” he says, and it’s true. Being a popstar seems all fun and games sometimes, and then they’ll be pulling 20 hour days, getting barely five hours sleep a night, makeup and airbrushing hiding the deep circles under their eyes and the amount of weight Zayn loses when he’s too tired to eat. They all have different ways of coping, Harry with pain, Niall by binge eating until he makes himself sick. Liam tends to just coddle them all, hides sweets from Niall by giving them to Zayn, keeps Harry from pinching his own upper arm hard enough to bruise.

Louis fucks his worries away.

“Look,” Zayn says, “We can’t do anything about it today, but I’ll talk to the lads and to Paul and we can sort something out for tomorrow. But we really have to go to those interviews okay?” Louis sits up straighter then, takes a deep breath but doesn’t stand up until Zayn says “Louis” with just enough of an edge that he’s on his feet before he even realises it.

“Okay, okay.” he says and then steps closer to Zayn, curls up against him, trusts him to get them to wherever the interviews are being held. He at least remembers that they have so much to squeeze in this week that the interviewers are coming to them and so the room they’re going to have to sit in must be nearby.

The boys pick up on the weird vibe Louis is giving off straight away and they settle him in between Zayn and Liam, with Harry on Liam’s other side, close enough that he can throw an arm across the back of the seat and grip the nape of Louis’ neck without anyone really noticing. Louis is practically sitting on Zayn’s knee when the first interviewer arrives, a woman from some tween magazine or other, about 30 in a pencil skirt and shoes that make her legs seem to go on for ages. She shakes all of their hands but Harry, fucking oblivious Harry, gets up and kisses her on the cheek. She flushes a bit, obviously happy at the attention and Louis turns hard and sharp where he was slumped against Zayn seconds earlier.

It’s a bad idea to provoke an omega anyway, and Louis hates when Harry flirts with people when he’s right there, has to watch and can’t wrap himself around Harry and stake his claim. Those jealous instincts skyrocket with his heat and Zayn can tell from the way Louis is rigid and glaring daggers that they must be even worse now. Zayn tightens his grip on Louis and takes a deep breath, resigns himself to an an uncomfortable afternoon with a squirmy Louis, a frisky Harry and two very confused bandmates.

Things go from bad to worse with the third interview. This time the person who walks through the door is a young guy wearing enough designer labels that Harry is practically drooling (for how much he enjoys getting naked, Harry has such a thing for clothes.) He’s attractive enough that even Liam gives him a once over before he goes back to staring worriedly at Louis and his pointy elbows, and he brings a cameraman with him. They start recording as soon as they have the introductions out of the way and Louis goes tight and anxious beside Zayn, muscle jumping in his jaw as he tried desperately to produce something that looks like some approximation of a smile.

They had planned for this though, so they settle back and start answering questions. Niall takes a lot of them, jumping in with a big grin and his infectious laugh everytime Louis stumbles over something. From Zayn’s vantage point he can see the way Lou is breathing a bit deeper than normal, sweat beading on his neck and speech slurred the tiniest bit on words with long vowels. It sort of sounds like his Harry impression and Zayn’s pretty sure only their craziest fans are going to notice that anything is different at all.

It all goes to shit when the guy, Matt? Max?, something with an M, asks Harry about his tattoos and suddenly there is a lot more touching going on than they normally allow and Louis is up and off the sofa before Zayn can react.

He curls a possessive hand around Harry’s wrist, dark ink standing out against white skin where Louis is clutching too hard. Harry looks surprised, and if this wasn’t going south so quickly Zayn would probably hit something. For someone so normally astute, Harry often misses the most important things, even when they are happening right in front of his nose.

Harry looks down at Louis questioningly and looks even more confused when Louis just looks right back, obviously angry and then the fucking M-guy decides to get involved and Zayn can pinpoint the exact moment when Louis is just completely overwhelmed.

He pushes Harry back a few steps, away from the interviewer and closer to the boys and then he leans up on his tiptoes and starts biting at Harry’s jaw, at the exact spot Zayn learnt when they first met turned Harry into mush. It works just the same as it did when they are in bed, Zayn can see Harry sag a little bit, angling his head further towards Louis who decides to go for it, leaning over to kiss Harry properly, tongues sliding obscenely against each other.

Zayn presses a fist to his dick, wills it not to react when there are cameras in the room and thats when he starts to panic, stands up so quickly his vision shimmers a bit at the edges from the rush of blood. He pushes the door open and it rebounds off of the outside wall, startling Paul where he’s sitting across the hallway, phone in hand.

He takes one look at Zayn and is in the room with them before Zayn can open his mouth. The interviewer is gaping and the cameraman has his camera fixed on Harry and Louis where they’ve finally slid onto the sofa, Harry’s hands slipping under Louis’ shirt and pushing it up slightly.

“You need to leave.” Liam is saying, “Now.” and Zayn watches as Paul shepherds them out of the door, catching Zayn by the sleeve as he goes, demands “What is going on??”

Zayn gapes at him, torn between pushing him away and getting on his knees behind Louis, wants to bite at the knobs of his spine where they peek out from under his shirt, that is sure to go flying any second, Harry has that I-need-everyone-naked-right-now face on. But Paul needs him to explain and shit they really need to get the footage off of that camera and NDA’s signed before this gets out, because that would be... disastrous.

“Louis forgot to take his medication,” he says through clenched teeth, itching to be with his boys, with his omega, can see the way Louis is absolutely writhing already, needs to knot him and take the edge off. Needs to do so many things like organise a room for them and supplies because Louis is falling into fever heat fast, but mostly he just needs to fuck.

“We’re going to be out of commision for at least a week and look I really need to be over there right now. Liam, will you and Niall go and help them?” Paul is frozen and Liam is staring, outright scared now, at the way Louis is begging, almost sub vocal whimpers issuing from the vicinity of the sofa.

Zayn’s done, then, trusts the boys and their team to sort it out because, right now, he can’t care about any of that. All he cares about is the way Louis is starting to sound pained and how overwhelmed Harry looks, darting glances over Louis’ shoulders. First port of call is to get them naked, and he pulls Louis up to his feet, says “Stand still” in that alpha-voice that Harry still hasn’t got a handle on.

He unbuttons Louis’ shirt and unbuckles his belt, kneeling down to tug shoes and pants down and off, nostrils flaring when he has Louis naked and he can smell him. He beckons Harry over, says “Hold him would you?” and strips off, bends Louis over the arm of the hideously orange sofa they’ve all been crowded on for the past few hours. The whole room smells like Louis and Zayn can’t resist pushing him down and getting in between his legs, fingers slipping through the slick Louis has leaked all down his thighs already.

It’s a bit alarming really, the way it makes Zayn’s entire body throb and he can’t help the way he lets his fingers slip into Louis, hot and wet and perfect. He leans down further, bites into the crease where Louis’ thigh meets his arse and that somehow devolves into Zayn licking into Louis, tongue working in between his fingers and fluttering around the rim. Louis moans underneath him, hips bucking as he tries to fuck back on Zayn’s mouth and then hands appear on either side of Zayn’s head, clamping around Harry’s hips.

“You want knotting Lou?” Harry asks, and its Zayn’s turn to groan, mouth and chin slick and shining when he pulls away and pushes another finger into Louis. “D’you want me or Zayn?” he asks, voice dropping into an octave Zayn only thought he could do when he’d been singing -or sleeping- for hours. “Come on Louis, you have to tell me. We don’t know what you want.” Zayn smiles, bites at those perfect little knobs of bone he’d spied earlier.

“Hurts” Louis gasps, and Zayn pulls away so quick his neck protests.

“What hurts Lou?” he says, brushing a soothing hand along the omegas spine, and pressing gently on Harry’s arms until he loosens his grip on Louis’ hips. “Come on Lou what hurts?” and manhandles Louis until he has him straddling his lap on the sofa.

“All of me” Louis says, and whimpers, pushing his cock against Zayn’s stomach. “I want it. Want... want your knot.” and Harry settles on the floor between Zayn’s feet, hand coming around to wrap around Louis’ dick, tugging gently and rubbing his thumb against the head, red and leaking.

“Alright then” Zayn says, can hardly hear over the pounding of blood in his ears and the ache that’s spreading down his thighs. He hefts Louis up enough that he can slip right in. Harry wraps long fingers around the base of his cock, pressure all along where his knot is already swelling a little bit and guides him in.

Zayn lets Louis drop, knows he’s loose enough and wet enough that it won’t hurt, might sting a bit, but all the boys know Louis likes it to hurt a bit, the stretch. He says he loves the burn of being stretched because he doesn’t normally get to feel it, omega bodies always open and ready.

Louis moans, long and loud and Harry lets one of his hands slip up Louis’ chest to clamp over his mouth. The room they are in is a conference area just across the lobby. They don’t want nosy staff to come wandering in, wondering what the noise is and finding not just a pair of alphas spread out on top of their omega, but three members of One Direction fucking in a back room.

Zayn is burning up, temperature rising as he helps Louis ride his cock, shoulders already aching from the strain but he just can’t stop. Can’t stop when Louis keeps clenching around him, muscles fluttering as Harry gets a hand between their bodies, wraps it around where Louis is hot and hard and starts jerking him off, head of his cock peeking out and nudging against Zayn’s stomach.

The last straw comes when Harry kneels up straighter, pulling Louis’ mouth around to meet his. Zayn can see the way Louis sucks Harry’s tongue into his mouth, watching from inches away as Harry does something that makes Louis shudder, roll of his hips enough to have Zayn seating Louis on his dick more solidly, grinding upwards, working the swelling of his knot properly inside of him. Harry pulls away to give Louis space to breathe, hand wrapping tighter around Louis’ cock and encouraging him to shift slightly on the growing bulge of Zayn’s knot.

“Come on then” Harry says, and Louis comes, like all he needed was Harry’s voice to push him over the edge and Zayn groans, moving Louis’ hips in a quick circle, concentrating on the way he’s clamping down on the length of his cock, rim fluttering around the width of his knot and he starts to come too, hands tightening on Louis’ hips.

Harry gets dressed first, sits back behind Louis and starts biting at his neck, makes him come again before Zayn’s knot has shrunk down enough to slip out of him. Zayn pitches in to get Louis back into his shirt and jeans (glad he was aware enough not to rip anything, Louis really likes his fiddly buttoned shirts) and gets dressed himself.

Niall and Liam are sitting directly across from the door when they come out, sex flushed and sweaty, Louis with teeth marks starting to purple over huge areas of his neck. Liam doesn’t say anything, just stands up and tugs Niall upright. They take Louis’ hands and start leading him towards the bank of lifts across the lobby and Zayn sags a bit, thinking about all the shit he has to do now.

First port of call is to get Louis into their private room, and the first step to that is getting him into the lift. Liam and Niall are trying, but he’s dragging his feet and looking back at Zayn and Harry every few seconds. They catch him up halfway across the carpeted floor, almost adjacent to the reception desk when Louis pulls free from Liam’s grip and launches himself at Harry. Zayn looks up surprised, takes one look at Harry and realises why Louis is wrapped around him like a monkey, looking like he’s deciding what he wants to do to Harry first, because Harry didn’t get off when Zayn and Louis did, and he’s still hard, long line of his cock on obvious ridge in his trousers.

The receptionist is trying to pretend she’s not staring and failing miserably, and Zayn has to admit that they make quite a sight, Louis heat flushed and sweating, Harry all long limbs and thick cock. He wants so desperately to join them, can feel the alpha urge to grab Louis and pin him and fuck him until he cries, rising in his veins but he pushes it aside and helps Liam and Niall shepherd them both into the lift.

When the doors close Liam realises what a horrendously bad idea this was, because now its just the five them, smelling of sex and heat in an enclosed space.

He watches as Harry pins Louis to the lift wall, hips shifting as he presses his obviously aching dick against the swell of Louis’ cloth covered arse, stares when Zayn plasters himself to Harry’s back, mouthing restlessly at Harry’s shoulders. And then he sees the little dome in the corner of the roof and says “Ah shit. Zayn? ZAYN!” when all four of them ignore him. Zayn looks pissed when he turns to Liam and demands,

“What Liam.” Liam points at the camera and holds back a hysterical giggle when Zayn tries to pull Harry and Louis away from each other.

Louis’ just gone. Face blank with pleasure, eyes glazed and it scares Liam a bit, because he know’s what Louis’ face looks when he’s turned on and this is the same except a thousand times more intense, like he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on around him, so focused on Harry and the clothes separating his leaking hole from the knot that could plug him up and stop the desperate burning that’s spreading through his every nerve.

Liam makes a note to tell Paul and their team about the camera in the lift and then promptly forgets about it when it becomes obvious they aren’t going to get Louis to the room without some sort of divine intervention. He’s literally dragging his heels, clinging to Harry and whimpering, little sounds that ricochet off of the corridor walls and make the lines in Zayn’s forehead deepen as he clings desperately to the last of his control.

Another few minutes sees them move maybe ten feet, and then Harry has Louis pressed to a wall again, shirts dropped at their feet and Louis’ face is quickly turning maroon from the waiting. Zayn decides to take matters into his own hands, pushes Harry out of the way, ignoring the way he snarls and tries to keep hold of Louis for a second, before he realises that this is Zayn and he has nothing to worry about. And then Zayn picks Louis up and throws him over his shoulder, straining under the weight of the squirming omega, lets his hand drop in a quick spank to Louis’ bum in an effort stop him wriggling.

They get to the end of the corridor where their room is relatively quickly after that, Liam and Niall following Harry who is scrambling after Zayn and Louis like someone’s taken his favourite toy away. Liam thinks about it, and giggles again when he realises that that’s exactly what Zayn just did. Niall has to dash ahead to unlock the door, Zayn’s hands are full and this is still one of the first heat’s Harry has gone through with an omega, so he’s pretty much useless, panting after Louis.

They quite literally fall through the door, Zayn faltering under Louis’ weight when he shoulders his way over the threshold, staggering towards the bed with Harry clinging to his free arm and unceremoniously dumping Louis onto the duvet. He’s moaning again, rolling over to rock his hips against the mattress and Harry is on him in seconds, clumsy fingers tearing at the remainder of their clothes. Zayn takes a deep breath through his mouth and turns to Liam and Niall, hovering by the door. He opens his mouth, shoulders lifting as he steels himself to say something,

“Uh. I know... I know it’s not fair to ask-” trails off when the noise Harry and Louis are making rises suddenly. Zayn twitches as though he wants to turn and look at them, but stops himself and rushes out, “Can you go and sort everything out? The cameras and our schedules and stuff. I wouldn’t normally but-” and he trails off again, gestures behind him in the vicinity of the bed. Liam nods quickly because he can see the way Louis is squirming.

“Yeah, course I will mate.” he says, “ Go deal with all that. We’ll talk to you later yeah?”

Zayn practically launches himself at Louis when the door swings shut, clothes flying as he finally gets close enough to touch, sweep a gentle hand over Louis’ sweaty forehead, and presses a soft kiss to the spot his fingers brush.

“How you doing Lou?” he whispers and doesn’t get anything more than a grunt and hands curling hard around his upper arms, gripping desperately enough that Zayn’s not even surprised when he finally gets into the shower at the end of the heat and spies the Louis-sized fingertip bruises.

In all honesty, the next few days blur together. It’s all sweat and begging and come and knotting so much it starts to hurt, trying to fuck Louis hard enough he’ll fall asleep properly, to get rid of the dark circles that appear around his eyes after the first completely sleepless night.

-

By the third day Louis is completely sick of the fever heat. He’s so tired, can only get to sleep when he’s knotted and even then it’s not exactly deep sleep, waking up every few hours to coax Harry or Zayn awake and inside of him. He hurts now, and not like he did at the beginning, hurting from the need, but now all of his muscles ache and he’s come so many times he’s got nothing left, has started coming dry. And that’s all fun and games once or twice, but by the fifth time it hurts, stings and throbs, the way his exhausted body just wants more.

He wakes up at one point to see Harry flat on his back, fast asleep, and he slips down to suck his cock into his mouth, lick softly until it starts to fill up, keeps going until Harry’s hard enough for him to ride. Harry wakes up when Louis sinks down on him, startles up with a gasp and nearly brains Louis in the process, lying back down just as quickly, full-body shudders shaking him as his cock is forced to harden too quickly.

When he looks over at the clock, he realises its only been an hour since the last round and as soon as Louis has come again, cock jerking against his stomach, staying thick and swollen looking even after the slit stops twitching with his orgasm, he has to ring Zayn and ask him to come and take over because it burns to come this time, knot aching where Louis’ body is holding him, still tight despite the number of times he’s been knotted over the last few days.

It’s Liam who answers the phone and Harry can’t help but wish to be with them, to be curled up with Liam and Niall, sleeping soundly for a good 10 hours and knowing he won’t be woken up every hour by Louis whimpering and pressing his fever hot body against whoever is in bed with him.

“Hey Liam” he whispers, stroking the back of Louis’ head when he conks out on his chest.

“How you guys doing?” Liam asks and Harry sighs, tries to answer truthfully,

“Okay ish. Louis’ hurting a bit I think and I’m knackered.” he says, proving his point unintentionally by yawning in the middle of the sentence.

“I wish we could help.” Liam sighs, and Harry hears Niall come awake beside Liam and mutter sleepily, “oo’s tha’”, hears Liam shush him softly, murmur “Go to sleep Nialler, we’re alright.”

“S’not your fault.” Harry tells him, and it’s not, they learnt that yesterday morning. Louis’ had just started peaking and he was knotted with Zayn, had come twice, three times and was still begging, squirming around and asking for more. Zayn was half asleep and playing with Louis’ hole where it was spread around his knot and Harry had decided the best course of action would be to make Lou come again, hoped that would make him settle down. He made Louis lean back against Zayn’s chest and lifted Louis’ cock away from his body, tongue reaching out to lick gently at the head, shiny with come, still hot and stiffening quickly. He kept going for a while, sucking gently at his balls and pressing kisses to his shaft, had frozen when he heard sniffling from above him.

He didn’t want to look up, and his heart dropped like a stone when he did, when he saw the tears leaking down Louis’ face. Zayn slipped free a few seconds after that, when Harry was still frozen and trying to decide what to do. And then the door opened and Liam was standing stunned in the doorway, eyes wide and nostrils flaring as he inhaled the scent of sex and omega and heat.

Harry was about to wave him in, because Liam always knows what to do when Louis’ upset but Louis snarled, body turning away from the door and shouting, “Get OUT” and Liam stumbled back at the force of it, turned around when Louis said “NOW!” and tripped over Niall who, standing right behind him, hadn’t moved fast enough.

“Fuck” Zayn had whispered and dragged himself off of the bed to start rooting around, looking for jeans. “Are you okay here Haz?” he asked, “I’ll go deal with Liam and Niall yeah? And I probably need to talk to people about what we’re doing.” That’s when Harry realised they hadn’t left the bed for anything other than food for two days and that he felt all kinds of disgusting.

“Yeah course. You should take a shower first though, or at least after you’ve spoken to the lads, yeah?”

Zayn had gone off and Harry hadn’t heard anything since.

“Zayn there?” he asks.

“He went to get you guys some food, left his phone here by accident. You need him now, because I can go find him?” Liam says, and starts to get up, pulling his arm out from under Niall gently, stopping when Harry tells him,

“Nah it’s alright. As long as he isn’t ages. Lou just went to sleep.”

They hang up soon after and Liam shifts around a bit, getting comfortable. It’s nearly 4 in the morning but he can’t sleep, keeps thinking about how Louis looked when he’d made them leave.

He puts the telly on for a few minutes, sound turned down low on an episode of Spongebob, but he turns it off when Niall starts laughing quietly. Liam hadn’t even realised he was awake.

“Did someone ring earlier?” Niall asks after a few seconds of silence.

“Just Harry, was looking for Zayn. You woke up for a bit.”

“Dya think Lou’s alright?” and Niall looks so worried, nibbling on his bottom lip that Liam has to kiss him, can’t quite stem the need to comfort him.

“Course. He’s got Harry and Zayn. I’d be jealous if I didn’t already know what it was like.” he chuckles a bit and Niall gets that gleam in his eye that says he’s just had what will either turn out to be a terrible idea, or a fucking fantastic one.

“Want me to tell you what its like?” Niall says, loud and unashamed even while Liam flushes a bit. Niall must take that as a yes, because he shifts up so that his mouth is right next to Liam’s ear and nips at it before he starts talking, voice low and dirty.

“It’s different, obviously. I mean, it’s not like I know what its like getting fucked without leaking all over first. But I mean, we’ve all seen the way you go a bit tense and crinkly when anyone’s prepping you. At first anyway, all your back goes tight, and then you start to get into it, like, properly into it. Haz said last week that he loves that, when you start fucking back on his fingers, always taking more.”

Liam moans a bit in response, half hard in his boxers.

“But with me and Lou, all it takes is a hand on us and we’re all wet and ready. Zayn loves that but fuck me, its annoying sometimes. It’s bad enough hiding a boner without worrying about being wet enough to start showing through your pants. But you’ve never shagged a beta before, just me and Louis, so you don’t know what it’s like, how different it feels from the outside.” Liam turns his head, latch onto Niall’s neck with gentle teeth and gestures for Niall to go on when he stops to suck in a breath.

“Cos like, fucking Lou is kind of like a blowjob yeah? Slick as owt and hot and tight, even if you get a go after he’s been knotted. But fucking you’s different, never as easy obviously, takes longer, but the benefit of tha’ is how worked up you get. I just want to finger you till you cry sometimes Liam. You go all red and pretty and.. fuck” Niall trails off because Liam is clawing open his trousers and swallowing down his cock, quick and easy, like it’s nothing, and Niall tries to arch up, hips flexing to get deeper. But Liam.. Liam throws an arm over his waist and pins him down and Niall can’t move, which is stupidly, outrageously hot.

He and Harry wrestle all the time, Niall knows the best spots to press to make Harry let go, and when Zayn’s on top of him, it’s not like he wants to make him get off, at least not in the traditional sense. He doesn’t really want to make Liam move either, but he does shift against the weight of Liam’s arm, just to feel the way it’s keeping him from fucking into the heat of Liam’s mouth.

He comes embarrassingly fast, whatever he was saying before Liam decided to suck his brain out through his dick, is completely forgotten, and he moans weakly when he goes to give Liam a hand and realises he’s already come, rubbed off against the sheets.

-

Louis’ fever breaks on the afternoon of the fifth day, eyes clearing from the slightly drugged look they’ve had for the last few. He immediately falls asleep, completely dead to the world, tired enough that Liam and Niall can come in and strip the bed and make Harry and Zayn have showers and eat and clean Louis up as much as is possible with flannels without so much as a break in Louis’ soft snores.

They all get into the bed eventually, curling up around Louis protectively and all startling awake when he tries to creep out from under them all a solid 12 hours later.

“Hey.” he says, smiling at them from the foot of the bed. “Gonna have a drink and a shower. I’m freezing.” He gets halfway to the bathroom when he gets a cramp in his thigh and drops to the floor like a sack of bricks. Liam’s not sure he’s ever run so fast in his life, and he helps Louis into the bathroom, pours him a glass of water and then Liam sits on the toilet while he has a shower.

“I’ll get Harry to give you a massage after this. We’ll order room service yeah?” and Louis calls

“Sounds good” over the shower door, frosted glass turning him into a vaguely pink blob as the bathroom slowly fills with steam.

When he’s eaten and is bundled up in a jumper they make the trek down the corridor to the other room, the room that has clean sheets and a slightly bigger bed and doesn't smell like three guys have spent the last week fucking non-stop in it. Niall and Liam are both a bit clingier than normal, and Louis puts up with it with a tired smile, whole body still aching, head feeling too heavy for his neck to support it.

It’s Niall that works out that Louis’ get a fever this time, leans down to kiss Louis’ split lip and realised how hot he was. It’s a regular fever, brought on by the stress, says the doctor.

But then the doctor also tells the rest of them to stay away from Louis, which is a stupid thing to say at the best of times, but especially so when Louis’ just come out of a fever heat and now he’s sick and coughing and Niall buys out the Vix rub at the pharmacy downstairs and Liam rubs his back when he can’t stop coughing and Zayn curls up around him every night and Harry gets them enough food to feed an army.

It takes a little over 4 days for Louis to shake this fever and afterwards, he doesn't look so tired. Zayn’s gained the weight he loses when he’s stressed, all that food Harry kept bringing them. Harry hasn't got bruises anywhere other than on the inside of his thighs where Zayn sunk his teeth one night. Niall’s grinning for weeks afterwards, unable to wipe the smile off of his face because it’s such a relief to have all of that over with, to get back to their busy busy schedule and busier nights.

Liam’s glad, in a way. Not glad that Louis was hurting, not glad that he had an actual limp from strained muscles for a week after the fever heat broke, but glad that they had a chance for some actual downtime. They were on a cliff, Liam knows, and it would have taken little more than a breath to send them tumbling like a house of cards, but Louis and his little attack of biology gave them a break, a chance to regroup and Liam’s never going to be able to regret that.