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Teenage Dream

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The song was 6 minutes and 29 seconds long, but sometimes it seemed more like 6 and a half hours. Louis Tomlinson, go-go dancer to the tired old queens who frequented Nellie’s, had picked it as his signature tune because he knew the crowd, who’s median age was somewhere around 43, was familiar with it and associated it with youth and better days. Days filled with pubbing and clubbing; days ruled by lithe, smooth hardbodies and probably copious amounts of charlie and unprotected sex. Nobody associated it with male pattern baldness, paunchy tummies, erectile dysfunction, or the world-weary knowledge that being gay, even in 2013, is still an uphill battle in many aspects. Certainly nobody listened to the words and thought of the crushing grind of work, pub, wank, and sleep.

It’s never enough, it’s never enough, it’s never enough until your heart stops beating…

And besides, Louis liked it. It might not have the same punch of a Gaga tune, but he reckoned that was all down to bass anyhow. He liked the urgency that ran through it, the sense of life or death that pulsed in the lyric. Even on nights when he felt tired, or when the gaggle of men sitting at the bar beneath him depressed him and he just wanted the night to be over, nights when the song seemed to take six and a half years to finish, even then he had to focus on not silently moving his lips to the words.

Hold on! It’s never enough, it’s never enough until your heart stops beating.

He didn’t dance quickly. You can’t, can you? You have to keep it going for your 20 minute set and you must be ever mindful of the drinks at your feet, hands and elbows resting on the bar, the bowls of nibbles, fag packets and ashtrays. At Nellie's you can smoke. Simon had friends in high places, it would seem. His moves, like those of the other boys, mainly consisted of arse and crotch grinding, tipping his head back with his eyes closed and his own moves: twisting his arms behind himself suggestively and arching his chest, or crossing them behind his head, lips parting, tongue brushing over his upper lip, his face mirroring a pretty and wholly false representation of orgasm.

He was wearing the silver sequins hotpants again. They were so tight that they lifted his already pert arse ridiculously high, and they showed off a package up front that was clearly displayed as beyond adequate. His arctic eyes were lined in shiny sliver pencil and his dark shock of soft hair was brushed and sprayed into a messy fauxhawk that apparently drove the old boys to distraction. When he was on the floor selling the vodka mousse and vodka jelly shots, they always wanted to touch his hair. They wanted to touch the rest of him too, but not badly enough to risk being tossed out and barred from the establishment. There was glitter in his hair, and smeared over his chest. He gyrated slowly, making eye contact with a few of the old buzzards gazing up at him with slack jaws, well aware that he was making their hearts beat faster, harder.

The deeper you get, the sweeter the pain, don’t give up the game until your heart stops beating

The song finally came to its end and Louis nimbly-daintily even-hopped to the floor behind the bar. The boy tending bar handed him a black and coke, heavy on the black. As Louis tipped the glass back, his pale eyes scanned the familiar faces hunched at the bar all around him, on the lookout for one in particular. He was relieved when he didn’t find it. He slipped a fag from a packet close to him and flashed the owner a blinding 1,000,000 watt smile, then turned and pranced toward the kitchen to fetch his shots tray.

All the boy had shots duty in between their sets. Personally he found the very idea of vodka jelly shots revolting, but then again he had never been a fan of gelatin, even as a child. He did, however, approve of the chocolate mousse shots. He was more than happy to accept them from the patrons he served them to, still giddy from the sight of him above them bathed in blue light, his thighs barely touching, rubbing his crotch in their faces and shaking his arse in that shameless way that dotted upper lips with sweat and tented trousers throughout the place.

Flitting into the kitchen he paused to down his drink, then swiped three mini-cups of mousse from the prep table, singing “thaaaank you!”, then licking the cups empty in quick succession, his pink tongue darting deeply.

The boy in charge of the trays hissed at him in annoyance.

”Louis! You know Simon doesn’t like that! It’s stealing!”

Louis rolled his eyes. He grabbed his crotch at the taller, more muscular boy and threw a pornographic hip thrust in his direction. His voice was pure camp.

“Steal this, Liam!”

And in a flash he was back out through the swinging doors, flirting outrageously; sitting on laps, patting damp splotched cheeks, kissing salty, moist, receding hairlines, hugging shoulders. His tray had just five little cups remaining when he spotted an unfamiliar shape in the back corner. Sitting at a deuce tucked behind the billiard table, a nervous-looking fidgety, gangly boy was sat hiding in his hoodie, fiddling with the zip. He was hunched in on himself, obvious in his attempt to draw little attention to himself.  Louis’ eyes narrowed and he flounced over immediately. If the uncertain posture hadn’t been first to give him away (it had) then the large scared eyes peering up at him from under a frankly scandalous mess of curls certainly would have. The curls looked damp and Louis knew the rain mustn't have ceased outside. He put on his bossiest voice but kept it low. There was no need to make a scene, after all.

“Here, what are you playing at? You’re not old enough to be in here. You’ll get us fined!”

He placed a sassy hand on his hip, waiting for an explanation. It took him a moment to recognize the sheer, paralytic terror in the lad’s wide green eyes, and he made his voice moderately softer.

“You just can’t stay here, alright? You’ll need to find someplace else. Simon is an absolute prat when it comes to minors in the place, he won’t stand for it.”

The boy nodded dejectedly and gathered up his only belonging:  a bike messenger’s bag that was splotched with ink spots and peppered with badges, and which had obviously seen better days. A white badge flashed in the dim light, a Radiohead bear. Louis frowned as he noted a slight tremble in the boy’s bottom lip. The lip which he had happened to be looking at because it was plump and dark, a confusing mix of childlike and sensual that made him feel quite pervy and a little bit on edge. Not only that, but the lad’s silence was irritating him.

“Well…aren’t you going to say anything? Cat got your tongue? Why are you out so late anyway, it’s a school night, it’s Wednesday. Don’t you go to school?”

He tapped an impatient fingernail on the table top, waiting for an answer, his eyes demanding a response. The boy just shrugged. When he spoke, his voice was soft and while it wasn’t exactly deep, it had a low, rich timbre that Louis hadn’t expected, and his words came slowly, as though he had thought them through very carefully.

“I-I don’t go to school anymore. So it doesn’t matter what night of the week it is, not to me, anyway.”

His hand shook as he tugged the hoodie's zipper up to his chin, Louis took note and shifted his weight to his other foot. His mind was working fast. There were only a few reasons why some errant schoolboy would sneak into a gay pub, and it was obvious to him that this one was not out looking for cock. He sat down across from the boy and reached out, touching his arm. His voice was gentle.

“Have you run away from home, then?”

Before those words left his lips, had anybody suggested that those eyes could possibly go any wider Louis would have scoffed at the suggestion. But he watched now as absolute panic flooded them and the boy stood up so quickly he nearly overturned the table. He reached for a pair of olive drab fingerless gloves, snatching them up off the table, and made to push past Louis. Louis, on the other hand, wasn’t about to let him go so quickly. He reached out quickly, reflexes firing off, and smirked as he caught the hem of that obnoxiously purple hoodie. His voice was not one that commanded attention often. It was a lilting tenor that had caused much teasing at school, and quite a lot of bullying as well. But now it came off as strong and a bit forceful, stopping the lad in his tracks as Louis uttered one simple word.

“STOP.”

Chapter Text

Louis was stood at the tiny stove in his tinier flat. He stirred a dented pot that was heating a can's worth of beans. He had showered and changed into a pair of comfy jeans and a soft tee shirt. He hadn’t bothered with socks, because he hated socks and only wore them when he was ill or very cold, or both.  A few feet away from him Harry was sat at a dinky little table for two that Louis had found at a charity shop three flats ago. It had seen better days. Harry’s knee bounced rapidly but even if he had been still, his wide eyes and pinched expression would have given his anxiety away.

Louis stood there with one hand on his hip as he continued to stir, the metal spoon scraping the bottom of the pot in a never-ending circle. He wasn’t sure that harbouring a teenage runaway was a brilliant idea, in fact he was pretty certain it was illegal. But as he saw it, he’d had no choice, he couldn’t very well have just tossed Harry out on his own, thrown him to the wolves and leave him to fend for himself. Not an innocent little lamb like Harry, that would have been just cruel. And Louis wasn’t in the business of being cruel to terrified-looking boys with saucers for eyes and curls. He just wasn’t. Besides, it was raining.

There’d been no real hesitation on Harry’s part- he obviously wasn’t particularly keen on sleeping out in the rain. So there he sat on a hard backed hair in a stranger’s kitchen, damp hoodie discarded and hung over the shower rail, lower lip nibbled and hands twitching with anxiety, desperately wishing he had something to do, something with which to occupy them. For a moment he found himself wishing he smoked fags, that would be something at least. Something other than sitting here, feeling invasive and pathetic and like a big baby.

Finally Louis spoke.

“D’you want to make the toast?”

And before the other boy could reply, Louis had launched a little less than a half loaf in his direction. Harry caught it, nodding. Louis continued.

“You can have two pieces, I’ll just have one”

And Harry thought he should only have one as well, probably. Only, he was so hungry. He should have eaten earlier, but he’d been wet and cold and the pub with the pink triangle in corner of the door had lured him in out of the rain. Surely he’d be safe there, and he could warm up and sort himself out and maybe there was something to eat in there. But there wasn’t.

So he popped two pieces into the toaster slots and pressed the lever down. Watching toast brown is not the most interesting thing in the world and Harry thought he ought to make more of an effort to communicate with his host, so he suddenly blurted out:

“How long have you been working there?”

Louis liked the sound of Harry’s voice, and the way he spoke. He drew everything out, unhurried and with almost a sort of drawl of sorts. He had never heard anybody else speak that way. Louis looked up, his eyes an impossible flash of blue even here, where only one of the two fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling worked and it was rather dim. He took his time replying.

“About 7 months. It’s not as bad as it looks, I assure you.”

Harry felt an embarrassed flush creeping through his cheeks. Here this boy was giving him a place to sleep and even feeding him, and Harry had insulted him. Oh God. He was quick to speak up.

“Oh no, no, I um...I didn’t mean...that’s not what I meant. It doesn’t seem bad. Um, I don’t think I could do it...but...no, I mean...I don’t think I would want to take off most of my...”

He was babbling now, trying to find a way to just stop insulting Louis. He grasped desperately for the next thing to pop into his head.

“I only mean...I don’t think too many people would be interested. To see me. That way. Without most of my...”

He buried his face in his hands, finally just giving up because he was such an idiot at times, and right now was definitely one of them. He moaned quietly through the spaces between his fingers.

“...Sorry.

But Louis was laughing. He spoke cheerily.

“Well, it’s not for everybody, that’s for certain. And thank God for that!”

He continued to smile for a moment, because Harry was adorable.

“You can stop hiding now, nothing you said’s offended me in the least.”

Harry slowly lowered his hands, his cheeks still flushed hot, and Louis pointed at him with the spoon.

“You should be going to school. What’s this runaway nonsense anyway? Do you even know what happens to most runaways? What they have to do in order to just scrape by? Surely your mum and dad can’t be that bad.”

He watched as Harry recoiled at the words just as the toast popped up, startling him.

He turned and yanked the two slices up as Louis walked over with a plate. Harry laid the toasted bread down and Louis returned to the stove to spoon great teaspoons of beans onto them. Harry’s throat worked as his saliva glands went into overdrive. Louis handed him a fork and spoke gently.

“Eat, then we’ll talk more.”

Harry ate as Louis made his single, lonely slice of toast and beans and sat across from him, eating very slowly in order to make it last longer. When they were finished Louis piled their two mismatched plates and pushed them to the side. He leaned an elbow on the table and rested his cheek in the palm of his hand.

“Will you tell me now?”

Harry looked down at the table, his green eyes focusing on a  deep scratch in the wood.

His voice was low, and very soft. “Something bad happened. At school. I...I can’t go back.”  He shivered, and when he continued he realized that it didn’t feel the way it had when he’d told his mum and his stepfather, because he knew, he just knew, that Louis wouldn’t judge him. The flush left his cheeks and he paled as he pieced the episode together for Louis, his fingers picking fretfully at the hem of his tee shirt. It was still so new, it still shamed him and it just hurt so fucking much. He told it quickly, and Louis knew it couldn’t be good because the hurried speech sounded so alien to him already as it poured out of those fantastic lips.

Harry had gone to the loo during his lunch period. He was washing his hands in the sink when the door swung open. His eyes flicked up into the mirror. Three boys in his year. Boys from the footie team. Popular boys who he didn’t really know, had never spoken to. Three boys who, as the door swung shut and loudy latched shut, were staring at him and smirking, muttering to one another. Three taller, stronger boys who were standing in the doorway. Blocking the exit.

Harry turned round to face them and the biggest of the three said two words in a voice so flat it made Harry’s belly go cold. “Get him.” Harry froze as two sets of hands clasped his wrists tightly enough to hurt and the panic suddenly set in. The big one stepped toward him. Will. Harry remembered his name was Will, and he couldn’t understand why this kid who didn’t know him was looking at him with murder in his eyes. “Don’t let him go”, Will murmured, and he stepped into a cubicle and Harry could hear the jangle of his belt then the rough zip of his fly, then the sound of water hitting water.

When Will finished, he stepped back out and Harry’s eyes widened in shock because Will still had his cock out, in his hand. He stared at Harry, and he spoke in a voice that was conspiratorial and frankly, frightening. But not as frightening as the words that came out of his mouth.

“Si told us about you. About what you are. What you like. Why didn’t you tell us you like to suck cock?”

Harry’s guts dropped and a cold sweat iced his back. Si told. Si was his friend, but he still told. Will continued.

“You’re gonna suck us off.”  

Harry shakes his head.

“No.”

Eyes wide, tears already forming with a hot and terrible pressure behind them, he tried to back away. Will’s smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Yes. Or we’re putting your head in there.”

And Harry understood then that Will hadn’t flushed the loo, Will was going to push his face into that toilet filled with his piss if he, Harry, didn’t go down on him. On them. Harry whimpered.

“But...I...I don’t know how. I don’t...I’ve never...”

His voice trailed off. Will snapped back, grabbing a fistfull of Harry’s hair.

“Well you'd better figure it the fuck out!”

He yanked and Harry stumbled forward. His knees cracked against the floor as strong hands forced his shoulders, and him, down. Tears started to stream down his cheeks and Harry managed to choke out one word, twice.

“Please. Please.”

And then his mouth was full and his head snapped back as Will thrusted hard. He was yanked forward roughly, held there as his breath hitched and he sniffled and snuffled, his face wet and his eyes shut and his heartbeat sounded SO LOUD. His eyes were closed so tightly but the tears kept coming, his face wet and swollen with them. One of the boys finally stepped forward and croaked out.

“Will, enough! Stop. Stop it!”

But Will didn’t stop. He kept going and going until his hands twisted painfully tight in Harry’s hair and he gasped out.

“Fuck! Fuck ME!”

And Harry’s mouth was flooded with a sort-of familiar bitterness that ran down his chin as Will pulled out. The other boy, the silent one, stepped up eagerly as the one who spoke up shook his head, eyes troubled and regretful. Again he spoke as the other boy got his cock out, and ugly, angry flushed little thing.

“Theo...”

And Will cut him off.

“Shut up, Liam! Just shut it now!”

Liam’s mouth snapped shut, a muscle jumping visibly in his jaw as he looked away from the scene in front of him. Looked away from Theo having his way with Harry’s mouth. Harry, who didn’t fight, who was unable to staunch the tears that were still streaking his cheeks as his jaw ached and his breath hitched over and over, a blob of cooling spunk on his chin mingled with his tears. Theo was mercifully quick, lasting barely two minutes but it seemed like an eternity to Harry. He finished roughly, throatfucking him, grunting as the taste came, different but also the same, and then he was pulling out, tucking in, moving away from the boy slumped on the floor.

Harry’s mind was a maelstrom of white noise. He was vaguely aware that the boys were talking, then the door clicked shut and Liam was on the floor beside him, wiping his chin with a wet wad of loo roll. He lobbed it into the toilet, then used another wad, dry this time, gently patting at the weeping boy's face. Harry only sat there, knees drawn up to his chest now, arms circling them tightly. Liam’s voice was soft and apologetic.

“You’re alright, mate. C’mon, you can’t sit here all day.”

But Harry didn’t move. Couldn’t move. He felt so numb, as though he were standing to the side watching himself, rabbit-scared and stunned. Liam ran a hand through his own short-cropped hair.

“I can...I could take you to the infirmary...?”

But Harry didn’t say a word, only looked at him with frozen eyes, until Liam finally stood, shifting awkwardly on his feet.

“I’m sorry, mate. But you shouldn’t have tried it on with Si. He’s...well. He’s a bit of a..a bit of a prick.”

He bit his lip awkwardly, then turned and walked out. Harry eventually pulled himself to his feet. He dragged himself to his feet and to the sink. He splashed his face with cold water then rinsed his mouth out over and over, refusing to look into the mirror. Eventually he went on to his next class. A shy quiet boy by nature, no one took any notice of the way he stared at his desk in each class, cheeks flushed with humiliation as he replayed the event over and over and over in his mind’s eye. At the end of the day he chose to walk instead of riding the bus home.

There was a thick and pregnant pause as Louis mind reeled at what he’d just heard. His voice was barely there when he whispered, finally.

“Did you tell anybody? Harry, did you tell your parents?”

Harry drew a shuddering breath.

“I told them. I...Mark, my step father. He told me...he told me that’s what I get, for being...”

His breath hitched, then he croaked out the rest.

For being a bloody poof. I told them. Months ago I told that that I’m...what I am. My mum didn’t say anything. And they were gonna make me go back there. Back where they were. Where they are. Will, and the other one.”

And then his arms were on the table, encircling his head as he wept, shoulders shaking. Louis got to his feet, nearly tripping over them in order to get to the broken boy before him. He put his arms around him and squeezed, holding him tightly.

“It’s not your fault Harry. None of it. You’ve done nothing wrong and you deserved none of that. None.”

He closed his eyes, burying his face in the boy’s hair.

"You’re safe here, Hazza. You’re safe now. I won’t let anything like that happen to you again, I promise." He was aware that he was making an outlandish vow, but he meant what he said. He knew he had to help this boy, keep him safe. He was going to do it, he just wasn’t sure how.

Chapter Text

Louis woke up to afternoon sun struggling in through the city grime that caked the outside of his bedroom window. He yawned and stretched, then nosed at his pillow sleepily. He was warm and comfortable in his jimjams and the nest of sheet, blanket and duvet he was curled and tangled up in. He didn’t want to get up, however he needed a piss, badly. He reached for his glasses, perching them on his nose, then dragged himself out of bed reluctantly. He was padding through the den, mid-yawn, when his gaze stopped at his couch and he froze. He’d forgotten all about Harry.

The teenage runaway was sprawled out on Louis’ third-hand sofa, and the pea-green blanket (shabby but soft and very warm) Louis had covered him with had been unceremoniously kicked to the floor. Harry was clad in a loose grey V-neck tee-shirt and a pair of navy boxers. But the only thing Louis was aware of was the erection the boy was sporting. He felt his mouth juice up at the sight of the thick tip, the entirety of which was poking out from the elastic waistband of his pants. Even from where he was standing across the room, he could see a wet shine to it and a smear of wetness just under Harry’s navel.

His own heartbeat was the only sound he could hear as he felt a hot numbness crawl through him. Then just as quickly the numb was gone but the hot...that was still there. He swallowed helplessly at the lump in his throat and backed slowly toward the bathroom. This sudden new plot development was unexpected and also terribly unwelcome. There was no way he could sleep with Harry. He was underage, for starters. Underage and in a very vulnerable position, and goddammit Louis was NOT a sexual predator. Harry was clearly terrified at his present situation and Louis meant to help him, not make things worse. Also, he didn’t bloody well fancy a stint in prison for pedophilia. With a runaway. Oh for fuck’s sake, why was this happening to him?!

He lurched into the loo and closed the door, locking it right away. His first instinct was to have himself a ferocious wank, but the thought of doing that while Harry was only a few feet away stopped him. That and the idea of wanking to a child who had been sexually assaulted not by one but by two people...no. Not an option. He rasped an assortment of frustrated expletives as he wrangled his hard dick into an angle that allowed him to piss into the toilet, sighing with relief as his painfully full bladder emptied. The urge to rub one out was still there and he cupped his balls thoughtfully, squeezing them. He sighed and shook his head and he stepped out of his jimjams and into an icy shower. He scrubbed his face and body with his soapy wash cloth then washed his hair. He picked up his razor and shaved, even though he knew he would shave tonight before work as well. Louis was not fond of facial hair, especially on himself. It was a reminder that he was getting old, really, and that he wouldn’t be a beautiful elfin twink forever, and that was a horrible thought. He brushed his teeth, gave himself a final good rinse, then stepped out of the shower, shivering a bit.

Louis was sure to bang around, in hopes that he might wake up Harry and give him a chance to hide his crotch situation, so to speak. When he finally emerged, towel wrapped tightly around his skinny hips, Harry was sitting up cross-legged in the center of the couch. There was no sign of the monster erection and Louis felt a ridiculous amount of gratitude wash over him. Harry looked a far cry better this morning. Clearly some sleep in a warm dry place had done him some good. He looked borderline cheerful, which was several steps up from the broken boy Louis had met last night.

“Good morning Louis.” He scratched at his hair and yawned and Louis decided he resembled a sleepy kitten.

“Morning. Ready for some breakfast?” Louis realized he was going to have to go shopping. It would be beans on toast again and Harry was a kid, he needed real food. Christ, he probably still drank milk. Harry nodded.

“I just have to...” He gestured toward the bathroom and Louis nodded back. He’d given the lad a washcloth and towel last night so he could clean up.

“If you want a shower, be careful. The hot water gets ridiculously scalding hot really quickly. It’s bad enough to burn.” Lou knew this from personal experience. Harry smiled.

“Thanks, Lou.”

Louis just stared, because he hadn’t seen Harry smile at all the day before and now there were these ludicrous dimples framing those preposterous lips. I mean REALLY?!, he thought to himself. Out loud, he blurted stupidly:

“Fuck me, dimples.” Harry laughed. It was a nice sound, a bit bark-y but undeniably adorable.

“Yeh, I’ve also got 4 nipples, wanna see?” He was lifting his shirt as Louis shook his head.

“No way. I don’t believe that for a second.” He scrutinized them, albeit from across the room, finally announcing:

“Bullshit. Those are moles!” But Harry was adamant.

“They’re not! My doctor said so! See, they’re in the mammary line!” And Louis giggled like a little girl at the word ‘mammary’. Harry’s eyes lit up like Christmas trees, pleased at having made his benefactor laugh. They stayed that way for a few moments, grinning at each other, then Louis remembered himself.

“Right! Breakfast! It’s beans and toast again, sorry. But I’ll go to the store today-” Harry interrupted him.

“I can give you a little money. So I don’t...so you don’t spend all yours on feeding me.” That worried look was back again now, his dark brows knitting together as his eyes widened a bit. Louis waved him off.

“It’s fine, Harry. I need to go anyway, man cannot subsist on beans and toast alone now, can he?” He smiled more, hoping to coax the dimples out again. They peeked out at him as Harry smiled back, and Louis felt a dizzying rush. He was relieved when Harry got up and padded into the bathroom, giving him a chance to collect himself. He went into his room and pulled on a pair of jeans, then hurried into the kitchen to heat up another can of beans as he heard the shower turn on.

He was stood at the stove engaging himself in an inner monologue that just wouldn’t shut up. Harry barely even really looked the sixteen years of age he claimed to be. His face still retained some baby fat and he had glimpsed a soft, fine golden fuzz at the nape of his neck when Harry had slipped past him a little bit ago.He certainly didn’t need to shave yet. His thoughts meandered to his eyes; fantastically green with grey flecks, the black ring around the irises making them pop. The thick eyelashes framing them didn’t hurt, either. And his lips...his lips were nearly an insult. They were stained the precious, precise color of the maraschino cherries Niall kept behind the bar and Louis suspected that they tasted just as sweet. To make matters worse, they jutted out into an adorable duck-like near-pout that sent a longing through Louis; a longing to touch them, brush his thumb over them, just to make sure they were actually real and not a figment of his imagination. Louis reckoned he himself could gather up every cherub in Heaven and not a one of them would or could hold a candle to Harry in terms of perfection and utter flawlessness.

Louis had never had a baby face once he’d passed the age of eleven or so, which might explain how it came to pass that when he was sixteen he was spending his nights in the toilets of one of Doncaster’s few gay pubs, getting shagged by whomever would have him. Louis had developed quite a reputation at Isis. He never turned anyone down. No man was too old, too drunk, too fat, or too ugly. He might have been underage but he was good for business- sort of the main attraction, if you will. So he was never once put out. Instead, he limped home each night after closing time, fingers digging deep into his pockets to touch whatever “donations” had been pressed into his hands by spent, sweaty men stinking of smoke, booze and spunk. Louis smelled of those things too by the end of the night so it didn’t bother him much. He would find wadded up cash, packets of fags, assorted pills and blotter paper squares, and once, two folded up tickets to the Royal Opera House in London for Wicked. He had given those to his mum and she had looked surprised and a little confused, but she didn’t question where he had gotten them.

It had started out as something fun, a little bit kinky and edgy. As a closeted teenager, he had basked in the attention at first. By the time he began to tire of it he felt trapped somehow, as though he had allowed his nighttime antics to define him. Suddenly Louis felt that it was the only thing he was good at, the only thing that anybody appreciated him for. He grew progressively more depressed but he didn’t stop. After all, he could hardly go back to hanging out at the mall or McDonalds, talking a load of bollocks with his schoolmates. Not after after filling his nights with strange men, gritty orgasms, free drink and drugs and the knowledge that even the straightest man will fuck a willing, underage boy's hole if he’s certain that he can get away with it.

Thinking about Harry’s open trusting gaze, Louis couldn’t imagine anything worse than Harry following in his own footsteps. He knew he had to protect him, especially from himself. He needed to keep a physical distance between them because in spite of everything-his age, his experiences, his impossibly childlike face-Louis felt a strong, nearly irresistible attraction to the lad. Seething under his best intentions was a nasty, cruel, hungry part of him that was just dying to lick and suck at the underside of his balls until he cried, then make him come until he went blind. He felt a crippling desire to lick out his arsehole until the younger boy was a trembling whimpering mess of sweaty skin and damp curls, limbs askew and useless and-

Louis was bracing himself against the stove as these thoughts swam in his fevered brain. His eyes were glazed and the tip of his tongue was caught between his teeth. He started with a jolt when Harry cleared his throat, then turned to look to the doorway, guilt flushing his neck and cheeks uncomfortably. He flinched and clapped a hand over his eyes, because Harry was standing in the doorway completely starkers, his boxers and tee shirt in his hand, damp curls rubbed half-dry and into utter chaos. The dimples were back and Louis parted two fingers so he could see again and yes, still there. Both Harry and his dimples. Louis yelped impatiently.

“Harry, why are you naked in the kitchen?!” Harry didn’t seem to understand the question. Or, he seemed to not understand why being naked was even an issue.

“Oh, I was just wondering where to put these?” And he gave his clothes a little shake. Louis groaned.

“God, there’s a hamper in my room, you can put them in there!” Harry padded over to the stove and picked up the spoon Louis had been using to stir. He helped himself to a small taste and grinned.

“Brilliant! I’ll be right back!” And he scampered off. Louis really really hoped when he came back, he had some fucking clothes on. He sighed and rubbed his temples and wondered for the tenth time in the past twelve hours, “why me?”

Chapter Text

After they ate their modest breakfast, they settled themselves on the sofa and Louis flicked on the telly. He felt hyper aware of Harry’s proximity and was practically plastered to the opposite arm of the couch. Harry inched closer, until their thighs were touching. Louis spoke, his tone one of warning.

“Harry...”  But Harry just turned those impossible eyes on him, and Louis honestly couldn’t tell if the innocence in them was real or a put on. He cleared his throat and continued.

“Personal space, Harry.” The younger boy grinned, then pouted adorably.

“But I wanna spread out. My legs’re long.” And with that he stretched out, shifting so his head was in Louis lap, sending him into a panic. Not good not good not good!  his mind was jabbering at him, as Harry gazed up at him. His breath seemed to be stuck in his throat and it didn’t get easier to breathe when Harry turned to nuzzle at the inside of his thigh. He groaned helplessly.

“You have to...Harry stop that...” His voice was making it very clear that he wanted nothing less than for Harry to stop, and when the boy nipped through thin denim Louis’ head fell back against the back of the couch. The thing was, Louis had noticed that the more time he spent taking his clothes off for strangers the less sexy he felt. Even wanking had turned into a grim cheerless exercise for him, a way to rid his body of a need that went no further than just that, an aching want in his dick. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt actual desire. But now it welled up in him so strongly he could taste it, his neck and cheeks were flushing with heat as he pushed weakly at the mess of curls in his lap. His protest came out a whimper.

“Please...”  Harry took that as encouragement, and he shifted to lick over the hardness that was rapidly forming in Louis jeans. Louis watched helplessly as he did it again, watched that pink tongue dragging over him. His breath stuttered and he forced out two words, his voice tight.

“I can’t...”  When Harry looked up at him he swallowed audibly. “You have to stop.” There were beads of sweat on his upper lip, and suddenly, somehow Harry was in his lap, straddling him, huge hands resting on his shoulders. Harry’s voice was a low seductive purr.

“But I don’t want to.” He shifted, dragging his ass over that burning hardness and Louis understood that there was no way he was going to stop this, and that he was going to go to jail for life, and then he was going to burn in hell for eternity, but Jesus, he didn’t care. He brushed his lips over Harry’s, gently at first, but Harry latched on hungrily. Louis strained his hips, rubbing against the thin boxers Harry was clad in as his arms circled him. He darted his tongue out, parting those insufferable lips and then they were kissing and Louis felt as if he was about to leave his own body as heat and pleasure flooded everything.

His hands found the waistband of Harry’s pants and tugged at them, folding them down, and that fucking massive prick popped out, thumping heavily against his belly. He closed his fingers around it, breaking the kiss to look down. His hand looked so small around it, and Harry made a sound that shot right up Louis’ thighs and into his crotch. He pulled at it, then shifted his fingers into a downstroke, swallowing hard again as the thick foreskin folded down. Harry’s eyes were half-lidded, his lips parted, and his cheeks burned with fever-heat. Louis had always been a size queen, and at this point all he could think about was how much he wanted that thickness in him, now. He wanted to touch it and lick it and suck it and taste the wetness that was running over his knuckles-Jesus it really was, clear thick droplets sliding over his skin as Harry moaned again-but more than any of that he wanted to fuck it, to ride it hard and wet and fast. He struggled to think through the haze in his mind. Condom. Need condom. Can’t fuck this beautiful kid without being careful no matter how much he wanted to. Not with his history. He stuttered the word.

“C-condom.” And Harry whimpered back.

“Where?”  Louis crushed his lips to Harrys and raked the fingers of his free hand through lush curls. When they broke apart, their foreheads rested together. He was panting, Harry too, and he managed another smattering of words.

“Bathroom. Medicine cabinet.” Harry clambered off of him. He lifted his tee shirt off and dropped it onto the floor, then stepped out of his boxers. His eyes met Louis’, and they were wide and snapping with a fire that left Louis breathless. In a flash he was gone then back, a strip of foil squares dangling from his fingertips. He grinned, and Louis was suddenly fumbling with his flies, pushing his jeans down then off, and then they were both naked. Harry sat beside him and looked at him expectantly. Louis’ eyes narrowed as he took in the scene.

“Have you...?” And Harry shook his head. And Louis knew-he knew he should stop this now. A fucking virgin, on top of everything else. But God he wanted him. Wanted him more than he’d ever wanted anything or anybody. He’d never felt a want like this before and he found himself separating a square from the strip, ripping it open with his teeth, then using both hands to slide the rubber over Harry’s impossibly wet, hard dick. The boy fell back, both hands tangling in his own hair as he raked his teeth over his bottom lip, making a succulent, wet noise.

In a flash Louis was straddling him, his hand fitting between them, holding Harry steady. He tipped his head back as he sank down, feeling the burn of the stretch. He dropped slowly, taking the inches one by one, fingers biting into Harry’s shoulder. He could dimly hear Harry’s soft moans over the deafening thump of his own heartbeat. Finally, his arse rested against the flat of Harry’s hips, and Louis’ hips began to roll as his back arched. His breath was rough and hard, and then Harry moved. He moved and Louis was blinded by a pleasure that was dangerously close to agony. He yelped out, unable to control his mouth.

“FUCK! Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck!” His hips rocked fast, and Harry. Harry was barely thrusting, it was more like he was squirming his hips, hands clamped to Louis’, eyes crushed shut with his brows knitted together in a scowl that made Louis’ balls tense up. He huffed out short hard breaths as Louis’ cries raised in pitch, girlish and breaking like waves as he began to just fucking bounce and wriggle all over the place, moving his arse like a fucking blender. Each time the thick meaty tip of Harry's cock jabbed at him he cried out until he was close to screaming, his damp fringe stuck to his forehead, brow furrowed. When he came, seconds later, all Louis saw was deep indigo blue, flaring bright behind his eyelids as thick ropes of spunk ribboned across Harry’s chest, his chin and his cheek. Louis was vaguely aware that he’d been wanking himself with a ferocity he’d never matched before and as he turned himself loose he heard Harry’s low slow unhurried grunts, felt him stiffen, every muscle in his body hardening and  he was coming, his face pressed into Louis’ sweaty neck. His grunts turned into soft moans and then he was relaxing, softening, his arms folding around Louis, holding him with shaking arms. Louis chided himself for not paying enough attention, for not watching, but he’d been so overwhelmed it couldn’t have played out any other way. He made another soft girlish sound as Harry sighed, the tremble still in his breath.

Louis rested his cheek on the pillow of curls beneath him as he trailed his fingers in lazy circles over Harry’s shoulder blade. He felt...he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so relaxed, so at peace, so good. He shifted to kiss at the soft pale skin of Harry’s neck, then brushed his lips over the shell of his ear, liking the way Harry hummed with soft approval. He whispered softly into it.

"You little shit, you had that planned, didn’t you?” Harry nodded, his fingertips bumping over the knots of Louis spine, wordless but smug. And Louis knew he should be saying it wouldn’t happen again, but he wasn’t in the mood for lies just now. His tongue traced the pink of Harry’s ear, then he shifted down to kiss his lips, cupping his chin with his dry hand. There wasn’t much to say just now, so they stayed silent, cuddling and holding and kissing softly. At some point he shifted off of Harry and slid the rubber from his soft cock, only getting up to drop it into the bin. He returned to the sofa, laying down and letting Harry spoon him as he reached for the remote. His mind was a mess of warnings to himself and spent, satisfied bliss. He knew this wasn’t something they should continue but for the moment, just for now, he decided to push away the sirens going off in his head and he pressed back, smiling as Harry cuddled him closer.

Chapter Text

The fear is so sharp that Louis is panting, shallow breaths that make his chest rise and fall in thin helpless bursts. He’s been used before, but it’s what he’d wanted. Nobody had ever hurt him before. He knows he’s a lot of things but he’d never thought he was somebody another person would want to hurt just for the pleasure of it. Unprovoked, a cruel way to force the line of control. His face snaps to the side as it takes another backhanded slap and he’s thankful for the numbness spreading over the entirety of his jaw and cheek. Louis has always been small for his age. In high school his skills on the pitch had saved him from the fate that befell the other boys who, like himself were not only lacking in piles of testosterone, but unlike him were also athletic disasters. He'd been lucky; Louis had never known anybody to want to welt or bruise or break his skin, until now. His neck is screaming because every heavy-handed slap wrenches it sharply to the side, while his arms are linked above him, clipped together and fastened to the metal headboard of his bed.

 

He’s seen frightened animals before and that’s what he feels like. Cornered and defenseless and wild with agitation and raw panic. His lungs struggle to pull in enough air for a full breath but he can only manage these sharp tiny pulls and lights are popping behind his eyes and he can’t tell if it’s from being this afraid, for the first time in his life really honestly afraid he’s gotten himself into something he can’t get out of, or if it’s because he isn’t getting enough oxygen.

 

Bernard taunts him as he kneels between Louis’ tanned thighs.

 

“You’re pretty and still a bit young, but I’m rich. I can fuck you and I can fuck you up and you’ll let me because you need me. And because I’ll tell your mummy what you get up to if you don’t.”

 

He picks up the camera again and snaps another picture, the flash going off as Louis snaps his eyes shut and turns his face away with a whimper that makes him hate himself. How had he let this happen? How had he not known that it would catch up with him? And what had he done that was so wrong anyway? His mind goes blank when his knees are shoved apart so hard and so far that it feels like they’re going to break from his pelvis, the ball and socket joint of each one screaming for mercy, until they’re pressed outward far enough that they nearly touch the mattress. His brow furrows as his throat works, stubbornly trying to swallow the cry of pain that wants to rip out of him. One knee is let free and it swings back up, then sways as a hand cracks down on his tanned stomach sharply. Fingers pinch at the bottom curve of his navel, tugging as blunt nails dig in. He sucks in as hard as he can, pressing back into his sagging bed frantically,  but he can't get away.

 

There’s another stinging slap to his belly, and another, and they keep coming, and he can feel heat and knows his skin is bright and flushed from the impact and it hurts. It fucking hurts and he wants it to end. He can hear Bernard speaking but the words don’t make sense to him anymore, it’s just white noise. And finally, finally he feels warm wetness drop across his raw skin. He wants to weep with relief, until something rough is pressed and dragged through it and over the welts forming all over his abdomen. His eyes flutter open and there are two rumpled hundred pound notes soaking up the smeared cooling spunk spattered across his center.

 

Even after Bernard unhooks the leash clip holding the rings in the thick scarlet-stained bondage bracelets together, Louis doesn’t move. He remains still except for his painfully numbed arms dropping exhaustedly and painfully from where they’d been clipped to his bedframe. His eyes remain shut tight against everything. He doesn’t move until he hears the door to his apartment open, then click shut, and then he sits up slowly, wincing. He looks down at himself as the damp notes fall to the side. The space between the bottom rungs of his ribcage and his hips is a mottled mess of furious ruddy raised skin and blooming bruises.

 

He pats his fringe for a moment  and then he peels himself out of bed, grimacing, and picks his way to the loo and turns on the shower taps, his hand shaking. He turns it on until it’s as hot as he can stand and steps in, the rings in his bracelets clinking lightly. Louis stands there with his head down and pretends the water sliding down his cheeks is tap water only. After a while he soaps himself, using his hands as he wincingly cleans his belly, a washcloth would feel like murder on the tender welts.

 

When he’s through he pads back to his bedroom and, using a bit of loo roll as buffer, he picks up the money. He carries it back to the bathroom and drops the bills into the sink. Pushing the thick rubber plug in the drain, he turns on the hot tap and squeezes a massive amount of shampoo in, watching the foam form. His hands plunge in and he squeezes the notes then rubs them together, cleaning them for several long silent minutes. He drapes them over a towel hanging over the shower bar so they can dry.

 

That was the first time he had sex strictly for money but it wouldn’t be the last. Not even close. When Bernard had approached him two nights before, Louis hadn’t recognized him, but the much older man knew him. And he wasn’t pleased when Louis turned him down when he made an offer for a knobbing in the loo. He’d pulled Louis away from the bar and in no uncertain terms let him know that he knew where Louis had come from, what his past included, and then the worst bit: that he knew Louis’ mum, had known her for ages. It turned out his teenage daughter babysat the Tomlinson girls on a regular basis.

 

He’d put two and two together when he picked her up one night and she had confessed her crush on the man of the house, the boy with the feathery fringe and eyes like the sky. A normal camera phone-happy teenager, she’d excitedly shown her father the pictures she had taken of the girls, of Louis’ mother smiling for the camera. Of Louis, standing by the front door with a pair of football cleats laced together and slung over his shoulder, flashing a cheeky peace sign.

 

It also turned out he’d fucked Louis more than once at Isis, and he’d recognized him immediately. How could he not?  Though to be fair, he had never seen Louis’ eyes look so bright and happy in the dark of the pub or in the glare of fluorescent light in the toilets as they did in that photograph. In the picture, he looked like any other teenaged boy excited to head out for a bit of kickabout, not like the cockhungry waif he’d used on several occasions. And now, just because Louis had moved town, he saw no reason for that to stop. It wasn’t so much the lure of the easy cash as the emotional blackmail that forced Louis to cave. He wasn’t out to anybody at home, not his mother and definitely not to his sisters. Bernard had him.

 

Bernard brought bondage bracelets and at first Louis had thought that could be kinky. He hadn’t known what else Bernard was bringing. He didn’t understand where the rage and hatred came from, he’d never seen or felt that the handful of times they’d shagged at Isis. In fact, Louis didn’t even remember him. Louis didn’t know that this inability to remember Bernard was his crime. Not only was the older man’s ego hurt; he was already slotted into the power position. It was an ugly combination.

 

*****

 

Louis came out the bathroom and gawped at Harry, who was sitting crosslegged as usual on the sofa, with Louis’-no, Bernard’s bondage bracelets on his wrists. He was turning his hands curiously, clearly enamoured of them. Louis didn’t mean his voice to go so sharp. He regretted it immediately.

 

“Where did you find those?”

 

Harry’s slanted green eyes widened.

 

“They were here...”

 

Harry demonstratively slipped a hand between two of the sofa cushions. Of course.  Of course they were. The last time he’d had a “date” with Bernard he had absently taken them off and shoved them there after, too ready to sink into the X Factor finale to bother getting up to shove them into his pants drawer and out of sight. Louis sighed.

 

“Right.”

 

Harry didn’t know about Bernard. He was coming up on a full week at Louis’ flat and there was a lot he didn’t know, a lot Louis didn’t think he particularly needed to know. Harry grinned at him, sensing that Louis wasn’t angry with him.

 

“Can I wear them? They’re pretty sick.”

 

Louis thought to himself with dark humor, they’re sick, alright. If you only knew. But he only nodded, and Harry hummed his appreciation as he sank into Louis’ side. He pulled his grey beanie down over his ears and cuddled up to the older boy, gently pestering for attention.

 

“Louuuuiiiiiis” he complained impishly, “‘M cold. Warm me up?”

 

Louis snorted a soft chuckle.

 

“God Haz, are you ever not horny?”

 

But Louis indulged the younger boy all the same, slipping his arm around him and tugging the soft green blanket up over them. He let his hand slide up the back of his jumper to nest in the curls at the nape of his neck, and he felt happy, content even. Ever since The Couch Incident (or,The Time Louis Fucked An Underage Teenage Runaway On His Sofa And Regretted Nothing), things had gotten awfully cozy at Chez Louis, though there hadn’t been any bodily fluids exchanged unless you counted above the neck. Louis was quick to put a stop to Harry’s advances, brash and subtle alike. As good as it had been (and God it had been SO good) Louis was standing firm on this. He wasn’t standing so firm on his no wanking over Harry rule, however. He was only human, after all.

 

Harry didn’t push, or at least he backed down easily enough when he was rebuffed. He remained cheerful and cuddly no matter how many times Louis rejected his increasingly bold attempts at seduction; a foil packet placed on his pillow at night while Louis showered, informing him when he retired to his room that Harry was available, pancakes carefully ladled into the pan to resemble a cock and balls (pancakes! It was good to have somebody around to cook again!), Harry hiding naked behind the shower curtain with a grin and a loofa when Louis pushed it aside for his morning (well, afternoon) shower, too groggy to have noticed the curly boys’ absence on the couch, Harry shirtlessly passing Louis his set of house keys using only his teeth when the older boy left at night to go off to work.

 

If he were being quite honest with himself, he rather enjoyed the attention. Kissing was not off limits, because friends kissed sometimes, didn’t they? Maybe not with tongues and quickening pulses and stuttered breaths, but well. A little snog here and there had never killed anyone. Except it was killing Louis. KILLING him. It was the only thing he was allowing, but he wanted more and he thought about it all the fucking time. He thought about it when he was dancing to Shellshock, when he unlocked the door to the flat softly singing Ne-Yo’s Because of You under his breath. He thought about it when he was walking the endless blocks home in even more endless 3 am drizzle. He thought about it in the shower and in his bed and when they were cuddled up just like this, and he knew that all he needed to do was say the word, make a move, anything and Harry would be his.

 

His lips found the soft pink shell of Harry’s ear, and he was kissing there softly, when his phone went. He reached for it and stilled when Bernards name came up. Harry craned his neck to see. His voice was curious.

 

“Who’s Bernard?”

 

Louis felt his good mood shift. He put his phone down on the table, face down. He cleared is throat before answering.

 

“No one. Just...somebody I know from home.”

 

Harry’s hand found his.

 

“A good somebody?”

 

And Louis forced himself to nod.

 

“Yeah, suppose so.”

 

After all, the first of the month was approaching and he had another mouth to feed. He would look at Bernard as a good somebody, even though the only good that came out of him was easy access to his wallet.

 

“Haz, I might need you to go to the store for me tomorrow. And to not come back until I text you.”

 

It amazed him the way Harry could shift his features from the most angelic of smiles to such a deep scowl in mere tenths of a second. Louis noted, not for the first time, that it was pure fact that even his scowl was adorable.

 

“Are you kicking me out, Lou?”

 

His tone was hurt, his eyes were too. His lips were doing that poking-ou-duck-thing that made Louis's chest constrict near-painfully. He chose his words very carefully.

 

“I can’t let anybody know you’re here, Haz. People wouldn’t understand. It’s just simpler this way. I’m not throwing you out, I...I want you to get stuff for tacos and we’ll make them together after, just like you said. It’s just...Bernard’s in town and he wants to stop by. I’ll text you the moment he’s fucked off, alright?”

 

Harry’s eyes searched his for several long moments, searching desperately for the lie. Louis was drawing on whatever remained of his high school thespian persona to get him through this. After what seemed like an eternity of Harry scrutinizing his face, the boy began to smile.

 

“Tacos? Really?”

 

And Louis laughs, relief pouring through him.

 

“Honest. You can pick a cake as well. We’ll have it when Doctor Who’s on, or maybe before bed. I'm off tomorrow.”

 

After all, he’d be flush with cash, he could afford to splurge. Harry hugged his middle, pressing his face into Louis’ neck. Louis pushed away the guilt that came with lying. It was better this way. Harry didn’t need to know the sordid things Lou engaged in to get by. He didn't need to hear the things Louis let happen for a litle bit of extra cash. Louis especially didn’t want Harry to get any ideas. He waited until Harry rose from the sofa for a wee, then reached for his phone. He texted Bernard.


Tomorrow. 1pm. Be on time, please. L x

Chapter Text

Louis sent Harry off to the market at 12:30. He had pressed enough cash into his hand to cover the things needed for the tacos Harry had been so adorably bragging about the other day, milk, bread, and most importantly, cakes. He hadn’t pushed Harry’s hands off of his hips as he'd explained things to him. Rather, he had looped his own arms around the boy’s waist and tried to figure out if somehow Harry had actually grown a bit taller since the day before.

“I’ll text you once he’s left. Go to the park first, or wander around town. It’s lovely when it isn’t night time and pissing down, Haz.”

Harry looked at him with uncertain eyes.

“How long will he be here, do you think?”

Louis loved the way his inflections swung and swooped through his words. He brushed that adorable mess of curls to the side, sweeping them over the boy’s forehead. Harry had started to wear his hair that way a few days ago, because it was how Louis wore his own fringe. It was cute. He reminded Louis of the younger kid tagging along, trying to be more like his big brother.

Louis sighed at the question.

“Maybe an hour. Definitely at least an hour. But not much longer.”

He gave Harry’s bum a pat, and the boy swung his messenger bag over his shoulder and nodded.

“O-okay.”

And suddenly he was pressing his lips to Louis’, hands flat against his chest, before slipping out the door and down the hall. Louis shook his head with a fond chuckle and closed the door.

For several blocks, Harry kept his eyes trained on the ground as he walked. He was terrified that somebody, a police person in particular, might see him and slap him into handcuffs, then drag him back to his mum and stepdad’s house, kicking and screaming the entire way. Or maybe somebody would recognize him; what if his mum had had his face put on a milk carton, like in that Blur video? The one with the fit singer and the milk cartons running around?  No, surely it was too soon for that...and if she had put up flyers, surely nobody from tiny Holmes Chapel would see him here in Manchester and recognize him. Still, he pulled his beanie down low over his ears, his curls poking out on either side like ridiculous corkscrews, and slowly but surely he began to take in his surroundings.

He realized he quite liked Louis’ neighborhood. There were shops on either side of the street and some of them looked interesting. There was a charity shop, a bakery, a second hand computer-and-electronics repair shop; also a place that seemed to specialize in childrens’ shoes and right beside it, a toy shop.

He peered in through the windows, looking at the hand painted mechanical mini-fun fair in the window, with it’s slowly spinning Ferris wheel and slightly quicker carousel. There was a train too, that puffed actual smoke or maybe it was steam? Tiny animals moved; elephants swung their trunks and lions tipped back their heads, mouths opening and closing. The seals clapped their flippers in slow motion. Clowns waved, children held balloons that hung above them, stuck to stiff wire that was so thin it looked like string. Harry stood there for quite a while, just looking. Finally he nipped into the bakery, because he had a little bit of money and it was never a good idea to grocery shop whilst hungry. He asked for a hot cocoa and a ridiculously huge biscuit and he carried them out, crossing the street when he saw the greenery that could only be the park Louis had mentioned. Harry sat on a bench and munched his biscuit and drank his cocoa and he thought about Louis.

His eyes went a bit dreamy as he pictured the way his caramel-colored hair feathered just so across his forehead, once it was dry from the shower. When he went to work, Louis would put in hair product, making it chunky and choppy-especially the top and back- and then his fringe had a rougher texture. As Harry munched his biscuit he tried to decide which he liked best, then finally decided he liked both equally. Moving lower, there were Louis’ eyebrows, perpetually arched and fine-haired, and Harry liked to run his fingertips over them when they snogged. They gave Louis such a confident expression, and Harry found that so desperately attractive, especially now, when he himself was so insecure about so very many things, so uncertain about his life and his future and what might happen to him tomorrow, within the next hour, even.


Continuing on, the next bit was what had hooked him first and utterly and irrevocably-those eyes and cheekbones. When Harry had been much younger, all the girls at school had wanted to marry Prince Charming. Harry had wanted to marry Peter Pan. Prince Charming couldn’t even fly, but that aside he wasn’t lean or mischievous or elfin or magical. All his life it seemed, Harry had been waiting for his Peter Pan to climb through his window, take his hand, and teach him to fly. Louis may not have landed on the ledge of his window in his bedroom back in Holmes Chapel, no, but when he had fitted over to the corner in the pub where he danced, and crossed his arms across his chest as he stared at the cowering boy in front of him, all the breath had whooshed out of the younger lad. It was him. This was him. This was the one he had secretly and ardently wished for so deeply and so often, and had even dreamed about, he was sure of it.

His tongue had frozen in his mouth as the older boy demanded that he leave, sharp little teeth flashing a bit, eyes such a startling shade of aquamarine that Harry had felt utterly, utterly mesmerized by them. His eyes frantically tried to look at every bit of him at once, his tapered chin, his flat tummy smeared with iridescent glitter, his tiny, perfectly sculpted ears; his delicate wrists and hands and his little upturned nose (or was he just imagining that bit? He really couldn’t tell), jutting collarbones and sharp-boned shoulders and lean arms with tattoos carelessly scrawled over, down and around them. Harry didn’t dare drop his gaze past the older boy’s taut little navel. His heart was already banging too loudly in his ears, his mouth was already far too dry, and it took him a long long moment to realize that this beautiful near-mythical creature was not only displeased with him, but was trying to throw him back out into the rain. Was trying to make him leave.

In hindsight, he was quite lucky that Louis had put two and two together and deduced that he, Harry, had skipped town and school along with it. But at the time, those words, “have you runaway from home, then?” though spoken with quite a bit more kindness than the others, those words had snapped him out of his stupor and he’d made to bolt. But Louis had stopped him with one word and a firm tug at the hem of his hoodie, and for some reason, Harry had listened. He was chuffed that he had, because staying with Louis was BRILLIANT.

The first night hadn’t been, that had been awful, telling him about his mum and stepdad and the ones at school who had done that to him. And Si. Telling Louis about Si had been the worst of all, because he’d cared about and trusted Si, they had been friends since Harry had moved next door when they were both just seven years old. Even though Si was a bit cooler and an extrovert and had loads of friends who were as popular as he was himself, he still steadfastly remained Harry’s friend. Harry was neither cool nor popular. He wasn’t exactly an outcast, either. He was a bit of a nothing really, which, he reasoned, was better than being a pariah, or a nerd or one of the kids who came to school in clothes that didn’t fit or weren’t clean, who clearly weren’t fed properly or cared for by their parents. He had nothing against those kids but he didn't want to be one of them.

He flew steadily and securely under the radar, known as “Si’s quiet mate” if he was known as anything at all. Most of Si’s friends didn’t bother to memorize his name but they knew him to nod at in the loo or if they crossed paths at the market. He wasn’t quite invisible but he wasn’t really there, either. It was tolerable, really. He hadn’t ever thought to complain.

Harry frowned as he reached the end of his cocoa, the chocolate biscuit long finished, now. He crumpled up the light paper cup and lobbed it into the bin beside the bench, then dusted a few wayward crumbs off his lap. He didn’t want to think about Si anymore, but once he’d started it seemed as though he couldn’t stop.

Harry  hadn’t been in love with his friend. Not even a little bit. But over the past year he had grown very keen on spending as much time with him as he could, ever since Si had asked him if he’d ever done a circle jerk. Harry had looked at him in confusion, his dark brows pulling together as he shook his head. Si had gone on to explain that it was when two or more mates had a wank together, sometimes wanking each other off, and trying to see who could go the longest without coming. Harry had been suspicious.

“It sounds weird, mate.”

Si had shrugged.

“It feels bloody amazing. We do it in the locker room sometimes, after a game.”

That had caught Harry’s interest. After all, if the boys who carried the school to glory on the football pitch were doing it, how weird could it be? Harry was too trusting to know that Si had counted exactly on his train of thought turning in that precise direction. As it turned out Si had been right, if had felt bloody AMAZING.

Harry had never explicitly told Si he was queer, but they both knew and it hadn’t ever been an issue. It wouldn’t be until much later, and with some degree of humiliation, that Harry would realize just how unfair it had been that when they progressed to Harry sucking Si off, the favor was never returned. It had just happened, really. They were sitting face to face on Si’s bed, legs curled loosely around one another as they stroked each other off, the way they always did whenever they were in either of their bedrooms nowadays, and suddenly Si had begun to say all these things. He’d never done that before, but Harry couldn't deny that he’d liked it.

“Ah Harry, mate, your fucking hand, mate! You are so bloody ace at this, God I love it. Fuck, Harry, fuck baby...can you...please Harry, do my head.”

And something in Harry hadn’t felt like that was going too far at all, in fact it felt like the next step, like natural progression, and it had felt very natural to Harry. Si seemed to agree, when he came in Harry’s mouth minutes later all he could do was gasp about how Harry was “a star” and “ a bleedin’ genius, christ almighty!”

Harry would never know what had made Si tell the boys on the football team what they had been doing together, or what had been said, exactly. But he was fairly certain that he had been made out to be gagging for it, when yeah he’d liked it, but it wasn’t as though he had jumped the other boy. To be fair, it had been Si’s idea. All of it.

He pushed himself to his feet and began jogging toward the market, remembering the landmarks Louis had instructed him to look for. His heart was beating too hard and he knew he needed to calm down. He was gone from there. Gone from those boys and especially Si, gone from his mum and stepdad, gone from all the people who probably knew what he was and what had done willingly, and not so willingly, too. He took a deep breath and focused on the thought that soon he would be back in Louis’ flat, and maybe Louis would snog him a bit. Maybe tonight would be the night that Louis let them do more than snog again, and that thought set a smile back onto his lips because sex with Louis had been...well. It had been the best thing that had ever happened in his life so far. Not only that, but Louis had liked it too. It had seemed like he’d even loved it, the same way Harry had.

As he trotted through the market’s automatic doors, Harry daydreamed about that sexy little frown that had appeared over Louis’ brow right before he’d come, the way those slender fingers had bitten into his shoulder, the others working between them as he’d tossed himself off desperately. Harry would seduce him again tonight he decided, as he had every morning, noon and night since that day. Decided, that is. There would be tacos and cake and then when Louis was feeling lazy and sated and happy, Harry would find a way to make him remember just how well their bodies had matched up and just how good they had made each other feel.

***

Back at the flat, Louis was doing everything in his power to think of green eyes and kiss-hot lips, and curls, yes, soft lovely curls that made his fingers twitch at the thought of them. And those ridiculously huge hands, like a clumsy puppy’s humongous paws, big enough to swallow his own hands but so very soft, so very very gentle. He closed his eyes against the sight of Bernard straddling his stomach as he wanked himself off, not speaking but staring. Not speaking, but spitting on Louis’s chest, on his face, and in his hair. It was everywhere, he could feel globs of it rolling down his neck in several places, he’d had to spit himself to get it off of his own lips as best he could..He'd refused to cry the way he had the last time it had gone this way. That time there had been nothing to dull the humiliation, nothing to shake loose the nausea clenching his stomach, nothing he could think of to take him away from this.

But this time he laid there as if he were dead, for once not reacting, not caring that it would only make his antagonist angrier. When Bernard finished, it was across his lips and in his hair, and when Bernard was dressed again there was a look of mindless fury on his face as Louis stared at him with derisive steel grey eyes. The older man did up his trousers and pulled on his shirt, then his shoes. He finally unclipped the rings once more, letting Louis free at last, and then he was moving so fast that Louis had no time to get out of the way. He cried out as he hit the floor with his back,the bumps in his spine taking the brunt of the fall, and then the air whooshed up and out of him as he took one, two three swift kicks to his middle.  Bernard’s voice was low and laced with venom.

“Act this way again and it’s over and I take a trip back to Donny and pay mummy a visit, you snotty little bitch.”

Louis couldn’t recognize his own voice in the sound he made as he tried desperately to pull in just one breath. He lay curled into the fetal position, willing back the blackness crawling into his vision from every side, every edge of it. Finally his diaphragm lost its paralysis and he was able to pull in enough air to clear his vision.  His hand reached out and curled around the bills that had been wordlessly dropped centimeters from his face. He rasped breath, clinging to the notes, fingers shaking, eyes finally wet now that he was alone.

Louis closed his eyes and breathed.

Chapter Text

By the time Harry walked through the door, Louis was showered and in his softest pyjama bottoms- the Coca Cola ones his mum had given him for Christmas the year before. His legs were pretzeled beneath him on the sofa and he was wearing one of Harry’s tee shirts (lately they were fitting Louis better. Harry was growing like wild brambles, shooting up and away from Louis more every day). He had his glasses on and the telly was playing a football match. He muted it the moment Harry walked in, suddenly distracted from it.  A soft smile curled his lips at the edges as Harry shifted a large paper bag. He thought about getting up to help but Harry hardly appeared to be struggling.

“Finally. I thought you got lost.”

Harry shook his head, curls bouncing adorably.

“I stopped at the park for a bit. Had a biscuit. It’s lovely, the park. All of it is, really.”

He carried the bag to the kitchen and placed it onto the counter. Louis felt such an intense relief to have Harry back in his space, it made him feel a bit woozy. He stood, wincing as his stiff legs protested, and made his way to the kitchen. He sidled up behind the boy, looping his arms around his waist and latching them at his belly. His voice was soft.

“Leave it. I’ve missed you. I require cuddles now.”

Harry masked his surprise well, turning to face the now slightly smaller boy.

“Let me put away...alright.”

He put the ice cream into the freezer, then turned around again, grinning.

Louis knew he was feeling more clingy than normal because of Bernard yet he found himself unable to stop himself. He hugged Harry close, pressing his nose into the side of his neck. Harry’s arms curled around him readily, and his voice was low and gentle in his ear.

“Are you alright? Did...did something happen with your friend?”

Louis hesitated for a split second before firmly shaking his head.

“It’s fine. I’m fine. Maybe I’m getting ready to manstruate, who knows?”

They both giggled as Louis began walking them toward the sofa, easily navigating the tiny flat in spite of walking backwards. He sat when the backs of his knees hit the cushions, tugging Harry beside him. He snuggled up to the younger boy and closed his eyes.

“I know this is idiotic but I missed you a fair bit. I’m rather used to you being here now.”

Harry might have said that it was Louis who had insisted that he leave in the first place, but that would be a bit mean, especially now when Louis was snuggled up to him, his hand finding Harry’s and lacing up with it. Harry just smiled, his eyes bright and happy.

“I missed you as well. It was nice to go out, but I was excited to come home.”

He bit his lip, hoping it was alright to refer to Louis’ flat as such. When the older boy didn’t contradict him, he felt a giddiness all through his chest. He moved a bit closer, inclining his head just enough for him to brush his lips over Louis’. It was a soft, tiny kiss, but it ignited the older boy.

Louis turned his face up, pressing their lips firmly together. He heard the familiar rush of blood in his ears that came each time they kissed this way, but for once the sirens in his head stayed silent. He lifted his free hand to cup Harry’s cheek, letting his thumb glide over his cheekbone. After several long moments where the only sound was that of softly sucking lips and stuttered breaths, Louis shifted into Harry’s lap, straddling him. His hands raked through the luscious curls of his hair, catching and gently tugging. He didn’t want to stop this, not this time. It feel good, brilliant even, and after the afternoon he’d had he needed this.

He could feel how hard Harry was already, and as he began to rub and hump all over him Harry gasped, his lips and cheeks pinking even more than they already had. Louis watched as his eyes drifted shut and his dark eyebrows drew closer together and he began to grind up against Louis’ arse. He felt himself heating up even more at the sight; and as Harry’s massive hands slipped into his trackies to cup and squeeze his arse he was struck with an idea. Louis shifted, moved his lips to the shell of Harry’s ear. He whispered breathily, loving the hot shiver that tore through the boy’s body as the warm air teased such a sensitive spot.

“Not here. My bedroom. I want...I need...”  to erase him from my bed, Louis thought to himself.

Harry went still, then nodded. Louis clambered off of him, his bottoms tenting awkwardly. Harry’s gaze went right to his crotch and his eyes seemed to glaze over right then. He stood as if in slow motion and took the hand Louis offered him. His hand now swallowed Louis’ entirely, something that Louis found deeply arousing. Together they walked into the bedroom.

Louis flopped onto his back on his bed and grinned cheekily. His hair was everywhere and his eyes burned so intensely that just looking into them was giving Harry manic butterflies in his belly. He looked so bloody adorable in those silly Coke trackies and with his glasses on. His smile lit up the entire room, a blinding million watt beaming grin that crinkled up his eyes and made the muscles of Harry’s inner thighs twitch with want. He laid himself beside the older boy and began to push up the tee shirt he still had on.

Louis let out a high-pitched breathy moan as Harry’s lips brushed over his navel. Harry dropped a slow trail of tiny kisses down, down, dragging Louis’ soft flannels down to his knees as he did. It was still a shock to see that Louis was shaved bare,  even after having seen it before. He realized that he most likely did it for work. Those men Louis danced for probably liked that and the various hotpants Louis wore to work all hung so low off his hips, they left very little to the imagination. He kissed all over the smooth skin, moving lower, lower.  He licked a fat wet stripe from his balls right up to the already-wet slit in his tip, then circled it, letting more spit drip and run onto it messily. When he slipped tight lips over and down, Louis’ hips shot up and the noise he made sounded dangerously similar to that of a female cat in heat. He sounded so raw, already out of control. His hands were fisting and twisting at the sheets on either side of his hips, his breaths shallow, rough and quick.

If there was one thing Harry had learned from time spent with Si, it was that he fucking loved giving head. Loved it. Thought about it when he wanked, had dreams about doing it that left him sticky and full of longing. He’d wanted to wrap his lips around Louis for what felt like an eternity by this point, and from the sound of things up there he was doing a stellar job of it. Louis tasted wonderful, a little salty and surprisingly light, and Harry fell in love with him a little bit more on account of it. He was holding and squeezing Louis’ sac, moving them around in his palm as if they were a set of Baoding balls, when abruptly Louis was sitting up, resting his weight on his elbows. He was breathless and his chest was heaving and there was a light sheen of sweat bathing his face, darkly dampening the roots of his hair. Harry looked up and him and God, he was beautiful. Louis’ eyes were wide and shiny and his voice sounded quite a bit higher than usual.

“I can’t..you’re going to make me come if you carry on, and I want...I wanted you to...I want you.”

His eyes were pleading, desperate, and he was trembling. Harry pulled back, letting Louis’ fat dick slip out of his mouth with a ridiculous POP! and they both laughed a bit breathlessly. Louis tugged his (Harry’s) tee shirt off and Harry slipped out of his jeans and tee shirt in record time. When he pressed his tip to Louis’ hole the older boy stopped him.

“Can’t...without a condom. It’s risky. “

And Harry accepted this although he wanted to go bare SO badly, wanted to really feel him, wanted Louis to feel it when he came in him. But he listened when Louis clipped out desperately that there were condoms and lube in the drawer in the bedside table, and he rolled one on and slicked himself up while Louis pressed a wet fingertip to himself, needing only minimal preparation. When Harry pressed in, the tightness and the heat squeezed the very breath from him. He choked out a single word as he buried himself in Louis, pressing his face into the side of his neck.

“God...”

Louis’s arms wrapped around him and his legs drew up. He stroked Harry’s back as he began to rhythmically rock onto him, making soft, sweet little sounds that were driving Harry mad. His cock was pinned between them and Harry could feel the wetness it smeared between them. Lifting himself up he shifted his hips, getting up onto his knees. He gently lifted each of Louis legs, one at a time, kissing the inside of each knee before hanging them over his own shoulders. And then Harry started to fuck him.

His hips snapped with a fierce rhythm, making dirty slapping sounds each time his belly connected with Louis’ arsecheeks. He unfolded Louis’ legs after a few moments so they pointed straight up in the air, and he stroked them and kissed and licked at them, grunting softly. He was aware that Louis was almost screaming every time he thrust into him, and he glanced down at his face. Louis eyes were screwed shut, his pink little mouth hanging open, and now the sweat was running down his neck in rivulets and beading on his upper lip. With every thrust his entire body was jarred roughly and Harry found himself wondering if he was being too rough. he knew he was hung, and Louis was small and to Harry, seemed to be growing a bit smaller every day. His voice was slow and thick as he struggled to use his brain and make words that made sense.

“Lou..is it too hard? Should I stop?”

Louis’ eyes snapped opening, wide and unseeing. He shook his head wildly and stammered out a mess of a reply.

“Don’t! Don’t stop, God don’t-I need-fuck you’re making me..so close you’ll make me come, fuck!”

Harry nodded languidly and dropped his head forward. He was close too, he could feel it coiling in the pit of his belly and his hips were moving in sharp, tight little circles now. He reached for Louis’ hips, curling his fingers around them easily, running his thumbs over the knobby bones. His voice was low, shaking. The same way it was when it was just him, and he was imagining this exact scenario, or one much like it.

“I’m coming. Lou, I’m coming I’m c-”

Saying the words to him at long long last proved too much, and suddenly he drove into him and stiffened, the thick head of his dick jabbing hard at Louis’ spot.  Harry’s eyes smooshed shut, his dark eyebrows bunched together and his lips formed a surprised O as his orgasm rushed through him, rocking him and whiting out everything but the boy below him. His hips trembled as he came and came, and then he was falling, collapsing onto him, and he felt his belly rubbing slickly all over Louis’ and that’s how he knew Louis had come as well. The feel of warm soft hands sliding up and down his back felt unbelievably good as he began to come down, sides heaving, hair hanging in his eyes.

When his head began to clear Harry noted that Louis’ heels were nestled gently into the backs of his knees and the older boy was thoughtfully stroking his curls to the side. He seemed in no hurry to get up and away so Harry slipped both arms around him. Louis mmmm’ed with soft approval as Harry kissed his lips gently. Finally Louis spoke.

“This is very lovely, however if we continue on this way I’ll wind up flattened.”

Harry laughed sheepishly.

“Sorry. Is it time for tacos?”

Sex, Harry was learning, made him hungry. Louis reached up to beep his nose lightly.

“Tacos and cake, and did I see ice cream?”

Harry nodded, and Louis pushed at him.

“Well come on, tacos won’t make themselves!”

Harry laughed again and pinned him down, growling like a playful puppy.

“Maybe I like you more than I like tacos?”

The pink flush that infused Louis’ cheeks was the most adorable thing in the world to Harry, right then. Louis let his fingers play in the soft still-damp hairs at the nape of Harry’s neck, then.

“Then it’s a good thing you’re staying the night, isn’t it?”

Harry’s eyes widened, then he grinned, letting his dimples out. Louis poked one and said in a softer voice:

“Oh Harry Styles, you’re going to get me into so much trouble.”

But Harry just shook his head, his eyes and countenance earnest.

“I would never, Lou. I’ll never let anybody know, nobody will find out.”

But Louis just smiled, a little sadly.

“Oh, I know. I don’t mean...never mind. Let’s eat.”

And with that he pulled the younger boy out of bed and they dressed halfways (bottoms only, no shirts) and then walked to the kitchen so Harry could cook them a real meal. Louis supervised from his vantage point perched on the counter, and he did not think about how he wanted the couch to go back to being just a couch or how lovely it might be to fall asleep and wake up next to Harry each night and day, or how much he was looking forward to letting Harry take him back to bed, later. No, his mind was firmly on the task at hand, which was bossing Harry around the kitchen and stealing pinches of grated cheese and crunching on a stray taco shell, and trying his hardest to think rationally about the near-lanky boy who was whistling cheerfully as he  happily ignored every one of Louis' commands and chopped and sauteed and grated to his heart's content. Louis watched him, watched his hips, his arse, God his hands. He reasoned with himself: the sex had been phenomenal. But sex isn’t love. Not even close. He rubbed at his temples. Oh Jesus, he thought, I am in so much trouble.