“Harry Styles, I swear to god if you don’t get off this highway right now and find me breakfast, I will never put my mouth anywhere near your dick ever again,” Louis snipes from the passenger seat, rapping his knuckles against the dashboard and anxiously flicking the lock up and down on the door. The morning sun outside the window is weak, illuminating the tired paleness of Louis’s face, the starkness of the rough stubble on his jaw. There are deep exhaustion lines running in the corners of his eyes and Harry resists the urge to reach across the console and smudge his thumb through them, smooth them out until it’s just laugh lines and sparkly blue. The road is empty and Harry is going 10 over the speed limit; there aren’t that many cars around them, no one is driving on the highway at 8:30 on a Saturday morning.
Harry can hear the exhaustion in Louis’s voice in the painful-sounding rasp of his vocal cords, evidence of the long week, full of tabloids and rumors and concerts and meetings. By Saturday the two boys were almost vibrating and bouncing off the walls of their house in excitement to just get in the car and be on the highway with Holmes Chapel as their destination; Louis has had his bag packed since Tuesday night, and Harry was so anxious to get going this morning that he’d thrown a piece of dry toast at Louis as they rushed out the door, a miscalculation which he is now paying for in the form of a small bratty boy glaring at him from underneath a funny shock of hair that’s dried strangely from his hurried shower.
With the sun peeking out from behind the clouds and the morning chill prompting Harry to turn the heat up in the car, they listen to Harry’s “driving” playlists with the sounds of Louis’s soft snoring punctuating the music. By 10 o clock, though, Louis has woken up and is complaining that if he doesn’t have breakfast right that minute, he’s going to throw himself out the car window into the speeding traffic. He’s nestled into the passenger seat, hood up and hands pulled into the sleeves of his oversized hoodie, and his knees up against his chest, bare toes hiding under the hem of his trackies. A sleepy pout pulls his eyebrows down his face, accentuating the purple hollows that are sunken below his eyes. Louis, more than Harry, needs this weekend. He’s been strung so tight lately, all Harry can do is offer shower blowjobs and back massages in front of the telly. Harry knows that what he needs is a homecooked meal, a few nights away from the hotel rooms and the cameras.
And maybe some breakfast.
Harry rolls his eyes. “BP station right there, Lou,” he say, and lifts two fingers off the wheel to point to a sign listing all the food options within the next 5 kilometers. He flicks on the signal to get onto the exit and Louis gives a huffy little sound of satisfaction and massages his stomach, as if he’s reassuring it.
15 minutes later, they’re speeding back down the highway while Louis makes soft little moaning noises of appreciation every time he takes a bite of his breakfast sandwich; the smell of bacon wafts through the car, mixing with the bitter smell of Harry’s coffee and Harry can’t stop smiling because he’s got his favorite person in the car next to him and he’s on his way to see his other two favorite people.
When they pull into the driveway a couple hours later, Louis chattering away about the newest boy that Lottie has set her sights on, Harry sees Dusty sitting in the window, tail curling around the curtain as he looks out at the car pulling into the driveway, and it’s so comforting and normal that Harry can’t help the smile that stretches across his face as he cuts the engine. There’s a familiar settling in his stomach that he recognizes as that content feeling of coming home and his skin feels like it’s buzzing with anticipation.
“Get the bags, Haz,” Louis says as they hop out of the car, and Harry starts to squawk in indignation, but Louis is already running up the front walk, hood falling down his back, feet bare. As Harry watches, Louis bursts in the front door and he smiles when he hears loud cries of joy emanating through the open door.
When he lugs their two bags through the front door and toes of his shoes, Harry can hear loud chatter coming from the kitchen and he walks through the hallway, past the pictures of him and Gemma on the wall, his chubby adolescent face grinning dorkily back at him. Harry smiles happily at the one of him and the boys on the last day of the X Factor tour, Louis with his face pushed into Harry’s neck, Niall with Liam in a headlock, and Zayn with that face that says he’s thinking about the million other interesting places he could be. Same old, same old, Harry thinks, and chuckles to himself. Dusty winds past his feet and he almost trips over the cat. Nothing has changed there either; the cat is still determined to make Harry fall at every chance he gets, and Harry knows both he and Louis will be picking cat hair off their clothes for weeks.
His socks make a soft whisper against the hardwood floors and it smells the exact same it always does, like fresh laundry and the lemony cleaning stuff his mum uses to wash the floors.
When Harry reaches the kitchen at the back of the house, he sees Louis already sitting at the table with a cup of tea and a biscuit in front of him, waving his arms and going on about the latest prank the boys had pulled on Paul. His voice is as bright as the sunlight pouring in the windows that look out onto the back garden and Harry smiles because Louis fits in so well, here in his tiny kitchen with the red checked curtains and the china plates his grandmother gave them hanging on the walls. And then Harry rounds the corner and there’s his mum, her hair pulled into a soft ponytail as she efficiently moves around the kitchen, an apron tied around her waist and her fuzzy slippers on, the ones she stole from Harry when he outgrew them.
‘Hi, mum,” Harry says, patting Louis on the head as he passes, and Anne turns around with a big smile, her arms wide open, and Harry just walks right into her embrace, letting his forehead thump down on her shoulder. He’s too tall for her, her head barely coming up to his chin, and it kind of makes him sad, but he manages to make himself smaller, like he always has, curling around her, his arms able to go all the way around her. Anne always smells the same, like flour, strawberry shampoo and the perfume she’s been wearing since he was a kid, and some distinctly motherly scent. Her sweater is soft against his cheek as she rubs her hands up and down his spine, the same way she’s always done when comforting him.
“How was the drive up, dear?” she asks, petting his curls with one hand and she’s probably got flour on her hand that’s now in Harry’s hair, but he doesn’t even care. “Louis says you were whining about breakfast, didn’t you eat before you left?”
Harry snorts and pulls out of the embrace, rounding on Louis who sits there with an innocent smile and a smear of chocolate at the corner of his mouth, and he hides his face behind his knees.
“He was the one whining, I just couldn’t wait to get here.” Harry goes over and flicks Louis on the ear and takes a sip of Louis’s tea, grimacing because he never puts sugar in his tea and Harry likes his sugary.
“Get your own tea, you monster,” Louis pinches his hip and gestures towards the pot sitting on the stove, the same red one that Harry bought his mum for Mother’s Day when he was 16 and didn’t know what to do with all the money that was suddenly in his bank account, and a new tea pot seemed like the right thing to buy.
“Well, I’m just glad I have my two favorite boys here again,” Anne smiles and turns back to the counter where she’s peeling potatoes. “Gemma should be here soon.”
“Where’s Robin? Thought he’d be home too,” Harry asks, grabbing a mug from the cupboard, the one he’s been using for years with a picture of him and Gemma printed on it. Louis has his own designated mug too, shaped like an owl, and he’s very possessive of it. Harry pours himself tea, grabs a biscuit from the jar and sits at the table. Outside the window, he can see his mum’s empty flower pots, still waiting for the weather to stop freezing at night so she can plant her flowers. The grass in the garden is brown and the sunlight is weak but it looks the same as ever. He can see the upstairs window of the Buckley’s house, adjacent to theirs. The nice thing about home, he thinks, is that it never changes. There’s still the same scratch in the table, the same afghan thrown over the back of the couch. His mum never rearranges her cupboards, she never moves things around. For Harry and Louis, with a life that’s constantly changing and is marked by different hotel rooms every night, it’s nice to come home to the one thing that always stays in the same spot, leaving a popstar-sized hole, ready for them to fill it back up with laughs and stories of tour.
Anne makes a face and dumps the potatoes into a boiling pot on the stove. “Last minute business trip, he won’t be home till tomorrow unfortunately.”
Harry hums, his mouth full of biscuit. Dusty jumps up on Louis’s lap, pushing his face into the pocket of Louis’s sweatshirt, and Louis pets him contentedly, still completely unaware of the chocolate on his mouth. Louis looks up, catches Harry looking on fondly, and mouths “I’m his favorite” across the table, to which Harry rolls his eyes.
“I’m off to take a shower, someone hogged all the hot water in London this morning,” he says and stands up, glaring at Louis who just laughs.
“Fine, love, I’ll just sit here and make best friends with your cat,” Louis teases and Dusty gives an agreeing purr as Louis threads his fingers through the cat’s fur.
As Harry goes back down the hallway to grab their two bags, Louis calls out, “I’m everybody’s favorite!” from the kitchen, and his mum’s loud laughter mixes with Louis’s sunshiney giggles and Harry smiles so hard he think his face is going to split in two.
Nothing has changed upstairs since the last time Harry was here. At the top of the stairs is the chest of drawers where Anne puts all the folded laundry and basically anything that doesn’t have a place elsewhere in the house. There are more pictures on the walls, of his mum and Robin’s wedding day, and one that makes Harry’s stomach tighten up with happiness. It’s the one from Australia, taken the day they’d spent on the boat in the bay, and everything was golden, Louis was tanned, and his eyes are bright as he plants a giant kiss on Harry’s cheek, blue eyes crinkling up and Harry’s smile so big that his eyes are half-moons. Things were easier back then, Harry thinks, but he’s not sure he would give up everything he and Louis have been through since then, even the bad stuff, because he thinks it’s made them stronger than ever. He resists the urge to stroke Louis’s face like a thirteen year old girl, and instead grabs a fresh towel off the stack sitting on the dresser, his and Louis’s bags slung over his shoulder, and makes his way down the hall to his bedroom at the end.
When he pushes open his bedroom door, he feels a tug of nostalgia in his stomach at the sight of his old posters on the walls, edges curling with age and the Man U banner hung across from his Gryffindor banner that he got for Christmas the year the fifth Harry Potter book came out and Harry spent an entire weekend holed up in bed reading nonstop. The old Beatles poster above his bed is missing a pin in one corner, the edge folded over probably from the time he and Niall and Louis had a pillow fight late at night in here. His desk still has all his old school books stacked in the corner, as if he’s going to suddenly take up math and science again. He wonders if he should be giving them away. He flips the cover of his math textbook open and sees his name written five billion times on the inside cover, from when he would practice his signature in case he ever needed to sign autographs. He laughs out loud. Maybe he shouldn’t give them away.
The water in the shower is scalding, just how he likes it; his mum even put his favorite pomegranate body wash in the shower, and he’s belting out the words to They Don’t Know About Us when he hears the door open, letting in a whoosh of cold air.
“Hi, babe,” Louis sticks his head round the shower curtain, a teasing smile stretching his lips. “You pretending to be a popstar or summat?”
Harry nods seriously. “Gonna follow my dreams one day, Lou.”
Louis rolls his eyes and sits down on the toilet seat, rolls his sweatpants up, and puts his feet up on the edge of the bathtub, wiggling his toes under the spray. “Your mum says to hurry up, she wants to beat your arse at Scrabble.” He puts little air quotes around the last few words. “Also, Gemma phoned, she’ll be home soon.”
Harry nods and goes back to sculpting his hair into a mohawk with his conditioner, still humming the chorus under his breath. He closes his eyes and goes back under the spray, running his fingers through his curls, tangled from not having showered before they left.
Harry hears the snap of a camera shutter and opens his eyes, the spray of the water making him blink furiously. Louis’s cackling, his phone held up in front of his face.
“Better not put that on twitter,” Harry warns and rubs at his eyes. The water is starting to cool off, so he turns off the tap and it’s quiet again in the tiny bathroom, except for Louis’s quiet giggles as he looks at the picture he’s managed to capture of Harry.
“Like I would,” Louis scoffs. “You act as if there are a million teenage girls who’d want to see you naked.”
Harry rolls his eyes and flicks water at Louis who shrieks and hides his phone in the neckline of his tshirt.
“Grab my towel, please.” Harry pulls the shower curtain open and steam billows out into the room. Louis shoves his towel at him from where it was sitting on the back of the toilet and covers his eyes.
“Please cover yourself, you indecent person, my eyes can’t take this abuse,” Louis laughs and pulls the neckline of his tshirt up over his eyes.
“You’re a child, Lou.” Harry steps out of the shower, knocks his knee against Louis’s. “Grab some clothes for me, will you?”
“Jesus, who was your last servant?” Louis grumbles as he goes back into Harry’s room and comes back with a pair of sweatpants and a tshirt, which Harry slips on, shirt sticking to his damp back. His curls are dripping all over his tshirt and he whips his head back and forth like a dog, spraying Louis with droplets of water, and Louis screams and runs out of the room. Harry can hear him stomping down the stairs two at a time, yelling his head off about domestic abuse, and he rolls his eyes and puts on some thick socks from the top drawer of his dresser. They have snowmen on them, and its April, but oh well.
When he arrives back in the kitchen, Louis is laying spread eagled in the middle of the floor with his eyes closed, excitedly telling a story that involves him gesturing wildly with his hands, accidentally hitting Dusty who’s curled up on his chest. Anne is still moving around the kitchen, stepping around Louis like she’s used to having a boy lying in the middle of the floor, and nodding like she’s pretending she has any idea what Louis is talking about, which is normal. Harry’s just about to nudge a toe into an unaware Louis’s side, when a heavy weight thumps into his back and a loud shriek sounds in his ear as his sister throws herself at him.
Harry turns around and Gemma stands there, a giant smile on her face, glitteringly mischievous eyes and dark hair, a sweater that he recognizes as his own hanging off her shoulders.
She squeals and pulls him into a hug, her thick hair clogging his nose, and then he feels another weight at his back and sees Louis’s arms reaching around him to wrap around Gemma’s neck and Harry finds himself in the middle of a hug sandwich.
“Alright, alright, what is this, why are we group hugging,” he laughs and pushes his bum into Louis from behind and pats his sister on the head. “Hi, Gem.”
“Hello, little brother, hello little brother’s boyfriend,” Gemma sings and drops her bag on the floor, poking Louis in the neck as she walks past to kiss Anne on the cheek. “Hi, mum.”
Louis wraps his arms around Harry from behind, pushing his face into Harry’s neck and mewling like a cat. “Hazza, Hazza, Hazza, let’s go make a fire!” he chants, poking at Harry’s stomach.
The next few hours pass slowly, full of hot cups of tea, the crackling fire, and Louis’s excited little cheers every time he makes a word on the Scrabble board that amounts to more than ten points, which is quite the feat for him. Harry takes pity on him halfway through and starts agreeing with Louis when he tries to make up words that everybody knows don’t exist, but Harry is winning by 150 points, and he figures it’s only fair to let Louis catch up.
“S-W-U-G-G-Y,” Louis crows, stacking his fists one on top of the other and planting his chin on them as he counts up his score.
“What does that even mean, Lou?” Gemma says from the couch where she’s typing away on her computer, working on some assignment.
“It means to be particularly excited about an event in the near future, as in, I’m totally swuggy for the concert in France next week,” Louis says proudly and writes down his score on the pad of paper that they’re using. “Right, Anne?” He looks up and over to Anne, who’s kneeling in front of the fire, balling up last week’s newspaper and tossing it into the flames. She nods without looking over at them, but Harry can see a small smile twisting at the corner of her lips.
“See?” Louis sniffs haughtily. “It’s ok, Gem, you’d know that if you were an international popstar like me and Hazza here.”
Gemma rolls her eyes. “Harry, your boyfriend is a brat, control him.” She stretches a socked foot out and gently pushes Louis’s shoulder, and he whips her sock off and throws it across the room, scrunching up his face in an offended frown. Harry thinks he looks like a cat that’s just been dipped in water. His chest feels all warm though, like it does whenever Louis and Gemma act like actual brother and sister, an intimacy that was born less than an hour after they had met for the first time more than two years ago, and Louis had held her hand for the whole evening and demanded embarrassing stories of a younger Harry, stories that Gemma was more than happy to share.
“Louis, play nice,” Harry admonishes, hiding a smile against his hand, as he lays out his tiles on the board, adding a “qua-” to the “train” that already existed there, from back when Louis was still playing with legitimate words. “Quatrain, 51 points because the q is on the triple word.”
Louis jumps up with a shriek and stamps his foot angrily, planting his fists on his hips. “Not fair! That’s not even a word!”
“Sure it is,” Harry laughs. He pulls up dictionary.com on his phone, and reads aloud, “a stanza or poem of four lines.”
“I don’t believe you,” Louis flops onto the couch, knee landing on the bag of crisps that’s sitting there. “That can’t be a word.”
“C’mon, Lou, you’d know the word if you’d passed your A-levels, like Harry and I did,” Gemma teases and throws a crisp at Louis where he’s hunched in the corner of the couch, arms crossed like a child on time-out.
“This game is dumb,” Louis announces. “I don’t want to play anymore.”
“That’s only because you’re losing,” Harry points out.
“I’m gracefully bowing out before I embarrass myself,” Louis laughs and pulls a blanket off the back of the couch, pushing a pillow into the corner of the couch and curling up in a little lump under the thick blanket.. He sticks his socked feet in Gemma’s lap, and she just rearranges her arms over them and continues to type on her laptop.
“Too late for that, babe,” Harry chuckles, reaches out and runs his thumb from Louis’s ear to the corner of his mouth, watching fondly as Louis closes his eyes and bites at his thumb.
“Shut up,” Louis mumbles sleepily, pulling the blanket up to his chin.
“Mum, want to play me?” Harry starts wiping the tiles off the board, sad to see his brilliant words poured back into the little red pouch they keep their squares in.
And so it goes like that, the waning afternoon sun shining into the living room casting Louis’s sleeping face into shadows, his hair falling softly across his forehead, small sleepy snuffles coming out of him every so often. His eyelashes cast long shadows across his cheeks as the sun moves below the trees and as the light outside wanes into the blue of dusk, the streetlights outside come on, orange and glowing.
Harry and Anne are almost an even match at Scrabble and every time Harry manages to pull ahead of her in the score, he gives a tiny fist pump and a whispered yell, not wanting to wake up Louis from his much-needed nap. He reminds Harry of a cat, curled up and snoring softly, a resemblance only magnified when Dusty jumps up and arranges himself in the bend of Louis’s legs, his head poking out from behind Louis’s knee.
The fire snaps and crackles, added to occasionally by Harry feeding logs into the brick fireplace, and he eventually manages to win the game, prompting his mum to retreat into the kitchen to finish preparing the roast that’s been cooking for the last few hours. Gemma heads upstairs to shower before dinner, leaving only the sleeping Louis in the living room and Harry, who turns the TV on low to some cooking show and sits in front of Louis, back up against the couch and legs crossed on the floor. He tilts his head back against the couch, the top of his head resting against Louis’s soft belly through the blanket, and he lets the sound of his mum in the kitchen and the soft murmur of the cooking show wash over him as he closes his eyes. It’s quiet here; no screaming girls, no phones ringing with instructions from faceless people behind desks back in London, no 5 am wakeup calls. It’s just silence and the clatter of the dishes in the kitchen, the low hum of the upstairs shower, and the soft huffs of Louis’s breath against the back of Harry’s head.
Harry must doze off for a while, because when he opens his eyes again, the living room is dark but for the single lamp on in the corner and the glowing of the TV, and a pair of soft lips is making his ear very wet. He turns his head slightly and sees Louis’s eyes glittering in the dark, sleepy but cheerfully blue in the dim light.
“Hi,” Louis whispers, voice scratchy with sleep. His hair is pushed across his forehead, as if it was tickling him in his sleep and he’d impatiently pushed it away. He’s got a little bit of dark scruff across his jawline, scratching against the back of Harry’s neck as Louis leans in again to nip at Harry’s earlobe.
Harry turns himself all the way around, sitting cross legged facing the sofa and level with Louis’s face where he’s still lying near the edge of the sofa, small smiling curling around his lips.
“Hi,” Harry smiles at Louis, pushes his hand underneath the blanket and pokes Louis in the stomach underneath his tshirt, causing Louis to squeak and curl in on himself before laughing quietly.
“Come up here with me?” Louis winks at him and opens the blanket, inviting Harry onto the small patch of sofa left. He can feel the heat of Louis’s body and it’s tempting, so tempting, but his mum is in the next room and supper will probably be ready soon.
“Lou, my mums right there.” Harry rolls his eyes, but leans in anyways, lifting up Louis’s chin with his finger and presses their lips together. Louis tastes like sleep and bitter tea, his lips soft and kinda chapped from breathing out of his mouth while sleeping. It’s a slow and lazy kind of kiss, the kind that doesn’t lead anywhere and is just Harry drawing his tongue in figure eights on the inside of Louis’s velvety lip, and Louis nipping gently at Harry’s mouth. Harry rubs his thumb in the hollow below Louis’s jaw, presses into the warm skin and smiles into Louis’s mouth as his little fingers come up behind his neck and scratch at the curls there. Harry hears himself purr into Louis’s mouth, at which Louis giggles all raspy and sleep-worn.
“Such a cat, Hazza,” Louis mumbles against Harry’s lips, fingers slipping below Harry’s neckline, rubbing at the vertebra at the top of his spine, the exact spot that makes Harry’s limbs melt and buzz at the same time, which Louis knows very well. Harry sinks forward, head flopping onto Louis’s shoulder, and Louis threads his fingers through Harry’s hair, pulling gently and stroking.
“I needed this,” Harry sighs heavily, his voice muffled against the thick fabric of Louis’s sweatshirt. He can smell the cologne Louis put on this morning, as well as the sleepily musty smell.
“What, a head massage?” Louis chuckles and scratches his fingers against Harry’s scalp.
“No,” Harry snorts. “Well, yes, but no.”
“Eloquent as ever, Haz,” Louis’s thumb brushes behind Harry’s ear. Harry rolls his eyes, eyelashes sweeping across the warm skin of Louis’s neck and he licks with the tip of his tongue and grins at the way Louis’s skin goosebumps.
“No, I mean, this.” Harry pulls his hand out from the blanket and waves around the room. “Home, and my mum and Gem. And you.”
Louis is silent, fingers moving across Harry’s head in a way that’s sending his outer extremities to sleep.
“Yeah,” he says finally. “Me too.”
“London is great and all, but….” Harry trails off. He pulls his head back off the couch and Louis’s hand falls out of his hair and lands on the cushion, small and tanned, fingernails bitten short.
“S’not really the same as your bed from home,” Louis finishes, nodding against the cushion and making his hair stick up funny.
Harry nods in agreement and turns his head, so his cheek is resting against the scratchy cushion on the couch and presses his mouth against Louis’s again, soft and brief.
Louis laughs quietly when they separate and reaches out and runs his thumb across Harry’s bottom lip.
“What?” Harry asks.
“Gonna suck you off in your childhood bed later, kay?” Louis giggles, and before Harry can even respond, Louis is up with his legs swinging off the couch, padding off down the hallway before Harry spits any words out. He hears Louis greet Anne in his stupidly adorable sleepy voice and Harry has to banish all thoughts of tonight, shaking his head fondly as he gets up, legs cramping and pins and needles shooting down to his feet.
All through dinner Louis keeps giving Harry all these wicked grins from underneath his fringe, as if he knows that Harry is sitting there concentrating on the conversation with Anne and Gemma so he doesn’t think about later, and what Louis said. It’s all he can do to not jump up from the table and drag Louis upstairs with him, but Anne seems intent on having a minute-by-minute run-through of the boys’ plans for the next few weeks of the European tour. At the moment, she’s telling Louis, in great detail, about a pastry shop she and Robin visited in Paris, that Louis and Harry apparently just have to visit when they’re there. And Harry loves his mum, he does, but all he can think about is Louis curled over Harry in his bed, mouth wrapped around his cock and blue eyes glinting over his red red mouth.
“For god’s sake, Harry, what is your problem?” Gemma snaps after the third time that his bouncing knee accidentally hit the bottom of the table and causes everyone’s water glasses to jump.
Louis laughs loudly, his hand covering his mouth and his eyes twinkling above his hand, and Gemma and Anne look suspiciously between the two boys.
“Are we missing something?” Anne asks slowly, eyes flicking to Harry’s hands tapping on the table and Louis’s mischievously glittering eyes.
“Nope, nothing,” Harry shakes his head quickly and narrows his eyes at Louis from across the table. Anne shrugs and starts clearing the table, Gemma hopping up to help her, and once they’re both away from the table, Harry kicks his long leg out underneath the table and manages to hit Louis in the knee with it. Louis yelps and swears under his breath and Harry glares at him.
“Stop it!” Harry whispers ferociously across the table.
Louis shrugs, his eyes wide and guileless. “I’m not doing anything!”
“You’re being all,” Harry flaps his hands around like he can’t find the word, and then he hisses “tempting!” He’s just sitting there with his smirks and his little suggestive hands and the way he slides his mouth around his fork is dumb and he’s so dumb and Harry desperately needs to get away from the table.
Louis breaks out raucous giggles that make Anne and Gemma turn back from where they’re preparing the cheesecake that’s for dessert.
“You two need to stop napping during the day if it gives you this most energy at night,” Anne admonishes. “It’s almost 12, shouldn’t you be exhausted?”
“Not at all,” Louis chirps happily and takes a giant gulp of milk, making a show of obviously swallowing it, and Harry can’t stop watching Louis’s throat. Louis sticks his tongue out at Harry, a milk mustache across his upper lip, and affection rolls through Harry, for this dumb little boy who can’t even drink his milk without looking like a child, and yet manages to be so deliciously attractive that Harry can’t stand to be at the table for one more second.
“Louis, can I talk to you in the hall for a second?” Harry demands, pushing his chair away from the table and stalking out of the kitchen, not even bothering to look behind him and make sure Louis is following, but he hears the scrape of Louis’s chair and another peal of giggles.
“I dunno what his problem is,” Harry hears Louis exclaim to Anne and Gemma as he passes. His voice is full of laughter, squeaky at the end like he can’t hold in his giggles.
Louis rounds the corner, coming into the dark hallway, scrubbing at his upper lip where he seems to have been alerted that he had a milk mustache. Harry grins at him in the dark, watches as Louis’s eyes light up in the dim hall, and when he’s close enough, Harry grabs his shirt front and pulls the smaller boy up against him, pinning Louis’s wrist between their bodies.
“Stop looking at me over the table like you want to eat me,” Louis whispers gleefully, his face inches away from Harry’s in the dark, chin tipped up defiantly to look up into Harry’s face. A thrill goes through Harry, the one he always gets when Louis has to turn his face up to look at him.
“Stop looking like,” Harry searches his mind, lost for words, and Louis’s face scrunches up in silent giggles. “Stop looking so good that I want to eat you!”
“Hazza, that’s just my natural face,” Louis whispers condescendingly and reaches up to pat Harry on the head. “I can’t help it that I’m magically delicious.”
Harry rolls his eyes. “You’re dumb.”
Louis beams, and snakes his hand out of Harry’s grip, and makes a lightning-fast pinch to Harry’s nipple through his worn tshirt, and then wrenches his other hand out of Harry’s and skips back down the hall, cheerfully greeting Anne and Gemma as if he hadn’t just been driving Harry crazy.
“The little brat is upset because his family loves me more than him,” Harry hears Louis trill above the sound of the dishes being loaded into the dishwasher. “He’s jealous, s’all.”
It’s hard to be annoyed with someone as charming as Louis, Harry decides. He fixes his shirt, ignores the ache between his legs, and makes his way back down the dark hallway, hands casually hung in front of him to hide any potentially visible problems in his baggy sweatpants.
Finally, finally, half an hour later when the plates are all in the dishwasher and Anne is trying to hide yawns behind her hand, not used to the late hour that Harry and Louis are used to, they’re finally excused. Louis bounces around the table to give Gemma and Anne big, loud kisses on the cheek, and Harry follows suit, squawking loudly when Gemma pulls him down, almost knocking him off his feet.
In the hallway, Harry tries to reach for Louis, but he’s too fast, taking off towards the stairs at the front of the house, socked feet slipping on the floor and he slides into the banister, stubbing his toe and starting to swear loudly before clapping his hand over his mouth, remembering where they are.
“Yeah, no swearing, you twat,” Harry says ,coming up behind him and reaching for the back of Louis’s tshirt, but Louis twists out of his grasps and starts taking the stairs two at a time, shrieking bloody murder as if Harry is following him. He disappears into the darkness at the top of the stairs, Harry still at the bottom, wondering why on earth he’s in love with such an idiot.
Anne pokes her head around the corner. “You might not want to give him sugar at night anymore,” she laughs softly. “He’s a little bit hyper, isn’t he?”
Harry nods wearily, swings around the banister to plant a kiss on his mum’s head, and then starts climbing the stairs, avoiding the stair that squeaks, which Louis always insists on stomping on particularly hard.
When he pushes open the door to his room, Louis is lying in the bed with his pants around his ankles and his hand already on his cock, head thrown back against Harry’s pillow, and Harry’s stomach falls out of him, breath stopping short at the little whines coming out of Louis’s mouth. Jesus, Harry is in love with an angel, it’s ridiculous, and he closes the door behind him with a little snap, flicking the lock on it. At the sound, Louis lifts his head up and gives a blinding smile that falters when he twists his hand a certain way, and he tips his head back again, hair already starting to stick to his forehead with sweat.
“Christ, Louis,” Harry chuckles, strained, as he whips his own tshirt off and lets it fall on the ground. “I was right behind you, you couldn’t have waited for me to get started?”
Louis laughs, high-pitched and raspy, and it goes straight to Harry’s cock and all of a sudden, he needs to be on the bed with Louis, and he’s in such a hurry to get his sweatpants off that he trips over them, feet catching in the hem.
“Fuck, you’re a klutz,” Louis gasps. “Come here and help me, you idiot.”
“You’re dumb, dumb, dumb,” Harry chants under his breath and falls on the bed next to Louis, face smashing into Louis’s shoulder, and he bites as the tanned skin there, and Louis hisses and his hand drops from his cock.
“Romance is entirely lost, isn’t it,” Harry laughs quietly into Louis’s neck and reaches behind him to turn off the bedside lamp, drowning the room in darkness, the only light being the moon outside the window.
God, and like, Harry has done this before, he’s been in his small little childhood bed with Louis before, and he’s fucked him in it too, but the strangeness of it is magnified by the fact that just yesterday they were doing a show for thousands of people, and in a few days they’ll be in France, doing the same thing again, and yet right now, here in the darkness of the room that Harry grew up in, he’s got this boy in his bed and Harry feels like he could be in high school again, sneaking a boy through the window.
The covers rustle as Louis kicks off his pants, turns sideways so he’s tucked up under Harry’s chin. “Yes, romance is completely lost. Now get your hand on my cock,” he whispers into Harry’s neck.
“You are so pushy,” Harry smirks and tangles their legs together, pulling the covers up over them so they’re cocooned in a warm pocket of air. Louis’s soft hair brushes against Harry’s cheek and then Louis nips at his collarbone and Harry squeaks, the sound cut off when Louis claps his hand over Harry’s mouth and Jesus, it’s like a jolt to his cock and he’s suddenly achingly hard and desperate.
“Gotta be quiet, love,” Louis hums in a singsong voice and wraps his little hand around Harry’ cock, laughing quietly. He climbs on top of Harry, straddles him and pulls the blanket up so it’s draped over his shoulders. He looks ridiculous, like he’s wearing a cape, and his blue eyes glitter out from the darkness, lips red and bitten. Louis moves his hand up and down Harry’s cock slowly, grinning like he knows exactly what he’s doing to Harry. He flicks a nail under the head and it’s like the air in Harry’s lungs is punched out and he gasps, the muscles in his stomach tightening.
Louis shushes him. “Control yourself, Harry,” he whispers, and he’s smiling but it’s threateningly sharp and Harry nods shakily, warmth pooling in his stomach at the friction of Louis’s hand on his cock and his teeth bright in the darkness, sharp and wolf like. Fuck, there is nothing better than Louis being all bossy when Harry knows perfectly well he could tip Louis over and cover him with his body, but that he never would. He can tell by the glint in Louis’s eyes as he increases the pressure of his hand on Harry’s mouth, forcing him to breathe heavily through his nose, that Louis gets off on the power he’s demanding from Harry just as much, which Harry always knew. Louis likes knowing that Harry will listen to him, will nod meekly and obey, and Harry has no problem indulging that part of him.
As he watches, Louis slithers down into the covers until he’s disappeared into his cave and the sheets fall over his head and finally, finally, a slick mouth slides down around Harry’s cock and his hips jolt upwards, a rush of pleasure zinging up his spine. He snakes a hand down in the blankets and finds Louis’s hair, threading his fingers through the soft strands and tugging, and Louis moans around his cock, causing vibrations to buzz up and down Harry’s spine and it’s all he can do not to thrust up into Louis’s mouth. It’s made all the better by the fact that he can’t see Louis, all he can feel is the tightness of his mouth stretched around Harry’s cock, and his little hand covering what his mouth can’t reach, and every time Louis does something with his mouth, it’s a complete surprise.
Harry groans and it feels like its being ripped from his throat, and he knows he’s being too loud but he can’t help it as Louis flicks his tongue against the vein running along the underside of Harry’s cock.
“Lou, Jesus Christ,” he gasps, and then there’s a sharp pinch on his thigh and the slickness around his cock is gone and Louis’s laugh floats out from underneath the blanket, muffled and scratching sounding, and he pops his head out of the blanket and fuck, his mouth is swollen and covered in spit, his eyes are bright, and his forehead is shiny with sweat. He takes a big gulp of air and giggles breathily.
“Stop being so loud, Harry,” he murmurs “You’re gonna wake up the whole house with your porno moaning, it’s just a blowjob.”
Harry snorts. Just a blowjob. Louis severely underestimates the loveliness of his own mouth.
Harry stuffs his fist into his mouth to keep from groaning as Louis dig his fingers into Harry’s hips, leaving finger-shaped bruises that Harry knows he won’t be able to stop touching tomorrow, and then the hot suction of Louis’s mouth is back on him and fuck, it feels like Louis is trying to suck out Harry’s brains through his cock.
He can feel his orgasm building in the base of his spine, tightening heat, and then Louis hums around his cock, teases a finger around Harry’s hole, and all the air whooshes out of Harry as he comes down Louis’s throat, fingers and toes tingling, his brain blank and roaring with white noise.
There’s soft cackling coming from under the covers as Harry slowly comes back to life, stars flashing in a kaleidoscope of colors before his eyes, and as the dark room comes back to view, Louis pokes his head out, and Harry can’t breathe, because Louis’s mouth is red and wet and swollen and there’s come at the corner of his mouth, glistening in the silver light.
“Hey,” Louis croaks, voice hoarse and thick, a self-satisfied smirk stretching across his face and oh god, he’s so pleased with himself and Harry loves him so much he’s stupid with it.
“You’ve got a little bit,” Harry says faintly, and reaches out with a thumb towards Louis’s mouth, but before he can wipe it away Louis’s small little pink tongue darts out and licks up the errant drop and he smiles at Harry like some sort of glowing archangel.
“Fuck, are you trying to kill me?” Harry groans softly and lets his head fall back against the pillow. Louis crawls up his body, legs straddling his hips and leans down his elbows to messily lick at Harry’s mouth and he tastes like come and chocolate from dessert and his lips are slick with spit and come. His fingers play with the curls near Harry’s ears, hips moving in small circles against Harry’s, and he can feel that Louis is still painfully hard against his stomach.
Harry plants his feet, winds his arms around Louis’s waist and rolls them over, smacking his knee onto the wall beside the too-small bed and they laugh into each other’s mouths as Harry hovers over Louis, his eyes wide and shiny blue and giddy with anticipation.
“To answer your question,” Louis smiles, looking up at Harry with nothing less than total adoration in his eyes, “yes, I am trying to kill you.”
Harry rolls his hips down into Louis’s and laughs softly when Louis whines and throws his head back, exposing the pale lines of his throat begging to be marked and Harry curses every living thing in the world that he can’t cover Louis in marks that tell everybody that Louis is fucking his. Instead he attaches his mouth to Louis’s chest, just below his new tattoo and nips tiny red marks into the tanned skin, listening as Louis quietly whines above him, muffled into the pillow where he’s tossed his head sideways to hold in the noises.
Louis threads his hands into Harry’s hair and tugs sharply until Harry looks up at him , at his eyes sparkling in the dim light, hair sticking to his forehead with sweat and his teeth digging into his bottom lip.
“What?” Harry whispers.
Louis stares at him, silent. Then, “I really fucking love you.”
Harry hides his smile against the side of Louis’s chest, his heart full to bursting.
“I know,” Harry grins up at him. “I love you too.”
Louis smiles shakily. “Cool. Now get your fingers in me.”
“You ruined the moment,” Harry rolls his eyes, still keeping his voice quiet, but he reaches down and spiders his fingers along the insides of Louis’s thighs, through the light dusting of hair and across the smooth patch of skin right where his groin meets his thigh.
“Fuck having moments, I need to come, alright?” Louis hisses, sucking in a quick breath as Harry presses the pad of his thumb against Louis’s hole. Harry can hear the smile in his words and he thinks he’s never loved somebody so much in his life.
“Alright, alright, calm down, you animal,” Harry bites at Louis’s hip as he reaches across his body to the bedside dresser, opening up the drawer and digging through all the crap that he’s ever kept in the drawer, until he finds a packet of lube, way at the back, away from any attempt by his mother to empty out his room.
“Hurry up,” Louis bites and reaches down to grasp his cock, but Harry intercepts his hand and wraps his fingers around Louis’s wrist.
“Jesus, Lou,” Harry chuckles and rips the packet open with his teeth, a move he knows Louis would be rolling his eyes at if he wasn’t panting and straining to reach his cock lying heavy against his stomach.
Harry coats his fingers in the cool substance and with one hand, pushes Louis’s legs up until his thighs are flat against his stomach, trapping his cock beneath them, and circles one finger around his hole. Louis’s hips jerk up at the sensitive touch and Harry takes the moment to slide his middle finger in until it pops past the ring of muscle and Louis is gasping out in little pants.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Louis chants under his breath and rocks onto Harry’s finger as it stretches him open, and at one particular brush of Harry’s finger, a cut off whine rips out of Louis’s throat.
There literally is nothing better than fingering Louis, Harry thinks. His face is red, a flush high in his cheeks and his eyes are blue as ever, glittering and red-rimmed and his hair flops on his forehead, sweaty and damp. His fingers grasp at the air and Harry knows he wants to touch Harry’s hair, so he moves up on Louis’s body, puts his head within reach, and Louis gives a relieved and broken sigh as his fingers tangled in the messy curls.
“More, more,” he begs, and Harry slides in another finger, scissoring them and feeling Louis stretch around him. He curls the fingers into a comma, brushing up against Louis’s prostate and smiles against Louis’s hip at the high-pitched whines that fall out of his mouth as he shifts back against Harry’s fingers, rocking into them as Harry slides in and out. Harry leans down at licks around the base of Louis’s cock, the saltiness of him settling onto Harrys tongue like a familiar taste.
“Lou, you gotta be quiet, remember?” Harry grins up at Louis who stares at him, eyes wide and mouth opened in a silent whine and Harry goes dizzy with the knowledge that Louis can’t even make noise any more. He slips another finger in, and speeds up the movement until Louis is almost silently crying, and fuck, Harry loves him like this, needy and begging and pliant like he never is. His legs have fallen open, one knee against the wall and one hanging off the side of the bed and his fingers are wound in Harry’s hair, pulling and tightening in rhythmic clenches.
“Close,” Louis grits out, teeth clenched and eyes squeezed shut, his head thrown back. The moonlight pans across his bare stomach, the muscles tightening up under the softness of his belly, and Harry takes the tip of his cock in his mouth, kitten licks across the taut head the dribble of precome over his slit, and then a whine punches out of Louis’s mouth and he shoots across his stomach, come catching on Harry’s chin and his lip.
Louis’s chest is heaving as he comes down from his orgasm, exhilarated giggles spilling quietly out of his mouth into the darkness. He blinks heavily, the blue of his eyes heavy and sated and dark in the silver moonlight. Harry thinks Louis is the most beautiful thing ever when he comes. He licks around his fingers as he draws them out of Louis, causing Louis to whimper and shift his hips away from Harry, and his foot kicks out and hits Harry’s ankle where he’s lying between Louis’s legs.
“Fuck.” Louis whispers, breath catching in his throat, and Harry laughs quietly, slinking up the bed until he’s flopped down next to Louis. Louis lifts one shaky arm and reaches over to the nightstand, grasping a bunch of tissues and half-heartedly dropping them on his stomach striped in come. His arm flops back down to his side and he looks pitifully at Harry, begging with his eyes for Harry to clean him up.
They’re sweaty and still sticky from come but Harry manages to wipe Louis off and they pull the covers up over there, burrowing down into the warm sheets. Harry flips the pillow over to get the cool side and pulls Louis under his chin, stroking his sweaty hair off his forehead and running his fingers through the sweaty hair at the base of his neck.
“Love you,” Louis mumbles into Harry’s throat, and he winds an arm around Harry’s waist, heavy and sleepy. “Even if you did cheat at Scrabble.”
Harry rolls his eyes. Some things never change. Even after he just turned Louis into a ball of overstimulated nerves, he still manages to bite back.
“Love you too,” he whispers back, but Louis is already sleepily snoring, quiet vibrations against Harry’s throat, so he closes his eyes and lets the blackness take over.
The sun pans across Louis’s bare back, striped light shining through the blinds and illuminating dust motes in the air. He’s flat on his stomach, face smushed into the pillow so that his nose is scrunched up and one cheek is bigger than the other. His fists are curled under his stomach, like usual, and the blankets lie just above the swell of his arse.
Harry realizes it’s kind of creepy to lie there and watch Louis sleep, but he thinks about how rare it is that they have time to just lie in bed and be with each other, when they aren’t woken up by pounding on hotel room doors, or an alarm clock blaring. He woke up because of a tickle on his upper lip, where Louis was blowing out soft breaths.
“Are you looking at me?” Louis’s voice comes out muffled against the pillow, his eyes still closed, but Harry can see the edges of his mouth curling up into a smile.
“No,” Harry says.
Louis opens his eyes and sees Harry looking right at him, smiling giddily, their noses inches apart.
“Liar.” He scoots forward, closes the small distance and presses lips against Harry’s, soft and dry and kinda sleepy tasting. The same long eyelashes, the same hazy blue of his eyes when he’s tired. Harry never gets tired of watching Louis wake up in the mornings.
They shower together in the too-small bathtub in Harry’s bathroom, Louis standing under the spray dozing while Harry washes his hair for him, spiking it up and making funny shapes with it, taking advantage of Louis’s early-morning pliancy. Joint showers are somewhat of a luxury as well – on the tour bus, the showers are barely big enough for one person, let alone two. They take advantage of huge hotel showers whenever they can.
When they tramp down the stairs, Louis sleepily rubbing his eyes, the main floor smells like pancakes and bacon, and Harry’s stomach rumbles audibly. They chime good mornings to Anne standing at the counter in her worn blue dressing robe, and slide into chairs next to Gemma and Dusty, who has commandeered a chair for himself.
Gemma leans over, her dark hair brushing Harry’s cheek, and whispers in his ear, “guess you forgot how thin the walls are here,” and cackles when Harry turns bright red and shoves her away. Louis busies himself with spooning out eggs onto his plate, but Harry can see the tops of his ears glowing red.
The morning passes with a kind of lingering dread in the air, the knowledge that the safe haven of time that the boys have returned to is almost up. They’re due back in the city for supper with the boys and some important people that Harry hasn’t bothered to learn the names of, trusting Liam to have that knowledge for him when the two boys are back in London. So Harry drags out doing the dishes with his mum, washing each plate six times and listening to her fill him in on all the neighborhood gossip, whose son ran off with whose daughter, which elderly person down the street is now in a nursing home. They sit at the kitchen table, Harry’s feet tucked under her leg, and drink tea and look at her plans for the garden when it’s finally warm enough to plant flowers.
It’s this part of being home that Harry misses the most; not the childhood bed or the cat or the posters on his wall. It’s being able to walk up to his mum whenever he wants and wraps his arms around her, and not have to rely on phone calls and Skype sessions, not have to calculate time differences while they’re in America. He misses the day-to-day activities of his house, misses knowing what’s going on when it happens and being part of it. His mum did call a few weeks ago to make sure it was okay with Harry if she painted one of her bedroom walls red, and even though that had literally zero effect on Harry, he still felt important and proud to be asked, and sad that he wasn’t there to help her choose paint samples. Harry thinks that at only 19, he should still be here taking care of her, but when he says as much she just scoffs and pats him on the head and assures him that she would rather he be out living his dream than stuck in a going-nowhere town like Holmes Chapel. Harry guesses that’s true as well. As much as he loves and misses the cobblestoned roads and the small little chapels of Holmes Chapel, there’s nothing quite like the lights and the skyscrapers and the excitement of London.
Since technically no one knows Louis is in Cheshire with Harry, he’s confined to the house, but he and Gemma busy themselves with squabbling over the pre-recorded episodes of Sherlock on Sky. As Harry and Anne pour over gardening catalogues and he writes down the different seeds that his mother is planning, he can hear the bright chatter of Louis’s voice, running up and down the stairs, packing their bags and lugging them down in heavy thumps against the steps.
By 2 pm, the sun is high in the sky and Harry has texts from an anxious Liam reminding them of the address and time of the dinner tonight, so Harry and Louis figure it’s time for them to get on the road.
“Don’t forget to call me before you leave for France, alright?” Anne says as Harry tilts his head onto her neck, reveling in the feel of her arms around him as they stand on the front step. There are birds singing and it smells like spring.
“I won’t, Mum, and I’ll call you as soon as we get back to London,” Harry pokes Gemma in the cheek and gives her half-hug as Louis takes his turn with Anne. He grins when he sees Anne whispering something in Louis’s ear, something that makes him blush red and his smile gets all soft and shy when Anne rubs her hands up and down his back.
As they’re driving out of town, fields and cows starting to appear and houses starting to disappear, Harry turns down the radio station that Louis had turned on and was singing away to Rihanna.
“What did my mum say to you when we were leaving?” he glances over at Louis where he’s got his feet up on the dashboard, fingers patting his thighs like he’s keeping beat with the music or the bump of the tires over the road.
“She said to tell you that I’m her favorite,” Louis laughs and tangles his fingers with Harry’s on the console, stroking the back of his hand with his thumb. “Actually, she um –”, he coughs, his cheeks turning red, “—she said I was welcome any time, with or without you.”
Harry keeps his eyes on the road, a broad smile on his face. “You are, you know. If you ever need to get away from London, you know, and you just need some peace and quiet…” he trails off. “My home is your home, remember?” He looks over at Louis and smiles.
“Yeah, I know,” Louis says softly.
They’re silent for a while. Harry knows Louis doesn’t like to admit it, but he gets lonely in London when Harry goes out, having to be seen with certain people, their main qualifiers being that they’re just not Louis. It’s not fair that Harry can be seen with whoever he wants, as long as it’s not Louis, but they’ve packed away the unfairness of that into little boxes in their minds.
Harry does like to go out, to shows and to clubs, and Louis prefers to stay in these days, ordering Chinese in and having a big Skype session with all his girls back home. He knows Louis gets lonely, but he also knows that sometimes he’s not looking for a house full of screaming girls who want all of his attention. Sometimes he just needs a safe spot where no one is going to ask him for anything, no one expects him to know the next thing on the schedule. Harry’s house in Cheshire can be that for Louis, he reminds him on more than one occasion.
Sometime later, Louis turns the radio back up, twists around in his seat to grab the jumbo bag of Chex Mix Anne had given them for the ride home, and they sit there yelling along to the pop music on the radio, stuffing Doritos and pretzels into their mouths until there’s a ring of orange around their lips and their voices are sore from singing and laughing so hard.
Harry looks over at Louis, his mouth orange and cheesy, blue eyes scrunched close as he does a particularly awful rendition of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful, and he thinks about his home back in Cheshire with the walls and pictures that never change and a mum that’s always waiting for him, his and Louis’s house in London, their comfy couch and all of Harry’s kitchen appliances and Louis’s shoes waiting to be tripped over everywhere Harry turns. And he realizes that the boy sitting next to him, hair sticking up wildly and happy smile, that’s his home, Louis is his home, and he carries him around with him and wherever Louis goes, wherever Louis and Harry go, Harry is home. He smiles and holds Louis’s hand a bit tighter until Louis looks over at him and smiles big and bright and cheesy.
Harry grins at him. “Let’s go home.”