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It’s by some silent, mutual agreement that they all head for their respective rooms back at the hotel. There wasn’t anything particularly draining about tonight—other than having to cover for Harry catching a tiny bouquet of roses with his face and sneezing extravagantly at every five minute interval thereafter—but Louis has been on for what feels like days, and he doesn’t need sleep so much as he needs to collapse. The boys’ unconscious pouts and glassy eyes throw off the same low battery alarm, so Louis reckons he’s in for a quiet night.

But Harry either didn’t get the memo or chose to ignore it, because he ends up hovering while Louis fumbles with his keycard, making no move toward his own door.

“All right?” Louis asks, because they’re past the point when this sort of thing was the norm, and have been for a while. Harry’s been strange tonight, fidgety and restless in a way he shouldn’t be, but while Louis can’t keep himself from noticing, he does usually make a point to act like he hasn’t. They don’t go poking their noses into each other’s business anymore—not without an invitation, anyway, and Louis’ insides do this funny little flip when Harry shrugs and shuffles his feet, because that’s one, right there.

“Dunno,” Harry mumbles. “Yeah. Can I come in?”

Practically engraved. So Louis beckons him inside and takes a moment to switch on the lights and compose himself, because it’s been a while since Harry needed him enough to seek him out. It could be nothing—god, it’s Harry, all signs point to nothing—but it still settles warmly in his gut and he’d rather it not show on his face, is all.

“So!” He’s a little louder than he needs to be, his spin a little uncoordinated. “Are we doing this sober, or shall I get the drinks?”

It’s rhetorical; they never do it sober. But Harry grabs his arm as he makes for the mini-fridge and pulls him in, close enough that Louis can feel the heat of his body, and says, “Lou, you—you wanna?”

His face is flushed and he’s staring at some point over Louis’ left shoulder, eyes wide and dark. For a long second Louis isn’t sure whether he’s serious, honestly can’t tell, because Harry does this sometimes, plays these stupid games to rile them both up, and Louis doesn’t know if this one ends in giggles or getting his face fucked.

So he takes the path of least resistance, and the one least likely to make a fool out of him, says, “Well. I’m a bit knackered, actually.”

That’s Harry’s cue to laugh. He misses it quite spectacularly and his mouth pinches instead, eyebrows drawing together in something like genuine upset. “You don’t have to, um. I’ll do everything.”

Louis laughs loud enough to startle them both. “For fuck’s sake, Harry. That’s the worst line you’ve ever used. You might as well have told me to lie back and think of England.”

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Harry protests, and he looks so—flustered, it’s the strangest thing. Colour’s high in his face and he’s biting the inside of his mouth the way he does when he wants badly to be kissed, but he won’t meet Louis’ eyes and his fists are clenched at his sides. He’s trembling.

“Harry,” Louis says, and cups his face. His skin feels hot enough to burn. “Hey, look at me. Did you—oh, fuck, what did you take?”

“Didn’t,” Harry says immediately, “I swear.”

Now that Louis’ looking, he can make out the sweat beading at Harry’s temples, the blown out mess of his eyes. “Then someone slipped you something, you absolute idiot. I can’t fucking believe you.” He punches Harry in the ribs, hard enough to hurt. “Let go of me, we have to get some water in you. And I’m telling Liam.”

“No, no, look,” Harry says, and manhandles him back into place, until they’re chest to chest and Louis can feel the dig of his erection against his stomach. “It doesn’t feel like, like anything. It’s just I’ve been hard for—I dunno, and it hurts, a bit.”

“You’re making even less sense than usual,” Louis observes, and tries not to notice the way Harry’s grinding into him, rolling his hips in what he thinks is a subtle way but definitely isn’t. Louis isn’t hard, because the thought of Harry getting high off of god knows what and god knows when is a good way to destroy every impulse that isn’t murderous, but. His cock is always interested when it comes to Harry; it’s not really something Louis can control. “Harry. Stop. Let me get the water.”

“Don’t want water,” Harry says, and he’s slumped down so he can fit his face against the curve of Louis’ neck. He’s panting, pressing wet, sucking kisses under Louis’ jaw. “Wanna come.”

“Fuck’s sake,” Louis says, but it comes out low and Harry takes it for assent and slides their mouths together, just like that. It’s messy, because Harry can’t seem to decide whether he wants quick and hard or sweet and soft, and it’s good, because it’s always good. Louis tries not to think of how badly he’s missed it, because he sounds pathetic even in his head, and besides, they kiss all the time, whenever it pleases them and without any real intent. But that’s the problem, isn’t it: Louis hasn’t missed the kissing, he’s missed the foreplay, the slow roll of their bodies that says I need you closer and closer and closer, until there’s no space left to bridge.

They haven’t been that close in—a long time. Louis makes a point of not counting the days.

“Sorry,” Harry says, when Louis pulls away. “Sorry, didn’t mean to… I think it was the flowers? Think I might be allergic.”

“Allergies don’t make you horny, you twat,” Louis says, even though he’s not entirely sure. Stranger things have happened; becoming international pop stars comes to mind. He wipes at his mouth and kicks off his shoes, shaking his head at the punch line that is his life. Allergic erections, honestly.

Harry’s still standing by the door while Louis gets settled on the bed, his hands twitching at his sides. Louis is surprised he hasn’t gotten naked yet; that isn’t usually something anyone needs to prompt Harry to do, but tonight there’s something vulnerable in the hunch of his shoulders and the awkward little shuffle of his feet that makes Louis want to throw his arms around him and brush the curls out of his eyes and bruise him, bite him all over.

The intensity of his craving doesn’t surprise him anymore; it’s too familiar for that. The fact that he no longer acts on it might mean that he’s finally growing up, and Louis thinks he should perhaps feel more relieved about that than he does.

“C’mere,” he says, and pulls Harry in by the belt loops. The bed’s low enough that with Harry standing between his legs, Louis is just the right height to nuzzle his crotch. So he does, mouth open and breathing slow, biting just gently before getting the denim good and wet. It’s probably not fair to tease, not when Harry’s shaking like he’s going to come apart, but Louis’ quiet night in has effectively been shot to hell and the look on Harry’s face will haunt him for days and days and days, so Louis reckons fair can just go fuck itself.

“Lou,” Harry says, and his voice is just—gone. “I don’t think.”

“No, you don’t,” Louis agrees, and slides the zip down. He smells so good Louis has to press his face against him and just breathe, deep and slow. The only thing that turns him on faster than Harry’s scent is his smile. “Fuck, you’re all—wet.” His briefs were damp even before Louis got his mouth on them, and when he tugs them down Harry makes a sound, low in his throat, and his hands finally tangle in Louis’ hair.

He’s so hard it looks painful. Louis’ mouth waters but he’s feeling mean tonight, so he strokes him with the tip of a finger, just the one, and Harry’s entire body jolts.

“Don’t,” he says, and yanks Louis’ hair right as he leans forward, mouth open, so ready, “wait, wait.”

“What,” Louis snaps, because he’s not good at taking directions, and Harry’s shit at giving them, the sort of git who thinks yellow means slow down instead of speed up. It’s been a while since they last did this, but surely Harry remembers how it goes: Louis does what he wants and Harry shuts up and lets him. Louis is about to remind him of this when he’s pushed back flat on the bed and Harry climbs up and kisses him, deep and wet and frantic.

“What,” Louis says again, between the wet smack of their mouths. “Are you joking, would you honestly rather snog than—“

“Don’t wanna hurt you,” Harry says, and he’s grabbing Louis’ hand and putting it on his cock, fucking himself into clutch of their palms. “Think I might. I pulled one off in the bathroom and I—it didn’t take me long but it didn’t go away. And it got better but then it got worse and I—“

“All right,” Louis says, “shut up now,” and then, because Harry is the sort of git who remembers how sore Louis had been after getting his mouth properly fucked the last time, and the sort who remembers this while he’s off his face on some mystery sex drug, Louis pulls him off slow and easy and calls him an idiot and kisses him until he comes.

Harry stays hard, and too sensitive to touch. He whimpers when Louis touches him anyway, buries his face into the curve of Louis’ neck and lets out these hurt little noises that make Louis throb all the way down to his toes. There’s come all over both of their shirts, so Louis undresses them in between playing with Harry’s cock, until there’s just skin on skin, everywhere.

It feels better than it has any right to. Louis has always been a bit rubbish with boundaries, but he’s been trying, over the last few months, to come to terms with all the things he shouldn’t want and can’t have. Harry. Harry. Harry. There is a long list of reasons why, in some pragmatic, responsible corner of his mind, and right now Louis can’t remember a single one.

So when Harry says, “Lou,” warm and heavy and sweet, breath hot against the curve of Louis’ ear, when he says, “Lou, can I fuck you?” it’s all Louis can do to tilt his head back and look him in the eye and tease.

“I don’t know, can you?”

Harry’s got his bearings back, because his answering smile is slow enough to make Louis’ toes curl. He’s never been able to put up much of a fight against Harry in any form, but this one, with the eyes and the intention, this one makes him stupid.

“May I,” Harry says, and Louis knows the answer is written all over his face but he tries anyway, he tries to be stern when he says “Harry,” and if it isn’t convincing in the least, well. We mustn’t expect miracles.

When Harry says please, he voice goes hoarse and deep. He presses it into the corners of Louis’ mouth, and the shell of his ear, and the sensitive span of his throat. He says it the way he says Louis’ name, slowly, like it’s the beginning. He says, “please,” and, “please, let me fuck you,” and Louis hasn’t, as of yet, figured out how to say no.

He makes an effort. Last-ditch. “You sure you don’t want my mouth?”

“I always want your mouth,” Harry says, and kisses him like he’s proving a point. He’s started to sweat again, curls matting against his forehead and back slick under Louis’ palm. His cock is slick too, and Louis wants it fiercely: the stretch, the connection, the ability to say you are a part of me, we are as close as we can be. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the list is collapsing on itself. That’s the first reason, that’s every reason. Louis just wants it too fucking much.

Harry’s watching him with those curious eyes, blinking languidly. He’s rubbing up against him, this slow stretch of his long, stupid body, and running his hands over every part of Louis he can reach, from the insides of his thighs to his ribs to his elbows, like just touching is enough to satisfy him. He’s quiet, until he isn’t.

He says, “Love you.”

“Love you,” Louis says right back, instantly and without effort, because it’s true. It’s instinct. Louis closes his eyes and tries not to think, because they’ll go back to normal in the morning. They always do. It’s just difficult to remind himself of that when Harry’s opening him up on long, careful fingers; when they stop kissing just to breathe each other’s air; when every single touch says this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.

Louis doesn’t drag his nails down Harry’s back, because the constant reminder will actually kill him. He scratches at his scalp instead, gently, combs through his curls, and when Harry fucks into him, slow and easy like he isn’t trying to work off an unexplained high, Louis hooks his legs around his waist and says, “No more catching stuff.”

“I didn’t,” Harry says, folding Louis’ knee up to his chest, the stretch just shy of painful. “It just. Hit me.”

Louis groans and it’s only partly because Harry fucks him just—right. “I was trying to spare you the embarrassment of admitting that a bouquet smacked you in the face.”

“Can’t help that I make a bigger target than you.”

Louis bites his chin. “Maybe your big head.

Harry laughs, hard enough that it fucks up his rhythm and sets Louis off, and they just lie there like complete idiots, breathless from laughing over absolutely nothing. Louis doesn’t even know what makes him come—if it’s Harry’s warm, lube-slick hand around his cock, or the insistent pressure against his prostate or the burn in his thighs or the look on Harry’s face, his smile—but it doesn’t feel so different from the laughter. That should seem odd, Louis thinks, but it's a bit brilliant, really.

And that might be why he’s utterly fucked, but let no one say Louis Tomlinson went down without a fight. He only lets himself drift for a little while before he mans up and nudges Harry onto his side.

“You good?” he asks, even though he can see well enough for himself. Harry’s not hard anymore, not as flushed, and his breathing’s slowed to the quiet rasp of the nearly asleep. “Harry.”


They’re still wrapped around each other, despite Louis’ earnest attempts to disengage, and Harry’s warm and smells good and is likely to get up and find a flannel and turn off the lights if Louis asks sweetly. But Louis won’t ask, because they can blame the sex on—allergies, but that’s about it.

“Yeah,” Harry says slowly. “M’good. I mean, for now. Might come back, though.” He catches Louis’ hand and threads their fingers together, shrugs at Louis’ pointed look. “What? You don’t know. It might.”

“Right. And if it does, you’ll, what? Wake me up in the middle of the night?”

“Like you’d complain.” He leans over and kisses Louis’ frown, keeps kissing him long after it’s melted away. He tastes familiar and distracting and takes unfair advantage of it. “Let me stay.”

He doesn’t always say please. Louis still doesn’t know how to say no. “Harry.”

“Louis. You know how long it’s been? Since.”

“No,” Louis lies, very carefully.

“Huh,” Harry says, smiling. “Me neither.”

They don’t talk about this. Harry gets the flannel and wipes them down and turns out the lights and falls asleep spooning him, breath steady against his ear. Louis lies awake and thinks the flowers might have done some lasting damage.

And that’s—that’s all right, then.