The hallway is quiet and empty, footsteps echoing off the polished concrete as Louis walks toward his door. He shuffles his things into one hand so he can dig out the key, lets the door swing open so that it bangs against the wall and bounces back before slowing to a stop. He looks around at the rows of empty desks; at the corkboard that’s covered in film and theatre posters, playbills and pieces of sheet music; at the newly polished whiteboard; at his own desk, big and lumbering and spotless.
Louis sighs. He’s happy to be back, of course he is, is ready for a new round of students who are excited to learn about theatre, but. He kind of misses his summer job. Well, no. He doesn’t miss the job – doesn’t miss rowdy kids who shove crayons up their noses and draw on the tables – but he misses the aquarium. He misses the way everything is muted and soft, overtaken by the gentle hum of the machinery that keeps the tanks running; misses the way everything is sheened in blue, the lights above the tanks shining through the glass and casting rippling white lines across the floors like lightning; misses watching the seals cut gracefully through the water, the clownfish nestle into their anemones, the penguins lumber around chasing bubbles, the octopus work on her puzzles.
Louis shakes himself out of his stupor when he realizes he’s just been standing in the doorway for ages. He has a week until classes start, and he needs to modify his lesson plans, make seating charts, set up his grade book, change over a few of the posters on the corkboard, and start photocopying. Ugh. Okay. Louis tells himself he’ll work through till lunch, vows to do at least two of those things before letting himself lock back up. He has a date, anyway, and he needs time to grab some takeout so he can meet Harry at the aquarium during his lunch break.
Louis sits down at his desk and pulls out a shiny new grade book, the cover still glossy and green, and the class roster the headmaster had sent him, sets to work while thinking about the extra order of chips he’s going to buy and dump into an plain paper bag so that he and Harry can share them sneakily while sitting in front of the leopard sharks.
Louis tips his head against the back of the sofa so he can see through to the kitchen, humming along to the music from the Finding Nemo DVD disc menu, where it’s playing on a loop on the television.
“Schmoooooooopsie,” he coos, voice gone all nasal and reedy from the way his neck is bent back at an odd angle. He hears the refrigerator door clink shut, and then Harry is poking his head around the corner and rolling his eyes at Louis.
“There are thirty seconds left on the popcorn, cool your jets.”
Louis pushes his bottom lip out into a pout, but Harry is already gone. Louis scratches his stomach absently as he twists his head around to stare out the window. It’s already getting cold out. He wonders absently what it would be like to live somewhere tropical, maybe Ecuador, where it’s perpetually 20 degrees. He’s too busy thinking about a life where he and Harry can sleep outside in a hammock and visit waterfalls and surf all day to hear the sound of Harry approaching, so when Harry presses a cold beer bottle to the side of his neck, he gasps and twitches away.
“Welcome back,” Harry giggles, leaning forward to set the bowl of popcorn on the coffee table before sitting down. “Where were you?”
“Ecuador.” Louis takes the proffered beer. Harry doesn’t ask, just hums in understanding, and Louis’ heart flutters a little, secretly pleased that they’re at a point in their relationship where they just get each other, no explanation needed.
“I have always liked hammocks.” Harry casts a glance out the window, the corners of his mouth pulling down into a little frown as he watches rain lash against the balcony door. “Bloody England.”
Louis blinks at Harry for a moment, a little bit floored. Like, he knows they have a pretty unusual connection, that they understand each other on an inhuman level, but honestly. Honestly. When he opens his mouth to agree, the words just spill out. “I love you.”
Harry focuses back on him, eyes half-lidded as he stares at Louis for a moment, then his face splits in a blinding grin and he shuffles forward, one arm draped across the back of the sofa and his knees drawn up against his chest. He leans in so that Louis’ eyes cross when he tries to keep him in focus, and rubs their noses together. “All over a hammock, hmm?”
“I’m gonna hammock you,” Louis grumbles, but Harry just laughs and peppers his face with kisses.
“I probably don’t need to tell you at this point, but I love you too, you idiot.” Louis rolls his eyes, because yeah, he does know, but warmth still blooms in his stomach. It’s always nice to hear it, especially for the first time. He shoves his beer between the couch cushions, then grabs onto the back of Harry’s neck.
“Kiss me proper, you fool.”
Harry leans in obediently, then stops a hairsbreadth from Louis’ mouth, whispers, “Feels a bit weird doing this with Finding Nemo on.”
“It’s not even on,” Louis complains, then just closes the gap. Harry sighs into the kiss immediately, free hand coming up to cup the side of Louis’ jaw as his lips part under Louis’. Louis tugs him closer with a hand on his hip, rumbling appreciatively when Harry takes the hint and climbs into his lap, knees on either side of his hips.
“Well this feels familiar,” Louis grins, nipping at Harry’s bottom lip and sliding his hands around to grab his bum and tug him against his chest.
“Are you gonna follow through this time?”
Louis responds with a pinch to Harry’s waist, and Harry laughs and squirms back, beer sloshing over the rim of the bottle he’s still holding. “Wait, wait, let me put this down.”
Louis sits back so that Harry can twist around and set the bottle on the table, fixes his eyes on the pale strip of skin where his shirt is riding up over the waistband of his jeans. The only soft part of his body, Louis’ favorite part, and god, he wants to put his mouth on Harry. He doesn’t bother waiting for him to turn back around, just pushes Harry’s sleeve up and sinks his teeth into the meat of his bicep.
“Hey,” Harry yelps, swiveling back around.
“I got impatient,” Louis answers, tone and expression innocent, but he slides his hands back around to cup Harry’s bum and pulls him forward against his chest. He can feel the outline of Harry’s half-hard dick against his stomach, and his smile turns filthy. “Liam is due home in thirty minutes, d’you reckon you can get me off before he gets here?”
Harry hums and leans in, pushes their foreheads together and whispers, “I do like a challenge.” He trails the tips of his fingers across the back of Louis’ neck and around to the hinge of his jaw. Louis shivers. “Too bad this won’t be one.”
Louis is under the vague impression that he’s just been insulted, but he can’t really bring himself to care. Harry is scratching his nails lightly against the skin just below his ear, a surefire way to work Louis up, and it’s working alarmingly quickly. He shifts his hips impatiently against the sofa and squeezes at Harry’s arse.
“Get to it,” he rasps, triumph a heady thrill when Harry ducks down and closes his mouth over Louis’.
Harry doesn’t bother with niceties, slides straight into filthy as he licks into Louis’ mouth and grinds his hips forward, rucking Louis’ t-shirt up with every jerk of his hips. The position is all wrong for getting Louis off, but he doesn’t mind just yet. Louis slides one of his hands around Harry’s side and works it between them so he can press the heel of his hand to the underside of Harry’s dick. The angle is awful, pain sparking in his wrist from where it’s being wrenched every time Harry grinds against his palm, but he doesn’t care, not when Harry is letting out these breathy little moans and the front of his jeans are already going damp with precome.
Louis changes the tilt of his hand, presses the heel of it forward and cups his fingers around Harry’s cock, slides it up so he can scratch at the head with his blunt fingernails, and his stomach clenches when Harry whines, his entire body shuddering as he comes. Louis works him through it, his free hand stroking up and down Harry’s back as he trembles, and only pulls his hand out from between them when Harry slumps forward, breathing ragged and eyelashes fluttering against the crook of Louis’ neck.
It takes Harry a moment to gather himself, and then he pulls back, cheeks flushed a hectic pink and eyes dark and glassy. He smiles sheepishly at Louis and mutters, “Feel a bit like a teenager all over again.”
“Does that make me a cradle robber? Wait, what’s the male version of a cougar?”
Harry tilts his head to the side. “I don’t know. But does it matter if the person is a willing participant?”
Louis opens his mouth to respond, not too sure about Harry’s logic, but then Harry scoots back and slides onto the floor, hands cupped around Louis’ knees so he can push them apart and crawl between them. Oh. Oh. Louis sucks in a sharp breath as Harry pushes his t-shirt up and makes quick work of his jeans, raises his hips off the sofa so that Harry can tug them down and off.
“Liam will kill me if he ever finds out about this,” he warns, but Harry just grins up at him, eyes still hazy and lips an obscene shade of red, and every thought but HarryHarryHarry and mouth deserts him. His eyes nearly roll back in his head when Harry slides a hand up his thigh and over the front of his pants, palm warm and firm against his cock, then hooks his fingers in the waistband of his briefs and tugs them down just enough to get his dick out.
“There,” he murmurs as he leans in, looking up at Louis through his lashes. “No bare bums on the sofa.”
Louis opens his mouth to retort, but before he can get anything out, Harry flicks his tongue over the head of his cock, and his mind goes completely and blissfully blank, ears filling with a rush of white noise as Harry closes his lips over the head and sinks down slowly, eyes closed so that his lashes fan out against his cheekbones. Louis blinks against the haze of lust clouding his vision, watches the shift of muscles under Harry’s shirt as he stretches out over the edge of the sofa and his lap, focuses in on the waves of Harry’s hair and the way it curls against the back of his neck and over the tops of his ears. He lifts one hand so he can press the tips of his fingers to the hollow of Harry’s cheek and buries the other one in Harry’s hair.
Harry hums appreciatively, and pleasure zips up Louis’ spine. He spreads his legs a bit wider and tilts his head against the back of the sofa, closes his eyes so he can lose himself in this, lose himself in Harry. He doesn’t even realize he’s working his hips in short little thrusts until Harry hums again and lifts one of his hands, closes it over Louis’ and tugs a bit so that Louis pulls on his hair. Louis surfaces from his haze and looks down, breath catching at the way Harry looks, his mouth stretched obscenely around his cock, lashes damp and sticking together like the rays of a star.
“Do you want. “ His throat sticks, too raspy to even understand, so he clears it and tries again. “Do you want me to –“
Harry hums again, and Louis stares as he settles both hands on Louis’ thighs to support himself and just waits. Fuck. Louis slides both hands into Harry’s hair and pumps his hips experimentally, watches, fascinated, as Harry’s eyelashes flutter. With every thrust, he pushes a bit further, goes a bit deeper, until the head of his cock hits the back of Harry’s throat, and that’s. Louis isn’t sure he can last much longer, not with how blissed out Harry’s looks, the way his curls are wrapping around the backs of Louis’ hands, the way Harry’s fingers are digging into Louis’ thighs hard enough to bruise.
He pulls out nearly all the way, watches Harry swirl his tongue around the head of his dick, lips red and swollen, then pushes in again, unable to help it. He can feel Harry’s tongue curl around the underside, everything perfect, white hot heat, and he barely manages to whisper out a quick warning before he’s spilling down the back of Harry’s throat.
“Fuck,” he whispers, watching Harry’s throat work as he swallows around him. “Fuck, Harry, I –“
Harry pulls off with an obscene slurping noise, tugs Louis’ briefs back up, then crawls into his lap, knees tucked up underneath Louis’ arms as he pulls Louis into a kiss. Louis can taste himself on Harry’s tongue, can feel the way Harry’s cheeks have gone damp with tears as he cups his face, and he pulls Harry in, wraps his arms around him and squeezes him closer.
“You,” he mutters, once Harry’s pulled back and buried his face in Louis’ neck, “are going to kill me.”
Harry just hums and traces his fingers along the jut of Louis’ collarbone. “Hey, Lou,” he starts, and the fucked out quality of his voice makes Louis shudder. “Can I borrow a pair of pants?”
It’s quiet and cool in the house, the distant patter of rain nearly as soothing as the steady rise and fall of Harry’s chest, his deep even breaths. Louis is drifting in and out of consciousness when Harry murmurs, “D’you think Liam noticed?”
Louis drags his eyes open so he can look up from where his head is resting on Harry’s chest. “What was that, love?”
“D’you think he noticed? What we did in the living room, I mean.” He wrinkles his nose. “It probably smelled like sex.”
Louis shrugs as he settles back down, muscles already gone pleasantly lax. “He can get over it.” He feels the rumble of Harry’s laugh under his cheek, watches his own fingers sleepily as he traces shapes into Harry’s skin. “I miss fish.”
There’s a pause, and then Harry says, confused, “What?”
“The aquarium, I miss the aquarium.”
“Aww,” Harry coos, fingers carding though Louis’ hair. “Are you going through penguin withdrawls?”
Louis snorts, thinking back to the horrendous smell and the constricting wetsuit. “Absolutely not.” A thought strikes him, and he props his chin up on Harry’s sternum. “Hey, how hard is it to keep an aquarium in your flat?”
Harry frowns as he thinks about it. “Pretty hard, I think. Like, I don’t do LSS, but it’s a lot of work.” His eyes flick down to Louis’, an amused tilt to his mouth when he says, “And don’t think you can get one and expect me to come over and take care of it every day.”
Louis gasps in mock outrage. “I would never. How very dare you.”
Harry snorts, and Louis feels a sharp tug on his scalp. “Go to sleep, Lou. Some of us have work in the morning, you know.”
“And just what are you implying, Mr. Styles?”
“Nothing,” Harry trills, the picture of innocence. “Hey.”
He pulls on Louis’ hair again, tugs until Louis shuffles up the bed and nudges their noses together.
“I love you,” Harry murmurs, and Louis ducks into the kiss, grumbling a bit when Harry keeps it quick and chaste. “Now go to sleep.”
The first day of school is an absolute nightmare. None of the children want to be there, none of the teachers want to be there, and halfway through the day, Louis thinks he just might lose it. He locks himself in the supply closet in his classroom during lunch and sits down on a box of printer paper as he tugs his phone out of his pocket and dials Harry’s number.
“Harry,” Louis hisses, even though there’s no one who could possibly hear him. “Harry, get me out of here.”
Annoyance twists in his stomach when Harry laughs and says, “Relax, Lou, it’s only the first day. The kids just need to get summer hols out of their systems, it’ll all be fine.”
“You don’t know that. I thought the kids at camp were demon spawn, but these are worse. I assigned the seats, right, so they couldn’t choose to sit by their friends, and guess what? I seated them all by their friends. I’ve sabotaged myself. D’you think Jade will take me back? Is there a position for me at the aquarium? I want out. I want my fish back.”
“Louis,” Harry laughs. “Louis, it’s been half of a day, give it time. You love your job, remember? Hey, look. How about I come over after work today?” There’s a leer in his voice when he says, “I’ll help you unwind.”
Louis pauses, mind going blank for a moment. “Is that a proposition? Are you bribing me?”
“That’s exactly what I’m doing. Now go eat lunch and be a wonderful teacher. There’s a surprise waiting for you when you get home.”
A reluctant smile curves Louis’ lips. “Is that surprise you, naked and waiting on my bed?”
“You’ll see,” Harry sing-songs, and then the line goes dead. Louis pulls the phone away from his ear and stares blankly at the screen, flashing Harry’s name in the darkness of the cupboard. Well.
“Love you too,” he mutters to his phone, then pushes himself up off the box and lets himself out of the closet.
The rest of the day passes quickly. The afternoon is not nearly as bad as the morning had been, but by the time Louis locks up his classroom, his shoulders are knotted with stress and his jaw aches from grinding his teeth. He runs into Zayn as he’s walking out to his car, forces a cheery wave and calls out, “Alright first day?”
He feels a bit validated when Zayn barks out a laugh and says, “I’m going to park my car in the garage at my flat and hotbox it. Want to join?”
Oh boy, does he. Unfortunately – “Can’t, Haz says there’s a surprise waiting for me at the flat. Personally, I’m hoping that means he’s already naked and in my bed, but we’ll see.”
“Thanks for that,” Zayn says dryly, and Louis grins and winks at him. “See you tomorrow, Lou. Tea in the lounge at seven?”
“Always.” Louis watches Zayn slide into his car and pull away before getting into his own. He’s ready to be home, was ready to be home about four hours ago.
It’s not a long drive, and Louis navigates on autopilot, humming along quietly to the radio as he waits at traffic lights and lets a woman and her child cross the street in front of him. By the time he pulls into the garage of his flat, though, excitement is thrumming through his veins. He takes the steps two at a time and shoves the door open, calls out, “Schmoopsie?”
He cringes the moment it’s out, feeling a bit like an idiot, even though Harry smiles dopily at him every time he uses the nickname. When there’s no answer, he lets the door swing shut behind him as he drops his keys on the little table beside it and toes off his shoes. Frowning, Louis shuffles into the kitchen, then through the living room. Nothing.
His bedroom door is closed, though, and he’s sure he left it open this morning, so he holds his breath in anticipation as he twists the doorknob and pushes it open. Disappointment pulls at the corners of his mouth when he sees that his bed is empty. There’s a note at the foot of it, though, so he slides his bare feet across the carpet and picks it up, squints at it in the dim lighting.
Googly Bear -
Sorry your surprise isn’t what you were expecting- that part will come later, promise!
(In more ways than one!) For now, though, look on your desk.
See you in two hours xx
Confused, Louis does what the note says, turns and walks over to the desk pushed up against the far wall. His curtains have been left open so that the weak evening sunlight is lighting the surface of it, and there in the corner is – oh.
Louis bends over the desk so he can inspect the little cube perched on the wooden surface. It’s humming quietly, and Louis takes it all in with wide, fascinated eyes. Harry’s created a miniature aquarium for him, complete with pale sand and a tall, leafy plant swaying gently in the current. There are bright little fish flitting back and forth, their bodies the colors of highlighters, their transparent fins working as they swim in lazy circles around each other. It takes him a few minutes to realize that his hand is resting on another note. Giddiness bubbling in his stomach, Louis picks it up and reads.
I know it’s not a big fancy aquarium, but I can actually manage this one.
At least it will tide you over between visits to the real thing. Hope you like it!
Love you, see you soon! xx
Louis swallows around the sudden lump in his throat and sets the note back down on the desk, flattens it out from where his fingers have creased it. It isn’t the real thing, no, but it’s pretty and sweet, and anyone who says that thought doesn’t count has never had a Harry Styles to do silly things like this for them. Louis settles into his desk chair and props his chin up on his hand so he can watch the bright little fish swim back and forth, utterly fascinated, as he waits for his boy to get home.