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The One Where Harry Really Doesn't Have Ten Cats

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Harry likes to live by randomness. He makes random decisions, learns random things, wears random hats, stands randomly outside of fast food joints when he's high. Though some might say it makes him an idiot, he thinks it makes him quirky. Keeps his life interesting.

The most random thing about him, though, is the occupation he's found for himself. Pet-sitter for the rich and famous. Though maybe it's not so random, considering it's tailor-made for him. Who doesn't love pets? Who doesn't love money? Not Harry, that's who.

It starts with Zayn Malik, his best mate from school. At least, his best mate until Harry went to uni and Zayn went to fashion week. They tried to stay in touch, but the life of a jet-setting supermodel tends to stray from the continent. Most times, all they manage is the occasional phone call.

On one such instance, his life changes.

"Yo, are you still the animal guy?" Zayn asks randomly.

Harry blinks. "If you mean I'm a vegetarian and have two cats, yeah."

"Aces. I was wondering if you could do something for me."

"Sure thing."

"So we've got this poodle, yeah? But I just landed a campaign for Hilfiger that's gonna take me to Milan for a couple of weeks, and Pezza's touring and my mum's allergic. D'you got some time to dog-sit?"

Harry's so not over Zayn having a poodle. "Is the dog in England?"

Zayn snorts. "Yeah, Primrose Hill even."

"Damn. No problem, I've got hols coming up."

"Awesome. How much do dog-sitters take? 50 quid per day?"

"Whoa mate, you don't have to pay me. I'm the animal guy."

"Still too nice for your own good, innit?" Zayn asks, sounding amused. Harry misses him a lot sometimes. "I'll pay you 20 per day, and you can stay at the house. No arguments."

At first, Harry considered it as "fun time with Brad the poodle". Then it was a gig. Now it's sort of a career choice. Zayn keeps referring him to people, important people, and Harry keeps saying yes.

"My mate Liam, yeah, Liam Payne's got an away game and since he and his girl broke up he's too protective of their dog and turtles to tell her when he needs someone to watch them."

Or: "My mate Niall, the Irish chef from telly, is going on some seminar in France and needs someone to take care of his dog for a week."

And then Niall would call him up and say, "Ed Sheeran needs a cat-sitter for—yeah, chill out."

Finally, it's, "My mate Lou's got a cat." No further explanation is given, since apparently he's already given this Lou Harry's number, convinced Harry would say yes. So he does.

Lou calls him later that night. "Yo, is this Harry?"

Harry's gotten quite used to calls from strangers. Who knew so many people needed live-in pet sitters? "That's me."

Silence. Then, "Your voice is extremely deep, has anyone ever told you that?"

"Um." That was a bit off-script. "Once or twice. May I ask who it is?"

"Oh shit, yeah, sorry, I'm Louis. Uh, Zayn gave me your number? About my cat?"

So it's Louis, and it's a guy. Harry jots it down in his journal. He likes to build a good working relationship with his clients, doesn't want them thinking he'll be creeping around their house in his pants all day, after all. ("Oh bro, feel free, that's what I do every day," Niall assured him once. He might be Harry's favourite client.) "Yeah, I remember. How are you?"

"Well, a bit shit. My agency set me up with an unscheduled thing because I just have to be there. How annoying is that?"

Hmm. It is rather annoying when his mum sets up dinners with the extended family without telling him in advance. That's pretty much his entire frame of reference. "And you didn't have an arrangement for your cat?"

"No, it's a nightmare. My mum's going on her honeymoon in bloody Spain and Eleanor's coming with me."

So there's a girlfriend. At least Harry won't be getting surprise visits. Not that he's in his pants all day.

Louis just keeps on talking. "This cat, I swear to god. You know how your kid sisters beg for a pet for over a year, because they'll so totally take care of it, but then when your mum caves, who ends up taking care of it?"

"Your mum?"

"No, me," Louis exclaims, making Harry laugh. "They just pawned this cat off to me since I live alone and that apperantly makes me a lonely spinster."

"Has it worked?" Harry asks.

Louis stops his rant to catch a breath. "What?"

"Has the cat fixed the loneliness?"

Louis pauses for a moment. Maybe it was the wrong thing to ask a complete stranger, but it was the most interesting question. And Louis sort of interests him so far. "Yeah, completely cured," Louis answers breezily, in a way Harry can't tell if he's being sarcastic or not. "Anyway. Are you free next week?"

"Yup."

"Brilliant. I'm flying out to the States tomorrow, since my mum has the cat for now. On Sunday we'll have to make the switch, though, since she's flying off to bloody Spain."

"Sounds good, I'll come round on Sunday."

"Right, you're a live-in sitter."

Harry quirks an eyebrow. "Promise I won't go through your girlfriend's knickers."

The boom of laughter that comes out of Louis is as startling as it is lovely. "I'm sure you won't," he says eventually.

"Can't promise anything about yours, though," Harry adds. Just because he gets mocked all the time by all the people doesn't mean he can't fight back. Louis seems like he'll appreciate some lip. "How much would they be worth on eBay?"

He was right, Louis just plays along. "Right, that's why you'll take them. To sell. Not to sniff late at night."

"Jesus. Tell me about the cat, then."

Louis goes with the deflection, too. He's pretty great. "Oh, you know. Four legs, a tail. The works."

Harry rolls his eyes. "A he? A she? Name, food preferences, favourite toys? Give me something to go on, Lou."

Another silence. Harry catches it far too late, and then clamps a hand over his mouth. It just. Slipped out. Because he's been waiting all week for a call from a Lou, because of bloody Zayn, because he's a twat. He doesn't even know what kind of celebrity Louis is. He could very well be an Member of Parliament or something. Lou.

Louis recovers faster. "Well, Harold, Fluffball is a he-cat. He likes any toy that will keep you entertained while he plans how to take over the world, and I have plenty of lasagne in the fridge. My mum'll show you."

It's not much to go on, but he writes it down anyway. "Cool. Is he friendly? Like, I usually bring my personal cats with me."

Louis actually lets out a ha ha. "What, no cat-sitter for the cat-sitter?"

"Nah, I'd just miss them too much."

Louis makes a sound that's a cross between aw and disgusting. "You sap."

"Is that a yes?"

"Mate, you can dress him up in a tutu and upload it to YouTube, I don't care as long as he's alive when I come back."

Harry gasps. "How did you know I have three tiny cat tutus?"

"You sound like the crazy type."

"Are you sure you wanna offend your cat sitter?"

Louis hums. "Fine, sorry. You're still welcome to bring your ten cats."

"Two, I only have two. Garfield and Jerry."

Louis laughs again.

Harry grew up with Zayn, he's pretty much immune to most attractive traits in guys. Which is unfortunate for a gay man, but he makes do. The point is that frequent belly laughs, crinkly eyes and a nice smile are things Harry will never be immune to. He tries his hardest to imagine Louis as a bald 60 year old MP. However, knowing Zayn, Louis is most definitely a gorgeous 20-something French supermodel. Harry needs to chill.

"You realise Jerry was the mouse, not the cat?" Louis asks.

"Yes, I definitely knew that when I named her."

"You're a bit of an idiot, aren't you?"

Harry huffs. "What did we just say about insulting me?"

"Right, of course, I'm sorry, you just bring it out of me."

Awesome. Harry tries to get them back on track. "Sure you don't wanna meet up before? That's how it usually works."

"I really can't, I shouldn't have even been on the phone for so long. But you sound alright and I trust Zayn. Plus I could always have you assassinated."

The scales are tipping toward politician. Great.

*

"Fun time with Fluffball the cat" is awesome. He's far too big and fluffy for the tutu, but he makes up for it by being big and fluffy. He gets along with Garfield and Jerry too, and Harry's content to just watch them play with each other while he pretends to do coursework.

He doesn't snoop.

Until he does.

Jay said there was food in the kitchen, but she didn't specify where the kitchen was. So Harry wanders. Of course by "flat" Louis meant "massive penthouse", and he has three guest bedrooms to choose from, along with a game room and a hot tub. He still has no idea what Louis does, but he is convinced Louis' his richest client to date.

There are clothes everywhere, but that could either mean he's indeed a model, or just a slob. There's an office, but that could have just come with the place. There is also a locked room. Harry's watched enough horror movies to leave that the fuck alone.

"Give me something," he says, trying to engage Fluffball with a laser toy. "Is daddy in Parliament?"

Fluffball just stretches out in his lap indifferently. Harry scratches behind his ear. "Is he a model?"

Fluffball yawns adorably. Harry leans down to touch noses and Fluffball complies. Cats just take to him extremely quickly. He's not saying he's the cat whisperer, but he does whisper and he is always surrounded by cats.

"Is he in show business?" he asks, and Fluffball perks up suddenly. Harry freezes in shock. "He. He is?"

And Fluffball just climbs off his lap and goes to his cat bowl. So maybe he can't communicate with cats. Whatever. He lies down and turns on the 70" telly. Maybe he's getting used to the posh life too quickly. He's going to turn up a trophy husband and that'll be that.

Jerry climbs on his chest soon after, and Harry pets her contentedly. Maybe that wouldn’t be the worst thing.

*

He meets Louis for the first time a week later. He's had clients who insisted on Skyping with their pets every night, and clients who didn't even leave a number. Louis was leaning toward the latter. He sent the occasional text (very casual "PICS OR I'LL KNOW YOU KILLED THE CAT"), but because of the time differences and Louis being a busy… whatever, they're not consecutive.

He's never had a client come back home without calling in advance, though.

He's in the game room with all the cats, trying to scientifically prove Fluffball is twice the size of Jerry, when the door opens suddenly. Harry jumps maybe five metres in the air and grabs Fluffball on instinct, as if he could protect this tank of a cat from a serial killer who breaks into celebrity houses.

A sequence of Harry's thoughts upon seeing the intruder:

1. Far too hot to be a serial killer.

2. That is Louis Tomlinson, most successful under-forty movie star to come out of the UK since Tom Hardy.

3. Oh.

"Uh, hi," Harry says awkwardly. Louis' just standing there, his aviators still perched on the top of his head and his tank top displaying some large tattoos Harry's sure get made up during filming. He looks even more confused than Harry, just staring at the stranger holding his cat and wearing nothing but sweatpants and a headband.

Finally Louis snaps out of it and smacks a hand to his forehead. "Fucking told Zayn to tell you not to touch my cat."

Harry's pretty sure he would've remembered that rule. "I think it's in the job description, actually?"

Louis arches a perfect eyebrow. "What?"

"Um?" He's pretty much speechless. He's in the same room as Louis Tomlinson and all he can think about is I spent a week in Louis Tomlinson's house I played with Louis Tomlinson's cat I spent two years wanking exclusively to Louis Tomlinson I am going to die.

Louis just rolls his eyes. "Listen, I said he can have his little model friends over while I'm gone so no one robs me, but I specifically hired a cat-sitter to do whatever it is you're doing."

Harry's stomach leaps, flip-flops, and drops. "Is that a line?"

Louis looks so done with this conversation, Harry's sure he's about to be thrown out of a window. "What the fuck?"

Okay, time's up. "I'm Harry. I'm the cat-sitter who does whatever it is I'm doing."

Louis' unreal eyes bug out. "Harold?"

"One and the same."

"Well fuck me, I expected a spotty fifteen year old, not some—" he waves his hand in the general direction of Harry, and then sighs. "Shit, I'm sorry about that. It's just been a long flight and I forgot you'd—I'm just gonna… I'm gonna go. Carry on." He gives one last suspicious look at the scales Harry'd set up on the air hockey table, and then turns around and leaves.

Harry has no reaction whatsoever. He also doesn't look at his bum, nor remembers the nude scene from Up All Night, nor remembers re-watching that stupid movie for that particular reason.

No, he sets down the struggling cat and clears the table. Fluffball practically vaults after Louis (in all the ten days they've been living together, Harry's never seen him this animated), and Garfield and Jerry start rubbing their tails against Harry's ankles. Harry sighs and picks them up. "Clingiest cats ever," Harry admonishes, as if he'll one day decide they're not the most adorable things on the planet and stop babying them.

He slinks into the kitchen a few minutes later, and finds Louis already setting out tea. "Good, you're still here. Get this mammoth off me so I can reach the top shelf."

Harry looks down and finds Fluffball completely covering Louis' feet. His face splits in a smile and Louis curses. "Come on already, I haven't had a proper cuppa in a week. Also, I thought cats were supposed to be, like, lofty," he complains. "He's so needy. Come on, help me."

Harry laughs. "Could say the same about movie superstars."

Louis frowns at him. "I am not needy. And I'm reconsidering offering you tea."

"No, please," Harry says quickly, and swoops down to pick Fluffball up and set him on his lap while he sits down. He even crosses his ankles and puts his hands on his knees, the picture of innocence. "May I have some tea?"

Louis' basically staring at him slack-jawed. Also, his jawline is amazing and his cheekbones are real. And he's very scruffy in real life. And extremely compact. And has a high voice and heavy accent. Harry feels slightly betrayed by Fluffball not mentioning any of this to him.

"Fine, you'll get your tea." Louis turns around quickly and then stretches on his fucking tiptoes to reach the high shelf. His tank top slides up to reveal a hipbone. He's very tan. Harry wasn't this creepy two hours ago. "My mum still thinks I'm five and keeps putting my favourite things on the top shelf."

All at once, Harry gets over his star-struck daze. Because Louis is a real person with a mum and a height complex. It's amazing. "Actually, that might've been me. I only drink herbal tea so I could've, uh, put the Yorkshire away. Maybe."

Louis whirls on him, shocked. "You are sacked."

Harry smiles at him sweetly. "You can't sack me after the gig is done, I think."

"No, but I can tweet a very unflattering tweet. You'll never work in this town again."

Harry cuddles Fluffball closer and does his best cow eyes. Louis crumbles before him. So he really is human.

Fluffball starts wriggling again, so Harry plays with him while Louis fixes their tea. He doesn't comment on it when he sees Louis making him a green tea. But he does smile and coo at Fluffball extra ridiculously.

"So you two got along?" Louis asks, finally sitting down.

"Us four, yeah," Harry answers, tickling Fluffball's nose.

"Right, your ten cats."

Harry kicks Louis under the table automatically. "Two."

"Whatever," Louis says, rolling his eyes artfully. "Did he miss me at all?"

"Yeah, all the time. He kept whining by the door." He might be lying, but it's worth it when Louis smiles a real Colgate-million-quid-movie-star smile.

"D'ya watch my movies with him then? Put him in front of a poster?" He keeps nudging Harry's ankle playfully. His other leg is pulled up on the chair so he can set his chin on his knee. He is very foldable.

"All the time. Well, before I found your porn stash. Then it was mostly that."

"Really now?"

Harry nods gravely. "Yeah mate, you've really gotta stop with the fetishisation of lesbians."

At this Louis snorts into his tea, smiling prettily. "You really don't wanna see what's in the locked room then."

"Actually…" Louis' eyebrows rise all the way to his shaggy hairline. "No, I'm kidding. The locked rooms stayed locked and the knickers stayed off eBay, don't worry. Wanna see what we did do?"

Louis nods. "Though I hope it's not really on YouTube. I'm still not at the stage where I'm desperately clinging to my fame by any means necessary."

Harry pulls his phone out of his sweats and finds the videos of Fluffball. Louis huffs impatiently and tries to snatch the phone from him, making Harry growl menacingly at him. Okay, so it's mostly a sniffle, but Harry doesn't relinquish his grip of the phone and Louis just gives up. "Jesus, you got some snuff films on there or summat?"

"You might say." He pauses. "Fluff films."

They stare at each other for a full minute, and then Louis faceplants exaggeratedly into his kitchen table. "Get out."

"C'mon, it's really cute," Harry says, pushing his phone against Louis' forehead, his fingers brushing through his soft hair.

Louis sighs and lifts his head, opening one of the videos. By the sound of it, it's the one where Harry found Jerry climbing all over Fluffball to groom him. (The sound of it: Harry yelling, "Oh Jesus shit that's adorable, I wonder if you're half his size little girl".)

"Okay, that is cute. Show me another one."

"Yes boss," Harry says, clicking over to the one where Harry attempted to form a cat pyramid on his chest.

It takes them a while to go over them all, mostly because they keep chatting about the cats in question, and then about cats in general, and then about general things. Harry doesn't learn anything substantial about Louis, his coat of sarcasm way too thick, but he does learn that Louis' a little shit, not to be taken seriously ever.

At some point they reach the awkward stage where it's either making another cuppa or saying their goodbyes. Louis makes the call. "Well, I'm knackered. Why don't you grab your things while I take a shower?"

"Yeah, cool," Harry says, not disappointed at all. He wakes Garfield up and nudges him off his lap so he could stand up and stretch. He catches Louis looking again, probably at his no-one-told-me-no tattoos. He pops his shoulders and starts for the guest bedroom where he put his overnight bag.

"Feel free to nick the gold chandelier," Louis calls after him. "I know you uni boys, it's either this or stripping."

Harry doesn't even turn around to give him the finger. "Didn't Zayn tell you I'm a rent boy?"

"There is a lot he didn't tell me," Louis says vaguely, and then goes up the stairs to the master bedroom.

He doesn't come out for a while, and Harry feels really awkward just sitting there. Louis' paid him in advance, anyway. A whole ten days in this luxury flat must be enough. Harry makes up his mind, collects his cats, kisses Fluffball goodbye and leaves his spare key on the counter.

*

He gets a text from Louis two minutes after getting home, saying, sorry had a long flight to scrub off. thanks alot for putting up with dumbball for ten days!! x

It takes him a long time to formulate a reply that won't be too dumb, desperate, cheeky or earnest. Basically to detach from himself completely. no problemo mate. happy to help next time you're rushing off to hollywood .x

*

The second time he gets a call from Louis is a week later. It's not really uncommon, considering he caters to the rich, famous, busy and flippant, but he still gets a rush. He tries to stay cool when he answers. (Not really a problem, Harry hasn't had an inflection in years.) "Hullo?"

"Yo, Harry? It's Louis. Tomlinson."

"Uh, yeah, I know."

It's awkward for like, a second, before Louis says, "Well you didn't know last time, did you? Just making sure the pieces are coming together for you, slow child."

"How could I forget such a twat?" he answers without thinking. Louis just chuckles.

"Listen, got another gig for you. Are you free this weekend perchance?"

Hmm, going clubbing with Nick and regretting it afterwards, or cat-sitting at Louis Tomlinson's sweet house? "Free as a bird. As the tattoos may imply."

Louis huffs. Harry can practically see him roll his eyes. (It's incredibly easy to picture him now, both the frozen movie star smile and the crinkly-eyed grin Harry got to know.) "Great. I'm going to this premiere thing and my mum's still in Spain, so I'd appreciate you coming over for the night. You can crash here again since I'll probably stay over at Eleanor's."

He could point out that cats are perfectly capable of spending one night alone. "Sure thing. When do you want me?"

"Seven work for you? I'll leave you a key again, since I'll be in prep all day."

"Prep?" Harry is not thinking about a specific type of prep.

"Yeah, y'know. Hair and makeup, fittings, interviews. It's sort of, uh, my premiere."

It's weird that Louis' all bluster and bullshit except for when it comes to actually being a talented and renowned actor. It's pretty endearing. "Cool mate! Break a leg," Harry says, not really knowing what one says in this situation.

"Let's hope not, got an action film this fall," Louis replies, smile in his voice. "So seven's okay?"

"Oh yeah, seven's good. Anytime's good."

"Don't get too eager there."

Harry sighs. "Hanging up now."

Louis hangs up instead. He calls again on Friday to make sure Harry remembers to come (honestly), and then says that he, "left out some stuff, so don't fuck with my tea placement again".

If Harry had expected some crisps and beer, he must not have known Louis at all. There are notes everywhere, Post-its someone took the time to write on and stick. didn't know what you liked so i got the most disgusting-sounding veg ones!! it says on a dozen different takeaway boxes. teach dummy to do something youtube worthy! it says on The Little Book Of Cat Tricks. do NOT wank here it says on the freshly-made bed in the guestroom. clear the browser history after you pig it says on the laptop. LOVE ME it says on the cat.

It would all be so sweet if Louis weren't such a tit. Why Harry's endeared by it is beyond him.

He decides to start with the most cumbersome task: loving Fluffball. He plays with him for an hour, until Fluffball gets tired and just flops on the couch like a massive fluffy pillow. That's Harry's cue to heat up some pizza. While he waits, he's shocked to notice a stunning array of herbal teas, from normal green to raspberry. i'm in love with you and all your little teas is what he definitely doesn't text Louis. It would A) be way too forward, and B) reveal Harry's recollection of nearly every line Louis' ever uttered in every shitty rom-com.

Finally he cuddles up with Fluffball and ginger tea in front of the telly. He's channel surfing, bleary-eyed, until suddenly Louis' face is looking back at him, right from Leicester Square. He looks. He looks really good. He's clean-shaven and his hair's quiffed up and he's wearing a T-shirt under a nice blazer. By some divine intervention, Harry's tuned in when Louis' being asked just the right question. "So you've been tweeting a lot about your cat lately."

Louis laughs charmingly. "I just posted one picture of him that a mate took, and suddenly everyone's asking me about him. I had to answer, innit?"

"So it's not a cry for help?" the interviewer asks, fake laugh and a fake smile. "Midlife crisis?"

Louis purses his lips and just carries on the red carpet without so much as a by-your-leave. Harry immediately pulls out his phone to text him i wanna be you, then thinks better of it and checks Louis' Twitter account on his phone. Indeed, there are a lot of people interested in Fluffball for some reason. After a while Harry manages to trace it back to one tweet:

And yes, that is a picture he took, and yes, he was just called Louis' mate on ITV, and yes, he is hugging Fluffball too tightly to his chest in his excitement.

He watches the premiere until it's over, though Louis doesn't reappear and it does get a bit boring. "You wanna play? Wanna learn tricks?" he asks Fluffball. Fluffball doesn't even bother opening his eyes. "Thought so."

So he reaches out a long arm to grab the laptop he'd put on the carpet earlier. He fully intends to find a movie on Netflix. But when he opens Chrome, the last opened tab is there.

And it's porn.

It's gay porn.

It's extremely gay porn.

Harry's staring in complete shock, brain not even processing the thing in his hands, until he remembers that Louis is good friends with Zayn, and Zayn is exactly the kind of knobhead who'd pull a prank like this. Satisfied with that reasonable conclusion, Harry opens Twitter, closes the other tab with absolutely no hesitation whatsoever, closes Twitter and then just shuts the lid and tries to nap. Obviously not thinking about Louis Tomlinson watching some curly twink get gagged and fucked, while probably stroking his gorgeous movie star dick. That's what Harry doesn't do.

Left out some stuff indeed.

He wakes up the next morning in his room with a facefull of cat and Louis Tomlinson knocking on his door. Louis Tomlinson wearing a beanie and another tank top and a sleepy expression. Harry's eighty percent sure he's still dreaming.

"D'you need a hand?" Louis asks, smirking at him.

Okay, maybe if he were dreaming he wouldn't have an enormous cat choking him. "Please?" Harry manages to get out. He could technically reach up and shoo the cat, but he's still half-asleep and… doesn't shoo cats.

Louis has no qualms about climbing into Harry's bed. Zero qualms. He does it slowly, in fact, keeps levelling Harry with this look while he crawls over to Harry's head. It's good that Harry can blame his shortness of breath on the cat crushing his windpipe.

Louis' just looking at him. "Um, sorta choking?" Harry reminds him.

"Yeah? Gagging a bit?" Louis asks, and it's so deliberate that Harry has to wonder if swearing by randomness had been smart after all. He could do with less freak coincidences.

Thankfully Louis spares him from answering by finally reaching forward and dislodging the cat. Fluffball makes grumbling noises and quickly curls up in Louis' lap to go back to sleep. At least he doesn't hold a grudge.

"Cheers," Harry croaks out, still slightly flushed.

"Sure, he's a choking hazard. I never let him kip with me." He's speaking softly, petting Fluffball's back and smiling down at him. His eyelashes are practically sweeping over his cheekbones.

So Louis probably did some recon on Harry before letting him stay in his house with his cat. Harry can only pray Zayn hadn't told him about his problem with fit as cat-lovers.

"I, uh," Harry finally lets out. "He was mewling outside for attention."

"Was he?" Louis asks, mostly directed at Fluffball. He wraps his arms around the cat and raises him enough to bury his face in his fluffy head. "Were you bothering the nice man? Were you trying to kill him? Were you?"

Harry's definitely on the verge of tears. "Please stop," he pleads. "It was my fault, I have this recurring nightmare that Jerry's trying to get in the bedroom to warn me that Garfield's trying to eat her, And like, I know it's just a nightmare, since Garfield won't eat her while she's still alive, or at all maybe, hopefully. But I just can't sleep with the door closed."

Louis looks at him in disbelief. "Well, then you're lucky I was here before your lungs collapsed. And that I narrowly avoided the obvious joke."

"Oh?"

"Cat on your face. You know."

Harry bursts out laughing. "Mate, I've been avoiding that for years."

Louis' eyes light up in interest. Harry's really not up for the "a gay sitter won't make your cat gay" talk, though. He scrambles. "Were you supposed to come back this early? I just hung out with Fluffball until after midnight and sort of passed out, but I could've made you a cuppa or something."

"It's okay, I didn't tell you. And I make my own tea. And you were quite cute, so. It's really okay."

Harry flushes again, suddenly aware of the fact Louis' still in bed with him. At least he's got the covers up to his shoulders. "I'm not cute."

Louis smiles his devastating smile at him. "I have a feeling you're lied to a lot."

"Whatever. I'm a lion in a sea of cats."

"Oh? D'you get that from Twitter?"

Which reminds him of last night's revelations. He sits up to at least be polite. "We saw your premiere thing! Does Fluffball know he's a worldwide trend?"

"Oh please, he's enough of a diva as is. Hey, did you teach him tricks like I ordered?"

"Yes," Harry says, smiling smugly. Louis hadn't expected that. "Watch."

He leans toward Fluffball and taps his nose a couple of times to get him to face Harry. Once he thinks he has his attention, he yawns as widely and exaggeratedly as he can, even rolling out his tongue. Like magic, Fluffball yawns a little cat-yawn in return. To reward him Harry crashes his face into Fluffball's and rubs it all over. Okay, he mostly annoys the cat, but at least he's rewarding himself.

Finally Fluffball has had enough and he turns around to snuggle into Louis' belly. Harry looks up through his lashes to check if Louis' impressed with his trick.

Louis' absolutely inscrutable. Which is for the best, really, when the only thing separating Harry's gaping mouth and Louis' dick is a giant ginger cat.

"Very, um, impressive." Harry can't remember Louis ever sounding so awkward. "I'm gonna. Let you get ready. Put the kettle on."

Harry stays for a while this time too, Louis blathering about his co-stars for the latest movie, Midnight Memories, and rude reporters and the action movie he's excited about for this fall, where he plays some skate punk who "might even not get his tattoos touched up!". Harry doesn't learn anything substantial about Louis, but he does learn that he's passionate and excitable and spontaneous. It's pretty great.

*

Cat-sitting for Louis becomes a weekly thing. It's not actually agreed upon—like, Harry doesn't pin it in his calendar. He doesn't even have a calendar. But Louis has to do a lot of promotion for his new movie across the pond, and he keeps calling Harry. One time he even suggested paying him more, since "this is turning out to be a full-time gig, you're probably falling behind in school or summat".

Harry almost told him the only thing he's debating is asking for less, since he enjoys it so much. He loves Fluffball, Louis' penthouse is the ultimate studying place (no neighbours shagging through paper-thin walls, a nice laptop for once), and yeah, getting to chat with Louis when he comes back from wherever is nice. (They're actual mates now. It's cool.)

Louis accepted that they'll keep the wage (which is over the top already), but swore that he'd make the place more hospitable. Harry had no idea how that would be possible. Then he goes there and finds, like, more stuff waiting for him, each tagged with a Post-it. A fuckton of strawberries and bananas, since Harry must have mentioned his obsession with fresh fruit. A stack of DVDs with romantic comedies, half of which feature Louis. Some CDs of Elton John and the like for a studying atmosphere.

Then he goes to the bedroom and finds. More stuff. Sex stuff.

don't spill any! it says on a tube of really posh lubricant. go slow! it says on a butt plug.

And it's so inconceivably strange, yet fitting with Louis' cruel sense of humour.

Harry doesn't actually plan on using them, since it's a joke and Harry is above all that, but. Louis prances around naked in one of those DVDs. He shags Ezra Miller in one of those DVDs. And Harry's in his house, where everything smells like him, and there are silk sheets and it's so fucking easy picturing Louis using them. Getting his slender fingers wet and slipping them inside, one at a time until he gets too impatient, until he's whimpering and splitting himself open just to fit the plug in. To last longer. Or to wait for someone to fill him for real.

Harry really didn't plan on using them. Shit happens.

And then he has to go on a midnight Tesco run to replace the lube, because the thought of Louis knowing actually makes Harry heave. 1-3 AM are hours spent washing the sheets. 3-4 is bullying Fluffball to never tell a soul, just in case he'd heard something. 5-11 is a fitful sleep.

At least this time he manages a shower and some breakfast before Louis comes home. "Honey, I'm home!" he calls out in an overly sweet voice and saunters into the kitchen. He pretends to adjust his tie (headphones) and fling his briefcase (snapback) on the kitchen island, and then says, "Looks delicious, doll," and leans up to peck Harry's cheek.

Harry has been admirably still throughout all of this. He does attempt to trip Louis up after the kiss, making Louis gasp. "Really? We've been married for two minutes and already you're trying to off me for my money?"

"No, you twat, it's your cat I'm after," he corrects, tilting his chin up primly.

Louis rolls his eyes, and then he must catch what Harry's doing because he's drifting close again, nearly plastering himself to Harry's side. He's warm and smells nice and Harry fingered himself silly in his house last night. "What is that?"

"Waffles?"

Louis frowns, looking at the waffles suspiciously. "You're making waffles?"

"Well, yeah." Louis looks up at him dubiously. "What, you're the one with the waffle iron."

Now Louis' truly shocked. "I have a waffle machine?"

"Didn't you know?"

"Mate, Niall stocked this place two years ago. I really only know where the beer is." Harry opens his mouth to mock him, but Louis expertly cuts him off. "But this isn't about me. This is about you possessing waffle-making abilities."

Harry shrugs and goes back to cutting the fruit on the board. "It only takes, like, half an hour. And since you got all those bananas and strawberries, I figured you wanted a nice breakfast?"

Louis doesn't say anything for a moment. Then, "I'm pretty sure I didn't buy whipped cream."

"Hm?" Harry looks up and spots the bowl Louis' currently gawking at. "Oh, yeah, I went to Tesco's last night and bought some cream. Figured while we're bingeing why not splurge?"

"Why'd you go—wait, you made whipped cream? How do you even do that?"

Harry opens and closes his mouth a few times. Then he says, very carefully, "You... whip... cream?"

Louis surprises him by exclaiming and patting his back quite hard. "Genius! I might just keep you." Then, naturally, he hops on the island and scoops some cream with two fingers, promptly sticking them in his mouth. And sucking. And closing his eyes and moaning.

Harry nearly cuts his thumb off. He sets the knife down and forcefully grabs the bowl from Louis. Louis just bats his eyelashes sadly, fingers still in his mouth. Harry curses and sticks the bowl in the fridge, inconspicuously pressing his forehead to the chilly door. "It's not even good, you're supposed to either eat it right away or put it in the fridge. My time management's for shit."

"Nothing you say will make you less perfect," Louis informs him, nudging his hip with his foot. He's still perching on the island. For a second he reminds Harry of Fluffball.

"I doubt that," he says.

Louis shakes his head gravely. "No, for real. I come home to find a boy in sweatpants making me waffles with whipped cream and strawberries and bananas. You're as good as it gets, Harry Styles."

The problem with Louis is that Harry can never tell when he's joking or when he's serious. Kind of a "boy who cried butt plug" situation here. "And if I told you there's ice cream in the freezer?"

Louis grins. "I love you."

Harry just shakes his head. "Movie stars are so easy, honestly."

"I really am," Louis says, then claps his hands. "C'mon, is it ready yet?"

"One's cooling under the Tupperware there, and the other one's almost done in the iron. Wanna help me with the fruit?" He waggles his eyebrows to convince Louis.

"No. But I will." He refuses to hop off the island though, so Harry has to slide the cutting board toward him, along with a small knife.

They work in silence for a few minutes, until, while Harry's wondering whether he should make more whipped cream, Louis sighs and says, "Don't you feel guilty chopping up bananas?"

He places a banana in his lap, as if the message hadn't come through loud and clear. Harry rolls his eyes. "You're an idiot."

Louis responds by chucking the banana in Harry's face. So Harry throws one in his face.

12–2 PM is a food fight, a gigantic breakfast, and passing out in the living room with an overweight cat between them. Harry could get used to this.

*

The problem with not having a calendar is that he doesn't keep track of his appointed Louis-time. Well, there are other problems, obviously, like missed birthdays and exams and stuff, but it's mostly Louis. (It feels like everything is about Louis these days.)

It's Louis calling him up one week and asking, "Yo, you free this weekend?"

And Harry having to answer, "Actually, I've got another gig?"

There's a lengthy pause on the line. This is a first. Both Harry refusing Louis, and Louis being dead-silent. "Really?" he asks, something kind of dangerous in his voice.

"Well, yeah. I do take other jobs."

"With who?"

Harry chews on his lip. "Um, I'm not sure if I should say?"

He kind of expects Louis to snort, or say something mean about sitter-celeb privilege, but he just says, "C'mon babe, we're proper mates, aren't we? We have breakfast together every week."

Harry's such a sucker, it's embarrassing. "Well. It's Liam Payne? You know, the—"

"Oh, Payno!" Louis interrupts him, enthusiasm a stark contrast to the previously vacant tone. "Let me call you back!"

He hangs up before Harry can even reply. Weird, but so is Louis. "Did you know Louis Tomlinson is crazy?" he asks Garfield. The cat just mews loudly, so Harry resumes brushing his fur. He's not even surprised that Louis knows Liam Payne; he'd basically pet-sat for Zayn's entire celebrity clique by now.

He's interrupted by Louis calling him back. He just answers blindly and continues petting Garfield. "Well, have you rescheduled your movie premiere for my banana skills?"

"Uh. What?" Liam Payne says, confused and stoic and oh god, wrong multimillionaire celebrity.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I thought you were someone else, oh shit," Harry lets out in one breath, completely sure he's getting sacked for the first time.

Liam Payne just snorts. "Was it Tommo?"

Harry buries his face in Garfield's back. "Maybe?"

Liam Payne laughs rather loudly. "That's sick, now I can take the piss out of him. I did actually call to reschedule, though."

This would have been a really important twist if Harry had a calendar. He just agrees to whatever Liam Payne says, and calls Louis a second after he hangs up. "Guess what," he starts. "Shockingly, my weekend just opened up."

"Wow, that is shocking!" Louis says, pokerfacing it. "So Friday, seven-ish? Have you seen the animal show Ronnie Corbett's on?"

"You remember who you're talking to, right?"

"See? You're perfect."

Harry rolls his eyes. "You don't have to keep saying that just so I don't rob you, y'know."

"I'm not taking any chances. Got a lot of confidential shit here. I do have to go though, sorry, El's calling. See you Friday."

He hangs up promptly again. Harry gets this weird reaction when he hears this Eleanor's name. He's been too scared to Google her, so now she's just this faceless person he associates with Louis. Harry hugs Garfield a little closer to his chest.

*

There is a week when Louis' in California and Fluffball's at his mum's in Doncaster and Harry misses him quite ridiculously. Also, he's bored. He ends up tracking Louis' movements through Tumblr and Twitter, in the least desperate way possible. Then Gemma calls him a desperate knob, so Harry stops. Then Louis tweets something about missing his cat and Harry just gives up.

*

Louis calls him immediately upon returning to London, yelling about some miscommunication crisis with his mum that led to Fluffball being home alone later that same week. Harry doesn't even question it, agrees as soon as Louis—well, says "hi"—because he is desperate. Even though Louis won't actually be there for three days, he'll be there later. Harry can either pine in his shitty student flat or in Louis' posh penthouse. The choice is clear.

So he doesn't actually expect Louis to be there when he lets himself in. He definitely doesn't expect to see Louis napping in front of the television, wearing boxers and a band shirt that—"Is. Is that mine?"

Louis jumps up and spins his head nearly 180 degrees, before spotting Harry and sagging back against the couch. "What?" he asks, trying to blink himself awake.

Harry doesn't even pretend not to stare. "Your shirt. The shirt. That you're wearing."

Louis looks down, confused, and stretches the fabric up to see the print on it, exposing his tight stomach and boxers that leave nothing to the imagination. If Harry weren't holding two cats he would throw his hands up in frustration. Why must straight movie stars continue to cocktease him. (Okay, so it's only happened once. But what a ride.)

When he lowers the shirt again it doesn't even get better, because he's absolutely swimming in it. Like, it's not tight on Harry, and Louis' shoulders are so much narrower and he is wearing his T-shirt better than him.

"Yeah, s'pose it is," Louis says offhandedly. "You left it 'round after the last time you stayed here." No further explanation as to why it is currently on Louis' person. Harry just. Gulps and takes it.

"Okay then," he says, throat still dry. The bloody shirt hangs off Louis, presenting tattoo lettering and chest hair and collarbones. Nothing is okay.

"Well don't just stand there, put the cats down and give us a hug."

"Okay."

Harry shuffles awkwardly toward the couch, and then bends down at a safe distance from Louis, so there's minimum contact even as he wraps his arms around Louis. It's scarily comforting, just to touch him and smell him again. It's who they are, constantly touching even though it doesn't really mean anything. They're just comfortable with each other.

Louis stresses that point by pulling Harry in and hugging him tighter, causing him to nearly topple over and swing a leg up on the couch. Thankfully he doesn't knee Louis in the balls, but it's a close thing. Louis doesn't let up, despite the near disballment. Eventually Harry finds himself in his lap.

He doesn't think about the clearly visible line of Louis' dick, or his strong thighs, or—just, anything. He doesn't think. He breathes Louis in. "Missed you," he mumbles. Honesty is the best policy.

"Me too, babe." Louis might be the greatest bullshitter in history, but he can be honest with Harry. It's lovely.

The sappy moment is cut short by cats jumping on the couch and scratching Harry's legs, probably jealous. Louis doesn't bat an eye before pushing Harry slightly over and picking Jerry up. "'ullo girl, how are you?"

She mews. She'll probably scratch Louis' face off soon, but Harry doesn't want to warn him because he doesn't want this moment to ever end. "What are you doing here?" Louis asks her, smiling wide.

Harry's too charmed to answer until Louis snaps his eyes to him and says, "I'm not actually expecting her to answer, this flat can only have one crazy cat lady."

He doesn't take it as an insult. "Um, remember how you booked me for three days because your mum was—something, I wasn't really listening?"

Louis' eyes widen. "Oh fuck me, I ended up cancelling that shit! I can't believe I forgot to tell you!"

Harry can't believe it either. Like, he actually doubts Louis for a moment. Sometimes he needs to remind himself that Louis' an actor.

"But listen, I'll pay you anyway. And you could like, stay? Fluffball's been cooped up with four little girls for a week, I think he'd like the company of cats."

Well. "Right, yeah. Where is he?"

"Fuck if I know. I missed the premiere of Downton Abbey."

Harry pokes Louis' shoulder. "Liar, you were practically asleep when I came in."

"Well, I was going to watch it. D'you watch?"

No. "Of course."

"No you don't."

Shit. Sometimes Harry needs to remind himself that he's not an actor. "I'll watch with you, though."

Louis sighs long-sufferingly. "You can't just watch the first episode of the fourth series, are you fucking insane?"

"What, I'll catch up!"

There's a glint in Louis' eyes. "You will, when we watch the first three series tonight."

Harry gulps. For all that they're "proper mates" now, and that Harry's spent more nights here than in his flat in the last three months, he's never actually spent the night with Louis. "Alright, you're on. Wait, the cats?"

Louis shakes his head and shuffles back across the couch so he can drape his legs over Harry's lap, effectively trapping him. "They're cats, they can handle one night without constant attention."

So why do you hire me every time, is it to torture me? He doesn't even ask.

The first night is pretty casual–they stay up until they just can't anymore, and then dislodge the cats (who had grown bored and came to set up camp with them and be cute) and go to their respective bedrooms. And the next morning Harry wakes up before Louis and starts on an elaborate breakfast, because Louis' been doing promo for a straight week and probably only ate junk food. And he says he'll go home afterwards, but then Louis turns up wearing another shirt of Harry's, and breakfast drags into lunch, and they haven't caught up to the fourth series so they descend back to the posh couch. And he says he'll go home before dark, but "one more episode, c'mon" turns into "are there any buses left? No there are not. Rub my feet". And he swears he can afford a cab, but then Jerry manages to climb over Fluffball and it's so adorable that Harry just can't separate them. So he and Louis stay up late again, this time to play with their three adorable cats and take a lot of videos and tweet a lot of pictures and giggle into each other's necks when they try to demonstrate how to form a pyramid, in the hopes that the cats are a smart enough species to see and do.

The next morning Harry wakes up to a hangover and Louis in the kitchen, again in pants and a too-big shirt. The sight is so stunning that it takes a moment for Harry to realise what he's seeing. "Are you doing breakfast?"

Louis turns around with a big, toothy smile. "You're not the only culinary genius in this relationship, Harold. I'll have you know I can do an excellent fry-up."

"Is it supposed to actually fry black?"

Which leads to Louis cursing, nearly burning his fingers, and blaming Harry for their rubbish breakfast. Harry just kisses his fingertips and gets to work on some scrambled eggs. "Focus on the tea, dear."

"Don't patronise me," Louis huffs, while hopping on the island, swinging his legs and sulking.

Harry can't resist ducking in to kiss his nose, just to see Louis scrunch up his face in annoyance like Fluffball. He wishes he could tweet this too. But people might get the wrong idea, so.

He finally leaves on the fourth day, without taking a penny. Nor his shirts back. He swears he'll get used to Louis'… Louisness one day. He'll learn to control his facial muscles and lumbering legs and raucous laugh and raging boners. Louis will never know Harry's already in love with him.

*

"I think I'm in love," he whispers harshly.

"How?" Garfield asks with his eyes. He's got very expressive eyes for a cat.

"It just sort of happened," Harry says, shrugging.

Garfield replies by licking his own arsehole. Harry doesn't read into it.

*

It's a Friday, and Louis gives him very specific instructions: "Pack for a couple of days at least, don't bring the cats, and wear something nice". Harry just plays along, as he often does with Louis.

Harry leaves the cats at Ed's (yes, he's friends with Ed Sheeran and Louis Tomlinson, he basically owes Zayn everything), and wears his skinniest black skinny jeans and a nice button-down he leaves half unbuttoned. As an afterthought, he breaks out his fruitiest aftershave and quiffs up his hair. He thinks he looks nice.

This time he does expect Louis to be there when he arrives, since he usually likes to watch his evil plans unfold. What is surprising is the trail of what appear to be rose petals leading from the foyer to the dining room. "Um, Lou?" he calls out, mostly confused.

"In here!" Louis shouts back from the kitchen. "Go to the table, I'll be right there!"

So Harry follows the petals, careful not to step on any. "Did Fluffball get in a fight with a rose bush or something?"

"No, he's at Zayn's," Louis replies loudly.

Harry missteps and turns his head to the kitchen, where he can hear Louis bustling about. He should ask. It would make sense to ask. Then why am I here?

He bites his lip and continues his trip. They always just eat in the living room or the kitchen, so he's only seen the dining room in passing. Now that he's in it, though, he's left staring again. It's set out like a full-on restaurant; crisp red tablecloth, two fancy wine glasses, a candle in the middle, some more petals strewn about. Harry definitely doesn't remember that.

He sits down and, for lack of anything better to do, unfolds a napkin and spreads it on his lap. Then he realises.

"Lou, did you, like, cook?"

Then Louis comes into the dining room, wielding a huge pot full of amazing-smelling pasta. Harry knows he should help, or at least suggest to, but he's rooted in his seat. Being told to dress well didn't sound any alarm bells. He couldn't have guessed Louis would be wearing fitted jeans and a white jumper big enough that he had to roll the sleeves up to his elbows, revealing his newer tattoos. His wild hair is windswept just so, carefully styled into carelessness, and his tiny hands are carrying a giant vegetarian dish. It just sort of happened.

Finally Louis manages to put the pot on the table, and he's breathing hard and wiping his brow, then rethinks it and quickly fixes his fringe. "Thanks for the help, you–" his words are caught in his throat when he sees Harry sitting there primly. His eyes widen. "Jesus Christ H, I said dress nice, not walk off a runway."

Harry laughs and waves him off. "Did you make that?"

"Have you gone 'round the bend?" Louis asks, busying himself with pushing the pot forward until it's placed just between their plates. Somehow without knocking the candle or wine bottle over. He's really competent. His sleeves keep rolling down over his knuckles. Harry would like to fuck him without removing his jumper. He thinks it can be done. Maybe push it up a bit so he could nip at his stomach and hipbones before blowing him.

He shakes himself and looks at Louis' face when he carries on. "Niall made it earlier. Apparently there's, like, a pasta roller here?"

"Niall Horan made you fresh pasta?"

"Us," Louis clarifies, finally sitting down in front of Harry.

So they have nice clothes on, a table that's actually set up, gourmet dinner, and no pets. If this is one of Louis' jokes, Harry hopes they're not close to the punchline. He feels nervous all of a sudden, hands getting clammy. He's not used to being with Louis without the cats. "Well this is like a proper romantic dinner, innit?" he says awkwardly, cracking a smile.

"Yes," Louis deadpans, while loading up his plate.

Harry pours himself a lot of wine at this point. They toast. They eat. They talk. They touch, randomly, insignificantly, a brush of ankles or fingertips. Harry's learnt plenty of substantial things about Louis, but learning in this setting is somehow different. And Harry knows it's not a date, but his heart pounds and he blushes more often than not and every time the candlelight catches Louis' eyelashes, Harry's breath catches in his throat.

He's pretty sure he's about to pass out when they finally finish their pasta. He's rubbing his belly and asking cheekily, "So what's for dessert?"

Louis actually answers. "He made banana split."

"My favourite! Are you trying to get lucky tonight?" Harry asks, beaming.

Louis looks him dead in the eyes and says, "I am."

Harry tries to laugh it off, but he's mostly wheezing. "Nice one."

A The Turn Of Events:

Louis makes the most frustrated sound known to man, violently throws his napkin to the floor, stands up, knocking over his wine glass, stomps around the table, and then gently places his hands on Harry's nape and kisses him.

Harry's eyes flare, but all he gets is a blurry visual of Louis kissing him, so he opts for closing them. He does open his mouth, though, and Louis hums appreciatively and laces his fingers in his curls and kisses him. Harry's brain keeps going from static to holy fuck.

When they detach Harry braves his voice possibly cracking to say, "What the fuck?"

Louis leans back a bit, but doesn't let go of Harry's hair. It must be uncomfortable to crouch like that. Harry would definitely offer a seat in his lap. "Quite," Louis says.

Harry tries desperately to collect his thoughts. "But Eleanor?"

Louis arches an eyebrow. "What does my PA have anything to do with this?"

Oh. Um. "I thought you were straight?"

Louis goes from shocked to laughing in two seconds. "I've been–I told–I shagged Ezra Miller on Up All Night!"

"You're an actor, Louis, I don't just go around stereotyping people."

Louis lets go of his hair to smack him upside the head. "But we shagged in real life too! Fuck's sake, I shagged Zayn for like, two months!"

And a thousand monkeys completed typing that Shakespeare play, and pigs are flying to freedom, and Taylor Swift got back together with her ex forever ever ever. Harry gasps. "You shagged Zayn and thought I'd just assume you'd be interested in me?"

Louis taps his forehead again. "I've been throwing myself at you for ages, are you fucking kidding me? Do you think I just leave my butt plugs laying around?"

Well, that was a bit strange. "And the porn?"

"George Michael," Louis reminds him, crossing his arms and cocking his hip.

Harry's still trying to connect the dots. He bites his lower lip in consideration, then remembers he'd been recently kissed there by Louis, and then thumbs at it. "My shirts?"

Louis, shockingly, looks at the ground all bashful at that. "Actually, that was a cock-up on my part. They just smelled like you."

Harry's heart thumps resolutely at that, and he just surges up and kisses Louis again. At his full height he has to bend down slightly, but it's so easy to let his hands slip to Louis' hips, and Louis' quick to return his elegant hands to Harry's hair. He kisses him deep, kisses him breathless, until Louis whispers a tiny, "Oh," and, "You're so fucking tall."

And yeah, Harry's extremely slow. And oblivious. And random. But he can also be direct, assertive, and cheeky. So he bends his knees and picks Louis up, quite gentlemanly. He obviously missteps and stumbles back a bit, but it's so worth it for Louis' shocked little gasp, and how naturally he wraps his legs around Harry's waist.

Harry's giddy and buzzing on wine and he has Louis literally in his arms. He might be slow and not-so-steady, but he won the race of life, pretty much.

*

Innocently enough, Harry did only pack for two days, but apparently he's left enough things in Louis' place that he's set for a year. It also helps that he spends most of his time naked. (Despite his sincerity outburst last night, Louis still denies nicking Harry's things. Harry's sure he'll get it out of him with enough blowjobs.)

Though he doesn't run out of clothes, by Sunday they run out of food. Since neither of them really want to leave the bed, let alone the house, Louis rings Zayn up and asks that he bring the cat back, and oh, "could you maybe pick up some takeaway? And also go to Ed Sheeran's house to pick up a couple of cats?"

Amazingly enough, probably due to being some robot alien, Zayn shows up two hours later with all the requested items. It's a flurry of excited, clingy cats as soon as he steps through the door, and Harry has to admit he doesn't listen to Zayn complain as he sets the takeaway in the kitchen. He's far too caught up in his cats rubbing their faces all over his legs and begging to be petted.

They hang out with Zayn for twenty minutes. If "hang out" means Harry plays with the cats and tries not to imagine a scenario in which Louis and Zayn get it on. He manages to discern that Zayn is not at all surprised by Harry and Louis ending up together (since he'd been meaning to set them up for ages), Louis is still upset he hadn't managed to shag Harry sooner, and Zayn thinks they are "disgusting" and he needs to "fuck off before I choke on fluffballs".

And then there were five.

And it's nice, they all chill out in front of the television again. Fluffball and Jerry fall asleep in two seconds on Louis' chest, so it's up to Harry to alternate between watching Doctor Who and entertaining Garfield. It's kind of like any other night, only now Harry can lean over and kiss Louis whenever he likes, which is always.

And he does, and they move the cats so it's Harry on his chest and they're cuddling proper, and when they go to bed they leave the door open and wake up with facefulls of cats, and Harry makes breakfast and puts the cat bowls on the island so they can all eat together.

As far as going through life randomly, Harry thinks he's done a bang up job.

END