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Love Me With Your Eyes Closed

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Today wasn’t his day, Harry decides, slouching lower into his tight, too-small seat. “Your enthusiasm overrides you,” Zayn, who sits directly across from him, murmurs dryly. Harry just barely stops himself from baring his teeth or something of the other dominance, knowing how intolerable that would be considered in their “proper” Private school. But he wants to. God, he wants to let something loose inside him, something unknown that’s rattling along the chains of his self control…It’s freakish, but moving all the same.

Instead though, he balls his hands into fists at his thighs and makes another half-hearted attempt to pay attention to what their teacher, Mr. Lerwick, is blabbering on about.  But, to be completely honest, he’d rather be anywhere else. Even home –his father’s untouched manor. At least there he could sleep in his bed, comforted by the cool, lone silence.

The hour drags by insistently slow, their moron of a teacher (they’re three bloody weeks into this History’s course, yet still learning absolutely nothing) lecturing about some shit that has nothing to do with Queen Elizabeth the Firsts reign (not that Harry’s listened much, but still, what exactly did this man get paid for?) “And Mr. Styles, could you please tell us what the Elizabethan Settlement did exactly?”

Here we go again. Sighing heavily, Harry straightens slightly in his chair, meeting Lerwick’s reproachful gaze evenly. The old bastard is always out to get him. Poor little Beta. “Well, Mr. L,” he begins easily. “What it did was try and force two very separate religions into one, though, to be blunt sir, I think it was a shit attempt, quite like your shit attempts at schooling.” Around him is a chorus of gasps from the others, but Harry doesn’t really care if he’s tainted their precious innocence, it’s too early in the bloody morning for Mr. Too-Freakin’-Good-To-Be-Teaching-Lerwick’s crap.

Much to his glee, Lerwick turns impressive shades of red, completely outraged. Zayn’s the first to burst into laughter, starting the classes (cattle, he swears) swift laughter. Harry throws Zayn a bemused look to which Zayn shakes his head, mouthing: you’re such a twat. It couldn’t be truer.

“You-! I will not –tolerate this sort of behaviour–!” Cutting him off, Zayn rises from his desk, shrugging his tattered backpack over his shoulder. Harry takes that as his cue to join and shoves away from the wooden desk quickly enough that the legs scrape the polished linoleum floor, causing a resonating, cringe-worthy screech to travel from his ears to his temples, which give painful throbs.

He really should’ve stayed home instead of getting plastered off his arse last night. Really, it’s never been any good for him. But, Harry thinks bitterly, he couldn’t ruin his perfectly fucked reputation, now could he? Least his father disown him or something. With a thoughtful sigh at the classes’ queue of scandalised faces, he slings his own bag over his shoulder and sides Zayn, tossing an easy arm around his best-mates shoulders.

Lerwick looks like he might explode and Harry smiles broadly at the prospect but takes pity on the older Beta. “See you in detention, Sir.” And that’s that. Harry starts for the doors, towing Zayn along with him. As they pass a pretty red-head, Zayn grins wickedly, shooting her a very inviting wink that has her mouth falling open.

“You shouldn’t get her hopes up like that mate, ‘specially if you’re empty offering,” Harry reprimands as they exit.

“And what gave you the idea I was ‘empty offering’ mate?” Zayn questions, staring straight ahead at the group of blokes (far enough that they can’t actually see them, even with their enhanced vision) with that same too-pleased smirk.

Harry taps his bottom lip, pretending to be deep in thought. “I dunno. Could’ve been all those times I walked in on you and those blokes…” he trails off knowingly. “Or maybe far back when you confessed your undying love for my curls and –!”

“Wha–You little shit!” Zayn accuses, olive skin tinged with pink as he shoves the Alpha by the shoulder. Completely caught off by the force, Harry staggers forward, catching another unsuspecting student’s shoulder, the force enough that the other goes sprawling to the floor, the contents in their bag scattering everywhere.

A heavy silence stretches, that obnoxious, unknown feeling churning in the Alpha’s chest as he stares intently at the smaller boy. He doesn’t bother to reach for his things, but instead scrambles into a sitting position, tucking his legs underneath his bum and tugging on the blazer that swamps his figure. Physically, the boy gives nothing away, head bowed lowly as to hide his features with his feathery fringe. And for some reason, the protective pose bothers Harry like nothing he’s ever felt before. It screams no. This boy should not be hiding from him; his Alpha claws at him impatiently and Harry is completely thrown off by that.

More so by the fact that he can feel this boy –his emotions radiated from his that forcefully. Sharp spikes of anxiety and embarrassment. What…?He doesn’t know how to react at all; everything in him demands he lighten the stuffy, tense atmosphere and well. “Accidents happen, yeah?” Harry smiles widely, showing off his dimples with arrogance, waiting a full five seconds before realising the boy’s blatantly ignoring him. His irritation skyrockets.

It runs down his skin, prickling uncomfortably as he grits his teeth to keep back a warning growl. He isn’t used to being ignored or unwanted. Not at all. Harry’s known around the school, hell around the town as a “bad boy” who the guys look up too and the girls want to mess around with. He is used to getting his way. As an Alpha, that’s how it works. Except this boy, this specific little boy obviously doesn’t want anything to do with him and that makes him want to hurt something or better, someone.

He could feel the need bubbling to the surface. Fuck. He shoots a look at Zayn, who simply shrugs, looking obnoxiously (there’s that fucking word again) amused from where he leans on the wall –fucking smug bastard. Trying to seem impassive, he crouches, reaching for a thick book (what the hell does this boy read?) when a smaller, sun-kissed hand goes to stop him, though it manages to somehow miss by a few inches. Intrigued, Harry freezes, hand still outstretched, simply waiting for the fluttery hand to land on his and when it finally does, it trembles along his skin, feather-light and unsure. “D-Don’t. I-It was just an accident, yeah?”

Mine. Harry doesn’t understand what does it, maybe the high-pitched, but oddly hesitant voice or the soft pads of his dainty hand over his own rough one, but abruptly, an electric jolt runs up his spine and instinctively, he inhales deeply through his nose. The rich, sweet scent spreads through his blood like wildfire and the feral, caged part in him snaps.

“Look at me,” he demands, brain-to-mouth filter shattered. The other’s emotions blare like sirens to Harry –curiosity, intimidation and fear. A low, threatening growl rips from the Alpha’s chest, prepared to defend with his life. For the time, he tunes into their surrounding but finds nothing to defend against and with a blink, belatedly realises the other might actually be afraid of him.

“’s a, erm, bit difficult,” the boy begins, head-tilting so that Harry can finally see him. Mine. That’s all he’s able to think as he drinks in the masculine yet feminine features. Eyebrows thin, high wings above blue forget-me-nots, his cheeks are sharp, so fucking sharp, and his lips are a thin, inviting pink colour so different from Harry’s plumper, rosy ones.

Everything about him is lovely, but the eyes, they stick to Harry’s mind. Deep enough that he wants to drown there…but there’s something missing; the colour is too dull, almost… “When I can’t see you,” he finishes.Almost unseeing. Harry has the urge to rip something apart, to shout at the unfairness he abruptly feels.

“…can’t see you,” the words ricochet around his head as the rusty gears shift. He searches those eyes, eyes that stare right back at him and it seems impossible that this boy cannot see him. That he could be blind. It drives Harry’s emotions in millions of directions, all of which revolve around him.

“LOUIS!” The voice is too close to the boy, a hand lands on his boy’s shoulder. He literally see’s red.  Mine, mine, fucking mine!  Before he realises what he’s doing, he shoves the other male away from the boy, crowding him, prepared to tear his throat out with his teeth –which are bared to harsh sounds to escape him. Surprising and infuriating him, the other male stands his ground as Harry sizes him up, taking in the Alpha figure, shorter than Harry but much bulkier. His own Alpha takes control, calculating the best ways to take him down though he doesn’t get to act because he’s being yanked away by the collar of his shirt.

Instantly alerted of another presence, he snarls, turning to take down whoever dared to interfere with him protecting what belonged to him. It was another boy, small, but taller than his boy by mere inches with wide blue eyes that scream Did-I-Just-Do-That?! An easy enough opponent. Far off, he tries to stop himself because he doesn’t want this, he doesn’t even understand what is going on with him; all he can think is that the boy with blue, blue, so very blue eyes can’t even see the colour of his own. And these two think they can just take him away…or possibly hurt him.

He takes a warning step closer when someone blocks him, someone familiar. Zayn’s eyes, usually warm and teasing, are darker with something close to reluctance. “C’mon Harry. You don’t wanna do this. You’re not that much of an idiot.” I really, really don’t he thinks in frustration.

It takes every bit of self-control he possess to force his Alpha down, breathing rough and uneven as he fists his hair (with the hand that isn’t being restrained by Zayn). The silence now is eerily tense, the only sounds are muted breaths, and well, “I’m not ‘bout to snap,” he bites, though he’s not so sure and it doesn’t help anything, at all.

The other Alpha, with the short cropped brown hair and almost…puppy-like brown eyes, stares at him intently, muttering, “Are you quite finished?” Harry lurches for him, but finds himself stuck under Zayn (when the hell had he gotten anywhere near as strong as Harry?), growling under his breath. The prick must realise he isn’t answering to him because he looks over his shoulder at Zayn. “Is he?”

Zayn simply shrugs, sizing the Alpha up much the same as Harry (which is quite hard to beat, not to mention weird). Two Alphas on edge really shouldn’t be anywhere near each other, but hell, Harry is not just going to…The boy, Louis finally rises jerkily, eyes wide and unfocused. “…can’t see you.”

“Um, Li…could you?” he speaks in that same, soft tone, completely unsure and the damn Alpha immediately goes for him…rather like an eager-puppy. Funny that.  Except no, it really isn’t funny.

“You wanna leave, Lou?” Now the dirty-blonde scrambles forward, quickly retrieving all his –Louis’s fallen belongings, shoving them carelessly into his bag. Then Louis places his hand on the dirty-blondes shoulder, as if for guidance and Harry’s breath catches because he wants that…He wants to support the Omega. But that isn’t possible with that Alpha staring pointedly in warning and Zayn’s fucking paw digging into his upper arm.

Something weird (nothing new there) courses through him, suspiciously close to sadness as Louis nods at “Li, the precious puppy”…yet as the blonde tries to lead him away, the smaller lad stops dead, turning back half-way so that his eyes land straight on Harry, and he hopes he isn’t imagining how soft they are, looking at him. “Um…it was nice to meet you Harry.” And then he has to go and smile.

Once again, Harry doesn’t know what does it, the sweet smile or his name on the others pretty lips, but his heart does this weird thing, hammering so forcefully it’s hard to breathe. He doesn’t move at all, watching intensely, even after Louis is dragged away, he tries to wrap his head around what the bloody hell just happened. That’s why he gives no fight when Zayn tows him to the schools lot, shoving him with unnecessary force, into his car.

Zayn doesn’t speak for a while, though neither does Harry. He doesn’t know how long passes, but Zayn breaks the silence first.

“Wanna talk ‘bout it?”

Harry winces because no, he really doesn’t. Zayn understands of course, because Zayn gets him and he gets Zayn, so it isn’t a surprise when the other mutters “right”, grabs the keys from his pocket and starts the car without another word.

They drive to Zayn’s and Harry has never been more grateful to see the familiar drive. But he still can’t find any words.

He says nothing all throughout dinner, letting Zayn’s sisters chatter distract him until, hours later, Zayn sits him on his bed with patient, but expectant eyes. And – “I…He’s mine…Or he will be…I-I want ‘im.” Well, if he sounds as lost as he feels, Zayn doesn't comment. Probably good on him too with how wound up he feels, like he's teetering on the edge of something...dangerous. Best mate or not, he can only go so far with his Alpha.

He doesn’t sleep at all that night. Instead he lies awake, exploring the heavy feeling in his chest until he becomes restless and has to think about something, anything. Harry thinks and thinks and thinks about a gorgeous Omega with blue, blue eyes that can’t even see. 

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Chapter Text

Harry doesn’t see the boy again that week, but he can certainly feel him. It’s a warm buzz crawling along his skin, stronger whenever the boy gets too close. The “buzz”, as he’s taken to calling it, makes sure he knows where the Omega is at all times. He’s painfully aware and he knows, but he never dares to pursue. It’s sheer determination that keeps him from storming through the halls and making sure Louis knows exactly who he belongs to; except, he doesn’t actually belong to him, not yet anyway, so whenever his legs (traitors they are) unconsciously start in any direction of him, he forces himself to leave the school.

Running is possibly the worst part. It goes against every Alpha gene in him, but he knows there’s no way around it. Not when neither of them are ready to face their “problem”. Or well, maybe it's just him…Probably he thinks bitterly.

On the darker days, he humours himself with the idea that it’s all just a bad dream and he’ll wake up without both the buzz and the boy. But, as the weeks pass at the same slow pace, it isn’t so humorous anymore, not one fucking bit. In fact, every bloody day adds to his collection of snapped control cords.

Life begins to feel like some sort of personal hell, all screwed up and wrong. Most nights he doesn’t sleep, which he owes all to the restless buzz that stays with him twenty-four-fucking hours a day, jabbing and picking at him (urging him snap completely, he’s sure). And on the rare nights he does get some sleep, it’s…surreal, a joint connection to Louis in strange, flashy visions, none of which Harry can even manage to remember, much to his absolute frustration.

An entire two months pass before Harry finally, finally knows he can handle a proper conversation with the Omega. Well, maybe he can’t but he’s tired of trying so hard to reach the impossible. It’s driving him mad, he needs answers, he needs to be sure of himself again.

 It’s Monday (which naturally means it’s one of the darker days, naturally) that Harry’s back where it all began –Lerwick’s Hell. Funnily enough, they’ve still not learnt a damned thing, but alas Harry doesn’t have the patience or energy to patronise the Beta anymore, so he figures they’ve called it a truce since the old bastard isn’t his usual stick-stuck-up-the-arse self lately. That or he realises Harry really wouldn’t hesitate to chew him up and spit him out like the nasty little –alright, so the hostility is still there.

Once again, he isn’t listening when Lerwick announces they’re to work in pairs, but suddenly everyone is rearranging their seats –Zayn easily scooting closer to him until their shoulders knock lightly. With a hard blink, Harry slowly removes the hand covering his face, not bothering to focus on Zayn because he knows the concern is practically written on his face. And that’s the last thing he needs too see.

Instead, he tunes into the buzz that rolls over him in another vicious, invisible wave. The force of it has him groaning low in his throat, just barely keeping himself in his seat and not down the next hall and to the first left where the boy is. “You talk to ‘im yet?”

“What do you think?” he snaps, glaring with murder in his eyes because honestly, anyone with two eyes and some sense (only some) would know he hasn’t gotten around to that particular yet.

“Oooh,” the other mocks. “Touchy are we?” And he could throttle him –there would be no remorse at this point. Besides, it isn’t as if his father couldn’t easily bail him out for anything. Murder not excluded.

Harry shakes his hair out in attempt to clear his fogged up thoughts, rolling his tense shoulders. When he answers, it’s low underneath the classes’ noisy chatter. “I dunno what to do at this point, Z…Honestly, I just want it all to go away.”

Zayn sighs, face visibly softening, which only makes his anger double. He doesn’t need an Omega's pity. “’m just sayin’ Haz, you should talk to him, get it over with.” How he makes it sound so easy is beyond him.

“And say what?” he demands sharply, voice rising a pitch, but not so much as to attract unwanted attention. “Oh, hey, I know I scared you half to death the other day, tried to murder your best mates, and went complete psycho on you, but would you fancy telling me why you’re literally buzzing inside me? Yeaahhh, real smooth.”

Zayn snickers beside him, as if it’s even remotely funny. And maybe, he thinks bleakly, Zayn is working with the universe to play some sick joke on him. Yeah, he wishes it were that simple.

The Omega leans closer, muttering, “Least you won’t have to defend your manly pride of summat, y’know, with all the threats and creepy growls.”

Could he have acted like more of an animal, he wonders in disgust. He’s never cared much for his Alpha, forever a feral, demanding part of him. It’s unbelievable that that is what’s considered strong in their society.

“C’mon mate,” Zayn urges quietly. “This is fucking eating at you.” It’s so on point that Harry growls a bit, knowing if Zayn’s noticed, then much of the School has too. And Zayn seems to realise this because he pauses, but instead of taking the words back like any normal best friend might’ve, he scratches at his scalp, in that usual calming manner. Except now it only fuels his irritation. “Just get it over with now so you can go back to being your usual dickhead self.”

Fuck, he really just wants Zayn to the shut up already. Nothing coming out of his mouth is making anything better, no, just so much worse. The words have his thoughts in a whirlwind of “what-if’s” because what-if this is forever, what-if this boy happens to – “Yeah…Yeah, you’re right, gatta get it over with,” he mutters hastily, rubbing his eyes while sweeping the nagging thoughts under a mental-rug for later inspection, when he can’t sleep (again).

“I usually am,” the other says. “But, can we get on with this bloody assignment before you start day-dreamin’ again?”

Harry’s already stopped listening though; planning out exactly how the conversation with his Omega will go.

“And you’re already gone,” the Omega grumbles, sounding anything but amused.   

 

~~

-o-

In the next hall to the first left Louis is trying desperately to not think. It’s his free hour, which usually he would never complain about, but it’s one of those times where he finds there is nothing to keep him busy. No homework, no obnoxious “assistant” trying to teach him the proper posture or some other daft technique designed for the, as they call him, “visually impaired”. Nope, just the long, stretching darkness.

It’s like that for a while, Louis resting his head in his arms, on that fine line between conscious and unconsciousness when the seat beside him yanks out of place, causing him to instantly tense up.  

“It’s just me twat,” he immediately recognises the strong Irish accent and relaxes, keeping his eyes shut because with Niall he doesn’t have to worry about keeping up the “normal” act. It’s funny, he thinks blankly, that everyone tries so hard to make him that way, especially when he isn’t normal and probably never will be. Almost instantly he regrets the thought, his mood sinking deeper into that horribly familiar, horribly muted sadness.

 “You’re late,” he mumbles matter-of-factly, needing the distraction. “Again.”

“Yeah well,” the other grunts as he plops down, practically throwing his bag (with enough force that there’s a loud thump and Louis hides his face deeper in his sleeve, feeling nervous under the classes heavy stares) onto the table as he does so. “I was busy.”

Louis nods silently. It’s the same answer he always gets whenever Niall is late, which happens to be the majority of the time. The  Irish Omega  is one of his best mates so he doesn’t have to think too hard about the “what’s” and “whys” to know that the other just doesn’t want to talk about it around the prying, rich snots around them, claws out and waiting to sink into the first thing they hear.  Even so, Niall’s not the best at keeping secrets and he always ends up telling when they’re alone.

There’s a long pause before Niall leans closer to him. “He’s lookin’ for you Louis.” It’s meant to be a warning, that much is clear, but it doesn’t seem to matter because his head whips in the direction of the others voice.

His entire body is suddenly very alert, breathing coming fast as he does his best too look innocent or at least unconcerned. He hopes it works, though he can’t be sure, no matter how much he wills it, he still can’t see Niall’s expression. But, his body doesn’t seem to realise this because his eyes open anyway, widening in hopes of showing his absolute (note the sarcasm) confusion. “Whoever are you referring to Niall?”

There’s a disbelieving chuckle, but Louis doesn’t give up, frowning until, “You may be blind, but you’re not an idiot and I reckon you know very well who ‘m talkin’ ‘bout dear Tommo.”

With that, his frown is real and he thinks he’ll need to work on his acting skills some time. “Your point is?”

“He is looking for you Louis!”

“I think we’ve established that Niall, but why’re you telling me?”

“Jus’ thought you’d rather me than Liam…”

At that, he winces, whispering shakily, “He knows…?”

“I reckon everyone does,” Niall ponders and Louis fights the shiver of fear threatening to roll over him. That’s the last thing he wants to hear. “I mean, ‘arreh’s not exactly…well, let’s jus’ say it ain’t exactly a secret…” Oh, no.

Louis closes his eyes against his panic, attempting to gather his scattered thoughts. But he’s really…confused, annoyed, enthralled?, with the whole ordeal. How can one Alpha out of an entire town be so much more…Alpha-y? He’s been around Alphas before, one of his best mates is one, but Liam’s never tried to…well, own him. It’s never been like that at all, with anyone.

Except Harry Styles, who’s avoided him for an entire two months only to decide he suddenly wants to have a nice chat? Louis may be an Omega but he is not some type of play-toy, nor does he need Harry Styles in any way, shape or form, and the fact that all Alpha’s seem to have that mentality kind of infuriates him. Extremely so.

But, Louis actually isn’t an idiot so he knows that there is no escaping a fixated Alpha, not when that Alpha happens to be fixed on him. That’s just the way things are. Liam or no Liam, running or no running, stubborn or not, the Alpha won’t give up so, he figures he might as well figure out what exactly he’s gotten himself into.

 “What –,” deep breath, Lou. “What’s his story?”

Lou –,”

“Niall, please,” he pleads in a very small voice. “You know Liam’s he’s no good for you bit…I just wanna know ‘bout him. Ni, please.”

He holds his breath for an exact five seconds before Niall groans and Louis smiles widely, knowing he’s won. “Shit, fine, but if Liam asks –,”

Louis rolls his eyes fondly. “It wasn’t you! Yeah, yeah, yeah, now c’mon,” he urges, perhaps a bit too eagerly.

Niall sighs, seemingly annoyed, but Louis barely notices because then he’s talking, words fast and rushed. And yeah, Louis listens (with more fascination than he’d like) intently, which may or may not be a bit pathetic. Even for a blind Omega.

~~

-o-

Harry does absolutely nothing to stop it. The buzz is his shadow, the energy’s invisible wisps guiding –no dragging him in the Omega’s direction. With each step forward he can feel its choking hold on his lungs loosen, the length of his body crawls hotly with an unknown giddiness and the prior exhaustion evaporates into a void of nothingness. A smirk stretches his lips; he is completely content in his element.

It’s as if the damned connection knows. Actually, without a doubt it knows he is going for the boy, assuring him that he is in control of the situation. Any doubts are destroyed by the prospect. 

Both students and teachers begin to stare (with an annoying amount of interest) as he strides passed, not bothering to notice them. They are nothing to him. They do not matter, especially not when he's so, so close to his pretty Omega.

Hell, it’s been two bloody months too long. As much as he tries not to think about that particular hell, packed with endless emptiness and confusion, he isn’t that much in control of himself and the thoughts are still there, a constant reminder that he hasn’t seen those gorgeous blue eyes in two months, he hasn’t breathed in that fresh scent in two months, and more painfully, he hasn’t felt the addicting current flit through his body just from the boy’s hesitant touch.

Apparently his Alpha has also recovered because it claws at his chest, demanding obedience. No surprise there, he thinks absently. It only takes minutes for him to cross the School’s campus (which is anything but small), stopping just outside the Library’s entrance. The building is large, lacking windows but with an unnecessary amount of security cameras (you’d think there was gold or something life-changing inside) littered along the high walls.

Having never lingered about the campus (already having an impressive library in his father’s manor) means the Alpha is entering unknown territory, hence he probably should be cautious of entering, but no, instead he practically tears the bloody doors down to get inside.

More shocked (disapproving in the case of the protective librarian) stares go by unnoticed as he chases the buzz, legs carrying him confidently up a long staircase, passed the sitting areas, and into another room where rows of bookshelves take up the space.

To the side, far wall. Instantly, he pivots, and well, he's yet to have been wrong by following the "mystical" buzz to his Omega. Everything sort of falls away when his eyes find their destination, a small figure on the carpet, legs folded, back to the…far wall. Mine. Those electrifying sparks ignite all over Harry’s body, the lights above begin to flicker suspiciously, finally dimming the room, but the freakish aspects to it don’t even register to his brain.

All he cares to focus on is Louis, the oh-so pretty Omega who he hasn’t seen in what feels like an eternity. And like a crack addict taking his first hit in two months, Harry drinks him in. Fuck him, he’s beautiful. The magnetic force beckons him closer, but his muscles are locked in place, breathing even as the crawling dissipates. It’s still there he knows, waiting until the boy leaves him again, but fuck it, until then, he doesn’t give. Not with Louis right there, mere feet away.

Silently, Harry’s eyes fall to the thick book in his lap, where those thin fingers flow over the eccentrically patterned points. For the time he lets himself become entranced by the way those fingers create their own swift tempo, but too soon, they pause. And all good things must come to an end he supposes, his Alpha sensing that the boy is now aware of his presence.

The boy raises his head from the book, eyes fluttering open and yeah, fuck, that’s going to take some getting used to. The ocean-coloured eyes, though they can’t see him, have every part of him standing to attention (which really isn’t the safest of reactions, ‘specially not with the slight problem in his trousers). “Hi Harry.” His voice just as soft as the first time, a caress along Harry’s every sense. God, it makes his heart hammer at his ribcage, a loud drumming in his ears.

And just like the first time, emotions are thrown at him, emotions that aren’t his own. This time however, the effect doesn’t alarm him (not as much at least) and he thinks he might as well before mentally opening himself to it –curiosity and hesitance. For the time there’s no trace of fear and involuntarily he smiles smugly, because that has to count for something. A very small victory, but a victory all the same.

Lost to his thoughts, every well-planned word he’d intended to use vanishes and stupidly he blurts, “Braille?”

The boy’s lips twitch, obviously fighting a smile. A smile that Harry abruptly craves to put there. More than almost anything. What the bloody hell is he doing to me?

“Done your homework then?”

Floundering a bit Harry shrugs, realising after a full five seconds of silence, Louis still can’t see him, no matter how sharp his eyes are. And of course he frantically spouts some shit to cover up how chillingly affected (more like idiot) he is. “I’ve been lookin’ for you…”

Smooth one Styles, real smooth. The Omega winces, eyes dropping to the book almost self-consciously. “I know,” he breathes, disbelief colouring his barely-there tone. “Yeah, I know that.”

Harry rubs the back of his neck, caught off guard. “How…?” So much for being in my element, he inwardly mutters, frustrated with himself.

“’m blind, not deaf,” he grins, though it doesn’t make his eyes glow like they should. And though it’s meant as a joke, fury pulses through him because no. Nothing about his lovely Omega being unable to see is a joke. Never too him. Louis continues obliviously, “You do realise that half the School’s talkin’ about the blind Omega who’s somehow managed to get “badboy” Harry Styles’ attention.”

A dangerous red fogs his vision at the words (as if Louis isn’t worthy enough), and his Alpha bites back with the intent of hunting down whatever moron dared to talk about Louis that way. “Who said it?” he demands before he even thinks about the words.

Louis flinches, fighting his submissive nature and Harry really, really wishes he could hurt something (preferably himself). “I –Would you please stop doing that?” he mumbles, voice cracking with fear that hits Harry not even a second later.

Damn it, Louis isn’t supposed to be afraid of him. Except maybe he should be, because though his Alpha would never intentionally hurt him, Harry’s always been more dominant, more unstable, than the others. And it’s never safe for anybody, especially not himself. Then again, when is anything?

Discipline, he reminds himself, guardedly approaching the smaller lad, it’s all about discipline. Then he gracefully (meaning his legs tangle awkwardly to fit the tight space) sides the boy, who again flinches. Yeah, Harry wishes he could tell his Alpha to just fuck off already.

“I’m…sorry?” it comes out like a question, but it’s the best he can do. As an Alpha, Harry isn’t used to having to apologise to anyone, but for Louis, everything seems to be an exception. “It’s harder to control than you probably think.”

The other gives a nervous giggle, so soft that Harry wonders how a proper laugh would sound. He reckons a lovely (because it is indeed Louis –and well, that’s explanation enough), high-pitched tenor. “N-no, I get it…Just, ‘m not used to the whole Alpha bit. I mean, with Liam –,”

Liam…He knows that name…? Li…short for Liam, the puppy-eyed Alpha. At the name he stiffens, gritting his teeth against a growl. That’s the prick alright, the one who took his Omega away, the one whose hands were on his Omega, the one that Harry can imagine –, “You good there, um Harry? You’ve gone all still and like, I can’t see but…”

The words are laced with anxiety, enough that Harry takes himself back to safer grounds, unlocking his shoulders too ease the boy, squeezing his eyes shut because yeah, keeping his cool is turning out to be more difficult than he’d first assumed (unbelievable, it is).

“We don’t have to do this y’know,” Louis starts unexpectedly. Huh?  We can just pretend we never met. You can go ‘bout being the town’s badboy and I’ll be…Louis.” Just like Zayn's earlier words, it sounds so simple. As if.

Harry’s about to tell him that when –“Why would we do that?” The thought that Louis wants to forget him slashes at his pride. Still, when he looks back to the boy, he’s smiling shyly, and this time it does reach his eyes. And Harry hates to be some shit cliché but it takes his breath away (quite literally).

“Listen, I get it yeah? Like the Alpha instinctively wants to help the feeble little blind Omega, but I’m not…I’m not some charity case. I’ve been this way long as I can remember ‘n I can take care of myself without…” his Alpha is inwardly snarls don’t say it, but the boy says it anyway, of course. “Without you.” Well fuck, okay then.

It’s been thirty minutes and he’s taken more blows to his pride since his recognition as an Alpha. A part of him should be right pissed, but it’s impossible when he knows how inadvertent it is on the other’s part.

So, he just speaks slowly, “You’re not a charity case Lou.”

The Omega exhales heavily –his weary exhaustion settling over the Alpha, whose direct impulse to wrap himself around the smaller, to hide him from his problems, but Harry won’t, knowing he is the problem. “Then what do you want?” Everything. It’s the blunt truth. He wants to keep all of Louis, but hell if he says so out loud. No, he refuses to screw up and scare the boy away before he’s even actually had him. Fuck that.

“I want…” he forces the next words. “I want to be your friend.” The words are pale, not enough. Never enough.

Jerkily, Louis twists, in the process bringing them closer, so Harry’s eyes bore into the now stormy blue colour, tinged with gray suspicion.  He swallows tightly, his body (which had finally just adjusted to the boy’s electric current) tenses once again, catching that sweet scent only recognisable as Louis’s scent.

“Don’t look so suspicious,” he murmurs evenly, but without the slight Alpha timbre. “This has nothing to do with your eyesight. Trust me it’s the least of my interests. You, however, do interest me very much, so let’s start over yeah? Tell me, Louis, how can you possibly read that?”  The sureness seeps into his tone, but he won’t bend entirely to one little boys wants. He’s an Alpha, and he’s making sure it’s known.

Even though he has already, because he is much more than interested in the Omega, but he’ll keep that particular to himself. For now, he can cope with that. 

Eyebrows furrowed, the boy’s gaze falls back to the book, but just as quickly they’re back on Harry, a brilliant smile on his pink lips. There’s that fucking jolt again.

“Oh, the Braille? It’s a rather simple concept actually…” he remarks. “I like to think these books were made for me.”

Harry isn’t beyond agreeing as he licks his lips, leaning forward the slightest of fractions (pathetically) absorbed by the boy’s secretive look. “Yeah?” he breathes, all the while marveling at the brighter blue of his iris’ (there’s no helping it, not when he’s so close). “That’s pretty presumptuous of you.”

“Nope,” Louis grins impishly. Mine. Now his Alpha memorizes his features, soaking up every sharp attribute. “Not when the actual creators name was Louis.”

Wait, Harry blinks, lost, then oh, right, Braille. “Smart cookie, aren’t you?”

Still grinning that grin, he blinks owlishly. “Actually, Alphaboy, as an Omega who’s quote disabled unquote, ‘m your absolute inferior, so it is imperative that you don’t spend too much time ‘round the likes of me. Might do some severe harm and we can’t ‘ave that now can we?”

Harry needs to leave. Now, otherwise he’s going to grab the boy by his slim, sharp hips and yank him close. So close that his mouth will brush the soft skin of his temple as he tells him exactly how much more he is than any bloody Alpha out there.  Tell him – Right, leaving, he reminds forcefully, but before he has the chance to act on it (he was, really) something pings in the boys bag and his eyes go wide.

“Crap, crap, crap,” he mutters, anxiety sharps spikes around Harry’s skin. “I’ve just remembered the lads are expecting me home by now!”  Clumsily, he stuffs his book (on backwards) into his bag, slinging the leather over his shoulder to stand with one hand flattened on the wall.

Harry shoves a hand through his hair, determined to make that peculiar sensation in his chest go away. It only builds though, tearing through (any of) his composure as he rises in a fluid motion. The boy looks up through thick lashes, bottom lip caught between his sharp canines. Without permission, his eyes fix on those lips, wondering…always wondering how they’d feel caught between his own canines, if – “Um, it was…interesting talking to you Harry.”

Harry freezes, internally panicking at both his thoughts and the fact that Louis is actually leaving. Leaving without protection, or any indication of when he will see him again (not that he wouldn’t just track him anyway), and the buzz is fizzing all over him – “Let me walk you home.” A plus Styles, possibly the best thing you’ve said all day.

The boy winces, something too close to panic flashing in his eyes. “Another time, I’ve a car waiting below already. If you –,” he takes a deep breath, small tongue flitting over his lip. “If you’ll meet me tomorrow, you can walk me home.” Harry swallows, hoping that the promise there isn’t his imagination.  The boy steps aside, hand discreetly feeling the air in front of him, and the Alpha can see (sharp as Harry’s vision is) that he’s as reluctant to leave as he is for him to go.

Mine. “Tomorrow then.” This time, it is a promise.

Louis gives another pretty smile, but it’s smaller this time. “Till then Alphaboy.” Then he’s striding away, down the hall, with the least bit of concern (which Harry winces at) hand running along the wall. Once he’s out of sight, the numb curls in, fitting his frame once more.  

Harry doesn’t know or care how long passes as he stands there, shoulders tense, fingers flexing in agitation. A sense of loss accompanies the buzz and a small voice, unlike his Alpha, whispers let it go. Let it go…Sounds extremely easy, yet he continues to stare down that hallway, consumed with wants, all of which will (eventually, that is) come from an Omega, who happens, by some off chance, to completely fuck with his head, in a positively thrilling sort of fucked up way.

And he is perfectly content with staring like an idiot when his phone buzzes impatiently in his pocket. For a moment, he just stays still, prepared to let it ring out, but after about ten more insistent calls, he curses, snatching (with perhaps a bit too much effort. Not to self, looser skinnies) the damned thing up and blindly swipes the screen.  “Who is it?”

 “Your father,” the cool voice is reminder enough. “Do be back in an hour, we have…pressing matters to discuss.” The line disconnects and Harry growls under his breath, somehow managing to refrain from throwing the phone into a wall (it’s his third one, and he’s tired of having to buy new ones). Instead, he strides out of the building in large steps.

In his car, he stares blankly ahead, calculating what his next move will be. It doesn’t take long to decide there’s no point in putting off his father any longer, least he comes looking for him again, which would just add to his problems. Mechanically he starts the engine, not even slightly calmed by its purr.

Before he pulls out, he can’t help but smile a bit, knowing (despite his edginess) he’ll be back here tomorrow. And so will his Omega. The thought alone makes it easier to breathe.

It’s all that matters. Nothing but seeing, speaking, hell, nothing but Louis seems to matter overly much anymore.

What is he doing to me?

Chapter Text

“Good evening, Mr. Tomlinson.” The monotonous voice is one Louis knows all too well by now. Dermot Lyon is the first of his Mothers endless efforts to ensure her only son’s safety. The Beta has served as his personal watchdog since Louis was twelve, tolerating no-nonsense from anyone, especially not Louis himself –who, after a year or two of groundings, learnt his efforts to be adventurous were hopeless. He was simply doomed to a life of complete boredom.

“Hello Dermot,” Louis greets quietly, allowing the Beta to guide him into the passenger side of the car with a curt nod in thanks. The lack of conversation isn’t unusual between them so it doesn’t bother him that the only reply he gets is the door clicking shut beside him.

Inside, he keeps his head bowed low, lost in his thoughts. Concentrating, he squeezes his eyes shut tighter, replaying the short conversation over and over in attempt to decipher some sort of sense from it. But, for the first time in the longest, he finds himself at a complete loss. There’s just not any possible way to figure out this Alpha from one crummy conversation –his voice was too distracting, deep and syrupy slow, it stuck like molasses without giving any hints towards his character or his intentions.

That alone shoots unease through him, the threat settling over his skin. Nervously, he chews at his bottom lip, inwardly refusing to let up, there has to be something to piece together. One of London’s most sought after Alphas (the son of an extremely wealthier Alpha) didn’t just decide, out of the blue, that one Omega was more significant than the next…No, he thinks surely, there’s more to it. There just has to be.

Ten minutes later, he manages to gather three (rather meaningless, but it’s still something) points:

One: Harry Styles is entirely, down to his very core, an Alpha –which, okay, Louis already knows but it’s always a proper reminder as to why it would be completely reasonable to keep his distance.

Two: Louis is more than a bit terrified of him –within good reason too, because in the two times he’s been around the other, it’s like all his control vanishes with his senses and his wits and –That’s never happened to him before, not because of one freakin’ person.

Three: Harry really, really dislikes Liam –which, okay can be somewhat funny, or would be if it wasn’t painfully obvious that the two of them (Liam, civil as he might be, isn’t totally innocent either) wouldn’t hesitate to tear the other’s limb right off.

Well, he thinks wryly, there’s that. Finally his common sense screams for him to forget the name Harry Styles even exists, but it’s far too late for second thoughts now, there’s no way he can just let this go. He realises there isn’t a way out; he’s properly tangled in the confusing adventure called Harry.

He could blame his actions all on his submissive side, the Omega part of him that would do possibly anything to please an Alpha. A part of him that is just barely able to resist an Alpha’s will…He could, but it would be a pointless lie, and Louis, as exposed to that certain betrayal as he is, refuses to lie about his own silly interest. Besides, he reassures himself for what feels like the hundredth time, this particular “anything” is only a walk home, nothing more, nothing less. For now, it’s all he’s can cling too.

“Did you manage to complete that essay with the proper help then?” Startled by the sudden intrusion, his head whips around, facing the sound. Essay? At the question, his thoughts scatter in another direction and his mouth opens to blurt the truth: that essay’s been handed in for weeks.  Before the words escape though, he bites the inside of his cheek –this is Dermot, he steels himself, Dermot who’s unaware (thank the gods) of the fact that he hadn’t actually stood after school to talk with a teacher about that essay.

“Oh,” he fumbles hastily, mouth abruptly very dry. It’s much easier to text a lie than speak it. “Um, yeah. The a-argument was strong enough after all…T-That was what I was, um, a bit worried about…” For a terrible liar (but only that), he likes to think he’s convincing enough.

“So you received the help you needed, yes?” Louis swallows, startled by the amount of conversation. He isn’t used to it; Dermot’s never been the most voluble, and Louis…Louis is accustomed to the solitude, comfortable with it. Except now, he wrings his hands on his lap, squirming at the sinking feeling in his chest.

“Yes.”

There’s a beat of tense silence before, “Your eyes are shut.” And well, he could have guessed something like that was coming. It always comes back to his vision.

“I know,” he says automatically, though unlike most days, he can’t bring himself to even open them, instead, he squeezes them tighter again, encased in the darkness.

“You know your Mother would be quite disappointed by that. Miss Tabitha even more so…”  The mention of his mum has guilt flooding through him. To him Jay is the most wonderful mum in the entire universe, a Mother who has only ever cared for each and every one of her five children, a Mother who loves them unconditionally –no matter the faults. A mother he would never intentionally hurt.

Instantly, he lifts his heavy lids and…more darkness. “I know,” he mumbles honestly. “Sorry.”

Mercifully, before Dermot can make another comment, the car comes to a halt. Relieved, Louis’s hands fall to the seat-belt where he unclips and waits for the Beta to help him out.

“Thanks,” he says once he’s on his feet again, head bent in shame. It’s been ages since he’s acted out, since he’s let his disability affect his life or family in any way, which makes the bother so much worse now.

“Head up.” A strange, heavy impulse flares up in him. An impulse that tells him to pull away, to close his eyes, to just quit relying on the bloody strategy, and he hesitates, until not even a second later, he obeys the other. He doesn’t let himself think it’s because he’s afraid of the unknown. Nope, that can’t be it.

The Beta firmly places his limp hand over the sleeve of his forearm and begins to guide him towards the front door. They stop there, where Dermot unlocks so that he immediately places his hand on the handle, glad for escape (his sisters are still in school and mum, as usual, is working). Before he can open the door, the Beta is speaking again. “Liam’s inside, so you’re aware. I shall see you all in the morning. Have a pleasant night, Mr. Tomlinson.”

Louis just nods uninterestedly. It’s not even minutes after he has shut the door behind him, shrugged off his school blazer, and toed his shoes, that it begins.

“You were out with him weren’t you?” At the accusing tone Louis nearly jumps out his skin. Jeez, he thinks, swallowing a yelp, can’t anything stay a secret?

“And why would you assume that?” he mutters, as if it’s completely unreasonable.

“Louis –,” the Omega lets out a harsh breath, glaring in the general direction of Liam’s ‘I-Know-What’s-Best-For-You’ tone.

Liam. Please, don’t start with this,” he doesn’t bother to stop the exhaustion in his tone from leaking. He just really wants a cuddle without the twenty questions, is that so very much to ask?

“No, Louis, this is not some sort of game! I know –.”

“Know what?” Louis demands, aggravated with the way everyone, even his best mate, continues to treat him like a child. “What is so bloody wrong with him? Please, tell me since you seem to know everything!”

With a deep sigh, the other trudges over to him, grabbing ahold of the smaller-lads hand. Louis doesn’t protest when Liam pulls him up the staircase, and into his room, where he sits on his bed, arms crossed petulantly.

“All right, listen.” Louis barely keeps from sticking his tongue out, like one of the twins would do. “Harry Styles isn’t someone to mess about with, Lou. He’s got a nasty attitude and…and his father is very powerful. Some big-wig with the council up in London! I’ve seen the way he acts! He –He’s no good for someone like you.”

Someone like you. Louis knows Liam doesn’t mean it in a bad way. Liam knows who Louis is –knows that Louis is completely happy with who he is…But, they both know how everyone must see him. And there is possibly nothing that has hurt him more over the years.

He does his best to keep it off his face, but his eyes sting helplessly with tears, bottom lip wobbling. Liam, inquisitive as he is, notices because he pulls the smaller boys frame closer, into his side, where Louis cuddles, closing his eyes in order to focus on breathing evenly.

“You know I didn’t mean it that way…I just –I don’t want to see you get hurt, not by some self-centered Alpha who thinks he’s your superior or that you need him. ‘Cause I know you Lou and you don’t need anyone, despite what they think. You don’t get enough credit sometimes. You are so much better than any of them…”

Louis’ answering smile is watery, but he nods anyway, not yet ready to argue that Harry is different because right now, he isn’t one hundred percent positive on that. He wants to believe it, more than anything else, but for now, he decides to just give the other a try.

With that, he lets himself fully sink into Liam’s support, completely worn out. “Can we just…cuddle…and nap? ‘M so tired of arguing about this.”

The other lays him down, wrapping his arm around Louis’ waist comfortingly. “All right, Lou.”

Just like that, it’s over, except that warm feeling becomes heightened again, the feeling that spreads tingles over his skin and butterflies fluttering down his ribcage to his belly. The feeling that tells him it’s only just the beginning.

~~
-o-

At the iron gates of his father’s extravagant manor, Harry grimaces, hands tightening on the steering-wheel as the gates pull smoothly open. As he starts up the stretchy drive, a strange sense of debility shoots through him, the only reason he goes against his “dickhead-ed” ways by entering the manor a minute later than the hour (there’ll be plenty more chances to test his father’s nerves though, so it’s not as disappointing).

Swinging his keys in one hand, he ambles over to the (unnecessarily huge) entrance, though, as usual, he doesn’t even lift a hand before the doors swoop open, revealing one of the many butlers his father employs. The male, a Beta, stands rod-straight, expressionless as Harry smirks sloppily at him.

“Your father has requested your presence in his office, Mr.  Styles,” the butler intones, and the Alpha knows he isn’t imagining the slight distaste colouring his ever-so-stoic voice. None of the staff housed in the Styles manor are especially fond of him –which really isn’t much of a shocker. By now, Harry’s learnt he’s an “acquired taste” of sorts.

He doesn’t bother to respond; instead he starts up the spiral staircase, going over the three principles governing his relationship with his father. It’s all he relies on to maintain his good humor and sanity in general.

One: they don’t converse unless absolutely necessary.
Two: all absolutely necessary conversations are kept as brief as possible.
Three: Always keep a safe distance away from the manor, or better yet, the older Alpha.

Stopping at the door, Harry taps his foot, used to feeling like a stranger here. It’s been seven years since his Mother had decided he was in need of a “fatherly” figure or some other bullshit he’d long ago blocked out of his memory. Seven long years of bitter, empty words and hallways and –

Screw the self-fucking-pity, he thinks cynically, mustering what’s left of his self-restraint to knock on the door instead of going right in.

“Enter!”  Fuck off first he mentally spits.

Working his jaw, Harry pushes the heavy oak-wood door open to step inside. Straight ahead, his father sits behind his desk, typing something on his laptop.

Leaning lazily on the doorframe he waits for the older Alpha too look up. When he doesn’t, he clears his throat pointedly.

No response.

Harry coughs.

Again, nothing.

His hands curl into fists, jaw working harder, against a growl. This is his father’s routine –ignore him just long enough to act as a reminder that he’s not worth the attention.

Which naturally drives him to act up. Silently fuming, he pulls his phone from his pocket, making sure the volume is the highest it can possibly go before typing out a random message to a random number, letting the annoying little chink-chink-chinks fill up the silence.

As expected, his father looks up immediately. “Enough,” he snaps.

Harry quirks a brow, but locks the phone and shoves it back into his pocket.

“And stand up straight,” the other continues. “Hell, how many times ‘ave I told you I will not tolerate such shoddy behaviour?” Enough.

Harry waits a second, letting the satisfaction soak up in his pores before asking, “Do you want me to actually answer that, or was it a rhetorical question?”

His father’s teeth grind noticeably.

At that, the younger swallows, realising he (probably) shouldn’t have said it, not when he knew that his deliberately uncaring tone would infuriate the older. But sometimes (okay, a lot of the time then. Who the hell is counting?) it's so damned hard to keep his mouth shut. He’d spent years trying to win his father’s approval, and finally given up. There was no pleasing the older Alpha.

Still, he takes more than some satisfaction in making the old bastard miserable as he makes him. There’s no helping it.

“I’m surprised you’re here.”

Harry blinks in confusion. “You told me to come.” And the miserable truth is –he’s never defied his father before. Not really anyway. He pokes, he prods, he adds a touch of arrogance and I-Don’t-Give-Two-Fucks to his every statement and action, but…he keeps up the reputation his father expected of him, never behaving with out-and-out defiance.

Fucking pathetic you are, his Alpha snarls. Or maybe it’s the burrowed (deep, deep, deep, he cannot stress how deeply burrowed it is) self-hatred. He isn’t sure he even cares to know.

In his mind, he fights back. In his mind, he insults the bastard every day, but in reality, his defiance is limited to not showing up to important (yeah right) events and annoying habits.

“I know that,” his father mutters, leaning back slightly in his chair. “Nonetheless, I never issue an order with the expectation that you, of all the dupes, will follow it correctly. You so rarely do.”

Harry bites back another sarcastic remark.

All the while, the other stands and walks to the nearby bar-stand; where he keeps his hoard of liquor. “You must be wondering what this is all about.”

No shit. He says nothing.

When the older turns around again, there’s a glass of Whiskey and coke in his hand. Harry just barely keeps his face void of emotion. “I’ve a way to make you of proper use to me.” Fan-fucking-tastic.

The younger growls under his breath, about to tell his father to just piss off (which, yeah, he’d regret that later) when the male looks at him directly for the first time. “You are to seduce and date one of my rivals.”

What?” He nearly gags on the word.

“Tomorrow, you will make a trip to London, where they are holding a surprise birthday party for her.” Hell no he wouldn’t. “She’s an excellent match anyway,” his father continues. “Lovely little Omega. You’ll have her wrapped around your…Well, it’ll be simple.”

“Who?” the word is a raspy whisper. At the weakness in his voice, he inwardly cringes, sickened with himself.

 “Hmm?”

“Who,” he repeats, this time louder than necessary. He doesn’t care who hears, not at this point.

“Oh, yes. Caroline Flack,” the other answers matter-of-factly.

Fury runs over his body, thick and searing, making his temples throb and his fingers tremor.

“She’s at joint with that television corporation,” he adds.

As if Harry hasn’t already figured that. “But Caroline’s –,”

“She’s pretty enough, I’m sure.”

“But Father, Caroline is –.”

“I’ve already accepted the invitation for you,” his father states. “It’s done, you’re going.”

The words, concrete and cold, drain his building fury. This isn’t happening, he thinks numbly. Not now. Not when he needs to prove himself to his pretty Omega. Not fucking now.

“I can’t sleep with Caroline.” She’s not for me.  

One of his father’s bushy brows inches towards his hair-line. “You can, and you will.”

“No, I can’t,” he repeats hollowly. “She is…she’s…” Not him, not the blue eyed Omega. She is not Louis.

“Older?” the idiot finishes, chuckling. “Won’t really make a difference when you’re fucking her. And anyway, once the contracts have been signed you can just do away with her.”

Do away with her. At one time Harry imagines that wouldn’t have sounded so fucked up, so wrong. At one time, it might’ve just been a good, quick shag that had no affect on him at all…But not anymore, probably never again. In the course of two months, his life has become an amass of crystalline complications.

Every fragment of his being longs to be nothing less than good enough for Louis. Longs to prove to the other that he can be more than what everyone seems to think, that he can be charming and kind and loyal and just all the things that Louis deserves.

“Well, now that that’s settled, you may go back to whatever it is you were doing before.”

Lost to the numb revelation Harry does the only thing he can think to do without shredding his self-control: he turns without another word. Perfunctorily, he unlocks the door, limbs moving in the opposite direction.

“And Harry?”

He doesn’t test himself to look back, but he pauses for a brief second, not really listening to what the older is about to say. “Don’t disappoint me again, boy.”

“Whatever,” he snaps, voice dismissive.  

It feels like an eternity before he finds himself in the cold recesses of his spacious bedroom, wall-to-floor windows veiled by thick curtains, carpets cleaned immaculately by nameless maids. An eerie quiet charges the room, but he can’t bring himself to notice as he sits on the bed, staring intently at the ink embedded into the skin of his wrist. I can’t change. It holds as much significance as it had when he’d first requested it…Yet staring now, an endless tired falls over him. Toeing off his worn boots, he leans back onto the too-large mattress, hands tangled behind his head.

There he gazes up at the high-ceiling, not surprised to find blue eyes staring back at him in the darkness. Except on this night they’re distant…indifferent to him. They know he thinks, breathing coming quicker. He knows how much of an ignominy Harry is to his family, how he follows his father’s every damn command and can’t even speak to his Mother. Those eyes know he isn’t good enough. 

No matter how much he wants to be, he isn’t (not right now at least). Louis deserves everything. And Harry vows (to the silence or to himself, he can’t tell) to try harder, to be that everything.

It’s bizarre and slightly unnerving, all things completely unnatural that Harry would make a promise so binding, because he never has before. Then again, he’s starting to believe with just one glance Louis has made a change in him.

An irreversible change.

-o-

~~

The next morning Harry leans against the bonnet of his car beside Zayn. They’re both comfortable with the solid hush for a while; lost to their own thoughts.

There’s an hour left before school actually starts, but the Alpha is used to being up so early, especially lately, with the dreams –the dreams so vivid Harry can’t seem to keep ahold of more than flashes, mostly echoes of sounds here and there.

Even now, as he stares at nothing in particular, searching the deepest crevasses of his mind, there is nothing.

“What happened last night?”  Zayn’s low voice severs his concentration. With a harsh blink, he finds the other has pulled out a brand new packet of cigarettes.

“Hmm?”

“You didn’t answer any of my texts.” Shit, right.

He winces, but offers a lame, “sorry.” Zayn shrugs half-heartedly, pulling a fag from the box before offering one to the other. Unlike most days, Harry takes one, desperate, as he lights, to inhale the toxins deep into his lungs, to exhale the heaviness in his chest.

“Somethin’ happen with your dad last night?” Though the question isn’t exactly a shock, mindlessly, Harry flinches, taking another heavy drag from the stick between his fingers in response. Zayn is the only other soul who has witnessed the hatred his father holds for him first hand, the only other soul who knows just how bad it’s gotten in the past two years.

“How’d you figure that?” he exhales slowly, relaxing his shoulders.

“The only people I’ve ever seen work you up is that moron and Louis…And since things were sorted with Louis, it wasn’t so hard to guess.” 

The lankier nods, keeping his gaze straight ahead, not yet ready to bring up Caroline or his Father, not even too Zayn.  He just hasn’t processed it all; he just needs to get his shit together first.

“Not yet?”  Not ever.

Harry doesn’t tell the other that, instead he nods again as he inhales the fag once more, hands shaking dangerously. But he refuses to lose it. Not over this.

“Ok then. All right,” Zayn mutters seriously. “Whatever it is Haz, we’ll figure it out.” And Harry does not doubt it, not after all the years of bullshit they’ve gone through together. 

We’ll figure it out. Those words stay with him through the rest of the day.

In the halls, between classes, Harry makes it his mission to seek out the small Omega, though it turns out to be pointless (extremely so). When he follows the buzz, it’s too late, and the boy has already entered his class. At lunch, he sits in his car with Zayn, where he tells the other about the Caroline problem –to which Zayn spits, “Fuckin’ prick doesn’t give you a break. Whatever, like I said, we’ll figure it out.” Almost instantly, the weight over his chest lifts, though Zayn breaks the ease by starting up his (shit) rap music. He’ll burn those CD’s one day he thinks. Or maybe he won’t. Probably won’t.

Then, its finally last hour, which he spends watching the clock (willing the damned thing to just move faster), unable to even comprehend anything besides the humming sensation, that seems to be getting progressively tenacious (it’s got to be bad for his sanity, honestly). By the time the dismissal bell rings, Harry’s already out of his seat and storming through the horde of students in the hall, completely ignoring his teacher’s shouts for him to “come back this instant, Mr. Styles!” As if.

Excitement surges through his veins, smothering his previous irritation –his worries. Trailing the buzz, Harry slows his pace once he’s inside the (partially empty) library, until he reaches the same room from the day before, though this time, his Omega isn’t alone. There’s a brunette woman, younger than most teachers, but older than the students, who situates bulky books and paperwork into a neat pile. The two seem to be in deep conversation.

Intrigued, Harry remains silent, leaning lazily on the doorframe as he embraces the current –catching the boy’s emotions in the process –anticipation and impatience with a trace of unease. Like always, the Alpha wonders what makes him feel the way he does. Curiously, his gaze falls back to the Omega, who faces away from him, noticing for the first time, that he isn’t dressed entirely in uniform. Instead of the white button-up underneath the school’s navy blue blazer, his delicate shoulders are covered in a thick, white woolen jumper, shorter legs in the mandatory chinos and a pair of clean white plimsolls on his feet to match.

“Until our next session then Louis,” the woman’s voice, light but with an undertone of professionalism, breaks Harry from his reverie. Wordlessly, the boy nods in farewell, oblivious to the way the woman pauses briefly, peering down at him with eyes that lack any hope, apologetic eyes. Instantly, the look makes him uncomfortable because Louis isn’t hopeless, Louis is hope.  And by now, everyone should know that.

Sighing, the Beta grips her neat pile and starts in his direction. As she’s passing, Harry straightens, completely missing the questioning look she gives because he’s already walking away. His boots make muted thuds on the carpet as he approaches, though he hardly hears anything beyond the constant thrum thrum thrum of his own heartbeat.

The magnetic impulse implodes deep within Harry’s bones, muscles tensing as his body lights in flames. Mine, the word (one he can’t stop thinking, even if he tried) is fierce in his mind as he catches sight of the smaller boy’s face, chestnut fringe hanging limply over his forehead, eyes shut so that thick lashes cast shadows over his sharp cheekbones. Ethereal, the Alpha decides, that is what this boy is.

“How long have you been here?” His voice, ever-so-quiet, settles over the Harry’s chest. It’s a delicious, reassuring weight.

“Not too long,” he murmurs, voice casual despite everything. Careful not to startle to other, he takes the vacated seat directly in front of him, hands splaying over the fabric of his trousers, on his thighs. “Who’s the woman?”

Discomfort –it surges from the smaller, who inhales sharply, eyes tightening. “Does it matter?”

Harry blinks, eyebrows creasing. “I suppose not,” he answers slowly. “But I would still like to know.”

The boy’s mouth turns down in a frown. “But –why?”

With a devilish grin, he leans closer, enough that he catches that saccharine fragrance seeping from Louis’s pores, inhaling deeper. His warmth even carries, Harry thinks in awe, keeping his voice even with effort. “Ah, ah, ah,” he murmurs. “I asked first. You answer mine, ‘n I’ll answer yours.”

Once again the boy’s lips twitch, fighting a smile. “And if I don’t? Answer your question, I mean.” Hmm, so he wants to play?

“Shall I persuade you?”  His voice becomes scratchy with suggestions. He gazes, through hooded eyes, as the boy catches his lower lip between his sharp canines, hands wringing in his lap.

Let up, his conscious shouts, abruptly aware of Louis’ unease. To cover the lapse in control, he speaks carefully, “If you don’t …I will still answer you.” And it’s true; just the notion of telling Louis no seems rather difficult.

“But then…” he trails, voice a pitch higher than normal. “Okay…Okay, but promise not to tease me please…? I –Just, don’t…?” Fear, it trickles through the Omega as he hugs his knees to his chest. In that defensive, enclosed pose, sharp eyes hidden, he looks that much smaller, vulnerable even.

Harry’s fingers dig into his thighs as he struggles with the urge to hide his little Omega from the world, to guard him, to –stop it. “No teasing, I promise.” He wants to assure himself that it isn’t that bad, but then again, he never knows what goes where with Louis. It’s fascinating and frustrating all at once.

Louis takes a deep breath, hiding his face in his hands (which is quite adorable considering the sleeves of his jumper reaches the tips of his fingers, in jumper-paws). Harry holds his breath, waiting. “She’s my assistant,” the words are muffled, but it makes no difference too him, listening intently.

That’s all…? He blinks once, then, before he can help it, barks out a relieved laugh. Thank fuck. For the first time that day, the Omega’s eyes snap open, the blue a darker storm, flashing with kittenish (adorable. He swears some bastard above is having fun, listening to his horribly besotted thoughts) fury.

“You promised,” the boy hisses. “I can’t believe you.” Abruptly, he stands, hands flailing over the countertop in search of his bag, which is on the floor (but saying so wouldn’t be exactly helpful). Leave it to me, Harry thinks, sobering up right away.

Impulsively he shoots to his own feet, gripping the boy’s thin wrist in two fingers. The rapid contact sends a blazing rush of endorphins up Harry’s arm. A throaty hiss rips from his lips, but with force, he retracts his hand, though his legs are fixed in place with no intention of backing off (once again, traitors, they are). Louis –still frozen, stares up at him with those wide, equally as startled, blue eyes and parted lips that release little puffs of air.

It’s so still that Harry can make out the boy’s stuttering heartbeat (which worries him…Did he scare him so badly?), but before he acts idiotically (more so than he already has, that is) the beat steadies. The next of his thoughts consist of oh fucks, and he’s so bloody gorgeous, it literally has the power to kill.

“Don’t leave,” he breathes gently, almost pleading. Right now, with his Alpha mentally locked away, there’s no help, it’s all him; his fuck-up to fix. “Please, I promise I wasn’t teasing. I was just…relieved. I’d come to the worst possible conclusions, and that…well, it isn’t awful at all.”

For a tense moment, the other remains motionless until finally, he blinks. “Um,” he says, a bit breathless. “What?”

Harry refuses to be deterred. “Please, Louis,” he presses, staring intensely into his eyes –an easy thing to do, with eyes so deep–willing the smaller with their intensity, even if the boy is unable to see it. “Stay.”

Ever-so-slowly, the other nods. In triumph, Harry grins, though it lasts only a moment because Louis’ eyes light with realisation which really can’t be any good. “Wait –What was your worst possible conclusion then?”

He groans spectacularly. “Uh, I dunno…Secret hot older lover perhaps?”

The boy’s eyebrows furrow, creating a little v. “You think she’s hot?” Hell, did he say nothing right? Apparently not, he thinks, rolling his eyes at the absurdity of it all.

“Would you be put out if I said no?” Relief–towards what the Alpha wonders, bemused. The Beta? Harry almost snorts. Around Louis, that woman didn’t even exist, hell nobody did.

“You’ve to answer my question now.”

“I already did,” he works to maintain a serious tone, but a bewildered expression flits across the shorter-lad’s face and he chokes on his laughter.

Oi! Come off it, Harry!” The sound of his name on the Omega’s lips does strange things–risky things, to his body–his heartbeats quickens with the abrupt electricity humming through him.

“Okay, okay,” he surrenders, tugging (with perhaps a bit too much strength. He’ll have to learn to channel that one of these days) Louis by his wrist so that he stumbles into his seat with a winded oof.

From there, he takes the other seat. “I’m…enamored by you. You’re rather intriguing. It drives me…I want to find out all there is to know…About you.” By the end, his voice is low, intimate in ways he’s never heard it.

Louis snorts sullenly, blank gaze to the floor. “There’s not much to find out,” he whispers. Highly unlikely. “I’m rather common–well, I try to be.”

“Why would you do that?” he asks, voice (probably) a bit too curious. “Normal is dreary.” And it’s true.

Skepticism. Louis’ gaze meets his once more. “No. No, it’s not. You’re just saying that ‘cause you’re a weirdo,” he mumbles, bottom lip jutting attractively in a pout. Harry imagines swooping forward to nip at that bottom lip, imagines the taste and feel…Then he reminds himself that this is Louis –who’d most likely be petrified if he even dared.

“Hey! ‘m not!” The other arches an artful brow. “Alright, fine, maybe a bit,” he mutters. “But that’s beside the point. Why would you wanna be just like everybody else?”

“Because, then I could do what everyone else does.”

Harry frowns, baffled by that. “And what does everyone do that you can’t?”

“Lots of things…” the boy shrugs.

Jaw set, the Alpha leans forward, closer than he’s ever dared, stopping the flow of his breath to grasp the smaller boys jaw firmly. “You can do anything you want, Lou. Never doubt that.”

A smile hints around the corners of his thin lips. “You’re very different from what I’ve heard.” As he speaks, his warm breath brushes Harry’s face, taunting him. Immediately, his own eyes falls shut, soaking up the warmth, mesmerised by the proximity.

“Meaning?”

Shocking him, chilled fingertips run over his jaw. “Meaning you’re not…You’re not a complete twat. Actually, you’re very…”

More his body screams, but he doesn’t trust himself (not right now). “Charming, handsome, very irresistible,” he teases, putting distance between them. Away from the temptation, he inhales some much needed air.

Louis stifles a giggle, blue eyes sparkling in a way that has Harry’s heart stalling. “You’re insufferable!”

“But I’m not a twat,” he reminds, pleased.

The boy smiles brilliantly and it lights his whole face. “Not completely,” he allows. “But, maybe just a little.”

Just like that, with those simple words, Harry realises he can no longer pretend he’s only in danger of loving this boy. 

 

Chapter Text

This is what it means to feel alive, Louis thinks, self-consciously tugging at the sleeves of his jumper. The whirlwind of energy blazes within Harry Styles, an energy Louis finds himself bizarrely attuned to, more so that with anyone else. It’s a thrill that clings to him all at once, settling deep in his bones and contaminating his senses so that it becomes difficult to separate his feelings, to even recognise what those feels are; it’s unnerving, but oh-so exhilarating.

“You’re uncomfortable,” that rough, sticky voice states abruptly. “Why?”

Startled from his reverie, Louis blinks. “How do you guess so easily?”

The faint sound of shuffling reaches him–a chilling echo of the unknown. With it comes the unease, which begins to eat away the excitement until all that’s left is a panging reminder that, in his sixteen years, there hasn’t been one time he’s handled…well, anything (not personally at least).  His entire life, he’s been sheltered by a (disturbingly) high mantelpiece. Even Niall and Liam, his best mates were…chance, a close friendship between Mothers who happened to have children around the same age group.

But with Harry Styles…it’s glaringly impossible to tell what goes where, to be confident in his reactions. Right now, with only feet separating them, that’s reason enough to be thoroughly shaken.

Defensively, he curls in on himself, hugging his legs tighter to his chest and hiding his face in his knees. More important, he’s effectively shielded himself from the other’s suffocating scrutiny.

Silence. As the seconds tick by, silence masks the space between them. And lost to that hideous silence, desperate wishes–the generally avoidable, pointless sort–, spring forward, tainting his every thought. Louis wishes…wishes he wasn’t so…disabled, that he could see just a little while. See beyond the daunting darkness because alone with the silence, in the dingiest of places, waiting is–and always has been–unbearable.

Sound keeps him level. Sound is all he will ever allow himself to depend on.

C’mon Lou, he thinks, swallowing a fresh wave of panic. You can do this…Just say something.

Plucking up some courage, his mouth opens to say something (probably regrettable…) but unexpectedly Harry clears his throat. “You’re an easy read, I suppose.” His voice is cool, impassive in the worst of ways –except now it’s (impossibly) deeper, the same gravelly timbre…but more. Without warning, something hot and needy and more pools in his belly. Wait –what?

Louis winces, puzzled by his reactions…by the shudder running up his spine. Some obscured part of him–the Omega part–stretches, stirring for the first time since…Inwardly, he cringes away from those thoughts, instead makes it his focus to find his voice. When he does, it’s horribly reedy, more so than usual.  “Am I?”

“No,” the Alpha admits, sounding guilty enough that Louis shakes his head, slightly amused. “But,” he continues, “It was worth a shot.”

“I don’t understand…?” he trails, beyond confused–all else withstanding.

Another shuffle –which Louis decides must be shrugging. “Eh, I don’t understand myself most of the time either, so.” That makes…the both of them. At the thought, he realises that they actually have something in common.

For some bizarre reason (everything seems to be bizarre where Harry’s concerned) that pleases him…He grins. Then, without thinking, he blurts, “Harry, you are very odd.” Oh no. As soon as the words exit his mouth, he regrets them, fiercely scoring the skin of his palms with his nails in silent punishment.

Insults are never taken lightly by Alphas. He’s been warned as much since before he could even recognise the distinction between the three fractions. All too late, he recalls the words of his private tutor. The Alphas needs always come first. Our Alphas are the dominant order, the strength of the race. Alphas are, at all times, volatile.

And though it wasn’t meant as an insult (not at all) Louis isn’t so dense that he doesn’t realise how it could’ve easily been mistaken as one.

Yep, an idiot, what I am, he chastises himself, resentful. His nails begin to bite painfully, though he hardly notices with the dread coiled along his ribcage (which retaliates cruelly), constricting around his lungs so that it’s that much more difficult to breathe. Complaint, his muscles catch, holding him immobile (though he would much rather run –to another universe, if possible).

Except the Alpha doesn’t lash out…the Alpha starts to laugh. Actually, it’s more a cackle, loud and deep and so…infectious. Relieved, a hesitant laugh (well it’s more a giggle, but he refuses to say so) bubbles on his lips.

“And don’t I know it.” There isn’t even a hint of irritation in his voice…but –

“Are…Aren’t you put out?” he questions, disbelief colouring his tone.

“Why would I be?” the other quips.

“Because…I-I…basically insulted you...”

“Did you?”

At a loss, Louis blinks, then frowns. “N-Not intentionally…Well –I mean…”

“It wasn’t meant as an insult,” Harry finishes, a grin–no doubt a gorgeous, award-winning sort of grin—in his voice.  

Just like before, his wit is nowhere to be found in the presence of Harry Styles with his distracting voice and ruthless charm and –Grudgingly, he asks, “How, pray tell, is any of this the slightest bit funny?”

“How isn’t it funny?” At that, the Omega’s eyebrows furrow, mouth open to retort…but again, he comes up short. Floundering, he shuts his mouth and waits. There’s a short, haughty beat (Harry may be odd, but he’s still an Alpha…an irritatingly smug Alpha) of silence before Harry murmurs in that self-satisfied (my-point-has-been-made) tone, “And that, little one, is how you properly deflect.”

Most definitely Alpha, he confirms, although before the knowledge gets to him, Harry’s words register. Little one?!

“’M not little…” Louis protests in a small voice, (fruitlessly) trying not to blush.

All at once, the atmosphere around him charges and sparks–the mesmerising kind–flicker to life within him. Powerless to stop it (though, he isn’t entirely sure he would’ve anyway), his lips part in quick, sharp breaths and his eyes go wide as saucers. He can feel him…there, humming through his veins –all potent energy, spiraling and fluttering and performing summersaults in his belly.

Startling him further, the Alpha stalks closer, footfalls muted thuds on the carpet–with each tentative step, the Omega’s heart leaps. And whilst Harry wrecks through his insides, the bloke closes in on him until all he knows is HarryHarryHarry, until he is so close his body heat–blazing like a furnace–cloaks him. The energy between them absolutely soars.

Cologne and leather and something addictive invades Louis’s senses. Spellbound, he inhales deeper, the scent or perhaps the energy (he can’t tell) has his head spinning…round and round.

So much.
Too much…
More…a small, almost silent, voice whispers wantonly. Answering that voice, two long, practised fingers brush a strand of his hair from where it hangs at his temple then continues to leave a searing trail over his cheekbone until they reach the corner of his mouth. Unconsciously, Louis leans into the touch, a little sound begins low in his throat and with a shock, he realises he’s…purring.

“Oh, you are,” the Alpha’s voice is raw, hoarse and fascinating all at once. “All Omegas tend to be.” As the taller speaks, his lips (ever-so-lightly) graze the sensitive spot–one he never knew was there–beneath his ear, breathing hot on Louis’s skin.

“No,” he argues, breathless with excitement. Frustrated by the interruption, the (dormant –only minutes ago) Omega in him begins to whine, all but begging to be taken. Desperate for a distraction, Louis quickly persists, “I have an uncle…N-Not small…at all….A professional boxer, actually.”

As anticipated (to his Omega’s complete dismay) the Alpha jerks away. “You lie.”

“You think I’d lie? About that?!” Louis exclaims in a (theatrically) scandalised voice, fighting a grin.

“Actually, yes, I would reckon so.”

“You’d reckon?” he challenges, quirking an eyebrow at the other. “Guess you’ll never really know, yeah?”  

In response, Harry growls, but this time there’s playful edge to the sound that has him grinning in delight. It’s…fun –nothing like his rows with Liam or pointless bickering with Niall or teasing the girls…Banter with Harry Styles makes his heart race. Banter with Harry Styles is thrilling. All because he can prod and push in ways that are nothing enjoyable with Niall (the Irish lad is naturally cheerful and unfazed) and definitely not with Liam for more than one reason.

“Not so fast, little one.” the blush returns with the pet-name. “I intend to get down to the bottom of –,” a dull buzz cuts him off. His phone, Louis figures.

“Damn it,” Harry mutters, footsteps starting in the direction of the door. Then, with a soft “stay”, he exits the room.

Alone, Louis realises the energy has disappeared, replaced with a cold, hollow sensation in his chest. In effort to quell the sensation, his thoughts wander back to Harry.

How old is he?
What does he look like?
The most pressing: how does Harry see me?

Cutting his thoughts, Harry returns. “I have to go,” he says in an irritated voice. “Come. Let’s get you home.”

Strangely enough, Louis doesn’t want to go home…and he desperately hopes the disappointment isn’t visible on his face. As he stands, one hand slides over the platform in search of his bag (he has a tendency of misplacing things…which is rather embarrassing at times, like now).

Stilling him, a much larger hand covers his, long fingers curling firmly over his trembling ones. At the contact, the hollow sensation drifts and warmth spreads through his body. “I have your bag, Lou...” There’s a brief pause. “This okay?” Emphasizing the question, Harry squeezes his fingers lightly.

Louis tenses. “I don’t need supervision, I can walk just fine.”

“I know…But I want to hold your hand.” The sincere words shoot a second dose of warmth through him. Wordlessly, he nods, allowing the Alpha to weave their fingers and lead him.

Down the foyer, at the stairs, Harry mutters, “This place needs to invest in some lifts.” And the Omega knows that he isn’t talking about his vision.

“That’s for nans and the handicap, Harry,” he states quietly –as not to disturb the library’s hush.

“Hence the more need for one.”

Louis rolls his eyes, but doesn’t comment further because Harry begins to guide him (perhaps a bit too slowly) down the twenty-four (having already memorized that) steps.

Outside, the Alpha asks, “Do you still wanna walk?”

Louis chews at his lip, hesitant. “If that’s okay with you…”

When Harry shifts, Louis can tell it’s a shrug and decides to supply his address (which is only ten or so minutes from the school). In a comfortable silence, they walk, hands swinging between them. And suddenly, Louis realises they must look mated–the thought sends the butterflies in his belly fluttering again.

A blush lights his entire face…but he doesn’t let go.

Ten or so minutes later, they stop at Louis’ drive and once again, the disappointment engulfs him. He doesn’t want to let go, childish as it is. Suddenly, Harry says, “Give me your mobile.”

Curious, the Omega fishes it from his pocket (a bit awkwardly since Harry doesn’t let his hand go) then hands it over.

It’s only minutes later that Harry caves. “How the hell do you work this thing?”

Louis grins fondly (Niall’s reaction was much the same a year ago). “It functions on Braille. Gimme, I’ll put your number in it.”

Harry recites the digits and Louis saves it under Alphaboy.

Goodbye lingers between them, but minutes pass and Harry still doesn’t release his hand. Louis breaks the silence. “I’d ask you to come in…” but my Mum might freak, but you obviously have places to be, but…I don’t want you to go and that frightens me.

“That’s for another time, love.” Louis melts–flush, sputtering and all. “I’ll call you, yeah?”

Its then the Alpha finally does release his hand–which falls limply to his side. Not trusting his voice, Louis just nods, fumbling with the locks at his door.

 “Bye, Harry…” His only reply: fading footsteps. Inside, he shuts the door softly behind him. With nobody around, it’s safe for him to lean against the door, a dazed smile playing on his lips.

Time passes, but he can’t bring himself to move (or care). Though it’s silent his mind whirls at full volume. Startling him, his phone begins to inform him of an incoming call…and somehow Louis knows (without the phone) who it is.

And as soon as he answers, a deep voice murmurs, “Told you I’d call.”  Faintly, he can make out the purr of an engine.

“Harry please, tell me you’re not driving whilst on the phone!” the concern practically oozes from him.

“Of course not,” the other denies too quickly. “I’m a responsible young adult.”

Right. Harry, I’m going to hang up now. Call me when you aren’t driving with the substantially high risk of an accident.”

He can practically hear the other rolling his eyes. “I will.”

Yet nobody hangs up. “Hang up, little one.”

“Okay, Haz,” he whispers before obeying. Suddenly, the events from the previous hour come over him in a dizzying, lovely collision.

“LOUIS!!” the banshee-like shrills of his girls bring him back to the present.

But the rest of the night that lovely warmth stays in his hand and Harry Styles stays on his mind. 

Chapter Text

Lights. Blinding lights flash in the otherwise dark ballroom, the colours swirling only to disappear and burst once more. Each time it happens (which is, by estimate, every twenty seconds or so) Harry’s temples throb something sinful. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he takes another uninterested swing at his drink.

There’s a reason, he thinks each word slowly, in attempt to grasp the importance there. But fuck, there has to be some purpose to his presence in this extravagant (there hasn’t been a time he’s seen so much pink all at once) ballroom surrounded by nameless faces, some who ignore him (the best they can, though by the curious glances to his right, not very good at all) or the bulk who smile in that (unattractive) flirtatious way.

According to Nick’s standards, when you’re (disgustingly) rich with idiots throwing themselves at you left and right…you should at least have the grace to act like you care. Harry really doesn’t give two fucks. Or perhaps the three Coke’s and Whiskey’s are talking to him in deep, personal ways…Still, the idea of getting pissed drunk and finding his Omega…His gorgeous, smart-mouthed Omega who will (without even realising it) make him forget whatever is sloshing around in his head.

Buzzing. His skin feels like it’s literally buzzing…but that can’t be right. Louis, the Alpha urges–and to Harry, the very name sounds like the best thing that’s happened to him since…ever, actually.

Around him everyone is jumping, the entire room swaying to the beat of the music. His eyes search the spacious area until he catches sight of Nick–another Alpha, one of the only mates (besides Zayn) he chooses to associate with. The older is piled on a smaller bloke, both laughing hysterically at something off to his side. Following their gazes, Harry focuses on what’s so funny. It’s another bloke, completely trashed on the DJ booth, humping the air…passionately, to put it loosely.

At the sight Harry quickly downs the last of his drink, even considers grabbing another, but suddenly the song reaches its climax. The sound explodes all over, severing the haze clouding his senses enough that he becomes aware of how hot and suffocating the place is.

He can’t handle much more. He’s teetering on that dangerous edge again–the (usually veiled) bitterness churning in his stomach. Mechanically, his limbs carry him through the throng of sweaty bodies, disgusted by the overwhelming stench of what he can only describe as ‘party’: a toxic mixture of liquor, perfumes, sweat, sex and a bit of throw up.

In the stairwell the music is muted and his thoughts begin to sharpen. Three steps down, he sways and wonders how the host (whoever they may be) expects anyone sober to even make it down this bloody death-trap. It’s that fucking steep.

Whatever. He doesn’t pause. Midway, a leggy female with brunette (or perhaps it’s blonde? He doesn’t bother looking into it) waves starts at the (now visible) landing. The manners–too ingrained to ignore–hold him in place. Much like him, she’s trying very hard not to topple over, though she seems to realise he’s there and looks up from her high  (Christ, how is she still standing in those?) heels.

The sight hits him like a wrecking ball, a battering ram to his ribs which abruptly feel too tight around his lungs. Caroline…That’s–She’s why I’m here. With only feet separating them, the heavy scent of perfume begins to shred through his insides. He struggles to breathe, a cold sweat breaking over his skin which prickles in that stretched-to-fit way, so fucking itchy he’s tempted to scrub it away with his bare nails.

The older Omega smiles widely, trying to bat her eyelashes but failing miserably. “Stylesez! You made it!” The words are gurgled…Unappealing.

A manicured hand reaches out to grip the lapels of his blazer so that she presses closer. Panic (an emotion Harry’s only ever felt once…When his Mother…Oh, fuck no) trickles through him in thick bouts.

She’s touching him. She is touching him–unconsciously rooting on the growing revulsion–revulsion that isn’t directed at Caroline or even his shitty Father. No, it’s directed at him–the shitty disappointment of the family.

He can’t do it. Not now (not ever, the Alpha corrects), not when the poor woman is so plastered she won’t even remember much of anything tomorrow.  Not when–

Enough, the Alpha snarls, demanding control. And for once, Harry doesn’t fight the defensive, detached calm settling over him. In seconds, the control takes action, analysing the situation. Caroline (oblivious to his lack of enthusiasm) stares at him with that same inviting smile…but it isn’t right. The smile doesn’t light up her face, the blues of her eyes aren’t the right shade…and her fragrance doesn’t send chills up his spine. She isn’t right.

Flowers–the word springs and ricochets about in his head. Louis smells like flowers. Louis smells like his. With one word the phantom-scent wafts through his entire body. His heartbeat comes quicker, that silenced part of him ruptures the thin-layer of restraint and blares in protest to the female Omega before him.

Only Louis, that part shrieks, and the mere idea of being with anyone else sends ice-cold panic through his veins. His every lone molecule will accept nothing but his little Omega.

Nothing changes –not one fuckin bit. There is no alternative. The show must go on, his use and abuse role must be carried out.

With a practised smirk, Harry pries her hand away from his blazer, but keeps ahold, running his thumb over her knuckles. And so it begins. Tuning into the Alpha all thoughts, feeling, everything but his purpose fades, leaving him empty.

“Happy Birthday, sweetheart.” His voice is forcibly smooth.

She laughs. “So what did you get me then? Anything sweet?”

The pretense threatens to fade. “You just might find out. But first, I’ll need your number.” There’s no helping the impatience in his tone. With every passing second another of his defense crumbles. The emotional-filter is falling apart.

The Omega frowns. “I…I can’t remember my number at the mo’.” Thank fuck. “But I’m sure you’ll find ahway to contact me anyway. Won’t you?”

Not if I can help it. “’Course,” he replies, grasping the opportunity of escape. “Until then, sweetheart.” Then, before Caroline (wasted as she is) can even process his words, Harry takes advantage of his height and swiftly descends the last few steps.

In the lot, the Alpha basks in the (much needed) fresh air, though the cool breeze does nothing to diminish the red-hot shame. Instead the burn spreads over his every muscle–making it extremely difficult to walk straight to his car (easily distinguished in all white). Fucking with him some more, his hands begin to shake uncontrollably.

After three attempts, the doors unlock with a faraway click, though the victory is scarcely noticed as he tumbles into the driver’s side. All at once every shitty episode returns, the most prominent: the cold, calculated demands–the demand to seduce…Caroline Flack.

A frustrated shout lodges deep in his throat. User. The word fixes over the heavyweight in his chest, dirty and cheap.

Louis–all Harry wants is the blue-eyed Omega…but no, it must be late, too late for him to be awake even on a Friday. He shouldn’t have to tolerate his bullshit–can’t be tainted with it.

Hands still shaking, Harry phones the only person he trusts during these times. Twice–it rings two long rings before a gravelly, sleep-ridden voice answers, “Haz?”

“My head hurts…” his voice sounds flat despite the molten emotions roiling within.

“Harry?” No shit. “Where’re you at, mate?” Alone…always alone.

“My head hurts,” he repeats in that same, eerie tone.

“You’ve said –,”

“MY HEAD FUCKING HURTS!” the shout, laced with rage, pierces the otherwise still space. His entire body vibrates with it and his canines grind against just as hostile growls.

Zayn’s only response: silence–and fuck does it bite back.

Desperate for some sort of solidity, the Alpha murmurs, “My head hurts…and I feel like shit.”

“I’m not the one you should be calling then.”

“The fuck you aren’t,” he snaps…but the words lack venom. They’re just empty.

“Oh cut the fucking bullshit,” Zayn snaps –and strangely enough the anger makes an immediate exit, oust by fatigue. Seemingly aware of his sudden silence, the other continues, “You know I’m not the one you should be calling, Harry.”

Forehead resting on the steering-wheel, Harry exhales shakily. “I know…” And he does, that’s the problem.

“Then do something about it.” The line goes dead, leaving a sardonic beep, beep, beep in its wake.

The cold, concave numb envelopes the buzz over his skin though on reflex, Harry straightens, buckles, starts the car…and sits there. Seconds, minutes, hell maybe hours tick by before the world finally comes into focus.

By memory, he makes it back to the manor, pulling up the drive and slowly stepping out of the car. Tonight the great doors do not open for him. Instead, he grapples with the locks (there are so bloody many) until each of them unbolt.

In need of the solitude, Harry doesn’t linger at the entrance; he trudges up the long staircase and into his room. Since this morning, the entire room has been…sterilised–the white flooring is no longer littered with clothes, the throw has been smoothed out, the pillows fluffed, his laptop sited carefully on the desk–everything has been repressed and left without personality–encased by the darkness.

Even prisoner to a world of total obscurity, Harry marvels, his Omega shines brighter than supernovas. Mine.

Stripping down to his pants, the Alpha falls into the large bed, a death-grip on his mobile. Without his realising (or permission) the phone dials, though this time Harry knows it isn’t Zayn he’s calling. The sparks of amplifying energy is a dead giveaway.

Staring into the darkness, Harry embraces the slow heat (unlike the bloodredanger) simmering in his chest.

“Harry?” that lovely, high-pitched voice floods the room–the heat spikes through his veins now.

“Tell me something,” his voice is muted, brain-to-mouth filter shattered.

“Harry…It’s nearly four in the morning…” With anyone else it might’ve been a grumble, but not with Louis. With Louis it’s a gentle affirmation…So achingly gentle.

“Is it?” the doubt colouring his tone is genuine…He hadn’t thought it was quite so late–certainly doesn’t feel it.

There’s a little shuffle on the other line before, “You okay, Haz?”

Haz…The Alpha inwardly growls in satisfaction. He likes–loves the common pet name on Louis’ lips.

“Haz…I quite fancy when you say it,” he drawls brazenly. Screw the whole ‘self-disciple’ bit, Louis ought to know the absolute power he holds over him.

There’s a small, heart-wrenchingly sweet snicker. “Are you drunk, Harry?”

Not nearly enough, apparently. “Nope,” he says, the p stressed. “Tell me something, Lou.”

“What would you have me tell you?”

“Anything,” he blurts, then quickly rights himself, “About you. Anything about you.”

There’s a brief pause, then the Omega murmurs, “You ought to have a horrid headache tomorrow.”

Louis,” he bleats with a minute-frown on his lips.

“Okay, okay,” the boy caves, amusement in his tone. “Well…Oh! A bedtime story! One I heard when I was a boy.” You still are.

“Tell me,” Harry breathes, craving the boy’s voice like nothing before.

“Another world,” there’s a young-boys wonder in his voice. “A bizarre world, where everyone is equal and there are no fractions or Council.”

“Seems…lovely.”

“Not entirely,” the Omega disagrees, the wonder vanishing. “A world where same-sex love is frowned upon…A world where, in order to mate, there are rituals with strange callings like ‘marred’ I think it was. Something with an M. A world without strength or balance or…”

The hushed words become distant and unrecognisable, but the lovely tenor sooths the tempest of emotion. Sleep already closes Harry’s eyes when he hears that soft voice calling his name in the smoggy distance. “Haz…?”

“Yeah?” he grits back into reality, waiting to hear what his Omega wishes to say.

“Are you falling asleep?”

“Sleep with me,” he mumbles, eyes drifting shut once more.

The last thing Harry hears is a faint whisper, “G’night Alphaboy…”   

∞∞∞

Monsters! With a startled cry Harry slams into consciousness, eyes snapping open to find–darkness.

Terror, sharp and cutting, flickers to life and his heart flutters in the worst of ways. Except this isn’t his terror and this isn’t his mind.

“M-mummy!” in the darkness a little boy, with a reedy voice, shrieks. Hot, fat tears are sticky on Harry’s–the boy’s–face. Hard sobs rock his small body. He can’t see–the darkness is acidic–eating away at his clarity.

“Louis!” a woman sighs, taking the little one into her arms. Mummy, Harry–the boys thinks, frantically burrowing his face in the woman’s neck.

 “I c-can’t s-s-see!” he wails, unable to grasp reality.

“You’re fine, love. My sweet babe…” Mummy sounds strange. Harry–unlike the boy–knows the woman is silently weeping.

Mummy…?” this time it’s a whispers…The boy’s throat feels sore. “W-Why can’t I-I see like t-the other l-lads?”

“I wish I knew, BooBear…” Unlike the boy, Harry (just barely) catches the woman’s–Mummy’s–tormented whisper because they’re (he and the boy–in one little body) are being tugged so close it’s hard to breathe…But Mummy smells nice so the boy is content and feels better with it.

 “How I wish I knew...”

∞∞∞

Bzzzz. 

Harry shouts awake, gasping and unable to see straight. Something moves beneath him, but it takes a full five seconds before he can manage to force his weight-like arms up to support him. His iPhone flashes blindingly from where it’s tangled in the thick duvets.

With a griped groan, he snatches the damned thing up and swipes the screen. There’s a text from…his Omega.

Oh fuck –that dream, memory, whatever the hell it was…His heart throbs in time with his temples. 

‘Hi... Um I hope ur headache isn’t 2 bad…Glad to know ur a very…demanding drunk. -L’

Double fuck. In a rush, Harry sits up, swaying as the world spins in ways he hadn’t thought possible. Clutching his head, he groans, searching his mind for some collection of what the fuck he could have possibly said.

Nothing comes back.

Swallowing, he types back, ‘should I be srry for anything?’

The response is almost instant. It’s puzzling and intriguing and just…Louis. Everything…HAZ :D’  

Chapter Text

With a start, Harry jolts awake, his breathing heavy with panic (a feeling that isn’t his) and his skin sleek with sweat in the sheets. Rolling onto his back, he stares up at the high-ceiling, momentarily blinded by the sunlight peeking through the thick curtains (ironic that the sun would shine today, of all days). Not even seconds later, his sharp eyes adjust and the panic makes an abrupt departure. Slowly, but surely, his body begins to calm.

Saturday, he realises the date grudgingly. Saturday’s are never open for him, he is always expected to visit his Father’s Base Enterprise in London which also means it’s–avoiding his Father–isn’t a possibility.

“Waste of fucking time,” he snarls, balling his fists in the duvet as the buzz (seemingly aware of the impending distance) returns, curling and squeezing at his lungs. The muted pain, now accustomed to, no longer has an effect on his mental state, the Alpha within is tightly leashed (absolutely no pun intended), devoid of any control.

Satisfied by that, Harry rises, striding into the connecting bath. It’s large–too large for one teenager–, with a Jacuzzi sidelong a stand up glass-shower that reflects off the large mirror above the long, marble counterpane, organised with an unnecessary amount of hair products that Harry rarely even touches.

With a disgusted look, he starts up to shower and attempts to scour the invisible buzz away. Except it doesn’t work (not that he’d really thought it would, but still). Despite the failure, there is no irritation building in his chest and unexpectedly the realisation comes over him. He doesn’t want it gone…

He needs it too keep him from going mad with concern, because without the connection, there would be no way to know (possessive as he is) where the boy is or that is he okay and those are must-knows.

In thirty minutes the Alpha is dressed and exiting the manor, keys dangling carelessly in one hand. In the car, Harry pulls on his aviators (one’s he can’t recall ever wearing); effectively blocking the beaming rays of sunlight enough that he can speed away from the manor.

It takes only two hours–thanks to his speeding–to enter London, where he parks on the curb, several blocks from the Base-Enterprise. Outside, leaning on the car, Harry pulls out his mobile and dials the number already memorised (pathetic as it is).

There’s a little, “Hi,” in answer. The voice sends an exhilarating jolt through him and the buzz loosens a bit.

“Hi.”

“It’s rather nice out this morning,” the boy hums and Harry rolls his eyes.

“Don’t start with this meaningless weather talk, Lou. It’s no fun.”

Over the line, there’s a small, pretty giggle. “What should I say then, masta.?”

His breathing catches. “Depends,” he murmurs a second too late, pondering what he can and can’t have the boy say. “Is there a limit to what can and cannot be said?” His index fingers runs over his lip, warding off a grin.

“That doesn’t sound particularly comforting,” before Harry can press, the boy adds, “But I suppose there isn’t a limit.”

“Well then, repeat after me. I will answer all your questions.”

The boy sighs dramatically but does as he’s told. “I will answer all your questions.”

“Without any objection.”

Dutifully, he recites, “Without any objection.”

“And Harry Styles is my prince charming.”

“And Harry Styles is my – Oi!”

Harry laughs, starting down the block. “It’s only true, love.”

The other humph’s and Harry wonders if his bottom lip is in that lovely pout. “Well, I plead the fifth on that one!” Yep, there is a definite pout in his voice and the Alpha only wishes he could see it.

“You’re still bound by your word. You have to answer whatever I ask. So tell me, little one, what are you wearing?”

“Harry!”the boy doesn’t disappoint, he sounds absolutely scadalised. His smile widens–so much, it should hurt. Louis doesn’t give him a chance to speak, muttering, “To be completely honest, I’m wearing these fuzzy animal slippers my Mum got me as a joke my last birthday.” There’s a tinge of embarrassment in his tone.

“I was only joking, love,” Harry murmurs lightly. “Though animal slippers, hmm?”

Louis moans, the sound sends white-hot desire through his bloodstream. He wants to hear that sound again, a breath leaving the boy’s parted lips as he sends pleasure wrecking through his small, curvy body and –ending that train of thoughts the boy squeaks, “They’re comfy, is all!”

Harry laughs, causing a few curious glances from those passing by. “I didn’t say they weren’t.”

Louis scoffs. “And what are you wearing, Mr. Styles?”

“Aviators,” he supplies, smug. “It’s rather bright out today.”

There’s a pause. Then, “I hope, for your sake, that you aren’t in Public with just some shades on.”

“Well,” he murmurs, rounding the corner of the last block. “I’m known to be quite exhibitionist.”

As he halts at the entrance of his Father’s tall, large skyscraper the boy mumbles, “That’s worrying.” No, what’s worrying is how much you make me feel, how much I want you, how perfect you are for me...

Harry glares at the floor, but forces himself to murmur (as lightly as he can), “Much as I’d love to discuss the worrying aspects of my nudity, I’ve got to get to business. Try to text me, yeah?”

The boy sighs and the Alpha hopes (more desperately than he would consider normal) that he isn’t imagining the sadness there. “Yeah…I will.”

Much like their first phone call, nobody hangs up. Torn, Harry closes his eyes, inhaling a deep, calming breath. “Hang up, Lou.”

“Okay…Haz.” For the first time ever…the Alpha wishes Louis didn’t obey. But he does and it leaves a cold, vacant hole in Harry’s chest.

Unwilling to look into that (new) sensation, Harry enters the building, where the security guards stare impassively and the assistants rise to greet him, their smiles to perfected. Not a one of them dares to comment or question his whereabouts as he pushes the door to the back-stairwell open, though he is sure the assistant must be informing his Father of his arrival. Twenty flights up and Harry is in the waiting area, striding over to the doors of his Father’s office without a glance to his assistant.

Today, he doesn’t bother to knock on the hardwood door, simply shoves it open. His Father is there, of course, except this time, the male is not alone. Caroline Flack and an older looking Beta stand side-by-side, his Father directly in front of them, a cool smile on his aging features.

At his arrival, the trio’s stares land on him, his Father smiling that (disgustingly) pleased smile. “Ah! There’s my boy. Harry, please, meet Ian Flack from XTRA FACTORS PRESENTORS. Mr. Flack, my son, Harry Styles.”

Harry doesn’t move, but smiles blandly at Flack.

“Pleased to make your acquaintance. I’ve heard a very much of you,” Flacks tone suggests not all he’s heard is good. Harry doesn’t respond, just stares impassively, unimpressed.

“Harry, why don’t you take Caroline on a tour of the premises whilst Mr. Flack and I discuss the more tedious matters,” his Father –damn him–suggests, giving him no choice.

Reluctantly, Harry meets Caroline’s eyes, which gleam hungrily as they look him up and down. He plasters a cool smile on his lips, despising the similarities between him and his Father in that moment and gestures her to follow. “Ms. Flack, allow me.” It sounds as if he actually fucking knows his way about–when in reality it’s the exact opposite (Harry usually sticks to his own wing in the building, with good reason too).

“Now, not so fast, you two! Take these,” the older Alpha motions to (a bloody trillion) security cards, purposefully sited on a side-table.

Irritated by the other’s tactics, Harry snatches them up and storms from the room, completely forgetting Caroline until she wiggles her hand through his arm, manicured grip firm. “So…Where too, Mr. Styles,” her voice is a purr.

His stomach churns, the buzz stabbing a gorge in his chest in retaliation to the female Omega’s proximity. Inwardly, he winces, but takes her down the corridor until he finds a door identical to his Father’s, where he scans multiple cards until finally (after several unsuccessful attempts) the door unlocks. Dutifully, he holds it open for her and she goes through with a smile on her lips, hips swaying noticeably, causing her skirt to rise an inch, revealing more skin.

Hell no. Swallowing passed the lump in his throat, he carries himself forward. The room is another office with wall-to-floor windows, bookshelves, computers, the likes. Harry flattens his hands on a long table, tense as a stretch of awkward silence settles over the room.

From there, it happens quickly. Caroline, sliding closer (trying to be discrete but Harry’s every sense is on high-alert), trips (suspiciously) gracefully over her own feet, swaying forward so that her hands land on his chest, nails grazing his revealed swallow’s.

Instantly, his skin prickles and his Alpha snarls. “So,” she breathes. “What’ve you brought me here for Harry…?”

Through gritted teeth, he mutters, “There’s a variety of…er books to read…”

She leans forward some more–the buzz gauges another, gaping hole. “I was thinking you’d show me a bit of fun…” Suggestively, her hand slides down to the waistband of his trousers.

Fuck this, the Alpha growls.

“Er,” he fumbles (idiotically), quickly making his way over to the window, where he stares. “Lovely scenery, innit?”  

He risks a glance over to find that the female Omega is beginning to unbutton her blouse, murmuring softly, “Oh yes…”

Oh no, he shoots back, but pretends not to notice, centering on the small ant-like people on the ground. What he would give to be one of them right now.

“Come, Mr. Styles,” he instantly hates the way she says his surname, like it’s…something worthy of worship. It sounds so much better on his Omega’s lips. “Surely this is more pleasing…”

Mechanically, he turns to her and acid begins to gnaw at his control. The female is standing there with her blouse completely parted, revealing her lace bra and…Fuck–This is so not happening.

“Caroline,” he tries. “There are camera’s and –,”

“I’m sure they will enjoy the show.”

He continues as if he hadn’t heard her. “This would put your reputation in danger –,”

She licks her lips. “I want you…Right here, right now. I’m practically begging for your –,”

Harry growls under his breath, and spouts, “Oh! I think–There’s someone at the door.” In seconds (so fast, he reckons it’s a world-record. Fastest-Alpha-To-Deny-An-Omega-And-Run-From-A-Shag. ), he crosses the room and flings the door open, hurrying down to corridor.

At the end, Nick is leaning against a door (no surprise, since Nick’s radio-station is joint with his Father’s company), a glass of some sort of expensive drink in his hand. The other Alpha spots him and grins. “Getting busy there, Styles?”

With an icy glare Harry snatches the drink before the older Alpha can even think to stop him, gulping it down then shoving the thing back into Nick’s limp hand.

As he rounds the corner, he hears Caroline’s mortified shriek, “COME BACK HERE, STYLES! WE AREN’T FINISHED!”

Rage threatens to consume him, but he doesn’t allow himself to turn around and do something that could cost him everything. The last thing he hears is Nick, “Real, real busy then.” Idiot.

Harry locks himself in his own private quarters, where he busies himself checking over contracts (that he’s already gone through at least forty times before). There is nothing to find, but that doesn’t stop him. He needs to just not think for a while.

Time passes much the same until the office door unbolts. He doesn’t bother to loop up, hoping his rude disregard will ward off whatever idiot dared to disturb him.

But, there are only two people who actually would dare to enter without knocking and Harry knows neither are easily deterred.

When he doesn’t look up the one voice he’d hoped to never hear again speaks up. “Harry, our guests are leaving, would you be so kind as to bid them goodbye?” Fuck no.

“Whatever,” he mutters, standing and following his Father’s already turned back, glaring holes into the other’s head.  Caroline doesn’t meet his gaze and it’s a relief, she had already pushed him too far. He could not handle her again…Ever.

A few words are exchanges and then the two enter the lift.

As soon as the doors slide shut, his father murmurs, “Well, I do hope you weren’t dense enough to actually sleep with that slut.”

Surprised, the younger nearly speaks, but the older continues, “Flack’s company is shit and was a worthless pursue.”

And Harry could fucking kill the old bastard. 

Chapter Text

Two weeks. Two weeks pass before Harry finally snaps. His resolve (along with the self-discipline shit he’d convinced himself he could live by) gets lost in chaotic thoughts …Though, in all honesty, there is only so much control he can exploit throughout the long, grueling days leading up to this one (mind the buzz and his Alpha screwing with his very existence months prior).

Today, a hush overwhelms the library room, Harry watching Louis as he flips through the thick pages of his thick book (which the Alpha still hasn’t gotten around to asking the title of), absorbed in whatever escapade lies there. 

Frustrated by the lack of attention, Harry slams the book (which he hasn’t even glanced at) in his lap shut, staring pointedly until, seconds later, the boy looks up, a small, patient smile playing on the corners of his lips.

“Was there something you needed, Harry?” his voice is too light and Harry catches–before the buzz even does–the tinge of hesitation beneath the careful tone.

“Yes, actually,” he mutters, shifting so that their knees touch, the Omega’s heat burning through the material of his khakis. But he refuses to be sidetracked by that (later, the phantom feeling will return, it always does). “Louis, can I ask you something?”

The little v forms between his eyebrows. “Shoot.”

“Let me take you out tonight,” he blurts, watching the boy’s expression carefully–unsure of how to interpret the widening of his eyes or the perfect o his mouth forms.

His voice wavers when he answers, “That wasn’t a question…”

“Lou,” Harry presses, trying to ignore the frantic panic crawling up his throat.

“Haz…” his tone is answer enough, though the other doesn’t spare him the pity. “I-I don’t think that’d be the best idea.”

Following the words, Harry’s ears begin to ring and his teeth grind. The panic (a disturbing feeling that has only just appeared–much like the buzz) grows razor-sharp claws that run down his throat to his chest. Even more disturbing, how much pain that causes, persistent as the Alpha centers on Louis–listening (slightly comforted by it) to his fluttering heartbeats and quick breaths until finally, the feelings flow through the bond–discomfort and fear and…longing?

Shocked, Harry’s eyes flicker open and he stares at the boy who’s denying him. Movements cautious (as too not startle him), his fingers brush a silky lock of chestnut hair form those eyes, soaking up the searing warmth. Almost unconsciously, the boy’s eyes slide shut and he leans into the touch.

“Why? Why’re you denying me?” he questions, voice rough with emotion–the rejection is slashing through his insides.

Louis sighs. “I-I don’t want this mess this up. Harry…I’ve never…been out. Like I don’t do fun and reckless like the others. I…I will just hold you back.”

The words are so, so sincere…so completely Louis that fresh holes puncture his chest–because somehow, the Omega truly believes that he is holding Harry back. Fuck. That.

“Hey…What did I tell you about that? Fuck, Lou, you can do whatever the hell you please.”

“I know, I know,” Louis mutters grudgingly–though his body leans further into the Alpha’s touch. “Just…”

“Tell me,” he demands, inwardly wincing at the Alpha resonance, though the boy doesn’t seem to notice.

“People will stare! And I-I hate that. I hate looking so…so…useless. And people will start to talk and–,”

“Fuck them!” Harry explodes. “I don’t care, Louis! I don’t give two damns about what anyone thinks but you. I just want…All I want is to show you what it means to live, Lou. And all I need is a chance,” towards the end, his voice softens so that it’s almost pleading.

As a last resort, the Alpha tips closer, their foreheads just barely come into contact as he breathes, “Please, Lou…Just once.”

With a sharp gasp, the Omega squeezes his eyes shut tighter before his smaller hand reaches up to cover the Alphas–grip abnormally tight. “Alright, Haz…Okay.”

Instantly, his heart guns at his ribs, the feeling bittersweet as his fingers stroke at the soft skin of Louis’ cheek. “Five,” he murmurs. “I’ll retrieve you at five...D’you have a ride home or shall I take you?”

Excitement whirls betweens them as Louis smiles timidly. “I’ve a ride. In fact, it should be here by now…” And as if summoned the tell-tale chime (his phone, Harry gathers) sounds, signaling that, for now, their time is up.

“Come, I’ll walk you down.”

“No!” Again, there’s an anxious edge to the other’s voice. “Harry, the person waiting for me…He doesn’t know about our…friendship. If he finds out, he’ll tell my Mum and right now, neither of us should have to deal with that.”

Harry bites back a growl at the he –nobody but him should be caring for Louis. “He?” he asks tightly.

Louis rolls his eyes. “A Beta, Harry, paid to be my watchdog. Trust me; I’m completely safe with him.” Nevertheless, the words do nothing to reassure him but fuck, there isn’t anything to do about that.

In defeat, he mutters, “Right. Wear something warm tonight.”

In response, Louis stands, taking the warmth with him. Harry glares at the floor, frustrated that he can’t even walk Louis out –God forbid he actually takes care of him. 

“Haz, I can practically feel you glaring.” With a sigh, the Omega bends with his hands fluttering out in front of him until they land on the side of Harry’s throat. “I’ll see you later, yeah? Only a few hours…” he sooths.

Lingering, his blunt fingernails rake over Harry’s skin lightly, compelling the Alpha to grip his wrist in two fingers and bring it to his nose, where he inhales the rich scent deeply into his lungs. Then, before he screws up, Harry releases him, shutting his eyes so he doesn’t have to watch his departing back.

There isn’t anything worse, he thinks, than watching (powerless) Louis walk away from him–well, besides Louis rejecting him or anything involving the Omega being harmed.

But, Harry decides, seeing him walk away definitely makes top ten worst things that could happen. Blowing out a harsh breath, he lets his head falls to the wall with a muted thud. The triumph saturates his thoughts–Louis welcomed his touch and accepted him. In the world of the Council, the Alpha class is the ruling class…too an extent. The Omegas rule all aspects of emotional-links. To have an Omega welcome your touch is special. Touch is always special when accepted. Otherwise, even if an Omega is in heat and begging, it is illegal to even dare think about forcing yourself on them.

It’s one the few laws the Council got right.

Sighing low in his throat, Harry digs his mobile from his pocket and phones Zayn.

A harsh groan fills the silence. “What.”

“You up?”

There’s a distant shuffle. “Have you taken up the habit of asking stupid questions now?”

“I’m comin’ to get you. I’ve got a couple hours to kill.”

Over the line, the other snorts. “Such an honor ‘tis.”

Harry grins (he’d almost forgotten Zayn’s dry humour). “Damn right. Be ready.” Then, he hangs up.

An hour, three fags, a long shower and some minutes later, Harry drops Zayn back at his house. The male smirks mockingly, turning on his heel and calling, “Not too late, kiddies!”

Harry grins, on the road towards Louis’, before dialing his number. “Hello?”

“Hey, love, I’m on my way. You ready?”

“Yep,” the boy chirps. “See you soon.”

Harry pushes the speed limit, in a rush to see his boy again (soon still sounds to long). Sometime after, the Alpha pulls up to the curb, stepping out of the car to lean on the side with a lazy grin. The anticipation is whizzing deep within, leaving him lightheaded in the most addictive ways.

Abruptly, the hand reaching for his phone freezes, his senses blare and on instinct, his head whips up to find the Alpha from the first day storming up to him, brown eyes hard with barely withheld fury.

You! You aren’t supposed to here!” And really? Of course taking Louis out would have complications.

Harry manages to hold the careful smile in place, though his teeth clench against a growl. “Yet here I am…” Magical , ain’t it?

“I know who you are, Harry Styles. And Louis is not for you,” the other male’s voice rises to a shout.

Something clicks in his head–this Alpha is in love with Louis…His blue eyed Omega.

Mine! “And he’s for you?” he shoots back. His Alpha begins to growl furiously, wanting excessively to hurt the other… but by now Harry knows better. Physical damage is nothing compared to emotional (the sort of damage that chips at the ribs and teeth and deep inside your heart).

“I didn’t say that,” Liam snarls, defensively, taking another step closer. “But you–you’re just toying with him.”

Harry stares, unimpressed. “Liam,” he says evenly. “You obviously don’t know as much as you seem to think. My…interests in Louis are not any of your concern, so, I’m asking nicely, back the fuck off.”

“Oh, I don’t? How about the parties or the drinking, better yet, all those meaningless lays! As if the whole town doesn’t know the shit you’ve done. You’re a real piece of shit, Harry Styles. And everyone fucking knows it.”

The words strike home, but Harry absorbs (has learnt how to handle) the pain and uses it fuel his fury. With a growl, he stands straight, curling his hands into fists and baring his elongated canines. “You asked for this.”

In seconds, the Alpha has calculated the most effective method to take the bulkier down, about to attack when a voice calls, “Harry?”

Nothing matters but that voice. Every one of his muscles lock, the buzz swathing him like a second skin as his eyes fall shut. The sound assaults his every sense, the emotions–excitement and fluster–alter his own.

Just like that, the rage dissipates and Harry realises he can’t fight Liam–it would ruin every careful preparation thus far and the Alpha will stop at nothing to keep his Omega happy.

Threats in his eyes, Harry goes against instinct and turns his back to the other Alpha, facing the drive where Louis stands. The initial, most troubling change, his lovely hair is gelled up (in a way that cannot possibly be comfortable). Covered in all black, the boy seems incredibly frailer which only has Harry questioning the reliability of such thin material. Can that even protect him against the weather?

“Harry…” this time the voice is unsure.

Annoyed at himself, Harry calls, “Here, love!”

Mercifully, the little v is replaced by a cheerful grin as the boy starts to hop down the six steps (all the while, Harry holds his breath, a chilling fear twisting his insides and preparing him to catch the boy before he falls…except, he doesn’t). Gracefully, he makes it to the ground, walking straight down the drive without even edging the flawlessly trimmed lawn.

For a moment, Harry forgets Liam, caught up in the absolute elegance and confidence in the boy’s saunter. This is a place Louis is comfortable with–a place his eyesight cannot effect him. Just watching makes Harry blow with pride.

At the gate, Louis’ breathing is quicker (an effect of rushing) and his cheeks are flushed prettily. “Hi!”

Equally as breathless, the Alpha stares into the Omega’s eyes, mesmerised by the blue pools and wishing, once again, that he were able to drown there. It would certainly be a lovely way to go. “Hello there.”

Liam-The-Puppy ruins the moment by muttering, in a disapproving tone, “Louis.”

Those blue eyes widen in alarm, flittering in the direction of the Alpha’s voice. “Liam? What…What are you doing here? I told you I was busy!” his voice, much to Harry’s satisfaction, raises a decibel in anger.

Liam crosses his arms, a pitiful hurt flashing in his eyes. “You lied to me, Louis. You said –,”

“I said nothing!” the boy hisses, an unknown emotion bleeding from him, one that Harry recognises as…dangerous.

“Enough,” Harry interrupts, glaring pointedly at Liam. Nobody–not even the Alpha himself–is permitted to speak to his Omega that way. “Louis, are you ready to leave?”

Eyes to the floor, the boy nods, extending a hand that Harry takes (rather smugly), running his thumb along the smooth skin as he guides him to the car, opening the passenger side to help him in. Louis’ eyes remain closed, but it doesn’t noting to hide the humiliation brimming inside him. It clouds Harry’s thoughts with a dangerous red and the vicious impulse (one that hadn’t even registered when Liam insulted him) to beat the crap out of the Alpha for upsetting his boy, is almost impossible to refuse.

Mustering what’s left of his self-restraint, Harry shuts the door softly and spins to face Liam, unfazed by the steel in the other Alphas eyes. “You do one thing, one thing, to hurt him Styles and I swear –,”

“I won’t,” he finds himself promising before despite it all, Harry understands Liam–there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to ensure Louis’s happiness either. “I’ll have him back around nine.”

Nodding curtly, Liam promptly starts in the opposite direction, footsteps heavy. Harry doesn’t bother to watch him go, instead he tunes into his Alpha, composing himself before joining Louis in the car with an easy smirk. Discreetly (though there isn’t really a need for it) he confirms Louis’ gotten buckled and pulls out.

Unexpectedly, Louis asks, “What kind of car is this?”

Warily, Harry glances at him, aware of the way his hands caress the leather fabric of the seats and the interior. “Would I seem like a spoilt brat if I said an Audi?”

The Omega doesn’t appear the least bit surprised as he arches an artful brow. “Most definitely.”

Harry grins, perfunctorily making the first turn. “Well,” he rakes his mind for the worst car he can think of. “Then it’s a Ford ’91.”

Louis grins slyly. “Alright, say I buy that, will you tell me where we’re going?”

“Nope, it’s a surprise,” he answers matter-of-factly. “All our dates will be.”

Petulantly, Louis crosses his arms, mumbling, “I hate surprises.”

“I can change that.”

“That a bet?”

“Yep,” says the Alpha. “And when I win, I get a kiss.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry catches the spark of determination in the smaller boy’s eyes as he says, “You’re on. And if I win, no more surprises.”

They make it an official deal–which Harry intends to win–one way or another, he will make it so his Omega loves surprises…Starting with this one.

As the ride progresses, they banter and Louis becomes more confident with each remark. The Omega is smart-mouthed, Harry realises with a shock, working harder to provoke the smaller boy. All too soon, after his latest note on the pros of surprises, they reach their destination.

Once the car is parked, Louis mutters, “Who in their right mind would want their present to be a surprise? I mean, what if it’s the complete opposite of what they really wanted?”

“That’s the beauty of it,” Harry says lightly, unlocking the door. Its loud–children shrieking, rides in action, mates and families chattering happily. Before Louis can ask, the Alpha is opening the passenger door and tugging him out of his seat (much too aware of the soft feel of his waist beneath his hands, even over the clothing).

As soon as the Omega is steady on his feet, Harry puts distance between them. “What-? Is this…like…?” he fumbles (it’s rather endearing but then again, even breathing is endearing when it comes Louis).

“It’s a carnival,” he tells, then to be precise, “We’re just outside London.”

Louis’s eyes go round, the blue colour of his eyes sparkling. “I’ve never been to a carnival before.”

“Would you like to now?”

“I would,” he says, smiling that shy, small smile. “Please.”

Grasping the boy’s hand firmly, Harry leads them towards the entrance at a slow, easy pace (careful to walk around the rushing children). They’ve just entered when he spots a game-stand and eagerly tows the boy to it. The stand turns out to be called Duck Shoot, which the Alpha thinks should be easy enough (even with his shit coordination).

“Sit,” he orders and silently, Louis does so, shifting as the excitement erupts more fiercely. The man at the stand–a Beta dressed in red and white stripes–explains the rules. All the while, Harry smirks, paying him and palming the plastic gun, aiming at (the now) passing ducks. The first try…isn’t exactly a success (by that, Harry means the shot ends up feet away from the original target).  So much for easy.

Several (unsuccessful) attempts later, and the bloke decides to intercede. “Listen mate, why don’t you give the other lad a try…?” His expression clearly adds ‘save-us-all-the-trouble.’

Harry sighs in defeat, but twists to Louis–who’s eyes are ever-so patient (which, honestly? Zayn would’ve cuffed him way earlier.) “You wanna give it a shot, boo?” The endearment–from the dreams–is all that’s stuck with him.

The boy bites his lip. “You’ll show me?”

“Doubt I’ll be much help,” he mutters under his breath, but pays the block another few pounds, placing the toy-gun in Louis’ significantly smaller hand. Gripping the object, the boy looks ridiculously fragile, but Harry keeps that to himself, stepping behind him and firmly placing his index finger on the trigger.

With a (unnecessarily) loud shrill, the game begins and the ducks start their rounds. The first one approaches the target.

“Shoot,” Harry says and on command, the boy pulls the trigger…And the duck flags down in a perfect strike.

“Did I get it?”

“Yeah…” he answers in disbelief (only at the fact that he couldn’t get it). “You did. Okay, boo, focus…” The next round begins.

“Now…shoot.” Again, the duck goes down with an announcing ping. In the background, Harry catches the Beta’s wide-eyed, awed stare. That’s right, he thinks smugly, my remarkable little Omega.

One more and Louis wins… “Shoot.” It’s marvelously accurate–bells chime and chorus in celebration.

Giddiness surges from the boy as he shrieks, “I won?!”

“You won,” Harry confirms, dazed by the flawless smile on Louis’s face as he stares up at him with those tempest coloured eyes.

“Congratulations!” the (forgotten) stand-man says–relief evident in his tone. “What prize would you like, lad?”

In question, Louis looks back to him. “Er…”

“The gray wolf,” Harry supplies, pointing out the right one. The Beta hands the stuffed animal over to Louis–who grins widely, hugging the wolf to his chest. “I loved that! We have to do that again before we go!”  

From behind the stand, the man moans in disagreement, but Harry can’t care, the enthusiasm is impossible to contain. “Whatever you’d like, love.”

“Oh! Can we…Is there candy floss?” At the hope in the Omega’s voice, Harry’s smile widens (to the point that his cheeks ache). “’Course there’s candy floss, silly. This is a carnival.”

Then, the Alpha tugs the Omega in the direction of the concession stands–instantly, sighting the ‘Candy Floss, Here!’  Stand. After purchasing a pink (Louis is adamant about pink, stating, “it’s better than the blue! That just tastes off”) candy floss and two bottled waters, they sit at a bench furthest from the stands and the commotion.

Louis picks happily at the floss, shining so brightly, Harry feels (as he stares) it’s blinding him –and that’s a chance he’s willing to take. Though, it doesn’t last long, his Alpha picking up the presence of another, seated at an empty bench not too far from their own. The bastard keeps glancing over at Louis (who is painfully oblivious, savoring his treat).

In warning, Harry (gently as possible with his growing aggression) tugs the boy closer into his side, glaring pointedly at the other male. Louis tilts his face so their eyes meet, but doesn’t move. Instead, he singles out a portion of the fluff and extends his hand in offering. “Here Haz, you have to try this!”

Mouth suddenly very dry, Harry swallows, but bends forward to take the floss between his teeth (careful not to nick the boy’s fingers). It’s sweet in his mouth, though Harry reckons the taste is nothing compared to what the Omega must taste like. For a painful moment, longing wounds up tightly in his stomach, though the Alpha quickly crushes it.

“It’s alright,” Harry murmurs. “But, I’ve tasted better.”

With a gasp, the boy jerks backwards a fraction. “O! Come off it. This is brilliant! What could possibly be better than this?” You.

Harry coughs. “Um…Chocolate?” Definitely you.

“Ugh,” Louis grumbles in disgust. “Chocolate is so mainstream, Harry?”

When Harry glances again, after discussing the reasons why chocolate can and cannot be termed as “mainstream”, the Alpha is nowhere in sight and he decides the male must’ve gotten the message. Groaning low in his throat, Harry snags his empty water bottle, then mutters, “I’ll be right back, Lou.”

Having gone back to his floss, the Omega nods uninterestedly and Harry rolls his eyes fondly, but heads over to the nearest rubbish bin and disposes the bottle.

Just as he starts back in the direction of Louis, an ice-cold front of discomfort shoots through him. Something isn’t right. Growling, he rushes back to the bench–that’s when he sees him, the Alpha from earlier, standing close –too fucking close–to his Omega and telling him something he doesn’t catch underneath the ringing in his ears. The Omega’s eyes are pinched shut, legs held tightly to his chest in that (unbearably) defensive manner.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he demands, voice cold.

The other whips around to face him (with the attention no longer on him, Louis releases a shaky breath that does nothing to diminish Harry’s rage. He had made it perfectly clear who Louis belonged to).

“What’s it look like, mate? I’m having a chat with–Wait, are you…You’re Harry Styles.” That’s right, fucker.

“Get. The. Fuck. Away from him,” he snarls, taking a step closer and baring his canines. His vision is obscured by crimson.

The other Alpha raises his hands palm first in surrender, taking a few steps backwards. “Sorry, mate. I didn’t know he was yours.” The hell you didn’t.

Harry’s Alpha nearly snaps (growling uncontrollably–wanting blood). “Fuck off.”

With a (satisfying) anxious look the bastard hurries away, swallowed by the crowd. Harry fights the instinct to chase him down and make him truly sorry. As he struggles, the boy giggles which –what?

Distracted (more confused really because surely the boy should be in shock or something) Harry frowns. “What’s funny?”

“You,” the boy giggles again. Replacing the anger is curiosity as Harry searches those eyes, stupidly trying to gauge his thoughts but finding nothing but depthless blue.

Louis takes pity on him. “It’s…oddly nice when you…defend me like that.” His eyebrows furrow, but then the smaller has to grin–outshining all the supernovas in the galaxy–and mine. Mine–the word flashes through his mind and he can’t help his answering grin.

“Glad to be of service, though I’m beginning to think you just attract trouble,” he murmurs, only partially teasing.

The Omega frowns–the light fading from his face. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Oh, y’know, I want you and so does half the Alpha populous. No biggie though.

Harry shakes his head in disgust. “Doesn’t matter. Come, let’s go on some rides.”

As anticipated, Louis’ eyes light up again. “The Ferris Wheel first!” Daring little Omega, his Louis is.

“Alright,” he allows, amused. “Ferris Wheel first then.”

High up in the air, Louis leans over the locked gate of their little cubical–blue eyes shut, the wind ruffling his hair (the gel having loosened over the hours) and a small, beatific smile playing on his lips. And up here, in the twilight, he’s the loveliest being ever to be seen. And Harry really just wants to drag him into his lap and know that they fit.

“Lou?” the word feels right on his tongue.

“Mmm…?” Fuck, he’s so it for me–everything even.

“What’re you thinking?”

“I’m thinking that I’ve been missing out…” his voice is barely a whisper over the winds. “But, I think its okay…Because I rather enjoy being here with you.”

Harry’s heart does that weird thing again and the buzz jolts and wrings and scrapes at his insides in the most mind-blowing ways. “That’s…good…Yeah, that’s good,” he croaks lamely, hanging onto the single thread of self-control (keeping him from pulling the boy into his lap).

After the Ferris wheel, they go on several (more like a dozen) more rides, the last one being a rollercoaster–which after, has Louis leaning into his side, face (worryingly) pale. Even more worrying, he looks a bit dizzy (understandable with that ride).

Harry is about to suggest taking him home when Louis chirps weakly, “Haunted House next.”

“Louis, I dunno if that’s a good –,”

“Chicken?” the other challenges.

Harry rolls his eyes, but feeds into it. “Last one.”

Once, after a short wait, they’re both seated, the Omega’s grips the bar trapping them. “It’s dark, isn’t it…?”

Frowning, Harry murmurs, “It’s a Haunted House, Lou.”

“I know…but I really hate the dark…” his voice quivers and Harry blinks harshly, realising that he’s actually scared.

“Hey,” he breathes, daring to wrap an arm around the boy’s waist and bring him closer. Louis sighs, leaning into his side as Harry pries one hand from the bar, intertwining their fingers. “I’ve got you. You’re fine.”

In response, Louis nods faintly, tucking his face into the Alpha’s shoulder. Warily, Harry grins, slightly amused at the sudden change in the boy from only rides before.

A dark voice starts to speak, though Harry hardly listens because Louis flinches. The Alpha hugs him closer, growling unconsciously as the warmth seeps.

“This is horrible. Stupidest idea I’ve ever had,” the boy mutters as the first pop-up monster flies forward.

Harry laughs. “It looks so fake, boo. There is honestly nothing to be afraid of.”

Over the booming sounds, he almost doesn’t catch the boy’s little, “promise?”

Squeezing his hand, Harry does so, and the rest of the ride Louis is relaxed, only clutching the Alpha’s hand tighter whenever another screech sounds. Then it’s over and they’re released from the bars confines.

Harry is surprised to see Louis’s legs wobble as he steps onto the landing, clutching his wolf to his chest. He looks almost…childish and it’s painstakingly adorable.

Slowly, the Alpha tows the Omega away and the carnival is emptying now, just a few lingerers here and there. “Ready to leave now, boo?”

Wordlessly, the boy nods and they make their way back to the car where Harry helps him inside, then joins. Starting the engine, he catches the time and asks, “Does your Mum know you’re out with me?”

 “Erm…Mum knows I’m out…” he hedges, chewing nervously at his bottom lip.

“Just not with me?”

A guilty look clouds his features and Harry doesn’t like that look instantly. “I’ve not gotten around to that yet…”

With an easy smile, he shrugs, taking the boys hand. On the returning ride, the silence is comfortable, both Omega and Alpha becoming familiar with the other’s presence until they reach Louis’ house.

Harry keeps the car running, they’re hands (even outside) somehow end up tangled again as they slowly make their way up the drive, dragging out their time. At the door, Louis sighs. “Thank you, Harry…Really...I had fun.”

Again, the buzz threatens to strangle him, but he forces it to retreat. “Does that mean I can take you out again?”

“Are you asking?”

“Yeah,” he breathes, squeezing the Omega’s hand once. “After all, I still need to prove surprises can be good…”

The boy beams brilliantly, looking up through his thick eyelashes. “You do,” is all he answers.

Reluctantly, Harry mutters, “Give me your keys.”

Louis does so and Harry unlocks the doors before returning them…Then, he releases his hand and places it on the handle. “Sweet dreams, love,” he whispers, leaning down to brush his lips to the boy’s soft cheek, inhaling the rich scent deeply.

From there, he forces himself to retreat, watching the boy stumble into the house from his car. The Alpha within claws viciously, close to surface and snarling, mine and claim him, the likes.

Harry promptly raises the volume, effectively drowning that side of him out. Nothing can possibly ruin the mood Louis has given him. The complete bliss.

That night, Harry feels his heart grow two sizes. 

Chapter Text

Through the nights Harry Styles begins to appear in Louis’s dreams–which even after three months, still comes as a shock because the Omega has never dreamt based on reality. His dreams have always been empty…of meaning, sense, truth. Just empty…sort of like life prior to meeting a certain Alpha.

Except with the dreams, his form of unconsciousness began to change, thrilling with the same electricity that charged whenever Harry himself was around. And Louis tosses and turns restlessly, waking often, though the gripping panic (also) occurs much less often now.

Only in the early hours of the morning does the Omega finally sink into an exhausted, dreamless sleep. Still, all too soon, he’s awake again, still tired, but even more edgy.

His measured movements are premeditated–having his Mum dress him at fourteen had grown ridiculous (not to mention terribly awkward for the both of them). It was an issue that had needed little convincing to remedy. In the end, his Mother had formulated a strategy that didn’t include him, a growing boy, having his Mummy see him starkers every day.

Familiar with his bedroom, Louis dresses quickly, a sudden surge of irritation chipping at his self-esteem–he probably looks a proper mess. It’s weird for him to think this way, since he’s never paid much attention to his appearance in the first place (but honestly, why bother?).

Shaking the pesky emotion away, Louis pads off into the connecting bath, mechanically brushing, flossing, and (attempting to) calming his nerves. Once his heart isn’t racing anymore, Louis makes his way downstairs, careful not to disrupt the hush that’s settled over the house with the girls fast asleep.

Breakfast is the usual, quiet event with Jay brewing a cuppa whilst Louis grabs a granola from the correct cabinetry. His tummy is in knots as he chews a bite, wondering when his Mum will pounce.

Not even minutes later, she answers his unspoken question. “You’re up early. Liam hasn’t even arrived yet…” Jay begins, shuffling about the kitchen.

Inwardly, Louis cringes–more at the mention of Liam (who is still cross with him). “He…Um,” he swallows passed the lump in his throat. “He’s busy this morning. Something about finishing an essay.”

There’s a horrifying pause before, “Would you like me to take you?”

In attempt to gather his muddled thoughts, he takes another small bite of granola, barely tasting it. “It’s fine, really. Niall’s brother is going to take us.”

“Greg?”

“The very one.” And that’s the worst part about this entire situation. He hates having to compose careful lies–worse, having to tell those lies to his Mum. Before this, he’s been able to put this entire conversation off, only venturing below after she’s finished breakfast and gone to wake the girls.

Now, a dish clatters, the derisive sound ricocheting in his head. “And you’re sure you wouldn’t just let me take you?”

“I’m going with Greg, Mum,” he mumbles, glaring in the direction of his tangled hands (a nervous habit).

He can feel the older Omega is going to press, but his phone alarm signals first. Hastily, as to not give her the chance to object, Louis snags his messenger bag from where it hangs on the island stool. “That’s him,” he supplies uselessly. “Please, Mum, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ll see you at dinner, yeah?”

“Just…be careful, boo.”

“I will, Mum,” he assures softly, already familiar with Jay’s worries–though she could be a tad (ton) smothering, he could never fault her for caring too much.

So, without another word, the Omega stumbles out the front door, practically jogging down the drive and flinging the gates open. Harry is already there, because Harry is always early, because Harry has taken him to school every morning since the carnival.

At the memory, a shudder runs down Louis’s spine. Their first (only thus far) date was…so lovely–their first date was more; it was heart-achingly perfect. And for the Omega, it always would be–even when Harry Styles decides he’s too much baggage and responsibility. Louis isn’t thick; he isn’t counting on forever…But, for now, while his heart rabbits in his chest and everything (even the suspicion that his Mum is peeking through the curtains in the living area) sort of fades into nothingness. Nothing matters.

Caught up in his thoughts, Louis thinks back on those (few) times Niall or Liam have taken him out. Niall–laid back as the Irish Omega is–always seemed to forget that Louis isn’t…comfortable being left alone with strangers and would too often end up surrounded by people whose names Louis couldn’t even begin to recall. With Liam, it was the exact opposite; Liam would always hold his hand so that he wouldn’t bump into someone or humiliate himself. And though Louis loves his best mate, there’s always a multitude of shame whenever they’re together that makes the Omega want to lock himself in his bedroom and never face the world again.

More pressing, Liam’s hand doesn’t feel quite right; his grip is too tight, his hand isn’t large enough and his fingers not long enough. Liam’s voice isn’t slow and deep and it certainly has never stolen the breath from his lungs. Liam isn’t –Without warning the Alphas heat saturates Louis’s atmosphere and that lovely weight over his lungs has him struggling to breathe evenly, his head bowed so that his fringe falls over his forehead messily.

The thing is, by now he should be used to Harry picking him up, it’s practically become habitual…Yet, it’s impossible to accept something like this. To accept the feeling that Harry Styles evokes in him, the high that his scent ignites, the daze his very voice puts him in. So yeah, the Omega should be used to this…but he isn’t and doesn’t think he ever will be.

“Louis?” that voice brings his thoughts to an abrupt end.

“Um, sorry,” he mutters, forcing his heavy lids open. “Did you say something?” 

With a strange-sounding laugh, Harry cups his jaw between sure fingers, forcing Louis’s face up. Louis tries (really, he does) to smile, but his lips turn down instead, though he hardly notices (lost to the sensation of the Alpha’s touch). 

“Okay?” the low, soft tenor is traced with concern that has the smaller boy making the effort to form (somewhat) coherent sounds.

“Okay,” the word is only a breath, but it’s true, everything is okay. It’s okay that his insides have turned soupy. It’s okay that he’s growing (dangerously) infatuated with Bad News and that Bad News has decided he’s more than what everyone else seems to believe. It’s…okay.

In response Harry hums and drops his hand, but before Louis can miss the touch, their fingers tangle. Harry’s hand is so much larger, it envelopes his own and strangely enough, his Omega purrs, completely blissed out under the Alpha’s strength. Inside the car, Louis leans into the seat, sighing low in his throat at the heavy scent of leather and cologne and Harry.

As the car starts down the street, Harry murmurs, “Zayn wants to meet you…Like officially or whatever.”

Startled, Louis bites his bottom lip. There’s a (forbidding) part of him that’s afraid to meet the other Omega, who’s so close to Harry, the Omega that can see and is normal and (more likely than not) absolutely perfect for the infamous Alpha. Yet the other, selfish side wants to hang on Harry’s arm and make it clear to the other that…well, that Harry isn’t his Alpha.

Not yours either, his Omega sighs, disappointed though Louis doesn’t bother to acknowledge that. “You should introduce us,” he blurts. “Like, um, today, I mean.”

“Actually, it can’t be today…” somehow, Harry Styles manages to sound (almost) apologetic.

Louis considers this, attempting to compile the possible reasons as to why not (alas, he just isn’t that imaginative, which is extremely annoying). “Why not?” the question leaves his lips without permission.

“Z–Er, Zayn is skipping today.” Skipping?

Louis twists in his seat, facing the other eagerly. “Do you…like, skip together?” he wonders curiously, feeling his cheeks heat at the naïveté in that question.

Harry laughs–that oddly reassuring, loud, deep cackle. “Sometimes. Not today though.”

Because of me, Louis realises dully, wringing his hands in his lap again and turning away to hide the disappointment that’s surely on his face. He doesn’t want to hold Harry back. And that’s the issue; that’s always the issue with him…But, it doesn’t have to be, a small, barely-there voice reminds.

That’s right, Louis thinks with a sudden excitement, it doesn’t have to be.

“C-Can’t we skip…?” he tries timidly.

The Alpha’s answer is immediate. “No.”

Louis is about to protest when the car comes to a screeching halt. In seconds Harry has exited the driver’s side while the Omega sighs, slowly working up the nerve to put up a (somewhat) valid argument as he unbuckles. Once the Alpha has helped him out (distancing them the moment Louis’s feet touches the ground) the smaller crosses his arms, but doesn’t step away from the vehicle. “Why can’t we, Harry? What, too scared now?”

A harsh, menacing growl carries between the space separating them and Louis flinches, but doesn’t dare back down, refusing to be swayed by Alpha tactics. “We’re not arguing over this, Louis.” 

The Omega only scowls. “I want to skip,” he says, repressing the urge to stomp his foot like a child. “I don’t see why you’re so against it now!”

There’s a long, guttural groan before Harry speaks again. “I won’t have you getting into trouble because of me. We. Aren’t. Skipping, Louis.” This time his tone implies the end of discussion but no–just this once, Louis will have his way (even if it makes him sound bratty).

“Fine,” he snaps. “If you don’t want to skip with me maybe Zayn or Liam will.” Minutely, the bait lingers, but Louis expects Harry’s reaction (two can play the ‘tactic-game’) and isn’t at all surprised when the Alpha breaks–stalking towards him purposefully. Nonetheless, Louis retreats until his back is flattened on the car and Harry is crowding him with both hands braced on either side of his face.

Louis swallows, torn between being unsettled and thrilled. Oblivious, Harry leans impossibly closer, “Zayn and Liam  best keep their distance from you,” and oh no, his voice is so deep that Louis has to bite back a whimper because instantaneously his will begins to dissipate (dang it, it isn’t fair!) “If they value their lives, they will.”

He’s serious, the Omega realises with a sharp inhale. Strangely enough, knowing that doesn’t send him in a panic, but instead has his hands lifting to either side of Harry’s throat before breathing, “Please, Haz. Just this once…”

And just like that, something changes between them. Harry tenses around him, lean muscles coiling and (effectively) imprisoning the Omega who worries his bottom lips, fishing for something to say when an idea comes to mind. “I-It can be a date,” he stumbles over his words, grasping the opportunity desperately.

The Alphas answering groan sounds so much like surrender. “It’s not a surprise,” he points.

“But it can be,” Louis presses, forcing himself to raise his face to the other, in turn exposing his eyes (which Lottie continuously tells him are far too open to the world–hence his determination to hide the dull, useless things away). “You can take me wherever you’d like.”

For what feels like too long the only sounds are their muffled breaths and Louis's racing heart (which the Omega reckons Harry can hear as well). Then (finally), Harry mutters, “Wherever?”

The other’s pondering tone makes Louis bold. “Sure.”

“No arguments?”

“None,” Louis nods, pleading with his eyes.

Christ…Fine.”

Instinctively Louis recoils, except there isn’t anywhere to go and all he can do is snatch his hands back and lower his face.  “D-Don’t be angry,” and the Omega hates that his voice wavers with the venomous guilt he’s trying so hard to conceal.

Harry doesn’t miss a beat, cupping his face in one of those unreasonably large hands. The touch is enough to keep the Omega quiet. “Hey, none of that. I’m not cross with you, love–,”

“But–,” Louis starts to protest though Harry doesn’t allow him the chance. 

“Not going to say I’m not angry. I am. Just…not at you. Never at you.”

Oh,” Louis says, more to himself than to Harry. “I’m…glad.”

Then, the Omega grits his teeth, fighting a smile because it’s one of those rare times he isn’t acting happy (as he should be). It’s one of those rare times he is happy–ecstatic even. Stupidly so.

//

Thankfully (for what’s left of Harry’s sanity) the Omega doesn’t smile. At this point, Harry just isn’t that in control of his Alpha and without a doubt, if Louis’s cheeks warmed a bit more and those thin, strawberry coloured lips titled into the smile he’s fighting Harry wouldn’t be able to keep himself from discovering just how those lips would feel against his own. How the boy’s smaller, curvier body would feel lined up with his own lankier body or the taste–

Wincing at those thoughts, Harry forces his legs to draw back, glaring daggers at those who’ve stopped to gawk rudely. Rather quickly, they piss off, though the Alpha doesn’t realise, engulfed in Louis’s feelings–disturbed by the degree of happiness over skipping, of all the things.

“You’ve caused quite the scene y’know,” he notes absently, more to distract himself than anything else, though the boy’s answering blush sends a thrill up his spine.

Even though the Omega does a surprisingly good job at hiding it, by now Harry is too emotionally attuned to him and instantly detects the discomfort chipping at his sure calm. “I don’t care,” he grumbles stubbornly.

And Harry inhales sharply because fuck, the rebellion in his voice is so (ridiculously) hot. So much that his muscles flex with the effort to remain still and his cock throbs in his trousers, already thick and heavy.

“Mm,” is the only answer the Alpha can provide that won’t end in a growl–fuck’s sakes was he an idiot to think he could somehow be able to keep a level head around this little boy. As if.

Rolling his tense shoulders, Harry inhales deeply twice, before grabbing the boy’s hand; the distinct current welcomes the touch, teeming between their bodies. Then again, it’s probably just him, because Louis tries to take his hand back, seemingly unaffected by him (just his bloody luck too).

Still, Harry doesn’t allow the other to let go, grip unyielding as he tows the smaller around and into the passenger seat. Harry takes his time trudging to the other side, rebuilding his mental guards against his Alpha. With every step, his mind races, rapidly trying to process what the hell had just happened–oh, right, that strange, exasperatingly soft (and small) piece of him had happened–Louis Tomlinson had happened.

The engine purrs to life as Harry notes that Louis has become quite comfortable beside him–that Louis is quite stunning and there isn’t any hope of getting over that. No, he won’t, because the Omega isn’t someone to get used to easily. At least Harry can’t fathom how. Even when they’re arguing over something as pointless as skipping Louis is loveliest sight.

And being completely honest, skipping really isn’t anything spectacular. The only two reasons the Alpha ever does so: when the night-before comes back to fuck with his head or…weed is involved. Which, hell no, Louis is not going to be introduced to that if he can help it.

He values the boy’s innocence too much to be the one to taint it.

Shaking his head, Harry connects his iPhone; his playlist starts up instantly, a soft tune fading comfortably into the background.

Abruptly, Louis’s head whips around, guileless eyes wide. “Coldplay?”

“You’re fond of them?” he asks warily, turning in the direction of the manor placed on the outskirts of town.

 “Who isn’t?”

“Those with shit taste,” he replies vaguely. “And the Script?”

“My absolute favourite.” The words are muffled enough that Harry glances at him, confused to find the Omega has gone into hiding, twisted so that his stare is aimed at the windows rushing blur. Even his emotions are out of focus.

Some long buried instinct has the Alpha reaching out to the smaller boy, but before making the contact, he snatches the hand back, reluctant to suffocate him. Instead, Harry turns the volume up a bit, giving Louis his space or as much as he can tolerate without going insane.

 All the while Harry hums along to the next song–Black Flies–and lets his own mind wander. By the time they arrive at the gates of the manor he (still) hasn’t figured out one damned thing…but Louis has relaxed and has that achingly soft smile playing on his lips so Harry thinks that’s alright.

Without thinking, Harry pulls over on the curb, putting the car in park but letting it run. “I’ll be right back."

Louis blinks, eyes large and lost for a moment before the little v forms between them and Harry feels an unfamiliar tinge of guilt. “You’re leaving me here?”

“I’m just going to grab a few things. I’ll be four minutes, promise,” the Alpha mutters, not wanting to be responsible for that look.

“Fine,” the other grumbles, turning back to the window dismissively. Amused, Harry smiles, thinking Louis’s middle name must be difficult.

“Four minutes,” he repeats before ambling towards the front doors–which promptly open to reveal another nameless butler, whose aged face is turned down in a frown, but wisely, the older male doesn’t comment on his unexpected arrival.

A frisson of annoyance run’s through the Alpha at the stunned looks given by the members of the cleaning crew, bustling about the lounge. Yeah, yeah. It’s just a smile. Disregarding them, Harry saunters upstairs, snatching a thick throw from the cabinetry before daring to go below, into the kitchen. Mercifully, it isn’t very hard to find the contents he’s looking for, but apparently he thinks too fast because the canisters are nowhere to be found. 

Two minutes have already passed and frustration begins to flare up inside him when a small, petite Omega enters the kitchen. With a startled gasp, she freezes, “M-Mr. Styles, I-I didn’t know you were…uh…here?”

Preoccupied, Harry waves it off, mumbling, “Harry. And it’s fine,” rather than being a little shit and reminding her that this is where he lives. Then, the Alpha continues to rummage through another cupboard.

“Um,” the female–whom Harry had assumed already gone–starts, “Don’t mean to pry, but is there something I could help you with?”

No–Yes–Whatever. Grudgingly, Harry mutters, “Could you point me in the direction of the canisters?”

“Right this way.” As it turns out, the staff has recently relocated all the dinning materials to the storage unit. Hastily the Alpha collects the necessaries, then pauses, “Er…thanks.”  

“Cassie,” the other supplies with an awkward smile.

“Cassie then,” he grins lopsidedly before hurrying towards the door with an armful of supplies. In attempt to reach the car in the fifty seconds remaining, Harry doesn’t even shut the doors behind him (unconscious of the curious stares burning into his back from inside).

And so the Alpha practically trips into the door (no doubt looking like an idiot), declaring elatedly “Made it!”

But of course the boy in the car begins to snicker, “My God, Haz, did you run?”

Basically. “In your dreams,” he taunts mischievously, setting the carrier in the backseat before slumping into the driver’s seat.

“You know, Styles,” Louis starts, “After listening to your playlist…I’ve learnt something very trying.”

Curiously, Harry quirks an eyebrow, clasping his seatbelt and leaving the curb to get onto the main road. “Which is?”

“You’re one of those hipsters!” he cries, laughter colouring his tone.

“What? No–Not at all!” the Alpha protests, “Just don’t tolerate that pop shit.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Then what,” the Omega asks smugly, “is this?” Only then does Harry realise ‘3rd Planet’ is playing–which of bloody course.

“Certainly isn’t pop shit,” he tries, momentarily grinning at the smaller boy who blinks once, shaking his head once as if to clear his thoughts (which puzzles Harry because it’s probably the one time he hasn’t said something daft).

To reassure himself of that, the Alpha grabs ahold of Louis’s hand, delighted by the way it disappears when his own hand closes around it. Neither says anything, but then again, they don’t ever have too.

Unconsciously Harry raises the boy’s knuckles to brush his lips across them softly, catching his answering gasp underneath the music but choosing not to comment. The ride continues like that, Louis relaxes until he even begins to hum softly to every song he likes and (foolishly) Harry plays every song by ‘the Script’ or ‘Coldplay’ on his playlist just to hear that lovely voice a while longer.

All too soon, they’re parked at the end of the trail deep in the thick woods. “Where’re we?” Louis asks, voice carrying like the cool breeze underneath the suns harsh, blistering rays.

Harry licks his lips, but keeps his gaze strictly ahead at the sunny opening (it’s one of those rare times the sun has appeared without disturbance) casting lovely rays of light over the meadow.

“Supposed to be a surprise, member,” he croaks lamely, his heart stalling in his chest because fuck, maybe this isn’t the place to have taken Louis for their second outing. Maybe it’s too early; maybe Louis won’t even like being here. This place that has been Harry’s space, this place Harry keeps safely locked away in his mental-closet. This is the space that’s been with him through it all, a space filled with so much beauty it’s impossible to think the world is all hurt and loss. A space that Louis belongs in. A beautiful, delicate space.

Louis stays silent until, “Won’t you show me then?”

Uselessly, the Alpha nods, opening his door and rounding the car before Louis has time to open his own door. Smiling up at him, the smaller holds out a dainty hand, “Guide me?”

And fuck the energy soars and pulses through the entire length of his body, giving him no choice (not that there ever was one) but to link their fingers, marveling at the differences again, at the sparks erupting inside him.

Effortlessly, Harry tugs the Omega from the car, carefully steering him through the smooth, high grass until just before they reach the collection of wildflowers. One, small step forward and the two have created their first imprint on the gorgeous meadow.

Wordlessly, Harry crouches, picks the one flower that most reminds him of Louis’ eyes–a single blue hydrangea–and (with a deep, nervous breath) gently places it in the other’s palm.

Obviously confused Louis slowly closes the hand around it, his other hand tracing the petals cautiously. As Harry holds his breath, Louis’s breathing hitches and breaks.

“Harry.” 

Dying to know, Harry blurts, “What are you thinking?”

Without looking at him, the boy shakes his head, but something glistens, like a crystal, on his cheek and–fuck that Harry had made him cry screws with his head.

“Don’t cry,” he breathes in horror. “Fuck, I didn’t–I…”

Without warning the Omega springs forward and instinctively Harry absorbs the little extra weight, bringing his arms around the small boy’s waist as those slim arms snake around his shoulders, legs at his waist, face buried in his throat. Harry doesn’t dare to breathe or move or think…The indescribable sensation burns within his lungs.

Flowers,” Louis sniffles, tears muting his pretty giggle. “It feels so beautiful. It is, isn’t it? I mean…flowers! All around us. W-What colours are they?”

Swallowing, Harry murmurs, “They’re all sorts of colours, Lou…Christ, there’s yellows and pinks and reds and…like the sun’s out you know, like bleeding it’s warmth into them…Supporting them…The way I want to support you.”

The boy in his arms makes a little noise, much like a sob, but with Louis even that’s a beautiful sound. “We’re…going to destroy them if we keep on.”

“No, Boo, we’re not,” the Alpha disagrees lightly, trying to concentrate on speaking and not the hot, little puffs of air Louis is releasing on the base of his throat. “We’re leaving our footprints here. Creating another world of beauty, like…like the story…A whole new world that’s…”

“Perfectly imperfect.”

“Yeah…” he breathes hoarsely, inhaling the rich scent, accented by the sudden breeze and nearby flowers. “That’s exactly it. Come; let’s write stories with our feet.”

The Omega laughs at that, but untangles his short legs and lands gracefully, intertwining their fingers (the hydrangea nestled between their palms). “Can I lead?” his voice is a plea and really, who is Harry to deny him now?

“After you.” Louis’s answering smile is brilliant in the sunlight, ingenuous eyes glowing. And this time, Louis is towing Harry forward confidently.

“Us,” he declares quietly. “This is us, then.”

Despite himself, Harry grins. “Right. LouisandHarry. You and Me. Friends ‘til the end. Partners in crime–which naturally means we make rude gestures at nuns and talk dirty in French. Ad infinitum, etcetera, etcetera.”

Louis snorts prettily (surely that shouldn’t be possible?). “Oh hush! That’s not even French!”

Just as they reach midway, the Alpha realises Louis hasn’t eaten all day–which can’t do. “Stay right here. I forgot something.”

“How typical,” the other remarks in an (adorably) reproachful tone.

Heeey,” Harry complains, “I’ll have you know–,”

“I reckon you’re about to claim you’re an A plus student?”

“Well, s’only true, love,” the Alpha shrugs, releasing his hand to head towards the car in the distance.

Once everything is gathered Harry stops where Louis is on his knees, running his hands over the mass of flowers. As he begins to unpack the coverlets Louis peers up at him through those thick lashes, “More surprises?”

“A picnic,” is his only reply. In minutes the snacks are set out (breads, fruits, cookies, the likes) along with canisters of sweet tea and water. Grinning lazily, Harry stretches out on the coverlet, patting the space beside him. “C’mere.”

Crawling over, the Omega sit cross-legged beside him (so close Harry notices they way his legs aren’t nearly as long, or the way his head only reaches Harry’s shoulders…) Shaking himself, Harry says, “You need to eat.” And…they do.

Harry finds out Louis’s weakness is sweets–fruits and cookies and tea. And damn him–all those little details make the boy that much more desirable. It’s criminal.

Soon, the sun is almost gone and everything is packed away again. Louis talks animatedly about the time Niall–the blonde Omega–gave Liam a nose bleed and Harry laughs uncontrollably at that, thinking Niall is an alright lad after all.

As Harry stares, committing the image of Louis under the pale moonlight to memory, the boy murmurs, “Harry?”

“Mmm?”

“I-I want to play.” And just like that, the Alpha growls to life and the energy kindles.

Play–it isn’t strange for an Omega to engage in ‘play’ with their Alpha, but…for Harry this is another first. There hadn’t been a time when the Alpha wanted to even consider mating or acting on mates play…Except now the idea fogs his brain with want, and the blood rushes to his cock, already semi-hard with the Omega’s scent clouding his atmosphere.

“Do you now?” his voice carries huskily, the Alpha timbre lining the words.

Lips parted, the boy breathes, “Yes.” 

Harry bites back a growl, playful and aroused and–All at once, with a come-and-get-me grin, Louis scrambles to his feet and turns in a dead run.

Acting on impulse, the Alpha dashes after him, his only thoughts: mineminemine. Yeah, Harry has to have this boy.

Turning sharply, Louis manages to speed up some, but Harry does too, gaining speed.  And the Omega laughs–the sound carefree and exhilarating–as those short legs carry him even further.

“Hellion!” Harry calls, choking on his own laughter.

The Omega doesn’t stop. But, fuck does Harry love the challenge.

In seconds, the Alpha is closing in and Louis must realise this because he gives a little whimper, pushing himself harder–but not hard enough.

Harry catches the smaller boy around the waist in one arm, tugging so that the other loses his footing and ends up sprawled on Harry’s chest, breathing shallow around his laughter.

“Okay, you caught me,” the Omega admits, “Now what.”

“Now…’m going to punish you,” he murmurs darkly. “For being such a bad, little Omega.”

Louis gasps–the sound goes straight to Harry’s cock. “How? How are–Harry!” the boy yelps in shock as the Alpha pins him on his back–body spread out beneath him.

Like this, cheeks flushed the colour of the roses beside them, owlish eyes vivid as hyacinths, hair a mess in his face, Louis looks like his. Completely and permanently his

Yeah, Harry is quite gripped by the sound of that. Sue him.

“Louis, Louis, Louis,” the Alpha drawls because hell, the name leaves a saccharine taste in his mouth.

“That’s…That’s my name. Don’t wear it out.” Even breathless, Louis is still so very smart mouthed. Go figure.

“Ah, ah, ah. I didn’t ask you to speak.”

“And I don’t–,” he balks as Harry braces himself on his forearms, bringing their face only inches apart–the proximity rages and shifts, their heartbeats racing in sync.

“You were saying?”

Those blue eyes become thin rings but Louis says nothing. “Answer me, Louis.”

At that, the Omega wheezes, “N-Nothing, God, Harry…Just…”

“Just what, little one?”

 “You were right,” Louis blurts. “I-I…You win, okay. About the surprises...They’re…alright. With you they’re…ace.”

And Harry’s equilibrium is damned straight to hell–well, something had to go sometime. Impossibly, his heartbeat quickens, thoughts going a mile a minute.

“Louis,” is the only word his mouth can form. Still, the other doesn’t make another sound. “Louis, please, say something.”

Why?” he seethes finally–the fury ablaze within him erupts. “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you taking me out and playing with me and making me think I’m any more special than the others or that I even matter?”

Too stunned by the outburst to do anything but listen, Harry realises Louis doesn’t know. He doesn’t know…but he will.

When the Alpha is sure Louis has finished, he shifts onto his side, hugging the clueless Omega to his chest. “You’re so special. And you do matter, Louis. You matter a lot. And…And I’m quite smitten with you, if I didn’t make that obvious enough.”

“You…You fancy me?” the Omega asks unsurely.

“Yeah, Lou,” Harry sighs tiredly, running his hand down the boy’s side soothingly. “Of course I do.”

They’re both silent then, absorbing the truth in those words. And it’s a novelty for Harry, who’s never seriously been interested in anyone before. Hell, he’d even go so far to describe himself as misanthropic.

“Hey, Haz?” Louis shifts, so that those eyes are revealed, swimming with an emotion Harry couldn’t even begin to comprehend. “You haven’t kissed me yet.” Well, fuck him.

“I know.”

“Will you?”

“If you’ll let me.”

“Please…” the word shreds through the Alphas insides because Louis deserves so much more –Louis Tomlinson deserves everything because that is exactly what he unknowingly gives Harry with just a smile or even a frown. And Harry vows to show him that.

Now though, Harry will settle on bleeding his all into this kiss. Cupping the younger’s cheek tenderly, the Alpha’s eyes flicker from those eyes to those inviting lips. “You sure?” his voice is rough with want.

And Louis Tomlinson nods without any hesitance. Ever-so-slowly, as too give the boy a chance to change his mind; Harry dips forward, until the warmth radiates from Louis’s cheeks to his own. For an abrupt second the Alpha drowns in the blue depths of Louis’s eyes, overwhelmed by the ecstasy being so close grants.

But those eyes flutter shut and Harry’s lips connect to Louis’s own. It’s light and tender and Louis’s lips are soft as any flowers petals, so inexperienced against Harry.

Nothing else matters. The world could burn around them and Harry wouldn’t notice or care.

With a shaky breath, Harry pushes his lips only slightly more, desperate not to ruin this or take it too far. This, kissing Louis, is absolutely new to him, it’s delicate and sweet and just…better than…every other.

The current jolts between them as the Omegas hands clutch his shoulders, nails biting painfully, in ways that make the Alphas head spin. Too quickly, his self-restraint begins to wane and alarm bells sound in his head, forcing Harry to pull away–except Louis shakes his head frantically, mumbling, “No…Again.”

Smiling gently, Harry plants another, firm peck on those swollen lips. Then, the Alpha surrounds his Omega, arms circling his waist so that his head is tucked underneath his chin.

Without a doubt, they fit.

“I’ve gone quite mad,” Louis whispers suddenly.

Harry tightens his arms. “Mm…”

The Omega twists, but the Alpha holds him tight and fast so that his warmth won’t fade. Blowing out an annoyed breath, Louis says, “Aren’t you going to ask me why?”

“Do I want to know?”

“Haz!” the other says–almost scolding–and Harry laughs, pinching his side playfully. 

“Okay, okay! Why do you think you’ve lost it, Louis?”

“Well…It’s a secret.”

“I can keep a secret.”

“Can you?”

At the question, Harry shakes his head, unsurprised by the lack of annoyance at this pointless lengthen of conversation. In fact, he’s more pleased by it.

“Mmm,” he hums. “I can.”

“Okay. So, I’m supposed to be the defenseless Omega and you’re the Alpha that Mummy warned me away from, yeah?”

The Alpha chuckles. “Let’s say that then.”

There’s a trace of humour in the other’s voice now. “So, isn’t it stranger-danger for me to be frolicking about with you?”

Harry rolls his eyes. “Stranger-danger? Frolicking? Whatever happened to LouisandHarry?!”

“Harry, be serious,” Louis grumbles, squirming uselessly. “We are exactly that. Strangers.”

“Stranger’s don’t do this, Lou,” he murmurs, making it so that Louis ends up sprawled over his body again. Again, Louis squeaks in surprise…but, he doesn’t move and that’s a monumental victory.

“But…We’re different, Haz,” is his only reply.

And yeah, Harry thinks, they are different, but for now, different is perfect.

Chapter Text

“Louis…” that extremely deep, extremely nerve-racking voice calls in the smoggy distance. “Gatta wake up, boo.”

Desperate to remain here, where the warm, intoxicating scent constrains his very being, the Omega ignores those words. Except, barely seconds later, the voice is murmuring, “C’mon, little one, it’s late…” but Louis is too sleepy to care.

“No…” the word slips past his lips involuntarily. “Lemme sleep.”

There’s a skeptically fond sigh before gentle fingers brush the stray strands of hair from his face. The touch urges him closer to the oblivion the Omega craves so badly. “Your Mum is probably sick with worry, babe…” somehow, the voice sounds almost reluctant to say so.

“Don’t care,” Louis sighs–not yet recognizing the odd depths to those words–those wound up feelings. “Rather be ‘ere anyway…” then, the smaller boy leans into the rough hand cupping his cheek.

At the answering silence that follows Louis nearly begins to hope that the silence means he will get his way again. But, apparently, two times in one day is wishful thinking because abruptly, a heavy hand wraps around the span of his shoulder, shaking him lightly. Whining in protest, the Omega mumbles, “Haz…stop it.”

“Louis,” Harry, the horribly, wide-awake, Alpha starts, “I’m counting to five before I resort to carrying you.”

And really, they’re back to playing games, are they? Louis fights the amused smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “That’s rather drastic, don’t cha think?”

“One,” is Harry’s only response.

Without permission, his lips soften in a drowsy smile. “Haz, this is silly…”

“Two.”

“Not feeding into this…’m not,” Louis persists.

“Three…Four…”

“Nope. Not listen–!”

Five.”  And whoever said an Alpha’s word meant nothing is a proper knobhead.

With a startled gasp, the entire world becomes unfocused as Louis is lifted from the car. Frantically, the boy clutches the defined muscles of Harry’s shoulder blades, yelping, “Okay! Okay! ‘m up! Sheesh!”

Despite the words, Louis doesn’t struggle, because Harry blazes over the cool, brisk air, swelling over the Omega in strange, hot bursts. A violent shudder runs up Louis’s spine, his body unwinds and becomes aware that Harry’s hands are splayed at his side and underneath his thighs in a tight, secure grip.

And, all at once, the Alpha’s scent becomes that much stronger. In attempt to keep from whining, Louis’s canines worry his bottom lip…his head spins uncontrollably.

Oblivious, Harry laughs throatily–the sound travels from Louis’s ears, down his throat, in between the hollows separating his ribs…even his tummy. The warmth and the scent and being cocooned in Harry’s arms have the exhaustion sinking into his bones. But, the Omega imagines the slope between Harry’s shoulder and throat would make the perfect pillow.

“Lou,” Harry murmurs as Louis stifles a yawn behind his hand.

“Mmm…”

“Tomorrow, we’re going out properly. Like, with your Mum’s permission.”

There isn’t a choice. Under different circumstances, the notion might terrify him immensely, but this is Harry…And, though some might call him stupid, Louis trusts the Alpha. Besides, it has to happen sometime. “Mhm.” 

“Now, though,” the Alpha hums, his nose nuzzling Louis’s cheek tenderly. Again, the little sound, much like a purr, leaves his lips without permission, but Harry’s hold tightens around him in response, so Louis isn’t all that embarrassed by it. “It’s cold and you’re about to fall asleep again. Let’s get you inside.”

Sighing, Louis says, “Fine. Lead the way.”

“As you wish, little prince,” it’s horribly trite, and there’s a Cheshire grin in his voice as the Alpha strides, with Louis still in his arms, confidently up the drive.

Before the Omega can protest or think to struggle, they’re at the front door (as Harry’s come to an abrupt halt). So, Louis unleashes the next best thing: his mouth. “Because who needs legs, honestly. ‘M perfectly capable of walking.”

Of course Harry Styles doesn’t feed into the argument, instead Harry Styles chuckles and sets him on his feet–without any effort whatsoever though Louis is almost positive he doesn’t weigh a mere three stone but okay. Upright, the smaller boy sways, loosing balance quickly, but not before the Alpha catches him, sounding needlessly worried. “Whoa. Feeling okay, love?”

“’’m okay, Harry,” the Omega says hastily–being fussed over makes him uncomfortable. Especially when it’s really nothing. “Just…tired, is all.”

Then, too distract him Louis snags his keys from his pocket and shoves them out towards the other expectantly. Wordlessly, Harry takes them and seconds later the door unlocks with a muted click. And, there it is again–the inevitable goodbye.

“I’ll see you in the morning, yeah?”

To Louis’s disappointment, the Alpha doesn’t sound nearly as reluctant to leave as Louis is for him to go…but then again, the boy thinks helplessly, why would he?

Sighing, Louis nods, going to turn when those rough, large hands close over his cheeks.

Anticipation coils in his belly and his tongue darts out to lick his lips…Except Harry doesn’t kiss him–not where the boy desperately craves it most at least. That gentle, practised mouth scatters kisses along his nose, his chin, his jaw, both his eyelids…

A rush of butterflies flutter through Louis as his breath comes faster and his knees go weak and…and…thinking becomes impossible.

“Sweet dreams, Louis,” the Alpha mumbles into his hair with one last, lingering kiss. Somehow, Louis ends up alone with his bag weighing on his shoulder and his mind in a never-ending daze.

In that daze, Louis stumbles inside, realising it is late–judging by scarily calm it is, the girls must be in bed already–which means it passed their 7:30 bedtime. Sagging against the doorframe, the Omega brings his trembling fingers up to his lips, still tingling with the memory of Harry’s lips over them.

It was everything Louis had wished for in a first kiss–so much more than the Omega could have ever imagined. A little voice nags at him though, wondering whether Harry had been so gentle because the Alpha could sense how insecure Louis is or…maybe it was obvious Louis hadn’t welcomed another’s affections before. Because, what Alpha would want an Omega who–?

“Where have you been?” Jay’s voice startles the Omega from his reverie. Panic swells in his throat. He is in so much trouble.

“M-Mum…”

“Louis William Tomlinson,” his Mother retorts. “Do you realise what time it is? You were supposed to have been home hours ago. I have called and texted you more times than I can count and–. Explain, now.”

Right then, Louis decides a freak tornado or lightning bolt to the head would be very welcomed. “I’m…I’m sorry, Mum. I hadn’t realised it was so late…and…and…I’m,” he stumbles stupidly, trying to think passed the panic.

With a deep breath, Jay says, “I was worried, Louis. I am worried. You haven’t been open with me. Your apology is accepted…But, please, talk to me.”

But… “I’m scared,” is all Louis can manage to breathe as the traitor tears gather in his eyes. He is scared. He’s scared that his Mum will freak. He’s scared she won’t understand…Most of all, the Omega is terrified she’ll not allow him to see Harry again.

At the thought, a quick gasp, gasp, gasp of air drags through his lips. Anxiety–something the Omega hasn’t felt since…since…since…Oh, no, no, no–lashes at his lungs.

In seconds, his Mum envelopes him and Louis sinks readily into the warm embrace, letting out all the pent-up frustration from the previous  few months, the tangle of frayed emotions; just clinging to his life-boat; his only constant. Jay murmurs loving little reassurances until the attack subsides, leaving him numb. Nonetheless, the small, blue-eyed boy feels light enough to breathe again.

Drawing back a bit, Jay brushes the last, few stray tears away, speaking softly, “Come. Let’s talk over a cuppa.”

The words cause Louis to smile a bit. They always have deep conversations over a cuppa. It’s his Mum’s trademark “this is big” implement. They’ve always followed it. So the Omega follows Jay into the kitchen and sits at the nearest stool of the island while the older Omega brews the tea.

“I talked to Liam this evening,” she comments. “Says you two haven’t spoken in a bit…”

“We haven’t,” Louis whispers sourly, squeezing his eyes shut. 

“Come on, boo, tell me what’s going on.”

And Louis does. The words won’t stop–starting at the first meet with Harry Styles to the present. Now, his breathing is labored from talking so quickly and his heartbeat is an insistent thump, thump, thump in his ears.

For a while, his Mum doesn’t speak, but then the stool beside him draws backwards a bit and a cup of steaming tea is placed on the island counterpane in front of his wringing hands.

“Well, I suppose, I’ve been expecting something like this would happen,” but Jay doesn’t sound put out or even disappointed. She sounds knowing.

“What…?” the Omega asks, confused.

“Oh, Lou,” his Mum sighs. “You’re such a gorgeous boy, so kind and smart and passionate with all kinds of aims. You might not be able to see it, but you don’t need too. It’s inside you. And you’re growing up, baby, I-I know I’ve not been the most accepting of Mother’s but –,”

“What? No–Mum, you’re so good to me! But I know it’s been hard, keeping up with the girls and work and me…Just…I didn’t want to worry you because I thought you’d be…put out because I haven’t thought anything through…And I know it’s foolish, fancying the first Alpha that gives me the time of day…but…I didn’t want to upset you,” he rambles anxiously.

Quietly, his Mum murmurs, “Louis Tomlinson, have I ever given you the impression that I do not trust your judgment?”

“No, but–,”

“Does this Alpha treat you right?”

“Yes, but–,”

“Do you fancy him?”

“Its borderline pathetic,” he whispers shamefully, blushing to the tips of his ears.

“Then, why, in Heaven’s name, would I not give the lad a chance?”

With a sigh, Louis runs his pinkie over the teacups brim. “You wouldn’t…I was just–,”

“Scared? It happens, love. Trust me, I know. Now, tell me all about the notorious Harry Styles,” she teases, tapping his nose playfully.

Eventually the Omega might just die of embarrassment–but Louis tells her even so–how sweet and patient Harry is, that the Alpha must be absolutely gorgeous and–

“Mum, this might sound odd, but I swear when we’re together…all the puzzle pieces fall into place. Like everything is put into perspective. I’m on cloud-nine…And I swear, sometimes, Harry can feel that too. He can feel what I feel and it’s the same for me–,”

Soulmates,” Jay interrupts.

“Um…Sorry?”

“Oh, it’s…It’s nothing. Go on.”

Louis wants to press, but then he remembers, “Mum…Did…Liam, like, ask…?”

“Louis, you need to have a long, nice chat with Liam. Some things need to be said,” his Mum says sternly.

“What thing?” he asks, suspicion colouring his tone. Does his Mum possibly know something he doesn’t?

“It’s not my place. Just talk to him.” Soon, Louis decides, he will. They can’t avoid this forever.

For a while, Louis falls into comfortable conversation with his Mum, who agrees (after some pleading) to keep the embarrassment to a minimum tomorrow evening.

But soon, the Omega struggles to keep his eyes open and Jay shoos him up to his bedroom, where he changes and crawls into the middle of his bed with his messenger bag on his shoulder. There, Louis catches his flower in two fingers from where it’s placed in the front pocket and brings it to his nose.

Smiling fondly, the Omega is careful to set it inside the side-table, where the girls won’t mess with it.

Even when it dries up, Louis thinks it will still be beautiful.

 

//

Harry groans awake, his heart beats erratically, but not with panic. Unconsciously, the sharp points of his canines sink into his bottom lip, the slight of pain travels straight to his cock–rock hard against his stomach.

With another low groan, Harry shifts, shoving his face in the pillows, though it does nothing to remove the image branded in his mind.

His Omega. His small, fragile Omega on his knees, lips swollen from his kisses as those wide, cerulean eyes stare up at him, swimming with trust, waiting, obeying his Alpha.

Fuck.

Growling, Harry clenches his fists around the sheets, breath coming quicker. Powerless to stop it, his hand wraps around his erection and begins to squeeze the damned thing, imagining a smaller, softer hand working him instead.

The air in his lungs disappears as his hips grind down on the mattress. An orgasm slams into him and Harry struggles to breathe around the sensation. It goes on forever and in a haze, Harry wonders whether he’s come twice…Or possibly more.

Disgusted with himself, the Alpha sits up; prying his hand away from his cock to find the damned thing is still hard. Well, whatever, he thinks, not about to make the mistake of giving it another go.

Sighing in frustration, Harry goes into the connected bath and runs the shower. After brushing his teeth and forcing his Alpha to chill the fuck out, the scolding water gradually loosens his tense muscles.

Sometime later, the Alpha emerges from the steam-filled bath, his usual energy having returned. Running a hand through his messily spiked curls, Harry dresses, shrugging into his worn, brown-leather jacket and snagging his keys on his way out the front doors.

By now the ascending sun lights the sky in hues of oranges and pinks. The sight sends a shock through him. Not because it’s overwhelmingly beautiful or anything, but because all Harry manages to think is ‘Louis will never see this’. And that–that makes him slightly mental–dangerously, his mind shortwires.

Yeah, knowing that damages him more than any ruddy broken bone or cruel words or shit parenting or any-fucking-thing. Hell, right now, Harry wishes there were some way to gouge his own eyes out and offer them to Louis without looking as mental as he feels (or possibly suicidal).

Well, wouldn’t that be a surprise? that very twisted, masochistic part of his snorts. Even so, the Alpha doesn’t acknowledge that, lost in the cold torment that has its claws in his heart, threatening to leave him surrounded by lifeless grey.

But fuck, what he would give to know there was someone responsible that he could hunt down and–

Stop making it worse, Styles. With a sharp breath, Harry swallows passed the lump swelling in his throat and starts the car’s engine.

The drive to Louis’s is long enough for him to compose himself –long enough for the buzz to ease over him again. Leaning on the car, Harry waits–though not for long.

A petite Omega, with feathery chestnut hair and tempest-coloured eyes rushes outside the Victorian date house. His heart flutters in that upsetting way, but before Harry can even think into it, Louis smiles shyly at him.

And… “Morning Hazza.”

//

Seemingly in fast-forward, the day blurs by until the dismissal bell startles Louis from his thoughts. As usual, the class has already emptied with only a few other students left. In a daze, the Omega grabs his bag and drifts out of the classroom, completely missing his assistant’s following words.

Outside the door, someone taps his nose lightly and on instinct Louis flinches away, then that someone announces, “Just me, love.”

Just like that the Omega relaxes, wondering, “How do you know my last class?”

“I’m very resourceful,” the Alpha replies easily, tossing an arm around the smaller boy’s shoulders and towing him in the direction of the lot.

“People are beginning to stare again,” Louis hisses, the stares burning holes into his back as he glares up (Harry’s so bloody tall) at the Alpha.

“I’m counting on it.” What?

Sighing indignantly, the Omega tries to decide whether Harry says these things to purposefully confuse him or the Alpha is naturally an enigma–neither would surprise him really.

“And that’s supposed to mean what?” he prompts, his cheeks heating ridiculously.

“They should know.” Know what?

“Harry,” Louis grumbles, stumbling over his feet. “Stop talking in riddles.”

“Louis,” Harry says quietly–assertively, bringing them to an abrupt halt.

“Harry,” the Omega hisses again, attempting to tug the Alpha from the middle of the foyer. It’s useless; Harry is just so much heavier. “Come on. We can’t just–,”

“Louis, be mine.” And that shuts him up.

Well, not exactly. Somehow, Louis still manages not only to breathe around the warm feeling fizzing in his belly, but laugh (or wheeze…close enough). His fingers tighten frantically on Harry’s sleeve. “You’re such a pest, you know that Styles…”

Then, as to make the other sweat a moment, Louis pauses, realising it’s gone suspiciously silent–though it’s probably because his focal point is Harry–depending on the Alpha to keep him from panicking.

“Okay. Yeah, Haz, ‘course. I-I’m yours,” Louis finally blurts, a bit breathlessly, but Harry Styles wants him and Harry Styles makes him crazy–so, so crazy. That’s reason enough to be breathless, he thinks.

Without missing a beat, the Alpha begins to pull him through the hall until they’re outside, in the lot, where it drizzles lightly. “You’re gonna pay for those five seconds of hesitation, Lou.” Yet the words aren’t the least bit threatening–they’re soft and easy and engaging.

“I think I’ll live,” the smaller boy retorts, smiling sweetly at the other.

“I don’t know…” Harry trials, almost suggestively, ushering Louis backwards into the car. At the words, sensations –searing, burning, wanton–kindle and yearn low, low in his belly. Breathing through parted lips, Louis’s hands tremble where they’re positioned feebly on Harry’s shoulders. “I can be a vicious Alpha,” the looming Alpha continues, breath warm on Louis’s jaw.

“Vicious,” Louis repeats faintly. “I…I can handle vicious.” Or so he hopes.

Humming low in his throat, Harry drags his lips to the Omega’s ear, voice strong and husky and oh. “You’ll have too. ‘Cause you belong to me now.”

At the words Louis flushes with his heart-in-his-mouth. But like most times, Harry seems to get it, retreating and muttering, “Home…You need to get home.”

Absently the Omega nods, still marveling at the idea of belonging to someone–even without the bond. His Omega is glowing–which doesn’t really come as a shock–what does: the way his mind is clouded with the words belong and mine.

Mulling over those thoughts, Louis doesn’t realise the car has stopped until Harry says, “Lou, babe, we’re here.”

“Already?” the Omega asks incredulously, then, “You were speeding again, weren’t you.”

“I wouldn’t dare.” But there is a definite smile in his voice.

For dramatic effect, Louis narrows his eyes and pouts, “Already lying to me I see.”

“Do you?” the question comes sharp, almost offended, but Louis refuses to let that ruin his humour.

“The irony is not lost to me,” he grins impishly, his hand sliding over the door handle purposefully. Opening the door, Louis steps out of the car and out of reach.

“Seven,” the Alpha mutters as the Omega goes to shut the door. “I’ll be here by seven.”

With a small smile, Louis nods, fast-walking up the drive before fumbling with his keys. After three attempts at finding the lock, the Omega manages to get into the house. Instantly, without the Alpha’s scent scattering his thoughts, reality catches up to him.

Too keep from going into panic-mode, Louis rushes up the stairs (tripping up only a few times). Niall–Louis really needs to talk to Niall.

//

                Harry’s never been on an actual date–a date that he’d actually opted for, requested, or had to meet parents, that is. And that is how Harry comes to the conclusion that he is very, royally screwed–which is more than bad for his ego.

Shoving a hand through his hair, the Alpha snatches his phone and dials. “Styles, could you call at a worse time? Honestly,” the Omega’s voice sounds off-pitch but Harry is practically panicking.

“I’m taking Louis on a date,” he tells the other–which, fine, not the most detailed explanation, but.

“And? How does that concern me?

“I have to meet his Mum, Zayn. Christ, I don’t even know where I’m supposed to take him! That is how this concerns you.”

Over the other line, Zayn shifts, “Hate to break it to you mate, but I’m not exactly Casanova.”

“But blokes have taken you out. Come on, Z. Where would an Alpha have to take you to win your affections?”

“Win my affections? Haz, since when has winning anyone’s affections…mattered?” Well, fuck.  

“Zayn,” the Alpha says through clenched teeth. “Stop pissing around. You know…You know this one is special. And I don’t–can’t–fuck this up.”

“Alright, quit the Alpha-stat. Otherwise, you’re on your own.”

“I’m listening,” Harry snaps, thinking (for the millionth time) Zayn has never been so annoying.

“Your boy seems to be the shy sort or whatever. I reckon he’d be more comfortable staying in. Hell, you’re a kickass chief, Haz, why don’t you cook for ‘im? The Grade-A-Arsehole is on business this week anyway, yeah?”

“Have I ever told you what a brilliant little shit you are?”

Zayn snorts. “There’s a first time for everything I suppose.” Harry has never loved him more. “Go dazzle the pants off lover boy, yeah?”

Grinning, Harry hangs up and dares to step foot inside the manor. Tonight the place seems especially empty and cold, but the Alpha shrugs the feeling away and heads for the kitchen. Strangely, the Cook (an older Beta, who actually thinks Harry is quite funny, bless her) isn’t there…instead, the female Omega from yesterday is humming around the kitchen with ear-buds in.

A bit awkwardly, Harry taps her shoulder. She shrieks, nearly slapping him in the process and Harry backs away with his hands raised in surrender. “Christ. Could give a girl some warn–Oh. Um, Mr. Styles! Sorry, I didn’t…”

“Harry,” he corrects again. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you, but is there any chance you know where Mrs. Jones is?”

The girl –Clarissa?–blushes bright red. “A-Actually, she wasn’t feeling well and –,”

“Cool,” Harry says uninterestedly. “Could you gather the rest of the staff and tell them to go home? I’ll double the pay or whatever. Just…I need the place to be emptied tonight.”

He doesn’t wait for an answer. Instead, Harry begins to go through the ingredients for pizza (because honestly, who doesn’t like pizza?)

Sighing, the Alpha checks the clock and decides there’s no time to start cooking, seeing as it’s 6:17 and he needs to shower. As he goes to leave, the girl comes back, “Er…The staff is preparing to leave. Will there be anything else?”

“No, thanks,” the Alpha mutters, going to turn when, “Um, Harry? Just a warning, the others are…suspicious…I mean, I’m sure it’s nothing, but…” Nothing new there.

“Thanks. I’ll…Uh keep that in mind.” Then, within seconds, he’s upstairs, shucking away his clothing.

Once finished, Harry dresses the best he has in ages, in dark trousers, a button-down white collar (over that is a thick, grey blazer) and leather-black boots. It’s presentable, he figures, before half-heartedly styling his curls. With a once-over-check of the manor (to make sure everyone’s left), the Alpha promptly gets the hell out.

Twenty or so minutes later, Harry takes a deep breath, before ringing the bell at Louis’s door. Not even seconds after the door swings open to reveal his Omega. Covetously, Harry drinks in the sight of him: his feathery hair, bright eyes and pink cheeks. He’s dressed in sinfully tight, bright red trousers, a grey button-up and light gray braces to match.

Mine. At the sight, his Alpha growls to life, clawing at his self-control while the buzz does just the opposite; easing its tight hold over his lungs.  There’s no middle ground between the two.

“Hi,” the boy breathes–his nervousness floods through the invisible-bond and Harry’s hands begin to burn with the desire grab him, to close the space separating them.

“You look…” Harry pauses, struggling to find the right words. Like mine, the words are bright-neon, beckoning him to say them, but that’s not fucking possible (yet). Still, the Alpha needs to assure the boy, who looks so nervous and unsure of himself. “Christ, you’re so gorgeous, Louis.”

“T-Thanks…” Louis says in a small voice–Harry is awestruck. Nothing matters, because this is his Louis, who’s achingly unspoken with a personality so big and brilliant that Harry might suffocate and–

Suddenly, a tiny figure blurs by, two thin arms circle Louis’s right leg. Confused, the Alpha blinks, catching a little, barely audible whispers, “Lou. Your mate is too big for you.”

Shrugging apologetically, Louis twists around before– “Daisy! I thought I told you to get on up to bed,” a woman calls, marching into the room with raised eyebrows.

“But Mum,” the little one–Daisy–whines. “I wanna say g’night to Lou-Bear!” Lou-Bear, hmm?

Without any warning, Louis swoops down and gather’s Daisy up in his arms, tickling her. “Little minx! Gatta listen to Mummy and get up to bed!”

Daisy shrieks, struggling wildly as his Omega carries her away, passing the older Omega, who watches the two fondly.

When they’re out to sight, Harry clears his throat, pasting a polite smile on his face and meeting the woman’s eyes, a familiar colour, but with a steely undertone that Louis’s don’t have, as she steps forward.

“Ma’am, I’m Harry. Harry Styles. Lovely to meet you,” Harry introduces to fill the silence. 

“Jay,” the woman corrects, smiling warily.  “Please, come in. It’ll be a few before those two quit messing about.”

Understanding, the Alpha steps inside, shutting the door softly behind him and assessing the house in the same movement. It’s comfortable and warm and Harry can tell everything here is or has been used. It’s nothing like he’s used to…but the Alpha is more than okay with that.

“You have a very charming home,” he comments, staring at the photographs decorated on the walls–all smiles and sunshine here.

“Cheers,” Jay says. “So, Harry, why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself?”

“Well, there’s not much. I’m from Cheshire, but I've lived here most my life and I graduate this year.”

“And how old are you?” Ah, the investigation begins.

“Eighteen.”

“What are your intentions with my son?”

Holding the older Omega’s gaze, Harry straightens, answering honestly, “All I want is the chance to make him happy.”

A beat of silence passes before, “He’s a very special boy,” she agrees with his unsaid words. The atmosphere cools drastically as Jay realises the Alpha doesn’t pose a threat to her son.

Just as Harry goes to speak, Louis returns to the room, clapping his hands together. “Okay, I suppose we’ll be off now.”

Warnings in her eyes, Jay kisses the Omega’s forehead briefly. “Not too late.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Harry nods, shooting Louis a roguish smirk. “Again, it was lovely meeting you.”

“And not too much fun!” the fretful Omega calls as Louis practically drags Harry out the front door.

Okay, Mum! Goodnight!” The words are dismissive and the Alpha shakes his head in amusement, but helps the smaller boy into the car.

Leaning forward, Harry asks softly, “Are you nervous?”

“Yes,” the boy breathes hurriedly, wringing his hands in his lap.

“Me too,” the Alpha whispers conspiratory. Louis’s eyes shoot up to meet his and Harry thinks he can read his thoughts there: never. Still, the Omega smiles his adorable, timid smile.

Beside him, in the car, Harry buckles and starts the engine when Louis begins, “So. Where’re we going this time?”

In response, Harry snorts. “Like I’d tell.”

The little v forms between Louis’s eyes again. “Really, Haz? This again? I already admitted defeat.”

Rolling his eyes, Harry says, “Lou, would you fancy going to some posh, over-the-top restaurant?”

“Um…” the other fumbles. “Does it matter?”

Frowning, the Alpha murmurs, “Of course.”

“Well,” the boy mumbles. “Honestly, I’d rather stay in…B-But I know it isn’t my–,”

“Lou, spare me the Alphas-1-0-1. Tonight, what you say goes, yeah?”

“O-Okay,” Louis answers unsurely. “I suppose we should go to yours then.”

“Excellent.”

Plugging his iPhone in, Harry allows the music to sooth the atmosphere, relieved that the buzz is hardly recognizable now. Through the ride, Louis continually hums and already, this night is ace.

Parked in the lot, Harry intertwines their fingers and their hands swing between them as they walk towards the garage-side entrance. “What’s your home like Haz?” What home?

Uncertain how to answer, the Alpha simply says, “Big. Unnecessarily big.”

Humming, the Omega grins in question, “Like, secret rooms big?”

“Like secret rooms and creepy chambers big,” Harry affirms, unconsciously grinning back.

“And who lives with you?”

“You’re very inquisitive tonight,” the Alpha evades lightly.

“Deflecting again, are we?” Smart-mouthed, his Omega really is.

“’s just me and my Father.” Then, as to keep the subject from progressing, Harry asks, while unlocking the bolts, “How about you? Just your Mum and Daisy?”

At that, Louis laughs, allowing the Alpha to tug him inside and flick the light switch so that the obnoxiously magnificent chandler rains rays of light down on them. “Actually, it’s me, Lottie, Fliss, Daisy and Phoebe.”

Impressed, Harry comments, “Sounds loud.” So refreshing compared to the constant-silence taken refuge in this revolting manor that the Alpha often fantasizes about burning down.

“That a bad thing?”

“No…” the Alpha murmurs as they enter the kitchen. “That’s absolutely perfect.”

Wordlessly, the Omega runs his hands along the walls and counterpanes–mapping the kitchen, Harry assumes. “How do you feel about pizza?”

“Mmm. Love it,” Louis hums idly.

“Alright. Let’s get to work then.”

In shock, the boy whirls around, facing him. “You mean we’re cooking? Harry, perhaps you haven’t noticed, but I’m blind.” Trust me, the Alpha thinks bitterly, I’ve noticed.

“So?”

“So…I…like…I couldn’t even pick up a kettle,” the smaller spouts, looking so frightened that Harry can’t help but laugh.

Irritation seeps from Louis as the boy crosses his arms.

“Hey, hey,” Harry murmurs gently, grabbing ahold of his hand and bringing him closer. “Don’t be angry. Do you want to cook?”

“I can’t –I’ll…I’ll mess up and–,”

“Louis,” the Alpha interrupts. “Do you want to cook?”

With a doubtful huff, the Omega mutters, “I want to try. But I know it won’t work out.”

Choosing to ignore the last part, Harry smirks, squeezing the boys hand encouragingly.  “Awesome. Let’s make some pizza.”

Turns out, cooking is an absolute disaster…and it couldn’t be lovelier. It’s everything Harry’d hoped.

Through struggling with the proper ingredients and locating them, the Alpha forgets flour. Of course Louis follows him into the pantry, but ends up grabbing the weighty bag too hastily and dropping it.

Flour whites the entire floor and Louis looks like he might cry…except no, there will be no tears tonight. Somehow, the powder ends up in his hand…and then all over the Omega’s face…and it turns into a full-on flour fight and somehow or another eggs are being tossed and then there is a huge mess that the staff will (no doubt) be furious about tomorrow and…well, there’s no pizza.

But Louis is giggling, flushed, a proper mess and the Alpha couldn’t be any more pleased. Ultimately, Harry is first to raise an imaginary white-flag. “Okay! Okay! Mercy, I give!”

Wide-eyed, Louis drops his weapon (a piece of bread), gasping, “Oh…My God!”

“You made a mess,” Harry teases–again, the boy looks like he might cry.

“Why are you joking about this? This is horrible, Haz! Everything is…”

Blinking, Harry stands (an impressive dust-cloud in his wake) and catches Louis around the waist, nuzzling the boy’s hair, inhaling that fresh flower scent (maybe a bit of flour too). “Lou, baby, relax. It’s fine. The staff will clean it tomorrow.”

Louis leans into the embrace. “Staff?” he croaks.

“Cleaning-crew, maids, noisy-employees, the likes,” he notes.

“They’re going to be extremely livid. We should at least attempt to straighten up a bit,” his kind-hearted Omega suggests hopefully.

“Oi. This is a date! There will be no such actions taking place.”

“But–,”

Nope. No buts. I’ll clean it tomorrow. And anyway, you need to eat.”

“Harry,” the boy whines. “I’m a mess!”

“Hmm,” the Alpha starts. “How about I order take out while you shower then? You can have my clothes.”

“Hershey Dunkers,” Louis mumbles (whatever those are, Harry thinks).

“Deal. Come; let’s get the shower running and…er, yeah.”

Nodding, Louis allows the Alpha to lead him up the stairs and into his bedroom, where Harry hands him a black jumper, grey joggers, and the guest-towels. Then, Harry runs the faucet, making sure the temperature is good enough before coughing, “Um, I’ll be outside…You can use whatever you’d like.”

With about as much composure as possible, Harry leaves the bathroom to change from the soiled clothing into fresh ones and wash his face in the other bathroom. Quickly, the Alpha dials and orders the take out before heading below, to the lounge, where he turns on the wide-screen telly and paces the room to keep himself in line.

The pizza arrives before Louis is finished and Harry pays before settling the boxes on the table and pouring glasses of sweet-teas.

“Harry?” a quiet voice says.

Worried Louis might attempt to get down the endless-spiral staircase, Harry jogs to the foot of the steps and replies, “One sec.”

But when the Alpha’s eyes land on the Omega his breathing catches because fuck, his small, compact body is swimming in Harry’s clothes, the jumper hanging to his knees and the sleeves rolled up. Even the joggers are rolled up and…his clothing must be scenting him.

Obliviously, Louis fiddles with the sleeves, mumbling self-consciously, “Looks ridiculous…I know.”

Unable to fight it, Harry closes the space, splaying one hand over the boy’s lower back, the other around his throat. His nerve-endings spike at Louis’s sharp gasp. He feels it too.

Inhaling, the Alpha finds that the boy does smell like him and that turns him on unbelievably. Driven by the combined scent, Harry leans forward until his lips close over Louis’s soft, pliant ones.

Mine.  The urge to claim, to taste him, surges through him violently, but Harry retreats, breathing heavier with effort. Louis’s eyes are shut, lips swollen; so pretty and lovely.

“They look better on you,” the Alpha’s voice is guttural. The smaller boy’s eyes flutter open and confusion hovers. “The clothes,” Harry reminds gently, watching his cheeks turn a delicious shade of pink.

“Doubt it.”

“Don’t,” the taller insists sternly as Louis nods, his fingers hesitantly brushing Harry’s. Unconsciously, the Alpha locks their hands, taking them down into the lounge.

Some rom-com plays on the telly while Louis nibbles on his first slice. Harry doesn’t dare touch the food, the basic instinct to insure his Omega’s health is much more fulfilling than any food. Louis doesn’t seem to notice as the Alpha observes his motions; stares at his mouth, yearning to have him eat from his hand.

Damn it, he really should have made that pizza.

Louis’s started on his first Hershey-Whatever when Harry breaks. “Can I feed you?” His voice never wavers.

Frowning, the Omega swallows a bite, mumbling, “I can feed myself, Harry.”

“Lou…” only this time he’s close to begging. “Please?”

Grimacing, Louis shoves the treat at him, “You are such an Alpha.”

“I know,” the older smirks, picking the Hershey-Thing from his hand, “Open.”

Obediently, the Omega does and with each bite, Harry finds his Alpha relaxing, completely content with taking care of the boy.  

Too soon though, Louis turns away from treat, muttering, “No more. I’m full.”

Nodding, Harry stands, stretching before grabbing the food and taking it to the kitchen. When he returns to the lounge Louis is curled up on the sofa, looking adorably drowsy. Grinning, the Alpha sits on the other side (Louis isn’t even long as the sofa), watching the boy fight sleep.

It’s getting late, but Harry doesn’t have the heart to wake him up again. The first time was difficult enough and recovery is still in action. Louis slips into unconsciousness seconds-to-soon and the Alpha lets the telly play in the background, completely riveted by the boy’s tossing and turning and his little mumbles.

Then its exactly ten and Harry has (happily) taken ten kicks to the ribs but knows it’s getting too late. Sighing, the Alpha reaches over and just-barely shakes Louis’s shoulder. Again, the Omega grumbles unintelligibly.

“C’mon, boo. Gatta wake up. You’ve fallen asleep on me twice now. I’m beginning to think I’m a bore.”

“’Course not, Haz…” the Omega sighs, sitting up with an adorably soft smile.

More. The one, simple word erupts in his mind, slamming into his skull. And suddenly, he’s starving for the proximity, starving for him all over. Crazed by it, Harry pulls the smaller boy forward, so that he ends up on his lap with a little “oof”. A shiver runs up the Alpha’s spine as the empty chill begins to thaw.

Tilting Louis’s face, Harry probes those eyes, reassured by the sparks of warm satisfaction beyond all the other emotions raging there.

He has blue eyes, the Alpha thinks madly. Bluer than the ocean or the sky…so damned blue.

Abruptly, Louis speaks. “Harry, this probably seems weird…but…Can I?” his fingertips wisp over Harry’s jaw in question.

Without hesitation, Harry nods, desperate for Louis to see him. Carefully, gentle fingers run over his features, starting at his temple, over his cheekbones, down the length of his nose, tracing his eyebrows, until ever-so-lightly, they drag over his lips. Just the innocent touch has the Alpha’s blood rushing to his cock, which fuck, that’s wrong; this shouldn’t be so…provocative.

“Harry…What colour are your eyes?”

Mechanically, Harry blurts, “Green,” though he isn’t sure why it matters. How could Louis differentiate black from anything? The question makes him wince, cold-fury rushing through him.

Louis nods, shifting out of Harry’s lap and onto his feet. When the Alpha opens his eyes, Louis is beaming brilliantly. “You should probably take me home before Mum grounds me.”

“Right,” Harry replies lamely.

“Don’t suppose there’s any way I can change back into my clothes…?’ Not if I can help it.

“’Fraid not, love. Yours clothes are ruined.” True enough.

Louis pouts sullenly. “Mum is going to be suspicious. Ugh. I don’t even want to think about the impending sex-talk. No, no, no.”

Chuckling, Harry says, “Let’s go, love. She probably won’t even notice.”

You don’t know my Mother,” he grumbles, but let’s Harry guide him out and into the car. “God, I reckon she’ll call me easy,” Louis continues once Harry is driving and again, Harry laughs, because that’s certainly the worst thing that could happen.  

Too soon, Harry is walking Louis to the door, running his fingers down the smooth skin of his cheek. Those eyes bore into his and Harry wonders if the boy senses the connection…

“So I –,”

“Harry,” the Omega cuts in, shocking the Alpha when he stretches onto his tiptoes and fleetingly kisses the corner of him mouth. “I don’t think I’m an expert chef or anything…but I’d like to try again.”

Harry grins, his heart stalls and surges forward, attaching their lips again, but this time, his tongue experimentally runs along the boy’s bottom lip urgently. His body hums in agreement. The taste explodes in his mouth; chocolate and Louis and his.

Harry forces himself to back off, fully aware of Louis’s soft pants.

“We will,” he promises. “Go on. It’s late.” And the boy bites his bottom lip, turning away and opening the door.

The Alpha starts to walk backwards when Louis pauses, “Don’t even try leaving that mess!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” the Alpha replies, catching the secret-smile on the Omega’s lips before the door closes.

//

And the next morning at way-to-early-o-clock, Harry is wide-awake and cleaning. Just like his Omega asked.

Chapter Text

Louis feels sick. Actually, sick is an understatement. Some horrible, nervous feeling is curled up tight in his belly–a feeling Louis knows and does everything in his power to avoid.  Attempting to quell the sensation, the Omega fidgets and chews at his bottom lip, reminding himself that he shouldn’t feel this way. Not at all.

Because his Mum isn’t dragging him off to meet some stranger, no, this is Liam–his best mate since before all the chaos. Yet knowing that doesn’t stop the feeling from growing worse.

Too soon, the car stops, and Louis wipes his hands, sweat-slickened by nerves, on his trousers, holding still in (pathetic) hopes that Jay might not notice he hasn’t stepped out, or better, she’d listen to him this time, and they’d go home.

“I can’t do this,” he blurts, voice obnoxiously high-pitched. “I-I don’t want to do this,” he rambles on, another attempt to make her see reason.

“Louis,” Jay says imperiously. “This is Liam. You will be fine.” When the Omega doesn’t reply, she continues, “Besides, the two of you need to straighten this out before Karen and I resort to shoving you both in the closet and forcing it.”

“B-But…he’s probably asleep,” he mumbles weakly.

“Out, now,” is his Mum’s only reply–she knows Liam doesn’t sleep in, that’s just Liam.

“You’re the absolute worst.” With that, Louis throws the door open and stumbles out. As the Omega goes to shut the door, Jay calls, “You’ll thank me for this later!”

Louis really, really doubts that. Frantically, the Omega goes through escape options, considering walking some other place (but instantly rejecting that option because his Mum is probably on the phone with Karen now, plotting his demise and at this point, the Omega really doesn’t need to be grounded). So, with a sigh, Louis forces his legs up the familiar drive, where the front door flings open, and Karen’s voice sounds, “He’s upstairs, in his room.”

Forcing a smile, Louis goes to walk inside when slim arms crush him in an embrace. “Don’t let him fool you, he’s missed you. We all have. Don’t stay away so long again.” Comforted by Karen’s familiar scent, the Omega nods, then the Beta is shooing him up to Liam’s room. At the door, Louis bounces from foot to foot until (finally) knocking twice.

Liam’s answering voice is hoarse, “Who’s it?” And oh God, maybe he was asleep, maybe he should just go, maybe…

Swallowing, the Omega croaks, “Lou…Can I come in?”

There’s a brief pause and Louis honestly considers running with his tail between his legs when Liam mutters, “You don’t have to ask, Lou. You know that.” Not anymore,he doesn’t.

Nodding uselessly, the Omega opens the door, poking a hand through, then one foot, then the other, and–, “Bloody hell, Louis, I’m not going to take a bite out of you.” Liam’s hand snags his wrist and yanks him (a bit roughly) so that the Omega stumbles inside, just barely catching his balance.

“Um...Hi,” his voice shakes, his hands tangle and Louis feels very awkward.

“Why’re you here, Louis?” That question sucks. It sucks a lot…because Louis is so sorry for whatever he’s done wrong. And he wants his best mate back; wants to make this better. But sometimes, Alpha’s lack feelings and it really freaking sucks.

Louis flinches. “What? Now I don’t matter? I don’t have to ask to come in, but I have to explain why I’m here when it’s so obvious I’m here because you’ve been avoiding me like the plague and…and…I miss you. Jesus, Li, I miss you. Isn’t that enough?” Please, let that be enough…

“Oh, please,” the Alpha retorts. “Spare me the pity-party, Louis. You know how much you matter to me. You–,”

“You don’t ignore someone who matters, Liam. You don’t. So cut the crap and just tell me what’s going on because this…I…I love you. You know I do. And I don’t want to…lose you,” by the end his voice has lost its steel and the misery seeps through.

Liam laughs, but it’s empty and bitter and–, “But you love him more. Already. You’re falling and he’s not even right for you…”

That’s what this is about…?

With a sharp inhale, Louis breathes, “You…You don’t know him, Liam…He’s…He’s different –,”

“Stop defending him. Christ, I know enough–,

Without any warning, a wave of rage crashes into the Omega…And Louis snaps. “Shut up! Just don’t! You don’t decide anything! You’re not my Alpha! And this–isn’t your concern! I’m not seven anymore, Liam! I can’t see, but how moronic do I look?”

“I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU!” the Alpha roars so abruptly that Louis shrinks away from the words. “I loved you...And you were supposed to love me too…” 

Hurt; Unlike the physical pain of the headaches or the loss…This weaves through his belly, blurs his senses, in and out…in and out…A voice blares in his head: run, run, run; danger.

Something inside Louis breaks and collapses. Something inside Louis becomes nothing but an infinite collection of dust. Maybe it’s his heart or his lungs or even his bones…And the Omega needs to escape.

Louis runs. In seconds, his short legs have carried him down the steps and out the front door–fully aware of the footsteps stalking after him. Compared to the words ringing in his head, ‘…in love…love me…’ they’re faint.

Without any thoughts as to where he’s supposed to be going, Louis’s common sense dissipates, his legs refuse to stop and the Omega feels stupid, so, so, daft.

In the distance, someone shouts, “Louis!”

More voices:

“What…to him?”
“Please, Lou…c…b…ck!”

Even the voices fade in and out like his senses until they’ve (too) disappeared altogether. His lungs ache with exertion, his feet pound on the concrete, his bag jostles, his head spins…but Louis doesn’t stop.

Until the reality creeps over him and his feet catch clumsily on some invisible object and the Omega falls, frantically scanning the darkness from something, anything.

The scene flashes to life–scarily solid and unyielding.

White. All white.

Mummy carries him through the horribly white and horribly lifeless hospital halls, but the nice ladies (in white) give him big smiles and fond head shakes until he’s back inside his spacious (white) room with all sorts of wires and an uncomfortable bed. Louis really misses his room…But Mummy says they can’t leave here for a little while. So, Louis continues to miss his room.

Since Mummy promises the doctors will help with his headaches, he manages not to fuss quite as much either. Often, he tries to keep from whining about the way his head hurts and how he wants to go home and play with Li-Li…Though, he really, really, really wants too.

Mummy sets him on the bed with the awesome rails that remind him of a spaceship. For a while, the boy plays with his favourite Power Ranger, but quickly becomes bored again. “Can we go home?” he asks again, for the thousandth time.

His head doesn’t hurt much anymore. The nice doctors give him medicine that tastes absolutely yucky. He hates taking it. But has to, otherwise Mummy gets very put off.

When the boy looks up, Mummy is blurred, but Louis blinks a few times and it goes away. That happens a lot. It feels funny. Liam thinks he’s got superpowers…Louis secretly thinks so too. As she goes to answer, the nice Doctors steps inside.

“Hello there, Louis! And how are you today?”

Louis tries not to pout…really, he does, but he can’t help that he’s sad. “Can’t I go home now?” he pleads, widening his eyes some, like he does to get his way with Mummy.

“I’ll do my best to get you back home soon, sweetheart. Maybe even before Christmas!” That makes him smile. He’s been extra good this year so Santa will surely give him lots of toys and (maybe even) take away the head pains.

Assured, Louis nods and goes back to his game while Mummy and the Doctor talk about weird stuff. The Doctor uses big, big words like ‘Pituitary tumor,’ and ‘neuro...something’ and then Mummy is crying again. The nice Doctor doesn’t seem so nice anymore.

This causes the boy to cry. He doesn’t know why exactly. But his head begins to hurt again and his vision grows dimmer again.

Turns out, Louis doesn’t get to home for Christmas.

Frantically, the Omega draws in a long, ragged breath, the pounding of his heart effectively negating the memory. There is absolutely no reason, he thinks angrily, to think about it. None. This–This has nothing to do with that…That part of his life is over (has been for such a long time)–the past is in the past. And Louis refuses to acknowledge how untrue that suddenly seems.

For what feels like a long time, Louis remains on the ground–but the ringing his in ears subsides and is replaced by his phones insistent blares. Mechanically, the Omega shoves his hand in his bag and removes it; the phone promptly begins to inform him of (oh no) twenty missed called and texts from Liam, even more from his Mum…

Squeezing his eyes shut, the Omega stifles a sob and commands the phone to dial Alphaboy. Almost instantly a forceful curse comes through the line, “What’s…wrong?” but Louis doesn’t want to think or talk about it, doesn’t think it’s possible at this point.

Instead, Louis croaks in a voice that’s not at all his, “Hi.” Soundless tears skate down his flushed cheeks, though he doesn’t understand why; the pain is muted by the mental-chains that constrain his emotions.

 “Louis. Where’re you?”

Shrugging helplessly, Louis answers, “I don’t know, somewhere about, I suppose.” 

In the background an engine purrs to life. “I’m coming. Stay there, yeah?”

Wait,” the words that follow rush from his tongue–sharp emotion pierces the numb–not dread, he’s still beyond that, but fear. “No, please, s-stay…Don’t go, Harry, don’t –,”

“Right here, love,” the Alpha manages to soothe, despite the sharp undertone in his voice. “Talk to me?” And Louis wants to smile, because those words remind him of many nights ago, when Harry Styles wanted to know about him and Louis nearly told–wanted to–but ended up telling that silly story.

 “What would you have me tell you?” The same words. A different time. Another memory.

Harry doesn’t seem to notice, which Louis might be a bit disappointed by if he could just reconnect the frayed ends of his emotions and replace the numb.  “Tell me, what’ve you done today?”

“Nothing…” Surprisingly, the Alpha takes the let go just as tires screech from a nearby car coming to an abrupt halt. And Harry hangs up, leaving the Omega with two muted clicks and cold, cutting panic.

Desperate to control the sensation, Louis curls up on the ground, small and insignificant. Footsteps approach and though Louis doesn’t notice, his body stills with one last shiver.

Louis?”

//

                Harry isn’t exactly unfamiliar with pain. But hell does the Alpha do his best to avoid it. For ages, Harry has effectively constructed a mental-guard that filters out bullshit. Except, obviously, the buzz defies those bylaws, because one second the Alpha is listening to Zayn rant on about ‘fucking Alphas’ and how they’re all ‘shits conjured from the deepest pits of hell’ and gladly agreeing (fuck if he disagrees with a moody, frustrated Omega), the next Harry is doubled over in absolute agony.

Within seconds, the heat starts up; poison bloodlust makes the Alphas canines sharper, his vision sharper, movements slower. His skin crawls–a cold sweat breaking over him. And all Harry can manage to think is: Louis.

Shit! Harry? What–?”

Evidentially, all the Alpha can even manage to say is, “Louis.” Surprise, surprise.

Clutching his head, Harry fights the aggressive possession roiling below the pain, creating a noxious blend. “Phone…Get it.” There, the Alpha thinks with great dignity, so I can talk. 

Quicker than Harry has ever seen, Zayn grabs his phone and shoves it in the Alphas outstretched palm. Grinding his teeth, Harry makes his main focal point standing (somehow, some time, his legs had given out) without passing out.

An eternal two minutes pass before Harry (finally, finally) accomplishes that task–though just barely. And the Alpha doesn’t even get to relish in all his glory–the phones ringtone begins to chime. Just in time, Harry realises who is ringing.

Working on instinct, the Alpha answers, and the raw, violent hurt in his boy’s voice instantly dissolves his own trifling problems. Somehow, Harry ends up outside, conscious of the Omega hitching breaths and short responses.

Racing through the streets, Harry silently thanks whatever force out there for not making this a high-speed-police-chase because there isn’t a chance in Hell the Alpha is going to slow down for any law. All the while, the buzz guides him through a route that isn’t too far from the Omega’s house. Except, the Alpha ends up in the next flat-complex, outside an outdated flat. By now, it’s nearly noon, which makes it that much easier to spot his Omega. 

But even though the buzz knows, Harry doesn’t expect Louis to be sprawled out on some stranger’s lawn. Rage trickles through him. This is dangerous; Louis should never be alone. And damn it all, Louis should neverbe crying.

Slamming the brakes, the Alpha doesn’t bother to even stop the engine before tearing through the vacant lawn.

“Louis?” his voice sounds strange, high and…desperate.  There’s isn’t a response–Harry doesn’t think to expect one–but there isn’t even a movement or a breath and his Alpha is that much closer to committing murder. “Oh, love,” he breathes, slowly crouching, but never daring to touch this fragile, curled up boy.

Knowing he’s been seen, Louis moves, gradually unwinding from his fetal-position. “Hi…” 

“Hey,” is the Alpha automatic response as the relief pours over him in great bouts; there isn’t any physical damage. But that is the least of his problems.

With a shaky exhale, Louis opens his eyes; those eyes are glazed over like newly cut glass and…that’s the pain–the only hurt that Harry Styles can’t handle.

One way or another Louis ends up in his lap, head on his shoulder, uneven breaths over his throat. And Harry could never bear to let him go. Instead, the Alpha accepts the pain, sighs as it sinks into his bones and his soul and tries to make him understand this link between them. There is only one other link Harry knows, the mating-link…which isn’t possible. Instantly, the Alpha wants to rule that out because no–but…

Tensing, Harry struggles to contain his anger, but his voice comes shrewdly even so, “How old are you, Louis?”

“’m sixteen,” the other mumbles. Immediately, the anger drains from his body–not bonded then. “Why?”

Harry shakes his head. “No reason.” Then, as to distract the Omega, “You know, we’re very much trespassing right now.”

With a tiny sigh, Louis murmurs, “We should go…”

“We should.” Still, neither of them moves.

 “Like now…” it’s reluctant though. And well…

“I’m rather content here. I’m not moving,” the Alpha declares, trapping the boy in his arms and shutting his eyes.

Reality doesn’t exist beyond Louis Tomlinson and his wants. All else be damned.

//

                For a while Harry holds Louis in his arms; needing to know the boy is okay, needing to feel him close and be sure, unhealthy as it sounds. There’s a crystalline silence as the Alpha memorizes the hollows and curves of Louis’s delicate body with his hands. And the Alpha has a hunch that Louis Tomlinson was his in all the lives beyond this one because they align like a key in a lock and their bodies must have been fitted for each other so many fucking ages ago.

Suddenly, it’s that fucking simple: there isn’t anything beyond Louis Tomlinson in any life of his.

But, nothing lasts forever, especially not in this life. Nearby, a car comes to halt, a door slams, and footsteps rush in their direction. The hushed amazement falters and dissolves into nothingness as the Alpha goes into defense.

Snarling, Harry tightens his hold and turns his head in the direction of the advancer, baring his teeth. He’s never been the aggressor (unless provoked) but the ominous need to protect this hurting boy consumes him.

“Louis?” a woman shrills–instantly becoming an annoyance (Louis flinches). Then, Jay’s face comes into view. “Oh, God, is he alright?”

Harry wants to ignore the older Omega, but really, that isn’t possible. Not with Louis’s Mum. “He’s fine,” the Alpha answers flatly.

She looks like she’s going to say more, but discreetly, Harry shakes his head, mouthing, ‘later’ and (thankfully) she seems to understand because she nods once.

“We’ll follow in my car,” the Alpha decides, sure to leave the Alpha timbre out of that statement.

With a defeated look, Jay starts in the direction of her car. When her footsteps are no longer audible (to Louis’s ears, at least), the boy shakes his head, “Don’t wanna go, Haz. Don’t make me…”

The vulnerability, the plea in the boy’s voice lashes viciously at Harry’s state-of-mind, as it goes from slightly mad to psychotic sociopath in seconds. There isn’t anything the Alpha wouldn’t do for this boy…but perhaps the Omega could be persuaded.

“Why not?” he murmurs, tracing his spine. “We can’t stay here forever, filthy boy. You’ve got to bathe sometime.

Louis giggles, then sighs, “Just don’t want to have to talk about it…Don’t wanna be…alone.”

“You won’t ever have to be,” he promises, his tone becoming rough and authoritative, sealing the words-with-an-Alpha’s-kiss, so to say.

Nodding, the Omega goes to stand but Harry isn’t having it. Effortlessly, the Alpha grabs Louis around the waist and under his thighs. Ignoring the slightly grieved look on his delicate features.

“I’m okay to walk…” Without answering, the Alpha quickens his pace, aware that Louis is capable of walking...Even more painfully aware that it’s him who isn’t capable of letting go.

Once Louis is seated, Harry makes quick work of tugging his blazer off and placing it in the boy’s lap (mentally kicking himself for not remembering the weather isn’t exactly warm any longer). Louis goes to question because Louis is Louis and notoriously clueless to an Alphas courtship when Harry says, “I don’t want you catching a cold or something.”

“Not quite that delicate,” Louis mutters, nonetheless, he pushes his arms through the too-long sleeves. Christ, one day the sight ofLouis in his clothes might just kill him.

“Aren’t you?” he contradicts lightly. There isn’t an answer.

Through the ride, Louis remains quiet, clutching his chest in that disturbing way. Though the meaning isn’t lost to him, Harry still knows what the Omega feels; the icy indifference, the loss. Yet there is no means to help because the boy won’t even allow it.

They arrive, and stepping behind Jay, the Alpha twines their fingers, tugging a nervous-Louis into the house. Inside it’s warm, and suspiciously quiet. But the silence only lasts seconds before Daisy pokes her head around an open doorway, hissing, “They’re back! Go, go,” low enough that the other two don’t catch it.

With an oddly curious look, Daisy scurries out of sight (again before Jay even finishes removing her coat). Interested, Harry wanders over to the doorway and peers inside to find four pairs of eyes staring back at him from their seats at the table. Absently, Harry notices the food around them looks as if it has the potential to eat away at their stomachs–to lightly put it.

His appetite dissipates, but warmth fills him when he spots the makeshift card, five stick-figures drawn, written beneath in a lopsided sprawl, ‘Love u Boo-Bear!’

Louis can’t see it, but Harry will undoubtedly tell. Jay begins to lead Louis upstairs when Daisy shoots passed him and attaches to Louis’s leg, resembling a little monkey. “Don't go again, Boo,” she snivels, and the boy sighs, crouching and pulling the little girl with huge blue eyes into an embrace. “Never ever,” he breathes fiercely.

Harry looks away, refusing to invade on the moment that isn’t his to witness. Only Jay doesn’t seem to care–these are her children after all. “Alright, Phoebe, Lou needs to rest.” Phoebe?

Before the Alpha can ask, Louis mutters, “I’m fine, Mum. I don’t need to be taken care of.”

Jay shoots him a helpless look. “Right, right,” the Alpha dodges easily. “Off to bed, Lou,” he goes on to say, scooping the unsuspecting Omega up. Louis wiggles free, not appreciating being carried, but then the boy sways and Harry grabs his waist firmly.

“Whoa there, love, take it easy,” the Alpha murmurs softly, lifting him again. This time Louis doesn’t bother to object, seemingly in a daze. Going to turn for the stairs, Harry catches sight of Daisy…and Phoebe. The more daring of the two–probably Daisy–grins evilly, before the other elbows her. Sooner than the Alpha can react, the two exchange a brief look and scamper off.

Stranger things have happened, he supposes.

Upstairs, Harry doesn’t have to ask where Louis’s room is, his scent practically oozes from the last door to the left. And the Alpha attempts to keep a level-head, because the Omega looks knackered, really, but inside the room, the scent beckons and calls to him and damn it, this isn’t right.

Gently, the Alpha rolls the boy into his bed, then tries to escape the not-so-safe-haven.  “Not going to sleep if you’re not here,” a small voice slurs defiantly.

Harry’s eyebrows pull together and his lungs begin to ache with need for air. “Oh…?”

“Nope,” Louis mumbles, sitting up in attempt to prove that he won’t (even as his eyelids droop).

Harry gives–because when doesn’t he? Honestly. With a sharp inhale, the Alpha sits on the edge of the mattress, catching Jay’s slightly stunned expression.

“Okay, Lou, okay,” Harry mutters, “Don’t need any physical demonstrations.”

With a small nod, the boy tugs on Harry’s shirt so that the older is flattened on the mattress and Louis is curled up on his torso, yawning like a small kitten.  Louis doesn’t seem to notice how tense the Alpha is beneath him as he mumbles, “Now…” his eyes slide shut. “Be a good pillow and don’t move.”

Carefully, Harry runs his hand down the boy’s side, calming under Louis’s reassuring weight.

Hours or minutes or seconds pass before the Alpha looks up again, finding that Jay has disappeared and the door is shut. Allowing himself to inhale through his nose, Harry hisses as the scent intoxicates his mind.

To keyed up to sleep, the Alpha traces the contours of the younger boy’s face; his high, sharp cheekbones, long lashes, strong jawline, delicate nose and thin, pink lips. All the while, his bones soak up the scent, and Harry silently vows to make it his mission to scent Louis so the world knows who the young boy belongs too.

A sharp sound pierces the silence and Harry curses under his breath, cautiously shifting Louis so that he can retrieve his phone from his pocket. “Busy,” the Alpha mutters into the line.

“You didn’t forget did you? It’s nearly seven!”

Realisation comes over him. Harry groans. “That’s tonight?”

“You forgot! Styles, this is important. You can’t just not show! We’re so–,”

“I know,” the Alpha interrupts, wincing when Louis tosses. “I know. Shit. Just…give me ten minutes. I’ll be there.”

“Ten minutes. Otherwise, we’re starting without you,” the other threatens and there’s a chorus of agreement in the background and the Alpha nods curtly. Hanging up, Harry eases out of Louis’s bed.

Mercifully, the boy remains asleep. Leaning, the Alpha plants a swift kiss on his forehead before starting for the door. Then, “Where’re you goin’?”

Caught.

Slowly, Harry pivots, finding that Louis’s eyes are still shut–the sight is so welcoming, Louis looks warm and sweet and Harry really wants to be immersed by him again.

Except, right now, that’s impossible; Harry can’t miss this.

“There’s something I need to do. But I’ll see you tomorrow. And we’ll talk.”

The Omega hums vaguely. “'Kay. G’night Haz.”

“Sweet dreams, little one.”

Without another word, the Alpha leaves, ends up at a familiar building, filled with familiar faces and Harry figures this is his second option.

Were all else to go to Hell, the Alpha finds he’ll always have a home here.

//

Louis can’t sleep. Harry isn’t here to keep the insistent thoughts from resurfacing. So, the Omega sighs and tries to keep it together; for his Mum and the girls.

Venturing downstairs, Louis aimlessly ambles through the house until his hands come into contact with his bag on the sofa. Snagging his mobile, the Omega pads back into his bedroom again, plopping on the bed and groaning into the pillow before flipping onto his back.  Exhaustion tugs at him, but Louis doesn’t notice because Niall answers.

“Lou, mate, it’s been ages!” Niall exclaims, though it’s only been two days since Louis last seen him. Niall doesn’t keep time like many.

“Niall,” the boy starts timidly. “Can I ask you something?”

The Irish Omega doesn’t miss a beat. “Course, what it is?”

Louis takes a deep breath, preparing for the worst. “Be honest. When you first saw Harry Styles...what’d you think of him?”

“Thought he was mated,” Niall answers, like it’s the most obvious answer.

“What?!” Louis splutters, a bit thrown off. That was not at all what the Omega expected.

“Ya know,” the other continues casually. “Mated, bonded, bite, knot, ta-da!”

At the words, a flush spreads over the Omega’s cheeks. “I know that! But…like, why?”

This time, Niall pauses. “That’s not really my place to–,”

“Ni, please, I-I need to know.”

“Shit, I dunno, Lou. I’d see ‘im at parties or whatever. Like, Harry could be talkin’ to someone when Zayn showed up. And, it was just odd, how Harry’d stick to his side the rest of the night, wouldn’t even look at anyone else. They were always together so…Just assumed, y’know.”

Oh?
Oh…

Swallowing, Louis feels something thick and unnerving unfold in his belly. The idea of Harry and Zayn prods at him.

“Liam…” he blurts to keep his mind from going there, “Liam doesn’t approve…”

Niall sighs knowingly. “Ah. So…you know, then?”

“Yeah…” the Omega breathes, angry and hurt and betrayed and just.

“Louis,” Niall says seriously, which is sort of a shock as Niall Horan is seldom serious. “Listen to me. Liam loves you. He does. But, that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to feel the same way. It’s always your choice. No matter who or what you want, Liam and I will support you. Fuck, if you happened to fall in love with a Chimpanzee, though that’d be fuckin’ weird, we’ll fucking smile about it. Because that’s what best mates are for…So, yeah, there, enough serious from me.”

Louis giggles at that, “Not really interested in bestiality, Ireland...”

“Good, ‘cause I doubt any animals prick would do the trick when–”

“Oh, God! You are such a pervert!” Louis whisper-shouts in mock disgust.

Barking laughter, the Irish lad continues undeterred, “Damn right. Aye, we should get together tomorrow? After school. That coffee-shop downtown. Bring Harry and Zayn; I’ll drag Liam with Josh?”

The Omega tries not to cringe at the thought. “Tomorrow then. I’ll tell Harry. See you in the morning.”

Oblivious to Louis’s inner-turmoil, Niall laughs and hangs up.  

//

That night, Harry doesn’t go home. Instead, the Alpha ends up at Zayn’s again. Somehow, the two find themselves out back, leaning against the side of the house, staring into the darkness as they pass a joint.

For a while, Harry remains lost in the constellations, imagining the stars actually create images worth gazing at, trying to imagine Wittgenstein wasn’t just doped up or insane (as most speculate). But the Alpha has never been impressed by the stars, never found the breathtaking beauty in them, never found the meaning. Because, what meaning could there be in (seemingly) randomly placed fireballs of gas?

Without warning, Zayn knocks their shoulders, voice quiet in the darkness. “Did well tonight.”

Harry scoffs. “Doesn’t feel like enough, though.”

“When does it ever?” the other chuckles drily.

Harry doesn’t answer. Instead, the Alpha goes back to searching for hidden figures.

And that night, neither Alpha nor Omega sleeps. But that doesn’t matter, the stars quick float and disappear before Harry wishes he could meet them. Typical.

Soon, the joint burns out, and sunlight begins to replace the darkness. Beside him, Zayn yawns. “Titanic material yet?”

“Close, but not quite.” The Omega raises a dark eyebrow in question. Harry elaborates, “We’re missing the soundtrack.”

Zayn blinks once, then whispers, “Don’t let go, Jack.”

Almost instantly, the atmosphere lightens, their eyes meet and they laugh like idiots (because they are idiots and that’s swell).

Without going inside, Harry and Zayn decide to go to his before school starts (which they’ll probably hear shit from Patricia about later) It’s quiet as the two head upstairs, throwing each other towels before heading in opposite directions. Since Zayn calls his bath, Harry goes to the guest and once he’s finished the Alpha changes (ditching a shirt) and waits for the Omega to come inside. As the high begins to wane, his skin begins to buzz again and he groans, connecting his music and letting the heavy beat of some song Zayn must’ve added to his playlist pound and echo off the walls.

A while later, the Omega comes back, dressed in a black tee and ripped jeans, his hair styled perfectly (that must’ve taken at least twenty minutes). Zayn stops the music mid-way and Harry grimaces, though the other only murmurs, “We should get another tattoo.”

Harry raises an eyebrow. “Why? Come up with another shit idea?”

Zayn eyes darken as he glares. “Actually, thought these would be meaningful. Unless you’d rather have ‘whipped’ on your forehead.”

“The latter sounds more me, I think,” the Alpha grins lazily. “Cue the music, slave.”

“How ‘bout you eat this, fucker,” the other hisses, before shucking a shirt at him. Harry catches it in one hand, grinning in triumph when a shoe crashes into his face and he gives a what-the-fuck look to which Zayn grins sweetly, “Teach you to be such an arrogant twat.”

Yeah, sometimes Harry needs to be reminded (note the sarcasm). “If I wasn’t so bloody tired I’d mess up your hair,” the Alpha remarks, slightly pleased by Zayn’s reaction.

The Omega storms out.

Really, the Alpha can’t be bothered to chase him down, because the tired sinks into his bones and oblivion meets him with sleepy blue eyes and Chris Martin’s voice.

//

When Harry wakes up again, the manor is still quiet and the Alpha almost wonders where Zayn’s at–then the Omega stalks into the room. Speak of the Devil.

“Good, you’re up,” the other comments. “It’s nearly seven; I gather your Omega is waiting on you.”

Sitting up, the Alpha groans, shaking his hair out of his eyes and standing, “You’ve been up all this time?”

“Slept a bit. I’m leaving though. Asked one of those stuffy butlers to give me a lift.”

“Wait,” Harry says. “Z, you don’t have to–,”

“Harry,” the Omega smiles softly. “I’ll be fine. You don’t need to worry about me. Go to Louis. I’ll see you in class, yeah?”

“Yeah,” the Alpha nods, waving the other off.

Once the Omega has left, Harry brushes his teeth, showers and straightens up his hair so he doesn’t look a complete mess. Then without a backwards glance for his audience, the Alpha makes his way out.

By the gates, Louis waits, and the Alpha saunters over to him, touching the back of his hand in question. “Good morning,” Louis breathes, his smile bright, though it doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

“Sleep well?”

“You left,” the boy shrugs–confusing the Alpha, whose eyebrows furrow at the topic-change.

“That I did,” Harry agrees, thoughts elsewhere. Something is bothering him, the Alpha decides, glancing at the smaller boy, whose emotions are in an unattainable tangle (sort f like earbuds; outrageously annoying, but easily straightened out again).

Apparently, the Alpha will have to crush this elephant before it gets any larger. “There something you wanted to ask, Lou?”

Louis blinks. His expression shifts from that of annoyance, to frustration, until finally settling on dread. “Where’d you run off to last night?”

“Nowhere of extreme significance.” Harry doesn’t mean to lie, but by now, the Alpha is accustomed to his privacy. But shit, Harry immediately regrets the words, because the Omega turns to the window, covering his expression.

“It’s bad,” Louis guesses. “It’s really bad, isn’t it?” And the boy beings to panic, his heart accelerating as his mind whirls to faraway places that Harry never wants him to come into contact with. Damn it, Louis shouldn’t fret over him; that’s not his role in this, never should have to be.

“Calm down, Louis,” Harry mutters. “You’re being silly.”

“Am I? Then why won’t you tell me?”

“Because there’s nothing to tell. You’re blowing this wildly out of proportion.”

Abruptly, Louis faces him again, blurting, “DoyoufindZaynattractive?”

“Didn’t catch that,” the Alpha murmurs, though he obviously did, but Hell does he need a sec. (or eternity) to gather his wits.

“What does…Is Zayn…Are you…attracted to him?” the other persists, eyes cast down (lashes creating shadows) and it’s certainly unexpected.

“Louis, Zayn…It isn’t like that between us.” Never could be…I only burn for you, my clueless-little-Omega…“You’re...You’re–,” Harry doesn’t know what to say; another first.

“Tell me something–what does Zayn look like?” Jesus.

“Just like any Omega–lean, easy-on-the-eyes,” he answers (perhaps a bit too) quickly.

Louis shakes his head. “He’s gorgeous, isn’t he?” And understanding falls over him at the petulant tone.

Parking, the Alpha unbuckles and undoes Louis’s own seatbelt before shifting the boy into his lap. Louis gasps in surprise but doesn’t struggle; rather the smaller boy curls up, hiding his face in Harry’s shirt.

“You know what, though?”

The Omega shakes his head and Harry chuckles, but runs his fingers through those silky chestnut strands. “Mmm. I think you’re my touchstone…” The only one to touch my heart… “The only one to render me so undone…” he breathes thoughtfully into the Omega’s hair.

Louis melts against him–breathing quietly while Harry mules over his silence until at last the boy decides, “I reckon that’s okay, then.”

“Hmm,” the Alpha whispers against his cheek, smirking. “You’re quite adorable when you’re jealous. I’m surprisingly pleased.”

//

Louis scowls, burrowing his face in Harry’s shoulder. His cheeks burn; but the horrible weight has been lifted, and the Alpha’s words have replaced Liam’s. And Louis is floating passed Cloud-Nine; never wants to leave the shelter Harry’s arms provide, the solace his presence brings, the craze that thick, persuasive scent allows.

But, no, the Omega will not be one of those blinded-by-love cases. “We’re going to be late.”

Harry freezes, then opens the door and slides Louis to his feet.

“Wouldn’t want that, now would we?” he mutters, voice clipped, almost bitter.

Louis bites his lip, huddling in the oversized blazer, determined to remain steady. Even so, the boy is unsettled by how empty he suddenly feels inside, so busies himself by trying to identify that delicious scent. It doesn’t smell like cologne; it’s too male, too overwhelming.

Wrapping an arm around Louis’s waist, the Alpha pulls him through the crowded halls.

On the way, Louis remembers, “Oh. Would you and Zayn join us at a coffee-shop downtown?”

Harry coughs, slowing his pace. “Us?”

“Erm…Yeah, Niall, Josh, Liam and I…?”

“Would that be such a good idea, Lou? You should spend time–,”

Louis stops. Yes, right there in the middle of the hall, with tons of students (maybe even a few teachers) watching. But in that moment, those eyes don’t matter, because Louis can’t get the words out–and well, Mum always said, actions speak louder than words, right?

Instinctively, unthinkingly, the Omega throws his slim arms around Harry’s waist, resting his head on the Alpha’s chest, listening to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. Squeezing his eyes shut, the Omega breathes, voice wavering and weak, “Please? Please come. You…I want you there.”

So quickly that Louis misses the movement, Harry leans in, face only a few inches from his. Louis is unable to move, heart fluttering, blood racing, head spinning as something hot crackles between them

“To make you happy,” he whispers intently, lips so achingly close. “I’d do anything.”

Chapter Text

Curled up, in the farthest corner of his wardrobe, Louis shoves his face into some nameless article of clothing, moaning as the frustration gnaws at him. The useless articles of clothing piled around him only work to make the situation that much more wretched. Of course there are a myriad of outfits the Omega could wear, but without eyes Louis can’t really decide what would look best and he is not going to ask one of the girls (least he risk going out dressed as a sparkly princess)

At the thought, the blood leaves his face. Surely Harry Styles would realise what an absolute mess he is then.

“Lou, the hell is taking–,” Niall calls, bursting into the compact space. “Christ, Louis, is that you?

“No,” the Omega grumbles. “Louis died–pay your respects to the dead and go away.”

Giggling–the thought must thoroughly amuse him–the Irish Omega shoves through the heaps of clothing and plops down beside him. “What’s the matter, little guy?”

“Oh my God,” Louis shrieks. “Would everyone stop calling me that? I’m not even little, I’m average!”

“You keep telling yourself that, bud.”

“You are so annoying. Why are we even friends?”

Best friends,” the other corrects. “And because someone has to tell Liam when to piss off.”

Even though the Omega knows it’s wrong to snap at Niall (the Irish lad is the only one who might have some semblance of understand) the words still form on his tongue, bitter and distraught, “Speaking of,” Louis begins, “Aren’t you and Josh supposed to be going over to his soon?”

“We couldn’t very well go with you here, hiding in the wardrobe, now could we?” Niall murmurs, running a soothing hand through his unruly hair.

“’m not hiding,” Louis protests feebly. “I’m…searching.”

There’s a beat of silence before Niall sighs in mock exasperation. “Is that what’s going on? Babe, why didn’t you just ask me? You know I wouldn’t have minded!” I know, the Omega thinks guiltily, but it would be nice to be less-than-helpless, just once.

Instead, Louis shakes his head–squeezing his eyes against traitor tears. Without noticing, Niall begins to scavenge through his clothing.

“It’s a disaster in here,” Niall comments absently. “Your Mum is going to be proper fuming when she sees this.”

Groaning miserably, the Omega tosses another article of clothing in the other’s direction. “Can we hasten this up? At this rate, we’re going to be late.”

“Louis,” Niall tuts knowingly, “There is such thing as being fashionably late. Read up on it some time.” If only.

Sensitive as Louis feels in this instant, the words strike home–and his Omega wants to weeps at the injustice, because that part of him wants to be wanted, wants to be nothing less than perfect for his Alpha and it’s not even possible.

Enough, Louis thinks furiously, then, in attempts to keep from upsetting Niall–the Irish Omega always suffers the pain of others and Louis doesn’t ever want to be the cause of bright, bubbly, beautifully ignorant Niall’s distress–chews on his lip to remain silent.

“Aha!” the Irish lad shouts in triumph. “Perfect. Come, let’s work the magic.” Oh, joy.

Wordlessly, Louis stands and let’s Niall drag him into the bathroom and help him into the chosen clothing. Once the torture is over, Niall sighs happily at his work while the Omega squirms, tugging nervously at the skin-tight material of his trousers.

Before the Omega can become any more self-conscious, Niall begins to gush, complimenting him until Louis’s face is in flames and the Omega is begging him to quit. Over the years, compliments have become quite difficult to believe…especially since Louis can’t confirm them for himself.

Still, the gesture is sweet and so reassuring that Louis pulls Niall into an embrace. It’s not at all like being wrapped up in an Alpha’s arms, but gratifying in a warm, understanding way all the same.  

“We should go. Josh is chatting up the girls and honest to God I’m becoming quite a jealous Omega,” Niall whispers dubiously.

Feeling a thousand times lighter, Louis grins, allowing the Irish Omega to lead him out.

-o-

With the words “Liam” and “together” Niall ruins everything in the mere ten minutes they’ve left Louis’s flat (it’d been absurdly difficult to separate the girls–who’ve decided Josh is “absolutely perfect”, and the most “handsome prince”, which both disturbed and ruined the aspects of his older brother status). Finally, after Josh promised to take the girls out for ice-cream, the trio managed to escape–but only just.

Now, Louis crosses his arms defensively. “No. Nope. I am not going. Not me. Not Louis.”

“First, don’t talk in third-person, it’s creepy,” Niall shudders–sounding slightly disgusted. “Second, enough dramatics, it’s useless, you’re not getting out of this.”  

“That’s what you think,” Louis murmurs, a bit smug as he pulls his mobile from his pocket, waving it in triumph. “I’m not that helpless. Now, I’m just going to phone–,”

Someone snatches the phone right out of his unsuspecting grip. “Here we are. Hide this, Ni,” Josh murmurs lightly.

For a brief moment Louis is still, mouth gaping in astonishment. Then, the Omega screeches, “What? You two are unbelievably shameless! Stealing a blind boy’s only hope, what is wrong with you two?”

Ignoring him, Niall snickers, “Brilliant. Absolutely brill! We should be dubbed masterminds, I swear!” 

Refusing to budge, Louis growls (with as much steel possible–which, by estimate, isn’t enough), “This isn’t funny. Give it back!”

“Louis,” Niall replies with a patient sigh–much like he’s speaking to a sulking child.

“No. Don’t even try it. Leave me alone. I want Harry,” he demands, voice raising a few decibels in stress.

“Don’t be that way, Louis,” Josh tries. “Niall’s right. This needs to stop. It’s gone on too long now.” And Louis wants to call him a liar, to remind the two that this isn’t their business, to make it clear that it doesn’t even matter. Except, the Omega can’t–he can’t, because Josh isn’t lying, it is their business, and God, it matters.

Louis will not be the dishonest one–will not go against his very own morals. So, too add to the effect, the Omega carefully keeps his face blank before murmuring, “Of course you’d take Niall’s side. Therefore, your opinion is invalid.” 

“I think,” Josh says slowly–hope blossoms in Louis’s chest only to be razed by the Alpha’s next words, “He’s in denial.”

“Hmm,” the Irish Omega ponders. “Maybe so. I dunno it’s rather–,”

“Reminder,” the Omega interrupts. “I’m right here! And I’m certainly not in denial either, sheesh.” Annnnd, yes, there goes the pretense. So much for indifferent, Tomlinson, really.

“That’s what someone in denial would say,” Josh comments matter-of-factly.

“Seriously? I–,”

“You’re right, Josh. We shouldn’t trust him,” Niall declares, mimicking an American accent. “According to my diagnosis, Louis Tomlinson, you are indeed–,”

“This entire conversation is completely ridiculous,” Louis snaps between gritted teeth.

“With that attitude you’re going to be walking to Liam’s,” Niall says.

“I’m not going to Liam’s at all,” the Omega replies stubbornly.

“Why are you being so difficult? Louis, we’re not asking you to kill a dove! All we want is–,”

“And what about my wants?”

“You want this too, Lou,” the Irish lad tells him softly. “You’re scared, is all.”

“You don’t know what I’m feeling! I’m…I am fine,” Louis’s voice breaks as the anger disguising the fear begins to falter under the constant pushing and prodding. 

“It’s okay to be afraid, Louis,” Josh comforts from beside Niall. “You’re not alone. You have us…”

“Yeah, boo,” the other Omega agrees, “We’re in this together, remember? Now, come on, do this for us. For Liam.”

With a grimace, Louis sticks out his tongue, but manages to nod, realising these two are invincible. Might as well give.

 In triumph, Niall jumps up and down, “It’ll all work out, Lou! Promise!”

“Yeah,” Josh concurs enthusiastically. “And if anything, we can always hide the body in the backseat!”

At that, Louis can’t help but smile (a small, ‘I worry about you’ smile, but a smile all the same). “I hate you guys.”

“You really love us,” Niall reminds and at the moment Louis isn’t quite so sure (but, decides, when it’s all said and done, yeah, he really, really does).

-o-

                The world must be working against him, Louis decides as Niall–the traitor–hauls him up to Liam’s room.  After an endless fifteen minutes of arguing and encouraging words, Louis finally caved –which the Omega now regrets deep, so very deep, in his soul. Again, the Omega finds himself wishing he’d have let Harry come for him.

But no, Niall had to insist and really, does the Irish lad get some sort of sick pleasure, watching Louis lose his mind?

Frowning, the Omega focuses on the hollow sensation that’s taken refuge in his chest, but quickly rights himself, because his attention is needed elsewhere.

Josh–ever-so-protective of Niall–remains ahead of the Irish lad, though Niall assured him it was unnecessary, (Liam would never intentionally hurt either of them) the older Alpha refused to allow him upstairs without the “proper” security. And well, Niall is a good Omega and realises when it’s time to obey.

So, when Niall carelessly shoves Liam’s bedroom door open, Josh snags his Omega’s wrists and shields Niall (and Louis, who’s caught in Niall’s hold) with his body. Then, the Alpha whispers something into Niall’s ear–having overheard their…conversations before; Louis has learnt to ignore the soon-to-be-mated couple to the best of his ability.

“Ni? What are…What the hell are you all doing here?”

In response, Josh growls, “No offense, mate, but my Omega stays outside with me.” And even Niall remains uncharacteristically quiet, probably more affected by the sheer authority in the older Alpha’s voice than Louis.

“Whatever,” Liam snaps back–equally as defensive. “There’s no reason for–,” okay, Louis thinks, this has gone on long enough.

“Liam,” the Omega interjects quietly, relieved when the Alpha goes silent, listening. “I think…We need to talk. Please?”

Exhaling, Liam mutters, “Yeah. Alright. Sure.”

“Are you sure, Lou? I mean–,” Josh begins to protest, but Louis shakes his head, smiling gratefully at the other Alpha’s concern.

As the Omega goes to assure the two, Niall leaps forward and kisses his cheek, before announcing, “Come on, Josh. Let’s wait downstairs.”

With a fond smile, Louis marches into Liam’s room with about as much certainty as possible. Behind him, the door falls shut with a foretelling click.

-o-

At first, it’s possibly tenser than ever before, but gradually, Liam relaxes, voicing his thoughts without delay. Maybe, Louis decides, he’s the one who couldn’t face this all along, because Liam is confessing what’s been there, right in front of him, all this time.

And with each word, Louis feels his heart break a little more…because Liam, sweet, kind, proper, Liam loves him. In the way an Alpha only loves an Omega and it isn’t right. It’s not right because Louis can’t return the feelings, not now…

Not ever, the Omega thinks, tears brimming in his eyes (though Louis does his best to keep it hidden, knowing these tears are unwarranted). “Liam, please, d-don’t say that…” Not now…

“Why?” the Alpha demands. “I’ve held it in long enough.”

Reacting to an Alpha’s distress, Louis dares to lean into Liam’s side, used to being so close, even now. Sniveling into his sleeve, the Omega breathes, “I wish I could return these feelings...A-And I wish I could love you how you deserve. But…Liam, we…we’re not…meant. T-The bond isn’t there.

“I know,” somehow the Alpha’s voice cracks and the Omega wants to cry for him. “It’s…Just…”

“I know,” Louis croaks, “I’m so, so sorry…”

Arms circle his waist and the Omega sinks gladly into the embrace–willing his Omega to react…willing himself to feel something. But, nothing happens–and with a guilty sigh, Louis wishes it were Harry who was holding him, whose scent was invading his senses.

“Don’t be,” Liam murmurs softly. “I’ve been a right arse, haven’t I? I’m the one who should be sorry…And, it’s…I suppose I’ve always known we weren’t meant…but I wanted it. I wanted it so damn bad…”

Not knowing what to say, Louis stays quiet, listening openly.

“But, Lou,” the Alpha continues, pulling back. “I’m trying, alright? I’m going to straighten up and let you go…Because you deserve to be loved, proper. And I…I can see that Harry is…going to give that to you.”

“Li,” Louis starts seriously. “You have always loved me proper. Just…not in the manner I’ve needed from you.”

“I’m going to try to stop being in love with you Louis Tomlinson,” the Alpha announces with emotion. “It won’t be easy…but I’m trying, yeah?”

“Yeah…” Louis nods, then blurts, “But…You still love me now, don’t you? Just as Louis?”

“Of course, silly,” Liam assures, with a cautious laugh. “You’ve always been my favourite. Just don’t tell Niall.”

Assured and grinning evilly, Louis says, “No promises,” before darting for the door and promptly screaming, “NIALL!”

-o-

Too long. It’s been an hour too-fucking-long. Growling, the Alpha paces, trying to remain in control, trying to remember that Louis isn’t hurting; Louis is safe (or as safe as his Omega can be without him). But the knowledge does nothing to ease the growing hostility trapped in his chest, the edges severing his self-control.

For once, Harry agrees with his Alpha–because fuck Zayn’s opinion, the Omega doesn’t have the capacity to understand the depth of an Alpha’s natural instinct to shield his Omega from even the slightest of threats.

“I’m leaving,” the words are a feral growl. “I am going to–,”

“Styles!” an unrecognisable Irish accent calls from across the street.

Impulsively, his head whips around and his eyes instantly find his Omega, sandwiched between Niall and Liam–fuck no. In seconds, the vortex of emotion ferments through his body, urging his Alpha into a frenzy of bloodlust. Struggling against it, the Alpha rolls his shoulders, grinding his teeth and forcing his eyes shut.

Without his noticing, the group crosses the street to meet them. It’s too sudden–his efforts dissipate into nonexistence.

Thoughts crazed, Harry only registers the two Alphas within touching distance of his Omega and the dangerous emotion morphs possessively. It’s unacceptable–because fuck, this boy is his, and should never be close to another Alpha unless Harry is there to ensure the others remain in line.

Knowing this, the Alpha grips the boy’s thin wrist in two fingers, tugging so that Louis ends up plastered to his side. Besides the towns steady activity, it’s very quiet, but at this point, Harry is preoccupied with studying his Omega until its definite not one hair on his pretty little head is out of place.

Under his gaze, Louis squirms, reacting to the intensity of his stare, the pheromones coursing through him. His scent heightens, nearly masking Louis’s and the Alpha almost thinks it’s a shame. Almost, but not quite.

“Do you realise how absolutely mad you make me?” he asks, seething as his body crowds the smaller boy’s, his scent clinging to the other.

“I-I don’t u-understand,” the Omega stutters breathily, eyelashes fluttering, lips parted. Like this, the Alpha can’t ignore how beautiful the Omega looks–docile and tiny.

“Perhaps a lesson is in order,” Harry suggests languidly against the soft skin of his cheek. “You’d enjoy that, wouldn’t you? You’d enjoy being bent over–?”

Ahem,”someone hems pointedly and the Alpha shoots the group–who are all shuffling, Niall giggling as the unknown Alpha watches fondly, Liam focused on his shoe skidding back and forth on the pavement, then there’s Zayn who looks thoroughly unimpressed–a murderous glare.

“Ahem what?”

Raising a dark eyebrow, the Omega says, “Your arrogance is making me thirsty. Can you manage to keep your Alpha in check or should we declare you unfit-for-society?”

Someone chokes, someone gasps (Louis, he’s sure) and someone might even laugh (Niall–judging by the accent then disapproving hush from the other Alpha) but Harry smiles a little, familiar with Zayn’s persona–the Omega may be quiet and brooding, but he’s still an Omega, who craves an Alpha that will dote on him and even punish him (much like Harry is promising to do to Louis–who is now frightened, unaware that punishments aren’t always bad).

“Right. Shit. Sorry,” Harry mutters, looking each Alpha and Omega in the eye, even Liam–who looks vaguely surprised. “I’d like a word with Louis. If that’s okay with you, Lou?”

Looking unsure, Louis bites his lip, but nonetheless nods. Rather (impressive) quickly, everyone disappears into the café and–well, out of sight, out of mind is fitting enough.

“I’m sorry,” Harry blurts, shoving a hand through his hair roughly. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You didn’t,” the boy lies, shrugging (though even his heart is racing).

“Hey,” the Alpha breathes tenderly, catching the boy’s jaw in nimble fingers. “I’m sorry. Please, accept my apology?”

With a slow, timid grin, Louis brings his hand to rest at Harry’s temple, brushing his curls back gently. “Really, it’s okay. I’m okay,” and the simple words, the touch of his hand, balances the Alpha, even as the sense of shame (at his own stupidity) doesn’t abate.

Needing a moment, Harry doesn’t speak, instead his eyes skate over the boy’s outfit hungrily. Tonight, his Omega is dressed in pearl grey trousers, rolled up to reveal dainty ankles, and tight enough to hug his thighs and bum, while his deep blue button-up reveals nothing. And Louis looks perfect, as per usual.

“You look breathtaking, love,” he compliments. “I’m very fond of this colour on you.”  

Blushing prettily, Louis mumbles, “Thought it might be a bit much. Niall can be outrageous sometimes…”

“It’s perfect. You always look perfect,” the Alpha assures, though the Omega still looks unsure, so Harry adds, “Doubt I’ll be able to keep my eyes on anything else but you.”

A soft, sweet sound escapes the boy’s lips before Louis admits, in a barely audible voice, “I want them on me. Always do.”

Groaning low in his throat, Harry tenses, his blood rushes through his veins and he’s hard, his cock very visible and (not to sound too arrogant) very noticeable which–fan-fucking-tastic. “You shouldn’t say things like that,” he mutters, dropping his hands and retreating.

Except the Alpha instantly regrets the words. Louis’s face falls–shame and disappointment flood through him.

“Wait, Lou–,”

With a disparaging look, the Omega mumbles, “Don’t. Let’s go inside. Everyone is waiting.” And the Alpha nearly growls in warning, but stops himself because this hole (grave) he’s dug himself is not getting any smaller.

“Right,” Harry mutters, frustrated by his lack thereof composure, but grabs the Omega’s hand nonetheless and holds the entrance open for him. Once inside the warm café, the scent of pastries surrounds them. Sighing happily, Louis tilts his face to better catch the aroma while Harry gazes down at him (probably making heart-eyes, but damn it, the Alpha is very, very captivated by this boy’s every reaction).

“Do you visit often?” the Alpha wonders as he steers the Omega in direction of their group–whom are seated at a table to the farthest left, seemingly ignoring each other (besides Niall, which isn’t very surprising, the Irish lad seems rather chatty).

“Not often enough,” Louis replies, regret woven in his tone. “It’s rather expensive and a bit of a ride so…”

Which, no, that isn’t going to do. Louis Tomlinson should have the world in his soft, gentle (tiny) hands. And Harry wants to give it to him. Harry wants to lavish and spoil and love him until the Omega is so pleased and content and happy (the Alpha has a hunch that Louis isn’t happy as he should be). Perhaps, the Alpha thinks, starting here would be a very under-the-radar sort of way to begin (there isn’t any way Harry can simply give extravagant gifts–the Omega would certainly fuss).

Perhaps, perhaps, Harry starts to go through the more basic means to go about it.

They arrive at the table and the Alpha’s suspicions are confirmed–it really is awkward. Well, this is going to be a long, long evening after all.

-o-

Introductions are fleeting–which Louis isn’t at all bothered by (the Omega has always been terrible at introductions). So, instead of greeting Zayn stupidly, Louis only smiles nervously at the other, who reaches over to squeezes his shoulder in welcome. Then, it’s over, really.

Except once Louis introduces Harry to Liam (officially) the Omega realises his people-skills could be much worse, seeing as Harry only coughs and nods at Liam, who politely says, “Hello,” because Liam is a by-the-book sort of bloke. Josh doesn’t seem overly interested in anything other than Niall, who attempts to lighten the atmosphere, offering to purchase every drink available and have Louis guess which is which. Alas, Louis only manages to laugh weakly, preoccupied with playing an extremely difficult game of thumb-war underneath the table against Harry–who, of course, has won twice already.

Josh and Niall–not only are the two inseparable and disgustingly in love, but have also formed a soft-spot for the whole ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ bit–quickly opt to order the beverages. When Zayn and Liam finish telling the two what they want (some sort of latte and herbal coffee) Louis mumbles, “Tea, with a splash of milk and three sugars.” Mirroring him, Harry says, “Tea, no milk, one sugar.”

Then, the couple is off, leaving two tense Alpha and two very hesitant Omegas.

Soon, Harry wins the third round of thumb-war and Louis tries not pout over it (least the other two suspect what’s going on) when Zayn asks, “So, Louis, what year you in?” 

Startled, Louis scrambles for an answer, “O-Oh, I-I’m in my eleventh year.”

“That’s cool, yeah? Still have a bit more time to go through options or…whatever,” the other replies casually.

Flushing, Louis nods self-consciously, but tentatively tries to keep the conversation steady. “What about you? What’s your year, I mean?”

“This is my last,” the other Omega murmurs. “Thank fuck.”

Blinking, Louis turns to Harry, speaking only to him now, “You’re in your last year?”

Before the Omega receives an answer, Josh and Niall approach–Niall is talking (more like gossiping) enthusiastically, “I don’t think it’s gotten any less weird–oh! Whoops, didn’t see that there, wait…okay, okay, I’ll be quiet. Sheesh, I didn’t know they were looking!” And really, Louis thinks, slightly amused, Niall couldn’t be much louder, in all honesty.

Though nobody comments, Harry leans down to whisper into his ear, “My perspective on leprechauns is forever altered.”

Grinning into the Alpha’s shoulder, Louis shakes his head, though the grin fades as the Omega’s mind wanders. Knocking him into reality, Harry announces, “I’m going to have a smoke.”

Louis blinks, confused, because there hadn’t been any indication that Harry smoked. Then again, the Omega realises, there isn’t much he really knows about Harry Styles.

“I’ll join,” Liam says next.

Louis opens his mouth to remind the Alpha that he’s never smoked a day in his life when something collides with his knee and he yelps, “Ouch!”

“Are you–?”

“Oops, sorry,” Niall interrupts, not sounding sorry at all. “Foot slipped. He’s fine, right Lou?”

“Yeah,” the Omega agrees weakly. “I’m fine.”

Then, the two Alphas are gone, and Louis flounders, feeling his cheeks pale and the breath leave him in a rush.

Unexpectedly, someone puts a hand to his shoulder–the touch is light, but oddly reassuring. “Don’t worry, mate, they’ll be fine,” Zayn tells him quietly.

And maybe Zayn isn’t so bad, Louis decides, smiling appreciatively at the other, before striking up another conversation.

-o-

                Harry expects Liam to follow–like the puppy he is, the spiteful part of him snarls. Except the Alpha doesn’t expect the other Alpha to try and put his hands on him. But, surprise, surprise, the idiot does.

Before his hand makes contact, Harry turns and fists his shirt in his hands, pinning him to the wall forcefully. Momentarily shocked, Liam remains still, though the other seems to realise what’s happened and snarls, “Let go.”  

Tightening his hold, Harry bares his canines and holds the other Alpha’s gaze. “I’d watch your tone. ‘Cause I’m not feeling very charitable towards you at the moment.”

Gritting his teeth, Liam repeats, “Let me go, Styles.”

“Make me, Payne,” the Alpha taunts, smirking sloppily. “Actually, why don’t you tell me what you’re doing here?”

“I’m here as Louis’s friend.”

Well, well, well, Louis seemed to have “forgotten” to inform Harry of the little change. That isn’t going to pass without some discussion; the Alpha decides, before prompting, “Thought the two of you were at odds.”

“We…had a chat,” Liam answers, grinning a grin that makes the Alpha’s veins burn like hot silver wires running just under his skin.

Another growl rips through him as Harry tightens his hold on the other’s now crumpled shirt. “If you touched him I swear–,” I will tear you limb from limb, slowly and–

“Down butch,” Liam growls with too much say-so. “It wasn’t…It was strictly platonic. I’m not one to mess about with…I wouldn’t do that to Louis, trust me.”

“I wouldn’t dare.”

“Why aren’t I surprised? You know, you might be a bit more likeable if…Well, probably not.” At least he’s honest.

But Harry Styles doesn’t care to be likable or even tolerable–never has and never will. “And what was said during this little chat?”

This time Liam hesitates, before muttering, “You should ask Louis.”

“You should answer my question,” Harry snaps back, keeping their gazes level, daring him to disagree when something changes.

Abruptly, the rigid hold over Liam’s body loosens and the Alpha wilts in his hold. “You won’t find an excuse to row out of me, Harry.”

Harry’s vision flashes red. “Awe, little Liam, scared? Figures, I’m not even supr–,” something slams into the Alpha face.

Shocked, Harry staggers backwards (because, what the hell?) when a heavy hand lands on his shoulder. “Oh my God! I didn’t–Shit, man, I wasn’t–,”

Fuck. That.

“I’m going to fucking kill you!” Harry snarls, regaining his balance to stalk towards Liam–who looks almost remorseful, the idiot–before shoving him into the brick wall. Then, the Alpha wraps his fingers around Liam’s throat, and–

Cursing wildly, Harry turns away, feeling the rage drain as his thoughts find Louis again. His little Omega, who is currently waiting for him to return with Liam walking on two legs; counting on him not to screw this up, his little, trusting Omega.

“God damn it,” the Alpha grunts, exhaling heavily, and then cursing a bit more.

“I’m assuming you’ve gotten your shit together with Louis then?” Harry demands, feeling the slight pain in his jaw go numb. That’s going to bruise, he thinks idly.

“I’ve apologised, yes,” Liam answers, then, “I’m sorry…about that, by the way.”

“Noted,” the Alpha mutters–he hates apologies. “Perhaps it’s time we stopped acting stupid?”

“It’s probably for the best,” the other admits, sounding repulsively ashamed before extending a hand, “Truce?”

“Sure, whatever,” Harry says, waving his hand away. Touching is a hard-limit at this point.

“Well…” Liam clears his throat, rubbing the back of his neck. “For the record, I didn’t mean that shit I said the last time. I was…Reckon it’s an Alpha thing.”

“Yeah,” Harry nods, shooting the other a wicked grin–his idea of a truce. “Alpha thing.”

And, the Alpha decides they can attempt to play nice–for Louis, at least.  

-o-

                When the two Alpha’s finally return, Louis finds the atmosphere lightens considerably. And the Omega is happy, listening to Niall and Liam argue about what really happened the time Niall broke Liam’s nose, Niall claiming to have lost his “cool” and knock Liam one proper and Liam arguing that it was “unexpected foul-play”. When the two decide Louis be the ‘decision-maker’ the Omega simply smiles, recalling what had actually occurred that day at the playground.

“Higher, higher!” Louis shouts, laughing too loud as Niall rushes passed him.

“I don’t reckon I can go any higher, Lou!” Liam yells over him. He glares in nothing in particular.

“I want to beat him!”

“You’ll never beat me,” Niall calls; swooshing passed again on his swing–Louis could never master the art of swinging without help, such was his life.

Heaving on his swing, Louis rushes forward, tipping his head back and howling (at thirteen, it hadn’t seemed quite so embarrassing). The sound of Louis’s high, easy laughter echoes in the vacated night.

“Noo!” Niall cries, shaking his swings’ chains in mock frustration when out of nowhere there’s a muted thud as the Irish lad crashes into the ground.

Confused and a bit scared, Louis leaps from his swing, crawling aimlessly before locating the Irish Omega, who’s shaking badly as Liam runs forward. Then, Niall’s laughing hysterically.

“Fuck, oh God,” he gasps, voice high with laughter and Louis’s eyes widen.

“Oh God,” Liam repeats, though Niall continues to laugh.

“That was so funnnnn…” Louis thinks the Irish lad is delirious. But, before Louis can even think to get help or something equally as unhelpful, there’s a distinct sound of skin-meeting-skin in a slap. Niall cuts off mid-laugh.

Then, in seconds, the Irish lad is lurching forward, barely missing Louis but tackling Liam and punching the other straight out.

As the Alpha curses, Niall says, “Teach you to touch an Omega.”

“Niall–wha…What happened?” Louis shrills, frantic and horrified.

“I broke Liam’s nose, I think,” the other replies, rather cheerfully.

And Liam groans spectacularly, “I’m never going to live this down.”

It so happens that those words happened to be correct. As Louis tells the story, Josh laughs outright and Zayn chuckles here and there, though Harry gives no reaction (as far as the Omega can tell). For a while, the Alpha only tangles and untangles their hands–seemingly at ease.

A new conversation is struck up, but Louis isn’t listening and Harry takes the opportunity to gently bump their foreheads. “Oops,” the Alpha breathes–an obvious grin in his voice.

Giggling, the Omega wiggles closer, “Hi.”

“I give it two months,” Harry whispers, mouth brushing his ear. “Before Zayn and Liam are shagging like rabbits.”

“Harry,” the Omega gasps, about to insist the Alpha explain when Harry murmurs, “Listen.”

And for the first time since introductions, Harry speaks up, “Zayn, why don’t you tell the guys about your comic collection?”

There’s a beat of silence before Liam asks, “What sort of comics?”

“Oh, well…” Zayn mumbles–sounding faintly shy, which whoa–, “it’s nothing, like, spectacular. Just some Marvel originals…It’s cool, I guess.”

 “Originals?” Liam sounds very impressed and even interested. “Wow. That’s…something…”

“It is, isn’t it?” Harry interjects proudly, “Actually, Zayn’s a bit obsessed. Collects the comics, movies, games and even–,”

“Stop, I can speak for myself, Harry,” the other Omega interrupts coolly. “And it’s really not such a big deal. It’s cool–,”

“Cool? That’s amazing. Like, wow…” The conversation progresses that way. Liam–who’s extremely Marvel and D.C. dedicated–insisting Zayn show him his collections.

And–“Wow,” Louis murmurs, facing Harry with wide eyes.  “Very impressive, Alphaboy. Quite the matchmaker, you are.”

“Mmm,” the Alpha hums, tugging him that much closer, “Call me the Love-Doctor.

“Not happening,” Louis murmurs–fighting a smile. “You can do so much better than that, surely.”

“Alas, my love, you give me too much credit, as my imagination only goes so far.” My love.

 Butterflies flutter in Louis’s belly, making his heart race. My love…the words are pretty and sweet and his.

With a little sigh, the Omega returns to reality, trying to remember that the words were teasing. “How did you figure Liam was a fan of comics anyway?”

Shrugging, Harry says, “I didn’t. It was chance. Just, Zayn seems very shy and Liam keeps glancing at him. So, I put two and two together and took a chance.”

“Daring, are we?” Louis murmurs softly–biting his bottom lip and batting (yes, Louis is trying to flirt) his lashes.

“Very,” Harry replies, tugging him again (consequentially, Louis loses balance and ends up in Harry’s space, cuddled underneath his arm). The only scent his Omega responds to floods his senses and the boy almost whimpers in pleasure–it’s so much, maybe even too much. “Not moving,” the Alpha declares, smoothing the boy’s hair tenderly.

Louis doesn’t ever want to move, but that doesn’t stop him from putting up a challenge, “Neither am I.”

Squirming, his legs end up in Harry’s lap–the Alpha setting one hand rough on his ankle. “We both fit.”

“Barely,” Louis chides. “You should move, seeing as I’ve already gotten comfy.

“So have I.”

“Seems we’ve got a bit of an issue, then, don’t we?”

“Hardly,” the Alpha breathes, voice taking that slow, thick tenor, “Being so close to you is always a pleasure.” At the words, Louis stops breathing, his head begins to feel fuzzy and– “Breathe, baby,” Harry reminds him and on command, the Omega inhales much needed air.

“You…are…trying to…kill me,” the Omega accuses, finding his voice (and thoughts) at last.

With a husky chuckle, the Alpha shakes his head, “Your reactions are very upsetting sometimes. How could you possibly forget to breathe?”

“You’re upset,” Louis starts, “I’m the one who nearly died! And I didn’t forget –,”

“Awe. Look, guys!” Niall cuts in suddenly. “Aren’t they just the cutest things?!”

“Niall,” Josh warns, “Don’t look; they’re in the lovestruck phase. They’re going to be weird.”

“You two have no room to talk,” Louis defends with a pout.

“What? Not at all. You’re wrong!” both Alpha and Omega disagree in unison–and if that doesn’t say something, then what is life?

First to laugh is Harry, then Zayn and Liam, until Louis snickers as well.

With a haughty snivel, Niall mutters, “Fine! Go on; laugh it up, bunch of cunts.”

Louis grins winningly at Harry with the sneaking suspicion that Harry is grinning back.

“Lovestruck phase! Told ya!” Josh chimes over the sounds of Niall’s grumbles.

Ignoring them, the Alpha crushes Louis to his chest, arms locking around the Omega’s waist. Content, Louis rests his head on Harry’s shoulder and sinks into the blissful haven–surrounded by his favourite people, who are admittedly, a bunch of cunts.

Chapter Text

Time continues insistently slow, but uncomfortably quick all the same. But nothing proves exactly easy either. The first few weeks, with all the boys together, are still uneasy, but in the course of those weeks, Liam and Harry finally become tolerable of each other; until the two Alphas actually begin to tease Louis, enough that the Omega is blushing permanently– face heated and too-many-shades-brighter. When their recently formed group isn’t together, Louis is with Harry–his Mum absolutely adores the Alpha, which isn’t shocking at all, as the Alpha is naturally charismatic–and then, the most trying aspect of his present day life: the ‘surprise’ dates.

Expensive surprise outings that the Omega always makes a point to scold the Alpha for–because Louis doesn’t need to be lavished with gifts (the weighty bracelets that cost too much for Louis to even imagine, the books, the flower crowns–yes, plural, each braided in intricate designs and petals). Multiple times the Omega tried to make the Alpha realise how unnecessary (because Louis only needs Harry–though that remains unsaid, the Alpha just couldn’t know how attached Louis was becoming, not so soon) but Harry Styles is unrelenting and unfair–using that voice twice, the voice that makes Louis’s insides melt and his thoughts dissolve–until the Omega reluctantly agrees to accept the gifts as graciously as possible (meaning Louis denies and fusses until the Alpha is whispering persuasive words, his rough, calloused hands wandering over Louis’s sides.)

Just like that, normal becomes an entirely separate universe. Monday through Friday, during school hours, the two only parted for class, spending lunch with the boys. Upon dismissal, the two would seek refuge (away from Jay) in the school’s library, where Louis would push Harry to do his homework while the Omega read the books given (forced) to him. Some Saturdays, Harry would come over and watch him do the specific chores his Mum expected of him (Jay having decided long ago that Louis wasn’t incapacitated and could do chores like everyone else –though they were significantly simpler than most). Though the Omega begged him to stop staring, as it makes Louis that much clumsier and self-conscious, the Alpha only answered, “Don’t deprive a starving male, little one, you’re so beautiful when you’re focused. I could watch for ages.”

And, well, Louis isn’t the best with words, doesn’t know how to manipulate them like those authors from novels, so the Omega hides his face and continues to organise the kitchen.

And, finally, Sundays–or doomsday, when Harry would reserve those dates–to restaurants in London, and walks through the parks and beaches, and even concerts (which might’ve been the Omega’s favourite as Harry Styles held him the entire night–the Alpha usually made a point to keep a distance, which both disappointed and relieved Louis). Those nights, the Alpha would hum along to every song, voice thick and coarse and…equally as compelling–to Danny O’Donoghue and Chris Martin and so many others–too many to begin to count, even in mere months.

Now, in the kitchen, Harry and his Mum chat over business (which Louis finds to be both confusing and boring, though the Alpha is apparently very familiar with the field) while Louis sits, cross-legged on the sofa in the living room, marveling over these times.

“Louis,” the Alpha’s voice is abruptly very close, breaking through his reverie. “Love, where are you?”

Without his noticing, Harry seemed to have settled beside him on the sofa, his body-heat beginning to reach Louis despite the inches separating them. Flushing, Louis mumbles, “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologise, love,” the Alpha murmurs, catching his face in strong, sure fingers while holding the distance. “You disappear so completely into your mind sometimes,” Harry continues, voice thoughtful, before thickening into molasses, “I wish I could follow you.”

You do, Louis nearly blurts, you live in my mind, always. Instead, the boy smiles shyly, before asking, “Did you need something?”

“Well,” Harry starts, wary amusement colouring his tone, “Spring Break’s next week…”

Frowning, Louis shuffles, movements equally cautious as he brings his knees to his chest, familiar with the Alpha’s careful approach to topics he knows Louis won’t be exactly open with. “And?”

“And,” the Alpha murmurs, cool and level, “I had planned a trip to Paris for the time and thought –,”

“No,” Louis interrupts–though Harry’s answering silence has him hastily explaining, “I-I couldn’t…Mum needs my help with the girls and she wouldn’t allow–,”

“I’ve already asked,” Harry states quietly.

With a small sigh, the Omega comes to terms with the fact that nobody, not even stern, no-nonsense Jay can deny a determined Harry Styles.  Even so, Louis tries. “I-I still couldn’t,” the boy’s voice is meek, “I mean, like, I can’t possibly afford that…”

“You know I wouldn’t expect that of you, Louis,” Harry’s answering voice is indifferent, giving away nothing–though, his Omega, sensing what Louis can’t, is triggered, catching him by surprise.

Without permission, Louis begins to ramble, “I know. I’m…I’m sorry, Harry. Please, don’t think I…Forgive me…I’m…Just, don’t, please? Please, don’t do this to me…” And without a doubt, the Omega knows the depth in those words, knows please, don’t do this to me, in Louis-Language, translates to: don’t leave me. I can’t stand the distance. Just…stay with me.

Knowing this, the guilt begins to build, but Louis bites his tongue against his Omega and remains quiet–pleading forgiveness with his eyes. 

“Come ‘ere, love,” the Alpha murmurs, and somehow Louis ends up in Harry’s lap, looking up at the Alpha, who thumbs soothingly at the corner of his mouth. “Talk to me. Help me understand why it’s so difficult to accept what I’m offering, Louis.”

Involuntarily, a vicious shudder runs up his spine as his body soaks up the abrupt heat, though somehow Louis manages to speak, “You’ve given me so much already. And I-I don’t need or expect any of it, really, I don’t…You shouldn’t have to provide for me. We’re not…You haven’t….I mean, it’s–,”

Saving him from any more mortification at the notion of mating, Harry starts evenly, “I’m an Alpha, sweet boy…Somehow, I’m not all that shocked that my Omega, of all, would be the one to think otherwise. Louis Tomlinson, please understand that I am more than able to give, to you, whatever you desire. And I’m extremely happy to do so. But it’s not only my wants, it’s my job to spoil you rotten and protect and care for you.”

“Correct me if I’ve misunderstood,” Louis works to keep his tone light, “But what you’re saying is that an Alpha is equivalent to a Sugar Daddy?”

Seemingly startled, Harry coughs, “Christ, Lou. How–? I said no such thing…but, if the shoe fits…”

“Harry!” the Omega gasps, stunned, “You are such an Alpha!”

“And you,” the Alpha breathes, and his lips brush the hollow of the Omega’s ear, causing Louis to squirm, as the contact sends heat spiraling through him, “are avoiding the issue, my little Omega.”

Without warning, the sensation ignites, and the Omega, caught in the whirlwind, doesn’t notice Harry cradling him impossibly closer, arms iron clasps secured around his thin waist as the Alpha exhales over the skin of his throat–scenting him. “You terrify me,” Louis blurts, voice reedy as the resistance begins to fade as his Omega marvels, all wired-nerves.

Tensing, the Alpha becomes eerily quiet, until Louis wishes his Omega understood the concept of self-control. At last, Harry speaks, voice grave–though Louis can’t begin to fathom the reason until–, “It isn’t intentional, Lou, I’d never…There isn’t…Just, I can’t seem to channel my emotions when…when you’re so close…but I’m trying. Obviously not hard enough, though.”

No! No,” Louis rushes, horrified, “Th-That’s not what I meant, Harry! I-It’s not you! It’s me...You…You’re an Alpha, w-who has choices and…I can’t…You haven’t…” oh no, Louis thinks, so humiliated, wishing he could sink into the ground and never show his face again.

“What haven’t I done, sweetheart?” the Alpha prompts, voice soft, placating.

Louis burrows his face in the slope of Harry’s shoulder–hiding from his burning gaze, the gaze that compels him to answer with the truth, “You haven’t…Haven’t I behaved? B-Because I-I’ve been trying…to be good…” like Niall always seems to be for Josh.

Cheeks burning, Louis can practically hear the gears shift in Harry’s head before the Alpha curses.

In response, the Omega cringes, managing to scramble away (the Alpha’s grip having slackened–probably revolted by how pathetic Louis is) to the farthest end of the sofa. Strangely hesitant, Harry closes the distance again, prying his hands away from where they shield his heated face and kissing each of his fingertips. “No, baby, no, no, no…You’re so–fuck, Louis, you’re only ever perfect to me.”

“I’m sorry…?” Louis mumbles, confused and torn, listening to his Omega blare against the words–furious with him for being so needy. And despite the words, his heart plummets passed his ribs and into his belly as the traitor tears gather in his eyes.

“No,” the Alpha repeats, voice strong and deadly quiet. “None of that. You’re lovely. So, so good to me.”

Warmth floods through him; his Omega mewls happily, basking in an Alpha’s praise. Swiftly, Harry strokes his cheek, bends forward, and kisses him softly, briefly. And his heart, already racing, splutters frantically.

“Will you at least think about joining?” he asks carefully.

No, the Omega thinks tenaciously, biting his lip against the instant response and grudgingly murmuring, “Fine,” because Louis doesn’t have the energy to continue this argument.

Seemingly satisfied with his answer, Harry stands. Twining their fingers, the Alpha brings him to his feet, murmuring, “That’s all I ask. Now, come, let’s finish these chores before Jay decides I’m becoming a distraction.”

Grinning, Louis lets the Alpha lead him forward, “But, Haz, you are distracting me.”

Stopping him mid-step, Harry’s arms circle his waist as the Alpha growls playfully, “I’d better be, or all my efforts would have been for nothing.”

Rolling his eyes, Louis wiggles out of the embrace and promptly makes a grand exit, purposely swaying his hips and hoping the Alpha’s eyes follow.

∞∞∞

That evening, when Liam leaves Andy’s flat, the looming dejection makes its descent over him once more. But, the Alpha is used to this feeling, has dealt with it since fifteen, though it wasn’t so difficult to maintain back then, when Liam always had the simple solace of ‘one day’. Now, with that reassurance gone, replaced by the flat, dark realisation that ‘one day’ never actually was.

Teeth clenched, Liam changes his route, towards nowhere in particular. Just away–from Andy, and his self-assured words, ‘don’t stress mate, he wasn’t even worth your time, honest.’ Because the truth is, Louis was worth his time, always would be, it’s Liam who wasn’t–isn’t– worth the Omega’s time. But the Alpha refuses to throw a pity-party, refuses to acknowledge the sting of rejection.

Time to get over it, Payne, his Alpha urges, unaffected as ever.

With a snort, Liam shakes his head, in attempts to efface the clutter of emotions. Nothing changes, but the Alpha can only quicken his pace, focusing on the exertion.

A while continues in complete darkness, until Liam reaches the heart of their quiet, soft-spoken town. Most places have closed for the night, leaving Tesco’s and the Petrol Stations. Somehow, the Alpha finds himself in Tesco’s, with a jar of jam in each hand–one strawberry, the other grape.

“Having trouble there?” a quiet, melodic voice chirps from beside him. A voice his Alpha would recognise anywhere–across the English Channel or in a crowded room, or even in Tesco’s, because it’s that voice.

Muscles tense, Liam turns, of course his Alpha’s intuition as never failed before, as the small Omega is revealed–the Omega with the sweet voice, from lunch and the café, the one with the equally as sweet chocolate-brown eyes.

In a trance, Liam stares, until the Omega raises an eyebrow, looking almost worried for him. And damn it–could he be any worse off? Clearing his throat, the Alpha realises how he must look with two jars of ruddy jam in his hands. “Jam,” Liam explains, shrugging (as casually as possible), “It’s unbelievably difficult to choose which. They’re both…”

Too stop his rambling, Liam extends his hands in offering, and grinning, Zayn grabs them in his smaller hands. In the process, their fingers make contact and with a vicious energy his Alpha rouses. Since his presentation, his Alpha has never reacted, but now it urges him to touch the small Omega again, and again, and again. And Liam looks at the Omega again–the Omega who’s long eyelashes cast shadows on his sharp cheeks, the Omega with beautiful complex and…Christ.

Abruptly, oxygen fails him, and his mind retracts, realising he isn’t looking as Liam, he’s looking as an Alpha looks at only an Omega. And his Alpha has never seen any Omega as a potential mate, not even Louis.

“You’re right,” the Omega hums quietly, lips curving into a frown. “They’re both rather tasty.” As you’d be.

At the thought, Liam inhales sharply, and works to keep his thoughts from going there, because that’s wholly improper and against his basic morals. “Well,” the Alpha breathes, sounding horribly winded, “I’ll have to purchase them both then, I suppose.”

“That’s the only reasonable solution,” Zayn agrees, then shuffles, “I–um, I’ll see you, then…?” And then the Omega goes to walk away–which, no, not a chance.

“Wait,” Liam calls, catching his thin wrist in one hand–the contact sends a shock up his arm, which the Omega must feel too, because Zayn freezes, breath stuttering. Liam grips the opportunity, “It’s late. You shouldn’t be out at this time alone….Let me…May I walk you home?”

For a tense second, Liam almost thinks the Omega won’t accept, but at last Zayn looks up, smiling shyly and mumbling, “Yeah. Um, that…that’d be nice?” It’s more a question than anything, but the Alpha understands and releases him.

At the register, Liam insists on buying the Omega’s packet of Oreo’s and Redbull (which the Alpha thinks cannot possibly be healthy?). Zayn pouts, but rather than feeling sympathetic, Liam finds it the most adorable pout he’s ever had the pleasure of seeing. In fact, the Alpha decides he’ll be paying more often.

“You know,” Liam starts, as the two tread through the darkness, “You never did show me those comics…”

Chewing an Oreo, the Omega swallows before answering, “I didn’t think you’d actually want to see them. I mean, I could tell you were interested…but we never, like, actually talked again. So…I figured…”

Frustrated by his own idiocy, Liam mutters, “I–Yeah, I’ve been shit lately. Or so everybody continues to remind me…”

“Nah,” the Omega shrugs, smiling up at him, “So much has been going on, yeah? What with Haz and Louis. So, like, I don’t think badly of you at all, honest.” Haz? At the pet-name, something dark and unwelcome uncurls in his chest–his Alpha sneers in response.

With some effort Liam smiles, murmuring, “So, how about those comics then? I really am quite impressed.”

In the darkness, the Omega’s cheeks are bright, as he stumbles over his words, “Would…You can, like, come over tomorrow, I mean, that’s if you’re not too busy. I would invite you in tonight…but I’m not even supposed to be out. Just really craved some Oreo’s…”

Dear God, Liam gathers this Omega is looking for trouble. That won’t do. With a breath, the Alpha decides this self-assured boy needs to be kept safe. And that’s his mission–though, judging by the Omega’s attitude towards Harry, that wouldn’t be a welcomed response.

Alas, the Alpha has always been sensible, and remembers, “I have to meet up with Niall and Josh tomorrow…Join us? And afterwards, you can show me?”

“Yeah,” the Omega nods, beaming now. “I’d like that.”

Too caught up in the boy’s smile, Liam can only nod, stepping into unison with his steps, extremely pleased by the proximity.

Too soon, Zayn stops at the gates of a modernized flat, and with chagrin, Liam realises this is where they part ways.

But only for now, his Alpha reminds icily.

“So, um…” Come on, step it up, Payne.

Holding the Omega’s liquid chocolate gaze, Liam closes to small space and dares to place a gentle kiss over the skin of his cheek, taking the chance to inhale the intoxicating scent of soap, tinged with sweetness.

“Tomorrow then, love. I’ll be here at two,” the Alpha murmurs, watching intently as Zayn stumbles away, nodding even as he disappears.

Alone again, Liam realises the heavy feeling has faded a bit, realises that he can manage breathing again, realises Louis’s name has been replaced with Zayn’s. In fact, the Alpha realises thoughts of Louis have been replaced with thoughts of the one Omega to reach his Alpha.

∞∞∞

            With a gasp, Louis jolts awake, panting, the Omega takes deep breaths to stop the shaking. Familiar shivers run up his spine, uncontrollable, suffocating him in a rivulet of thick, omnipresent memories. Clutching the blankets, Louis becomes aware of his surroundings, his subconscious chanting it isn’t real, it isn’t real, it isn’t real.

And the Omega knows this, though the knowledge doesn’t help–the images and the sounds that were once real, seem the same, even now (so many years later). 

Hands trembling, Louis makes contact with the cool surface of his nightstand, searching. Within seconds, Louis’s fingers grip his mobile, making (slow) work of dialing the only number his mind refuses to forget.

Struggling to breathe, Louis makes the two long rings his focus, until a sleep-addled voice rumbles, “Lou.”

Just like that, with a simple breath, the Omega crosses the threshold to his happy place, where those memories can’t touch him.  

Relieved, a soft sigh slips through his lips, as the boy’s body unwinds, slumping into the mass of pillows. “Haz, my Hazza.”

Over the line there’s a short ruffling and grunt before, “Mmm. You’ve captured my attention.”

“Mission accomplished,” Louis mumbles, exhaustion creeping over him.

“You cease to surprise me,” the Alpha’s voice flows more leisurely than ever, creating a warm lullaby, urging him to sleep, “You’re so sharp-tongued in the day, but at night, you’re soft as a kitten.” 

“Meow,” the Omega breathes, snuggling closer to the phone, “Now I can be a little kitty!”

Pretty, little kitty,” Harry adds, gravelly voice leaking an Alpha’s resonance, “My pretty, little kitty.”

Louis’s heart slams against his chest, and the butterflies escape from his tummy into his constricting throat. “I’m going to regret saying that in the morning, aren’t I?”

“I reckon so,” the Alpha chuckles, then, “It’s late, love. You need to sleep.”

“But, Haz–,” Louis begins sulkily only to be interrupted.

“It’s late,” Harry says again, murmuring, almost crooning now, voice hushed. “Sleep, my Louis. My only love.”

 My only love…those words consume his sleep-ridden mind as the Alpha begins to hum some nameless tune and Louis, warm and lost to the tune, succumbs to sleep. 

 

∞∞∞

           

Slowly, luxuriously, consciousness steals Louis away. Sighing, the Omega sits up, though his hand makes contact with his phone and–

The night’s events come rushing to mind as Louis shivers.

Harry…

With a smile, the Omega receives his notifications from his mobile–finding one message from Alphaboy (his heart may or may not miss a beat).

On command, the phone reads; 

Kitten,

I’m rather disappointed I didn’t have the privilege of waking up to your voice, alas, duty calls. Be ready around two, yeah?  

Thinking of you always,

Your Haz .xx

Kitten? Of course, Louis thinks, moaning and burrowing his flushed face into his pillow. Once the embarrassment fades, the Omega shakes his head, deciding there isn’t time to think into it now. Instead, Louis climbs out of bed and straightens up (to the best of his ability) before drifting into the bathroom with a towel in his hands and a fresh outfit–a normal shirt with joggers and high-socks.

In the bathroom, Louis removes his clothes and quickly clambers into the shower, anxious to be under the cleansing stream of water. It cascades over him, and the boy bares his face into the welcoming torrent. Under the warm, soothing water, the Omega hums, reaching for the strawberry scented body wash.

All at once, something kindles low, low in his belly and his hands, rubbing the body wash into the skin of his shoulders, falter. In seconds, his Omega has created a mantra of HarryHarryHarry. Control failing him, Louis doesn’t attempt to stop his Omega from reacting, doesn’t stop his hands from massaging the scented soap into his skin, across his chest, over his tummy and thighs, but never daring to touch himself…there. Too spineless, even as he thinks, imagines, fantasizes long fingered hands caressing him instead.

 His heartbeat picks up; this feels so…so…good.

“Oh,” his voice is breathy when his nails skim over his collarbone–is this supposed to happen?

“Louis! Hurry up, won’t you? I have plans and–!” in the hall Lottie continues to shriek.

“S-Sorry! I’m coming!” the Omega stutters, yanked cruelly from…whatever that was. Without the feeling, Louis manages to touch those previously untouchable places before washing the suds away, climbing out and grabbing his towel. Hastily, he dries, ignoring the pleasurable feel of the towel against his over-sensitized skin.

Once he’s finished, Louis dresses (shoving his arm through the wrong hole twice) and taking deep, calming breaths before wrenching the door open. “Sorry,” the Omega mumbles again, face down as he rushes into his room, face ablaze with embarrassment.

Even changed (in a white button-up–his Mum having colour-coordinated his wardrobe again, knee-high navy shorts, and white plimsolls) with his hair in a somewhat styled ruffle, Louis doesn’t dare leave his room, ashamed and confused and–going mad with questions that he refuses to even think about bringing up to his Mum.With a sigh, Louis decides against hiding out until Harry shows, realising it’d only make Jay that much more suspicious. Just, act normal, the Omega thinks, quietly approaching the high-stools at the island in the kitchen, where Jay bustles nosily, preparing lunch for the girls.

Seated, Louis swings his legs, back and forth, back and forth, focused on the steady rhythm when Jay shatters his growing composure, “You’re quiet this afternoon. Everything okay? Harry tells me you don’t want to join him on his trip to Paris?”

Blanching, the Omega’s eyebrows furrow and irritation wells up inside him, “You and Harry need to stop gossiping like old-women.”

“Apologies, love,” his Mum murmurs, trying to sound contrite, “But, I’m quite interested. Where could you possibly go wrong in Paris? It is the City of Love and all.”

Colour rising in his cheek, Louis mutters, “Mum, please, I’d rather not have this conversation right now. 

“Louis Tomlinson, there is no getting out this one,” Jay states tersely, “Now, let’s hear it and–,”

Throughout the house, the bell chimes and before his Mum can speak again, Louis sprints to the front-door, wrestling the locks before opening it with a relieved, “Harry!”

“Hello to you too,” the Alpha murmurs, sardonically amused–stupid, ‘superior-than-thou’ Alpha mindset.

“I’m ready,” the Omega claims, stepping outside, “Let’s go.”

“Already? But I’ve only just arrived and I’m sure Jay–,”

“No,” Louis blurts desperately, sure his Mum must be approaching by now, “We’re going…I’m…I’m famished.” The whole ‘starving’ bit proves successful, as the Alpha is hell-bent on protecting Louis (even from himself) and keeping him ‘safe and healthy’.

There isn’t even a moment’s hesitation before Harry says, “Okay. Alright, let’s go then.”   

As the Omega drags the Alpha away from the house, Harry calls, “Hello, Jay, looking lovely as ever!”  

Frowning at that, Louis lets Harry help him into the vehicle without commenting. Once they’re in motion, Louis crosses his arms over his chest and turns to the window, remaining in that posture the entire ride, silently fuming. 

With each passing minute, the Omega’s fury solidifies; this much is clear, Harry Styles is in direct line of his fire. 

 

∞∞∞               

            It’s only minutes into that drive that Harry’s emotions shift and waver dangerously. His vision flashes a forbidding crimson as his hands threaten to snap the steering-wheel. Inside, his Alpha rages without reason, seeking blood.

Except this obviously isn’t his rage, which isn’t a surprise, as Louis hasn’t made a sound since arrival, strictly facing the window with his little hands balled into equally as small fists on his lap.

Distantly, the Alpha wonders how the boy can possibly harbor so much anger in such a tiny body. Then again, anything is possible.

Without speaking, Harry decides on the simplest acceptable restaurant that comes to mind, the one Zayn’s especially partial too, on the fringes of town. Once the Alpha has killed the engine, Louis–very bravely–exits, slamming the door shut behind him.

Unacceptable, his Alpha snarls, furious–even more so anxious over the potential threats the outside world poses, especially towards his Omega.

In seconds, Harry storms to his side, grasping his arm, conjuring a calmness that he does not feel into his voice, “Don’t do that again, Louis, ever.” 

Raising his face, Louis hisses, voice scissor-sharp with anger, “Don’t boss me about, Harry, ever.

Ironically enough his words from the night before have come back to haunt him. Though, even with those words, Louis doesn’t move–perhaps sensing that Harry’s control is hanging by a loose thread.

With a calming breath, Harry smiles blandly, “Hmm, someone’s crabby when they’re hungry.”

“Or maybe,” the boy seethes, gaze stormy, “a certain Alpha is just an absolute twat.” 

“Enough,” Harry snaps, voice unintentionally deep with an Alpha’s timbre, “Shall I remind a certain Omega who’s in control here?”

Stubborn-as-ever the boy fights submission until his breathing is slightly labored, eyes glazed over with regret. “N-No,” the Omega finally whispers bleakly, “You’ve made it clear enough…”

“Let’s go then,” his Alpha remains inert, satisfied even as Harry is floored by the lack of response.

Wordlessly, Harry keeps his distance with only a hand placed on the small of Louis’s back, trailing their hostess. As requested, they’re escorted to the more private section.

Once Louis is seated, the Alpha joins, waiting expectantly. Just when the Omega opens his mouth, their waitress approaches, an Omega, by the looks of it, “Hello, I’m Sarah and I’ll be serving you this afternoon. Have you–Harry Styles?”

Jesus Christ, does it matter?

“Indeed,” the Alpha nods, staring pointedly at Louis, whose eyes remain downcast.

“I’m such a huge admirer! Your father is such an amazing Council leader!” If only the idiot could be such an ‘amazing’ Father, too.

Attempting to be civil, for Louis, Harry manages not to interrupt, until Sarah continues to prattle on after five minutes–his patience only runs so deep, “Right, I’d like to order now.”

And goes onto glancing at the winery list, choosing the most expensive, figuring, by its cost, the wine is brilliant. Sarah, whose face has fallen, reluctantly turns to Louis who mumbles, “I’ll…um, have the same, please.”

Once Miss-Overly-Excited takes the hint and scurries away, Harry clasps his hands over the table and leans forward, murmuring, “You drink?”

“Why, yes, Harry, I do. Doesn’t everyone?” Louis starts, seeming to have recovered his spark. “You know, water does make up seventy or so percent of the human body and–,”

“Louis,” the Alpha murmurs, smirking, “You’ve quite the mouth on you.”

“You’ve given me the perfect opportunity to make use of it,” Louis murmurs, coquettish mouth curving into a rueful smile.

“Oh, no, there are many ways to make better use of such a mouth,” Harry drawls, watching as the Omega’s teeth close over his bottom lip and his hands fiddle with the table-cloth nervously.

“You say those things on purpose,” Louis accuses, blushing scarlet.

“And it’s only ever true,” Harry reminds softly, before, “But, let’s subside this conversation to focus on more pressing matters...I’m asking, nicely, mind you, what I’ve done to upset you?”

Seemingly speechless, a feat, the boy shakes his head.

“Louis, surely there is something you wish to say. Just a moment ago you were the epitome of verbose.

Scowling, his smart-mouthed Omega raises his face, and this time his words flow more swiftly than usual, “Epitome of verbose? Harry, I could say the exact same for you. As my Mum claimed–once she finished her investigation, that is–it was you who told her about the Paris.”

Stunned into fleeting silence the Alpha studies the boy in this light–the light of his temper–watching as the outrage in those cerulean eyes fades into hurt. “Oh, love,” Harry breathes, understanding. “I hadn’t…Louis, sweet heart, I didn’t realise you hadn’t told her. I assumed, stupidly, when she told me how stubborn you were being, she meant the Paris situation.”

“Well, she didn’t,” Louis grumbles, voice small and feeble, though he doesn’t manage to continue as the waitress returns with their drinks.

“Here we are,” the female murmurs, that obnoxiously excited smile reappearing. Christ, she’s annoying.

Oblivious to his brooding gaze, Miss-Overly-Excited inquires whether they’ve decided on their meals. More than restless to be alone with Louis again, the Alpha mutters, “No, thank you.”

When, seconds later, Harry doesn’t even glance in her direction, the waitress sighs and makes a quick exit, promising (oh goody) to return momentarily.

“Louis, I’ve…Jesus, have I hurt your feelings?”

Without raising his gaze from the table Louis nods a little. Cursing, Harry speaks quietly, evenly, sincerely, “I’m…I’m sorry, Louis. Don’t think I would ever force your decision. You know I didn’t…”Except, obviously, Louis doesn’t know.

“I’m overreacting, causing more trouble than it’s worth,” the Omega mumbles, shrugging.  

“No. No, Louis,” Harry insists, smoldering gaze willing his Omega to realise this, “Your feelings are always warranted and even when I don’t agree I never won’t listen or attempt to understand, at the very least. But, love, I’m as new to this as youYou’re going to have to help me listen.”

Tentatively, the Omega nods, a small, shy smile hinting at the corners of his tempting mouth.

Shamelessly, the Alpha stares, before murmuring, “Am I forgiven then?”

Now those strawberry coloured lips curve and soften into the smile that–selfishly–his Alpha never wants to see directed at anyone else. In fact, Harry wants to believe every smile that graces Louis’s lips belong to him. “You really have to ask? Of course I forgive you, big mouth.”

“Speaking of mouths,” Harry begins–smirking devilishly. “Is it time for a lesson on the myriad of uses for such a smart-mouth?”

Almost effortlessly, their conversation ripples and shifts into their usual banter, their usual connection. Too soon, the waitress returns (luckily for her, Harry’s mood is much more tolerant) and the Alpha even manages to acknowledge her presence with a fleeting glance. Funnily enough, that turns out to be a mistake (talk about manner-manual) as the female, for a worrying instant, looks like she might swoon.  

Mercifully, Miss-Overly-Excited seems to reawaken, “Oh. Um, my apologies, um, has a decision been made?”

Without naming his choice, the Alpha murmurs, “Lou,” before indicating to his Omega. Grudgingly the female turns to Louis, who requests a light salad–which the Alpha frowns at, but doesn’t comment, opting to order instead.

Once the waitress leaves, Louis extends his hand until making contact with the wine glass, sipping at the liquid hastily. At first taste, the Omega sputters, “Wh-at?”

 “Pouilly Fumé,” despite the smug smile on his lips, Harry maintains a matter-of-fact tone. 

Face scrunched cutely in disgust, Louis mumbles, “It’s so…strong.”  Ah, love, you’ve not tasted Whiskey…

“Actually, this is fairly decent,” the Alpha tells him, “You’re new to the taste of alcohol, yeah?”

“A bit,” the boy admits, dropping his gaze self-consciously.

“That’s nothing to be ashamed of, Lou. For my own selfish reasons, I’m exceptionally pleased. Besides, alcohol isn’t exactly healthy. You should have something else.”

Pursing his lips, Louis swallows, before murmuring, “No, this is fine, thanks.”

Sipping at his glass, Harry watches Louis–more fond than irritated by the boy’s sudden stubborn-streak, it only means the Omega is becoming comfortable–deciding to post-pone the Paris conversation until after they’ve eaten and his energy has been restored.  For now, the Alpha allows himself to relax, toying with Louis’s significantly small, thin fingers.

So tiny, he thinks in awe, everything about this boy screams ‘I-need-protecting’

“I think,” Harry starts unceremoniously, not very interested, “Zayn’s become quite fond of your Alpha.”  Can’t imagine why.

Noticeably, Louis stills, then, “Liam is not my Alpha. And, explain the evidence behind this thought?”

Pleased by the way Louis disowns the Alpha with his dismissive sentence, Harry complies, “For starters, Zayn–the most indifferent Omega I know–can’t say the blokes name without blushing.  Quite like a smart-mouthed Omega I know.”

Grasping the challenge in his words, Louis huffs, “I can too say your name without blushing!”

Grinning wickedly, extremely thrilled and impatient to watch the boy’s lips form his name, Harry breathes, “Prove it.”

As expected, the boy doesn’t disappoint–catching his bottom lip between those sharp canines, Louis peeks up at him through those thick lashes (for affect, the Alpha gathers, as the boy caught on quickly to what made Harry go mad with want) and breathes, “Harry, Harry, Harry…”

And his heart–reacting to his name on Louis’s lips–begins to race, his blood boiling with need, the oxygen having been replaced with the Omega’s intoxicating scent. “Again,” the Alpha breathes, staring, transfixed as his cock strains against his zipper.

“Harry,” Louis whispers, aware (how could anyone miss it?) of the lust roaring within him–vaguely, Harry notices the boy’s pink cheeks, “My Haz.”

Hissing, the Alpha tenses, grinding his teeth against a growl. Those words, those lips, thisboy overwhelms him in ways thought to be impossible.  Keeping him seated: his Alpha’s disgust at having the Omega without bonding him proper–which isn’t possible unless the Omega receives Council approval before eighteen–which is going to be a problem, especially with his bloody Father.

Averse to that looming-issue, Harry murmurs quietly, “You’re blushing. It’s lovely.”

Before the Omega can answer, Miss-Overly-Excited returns, and judging by the silence she’s given up on trying to catch his attention.  Without touching his food, Harry gazes at Louis, who twirls his fork in the salad–none ever actually making it into his mouth.

“Hmm, weren’t you famished mere hours ago?” the Alpha teases.

Sipping at the wine, Louis shrugs, “You’re watching me. I can’t eat when you’re watching me.”

Frowning, Harry centers on the bond, only to find a jumble of feelings that would take ages to even outline.  “Does it make you uncomfortable?” he asks.

“Actually, it makes me clumsy,” the boy explains, “Next, I’ll accidently shove the fork up my nose or find pieces of lettuce in my hair.” And then Louis giggles–the Alpha floods with something warm and foreign, stunned by the intensity of the feeling but accepting it gladly.

“I don’t think that’ll be an issue with a nose so small, Lou.”

Looking unconvinced, the Omega shakes his head, “Never say never.”

“Please eat, Louis,” Harry murmurs, promising to keep his eyes strictly on his plate. No cheating. Except, the Alpha does cheat, though Louis seems to know whenever his eyes stray, reminding, “You promised,” until the Alpha grunts and continues to eat.

Once his plate is emptied, and Louis is about halfway through his salad, (unbelievable, the dainty air this boy takes on, even whilst eating) the Alpha gulps down an additional glass of wine before daring to trek on hazardous grounds.

“By any chance, have you come to a decision?”

Sighing, Louis shrugs, looking glaringly helpless–the look instantly doesn’t sit well with Harry. “Please, Haz, don’t. Not right now…” Then when? the Alpha thinks, beyond frustrated.

With a curt nod, Harry waits until Louis has finished (plate only partially eaten) before asking, “Dessert?”

Biting his lip, Louis whispers, “I won’t be able to finish it. Share with me?” And his hesitant, careful tone suggests he’s expecting Harry to refuse out of spite, or lash out any second.

“Well, since I took special care to bring you to a relatively simple restaurant, I’ll need to test their dessert quality. Might as well see what they’ve got to offer, yeah?”

“Well,” the Omega nods eagerly, “dessert is the most important meal of the day after all.”

Quirking an eyebrow at the menu, Harry murmurs, “According to whom, might I ask?”

“Me.”

“Ah, then it must be accurate,” the Alpha concedes dubiously before racing through the list of sweet treats. In the end, Louis declares brownies the victor, as there’s a scoop of iced cream with it and “double the sweets, Harry, don’t let this opportunity pass us by.” Even irritated, the Alpha can’t seem to refuse him–can’t seem to remain angry with this sweet, innocent Omega.

When the treat arrives, Harry feeds most to Louis, claiming there is enough for two–extremely pleased to be caring for his Omega. When the boy is finished, the Alpha pays the bill and leads them out, when Louis’s phone pings in announcement.

Though Louis doesn’t seem to care, Harry shakes his head, “Louis, answer that, it could be Jay.”

A feeling the Alpha has become all-too comfortable with these past months flares up in the Omega, who places a hand on his hip, snapping, “I doubt it. She’d much rather chat with you, as the two of you are best mates out of the blue.”

Grinning, Harry wraps an arm around the pouting Omega’s waist, and leans in close to breathe into Louis’s ear, “I’d much rather chat with you. You’ve beguiled me, sweet boy. Now, don’t be difficult, and do as I say.”

With a shaky breath, the boy nods, retrieving the device from his bag and going through the thing until a robotic voice begins to read;

From: Irish-Bowl-of-Smiles
‘Lou-is! @ the park near yours! Come see us, u twat. & bring Harry, Zayn’s with us!’

Muffling his laugher into Louis’s throat, Harry murmurs, “Irish-Bowl-of-Smiles, hmm?”

“Hush,” the Omega scolds, then, he sighs, “I suppose we should join them, yeah?”

But you won’t join me?

Glowering, the Alpha straightens, distancing them and grabbing the boy’s hand only as Louis continues obliviously, “First, we’ll need to stop at mine and…”

Staring at nothing in particular, Harry doesn’t interrupt the Omega’s rambling, because there isn’t any reason for Louis to be aware of his emotions–after all, Alpha’s are heartless.  

Except, his Alpha reminds cruelly, towards their Omega’s.

∞∞∞

            When the Alpha doesn’t object to joining the lads Louis is tremendously relieved. It’s been a while since they’ve all gotten together, outside of school that is. Though, secretly, the Omega realises the boys–especially Zayn–will keep Harry busy and away from the Paris issue. And, right now, Louis needs to think without distractions (the Alpha’s remarks, his gaze, his presence)

In the end, they spend half-an-hour at his house–with Harry and Jay in conversation Louis decides there isn’t a reason to rush.

Upstairs, Louis swaps his button-up with a simple white v-neck, and his plimsolls for scuffed Vans before rummaging through his wardrobe to retrieve a thin coverlet. Grabbing his Braille version of ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ (required for English) and his iPod (which was relatively easy to figure out) Louis bounds down the stairs, startled when two hands find his waist.

Louis gasps, his heart leaping in his throat, “You scared me! Oh, my God, I might’ve had a heart-attack!”

“You didn’t,” the Alpha laughs, not even pretending to sound sorry as those hands tug Louis forward, down the remaining steps, “I would’ve heard that.”

On his feet, the Omega rolls his eyes, but grabs the Alpha’s outrageously large hands in his own, dragging the bloke out the front door and down the drive.  When Louis continues on the sidewalk–completely ignoring Harry’s (flashy, he’s sure) vehicle–Harry asks, “You know where we’re going?”

Grinning at the Alpha’s suspicious tone, Louis replies pertly, “Of course.”

“I’m relieved,” Harry decides, slowing his pace, “Cause someone ought too. And I’m shit with directions so it best be you, kitten.”

With his heart almost strangling him–because it’s in his throat trying to escape from his mouth–Louis evades the Alpha’s probing gaze,  overwhelmed by affection welling up inside him, even as he struggles to believe an Alpha would trust him with anything, let alone directions. 

If you behave, his Omega snaps–outraged by his earlier behaviour, he might even keep us forever.  

Unable to find his voice, Louis continues, stopping whenever Harry squeezes his hand, murmuring explanations, like ‘car’, ‘bike’, ‘wonky rock’ or even ‘this is longer than ten minute, you little lie.”

Alright, it’s fifteen minutes, so what?  

Soon, exactly five additional minutes soon, Louis recognises the accent to Niall’s complaints, “My God, Joshua, could you kick a bit harder? Now I’ve gatta run in the bushes, again!”

When the Omega’s too-be-mate apologises, Harry chuckles and Louis smiles, pleased to listen in on the couples squabbling, but Niall seems to catch sight of them, as the Irish lad screeches, “Lou! Harry! There you twats are! For a second we thought you really wouldn’t show!” 

Sheepish, Louis waves a bit, though Harry is equally as loud, “It’s nice to see you too, Ireland!”

Quietly, the Omega tugs at the Alpha arm, requesting, when Harry complies, that the Alpha set down the coverlet (to the far, far sidelines, as Josh really is that horrible at footie and Louis recalls receiving several bruises–having underestimated the Alpha’s crap coordination). Then, Louis drops to his knees, plucking his book from his bag and flattening on his tummy, smiling up at where he hopes the Alpha stands–who’s gaze causes goose-bumps to rise on his arms, “It’s impolite to stare, Harry.”

“And it should be illegal to look so stunning, Lou-Bear.”  Stunning? In what world?

Grimacing, mostly at the pet-name, Louis doesn’t speak–as the others are suddenly swarming them.

 “Hey, Lou,” Liam greets him.

“Little one,” Zayn’s voices–which, what?  

A little noise of shock escapes the Omega, whose murderous gaze seeks out Harry–daring the Alpha to speak.  “Harry Styles! You told him!” Louis exclaims between clenched teeth.

“Ouch,” Zayn yelps, “’S not my fault! You’re the idiot who didn’t warn me not to bring it up!”

Someone growls menacingly–thinking Harry is upset with him, Louis flinches–though it’s Liam–his composed, passive best mate, “Don’t touch him, Styles.”

Wow, Louis thinks, stunned because Liam Payne has never, in all the year’s Louis’s known him, growled at anyone. In fact, the boy recalls the Alpha stating how “absurdly barbaric” growling was.

Though his Alpha is seemingly unfazed, murmuring–to Zayn–, “I didn’t think it needed to be said! Jesus, Z, must I spell ‘obvious’ out to you?”

And, despite the warning in those words, Zayn laughs–a whimsical sound that Louis frowns at, once again wondering why. Why the Alpha hasn’t courted him…because the Omega is perfect in every possible way, even his laugh is pretty.

Sighing, the Omega begins to run his fingers over the careful patterns, not really forming the words in his head, too gripped by the vicious emotion that’s plagued him these last weeks–a tangle of pain and rage and desire and despair.

Both unaware and indifferent to the Omega’s sensitivity, the group keeps up their banter until Niall’s sharp voice halts their laughter and Louis’s thoughts.  “Come on, idiots, let’s play! Harry, I’m going on a whim and putting you on Josh and Liam’s team. Zayn, like before, is with me.”

“Lou,” the Irish Omega’s tone softens considerably, “You’re the designated cheer-leader! Pick your side?”

Louis smiles, pretending to think before calling, “I choose the…ZAYNIALL army!”

Like children, the two Omegas go wild, howling and cackling like idiots as Louis giggles, used to Niall’s eccentric behaviour, though Zayn’s does surprise him. Only a bit, as Niall tends to bring out everyone’s wild-side, even Liam.

Niall–the most sport-dedicated in their group–begins to go through the rules when Harry crouches at his side, “I don’t like this,” the Alpha’s voice is deliberately hushed, “Leaving you behind, I mean…”

“You’re not leaving me behind, Harry,” Louis murmurs, “I’m right here, waiting. Now, shoo, I need to read.”

“At least,” the Alpha starts, that award-winning grinin his voice, “kiss me good luck?”

“You’re not even on my team, Harry,” the Omega sighs, but leans in Harry’s direction nonetheless.

So gentle, as if Louis were made of the thinnest glass, long fingers stroke his cheek–which heats underneath the contact.

And the Alpha kisses him–lips warm, careful and achingly light.

Heartbeat erratic, head spinning, Louis returns the kiss a-bit-too eagerly. In seconds, those large hands cup his cheeks, holding him fast as Harry ends the kiss, “Your enthusiasm is going to become a problem,” the Alpha breathes, before refocusing–yes, the Omega sighs–on the boy’s slightly swollen lips, just-barely brushing over them once, twice, a third time, before laughing at Niall’s comment (that Louis’s missed).

Then, with a throaty chuckle, the Alpha leaves Louis to recover as the game begins. Reading, Louis doesn’t pay much attention, occasionally throwing up a fist when Niall or Zayn makes a goal, chirping with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, “Go, team!”

By the time Tea Cake has gone mad with rabies, Niall shouts, “It’s the Irish charm! Don’t be sore losers!”  Intrusively (Niall doesn’t believe in boundaries) the Omega plops down beside him and wraps an arm around Louis’s shoulder.

Disgusted, Louis struggles, shrieking, “Ugh–Josh! Get ahold of your beast!”

With a deep laugh, the Alpha tugs Niall, whose shouting profanities, to his feet. With a grudging groan, the Omega murmurs, “Fine, be that way, cuddle with that sorry excuse for a footie player, traitor!”

“I’m with Niall on that one, Lou,” Zayn interjects, “This time the leprechaun isn’t speaking out of his arse. Harold, here, really is possibly the worst footie player in history.”

“Heeeey,” Harry complains, taking Niall’s spot beside Louis–who sticks his tongue out at the lot of them.

“Don’t talk about my Grizzly-Hazza-Bear that way! He doesn’t need to kick a footie about to meet my needs.”

Needs?” Niall chokes, bursting into hysterics, “You have needs, do you?”

“Grizzly-Hazza-Bear? That’s rich,” Liam joins in–the traitor.

“Styles,” Zayn murmurs, sounding infuriatingly amused, and Louis may or may not shoot him a glacial glare, “Don’t tell me you’ve gone soft?”

“I can still kick your arse, Malik,” his Alpha fires back, cool and level. This time, Liam remains silent, either assuming Harry isn’t serious or missing the remark–both seem a bit farfetched, Louis thinks.

Even so, nobody shuts up, and Louis is blushing bright red, hiding his face in his book and muttering, “Okay, Harry, kick their arses now.”

“With pleasure,” the Alpha purrs in his ear, before declaring to the idiots, “Rematch!”

And, well, the next game isn’t exactly successful either–as Harry loses, again. But, Louis doesn’t care, standing and bounding into Harry’s waiting arms, brushing the damp curls from his forehead and mumbling, “Still my Grizzly-Hazza-Bear.”

Somehow Louis ends up tucked into Harry’s side as the three–Harry, Zayn, and Niall–argue about bias and some other rubbish. Realising this might last a while, Louis drifts to the coverlet, smiling when Niall speaks again, “Oh, come on, Styles, admit it already, Louis could put up a better game than you.”

“Alright,” Josh–finally–ends it, “That’s enough, Ni, we’re expected home soon. Best be off.”

With a cheery “see ya lads” from Niall,the two start in the direction of the lot. On that thought, Liam and Zayn claim to be “in need of showers” and leave–though Louis has no idea where those two set out, they simply depart.

On the coverlet, Harry rolls, propping on his elbows and murmuring, in a facetious voice, “Alone at last.”  “Ugh–the horror,” Louis teases, then blurts, “I’m sorry. About what I said earlier–you’re not a twat. I was just upset…and, like, those words have been eating at me all day. I shouldn’t insult you when I’m angry…It’s like, abusive.”

Snorting, the Alpha shakes his head, “I can handle rough-play, love. You’re not abusive. You couldn’t hurt a fly, Lou, let alone me.

“No, its fine,” Louis says–thoroughly unimpressed, “Go ahead and ruin it with your egotistical customs.”

In response to his words the Alpha lets out a boyish laugh, bringing his arms around the small Omega’s shoulders and trapping him in an embrace. “Ew!” the boy screeches, struggling, “Harry! Harry Styles! Stop it right–!”

Without warning the Alpha’s lips envelope his, owned him. Stunned, the Omega goes plaint as Harry’s tongue sweeps out against his lips–and gasping, Louis begs him in.  High, bright flames ignite everywhere as the Alpha fills his mouth, stroking the most sensitive spots and retreating only to return.

A frantic, gnawing craving rages within him as the Omega, responding to the riveting sensation, to the way Harry’s mouth slants over his again, whines, inhaling ragged breaths. 

The once feather-light kisses now brutalize the Omega’s fervent mouth and the sensation is so sweet, so intense, so– Groaning into Louis’s mouth, the Alpha freezes, bringing the kiss to an abrupt end as Louis clings to the solid muscles of his biceps, needing the support.

I could kiss him…forever.  I want him to kiss me forever.

“So,” Harry begins–voice deep and coarse and so, so masculine, “How’s the book?”

With a small, breathless giggle, Louis collapses, a bone-less heap on the coverlet. “You…You can’t kiss me like that, and ask me about a book, Haz. I can’t even...talk, let alone think, especially not about some book.”

“Must not be a good enough read, then.”

Shrugging, Louis manages to sit up, murmuring, “Take me home, Styles.”

Once the Omega’s belongings are packed, Harry twines their fingers as they start towards his. The short distance passes in hushed, barely-contained happiness until they’ve entered the drive.

Abruptly, the Alpha’s steps halt, and confused, Louis mumbles, “Why’re you stopping?”

“I have to take care of some things,” the Alpha starts, and irrationally the Omega begins to panic– thoughts stunned into inactivity.

“You’re leaving? But…” 

“Louis, relax,” Harry commands, his voice deceptively soft, “I can come back. Would that be better?”

“Please,” Louis mumbles, hands tangled in the Alpha’s shirt, “Please, come back.”

“You don’t have to beg, kitten, I’m more than willing to come back,” wary amusement colours his tone, “Just, breathe, yeah? And wait for me.”

Frowning, the Omega inhales deeply to prove he’s listening, even as Harry pries his hands from the shirt. Wordlessly, the Alpha unlocks the door and firmly places his hand on the handle, before murmuring, “Don’t miss me too much.” And then he is gone.

Floundering, Louis stumbles inside, toeing away his shoes before wandering towards the kitchen, where it’s the noisiest. The disappointment must be written on his features because Jay exclaims, “Boo! Where’s Harry? How was your date?”

“Oh, um,” the Omega mumbles, taking a seat on the island-stool, “He left.”

“So soon? That’s strange…I thought he’d be staying for supper.” He’s coming back, the Omega snaps inwardly, but swallows the defensive answer and mutters, “There’s something that he needed to take care of.”

“Well, where did he take you this time? I swear that Alpha is spoiling you rotten.”

This time the Omega has to work to keep the irritation from his voice, “We went to lunch and then we met up with the lad’s and played footie.”

Louis distracts his Mum with flattery, always an excellent ploy. “What are you cooking? Smells lovely.” Mercifully, his Mum takes the hint and doesn’t touch the Harry topic again, though she does slyly mention the breathtaking views of Paris and the restaurants, experiences, etcetera, etcetera.

With shrieks and giggles, Phoebe and Daisy come scuttling into the kitchen, “Lou! Lou! Where’s Curly? We want Curly!” Don’t we all?

“Curly is busy right now, darlings,” the Omega coos sympathetically.

Interest gone astray Daisy scampers back up the steps, seemingly as upset over the fact that Harry isn’t around as Louis is. Much more tamed, Louis opens his arms to Phoebe, who embraces him gladly.

“And how was your day, Princess?” Quietly, Phoebe begins to ramble on and on about her play-date until Louis is called to help set the table. 

Once supper is over, Louis and Jay start with the dishes–Louis dries.

And when that’s finished the Omega decides somehow, someway thoughts of Harry Styles will be banished from his mind. For now at least.

 

∞∞∞

            Through the weeks, days, hours, the Alpha has been growing all the more aggressive–to the point where it’s threatening his Omega, which isn’t allowed, ever.  And there is only one slightly effective method to calm his Alpha, to calm his rampant-hormones (as wanking doesn’t seem to do the job anymore–more so because his desire for a certain, blue-eyed Omega, rather than his approaching rut). So, the Alpha brings his car to a screeching halt in the second-garage, hurrying inside to change into white shorts, shrugging out of his shirt, and replacing his boots with bright-yellow trainers before shoving a headband into his untamed curls.

Then, with the intention of drowning out the world, the Alpha starts up his music (on full volume) and bolts. A whirlwind of emotion–the damned buzz–settles over him, though, in high hopes of expelling these emotions, Harry tests his limits until his skin is sheen with sweat, lungs working and muscles screaming in protest.

And, this is his escape, from reality, from his Alpha and himself.

Unthinking, Harry starts towards Zayn’s house, positive the distance (three miles) will be enough to spend the pent-up energy. Like most times, he’s right–at the door, panting and sweaty, Harry revels in the ache that’s replaced all else, smirking in triumph.

Without bothering to knock (his second-family is out at Wailyha’s recital) the Alpha retrieves the key hidden underneath the Welcome-Mat (how original) and heads straight to the Omega’s room. Predictable: the door is shut–Harry shoves it open.

Unpredictable: the sight that welcomes him.

Reflexively, Harry whirls in the opposite direction, with the image of Zayn and Liam Payne snogging on the bed the Alpha spends so much time lazing on burns behind his eyes. “Fucking Hell! What the actual fuck!”  

Disgusted, the Alpha gives them time to gather their wits and hormones before facing them again; throwing his hands up in question. “Jesus, Z, you little slut,” Harry wheezes in attempts to lighten the awkward, tense atmosphere.

Wellll, perhaps a friendly-insult isn’t the best means to approach an Alpha-Omega-fling-thing. Baring his canines, Liam conceals the Omega–who looks completely mortified–with his body. “Fuck off, Styles. He’s mine. My…well, he’s my Omega, I hope…” And the protective Alpha looks to Zayn, who’s smiling softly (well, well, well, the Omega does have an Omega side).

“Yeah,” Zayn breathes–ugh, “Yours.” 

Amidst the gooey, avowal of worship, the two gaze into each other’s eyes–whilst, unmoved, Harry waits for them to realise that he’s still here–some way to treat your guest!

An entirely unbearable minute goes by without anything and the Alpha, crossing his arms, storms out, calling over his shoulder, “Come to me when you’ve returned to reality!”

At last, the two emerge from the bedroom; Zayn’s usually-styled hair noticeably ruffled.

Raising an artful brow at the two, Harry murmurs, from where he’s made himself comfortable on the sofa, “Well, hello, nice of you two to join the real world.”

Shooting him a fierce glare (Zayn really has returned) the Omega mutters, “Ever heard of knocking? Like, it’s not rocket-science.”

Stretching, a Cheshire-Grin upturns the Alpha’s mouth, beyond amused by the couple’s obvious discomfort.

Liam coughs, “Well, um, I’ll call you, Z?”

“Oh, no,” Harry denies, patting the spot beside him in invitation, “You must stay. Saves me a second trip. Let’s chat, shall we? Frankly, I don’t give a fuck, how this,” he waves a head between them, “happened and I’d prefer not to, yeah?”

Sighing in exasperation, Zayn looks to Liam, “You don’t have to stay, Li-Li, Harry’s just being an –,”

Li-Li? This continues to get better and better,” the Alpha laughs, though when the Omega cuffs him, his laughter dies down. Even so, Harry refuses to apologise. “Okay, fine. Ruin the fun. Well, actually, this is about Louis…Here’s the situation…”

Once the Alpha’s finished explaining, the two absorb his words until Liam murmurs, “Alright. We’re in.”

Grinning, Harry claps the other Alpha on the shoulder, about to speak when Liam continues, “On one condition…” Joy.

Faltering, the Alpha narrows his eyes and waits–Zayn explains, “You’ll never bring up the whole…um, bedroom scene again.”

Smirking, Harry nods and stands, “Consider this an early anniversary gift. You’re welcome. Now, I’ve got an appointment with another, much more entertaining couple. Don’t have too much fun, idiots.”

“Wait,” Liam calls, “We should come with. Josh isn’t the most…like, welcoming of blokes. And he’s bound to get possessive with you about. Besides, Styles, you’ve absolutely no idea where you’re going.” Good point.

Shrugging, the Alpha mutters, “Whatever. I ran here, so.”

“From the manor?” Zayn gasps, disbelief clouding his chiseled-features–doubtlessly wondering why Harry would feel the need to over-exert himself, not understating that Harry can’t surrender to his Alpha, can’t have Louis in that way.

“I’m fine, Z,” Harry assures casually–it’s true, he would wait until Louis is ready–forever even.

“Alright, well,” Liam mutters, voice grudging (obviously not pleased with Zayn’s concern–maybe now the idiot will understand Harry’s point of view; ah, karma). “I’m parked down the road.”

Somehow, with Liam in driver’s side and Zayn in passenger, Harry ends up shoving his long, gangly limbs into the small, compact backseat, glaring out the window the entire ride until they’ve stopped at an unfamiliar flat–Niall’s, perhaps Josh’s as well.

Outside, used to caring for Zayn the way an Alpha should, Harry starts towards the passenger, though Liam is already there, holding his best-mate’s waist with extreme care. And the Alpha thinks, hopes, wants to believe, this won’t be like the other times Zayn become infatuated with some low-life Alpha–won’t end up with the Omega drained and numb, won’t end up with an addiction to cigarettes, won’t end up with night’s spent holding the Omega as he cried, won’t end up with Harry’s hands covered in blood…

Deciding not to go there, the Alpha approaches the two from where they stand at the door, a bit surprised when the entrance opens to reveal Niall, smiling brightly, “What’s the occasion, lads! And, Styles, what’s up with the missing shirt! You’re nearly starkers! Some explaining is in order! Come, come! Josh is in the room so…” the Irish Omega rambles on and on and on–zoning out, Harry wonders how Josh manages to keep up, it can’t be easy.

“Well, we need to talk, and thought face-to-face might be best, with Josh and all…” Liam murmurs, leading Zayn through the house, while Harry, the latest third-wheel, follows awkwardly behind.

“Sure, sure,” the artificial blonde mumbles, “Want something to drink? Water, a pint, whatever is in the fridge?”

Everyone shakes their heads in refusal and Niall shrugs, grabbing two Beers, “More for me.” At the sight, Harry regrets denying–damn it, he deserves a drink being swarmed by these couples and not having his precious Omega to hold and tease and brag about.

Such is my life, the Alpha thinks sullenly, trailing the trio into the first room up the narrow stairway. The spacious bedroom is quite messy, but charming in a domestic fashion, though Harry doesn’t scrutinize the place, leaning against the wall and greeting Josh with a brief nod.

On the bed, beside Josh, Niall claps, “Alright! So, what’s there to talk about?”

“Well…” Again, the predicament is repeated–by the end, Josh begins to growl, “No. Absolutely not. Niall, you’re already slacking in school and–,”

And those words ignite the fire, with a red-faced Omega demanding everyone but Josh “get the hell out” as the door slams shut behind them. Trapped in the hall, everyone shuffles uneasily, pretending not to be listening to the shouts and muffled thumps (objects hitting the walls–most likely Niall’s attack method) from inside the room until, at last, all goes silent, and Niall exits the room, flushed and naturally chipper.

“Sorry, guys! Josh has something to say,” the Omega states, shoving a reluctant Josh forward.

Sighing, the Alpha mutters, holding their gazes, “I didn’t mean to snap like that. Yeah, whatever, I’m sorry.” 

“And?” Niall prompts.

“And, we’re in. We’ll come,” Josh growls, looking pissed and extremely displeased.

“Brilliant!” Liam murmurs, ever-so-polite, “See you two soon then!”

Understanding Josh’s need to be alone with his Omega, the trio doesn’t linger, promising to text the details before leaving the couple to it (even so, they don’t manage to exit the front door without hearing the Omega’s subdued whines–well, seems Josh is reminding the Omega who’s in charge, and Harry relate to that particular Alpha-instinct).

Once inside the vehicle, Zayn snickers, “And I thought Harold was whipped. Jesus, did you see how Niall set him straight!?”

“I know,” Liam agrees, smiling fondly at the Omega, “Those two are always like that. I suppose, Niall, as the opinionated one, wears the pants in that relationship, Omega or not. Though, when it’s all said and done, it’s Niall hobbling about.”

Gasping, Zayn mirrors Harry’s thoughts, “You mean they’ve…”

With a knowing grin, Liam murmurs, “They’ve been accepted by the English Council ages now. Since Ni was thirteen, I believe–so young, one might ask? Yeah, trust me, we were all skeptical at first, but once we met Josh, and witnessed, first hand, how the older bloke looked at Niall–like gold came from his arse–everyone agreed it was only a matter of time before they bonded. And, not wanting it too be unofficial, their parents requested the Councils opinion and blessings. Alas, Niall’s parents wanted a grand mating ceremony for their youngest, so that’s why it’s taking so long to tie-the-knot, no pun intended. They’re too be mated this December–a Christmas theme.”  

As the Alpha continues to stare at Zayn–who looks awe-struck–the car swerves and Harry snaps, “Eye’s on the road!” Directing Liam’s gaze forward, Harry grumbles, “I really can’t afford to lose my life right now!” More so, I can’t afford to break my promise!

“You going home, mate?” Liam asks–so eager to be rid of him that Harry almost wants to stay (and act upon the role of the hated cock-blocker).

“Yeah, Zaynie, be a dear and show the Alpha the way.” Even with the infuriated glare Zayn listens–more than certainly wanting to be alone with Liam again.

At the gates, Liam whistles, “Styles, those rumors don’t do you any justice. This place is massive.” 

Grinning, the Alpha ignores Liam’s comment, thanks them (for agreeing to his arrangement) and exits the vehicle. Indicating to the Guards to open the gates, Harry flashes his despotic fuck-you smile, entering the manor and rushing into his bathroom to make rapid work of showering and changing into presentable clothing.

Without confirming the time, Harry reverses into the outside world–where the sun has disappeared. Ah, fuck, he thinks, torn between hoping Louis hasn’t fallen asleep and hoping he has because the Omega needs an adequate amount of rest.

Speeding, Harry arrives at Louis’s in fifteen minutes, having stopped to purchase canisters of hot-chocolate and a package of mixed fruits (it shouldn’t be quite so difficult to make it up with those, right?).  What the Alpha’s slightly worried over: his shit balance.

Undeterred, the Alpha climbs up the tree, with the canisters in his backpack. Finally, seated on a thick, sloping branch, Harry relaxes. Despite the terrible lighting, the Alpha makes out the boy’s bedroom.

Grinning, the Alpha shuffles closer to the window.

∞∞∞

            In attempts to preoccupy his wandering thoughts, Louis goes through his nightly methods with great care. With time to kill, the Omega goes over his body with scented soaps three times before scrubbing shampoo into his hair twice, brushing his teeth, flossing, mouth-wash, and even applying those never-touched-creams. Refreshed and excited, Louis returns to his room.

Determined to wait, the Omega straightens up the room until exhaustion causes his eyelids to droop. Crawling into bed, Louis lets his iPod’s playlist run beneath his pillow, reiterating in his head, I will not fall asleep, I will not fall asleep, I will not…I will…

Sometime between those words Louis falls asleep to Beyonce’s sing-song, ‘perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts’. Even slipping into unconsciousness, his imagination works all too well, as Louis imagines falling asleep to his Alpha’s voice–tonight, and the night after, every night…

Something sharps scrapes along the length of the Omega’s window with a high-pitched squeal, like fingernails against the glass. A light sleeper, Louis scrambles into an upright position, so exhausted and muddled that he isn’t sure whether he’s awake or asleep.

Again, something scratches against his window with that same thin, high-pitched noise. Confused and clumsy with sleep, Louis stumbles from his bed to the window, listening.

Then, as if summoned, the window unlocks, and terrified, his throat closes around a scream. 

“Louis,” a memorable, husky voice calls through the darkness. “Ouch. Damn it, open the window! Ouch.” Louis needs two seconds to shake the horror before managing to move, but then, the boy hurries to the window to show the glass out of the way.

“Harry? What…are you doing?” his voice is an inaudible gasp.

“Move, kitten.”

Gingerly, Louis obeys, scuttling backwards on the carpet and waiting. Then, there’s a muted thump as the Alpha enters, and suddenly, with Harry here, for the second time, while Louis isn’t numb from crying, the room feels so much smaller, so much warmer.

Shutting the window, Harry begins to speak, “Did I wake you? I didn’t mean to show so late. But, I come bearing–”

Dazed, Louis’s thoughts are unmanageable, and his voice is small, “You came…”

“I promised, didn’t I?”

Unthinkingly, Louis bounces towards the older’s voice, screeching now, “You came!”  

With a muffled thud something meets the carpet, though the Alpha catches him around the waist, laughing quietly, “You’re in a surprisingly good mood for someone whose sleep has been interrupted.”

Louis smiles, delighted with the heavenly proximity–though, it doesn’t last, as the Alpha goes tense and retracts his arms, distancing them–his usual reaction when Louis has crossed some imperceptible boundary.  

“Sleep?” Louis mumbles when the Alpha’s hands swathe his own. “Who needs sleep anyways?”

Still smiling, the Omega skillfully plunks down on the carpet, tugging Harry down with him. When the Alpha doesn’t protest, Louis cuddles against the solid plains of his chest–inhaling the scent of body wash and Harry, an inebriating mix.

“You do,” his voice has changed. He’s amused, Louis thinks, and it sounds so…warm–seductive, even. Flushed, the Omega’s breath hitches, though the Alpha only continues, lithe fingers toying with the collar of his oversized jumper–well, Harry’s perfect-fit-for-an-Alpha’s jumper. “I like this. Perhaps too much–but it’s like you belong in my clothes.”

Heart failure.

Unable to reassemble his thoughts, Louis shrugs, figuring, since he’s just sounding coherent again, the feat shouldn’t be ruined.

“You know,” the Alpha starts, realising Louis isn’t going to respond, “We’re very much neglecting a perfectly comfortable bed.” The bed?

An electric thrill hums through Louis–who scrambles to a stance, excited to have the Alpha in his bed–cuddling him into sleep. Though, his Omega elatedly begins to wonder, towards places Louis doesn’t even understand, but the boy hastily drowns the Omega out, face crimson.

Louis tries to be crafty, crawling to the very corner of the mattress, leaving more than enough room. Except the Alpha remains across the room, with no indications of joining…And, well, Louis bites his lip, feigning innocence, “Please? Don’t stay away. Just lie with me…”

With muted, precise footfalls Harry approaches, slowly shuffling onto the mattress. Victory! Louis thinks, realising this is his power, and it’s a hedonistic, triumphant feeling.

On his belly, with his face in his hands, Louis smiles timidly.

“As I was saying before a certain Omega accosted me,” Harry murmurs lightly, “I’ve decided a midnight snack is in order. Hot-chocolate, fruits…all things delectable in life.”

Grinning, Louis shakes his head, “Styles, never once have I thought about having hot-chocolate with fruits. You really are very odd.”

“In all actuality, Louis, it’s you who has been missing out.” Wouldn’t be a surprise.

“Well, maybe so,” the Omega allows. “What sort of fruits do you intend to feed me?”

“Let’s play the Guessing-Game.”

“You’re on,” Louis murmurs–quite confident in his guessing-skills. And rightfully so–the Omega, fruit after fruit, guesses correct, sipping at his lukewarm hot chocolate contentedly. And with every fruit, the Alpha reveals something more about his past, his now.

And, by the time Harry demands to know more about him,  the Omega’s learnt the Alpha’s favourite colours are orange and blue, his age–18, his second name is Edward (Louis couldn’t help but giggle at that; reminded of Twilight), and he’s quite the exhibitionist (which, considering how arrogant the Alpha is, doesn’t surprise him).

Reasonably, Louis returns much the same information–adding little, trivial details–the extreme satisfaction he receives when listening to compositions, the countless arguments and mood swings he’d undergone during his adolescence, his high-hopes for a little brother and the most revealing feature: his impatience over being accepted by the English Council–then, with any luck, mated.

“Louis,” the Alpha sighs–almost remorseful, “It’s against the Council’s belief-structure for an Alpha to see his Omega in bed before mating…”

“Oh,” the boy whispers, cheeks heating up again, “Don’t be sad, Haz. I’m not. I don’t mind. Besides, I’m not so traditional–are you? Just, it’s been a dream of mine to be blessed by the Council…”

Nervously, the Omega brushes his fringe from his eyes, waiting until the Alpha finally speaks. “I was raised on Council Principles. Fucking loathe them to be honest, but the structure has been drilled into my head so I suppose I am traditional. Still, I couldn’t wait so long to see you this way; soft and warm and in my clothes. This is mine, my privilege to keep always.”

Lips-parted, colour rising in his cheeks, Louis struggles to breathe with his heart in his mouth. “I’m…glad,” the boy admits, breathlessly, “It’s strange–missing someone, missing you, actually. With anyone else, it’s not so hard to withstand the distance, but missing you…sort of feels like missing parts of me.” Stop talking, Louis, stop it–you sound pathetic.

Groaning, the Alpha’s–before Louis can react–lithe fingers circle his wrist to drag him into his lap. Stunned into submission, the Omega remains motionless as Harry’s arms snake around his waist–though the boy’s achingly aware of the Alpha’s strength.

“Louis,” the Alpha breathes, sending shivers down his spine. “You’re going to unman me.”

“I don’t…understand,” Louis whispers–thoughts fading as sleep makes a rapid entrance.

“You’re tired,” Harry states–without answering, “Sleep, little one. And dream of me.”

Though Louis knows the Alpha is right (he really is tired) the Omega still pouts when Harry shifts so that he’s on the mattress, cocooned in blankets. “You’ll explain in the morning, right?” his voice slurs.

There isn’t an answer.

∞∞∞

            Adrift from reality, the Alpha doesn’t realise Louis’s woken–as the Omega has been eerily quiet and motionless the entire night. But, with a startled, “oh!” Louis bolts upright–beautiful in the pale moonlight. Except the Omega trembles uncontrollably–terror surging through the bond.

“H-Harry?” his voice is raspy with sleep–though, staggered with the emotional-overload, the Alpha doesn’t even breathe. This doesn’t help, as moisture gathers in the boy’s wide-cerulean eyes.

Anxious, panicked, terrified, Louis croaks again, “Harry.”

“Here, love,” the Alpha manages to breathe, “I’m here. It’s okay. You’re okay.” Please, be okay.

Without permission, Louis scrambles into his lap–curling up there.

“Nightmare?”

When the Omega nods, Harry asks, “Want to talk about it?”

“No,” Louis shakes his head. “Just, hold me, please.”

And, desperate to sooth his Omega, Harry complies, bringing his arms around his thin waist and crushing the boy to his chest, allowing the sweet scent of flowers to sooth his own nerves. Ever-so-slowly the Omega relaxes, until becoming restless and squirming in his lap.

“Harry?” the boy breathes softly–the sound makes the Alpha’s heart accelerate, “Haz? Hazza-Bear?”

Harry sighs, “Louis. Lou. My little kitten.

“You are terrible at comforting those in need.”

“You take that back!” the Alpha gasps.

Giggling sweetly, Louis shakes his head, “Never.”

 “This means war,” Harry growls roguishly, pinning the unsuspecting Omega on his back–running his fingers up and down his sides. Thrashing, the Omega laughs, breathtakingly beautiful, with his porcelain skin and flushed cheeks and sweet smile and messy chestnut wisps fanning around him, “Harry! Haz, no! Stop!”

Smirking, the Alpha refuses to listen, whispering into the small, withering boy’s ear, “First, take it back, my sweet, beautiful Omega.”

Louis shakes his head, hissing between giggles, “You’re…so…mean…Wh–Harry,” this time his voice takes on a frantic edge and without warning the melancholy, the terror, returns with a vengeance. All movement comes to an immediate halt.

“Harry,” the boy’s cries–tears glide soundlessly down his cheeks–the sight, the sound, the feel, drives some torture-device through his chest. “Don’t go, Harry. Please, please, don’t leave me…”

“Louis,” the Alpha rasps, horrified and frantic to provide his Omega some sort of comfort. “What do I need to do, baby?”

“Stay,” the Omega rushes forward– hands fisting Harry’s shirt, “Stay with me. Just, don’t go to Paris. Or anywhere without me.”

At the words, in realisation, Harry stills, reeling.  “Oh, love,” these words only make the situation worse as Louis curls into a small, achingly tiny ball. 

“Louis…”

No response–only muffled sniffles.

Hesitantly, the Alpha pulls Louis’s arms from his knees and drags him into an embrace–where the boy cries into his shirt, clinging to him as Harry tries to think beyond the oppressive sadness, tries to think at all.

When his sobs have turned into snivels, Louis whispers, “I-I’m sorry…”

“There’s no reason to apologise, Louis. Just…Come. With. Me.” 

This time there isn’t an instant no–which must count for something the Alpha thinks, driven to continue. “Josh and Niall…and Liam and Zayn intend to come,” the disgust that colours his tone at the mention of the newly-united couple isn’t intentional (but, whatever, shit happens). “And they’re expecting you to join too, Lou. Won’t you? For them?” the desperation begins to ring through his glass-thin tone. “For me?”

“You’re making this so difficult for me,” the Omega snivels into his collar. “You know I don’t…I can’t refuse you…”

“Then don’t. Don’t refuse me,” Harry presses, gaining confidence, “And I’ll take that as an ‘of course I’ll be joining Harry. Anything for you’”

With a shaky exhale, Louis mumbles–sounding both worn-out and unsure, “Just don’t leave me, Harry Styles.” Thank fuck I won’t ever have too. Wordlessly, with one hand splayed on the boy’s waist, the Alpha stretches, snagging his bag from where it lays on the night-stand, rummaging through it until his hand makes contact with his initialed handkerchief (one he doesn’t recall ever needing, nor using).

 “Never,” the Alpha promises, dabbing at those stray tears when dainty hands find his shoulders as those eye’s peek up at him through thick, tear-spiked lashes.

“There, that wasn’t so very difficult was it?” On impulse, Harry dips down to connect their lips momentarily–careful not to overwhelm the boy or himself, because right now, his heart is pounding to an ecstatic rhythm and his Alpha wants to devour the Omega, wants every smile, every tear, every beautiful little bit that makes up the only Omega to have made more possible. 

Instead, the Alpha holds him steadily in the darkness until his breathing has slowed and his emotions have faded with sleep.

Mine,” it’s the first time Harry’s allowed the words to be spoken. “You’re mine, always.” 

∞∞∞

            When the Omega rouses the sun has only just ascended in the blue skies. With an adorable snuffle, those blue, blue eyes flutter open.

Beaming brighter than the sunlight, Louis murmurs, “You’re going to have to help me pack.”

Chapter Text

Once night falls an ominous hush descends over the neighbourhood, but it only adds to the Alpha’s anticipation as he clambers up onto the tree–despite having become accustomed to climbing the bloody thing they’re still not exactly on good terms, him and Mr. Kill-Yourself-Trying-to-Climb-Me tree. But, the Alpha feels especially mischievous tonight, as Louis isn’t expecting him and Harry absolutely loves the boys gasp of excitement whenever the Alpha shows up uninvited. A reaction so backwards it ceases to surprise him–ceases to replace the implacable buzz with some warm, elated sensation. Though there isn’t much reasoning behind it the Alpha isn’t dense enough not to notice that only Zayn (or those randoms that the Alpha refuses to have anything to do with) welcomes him this way. And his best mate certainly doesn’t make him warm and fuzzy of all things.

Even so, that isolated, not-to-be-mentioned part within him has long realised and questioned his previous seclusion, is conscious of the emptiness that takes refuge within his chest on those (rare) nights he actually sleeps in his room. It’s not that the Alpha doesn’t notice, more so, he doesn’t care, because he’s grateful and pleased with Louis’s attention–except that part doesn’t think it’s enough to be quietly content, that part wants to make it known that Harry is as afraid of having to let him go (he doesn’t even understand these feelings, but fuck if it even matters at this point…) as Louis is afraid of him leaving.

Mercifully for the both of them Harry is too selfish to leave, too…lost in this boy and his smiles and those eyes and that smart-mouth that sets fire to his insides. There isn’t any chance the Alpha will walk away without losing the scant pieces of him that have managed to continue to function. On an inherent level it’s impossible to even think about letting go evenagainst all the staked up odds.   

So, this is where it leaves him, with the mastered classic perverted-serial-killer act–sliding through an open window stealthily. Entering one limb at a time the Alpha braces himself for that intoxicating, thought-dissolving scent though its effect is muted because the Alpha is staggered by a sight.

Tonight his Omega sits cross-legged at the end of his bed, dressed in worn joggers and Harry’s jumper–the sixth one he’s given–the thin, grey material creating paws over the boy’s fiddling fingers. A small smile plays on the corners of his mouth when the boy raises his face, an artful brow disappearing beneath his damp hair, “You are trying to give me a heart-attack! One way or another.”

“Damn,” the Alpha mutters wistfully–keeping his movements careful so the Omega wouldn’t guess his next actions, “Now how did you possibly know I’d be sneaking in?”

“You’re not exactly secretive, Harry,” the boy simpers–all glowing-smug, “Like ‘I’ll see you very, very, very, soon’ wasn’t hint enough? I’m beginning to think everyone exaggerates your volatile appeal.”

With a soft, playful growl the Alpha drops his backpack and pounces, managing to make out Louis’s shocked gasp at their sudden airborne travels, crashing into the headboard, knocking it into the wall. All the while, Harry’s arms form an iron cage of protection around the delicate boy so he’s barely jostled–though he still tries to right himself.

Allowing none of that, Harry curls him into a ball against his chest, holding him more securely than iron chains, even as Louis glares over his shoulder in alarm. “How’s that for unpredictable? Didn’t expect that, hmm?”

Just as the Alpha catches the muted thuds of someone starting the stairs Louis smiles sweetly, “Well, I am expecting in about two minutes Mum will join this little get together and investigate all the ruckus. So, Alphaboy, I’d advise you hide or ruin the remarkable relationship you two have established. Hmm, unpredictable that, yes?”

“Quite the opposite as I’ve only just gotten comfortable,” the Alpha pouts good-naturedly, creating an insignificant space to nose at the Omega’s jaw, inhaling the potent fragrance.

“Ten seconds, Harry, go…”even with those words Louis tilts his face, baring his throat.

“You sound a bit worried, kitten,” his mouth ghosts over his throat–fighting a smile even as footfalls start the hall. 

Harry,” Louis whisper-shouts, this time more anxious than before, “You’re going to get us caught!”

At ease the Alpha releases the squirming boy and rises in one fluid movement, speaking evenly, “Alright, alright, so long as you admit I’m the Master of Surprise.”

“What?” Louis squeaks. “Right now? Harry–.”

“Five seconds, Louis,” the Alpha murmurs darkly even taking quiet, nearly inaudible backward steps towards the wardrobe. “Do you really want Jay to know I’m here? I mean, we’re not even mated, but this would surely quicken the process. Hmm, perhaps I should let her know and–,”

“Oh my God, fine, you’re the Master of Surprise, now go, please.”

Grinning wickedly, and without time to comment, the Alpha goes for the traditional hide-in-the-closet-jig, disappointed with the originality of such a hiding-spot. Ah, well, Harry thinks, more opportunities will arise surely.

Only seconds pass before the door creaks open and through the wardrobes slight opening the Alpha can see (and hear) the older Omega entering. And the scene unfolds before him.

Attempting to seem focused on arranging the insignificant pile of clothing on his bed the Omega raises his face and almost seems genuinely surprised when his Mum murmurs, “Everything alright in here? The noise all but gave me a heart-attack.” At those words, Harry smiles, biting back laughter; and the humour isn’t lost to Louis, as a flash of amusement flows between them before the unease returns.

“Y-Yeah,” the Omega stutters–lowering his face, “I-I decided there wasn’t…enough s-space to pack on the bed s-s-so I went to um move the luggage to the carpet…but it…fell?”

Leaning in, the Alpha watches the boy’s cheek tinge beautifully with heat, watches as Jay’s equally as blue gaze narrows, flickering about the room before landing on the…ah, fuck. There, on the carpet by the window-seat is his black, leather-plaited backpack, flashing like a neon-sigh against Louis’s bright beige walls.

“Is that Harry’s backpack?” the female Omega asks quietly, sharp gaze traveling again, this time with intent.

Louis blanches before unleashing those damned puppy-dog eyes. “W-What? Where?”

Unperturbed, Jay retrieves it, murmuring, “Here, Louis. There something you want to–?”

Oh,” the Omega interrupts, “That. Yeah, that’s the um bag I packed my things in s-so when I came up I must’ve f-forgotten to take it back down to him. He–I’ll return it to him tomorrow, I’m sure…” towards the end his voice lowers in defeat. Even the Alpha figures Jay won’t buy into it–his Omega is that terrible at lying–but oddly enough the female Omega only studies the bedroom once again before she returns to the door and pauses. 

“Alright, boo, don’t stay up to late. We can wake up in the morning to finish up. Get some rest. You’ll need it, I’m sure.”

Nodding, Louis manages to smile a bit, waving his Mum off. When the Alpha is positive Jay isn’t listening, and returns downstairs, he emerges from the wardrobe to sit behind Louis’s legs on the mattress, legs in a v so that Omega fits between them. And then–at last–Harry allows himself to laugh, muffling the sound in Louis’s shoulder.

“You’re insufferable,” the boy mumbles, twisting to bat him away half-heartedly. “You left evidence. Ought to toss you out the window right now.”

With a somber sigh the Alpha nuzzles the Omega’s temple, breathing, “I wouldn’t have left anything had a certain Omega behaved. And nope, you’re stuck with me now. I’m here to stay.”

With a sigh Louis relaxes against him, nodding thoughtfully, “Be careful what you wish for has never seemed so fitting.”

In spite of the words the Alpha’s shit-eating grin refuses to lose structure as he tips the boy’s face, murmuring, “Louis Tomlinson, are you implying that I’m unwanted?”

“Maybe…And so what if I was?” Louis quips, biting his lip against one of those perfect smiles–the one Harry’s worked endlessly to keep there.

“Mmm,” his voice is purposely soft, challenging, as his lips meet the Omega’s humming pulse, enthralled with the silky, translucent skin. “This means I will have to persuade you otherwise.”

As his heartbeat picks up, an uneven drum, Louis breathes, “I-If you must.

“I’ve never been known to go down,” the Alpha murmurs, shifting abruptly so that Louis ends up beneath him, visibly stunned, wide-eyed, mouth rounded to an o. On his knees the Alpha looms, a soundless-war raging within. In that moment, Harry wants to kiss him more than anything–wants to taste that coquettish mouth, wants a cadence of whines to pass between their mouths. “Without a fight,” the words burn with too much fervor as his Alpha blares claim him, claim him and his heart sings love him, love him, with his subconscious on the verge of losing any semblance of sense because there is so much want–and absolutely no outlet.

But the choice is lost when Louis sits up and plants a chaste kiss on his nose.

“W-Wait, please,” it sounds like the breath has been knocked out him, though the Alpha thinks it’s because the oxygen levels suddenly seem dangerously low, “Let’s…Let’s try that again.”

With the little v between his brows again Louis places one small, warm palm over his cheek, testing his position before leaning forward again. And this time his mouth comes into contact with the corner of Harry’s mouth. Unconsciously the Alpha’s lips curve into a smile, parting to comment when the Omega sighs, lowering his hands as his bottom lip pokes out sulkily.

“I can’t even…” his voice trails and wavers into nonexistence–shoulders slumped in defeat and somehow his pout still entices Harry with its pale-pink colour, with the remembrance of its velvet feel and–listen, you tosser, your Omega is talking.

Banishing the thoughts the Alpha catches the end of Louis’s rant, “…you’re so unaffected by me–even with my ruddy attempts to, like, explain how I feel when you’re–when we’re…I-I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel when you’re touching me, or, or…or kissing me…A-And,” the final sentence is laced with longing, “I…I want to please you, Alpha.” Holy…fuck, what?

Involuntarily, stupidly, in hopeless attempts to quell the razor-sharp sensation gnawing at his ribs–which ache and contract plaintively around his lungs, to conceal his discomfort with the sudden topic, the Alpha bursts into slightly stressed, cathartic laughter.

Wounded hostility replaces the raw sensation, the hysteria subsides, and Harry risks a fleeting glance at Louis. A storm flashes in the Omega’s irises–the soft colour becomes electric with belligerent upset. “Glad to know this amuses you so much.”

Brilliant job Styles, quite the romantic, you are, his Alpha–ever-unhelpful–sneers inwardly.

Reining his wildly gyrating mind, Harry tenses, speechless, breathless, thoughtless, perhaps heartless, because the Alpha swears his heart isn’t beating to any further extent. “I’m…Sorry,” he manages, once his breath has returned–heart still nowhere to be found. Somehow, Harry doesn’t feel hollow or empty without the bloody thing–or maybe it’s been missing since before the Alpha could even realise.

In response Louis stands, sure steps rushing in direction of the only exit. At an unsighted velocity, working on some buried instinct, the Alpha rises, catching the Omega’s thin wrist between two fingers; the contact sends electric shocks up his arm, “Louis…”

Without turning to face him the Omega mumbles, voice eerily unruffled despite the scolding-rage roiling within him. “Don’t. Just…give me a few minutes…” away from you, the unsaid words don’t go unnoticed–the Alpha flinches, wants to let him go, does let him go, because the wound is fresh–has been for ages, an old knife piercing his insides, an old knife that’s blade has never dulled, only sharpened with time.

“Alright, okay,” his voice sounds indifferent–stable, even. “I…Should go. Yeah, I should do that.” 

“You…You’re leaving?” Louis asks, finally whirling around–panic flickers through the bond.

Thrown the Alpha pauses to shove a hand into his pocket, unable to keep up with the emotions. “Only for tonight, Lou,” he sighs tiredly. “Rest, love. And we’ll talk tomorrow.”

“So that’s it, then,” the boy seethes–the rage strikes again like lightening, surprising beautiful on Louis. “You’re going to run from your issues now?”

Run? the Alpha growls defensively at the words.“Louis–,”

“No,” Louis interrupts, stalking up to him, electric-eyed and breathtaking. “Don’t Louis me. You can’t run, not when it’s your fault. You don’t even care. You–,”

And the Alpha was prepared to leave, prepared to let the distance burn out the inferno, but those words bite–Harry snaps. Growling fiercely the Alpha grips the Omega’s arms, fury emanating between them, “Don’t care? Fuck. That. Go ahead kitten, call me every name in the bloody book, fight and kick, but don’t ever tell me I don’t care. Because sure I’m shit at showing it, but you, bloody you drive me insane. You have from the first second. With emotions I can’t begin to comprehend. Hell, emotions I didn’t know existed. If there’s one thing, Louis Tomlinson, it’s that I care, and don’t dare insult me by thinking otherwise.”

With a steadying breath Harry loosens his hands, but refuses to lose the contact. “What is with you?” the Omega demands, tugging at his arms, “You are so frustrating. You can laugh, yeah? You can laugh and leave but I can’t be angry–let me go already!”

“Christ, Louis,” his voice doesn’t sound quite right–frantic and strange, not-his, No. You’re going to stay. You can be angry at me right here, right now.”

Well…those words don’t help anything–in fact those words cause the flames to blaze. Within seconds the sensation wisps over his skin, within seconds the Omega begins to really struggle against his hold.

At a loss, Harry falters slightly, muscles bunched defensively, grip steadfast to contain the thrashing. “Stop…it,” Louis pants, voice raising steadily, “Don’t touch me! Let me–,” gently, coaxingly the Alpha places one hand over the boy’s mouth, momentarily quieting him.

“Hush now,” his voice is rough, breathing slightly labored with the desire beating fiercely through his veins–fueled by months of abstinence. But, oblivious in his kittenish rage, Louis bites–more like nips–the hand over his mouth–teeth sinking into the fleshy part before his thumb. The slight, very slight sting rushes through him–and before Harry’s realised it’s happened the Alpha’s maneuvered them, pinning the Omega to the mattress.

Standing between Louis’s thighs, his legs, the Alpha’s gaze shifts, avoiding the exquisite sight of his Omega splayed beneath him, avoiding the temptation. “Please. Please, Louis. Let me explain…” Let me have you his diamond-hard erection fattens impossibly at the prospect.

When the Omega doesn’t respond the Alpha swallows, and for once, doesn’t oppress the feelings, “I’m trying, little one. Just…Weeks ago you told me I terrified you, yeah? Well, sweet boy, you terrify me. I’m not used to this…expressing my, um, feelings? Old habits die hard. How I was raised, feelings are weakness–and Alpha’s aren’t meant to be weak, love, it’s only principle. But I’m always affected by you, Louis. So affected…sometimes you’re all I think about, all I know…” the words become whisper-soft, “Jesus, Louis, I breathe you. I would quite literally never leave you, were the choice mine. And I’m sorry I’m shit at showing it.”

And the Alpha wants to regret opening his mouth, wants to regret sounding so pathetic and feeling so damned much, but the thing is, that’s not possible. Because it’s true–indefinably, everlastingly true in ways nothing else has ever been. Because that would hurt, it would hurt more than the knives of denial stabbing relentlessly at his chest.

But, most notably, Harry can’t regret the words because the boy melts beneath him, all Omega-pliant and his joy bursts through the Alpha–who savors the moment of silence, letting the bittersweet emotions rake through his insides.

Tossing an arm over his eyes Louis begins to giggle, but the sound is shrilly, anxiety the silver-lining.

Grimacing, the Alpha thumbs at the corner of his sweet mouth, “Now who’s laughing?” When the Omega continues to giggle Harry twines their fingers and pins their hands to the mattress beside his head. “Answer me.”

“Me,” Louis acquiesces, squeezing his hand pleadingly, “I’m overwhelmed. And clueless as to how I’m supposed to respond to…that.

“You can always go with your feelings. Reciprocation and all that,” Harry murmurs, tracing his lips now, watching as they tremble and the Omega hums under the attention. Such a good boy for me.

“I could,” the Omega allows–heartbeat fluttering. “But it’d be quite repetitive, don’t you think? You already know how I feel…”

“Tell me. I want to hear you say it.” A delicious flush spreads over Louis’s cheek and throat but the Omega’s eyes remain open–the words are there, in soft-pools of blue, but the Alpha still cannot manage to make proper interpretations (and it fucking irritates himlike nothing else). “You’re going to have to try harder than that Alpha.”

“Mmm, I’ll wait,” forever if I have too the Alpha adds silently–accepting Louis isn’t able or ready to give up that stability. Shuffling onto the mattress, Harry rests his head on the soft of the Omega’s belly as the boys fingers forage in his unruly mane. “Why do we fight?”

“Because we’re getting to know each other, and you’re an arse,” Louis replies, hoax-sagely.

“An arse?” the Alpha grins, unwilling to contain his amusement.

“Yes,” Louis huffs, as to maintain his irritation–to Harry’s complete satisfaction it’s not working.

“An arse?” he asks again, this time in efforts to repress another smile.

“Don’t make me laugh when I’m put out with you!” Louis hisses, but there it is; that perfect smile, enunciated by his breathless giggles. “Just because there’s this stupid grin on my face doesn’t mean I’m not angry as hell at you,” the boy continues, still trying to suppress his mirth and the Alpha lets his eyes slide shut–wanting to remain here, teasing and light. Except reality calls and (of course) reality is nowhere near perfect, but…with Louis it’s bearable, bright even. So, Harry exhales, long and drawn out, about to speak when the Omega tugs at his hair until the Alpha complies, sitting up.

“Just don’t,” Louis mumbles, serious, pleading, “Don’t leave me in the dark anymore…It scares me, okay? I don’t want to be the one left hurting after…Don’t hurt me.”

“I wouldn’t,” Harry growls indubitably. “You’re mine–my little Omega…Just, give this time, give me time to adapt and…and you’ll not be in the dark again. Unless you’ve misbehaved, but you’ll be so good for me, won’t you?”

With thick fluttering lashes Louis nods wildly, “Yes…” his voice is feeble–scared, “Yours. Always yours.”

Those words send warm ripples of shock through the Alpha’s body, thinning the air in his lungs. And his gaze gentles, taking in the vulnerability in the Omega’s eyes, the fear in his face, all the Alpha yearns to do is hold him, reassure him. Even so there are things to be established, issues to be set right.

“But, my little kitten,” Harry drawls–responsively, indicating the boy is listening despite the glaze to his irises, those fingers clench in his curls, “I’m not so very patient–I suppose that’s in my blood, and I’m not to be misunderstood–that being said, doubt me again and I won’t be so understanding. Doubt me again and I will give you reason not to.”

Flushed, Louis exhales shakily; tenuous shoulders curling inward, bottom lip between his pointed canines. There isn’t a response. “Still with me?” the Alpha asks, cautious but probing. Still, the Omega doesn’t speak, opting to shrug instead–which could be answer enough, but the Alpha suddenly craves the obedience, just this once.

“Answer me,” it’s only a breath as his fingers trail over his prominent cheekbone.

Seeming to come to the boy blinks and swallows, “Yes–I…Okay, faith…I…I can live with that.”

“And I can live with stretching my patience a bit, with the emotions–the scratching and biting…” lifting their intertwined hands to examine the teeth imprints left behind (welling with pride) before nosing at the boy’s cheek, “but, Louis, you will whine and beg too…” it’s a promise, because the Alpha will have this Omega underneath him, will have him whining at the highest pitch, begging to be taken, will have him thoroughly and absolutely. One day.

A small shiver runs through him as Louis croaks, “Just…hold me. I want to be held.”

Swallowing the Alpha nods, urging the Omega onto his back again though he’s unable to shift to his side because the grip in his hair is relentless until Harry gives, sinking forward, still holding most his weight, but not so much because his every muscle, ever plane is met by corresponding curves and softness. Gazing down at him–watching him inhale a sharp breath, lost to the sight of Louis beneath him, their hands locked, his sweet mouth releasing breaths, a flush spreading down his throat.

“You are so beautiful…”

At the words, those cerulean eyes flicker open, his expression turning skeptical. Frowning, Harry sits up, taking him by surprise as his free arm sweeps around his waist to hold him in place. Blunt, well-cared-for-nails clutch the roots of his hair, and they are nose to nose.

“You. Are. Beautiful,” his voice descends a thousand octaves to be met with denial. With a glare the Alpha opens his mouth to say God-knows-what when Louis shakes his head, fingers leaving his hair to find his working jaw. “Patience,” he reminds, squeezing the fingers of their twined hands, “This is where I need you to be patient.”

Patience? To believe that you’re beautiful enough to kill?

“That’s not–,” he begins to protest but–.

“Please,” the Omega whispers, eyes glittering with innocent insecurities. The word strikes home–straight through his already shot-to-hell heart. “Please, Haz. Faith and patience.”

Loosening his shoulders Harry nods when Louis breathes, “May I?” raising his dainty palm in question. Before the Alpha can even formulate a response cool fingers stroke over his temple and down the slope of his right cheekbone. At the electrifying shock, Harry inhales sharply, shutting his eyes at the intense feel of it–of his Omega’s beseeching touch. With force, and much effort, he resists the urge to take charge, instead allowing Louis to feel him at his own pace. Somehow his breathing remains even, but his control is wearing thin under his whisper-soft touch shooting demands through his entire being.

When those fingers brush over the length of his nose the scent at the Omega’s wrist is so appealing that Harry opens his eyes again, ready to devour him right there.

Except Louis looks so self-conscious and unsure that the Alpha holds absolutely still, so very aware of those fingers trailing from his jaw to his throat, over his clothed shoulders, down the length of his biceps, lingering there as his muscles tense. Almost curiously the boy cants his face, lips pulled up in a small, secretive smile. “You’re still an arse. A handsome arse, but an arse all the same.”

 “Handsome, hmm?”

“Just a tad,” Louis nods as his fingers travel up to Harry’s jaw, trailing once again, then, “Smile.”

Smugly the Alpha complies, grinning wolfishly–those fingers inevitably find the annoying, cherub dents in his cheeks.

“Dimples? That’s extremely unfair–what evil knobhead decided this was okay?”

“Does this mean I’m extremely handsome then?” Harry tries, smirking now.

“Just about,” Louis allows, poking at his dimple one last time before taking back his hands. “But I’m not going to make this whole smirky-Alpha-arrogance issue any worse. Besides, you agreed to help me pack.”

A stranger to the whole ‘think-before-you-speak’ stat the Alpha opens his mouth to tell the Omega he could simply wear his clothing but (at the last second) thinks better of it, making a face and sighing dramatically, “And I was having such fun being praised…”

Untangling their hands, Harry shifts Louis back onto the mattress and rises, ambling towards the wardrobe and humming appreciatively when he realises the entire space is colour coordinated–very innovative, this is.

In a rush to be done with this and have Louis asleep the Alpha begins to pile articles of clothing in his arms, starting with shirts–mainly blues, having formed a fondness for the colour on the Omega. Resisting the urge to dump the clothing in the suitcase and declare them finished Harry sighs and as an alternative, places them on the bed, where Louis sits cross-legged, waiting with a minute frown.

Once the pile is significantly large the Alpha shrugs out of his heavy blazer, tossing it on the bed to be packed, then removes the rings on his fingers and the watch at his wrist before toeing his worn boots and joining the boy, who’s already started folding (though it’s not going to well as Louis’s head is hung, chewing at his lip–frustration, embarrassment).  

“Wait a sec,” the Alpha mutters, snatching the shirt from his hands and sighing, “Louis, there is no I in team, love. You’re supposed to pack the clothing I fold.”

Quirking an artful brow the Omega asks, “And had I wanted to fold?”

“Too bad,” the Alpha says evenly–refolding the shirt before starting on another, smiling to himself as Louis wriggles, leaning into his side and mumbling, “I’m curious.”

Ten shirts down–tons to go, “Go on,” Harry prompts idly piling the tops by colour.

“How does one get…err…promoted to the Council? How did your Dad?”

At the unexpected turn of events his hands falter–ruining the fold so that he will have to start over–though he does his best not to react, answering lightly as possible, “It’s bloodlines, really. The Alpha’s of the strongest from each fraction of the world are chosen, for the lack of better words. And to maintain supremacy they’re expected to mate with the most worthy Omega. It’s not much of a choice. You’re either born into it…or not at all.”

“You’re not excited to be an heir to the Council,” Louis surmises, confused.

Once the black shirt is refolded the Alpha shrugs one shouldered, “I’m not interested in having my life dictated. Eighteen years is time enough. But, it’s my place in this world, my obligation to England, so I won’t go against it.”

Except...for you I would, the thought appears unbidden,  and the Alpha doesn’t want to grasp the idea that he would give it up in a heartbeat; give up all the schooling, give up his status, give up his morals, give up–enough, he thinks angrily, shoving the thoughts into his mental-closet.

Distracting him, a stab of panic streaks through Louis, who blurts, “But–,” Then, seems to think better and shakes his head, curling that-much closer and smaller into his side.

“Tell me, Lou,” the Alpha breathes, dropping the material in his hands to tip the boy’s face so that those depthless eyes are revealed. “What is it?”

With a little sigh the Omega mumbles, “Nothing. It’s nothing…”

Measures, Harry thinks, this has to be taken in measures. “I’m forming an extreme dislike for the word nothing. Know why?”  

“Um…” Louis fumbles, “Why?”

Smiling ruefully, the Alpha finishes the shirts and murmurs, “Because, ironically enough nothing to you seems to always mean something. Now, up you go, pack these away.”

Again, the little v appears, but Harry ignores the what-are-you-on look and carefully places the first heap in his arms. “Hey, Haz?”

Situating the next few piles the Alpha hums in question.

“In case, like, um if it helps…–You’ll figure it out. The whole Council craze–don’t even second-guess it, because you’ll be one of the best Alpha’s in the Council…And we–England needs more Alpha’s like you, ‘cause you’re…well, um, you’re you? So, I know you’ll end up charming the pants off all of England anyway.”

Stunned into silence the Alpha processes each word, memorising them to ensure he could never forget. In the past six months, that’s the most Louis has ever let him in–to Hell with the emotions that aren’t freely disputed. And it’s…nerve-racking and real and…perfect. “Only you,” his voice is hoarse, “You’re the only Omega I want to charm out of their pants. Yeah, only you, kitten. And you need to rest. Go on, don’t make me wait.”

This time Louis listens, leaving the bed to kneel at the suitcase and place the pile inside with more care than necessary. More time continues in silence as Harry folds and Louis packs until the clothes are stowed and the boy’s rucksack contains miscellaneous objects that the Alpha doesn't bother to look into or question.

Now, zipping the luggage, Harry notices the Omega’s restless shuffling and casts a sidelong glance as Louis asks–for the third time–“Bedtime?”

“Turn the lights,” the Alpha instructs, and shocking him, Louis lights up, scampering happily to the switch and smiling as the room goes dark. Only seconds pass before his eyes adjust.

“Now bed?” the boy whispers almost shyly, but oh-so-sweet. Something’s shifted, the Alpha thinks, curious as to why those eyes are locked on the carpet. This is new.

“Now bed,” Harry breathes back, reacting to that something as his arms circle the Omega’s waist, walking him backwards to the bed-frame and gently lowering him onto the mattress, following him down so that they’re lying side by side.

Something about the obscurity causes the flames within to climb higher; the buzz tightens over his skin deliciously. It’s quite possible that he’s not breathing, suffocating even, but it hardly matters because with the shadows dancing along the edges of his vision, his tightly-bound self-control seems to dissolve and Harry reaches forward so that his fingers trace the boy’s sensuous, curing collarbone, following the enticing line until the jumper’s revealing slope ends.

With no control over his actions the Alpha shifts again so that Louis ends up beneath him once again as his hands support his weight, propped on either side of the Omega. As to gauge the small boy’s reaction Harry lifts his gaze–any previous concern fades, because the boy’s expression is one the Alpha can recognise by now…but this isn’t any look, isn’t any Omega, this is Louis–his beautiful, ingenuous Omega reacting to him. And it’s there in the gentle rise and fall of his chest, the soft rose in his cheeks, the skittish doe in his forget-me-nots.

It’s there, it’s everywhere; his Alpha feels it, the pull–the electricity between them–tangible, drawing him towards the unsuspecting Omega.

Comprehension oozes through him, heated honey purling through his veins. Unbidden, his gaze is drawn to Louis’s mouth–lips parted, the sounds of his shallow breaths fill the Alpha with a fierce longing–a feeling that isn’t wholly his, it’s theirs, and it’s so fucking impossible to resist. “Louis,” his voice is an Alpha’s in its timbre, even as he attempts to gain some control over his natural instinct to answer the Omega’s desire. “I can’t wait…I’m sorry.” I need this, you, now.

Unable to wait, unable to fight it, the Alpha surges toward him, caressing the Omega’s lips with his own–always guiding him. And at first Louis’s lips are unmoving and realising his mistake Harry goes to retreat…but with a weak gasp the Omega’s fingers knot in his curl, restraining the movement. Fuck yes.

On its own accord his hand grips Louis’s sharp hip, tugging him upward, towards his straining erection, so close to being cradled by his soft tummy. Just inches apart. So close...Relentless, urgent his tongue works against the boy’s lips, relishing in the hints of sweetness there, anticipating the taste of his mouth. And when the Alpha’s teeth catch his bottom lip the Omega gasps again, this time it’s an invitation as Harry’s tongue takes over, invading, taking, caressing the explosive taste of him–sweet surprise.

A broken sound floods the room as Louis begins to respond, strokes so tentative, so inexperienced. Squirming, the Omega’s fingers urge him impossibly closer until the Alpha manages to drag his lips away–though when Harry manages to speak, their lips continue to make whisper-soft contact, “Careful…” his lips are careful over the boy’s, “Careful…” the word doesn’t help to remind him as his tongue teases Louis’s mouth open again, “Careful…”

But the Omega doesn’t listen–and the Alpha’s canines scrape his bottom lip again, and Louis licks over the plush flesh before Harry’s tongue works against his again–creating a spellbinding rhythm. Fuck it–not really making the decision, thoughts cluttered, the Alpha thinks, let’s show him how much I want him.

With a sharp inhale the Alpha carries his hand to the small of his back, just above his luscious arse, arching that small, petite frame, curved to fit him perfectly, so his cock–bulging in his trousers–effectively presses tight between them. Now, the Omega stills, whining into his mouth, “Harry….Harry, please, I…don’t…”

Realisation dawns–the complete innocence, the confusion there slams into the Alpha like a wrecking ball, a battering ram. A vicious shudder runs through his entire body as Harry separates their mouths, breaking the Omega’s grip effortlessly to storm across the room.

There the Alpha stalks around the area furthest from Louis, attempting to work the burn, the buzz, into nonexistence. Hell, it’d been difficult enough to keep his body in check before he’d put his fucking mouth on him. Now that his tongue knows the Omega’s taste, his spine is on fire, the burn spreading over his every muscle. And his skin tingles all over, itching so badly the Alpha is tempted to take sandpaper to it.

As Harry rubs his arms, his hands shake uncontrollably–the boy’s fragrance, his emotions, his reactions, the knowledge that Harry could take him right now, because Louis wouldn’t refuse him, festers and beckons him.

“Louis, I have to be alone for a little while.” Somehow the Alpha manages to retrieve his shoes, put them on and cross the room without acting on his urges, only pausing at the window. “I’m going to my car. And when I come back I expect you to be asleep.”

The silence doesn’t stretch because Harry slips through the window noiselessly, on his feet again within seconds–record time–then down the street where his car blocks the vacated drive of an equally as vacated flat. There, the Alpha sits in the driver’s side, with his hands over his knees, forcing his muscles to relax before focusing on his lungs. Drawing each breath through his nose and exhaling out his mouth, he concentrates on keeping his respiration even and slow.

The world recedes until all sounds and sights and smells are shut out and there is only his breathing.

Only his breathing.
Only his breathing.
Only his…

Some time passes before his calm is recovered, the trembling is gone, and with the distance the damned buzz dissolves his Alpha’s sex drive. Even so, there isn’t any doubt in his mind that once he returns to Louis the feeling will return as well–ever the unstoppable force.

And, well, that doesn’t stop him from sliding through the cracked window again (call him screwed up but…)

Approaching, the Alpha realises Louis listened and the lack thereof emotions allows him to remain attuned to his own feelings as Harry stands over him, measuring his slow, even breathes. Curled up, Louis is so small, so glaringly small.

Without permission the Alpha stretches out beside Louis and gently shifts his body so he’s nestled in the crook of his arm.  Next to him, the Omega is tiny.

Stirring, Louis lifts his head, “Haz?”

“Go back to sleep,” Harry whispers, urging him against his chest. “Just let me hold you. That’s all I’m going to do.”

And the Alpha absorbs his sigh through his skin, closing his eyes as the Omega curls further into his side.

Quiet.

Everything is so quiet. Quiet in the house. Quiet in the room. Quiet inside him.

There’s the stupid impulse to wake Louis up and reposition him just so he could feel the boy ease against him once more.

Instead, Harry focuses on his breathing, matching the draw and push of his own lungs to the Omega’s.

So…peaceful.
And quiet.

So that’s why, the thought is absent as oblivion grasps him, Alpha’s aren’t allowed to see their Omega in bed.

 

∞∞∞

           

Within the endless obscurity a candles flame flickers and dances–indiscernible. And despite the threat this flame poses Louis struggles to resist–only now realising he’s been cold this entire time–drawn to the heat that blazes so bright, too bright. Even so, Louis is dazzled by the imperceptible light, and it becomes too much, too hot, stifling and overpowering…It wakes him.

Sighing sleepily the Omega meets conscious thoughts, opening his eyes to be greeted by the same inscrutable darkness. But there isn’t time to dwell on that particular heartache because Louis realises he’s draped in Harry Styles–the Alpha is wrapped around him and fast asleep with his head on Louis’s chest, holding him impossibly close with one, long leg thrown over and hooked around both of the Omega’s. Like this, he’s suffocating the Omega with his body heat, and he’s heavy; a constant, sharp pressure over Louis’s ribs.

Disregarding his body’s slight discomfort, his Omega savors the proximity while Louis absorbs the knowledge that the Alpha is still in his bed and fast asleep and it must be morning–as it’s becoming increasingly noisy in the connecting hall.

Releasing the breath he’d been holding in, Louis shuts his eyes again, ready to find sleep once more when the memories from the previous night wash over him. The arguing, oh no the arguing, his Mum, and the…With a small, helpless noise the Omega hides his face in the pillow.

Even as the Omega tries to crush the thoughts, his mind returns to that moment and his heart constricts as his trembling fingers rise to his lips. Somehow, they’re still swollen from last night’s attention. Oh no, Louis thinks, as the butterflies in his belly begin to flutter against the emotions; he doesn’t know whether to be embarrassed, humiliated, or extremely pleased.

Embarrassed because Louis is so inexperienced and now the Alpha knows this as well. Humiliated because Harry couldn’t even stand to continue touching him, or extremely pleased because, for the first time ever, Louis could rely on his body…For the first time in his sixteen years the Omega produced slick–very, very little, but it was there. And in the moment, the Omega was torn between relief and disgust as the tears flowed freely as the slick between his legs. It was horrible. It was lovely. But, most of all, it was sad…and even Louis doesn’t understand how it could only happen once the Alpha wasn’t there–like his body was still protecting itself from the past.

But it isn’t necessary anymore; Louis knows this, except his conscious or subconscious or whatever those posh, useless psychologists called it, hasn’t come to the same realisation.

Abruptly, halting his thoughts, an alarm shrills. Stilling, Louis catches a faint, irritated groan from deep in the Alpha’s throat as he stirs. Surprising him, the Alpha nuzzles his throat, inhaling deeply as he wakes, tousled mop of curls tickling Louis’s nose. And the Omega is flushed at the sensations pooling in his belly, nearly purring.

“Smells good,” a deep, sleep-ridden voice murmurs, before Harry groans again, “Christ, even in my sleep I’m drawn to you.” Slowly, the Alpha unpeels his limbs, seeming to gather his bearings.

“Hi,” Louis breathes, floundering.

With a quiet hmm, Harry asks, “Sleep well?” When you came back, yes, the Omega thinks, though Louis opts to nod instead–his cheeks warm again.

“So did I,” there’s a frown in his voice, though Louis’s thoughts have returned to last night. And, well, curiosity gets the better of him, “Why did you leave last night?” 

There’s a beat of silence before the Alpha responds quietly, too quietly, “Because, I wasn’t in control…And I can’t be with you when I’m that way–I’ll hurt you.”

“No,” Louis mumbles, shaking his head. “You wouldn’t hurt me.” And the Omega refuses to believe otherwise, because since the beginning, when Harry Styles knocked him down with his stupid balance and spoke in his stupid Alpha voice, Louis’s clung to the idea that, in the end, when it’s all said and done, his heart wouldn’t end up torn and tattered at his feet–to the idea that Harry Styles wouldn’t hurt him. So, no, Louis will not be the one left hurting–at least that’s what he’ll continue to believe until the time comes.

Oblivious, the Alpha sighs, a long drawn-out sigh before brushing his swooping fringe from his eyes, “Oh, love. You’re so naïve–so innocent.”

“Okay, granddad,” Louis snaps, the frustration works to prevent the looming panic from swamping him, “Still, I refuse to believe you’d hurt me.”

“Not intentionally, no,” finally, he agrees, planting a swift kiss to the Omega’s temple. “But, I should go before Jay can confirm her suspicions.”

“Suspicions?!” his voice sounds strangled. “Oh no–I knew it! I should’ve practised my acting skills.”

In response, Harry chuckles softly, leaving the bed to stand. And subtly Louis shifts and curls up there, where his Alpha’s scent is caught in the material of his blankets, where his heat lingers. “’s not funny, Haz,” he moans, burrowing his face in the pillow. “Now she’s going to call me every five seconds in France to make sure we’re not up to any,” with fingers-quotation marks, he repeats her exact words only days ago, “funny business.”

“Don’t fret, love,” Harry murmurs soothingly. “She won’t say anything to you.”

“Promise?” Louis breathes, peeking up from the pillows with his heart in his eyes.

“Promise,” the Alpha hums, shuffling about the area before leaning in to kiss his cheek–which makes his mouth turn down, frowning, because now it’s confirmed that Harry doesn’t want to kiss him again. And Louis’s heart sinks to the depths of the oceans, dramatics excluded.

“An hour,” there’s a grin in his voice. And like a whirlwind, the Alpha’s gone. As to calm his nerves, Louis snuggles into the Alpha side, inhaling the exquisite scent embedded there and smiling (because his heart lurches to reality again and the reality is that Harry stayed, which proves more than any kiss–or well, maybe not, but right now, it does).

Stretching, the Omega manages (though unwilling) to climb out of bed and half-heartedly rearrange the blankets again. Once that’s finished Louis hurries downstairs to the kitchen, where his Mum greets him, “Good morning. Sleep well?”

“Mhm,” Louis sighs, taking his usual seat at the island, “Managed to finish packing even.” Without acknowledging that, Jay starts up the kettle, and when Louis denies breakfast (tummy in turmoil with a fresh wave of butterflies) she leans against the counterpane, “Excited?”

Louis shrugs, sipping hastily at his tea, “More nervous than anything.”

“You will be fine, poppet. Don’t over-think it too much.” Sadly, before Louis can assure his Mum that it’s too late, his minds been reeling for days, the girls make an abrupt entrance, scrambling into their seats beside him–none of them actually make use of the dining-table in the mornings. Its fine then, the Omega is nearly at ease with girls murmuring around their breakfast when someone pokes his shoulder.

Reverie broken, but still in a slight daze, Louis goes to ask seconds-to-late as Lottie asks first, “Excited?”

With a small sigh the Omega shrugs, then repeats his earlier answer.

“I dunno what there’s to be nervous about, Lou,” his eldest younger sister murmurs, though she doesn’t give him even a chance to list the whys, “I’d be excited! Especially since this isn’t any Alpha, this is one of England’s to-be-Council, and he’s so fit, Lou!”

Without reason, Louis blushes furiously, to the tips of his ears, taking another sip of his now-lukewarm tea; needing a second to sum up an answer that doesn’t consist of ‘and he’s mine’ or something equally as possessive and smitten. Still, the Omega’s response doesn’t manage to flow, it splutters and wavers, “It’s…There’s more to him than the Council or the looks, Lottie…We’re…I’m…That’s…”

With an airy laugh, Lottie pats his shoulder, “Alright, boo, don’t hurt yourself. I was only joking. But, honest, live a little, and have fun, yeah?”

“Yeah…” Louis whispers, managing to smile a bit, “I will, thanks.”

Afterwards, the Omega bounds upstairs, gathers his outfit and heads into the bathroom, where he brushes his teeth and climbs into the steaming torrent. A while passes with Louis standing beneath the stream, and soon enough it works to loosen the muscles in his back, calm his pulse. While the time rushes and drains to quickly, the familiar smell of his shampoo makes him feel like he might be the same person from many months ago.

Except the comfort doesn’t last as someone knocks (more like pounds) at the entrance, “Looouisss,” its Lottie’s sing-song, “Your Alpha is here! And fit as ever.”

My Alpha, his Omega has woken, assessing the words almost carefully. My Alpha.

And this time the words run shivers up his spine; unsuccessfully, Louis tries to ignore it–the way everything deep in his body uncurls, and then clenches weirdly. Somehow, it doesn’t hurt…the sensation is delicious and that scares him. Desire, he thinks, this is what desire feels like.

Through fumbling movements Louis manages to shut the tap and leave the space. When Omega wraps a towel around his waist…he notices it; he’s hard–his length curves upward, tenting the towel and Louis stares (cheeks in flames, mouth gaping, eyes round). 

Of course the Omega knows, he isn’t green as everyone thinks, his best mate is Niall, but it’s still mystifying and new and…uncomfortable.

Unbidden and unwelcome tears pool in his useless eyes–because he doesn’t know what to do, because he’s angry at his body’s senseless reaction. And he’s achy and trembling and tingly and it’s too much.

Pathetic, his subconscious sneers in disbelief, it’s only an erection. Just…touch it or something…or…

Wiping furiously at the traitor tears, Louis focuses on twisting the tap’s temperature to its coldest–recalling Niall’s weeklong attempt at celibacy, and his relief to be “done with cold showers”. Once the cold touches his skin the Omega squeaks, then sighs, as the fire low in his belly begins to die–soon enough the ache dissipates and he’s no longer straining down there.

“You’re fine, Lou,” his voice doesn’t even convince him as the Omega exits the shower once more. There, goose-bumps rise on his arms, and his entire body trembles from all the cold–but it’s okay, because Louis is so relieved to feel normal again, though he’s sure the evidence of his arousal is all over his face–the bright, flaming cheeks, the bitten raw lips, and he doesn’t want to imagine what his eyes might give away.

Mustering what semblance of courage remains, Louis scurries into his bedroom to make rapid work of getting dressed. Once he’s in trackies the Omega wiggles into his trousers (bright red, he believes that’s where they were located in his wardrobe) and a shirt (he’s not even sure what colour) that hugs his chest, socks and his white plimsolls, hoping the kit isn’t a mess of mismatched colours.

Soon Louis is struggling with his damp fringe, growing frustrated when it refuses to cooperate, hanging limply over his forehead. And he’s just about ready to give up when the Alpha’s deep, warm voice murmurs from close behind, “I don’t believe you’re going to get anywhere with it being damp. Besides, it looks quite lovely like this.”

And…the fluster is back, Louis thinks miserably, cheeks warm, eyes cast down to the floor, “You shouldn’t be up here. 

“Well, that’s strange,” the Alpha mutters, smug now, “As I’m up here nearly every night.” Of course, even discussing this, Harry Styles manages to sound factual–as if Louis doesn’t already know this, as if his sheets and blankets don’t have the Alpha’s scent permanently caught within the material, as if.

“Shush,” Louis hisses, shaking his head before crossing the room to rummage through the first stand just inside his wardrobe, where all his–Harry’s–jumpers are, “It’s like you want everyone to know this.”

“I do. I’m feeling a bit proprietary,” of course the Alpha remains unruffled as ever.

“Why am I not surprised?” the Omega grumbles (a second too-late) when, unexpectedly, his hand meets the soft, hoax-fur of his wolf, which he’s not needed with Harry cuddling him every night–he’d nearly forgotten Wolfy.

A frisson of affection runs through him–his irritated façade dissolves as his arms hug Wolfy to his chest, and he’s smiling softly.

“What’re you smiling about–oh,” his voice is close now, in the doorway. “Lou, you didn’t have to keep that. I can get you another, better wolf, not some cheap–,” What?

“No!” Louis gasps, slightly horrified. “This is my Wolfy! My special Wolfy! Leave him alone!”

Amusement colours his tone as the Alpha drawls, “Sentimental are we?” Yes, Styles, because you got him for me and I love him.

With a haughty snivel Louis tightens his hold on his stuffed animal, mumbling again, “He’s special,” and too make it known that he’s serious, “And don’t you even think about replacing him again, it won’t end well for you.”

“Alright, kitten,” the Alpha gives, almost contrite. “You can keep the wolf.”

“Like I was asking permission,” Louis scoffs, starting in the direction of his bedroom, except then he isn’t because Harry’s lissome fingers circle both his wrists, tugging him sharply, so that he ends up losing balance. Of course the Alpha doesn’t even yield to gravity, righting him. And they’re close, Wolfy sandwiched between them.

“Hello,” the other hums, nosing at his cheek, breath soft against his skin.

“Are…you sure Mum…let you up here?” the Omega’s breath hitches in attempts to remain even. It’s impossible, because the Alpha’s scent–expensive body wash and just…Harry–is everywhere, muddling his thoughts into nonexistence.

“Positive,” even his voice is intoxicating, and unaccustomed to this new edge Louis lets the Alpha crowd him until his back is pressed to the wall, deeper in the wardrobe now. Protectively, instinctively, Louis shuts his eyes, so Harry can’t read whatever lies within them. Louis exhales shakily, but doesn’t dare move as the Alpha continues thoughtfully, “Though she really shouldn’t trust me anywhere near you. No, she shouldn’t,” his mouth brushes the erogenous spot beneath Louis’s jaw; a small, barely-there whimper falls passed his lips.

“Why?” his voice is too high, too breathy. “Why shouldn’t she?”

“Because,” Harry groans, and it’s almost a pained sound, “I’m not…good for you, Lou. And yet here I am, and I can’t seem to stop wanting you.”

“Don’t stop,” the words are there, but his racing heart is in his mouth. “You’re my Alpha, remember? We’re meant–it’s the opposite, Harry. I’m…It’s me who’s lacking here–unworthy even. But you…you’re perfect. And I know it’s selfish, but…please, don’t stop wanting me.”

“No, love,” this time the Alpha snakes his arms around Louis’s waist, and the atmosphere weighs now; tears spring to the Omega’s eyes. “When are you going to realise your vision doesn’t make you any less perfect?”

“When it’s true,” his voice is low and soft with unshed tears.

“It’s always true,” it’s a lie, but soothing all the same, “One of these days I’m going to show this to you. But, for now, how about I’ll be your Alpha and you’ll be my little kitten? And I’ll continue to want you when it’s safe too.” Reaching down, Harry caresses his cheek, until his adept fingers grasp Louis’s chin. And, without much warning, the Alpha leans forward to plant a brief, chaste kiss on his lips, leaving Louis breathless, his insides clenching (there it is again) at the thrilling, unexpected touch of his Alpha’s lips.

“Harry! Lou! No funny business!” his Mum’s voice comes from below and Louis tenses, though the Alpha laughs, distancing them.

“Guess the trust doesn’t run quite so deep,” the Omega mutters under his breath, leaving the wardrobe to open his bedroom door so Jay doesn’t come to investigate or something equally as embarrassing. Then, Louis extends Wolfy in offering, “We can’t leave him, Haz–it’s bound to get lonely. Please, can’t we bring him?”

“I dunno, Lou, he might try to take my place,” the Alpha’s voice is playful again and the butterflies in his tummy flourish.

“Jealous,” the Omega mumbles. “Hmm, it doesn’t become you, Haz.”

With that same, completely charming boyish laugh the Alpha takes Wolfy from him, answering absently, “It’s only fair that I have one flaw, at the very least.”

As too hide his grin Louis preoccupies his attention, grabbing his rucksack from the corner. Shoving his hands into the bag, the Omega double checks that his phone, iPod, book and other necessities are there, and accounted for–by the time he’s finished his Mum’s voice breaks the comfortable silence. “Lou, go on downstairs and say goodbye to your sisters.” 

Instantly, Louis goes to ask why (surely they can say goodbye at the door?) when Harry murmurs, “Yeah, give you all some privacy.”

Grimacing in the traitors direction, Louis sighs, but leaves the two–realising a bit belatedly, when Lottie comes down, giggling girlishly, there’s a reason his Mum wanted to be alone with Harry.

“Lou,” Lottie hisses around snickers, “You sneaky thing, you. And here I thought you were so innocent.” 

Puzzled, the Omega mutters, “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play coy! Mum’s up there lecturing your Alpha about Council principles! Not like Harry needs reminding…but then again you two have been up to proper mischief.”

Oh? Oh no! She knows.

With a sharp gasp, Louis slaps a hand over his face and tries not to expire right there. This is horrible, so, so horrible–someone else must realise this, “This is horrible!”

“Wait! Before you go into dramatics…tell me, was he any good?” Oh my…God.

And then Louis realises, with about as much certainty as his mind can maintain, that somehow, someway, today he is going to die

 

∞∞∞

 

            Here goes, the Alpha thinks, not exactly surprised that this has happened–the Alpha knew he was bound to fuck up somehow. Just…not quite so soon. But the Alpha must admit bringing the backpack with him this morning was possibly the worst mistake of them all (go figure). So, as the Alpha watches Louis fiddle with his rucksack, Jay’s abrupt entrance doesn’t surprise him in the least. Though, despite the gravity of this situation, it’s slightly amusing that she’s carrying his bag. Or maybe amusement is his latest go-to.

 When the female Omega slyly suggests (demands) Louis goes downstairs for whatever reason Harry can only agree–refusing to break his recent promise. Once the boy complies, Harry stands, and she tosses the bag at him–the Alpha manages to catch it without falling over in his attempts. 

Silence stretches, and seemingly worn out the female Omega perches on the bed, murmuring, “Well, I’m waiting for an excuse.”

At this point the Alpha figures it’s best to appease her, besides, it’s well worth a shot at the very least, “I’ve ten replicas of the same bag at the manor.”

Clucking, Jay shakes her head, “More believable than that, Harry.”

“Alright,” he fumbles–slightly peeved, struggling against the slight tension, “Louis returned it to me at the door?”

“Louis was in the shower.” Best not to remind me, the Alpha thinks, then winces at the prospect of his Omega’s petite frame dripping beautifully with stray droplets of liquid. And the branded image sends wanton shocks through his veins–abruptly, he’s very thirsty.

“Right,” Harry nods, done with drawing this out, “Okay then, I give up.”

“Well,” the female Omega mutters, “Can’t say I’m exactly surprised.” Okaaaay then, not exactly expected, but the Alpha will make do with whatever’s offered.

Coughing, the Alpha blurts (because fuck, this is becoming strange, and rapidly too), “Meaning?”

“This room smells like it belongs to an Alpha. There’s hardly a trace of Omega here.” Inhaling, the Alpha finds she is right, his scent is here and though Harry feels slightly guilty, it’s nothing compared to the satisfaction brimming within. But…this isn’t the time.

“Honestly, I knew you’d figure it out, but…I couldn’t stay away. And I take complete responsibility, of course, it’s wasn’t Louis’s idea or fault. So–,”

“Oh, no,” the older Omega shakes her head, turning an icy glare on him. “There’s no protecting him from me, Harry. Remember that. Yes, Louis is young, but he’s not dense. And there’s no doubt in my mind that he wanted you here.”

Sure as hell hope so, the Alpha thinks, growling at the idea of anyone daring toclaim otherwise. Louis is his, and were there another Alpha... Halting those thoughts Harry returns to his present predicament.                                                                        

And here comes the awkward. “I haven’t touched him. I swear on my honour. I’ve held him. But I’ve behaved. I wouldn’t hurt him like that. And I sure as Hell wouldn’t ruin him,” Jay looks vaguely surprised by the fervor in his tone–it spurs him, “It’s probably too soon to even talk about this…but my intentions are honorable. If Louis will have me, it is my intention to mate your son one day, Jay, properly with my Father’s, the Councils, but mostly, your blessings. I’m offering my most sincere apologies, with the assurance that Louis will have his own room in Paris.” Not his finest promise, surely. But it’s too late to think now, his Alpha curses him–an entire nights rest is out of the equation now, and even the damned buzz threatens to strangle him.

Still, it’s the consequence–and Harry will take it, not gladly, but respectfully at the least.

Yet the female Omega’s reaction stuns him more than anything else–sharp gaze softening, Jay beams, clasping her hands before standing. “That’s all I needed to know. You’re a decent lad, Styles. But, I’m obligated, as Mummy-Bear, to remind you that I am capable of skinning you alive if you hurt my baby. Now, with that out of the way, let’s join the others, and you two ought to get a move on.” Well then 

Grinning his signature you’ve-got-it grin, the Alpha goes to grab the luggage when someone comes rushing up the steps. An unknown emotion–some piercing combination of dread, desperation and panic–smothers Harry and it takes him a moment to realise it’s not his emotion. And when his gaze lifts, its there, written on Louis’s features, lurking in his beautiful eyes. 

While the Alpha’s thoughts reel, his Omega’s Mum speaks, “What’s the matter, Boo? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” The attempt at humour is so horribly delivered that Harry’s lips twitch, though Louis swallows, biting his lip before, “Mum, can I talk to Harry? For a second…Please.”

With a bewildered, ‘was it something I said?’ look, the female Omega exits the room, leaving the door slightly ajar–respectability and all. Once she’s gone, Louis’s arms curl around his chest protectively, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth.

Without making the conscious decision, the Alpha crosses the room and crushes the small boy to his chest, planting gentle kisses to his damp hair, and inhaling the thick, sweet scent there.

“L-Lottie said…A-And I…was s-scared that…I was scared,” Louis snivels, and Harry holds him, bleeding his warmth into him, breathing soft words of comfort until the Omega is noticeably calmer; no longer trembling or coming apart at the seams.

“S-Sorry,” Louis mumbles, hesitant, “My nerves are all over the place this morning.”

“What happened? What scared you?” his Alpha is growling, emitting subzero levels of hostility towards whomever or whatever dared.

“I thought…I thought you’d be angry…” Ah, hell, it was me, again, he thinks. 

“I’m always angry,” his voice is light despite the frustration gnawing at him–Louis retracts. And though he’s working to keep the disbelief stark on his features, his smile still stands out.

“You did not just quote the Hulk!”

“I did. But honest, Lou, there’s nothing for me to be angry over. Besides, it’s nearly impossible to be put out with you, kitten.” It’s true, even proper fuming the Omega is endearing.

“It’ll happen, Haz,” Louis whispers, so sadly that Harry realises these words are an echo of something much more profound. Something that makes his fists clench and his Alpha growl begin to snarl furiously. 

“None of that,” Harry breathes, flexing his hands before twining their fingers coaxingly. “We’re here, in the now, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to argue with Ireland until Josh knocks me one proper, I’m ready to tests Liam’s ever-so-practised patience, and ready to tease Zayn mercilessly about his new love-interest.”

When the Omega goes to interrupt the Alpha hushes him, “I’m not finished. Most important, I am so ready for LouisandHarry.Because damn it, there’s no me without you anymore.  

“You and I,” the Omega mumbles before grinning timidly. “Friends ‘til the end. Partners in crime–which naturally means we go to Paris to make rude gestures at nuns and talk dirty in French. Ad infinitum.” And those are his words from many months ago, but fuck him they sound so much better on Louis’s petal-soft lips.

“Exactly,” the Alpha manages to marshal his wayward marveling. “Now, let’s go before I tell another lie.”

“Another lie?”

“I might’ve told Jay that I hadn’t touched you,” Harry answers, almost bashful–expecting Louis’s disapproval–striding over to the suitcase.

Except Louis (ever-the-surprise) giggles, “Jeez, I dunno how to feel about how excellent a liar you are, Haz. Are you even an Alpha? Have you been lying all this time to be with me? Why I’m flattered.”

“Yes, Lou, I’m a Beta,” Harry murmurs gravely. “I hope you can find it in your heart to accept the real me and all that I’m not.”

“Ah, ah, Styles,” the Omega tuts, flicking his fringe haughtily, “You have to woo me first. Then, if you’re lucky, I might forgive you.”

Grinning in triumph the Alpha shakes his head, lifting the luggage effortlessly and making for the stairwell, teasing again, “Christ, Lou, managing to cart this luggage ought to woo you enough. What did you horde?”

“You should know,” Louis grumbles. “You chose what went in the ruddy thing.”

“Oh, don’t worry kitten, it’s all well worth it,” the Alpha replies, winking uselessly as they reach ground-level. From there his Omega’s siblings swarm them, and it becomes difficult to even exit the door because–“Curly! Curly,” a high voice cries, “Are you courting Lou-Bear!?”

Then, one hushed mumble, “You must bring me a new dolly! Pleeeeasee!”

And, “Take us with you! Oh, please!”

“Oh, yes!” one the youngest girls (Daisy?) exclaims, “We’ve never been!”

“Yes, we have, Dais,” the eldest girl mutters, “You were just a wee thing.”

But, it doesn’t end there, “I’m a big girl now, aren’t I, Mummy? And I promise to be on my best behaviour! Oh, please, Harry!”

Caught in the commotion, the Alpha is unable to recognize who is who, or which twin clings to his right leg, until Jay brings the uproar to an end, “Alright, girls! Stop pestering the poor lad!” 

“We are not!” then, at the knowing look their Mum gives them, six identical pairs of big-puppy-dog-blue eyes gaze up at him, “We aren’t, right Curly?” Ah, hell.

And his equilibrium is damned straight to Hell–it’s overwhelming, and unsettling and much too intimidating…but somehow the Alpha manages to conserve his smile (sure, it’s more than likely pained, but what difference does it make?) “Course not,” Christ, is that his voice? “How about this, I promise to bring each of you something special. But it’s a surprise. And you must behave for your Mummy to receive it? Have we a deal?”

Squealing, each girl (aside from Lottie, who’s managed to avoid this, snickering silently with Louis) begins to hop about, “Yes! Yes, please!”

“Alright then, darlings,” the female Omega murmurs, “Go on, say goodbye to your brother.” Dutifully, the lot whirls towards the two (who shoot him identical disgruntled looks) as the Alpha grasps the escape, shoving the luggage into the trunk of his Audi and composing his shot nerves all the same before returning–where the rest huddle around Louis’s legs, hugging him and bickering over who will miss him most.

And it’s a sight–his Omega like this, all warm, gentle words and touches for his little sisters. Stunned into silence the Alpha smiles (inanely) wide–it’s such a beautiful picture, one Harry tries not to exceed (failing miserably–the aspect of Louis hugging their children one day makes his head swim, and it’s too fucking soon).

Lord, the Alpha actually considers getting on his knees because surely some outside force knows his souls in need right now, please, help me help my stupid-self.

“Alright, children,” Lottie (who he’s yet to formally meet) coos, hoax-sagely, “We all know that I am going to miss Lou most. Now, leave the adults to adult conversations.”

“Oh, shut up, Lotts,” Louis snivels–cobalt gaze suspiciously watery (dimly, Jay reminds ‘language!’ though everyone ignores her). “But, she’s right, girls, go and get ready for the day. And we’ll see you in exactly a week.”

A clearing storm, the girls scamper inside, each with a shy, little, “see ya, Curly!’

Charmed, Harry waves, greeting Lottie, who’s attained Louis’s humour and wit. She’s rambling on about something (probably) important but the Alpha isn’t listening. Not at all.

Beside them the Omega’s Mum embraces him, sniffling, “You need anything, Boo, anything at all, don’t hesitate to–,"

“Call you,” even his Omega’s voice breaks. “I know, Mum, it’s only a week. I will be fine.”

“I know, but it’s not too late to back out…”

At that, both Louis and Harry smile fondly, when the boy says, “Weren’t you the one urging me to go? I can’t back out now, Mum. Besides, I want to go, and it’ll work out fine.”

“I know, I know! Alright, I’m finished. Say goodbye to Lottie."

“That’s my cue,” the Alpha catches Lottie’s mumble before she treks over to Louis, embracing him.

Then, shocking him is Jay’s tight embrace–the Alpha goes rigid, unused to a Mother’s affection, but she doesn’t seem to mind or notice, “You take care of my boy, Styles. He returns anything less than perfect and–,”

“You’ll skin me, and have a rather handsome throw-rug?” Harry grins.

“Exactly,” Jay says. “And don’t forget to take care of yourself too.” 

Swallowing around the forming lump in his throat, Harry nods, ending the embrace with a simple, “Likewise, Jay.”

Somehow, towards the finishing goodbye’s, the Alpha manages to help Louis into the passenger side. This time the boy’s smile belongs to him, as Louis breathes, “Ready?”

Beside him, Harry answers, “I was born ready.”

And though Louis laughs outright the Alpha can’t find it in him to even act put out. With the window’s down, both catch Lottie’s farewell, “And not too much fun, you two!”

“There’s never enough fun,” he bites back–and then they’ve begun their journey.

 

∞∞∞

 

                Once they’ve parked in one of the manors many garages the Omega–excited and eager–hops out the vehicle, and when the Alpha rounds–prepared to voice his displeasure with Louis’s spur-the-moment action–the boy’s smile is so brilliant the Alpha finds himself grinning back. Inside, the Alpha sets down the luggage, watching–marveling as Louis’s smalls hands memorise the entrance, still beaming with energy. Soon, those hands meet the spiral-staircases polished banister, and Louis cries, “Race ya!”

And so, the Alpha does–leading due to the head-start Louis seems completely unfazed by the new environment, though Harry reaches makes it too his door first, lean legs moving swiftly.

“Ha-ha. Beat ya,” the Alpha teases, leaning against the wall beside the entrance with an indolent smile.

“Only ‘cause I let you,” the Omega huffs, slightly out of breath–it’s absolutely adorable.

Cocking an eyebrow at him, Harry drawls, “Did you now?”

“Maybe…” Louis plunders impishly, unable to catch his breath because the Alpha tackles him into a kiss, lips hungrily attaching to Louis’s parted ones; and with a delighted gasp the boy fists his curls, reflexively straining on his tip toes.

“Haz,” it’s breathless, reluctant. “We have places to be.” And the Alpha can’t help but chuckle, distancing them–not by much, because the appeal remains on some deep, elemental level Harry couldn’t begin to understand.  

Dismissing it, the Omega grins again, “Lessgo, get your luggage.” Then, like it’s his own room, Louis throws open the door, and maybe, with time, the Omega will fill the empty crevasses with some of his warmth, maybe, with time, the room will feel like theirs.

“About that…” Harry starts, “See I didn’t have the chance–,”

Stopping in his tracks, Louis whirls around, and the Alpha nearly topples face-first in attempts to keep from knocking him down as well. “To pack,” he finishes. “But, I will throw some things in a duffle and–,”

“Right now!? Harry, what time is it!?”

Harry tousles his hair, smoothes it back and shrugs, “Thirty to twelve.”

“Thirty to–Harry, you said we were set to leave at twelve.”

“I did,” the Alpha mutters, grabbing his duffle from the wardrobe, “But the flight can wait an hour or so.”

“Last time I checked,” Louis snaps, rolling his eyes, “flights didn’t wait on any, lone person.” Well mine does, baby.

“I’m not any, lone person, kitten,” Harry murmurs smugly, throwing anything his hands touch into the duffle so Louis relaxes a bit, “Besides, call me psychic, but I have a feeling it’ll wait.”

“We can’t rely on a feeling, Harry,” the boy grumbles, and the Alpha thinks there might be someone as cynical as him in this world after all. But, the Alpha can’t very well tell him that Head-Base (his personal pilot, even) is quite literally at his beck and call–it’s bound to overwhelm him. 

“Well someone kept me up all night packing so we’re going to have too.”

“Well I assumed a certain Alpha had finished his packing already, tosser.”  This, right here, is what drives Harry absolutely mad–with want and desire and adoration–because nobody (aside from his Father who doesn’t matter)–not even Zayn insults him this way. And it’s both trying and...a breath of fresh, cleansed-of-bias air.

“There you go again,” Harry grins, zipping the bag, “with the abuse.”

Blinking rapidly, the Omega’s teeth bite down on his lip, preventing a response. Two point-O seconds before his emotions bleed through the bond–remorse, guilt.

“Little one.” Louis shuts those beautiful eyes. Two point-O seconds later and Harry has walked over to cup his face softly, “Lou?”

“Yes?” his voice is quiet–the ‘upset’ pitch.

“You shouldn’t take what I say seriously. I told you, most of the time I make absolutely no sense.”

Now the boy’s mouth hints at a smile, “You’re right. Sometimes it’s like you’re speaking an entirely foreign language. Hmm, do Alpha’s have some sort of abnormal language? Because I know it’s an easy misconception, as I’m manly and all, but I really don’t understand you lot.”

“Manly, how so?” his fingers brush stray strands of silky-locks from the Omega’s gaze–not wanting to miss one reaction there.

“Well, I-I mean look at me,” Louis mumbles.

“I am,” the Alpha sighs. “And you’re mighty pretty, Lou.”

Pretty?” the Omega gapes, narrowing his eyes, “I am not pretty, Styles. Unless pretty is codename for masculine.” So, so pretty, Harry coos inwardly.

“Actually,” his voice is even and steady. “I believe, some way or another it’s word for feminine, little one.”

“Such an Alpha,” Louis groans, batting his hands away. “Anyway, it’s too early for this, I’ve not even eaten and–,”

Instantly the Alpha’s gaze sharpens with disapproval, “You didn’t eat?” he demands tightly.

Just the Omega’s look–helpless guilt–spells out the answer, though Harry continues to stare until Louis mumbles, “I’m not hungry.” Unacceptable.

“You need to eat, Louis,” his voice is tight with barely-withheld frustration, watching as Louis crosses his arms, muttering again, “I’m not hungry.”

Too fucking bad, the Alpha thinks, shrugging the duffle over one shoulder before snatching the small boy up and tossing him (as gently as possible) over the other shoulder, holding him fast around his miniature legs.

“Harry!” Louis shrieks as Harry begins to descend the spiral-steps with him (practically weightless) over his shoulder still. When the Alpha ignores him, the Omega let’s out an indignant sigh before squirming, throwing painless blows with his little firsts, hissing about how “unfair,” and “unnecessary,” he is until Harry growls, accent thickening, “Bett’ah stop fidgeting, Louis. Or I will spank you.”  And, even now the Alpha barely resists the urge to swat that full, luscious arse in retaliation, though sadly, Louis stills.

At the landing, Harry speaks again, much softer, “Will you behave if I release you?”

“Are you really asking if I’m going to eat? If so, then no, thank you.”

“Kitten,” the Alpha purrs, daring to place his hand over the boy’s thigh. “Don’t be difficult. You’re going to eat–whether I have to wait all day. So, we can continue this, but I guarantee you’ll end up eating either way.” 

Growling weakly, the Omega snaps, “Fine, I’ll eat. Now, let me go so I can at least attempt to be furious.”

Winningly, the Alpha grins, dimples and all, then places the boy on his feet but allows only that, tugging him into the kitchen, where the ‘weekend’ Cook, Mrs. Adams (or something, he doesn’t quite recall) bustles about doing God-knows-what.

When Harry clears his throat, the female Alpha turns with a warm smile, which falters the tiniest in surprise as she murmurs, “Oh. Hello, Mr. Styles, what a pleasant surprise. Can I prepare anything for you this morning?”

“Actually, yes, thanks. I’d like…um, Lou?” the previously bold Omega is now hidden behind him, looking very meek and mumbling to Harry, “U-um scones? And, um, and t-tea? Yorkshire, lots of sugar.”

Nodding curtly, the Alpha repeats it, but as the female Alpha nods, too interested in the boy, shielded by his body. Adam’s can’t be much older than Nick–twenty seven, eight at most, and consciously Harry realises she’s only curious or prying much like that other members of the staff would be, as the Alpha’s never brought anyone to the manor but Zayn, but, even so, his Alpha growls in warning.

Pinning the female with an icy glare, Harry straightens, firmly placing his frame in front of Louis, then murmurs tightly, “Scones, Yorkshire tea, lots of sugar.”

Seemingly piqued, Adams nods, directing her straying attention to her area of expertise. Meanwhile the Alpha tows Louis into the dining vicinity (the outrageous room his Father habitually dines–more often than he’d admit Harry wonders how the older male manages to withstand such a vast space alone, with his thoughts, brilliant they may be–Des may be a shit Father, but the Alpha isn’t daft–surely it must drive the male insane). Beside him, Harry watches Louis squirm–there’s something the Omega wants to say.

“Come on, Lou,” the Alpha urges, “Spit it out already.”

And almost instantly the Omega blurts, “You’re not…Why don’t you like it here?”

Of course Louis would choose that topic, Harry thinks, though before his tongue can form some sort of evasive answer, Louis continues, “I mean…I’m just trying to make sense of it. This is your home, yeah? And yet…you’re uncomfortable here. You don’t enjoy being here…Why not?” Jesus.

It’s not my home, it never has been.

And those words nearly spout from his mouth, except (saving him) an unfamiliar Beta enters the room with two sharp knocks. “Mr. Styles, your guests have arrived.” Fucking finally.

“Show them in.”

Funnily enough the Beta doesn’t bother to screen his distaste, excusing himself with a curt nod. And silent seconds later Niall is first to barrel through the great-doors with an exaggerated, Irish-earsplitting proclamation, “We have arrived!”

Then there’s Zayn, apathetic-as-ever, “I swear this…” he waves to Niall, “thing cannot get any more…annoying!”  Har har.

“Oh, trust me,” Josh–storming into the room with an extremely displeased expression, wrapping a possessive arm around his to-be-mates shoulder, “He can.”

Completely unfazed the Irish-Omega chirps, “It’s true,” before demanding, “Bring out the bacon! I want bacon!”

“Demanding little thing, innit?” Josh rumbles, gazing down at his boy with that fuck-it-I’m-in-love affection.

“Bacon it is,” the Alpha mutters, rising to stride into the kitchen and request an entire slab–because why the hell not? While he’s there, Harry grabs Louis’s dish and tea.

When Harry returns everyone has made themselves at home (more than he will ever be able to) with Niall perched on Josh’s lap, and Zayn seated beside Liam (something tells him they’re holding beneath the cherry-wood table) and there’s Louis, gladly immersed in the chaos–yes, his Alpha purrs, our boy would do very well when an entire litter of pups. Back to his vacated seat, Harry sets the Omega’s plate and tea before him, muttering “Eat.”

Smiling sheepishly Louis sips at his tea, humming appreciatively, and then nibbles at the scone. And the Alpha watches dotingly, only to be interrupted by Ireland, “Aye, Lou, I think your Alpha’s gatta starin’ problem.”

Louis blushes, but doesn’t comment, continuing the scone.  Just like that the others fall into light conversations, and Liam flashes a fold of paper, murmuring, “Well, I thought it’d be more organised with–,”

“Fucking Hell, Liam,” Niall doesn’t give him the chance to finish, snatching the sheet and examining it briefly before shaking his head, “Who even gave you permission to make a ruddy list!? No, abso-fucking-lutely not.”

“But–,” the Alpha starts–truly scandalised. “This way we won’t be running about like a bunch of headless–,”

“How many times have I told you?! It’s called an adventure!”

Liam snorts, “More like disaster waiting to happen.”

“Why don’t we put it to a vote?” Josh suggests reasonably. “Niall, read it aloud, and then we’ll each decide to keep it or trash it.”

“This is unnecessary,” the Alpha grumbles–everyone ignores him.

Amused as Harry, Louis listens as Niall reads the list, giggling between the activities, even mumbling ‘why’ between too until his Omega urges him to continue. Finally, Ireland declares, “I vote nay–never.”  Go figure.

Josh says, “Aye from me.”

Glaring, Niall pokes his tongue out, muttering, “You Alpha’s are no fun.”

Then, Zayn intones, “Nay,” shrugging apologetically at Liam–who sputters in disbelief.

“Nay from me,” Harry agrees.

“Obviously it’s an aye from me,” Liam mutters grudgingly.

Lastly is Louis, who swallows, “Sorry, Ni, but it’s an aye from me as well.”

“We win!” Niall exclaims, and before anyone guesses his next actions, he tears the list into bits and pieces–feisty little bastard.

Almost pleasantly, smug even, Liam rolls his eyes, “Good thing I’ve another copy, because I’m quite certain we tied.”

“Why aren’t I surprised?” Niall hisses, “Well, fine, what’s the tie-breaker then?”

“Um,” Louis chirps, “Why don’t each of us choose an activity from the list and from there, just go on with the trip?”

Just then, distracting them, another butler enters, the scent of bacon spreads through the room, and Niall shouts happily, “Opa!” Flinching, the butler startles (poor, unsuspecting bastard) at the pitch and the Alpha figures, at this point, they’re all used to it. As soon as the platter is set down, Niall starts piling slices onto his plate, humming contentedly.

“You know,” the Irish lad starts, swallowing a mouthful, “Louis’s suggestion wasn’t so bad. Compromise and all that–but, after we’ve all picked our favourites, the list is so going. Sorry, not sorry, Li.”

Liam chews thoughtfully before murmuring, “Your loss, Ireland.”

“Where there’s bacon, young Alpha, there is no loss.” Brilliant words of Niall Horan, right there.

And none disagree, a first, as they’re always differing, but stranger things have occurred. Once there isn’t any bacon left (mostly due to Niall) the Alpha stands, helping Louis up and muttering to the rest through a cheeky grin, “Alright, idiots, the car’s waiting outside. Get the hell out.”

Everyone groans, but listens nonetheless–Louis wasn’t included, but Niall drags him out so that Harry is alone again, reconstructing his shaky composure (it’s a lot to handle–this interacting Alpha role).

Though, considering Zayn hasn’t shot him any looks (though the Omega is possibly too caught up in Liam–who is equally as disgusting in his infatuation) he must be managing quite well.

Once Harry’s taken his duffle, aviators perched on his nose, he leaves the manor, too hyped to really give the driver his normal fuck-off greeting or gestures. Somehow or another Niall ends up in the passenger seat, actually chatting with the driver who looks torn between mild discomfort and amusement.

Louis, of course, is beside him, facing the window, listening to the conversations that Zayn and Liam ignore, those two still fucking grinning at each other–it’s getting rather old, really, but the Alpha could care less, focused on his Omega’s feelings–slight anxiety, more delight.

Soon they’ve stopped at the skyline, where Styles-Junior (yes, he’s named his plane after himself, but he’s thinking about changing it too Little-Tommo) waits. Opening their doors, the driver hands the luggage to security who will see that it boards the under-belly of his aeroplane. When his Omega steps out, his face shifts, the little v returns with his confusion, “Um? Shouldn’t we be inside, like, um going through security or summat?”

Hearing this, Zayn snorts, “Lou, didn’t Hazza here tell you? It’s our motto, ‘go big or go home’.” Well, cat’s out the bag now, ain’t it Styles?

“I own this aeroplane, Lou…” the Alpha explains uncomfortably.

“You what?” the boy gasps, wide-eyed and miffed.

“Oh, yeah,” Zayn murmurs wickedly. “This idiot didn’t say so? Ah, Lou, let’s educate you.”

“Or not,” Harry growls at him, hugging Louis to his side, the Omega’s warmth seeps through their clothing, but the sensation is muted by the overwhelmed expression on his Omega’s face. Already it’s too much, as Harry knew it would be.

“No,” Louis breathes, glaring at him, “I wanna know.” And the Alpha glares at Zayn so fiercely the Omega flinches, only to gain his composure with an answering scowl that says ‘he-should-know.’

“’ave you ever been in the air, Lou?”

Louis blinks, confused by the question, but responding even so, “Err, no?”

“Well, unlike Harry here, I won’t scare you half-to-death and claim we’re going to do flips or some other bullshit.” How very considerate of you, Harry thinks darkly.

Turning to him again the Omega gasps, “You didn’t!” And…well, Louis makes him mercurial–the Alpha grins, “I plead the fifth on this one, kitten.”

 “He’s evil, really,” Zayn claims, throwing an arm around Louis’s shoulders to steer him towards the airlift, “So, as I was saying, few years back–four at the most–Harry’s flying lessons were about finished, and let me tell you, those weren’t his most memorable moments. I dunno why we were even mates honestly–he was fucking mental. Anyway, your Alpha decide at God-knows what height, it’d be fun to let go of the throttle controls. Insane I tell ya.” And the Alpha remembers that evening with flawless clarity; remembers the gratification of such control, remembers, as the plane began to swoop that he was the only thing between life and death–and the adrenaline rushing through his veins was…addictive, providing his anticipation towards gliding-lesson’s.

“That’s not quite how it happened,” Harry defends lamely–futilely as neither listen to him.

 “Ignore him. Now I’m this close to crying and…” 

Deciding it’s best to stop listening the Alpha falls behind to ask flight-control their position in the skies, pleased to hear the path is fairly clear. Once they’re gone through pre-flight-checks, and he’s spoken with Simon, the exits are secured. From there Harry joins Louis, who’s sulking in the aisle seat of the fourth row.

Methodically, the Alpha fastens their seatbelts, waiting until Louis whirls to face him–consecration evident on his features. “You are unbelievable. I swear…Don’t you ever risk your life like that again or you will suffer my wrath.”

One more dismal piece inside breaks, adding to the collection of shattered bits, because the concern welling up within the Omega–whose paled–touches him…and it’s terrifying, the depth of these feelings.

Somehow the Alpha manages to smile, watching the boys hand disappear within his own. “In my defense the look on Z’s face was priceless.”

“But not worth it,” Louis mumbles, and there’s hope dancing in his eyes–he’s probably questioning his mental stability, which is understandable, sometimes the Alpha even questions it.

“But not worth it,” Harry agrees, brushing his lips over each, nimble fingertip.

Just then Simon’s voice feeds through the intercom, “Good morning this is your pilot speaking…” the rest fades into the background as the Alpha watches Louis–who listens attentively until finally it’s over.

“I’m nervous,” Louis breathes then, once again pulling his bottom lip between his pointed canines–an oddly arousing nervous habit.

“Don’t be,” it’s supposed to be soothing. “It’s always sketchy at first, but I promise it’ll be completely fine.”

“And then we’ll be in Paris,” the Omega breathes giddily–the rush of excitement returns.

“And then it’ll be LouisandHarry,” the Alpha breathes back. Through the flight those words keep the two grounded.

∞∞∞

            Beyond nervous, Louis curls into Harry’s side to the best of his capability with the slight block, whimpering into his shoulder all throughout lift-off. It’s not a pleasant feeling, he decides, but uses the Alpha’s steady calm to ground him–chanting in his mind, LouisandHarry, HarryandLouis, Harry, Harry, Harry…

Somewhere between reaching highest altitude and releasing his irritating restrain the Omega ends up nestled in the Alpha’s lap, lolling into sleep. And he dreams soundlessly, though it doesn’t last nearly long enough as the Omega’s woken by Harry offering him orange juice. They’ve begun their approach to whatever airport the Alpha’s requested.

Louis sips slowly, fatigued despite the fact that he’s slept most of the trip; and that’s when he allows himself to feel a modicum of excitement–because they’re going to be in Paris, and it’s going to be LouisandHarry. It’s almost surreal.

When the Alpha shifts him back into his seat, clasping the buckle again his nerves return with a vengeance. Mercifully it doesn’t last long, his tummy flutters and swooshes at their descent as Niall–wide-awake and excited as ever–rambles, “Look at all the lights! This is going to be so much fun…Remember last time–,” abruptly, the Irish Omega goes silent and Louis thinks Josh must be snogging him breathless–ugh.

Even so Louis is too tired to comment or really notice until he’s being shuffled into the real-world–then another vehicle). Harry’s in conversation with someone, voice deep and smooth and alluring–the Omega is extremely blissed-out.

“We’re here?” he mumbles blearily.

“We are,” the Alpha murmurs, stroking his sleep-mussed hair. “Sleepy?”

“Mhm.”

“We’re almost there–can you manage to stay awake until then?” Yes, I can be good.

“Mhm.” Then, its quiet–it feels like it lasts forever, until, at last, the car stops and they’re ushered inside what Louis assumes to be some sort of penthouse. And he’s so tired, it makes him clumsy as his feet catch and he stumbles. Someone curses, then the Alpha is there, arm circling his waist, husky voice at his ear, “Ah, ah. You promised.”

“I’m not sleepin’,” Louis protests, smiling dopily. “Besides, you said to stay awake until we got here. We’re here. So take me to bed, Styles.” And the Omega doesn’t realise quite how intimate it sounds until Harry inhales sharply, the hand at his hip tightens.  But the moment is ruined as the Alpha sighs, tells him to wait while he shows the others to their rooms–Josh and Niall’s together, Zayn and Liam apart–before returning shortly.

“And this…” Harry opens another door, tugging him inside, “is your room, kitten.”

Louis frowns. “My room? Aren’t…You’re not staying.” You really messed up last night, Lou, his Omega seethes.

“We’ll talk about this in the morning, okay? Now, sleep, you’re tired. My room’s close by, if you need anything I’m there, yeah?” You, Louis thinks, shutting his stinging eyes, and trying to banish reflex reaction that told him he’s unwanted and unwantable, I need you.

But…Louis isn’t inclined to seem clingy, and doesn’t trust his voice, so the Omega nods. In seconds the Alpha’s shown him his luggage, already opened, and…lingers.  “I’m going to change…” somehow his voice doesn’t break, rather it’s quiet and believable.

“Okay…” the other says, planting a kiss on his forehead–shivering the Omega realises the tired that he suddenly craves is gone…vanished, poof. And Louis shivers–scared, anxious, alone.

Once again Louis refuses to be so pathetic and clingy. Methodically, the boy shreds his clothes to shrug into fresh pants, joggers, and simple t-shirt. There, the Omega grabs his Wolfy and slips into the huge (really, why so much room?) bed, curling beneath the coverlet…And doesn’t sleep.

Doesn’t sleep, and doesn’t sleep some more until his head aches from exhaustion and he isn’t thinking, isn’t worried about seeming clingy, isn’t worried about anything but fitting himself  in his Alpha’s arms.  Yes, poor Wolfy can manage one night alone.

Even anxious and scared the Omega opens his door, and keeps his hand connected to the wall, searching aimlessly when he runs into something.

That something hisses, “Shit,” then, “Lou, is that you?”

Already flushed the Omega toys with the hem of his top, “S-Sorry…I…Can…Can you help me f-find Harry’s room? Sorry.”

“Um,” Zayn fumbles, “Yeah…Um, sure.”  Very awkward.

A short-distance and Zayn places his hand on the handle, muttering, “Um…So, uh…G’night, I guess?”

“Yeah, t-thanks…Err, g’night…” when the other Omega goes to walk away Louis feels guilty, wondering if Zayn couldn’t sleep…or wasn’t comfortable…or needed someone to turn too, “Wait…Um, why are you up? I-I mean I can…like…keep you com–,”

“Actually, I couldn’t sleep,” this time, the embarrassment rings in his tone, “And I was going to um…you know…maybe bunk with Li…or…Yeah, yeah I was going to do that.” Oh.

“Oh. Well, okay, um, thanks again…Goodnight,” smiling in the Omegas direction before entering Harry’s room–his scent smothers the space, lacing the oxygen, and his Omega purrs happily because this is his room.

Giving into his Omega, Louis locates the bed and crawls into it artfully, one hand roaming until it makes contact with the blazing, taunt skin of his Alpha’s shoulder.  Gasping, the Omega goes to snatch his hand back when one, much larger closes around his wrist, and the Alpha rumbles, “Lou. What are you doin’?” Louis’s heart begins to race.

“I-I couldn’t sleep without you,” he mumbles shyly when Harry hums, yanking him down and relaxing again. Compliantly, Louis snuggles beneath the heavenly scented throw, so close to the heat of Harry’s bare chest–his head swims.

But the proximity isn’t enough–he squirms until his fingers wisps experimentally over the Alpha’s chest. Tensing, Harry shakes his head, but doesn’t move, tightening his arms, “Missed you.”

“Goodnight, Haz,” Louis breathes, placing one feather-soft kiss over his bare pec before letting his eyes fall shut.

And the Omega comes to terms with reality–and reality is that it’s him who’s giving his heart away, falling hard and fast and unable to even catch a breath. But his Alpha is holding him, warding the panic, because even for a little while, or just tonight, Harry’s holding him.

 It’s there–this feverish feeling that Louis isn’t ever going to forget. Even with the impending heartache, knowing it won’t work because the two belong on whole different poles and continents and planets, even universes apart, Louis’s never experienced something so…euphoric, so aching lovely.

Like this, cuddled in Harry’s warm cascade, the Omega’s drifts into idyllic dreams.  

Chapter Text

When the Alpha wakes, it’s early, the fresh sunlight streams through the gap of his curtains. With an audible groan of protest, Harry shifts, then curses–realisation dawns, he’s not alone.  There, nestled inches from his body, his Omega mewls, and through heavy lids the Alpha watches Louis seal the insignificant space again–distantly, his ever-acting mind analyses the reaction, finding it’s one of the many indications a bonded-Omega displays. Inside, his Alpha claws at him, whirling intensely–desire, and need, and something more, something neither can identify nor understand.

So, the Alpha doesn’t even try to, gazing down at his Omega, whose eyes are draped by his feathery-chestnut fringe, lashes cashing shadows over his sharp cheeks. So delicate, and young and innocent–an innocence that seems to glow from within him; bright, pure innocence Harry wants to both taint and preserve.

Even so, this is wrong; this–them, so close, sharing the same intimate space should not have happened again–once Louis crawled into bed, the Alpha should have grabbed the young boy, carried him to his room, and returned here, alone. Except…Harry couldn’t–wasn’t physically, emotionally, or mentally capable. And so the Alpha didn’t; instead, he allowed the threads in his heart to come apart until the beating in his chest died down to be replaced with the Omega’s…and felt it down to his very soul.

The misplaced chips and fragmented pieces shift–only slightly, but enough that he notices. Harry notices too much in that short-lived moment before the bone-deep panic conquers his lungs. Because this isn’t right, isn’t supposed to happen…and Harry doesn’t need fixing, Hell, he isn’t even…

Hissing, the Alpha twists, this time plastering the boy to his frame, snaking his arm around Louis’s waist and nuzzling his throat, inhaling there, breathing in the clarity his scent provides. “Mine,” his voice cracks mercilessly.

Sighing, the boy smiles sleepily, murmuring, “Get off of me, you great ogre. I’m tryin’ to sleep.”

“No,” his response ends in a sigh, and with that last breath the Alpha rolls onto his back again, drawing the heel of his palm over his eyes, causing bursts of colours to materialize, “Wake up. We’re going on an adventure today.”

“We’ve not even gotten to the list yet,” Louis mumbles.

“I say fuck the list.”  

“And nobody asked you,” the Omega grumbles, before burrowing impossibly close, gentle breaths tress over Harry’s collarbone, and instantly his cock takes interest in the proximity, the sharp sensations, as it strains against the thin material of the…coverlet. Christ, he’s naked in bed with Louis, who’s utterly unaware and–the lack thereof clothing isn’t surprising as Harry could never stand to sleep with them on, but Jesus, he’s fucking naked with...

Considerably light-headed, working on perfunctory motions, the Alpha manages to grab one of the pillows and shield the evidence of his arousal (because there’s a chance one of those twats, ah Hell, Niall–honest, the Irish Omega is the only one brave enough–will barge in) though Louis’s high-pitched protest ruptures his thought-process. “Oi! That was mine, you thief!” And then the Omega has to–of bloody course–sit up and place those dainty hands on the pillow, tugging insistently.

Yes, the Alpha thinks, this is his life now–pent-up sexual frustration, perfectly (note the sarcasm) timed hard-on’s and innuendoes–fan-fucking-tastic.

“Stop it, Louis,” the husky command skids between his clenched-teeth. Still, the sleep-ridden boy is relentless in his endeavor to reclaim his pillow–even with several more piled beside him. With the inkling that Louis lives to set him on edge, to test his self-discipline, his jaw starts to tic in time with his rapid, provoked heartbeat.

“Fine,” Louis snivels, then rests his head on the feather-filled cushion…So damned close. And the Omega looks so provocative like this, oblivious to his aching cock–I am going insane, Harry decides, wondering whether anyone’s felt this way before–so wildly attracted, so absolutely bonded to someone that it drives them mad.

Because, before this very moment, Harry hasn’t, and now, he reckons it’s much like the buzz, nevermore. And despite this, his Alpha thrills, envisioning the moment Louis realises–flushed shock, wide-eyes, beyond stunning. Get it together, Styles.

Curling his hands into fists the Alpha tries, “Little one…” If you don’t leave this room in the next two minutes I might come apart–in so many ways, “I do believe there’s an adventure awaiting us.”

“Five more minutes,” the boy pleads, those cobalt irises don’t focus, but land on him nonetheless. Then, quietly, gently, “Please, Hazza.” Of course the initial thought of response is ‘anything you desire’. Except no, the Alpha is no one’s bitch–well, maybe Louis’s…Sort of.

“And what do I get out of this?” there’s much pride to be taken as Harry doesn’t miss a beat.

Surprised, even shocked, the beseeching look nearly falters, “Isn’t making me happy enough?”

In pretense, like he’s actually considering this, the Alpha strokes his bottom-lip, then moments later, murmurs decisively, “No. In this case, it isn’t.”

Just before Louis replies, his face scrunches adorably. “I’m offended.”

“You’re not allowed to be,” Harry declares. “Your happiness means very much to me, as you already know. Therefore, I refuse to cave–take it or leave it, kitten.” 

“Fine,” Louis says, pouting now. “What d’you want?” You–always you.

“I want…” the Alpha pauses to stare hungrily at the boy’s plush, jutting bottom-lip, “you to kiss me.”

Though it’s expected, even deserved, the instant shut-down stings, “Nevermind. I’ve changed my–,”

“You’ve already accepted.”

“I don’t care,” the Omega snaps defensively–welling up with too many emotions to even center on. “Last time I attempted that it turned into something else and then my constant incapability’s were laughed at. So pardon me for not wanting a repeat.” Ouch–the Alpha really regrets being unable to openly accept such emotions–his own shitty incapability.

“Try it again,” Harry urges quietly, brushing Louis’s cheekbone with his knuckles.

“No,” Louis breathes, shaking his head on the pillow–by now Harry’s throbbing cock is long forgotten, well…almost, “I…I can’t–not when…after…” 

 “I won’t apologise, Lou–not when you were so…determined to kiss me, like I’d ever deny you, had you indicated…or asked…But that’s beside the point, how about this? I promise never to pull that again. Now will you kiss me?”

“No.” And those emotions fluctuate with his thoughts as Louis smiles timidly, “You kiss me.”

“That’s not very reasonable,” Harry reminds. “Although very clever, I must say. Still, you’re not asking–and you won’t either, because you, my little kitten, are stubborn.”

“So,” Louis sighs, the tip of his pink little tongue darting out to moisturize his lips, anticipating Harry will cave, but not this time. “You won’t kiss me, then?”

“You won’t kiss me,” Harry corrects cheekily, smirking now. “Ah, well, always next time. I’m not going…any…where?” Abruptly, the Omega straddles him, resting above the Alpha on his knees–achingly closer now to his ever-growing erection. Swallowing, Harry shifts as to rearrange himself, but it’s pointless, there’s nowhere the bloody thing can go.

“Hold still, Alpha, I’m trying to kiss you.” At the title, Harry’s breath catches, and his thoughts, his need, spirals, vivid and alluring, and ‘use your imagination’ is the Alpha’s latest talent–as he imagines drawing the boy down on his cock, imagines how Louis’s perfect little hole would take his length, his knot, imagines bruising sun-kissed skin with his lips and rememorising his Omega’s sweet, saccharine taste both above and below and–somehow his hips manage to remain still.

Close…close…close still, the boy drags the wait out (through the fog, his intuition grasps that Louis isn’t teasing him, not this time, rather the Omega is afraid. Of what is the unknown), his irresistible perfume thick and persuasive around them as the Alpha–virtually spellbound–places his hands on the boy’s hips, tugging so that Louis’s mouth (fucking finally) makes contact with his.

Like any sane male would, as the Omega’s ridiculously innocent, the Alpha governs the kiss, light pressure, intermingled breaths. In efforts to quell Louis’s hesitance, he cups the boy’s face in one hand and pours every ounce of affection into the connection–silently apologising for his irrational behaviour three nights before. And when Louis sighs, melting against him, Harry–ever-the-masochist–entertains the thought that maybe, the boy’s finally realising this is where he belongs.

For me, only for me, his thoughts rage again with this knowledge, though before Harry ruins it (as he does mostly everything) the Alpha drags his mouth away, to the Omega’s temple, where he breathes in that heady scent. “I don’t want to miss anymore moments with you, Lou. So, I’m going to ask again–and again, and again until I won’t have to any longer. Won’t you accompany me on this adventure and every-single-one in the near future?”

Shivering, Louis nods, then–to Harry’s disappointment–stands, and wanders to the door, placing one hand on the handle before twisting a bit so those irises are on him again–the Alpha thinks even without vision the Omega sees right through him. “I’d be honored to, Styles. But, first I’m going to clean up, then when I come back I’m taking you up on those five minutes.”

Warm, male affection, the Alpha nods–the boy is pleased with him, not because the damned emotion-detector still blares, but because Louis’s mouth hints at one of those smiles, those eyes dancing with emotion.

And when Louis leaves–so does something else–and the Alpha realises that’s where his heart disappears to so often. Which is fine, Harry decides, even though it isn’t–it’s anything but because too many pieces of the ruddy thing have been shabbily stitched back together–some due to his parents cruel rips at the seams, and other’s just becausebut against his best-judgment the Alpha trusts Louis to mend the straining stitches and remove them once the wounds have (if possible) healed. At this point, that’s all Harry can do.

∞∞∞

            Turns out Louis does make good on those five minutes. Except it’s not exactly how the Omega intended–not at all. By the time Louis starts towards Harry’s room again the Alpha is clearly awake and padding about the kitchen, cooking (by the sounds of it) and chatting quietly with Liam. And really, Louis thinks, the traitor would do this.  Impulsively, the Omega whirls around, prepared to stomp into the kitchen and demand his Alpha’s undivided attention, to bait him into cuddling Louis through his five minute kip. Instead, curiosity seizes him, and he remains carefully out of sight. Honest, what could the two Alphas even have to talk about? Especially his Alpha and Liam–the males are practically polar-opposites, responsible and reckless, modest and arrogant…Yet, despite those qualities, the two just might balance each other–well, that depends on whether one of the two doesn’t end up garroting the other with their own viscera.

Now Louis creeps closer, and flattens against the wall, listening to his Alpha’s hushed cackles.

“Oh come on, Styles,” Liam voices lightly. “I know there’s something going on. I mean look at you and that shit-eating grin.”

“Take the piss, Li,” his Alpha murmurs, mild amusement colouring his tone. “Or it’s your dick for breakfast.” At this, Louis’s nose scrunches in disgust–Alphas; they’re all such bizarre creatures. 

Liam snorts–mirroring his aversion, and though it’s his pride on the line, his best mate doesn’t sound the least bit offended. “You’re still grinnin’ Styles. Really, I’m concerned, shall I call the shrink? Or perhaps Louis could–?”

“You know, Liam, perhaps I’m thinking dirty things…But since you insist I suppose I could describe some. But, be warned, once I’ve revealed all the naughty details you’ll not be able to look at my Omega again without cringing.” Naughty details...?  Louis gasps, colour flooding his cheeks as his thoughts begin to scramble, achingly clouded beneath the current thrilling through his bloodstream.

Somehow the exchange continues to eke past his static-ridden thoughts, “No, I don’t think so. This isn’t the ‘I’m –imagining-my-Omega-on-my-knot’ type grin. This is…different.” Squirming against the wall, the Omega’s muscles clench tightly, deliciously, deep inside him. And the static begins to fade, the word knot causes his Omega to purr, though Louis doesn’t understand why–from what he’s heard an Alpha’s knot isn’t at all pleasurable, simple-Alpha-anatomy to increase the chances of procreation (despite Niall insistently claiming otherwise–honestly, what does Niall know? Ireland finds pleasure in the foulest of foods).

“Fuckin’ Hell, fine, say I tell you, yeah, will you quit pestering me? Remembering, I’m the one cooking these pancakes–and whatever poison ends up in them will be your liability.” And the barter is so Harry–cool threats, apathetic tone.

“Good point, well made, Styles. Alright, I’m listening.”

“LouisandHarry,” the words are soft, and there’s something in his voice, something more, unfathomable even. Dazed, the Omega doesn’t realise what the Alpha’s said until, with a shock, Louis inhales sharply, thousands of butterflies stretch their wings and flutter erratically in his belly.

“I’m sorry what?” Seemingly perplexed, Liam’s inquiry rips the moment in two.

“It’s our…thing I guess. LouisandHarry–it’s us and…” And it’s ours.

“Jesus Christ,” there’s misplaced amusement in his best-mate’s voice. “You. Are. So. Whipped!” Whoa. Without warning something clatters (and breaks, by the crash that follows) and then Liam’s outright crowing, secondly wheezing, “Alright, okay! You…keep, uh, doing your Louis and Harry…thing.” Another winded cackle–why is this so freakin’ funny? “I…I’m going to wake up my Omega.”

“Well, I was prepared to hurt you, but on that note, I think Z’s wrath might outdo mine. Good fuckin’ luck, mate,” the arrogance there is palpable–obviously Harry knows something Liam doesn’t, which Louis supposes is only fair.

Grumbling, his best-mate’s footsteps approach, and Louis, working on instinct (no way those two are going to discover him eavesdropping) starts towards the kitchen; his knees shaky, tummy (still) packed with butterflies and his heart is in his mouth, thumping a dramatic uneven beat. 

At the entrance, the Omega lingers, not wanting to interrupt, though almost instantly Harry sights him–stopping whatever he was doing to plant a kiss on his forehead, one hand gripping his hip (unknowingly holding Louis upright). “Those five minutes worth it?”

“Yes,” his voice is breathy–but Louis is too delighted to care, “Dreamt–was a lovely dream, actually.”

“Hmm,” the Alpha squeezes his hip–the heat leaches through the thin material of Louis’s joggers.  “What about?”

Without permission, his hand lifts, and his fingers tremble as they glide over the Alpha’s cheek, “You…and me. HarryandLouis.” Or simply Harry. 

“Mm. On an adventure?”

Cheeks warm, Louis hedges, “Sort of.”

“Sort of? Now I’m curious–explain.”

Somehow the Omega’s face isn’t on fire–yet–but Louis doesn’t have the courage to ask him now. Maybe, his Omega hopes, when the Alpha is exhausted, and holding him, Louis can bring it up without feeling unbearably mortified. “Later–I’ll tell you later.”

“Okay,” the Alpha accepts this, releasing him abruptly, “I can handle that–suspense and all.”

“Wow,” Louis gasps, smiling sweetly in Harry’s direction. “Harry Styles, finally exercising patience.”  

And the Alpha doesn’t disappoint, growling–light and teasing, before coming at him.

Louis giggles, and scrambles backwards, stopping only when Harry’s stopped, shaking his head in mock displeasure. “See! I can move fast as you long-legged giants! Ta-Da!”

In response the Alpha applauds politely, and the Omega bows gracefully, grinning–unable to resist playful Harry.

When the Alpha takes another step forward, Louis takes one back. “And for your next trick?” Harry prompts, still teasing.

“I’m going to,” with a fresh burst of excitement, Louis twirls one finger, motioning for Harry to turn around–and when he’s sure the Alpha’s done so the Omega bounds forward, stretching on his tiptoes and clamping both hands over Harry’s eyes, “Disappear!” And with another peal of giggles, Louis darts for the exit–but of course Harry is quicker, and swiftly Louis’s swept up, and off his feet, squealing. Within seconds the Omega finds himself bridal-style in Harry’s arms. “Cooking time,” the Alpha declares triumphantly.

“Put me down! Or I’ll turn that pretty face into a hideous…frog face!”

“Pretty!” he laughs loudly, freely, and he sounds so young, so carefree, his laughter is infectious.

“Ugh–arrogant arse! Put me down!” Louis tries and fails to sound disapproving. His struggle is futile–Harry’s arms are firmly clamped beneath his thighs–and for some reason Louis cannot stop giggling.

“You fancy this arrogant arse,” the Alpha claims sardonically–beginning to walk away from the kitchen, through the lower-foyer and up the stairway. Of course I do, Louis thinks as his heart melts, his insides liquefying.

“I fancy my feet to be touching the ground,” the Omega attempts to snarl at him, but it’s not very effective as Louis can’t keep the mirth out of his voice. 

“But you fancy me more, yeah?” More than anything.

“Depends–say I agree, will I get cuddles tonight?”

“Cuddles!” the Alpha exclaims, and once again Louis swoops; this time, in efforts break free, the Omega goes to use his size to his advantage, except somehow his legs–traitors!–loop around the other’s waist. Now, it’s too late, his back is to the wall, and Harry Styles crowds him.  Even breathless and giddy, Louis is more than aware of those adept fingers clasped over his thighs, supporting his weight, so close to his bum now. “If I didn’t know better I’d think you were using me for my cuddles. But that’s not it, right, Lou?”

Louis struggles to breathe–no chance the Omega will be able to speak. Betraying him, his body unwinds, and experimentally, his hand tangles in the Alpha’s waves. And it’s soundless, feels like forever as Harry stares, the atmosphere between them slowly shifts, evolves, charges…Helpless, the Omega bites his lip as desire, for this gorgeous, arrogant Alpha seizes him with a vengeance, igniting his blood, shallowing his breath, aching below his waist. Distantly, the Omega’s aware his reactions are reflected in Harry’s stance, in his eyes even.

In seconds the Alpha responds to his body’s silent pleas, gripping Louis’s hip in one hand, bringing them incredibly closer. Involuntarily, the Omega’s hold tightens, but then Harry’s mouth claims his own. It’s not slow, or careful like this morning, this is desperate, blazing, and Louis gasps–craving the Alpha’s taste, his need. And when Harry’s tongue meets Louis’s, the Omega whines, responding fervently. One of the Alpha’s hands moves into his hair, tugging so Louis raises his face, and then Harry’s possessing his mouth again, so forceful, urgent, so– Without warning, too soon, the Alpha stops, resting his weight against the Omega as to hold him immobile, though that’s already accomplished since Louis is centered on dragging precious air into his lungs, clinging to Harry.

“Do you fancy me, kitten?” his voice is so deep, demanding Louis’s attention. 

“More than I should,” Louis manages, squeezing his eyes shut because right now that’s his only shield against Harry’s’ intense gaze.

“Thought so,” his voice becomes hushed with emotion, but before the Omega’s thoughts have the chance to reconstruct, Harry is kissing him again. Soft, persuasive kisses trailing from his temple to the corner of his mouth. “Please,” he doesn’t know what he’s begging for, but the scent of dark spices–the bonding scent–causes his head to swim. “Please, please, please…” 

Senses clouded and indistinct, the Omega doesn’t realise the nearest entrance swings open until someone barrels into the foyer. Around him, the Alpha tenses, and Louis, reacting to his Alpha’s displeasure, squirms. “Holy Christ!” its Liam’s thunderous voice.

Harry growls, the sound animates from his chest, and vulnerably, the Omega hides his face in the Alpha’s throat, whimpering as the scent intensifies. Distantly, another door opens.

“What’re you going on abo–? Oh. Oh, well, fuck…” now it’s Josh’s voice–one of the two hems uncomfortably. Why won’t they just leave? Louis wonders, frustrated and wavering and needy.

“Yeah,” strangely enough Liam takes on a placating tone, rooted in place. And the Omega wants to cry as his hips circle, desperate for something, something onlyHarry can give him. “Harry. Haz, you there, mate? We’re not going to…um, touch him. Swear it. We’ll…um…we’ll just go?”

Again, Harry growls, this time the sound is threatening and this forces Louis into reality–his heart leaps in alarm, but only for the others, the Alpha’s touch remains gentle on his thigh.

“Haz,” Louis breathes, tugging Harry’s curls to get his attention again. Without hesitance, to the Omega’s immense satisfaction, the Alpha instantly faces him–and then his mouth–possessively, hungrily–attaches to Louis’s. Once again, the sensation submerges his thoughts. Louis sighs, and without any resistance, his lips part, begging–wait, a little voice shouts, no.

 “No,” the Omega breathes, shaking his head to the best of his ability. “Harry…” halting his words the Alpha snarls, and inwardly his Omega whines. Unconsciously, his hips twitch, wanting, needing…

“Harry,” Louis gasps again, using the last of his willpower to extract his hands–which were clenching the Alpha’s curls, so fixed his fingers ache–and place them over his chest (willing himself not to wonder over the muscular planes, not to explore…) “I mean it–stop. You…” if you say this he’s never going to touch us again his Omega warns, but Louis has no choice. “You’re hurting me,” the words are shattered, because it’s the exact opposite, he doesn’t want to ever stop, he’s so close to…to that something his body craves, and…and…the magic words, they work.

With a hurt noise, Harry tears away, his head turns fractionally towards their audience, “Mine.”

Then, in seconds the support keeping him vertical disappears, and the Omega almost collapses, were it not for the hand that’s gripping his upper-arm. As soon as his balance is restored, the Alpha snatches his hand back, and storms away–another door slams shut.

“I…no,” Louis breathes, stunned and so upset. “Sorry…I–I should go. Let me, um, go check on–,”

“Er, actually, I wouldn’t–” Josh starts only to be interrupted by someone shoving into the foyer.

“Fuckin’ Alphas,” it’s that memorable Irish lilt. “Get away, the lot of you! Piss off! Nosy bastards! There’s nothing to see here. I am going to have a word with Louis,” his tone suggests there is no choice.

“But,” Josh tries to protest but something the Irish lad does shuts him up, because without much notice, the other Omega grabs his wrist and–as Louis is too stunned to do anything about it–drags him downstairs, through more doors.

Outside, on the terrace, the cool, clean air gradually causes the clouds to dissipate from his mind. Inside, his Omega is two-seconds from a breakdown, but Louis’s mind can’t seem to catch up.

“Louis,” the Irish Omega says, peculiarly stern. “Are you listening?”

“Um,” Louis tries. “I feel a bit faint.”

Sighing fondly, Niall urges him into some cushiony seat, before murmuring, “I don’t doubt it. It’s so strange…”

“What’s strange?” Louis asks, not really listening, though the Omega’s next words grasp his actual attention.

“Well, not strange, but…impressive. I’m impressed.” Like that’s so odd–his best-mate’s impressed with the ordinary. “I think…by the scent, Harry’s in for a rut. But it’s only all over you, I can’t smell it otherwise…which is weird and, if he’s suppressing it then very…impressive.”

A rut? the words shift and twist in his mind, then Louis pales.

“W-What’s impressive about that?” he asks seconds too late, even though it’s the last topic Louis wants to take on.

“Besides everything?” Ignorance must be bliss, the Omega thinks, as Niall sounds extremely pleased with this discussion. “Harry’s fighting it quite well. I mean, I knew the Alpha’s of Council…He’s around you and he’s not showing the signs–he’s his usual tosser-self.”

Without reason, Louis deflates–despite the fact that he’s extremely afraid of an Alpha’s rut, doesn’t want to remember that particular aggression. Because, Louis knows–knows their instincts overcome their will, their minds. Because he’s seen it–an Alpha in a rut is dangerous, an Alpha in a rut is ugly and volatile and…and… “Louis! Calm down! This isn’t like that! Jesus, you’re doing it again! Like you did with Liam! You’re placing all Alpha’s in the category of one.

“Shut up, just stop,” the Omega bites sharply, crossing his arms like he’s angry when really he’s holding the damaged pieces together; the terrorweighs down on him, threatening to send his sense crumbling once he let’s go. “Just…I…I’m just scared, Ni.” 

“You shouldn’t be,” the Irish Omega tells him, “Lou, Harry’s trained to control his body’s reactions–to force his Alpha to yield. He’s nothe knows what he’s doing, or he wouldn’t have taken you here. Tell me, do you trust your Alpha?”

“Yes,” Louis blurts, not having to think about it, because he does; only his body…doesn’t.

“Okay, then,” Niall says. “Now, repeat after me.  There’s no reason to worry.” Yeah, right.

“There’s…n-no reason to worry,” the Omega whispers, used to Niall’s techniques, they’ve always comforted him, or perhaps it’s simply Niall–most likely the latter. Mercifully, this time isn’t any different, as minutes later Louis is relaxed, grinning stupidly as Niall tells him, “I swear! Wouldn’t go out meself so I sent Josh! And then the idiot comes back with this fuckin’ grin, so I’m like, spill and he says…he says he caught Zayngoing into Liam’s room! Liam! Who once snubbed his nose at anyone who crossed the Council’s principles! Hypo-fucking-crite!

Unable to help it, Louis bursts into delighted laughter, stifling his giggles with the back of his hand so the others don’t come out to investigate, but honestly, of course that would happen. Poor, poor Zayn, Louis thinks, understanding the ‘unmated Omega point of view’, because not everyone has the privilege of sleeping with their Alpha’s shielding them–not everyone’s going to be mated in only months time, and, more times than not, many couples are denied the Councils blessings and forced to part ways because nobody dares to second-guess their Council’s unbreakable word, because surely it’s impossible to be meant, or in love, when the Council says otherwise.  

“Well?” Louis asks when Niall doesn’t continue. “Did you get your snack?” 

“Don’t be dense! Of course I did! And I got another treat afterwards.” There’s something extremely pleased in the Irish Omega’s voice, and…his own Omega takes interest, stirring as Louis’s heartbeat quickens. 

“Treat?” his voice is small, both because he’s confused, and this conversation needs to be kept from prying ears.

“Mhm,” Niall doesn’t need pressing. “He ate me out.”

At the words, Louis flushes to the tips of his ears, whispering (he’s never had this conversation before, okay? Niall’s tried, because he’s Niall, but Louis would always latch onto Liam, who would eventually quiet the Omega somehow), “A-Ate you out? Like…down there?”

“Mhm,” the Irish lad hums knowingly, and Louis squirms in his seat. “Its…its good. Better than that, mind-blowingly amazing,” his accent thickens, and the Omega figures he’s remembering that ‘mind-blowingly amazing’ sexual-act.

“Isn’t it…? Aren’t you like uncomfortable, being so exposed and like helpless?” Louis manages to ask without stuttering.

“Lou,” this time the Irish lad sighs in exasperation–he’s never been patient with Louis’s breakdowns or naiveté, which Louis doesn’t resent him for, because Niall doesn’t get on well with other people’s pain, and during the ‘coping’ stage of his adolescence the Irish Omega didn’t leave his side once in public, or high school, or ever…and it means everything to Louis considering Niall’s popularity. “I trust Josh to take care of me. He’s my Alpha–he wouldn’t hurt me, babe. And I’m not helpless, Lou, I have a voice. Were I to, by some off chance, tell Josh to stop, he would listen. Because a proper Alpha puts your needs and wants and feelings before his own.” But…Louis blinks rapidly, his eyelids matching his heart rate as his mind processes this, torn between wanting to believe those words and unable too because…how can this be true?

What’s been ingrained into him is shouting that Omega’s are inferior and their only purpose is breeding, because the Alpha is so undeniably superior, and the Omega’s must follow them (the Council even seconds this–only consisting of Alphas). Because it’s true–his Mum had too, and the only Alpha Louis’s seen with his eyes, the only Alpha he’d trusted…had eventually ruined him. Ruined him and ruined him and Louis could do nothing against it, couldn’t be what the Alpha expected him to be, Louis couldn’t get his sight back, couldn’t protect his girls, couldn’t stop being so useless.

“Louis,” his best-mate’s voice is soft–and Louis knows the Omega’s thoughts have returned to the times Louis’s tried endlessly to forget. “Lou, please, don’t cry! I-I won’t talk about it anymore! Promise!”

Breathing unsteady, the Omega lurches forward, and clings to his favourite Omega, sniveling into his throat pathetically. “I’m trying to believe it, Ni. I t-trust Harry, I swear I do, but I…I can’t…” let this happen to me again.

“No, Louis,” grip strong, Niall holds him, voice firm, “No. You are not being pressured into anything. Babe…I know it’s been so fuckin’ hard, but it’s going to take time–you’ve had time to heal, but you haven’t had time to learn to…to trust an Alpha again. And that’s okay, Harry will wait, because, even twatish he’s so bloody gone for you. You realise this, right?” the Omega pets him, touch gentle and soothing.

“No,” Louis cries, more unwelcome tears trickle down his cheeks. “Y-You said it yourself. I’m so…unappealing that he can’t even go into his rut!”

“Louis William Tomlinson, shut the fuck up! That is not what I said–I told you, the Council’s taught their Alpha’s to be stronger than basic-instinct! Weren’t you there only twenty minutes ago!? My God Louis that Alpha’s claimed you!”

“C-Claimed me?” the Omega whispers, his eyebrows crease.

“Yes, silly! That whole snog-your-wits-away, caveman ‘mine’ declaration of ownership…

“N-no, Niall, that’s Harry–he does that all the time,” Louis mumbles, frowning as the tears slow, distracted from the memories.

“Louis, you are so fuckin’ green! How can my best-mate be so fuckin’ green? That’s unacceptable!” At those words, the Omega’s frown deepens, he’s not understanding anything.

“Okay, Lou, listen–Liam and Josh? They’re Alpha’s, yeah, which, according to basic knowledge means they’re threats,” Louis opens his mouth to defend them, knowing they’d never intentionally hurt him, but Niall continues, “I know they wouldn’t hurt you! Lemme finish! As I was sayin’, they wouldn’t hurt you…but to an Alpha’s mindset, they could, not being bonded or mated through the Council, knot you. No, they wouldn’t, but in Harry’s mind, they could and that’s threat enough. So, when his mouth was all over you, had you begging and whining, it was his way of showing them that ‘hey-fuckers-this-boy-is-mine-and-wants-my-knot’. Therefore, he’s claimed you.”

Oh, the Omega thinks, mind overloaded with information, and his Omega prances about, all smug, claimed delight. “Understand now?”

“I-I think so,” his voice is cautious. “But it doesn’t make sense, this is the most he’s touched me…like ever. How do I make him want me, Niall?”

“Louis, he already does–,”

“N-No,” he protests weakly, his hands tangling between them. “I mean…want me want me.”

There’s a short beat of silence before–, “Oh! You mean want you arse! Love, I’m quite certain that’s already taken care of.”

“But Ni!” Louis groans miserably. “He doesn’t ever act on anything! I can’t even touch his shoulder without him tensing up! I-I want him to touch me…like…intimately. Only a little though!”

Within seconds the Irish Omega dissolves into giggles–now Louis is certain he’s burst into flames he’s so embarrassed.

“You poor, poor thing!” Niall wheezes. “You’re hormonal! Awe, baby Louis is finally ready to explore the land of pleasure! Oh my God, my babe is growing up!” Obnoxious as ever, the Omega begins to sob spectacularly.

This,” Louis mumbles, wilting in the seat again, “is why I don’t tell you anything.”

“Why I never!” Niall huffs, then, like it’s the most apparent thing in the world, “Really, Lou, it isn’t so very difficult! Just…be seductive!”

“Seductive?” the dirty word is only a breath leaving his mouth.

“Yep! Dress a bit scantily; touch ‘im more. Hell, I reckon he’d be raging if you…Well, fuck! Brilliant! I am so bloody brilliant!”

“So you keep reminding me,” Louis scoffs, warding his blush– it’s like some sort of defense mechanism…or something.

“Hmm, be honest, how far are you prepared to go?”

Confused, Louis responds slowly, “I-I dunno? Um, what…what’s there do even do? I-I mean I certainly don’t want to…to um…you know. But I want more kisses and cuddles and…er…?”

“Oh, Lou, what’re we gonna do with you?”

“Um,” the Omega flounders uselessly.

“There’s tons of foreplay, Louis! Tons. You could get his cock wet! Or he could get yours. And he could touch you some…your arse, your dick, your tummy. Or he could kiss you there too. And eat you out! Ohh, my personal favourite is being–,”

Overwhelmed, Louis interrupts, whispering, “Isn’t there anything less drastic? Something that won’t lead to sex or doesn’t like…expose me so much?”  

“Well…there’s dry-humping.”

What?” Louis chokes, because there’s so much to absorb and that sounds so…odd.               

“I am not going to explain this because there aren’t words really, or words that won’t make it sound…weird or unpleasant. But, we are going to make sure you get some–Operation Orgasm. Wicked! You are so going to thank me for this. Alright, here’s what you’re gonna have to do…” and Niall proceeds to conduct (perhaps the Omega should be titled Mastermind–sneaky little fiend) thorough preparations; all the while, Louis listens attentively.

And once the Irish lad is finished (having forced him to reiterate the plan more than five times) the Omega is flushed fire-hot red, nervous and flighty. But, he’s going to follow through with this–he’s going to make Harry want him. And that’s that.

Soon, giggling foolishly, like two little school-lads, both stumble inside again–it’s eerily calm, the television sounds in the background–playing the weather forecast–and someone (probably Liam) is seated on the sofa, scuffling about. Idly, the Omega wonders whether Zayn’s beside him, but it’s so quiet, impossible to determine.

“Jesus, don’t make it awkward, idiots!” his personal Irish guard scolds, then, “Where’s Harry?”

“Not here, obviously,” its Zayn’s expressionless voice–aha, so he is here; knowing this reassures Louis, but it’s fleeting, because while Louis does not want another Omega comforting his Alpha, the Omega knows the Alpha shouldn’t be alone with his thoughts (through the months spent together Louis’s realised those thoughts, with the right words, or actions, oreven look, are easily led astray, and find those dark places that the Alpha veils so well beneath his charm, his ability to suppress his emotions, his arrogance).  

“He’s upstairs, in his room,” Josh supplies from somewhere further away–the dining area? “Come ‘ere, Ni, there’s breakfast and you need to eat.” So all Alpha’s are obsessed with eating habits then–figures. “You too, Louis–as Harry’s not here to say it ‘imself.”

No way–not when Harry’s upstairs, most likely festering in guilt or something equally as unnecessary. Prepared to argue, Louis opens his mouth, but Liam cuts him short, “Lou, go eat. Give him some time.”

Grudgingly the Omega storms over to the table, plops down and picks at the dish before him–an omelet of some sort–until it’s partly finished.  Then, with one last sip of orange-juice, Louis rises and declares himself finished.  When Niall stands–probably to help him to Harry’s door–the Omega shakes his head, smiling appreciatively.

“Its okay, Ni, I’ll go,” when the Irish lad doesn’t instantly agree, Louis adds, “I know the way now.” Impatient, and unable to wait on an answer, the Omega starts towards the room, only pausing at the foot of the steps to call to the others, “We’ll be down soon!”

“Sure,” Zayn calls back in response, amused. Choosing to ignore him, Louis returns upstairs briskly, rapping twice on the correct door before sliding wordlessly inside. Silence–it’s so jarringly silent that Louis almost thinks the Alpha’s actually left. “Hazza,” Louis breathes in question.

“’ave you been crying?” the Alpha’s astonished voice carries from across the room. “Christ, Lou, I’m–,”

Interrupting him, the Omega closes the doors and approaches–somehow their fingers become tangled and then their breathing the same tense, yet gentle air. “Cuddle me,” Louis mumbles, smiling softly before tugging his Alpha towards the bed (which, according to his measurements, is only feet away–he’s correct) Carefully, Louis crawls onto the plush mattress, and with a defeated sigh, Harry follows, wrapping his arms protectively around the Omega’s waist so Louis’s plastered against his chest, his head resting on the downy pillows.

“Don’t apologise, Harry,” he says. “I’m okay. We’re okay. And…once you’ve cuddled me proper we’re going on an adventure, ‘member?”

“Yeah,” is the Alpha’s only hushed response. “Yeah.” And to Louis it’s the end of the conversation–but the beginning of what’s to come.

∞∞∞

                Once those words leave his mouth, it’s silent again as Harry stares at Louis–it’s the first time the Omega’s doesn’t object to his gaze–whose gorgeous cerulean irises gaze blankly. And this isn’t how it’s supposed to happen–it’s supposed to be slow, and gradual, or at least that’s what the Alpha assumed. Except it’s not–it’s abrupt, without warning–and then he’s staring at this incredible boy, who’s, one way or another, become his entire world…And it’s catastrophic–impossible to ignore, impossible to even fathom the thought of doing such.

And the Alpha doesn’t know what to do–he’s so fucking…lost in a sea of disgust and resentment–the previous episode–the notion that he’s hurt his lovely Omega–pains him beyond all endurance. Because it’s that simple to fuck-up, that simple for himto ruin everything and Harry can’t recall there every being a time he’s been this frightened of disappointing someone.

And then it’s like, it’s just. “Lou…I didn’t mean to…” enough fucking excuses. “Fucked up, didn’t I?” Between them, the silence becomes oppressive, but the Alpha doesn’t know what else there is to say–so instead, his arms tighten around the boy, latching onto the salvation his scent provides, quieting the thoughts that cause his temples to throb vengefully.

A while more passes before Louis sighs, squirms until the Alpha has no choice but to slacken his grip, expecting the Omega to rise, and then leave (because that’s what people do when Harry fucks up–it’s only the sad truth–it was true with his Mother, it was true with Gemma, it was true with his Father, it was true with those ‘mates’ who claimed to have wanted more than his money or to-be title, and  it still must be true) Except…the Omega turns onto his side, and in a soft voice, he asks, “Would I still be here if you had?”

Though the Alpha doesn’t understand, though, even now, it doesn’t make one bit of sense, the breath he’d been holding too-long shudders down his spine, his muscles relax, and his lungs don’t collapse. Without making the conscious decision, his hand rises to stroke light strands of hair from Louis’s eyes. “I’m selfish enough to hope so…”despite his best efforts Harry’s voice is still raw.

And this time, its Louis comforting him, littering small, kitten-kisses over his working jaw, the bridge of his nose, his chin, the corner of his mouth, “No more–don’t ruin this, us, today. Let me have this–take me to the beach, and let’s smile a lot, and tan, and show those idiots that we’re the cutest couple here. And then, when we’re worn out, let’s come back, so you can cuddle me some more.” 

“Always with the cuddles,” the Alpha grumbles lightly, salvaging his confidence, “One of these days I’m going to cuddle you till I can’t anymore.” Which, according to his Alpha, is never–long as Louis desire’s cuddles, he will happily give them.

“Ew, Styles!” Louis exclaims, fidgeting in attempts to flee–not going to happen. “That. Is. So. Unhygienic!”

“Could always cuddle you in the bath,” it’s said with ease that Harry doesn’t feel–not when his skin blazes (his body’s forewarning him of his imminent rut) and his canines threaten to sharpen, and his Alpha prowls underneath his skin–this, being so close to his sweet-scented Omega, is going to affect his rut, that much is apparent, but it’s nothing Harry can’t control. “Or in the shower…Just say the word, kitten.”

In response–much to his satisfaction–the boy’s cheeks heat and that delicious rose colours them, but it’s his words–his smart-mouth–that riles his Alpha–the challenge is fucking sexy, “Wouldn’t be cuddling then, now would it.”

“No,” the Alpha breathes, gazing down, into depthless pools of blue, “No, not at all, but it was worth a shot.”

“Wishful thinkin’, Styles, really. I’m much too classy to bathe with the likes of you.Oh baby, I could teach you things–things that will have you screaming my name until your voice gives out. And the heat spikes–quite literally as Harry’s positive his temperatures too many degrees above standard. That’s why, when Louis clambers out of the bed, Harry lets him, watching as the boy leaves the room. Only there isn’t time to miss him, because Louis marches back inside, this time his luggage and that damned Wolf follow.

Raising an eyebrow, Harry smirks, but remains quiet until– “I’m moving in,” the boy declares, his hands tangled at his belly–his anxiety exudes.

“You’re makin’ a liar outta me, little one,” the Alpha tells him, watching as Louis’s canine’s inevitably find his bottom lip. But, he’s not lost his wit, “Nobody’s perfect–especially not you Mr. I-Think-I’m-The-Prophet-Styles.” And, okay, that’s a bit farfetched, but… he’s still staring at the boy like he’s everything–because in Harry’s world, he is.  

“Going to have to disagree,” the Alpha argues, rising to stretch, “It’s my sole purpose to steal innocent Omega’s souls with just one smile.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” says Niall, who–point made–barges through the previously shut door, skipping over to Louis’s side and hanging on his Omega’s arm. “I’ve heard that one before, Styles.  And I strongly advise you to reevaluate ‘cause you rather resemblance a frog.” There’s a fleeting moment of silence–through which Niall has the grace to look worried that he’s overstepped, when Louis pulls the other Omega into an embrace, shaking with laughter. “I knew it! I knew my magic worked!” the boy thrills, and the Irish lad gives him the ‘what’re-you-on?’ look.

Attempting to seem offended, Harry runs his index finger over his lip, warding the grin threatening to curve them.  “Whatever happened to those soft-spoken, kind Omegas?”

“You’re about two centuries to late, Styles,” it’s Josh, (does nobody knock?) who assesses the scene with cool eyes before leaning against the opposite wall, watching thoughtfully as Louis high-fives Niall, praising the artificially blonde boy, who’s flushed with pride. “They’re quite adorable, those two.”

Nodding, the Alpha hums in agreement, before joining Josh and asking (as far as Josh knows, Harry’s clueless to his imminent mating-ceremony), “When’s the ceremony?”

Smug, the blonde Omega’s to-be-mate crosses his arms, “December–I gatta say, you Council pricks are very annoying. In-law’s or not, I would’ve mated my boy ages ago. But with the Suitable-Age crap, too keep the Council’s ‘lawful reputation’,” Josh quotes, curling his fingers derisively, “We had to wait.”

“Sorry ‘bout that,” the Alpha murmurs politely–really not sorry at all, he’s quite the advocate of ‘progressive love’. Still, it doesn’t mean that applies to everyone. “If it makes you feel better I voted sixteen to be of lawful age. Alas, as I’m not essentially Council constituent my vote hardly counts.”

“Nah, its cool,” the other Alpha says, still gazing at Niall–who’s (naturally) engaged in conversation with Louis, who listens attentively, nodding here and there whilst adding little comments. “I would wait forever, you know. And, despite the unreasonableflaws, I respect the Council enough to accept the terms. Of course it fucking sucks, and honest to God, December cannot come fast enough; I’m so…Christ, I want to prove myself to him. And…well, it’d be wicked if you wanted to be one of the holders.”

Mate, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt,” the Alpha murmurs quietly, “it’s if you treat ‘im proper, if you love him till death, if this is who you’re prepared to haveforthe rest of your life, then the mating ceremony is nothing but validation. And, for what it’s worth, I’d be honored to make you bleed a bit.”

Before the other Alpha schools his features, he looks quite startled, and when he speaks, his voice is kinder than Harry’s heard before, “Thank you.”

“Wouldn’t thank me just yet,” Harry mutters, recalling the looks of pure hatred on those Alpha’s faces whenever his place rose, when he took that fuckin’ dagger and–

“Come on, Louis!” an Irish whine pierces the track of his thoughts. “We haven’t got all day!” Just as Niall drags Louis out, Harry catches the foretelling click–another exit shut. Mystified, the Alpha pins Josh with a questioning look, to which the other Alpha mutters, “They’re up to something.”

“My thoughts exactly,” he agrees, then, “But what?”

“Something mischievous, I reckon. And I would investigate but I do believe that door is shut for a reason.”

“How do you stand it?” Harry blurts, shoving one hand through his unruly mane. “How? I don’t understand how you manage to balance the feelings? The cravings?”

“I don’t,” Josh replies easily, heading toward the exit, “If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, Styles, it’s to follow my instincts. First thing I said to Niall was “mine,” and the little shit laughed, “you keep wishin’.” But I didn’t let it go, my Alpha was so…centered on this one–so, on the creeper status, I watched him the entire night until my Omega storms up to me, shouting, “get off my fuckin’ back, you fuckin’…” And continued to talk and talk until I had such a headache and I’ve not been entirely sane since.” That makes two.

“Well, he does talk some shit,” Harry murmurs dubiously. “I dunno how you can keep up.”

“Another thing I learnt,” the Alpha grins toothily. “There are ways to shut him up.”

“Okay,” the Alpha groans, shaking his head. “I don’t need to hear anymore. I get it. You’re a fuckin’ creep, Niall won’t shut the fuck up, and I’m an idiot for even asking.

“Damn right,” the other’s voice is vaguely impressed before leaving the room.

Joining him, both groan in disgust, spotting the two ‘love-birds’ making their nest on his bloody sofa.  And they’re smiling at each other, without a care in the world, it’s like they’ve found the world there, in that comfortable silence–the Alpha knows this because it happens to him so fucking often lately, because he’s found his own world in hazy, blue eyes.

So, with one last glance, he lets them have their moment–even though neither would let him have his. Well, it’s simple to conclude he’s the best fucking mate in the world, of course.

∞∞∞

                “I don’t see why we’re doing this,” Louis complains, resting his forehead against the nearest wall, helplessly trapped by Niall’s corrupt actions.

“You don’t see at all,” the Irish lad jokes flippantly and the Omega can’t help but smile because he’s so very grateful to Niall–who doesn’t treat him like he’s fragile and bound to break once his eyesight is mentioned.

“Ha. Ha,” Louis chides, “Very funny.”

“I know, I know,” Niall concurs–modesty is quite foreign to this Omega. “Really, I deserve a medal or summat. Like, honestly, why hasn’t anyone awarded me?” then, “Here, put these on!” With that, swimming shorts are tossed at him–critically, Louis inspects the material with his hands. Finding nothing particularly worrisome, Louis undresses, and wiggles into them–the material clings to him bum and front uncomfortably, a second-skin almost. “Niiiialll,” the Omega whines, fidgeting in attempts to loosen the fabric, “They’re too small!”

“No, they’re perfect, babe,” it’s an awed sigh. “You were blessed with this arse, Lou–embrace it, Lord knows Harry will.” 

Louis flushes, then whispers, “Honest?”

“No, I’m lying,” Niall snaps. “Of course, you dolt! You’re going to have ‘em all salivating.” Immediately, Louis perks up, walking around to practise the sway his hips like Niall’s told him to, “Okay, okay, I can do this. Pep-talk, Ni!”

Without hesitance the Irish Omega grasps his shoulders in a firm grip, then murmurs, even, serious, willfully like always, “You can do this.”

“I can do this.”

“You are sexy.”

“Okay–that’s–,” Louis starts to protest, because he’s most certainly not sexy, not with his stupid curves or his soft tummy–that is not anyone’s idea of sexy–perhaps cute.

“No,” it’s a warning. “You are sexy. Say it.”

“I…I am…sexy?” the Omega whispers to appease his best-mate.

“Again. And this time believe it.”

Swallowing, chanting the words in his head, Louis croaks, “I’m…I am sexy.” There, much more believable.

“Good. Last thing. You’re going to have that Alpha graveling at your feet.”

“I….I’m going to,” the Omega starts, mustering the courage to raise his voice to a reedy assertion. “I’m going to have my Alpha graveling for my arse on his knees.” The ‘I hope’ remains unsaid. Inside, his Omega nods in approval, glowing with expectancy.

“’Atta boy! Here, put this on too,” and this time Louis doesn’t waver, pulling the tight, sleeveless shirt over his head and batting at his fringe–deep calming breaths follow. Once Niall’s changed, he asks, “Ready?” Not at all.

“Sure,” Louis mumbles, and trails Niall downstairs. “We’re ready!” his best mate sing-songs sweetly–Niall’s voice has always been lovely and it’s very fitting that the Omega enters the music-industry.

“About bloody time, you two are–,” his best-mates Alpha coughs, then growls, “Go change. Now.” Louis reckons Josh is speaking to Niall–it’d be quite weird otherwise–who has absolutely no shame in flaunting his looks.

“No,” Ireland doesn’t even miss a beat. “I’m happy with my outfit. And don’t you dare use that voice with me again; otherwise that dick is going to be missing.” Times like these, Louis wishes his confidence was so high, though he takes much pride in being louder than the Irish lad–which says a lot. 

“Lou,” his Alpha speaks, voice hoarse and strangled–the Omega wonders whether that’s a good sign or not, and ridiculously his face flushes, realising he must be a damned sight. Curling his shoulders inward, Louis bites his lip, and peers in the direction of Harry’s voice, hoping it’s a pretty sight–he’s really trying to make it so. “Louis…what…Lou,” now his voice is pained–now the Omega is tempted to dart upstairs and rip the bloody clothes away.

“Don’t back down, Lou,” the other Omega whispers conspiratorially. “He’s loving it. Go, walk over to the sofa. Trust me.”

Purposefully, Louis obeys, one hand wisping over the walls until it reaches the smooth leather of the sofa. There the Omega joins Liam and Zayn–who’ve remained silent throughout the entire ordeal.

“Wow, Lou,” Zayn voices ever-so-quietly. “Didn’t think you had it in you.”

“I…Shut up,” Louis hisses, voice too shrilly again.

“No, really,” the other Omega says anyway, placing one kind hand over his bare knee, “Looks good.” And…it’s so sweet coming from Zayn that Louis whispers, “Thanks, Z.”

“Well then,” Liam–so he speaks!–interrupts, “Shall we?” And so the show goes on.

Again, Louis ends up in the passenger side…but this time it’s different as his Alpha says absolutely nothing to him, doesn’t even touch him, or hold his hand like always, and his stupid Omega body is tense, needs the contact, needs to know he’s pleasing him. And yet the Alpha seems to be more interested in discussing cars with Josh, telling the other Alpha about his collection–yes, there’s a collection!

About an hour passes until, at last, they’ve parked. Louis releases a relieved breath, unable to stand being in the vehicle to any further extent–he really, really hates cars, he decides before challenging the Alpha by opening his door and stepping outside without his assistance.

Outside the waves, not so far off, crash onto shore and the sun beams on his skin while Louis inhales the beautiful, salty beach smell that surrounds him. Being here feels serene, and Louis latches onto the distraction from his failure.

Humming, the Omega tilts his face in direction of the sunlight whilst Liam and Josh busy themselves with grabbing the bags and whatever else they’d brought. And that’s when Louis’s tugged from behind, his frame meets hard-broad lines, and instantly his Omega recognises this lanky frame, but Louis mostly recognises that scent, which overcomes the beaches. This, the touch, the sensation’s of being touched by his Alpha, relaxes his body like nothing else as Harry nuzzles his throat, muffling a groan into his skin, “You. Are. So. Bloody. Maddening.”

“Not…” the Omega takes a deep, shaky breath in recovery, “Not as maddening as you.

“No,” his Alpha opposes–oh God, his voice is sticky again, achingly Alpha. “No, you are worse. Because ‘m not flaunting my cock, kitten. ‘M not showing every Omega what they could have.” This is for you, his Omega cries.

“So. What’s your point?” Louis retorts, breathless, completely shaken by the vulgar words, they’re filthy coming from Harry’s mouth; and he wills his body to stop squirming, though Harry does it for him, placing one possessive hand over the span of his belly, with a short, sharp, “Stay still.

On command, Louis stills, because it’s Harry–the only Alpha his Omega wants to obey.

“The point is,” the Alpha shifts, and his entire body jerks when…when Louis realises the Alpha’s hard, so massively hard against the small of Louis’s back. Gasping, the Omega can do nothing but feel it as heat coils, and sends molten desire through his veins. “You’re flaunting that beautiful, beautiful arse. Giving every Alpha an eyeful of what belongs to me, and you know what I think, kitten?”

“I-I do-oh-n’t read minds,” his voice is so feeble, so Omega as Louis’s pulse begins to accelerate. He’s so lightheaded–probably from the lack of oxygen; it’s involuntary the Omega just can’t seem to breathe consistently whenever the Alpha does these things to his body.

“I didn’t say you did,” his mouth ghosts over Louis’s throat, traveling, “But, I think–,”

“Alrighty, lads,” Liam’s voice sounds, footsteps approach and without finishing the Alpha releases him, retreating. Louis can’t seem to remember how to move. “Let’s go.”

Breathing again, the Omega manages to nod, and when the Alpha’s fingers brush his hand, Louis laces their fingers, and smiles shyly up at his Harry. Well, even when the Alpha irritates him, and confuses him, there isn’t a time Louis doesn’t want to hold his hand or touch him. Stumbling through the sand, the Omega is relieved when Liam chooses a spot, not too far from the ocean-line. Gently taking his hand back, Louis timidly sheds his top, tossing the article onto the coverlet before lying on his belly, smiling up, where Harry should be as he’s not moved. “Sunscreen?”

Only mere seconds passes before the Alpha’s in action, fumbling with the zipper of one of their bags, then kneeling as Louis’s side. With his face in the coverlet, the Omega listens as the cap pops open, and then hands are massaging the cool cream into the nape of his neck, traveling over his shoulders, and his back before stopping at the waistline of Louis’s swimwear. Reacting to the divine sensation, the Omega’s skin begins to tingle, and he almost wiggles, because he’s achy down there, his thingy trapped in the material of his shorts–it’s an uncomfortable sensation.

Instead the Omega hums, “Feels nice.”

“Turn ‘round,” his Alpha murmurs in that voice of his. Already flushed, Louis does so, tossing an arm over his eyes, preparing for Harry’s touch. “You ‘ave such soft skin, Lou…So soft,” it’s spoken in that same, husky tenor. And the Omega bites his lip against the whimper on his tongue as cool, adroit fingers trail over his collarbone, his torso, his belly–his heart once again is frantic.

As those hands rub the substance into his skin, Louis remains quiet, but his Omega is purring. “All done,” Harry states, but his palm still rests over the span of Louis’s belly.

“Thanks,” Louis sighs, then, “My turn.” 

Willingly, the Alpha places the bottle in his shaky hands, and Louis swallows, fumbling with the cap. Once it’s open the Omega (accidently) applies more than the necessary dollop but Harry doesn’t comment, or many he doesn’t realise–either way Louis doesn’t say anything, placing once palm over the Alpha’s shoulder. At the contact, Harry hisses, but doesn’t move.

Careful, the Omega’s hands roam over the solid muscles of his torso, the heat of his skin, following Harry’s previous trail down to the Alpha stomach, marveling at the definite indentations of abs, spending more time than needed until Harry grunts, “That’s enough,” then shifts whilst Louis slowly retracts his hand and squeezes more sunscreen onto his palm to get at the Alpha’s back.  As his palms even out, the Omega mesmorises this body, broad-shoulders, slim waist, tall, tall, and tall.

When it’s impossible to prolong the touch (it’s been five minutes or so already) Louis drops his hands, bowing his head and whispering, “Finished.”  

“Thank you, love,” the Alpha murmurs, placing one kiss to his nose before standing and stretching.

Soon, the Omega is lying on his belly again, with his face in his hands, in direction of the shore. There, the cool breeze ruffles his hair, and the sunlight seeps into his pores as Louis listens to Harry, Liam, and Zayn argue (typical) over the ‘correct’ way to insert the umbrella (of all the things) into the sand. Wisely, both Louis and Josh remain quiet, but not Niall–apparently put out with their behaviour, his Irish best-mate storms over to them and shoves the umbrella into the sand; his hands clap together as he rids them of sand. “Christ. There! Problem solved. Now can we please get into the water?!” Leave it up to Niall, is Louis’s latest motto.

Mouth curved into a fond smile, the Omega wiggles his toes into the sand beneath the coverlet–he’s so, so content and the sun’s making him sleepy–he could very well cat-nap here.

“Oh, we can,” Josh snarls mischievously, then Niall screeches, and footsteps (Josh’s, he thinks) start towards the shoreline. “Lou! Lou! Help!”

With a wicked grin, Louis waves farewell in the Irish boy’s direction.

“YOU ARE SUCH A TRAI–!” the two must meet the waves because Niall yelps midsentence, and Josh cackles. Sometimes, Louis thinks, they really are that cute.

Sighing, the Omega goes to rest when Harry rolls beside him on the coverlet, there’s that award-worthy-grin in his voice, “Ready, Lou?”

“Nope,” Louis says, wistful. “I don’t do the water. I’m quite happy right where I am, thanks. Now, shoo!”

“Loooouuuuiiisss,” it’s a whine that Louis chooses to ignore. But the Alpha doesn’t give up. “Louis! Lou. Loooouuuissss. Kitten! Little one? Lou!” And he wishes Harry would stop using his name because it’s bad as the ocean’s current–every time it leaves the Alpha’s mouth Louis feels like he’s reeling him in, dragging him through waters the Omega doesn’t understand and into a net he can only thrash about in until he hurts himself.

“Harry, nobody’s stopping you! Go. I’m trying to enjoy this.”

“No. I don’t wanna go without you,” and, yes, Harry Styles is pouting.

“You’re such a child.”

Instinctively the Omega knows when the Alpha starts to reach for him and, in his panic, acts quickly. Bounding upright, Louis backs up some feet, extending his hands. “No,” Louis murmurs evenly.

“Louis–,”

“No,” the Omega takes another unsteady step away. “No, Harry! Don’t you dare.”

“But–,”

“I can’t–! I can’t swim, okay!” Louis cries, afraid the Alpha might actually toss him into the current. “Please, Harry. Just, please, don’t.”

There’s one, brief instant of silence before, “I won’t let go, Lou.”

“I–,” now he’s being interrupted.

“No, no, Lou, listen. I. Won’t. Ever. Let. Go–not in public, not in private, not in the water, not even when I’m breathing my last bloody breath.”

Irrational, unwelcome tears gather in his eyes–he’s still scared, but now emotion floods him. “Haz…”

“D’you trust me, Lou?” And it’s over.

“Of course I do,” Louis mumbles in defeat, because it was over before it even started–he can’t ever seem to deny Harry. And it arrives at an inhuman velocity, and then Louis is being carried towards the sea, his legs circling around Harry’s waist, arms thrown around his throat, clinging to his Alpha for dear-life–resembling a baby monkey, he’s sure. But the Alpha’s skin blazes, and it’s such an amazing sensation against his own skin, causing the Omega to forget what’s happening, basking in the heat, and the feeling and–

Abruptly, it’s freezing, and Louis whimpers; they go under, only to arise seconds later. Now the Omega thinks he must resemble a drowned cat, because his hair’s everywhere, sopping…but Louis grins, because everyone is hooting and being ridiculous, and it’s nice. As long as Harry’s his life-boat it’s nice.

On this day the waves are particularly harsh, but whenever the current pulls the Alpha remains rooted in place, supporting both their weight. Slowly, the water warms, or perhaps his temperature drops, who knows. “Not so bad, yeah?” Harry asks, lifting one hand to brush Louis’s hair back, spiking it upwards.

Teasing, Louis shakes his head, “Bad! More like horrible! Salty! Dread–,”

Another wave crashes over them, and his words get lost in the sea as Louis makes a face, mouth considerably salty now. At his expression, the Alpha chuckles, then shakes his drenched curls.  Without thinking Louis retracts his hands to shield his face, giggling stupidly and shrieking, “Harry! Stooop! I hate you!”

“You love me,” the Alpha growls lightly, and Louis’s breath catches in his throat. “Maybe a bit,” the Omega admits before he can stop the words from escaping his mouth because whenever Harry’s around it’s like his filter dissipates. “But, only for the cuddles,” Louis tries–it might work, then again, the Alpha might be taking pity on him. He can’t possibly tell.

“Knew it!” he murmurs, “You’re such a cuddle–,” but Louis doesn’t catch the rest because another vicious wave hurtles over, and the Omega tries to cling again, but under the force, he’s torn from Harry’s grasp. Underneath, his heart pounds, but it’s fleeting because hands are yanking him to the surface again, and Louis gasps, coughing and sputtering. And even though his Omega isn’t frightened, Louis’s body is, and in panic-mode his fingers fist Harry’s curls, in need of the support–once that’s accomplished it takes only seconds for his body to catch up and relax.

Except the Alpha doesn’t catch up, and certainly doesn’t relax.

“Fuck,” his voice is rough with panic, and he rests his forehead on Louis’s shoulder. “Fuck, don’t do that. Jesus, don’t ever fucking do that again, Louis.”

Louis coughs again, realising exactly how tense Harry is, breathing ragged, panicked. And his Omega controls his actions, because Louis doesn’t know how to react, and well…his Omega does.

Working on instinct, his free hand brushes the curls from Harry’s face, petting him soothingly. “Haz. Hazza, I’m fine…See,” he places one, small kiss to the Alpha’s shoulder. “Look at me, Harry.  I’m really okay. Please, please look at me.” One tense beat past before the Alpha nods, but doesn’t move to look at him, voice still uneven as he speaks, “Yeah…Yeah, you’re okay. I’m…fuck, I’ve not been so bloody afraid in my life.”

“I wasn’t scared,” Louis breathes, almost cooing, because that’s what his Omega urges, “I wasn’t scared. You wouldn’t let me drown, baby.”

“No,” there’s not even a shard of silence. “No. No, Louis, I would never…”

“Shh,” he’s untangling his fingers, and curling them in the damp curls once more. “I know.”

“Lou!” Liam calls, to his right, but some feet or so away still, “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Li,” the Omega snaps, not even turning to acknowledge his best-mate, focused on his Alpha, who exhales. “Harry’s got me. Right, baby?”

“Yes,” he nods–to say Louis is shocked at this, vulnerable Harry is an understatement. “We…We’re going back to the beach. Okay?” And before the Omega even agrees, the Alpha’s returned to his commanding self, carrying him onto the beach again so Louis settles on the coverlet, cross-legged.

Humming low in this throat, Louis rolls onto his side, about to speak, but Harry’s next words astonish him into silence. “I’m sorry, Lou.”

“Why?” he’s nettled.

“Because, I…I should’ve…I should never have let that happen. And–,”

“Stop,” Louis snaps, frustrated with how Harry always seems to find the means to let the blame fall over his shoulders; Hell, the Omega would go so far as to claim the Alpha’s found some ridiculous way to blame himself for Louis’s lack thereof vision, and that is not okay. “I’m fine. It wasn’t your fault. Stop doing that. Not everything is your fault, Harry.”

“No, Lou, I should’ve–,”

“No! No,” Louis starts, sitting up abruptly. “You listen to me, Styles. Not everything is your fault. Did you make that wave so harsh? Do you control the current? Do you?” he demands, and when Harry remains quiet, Louis sighs, crawling over to the corner the Alpha’s secluded to. “Haz,” he says, softly now, “Please, let it go.

With a harsh breath, Harry nods, and his arms come around Louis, tracing over his spine. “I meant it, Lou, I was fucking scared. And…and I lost it there for a second before I got you. Jesus, what if I hadn’t–?”

“Harry,” Louis refuses to tolerate anymore of this–it’s done, there is no such what-if or could’ve happened. “I am going to leave right this second if you start in…” and to make it clear that he’s serious the Omega begins to struggle as to get up, but those arms are steel-bands around him. 

“Stay. Please. I need to hold you,” his voice is unstable, crazed even. “Please, kitten, stay.”

Sighing, Louis relaxes, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder before muttering, “What am I going to do with you, Styles? You’re quite the handful, ya know.”

“I know,” the Alpha says without a trace of humour despite the fact that Louis was clearly teasing, “But you’re going to let me hold you,” and there’s something tragic, something Louis’s missing, in that serious tone. “And smell you,” he noses at Louis’s temple, “And kiss you,” his lips dip and brush that spot just beneath his jaw. Oh, the word threatens to tumble past his lips in a whine, but Louis bites the inside of his cheek, and his lashes flutter shut.  “Yeah, ‘cause you’re such a good boy, my good–,” and the words his Omega craves are halted because someone’s approaching them.

“Bonjour,” a quiet, accented voice chirps, and Louis notes it’s another Omega. “I-I do na’–bonjour,” the Omega mumbles again–evidently unable to speak English. And…well, Louis doesn’t mean to glare at the other boy, but things happen, and that stupid, pretty accent is one of them.

“Hello,” his Alpha greets the French Omega politely, then switches to the language he reckons is French, and the fluency both impresses and shocks Louis. But, this hardly matters, not when there’s a part of him that’s suddenly insanely jealous–but he’s more disturbed by the depth of the feeling–he can’t recall ever feeling this way, not even when Niall found his Alpha before Louis, not even when Niall and Liam were home that Christmas Louis couldn’t be…and certainly not when his…his past treated that one boy, Stan, from across the street, better than he treated Louis, his child. And… it’s wrong to feel this way about this, of all things.

“Harry,” Louis mumbles, but the Alpha laughs at something the French boy says, Louis just. He sees red, around the darkness, is red, which he's sure is all in his head but it hardly matters–he’s never been so angry before, the rage simmers in his veins, all throughout his body. In this moment, Louis doesn’t exist to Harry, and perhaps he doesn’t want to, despite his Omega’s protests.

Through their exchanged words he remains quiet; too disconnect to notice that his name occurs (in his feelings and thoughts), still glowering at where the French Omega stands. At last, the boy murmurs, “Au revoir,” before leaning forward to place a kiss to each of Louis’s cheeks–and then moves onto Harry’s.

Seething, the Omega waits until the French boy’s out of earshot to scramble out of Harry’s arms and stand.

“Lou, what’re you doin’?” it’s like the Alpha can sense the intensity of his fury, as his voice is oddly bemused, placating even.

“What does it look like? I’m going to sit by the water,” Louis replies curtly, then starts to stride purposefully towards the shore, where Niall must be splashing Zayn–because it’s Zayn’s girlish shrieks, and Niall’s cackling.

“Lou…”

“No,” he snaps, without stopping, willing the traitor tears from his eyes, and wiping furiously at his cheeks–just in case, “Go, chat up Frenchie some more. Since you two got on so bloody well.” Squaring his shoulders, the Omega storms over to the ocean, because he’s so very pissed and alarmed at being this angry; it’s too much.

And he’s prepared to let the sea swallow him whole when two long fingers grip his wrist. “Louis, that’s enough. You’re being irrational.”

“Irrational? How about I let another Alpha kiss me, Harry? How about I ignore you to talk with him?” Louis demands, tugging on his arm–he doesn’t even notice the glacial sea-water washing over his ankles.

“Louis, that’s how they bid us goodbye here! It was only courteous! And I certainly was not ignoring you. You’re all I spoke about!” the Alpha bites back, tightening his hold almost to the point of pain.

“Okay then,” the Omega’s voice carries calmly, something inside him just...it rises, “I’m going to take a stroll on the beach–and when some French Alpha’s approach me, because they will, I’m going to be courteous and let them kiss me.

With a fierce growl, the Alpha wrenches on Louis’s arm, so that the Omega loses his balance and winds up plastered against him, hands on Harry’s chest–his nails bite into the heated skin. “Let them try. I will tear their fucking throats out,” it’s so even, so fatally Alpha–Louis’s Alpha.

“But you let him kiss you,” somehow, even as a whisper, his voice breaks.

“Christ, Lou,” as Harry speaks, the Omega squeezes his eyelids shut defensively, because he feels trapped (more than almost anything, he hates that feeling) and he’s sure the other’s are aware of how absolutely helpless he is in this moment. “It wasn’t even meant…it didn’t mean anything.”

“That’s not the point. I…I don’t want another Omega touching you,” Louis breathes–the angers grown faint with insecurities, his self-esteem is battered. “You make me crazy, okay? And I don’t want to commit to this if…I won’t commit to this if I’m not the only one. Because you’re the only one for me–the only Alpha I want. So, tell me now, Harry. Tell me if I’m not enough, or tell me that I am, and that I’m the only one that’s going to be touching you, the only Omega you will cuddle….Tell me that–tell me I’m the only one.

“I…Christ, yes,” the Alpha groans, curving his broad-boy to shield Louis’s, “You are more than enough, Louis. The only one. Just…I wanted to show you that I’m not horrible as everyone makes me out to be–that’s the only reason I even bothered to make conversation. Even so, you’re all I could talk about. You. Are. All. I. Want!”

Sighing, the Omega gives in, and brings his arms around the Alpha’s shoulders easily, as Harry’s bent to accommodate his size. Without hesitating, arms circle his waist and lift him off his feet as Louis sprinkles his kisses over the Alpha’s features, replacing that stupid, French boy’s kisses with his own until he’s satisfied, then, “No more kisses,” Louis murmurs firmly.

“Only your kisses,” the Alpha corrects, setting him back on his feet. And, well, somehow (Louis may or may not leap at him, so Harry loses his balance) the two end up sprawled on the sand as the Alpha takes Louis with him. Just like that they’re sopping again, but Louis’s beaming, “Let’s make snow-angels! I want snow-angels!”  

“Lou,” Harry sighs plaintively. “This is the beach. We can’t–,”

“Oh yes we can, Styles,” the Omega interrupts, linking both their hands and tugging so that the Alpha rights himself–they’re both dripping and the sand sticks to them, but Louis doesn’t mind as he lies on the powdery-soft sand, sighing low in his throat.

“Coming, or not?” he mumbles, grinning up at the sky as Harry’s answering groan, as the Alpha grumbles about the sand, but joins him, arms extended so their fingertips brush.

“Why do I let these things happen?” he asks, but Louis figures it’s rhetorical and doesn’t answer, going to his happy-place (which so happens to be cuddled in bed with Harry Styles) while doing that silly snow-angle spread and align. It’s very messy, there’s sand everywhere, but soon enough the other’s examine their actions.

“What is wrong with you two?” Niall squawks. 

“It was his idea,” Harry snaps–obviously not having much fun at all. Oh well.

“Well than,” Niall murmurs, “This is absolutely brilliant!” and then the Irish Omega plops beside Louis, laughing, “My God, Lou, you are my kinda crazy!”

“Shut up, Ni,” Louis mumbles, very determined to make this sand-angel.

“You lot are fuckin’ weird,” Zayn decides, but nonetheless tugs Liam down (who frets because, “what if we get lice!?”) with him until they’re all doing it and Louis thinks he’s started a new trend–the sand-angel challenge.

First to grow restless is Niall, “This isn’t working! The sand’s much to fine! Oh, I’ve an idea! Bury me! Bury me, guys, bury me!”

With an annoyed huff, Louis sits up, shaking the sand from his hair, and sighing, “I guess it wasn’t my best idea.”

“Nah, mate,” it’s Zayn’s voice, as the Omega sits up as well, “It’s like poetic–turning the ice cold snow angel into the–,”

“Okay, no,” his Alpha cuts in. “Bull-fucking-shit. Don’t even go there. There is nothing remotely poetic about having sand in places sand should not be.”

And this time Liam agrees–perhaps they aren’t so very unlike after all–“I second that!”

Knowingly, Louis pouts, crossing his arms; seconds-too-soon, he’s stifling a smile because Harry speaks again, “Lou, don’t look like that! Just…Niall’s right, it’s the sand. We’ll try another beach.”

“I’m always right,” the Irish lad chirps and Louis is positive it’s not only him who rolls his eyes.

“What! It’s only true! Now, someone bury me!” With concurrent groans everyone huddles around Niall–because there is no point in denying the Irish boy–and begins to pile the fine sand over his sprawled-out frame.

Some way or another Niall ends up buried and completely ecstatic about it too. Louis doesn’t understand the appeal, but its Niall and there’s no making sense of his best-mate (over the years he’s tried and tried again, but to no avail).

Mischievously, Louis tosses sand in Liam’s face, and the unsuspecting Alpha sputters, wiping his face furiously and then…laughing. And the Omega laughs too because Liam’s always been so uptight, but now his other best-mate is laughing like he’s not heard in awhile…And it makes the warm, fond feeling that much bubblier in his belly until Liam saunters off to attempt to wash the sand from his body.

“Alright,” Josh murmurs, “I’m beat. C’mon Sandy let’s get you out of there.” Yawning, the Alpha’s to-be-mate quietly accepts this, even allowing his Alpha to pour bouts of bottled-water over him (cleaning him to their best-ability).

Much the same is done to Louis, who doesn’t fuss, letting his Alpha cloak a towel around his shoulders. Smiling shyly the Omega clasps the towel close until each of them has little-to-no visible sand on their skin. Afterwards Louis helps Harry collect their things, not bothering with his–Niall’s–shirt. 

Once that’s finished, they return to the car, and it’s comfortably quiet–the Omega gather’s everyone’s fallen asleep; the only sound is Harry’s humming to whatever hipster music plays. And he’s content with the hushed humming, the Alpha’s hand twined with his. But, too soon the ride ends, though there isn’t much to miss as Louis’s tucked into Harry’s side, ignoring the others groans and grumbles.

It’s agreed to leave the bags in the garage (nobody cares to bring in any more sand than necessary) so they enter the well-insulated penthouse with Louis leading, guided by Harry’s careful hands on his hips, whilst the other’s trail them. Inside everyone goes their own ways, and Louis claims Harry’s too-spacious bathroom, applying the expensive washes to his skin and scrubbing any access sand away. Once he’s finished washing his hair (for the third time) Louis steps out, dries, and hastily changes into fresh clothes–pants, joggers, and one significantly larger shirt that he knows is Harry’s.

Refreshed, Louis drifts back into the room to find that the Alpha’s still not finished in the guest-shower, and decides he’s rather thirsty. In the kitchen, the Omega opens the fridge and lets his hands wander until they land on a bottle–hoping its water, Louis takes a swing, sighing when the rush of tasteless liquid fills his mouth. Through sips, Louis finishes the bottle, and that’s when the Alpha enters the kitchen, declaring, “I’ve gatta feed you. You’re not eating right, love.”

Rolling his eyes, Louis murmurs, “Not everyone can devour pounds of food, Harry.”

“This isn’t up for discussion. You hardly ate any of the breakfast this morning–and then you skipped the snacks at the beach so now I’m Chef Styles and I’m going to make, then feed you the best dinner of your life.”

Fondly, Louis mumbles, “Amaze me,” then hefts himself onto the countertop, swinging his legs while listening to Harry–who begins to clatter about the kitchen, preparing the mystery-dish. And already it smells lovely. Minutes in, some nameless tune sounds and with a groan the Alpha answers his phone, “Styles–oh, hey! Yeah, he’s right here, I’ll put you on speaker.” Louis frowns, vaguely shaken at the sudden shift in tone–from curt indifference to quiet gratitude. Turns out it’s his Mum–which of course.

While his Alpha cooks, Louis chats with Jay, rambling on about his day (unable to help that his voice goes all dreamy–it’s been a lovely day), whilst his Mum adds comments here and there until Harry’s finished, and declares his masterpiece through. Grasping the let-go, Louis tells his Mum goodnight and sends the same to the girls (though they’re probably already in bed).  True to his word, the Alpha feeds him; it’s as delicious as it smells (some sort of pasta–Alfredo perhaps?) and the Omega thinks there isn’t anything Harry can’t do.  And Louis manages to complete the dish–well Harry helps, taking bites here and there.

“Wow,” the Alpha comments, seemingly awed. “I should cook more often. You actually ate it all.”

Louis flushes, hiding his eyes beneath his fringe and ducking his head. “I…Thanks, for, um, cooking for me.”

“Maybe next time you can help,” Harry murmurs, and instantly, Louis brightens, because he really does want to learn (because what if, by some odd change, there’s no one around to do it for him? Plus the Omega really just enjoys the way Harry praises him whenever he gets something right–those little “good boy”’s and “perfect love”s that the Alpha gave him the first time they’d attempted pizza together, because he messed up that is).

“Yeah, next time,” he agrees enthusiastically, stifling a yawn behind his hand and hopping from the counter. “Take me to our bedroom now, Styles.”

“Your wish is my command, little Omega,” and then he’s being scooped up again, and carried into their room, where Harry places him onto his feet again. Before anything else, Louis brushes his teeth methodically, then drags himself into bed while the Alpha finishes up his own devices.

Tonight, Louis snuggles into the Harry-scented sheets, and tonight the Alpha joins him, until he’s snuggled in a massive amount of pillows and Harry Styles. Both the plush mattress and the solid shelter of Harry begin to loll Louis towards unconsciousness when Harry murmurs, “Kitten, don’t fall asleep yet…”

“Why?” Louis mumbles, his eyes screwed shut–he can still feel the oceans tide somehow.

“I’m still curious,” the Alpha mutters, voice coarse and syrupy-slow with approaching sleep, “What actually went on in that dream?” Of course Harry wouldn’t forget–his memory might be too perfected.

“It wasn’t a dream.” Sleepy–he’s too sleepy to care that he probably isn’t making much sense and he’s exposing himself. “Wasn’t…Just, don’t be angry…”

“Why would I be–?”

But the Omega continues, “You…You said you ‘ave naughty thoughts…about me…I heard your conversation with Liam…I’m sorry, Hazza…’m a bad Omega.”

Just before an exhausted sleep claims him, Louis catches Harry’s whisper-soft response, “You’re never a bad Omega. You’re always the best Omega to me.”

And Louis must be in love–because these feelings, these warm, soft, fuzzy feelings glows within him…and it feels like it–like love.

∞∞∞

                “Aquarium!”
“The Eiffel Tower!”
“That is so typical! Why not…?” this is what wakes Harry–directly outside their bedroom door because why the Hell not? And despite his intentions to find sleep again the Alpha meets conscious thoughts, realising, all at once, that his skin is in flames, taunt over his straining muscles; his Alpha claws restlessly, roiling with need–a need fueled by the Omega’s proximity, his scent calls to something deep inside him. Even so, it’s not quite so horrible–yet–in fact this is easy to control, as he’s still sane, and exceptionally aware of reality. And that must count as some sort of victory.

Swallowing, the Alpha makes the decision to halt the tainted oxygen flow, scrounging each process the Council bestowed upon him, chaining his Alpha–the physical reactions: the spiked temperature, the elongated canines, the straining, unavoidable  erection remain fixed. But his mentality, his capability solidifies so that his body’s responses are durable again. Throughout the stabilizing progression one memory resurfaces–that one, particularly cold Alpha from the Council’s institution comes to mind. More importantly, his words, “temptation will be every males downfall–avoid it, or suffer the consequences,” but the idiot hadn’t take Harry’s ‘condition’ (the third day into his first rut) into consideration, the idiot didn’t have the mind to even consider the hand that was extended to him would be his consequence to suffer. But, breaking the idiots nose, then his arm, had made Harry really think into those words, perhaps a bit too late, but, shit happens. 

Unwilling to be diverted, Harry–gently as possible–leaves the bed, tucking the blankets around the–his ethereal, sleeping Omega. Snatching an outfit–made for exercise–the Alpha goes into the adjoining bathroom, brushes his teeth and all that before clutching the counterpane for the support as he stares blankly at the reflection in the mirror–it looks like him, because nothing’s changed…Except everything has, hasn’t it? But that’s to be expected, because Louis Tomlinson has that chilling effect on him–with his sweet giggles, and airy laughs, and his wit, and everything about the boy just… does things to him.

Running one palm down his face, Harry runs the shower, and does his best to quiet his rampant thoughts–whenever they wander he feels that much more out of control, and right now that’s unacceptable. Once finished the Alpha wearily saunters outside their room to squint into the sunlit lounge. Nearby, in the kitchen, Niall cooks, and for once Josh isn’t his shadow, instead the Alpha is with Zayn and Liam on the sofa in the lounge, watching a film with English subtitles on the television.

“Noo! No! Jane, you twit! No–ah, too late,” Liam sighs mournfully, and beside him Zayn shakes his head at ‘Jane’ sadly. Then, seeming to sense his presence, Liam cranes his neck, and soft-chocolate irises find him with a cheery, “Morning!”

Glaring at the idiot without real conviction, Harry snaps, “Moron,” before stalking into the kitchen and swinging the recently stocked fridge open.

“How pleasant,” Zayn–the bastard–comments dryly.

“Couldn’t you let me sleep?” he asks crossly–no matter how much he craves to be holding his Omega in bed, unlike some, the Alpha can’t seem to find sleep once he’s woken. Grabbing his ingredients–milk, apples, bananas–and setting them on the counter, the Alpha catches sight of Niall, who’s face splits into a wide grin. Taken aback, Harry blinks, about to ask when the Irish boy opens his noisy mouth, “Why, oh why would we do that? We wanted to make sure you two–particularly Louis–weren’t sore or anything. Didn’t make much noise.”

Inhaling through his nose, the Alpha wills himself not to cuff the Irish Omega. “What in the Bloody Hell are you on about?”

Niall raises one, questioning eyebrow. “Well it’s obvious. You and Louis were–,”

“Okay,” his voice is deadly quiet as he grabs the blender and practically ruins the fruits in his harsh, slightly brutal attempts to shove them inside. “That’s enough. I am going to pretend this never happened. Yes, I am going to make this shake, and then I am going running, and I am going to forget this conversation ever happened.”

And the Irish boy looks crushed, but before the Alpha has the chance to feel like an absolute twat, the look becomes impatient, and Niall turns without another word–which Harry figures is a plus. It’s impossible to keep his cool when his nerves are already shot-to-Hell–impossible to handle the mention of anything less than platonic concerning his relationship with Louis. So, he doesn’t–downing the shake, shoving his wallet into his jogger’s pocket, and grabbing his phone the Alpha exits the penthouse without another word.

Practically any sort of exercise would do, but the Alpha’s always found more reprieve through running–yoga is exceptionally useful, but Hell if he spends one more second with them. Soon, when his breathing is ragged and he’s outran his Alpha, Harry’s entered the closest city. It’s busy, but fortunately nobody recognises him when he goes into a small, cozy café, nodding at the pastry options–there’s an exceptional amount of sweets and teas and all those things Louis fancies so much.

So, the Alpha orders too much of mostly anything that appears appetizing –because he’s never been fond of sweets and is clueless as to which muffin or doughnut or pastry tastes best–then leaves. It’s an hour or so more of aimless walking, then jogging while whistling a tune he’s been meaning to put on paper before Harry returns.

Inside it’s quiet, all the lads seemed to have gone about their own business as most doors are shut, but there’s no doubt in his mind that Louis’s awake– twenty minutes before he’d gotten back the Alpha could feel his confusion upon waking up alone, then his impatience, which pleased him to no ends; he quite likes the idea of being missed, even though it goes against everything that’s been drilled into his head. Tossing his phone, and placing the teas on the table Harry ascends the stairs with careful steps until he’s stopped at the door. As his senses are heightened the Alpha can smell Louis’s fragrance dancing happily in the air behind the door, luring him, and he can hear Louis rustling about. Of course he tries the handle first, but the Omega is clever, and Harry should’ve known better than to think otherwise–it’s locked.

“Lou?” he asks quietly.

“Yes?” the boy sing-songs, and the Alpha smiles, leaning his heated forehead on the cool doorframe.

“Can I come in?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” now his voice is close, inches from the door separating them. “You left–therefore, it’s only fair that I get the room to myself.”

“Your logic is very twisted,” he murmurs phlegmatically.

“Hm. Perhaps you’re right. But, I don’t really care,” despite his light tone, the Alpha can feel how much funthe Omega’s having, teasing him. Well, damn–time to bring out the big guns.

“I brought treats…” the bait lingers only concise seconds before the lock unlatches and Louis peeks through the miniscule opening–something keeps Harry rooted in place, like he’s unable to enter until the Omega allows so. And now he’s a bloody vampire.

“What sort of treats?” the boy asks suspiciously.

“Muffins?”

“Not good enough.” Of course not.

“Éclairs?” And without permission his arms extends in offering; silently Harry waits until it’s the right time to strike. Except the Alpha’s attention shifts elsewhere, staring as Louis’s canines worry his plush bottom lip–then the bags snatched from his hands and the door is shut and locked again.

“Hey!” he protests, frowning. “That’s foul-play Tomlinson!”

“There’s no such thing!” the boy calls happily. New game plan, he thinks, altering his attack-point.

“Hm. You’re right. When you’re finished, you can come and find me downstairs.” As the Alpha turns to play like he’s actually (yeah right) leaving, the door bursts open (ding, ding, ding, we have a winner, he thinks, satisfied) and then he’s being tackled from behind. Surprised, Harry stumbles a bit, but quickly catches his balance, absorbing the little extra weight as the short legs circle him and slim arms loop around his neck, “You’re not supposed to leave!”

“Then what,” he starts, grinning in spite of himself, “pray tell, am I supposed to do?

“You’re supposed to make me open the door.”

Tensing, the Alpha mutters, “How? Using the voice?” there isn’t anyone who wouldn’t know what he’s referring too, not even Louis, innocent as can be.

Tightening his hold, Louis sighs, like it’s so very obvious, “Now where did you get that absurd idea? Of course not, prat! Make me, as in charm me out of that bed.”

As the tension leaves his shoulders the Alpha turns, carrying the boy into the room and kicking the door closed behind him. “Ain’t it backwards?” he asks, amused. “Aren’t I supposed to charm you into bed?”

Louis snorts prettily, then, “As if!”

“Oh, really?” Harry starts, stopping before the bed before gripping the Omega’s wrist and tugging so that Louis goes sprawling onto the mattress; shock crosses his face and the Alpha chokes on his laughter. So very adorable. Crawling beside him, propping his face with one hand and toying with the boy’s small, graceful fingers in the other, Harry drawls, “I do believe this counts as charming you into bed with me, kitten.”

“You know it really isn’t fair,” the Omega mumbles, trying to sound nonchalant, but even so it’s not very effective–his endless conflicting emotions crash over him.  And this makes the Alpha wish, once again, the bond would disappear–the cheat-cheat is one of those unfair aspects between them. 

“What’s not fair?”

“How you disarm people. Women. Men. Me.

Curious, surprised even, the Alpha cocks his head to the side, watching the boy’s features. “Do I disarm you?” 

Like always, because Harry’s figured out it’s a defense mechanism, the boy closes his eyes, then shrugs, “All the time.”  But the Alpha knows better–it’s not him that disarms people. If only.

“’s just the looks, Lou, or the voice,” his voice is matter-of-fact.

“No, Harry, it’s much more than that,” the Omega breathes–like he could possibly know, “Firstly, I don’t see you, not with my eyes at least, and second, nobody’s voice does…this to me.” Does what, he nearly asks, but decides this conversation isn’t going anywhere.

“You disarm me, Lou,” it’s so fucking undeniably true, “Your innocence. It cuts through all the crap.”

“And if I wasn’t so innocent?”

“Then surely I’d be dead of a stroke by now.” Surely.

Louis scowls, then sighs, and smiles shyly. “You’re so annoying. Get out. ‘m tired of you.”

“Are you kicking me out?” he gasps, seemingly scandalised, clutching his chest.

“Nah,” the Omega decides, seconds-to-late–well than, “You’re too useful. I mean who else is going to give me cuddles and bring me treats and charm me into bed?”

“Nobody,” the Alpha answers seriously. “Because you’re mine.” As the words settle between them, Louis tilts his head to the side, as if to regard him, and then climbs into his lap. One fluttering hand flattens on his stomach over his shirt–Harry tenses, but the Omega either doesn’t care or ignores it because the other dainty hand lands on the side of his throat and Louis smiles timidly, before whispering, “Kiss me?”

“Demanding little thing,” he replies huskily, knowing he shouldn’t but unable to resist, holding his breath as he leans down to join their lips briefly–reveling in the soft, pliant lips against his own before retreating again. With an unsteady inhale the Alpha licks his lips, starving to catch the sweet taste his mouth couldn’t receive through that small, innocent kiss.

Louis squirming in his lap slams him into reality again, as the heat coils low in his abdomen, his cock thickens impossibly–fuck, it’s a surprise his knot hasn’t started to form.  But the Omega must feel him because his movements cease immediately, colour spreading over his cheeks.

Pulling oxygen through his teeth, the Alpha manages to keep his hips still, watching Louis through hooded eyes.

“I-I have more questions,” the boy says softly, biting his lip hesitantly–in attempts to hide the way his hips flex–like he’s really going to get up in the boy’s perky arse very soon–Harry straightens, realising all at once that movement caused the boy’s hand to slip lower, just above the waistband of his joggers. Honestly, the world is so cruel sometimes–like now. “Go on,” his voice is even enough as one hand runs through his curls.

“What…” Louis swallows, the finishes, “What d-does being heir to the Council entitle exactly?”Annnnd there goes his hard-on.

“Power,” the Alpha answers flatly.

“No, I mean…like, um discipline-wise. D-Do they like…Do they torture their Alphas?”

Surprised, Harry blinks, then asks, “Where did this come from?” Probably Niall–Hell, he’s willing to wager more than a thousand pounds on it.

Shrugging the Omega mumbles, “I…Just heard that, you know, the Council does those things.” Definitely Niall.

Narrowing his eyes, the Alpha murmurs tightly, “I wouldn’t say torture–more like a training of sorts. We got through tutors in most mandatory subjects, but mainly politics and maths. It’s simple to achieve A-Levels, and the go onto Uni courses through High School. I’ve gotten an entrepreneurs degree, ‘m workin’ on Law presently. And, as you already know, there are luxuries to it; flying lessons, and the likes.”

“You’re going into law?” the boy sputters, then shakes his head, “Nevermind, that’s for another time. I want to know about the…not-so-luxurious aspects. I know there’s got to be some.”

“I guess so,” the Alpha considers telling the whole truth, but doesn’t think he can. “Some things are more…difficult to achieve than others. Psychic levels, mental discipline, the likes, they were never my strongest points. There are…methods to which we go through to…smooth things out.”

“Methods?” Louis breathes–emotions coloured with (unnecessary) dread.

“Yeah…They…They’re precautionary really. Go through ruts with elements that would normally create tensions. Learn to conquer and conceal basic-Alpha-nature…”

“What elements?”

“I dunno, Lou,” his voice isn’t so even anymore. “Like an Omega’s scent.” Or a helpless Omega in the same room with an unstable, sex-crazed Alpha,thrown to the sharks like a piece of meat.

“I am…confused,” the Omega admits, the little v between his brows forming. Without permission the Alpha’s fingers smooth over the little furrow, smiling gently. “’s nothing you should worry about, love. I promise, nobody was, or is, tortured. I certainly wasn’t.”

“Somehow I’m not convinced. “

And his smile falters, muscles bunching as the space Harry’s kept sacred is threatened. Opening up, lowering the guards over his personal-space isn’t working, it’s difficult and part of him wants to shut the Omega out–because he’s so innocent, and there’s absolutely no reason for Louis to be fretting over the Council (those are a lot of fuckers Louis won’t ever have to deal with). “You’re not making this easy on me, are you, kitten?” he asks, not really wanting an answer.

“Why’re you so…so cynical? I’m trying to make sense of it…I-I’m not trying to be difficult. Just…you run hot and cold, Hazza. Sometimes you’re so…so brilliant, well, you’re always brilliant, but there are so many partsto you. There’s my Harry, and then there’s the Council’s Harry, and who knows how many else.”

“There’s only me, Louis,” his voice is sharp, defensive even.

A small, sad smile graces the Omega’s lip–it makes him feel worse. “No, there’s not…but I rather fancy every Harry–I fancy playful Harry, and possessive Harry, and angry Harry, and–,”

“This is quite the hefty list of Harry’s,” somehow the boy manages to amuse him even now.

“You’re a hefty Alpha.”

“Are you calling me fat?” he gasps, mock-outraged. “That’s just mean.”

Now the boy giggles, batting at him, and the Alpha knows he’s avoided destruction as playful growls escape his mouth. “Think this is funny, do you?”

“Oh, shut up,” Louis sighs, smiling still. “I know you’re doing that thing again.”

“That thing?”

Distracting me.” And his boy really is intuitive but.

“I live to distract you, kitten,” Harry murmurs, pulling him close to brush his chin along the Omega’s silken hair, savoring the feel before moving to noses at Louis’s cheek. Between them the Alpha can hear the boy’s heart revving, crashing in his chest and fuck, he wants him. It’s wrong, inappropriate even; as his Omega is so very unsuspecting, so giving, but…he still wants him–more than anything.

“D’you?” his voice is breathy again and, deep inside his Alpha growls, pleased.

“Mhm,” Harry hums, “You’re very easy to distract.” 

“J-Jokes on you,” Louis breathes, wriggling in his lap again, and like most times the Alpha places his hands over the Omega’s soft hips. “I…I let you distract me.”

Grinning, Harry tightens his grip, “You’re distracted–right now, aren’t you, little one? Don’t even remember what we were talking about I reckon.” And his other hand travels over to the small of the boy’s back–without permission his tongue drags down the boy’s throat, tasting him there instead of his mouth.

“I…” the boy pants, tilting his head as too give the Alpha more access.

“You…?” he prompts, his mouth hovers over the sensitive skin underneath his jaw, breathing there so that he’s rewarded with Louis’s shiver.

“I…am…not distracted.” Just like that the Omega’s hands grip his shoulder and shoves him so that Harry’s back meets the mattress, slightly impressed by Louis’s resistance. Such a surprise. “You don’t fight fair,” Louis continues airily, “That’s foul-play.”   

“There’s no such thing,” the Alpha reminds him, and the boy raises an artful brow, scrambling to his feet beside the bed-frame.

“Perhaps not in your world, but in the normal realm you fought dirty, Styles.”

“Normal realm?” Harry scoffs, folding his hands behind his head. “It’s no wonder it’s so easy to distract you, as you live in such a dreadfully boring–,”

“Now you’re being ridic–,”

“Shh,” it’s intentionally obnoxious as the Alpha swells with satisfaction when Louis’s irritation spikes–there’s something incredibly sexy about an angry, pouty Louis. “The master is speaking. Honestly, didn’t anyone ever teach you normals any mann–?”

Kitten has claws, Harry thinks, best not to forget that–especially not when Louis scrambles onto the mattress, raising his hand as if too slap the Alpha. But he’s much quicker than the boy and jerks to the side, catching that hand before it connects with his cheek. Since Harry has the boy’s wrist the Alpha decides to use it to his advantage and hauls the small boy against his chest. “Don’t hit, kitten. It’s not very nice.”

You’re not nice.” And he tries to pull away, but he’s not going anywhere, of that Harry’s sure. “And you’re certainly not cute.

“So many things I’m not,” Harry says with an up-to-the-minute spark. “Not nice, not cute, not normal. What about the things I am?

“You are arrogant. You are irritating. You are–,

“Superlative,” the Alpha murmurs, smirking. “I know, kitten, there’s no need to remind me. Jeez, you’re an unhealthy dose of ego-steroids.”

Blowing an annoying breath, the Omega mumbles, in a small, fond voice, “You’re right–but there’s somethin’ else you are…”

“Yours?” the Alpha tries, knowing there’s a slim, slim chance that’s what’s coming–he’s right, of course.

“No,” Louis dead-pans. “An arse.”

Well, some things never change–which the Alpha is perfectly content with.

∞∞∞

                It’s intentional, of course. Louis isn’t prone to forgetting–not where Harry’s concerned. And the Alpha is very much substantive to the Operation. So, shuffling into the bathroom following breakfast, Louis “accidently” forgets his clothes. Once he’s closed the bathroom door behind him Louis realises there’s no going back, and hugs the towel to his chest, focused on breathing evenly until his heart’s calmed enough to unclothe and enter the steam-encased shower.

During the Omega may or may not spend an unnecessary amount of time scrubbing through his hair and skin, running the endless hot water until he’s sure his skin is an appealing pink. Outside, Louis dries slowly, before wrapping the towel underneath his arms (because he’s not bold enough to reveal his tummy, which feels bloated with nervous butterflies).

It’s now or never–Louis chooses now. Opening the barrier the Omega pads into their bedroom–though the Alpha is silent, the current swamps the Omega, who shivers as Harry’s smoldering gaze pins him motionless. “I…I forgot my clothes,” he whispers, proud that it’s believable, even as his hands shake where they clutch the towel to his chest. “I’m going to change now, a-and…um…”

And with lightening speed, without even any sound, the Alpha’s abruptly close, towering over Louis; that blistering heat surrounds the boy who vaguely questions how Harry’s not running a fever, he’s so hot.

Large, possessive hands grasp his hips, holding Louis trapped as the Alpha whispers words with the fervor rolling off him, “Don’t make me go.”

“I…” he starts, shocked, and breathy as those fingers tighten over his towel-covered skin.

“Lemme stay,” his voice is frantic, but with that thick, molasses-like accent, and Louis’s every Omega’s gene wants to give in, to let the Alpha’s intense gaze light his skin from the inside out, but…this wasn’t supposed to happen–the Alpha was supposed to leave, or kiss him, or something else.

“No,” Louis says shakily, even as his Omega begs the Alpha to stay. “I…I want to change now. And you need to leave.”

“You’re…You’re making me leave?” he sounds extremely shocked–which isn’t shocking to Louis, knowing Harry’s used to getting his way.

“I am,” the boy agrees, shying away from those hands and that gaze and this Alpha. “Get out.”

With an incredulous laugh the Alpha extends the distance with many backwards steps. And even as Louis turns, he’s aware of Harry’s gaze raking over him. Doing his best to ignore it, Louis ambles over to the suitcase, bends, and focuses his blind glare over his shoulder. “Styles…”

“Going, going,” the Alpha murmurs lightly as the door begins to close, “Gone.” And then the barriers back again and the atmosphere cools enough that Louis closes his eyes and released one shuddery breath. Removing his lotions and his pretty-scented sprays, and deodorant (the Secret kind because it smells much lovelier than those one’s of Liam’s, at least to him it does), Louis fancies so much, the boy slowly, carefully applies each. When the Omega smells pretty, Louis dresses–in a simple shirt, khakis (he hopes) shorts, and his black Toms (it’s the only colour he’s taken, as it matches with anything).

While he’s slipping his foot into his right shoe someone enters and Louis stiffens, then huffs, “Hazza, I am going to ki–,

“Whoa there,” it’s Niall’s voice. “There’s no need to be hostile. ‘S only me.”

“Could warn an Omega,” Louis chides, relaxing when the Irish boy orders, “Stand up.”

Confused the Omega does so, fidgeting under his best-mates scrutiny. “Normally I’d say no, but as we’re going out–just you, Zayn, and me, it’ll do.”

Louis blinks. “Who decided this?

“Me, of course,” the Irish lad says cheerily.

“And the other’s agreed?” Louis asks, grinning because he’s rather excited to be free of an Alpha’s constant presences, excited to be loud, and stupid, and with his best-mate.

“Of course not,” Niall replies, “And anyway, what do they matter? ‘M sure we can convince them. ‘Cause they’d like to think they rule the relationship, but honestly, we know better.”

“Of course, of course,” Louis agrees gravely, then, “But how am I supposed to convince H when I’m not even able to pull this whole seduction thing off?”

“I beg to differ,” Niall snickers gleefully. “Y’know, Lou, sometimes you are quite naïve. Especially when it comes to this sorta stuff…I think you’re lacking the proper motivation though. Hmm. Oh. You know what, maybe you’re right, you can’t do it.”

Hearing this, the Omega’s cheeks bloom with colour. “I can to do it.”

“Nah,” the Irish lad persists, a trace of pity to his lilt. “No. Look at you. You’re a flushed mess. You’ll never be able to pull it off.”

Crimson anger comes over the Omega, and with a glare, Louis starts towards the exit. “Watch me,” he hisses, flinging the door open and marching outside, not even hearing Niall’s laughter, he’s so angry. He can do it, he’s not…he’s not completely incapable of being somewhat desirable! Right?

Downstairs it’s not difficult to find the Alpha, as Harry says, “Lou?” from the general direction of the sofa. Crossing over to him the Omega puts his hands on his hips and murmurs, “I’m going out today.”

“Okay…?” the Alpha sounds confused. As to clarify, the Omega adds, “Without you. Only with Z and Niall.”

“No,” there it is, the response Louis expected. “You’re not.”

“And why the hell not?” he demands, still seething.

“No.” So the snarky attitude isn’t working, well that’s probably best because Louis hates being snarky without reason–it’s always left him feeling guilty afterwards. Besides, the boy likes to think his pleading-strategy works.

“Why not?” his voice softens, coloured with disappointment.

“Because it’s not…No, Louis, it’s not safe enough.”

“But,” the Omega begins, eyes round as his hands tangle at his belly and his head bows a bit. “Please?”

“No,” the Alpha repeats, and Louis carefully crawls into his lap, curling up there, and lifting his hands to trace his fingertips over Harry’s cheekbone. “Please,” Louis whispers, “Don’t be this way. Don’t suffocate me…Please.”

And the Alpha inhales sharply, “I’m suffocating you?”

“Please, Harry,” Louis breathes again, brushing one stray curl from the Alpha’s eye. “”s only a few hours. And then we’ll be back. Please, don’t say no.”

“Christ,” the Alpha curses. “Why? Why do you do this to me?”

“Do what?” Louis asks, puzzled.

“Look at me that way, and plead with me, and ask for the most impossible things?” Without realising it the Alpha’s confirmed his hopes–this is working.

Sinking his teeth into his bottom lip the Omega drops his gaze, about to respond when the Alpha groans, “I’m an idiot, such a fucking idiot, but fine–three hours. Then I want you back where I can see you.”

Louis swallows, and mumbles (because he can), “Five hours.”

“Four,” wow, there’s a benefit to everything. “That’s the longest I’m going.”

“Okay,” Louis says, grinning sunnily up at his Alpha. “Thank you, Hazza.” Without warning the Alpha’s mouth claims his, one hand evens over his lower back so that Louis’s arching into the kiss, responding eagerly. It’s dark, and sensual, and alarming all at the same time but Louis kisses him with equal fervor–hands twisting and fisting the Alpha’s curls on their own accord. And then they’re tongues are entwined and sparks erupts between them–the Omega whimpers into Harry’s mouth–which tastes hot, and sexy, and once again, down there aches, and Louis feels needier than ever before. When that scent swamps him, dark spices and body wash and a tinge of Louis’s sprays, the Omega instinctively shifts, spreading his legs so that his bum will rest directly where he needs it to; his body melts, knowing what going to press into his bum. Yesyesyesyes, that’s what Louis needs. Abruptly the Alpha drags his mouth away from the Omega’s before Harry stares down at him–seemingly gripped by something Louis probably doesn’t have to capacity to even understand.

“You make me do stupid shit, Louis Tomlinson,” his voice is rough, vibrating between them. “You make everyone to stupid shit. D’you realise it’s impossible to deny you?”

“N-No,” the Omega pants absently–the delicious heat of his Alpha continues to spiral through him. “s not true.”

Against his throat, the Alpha growls in warning, “Yes, yes it is. And you’re too naïve t notice that I can’t seem to even look at you the wrong way…because you make me feel stupid ways…And I’m so bloody stupid where you’re concerned.”

And the Omega’s body’s so loose now, pliant as his forehead rests on the Alpha’s broad shoulder–he’s struggling to breathe evenly. “’magine that,” his voice is too high. “Harry Styles finally coming clean ‘bout his…phenomenally low intellectual-levels.”

At this the Alpha chuckles, “Confidential information, ‘tis.”

Uncurling his fingers from the Alpha’s hair, Louis forces himself to sit up again, smiling softly, “Really, Hazza, thank you.”

“Would you have listened anyway? Would you have stayed, if I didn’t agree?” he asks warily.

Louis blushes, and bites his lip, shaking his head silently (because he’d have found a way to get out).

“Didn’t think so,” Harry whispers smugly. “We’d have gotten into an argument. And I don’t want that. Not here, not now. So ‘m giving you four hours away from me,” long, deft fingers trace the curve of his spine, slipping underneath his shirt. And Louis doesn’t even recall why he’d ever want time away–not with the Alpha’s hot, hot skin branding his own. “And if you’re even a minute late I am going to retrieve you, bring you back, and teach you what it means to obey, yeah?”

“Yessir,” he jokes weakly, but Harry tenses beneath him–again, the Omega’s sure the words weren’t the right ones as whenever Louis says something particularly daft the Alpha always goes tense, and they’re back to the beginning, where the Omega has to practically force him to calm a bit. Distracting him works as well. “Why’re you so disinclined to let me go?”

“Aside from the fact that you’re going with those two,” the Alpha mutters. “There’s bound to be some Alphas and you–,”

“And ‘m yours,” Louis breathes sincerely. “Besides, if you haven’t noticed, not many Alphas approach me–they’re not looking for–,”

“Don’t,” Harry orders sharply. “Don’t say it. Because it’s not true. Everywhere we go there’s another fucking Alpha staring at you. And it’s one more Alpha’s throat I literally imagine having my handsaround.”

Another shiver runs up Louis’s spine. “It’s not like they’re…you know…like they want me. They’re only sizing up a p-potential mate because it’s been scientifically proven the stronger–,” he begins to ramble until Harry sighs.

“Lou,” the Alpha says, and the boy’s words cease promptly. “They want you. All of ‘em–the fuckers.”

“Do you?” Louis blurts, voice an unsteady whisper as he hastily explains, in case Harry (somehow) doesn’t understand (or because he’s so nervous any instant of silence might kill him). “Want me, I mean…Am I…Am I who you desire?”

“You’re really asking me this?” the Alpha asks in disbelief.

Frowning, Louis can’t decide whether to be hurt or offended or relieved. “What’s so shocking–?” But he’s hushed by the Alpha’s lips, brushing the corner of his mouth before those lips curve into a grin. “You’re all I want,” this time Harry’s voice isn’t the least bit teasing– he’s serious and Louis’s breath catches. “I wanted you that first day in the hall. I wanted you when you threw flour in my face. I wanted you when you bit me, and I want you now. You’re all I want, and desire, and covet, and all I will always want and desire and covet.” Oh.

Louis’s eyes slide shut. “You…You’ve never let on.”

“I have,” Harry disagrees. “I told you, Louis, you’re all I think about. And now you know some of those thoughts aren't exactly appropriate.”

“You never did get around to explaining what…what…? You know,” Louis mumbles shyly.

Laughing, the Alpha shakes his head, and then shifts so that Louis’s seated on the sofa, but pressed against his side. “You can guess, love.”

“You know I can’t,” he grumbles. “Unlike some, I can’t very well–,”

“You are so fuckin’ impossible,” it’s an Irish shriek as Ireland himself storms downstairs–Josh on his heels.

“Ni…”

“SHUT UP! I don’t want to hear you. I want to throw the fuckin’ sofa at you!” Well then.

Amused, Louis conceals his smile in Harry’s arm. “The sofa?” his Alpha questions, “Under different circumstances I’d tell you go for it, but as Louis’s sitting here…’m advising you not to. Plus, it’ll probably ruin the paint on the walls, to which some poor fellow worked so hard to perfect.”

“Styles,” Niall hisses, rushing past them, “Shut yer fuckin’ mouth.”

“Harsh,” Louis comments, noticing how Harry’s gone silent. “But effective.”

In the distance another door slams shut and then Josh growls, “Niall! You’re being unreasonable!” And then the Omega’s to-be-mate is gone, following Niall.

Snickering, Louis says, “And he said I couldn’t do it.”

“Do what exactly?”

“Um…” the Omega fumbles, realising he’s slipped up. “Well…wha-what happened was…Niall kinda said Icouldn’tconviceyoutoletmego.

“Come again,” there’s a trace of amusement in his voice and Louis hopes he’s not imagining it.

“Niall said,” his cheeks are pink again, he’s sure, “I-I couldn’t convince you to let me go without you.”

There’s one brief moment of silence (to which Louis is flooded with guilt) when Harry speaks at last, “Well. You certainly proved him wrong.”

∞∞∞

                                Louis’s not even left the bloody penthouse when the buzz, once again, becomes a deadweight over Harry’s shoulders. Without permission the Alpha lowers his face into the boy’s wispy hair, breathing in that scent to earn a bit of reprieve–except seconds behind is his Alphas backlash as his body identifies the Omega’s sweet, floral scent. Fuck. One cruel wave of heat crashes into, then over, him. Unknowing, the Omega shuffles into his lap again, so fucking unaware that his pheromones are wrecking through Harry’s insides, urging him on. And the Alpha doesn’t know whether to be grateful his cock isn’t nestled by the boy’s luscious arse, or disappointed because that arse is so achingly close, inches apart. “You’re like furnace right now, Hazza,” the boy says quietly. “I think you’re running a fever.”

And then Louis touches him, fingertips light over his forehead, brushing the curls from his face, and Harry nearly groans, swallowing the sound to croak, “Nah. ‘S hot in ‘ere.”

The little v appears between Louis’s brows. “You think so?”

“Mhm,” is the only sound Harry can make that won’t become a growl.

Just as the Omega opens his mouth to reply, Niall returns, and trailing him is Josh who looks proper pissed. Somehow, the two end up in the kitchen, and the Irish Omega goes through the drawers. For the moment Harry is distracted from his body’s needs, and able to think again, because he thinks Niall is searching for a knife.

Josh–causal as ever–leans against the fridge, watching guardedly, like this has happened before. Don’t want bloodied walls, Harry thinks idly, before sighing, “Actually, you’re probably right. Go upstairs while I grab a bottle of water.”  Believable enough.

Looking ridiculously worried, Louis nods, “Okay,” and then Harry watches the Omega go; of course he tries not to stare at his arse, but it’s impossible not to, because it’s fuckin’ glorious and his cock thinks so to, as twitches against the harsh material of his trousers.

When the Omega’s disappeared the Alpha rearranges himself to the best of his ability and stands. Vision sharp, the Alpha starts towards the couple, but in his determination to get into the kitchen before Niall murders Josh, Harry doesn’t notice Zayn, and nearly kills himself with his shit balance–then they’re falling. He’s not even righted himself when he goes for Zayn, gripping the Omega’s arm in attempts to get him vertical again. Of course it doesn’t work. In the end both wind up crumpled on the floor, and the Alpha groans, sitting up again to help his best-mate, whose features are contorted with pain.

Bloody Hell,” Zayn gasps. “You’re a walking death-machine.”

“Sorry,” he mutters, then, “What the Hell were you doin’, racing down here like that?”

“I wanted to talk to you,” the other says, rubbing his cheek.

“’M listening,” the Alpha mutters–the new scent only heightens his need for Louis, but at least Niall and Josh are long, long forgotten.

“Was thinkin’ to get another tattoo tomorrow.”

“Actually,” Harry says through clenched teeth. “I’ve been thinking too. And the whole tattoo scene is getting old. I think a piercings in order. Somethin’ different.”

“A piercing? Where?” the Omega demands, sharp eyes focused on him.

“Dunno,” Harry shrugs, then jokingly, “My nipples.”

Something lights Zayn’s eyes–well perhaps they’re a bit to alike, “Wicked,” they murmur at the same time.

“I’m in,” the Alpha nods, grinning wolfishly. “But, perhaps the whole nipple-piercing should stay between us. I dunno how Lou would take it.”

“Did I just hear nipple and piercing in the same sentence?” it’s Ireland, who prances into the doorway with a shit-eating grin–so much for keeping it between two.

“Niall,” Josh calls softly before joining the Irish boy in the entryway, “I’m sorry darling, but did you forget we were arguing?”

“Of course not,” the Irish boy shoots him a murderous (his assumptions are confirmed). “I paused our row because Harry’s getting his nipples pierced. Ah, piercings, they are something to behold on the right body,” and the glare turns into something hungry. Wincing, the Alpha looks away, disturbed.

“Anyways,” Niall continues, like he wasn’t eye-fucking Josh mere seconds ago. “We know the perfect place not too far from here to get them done! We visited last summer! It’s where Josh went for his piercing.”

And the room seems to freeze–everyone avoids the others gaze (even Niall has the grace to blush). Hell, someone has to rip the bloody bandage, crush the elephant, the likes, and it doesn’t look like the others plan on it, so Harry manages, “Uh, what piercing mate?”

“A piercing in a special place you will never know of,” Niall recovers first–if Harry was doubting it before, enlightenment finds him in the worst of ways.

“Fuck,” the profanity is vicious as Harry runs a hand down his face, “I did not need to hear that. You two disgust me.”

“Whatever,” Niall snaps, then turning to Josh, with evil in those blue eyes, “Resume, you fucking dick!” And the two start at it again, just like that.

In disbelief the Alpha looks to Zayn, who looks extremely revolted, inhaling deeply before blinking. “Harry, mate,” he says slowly, around Niall’s insults, “You need to get ahold of your Alpha–I can smell it.”

“Workin’ on it,” Harry replies, but before he has the chance to really focus on dominating again, Louis appears, in full-blow pouty-mode.

“You ditched me,” he accuses, gaze to the floor.

“No,” the Alpha stands, choosing to ignore Zayn’s look of concern to cross over to his Omega, “I was on my way. Just…got a bit side-tracked.” And when he grabs the boy’s hand, Louis sighs and inches closer (probably without meaning to).

“’Kay,” the boy mumbles, voice unusually quiet, then he blinks, doe-eyed, “You’re still blazing, Hazza.”

“’m okay,” he lies–the Omega’s scent is causing the need to return, but it’s manageable, has to be. “Let’s go.” Wordlessly, the Omega turns, their hands remain intertwined as Louis tugs him up the steps and into their room. Inside its too late to attempt to cool down before the flames rise, he’s blistering. Well, he’s gatta prepare for Hell somehow.

∞∞∞…

                It’s an endless thirty minutes before Niall emerges from his bedroom. Louis is upstairs with Harry, who fiddles with his laptop doing God know what, with one possessive hand around Louis’s ankle, hot as a brand as the boy drags his own fingers over the patterns of his book, to which he cannot manage to remember the name (and is too lazy to figure it out) becoming increasingly distracted by the patterns being shaped into his ankle; he thinks there’s a heart or two there, and with his face covered by his book, concealing his smile, Louis murmurs, “You’re drawin’ hearts into my ankles.”

“Mmm,” Harry hums in agreement, “What’s funny about that?”

And there the Alpha goes again, with those accurate guesses concerning Louis’s emotions. “Who says ‘m amused?”

Pausing, Harry sighs, “Guess I never got around to that. It’s weird…Like, there’s this co–,”

Before the Alpha can finish there’s an outraged shriek from another room. “Two hours! Two bloody hours!” Then, in comes Niall, muttering, “That’s it. We are leaving! I cannot stand to be here another minute! “

In response, from their bedroom, Josh calls, “Two hours!” And the Alpha doesn’t even sound fazed by his Omega’s wrath, rather the bloke sounds pleasantly amused.

Surely red-faced in his anger the Irish boy snarls, “I’ll be waiting outside! Five minutes,” before the door clicks shut behind him.

“That’s my cue,” Louis mumbles, sitting up and smiling softly at Harry.

Shutting his laptop the Alpha shifts, and that hand leaves his ankle to find his hand, “Don’t go,” he breathes, voice smoldering, but not commanding in the least. Instead, it’s like one last attempt at persuasion. Of course the Alpha must already know it’s not going to change his mind.

“Harry…” the boy starts, unable to finish because Harry leans down to kiss him, but pauses before his lips touch Louis’s–the Omega knows those eyes are searching his own, wanting, asking permission. Relenting, Louis raises his lips so that Harry kisses him, knowing he’s going to miss this for an entire four hours–he lets his resistance go. Involuntarily his hands move and twists into his thick curls, pulling him in, Louis’s mouth parts, waiting until the Alpha’s tongue teases his. Louis sighs, and the world dips and disappears from view as Harry’s hand grasps the nape of his neck, deepening the kiss, responding to his ardor.

“I can’t persuade you to stay?” the Alpha breathes between small, soft kisses.

“N-No,” though it’s not true, but… “’m going. It’s not forever–it’s only four hour.” Why does it sound so long?

“Now it’s two,” Harry mutters grudgingly, distancing them some as those fingers glide between Louis’s, intertwining their hands again.

“Really?” the Omega asks, arching an eyebrow, “When has Niall ever listened to anybody?

“A man could hope.” Still, nobody moves, their hands feel locked.

“Haz…C’mon,” Louis sighs, “Lemme go.”

“Let me give you something first.”

Intrigued the Omega nods, and without another word Harry stands, crosses the room and grabs something. Settling beside him again the Alpha places that something in his hands; when Louis closes his hand around the plastic card, a dark cloud of realisation comes over him and inwardly he cringes, “No. I don’t want this. Take it back.”

“Louis,” the Alpha groans. “Don’t–you’re going to take it because letting you go is literally tearing me up inside–knowing you at least have something will make me feel better.”

Louis swallows, torn between guilt and pure, undiluted mulishness. But, sighing, the Omega nods, “You can’t just leave good enough alone, can you?”

“Lou, it’s not a big deal! Besides, it’ll be like a little Minnie-Me,” there’s that winning grin in the Alpha’s voice–damn him.

“Fine,” the Omega snivels, closing his hand around the spiteful plastic-thing, “I’ll take the bloody card.”

“Thank you, the codes thirteen-zero-one,” the Alpha murmurs. “Now, let me walk you downstairs.”

“No,” Louis says. “You won’t let me out that door if you’re downstairs, I know you. Or you’ll follow us or–,”

“Christ, Lou,” Harry interrupts, “I’m not a stalker!” Like the Omega’s going to buy that.

Louis squeezes his hand, “Harry, please. I will miss you. You know I will. But I need some space.” Because I need to know that I can still manage to be okay without you.

“Four hours,” the Alpha repeats slowly. “Just…be safe. And keep close to Niall–no, Zayn, keep close to Zayn and–,”

“Harry!” Louis says again, grinning despite himself. “I will be fine. Stop worrying so much. I’m not helpless.”

“Aren’t you?”

“Okay! Times up!” Niall declares, marching back inside. “Get your bloody paw off him, Styles.” And then the Irish boy bats Harry’s hand away–strangely, Harry lets go. Before Louis can stop Niall, because he certainly wasn’t going to let the Alpha off the hook with that comment, but the Irish boy really is in a rush to leave as everything rapidly blurs by, and then Louis is stumbling down the stairs with Niall’s hand tight around his wrist–like he’s worried Louis’s going to storm back upstairs and change his mind.

“Two fuckin’ hours!” Niall rants on the way down. “Who does he think he is? My dad! Hell, even my Dad would give me more time than that. Like, honestly, what the fuck are we going to do in two hours? Fuck that, fuck him, I am going to stay out however long I want.” Louis is about ninety-nine percent sure that’s not going to happen–surely Harry figured this as well.

Louis smiles, because, “I wouldn’t know,” it’s smug, “I have four hours.”

In retaliation the Irish Omega squeezes his wrist, practically wrenching him down three more steps. “You two are a depressing couple,” it’s Zayn, who’s directly behind them now, and he’s haughtier than Louis. “I don’t have any time-span. Because Liam can’t say shit, I do what I want.” For now.

Niall snorts. “Don’t worry, mate. It’ll come–maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it will come and then you’re going to be glued to Liam’s side.”

“I give it a month,” Louis adds.

Like it’s completely improbable, Zayn chuckles, “You’re on.”

Wisely, Louis decides to hold his tongue, because Zayn doesn’t seem to take well to being controlled, but the thing is, Liam is controlling–even as an eleven year old boy it was always Liam who decided what they did, where they went, and all those considerable details both he and Niall always overlooked. So, the Omega is fairly confident that it’s only going to take a month before his best-mate becomes overbearingly protective of the Omega–a natural bonding result for any Alpha.

With a loud, obnoxious, “WE ARE LEAVING!” Niall throws the door open and walks them into the garage, where one car sounds as it unlocks. “A car?” Louis asks.

“You didn’t really think Haz was going to let us walk, did you?” Zayn mutters, “Besides, he’s got about a hundred or so and it’s about time one of them is put to use.” Once again, Louis is reminded of Harry’s wealth–which makes him extremely uncomfortable for some unknown reason.

Shaking himself the Omega climbs into the backseat and manages (after a few tries) to buckle. There, Louis retrieves his wallet from his pocket and stuffs the stupid card inside– there’s certainly no way he’s going to use it.

“Where’re we goin’ anyway?” Louis wonders when Niall starts the vehicle.

“Shopping, of course–if we’re going out tonight we have to get new clothes. Your wardrobe isn’t proper enough for Operation Orgasm.” Oh no!

“Operation what?” Zayn sputters from the passenger’s side.

Turning sharply, Niall cackles, “Oh yeah! I forgot you don’t know! Louis’s gettin’ laid!”

“No!” Louis cries, flushing, “That’s…That’s not…Oh, my God, Niall! I hate you!

Without speaking, Zayn cranes around and Louis knows exactly when that curious gaze lands on him. “What exactly are you getting at, Lou?”

“It’s not a crime to be touched a little!” he exclaims, mortified.

“You’re right,” the other Omega murmurs, and to say Louis’s shocked is an understatement. “’S not. And I’m not getting in your business, but I know Harry, Lou…And he thinks everything through.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Louis demands, mortified and confused now.

“I’m going to get so much shit for this. But he’s convinced that you’re too young, or innocent, or whatever else to know what you’re asking for. And I don’t think the fact that you might want any sort of sexual interaction has ever crossed his mind.”

“But…he says he wants me,” the Omega tells Zayn quietly. “And nothing ever comes of it.”

“Like I said, he doesn’t think you want him that way. And if he does, he thinks it’s in the natural, emotional way.”

“Exactly! That’s what I’ve been sayin’!” Niall pipes.

“Shut up,” Louis snaps, then to Zayn, “D’you think…if I do this it will make him understand?

“It could,” his Alpha’s best-mate allows. “But, more likely than not, it’s going to make him want you more, not make him think you want him. You’ve gatta take action.”

“Take…action?”

“Yes, Louis,” Zayn says as the car comes to a screeching halt. “I know Alpha’s–no, I know Harry, and I’m telling you that words won’t work. You’ve gatta force his. You want him, you gatta sit on his–,”

Oi! That is enough,” Niall squawks. “Do not tarnish his tender sensibilities.”

Louis glares, “This is the twenty first century, idiot! And anyway, you’ve already accomplished that!”

“No, no I really have not. There’s a difference between following your instincts, and following directions. ‘Cause that’s what going to happen if you test his limits–do you really want this Alpha to fuck you?” It’s so…dirty–whatever happened to making love, or whatever?

Eyes wide as saucers, the Omega shakes his head quickly.

“Didn’t think so. You’ve gatta take it one-step-at-a-time! And eventually Harry will catch on. You can’t just spring it on him.”

“I’m so confused!” the Omega groans. “You’re telling me to go through this slowly. Zayn’s telling me to take action! What’s next? Is Li going to show up and claim the proper way is to wait it out until the Council blesses us?!”

“That is something Liam would say,” Zayn mutters sourly. “But in all seriousness, Lou, we’re not you, and we’re certainly not Harry. We can only help so much–everything else is up to you. You’ll know what to do when it comes down to it.” Yeah right, Louis thinks.

But,” Niall says, “There’s no harm in teasing him a bit.”

“None at all,” Zayn agrees deviously.

“Then can we please get on with it,” Louis mumbles, “Because I’m pretty sure we’ve wasted over thirty minutes already.”

Just like that everyone is scrambling out of the car. From there both Niall and Zayn drag him into many shops to which neither could pronounce. And Louis tries on more clothes than ever before; it’s like from the films Lottie’s told him about, where the Omega goes with their friends and tries on clothes that their friends have chosen for whatever reason.

“I don’t like the shoes,” Niall says–they’re in the latest shop–after about fifteen outfits.

“Really?” Zayn asks. “I think they’re…interesting.” And the two go back and forth about it until Louis has had enough.

“They feel like heels,” the Omega grumbles, kicking them off and sighing in relief. “They’re staying right here.”

“Told ya!” the Irish boy says, and Louis can almost hear Zayn rolling his eyes before the Omega mutters, “I need a cigarette.”

“You’ll need new lungs too,” Niall calls as Zayn walks away, then laughs (when Louis asks what’s so funny the Irish lad only says “it’s the finger,” which Louis doesn’t understand, but doesn’t have the chance to care as another trip into the changing room is launched).

Too many outfits to count are trashed and the Omega is ready to give up when Niall tosses another outfit into the changing room. “Niiii,” he whines, shrugging out of the latest ‘no’. “’M tired. We’ve been at this for so long!”

“Louis, I’m sure this is the one,” Niall replies–he’d said the exact same for the last twenty. When Louis tells him this the Irish lad snaps, “D’you wanna look good for your Alpha?”

Without bothering to respond Louis shimmies into the trousers (not even put off by the skin-tight-fit at this point). For some reason, the Omega runs his palms down his thighs and thinks; this may very well be the one, before tugging on the accompanying shirt.

Meekly, praying this is it because it feels like it, not over-the-top like those other outfits, Louis leaves the dressing room and walks over to where Niall and Zayn sit, waiting.

“Wow,” Niall’s first to breathe–Louis nearly breaks into a victory dance.

“Turn ‘round,” Zayn murmurs next, and there’s a tinge of admiration in his normal stoic tone. Without questioning him, the Omega does so, chewing nervously at his lip.

“It’s…Holy shit, God save Harry’s soul,” Niall bursts out.

“This is it,” Zayn agrees. “The one.”

Curiously, Louis asks, “What colour are the trousers?”

“White,” Zayn answers slowly–and Louis searches his mind for the colour, but there’s nothing to find, even knowing he’s seen white before, when he was young. Slightly disappointed, the Omega shrugs, then fidgets, reminded by the material, that it’s lovely anyway,and the delight returns.

Agreeing wholeheartedly, Niall shoos Louis back into the dressing room, where he reluctantly undresses (feeling considerably plain without the trousers hugging his thighs, and his bum) and pulls his own clothes on again. At the cashier Louis places the clothing down and hands Niall his money where the Irish lad pays and then hands him the bags.

“It’s been two hours, Ni,” Zayn reminds. “You wanna head back?”

“Of course not!” the Irish lad doesn’t sound the least bit worried that he’s testing his Alpha. “We have four hours, if I’m correct. And the outfit isn’t complete.”

Louis frowns, “What more is there…?”

“Shoes,” Niall starts, then gasps, “Oh my God! Victoria Secrets! Yes! YES. We have too!” Oh, no.

“I am not going in there,” Zayn declares. “No. Fuck that. You are…” Somehow, the three end up in Victoria bloody Secrets and Louis is never going to rely on Zayn to get them out of Niall’s schemes ever again. Because suddenly Zayn’s become part of them and, much like Louis cannot seem to escape Niall’s wrath anymore than a fish can fight a shark–yes, Niall is the shark, the Irish, bossy shark who feeds on everyone’s discomfort. Well, it’s not like Louis didn’t know that already, but Zayn…Zayn’s beginning to learn.

∞…∞

                It’s not even three minutes that the trios left when Harry’s on the phone, which rings only once (very much worth thousands). “Styles, haven’t heard from you in a while. How can I be of aid?” that auto-tuned voice purrs.              

“Your best security,” he orders evenly before giving the necessary details: the vehicle, the shopping centre, descriptions, the likes.

“On it. But why exactly are my men following three Omega’s about Paris?” the nameless voice asks through the other line.

“You’re following three Omega’s because I’m paying you too,” the Alpha growls. “Ask another stupid question and you’re no longer employed.”

“We’ll be in touch,” the voice mutters before ending the call. Even knowing the boys are being watched by the most prestigious security team in the UK doesn’t help as the Alpha paces around the cage-like room. Like this, his resolve begins to crumble, because his Alpha isn’t having it, and the buzz agrees. Unexpectedly, someone knocks on the door–gatta be Liam, who else knocks anymore?–“Can we talk?”

“I can’t even think to be honest,” the Alpha manages, clutching his head with one hand because his temples are throbbing cruelly, “Might wanna come back later.” When I’m not about to lose my shit.

“It’s important.” Of course it is, Harry thinks, remaining silent, hoping–stupidly–Liam might go away, but.

“I don’t want your scent in here,” Harry snarls when the door handle turns–there’s no helping it; he has to claim something of Louis’s.

“Then come outside,” Liam murmurs pleasantly, the bastard. Whirling around, growling under his breath, Harry swings the door open, glaring at Liam for only seconds when he realises how absolutely torn up the other Alpha looks–it’s fucking disturbing really.

“Don’t look at me like that!” he mutters, scowling.

“Like what?” the other asks, shoulders slumped.

“Like you want me to cuddle you or summat!” Harry exclaims, instantly regretting his tone as pain shoot through the back of his head. Still, fuck it, the bit of pain controls him, makes himcareful of his actions. “Get it together, mate.”

Liam snorts, “Hate to break it to you, Harry, but you don’t look any better. Worse in fact.”

“Which one of us in their rut here?” the Alpha spits, inhaling before making a disgusted face, “And you fuckin’ stink.

“Look who’s talking! You should take a whiff of yourself,” the other retorts, straightening to his full height. “Your hormones are practically suffocating the entire place.”

“Whatever,” Harry snaps, crossing his arms and regarding the other Alpha with cool eyes. “Come on then, tell Papa Styles what’s wrong?” as he speaks his mouth curves into a forced, lopsided grin.

Liam bristles, glaring despite his soft eyes. “Rest assured, I’m going coming to you because…Well, you know Zayn, yeah?”

So that’s what’s up the Alpha thinks–makes sense. “Don’t we all know him?”

“You know, you’re much easier to get along with when Louis’s about.” Tell me somethin’ I don’t know–Louis brings out the best in him. Waving the words away with his hand, Harry waits until Liam continues.

“So, from what Zayn tells me…you’ve known each other a while now.”

“Six years,” Harry supplies vaguely. “What’s your point, mate?”

“Just…” and the poor bloke looks so lost that Harry almost feels bad for him, because he does know Zayn. And he’s known the other in almost every way possible; they’d always clicked, in the way that Zayn could see passed that dickhead, thirteen year old who hated the world, and Harry could see through the thirteen year old boy who hid behind arts, and cool eyes, but who’s ink-stained fingers shook whenever any Alpha approached him. And somehow the two most unlike each other would become one of the most important people in each other’s lives. One day, maybe those shattered moments won’t seem so shattered anymore. “Honestly, I don’t understand how the Hell you managed to get through his walls. Because it’s so difficult for me to even get him to tell me anything about himself. And…I need to know that I’m not putting myself out there for no reason.”

Well fuck.

Harry curses, “Damn it, Z!” then pins the Alpha with a pitiless glare. “He does this every bloody time. Finds the worst Alpha’s in the world to open up too and doesn’t even give the alright blokes a second glance.”

At the stark rage on Liam’s features the Alpha runs a hand through his hair again. “It’s not him, you know,” Harry continues, willing the other to understand his honesty. “This whole ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck’ bullshit–it’s not him…He’s just…” And he starts cursing again, because he can’t, refuses to divulge information–it’s the sort of betrayal that’s burned Zayn too-many-times before. “I can’t…Just give him time, yeah? That’s all I can really say.”

“How long did it take you to get him to open up?” the other demands–eye’s narrowed slits. Like Harry’s competition–Jesus, hasn’t he noticed that Louis is all Harry looks at?

Flinching, the Alpha mutters, “That’s different. Shit’s happened since we were two thirteen year old children.”

“Who’s hurt him?” Liam asks–that tone of his is really getting on Harry’s nerves now. “Why’s  he so cynical?Aren’t we all?

“Liam,” the Alpha murmurs evenly. “That’s himsure, it wasn’t always him, but it’s not been easy for him. Just don’t let him drive you away…He fancies you. He really does, but it’s going to take time for him to realise…that it won’t hurt him to fancy you any more than it did to fancy the others.”

Releasing a long, exhausted exhale, the puppy-eyed Alpha nods, “Alright, time…it takes time. I get that.”

“But, be warned, you hurt him, or toy with his feelings and I will hunt you down and make that the other’s received look like Christmas presents compared to what I will do to you. Understood?”

With an annoyed growl the other Alpha bears his teeth, canines sharp and ready to sink into some flesh–his Alpha snorts, would like to see the other try. “Don’t threaten me, Styles. You have no right.”

“True,” Harry allows, nodding. “I don’t–but I won’t repeat past mistakes and watch another Alpha treat him like he’s nothin’. And I certainly won’t’ underestimate an Alpha’s capabilities. So, I’m putting it out there; put your hands on him, Hell, say on wrong word and I will smash your face. Alpha to Alpha, yeah?”

There’s a split second that Liam looks shocked, but then his rage escalates to levels Harry’s felt many time before. “Please, tell me they didn’t?” it’s a cold breath–Harry can relate, but he stays quiet and lets the salt sink into the wound–and he doesn’t even blame Liam for his incredulity either, at first, when the rumors started he didn’t believe it…until he’d forced himself into Zayn’s house and saw it with his own eyes. “They touched him?”

When the ugly memories start to come to mind the Alpha shakes his head to clear them, then laughs without humour. “You don’t even know the half of it.” And then he turns to isolate himself in the bedroom once again when Liam continues, “Jesus Christ. Tell me…”

“Like I said,” he sighs tiredly–he doesn’t enjoy bringing up the past, takes too much effort to feel shitty all over again. “Shit happens–trust me, they got what was comin’ to them.” And more.

“Wait. There’s…one more thing.” Here it comes, the inevitable question he’s been asked by the paparazzi, his scare “friends” and even, at one point, the top-bastard (daddy dearest) himself. A question Harry’s never once answered to anyone but Louis, because it wasn’t anyone’s business, still isn’t, but at this point, it’s becomes Liam’s.

Steeling himself the Alpha pivots around again and murmurs, “No. It was never like that between us. We know each other far too well to even think about it. And, unlike some, I never fooled myself into believing my Alpha bonded with his Omega. We were careful to draw those boundaries. And in case you’ve not noticed yet, Zayn is ninety-eight percent virgin.”

“Ninety eight?” Liam snarls.

Grinning wickedly, an idea sparks within him. “Never said we didn’t touch a little.” Apparently, Harry underestimates Liam a bit too much, as one second he’s mocking the other with his laughter and the next something slams between his shoulders. Hissing at the pain the Alpha tries to deflect (out of habit) but ends up being tackled to the floor from behind with hands clamped around his throat. Wow, Harry thinks, impressed, Liam looks pissed. This makes Harry that much more confident the Alpha is committed to Zayn–that’s the look of a bonded mate, he’s sure.

“You touch him again and I’ll kill you.” Well, well, well, look who’s earned his Doggy-Badge. Adorable.

And then there’s a mad scramble to their side, no doubt Josh rushing to separate them, but Harry isn’t having it. “Josh! NO!” he drags some air in. “Between me…and him.” There’s a second that his vision blurs, but then it returns sharply, and though he’s struggling for oxygen, his voice is forceful as always.

“Relax, Liam…you dumb fuck…” Deep breath, “Nothing happened…Just needed to get your attention. Now loosen…your grip.”

Without answering the other Alpha eases his hold, but doesn’t get off him–christ the bastard weighs more than Harry’d initially though, but, whatever, the Alpha is too preoccupied with trying to breathe short breaths. A couple of times. “You feel your flow right now, Li? You feel that territorial urge? You’re bonding with him–‘s only a matter of time.”

“You are such a fuckin’ bastard,” Liam growls, then dismounts to let himself roll onto the floor beside him. “All this to prove a bloody point. I was about three seconds for killing you!” Highly unlikely. 

“I can think of worse ways to go,” he grunts, sitting up (his head spins with the motion).

“’M sure you can, masochistic fuck,” Josh voices now–extremely disapproving–Hell if Harry gives a fuck. “Always lookin’ for some sort of altercation.”

Grimacing, the Alpha rises to his feet,  and smoothes his clothing (leaving his disheveled mane be because there’s no use in rearranging it, as it’s grown too long, but he doubts he’ll even trim it anytime soon, he rather likes the shaggy look). “You know the directions to that place?” he asks, disappearing into his room to shove his wallet and keys into his back pocket.

“Yeah. But aren’t you going to wait on Z?”

“Fuck it,” Harry decides, shrugging. “’M sick of this place–it’s too empty without them. Besides,” he glances at his watch–a whooping twenty minutes had passed. Jesus, he’s pathetic. But as long as Louis doesn’t realise how whipped he is, Harry could keep it together. Which is why he’s on edge right now; partly because he is genuinely worried the boy could somehow get hurt (because while he trusts Zayn with his life, the Omega has a tendency to get caught up in his thoughts, and Harry really can’t trust Louis’s life with anyone else) Harry’s also a tad worried that some fucking Alpha might approach his boy, and yeah there is competition, and there’s not a second Harry is able to forget that. But, fuck if Harry says it–a male has to have his pride. At least as far as the outside world can see. “We have more than enough time to spare.”

It’s when they’re on their way, with Josh in the driver’s side because Harry’s never been good with directions (he wasn’t joking that time on the way to the park) that Liam asks, “So…Where exactly are we going?” Oh, right, Liam’s out of the loop–probably for the best.

Harry goes to answer when Josh parks–rather quick drive after all. “You got a weak stomach?” Harry asks instead.

When the Alpha rolls his eyes, Josh grins, “Alrighty then, let’s see some nips!”

“Nips? As in nipples?!” Liam all-but shouts, “I don’t know what kinky shit you two are on about but I don’t want any part in it!”

At this Harry laughs–because honestly. “’M getting my nipples pierced, fucker.”

“Oh,” then, “Why?” Ah, Liam, ever-the-practical-minded.

“You know,” the Alpha comments as they start in direction of the little shop called ‘the Edge’. “Not everything has to have some logical or deep reasoning behind it–if that were the case I dunno what the Hell my excuse would be for half the tattoos on my body.”

“There are quite a few,” Liam says, eyeing his arms distastefully. “Like, why the fuckin’ screws, of all things?”

“Excuse me,” Harry scoffs, “Have you seen Zayn’s tattoos? Don’t give me shit when your Omega has Zap splattered on his bloody arm.”

Inside, the three wait while a couple speaks to the highly-tattooed cashier, planning to get matching tattoos, and the Alpha wonders, idly, whether they’ve been blessed by the French Council or they’re like him and Zayn, who got matching hearts just for the Hell of it. As they’re holding hands, he figures it’s the first.

Uncaring, Harry looks over the shabby-shop, and his inner-critic comes to life. “Are you sure we should take their word for it? I mean look at this place, it’s about two seconds from falling apart,” he bites bluntly. “And the bloke doesn’t even speak English. I’m starting to think maybe I should’ve waited until we returned home.”

“Take the piss, Styles,” Josh mutters, amused. “Trust me, this place is perfect–my cock’s still hanging ‘round, mind the pun, so that’s proof enough.”

Disgusted, the Alpha shakes his head at Josh, then Liam starts in.

“Just get it over with,” the other grumbles, planting himself against the counter. “The moldy stench is making my head hurt, and don’t even give me that ‘doesn’t speak English’ bullshit. You speak French for fuck’s sakes.”

“You, my good Sir,” Harry says, smirking, “Need to take that dic–stick outta your arse. I was only referencing the legitimacy of this place.”  Then, turning to Josh, “And you–my nipples disappear I’m bashing your head in.”

Rolling his eyes, like Harry’s joking, the other Alpha says, “I wouldn’t–then you’d have to deal with Niall’s wrath–,” Harry shudders at the thought, “but, enough of this, let’s go get some nipples done.” Groaning, Harry allows this, giving the French artist–named Abel–very strict, specific instructions. And it’s quick, practically painless, then there are two steel-bars through each of his nipples, and sensitive as they’ve always been, they’re extremely sore, but the ache feels hot in the right ways. As he’s shrugging back into his shirt the material catches the little piercings and Harry hisses, thinking this could work out. Once they’ve paid, leaving a considerable tip for Abel (brilliant bastard) the three walk back to the car, and Harry checks his phone to find no texts or calls reporting anything out of the ordinary, which must be good.

From there Josh declares he’s hungry, so there’s another twenty or so minutes of pondering where to go before the three end up at some place Josh claimed to be paradise–after the last place the Alpha doesn’t quite believe him, that is until Harry sees this huge, lit-up sign that literally reads Paradise. Throwing an easy arm around the other Alpha’s shoulder, Harry grins, “You sly bastard. Could’ve elaborated. Rather showy, but it’ll do.” And throughout lunch the Alpha tries not to think about Louis; instead focusing on stabilizing his Alpha again. Even so, his mind works because his email is packed with work from his assistants and school-work, so much work, but Louis’s having fun, it’ll probably take a few hours to read through everything…Louis enjoys reading, though his attention strays to quickly, Louis, Louis and Louis. Well, he tried.

Someone thumps him on the shoulder, “Styles,” Josh says, "Not to sound paranoid, but I think that bloke over there is taking photos.”

Following his gaze, the Alpha finds a stocky bloke, looking anywhere but at them, but yeah, there’s a rather fastidious looking camera in his lap–obvious much?

With a pointed glare in warning, Harry turns back to Liam and Josh, sighing, “Ignore it. They’re just lookin’ for a story. It’s pointless to approach ‘em, they’re like leeches, only they feed off your words.”

“Does this happen much?”

“Not at home,” Harry mutters. “They know better. But when it comes to the outside world…”

“Tough,” Liam says, sympathetic enough that the Alpha’s hands fist. “I couldn’t handle it–we don’t have to stay, if you know…”

“It’s cool,” Harry says, “Like I said, ignore them.”

Looking unsure, Liam nods, and then strikes up another conversation that Harry can’t seem to focus on because his skin crawls–every single move is being watched and the Alpha hates it, knowing that tomorrow there will be one shittier article about Harry Styles–and his mistakes will slap him in the face once again.

Finally, when the others have finished their meals, the Alpha throws a few pounds down and doesn’t bother to wait, hoping that the rest of the leeches haven’t gathered outside. Well, sucks to suck, he thinks when, as soon as he steps outside the first flash goes off. Keeping his features smooth, Harry shoves through the throng, ignoring their calls and shouts…but then his ears catch it, “LOUIS TOMLINSON!” And his body stops dead.

First mistake–stopping to listen.

“Is it true!?” one woman asks over the other calls. Another flash. Several clicks. “Have you finally found your mate?!”

Second mistake–hesitation.

“Tell us! What makes Louis so special?” And he hates hearing his Omega’s name on their grimy mouths.
“Were you blessed?! When’s the ceremony!?”
“What does the Council think!? And your Father?!”

“HARRY! HARRY! WHO IS LOUIS TOMLINSON!?”

By now the Alpha can’t tell which direction the lot’s in, and the leeches are clinging to him, feeding. But he remains silent, shoving through their slimy bodies until breaking the barrier and inhaling the scentless air (heaven).

Snarling, he whirls around, going to make the third, fatal mistake–answer to them, because he’s fuming and tired and his skin is on fire, but someone grabs his arm, and one familiar voice speaks, “Jesus, they’re shameless!

“Let’s go,” Harry hears himself say as he turns his back to the leeches and makes his way out of the infested water. As he doesn’t trust himself (to not drive the car into a tree) Harry takes the passenger side, staring blankly through the windshield. Should’ve been more careful, a little voice hisses, now you’ve brought Louis into it.

Shutting his eyes, Harry ignores Liam and Josh’s insults (because ‘how could they possibly know about Lou?’ and ‘those fuckin’ creeps!’) only muttering, “Don’t go to the penthouse. Just…drive for a bit. Don’t think they know where we’re staying, and I don’t want them to find out.”

And so they drive, and drive, and drive until the Alpha cannot stand being in the vehicle for another thirty minutes and decides they’re in the safe. Back at the penthouse, Harry returns to their bedroom, and doesn’t leave, preoccupying himself with the stacked up work in his email until he’s partly through, and his mind is loaded with information he’ll no doubt make use of once he’s back at the manor. And the idea of going back, of returning to reality, causes his stomach to churn and his chest to burn from the inside out.

Slamming the laptop shut, the Alpha stands and sheds his clothes, encasing himself in the shower, wincing as the scolding torrent reaches his nipples, then shuddering at the intense sensation, some mixture of pain and pleasure–which is totally fine with him. A long time passes until he’s towel drying his hair, dressed again–in an open-collared shirt that reveals his swallows and is thin enough to show the steel-bars, black skinnies, and heavy, black boots.

Deciding its best not to check the time again the Alpha sits on the end of the bed, zoned out as he stares at the rings on his fingers. And he’s so focused on absolutely nothing that Harry doesn’t hear the door open, doesn’t even notice the bed creases with extra weight until slim arms circle his throat, and his Omega’s voice breaks through his mental-barriers. “Hi.”

With an unsteady exhale, Harry shuts his eyes, and feels his muscles relax a bit, but he doesn’t speak (because his voice might break, and he’s not inclined to sound so…so wrecked).

“Heard what happened today,” Louis whispers tentatively. The tension returns as Harry’s hands become fists at his thighs–but he still doesn’t speak.

“Haz…” this time it’s…upset as the boy’s gentle fingers run through his curls, probably ruining the careful style–but fuck if Harry cares. “C’mon, talk to me.”

“How was your day?” he asks very quietly.

“It was…weird,” the Omega mumbles. “I missed you–I think next time we’ll settle on two hours, yeah?”

“Why the change of heart?” his curiosity gets the better of him.

There’s one beat of silence before Louis nuzzles his throat, sweet breath warm on the skin of his throat, and answers (words muffled), “I don’t like leaving you alone. Scares me to think that every time I leave…I’ll come back to this. And we’ll have to start all over again.” And this boy never makes sense to him–which usually is one of his appeals, but not right now.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“That’s okay,” the boy breathes. “Not everything has some deep, philosophical meaning behind it.”

At this, Harry cannot help but smile. “I told Liam that same thing today. But I don’t think he got it.”

“Pity,” Louis says–but his amusement pours through the bond and for the first time in hours Harry’s mouth curves into a face-splitting grin. “But we’re much smarter than the lot downstairs, aren’t we?”

“Thought I was stupid?”

“Sometimes you are,” the boy mumbles openly–to which the Alpha can’t help but laugh at. “Like now,” Louis continues, and this quiets Harry again, “Mopping in this room because some pap know my name.”

“I…I never wanted to bring you into this, Lou,” he breathes, swallowing around the lump in his throat, “I don’t want you exposed to this shit. And–,”

“And nothing,” Louis interrupts, gripping his curls forcefully. “You think I didn’t expect this? They were bound to figure it out some time, Hazza. And so what?”

“So they’re going to take pictures of you, and say horrible things, and–,”

Sighing, the Omega untangles from Harry, who turns to watch him cocoon himself in the blankets until only his fingers are visible. “What’re you doing?” Harry demands.

“Shielding myself from your negativity. Don’t talk to me unless it’s what I want to hear.”

“What do you want to hear, Lou?”

“I want to hear you say that it’s okay–because that’s what I need to hear right now, okay? And then I want you to tell me that, while we’re here, you’re going to forget about them and the C-Council and the future and the s-s-stupid, stupid things you w-worry about,” the shaky outburst shocks Harry into reality. And he realises that the paparazzi isn’t scaring Louis, the Council isn’t scaring him, the future and all that they have to worry about are not scaring this boy–but he is. Freezing, cold, terrifying emotions crash into his chest, sinking beneath his skin and filling the spaces between his ribs–eating away at his warmth.

With some nameless noise that Harry refuses to acknowledge the Alpha stretches out beside the boy and pulls that beautiful, tiny body into his arms. And the Omega doesn’t struggle or fight against it, rather the boy places one dainty palm over his cheek, and wide, blue eyes stare evenly.

“Why’re you so good to me?” the Alpha starts unsteadily. “’m not good enough for you. I’m insensitive, and a short-fucking-fuse, and I am impossible to get along with sometimes, and I know I don’t make it easy…I don’t…I don’t deserve you.”

“And maybe I’m too sensitive, and I push you too hard sometimes, but too me you’re so easy to love. But I think…I think that one day you’re going to realise I’m not enough, and I’m not who you want, and it’s me who doesn’t deserve you. And that scares me more than any paparazzi or Council…or anything. I…I don’t need to hear the words…I don’t need easy and I don’t need an Alpha that always agrees with me, or sugar-coats the truth or lets me hit him and get away with it! I need you. That’s all I’m asking for. Not some stupid car, or some stupid card, or some stupid gifts or words…Just you.”

Just me…Harry doesn’t realise he’s repeated this until the boy giggles stuffily–scrubbing hastily at the tear that skates down his cheek.

“Y-Yes, idiot,” he whispers, smile watery, “Just my Hazza.” Without meaning to the Alpha begins to plant sweet kisses over his beautiful face, ignoring Louis’s giggling because ‘just me’ continues to blare in his mind and the words mean more than anything–more than the world, more than the Council, more than life.

“Thank you,” the Alpha breathes hoarsely against Louis’s mouth now, “Thank you.” In response the boy only makes one sweet noise–and Harry thinks those words won’t ever mean more than Louis himself. Because Harry can live with being used for his money, and he can live with being used for the fame, but he couldn’t ever live without Louis Tomlinson.

“I-If you keep kissing me, H-Hazza,” the boy breathes into his mouth now. “’M going to forget your gift.”

“Gift?” he doesn’t separate their mouths, Louis does, grinning impishly before sitting up, “Mhm!”

“What kinda gift?”

“You’re about to find out,” is all Louis says, all sparkling cobalt eyes and bubbly excitement. Not knowing what to make of this, the Alpha waits as the Omega scrambles to the side of the bed and grabs an unrecognisable bag, pulling the ‘gift’ out and placing it in his open palms.

Blinking, Harry slowly peers down at what’s in his hands, and like always, Louis’s managed to shock him again. And again. And again. Hell, the Alpha might be shocked into next year. Because this must be the shock-of-the-year.

Chapter Text

Harry stares at the object in his hands. And stares. And stares until Louis mumbles, “You…You have to open it…I…um, I know it’s not like…Niall said you’d appreciate a drink…and so I w-wanted to like add something f-from me…And um…”

Swallowing, the Alpha’s hands circle the…cock-shaped bottle, bringing it close to his face, examining the design and scrawl finding it’s tequila of some sort. Swallowing again, clearing his throat, the Alpha mutters, “Lou…”

“Open it!” the poor boy sounds close to tears. “Like I-I put my gift inside t-the cap, it’s held by the cork…” Reacting to his Omega’s distress, he places the bottle beside him on the duvet to pull Louis into his lap. In seconds the boy’s curled up there, so disappointed that Harry beings to laugh–Jesus, he’s laughed during this trip more than he’s laughed in his entire life, the throaty laughter escapes his mouth without any indication of ceasing. And while he laughs the Omega remains quiet, his emotions muddled, but the image of the knob-shaped bottle continues to flash through his thoughts and the Alpha can’t stop laughing, it’s cathartic and unstoppable.

“Oh, darling,” he breathes between chuckles. “You’re so…Fuck. You make me so happy.”

Louis squirms, then blows out an irritated breath, “Why’re you laughing?” But he sounds so hurt that Harry’s laughter does cease, and the Alpha peers down at the Omega who’s made himself unbelievably tinier against his chest.

“Lou.”

Hiding behind his hands, the boy doesn’t respond. With an entirely too fond sigh, Harry pries those hands from his face, hooking two fingers underneath his chin so those distant, gleaming eyes are exposed to him. “Love, I’m not laughing at you. I’m…Where’d you get this bottle?”

Louis shrugs helplessly. “N-Ni picked it out…and then I-I decided a bottle wasn’t enough. So…I put the ring inside to s-surprise you.”

Of course Niall–that little bastard. “Love…this bottle is…it’s shaped like cock. Chillingly so.” Or maybe I’m a pervert–honest, who knows?

Assessing his words, those vulnerable eyes go round and delicious pink stains his cheeks. “What?!” he screeches, voice higher than normal. Rooms away, perhaps on ground-level, the Alpha catches maniacal Irish-accented laughter–that little Irish bastard, he thinks again, more fond than he’d care to admit.

“I…I didn’t…Oh, my God,” Louis cries, scrambling out of his lap and into the duvet, working underneath the throw before pulling a pillow over his head.

“Not this again!” the Alpha exclaims, amused. “Kitten, come on. Don’t hide!”

“No,” Louis moans, seemingly horrified. “That’s so embarrassing. He is so evil. Why is he so evil, Harry?”

“It’s the Irish blood,” Harry comments, plucking up the bottle again and tugging the cork open in one fluid movement. A ring tumbles in his lap. Interested, the Alpha catches the band between his fingers and examines the piece in his palm–a single, steel band with cobalt gems engraved within its circumference. More indescribable emotion rises inside his panging chest as Harry closes his hands around the ring–in attempts to quell the sensations his main focus becomes breathing as he squeezes his eyes shut.

“I…I…” Louis shuffles and then is on his knees beside him, but the Alpha’s eyes remain shut, knowing there’s no chance he’s going to look at this Omega and continue living sanely. “I…know it’s not like flashy o-or anything…b-but it’s blue, yeah? A-and I was told it’s the colour of my eyes and I thought maybe it’d…remind you o-of me…?”

Practically everything reminds me of you–could listen to a law lecture and think you’d hate this because it’s boring, and you couldn’t possibly pay attention, you’d probably be distracted–

“It’s…perfect,” he manages, seconds-too-late. “I…Thank you. It’s…” Get it together, Styles.

“Really? You like it?” the hope carries in his voice.

“Of course I do,” the Alpha murmurs, slightly puzzled by that question, eyes opening to gaze at his little Omega, holding the duvet to his shoulders, looking outrageously nervous and hopeful and–, “I love it.” If you put a bloody pebble in my hand I’d love it.

And the Omega’s answering smile lights up his entire face, but his gaze lowers as he nods. “Is it the colour of my eyes?”

Even knowing the colour of Louis’s irises by heart, the Alpha murmurs, “Let me see them.” When the boy raises his gaze, still smiling, Harry doesn’t even bother looking at the ring again, because nothing compares to Louis’s gaze–the shade has this muted life to it, this dimmed intensity that nothing, not even the most magnificent gem, could ever compete with.

“I love it,” he simply repeats, even though the colour of those eyes and the gems etched into the ring are identical, it’s not nearly close enough. “It’s…the colour is stunning. Like your eyes. And I…Fuck, I love it.” To prove so, Harry slips the band onto his right forefinger, smirking at the sight.

Louis bites his bottom lip. “Is that all you can say, Styles?”

“Can I thank you?”

With the little v appearing between his brows, Louis starts, “Didn’t you alre…?” But his words falter because Harry brings him into his lap, wrapping his arms around the boy’s slim waist and resting his chin above Louis’s soft, gentle hair. “Thank you, kitten,” he breathes fervently, because that’s what one says when they’re grateful–still, as Harry’s not accustomed to receiving gifts often, it makes his heart do weird shit in his chest. “You make me happy. Really happy. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.”

“You deserve to be happy, Harry,” the boy whispers–words that the Alpha hopes are true as the Omega believes, but doesn’t quite believe himself.

“Only if you’re happy.”

“Well it so happens that ‘m only ever happy when I’m with you, Alphaboy.”

“Even when I’m being an insensitive, temperamental prat?”

Louis giggles, burrowing his face in Harry’s throat; the sensation of his cold nose on Harry’s skin isn’t one the Alpha’s likely to forget–ever. “Even then,” he breathes, then continues thoughtfully, “I told you, I fancy every Harry, and thus every Harry makes me happy.”

“Even Prince Harry?”

“Harold…” the Omega warns, rubbing his nose against his throat, “You’re ruining the moment.”

And the Alpha can’t help the laughter that rumbles from deep in his chest; he lives to tease his little Omega. “My most sincere apologies, kitten. I simply had too.

“Now I’m curious,” Louis declares.

“When aren’t you?”

One, small hand shoves at his shoulder lightly. “Oh shut up,” the Omega mumbles, then, “What’s the point of the Crown?”

“Mostly show,” the Alpha tells him matter-of-factly. “I mean, this is Britain, darling, we fancy our monarchy.”

Against his throat Louis sighs wistfully. “We do.”

“And we obey our Council, yes?”

“We do,” the boy repeats, tilting his head a bit. “But really we obey our Alphas. Beta’s included.”

They do,” Harry corrects sharply, contracting his hold on the boy’s delicate waist–his scent thickens around them, marking his Omega. “You obey me, little one.”

“Not at all,” Louis contradicts even as one short, unreasonably sexy purr follows. “But whatever helps you sleep at night, Styles.”

You help me sleep at night,” Harry breathes, feeling that tell-tale heat climb in his body.

“Dunno how,” Louis mutters. “’M a horrible lay–wait, I mean...” At that the Alpha chuckles, though it’s short-lived as his skin bursts into figurative flames.

“Hush,” Louis scolds, “You know what I mean. I don’t sleep still–that’s mostly why ‘m not allowed to fall asleep anywhere near the girls. Am I bruising you?” Quite often–call me masochistic, but it makes me never want to sleep beside anyone else again.

“Nope,” Harry lies. “Made out of steel, I am.”

With an amused snort the Omega begins to laugh as Harry pouts, then huffs, falling backwards to meet the mattress. Like this, Louis is sprawled over his lankier frame. Above him the Omega tries to roll away, but Harry places one, steady hand on his hip, keeping him in place.

“Stay,” he breathes, unable to help it, he’s on fire, and his cock’s throbbing in his trousers, but at this point Harry’s not beyond taunting his own body or fanning the flames.

Against him Louis relaxes, trailing one hand down his shoulder, flattening his palm over his heart, unknowingly tracing the start of his left swallow (some measures from his left nipple piercing). “Take me out tonight,” Louis says quietly, pulling his bottom lip between his sharp canines.

“Wherever you want,” Harry blurts, realising seconds-too-late that those words are going to come back to fuck with him.

“Promise?” And there’s the regret.

Nonetheless, “I promise.”

“We want to go drinking.”

“We?” Harry asks between gritted teeth.

“Niall, Zayn, and I.” Note to self–those two, bad fucking influences.

“I am never leaving the three of you alone together again.”

“You promised,” the Omega reminds him, voice small, beseeching, sensing the Alpha’s disapproval.

“I know,” he mutters bitterly, carrying the heel of his palm over his eyes. “Damn me.”

Giggling winningly the Omega sits up and clasps his hands together. “Thank you, thank you!” And then he dips forward, and breathes, “You make me so, so happy, you know.” 

“I’d better,” the Alpha growls lightheartedly, shifting so Louis ends up beneath him, grinning despite his irritation. Like this his frame shields Louis’s, but the boy doesn’t seem to mind the sudden change in position, which makes Harry smirk, thinking he belongs here, underneath him. “Cause then ‘m being daft without reason, kitten. And that’s unacceptable–I have a reputation to uphold.”

“Don’t worry, Hazza,” his delight is pouring over Harry. “Your big bad Alpha-Wolf reputation is safe with me.”

Rolling his eyes, Harry growls, “Prove yourself, little fiend.”

Louis laughs, then bats his lashes, tilting his head a bit as if to regard him, “Don’t you trust me?” I shouldn’t–I really fucking shouldn’t, you have too much power over me, you’re the only one who can keep me warm.

“Not for a second.” But too keep him from thinking into those words the Alpha leans forward to kiss him; mouth soft and gentle and willful over his, unable to help that his tongue runs along Louis’s bottom lip; taste-buds alive until Harry drops his head to the boy’s shoulder. Beneath him Louis breathes fast, heartbeat pounding against his chest.

“Should…” Louis starts, inhaling once again before continuing, “Should I start getting ready?”

“You’re going to have supper first.”

“Harry–,” he starts to protest but the Alpha kisses him again, silencing him.

“Enough.” When the Omega sighs, Harry continues, making it apparent that the subject isn’t up for conversation, “And don’t pout.”

There’s only a seconds silence before Louis sighs in defeat. “Fine, before you start obsessing over my eating habits,” when Louis pushes at his chest, Harry turns onto his back beside him. Sitting up the Omega goes for the bags beside the bed, there’s a small zip before he’s crossed-legged beside him again, hand outstretched.

Grudgingly, the Alpha takes the card from Louis, who’s…oddly smug. “I didn’t use it so you won’t have to like check for bills or anything.” Like Harry ever has to check for bills.

Something prods at him and the Alpha stiffens, sitting up. “What do you mean you didn’t use it? How did…?”

Now, hearing the anger in his voice, Louis bites his lip, meek. “Haz, please, don’t–,”

“Louis. Please, tell me you didn’t…” he’s raging inside–this ring, this bloody ring that feels like a rock on his finger now, must’ve cost more than a few hundred pounds.

“It wouldn’t be a gift if I’d purchased it with your money,” the boy snaps, there’s something extremely anxious in his voice.

“No,” Harry says, quietly now–trying to rein his temper. “Louis, this…No. You should not have wasted your–,”

“It’s not a waste!” Louis exclaims, almost matching his anger. Almost. “It’s not…” his voice softens, those eyes raise–begging him to understand something he couldn’t possibly. “You asked me to accept your gifts, yeah? And I did–I accepted every single one.” Harry goes to argue (because the boy had fussed and raved against ‘every single one’) when Louis finishes, “Now it’s your turn. Accept…or you can give it away or let it collect dust some place, but I am not taking it back.”

And the Alpha wonders when this happened, when Louis learnt to manipulate–without warning the tables have turned and Harry hates feeling so out of his element, especially now that he’s torn between feeling touched by the boy’s persistence, the thought that he’d went through the trouble to do this, and pissed because God damn it, it’s Harry’s place to spoil him. “Lou, you know I wouldn’t…”

“One way or another I’m not changing my mind. So, this conversation is over.” Well fuck.

“So,” Harry starts, grinding his teeth. “Are we eating in or out?”

Seriously, Louis shrugs, thoughts having strayed. “Up to you. Meanwhile, as you’re figuring that out, I am going to throttle and then possibly destroy a certain Irish twat.”

Disregarding the last bit, the Alpha says, “I’m thinking take out…”

“You lazy slob! No. You’re cooking,” the Omega decides, ever-the-contradiction, scrambling out of bed, hands trailing on the bed post as he starts for the door–the Alpha thinks, when he sees his trembling hands leave the support of the furniture, that Louis’s memorized the rooms arrangement, so he doesn’t have to use his hands.

“Definitely take out!” he calls when Louis disappears from view, heading in the correct direction, but using his hands again–sliding them on the walls–guiding his Omega, no doubt, is the ruckus the others are making, curses and conversations…just noise. Until there isn’t noise, there’s one, brief pause, then a surprised yelp followed by deep laughter, “Serves you right!” Josh states over Niall’s shrieks and Louis’s insults.

“Just wait!” his Omega shouts, voice reedy. “You are next, Malik!”

And as the Alpha rises from the bed, deciding he can’t miss this one, he’s once again reminded by Louis’s influence over him. Because more often than not Harry goes into isolation and stays there, locked up tight with his thoughts, unshaken by any of his Father’s commands, by Zayn’s bitching, or societies guidelines…Yet without even trying the Omega’s managed to return him to reality.

Pausing before the entrance of one of the many guests room, Harry tries to think rationally, reasonably, logically, like all the Council’s books have taught him...

Only one rational thought finds him: I am giving away more than I have to offer…

But, there goes rationality, because right now he doesn’t really care.

 

∞∞∞

           

                Though Louis is irritated beyond all sensible measures, and his hand is tangled in Niall’s hair, they’re both laughing–even as the Omega yanks at the tuff of hair in his grasp, attempting to get this Irish monkey off of him.

With one, cruel heave, Louis manages this, rolling onto the carpet, then straddling Niall, who’s cackling beneath him so much that the Omega wants to scream. Because screaming feels good–better than spouting words that he doesn’t mean in the moment of anger. “You are so bloody evil!” he does scream, and his throat is going to hurt from this later, but he doesn’t really care as he shoves the other’s face into the carpet–if he weren’t his best mate Louis’d give him some serious carpet-burns.

“I’m FUNNY!” Niall shoots back and Louis uses his other hand to pinch his side, earning another yelp.

“Knob-shaped bottle, Horan!” somehow or another the two end up rolling again, and in his attempts to rise first, his hand connects to the material of someone’s trouser-leg. “Aye! I didn’t–,” ah so it’s Zayn, who sounds pleasantly amused, watching the struggle. With another, banshee-like (it’s rather perfected, seems he’s learnt something from the girls after all) shriek, Louis wraps his arm around the other Omega’s thin leg, letting Niall’s pull on him, taking Zayn with them. Just like that the unsuspecting Omega loses his balance and topples over, coincidently landing on Niall (karma) who winces at the extra weight.

“Ha!” Louis calls, rising unsteadily to his feet; his head rushes a bit, but he manages to remain upright. “Admit defeat or suffer the consequences.”

“Yeah fuckin’ ri–,” Zayn starts, but Louis curls his fingers into claws and threatens tightly, “One more word, Malik. One more and you’re gonna regret it.”

Both grumble underneath their breath (Louis is sure he hears “twink” in there) as he places one hand on his hip and prompts, “I’m sorry, come again. I missed that.”

“We are sorry,” Zayn caves first.

“What are you even saying?” Niall protests, sounding disgusted. “I am certainly not–,” before the Evil-Irish-One even finishes Louis is starting forward, towards his voice, but halting his advance, someone grabs his hand, “Alright, love,” it’s Harry, of course, who’s long, lithe fingers fit between his. “You’ve gotten your revenge. I think it’s safe to say they’re sorry.”

“Niall’s not,” Louis pouts, glaring in the Evil-Irish-One’s direction.

“It’s Niall,” Harry says, mouth brushing his ear. “He doesn’t matter.”

“Heeeey! Now that’s–,”

“Shut up, cunt!” Louis hisses, and when Harry nips at his jaw shivers run up his spine.

“Language, darlin’,” he breathes as the Omega twists, hiding his face in Harry’s chest, calming within seconds as that scent settles over him. “But he’s mean,” Louis tells the material of his shirt. “And evil.”

“Can’t really blame him,” the other murmurs, almost pitying. “’S in his blood–barbarian savage.”

Louis grins, and nods in complete agreement–teasing and joking like this, taunting Niall, pleases him greatly.

“Come, I’m going to cook. And you’re going to help me, yeah?”

At those words, Louis perks up. “Goodbye, peasants! You’re not even worth my time–I’ve a higher calling!” And then the Omega tugs Harry out of the room with Niall calling, “Wait! Guy’s what’s for dinner?!”

∞∞∞

           

                Of course dinner isn’t exactly civil–because someone (Zayn is the traitor, he’s sure, because he’s sitting in that direction and surely it wasn’t Liam) tosses a piece of chicken at Louis which promptly starts a food-fight because Louis manages to miss Zayn completely (he couldn’t tell his exact location–the lad was purposefully quiet so Louis was surely set-to-miss) and get’s potatoes in Liam’s hair (“Tommo, my bloody hair!”). From there it’s chaotic and messy until the Omega finds himself ducked underneath the dining table, avoiding most of the edibles being tossed around.

Someone lands beside him and Louis cringes, thinking he’s been caught when a deep, memorable voice curses, “Damn it, this is why we can’t have anything nice!” the voice hisses (with all the commotion Louis nearly misses it) but then Harry’s calling, “Let’s move,” and trusting the Alpha, the Omega takes his hand. They manage to wriggle forward, laughing as they slip on some sort of food upon their quest to safety.

At last they’re reached the safe-haven; Louis squeezes into the space (between the sofa and the wall, he thinks) where nothing can reach them. There, the Omega leans into Harry, who’s completely soiled, worse off than he is. “Managed to save some dessert,” Harry whispers wolfishly and Louis absolutely adores him. And he almost says exactly that, but then two fingers swipe icing of some sort over his cheek and Louis pouts, “I thought we were allies,” he hisses, curiously swiping his index finger over the sticky frosting, sucking the sweet-topping and moaning at the taste.

Chucking the Alpha manages to press one soft, barely-there kiss onto his mouth–Louis’s heart soars in ways that should be impossible, or illegal at the very least.

“Harry?! Loooouiissss! Where are you?!” Josh calls–from there it spreads like wildfire and in seconds the search has begun. Louis pouts, not wanting their time to be up. Apparently the Alpha agrees, pressing two fingers to Louis’s lips with a soft, “Shh.” Nodding, the Omega hides his face in the slope of Harry’s throat, inhaling the scent of food and cologne and Harry, knowing once they’re found, they’re done for.

Mutters are nearby. And their shield is dragged away from them; the four hoot and shout in victory.

“These cunts hid!” Niall shrieks.

“Get ‘em!”

In response to the latter the four begin to hurl the remaining food at them. To say they’re completely covered becomes an understatement. Just when the Omega thinks it’s finished, he gasps as ice-cream (where did this come from? Had they raided the fridge!?) smacks into his face. At that, Harry laughs, and more edibles are targeted at him (karma, my darling Alphaboy, karma).

Somehow the Omega manages to wrap his arms around Harry’s shoulders, and somehow those arms pull him in. Though Louis keeps still, the Alpha doesn’t, whispering, “You’re right–they’re fuckin’ evil. But…I’m quite fond of these idiots.”

“I’m quite fond of them, too. Our idiots.”

Without warning, bottles are shaken, cans open and explode all over them–ice-cold, sticky, and fizzed.

In the end, Harry sends Zayn and Liam out for takeout, because “your Omega started all this! Get your bloody arses out there,” even as Louis insists, “’m really not hungry anymore, Haz. I’ve had enough!”. There’s no fighting a determined Harry Styles.

Thirty or so minutes later, still in ruined clothes, Louis sits cross-legged on the carpet (the table is still in ruins) while the Alpha sits beside him and slides a plate across the carpet before him.

Sighing, the Omega doesn’t touch the fork that Harry’s extended to him.

“You. Will. Eat,” his voice is deeper–if possible–with an Alpha’s certitude. Lowering his useless eyes, Louis sighs again, but takes the fork and stabs halfheartedly at the (broccoli and lamb) dish, shoving something (broccoli, he finds) into his mouth.

And, well, maybe he was still hungry. All the while Harry watches him (his gaze is so heavy on Louis, almost burning through him) as Louis chews and swallows each bite.

“’M sorry, Haz,” the Omega apologises, vaguely upset that the Alpha isn’t pleased with him. In response, there’s a second shift (shrugging, he’s sure), “If you’re going to drink tonight, Lou, you need to eat.” Then he goes back to eating (probably more than halfway finished. Stupid, bottomless pit).

But, he’s relieved the Alpha doesn’t seem seriously angry–still, to please him, Louis eats until he’s partway through and very, very full. When he’s about to claim so, Niall declares it’s time to get ready, tugging Louis from his spot beside Harry. Shooting a farewell smile in the Alpha’s direction, the Omega let’s himself be dragged away.

From there, he’s ushered into the shower, washing his hair four times, and scrubbing his body thoroughly, before leaving the steam-filled space. Outside, Louis doesn’t have the chance to gather his thoughts because Niall is waiting and promptly begins to mess with his damp hair, pondering whether to style is up or leave it fringy until finally deciding, “I think Harry likes it best this way, let’s tease it a bit and remember to keep it outta those pretty eyes, yeah.”

Dutifully, Louis nods, smiling through the minutes where Niall messes with his fringe until finally, much to the Omega’s glee, the Irish lad tells him to get dressed.

Scampering into the room in nothing but a towel, the Omega crouches at the bed where his bags were left, snagging the only articles of clothing there and unraveling the towel in his excitement.

“Oi! Wait, wait, wait!”

Squeaking, the Omega covers himself there, and feels his entire face light in flames as Niall continues carelessly, “You’re wearing these tonight,” and the Irish lad grabs his arm, placing some sort of material in his hand. 

Nervously, Louis closes his hand around the odd material and asks, “W-What is this, ex-exactly?”

Laughing, the Irish boy says, “Panties, of course!”

“I–,” Louis sputters, then manages, “I am not wearing knickers! No way! Not me! Not Louis!”

“Shh,” Niall hisses. “Keep your voice down! Those bloody Alpha’s have some super-sonic hearing or whatever. And what did I tell you about referring to yourself in third-person!? Anyway, yes, yes you are wearing them.”

“Why?!” Louis asks through clenched teeth.

With one deep, exasperated sigh, Niall growls, “Because, we are conditioning yer arse.”

Not understanding, the Omega fidgets, then realises Niall isn’t budging and asks quietly, “Well…are they at least pretty?

Giggling now, the Irish boy says, “Of course! They’re lacy! And black. And will look so perfect hugging that ass of yours.”

“Okay,” the Omega acquiesces, licking his lips hastily before telling the other to turn round because he’s self-conscious and doesn’t want to even think about being seen in pretty, lace panties. He’s a boy! Boy’s do not…they don’t wear pretty, lace panties! Not even Omega’s, surely. Blinking back tears, Louis slowly brings the lace up and over his arse. Admittedly, the material feels…pleasant enough, and does hug his arse in those magical ways that makes Louis feels especially pretty. It’s…pleasant.

With a small, relieved sigh, Louis crosses the room to his messy, open luggage (having memorized its location) and searches until he’s pulled out his lotions and sprays. Applying each the Omega finally feels ready to let the white trousers work their magic–when they’re on his heart is racing and he’s ecstatic at the tight, stretched feel, running his hands down his thighs. Right now Louis feels…sexy–and he’s giddy because he wants to be sexy for Harry, who deserves sexy–who makes Louis feel sexy.

“Okay?” Louis asks, chewing uneasily at his bottom lip.

“Okay!?” Niall squawks. “More like stunning. Glorious! Bootiful!”

With an exasperated breath, the Omega mutters, “You’re not funny.”

“Yes, I really am,” Niall calls happily, starting in direction of the door. And when Louis tries to follow the Irish boy stops him, “Ah ah! You’re staying here! I’ll be right back–stay.

Floundering, Louis stays, toying with his hands as the minutes tick by unbearably slow. So…slow…Unable to stop himself, Louis places one hand on the doorknob and carefully twists it so the door opens slightly. It’s very quiet and the Omega figures the coast must be clear. So, he steps outside with one, guiding hand on the wall, sliding with his movements…but he hasn’t quite gotten the area memorized and missteps.

Fumbling the Omega tries to balance, but it doesn’t work because abruptly there’s another hand gripping his arm, and his Alpha asks, “Lou, what’re you doin’?”

There’s something hot in his voice, causing shivers to crawl up Louis’s spine. “I…I…” he tries, but then he’s air-bound, the breath knocked out of him. Lightheaded, Louis doesn’t even struggle, then their bedroom door is being kicked shut behind them and he’s on his feet again, staggering even though Harry’s hand remains circled around his wrist, keeping his vertical.

“Turn round, kitten,” the Alpha orders in that voice that makes Louis’s insides melt. Wordless, the Omega turns, holding his breath as those eyes bore into him, causes his hands to tremble and his heart to race. And it feels like forever before Harry speaks again, “Now face me.”

Despite being fully clothed, Louis feels so bared, and doesn’t realise he’s closed his eyes until the Alpha crowds his space, tainting it with that fascinating scent, and some nameless current pulses between them, “Oh,” Louis sighs, overcome by the force, the need rising inside him.

“I feel it, too,” the words are mere breaths, but they sooth his anxiety, hold him immobile as his body reacts; his skin warms, breathing short, and down there he’s aching, no, everywhere, he’s aching everywhere, all over. And he craves his Alpha’s touch, desperate as every Omega gene that makes him wells up, “Please,” he breathes, because suddenly he needs to beg.

“Please what, kitten?”

“Please…” his voice is too reedy. “Please, please touch me.”

“Only once,” but it doesn’t sound like Harry’s even speaking to him–it’s more like he’s reminding himself–were Louis not so desperate he’d be upset over this. Why is Harry reminding himself not to touch me? “Just a bit.” Before the Omega’s thoughts reach his coherent mind, Harry’s bending, so that Louis reaches up and tangles his hands in those thick curls, waiting as the Alpha’s mouth brushes his, their breaths mingle. Hands tightening, Louis breathes again, shivering, “Please, Harry.”

Just like that the Alpha’s mouth claims his, lips demanding, firm and slow, molding their mouths. And the Omega whines at the sudden rush, high and broken as he responds eagerly, fisting Harry’s curls, clinging to him. Unprepared for this, the Alpha goes tense, but there’s something building inside Louis, and he needs to do something to make this happen. Needs it. Needs it. With a slight jolt, Harry growls, one arm circling his waist, closing the space between them so Louis’s body is soft against his solid frame, mouth releasing frantic, little breaths as the Alpha’s sharp canines tug at Louis’s bottom lip.

This urgency shocks him, but his mouth parts wantonly…except the Alpha doesn’t give him what he wants. Instead, Harry’s mouth curves into a smile against his as the Alpha’s breathing slows, “Knew it.”

Louis exhales shakily, unable to move. “K-Knew what?”

“Knew your enthusiasm was going to become an issue,” it’s a faint whisper against Louis’s mouth before those hands bring him higher, so the Omega removes his hands to clasp them around Harry’s neck. “And this outfit. Fuck. Little one, I ‘ave half the mind to strip you out of this outfit. And then you’re going out in bubble-wrap. A lot of it.”

“You wouldn’t,” Louis replies breathlessly, trying to stifle his giggles, and it works because Harry’s tongue strokes his bottom-lip, sending heat through his belly.

Against his mouth that grin widens, cheeky. “Oh, Lou, love, have you learnt nothing in the short time we’ve known each other?” And one hand bears down on Louis’s lower back, so his petite frame is impossibly closer against Harry’s tall, slight one. Meanwhile the other hand moves to cup the back of the Omega’s head, protecting it with his knuckles as he backs them up, to the wall. Daring, the Omega runs his tongue along one of the points of the Alpha’s canine, and Harry groans.

He groans because of me, Louis thinks hazily. A groan that’s feral, erotic, and the Omega will remember this sound, the way it vibrates against his lips, echoing into his mouth, for the rest of his life. Blood heated, Louis’s skin blooms under the Alpha’s touch–he’s never wanted more than to feel Harry’s arms around him, their lips locked.

There’s no Council. No paparazzi. No past. Just them, breathing each other in.

But the Omega has the mind to seize his opportunity, running his fingers through Harry’s curls again, grasping two handfuls and kissing him, tentatively meeting the other’s seeking tongue. Inhaling sharply, the Alpha shakes his head. “Gonna soil your lovely outfit like this, Louis.”

Cheeks warm, Louis whispers dizzily, “Lovely?”

“So fuckin’ lovely,” Harry murmurs. “All eyes on you tonight.” 

“Only your eyes,” without permission the words glide passed his lips, barely a breath. “Only want your eyes on me. This is for you.” Regret swamps him instantly as the Alpha’s last reaction to this similar statement comes to mind.

“Is that so?” the question shocks him momentarily, his lips softening impossibly against the onslaught. Really, how does the Alpha expect him to respond when he’s clouding his thoughts with sensation?

“Yes,” the Omega manages to venture nervously.

“Mm, I quite like the sound of that.” Another, harsh breath.

Shuddering, Louis breaks the contact, struggling to breathe even as his lungs work. After a breathless moment the Alpha pulls back and uses one, large hand to removes Louis’s arms from around his neck, Louis’s hands from his hair. Still thoughtless the Omega doesn’t realise he’s on his feet again until the Alpha tips his face back, planting another sweet kiss on his mouth. It’s still while Harry’s eyes remain on him, searching his face, or maybe his eyes. What he finds, Louis couldn’t know, but his hand reaches up to caress the Alpha’s face, slave to the moment.

“We have to do something you want to do now.”

Louis blinks. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve noticed you’ve gone along with everyone’s plans. The beach. The outing. The club. I want you to have fun doing what you want–anything you want.”

“I’m…Harry, I don’t–,”

“Hush,” the Alpha whispers. “Think about it. That’s all I’m asking. Besides, I’ve plans for us too. There’s something I want to do with you.”

Louis bites his lip, curling his fingers at Harry’s jaw. “I don’t recall ever agreeing to this.”

“Are you disagreeing?” he asks, mouth at his temple.

“Neither. I’m waiting for you to…elaborate.”

“Mmm. I’d be very pleased if you did agree,” Harry murmurs, lowering his face to sprinkle barely-there kisses down to his ear, there he breathes, “Will you agree?”

More heat settles over Louis, whose heart flutters. “N-Not unless I know what I am agreeing to.”

Determined, relentless the Alpha continues, at ease, lips ghosting down his throat, pausing to breathe over that spot that makes Louis’s knees weak and his body tingle from the inside out. “Now?”

“N-No,” Louis shakes his head, not recalling what he’s disagreeing to. “No…Hazza–,”

Pointed, careful teeth close over the sensitive skin at his throat and something warm, and vicious, shudders through him. Louis’s mind just…blacks-out–he collapses, senses fading out momentarily. “Louis?” the Alpha’s voice is alarmed as his arms hold the Omega up.

“Still…not…agreeing,” he mumbles dizzily, letting Harry’s arms support his weight as his head continues to spin uncontrollably.

“Christ you’re stubborn,” the other growls–Louis grins weakly, resting his head on the Alpha’s shoulder, unable to stop his Omega’s reaction as he purrs throatily, clutching the heat-source.

“Kitten, don’t pass out on me,” there’s a trace of misplaced stress to his tone–the Omega frowns.

“’M not,” though Louis isn’t so sure–he’s feeling spacey, and the sensitive skin burns for more attention.

“I don’t believe you. C’mon, stand up.”

“What,” Louis mumbles, absorbed in complete sensation.

“You’re not…You need to…lie down.” In bed? The idea intrigues Louis, who agrees, wrapping his heavy arms around the Alpha’s waist, his legs going around the Alpha’s lengthy ones as Harry tires to shuffle forward, towards the bed. Walking seems to become very, very difficult, but Harry’s blazing and Louis can’t seem to let go.

There’s one, slightly amused chuckle. “Lou, love, I can’t move like this.”

“Mmm,” the boy hums into his shirt, inhaling his scent, adding to the haze.

“Don’t fuss, kitten, but I’m going to carry you.” And before the Omega can think to protest, the Alpha’s scooped him up and carried him across the room in three, large steps with his ever-constant ease. Then his body meets the plush mattress…but Harry doesn’t follow.

“No,” Louis mumbles, making grabby hands (towards nobody in particular as he can’t know where Harry is, he’s so quiet right now). “’S cold. And I…Please, stay with me.”

There’s one, heavy breath, but this time the Omega gets his way as Harry stretches out beside him, long, lean muscles, shoulders set tensely, an agitated air to him now. Uncaring, Louis crawls into his lap, curling up there and nosing at the Alpha’s throat, whispering, “You make me feel weird.”

Somehow Harry manages to become tenser, though he says nothing, and slowly the tension eases from his frame. “I’m sorry, little one. I shouldn’t have…” but the rest fades out as Louis’s senses grow faint once more; but his breathing evens and his heart slows.

In a rush, the Omega’s sense return again–the atmosphere is hot. Very hot. Uncomfortably hot–there should be high flames burning them at this rate. Yet there is no pain, because the heat emits from Harry’s body. Though his memories are weak Louis can tell, by the material twisted between his legs, and the body beneath his, that he is in bed with Harry.

With a start, the Omega’s eyes open, unseeing, but helpful to remind him that he is indeed awake–his heartbeat is an insistent thump thump thump giving him away, but Louis easily ignores this.

“Hi,” Louis whispers tentatively into Harry’s shoulder. Again, the Alpha stiffens, and his heat spikes impossibly–almost burning him. Inhaling sharply the Alpha replies, throaty and deep, “Welcome back.”

“I…I don’t know what happened,” he admits, flushing to the tips of his ears. “I…I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to apologise for, Louis,” Harry says, tone achingly flat. “I shouldn’t have touched you. And I am sorry for that. It was unacceptable and disrespectful–had I been in the presence of another Alpha I’d be locked up for that.” Locked up? In jail!?

“What?” Louis breathes, horrified, sitting up and regretting it as his dark world spins a bit. But he refuses to let this happen. “No, Harry, it’s not–,”

“That’s where an Alpha’s bond belongs Louis. I should not have even…” Oh. Oh, no wonder, Louis thinks, realisation comes over him–every factions (Beta’s included–but that’s tricky) been warned against bonding an Omega before mating, it’s one the utmost crimes one could commit. Not that the Omega cares at this moment.

“Well that certainly explains the reason I reacted like that. I didn’t mean too but it felt so…” beautiful, blissful, right.

“Did I hurt you? And don’t try to spare my feelings or something other bullshit, Louis.”

“I…” Louis fumbles, licking his lips hastily. “’M okay, Haz. Honest. It wasn’t–,”

“Damn it, Lou. I knew better. I know better. I’ve never pulled something like that. Jesus. I can’t keep fucking up and putting you in danger. I could get us both–,”

“Harry!” the Omega practically shouts to get his attention. “Shut up! Just…I liked it, okay! It…It made me achy.”

There’s a beat of silence before Harry speaks again, “Achy?”

Oh, no, shouldn’t have said that. Embarrassed, Louis throws one hand over his heated face and whispers, “Down there. It made me achy d-down there…a-and when you did that…I know it’s wrong, but it happens and I don’t know how to stop it and I…I’m really sorry, Harry. I’m tryin’ to be good but I don’t know how.

“Oh, love,” the Alpha breathes, tugging him close, stroking his fringe from his face as Louis blinks back mortified tears. “Don’t be embarrassed, Louis. It’s…Christ, it’s nothing to be embarrassed over, it’s natural. God, no, there is nothing wrong or bad about that, Lou. Don’t be sorry. ‘M so stupid sometimes. I didn’t think…God, I never think. But I had no idea you were quite so innocent, darling boy. You’re sexually attracted to me and that’s…perfectly fine. Better even. Hell, if you weren’t I’d be more than a bit offended.”

“O-Offended w-why?”

“’Cause I am quite handsome, remember? And I want you–Christ, Lou, I told you I burn for you. Do you feel me right now? I’m so sorry I hadn’t realised…you aren’t familiar with sexual desires.”

“So…’M not bad?”

“Of course not, silly boy,” Harry laughs quietly. “You are so, so good.”

“No! NO HE IS NOT!” comes an Irish shriek and Louis moans miserably, knowing their time is up. Surprise, surprise Niall barrels inside, ranting, “First he leaves the room, then he spaces out! Third…” as the Irish lad continues the Alpha whispers in his ear, “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you,” and it’s his singing voice, rough and hushed beneath Niall’s constant fuming. And the lyrics, the tone, the voice, calms Louis, who listens attentively, “…pardon the way that I stare, there’s nothin’ else to compare…but if you feel like I feel, please let me know that it’s real…

Of course the Omega knows this song, knows the lyrics by heart even, and every word tugs at his heartstrings. Until Niall realises they’re not listening and shouts thunderously, “I AM STILL HERE! Louis Tomlinson, let him go, we are running late already. And Styles one more damned Frankie Valli lyric and you won’t have any eyes to stare with!

Even blind, Louis manages to glare directly into Niall’s soul, but admits defeat within seconds and scrambles out of Harry’s lap. Growling the Alpha rises and starts in direction of the connecting-bath, singing louder than Niall could ever shout, “CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF LOUUUUU!”

Without the Alpha’s presence, Louis goes into complete pout-mode, “You wouldn’t really leave me, would you?”

“Nah,” Niall agrees flippantly. “But I had to separate the two of you somehow. Now c’mon let’s fix your hair.”

Smiling softly, Louis takes Niall’s hand and lets the Irish boy lead him out.

 

∞∞∞

           

Completely ignoring Niall’s threats, the Alpha takes his sweet damned time in the shower, leaning against the sidewall, knuckles white in attempts to keep him in the shower and not outside and forcing Louis into bed, forcing–stop. Okay, so maybe it’s not so much that Harry doesn’t take the threats seriously, more so that his rut is at its very peak now–inside his blood is almost magma and his vision won’t focus for Hell and he’s so damned hard his cock pounds in time with every heartbeat.

This is Hell, Harry thinks, deciding not to even stroke his cock again as the base is swollen with his knot–there will be no hiding the fuckin’ thing if it continues this way. Except it is going to continue this way because nothing, not even the freezing, iced water does anything to alleviate the instinctive ache, the fire inside him.

With some effort the Alpha manages to finish up, hastily drying and changing into a fresh outfit (all black–low-cut shirt, tight, ripped skinnies, heavy, steel-toed boots). Once that’s over with Harry runs his fingers through his hair, thinking to do something about the mess when there’s one, tentative knock on the door.

Just like that, knowing instinctively who it is, his entire frame tenses, muscles shifting and straining. And he takes the sweet, floral scent eking passed the doorframe into his lungs–at this rate, there might be flowers blooming in his bloody ribcage, but that’s a whole other issue. There isn’t time to stop it–one second there’s clarity, the next his Alpha’s in control, and his rational mind abandons him as Harry storms over, throwing it out of the way to crowd the young boy’s space. It’s his Alpha’s first and only time seeing Louis in his animalistic light, and he finds Louis looks ethereal, wide-eyed, lips parted, body soft, with its luscious curve, made to touch, made for him to touch. “Kitten,” it’s his Alpha-voice too, a voice he’s never heard before, rough, deep, crazed.

Louis blinks adorably though his eyes never focus. “I…I was meant to tell you something,” he breathes in a soft, faraway kind of voice.

“So tell me,” the Alpha drawls, running his knuckles down the Omega’s heated, sharp cheekbone, careful and light in all those affection ways only an Alpha touches his or her Omega.

“I can’t…remember?”

“Try,” Harry breathes, his Alpha savoring every breath, every wide-eyed blink and reaction, because once Harry’s fenced the bastard in, there’s no chance he’s returning again, not tonight at least.

“Haz…” that one, lone word slams into his lungs, the soft, questioning tone, the breath, the…Sharp current spikes, some unheard of noise escapes his mouth and then his hand curves along the boy’s cheekbone, raising his face as Harry bends to accommodate the Omega’s height. There is no breath…When their mouths meet, there is no breath. Movements shockingly cautious the Alpha’s tongue dips and traces, relearning the contours of his sweet mouth, tasting the delicious essence of his Omega.

This is more than any other kiss. So much more. An Alpha’s promise of an imminent, lifelong bond. Mine, his Alpha snarls inwardly. “Mine,” Harry claims, branding the word into Louis’s mouth. “You’re mine.”

Soundless, Louis nods, releasing little, frenetic breaths that Harry swallows hungrily.

Enough, Harry thinks, breaking the kiss to nuzzle Louis’s throat, breathing raggedly there. With more effort than usual, he focuses on mentally trapping his Alpha–the bastard doesn’t make it easy, putting up solid resistance and ‘fuck-you’s-until with one last surge of energy Harry manages to constrain the bloody animal.

Strength momentarily failing him, Harry’s knees buckle, and in the distance, blurred by static, the Alpha can make out Louis’s frantic, “Harry? Hazza? Are you alright?!”

No, he thinks, no I am not alright, this is my Hell, this is what I get to suffer–desiring what I should not be allowed to desire. “’M…fine,” is what he hears himself say, but it’s unconvincing even to his own ears. “Just…need a minute.” Or some centuries–the waves pull him under but the Omega holds him in a careful embrace until the tides bring him back.

That’s when the Alpha notices how tight his grip has become on Louis’s waist, and relaxes it, muttering into his belly, “Sorry. Just…lost it, for a sec I think.”

“It’s…”

“For the love of all that’s holy, Louis Tomlinson I gave you one task, one, and–,” it’s Liam, who walks in with suspiciously hard eyes, spotting them the other Alpha pauses, then has the grace to look sympathetic which makes his Alpha snarl. “Oh. Well. Here we are, then. Er…we need to get going. Yeah, that’s the plan.”

Rising to his feet stiffly, the Alpha brings Louis with him, lacing their fingers and managing to grin lopsidedly at Liam. Charming as ever the other Alpha shakes his head and stalks from the room, grumbling under his breath. Whatever.

At that Harry rolls his eyes, but then his gaze settles on Louis once more. “Well, come on then. Lead the way,” he tells the boy, who smiles hesitantly, but shows him out nonethless.

∞∞∞

Silencio is one of the most exclusive clubs in France, some miles outside Paris–experience and all that. Without a glance towards the long, stretchy queue the Alpha strolls to the entrance with one arm wrapped around Louis’s waist, the others trailing them. Disregarding the grumbles from those waiting (most of who won’t be getting in at all anyway, idiots) the Alpha is greeted by the bouncer. A large, body-builder type Alpha whose name Harry’s never bothered to remember, nods in welcome as they’re granted immediate access. 

And as they’re making their way towards the archway the atmosphere shifts. It’s sudden and unexpected but then emotions are reeling through him–wonder, excitement, anxiety. Such a combination that Harry doesn’t notice that Louis is clutching his hand so tight it nearly hurts, “Sure about this?” he leans down to ask, tempted to turn round and leave when the Omega pulls this sorry fucking excuse for a smile.

“Nervous, that’s all. I…I don’t wanna get lost…or…or…”

“You won’t,” Harry assures him. “I will be watching.”

Louis shakes his head at that, “And you said you weren’t a stalker.”

“Perhaps a bit,” the Alpha allows, leading them inside, losing the will to continue the conversation as his words will only be lost in the almost-deafening music. Through the archway the inside of the club’s obscurity stretches through the vast dance floor where the crowd moves with the pulsing pastel lasers while remixes and upbeat music (the shit he loathes) twirls through the humid air. Movement. The entire place is in constant movement: bodies, music, drinks. And this is where Harry’s comfortable, but that doesn’t matter because already he can sense it’s too much for Louis.

As the boy huddles into his side, chewing nervously on his bottom lip, strobes of colour meet his face–in this darkness he looks lovely, so lovely that his Alpha is instantly on alert, assessing the dozens of factions, glaring in direction of the nearby Alphas who’ve stopped to look.  Even pinning them each with ‘try-it-and-it’s-your-life’ glares it takes quite a lot to keep himself from baring his canines.

No, the Alpha decides, they are most definitely not staying here; it’s too open, unprotected. More than that, it’s his rut, it’s making him…dangerous, a short-circuit that’s shot and ready to strike with the lightest prod. And he’s not inclined to lose himself again tonight. So, Harry tows his Omega, letting the other’s follow, towards the VIP lounge. Wisely the crowd gives way before them, parting.

“Mr. Styles, welcome back,” calls one of the bouncer’s, a Beta that Harry vaguely remembers from his trip last August, let’s them into the best estate in the club. Here, in relative quiet (compared to the outer vicinity, that is), the seating is widely-spaced with much distance, and it remains dark, with only single lights from the ceiling at the entrance.

With a quiet, “In,” the Alpha ushers Louis into the booth, watching him shuffle in those bloody white trousers that are so tight they’re a second-skin, hugging his arse perfectly. After seconds of staring Harry manages to tear his gaze away, ignoring Niall’s knowing look, and Zayn’s slightly amused one, to join Louis who’s he’s leaning against the cushion, where it curves to give an impressive (unnecessary) view of the dance-floor.

Without giving them the chance to really settle, one VIP waitress (another female Alpha) comes to the table. To other’s she must be pretty, but the Alpha doesn’t have any interest in…well, anyone, except Louis. None of them compare to Louis–and it’s quite ironic that all bonded Alpha’s must think much the same of their Omega’s. Who, again, are nothing compared to his Omega. Upon introducing herself (Harry wasn’t listening, too intrigued in Louis’s wide-eyed, eager expression) the female asks what they’d like to drink.

Of course Niall is the first to answer, “Hardest you’ve got, Jen!”

Grinning pointedly at the Irish lad, she calls, “Good lad!”

And it doesn’t go by unnoticed how Josh shifts the Omega into his side, expression masked by the shadows, even as Niall pats his hand on the table, obviously amused as he grins back at ‘Jen’. Saving his Alpha from any more jealousy the other’s begin requesting for themselves: water for Liam, who apparently is the designated driver now, which is unsurprising–one of these days the Alpha vows to get him smashed, and some sort of alcoholic beverage that sounds suspiciously close to “Legspreader” but in French for Zayn. When the female looks to Harry, he’s still staring at Louis.

“Cristal,” he murmurs idly, thinking to go very, very light (chilled champagne’s surely never hurt anyone) then to Louis, “The same, little one?”

“Why thank you, Sir,” and he stresses the last word almost flirtatiously, batting his eyelashes in Harry’s direction deliberately.

Unable to resist the Alpha asks slowly, “Are you flirting with me, kitten?”

“Yes, Styles, I am,” and it seems the Omega’s gained something from the atmosphere, some sparkle that threatens to blind Harry with its provocative glare–that is a chance he’s damn well willing to take. “What are you going to do about it?” With the waitress long forgotten Harry catches Josh or Liam (probably the latter) tell the female Alpha, “I reckon it’ll be Cristal for now, thanks.” Good lad.

“’M sure I can think of something,” Harry evocates, almost soundless beneath the music.

Somehow the Omega catches the response as his mouth hints at one of those smiles, or perhaps this one is novel; a smile identical to his attitude, teasing, coy even. Shifting, Louis opens his mouth to speak when the waitress (Jean? Jenny? No, Jen, that’s it) reappears, speaking fluent French to another waiter before gracefully setting their drinks down; one bottle of Bourbon whiskey is situated within a shimmering glass container of ice (who the Hell asked for this?)

Much like the first time when the Alpha hands Louis the Cristal, the Omega sips at the light alcoholic beverage, scrunching his nose adorably–but this time he doesn’t miss one beat. Meanwhile the Irish lad’s downed three shots of Bourbon–warily, Harry raises an eyebrow at Josh, shouting, “Is he usually this…enthusiastic?”

“Oh this is only the beginning,” Josh mutters grudgingly. There’s one brief instance that Harry almost feels bad for the other Alpha, but then recalls that he’s going to be handling Louis tonight–who, virgin to the world of intoxication, is a light-weight.

With that the Alpha zones out, not paying much attention to Louis, who’s chatting with Niall now, continuously grabbing at the glass of champagne. On their own accord his fingers begin to tap rhythmically on the marble, then his foot starts in, and he’s shifting his weight. Jesus, Harry can’t stop fidgeting–and Zayn seems to notice as well as the Omega kicks him from underneath the table.

Cursing the Alpha glares at his best-mate, shooting him a look that says ‘what-the-fuck?’ until Zayn rolls his eyes, calling, “Good there, mate? Looks like you’re boutta shed your skin.”

“That’d be a fuckin’ shame, considering my hair would go with it, I think.”

“Some people might say that’s a miracle,” it’s said jokingly, but without reason some unexplainable rage pierces him; pressure settles over his temples and shoulders and chest and everywhere.

“And those people are blind fuckin’ morons,” the words crawl up his throat and out his mouth before Harry even thinks them. Tensing, the Alpha glances at Louis who isn’t listening, preoccupied with whatever Niall’s prattling on about (he’s the only one who seems to really listen–because the Omega is caring and lovely that way, unlike him).  So unaware. Grotesque guilt begins to fester inside him.

Abruptly, Zayn stands, “Outside, mate, you need some fresh air.”

‘Cause the air in here is so very different, the Alpha thinks angrily, but manages to keep his mouth shut, nodding numbly. When he goes to stand one small hand lands on his forearm, and though the touch is light…somehow it feels unbreakable, holding him immobile.

Unable to keep his gaze away, Harry looks down at Louis and is doused in another bout of self-disgust at his previous words. “’M goin’ to step outside for a bit, Lou,” he explains over the music, momentarily sidetracked by the stabbing fear that seeps from the Omega, creating some toxic-blend within him.

“B-But you said–,”

“I won’t be far, love,” he breathes, slightly pained. “You need me, Louis, tell Josh or Liam and I will be right here. I promise. I…just need a moment.” Or forgiveness, a slap-to-the-face even.

Looking extremely unsure the Omega retracts his hand. Instantly Harry misses the contact, and before he can stop himself he’s grasped Louis’s hand, brushing his mouth over his knuckles, inhaling the dulcet scent at his wrist, repeating, “I won’t be long. Need me, I’ll be here instantly.” Sliding from the booth (easily as no one is seated beside him) the Alpha pauses, meets Liam’s gaze, sharing a second-moment (Harry willing the other Alpha to understand that he’s asking him to guard Louis with his life, and visa versa for Harry with Zayn–seeming to agree, Liam nods curtly, then promptly starts ignoring him again, because he’s even angered Liam. Which fan-fucking-tastic, call the priests, folks, I need an exorcism now, surely.)

Shoulders weighed with pressure the Alpha follows Zayn out–the Omega is ahead, completely confident in his stride, tightly-bound rage surrounds his thin frame. And this makes Harry uncomfortable, because Zayn’s never been outright put out with him, not even when he’d brought up the ‘unspeakable Alpha number three’ which tells him that he’s really fucked up.

Outside the brisk wind does nothing to lighten the tension within, the suffocating grip on his lungs–which is less than he deserves. Without warning his best-mate pivots and stops dead.

Cold, dark eyes regard him.

Feeling the inexplicable need to explain himself, but lacking the proper words, Harry tells the Omega, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Not helping his case is the flat, uncaring tone that comes with the words. Way to show your remorse, Styles.

“What the Hell was that, H?”

“I don’t know.” Honest, he doesn’t, isn’t that obvious?

“Did you hear yourself in there? Do you even hear yourself now?”

“I’m not deaf,” he retorts, holding eye-contact even as his skin prickles uneasily and his fingers tremble at his sides; agitation wells up inside him.

“I don’t think you do,” Zayn continues, like he’s not spoken, and the Alpha can feel his canines elongate, points become sharp, deadly. “But at least you’re not the blind morons of the world, yeah?” I’m only your average moron–nothing new there.

“I…didn’t mean that,” somehow the breath carries over the howling winds.

“And yet you think its okay, yeah? ‘Cause everything an Alpha does is okay. Everything you do and say is okay,” Zayn’s always had the gift of sounding calm even when his eyes are raging, hazel-pools of lava.

“No…That’s not…I don’t…” the Alpha struggles to find the proper words, thoughts a jumbled mess. These thoughts tell the truth, and know that despite his outward appearance; practically everything that comes from his mouth is bullshit and completely unwarranted. Again: nothing new there.

“Realise somethin’, H. Realise that Louis probably hears shit like that every day, from mostly everyone. Because by the Council’s guidelines a disabled Omega in this society is an absolute disgrace. But then again, you don’t really care, d’you?” I care. I’ll always care–I’ll always fight for him, protect him from whatever I must, from this society. But how am I supposed to protect him from myself?

Without meaning to the Alpha bares his canines. “If I hear anyone dare speak badly about him–vision and all, I will personally–,”

“Cut the shit,” Zayn dismisses him. “You don’t deserve to threaten anyone. You’re just like them.In status, maybe.

“I care ‘bout him…” he disagrees, but it’s weak as Hell, doesn’t even matter. “I…I…” shut the fuck up already, his Alpha growls to life, defensive and primed to fight. Now’s not the fucking time.

Something flashes in the Omega’s eyes, and though Harry knows he’s not showing the bitter unhappiness, the self-hatred on his face (he’s been veiling his emotions, been smothering them since as long as he can really remember, because that’s what he’s been taught, the Alpha’s of Council are meant to be without emotional or moral bias…) the Omega’s known him since they were green lads, finding themselves, and probably knows that when he starts to disconnect, becomes detached, too much is actually going through his mind.

Dropping his head the Omega pulls out a baggie. Uninterested in whatever’s there, Harry tilts his head and stares up at the night sky.

“There was one time when…ah…when Ben saw some of my paintings, remember the ones I was going to…ah…send to that Uni?”

At this Harry’s head snaps up. Ben. Zayn never talks about Ben. Never–and the Alpha knows this isn’t going to be a pleasant conversation already.

“Don’t look at me like that,” the Omega mutters, taking one hard, long hit from the joint between his fingers before, “Yeah, well, I wasn’t really ‘not feelin’ them anymore’ like I told you. I loved them…like a lot. And uh well you know how Ben was…when he found out I was trying to leave early, with you especially, he…ah…he said some shit about the art, ‘bout the way my hands shake sometimes. Said it ruined everything. A-And it wasn’t the first time any of the uh blokes told me shit like that. So, remember I stopped for a while, blamed it on the lack of motivation…?”

Exhaling, he passes the blunt, continuing between, “You need this,” and Harry accepts it numbly. “Yeah, shit like that…words…verbal abuse, whatever you wanna call it, fucks with your head more than anything else. And Lou…he’s smart, Haz, he can go places! But when you’re constantly told you’re unable to do things right or unable to do things in general for whatever reason you…start to believe it yeah? And he’s already fragile. So are you…I just don’t wanna see that happen to him. I realise you care, anyone with eyes can see you adore him, and I know you didn’t mean it because you constantly spout shit you think will come out one way but comes out another and I know you get what ‘m sayin’ because no matter how much you try to act like you’re fine, half the time you’re really not and–,” So not going there–it’s not true, really, and he’s not going to complain because that would be selfish and ridiculous because there is nothing wrong.

Yeah, right, keep telling yourself that, the thought it numbing. Which is good, he thinks, better for him.

Another hard, long hit to get through this conversation. “I would never intentionally hurt him, Z, God, I know he’s brilliant, and I wouldn’t even hesitate to…”

“I know,” the Omega murmurs, leanings against the wall beside him as Harry takes another drag, feeling his muscles undo the longer he holds it in his lungs. Passing it to the Omega again, he murmurs, “I have half the mind to track Ben down again and tear him apart. Maybe his hands will shake from fear. And maybe I’ll break every finger–I want too.”

“Don’t,” Zayn tells him. “He’s not worth the effort. I was only making a point.”

“I reckon he’d scream until his voice gave out next. And then he won’t be able to speak another vile word to another Omega.” Because it’s sick, to treat an Omega, male or female, with such…such…

In response the Omega snorts. “’S not a problem anymore, Haz. You’ve already worked your magic on him; he’s too afraid to even think to open his mouth again.

“You’re right,” the Alpha agrees, smiling blandly at the memories. “Still an entertaining thought, yeah?”

“Worry ‘bout you sometimes, mate, I really do,” thick wisps of cloudy, white smoke exits his mouth as he speaks and Harry stares, transfixed as the cloud dissipates into the air, becomes one with the oxygen, no doubt under other circumstances the molecules would have bonded and then–wait, the Alpha thinks, why am I even thinking into this?

A while passes in comfortable silence as the Alpha and Omega pass the hand-rolled until it’s a bit more than a clip. And the high is a rush of relief as the tension completely leaves his body and he thinks (he’s so out of tune with his Alpha he can’t be sure) he’s ready to join the others again. Keeping Zayn ahead of him, one hand on his lower-back, Harry walks them back through the club and to the VIP lounge, suddenly anxious to see his Omega again, to see that he’s okay, even though the buzz tells him the Omega is fine, happy.

At the booth, the Alpha finds Niall is wrapped around Louis, almost protective–well that’s cute. And they’re laughing at something, Louis’s face in the slope of Niall’s throat. Quirking an eyebrow, Harry sits, amused as Louis immediately tears away from Niall and scrambles into his lap. Not anticipating this, Harry tenses a bit, but relaxes quickly because Louis’s a gentle, barely-there weight in his lap, and he’s facing him, face titled up so those blind eyes are looking (but not really looking) directly at his face.

“Hazza!” the boy giggles at him, all flushed cheeks and bright, huge, glassy, blue eyes. Obviously tipsy. Adorably tipsy.

Grinning warily, the Alpha holds his waist, one hand splayed possessively over the span of his belly. “Kitten, how much have you had to drink?”

“Dunno,” Louis sighs back, “Feels nice. Like this. Like you. More than this, I like you.”

“Only three shots and that champagne, two glasses I think. That’s it! But he took ‘em like a trooper, ‘m quite proud,” Niall declares fondly. In response, Louis shoots him one of those sweet smiles as he nods. “Yep…Tho’ it wasn’t quite as tasty as the otha’ stuff you gave me. You gave me the girly drink,” he accuses, bottom lip jutting attractively in a pout.

“Girly! I was drinkin’ that, too,” Harry scoffs, leaving out the fact that he has no intention of getting plastered, not on Louis’s first time.

“Don’t listen to him, Lou,” Zayn calls. “He always drinks shit like that! He’s a little girl at heart.”

“Complete lies,” the Alpha dismisses his best-mate to nose at Louis’s cheek, whispering, “Ignore him. He’s only trying to tear us apart.”

“That’s not very nice, Zaynie,” Louis admonishes, shaking his finger in the complete opposite direction, at Niall instead, who stifles his giggles by taking another shot (where is all this alcohol coming from?)

“That’s ‘cause Zayn isn’t very nice at all, Lou,” Liam agrees, staring at Zayn still–it doesn’t go unnoticed that his puppy-eyes haven’t left the Omega since they’d returned.

“Now you’re not being very nice, Li,” Louis voices, frowning.

“Oh, dear God,” Josh mutters in disbelief, chugging at his beer. “This isn’t happening right now.”

“Niall is the only nice one here!” Niall decides loudly.

Louis nods, speaking to him at first, “I agree with this,” then to the Irish boy, “Niall, I agree!”

Hearing this, Harry smiles, shaking his head, and grinning wider at Niall’s response, “That’s ‘cause you’re the only one with brains round here, Lou.”

Louis blinks owlishly, then those eyes raise again as he whispers conspiratorially, “Is he teasin’ me, Hazza?”

“Hm,” the Alpha looks at Niall, doesn’t find any humour on his features, then back to Louis. “No, kitten, I think he’s serious. But I don’t agree with him at all. He’s not nice at all, lovely. You are nice.”

Louis shakes his head. “No. No. You are nice.”

Those words remind the Alpha that he’s the exact opposite of nice; and the remembrance of his earlier words threatens to taint his lighthearted mood. But he cannot fucking stand to harbor this guilt, can’t stand the idea that Louis is so oblivious to the words that would have no doubt hurt him otherwise.

Shutting his eyes, Harry murmurs tightly, “Lou…”

Seeming to pick up on his sudden atmosphere, the Omega squirms in his lap. “What’s wrong, Haz?”

“I said some not nice shit earlier, Lou,” he mutters. “Really I did. And I wanna…apologise.”

“Apologise?” he repeats slowly, blinking, then, “Whateva’ foooor?” the last word stretches and it’d be outrageously endearing, were the next tidal wave of guilt escapable.

“I…” he really fucking doesn’t want to repeat the words, but he owes Louis that much. “I…Christ, I called blind people morons.” There’s one beat of silence (to which Harry can’t even breathe) with the Omega stilling, eyebrows furrowed, then, “It’s okay, Hazza.” What?

“Christ, Lou, it’s really now, and I didn’t mean that, not at all, but it just–,”

“Hey, Haz? Hazzzza?”

Sighing in exasperation, the Alpha mutters, “Wait. Let me finish–,”

“Please don’t,” Louis mumbles mulishly, shifting to hide his face in Harry’s throat, breathing there softly. “’M havin’ such a lovely time, H. Please, don’t.”

Squeezing his eyes shut the Alpha realises now is certainly not the best time to even attempt to apologise and talk seriously, because Louis is quite literally a light-weight who’s had only three shots but is flushed and giggly and lovely. Under the influence, or whatever. So, he nods once. 

“Still think you’re the nicest,” the Omega breathes into his throat–the sensation sends bloodred desire through his veins, and straight to his cock, but Harry’s too lost in his hearts strange, acrobatic acts to notice or care that Louis can probably feel that.

“Hmm,” he hums idly, tightening his hold a bit, “’S that so?”

“Nope, I lied,” there’s a grin in his voice as he crawls out of his lap, plastering himself to Niall’s side and whispering (though it’s not quite a whisper because Harry can still hear, and he’s willing to bet Josh and Liam can, too), “More liquor, Niiiiiiii.”

When the Alpha’s about to protest (because he doesn’t think any more alcohol is necessary) Niall cuts him short with a piercing glare, then calls Jen over and shoots through too many drinks to keep track of. “Of course,” the Irish boy coos when Jen’s left, “You drink up to your heart’s desire, Lou.”

“Heart’s desire?”

“Yes,” Niall nods surely.

“But…my hearts deeesiiiire is Harry. Do I have to drink ‘im up too?” he asks seriously, and Harry nearly chokes on the glass of whatever was left on the table (Vodka, perhaps, flavored.)

“Yes, Louis,” the Irish instigator says around giggles. “You better drink him up fast too. He’s got a lot for you to drink.” Jesus.

With an annoyed groan, the Alpha grabs Louis’s hand and tugs (with perhaps too much force). Unsuspecting the Omega tumbles forward with a small ‘oof’.

“Nonsense,” Harry chides to the Irish boy, who’s glaring. “It’s Niall who’s ordered the hoard of liquor.”

“You can drink that, too, I reckon!” Niall–bold as ever–challenges, holding his gaze.

“The more the better,” the Alpha retorts, aware that Josh watches them thoughtfully.

“Erm,” Louis mumbles, head bowed, “’M confused?”

“Don’t feel bad, love,” his voice softens impossibly–the way it only does for Louis–as his fingers tip the boys face again so those unfocused eyes are revealed. “Niall doesn’t make any sense.”

“He’s right, Louis,” Josh agrees–Harry’s never liked the other Alpha more. One of these day’s Harry decides he’ll have to get Josh something nice, the bloke deserves it just for keeping up with the Irish boy (deserves it for daring to do this for the rest of his bloody life–because there’s no take-backs, once an Alpha’s bonded with their Omega…that’s it for them.) Yeah, the two of them must be love. “It’s a miracle you can make out the shit he talks at all.”

Speaking of–the two begin to bicker back and forth again–seemingly uncomfortable, Louis shifts his weight. Plastered to his side, the boy rests his head against Harry’s arm as he murmurs underneath the music (he’s listening so attentively that he even catches his sigh) “Why do they fight, Hazza?” 

“I reckon Niall’s to blame,” Harry tells him.

“’Cause it’s always Niall’s fault, right?! Never the stupid, superior dickheaded Alpha’s of the world!” the Irish Omega shouts back–either Harry’s not very good at inside conversations or Niall’s extremely good at eavesdropping. Niall, he thinks again.

“Awe, Ni, no!” Louis calls, upset. “’S not true! Harry, tell him ‘s not true!”

“I say nothing,” Harry murmurs unfalteringly, even as Louis shoves at his arm. “Be nice!”

“I’m not nice,” he responds innocently as possible.

“Well you’d better be, or ‘m leavin’ this inst–,”

“You’re not going anywhere,” again he’s unfaltering, smirking at Zayn, who watches him, lifting one dark brow.

“Says who?” the Omega demands, petulantly crossing his arms.

“Me, who so happens to be blocking your exit, darling,” his voice remains steady over the pounding bass, his eyes boring into wide, unseeing electric ones.

When the boy’s mouth opens to say something cutting (he’s sure, as Louis’s tongue is very loose tonight, alcohol does that to you) but at the same moment two more waitresses appear with enough glasses and bottles to cover the entire table. Seeming to have forgotten the argument, Niall gushes happily, all over Josh even as he’s speaking to Louis, handing the boy one of the shots, filled with vodka (judging by the clear flat liquid).

“Wait! Everyone needs to take a shot. To…hmm…You choose, Louis.”

Like a deer caught in the headlights, Louis blinks, lowering his blank gaze, mumbling, “Um, Haz, you choose.”

Must we do this?”

“Nope,” Niall giggles, and takes the first swing. Sighing, the Alpha downs his, hardly noticing the burn, watching Louis who sputters, cobalt eyes sparkling with tears. “There, there,” the Irish boy tuts, “Embrace the sensations, babe, its best that way.”

“You’re honestly trying to get him plastered?” Zayn asks, downing a second shot like its water, then shaking his head.

“Of course! And you,” the Irish lad points at Harry (who glares, disapproving), “my friend, are going to thank me for this later.”

“Won’t have anyone to thank,” Harry grounds between clenched teeth, “If he wakes up ill tomorrow.”

“Hazza, don’t be so grumpy!” Louis mumbles, pleasantly drunk and oblivious to the significance in their conversation. The frown that graces his lips is somehow endearing.

“Yeah, Hazza, don’t be so grumpy,” Niall taunts cheerily, sipping at something pink, “’Ere, try this, Lou, it’s sweet.”

As the Omega’s pass the glass of pink alcohol back and forth, giggling (Harry can’t tell about what, there’s only words like ‘pink’ and ‘pretty’ and ‘sweet’) and the Alpha decides he doesn’t even want to know.

“Double?” Zayn asks him, grabbing a long, golden shot-glass, tipping it in question.

Glancing towards Louis and Niall, the Alpha takes the shot-glass warily. Clinking their glasses, the two down the shots in one go, grinning at each other as the burn lingers in their throats.  

“Aye, mate!” Josh calls, over the latest remix, “Fancy another drink?”

Grinning at the other, Harry barks, “One more.”

Except somehow one turns to ten and the liquor cascades through him–though he’s a bit more than buzzed now, it doesn’t hinder his vigilance, because he’s too keyed up, watching Louis laugh delightedly at whatever Niall and Josh are talking about. And he regrets not having monitored exactly how much liquor the boys gone through, but he reckons it’s more than enough as Louis takes another sip at the sparkly substance in another glass.

Giggling again, the boy nods, then seems to remember something, “Hazza!” he cries happily, practically tossing the glass onto the table (not even noticing it’s spilt over the marble) as he scrambles into Harry’s lap, legs spread so they’re face to face. To balance him as he’s swaying a bit, Harry splays one hand on his lower back, then catches his jaw in two fingers, gazing into the blues of his dilated irises. “Have ‘nother drink, Hazza!”

“Mmm, I think ‘m done for tonight, love,” he declines softly, even as the boy tilts his face, pouting.

“Pleeaseee,” he whines, grabbing a handful of his hair and tugging. Inhaling sharply the Alpha almost groans at the sensations treading through his body, his cock growing dangerously, painfully hard in his trousers, straining against his zipper–wanting out, wanting inside his Omega’s perky, full arse. And crazily Harry imagines the Omega would welcome him so eagerly.

Anticipation coils inside him and all he can think is to get him home and in his bed and–fuck, no. Oblivious, Louis continues, upset, “Want you to have fun, too!” And the Alpha seriously considers grabbing another shot because he’s not nearly drunk enough to handle this.

But. “One more, pleeaseee, pretty please, please,” Louis continues his little mantra. Jesus, he really shouldn’t, but fuck it, if he’s taking another so should the Omega. Ah, well, sharing’s caring, yeah?

Without much thought, Harry reaches around Louis’s body, snatching another double-shot of whatever-the-fuck, leaning down, tightening his grip on Louis’s jaw to keep him from squirming, Harry breathes, “You thirsty, kitten?”

Both confused and curious the Omega replies, “Yes?”

Without much care that this isn’t exactly appropriate, the Alpha takes the shot (it’s white wine, which really?) then leans forwards, kissing Louis’s parted, shocked lips, pouring the liquid into his mouth. Against his cool mouth, Louis’s is warm and welcoming as he swallows automatically, breathing raggedly.

“More?” he whispers, spacing them an inch to find that Louis’s eyes are shut, eyelashes casting shadows again.

When Louis nods, the Alpha drinks more, leaning down to connect their mouths again; without any hesitance, the Omega takes the mouthful.  Smirking now, Harry murmurs, “Let’s not go any further as I know your capacity for alcohol is passed limitations, Louis.”

Louis bites his bottom lip, then drops his eyes. “You’re so funny, Hazza,” he giggles, leaning backwards so that Harry presses down on his lower back, arching him so he doesn’t meet the table. “So, so funnnny.” 

“Mm, how ‘bout nice?” he wonders. “Am I nice now, little one?”

“Always nice,” then he seems to remember that his fingers are still clutching his curls, as they flex, then tugs a bit more (like he knows what this does to Harry). “Ya know…you’ve got curly hair. I shall call you Curly from now on.” Not likely, Hazza is bad enough.

“Mmm. I hadn’t realised,” he murmurs solemnly, then, “Know what else ‘v got?”

With the little v appearing between his brows, Louis shakes his head, perhaps a bit too quickly as he gasps, “Whoa.

Quirking an eyebrow the Alpha goes to ask when another piercing bass steals the entire building and Louis’s eyes widen. “Oh my God! What song’s this? Issonice!”

“I dunno, but we’re going to dance!” Niall practically hops around the booth to stand before them, grabbing Louis’s hands (practically tearing Harry’s hair out–Irish bastard) and yanking the boy up and out of the booth. Stumbling the Omega catches his balance on Niall’s shoulder, “Come dance with me, Lou!”

Excitedly, Louis actually starts to drag Niall towards where the music is loudest, and this shocks Harry near sober again as his instincts come alive, feral and demanding. Wisely, the Irish boy stops, grinning at him like it’s nothing, “Don’t freak! I won’t lose your precious, Louis!”

There’s no winning so Harry narrows his eyes and all-but growls, “No, you won’t, because if you do, you won’t live to see the rest of the night.” The threat isn’t exactly accurate, as he wouldn’t hurt Niall (that’s almost impossible, and not because Josh would lose his shit, but more so because it’s Niall, an Omega, and Harry wouldn’t ever think to lay a hand on him–Josh, though, is a different matter entirely).

Then, much calmer Liam speaks, “Stay in our sights!”

“Or stay here,” Josh mutters, looking pissed as Harry feels–emitting sub-zero levels of hostility because there are too many Alphas in this God damned place (most of which are drunk, high, or fucking brainless).

“Yeah, yeah, yeah! Piss off.”

And then they’re stumbling away–Niall, proving he does have at least half a brain, has one arm wrapped around Louis’s waist, supporting his steps, guiding him right–and the Alpha watches, stares, warns with his eyes until the crowd’s swallowed them. There is no helping it–he all but loses his mind. Because he can’t risk it, not now, not ever, nobody deserves to see Louis this way, giggling and flushed and outrageously sexy. That’s his fucking privilege and damn him if he doesn’t make that known.

Downing one more shot (whiskey, thank fuck, he needs something strong) he catches Josh’s smirk, and Zayn’s quiet laughter before he storms away, in the direction of Louis, following the buzz. Ignoring those who are eyeing him hungrily, in seconds he’s where he needs to be, where Louis’s smiling, doing something silly with his hand that causes the Irish lad to double over in laughter. People are staring. And they’re both so unaware of their audience–but Harry is aware of the resentful looks he’s given once he circles his Omega’s waist in one arm and breathing warningly, “You don’t leave my side without permission. Understood?”

From ahead, the Irish boy has that ‘oh-shit-this-is-serious’ expression on his face, but Harry doesn’t really see him as he nuzzles Louis’s throat, hoping his scent will cling to the young boy. And though his Alpha’s voice resonates in his words, Louis doesn’t notice in his intoxication, giggling, “Haz! You came! Niall said you would, but I didn’t believe ‘im!” he leans his head back, onto Harry’s shoulder, relaxing as the Alpha begins to carry them to the beat, “I wanted you to come.” Tightening his hold, the Alpha keeps his body strictly away from Louis’s so he doesn’t ground his cock into the boy’s arse. But it’s not enough; he knows it’s not enough so he does what he must to keep his restraint.

Avoiding temptation, Harry turns Louis, holding him fast, then looking for signs of dislike on the young boys face, there’s nothing but excitement, nerves…and lust? No, something else, he thinks forcefully, even as his Alpha senses the Omega’s answering desire. For what, Harry can’t be bothered to find out because he’s closing the space, bending to accommodate the height difference, so their faces are incredibly near. Wrong move: the proximity sparks fire inside him.

One, small hand lands on his shoulder, holding as Harry smirks, and begins to move to the music, slow at first, unable to help that his hips meet the boy’s, who’s cheeks are coloured a delicious pink. It’s so fucking sexy–more than it should be. And he wants Louis to let go. For him. Wants the boy to know that’s okay–even though it isn’t for Harry’s mental-state, surely.

Moving lights twist and turn in time to the music, casting strange coloured light and shadows all over the bar and clientele. They’re alternately green, blue, white, and a demonic red. But the colours hardly matter. The atmosphere is ablaze, like the rest of the dance floor is flames (but really, it’s probably him). And the song’s picked up, but the Alpha moves the stumbling boy slower, because he looks confused and dazed (still so eager as his fingers dig into Harry’s shoulders)

And the Alpha is staring, can’t tear his gaze away because then he’ll miss something beautiful. But the boy’s fringe veils his eye, and Harry raises one hand, stroking the silky strands out of the way. It’s so wrong–Louis is only sixteen, hardly allowed to be this drunk…But fuck it. Without permission, Harry flexes his hips again, one hand moving to the boy’s, demanding this time, and the Omega’s eyelashes flutter–were the music not so damned loud the Alpha could have heard the lovely sound (moan, groan, sigh, whatever) leave the boy’s parted lips.

Harry wants him. Fuck does he want him. Leaning in, so their foreheads meet, he listens to Louis’s shallow breathing. Underneath all else there’s this flighty, nervous air to him. But those eyes still bore into his, like he can see him, and God does Harry want him to see him, to have that look in his eyes.Every lone detail that Harry’s memorised is bright; those tiny, shards of ice in the deeper blue stand out beautifully. Growling, the Alpha grinds himself against the boy again, on fire with need as Louis grasps his shirt in both hands. Even starving for him, Harry’s mouth brushes over Louis's gently, like the very first time. But it’s still desperate, hot.

Willing, pliant, the Omega kisses him back, telling him this is okay. He’s drunk, Harry thinks, fuck he must be because his Omega would never have done this, too sweet, shy. Which the Alpha adores. But this sensation, the fire, this kiss is getting Harry there, to that same drunken state, fucking cocky as he smirks into the kiss, gripping the boy’s hips now, pulling him flush against him. He tastes sweet like strawberries and liquor and his.

Movement. So much movement. Even the kiss doesn’t end, their lips move and…unlike the other kisses, time doesn’t stand still for this one. No. Time rushes past them. It’s hot, passionate, quick. A hand’s made its way into Harry’s curls, pulling at them as the Alpha groans, thrilled. The moment their tongues meet: fireworks, in front of his eyes. Out of control. No thoughts, no sight. Just lights everywhere.

Too soon it becomes too much as Harry tears away from his mouth, only slightly guilty when his eyes find the boy’s swollen mouth. Without warning, Louis erupts in a fit of breathless giggles.

The crowd is extremely hot and the Alpha needs another drink, but he has to know first, “What’s so funny?”

“Dunno,” the boy shrugs, and Harry can tell it’s a lie, but Louis sways which makes him realise it’s best to continue this conversation with Louis seated.

“Come,” he murmurs fondly, showing the Omega away from the dance-floor in record time. Back at their table with Louis hopping beside him, whispering meaningless words into his shoulder the Alpha arches an eyebrow at Zayn, “Where’s the love-birds?”

The other Omega points his chin towards Harry’s left. Peering over his shoulder, Harry finds Niall and Josh creating their own scene on the dance-floor. Much, much more sexual–practically shagging on the dance floor, subtract the clothing and viola, there’s the porn.

Jumping excitedly, clinging onto his arm, Louis smiles lovingly at him, “Aw! Are they dancin’ Hazza? THEY ARE, AREN’T THEY! They’re sooooo cute, Harry!”

“How was your dance, Lou?” Zayn asks, successful launching Louis towards him, stumbling very much, and into his lap, rambling through an overabundance of adjectives, “Lovely! Magical! Sp…” Trusting his best-mate with Louis, the Alpha strides over to the bar and returns minutes later with a bottle of water and a beer.

“So, you two best get out on that dance floor bef–,” he doesn’t finish because Louis scrambles to a stance and rushes over to him, burying his face in Harry’s shirt. “I thought you left,” he snivels miserably, clinging to him as Harry questions Zayn with his eyes–the Omega only shrugs, looking helpless, and beside him Liam averts his eyes, almost…guiltily. Now what is that about?

“No, no, love,” he soothes, walking them (yes, Louis remains glued to him, so the steps are wayward and sketchy) to the table. “Just needed to get you something to drink.”

Jerkily, due to the lack thereof stability, the Alpha places the drinks on the table and brings his hands over Louis’s, prying them from his shirt, even when the boy raises his face, extremely fearful. Sighing, Harry speaks quietly, “C’mon, babe, ‘m not goin’ anywhere. Calm down.”

Still, the Omega doesn’t give, mumbling, “’M not leddin’ go.”

At a loss, the Alpha glances at Zayn, then Liam, but they’ve gotten lost in their own worlds, in each other. So, since Louis’s not letting go, then he’ll be damned if he does so. Instead, he starts to hum, swaying them left, then right until Louis’s giggling again, emotions changing and transforming so quickly that Harry’s steps to the composition in his head falter. It’s not ruined though; perhaps the key in Louis’s laugh can be added to the keys of the piano.

“Mm, tell me what’s got you so giggly tonight?”

Louis shakes his head, hiding his face in the Alpha’s chest as he continues the rhythm, ignoring the questioning, shocked looks of the bouncers, waitresses, waiters, guest, etcetera. “You.”

“Ah, that makes sense,” he decides, mouth hinting at another smile. “Quite the comedian, I am. But what’ve I done now?”

“’S gonna ruin the mo’,” Louis slurs in warning.

Seriously doubt that, Harry thinks, because simply holding the Omega is a moment, one of his favourites; nothing can possibly ruin that. Hell, it’ll be more memorable. Rather than explaining this, Harry murmurs, “I don’t mind.”

Sighing, the boy mumbles, “I…Mum…You can dance.” Well…okay?

Thrown, the Alpha agrees, “Yes. Yes, I can dance.” Because he’d been taught them all through early adolescence, but oddly enough learning many routines Harry can’t remember, the movements and steps are ingrained in his memory, that’s all. Except his Father had been the only one to show him the waltz; he recalls that, watching the older Alpha go through the motions enough times from eleven to twelve…And not because he’d liked dancing, but because the older Alpha had wanted to show him, and he’d smiled a lot back then, before Mum…Not going there. Even blocking the thought, some emotion wells up inside him, not sadness…something…

“Mhm…Mum just always tells us, the girl’s too–‘sides Lotts, she thinks she’ll present Alpha–neva’ trust an Alpha that can dance.”

“Hmm,” he ponders this, doesn’t quite find a fitting enough explanation. “Why do you think that is?”

Louis shrugs–moving his head from side-to-side, “Reckon ‘s a Mum thing.”

“More likely than not,” he allows, then, “Come, you need to drink something.” Sober you up a bit.

Seeming to have forgotten his previous fright Louis smiles timidly when Harry takes his hand and returns them–having to keep the other hand on the boy’s side, keeping him balanced–to the table, as they’d strayed. There the Alpha finds the table’s vacant with empty liquor bottles, an ashtray (where’d that come from?), someone’s lighter, and an iPhone. Grateful for the privacy, Harry ushers Louis inside first, though once he’s seated the Omega climbs into his lap, making himself that much smaller and then asking, hopefully, “More?”

Laughing at that, the Alpha shakes his head ruefully. “You’ve had quite enough for one night.”

But then the boy sighs, the sound so forlorn that Harry reaches across the booth to where Zayn had been sitting to grab the half-empty bottle of rum–having been sitting in a glass-dish of ice, it’s relatively chilled–and grabbing another glass to pour some. “Last one, then you’re done, otherwise you’re going to be the death of me. You really are.” Nonetheless, Harry takes the Omega’s hand and puts the glass in it, watching as his face lights up and he grins, lurching forward to kiss his jaw, “’S why you’re my favourite.” And too hear those words again the Alpha would tilt the world on its axis–though it’d be impossible as his world already is tilted and upside down but…almost perfect still.

Because Louis is perfect–shy, hesitant, Louis is perfect, sharp-tongued, kittenish rage Louis is perfect, sad, sleepy Louis is perfect, and inebriated, giggly Louis is perfect. In his tilted, upside down world, Louis is perfect. And that’s enough for him.

∞∞∞

               

 

Blessedly, the Omega babysits his rum, prattling on and on around every sip, and at this point the Alpha can’t stop smiling. As the other’s are still missing, and Louis is seated cross-legged on the table (who know how that happened anyway?) the attention remains on him and selfishly Harry hopes it remains this way. Because his attention is always trained on Louis–even now as he slurs his way through his story, when he tried to sneak out with Niall but bumped into a vase and gotten grounded for “so many weeeeeeks, Hazza. So, so many.” All the while the Alpha laughs, imagining thirteen year old Louis, rebellious Louis, influenced easily by Ireland’s schemes.

“Naughty kitten,” he teases, tapping the boy’s nose.

Sighing the Omega shakes his head, looking outrageously pensive, “No, Harry. ‘M the good one. You told me so.”

Grinning lopsidedly, Harry agrees, then adds, “But I wasn’t aware of your rebellious past.”

Louis giggles at this, sipping the last of the rum before speaking again, “No. No ‘m only good for you. Doesn’t count othawise.”

“I think that’s excellent, baby,” he says quietly. “Be a good boy for me, nobody else.”

With his fringe a mess in his face, Louis grins, leaning forward to rub his nose against Harry’s. “I wanna ‘nother drink. Am I still good if I wanna ‘nother?”

“Mm, yes, you’re still good. But only when I’m with you. And not so much liquor again. Do not drink so much ever again, Louis.”

Surprisingly, the boy breathes, “’Kay.”

Satisfied, the Alpha nuzzles his neck, brushing his lips over the smooth, tempting skin. “Good boy.”

Arching his throat a bit Louis sighs, breathing coming quicker. “’S it always like this?”

“Like what?” he pauses to distance them enough that he can see his expression; the little v has formed between his brows and his mouth his curved down in a frown.

“You know…Hot, and achy and stuff.”

“What, drinking? Dancing?” Somehow the Alpha doesn’t think Louis’s talking about drinking or dancing. That he’s right doesn’t help anything.

“No…desire,” it’s a breathy, nervous whisper as the Omega bites down on his bottom lip, the words bringing more luscious colour to his cheeks.

“Why do you want to know?” his voice somehow manages to sound deeper, husky.

“’Cause I was hot before. Achy. When we danced. A-And always when you touch me. Or kiss me. I…I like it. I like that feeling. I want…I want more.” 

Those words threaten fucking obliterate and destroy and leave his self-restrain in unfixable pieces. Clearing his throat, the Alpha realises Louis is waiting on him to respond. “What do you mean, Lou?”

Somehow the boy’s unseeing gaze meets his. Lustful–a look Harry’s not seen there before and one he’d never thought to hope to see. “You know ‘xactly what I mean,” he mumbles, voice high, quivering. Although very much intoxicated, he’s still anxious. Not fully aware of what he’s doing, but aware enough to know he’s being such a suggestive little tease. And this is what alcohol does; Harry decides bitterly, makes people speak without meaning.

Even so it takes every ounce of strength to not have the boy there and then until he has him begging. “I think you’re drunk, kitten,” Harry manages to mutter, but the words are weak because fuck he wants this. Wants it more than this sorry excuse for oxygen–but Louis isn’t ready, Hell, he’s not even ready.

“Even when I think of you,” the Omega continues, voice breathy, so fucking sexy. Not helping anything, Harry’s gaze darkens. In his own state, the Alpha wants to push the boy to his knees and puts those lips to proper use…God, he can’t. Not now. Not like this. Probably not ever. “Is that normal? That sometimes I get hot ‘nd achy…when I think ‘bout you?” Louis continues ponderously, somehow managing to be adorable and sexy at the same time.

“I…I…” for the first time ever, Harry is stuttering, absolutely screwed, unable to comprehend how this sixteen year old Omega can break him down this way. And that fucking look in those blue eyes makes Harry blurt, “I’m always thinkin’ ‘bout you, Lou. Fuck, I’m always fucking hard for you, always. Jesus I–,” but he’s interrupted by a young boy pouncing him. Wet, inexperienced lips attach themselves to his (scarily accurate) and Harry jerks back in surprise.

Suddenly everything…is not under control.

Growling, the Alpha places his hands on Louis’s hip and pulls him down from the table, until he’s a soft, warm weight on his legs. But it’s not nearly close enough to where he needs to be, but the Omega seems to think so too, as he’s pressed closer to the bulge in his trousers, foolishly spreading his legs for him too. God, the boy does want him, there’s evidence, and his Alpha’s going wild with the knowledge. But Louis doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing–it’s the alcohol.

Doesn’t stop him–nothing can, because Louis’s mouthing at him again, stealing his thoughts, his clarity. Only concentrated on the feel of Louis’s soft, willing mouth. Clumsily the Omega tangles his hands in Harry’s curls, pulling at the soft tuffs–at this Harry groans low in his throat, flexing his hips and jostling the boy a bit.

Fuck, Harry wishes he were in control. He can’t ruin this. But this boy. This one fucking Omega destroys him–gives his Alpha control, but cages the animal all the same. Rough and forceful his hands go to work, one sneaking underneath the thin, white top, onto the boy’s belly, feeling the soft expanse, as the other hand bears down on his lower back, arching him perfectly against him.

Growling again, the Alpha tears his mouth away to latch his mouth to the boy’s throat, too close to their bonding-spot sucking, tasting, devouring. Testing, Harry nips at his skin, loving the way Louis whines, hips bucking as his hands leave his curls to rake down his throat, over his chest, over his piercing nipples, sending bursts of pleasure through him. Fuck, something rational comes to when his mouth starts, sucking desperately, marking him and he doesn’t want to think, but…

Pained, he stops, ignoring Louis’s whine of protest to stare at the skin he’d been attending too, red, bruising against his otherwise innocent, tanned skin.

“Please, no…don’t stop,” the Omega whispers, panting, baring his throat more. “Please. Want this–make me burn too.”

Fucking…fuck. Swallowing the Alpha squeezes his eyes shut, trying to think passed the blooming scent of Louis, to think passed the begging, to…think. “No, baby,” he croaks, hating the words, wanting to take them back immediately. “We’re…not going there tonight. Not tonight.” God, I want to fuck you, bend you over this table, take you so sweetly, let my knot take care of you.  

Soundless, the Omega crawls out of his lap, and when his touch leaves the Alpha thinks he’s bleeding inside. But the boy simply brings his legs to his chest and rests his head on his knees.

“I…” he tries, but thinks if he remains this close to him, his resolve will deteriorate, and then he really will fuck him tonight. “I’m going to get Niall. Will you stay here?”

Silence.

“Lou?” he asks. Nothing.

“I need to know you’re not going to try and leave.” This silent-treatment reminds him too much of his Father. And the Alpha doesn’t ever want to associate that bastard with Louis. But here it is, the silence, reminding him how shit he is inside.

Unwarranted, his temper spikes. “God, damn it, Louis answer me.

Revealing cold, ice-blue eyes, the Omega answers in that quiet voice, “’M not going anywhere.”

Realisation settles over him in the worst possible way–he’s hurt him trying to protect him. Something crumbles in him. And he almost gives in, almost slings the boy over his shoulder, carries him out, into his car, where’d he’d no doubt…Not happening, he thinks, disgusted with himself.

“Stay,” he mutters, then promptly tracks Niall down (finding him still on the dance floor with Josh) and tells him to see too Louis because he sure as Hell can’t. When the Irish boy demands to know “what the fuck did you do?” the Alpha simply repeats himself, watching the Irish lad stalk away, to the table. Then, with his head ducked, hands trembling, thoughts everywhere and nowhere, the Alpha returns outside to light up whatever is left of Zayn’s weed.

∞∞∞

Turns out Liam and Zayn disappeared outside, to the back, where Harry ends up catching the two snogging and almost kills someone. When the two have finished their shit excuses, and Harry’s blown each of them off with murderous glares, then relentless teasing, Zayn and Harry light up again. And like some magic-warlock or something equally as influential, his best-mate gets Liam to take three hits.

When the joint is nothing but a roach there isn’t one light-weight they’re taking home tonight–or this morning as it’s two A.M.–but two, as Liam seems to have been virgin to smoking weed and is now zoned-out and spacey, staring at Zayn. There’s a while that the three converse back and forth about deep, philosophical shit until Harry realises the time and decides it’s time to head out. Sending his best-mate in first, to rally the others, the Alpha makes sure, once he’s gotten a drunken text from Zayn ‘wre out23side naw’ that everyone is ready, then drags Liam inside, agreeing to what the other Alpha rambles on about (“Zayn’s so fuckin’ gorgeous”) and blah blah blah, making the male drink an entire bottle of water, then paying the tab (which he doesn’t know the exact amount and probably leaves more pounds than necessary) before leaving.

Beside Liam, Harry strides out of the club, following the buzz to the right, where the queue remains long as it was hours ago.

There, Louis and Niall stand arm-in-arm, in the middle of an entire group of people who listen to Niall’s insistent chatter on the perks of being mated. Josh and Zayn are on the outskirts, leaning against a post in quiet conversation, seemingly amused as they throw Louis and Niall looks. But when he redirects his focus on Louis, he notices one particularly idiotic Alpha from the group surrounding them, staring pointedly. At them both. And not just their faces, but their bodies–Louis’s body.

Dark, possessive instinct drenches him as Harry growls under his breath and stalks forward, over to the boy’s. In mere seconds he’s shoved through the throng, throwing murderous glares at those blocking his path and then grabs Louis’s arm, tugging him from Niall and against his body; in those seconds the boy looks stunned but then seems to realise it’s him as his face lights up, all effervescent and incandescent. But the Alpha can’t seem to grasp anything other than the fact that they’ve not bonded, they’ve not mated, and to the outside world his pretty Omega doesn’t belong to anyone.

And the knowledge flashes through him again and again and again until the Alpha’s cradling Louis’s face in both hands and possessing his sweet mouth, savoring his answering gasp. Claiming his mouth hungrily Harry runs one hand down the soft of Louis’s belly, his hip, over his thigh, holding him fast as Louis’s fingers twist hard in his hair, always so eager. Jesus, his body, his soul, this boy is his.

“You. Are. Mine.” With the claim his canines lock lightly on the Omega’s bottom lip, emphasizing the words as Harry retreats, staking his already made assertion by drawing Louis into his side, watching the boy’s dazed expression. Abruptly Louis’s eyelashes flutter and those electric-blues are glaring, and he’s stumbling from Harry’s grasp before the Alpha even realises his intentions, Louis crosses his arms, “Hazza, you left me.

“Mmm,” the Alpha acknowledges, drinking him in, “But I came back.”

Louis seems to consider this, and then beams, “You did. And you kissed me. Like that.” Then the Omega’s stepped in front of him on his tip toes, “Again. Kiss me like that ‘gain, Haz.”

“Nope,” he grins, grabbing the Omega beneath his thighs, ignoring his giggles and protests to break them free of the crowd, the curious looks there. “Now what’s the fun in doin’ what you’re told?”

Flailing his legs the Omega shakes his head, “’Arry Edward Styles! Lemme go!” Never.

“Reckon I’ll have to hold you closer now, yeah?”

Mischief comes over the boy’s ethereal features. “Keep holdin’ me, Hazza,” he breathes, eyes peeking up from thick lashes, giving him that pretty look he must know Harry loves. “Hold me closer.”

Grudgingly the Alpha sighs, “You’re not supposed to find loop holes!”

“I win!” the boy cries delightedly, and this time when he squirms the Alpha, by suggestion, must let him go. And he does so, but doesn’t let the comment go by, “No.”

Mouth pouty, the Omega stomps his foot, “Yes!”

Amused, the Alpha replies, “Not at all, my lovely. This isn’t over.”

“Take me home, Styles!” Niall appears, sonorous as Josh holds him fast round the waist, looking amused. “I am tired. And deserve some beauty sleep, dealing with him for an hour.”

“Let’s remember you’re the one that caused this,” Zayn voices now, waving at Louis from underneath Liam’s arm.

“Shut up!” the Irish boy hisses, starting away, towards the lot with Josh grinning and mouthing, “sexually frustrated!”

When Liam and Zayn follow, Louis starts away too, pausing when the Alpha doesn’t follow, caught up in admiring the view of his perky arse in those trousers. Either he’s burning them or Louis will be wearing them more often, he can’t decide because Louis shivers, calling, “C’mon, Harry! Wanna go home!

Shrugging out of his blazer Harry makes it over to Louis is five, large steps, draping him in the blazer and then, once the Omega’s managed to get his hands through the sleeves (pushing the paws up a bit to reveal his hands) he intertwines their fingers. With the others almost far enough that they’re no long visible–though Harry can certainly hear them, shouting, messing about foolishly–the two stroll with their hands swinging between them back and forth. And when the Alpha glances down at Louis, he’s grinning up at him, so radiant the Alpha thinks his heart skips or something. Gorgeous boy.

“Whatever you’re high on, I’d like some, little one,” he murmurs (from up ahead Josh begins to laugh boomingly).

Still grinning, the Omega shrugs one shouldered, “’M high on you, Hazza.”  

“Really?” though completely untrue, joking even, the thought pleases him greatly. “Well you certainly look intoxicated.” And then, halting them the Alpha draws the boy close, kissing him fast, hard, prepared to taste the sweet surprise on his tongue when, DON’T YOU EVEN TRY IT! MOVE YOUR ARSE’S!” An Irish shriek. An annoying, obnoxious Irish shriek.

Snickering, Louis stumbles some more steps forward, continuing, but the Alpha shoots the others the finger, and brings Louis back to him, planting another bruising kiss to his mouth, once, twice, a third time when Louis raises one hands to brush a stray curl from his right eyes, mumbling, “C’mon, Haz! ‘Fore Ireland plots our deaths!”

Perhaps the alcohol’s gone to his head, because, “To die fighting for you would be an honour.”

“Sappy, Styles,” the boy mumbles, laughing airily, swaying a bit before taking Harry with him. From there the Alpha steers him straight, in the right direction, “Love sappy Styles.”

Love, the Alpha thinks incredulously. Love.

“Yes, love!” Louis giggles as Harry realises he’s spoken out loud.

“Love?” he repeats again, maneuvering Louis left, into the lot, grinning as he waggles his eyebrows.

“Must I spell it out to you? L-O-V-E, love! Sheesh, love sappy Styles, no’ daft Styles.”

Mock outraged, the Alpha brings one hand to his heart and starts in, “You wound me! I thought you’d love every Styles. Favoritism.”

Fighting another smile the Omega shakes his head, “Mhm, my favourite Alpha, thas who you are.”

“The only Alpha,” Harry reminds, and then they’re reached the car, where the others wait impatiently.

“Who the Hell is driving?” Josh demands, obviously concerned as to how they’re supposed to get back to the penthouse.

At that Harry raises two fingers. “’M sober enough to drive. Well more than the lot of you drunkards.”

Louis frowns. “Haz, no. Whatta ‘bout Liiii?”

“Liiii is gone, Lou,” Liam says, chuckling at his own joke, and Louis looks confused. Poor boy.

“Walk in a straight line then, Mr. Sober,” Niall hisses–his irritability amuses Harry like nothing else.

Still, the Alpha glares at him. “What the Hell? I couldn’t even do that completely sober!

“Christ’s sakes,” Josh growls, opening the rear-door, pinning Ireland with a glare that shouts ‘not-the-time-to-test-me’, “Enough. Get in, Niall.”

Sighing, like it’s an entirely unreasonable demand, the Omega does so, and Josh follows then Liam and Zayn. Opening the passenger side, the Alpha helps Louis in, who says, “Please, tell me you’re not drivin’.” Like he’s so wasted or summat.

A bit miffed by this, Harry grabs both of Louis’s hands in his own, speaking quietly, “Lou, ‘m okay. I promise.”

“But…”

“Trust me,” he breathes, then stupidly at the Omega’s crushed expression. “Trust me, and when we get in we can do whatever you want.”

“Anything?” he asks, and then he’s hugging himself, grinning. Unable to help but grin back the Alpha makes quick work of buckling Louis, just-barely keeping his hands (and mouth) to himself, conscious of their audience. Rounding to the driver’s side, Harry shakes out his hair, then swipes it back into place, opening the door, buckling and starting the engine.

“You drive like it’s your Omega’s life on the line, Styles,” Josh murmurs coolly, like Louis actually isn’t there. Unfazed, the Alpha rolls his eyes, puts them in reverse and pulls out smoothly.

“I’m fine,” he mutters dismissively, lowering the windows, allowing the cool, fresh air to cleanse the humid atmosphere. “Unlike some, I can hold my liquor.”

When the Irish lad mimics him, using a horrible, nasally voice, the Alpha makes a disgusted face, turns up the music to drown them all out (especially Liam, who’s rambling on and on to Zayn about God knows what). And through the drive Harry hopes Louis will fall asleep, but the boy is wide-awake, drunk, and excited as he hums along (off-key) to every song.

Soon, they’re only minutes away (flawless driving, honestly, they don’t give him enough credit) and Harry risks a glance at Louis, almost runs a red, staring at him, with his hair in such a wind-blown mess, eyes shut, a smile teasing the corners of his mouth. Then they’re back. A frisson of anticipation runs through his body as Harry cuts the engine, and he doesn’t even hear the other’s grumble ( or remember they’re there at all) because he’s at Louis’s side in seconds, though he’s unneeded as the Omega slides to his feet, then sways a bit.

“Dizzy,” Louis explains when Harry grabs his side to steady him.

In response Ireland says something soothing, but it goes right by the Alpha unnoticed. Heart drumming wildly in his chest the Alpha grabs his waist and lifts him so he stands on the car’s side-step again, then he turns and says, “C’mon love, hop on.”

Mystified the Omega asks, “What’re you doin’?”

“I am giving you a piggy back ride,” Harry declares, smirking. “Climb, little one.” When the Omega doesn’t move, looking unsure and hesitant, the Alpha sighs, and shifts so that when he reaches for him it’s simple to sling him, light as he is, onto his back with hardly effort on Louis’s part (besides when he’s in place, clamping his legs and arms tightly, clinging to him). “Feels high up,” he slurs a bit, resting his cheek on Harry’s shoulder, sighing, “What’s it like to be tall as you?”

Chuckling, the Alpha starts towards the penthouse, answering, “Not that tall, love. You’re tiny, is all.”

Jutting his bottom lip sulkily, Louis shakes his head, then brings back one of his hands to sooth back the curls that have fallen in his face. Somehow the innocent touch makes Harry extremely happy. Then those blessed fingers are gentle, tracing and outlining Harry’s features. “You’re quite beautiful, Hazza.”

Even grimacing the Alpha manages to chuckle, “Aren’t I?”

“Don’t joke,” Louis says, oddly serious, some sort of recognition in his tone, “I mean it. You’re…beautiful. Outside…and inside. You’re beautiful inside, too.”

Uncomfortable, the Alpha remains quiet, which wrong decision. “Niiii! Isn’t Hazza-Bear beautiful!? He’s soooo beautiful!”

From ahead of them, Niall turns and sticks out his tongue at them. “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, Lou! Hazza’s got a frog-face!”

Louis grumbles, “Hazza is beautiful, wanker!” Without responding the Irish boy continues, stumbling and giggling at whatever Josh whispers into his ear next. And the Alpha wants to say something clever but he’s at an odd loss.

There’s a moment of silence, then the boy whispers into his ear, “I know what I want. You said anything. And I know what I want…”

“Mmm,” he answers curiously. “And what’s that?”

More steps, closing in on the group just ahead of them.

“More,” Louis breathes, blue eyes swimming with emotion. “More than first base.”

Steps nearly faltering, the Alpha manages to get to the front doors, unlocking one of them (with only a bit of struggling) before kicking off his boots and padding down the hall towards the stairwell. “To our room!” Louis commands, giggling before calling to the others, “G’niiight, babesss!”

Of course everyone responds, fond and affection from each of them–they’re the best mates Louis could have, couldn’t ask for better. In a rush the Alpha doesn’t notice that Louis’s started to descend from his body until the loss of weight brings him to a sudden halt as Louis meets the ground, stumbling. Impulsively the Alpha whips around to clasp his wrist in one hand, holding him vertical even as the Omega giggles again, the sound mellifluous, “C’mon, Haz, c’mon!”

Leaning against the halls right wall, casually crossing his arms, with his humour restored, the Alpha asks, “So, more than just first base?”

“Now!”

“With pleasure, kitten,” without permission Harry pulls the boy. More than willing, Louis throws his arms around Harry’s neck, practically dragging him backwards. Fumbling to show the entrance out of the way, the Alpha finally manages, then they’re inside and he’s kicking the door shut behind them. It’s pitch-black, with only the pale moonlight streaming through the curtains, but there’s no view because then Louis’s back-down on the mattress with Harry braced above him.

Grinning up at him, Louis sighs, squirming, “You smell…like…Mm, whiskay.

With a playful growl the Alpha speaks languidly, “Do I? Well you smell like mine, kitten.”

“Maybe that’s ‘cause my Alpha throws his clothin’ into my suitcase so…” the words trial as the Alpha noses at Louis’s cheek, humming in agreement while the Omega struggles to finish, “’m con…constantly in h-his…clothes.”

“Sounds like a brilliant Alpha to me.” Then the Alpha decides he likes teasing Louis, likes the way his body squirms underneath his, like his mouth on Louis’s skin. Loves it even.

“S-Sometimes,” Louis mumbles, twinning Harry’s hair around his fingers, “Otha’s not so much.”

“Like when?” he pauses to breathe against his jaw, nearing the bruising love-bite.

“Like when you…you kiss me like earlier ‘c-cause you think otha’ Alpha’s want me.” Not think, know.

Above Louis, the Alpha stills, growling into his skin, inhaling his own scent over the Omega’s floral one, “They look too interested.”

“You always think that,” Louis breathes back, wriggling again, almost against him. Almost. As to make sure that doesn’t happen, Harry pins his hips to the mattress with one hand.

“Because it’s true. You’re so naive, love. Oblivious to your million or so appeals.”

Louis quiets and when Harry thinks the boy’s not going to respond, he sighs, “Sucks to be ‘em then. ‘Cause only you make me like this.”

Warmth settles over the Alpha and triumph flares within him. “You want me, no one else?” he wants to hear those exact words, craves them as his finger’s tighten and drag over the boy’s thigh, spreading them (only a bit…it’s not going anywhere). Or so he convinces himself even as Louis inhales sharply, licking his lips, “No one else,” is his next breath, “Now will you gimme what I want?” More…

“Later,” the Alpha tells him quietly, averting his eyes so he doesn’t have to see the look of disappointment on the Omega’s face. “First you need to change.”

And he kneels at the end of the bed, yanking Louis down enough so that he’s able to remove the boy’s shoes, then he stands up, about to turn round so the boy could change out of those trousers (shame) when the Omega sits up, eyes cast-down, “Hazza?” he asks, equally as quiet. “Why don’t you want me?”

Shocked, even disturbed, the Alpha freezes, ready to deny this because what a fucking joke, anyone can see how much he wants this Omega…except the Omega himself.

“I know ‘m not like…I know I don’t know what ‘m doin’…But ‘m tryin’…Truly I am. And I just…I want you to want me, too,” those eyes raise then, the little v between his brows, irises glassy with either tears or perhaps it’s the liquor, then he smiles ruefully. “’M I makin’ much sense? Feels like ‘m not…Oh well. I wanna dance!”

The abrupt twist and turn of events and emotions makes the Alpha’s head ache.

“Dance! Dance! Dance!” Louis giggles, scrambling to his feet, and twirling, “Haaaaz, come! Come dance with me.”

With a minute-smile, at least it might be a smile (maybe a frown) the Alpha takes Louis’s hands, slips them around his neck, leaning a bit so Louis doesn’t have to stretch. “Dance?” the Omega whispers.

And the Alpha hooks an arm around Louis’s waist, “Slow dance.”

“Why?”

“Because I like slow dancin’.”

“’Kay,” Louis pauses, “But wait! Whatta ‘bout music?” Considering this, the Alpha begins to hum his tune, moving to its beat.

“What songs this?”

“Dunno. ‘S gonna be a composition. Whenever I manage to write it down.”

“Hmm. I like this. It’s quite…composition-ish.”

At his word choice the Alpha laughs, “Is it? How ‘bout now?” Then, to entertain the other, Harry begins to opera-sing it. Not one of his finest moments but.

Erupting in a fit of giggles, Louis sways quite gracefully, despite his balance situation. “Oh my God, Hazza! How weird are you, ‘xactly?”

“’M not weird! Just a bit…mentally challenged,” he replies solemnly, earning another giggle that leaves him all-but glowing with pride.

But when the boy sighs again, it’s sad, as they step in time to the beat. “Just…I…” his words trail as Harry waits for him to continue. “Like you lots, Hazza. You’re so perfect. But not me, ‘nd that makes me sad.”

“What makes you say that?” he asks quietly, as to hide the bloodred rage tinting his eyesight.

Louis sighs, “’S obvious. Everything…Everythin’ is wrong. With me…it’s wrong. I know it, society knows it, he knew it, probably still knows it…”

And the Alpha opens his mouth to argue, to say fuck society, but the catches something. “Who is he? Louis, who the fuck said that?”

Against him, the boy flinches, then raises his face. “Shut me up, Haz,” he pleads, slightly panicked. “Please, make it go away…”

Voice hoarse, the Alpha mutters, “It’d be my pleasure.”

A frown graces the boy’s mouth. “Whatta ya–?” But the Omega doesn’t finish because Harry’s mouth moves against his, and almost desperately the boy kisses him back, sighing into his mouth, warm and comfortable as Harry tenses over him, drowning in the moment. Too soon, before his mind gets too clouded, the Alpha pulls back, closes his eyes and relishes in the feel of him so very close. So warm, soft…to be valued and cared for and–

“I think that shut you up quite nicely, didn’t it?” Harry observes easily.

“Funny,” Louis breathes, grinning.

“No, not really,” the Alpha disagrees. Again the thought crosses his mind and his smile fades. “Will you tell me who ‘he’ is?”

Shaking his head, the Omega shoves weakly against him, so that Harry retreats a bit, watching as Louis says, with more force than before, “No.” Then, starting towards the bed, with a sweet smile, “Later.”

“That’s not fair,” he mutters, carrying one, shaky hand through his curls. “That’s different.” 

“That’s different,” the Omega mimics, voice not at all similar to his, but endearing all the same as Louis cuddles into the mass of blankets, giggling there. “’S all the same. I won’t give until I get, Hazza.”

“You’re drunk, Lou,” exhaustion leaks from his voice, frustration into his body. “You…”

“’M sleepy, is what I am.”

Drawing one, calming breath the Alpha nods, “Lemme get some water and paracetamol for tomorrow.” Mechanically, he leaves the room, goes into the kitchen and braces his hands on the counterpane; breathing in the clean, scentless air, trying to calm his body–imbalance doesn’t work well with him. But fuck there’s no fixing this…no, he just needs to deal with it.

Grabbing the bottle of water from the fridge, then two tablets from the medicine-cabinet, Harry finds Louis’s in the bathroom. The sinks running and vaguely the Alpha considers going in to watch him and make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. But he needs these minutes alone, and doesn’t invade the boy’s privacy, waiting–it’s not even minutes later that Louis eases the bathroom door open.

By now the strength of his reaction to his Omega shouldn’t shock him; the force of it does. Because the Omega is standing there, clothing…Jesus somehow he’s ended up in one of Harry’s white Hanes, but those trousers…Christ, those trousers are nowhere to be seen, instead Louis’s covered in these laced, black underwear, panties. The black contracts beautifully against Louis’s skin in the moonlight, making him appear to glow. And the Alpha opens his mouth to speak…but there aren’t words.

Silent, Louis toys with the hem of Harry’s shirt, but raises his face and grins slowly…wickedly. Instantly his muscles tense, his blood heats and roars in his ears, his Alpha…his need. He’s made for me–mine.

“Please,” the boy pleads again, then seems to misinterpret his answering silence for rejection. “’M sorry…I…sorry. Shouldn’t ‘ave…” And then he’s turned round–the sight proves the Alpha’s undoing. Need rages through him viscously, mercilessly. The elegant line of his back. The two indentations above his full, lace-clad arse. The graceful length of him.

“Come ‘ere,” it isn’t his voice; it’s the voice, as Harry stares, sitting on the mattress and spreading his legs in welcome. “Now.”

Practically squealing in childish enrapture Louis skips ineptly into Harry, knocking the Alpha flat. Unable to help himself, the Alpha lets out a boyish laugh, filled with admiration, but his main focus is on those panties. More so on getting the boy out of the scanty black-lace; staining his perky arse with pink handprints as punishment for disobeying him, for tempting him this way.

Mindlessly the Alpha sits up, bringing Louis to his feet as his burning hands grip his arse tight, squeezing the perky, lace-covered flesh. A tiny, surprised yelp gets lost in Harry’s mouth as the Alpha lurches forward, forcing Louis’s petal-soft lips to meet his own, seeking ones. Hard and unyielding, Harry thrusts his tongue past the boy’s lips, tasting, demanding.

And he dominates. He masters. He owns.

Unbelievably fervent, Louis throws his arms around Harry’s neck, entangling his fingers in the Alpha’s curls, tugging in attempts to bring them closer. When the boy mewls in rapture–so fucking good for him–the Alpha gentles his hold, softening the kiss, allowing the Omega to learn and savor. In seconds Louis’s melted, crawling into his lap, meeting his tongue with soft, hesitant strokes.

“Yeah,” he rasps, fingers digging into his luscious arse, cock throbbing. “Like that.” And he sounds amazed.

But Louis feels silky, and warm, and amazing, meeting his tongue again, coalescing the fire between them–just like that the kiss spins out of control. Urgency overshadows the Alpha’s desire to savor–this is the most aroused he’s been in his entire life–as his knot thickens at the base of his cock, the pain of nothing at all, no pressure, no friction, no Louis, makes him dizzy. Before he realises what’s happening his canines are locking on the boy’s swollen bottom lip, then moving onto his jaw, and his slender throat, sucking and biting and branding the Omega with his mouth.

When the bloody shirt hinders his path, with one hand the Alpha manages to discard the bloody thing and then continues over Louis’s sharp, bared shoulder.

Relentless, the Omega is moving in his lap, wriggling, bouncing a bit; little whines escape his mouth from the back of his throat. Beneath the blazing flames the Alpha realises what Louis’s trying to do, and almost grins at his inexperienced attempts. But then he realises this needs to stop because Louis doesn’t deserve this. Doesn’t deserve to experience pleasures first flames when wasted. Doesn’t deserve to not remember the mind-blowing sensations the way Harry surely will. Growling into his mouth the Alpha sets the pliant boy mere inches away, ending the sweet, hot undulations.

“Enough,” he whispers, impatient fingers stroking his gorgeous arse, toying with the garment’s edge, basking in the Omega’s shudder as he shifts him onto the mattress next.

“But…” he whimpers, cheeks flushed, tilting his head back. “I need.”

“And you shall have,” the Alpha promises, shifting onto his side to angle the boy’s face with two digits. “If you still want more when you’re sober, I promise, I will give it to you.” I’d give you anything–my cock, my knot, my pups, my bloody heart…Christ, those thoughts consume him as one hand finds the soft of Louis’s belly.

“B-But what if you don’t w-want me when we’re sober?” The ice-cold fear collides with desires raging fire–in disbelief Harry shakes his head.

“’Course I’ll want you, silly boy. I told you, I always want you.” It’s so fucking true–and the Alpha knows it’s not going to change. Unlike with the others, once he’s had Louis, tasted him, felt him, claimed him, the way no other Alpha ever will, he’s never going to let go, never going to stop wanting. Because want and more are the best fucking words to describe their dynamic. Want. More. Want. More. Want…more–always. And he wants more than some meaningless lay. Wants more than empty words, wants more than forgettable conversations….Just wants more. 

Except the Omega doesn’t understand and the Alpha doesn’t have the words to explain.

Smiling sadly, Louis distances them, only by another inch, but it feels like so much more, hurts like so much more, then closes his beautiful eyes (though it doesn’t stop the flow of endless disappointment from clawing down Harry’s chest, through his lungs). No, damn it, Louis is oblivious, so painfully oblivious. Frustrated, Harry grabs his wrist, and tugs him closer so that the Omega’s floral scent swirls and dances everywhere, but the Alpha manages to center solely on making him realise, make him feel better. Happy again. Louis should always be happy.

Leaning forward, the Alpha exhales heavily in the crook of Louis’s neck, absorbing his answering shiver, how his petite, lovely body relaxes with the proximity.

“Touch me.” Without giving the Omega the chance to agree, the Alpha places his hand on the waistband of his trousers, encouraging him. “Touch me, kitten. God, touch me.

Completely unconvinced, even a bit afraid, the Omega brings his trembling fingers lower, so light over the length of his aching cock. The thought, only the thought, of Louis touching him there, makes him have to force his hips still. Louis gasps, but doesn’t immediately leave as the Alpha anticipated he would, instead he keeps his hand there, light, light pressure, making it hard to breathe evenly.

“’S worse when ‘m sober–hurts how bad I want you, Louis,” he says raggedly, linking their fingers over his cock and taking them back, away from where he craves them most.

As the Omega is flushed, eyes droopy, body loose, the Alpha leans away, strokes the hair from his face, bringing the blankets over him, cocooning him in them, letting Louis cuddle into his chest, nose at his collarbone.

“Dream happy dreams, my only love,” he whispers into the darkness with one, fleeting kiss to Louis’s temple. Against him, Louis smiles blearily. “Won’t forget this.”  

Nor will I, the Alpha thinks, not ever, though he refrains from saying so; instead he begins to hum his nameless tune, which he now has the mind to call ‘Want-More, Of You’.

Chapter Text

Somebody is dying–they must be, that would be the only reason for that horrible, agonizing shrill cutting the seams of Louis’s unconsciousness. In retaliation the Omega’s body tremors, tensing a bit as Louis forces his eyes open, greeted by the darkness that’s never felt so out of place. Unable to think into that, Louis jolts upright, but the entire world seems to jolt with him and he collapses back into the mattress, whimpering as his head pounds in cruel, unusual ways. Apparently, his head has decided it’s at war with itself and his mouth has this awful, bitter taste to it. And all Louis can hear is that cutting shrill that doesn’t quite sound like someone’s dying now that he’s actually listening. But it’s horrible all the same.

Beside him someone moves, shifting before cursing lowly, “’Ello?” his Alpha’s voice is unbelievably deep and scratchy with sleep. “Get back to me in another hour or so, Gretchen.” Gretchen?

As the Omega clutches his temples the Alpha shifts again, then one, soothing hand runs down his bare side. Gasping at the contact Louis vaguely wonders where his clothes are, but doesn’t manage to much longer because Harry speaks, to him now, “Kitten?” there’s a seemingly fond smile in his voice.

Suddenly, exposed like this, Louis feels incredibly shy as his face heats under the Alpha’s steady gaze.

“Hi,” he whispers, grateful he’s lying on his front. And then some blurred, distorted memories of his drunken behaviour from the night before return in a rush as Louis moans, shielding his (no doubt) bright red face with his hands. “Oh, no. No, no, no. What did I do? Am…Am I in trouble?”

Through hushed laughter, Harry murmurs, “Not right now, no. How’s the head?”

Clinging to the distraction, and not wanting the Alpha to press, Louis blurts truthfully, “Hurts, Hazza. Really, really, hurts." 

“Mm, thought so,” the Alpha sounds so very smug–the Omega somehow finds that extremely attractive, even in this state. “Hmm. Did you at least sleep well? Certainly seemed like it to me, with all that snoring.”

Playful Harry. Louis smiles sleepily. “I do not snore!” As soon as the words leave his mouth, the Omega winces at the answering pain shooting through his temples to the back of his head.

“No,” the Alpha allows, reaching around for something. “You don’t. Here, sit up, sweetheart, take these.”

With some effort the Omega does as he’s told, crossing his arm around his belly protectively, partly because he’s insecure, but more so because he feels very nauseous of sudden. Swallowing the tablets with a glorious rush of water, Louis sighs, continues sipping until closing the bottle to rest his head on the pillows again.

As his eyelids slide shut, Louis asks quietly, “Times it?”

“Seven A.M. Go back to sleep.” With pleasure.

On command the Omega’s breathing slows and evens as Harry continues his soothing strokes at his side. There’s no fighting the oblivion, and right now, Louis doesn’t want to.

∞∞∞

                Again, Louis awakens, but this time the consciousness sinks in slowly as several facts become known. One, his head is still hurting; two, he feels like he’s going to be sick, and his entire body aches almost like he’s contracted the flu; three, he’s cozied up to a warm, soft and thin body, and this frame doesn’t belong to an eighteen year old Harry. It’s too soft. Too short. Too…everything.

Confusion settles over him–how’d he end up in Niall’s arms? The abrupt knowledge that Harry’s left douses him in ice-cold alarm.

“Harry?” he croaks anyway, voice high and shrilly, and inside his Omega’s curled into a ball–abandoned.

“Relax, Lou,” the Irish lad murmurs softly. “’M here. Harry asked me to stay with you. He had some things to do and hoped you wouldn’t wake before he was back.” As he speaks the Irish boy holds him fast, but it feels wrong, and only makes his eyes sting with helpless tears.

“Where?”

“No. I am not going to continue unless you relax.

Grimacing into the darkness the Omega focuses solely on breathing around the terror until his aching head has stopped spinning from the lack of oxygen. Then, he whispers, “This is as calm as ‘m goin’ to get, Ni. Please…”

“I’ll take it,” Niall sounds satisfied.

“Well?” Louis demands, feeling the nausea creep over him again.

“I actually don’t know where your Alpha went, Lou, sorry. But he left with Zayn this morning claiming to be in a bit of a rush…’S only been two hours.”

“Niall, what’s wrong with me?” he asks feebly, tossing one arm over his face, feeling the traitor tears slip down his heated cheeks. “Why? Why do I react this way to nothing?”

“Ah, Lou,” Niall sounds so gentle as he wraps himself around Louis who suddenly welcomes the other Omega’s soothing touch. And the Irish boy’s personality is so massive it’s impossible to feel quite so alone. Makes breathing more bearable. “It happens to the best of us. Remember how attached I was to Josh at first? You lads never saw me. It’s an Omega thing, I suppose. We’re instinctively drawn to our Alpha, without ‘em we’re lost, or least we feel like that. And scared and alone–trust me, even I’ve been there. Me! Remember when I’d come to yours at ungodly hours of the morning and Jay wouldn’t even comment? Yeah, your Mum understood that I needed another Omega. So. Yeah.”

Louis weighs those words before asking, “So…’M not…I’m not being too clingy? Or weird?”

“No, babe,” Niall giggles–like it’s so very absurd to think so. “Not clingy or weird at all. Just a bit in love, Lou.”

And he’s not heard the words, or confirmed them until now. Though when his breathing stops Louis thinks big mistake as nausea ripples through his belly–he’s never felt so ill. “In…love?” then, slightly more dazed, “I am…in love.”

“Um…?” Oddly enough, Niall, who’s shameless, sound somewhat uncomfortable.

“D’you think…I mean…? Youthinkmaybehefeelsthesame? About me? Loves…me too?”

There’s one stretch of silence. And that silence ruins him as Louis lurches forward, scrambling out of bed with one hand tight around his mouth as he rushes blindly to the bathroom. Between purging into the toilet and gasping for breath the Omega must pass out because there’s a whole void of nothing. With the physical aches and emotional turmoil the Omega is very grateful to this oblivion.

 

∞∞∞

 “What the fuck do you mean? He just passed out!?” One outraged shout–an Alpha’s outraged shout. No, Louis realises, his Alpha’s outraged shout.

“Harry, calm down! He’s sick,” someone else (the Omega can’t decipher who) barks, almost matching Harry’s rage.

“And someone should have CALLED ME, GOD DAMN IT!” Inside, his Omega is shaking, terrified as memories threaten to resurface, memories of another Alpha’s outraged shout. And instinctively his Omega prepares for the blow that will surely follow…but as the second’s draw out there isn’t any pain (most likely due to the fact that he feels disconnected from his body, like he’s floating).

“Harry, mate, don’t…shout. It’s unnecessary. Honest, what would you have done, besides react like this?” another Alpha–Liam?–asks calmly.

In response there one menacing growl that would have made Louis cringe (if he wasn’t so out of it, that is.) Oh, Haz, he thinks hazily, ‘m hung-over, not dying.

“I would have…but you didn’t…and now…” the words fade in and out…in and out…in and out.

“Alright that is enough!” sounds like Zayn. “Niall, Josh, Liam, get the fuck out! You have no business being here.” Someone tries to interrupt, but, there’s Harry again, “Out. Now!” The only response: their door slams shut. Inwardly, Louis whines at the sound, as the only sensation that comes to him is more pain. “Really, Harry, chill the fuck out.”  Listen to ‘im, Haz.

Except there’s another one of those growls and this time Louis does whimper, unable to struggle against his Omega’s reaction as his body inches away from the sound, terror raining down on him. But then warm, rough, familiar hands grasp his shoulders, tugging him. No–not again, please don’t hurt me.

Louis tries to escape, whining again, but then he’s being cradled against an Alpha’s solid, flaming chest, cheeks gaining warmth from the proximity as Harry speaks, desperation seeping into his voice, “Lou? Kitten, wake up…Louis, come on, babe, wake up.

And the Omega tries, really he does, but he’s so tired and exhausted, everything aches too much to even continue the crossing to consciousness. No, he doesn’t even want to reach conscious thought; he wants to stay here, blissfully unconscious, detached from his body. Because that’ll make the inevitable beating bearable, painless even. Right now that’s all his Omega clings too, even as Louis thinks this is Harry, he’s not going to hurt us…he’s not...

Abruptly those hands shake him, driving Louis closer to that terrible awareness, “Hazza,” he mumbles groggily, shoving at some part of the Alpha (his chest?). “Stop it. ‘M tired, and…Lemme sleep. Please, lemme sleep.” I don’t want to hurt anymore.

“Lou…” its one anxious breath.

“No,” Louis manages to shake his head a bit, or he thinks he does. “Lemme sleep it ‘way. Stop bein’ this way. ‘M fine…Just…” but then he free-falls towards the oblivion again.

And the last thing the Omega catches is, “Zayn? Z?!”

 

∞∞∞

 

                Once again when Louis comes too he’s cozied up against a warm body. But this warm, male body is the one he always wants to wake up to. It’s long. Solid. It’s…everything. This male body does belong to an eighteen year old Harry. Inside, his Omega would recognise that addictive, dark-spice scent anywhere.

Once again, confusion strikes–how had he ended up in Harry’s arm? Hadn’t Harry left? Dimly the Omega remembers being sick–thanks, Niall, owe you one. Remembers aching everywhere. Remembers cursing himself for drinking so much (for that he’ll never forgive himself). Remembers shouts, and fear. Then…nothing.

Now the Alpha’s unreasonably large palm strokes along the ridges of his spine, up and down, up and down, stopping every so often to play with the baby-soft hairs at the nape of his neck. Delicious. Desire too long denied spirals through him, an unstoppable tidal wave. Consuming him. Drowning him. But it’s so much better than his body’s previous aches. 

Here is everything his Omega’s craved since presentation. Comfort. Contact. Connection. And this Alpha is the only Alpha his Omega wants.

Swallowing a moan that would have embarrassed him more, Louis jerks upright, thinking to scramble to a stance. Those arms, already steel-bands around him, tighten before the Omega can; locking him in place–probably best as his head still aches and spins.

“Oh, kitten, you’re not going anywhere. You’re goin’ to stay,” the Alpha’s voice is wild, dominating, and capable of something dark…and yet Louis doesn’t feel the least bit afraid, knowing it’s Harry. Instead the Omega longs to sink closer, to let his hands explore the Alpha’s solid body, and feel those hands do the same to his softer body. But then again, those hands are more interested in hurting his body–because that’s what Alphas do when an Omega’s bad–it’s not something Louis can ever forget.

“A-Are you going to punish me?” he whispers meekly.

“Punish you? I probably should. I’ve been going absolutely mental these past four hours. Jesus, I really fucking should punish you.” See, his Omega hisses, he wants to. But he won’t, Louis thinks, more forceful (though he’s not so sure).

Swallowing around the lump in his throat the Omega reaches up, patting around the Alpha’s tense muscles, following the path up his arm, to his shoulder, until stroking his cheek. “Please don’t,” Louis breathes, “I’m sorry, Haz.”

With one, vicious curse the Alpha crushes him to his chest, and like always, Louis melts against him, vaguely realising he’s dressed again (in too-big joggers, and a cotton t-shirt. Also, his hair is damp. Had someone bathed him?) “Kitten,” the breath is fervent against his temple, “You make me crazy–some serious freak the fuck out and lose my mind crazy.”

“Is there any other crazy?” Louis asks jokingly, then regrets it because Harry’s irritation, his anger, rises and radiates from him, so much so that his Omega cringes. Trying to be good, Louis whispers hastily, “’M sorry I worried you, Harry.”

There’s one, long exhale as the Alpha’s arms relax around him, and Harry nods, “Well. Am I forgiven too then?”

The question shocks Louis, who blinks owlishly. “Um…” he fumbles. “What for?”

“Overreacting–it’s just that I leave for two hours and when I come back it’s to…to that. And a million or so possibilities ran through me and I just…You don’t know what you do to me, Louis. I feel so much…When it comes to you, I feel…so much.” With those words butterflies–or just one, huge butterfly–spreads their wings in his tummy and inside his Omega purrs happily.

“That’s okay. We’re okay. I’m okay. You’re okay…And we’re still learning together, yeah?”

“Mmm, you are learning much quicker than I am, apparently. My wise, beautiful boy.”

Now the purr escapes him as the Omega cuddles into the Alpha’s chest, inhaling at his collar, then shaking his head a bit, grinning widely.

“Whatever are you grinnin’ about, kitten?”

Louis bites his lip. Hesitates…then, “You. Who are you and what have you done with my, arrogant Harry?”

With that boyish cackle that makes Louis’s insides melt and liquefy the Alpha growls, “Oh, he isn’t very far, little one. One more smart remark and–,”

“Ah, ah, ah. ‘M the wise one in this relationship, Styles.”

“Well, of course. I mean you’re the only one that realised how beautiful I am,” there’s mirth in his tone before it becomes high in what must be an imitation of Louis’s voice, “You’re quite beautiful, Hazza. So beautiful. Inside and outside. You’re beautiful!”

Louis frowns, then asks, fighting a smile, “Is that supposed to be me?” When Harry doesn’t respond right away, the boy continues, “If I sounded like that then I’m glad I don’t remember.”

“You don’t remember?” the Alpha asks, sounding very serious now.

“Bits and pieces,” Louis mumbles, taking his bottom lip between his teeth. “Um there was a lot of liquor. And then dancing, I think? Somehow we ended up in bed? There’s more, I’m certain. Will you tell me? So I don’t have to go to Niall?”

Another beat of silence, then the tension leaves Harry’s body as the Alpha leans down to grin against the Omega’s cheek. “Mmm. You didn’t miss much, darling. You’re quite an adorable drunk–giggly and flushed. I quite enjoyed that.”

More than embarrassed, the Omega lowers his face to his tangled hands. “Continue.”

“We did dance very much,” the Alpha allows, pausing. “And you told me about that time you tried to sneak out. When we got in I gave you a piggy-back ride upstairs, we danced some more. And then you…changed, and fell asleep.”

Chewing nervously at his bottom lip, Louis breathes, “What else did I tell you?” Because I know there’s more, I know I must’ve told you how utterly in love I am with you…

“Aside from what I’ve already told you, not very much,” the Alpha responds carefully. “You said I’m beautiful, and perfect. And…And that you only want me.” Is there hope in his voice? the Omega wonders, but decides he’s hearing what he wants too, because Harry doesn’t need to hope, because Harry is perfect, and can have anyone he desires. Louis can only hope he’s that anyone.

A slow, warm blush creeps up on his cheeks. “I…You are beautiful. And perfect.” My everything.

Again the Alpha stiffens, then growls low in his throat, the sound is one-hundred perfect bonded-Alpha (and it makes Louis’s heart lurch at the prospect that his Alpha might be bonding with his already bonded Omega), “But I’m not the only one you want? Who else do you want, kitten? ‘Cause I am not beyond tracking the fucker down and–,”

“Harry,” Louis scolds, though he’s smiling, simpering with glee. “You’re not going to do anything. Don’t you listen to me at all?” ‘Cause I’m sure I’ve said you’re the only one I want plenty of times now.

“I want to hear the words,” the Alpha demands, arms tightening around Louis’s waist. “Say the words, kitten. Say the words or I am going to…”

“Going to what?” Louis challenges, raising his blind stare, hoping his eyes are blank as they should be. “Going to force me to say them? How?” though his Omega is screaming at him to stop and shut up, the words tumble out of him. “Going to pin me down, so I can’t move? Kiss me some, perhaps? Like before. Force me to submit? Until…” Until I can’t help but tell you anything you want to hear. 

“Until you’re frightened of me? Not likely, Louis.”

At this Louis blinks, wondering how Harry always seems to be on a whole other page, or book, or universe. It makes him furious.  “You know what?” he snaps, shoving at his chest. “I don’t think I like your attitude right now, Harry.”

My attitude?” the other repeats, incredulous–like he’s not being entirely ridiculous. 

“Yes, your attitude,” Louis seethes, furious tears welling in his eyes. “In fact I’m finished with this conversation. Get out. When you’re not being such an arrogant twat then come back to me.”

“Louis,” his voice is hard, unchanged.

“Harry,” Louis murmurs evenly, though his Omega is shaking, afraid. “Get out.

And the Omega gets what he wants as the Alpha deposits him unceremoniously onto the mattress and storms out, muttering curses all the while before the slamming the door so hard the hinges must shake. Again, the sharp, piercing sound sends cutting pain through his temples. Whimpering, the Omega clutches his head in both hands.

“Bloody hell,” the words are deep, slightly distraught and then there are gentle hands prying his own hands from his head. The loss of pressure makes the pain worse. “You’re hurting. What hurts?”

Stubbornly the Omega only shakes his head, then winces at its retaliating dull ache.

“Please, kitten, tell me what’s wrong,” he breathes willfully, hold on his hands so gentle. Stupid, mortified tears gather in his stupid, ineffective eyes as Louis whimpers again, “It’s nothing–my head hurts, and I’m tired, and I…” I don’t want you to leave me, but once again the words get lost. 

“Wait,” the Alpha orders and before Louis can protest, or beg him to stay, Harry is gone. Alone, the Omega curls into a little, pathetic ball as he tries to even his breaths, to stem the threatening tears. There’s no sound to warn him. Out of nowhere the Alpha’s large, careful hand strokes Louis’s messy, wayward hair. At the touch, Louis shudders guiltily, going to apologise when Harry murmurs quietly, “Sit up, baby.”

Unquestioningly, wanting more than anything to be good, so maybe the Alpha will stay; Louis does so, ignoring the way the world tilts with him. Keeping him upright is the Alphas hand on the low of his back. Then there are two tablets in one of his hands, a bottle of water in the next, “Drink.”

Again the Omega listens, sighing at the cool rush before extending the bottle to Harry again. And he expects the Alpha to leave again…but then he pulls Louis into his lap. Silent, the Omega shuts his eyes and rests his head on Harry’s shoulder. Unbidden, hot tears fall down his cheeks, unstoppable as his breathing hitches and breaks.

“Why are you crying?” the Alpha asks in an altered voice that only makes the mortification, the upset worse. More tears.

“B-Because you m-make me…I-I d-don’t w-want...Y-You’re s-s-so frustrating. I-I want to make you h-happy and it n-ne-never works.”  And something inside him doesn’t believe he’ll ever be able to make that happen.

“No. Don’t cry,” he murmurs, voice muted as his arms hold the Omega securely. “Please don’t cry for me. I’m happy. You make me happy. God, you make me happy.” That’s it–Louis bursts into full-blow sobs, burying his face in Harry’s throat as to muffle the sounds.

Distancing them some the Alpha clasps his face in both hands, tilts his face and leans down to kiss him. Despite everything, the flushed, wet cheeks, the stuffy nose, the trembling mouth, Louis won’t refuse him, ever. “Don’t cry, kitten, please,” it’s a rough whisper against his mouth. “I’ve never been so happy in my entire life. And it throws me off balance sometimes. Please…Please don’t cry.” I can’t stop–I love you and every time I’m reminded that you don’t love me I want to crawl into a hole and cry myself dry.

“You shouldn’t be h-happy because of m-me, Harry! You s-should be happy, period. D-Don’t you s-see that?”

Now the Alpha runs his thumb across Louis’s bottom lip. “No, love, I don’t. You’re reason enough to be happy. You’re it for me,” he whispers–those words wash over Louis in a warm, swift riptide. Squeezing his eyes shut the Omega let’s Harry brush the last of the tears from his cheeks.

But…Louis doesn’t want to be the only reason for his happiness. When it’s all said and done, when they’ve gone down in flames, the Omega doesn’t want him to be left hurting. At first it’d been the opposite, and he’d tried to protect himself from hurting but it’s inevitable, because love hurts, and so as long as the Alpha isn’t in love, Louis will do what he can to make sure he doesn’t hurt the way Louis surely will, wants to make sure the Alpha can recover. And he realises that is all he wants to show Harry–that there are reasons to be happy everywhere, even when you’re hurting inside. Happiness in breathing, living, chances.

But the words get lost in his Omega’s selfish greed, and it shames him inside. Before his heart loses it beat or he loses his motivation to tell the truth, the Alpha puts his fingers over his lips and shakes his head. There’s desperation in his voice, vulnerable even, “Stop. I don’t want to hear any more. It’s over. I’m an arsehole. And I’m sorry. But I am happy so don’t ruin this for me, Lou, let me be happy like this.”

“Haz…No, I–,”

“There’s this film–about some bird that’s pregnant with triplets or summat. I bought it years ago but never really got the chance to watch it. So we’re going to go downstairs and I’m putting it on. Neither of us will pay any attention because I need to hold you, and you’re going to fall asleep because the pain-meds are going to make you drowsy.”

Thoughtless, Louis blurts, “Please. Please, let’s do that.”

Shocking him, the Alpha lifts him, blankets and all, bridal-style, encircling his smaller frame, holding him like he’s the air he needs to breathe. Resting his head on the Alpha’s shoulder, Louis let’s himself be soothed by the thought as Harry carries him effortlessly down to ground-level, leaving him on the sofa. Clutching the blankets to his chest, the Omega chews his bottom lip as Harry fumbles around. Then the film’s soundtrack starts in and Harry sits, pulling Louis into his lap. Throughout the movie Louis lolls in and out of sleep, hazily listening to the conversations, the music, but mostly the Alpha’s calm, steady heartbeat.

Like that the rest of the day passes breezily. Nothing done. Like them, the other’s seem to feel like staying in as well–, “Tomorrow,” Liam decides–so they spend the entire evening lazing; at least in Niall’s, Josh’s, Harry’s and Louis’s case. Contradicting his previous decision Liam chooses to spend his day out with Zayn, and Louis determines the two are bound to fall for each-other. Because already they seem to be one of those strange couples that are…endless, forever, unbreakable. That’s what Louis tells Harry quite wistfully, earning a piece of popcorn to the forehead from Niall because “what ‘bout me and Josh!? We’re the ones getting mated in some months!”

“Perhaps people will think of us like that, too,” his Alpha tells him quietly. At that the Omega smiles sadly–there’s no hope in or for that. Because if their relationship lasts that long society’s aristocrats, the Council, will shun him–an imperfect Omega is the worst disgrace, never acceptable. And this information isn’t new…Louis’s known this his entire life, even recalls the Russian Council’s forcing an Alpha to choose between his chosen Omega, who’d struggled with a speech impediment, and his place in the Council. Of course the Alpha chose the Council…and Louis doesn’t blame him; the Council’s an Alpha’s life.

Mercifully, before those thoughts consume him, Louis falls asleep again. And when the Omega wakes again there’s no warmth, no Harry, but before his Omega panics, he catches the sound of his voice…Nearby he’s talking quietly. “Nah, mate, you can buy some disinfectants, just to be sure. It’s natural that they’re sore though,” Josh says.

Sore? In question, Louis’s eyebrows furrow.

“Figured that. I’ve always had sensitive nipples.”

Confused, but groggy and wanting Harry (mostly because he’s cold, and the Alpha is always two-temperatures too high…also the Omega doesn’t want to waste a moment they have together) Louis sits up and stands, taking the blankets with him (not really caring that they’re dragging on the floor) and following their voices. When he’s close, the Omega stifles a yawn with the back of his hand, “Why’re your nipples sore, Haz?”

There’s one, seemingly shocked beat of silence before the Alpha answers, “They’re sensitive right now.”

Too tired to press, Louis hums, then sighs when Harry brings him in close so his forehead rests on his collar. “Hungry, love?”

Louis shakes his head.

“Louis, babe, you really have to eat,” the Alpha urges seriously.

“But ‘m not hungry at all.” It’s true, Louis’s eating-habits have always fluctuated between eating tons and then hardly eating–it’s not intentional, not at all, but there’s no helping it.

“Well you’re goin’ to eat. The others,” there’s a slight irritated pitch to the word, “already ate. So you’re going to go to the room and get dressed. I’m taking you out tonight. Just you and I.” 

“Harry–,”

“Louis, love, not tonight,” Harry warns, the tone is authoritative enough that a shiver runs down Louis’s spine. “I hate that you’re practically starving yourself.”

“I’m not starving myself!” Louis disputes, frowning. But the Alpha doesn’t listen (when does he?); instead his hand wraps around Louis’s arm tight (not enough to cause pain) and begins to drag him upstairs. “Don’t manhandle me, Styles!” the Omega tries to growl, but it’s more a shriek as he fights the Alpha’s unbreakable hold with everything he’s got. Until, with an exasperated breath, (this makes Louis think he’s won, but no, there’s not beating Harry Styles) the Alpha simply tosses him quite uncaringly over his shoulder and Louis shouts, “I AM NOT A DOLL, STYLES. I AM GOING TO MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP!”

“In my sleep, kitten? That’s quite cowardly of you.” Ever-at-ease, his Alpha is.

“Cowardly?!” With the word, Louis scratches at his back, put out by the shirt concealing his skin. “You’re the coward! FIGHT SOMEONE YOUR OWN BLOODY SIZE!”

“Are we fighting?” there’s an award-winning grin in his voice, no doubt. “I thought we were making friendly conversation.”  

“Oh, God, if this if your idea of friendly then I do not–,” before he finishes he’s dumped on the bed, gasping, even want to hear your rows.”

Laughing (the sound makes Louis’s breath catch) the Alpha murmurs, “Oh, baby, you’ve not seen anything yet. Get dressed, I’ll be waiting outside.”

Too seem more upset than he actually is, Louis glares in his general direction, then scrambles from the bed and makes it to his luggage. When the door closes, the Omega lets himself smile, then puts on the most tattered joggers he’d (Harry’d) packed. Moving onto the Alpha’s duffle, open and right beside his, Louis grabs one of his shirts (silk material, he thinks) and pulls it on (ignoring the fact that he’s swimming in it), bringing the material to his nose and inhaling delightedly. Smoothing his fringe, the Omega pulls on socks (hoping they’re not mismatched, but at this point it’ll only add to the homeless-person look) then his scuffed Vans, tucking the laces in. Opening the door, Louis announces cheerily, “I am ready!

And the Alpha’s reaction isn’t at all what he’d expected–which very much saddens him. “You look stunning,” Harry states–well, okay, now Louis’s inside have melted and unfurled because he knows he looks shoddy…but Harry still think he’s compliment-worthy though he has no idea why.

Louis beams up at him, knowing his heart is in his eyes. As to hide this, Louis turns to start descending the stairs, one hand flattening on the wall (right now the Omega wishes he’d memorised the amount of stairs there are) when the Alpha’s fingers circle his wrist. “Wait. It’s chilly out.”  Somewhat puzzled, the Omega stops, then waits as Harry leaves him to go into their room, returning moments later and murmuring, “Put this on.”  

It’s a jumper–Harry’s jumper. Without hesitating, Louis pulls it over his head, smiling shyly from underneath the hood. Without commenting, the Alpha pulls that back next to cram a beanie onto his head, bringing the hood up once again.

Raising his eyebrows, Louis asks, “Are you quite finished?”

“Nope,” the Alpha says, sounding extremely pleased. “Put on this coat, too.” And the Omega sighs, but tugs the coat over his body with a deep-set frown.

“I feel like an Oompa-Loompa,” Louis complains, arms hanging at his sides as he thinks about the lump of coat-fabric making, making his body seem chubby. “And look like one, too,” he adds sulkily.

“I think you look sexy,” Harry says, index-finger tapping his nose.

“Oh, come off it,” Louis grumbles, grinning despite himself. “’M only goin’ out like this if you do!”

“Fine,” the Alpha replies, smoothly stalking back into the room. And to Louis’s extreme satisfaction when he returns, and Louis feels his belly, it’s considerably plumper. When the Omega goes to readjust his beanie, as it’s forcing his fringe into his eyes, he finds it has pointy cat-ears poking from it.

One of the wooly ears falls limp. “A kitten beanie, Haz? Where did you even get this?!”

 “Fits you, kitten,” then he’s cooing, “Who’s my pretty little kitty?”

 Endeared the Omega plays along, extending his hands out like claws. “Beewaaare,” he hisses, feeling warm and fluffy inside when Harry throws his head back, laughing.

“So, shall we go?” the Alpha asks formally, once they’re downstairs (after about five more minutes of, as Harry calls it, ‘kitten-play’) opening one of the side doors. As the Omega goes to walk out, he pulls Harry’s coat straighter, buttoning his coat up to the neck (after some fumbling motions) because he can.

 “Now we can,” Louis murmurs and walks through the door as Harry follows with a dry chuckle.

 “What was the point of that?”

 As he’s ahead, Louis grins lightheartedly back at him. “I can’t have my Alpha looking anything less than his prettiest for the camera.”

 Again, the Alpha cackles loudly, in that way he seems to only do for Louis, then hooks an easy arm around his shoulders. “I’m not going to feel guilty for dressing you up, Lou, if that’s what you were aiming for.”

 “Oh, darn,” the boy jokes as Harry’s long legs fall into step with his shorter ones.

 “Hmm.”

 “What now?” Louis sighs, like he’s so very annoyed.

“Would you like to ride in the Drophead tonight?”

Louis brightens, but then grins saucily, “Thought it was chilly? A Convertible in this weather? You’re trying to make me ill.”  

“I’d take care of you,” Harry murmurs, voice intense, willful, smoky. And the Omega doesn’t want to doubt him, wants to believe him…but there’s no point in making this harder than it has to be.

“Take me out in the Convertible, Harry.”

“As you wish.” With those words an alarm sounds as the Alpha guides him over to the vehicle, opens the passenger door so that Louis settles in, managing to buckle despite his trembling hands. Beside him, in the driver’s side, the Alpha takes his hand and intertwines their fingers, keeping their hands between them. With the radio’s music twirling in the wind, Louis smiles gently and let’s his eyes fall shut, humming along to whatever plays. One song turns into dozen until then Omega frowns, but just when he’s about to ask the car slows to a halt and Harry kills the engine.

“Where exactly are we?” Louis asks warily, when the Alpha’s helping him out of the car (unnecessary really, but he’ll let the Alpha have his fun. Just for tonight).

“Downtown Paris,” the Alpha answers noncommittally.

At that Louis squeaks, “What? Harry! I-I’m a mess, no, we can’t–,”

Mouth brushing the palm of his hand, Harry hushes him, “You look gorgeous, Louis. You always do.”

Shaking his head once, the Omega mutters, “Don’t be silly.”

“I am completely serious.” And he sounds so, too, but Louis knows better, doesn’t believe it for one second. Lowering his face, Louis swallows, shakes his head again, wants to speak, but his throat is too tight.

“Hey,” the Alpha murmurs softly, “Remember our deal? Faith and patience. I’ve been quite patient these last days–worry and all.”

“Faith,” Louis breathes, raising his face again to smile timidly at his Alpha. “Alright, Alphaboy, you’ve not led me wrong before. You…You have my faith.” And my heart–but that’s another matter entirely.

“Come on then, I’m getting hungry.” No surprise there.

“You’re always hungry,” Louis grumbles, but lets the Alpha direct him forward.

“’M a growin’ boy,” Harry defends. “And you’re not hungry enough.”

Louis can’t help but grin at that. “Whatever you say, Haz, whatever you say.”

“Kitten, are you mocking me? Somehow I get the feeling you are.”

“’S not a feeling, Harry,” the Omega tells him. “I am very much mocking you.”

Through the walk the two continue back and forth until Louis can’t stop smiling, wondering when he’d fallen this in love with Harry Styles, but unable to think into it long because then they’re entered a building that’s very warm, with lilting music and quiet conversations that the Omega can’t even understand but doesn’t really care too. And over dinner Louis continuously chastises the Alpha for staring (it’s easy to figure because though Louis can’t see the Alpha’s gaze, his body can certainly feel it–scorching, making him fumble) completely unaffected–or so he tells himself despite how his heart flutters and his cheeks heat–by Harry’s teasing objections (“You’re quite graceful with your hands. I’m admiring.”)

Once they’ve returned outside the Alpha flicks at one of the kitten-ears and Louis’s heart skitters again. Jeez, will he always affect me this way? “See, wasn’t quite so bad, was it?” Not at all, he thinks, the food was pleasant, mouthwateringly so, but much more significant is that the Alpha had taken him there, dined with him, played footsies underneath the table of some posh restaurant with him, laughed at his ridiculous expressions, held his hand on the table…which means so much more than some restaurant in Paris.

Louis smiles, “It was very…HarryandLouis.”

“LouisandHarry,” the Alpha corrects and Louis rolls his eyes at that.

“What’s the difference?”

“There’s a rather significant one. My name before yours implies, to some extent, that I come before you. And that’s unacceptable. You’re always first. You come before me in all aspects. You deserve…better than HarryandLouis. You deserve LouisandHarry.”

It’s fervent–so honest. Tears pool in Louis’s eyes and his heart seems to burn and melt away. Except the Alpha, ever-the-pessimist gets the wrong idea because he starts, “Louis…I’m only–,”

Without permission the Omega stops and when Harry stops with him, Louis throws his arms around the Alpha’s throat. Surprised, and true to his balance issues, the Alpha stumbles forward, and Louis takes advantage of the abrupt proximity–fisting his hair in one hand Louis kisses him fiercely, tasting him, wrapping himself into the Alpha, wishing he could crawl, force his way into his heart. After another surprised second during which Louis’s heart nearly freezes, the Alpha begins to kiss him back, in the middle of the street of Paris, drawing him up against his hard chest.

Time floats away. Kissing Harry, having Harry kiss him–this is what he’s wanted more than anything in this entire world of darkness–Harry’s arms around him, that addicting, dangerous scent on his skin, marking him.

But when the Alpha sighs against his mouth Louis knows it’s not going to last. He’s crossing that invisible boundary, the one he wants to force away with his mouth, his hands, his body against the Alphas. And without thinking the Omega does what he must to keep the Alpha wanting, and nips at his bottom lip, letting his canines catch and purring, delighted, when Harry inhales sharply, then starts to possess his mouth, tonguing at his lips, starting to–he stops. “Kitten, stop. No more.” More, he’s heard that word entirely too much, though he actually hasn’t. And if he has, Louis can’t possibly recall when…but it makes butterflies flutter through belly, runs shivers up his spine.

Seeming to sense Louis’s straying thoughts the Alpha breaks the kiss, distancing them by mere inches. Though the Omega instantly misses the contact, he doesn’t want to miss the moment too, so he smiles up at him, hoping his heart isn’t in his eyes. “You know,” he murmurs breathlessly, heart creeping out of his voice as Harry’s fingers fit between his again, “You’re the kitten here, Styles. Sweet and soft. I’m quite certain this beanie belongs to you.

When Louis goes to remove the beanie, two fingers circle his wrist, holding him immobile. “Only for you.”

Louis blinks, then tilts his head to the right. “Um…?”

“I am only sweet to you, Louis. Nobody else–I have no reason to be sweet or soft to anyone else. But you do things to me, make me…sappy. Nobody else…has ever had this effect on me.”

“Not ever?” the Omega whispers, hope lighting up inside him like lightening, sends shocks of warmth through his veins. 

“Not ever,” with the words Harry starts them at a slow, aimless pace, and Louis doesn’t respond, trying (ineffectively) to smother the hope, though the Alpha continues, whispers laced with disbelief, “And I don’t think anyone else ever could.”

 

∞∞∞

 

For what feels like a long time the two walk hand-in-hand, often the Alpha will pause, silent until Louis asks what they’ve stopped for, then Harry will simply murmur, “Takin’ in the view.” And the response confuses him, as Louis is sure the Alpha is watching him (but decides his body’s giving him the wrong signals). Unable to relate, the Omega nods, smiling shyly, very grateful for these pauses and breaks in time because he doesn’t want the night to come to an end, doesn’t want to return to reality.

As the night progresses the chill worsens until Louis’s nose must be pink, lips-chapped, but with all the clothing, being close to the Space-Heater-Styles, his body remains warm. “Aha!” the Alpha startles him and Louis almost squeaks in shock. “Found it!”

Bewildered, Louis brings to blind gaze up, brows-furrowed, mouth tilted down in a frown. “Found what?”

“Come, come,” the Alpha urges, dragging him along and Louis can do nothing but grin at his sudden excitement. Rather resembling a young boy.

Somehow they’ve ended up inside a quiet, relatively enclosed building, and the Omega is still confused when someone starts speaking to Harry in French. It’s another Alpha’s voice, which makes Louis nervous, inching closer into Harry’s side, lowering his eyes. Once the two have finished their chat, Harry murmurs, “I reckon you’ll enjoy this part.”

Wide-eyed, Louis goes to ask what exactly he’s supposed to enjoy when the other Alpha returns, but with a friendly, Amusez-vous!” he leaves them again. Now, the Alpha places something in his hand. Curling his fingers around the heated object Louis finds it’s a cup, arching an eyebrow at Harry, the boy asks, “Well, what is it?”  “That’s not it, but I think this will do better with the weather for now. Go on, try it.” There’s still that young boy’s excitement in his voice. Grinning fondly the Omega traces the cap until finding the opening, then brings it up to his mouth and sips hesitantly.  Chocolate melts against his tongue, sweet, warm, and thick. Louis swallows, and then moans appreciatively. “What is this?

Chocolat Chaud,” the Alpha supplies in that deep, perfected accent. Then, more like himself, “Hot chocolate, but the milks thickened, and I asked for some actual sugar. Usually it’s taken without, but I know you’re really into sweets.”

As to hide the bittersweet emotions the Alpha remembering that trivial detail brings to him, Louis takes another sip, smiling softly.

“But more important,” Harry persists, leading him somewhere then urging him to sit. Slowly, the Omega does so, placing the cup on the table, then turning to face Harry again, who places something else in his hand, another cup, much wider, and cold. Then there’s a spoon and the Alpha’s peeled the lid from whatever it is that’s got him so energized. “Try it.”

Listening, Louis scoops the mystery-treat with the spoon, then puts it in his mouth. Again the taste brings his taste-buds to life, smooth, cold vanilla cream and something more, something… “Where do you find these places?”

“Do you like it?” There’s one brief instant Louis considers saying no, just to tease him, but decides it’s impossible to even think about disgracing such a heavenly-sweet.

“Love it,” Louis murmurs, smiling shyly before scooping more and popping it in his mouth. “What is it, though? Vanilla and…’Coco? Cinnamon?”

“Actually, I don’t know,” the Alpha almost sounds bashful.

Louis giggles, shaking his head once, but taking another serving to hold out to Harry. “C’mon then. Try it. ‘M not enjoying this alone.”

But when Harry tries it, he makes a disgusted noise. “Christ, no. Sugar-rush. Gross.”

Louis pouts, tries another mouthful, sighing happily at the explosive taste of the ice-magic-cream-stuff. “You’re such a fruit-freak!”

“Fruit-freak? ‘V not heard the one before. But I’ll admit it’s rather fitting.”

“You don’t need to admit what everyone already knows, Hazza,” he teases quietly, peering up through his eyelashes for effect.

“Then I won’t have to admit…Oh, wait, you already know that. Shame.”

Unimpressed, the Omega continues to scoop and taste and let his sense of taste take him to wonderful places.

“And I really wanted to tell you…”

Unable to help it, Louis laughs outright now, grinning so wide his cheeks ache. “Alright, fine, I’ll humour you. Baby, please tell me. I was wrong. I couldn’t possibly know what’ve you’ve not told me…I’m dying of suspense.”

“Uh…” the Alpha sounds almost embarrassed. Whoa. “Let me get back to you.”

“Oh, my God!” Louis starts, shocked. “You are…unbelievable.”

“What? Come on! I didn’t expect you to actually play along!”

Again, Louis can’t help the mirth bubbling up inside him, escaping as giggles.

“Are you laughing at me, kitten?” To stifle the sound, Louis bites his bottom lip and shakes his head innocently. “I think you are,” Harry continues thoughtfully.

“No,” Louis whispers, but once again dissolves into giggles, clamping one hand over his mouth. “You…You’re assuming.”

“Nonsense. I’m always right. And you are very well laughing at me…” Without warning they’re very close, and the Alpha breathes against his cheek, smiling there, “But you know what?”

Louis couldn’t begin to guess–the Alpha is impossible to make out. So, instead he sighs and shakes his head.

“I like your laugh and your girlish giggle, and all those smiles you give me. And that’s what I’m admitting.”

Without permission his eyelids flutter shut; everywhere they touch, their hands, his face, and throat (where the Alpha’s fingertips caress some pattern there, and Louis hadn’t noticed how sore those spots are, almost wonders why) feels heated, silk-soft flames that sink deeply into him, straight through his veins to his fast-beating heart. “I…I don’t have a girlish giggle,” he breathes back seconds-too-late.

“You do. And it’s lovely. I don’t think I can begin to describe how lovely you are, Louis.”

“Sweet-talker,” Louis can’t help the face-splitting grin that takes over his mouth, but saving his composure, the Omega turns and goes back to the ice-cream, taking kitten-licks because he really isn’t hungry, but it’s too delectable to quit. Soon it becomes exceptionally difficult to focus on the taste with Harry staring at him again. So, the Omega manages to stop, finds the lid with his hands (right beside the cup on the table) and fits it over the cup, placing the licked-clean spoon over the top. And he wants to glare, say something cutting, but the Alpha speaks first, “Let’s get you home.”

“Then cuddles?” the Omega requests expectantly.

With one long, very dramatic sigh, Harry says, “If we must.

“We must,” Louis decides, catching his bottom lip between his canines. Accepting this, the Alpha helps him out of the booth carefully but when Louis starts to grab the remnants of their sweets, Harry stops him, “Leave it.”

“But–,”

“Just this once, little one, listen to me. Leave it.”

“Alphas,” the Omega grumbles, but let’s Harry lead him out and by the time they’ve reached the car again fatigues swept through him. Despite having slept most of the day, exhaustion still sinks into his bones until the Alpha is carrying most of his weight. Self-conscious, Louis tries to right himself, but once again Harry stops him, “It’s okay, little one. I’ve got you.”

Well, that’s when things speed up until without any recollection of how he ended up there, Louis is in the car, curled up (uncomfortably due to the safety-belt) and on that fine line between consciousness and unconsciousness.

More time passes before the Alpha wakes him (as they pull outside the penthouse). “Do I need to carry you in?” he asks quietly.

Louis shakes his head sleepily. No way. Mercifully, Harry listens, helping him out and taking them to the front-doors. As the Alpha makes quick work of opening one of the doors, Louis leans against him, resting his head against Harry’s arm, eyes remaining shut.

“’S been a long day, yeah?”

Louis nods.

“Tired?”

Again, Louis nods.

“You’re not very talkative. A feat in itself.”

Too tired to put out an actual conversation, the Omega chooses the nod.

There’s that grin in the Alpha’s voice as the door opens silently. “Come then. I’ll put you to bed.”

Forcing himself to wake up some (he’ll never be able to do anything this asleep) Louis ascends the stairs with Harry trailing him. Inside their room he begins to carelessly toss articles of clothing from his body. First to go is the beanie, then the coat (which he struggles with quite a bit until Harry’s quick, practised fingers replace his, pushing it from his shoulders. The idea of Harry undressing him sends vague shocks of heat through his veins) then the jumper, his shoes and socks. “Gonna shower. Wait for me,” Louis mumbles, because he wants to feel refreshed again.

Stumbling some, the Omega gets into the bathroom, uses it, then with practised movements starts the shower (tests the water with his hand a few times before finding an alright temperature). Removing his pants and Harry’s shirt (knowing he’ll find another) the Omega enters the shower, leaning against the wall as the water cascades over him. Making quick work of washing his skin Louis doesn’t notice that soap ends up in his eyes until they begin to sting excruciatingly. Wincing, the Omega goes to rinse the substance from his eyes but ends up slipping and hits the tile with a thud, and his vision flashes eerily almost like he’s seeing, there’s one burst of white (is that the colour?). Gasping, the Omega begins to blink crazily, wondering what is happening but in seconds the spark’s disappeared, returning the darkness. Shaken, Louis curls up, rubbing his eyes viciously with water and shivering against the tile.

When someone raps on the bathroom entrance Louis knows its Harry and works to shake the distress away, standing slowly. “Coming!”

Stop overreacting, Lou, it was nothing, the Omega thinks forcefully, composure coming over him again. Once outside the shower Louis manages to towel-dry, going to the sink and brushing his teeth viciously before venturing into their room. When the Alpha announces he’ll leave him to get dressed, Louis does so hastily as possible (taking another of Harry’s shirts, silk again, but long-sleeved) and wriggling into pants.

Finished, the Omega gives Harry the okay, crawling into bed as the Alpha begins to rustle about, doing God knows what. But when his head meets the pillow Louis doesn’t immediately fall asleep because Harry’s yet to join him.

“Hazza,” he whines, not even embarrassed by the neediness in his voice. There’s no possible way he’s sleeping without him–his nerves are too wired, and he can sense tonight will be one of those nights where he wakes up screaming if the Alpha doesn’t hold him.

“Yes, love.”

“Cuddles. Now.”

“I need to make a phone call first. Go to sleep, babe. I’ll be back in a little while.”

Louis frowns, then sits up despite the protest from his body, crossing his arms. “N-No. I’ll wait.”

This time the Alpha’s answering sigh is one of true exasperation, but there’s a fond note to the sound that Louis desperately hopes he’s not imagining. Please, don’t leave me. “Louis, go to sleep.”

“No. Not without you.”

“Why the bloody hell not?”

“I…” Louis swallows, bringing his knees to his chest, scared that when the words escape, his lungs might collapse. “I don’t have nightmares when you’re with me.”

“You have nightmares?”

“Yes.” Nightmares, memories, night-terrors, call it what you must.

Somehow the Omega catches the Alpha’s sharp intake of breath–inside he wilts, but doesn’t seem to have the will be overly upset about this. “What are your nightmares about?”

“The usual,” he hedges, squeezing his eyes tight–wishing the darkness was enough to keep the memories away.

“Tell me.” Please no…

Torn between the insistent need to obey and the insistent need to keep that particular part of him locked away, unseen by anyone else, Louis swallows and tenses. Thinks about it. Thinks about how to answer without giving too much. Just this once he welcomes the silence, because no noise is better when he’s handling this, no noise makes it clear that the memories aren’t real anymore. “I…I’m about seven…and my head hurts. It hurts, always hurts! And I am crying. I can’t stop crying. It…It makes him angry. He’s so angry, Haz.  So he shouts and shouts, but the w-words aren’t e-enough, they d-don’t calm him. D-Don’t give him the satisfaction, only makes me cry more. Words won’t fix it.” Louis stops, pulls in deep breaths to stop the trembling as despair chokes him. In his mind it’s real, and his Omega is so terrified, doesn’t want to go back into hiding.

“Everything hurt then,” he whispers, though it’s barely a breath. “It’s the pain I remember most–the headaches, the words, the…o-other s-stuff. That’s what gives me night-terrors. That and the fact that I…c-couldn’t do anything to stop it. C-Couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t s-stop….” being a “blind, useless fucking Omega” “Couldn’t…be enough.Oh no, no, no, he thinks frantically, this isn’t right, this is…hurts too much still, unbearable.

Isolated with the memories, Louis doesn’t realise what Alpha is grabbing his arms, pulling him forward. Instant reaction: get away. Thrashing wildly, the Omega tries to escape, but his body is exhausted, doesn’t seem to want to fight for him. “Louis,” he knows that voice, could recognise it anywhere. Harry. “Kitten, stop. Enough. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

The tension, the fight leaves him in a rush. And his head becomes too clouded, clouded with issues, clouded with that addictive scent, the scent that is suddenly everywhere. God, he’s going to cry. Cry with relief. Cry with happiness. Cry with anger. Just cry–not pretty-crying either, no, fat-tears, runny nose, soul-wrenching sobs, cry.

“Louis? Kitten, come on. Come back to me. You’re not there anymore, love.” Not there anymore…With the words the phantom pain crawling over his entire frame begins to fade.

But it’s not enough. Frantic, Louis scrambles impossibly close, burying his face in the Alpha’s throat. There his head swims, like he’s inebriated again, God, he’s so wrapped up in his Alpha–it can’t possibly be healthy…but right now it doesn’t matter.

“Lou, please. We need to talk.”

No...Make it go away, not come back. “Haz, no, please…I’ve cried so much,” Louis whispers, attempting to keep his wayward emotions in check. Exhaustion overcomes all else, the terrors faded into nonexistence, the pain’s gone with the terror and his body feels weightless. “Don’t hurt me,” the words tumble from his mouth before he thinks better.

“Oh, love, no. No, no,” the Alpha tugs his hand and before Louis realises what’s happened he’s in the Alpha’s lap. And Harry’s arms are around him, nose in his hair. “I would never hurt you, Louis. Never.” I can’t let myself believe that, Harry…I can’t.

Reflexively he wants to struggle out of the Alpha’s hold, to maintain some distance (because his Omega hasn’t recovered), but those arms are solid-bands around his waist, crushing him to his chest. There’s no getting away…and really, he doesn’t want to try to get away anymore. Against him, Louis melts–this is where he wants to be.

Resting his head against Harry’s shoulder the Omega sighs when the Alpha kisses his hair repeatedly. This is home–with that expensive body-wash, dark spices, and his favourite scent…Harry.

A moment passes where Louis allows his Omega the illusion that all will be well, and it soothes his wrecked soul. I love you so much.  “Don’t leave me…Stay.”

“Anything for you, kitten. Anything. But we are talking about this.”

“Later,” Louis breathes, aware that it’s not going to happen. Because he’s not going there again, not with Harry around. But to convince the Alpha, he repeats raggedly, “Later.”

“In the morning. We are talking about this in the morning, Louis.” No, we really aren’t. “For now though, you’re exhausted. I’m exhausted. It’s late. Sleep.”

“No nightmares?” his voice is so small, vulnerable as he begins to drift a bit, about to succumb when–

Lowering them, the Alpha curls his arms tight around him. “You’re enough, Louis, and I never want to let you go,” he breathes against his temple. “No more nightmares. Now rest.”

“I never want to go. Never let me go,” Louis mumbles drowsily, eyelids refusing to open despite the fact that he actually wants Harry to see the truth. And he knows the truth is there, in his useless eyes.

“I need you…” but the Alpha’s voice is a distant, ethereal part of Louis’s sleep

∞∞∞

                Sleep never finds him–which hasn’t happened since he’s started to sleep with Louis, but there are more pressing matters creating maddening in his mind. And the Alpha has every intention of bringing up the previous night, to demand who the hell ‘he’ is, where he can find him too. Because he has the sneaking-suspicion that he knows how ‘he’ is and the prospect tinges his vision with crimson. But too soon night becomes morning and Harry once again gets lost in his Omega’s beauty in the soft, morning light filtering through the curtains. As the Alpha drinks in the sight his eyes find the path of littered love-bites covering his throat, transfixing him.

God, it’s still not enough–those markings don’t work as the bond would, doesn’t protect Louis from other Alpha’s.

When his phone vibrates on the night-stand the Alpha reluctantly carries his gaze over to his phone, checking through his piling email, torn between needing to get this done (because it’s going to be stressful as the course works enhances) but slightly terrified to leave his vulnerable, sleeping boy. And he’s about to deactivate the bloody thing and continue staring when Louis stretches, resembling the little kitten he is as his mouth forms one of those sweet smiles, eyes remaining shut.

It’s only now that Harry realises the Omega is swimming in his shirt–the silk, long-sleeved one with the hearts (it’s never been worn so well as now).

“Mmm, seems someone’s been thieving. Most of my shirts have gone missing. Could a certain Omega know where they’ve gone?”

“I have no idea. But I like wearing your T-shirts so they’d best return them,” Louis mumbles blearily.

Smiling, the Alpha leaves over and kisses his forehead. “I need to work through some things. But I don’t wanna leave you alone. Can I use the laptop here? Will I disturb you?”

“Just stay,” then he’s promptly back to sleep–damn him but Harry doesn’t have the heart to leave or to wake him again so he simply reaches for his laptop from where it lies beneath the bed-frame, then begins to rummage through the bullshit that’s piled up from days of neglect. 

 

∞∞∞

               

Some hours pass until Harry’s gone through most of the work (school, business, etc) and the Alpha doesn’t want to ever see another portfolio again. Rubbing his straining eyes, Harry decides it’s best to get up and does so, but remains mindful of the buzz, using it to steady his thoughts and emotions. When he returns to the bedroom, dressed and towel-drying his damp hair the Alpha lies beside his Omega on top of the throw. It’s mere minutes later that Louis’s eyes flutter open, blue, blank, and so beautiful.

“Hi,” he murmurs, grinning lopsidedly.

Louis whispers back, “Hi. How long have you been watching me?”

“I could watch you sleep for hours, Louis. But I’ve only been here ‘bout three minutes. Sleep okay?”

Uncertainty clouds his features, then, “I always sleep well with you, Haz.”

“No more nightmares?”

“No more,” the boy confirms, and those blue eyes widen impossibly, begging him not to bring it up. And, well, there’s always time to talk about it, right?

“C’mon then, sleepyhead, get up. The idiots are making a mess of my kitchen and I need someone to hold me back.”

Louis grins, obviously relieved. “Is there food?” Something extremely instinctive thrills through him at the thought of feeding his Omega–caring for him. Except he’s too attuned to Louis’s feelings, and knows now isn’t the time to start with that. Best to keep it light.

“With Niall?” he asks, attempting to seem in disbelief. “There’s always food.”

 

∞∞∞

 

“Mr. More!” the Irish lad shouts around a shit-faced grin when Louis appears in the kitchen doorway–freshly showered, dressed in jean-shorts and a white shirt with some sort of design the Alpha pays no mind to. Beside his Omega, trying to pay attention to the eggs Niall isn’t watching, Josh looks vaguely annoyed. But there’s no stopping Ireland, “I’ve missed you so!”

Seeming to ignore him, Louis asks, “Where is my breakfast? And my Harry?”

“You still want more of Harry?” Niall is absolutely teeming with cheerful amusement. “You naughty thing, you’re insatiable.

“One more word, Ireland,” the Alpha threatens, shooting him a dark glare, “And I am going make the rest of your day a living hell.” And he means it, likes to think himself particularly talented in the torturous aspects of life.

“Just bein’ round the likes of you accomplished that,” Niall sing-songs, but returns to the eggs, sprinkling salt over the scrambles, snickering.

“Children!” Liam enters the kitchen, looking extremely disapproving, but there’s some fond light in his puppy-eyes. “What is going on?”

“It’s him!” Niall declares, pointing rudely at Harry, who’s focused on Louis, whose eyes unknowingly follow the line of conversation, ever-unfocused.

“Which naturally means it’s you,” his best-mate follows behind Liam, going over to Louis and smoothing his damp hair back, affectionate in ways he’s only acted towards Harry. Even so, it’s different than an Omega touching an Alpha, it’s an Omega touching another Omega, sweet, caring, understanding. “Don’t know how you’ve managed to put up with that Irish thing this long, Lou. Honest, I’d have done away with him long ago.”

“Don’t tempt me,” Louis grumbles, but smiles timidly at Zayn. And it’s so bizarre because Louis’s never seemed overly fond of his best-mate, nor visa versa, but right now the two look…intimate, smiling softly at each other.

“What the fuck is going on?!” Niall screeches, marching up to Louis and Zayn. There he shoves at Zayn, grabbing Louis’s arm. “Back off, Malik! He’s mine. You don’t get to pet him or love him or smile at him like that or–,

“Neither do you,” Harry states, going up to them and taking Louis’s other arm, tugging gently, but not enough because the Irish boys grip doesn’t give. “He is mine, Horan.”

“I don’t think so, Styles! He was my bestest friend, and I was his before–,”

“Can’t we all just get along?” Liam exclaims, looking lost.

“Can’t we all just share ‘im?” Josh mutters next–standing beside Liam now.

“Share him?” the Alpha growls, possessively bringing his Omega closer. “What are you implying, Josh?”

“Yeah Josh,” Ireland seethes, whirling round to face his Alpha with blazing blue eyes; furious, feisty, and Irish. Lethal combination, even Harry’s realised this. “What are you implying?”

“Where is my food?” Louis demands, obviously giving up on following the constant tangle of conversations going back and forth, “Will someone serve me already?”

“Who are you?” Niall snorts. “The Council?”

Louis glares in his general direction. “No, but my bloody Alpha is. So why don’t you shut that big mouth of yours, Niall?”

“Someone’s grumpy when they’re hungry,” Liam comments, grinning fondly.

“No, ‘m grumpy when I have to listen to the lot of you idiots bicker back and forth.” Feisty kitten.

“Ditto,” Zayn decides, starting towards the dining area. And then the Alpha can’t help but laugh at the lot of them, shaking his head in amusement and thinking to join his best-mate while the others straighten out what is going on (as he’s forgotten).

“What’re you laughin’ ‘bout, Styles?” Josh growls.

Nosing at Louis’s silken hair Harry stifles his laughter, “The…eggs are burning.”

There’s a mad scramble to secure the hazardous zone in the kitchen, and everything’s calmed down. Once that’s taken care of…they actually manage to have a rather decent, proper breakfast, mind the burnt-to-near-char-eggs. That’s that. In the bedroom again, fumbling to get dressed on time, Louis comments quietly, “You handled them quite well this morning. I’m impressed.”

Flashing his signature cheeky grin, the Alpha murmurs, “I handle everything well.”

In the suitcase the Omega’s hands pause as he thinks this through, then nods. “You’re right.”

All bonded-male pride wells up inside him. “I usually am.”

“Ha-Ha,” Louis replies dryly, tossing another shirt in the air from where he’s scavenging again. Then, pulling out a deep blue, white-striped forearm cut top, and facing him, the boy asks, “How’s this? Matching?”

And the question, Louis cross-legged beside the piles of clothes, is horribly domestic. Panic coils in his stomach but the Alpha can’t seem to look away as another, buried part of him wants this–wants a life that revolved around waking up to Louis in the soft-morning light, watching him fumble around in the mess he’s made of their room, having him ask what look’s best and what doesn’t (though there isn’t a doesn’t), wants to know the Omega will be waiting for him to come home, or vice-versa. Now, his heart pounds, thumping against the walls of his ribcage cruelly–terror and horror and complete panic at his train of thought floods him. But I don’t want to remember life without you…

With that thought the Alpha drops his gaze, unfocused, but this time out of sight, out of mind, doesn’t work. Figures. “Yeah. Perfect.” So much for handling everything well, his Alpha snarls, clawing at his chest. Great, now he’s back.

Unaware of the Alpha’s inner-turmoil the Omega hums quietly. “You’re also very good with the girls. Mum’s impressed. Even I tend to get overwhelmed.”

“It was only a few minutes, Lou,” Harry replies, despite knowing it’d be easy to handle them, he likes to think himself good with children, he’s had quite some practise, but Zayn’s always been better, an Omega’s natural instinct to care for the young. “And I like them. They’re sweet.”

“It runs in the family,” Louis murmurs, walking up to where he stands, and the Alpha has to look as there’s one of those smiles in his voice, and when he looks there’s one of those smiles curving his mouth, brightening his face.

“No doubt.” And he’s smiling back, unable to help that this bittersweet feeling risen in him. For some time they stand there…smiling at each other and looking fucking ridiculous he’s sure, but his heart begins to flare hot. God, he never wants to look away.

So, this time, he doesn’t.

 

∞∞∞

From there it happens slowly. Or maybe it doesn’t and Harry’s too dense, shallow-minded to notice, but then they’re fumbling about the streets of Paris. Niall’s pestering Zayn who looks torn between annoyance and admiration–a feat in itself–while Josh and Liam are staring at the bloody map (Niall insisted they’d use rather than their phone because this is “family-time lads! Put down the technology!” And it’d be too hard to deny him, honest) and Harry…Harry watches Louis. Because Harry always watches Louis–pinning, and had they not known each other it’d be a bit creepy, how taken he is with the younger boy.

Because the Alpha watches Louis sleep–features relaxed, and peaceful–, watches Louis banter with Niall–all fond, light insults. Because the Alpha watches Louis converse quietly with Zayn on the sofa at night about nonsense–interested and attentive. Because the Alpha watches Louis when he’s speaking to no one, when he’s lost in his thoughts, beautiful eyes shut, hands gracefully tracing whatever’s closest to him. Surely it’s unhealthy, because there is only one day left, one more day of LouisandHarry, and the thought of returning home burns through his sane-thought.

But Harry doesn’t let himself think about this. Or rather he doesn’t have the time to think about it as they’re in constant motion, starting with the classic-tourist act, walking about and being ridiculous (how young everyone acts is so odd to Harry, who’s mostly quiet, more so than Zayn, who brushes his hand soothingly many times, mouthing to him ‘it’s okay,’, then when the Alpha continues his careful observations the Omega confronts him. Up ahead, Louis is preoccupied, listening to Liam’s descriptions.

“Hey,” the other says softly, and the Alpha stares straight ahead, never meeting his gaze, unwilling to let even his best-mate see how this affects him. “Stop over thinking this. It’s fun. You’re eighteen, Haz, not thirty; you’re allowed to act a mess.”

“No, I’m not. I’m an Alpha of Council, we don’t–,”

“Harry. Shut up with that Council bullshit. See that boy over there,” Zayn points to Louis, who’s laughing like mad as Niall squawks, “Bad ass Tommo, bad ass! Look at you, beatin’ Liam at info!”, “He’s not lookin’ for an Alpha of Council. He’s looking for you. Give him that.”

“I don’t remember how to have…fun.” Sadly, it’s true. The last thing that’d he’d done just to have fun was…probably age fifteen, when he’d dragged Zayn to that Uni-party and sang karaoke on stage all night long to Britney Spears. There’d been no reason then, no romance, no obligations, just…laughing, pissed-drunk, meeting normal people, like Ed, who’d not even been in Uni, but like them, had come to get wasted and be one of those strangers that killed the party but also made it.

And Zayn seems to remember that time too because he grins, “Good times, wasn’t it? Been a while. I’d never seen you so wasted, never seen you smile like that so much, well until now, with Louis. That was fun. Let loose, forget about your Father and the Council and whatever else. Have fun like that again. You deserve it, too, you know.”

“You lost your trousers,” the Alpha says, “And I’d lost my mind. I’d never woken up more embarrassed! God remember those pictures?! And that one tabloid that was titled–,”

“Styles Gone Wild with Stark Omega? Will the two’s relationship be revealed…?”

“Yes! That one! And there was our picture, you trouser-less while I threw up on the side of the road. Jesus, if it wasn’t so much fun I’d regret that.”

Zayn sighs. “What happened to us, Haz? How’d we end up so unhappy so fast?”

Throat tight the Alpha still swallows, speaking quietly, “Life happened–the Council, the Alphas…Sometime along the road we screwed up and went our own path. Probably the wrong path. But we’re getting back on track, aren’t we?”

“I hope so…I really fucking do because I’m happy right now. And I want to stay this happy.

“Me too,” the Alpha whispers, brushing their hands, this time both their fingers tremble, but the contact’s achingly familiar. “Let’s keep them. We were bound to let other people in some time, and I…I really want to keep them. Keep him.”

There’s something extremely hopeful that gleams in the other’s eyes, replacing the previous tired. “Yeah. Same. Same, this time we’re going to hold onto happiness. I am going to…try…for Liam. And you can try for Louis. And…And if it doesn’t work out, and we screw up again, at least we’ll still have each other, right?” And he remembers that one night, holding Zayn while he cried, beat up and worn after Alpha number three, remembers promising that if, at thirty at the latest, they still hadn’t found their meant Omega and Alpha, that Harry would play the part for Zayn, and Zayn would play the part for Harry. Because they could have played the roles perfectly…but it would have only been just that: role-playing. It wouldn’t have been meant, like Louis is for Harry, and Liam seems to be for Zayn.

“We won’t screw up. You are not screwin’ up. I won’t let you screw this one up. I…No, he’s meant for you. You deserve to be loved. Like proper loved. And I think Liam can give you that. So you’re not screwing up.”

“But what about you?”

“I will figure that out. I can take care of myself. I’ve done it for ages now.”

“Whattayatalkin’about!?” Louis bounds up too them, smiling sweetly before cramming between them, grabbing the Alpha’s hand in one hand and Zayn’s in the next.

“Wait ‘til you hear this…” Zayn starts, the thick emotion leaving his voice the same instance. Shaking the bittersweet emotions away, the Alpha shakes his head, grinning ridiculously at the reiteration of their story.

Louis throws his head back, laughing airily. “My Harry?

“Yep. Lover-boy over here was all ‘bout Britney back in the day.” There’s no escaping the conversation as the Alpha attempts to defend himself but it’s deflected every time until he’s forgotten anything but this, them, now.

Soon they’re before the Eiffel Tower, and Niall has Harry take a million or so pictures (which he’s fine with–he’s always loved capturing beauty on film, keeping the memories fresh). There’s Niall and Josh, Niall and Louis. Liam and Zayn, then Zayn with Niall (to which Zayn looks disgusted before planting a sloppy kiss to the Irish boy’s cheek), following is Zayn and Louis (who aren’t even facing the camera but each other, both looking adorably shy but somewhat smitten, which the Alpha frowns at–but decides he’s reading wrong when Louis ruffles Zayn’s overgrown hair.) Finally, the five have their group-shot, and Harry’s about to inform them that it’s time to continue on when Niall starts it, “Styles! What the bloody hell are you thinking?! We’ve not even gotten you and Lou yet!”

Rolling his eyes, the Alpha lets the Irish boy shove him forward, then grabs Louis’s hands in his, smiling, “Hello there, beautiful.”

Louis grins, then raises his eyes shyly. “I feel like we’ve not spoken one-on-one since this morning.”

“We haven’t. The brats are determined to keep us apart–you’re everyone’s favourite, Lou, everyone wants your attention.”

Disregarding the last bit, Louis asks, “The brats?”

“All four of them,” he replies surely, about to press the attention matter when–

“WILL YOU TWO FACE THE BLOODY CAMERA AND STOP MAKING GOOGLY EYES?!”

Laughing, the Alpha brings Louis close, nosing at his temple and ignoring the others, even as Louis faces them, smiling sunnily. Photogenic, his boy is. There are more than a few photos, only two of which Harry manages to look at the camera, and three of which he’s kissing the Omega, thinking all the while: I am going to lose my mind.

“Hey, you!” Josh calls forcefully to one unsuspecting fellow. “Take these pictures for us!”

Somehow there ends up more group-shots than anything, most of which are completely ridiculous; Niall shouting and raving and Louis laughing, Harry glaring, Zayn rolling his eyes, Liam blinking, Josh with a hand over his face. Overall, there are two decent ones where they’re all looking at the camera, but otherwise it’s disastrous (but he’ll probably keep them all–every single shit-faced one)

Once they’ve moved on, it’s mid-afternoon and they’ve gone food-tasting, which is Louis’s absolute nightmare–looking disgusted and terrified every time he dares to put something in his mouth. Used to the French delicacies the Alpha smiles at every offering and eats most of it (snails aren’t so bad, honest, they rather taste like chicken). Meanwhile Zayn shares Louis’s disgust, munching on crisps and sipping at sweet-tea the entire time. Liam and Josh accept politely, but it doesn’t go by unnoticed that the two barely touch their food, stealing crisps from Louis or Zayn cleverly when they think nobody is looking. Seems Niall and Harry are the only two quite so open to trying novel dishes–it’s the others’ loss, honestly.

Soon they’ve finished, and there’s a heated (no surprise) debate on their next destination. Quietly, Louis mumbles, “What about pottery? Isn’t there somewhere to make pottery?”

“Ah, Lou, not again! That’s so messy!” Liam complains, like they’ve done this before.

“Let’s go make some clay-shit or whatever,” Zayn declares, holding Louis’s hand and helping him out of his seat. Taking one last swing at the fruity iced-tea spiked with some sort of alcohol, Harry agrees, “I’m with the pottery idea. We’re goin’ with it.”   

That’s how they end up on the other side of the city (taxi ride necessary) at some place called ‘Classic-Pottery’. There’s about fifteen minutes where they’re taught how to do it–the Alpha makes sure to pay careful attention because Louis won’t be able to do this alone (though this makes him furious, resentful of life and all its cruelty, he doesn’t want to ruin their whole last day so he sweeps those thoughts under his mental-rug). Instead he watches the methods and let’s Louis do the listening (as it’s a tourist spot, the instructors are bilingual, perhaps more, he can’t tell) until they’re told to partner up. As Zayn sides Liam, grinning at him, the Alpha goes to Louis, and as they’re parting Harry thinks he hears something like, “Better watch yer back, Malik,” from Niall, which makes him chuckle and Louis giggles (having caught that apparently).

Despite having watched how it’d done twice, when they’ve reached their platform decorated with clays and tools and all these bizarre objects, the Alpha can’t manage to recall what the hell is supposed to happen or where the fuck to start. Weirdly enough, his Omega does as he tells Harry, grinning adorably, “We’re goin’ to make a mug.”

“Only one?” the Alpha exclaims, mock scandalised, watching as Louis assess their platform with careful hands, looking very sure of himself. “Who will keep it?”

“Visitation-rights, Hazza. I demand full-custody. You can have her on weekends.”

“Her?”

“I’ve always wanted a girl. Let’s name her Harriet,” Louis mumbles, distracted. “Now, step one, clay. Gimme a proper amount, more than a handful I’d say, and hold the damp sponge.”

Grabbing the clay, disgusted with the texture, the Alpha places the glob in Louis’s cupped hands, intrigued, “Have you done this before, kitten?”

A delicious flush spreads over his cheeks. “Yeah–Mum’s quite the expert. C’mere, watch.” And when the Alpha shuffles over, he watches Louis’s hands, graceful as they begin the molding process, using some method (the name Harry’s forgotten). Really, it is quite messy and wet and unappealing so Harry opts out of touching until Louis murmurs, “Okay, now it’s your turn. I can’t do this part, Mum never taught me. Use the wheel to form its inside, it won’t take long, it’s rather smoothed out and wet already.”

Blinking the Alpha mutters, “Er…Okay?” Not really knowing what he’s supposed to do, but damned if he says so, Harry takes the shaped-clay, gritting his teeth as he fits the thing over the wheel that he has no clue how to work. When he attempts to start out, clay comes back at him, splatters on his shirt and catches Louis who laughs, wiping at his forehead, leaving a streak of clay behind. “My, God, Hazza! Don’t let it go, then we’ll have to remold! Here,”

Rising, the boy places one hand over his, letting the Alpha bring them inside, where his fingers get sticky and wet and he wants to take them back but Louis holds him steady, humming. “’S not so hard, yeah?” As the wheel works its magic around their hands Harry catches Zayn’s grumbles from the station over, “This is not enjoyable. The texture creeps me out!” And he agrees completely.

When the horror is over, and the clay looks sort of decent, the Alpha (after removing their messy hands) practically tosses the thing at Louis who’s smugly amused, elegant fingers sliding carefully over the sides. “Feels nice, Haz. Now let’s put it in the kiln.”

When that’s finished, (the Alpha sure as hell doesn’t let Louis anywhere near that evil-looking-electric kiln, placing the clay-mug inside instead) the Omega smiles crookedly, “There, the tortures over, Hazza. Now we’ll have to come back tomorrow morning to paint her then viola! We made a beautiful pottery babe.”

“Wasn’t torture,” the Alpha mutters though he’s fighting another grimace at the feel of drying-clay on his hands.

“Liar,” Louis says lightly, reaching up to tap his nose with one clayed-finger. “It’s okay, love. ‘S not for everyone–Liam absolutely loathes it. But thank you for taking me.”

“Mm, thanks for showing me, kitten,” he murmurs, gaze falling to his mouth, desperate to kiss him, but knowing better, and instead linking their clayed-hands and leading the boy to the sink. Turning the tap on warm, the Alpha brings their hands under the warm torrents and douses them in too-much soap, sighing in relief when they’re both cleaned. Afterwards the Alpha takes a towel from the heating rack and dabs carefully at the streak on Louis’s forehead before scrubbing his own nose. As he’s already paid, he circles Louis’s waist in one arm, bringing him close, and breathing in his ear, “Let’s go outside.”

Against him, the Omega begins to wriggle a bit, almost purposefully, and with his teeth clenched, Harry keeps his distance. “Are you trying to get me alone and murder me?”

Ravage you,” he growls playfully, starting them towards the exit, completely ignoring Niall’s, “YOU GO GET SOME MORE, LOU!”

Outside, Louis pouts. “What is he on about?”

“Who even knows?” the Alpha evades warily, watching the suspicion cloud the boy’s pretty features. Deciding it’s best to go with his original plan, Harry steps towards the buildings wall, turning Louis and kissing the corner of his mouth purposefully, whispering, “So, seeing as you’ve had your fun…I do believe I deserve the same.”

Dazed, blue irises drop to the ground. “E-Explain.”

“Come with me tonight,” Harry murmurs willfully, kissing him fully now, parting his lips carefully, dragging his tongue across the boy’s bottom lip; slowly, persuasively.

A breathy little noise in disagreement, then, “W-Where exactly?”  

“Mating ceremony. French Council–Tom Teasdale. Me and you, tonight,” he mutters, thoughts straying as Louis presses close, to kiss him back, but Harry’s not having it, tearing away for the moment, breath coming rough.

“Harry…” it’s almost a whine.

“Come with me,” he repeats quietly, letting his eyes slide shut, back to savoring the feel of Louis’s petal-soft mouth against his again.

“I…don’t belong there.”

“You belong with me,” he snarls, realising the tone he’s taken when Louis flinches a bit. “You belong with me, Lou. And I want you there. Don’t make me find someone else to take,” he says softly, desperate because if Louis says no and he has to find someone else to take it’s going to look fucked up. It’s only to make him look unfaithful, and make Louis look like some one-week vacation fling.

“Are…Are you threatening me?” Louis asks, incredulous, but not breaking the contact even so.

“No,” he all-but groans, bringing one hand to Louis’s waist, “’M not, I swear. It’s….fuck, I can’t go alone, Louis. It’s against tradition, for one to show up alone, offensive to the couple even. It’s supposed to be a happy-time, and in the words of the Council, lonely isn’t up to par. But…if you…I won’t go if you say no. I won’t go without you.”

Louis swallows, then breaks the kiss to shake his head, mumbling, “Why’re so sweet to me?”

Confused the Alpha goes to ask when Louis continues, “It’s obvious this is important to you. And honest, I can’t say no to you so we’re going to have to go, I suppose.”  Thank fuck.

“Funny,” he murmurs appreciatively, “I feel the same. I can’t…say no to you.” And when I manage it kills me a bit more inside.

“Power to the Omegas!” Louis throws up one fist, grinning up at him adorably now. “I wonder, would you let me–?”

“Oui! Voilà Harry Styles!”

Talk about timing. Looking up, the Alpha realises they’ve caught some unwanted attention. And more appears to be coming by the phone-calls. Pissed, and disgusted, Harry glares, but his gaze softens when he finds Louis huddling close to him. So he murmurs, “Time to get back inside, apparently.

Sadness surges between them–from Louis. And the Alpha’s never hated his position in society so much. Which says a lot. “’M goin’ to lead them away.” There’s more voices now, calling his name, muted clicks of the cameras.

“But–,” Louis tries, but the Alpha kisses him, gentle and fleeting before opening the glass-door and dragging him inside. From there he barks, “Z, take him.” Startled the other Omega starts to ask but Harry gives him that ‘not-right-now’ look, “Car keys?”

Once they’re tossed to him, Harry looks down to Louis, who’s quietly chewing on his bottom lip, looking thoroughly upset. Knowing he’s not going to see the boy again for hours makes him lose it a bit as he tips Louis’s face–everyone has a damned weakness. Pausing the Alpha’s mouth closes over the Omega’s, coercing his lips apart as his arms fold around his waist, crushing the little boy’s body against his own. So warm, soft, made for me. And he tastes perfect; sweet like the tea from before, and fuck does his soft moan taste better, makes the Alpha diamond-hard, but he tears away, breathing, “Don’t miss me too much, kitten.”

When he leaves the building one might think his Father was around because there are so many paparazzi, swarming, more than his presence is even worth. Then again, Harry’s more than sure he’s favoured by society. Mostly due to the looks. But, it is what it is. Instantly the Alpha ducks, rounding the more vacated corner of the street, blocking the flashes with one hand. And he knows now that there is no possibility of him returning to the penthouse this way; he’d have to relocate again if he does. Carefully as possible, he darts down another busy street, trying to fit into the crowd by staring straight ahead (keeping his head ducked is an instant giveaway) and it’s almost working.

But then, in French, “There he is! My God, Harry Styles in the public streets of Paris!

Caught the Alpha grimaces, bombarded by tons of Omega’s of all age groups claiming to be his fans (yeah, right) and then the paparazzi arrives, throwing questions, mostly concerning his whereabouts, Louis’s whereabouts. Like he’s fucking telling. 

“Harry! Harry!”

“Harry Styles! I love you!” Flattering, honest.

“Can I meet your Omega? He looks lovely!” Lovely beyond your perverted imagination, fucker.

“Where is he!?” Not with you, obviously not with me, what a mystery. Cute little rhyme, he thinks, fighting an altogether pleased smirk.

Fuck does Harry want to throttle someone, anyone of them will do. Louis is none of their business–that they seem to think otherwise makes his blood turn to ice and flood his vision in red.

“Louis Tomlinson is quite pretty, Harry! Where did you find him?”

At that the Alpha halts, then snarls in direction of the voice, almost telling the male to say one more fucking word about how “pretty” Louis is. Thinks he’d enjoy killing him.

This might be a while.

 

∞∞∞

So many hours later, smelling thickly of perfumes and sweat the Alpha trudges into the penthouse, hair frizzed out, clothing madly disheveled, canines extended. The lights in the lounge are on, and the buzz tells him Louis is in there (probably alone judging by the lack thereof noise). Of course he’s right, finding Louis curled up on the couch, fingers roaming over one of his books, looking completely uninterested.

Groaning spectacularly Harry flops down some cushions away so he can spread his gangly legs, looking towards the clock to find it’s only six. Which gives him about an hour and a half to make himself presentable.

Amused, the Omega opens his eyes and snickers.

S not funny,” he mutters tiredly, dragging a hand down his face.

“But it is, Haz, it is,” he giggles, and it’s sort of infectious.

Harry grins sloppily at him, murmuring, “You’ve got quite the plethora of fans and admirers, kitten.”

“Says Mr. Popular,” Louis closes the book and tosses it carelessly to the floor, crawling over to him. With the proximity the boy recoils, “Hazza, ew! You smell…hideous. Too many scents at once, ugh.”

For affect the Alpha pouts, watching him through hooded eyes. “I was quite literally jumped this evening, kitten. Excuse me for stinking of a million or so Omega’s and who knows what the hell else.”

The ensuing scratch of jealousy leaves a raw, angry wound in Harry’s chest as the Omega’s blank stare turns electric. But then that gaze falls, and Louis’s bottom lip juts attractively in a pout. “You let them touch you?”

At this Harry gapes, mind registering what the Omega must be thinking. “No, I didn’t let them touch me,” he bites back–he doesn’t take kind to be doubted.

“Still…”

When the Alpha reaches for him the boy shuffles backwards out of contact-zone, towards the far end of the sofa, still pouting, “C’mere love. Let me kiss you.” Let me show you that you’re the only one.

“No. Keep that filthy mouth of yours to yourself, Harry Styles,” the boy sulks, turning his face away. Fighting a grin, Harry hefts himself up and goes over to that side, yanking Louis’s ankle so he’s on his back, stunned obedient by the sudden movement. Then he plants both of his hands on either side of Louis’s head, gazing hungrily at his parted lips.

As the Alpha lowers his weight his entire frame tenses and his cock strains at his zipper, the ache painful and welcomed at the same time. And he feels the difference in seconds, white-hot desire washes through him as Louis’s breathing comes quicker, shallow little pants, and his pupils dilate, becoming a thin ring of blue. He’s sure the boy’s pretty cock must ache for its first shocks of pleasure, but he can’t let himself think like that. Instead he brings their faces close, hovering over his sweet mouth, “Feel that, kitten?” he drawls slowly, their mouths barely brush but it’s enough to have his breath catching in his throat, “I don’t feel like this for any other Omega. I don’t want to put my mouth on them the way I want to put my mouth all over you.”

Beneath him Louis shudders, going pliant, and breathing, “Kiss me, Harry.”

“I don’t think so, little one. My mouth’s far too filthy. And I wouldn’t wanna dirty you.” With that he gets up and starts making his way towards the halls entryway, glancing over his shoulder at the Omega, who’s thrown an arm over his eyes, looking so soft, tempting. “Come on, kitten. We need to get ready and I need to wash away the residue.”

“I wanna be filthy,” Louis mumbles, sitting up slowly.

“No,” Harry snaps, “You don’t.”

“Fine,” the Omega shrugs, licking his lips, “Don’t ever try to kiss me again, Harry.”

At this, the Alpha pauses, gaze darkening. “Let’s go, kitten.”

“No,” he calls stubbornly. “Not moving.”

“Come again?” Harry asks threateningly, pivoting, jaw clenched.

“No,” Louis repeats.

Now the Alpha narrows his eyes, but the Omega simply pokes his tongue out in his direction, daring Harry to test him. Just like that he’s stalking towards him, but when he’s close enough the boy squeaks, grabs something hastily from the side-table, and splashes it at him. Gaping, Harry blinks rapidly as nearly clear liquid pours over him, curls dripping wet.

Louis grins sweetly, reaching forward to catch a drop (quite gracefully) on his index-finger, popping it in his mouth and sucking the droplet provocatively.

“Mmm,” he says casually as the Alpha stares in disbelief. Then he hoists his arms, the muscles flexing. “Oh, you’re gonna get it,” he shouts, but the Omega uses his height and build to his advantage, scrambling from the sofa and taking off. Like the first time they’d played this way, Harry’s instincts rage, and he’s at the boy’s heels in seconds, unable to help but grin when Louis squeaks again, almost running into a wall but missing it to enter the dining room.

“Stop! Hazza, you’re getting everything sticky!” he giggles, hands on the wall as the other ones extended to help him dodge the chairs.

“I don’t care!” Harry hisses, tossing the bloody chairs aside, barely hearing them crash to the floor.

“Hazza! Harry, c’mon, stop! I don’t wanna run into something,” he breathes, but presses on, once more around the table, tripping up a bit at the furniture rearrangement

Never,” he growls, catching his arm in the same second. And he yanks him back into his chest, but it’s so fast, and with the liquid dripping on the floor still, the Alpha slips, falling smack onto his back with Louis dragged along.

When his head meets the floor he grunts, “Shit. Fuckin’ hell,” then, “Louis, love, you okay? You gotta stop running from me. Somehow you're going to get hurt one of these days.

Louis laughs, hysterical as Harry blinks numbly, rubbing at his eyes, exhausted by the rush of emotions going through him. “You're always so worried! It was only a fall.”

Deathly serious the Alpha grips his arm. “Your safety is not a game, Louis.” Releasing him the Alpha leans against a fallen chair, listening to Louis’s laughter fade as he notices how solemn Harry really is, sighing sympathetically.

“I’m sorry, Harry,” he whispers, cautiously nearing him. “I…I didn’t think you’d be so upset.”

Harry huffs indignantly. “Yeah, well ‘m over it now.”

“’M really sorry, Hazza,” he uses the nickname softly, trying to squirm into his lap, but Harry really is quite pissed and….damn him but he doesn’t want to get Louis sticky.

“Please, baby,” Louis breathes, scooting impossibly closer. Ignoring him, the Alpha rubs at his pounding head, wincing at bit.

“Haaarrrryyyy!” Still, no acknowledgement, though Harry’s rage has diminished with every soft call to him.

“Now who’s being mean,” the Omega mumbles, and there’s something so broken-hearted in his voice; it makes the Alpha want to hold him, shield him from any form of hurting. He doesn’t…yet. When the boy starts to stand the Alpha grabs his ankle, grinning wickedly, “You’re going to regret this, kitten,” he warns gently. And then his hands are crawling along the boy’s sides, tickling him. Louis shrieks with laughter, trying to escape, but he’s already a boneless heap on the floor.

“Harry, don’t!” he pleads, withering.

“You wanted to play!” Harry shouts playfully, reaching his soft belly. 

“Can’t…breathe…” Louis wheezes, still giggling, “Stop."

Never!” And the Alpha means it, until Louis is whining, “Hurts! Hurts!” Then he finally ceases, grinning stupidly as he watches the boy curl in on himself with gulping breaths.

“You,” he pants, “need a shower…” smiling from the floor, cheek against the cherry-wood. “Did I mention how utterly smitten I am with you?” Fuck, I’ll never get tired of hearing it.

Picking him up easily, the Alpha noses at his cheek, speaking quietly, “I always like to hear it.”

“I’m so smitten,” Louis whispers back, fingertips tracing over his cheekbone–everything around him sort of fades out as he stares, emotions rising up inside him, some combination of affection and admiration and adoration and all those sappy words he’s never associated with anyone else.

Swallowing past the uprising, Harry carries them upstairs; it’s when the Alpha’s going to head for the bathroom and shower that Louis breathes, “Hey…Haz?

Curious at the gentle, soft tone the Alpha looks at him. “Hmm.”

“I…I wasn’t lying the other night. You’re the only one I want,” he states, then darts out of the door, towards where Niall and Zayn’s voices float. And the Alpha wants to do some stupid shit like run outside and shout his Omega’s name over and over until everyone knows that Louis is his. Instead, he grins to himself, closing the bathroom door behind him.

 

∞∞∞

It doesn’t take long–well they’re fashionably late, which Harry blames Louis, for daring to dress this way. Looking stunning with gelled-up hair (which looks quite attractive despite his preference for the fringe) dressed in a white button-up, the sleeves having been rolled up to his forearms, a black-collar, matched with black and white braces and Christ, those burgundy trousers hug his hips, his arse in ways that should be illegal.  Like this, all prettied-up, the Alpha can’t help but wonder if he’s in another pair of lace underwear, rather than pants. And his cock thinks he’s going to find out. The drive is quite a long one as well though so when they finally make it to the flashy, many-many-stories estate in the middle of Frances countryside, the Alpha isn’t surprised by the amount of paparazzi, the news-casts, and helicopters. The leeches know when to emerge from the waters and who to feed on.

There’s no avoiding them here. But it’s time enough, Harry thinks; best to get it over with.

Pulling up to the seemingly never-ending drive, following a sleek, black Porsche, the Alpha puts the Audi in park and leaves the keys for the chauffeurs, crossing over to the passenger side. Cameras begin to flash obscenely and though his Alpha growls to life inside Harry’s practised his expressions so it goes by unnoticed. Features void–tonight is going to be trying, but he’s already paved his emotions, leashed his Alpha–like this he is in his element.

Fingers trembling Louis grasps his hand and Harry helps him out gently, shielding his body from the camera. Shouts and screams explode at the sight of Louis, “LOUIS! LOUIS!”

Gasping at the outburst, the Omega balances himself on Harry’s shoulder, his other hand gripping Harry’s fingers, tight and more than a bit afraid. “Don’t be afraid, love. You look absolutely breathtaking. You are breathtaking. And anyone who even looks at you the wrong way–,”

“You’ll ignore them,” Louis breathes under the chorus of questions, “Please. Let’s enjoy tonight. Wine and dine me proper, then take me home and–,”

“LOUIS! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE CONSIDERED A TO-BE OMEGA OF ENGLAND’S COUNCIL!?”

“HOW DO YOU LIKE FRANCE, LOUIS?”

“Are planning on giving Harry heirs within the year, Louis!?"

At the last question the boy’s eyes round adorably. “Prying, aren’t they?” he whispers shakily, cheeks blooming with colour.

Grinding his teeth, the Alpha takes one deep breath then pastes a wide, jaunty smile for their audience, “They’re very invasive love. Ignore them." 

“Ignore them when they’re asking me if I’m planning to get knocked up at sixteen?” Louis asks shyly, blush gaining beautiful colour. The cameras continue as Harry hooks his hand between his arm. “Are they implying I’m some sort of slut? Or worse! A criminal for trying to get knocked up before the Council’s blessings?”

“I hope to God not. Let’s just assume they’re sayin’ you look very fertile,” Harry decides dryly (knowing the boy can’t have gone through his first heat yet, seventeen is the average age for an Omega–fifteen for an Alpha’s rut) and smirking with pride when Louis giggles, smiling up at him and revealing those sparking forget-me-nots.

More shouts. “Louis! Louis baby smile for the camera!”

Startled the Omega turns his head towards the sound of his name and another round of flashes are set off. Defensive, Harry glares; Louis is not that arseholes baby. Pulling the boy closer the Alpha makes sure his scent is there in his hair, on his skin, marking him the way Harry can’t officially do at the moment.

“Harry! Harry! Where’s Zayn?”
“Harry, have you been blessed? Is this serious?!”

“Whatever happened to Taylor, Harry?” Of course they’d choose to bring that up, more than half-a-year later. To get a reaction from Louis, no doubt.

Unknowing the boy gives them what they want, frowning, and asking quietly, “Who’s Taylor?” Honestly, what is he too say? “Oh, she’s someone I used to know, beautiful Alpha, but not at all my type. Anymore.” Yeah, right, that’d surely go well (sarcasm noted) 

“She’s nobody,” Harry mutters, pulling them quicker towards the grand entrance, the other questions growing faint the further in they get. Inside, the magnificent chandeliers rain light everywhere, and Louis looks so perfect in them, hair shinning, darkened by the products. People are everywhere, Omega’s, Alpha’s and Beta’s alike, each paired on in groups, as it should be, happiness alight on their faces. Harry thinks he must look the same because he feels this brilliant orb of happiness within his chest, with Louis it’s always this way.

As they stroll around the inside of the great estate music lilts along the cascading decorations, all sparkles, which the Alpha assumes are Lou’s special touches–the female Omega has always had an eye for beautiful and arts. For quite some time they’re greeted by many other guests, handshakes and brief kisses and introductions exchanged. Each time the Alpha claims Louis to be his Omega; it’s met with the humour and acceptance on every other Omega’s face, (though there are those, Alpha’s and Omega’s alike, who look liked they’ve ate something foul–ah jealousy) the awe in some Alpha’s, then the respect whenever Louis greets them secondly. It’s natural, posh and extravagant, Harry’s upbringing–which is why it makes him so fucking content that Louis is getting on so well here, because that means when the time comes he’ll do exceptionally well greeting their guests at their ceremony. Again, the idea of the future both excites and panics him.

At the end of the line of people wanting to be introduced to Louis, white-suited servers hold trays of glasses brimming with champagne, and Louis looks extremely grateful when Harry passes him a glass.

They approach the outdoors, where there’s a white arbour hung with smaller versions of paper-lanterns. Beneath it shines a bloodred and white checkered dance floor (many of these distance over the long, long estate) surrounded by low fences with entrances on each side (beyond that, in the way distance, there’s a massive, steel gate, where guards patrol, preventing the paparazzi or unwanted visitors from sneaking in). At each entrance stands two elaborate ice sculptures of swans, and some are greatly detailed sculptures of ballerinas of some sort. The arbour is occupied by a yard-long stage where a string quartet is playing softly (there’s the lilt), a beautiful piece that Harry can recognise, but not name. Hand-in-hand the Alpha leads Louis between the swans and onto one of the dance-floor where most guest’s congregate, chatting over glasses of champagne.

“The worst’s over,” Harry soothes quietly, watching Louis’s amused expression.

“This…isn’t what I expected,” he admits, then explains, “I thought everyone would be posh snobs, if I’m honest. But…they’re surprisingly pleasant.” They’d better be, I won’t fucking stand for anything less.

“They’re fawning over you,” the Alpha breathes honestly, stroking his cheek with his knuckles. “They’re not so bad. They’re aristocrats, but they’re still people.  And nobody is able to resist your charms.”

Louis pulls his bottom lip between his sharp little canines. “You can. And you do. All the time.” The effort exerted is phenomenal, rest assured.

“I have to. There isn’t any other option sometimes,” he murmurs quietly, gazing falling to his enticing mouth. Losing every breath to this lovely boy’s smiles, his wit, his amusement, his soul, the Alpha is so enamored.

“I wish you wouldn’t,” Louis whispers, all wide-eyed and flushed, shuffling closer. “If there are boundaries, I’m going to try to knock them down, you know?” Don’t tell me things like that, I don’t deserve you.

At the persistent words the Alpha’s eyes slide shut, and his temperature spikes. They’re gaining more attention; stares are burning into them, but Harry couldn’t care less; unconcerned by them as he laces their fingers, pulling the boy closer until they’re close enough that he’s nosing at his cheek. Linked, their hands are held high, beside them, unbreakable by the most heated-stares, by the Council’s presence, “Don’t. Don’t say things like that, okay? You’re too young to be thinkin’ like that, kitten. Because when those boundaries are broken, Louis Tomlinson, that’s forever–we’re forever. Reckless abandon.” 

Now the Omega squeezes his hand, and the Alpha thinks he’s so much stronger than I am. So much better. We could be everything…But then again, they won’t be everything because Harry’s too fucked, emotionally and mentally in ruins. “I know we’re too young to be thinking about forever but…I don’t really care, it doesn’t change my mind. You’re all I want. I want to be something to you. And I won’t stop trying until we’re there, won’t stop ‘til you surrender.” You’re everything to me already, silly boy.

So much emotion floods him–Louis’s: affection, warmth, longing, and Harry’s: admiration, fear, panic. Everything. So much–too much. Choking him. Struggling to regain his composure the Alpha separates them, dropping their hands to open his eyes. It’s fleeting that he catches the eyes of one of the elder Alpha’s of the French Council, upon the third-story balcony overlooking the floor. There’s no expression on male’s aging face, but his eyes fall to Louis, then back to his, one eyebrow raised in question. Sneering, Harry blocks his view of Louis with his own body, forcing himself to ignore the pinning stare and raise his gaze elsewhere.

Towards the shoreline stands an enormous marquee, open on the side nearest to him the Alpha gets a glimpse of more formally arranged tables and chairs. “How many people are coming?” Louis asks quietly.

“I reckon more than a few hundred,” Harry answers, grinning when his eyes find the lengthy, lengthy table lined with flashy cakes and other sweet dishes. “Come, we’ve got another hour or so before the actual ceremony starts. These things always take an unnecessary amount of time.”

 

∞∞∞

                As his Alpha guides him, one reassuring palm splayed over his lower-back, the Omega tries to ignore the constant flood of conversation carrying over them. It’s crowded, but at least it isn’t chaotic, it’s soothing, laced with barely contained elation and excitement. And he absolutely adores this.

The air thins as they continue until the voices and the laughter is barely audible with the distance. They’ve slowed with the quiet, slowly…slowly… “Stop,” Harry murmurs, lips brushing Louis’s temple as he obeys.

“What…” Louis starts only to be interrupted.

“Mmm, I thought you might appreciate some sugar, with all this adjusting you’ve managed quite well but I don’t wanna push our luck,” the Alpha murmurs, leaning forward to whisper, “And I was tired of everyone stealing your attention.” It’s quite the opposite–with each introduction Louis’s attention remained on his Alpha; his voice, his scent, his words and their tone. “Tired of everyone ogling you.”

More affection wells up inside him as Louis shakes his head fondly. “You really do always think everyone is ogling me or somethin’, Harry. ‘M not quite that desirable.” Obviously, since you’ve not seem interested in anything more than platonic with me.

“That’s because you are desirable, and that is why every bloody Alpha’s beady eyes watch you,” the Alpha growls, but it’s more sulky now.

“Whatever sir says,” Louis murmurs sweetly, grinning until Harry sighs.

“There are quite a lot of treats here,” the Alpha trails offhandishly. “What to choose, what to choose…”  

“The most appealing,I'd suggest."

“They’re all appealing, I’d say,” his voice is suggestive, teasing.

“Harry,” Louis whines quietly, fidgeting. “Quit teasin’ me.”

“Alright, fine, ruin the fun. Here, try this one,” blessedly Harry takes his relaxed hand and places a warm, paper wrapped pastry of some sort in it. Beaming, Louis begins to unpeel the wrap until it’s removed enough that he can take a bite. It’s an éclair, the Omega realises vaguely before the taste explodes on his tongue. And it’s the most heavenly éclair in all of France surely.

“Oh, my God,” the moan bubbles passed his lips without permission. Savoring the taste, Louis chews slowly, holding the pastry carefully.

“That good, huh? I want you to make that sound again, Lou, but for me. Could you do that, kitten?” without his noticing, Louis’s hand tightens until the filling ekes past his fingers and onto the floor. Oh, no.

A flush heats his entire face, but Louis manages to mumble, “This is so embarrassing,” deciding that the only way to avoid dying of mortification is to state the painfully obvious.

Grabbing his arm, the Alpha ushers him backwards, then murmurs, amused, “I suggest that we flee the scene.”

Louis feels the empty remains still in his hand, about to ask what to do with it when the Alpha continues, “Lower your arm. There’s a potted plant, right below. Drop it.”

Louis’s eyes go round. “No!” 

Leaning impossibly closer, Harry breathes, “I dare you.”

With the proximity, his head goes a bit fuzzy, but then he blinks rapidly. “I…No, I can’t–,”

“As far as naughty things go, kitten, this one is fairly mild,” he points out.

It’s a dare, and Louis is usually immune to such childish ploys, but the smile in Harry’s voice is difficult to resist. Scratch that, Harry Styles is difficult to resist period. “You’re going to get us shunned. But fine, have it your way,” he mutters, squaring his shoulders, lowering the hand and releasing the pastry. It lands in the soil with a muted, muted thud. As the Omega takes a step away his hand brushes something round. Curious, he touches once again, finds the citrus scent and thinks it’s probably a miniature orange tree. Used to applying his other senses, he’s fairly certain he’s correct.

“I didn’t think you’d do it,” Harry says, and the awed tone makes the boy’s heart flutter.

“Like you said,” he breathes, “It’s not terribly naughty.”

“No, but it is Lou’s favourite potted palm.”

“Harry!” Louis whirls around, intending to sink his hand right back into the plant and retrieve the éclair. “Why would you let me–wait a second.

Louis straightens now, narrowing his eyes for effect. “This isn’t a palm.”

And the Alpha is all innocence. “It’s not? How can you possibly tell?” Another challenge.

“I smell the citrus. And I have a very good sense of smell thank you very much. This is some sort of orange tree.

“Is it, now?”

Louis scowls in his direction. Or at least he hopes it’s a scowl. It’s difficult to form expression that way, but it’s even more difficult to form them at Harry Styles. Even his Mum had once remarked that it’s nearly impossible to reprimand him. Why would Louis, foolishly in love, be immune to this? All the Alpha has to do is have that smile in his voice, seem contrite, and say something funny, and nobody can stay angry at him. It’s simply impossible.

“You were trying to make me feel guilty,” Louis accuses.

“Anyone could confuse a palm with an orange tree.”

Louis raises his brows. “Except for the oranges.

“Yeah, one would think they’d be a bit of a giveaway,” he replies thoughtfully.

“You’re also a terrible liar, did you know that?”

At this the Alpha straightens, making the movement that Louis has come to realise is a shrug. “Actually, I’m an excellent liar. But what I’m really talented at, kitten, is appearing appropriately sheepish and adorable after I’m caught. As I think you know.”

What, Louis wonders, is he supposed to say to that? Because surely there’s no one more adorably sheepish (sheepishly adorable?) than Harry Styles. “Might I remind a certain Alpha that he’s not so very cute?” Utter lies.

“Well my Omega tells me otherwise. 

“He’s blind,” he murmurs dryly. And biased–so desperately in love with you.

“And yet he’s the only one who sees me,” Harry mutters darkly. At that Louis’s eyebrows furrow because what does that even mean?

Just as he’s about to ask a telling hush settles everywhere, and he can feel the difference in atmosphere, despite the lack of sound the excitement heightens. And there’s a low, dark voice announcing they’re to find their designated spots. Suddenly the Omega is very nervous, he’s never been to a place like this, never been…included in such a magical tradition, and now he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to get the experience out of mind.  

“It’s going to be fine, Lou,” the Alpha murmurs, taking his hand and leading him towards the throng again. “You’re not going to regret this. I never have. And I hate shit Council events. But this…”

“’S so intimate, I hear,” Louis comments quietly, recalling the stories about mating rituals.

“It’s…beautiful.” 

 Louis only wishes he could see it.

∞∞∞

When they’re seated the Alpha holds Louis’s hand beneath the table, but manages to focus most of his attention on the forefront theater. The only lights now are candles, a million or so scattered everywhere, on the borders of the altar. Cloaked-figures emerge, and there’s one steady outburst of gasps–the Alpha notices that Louis must feel the absolute supremacy from the Council leaders because it’s impossible not to feel it.

From there each of them moves to form a spread. The middle Alpha’s voice floats out of his hooded robe and Harry can only get a glimpse of his stoic features. Which doesn’t even matter; hell, the male could have been glowing, demanding the attention, and Harry would still only have eyes for his Omega. His young, naive and entranced boy.

“Hear ye, all assembled before the Council. We have gathered herein to witness the joining of our heir and to be heiress…” when Tom emerges, straight-faced and grim. Nobody moves, looking star-struck though the male looks as he’s always looked, handsome, but robed instead (Harry reckons the male isn’t happy about that, Tom’s never gone by the Councils rules–hence his two year long wait for final blessings with Lou). As expected, Lou isn’t yet brought out.

“Your Alpha,” one of the males says, “Kneel, all.”

Rolling his eyes, Tom goes through the measures as expected, waving his hand out before the crowd, demanding “respect” though it’s halfhearted. Silently, the Alpha pulls Louis to his knees, who looks confused, and whispers, “Go with it. Bow your head.”

Then the Council representative continues, “Summon the Omega of choice, young Alpha.”

“I hereby summon the Omega who’s chosen me,” Tom says, not giving one fuck that he’s going against tradition by claiming the Omega’s chosen him. Good on him, too. Even so, nobody dares to speak out or look, not even the Council members; though Harry’s sure they must be infuriated. Not permitted to look upon the female, everyone remains bowed for the moment.

And so the ceremony goes on, Tom and Lou murmuring the proper responses at the appropriate times. When the vows have come to a closing the Council pauses, then the French male goes on, “Holder, reveal yourself. The rest of the ceremony is to be yours.” And there are muted sounds of the Council Alpha’s removing themselves–probably going to watch from the balconies (it’s deemed unsafe for them to even be so close, they only appear to such rituals when it’s one of their own Alpha’s).

Turns out the Holder is English–he begins to speak in ritualistic tongue (one Harry’s memorized and preformed for others before), relieving the crowd of their duties as everyone rises to their feet, the Alpha brings Louis with him. One look at Lou and the Alpha can tell the female is struggling to hold it together. This is always the hardest part for the Omegas–and Harry can understand why.

Keeping the ritual in strides, the Holder makes a motion towards Tom and the Alpha shrugs out of his belt and robe–modesty has never been a problem for the Alphas in their society. As the Alpha kneels the Holder goes to stand behind him. There’s one pause as the other two Holder’s bring over a small table with a large bowl of salt and a pitches of water, and the second Holder stands beside the first.

The long, sleek dagger the Holder draws from the sheath is brilliant (the French’s signature animal fur covers the grip–England’s grip contains jewels)–some snivels start up. And it’s evident on Lou’s face that she wants to look away, but that would be insulting to the Council and her Alpha, so her glassy gaze remains fixed on Tom, whose head is bent. It’s evident that he’s grinning–there isn’t one Alpha that doesn’t love this part, or love showing their strength to their Omega. Again, Harry can understand why.

Clearly the first Holder asks, “Tom, son of our Council, what is the name of your Omega?”

Grin wide, Tom says in a loud voice, no hesitance, “She is called Lou.”

The second Holder hands the dagger to the first, and together the two carve the first letter into the skin of Tom’s upper back. The male’s face is twisted, and he’s sweating, but he looks fucking ecstatic. Lou looks like she’s going to be sick–poor girl. Harry is quite proud of her for remaining quiet. The third Holder follows in suit, completing the name across his shoulders, letter by letter. Lucky there are only three–there are those who decide to mate an Elizabeth or Leonardo, but Harry thinks you can’t decide who you love or how long their name is. And Tom bears the pain with pride, not flinching once as he keeps his eyes on Lou, whose heart is in her eyes, face pale.  

The salt follows–arguably the worst part. There’s much blood, but continuous cleanings keeps it consistent. Until it’s over and he straights up, chillingly steady despite the wounds, staring at Lou who is now crying, hand over her mouth. The crowd is crying, too. But the Alpha agrees that this is one of the best ceremonies he’s witnessed, both Alpha and Omega worthy of their ritual. Tom’s back is rinsed with water and then cleaned and bandaged.

Then it’s Lou’s turn–the first Holder brings her over to Tom.

“Lou, now daughter to our beloved Council, what is the name of your Alpha?”

Voice clear, but high and shrilly, she answers, “He is called Tom.”

“Bring him unto us.” And Lou grabs his hand, and brings him forward, her red robbing flowing out behind her obscenely.

“Your love is pledged before the Council, before the witnesses. Your souls shall be one, connected for as long as you shall continue to live and onward.” Jesus that must sound so fucking…life-changing or…something.

Tears are trekking down Lou’s cheeks as she smiles up at Tom who looks like the happiest Alpha alive–even besting Harry. “Claim your Omega before the Council, young Alpha.”

And this is the worst part to Harry–he loathes feeling so invasive, watching the most intimacies exposed to those who should not be permitted to even think of this. Doesn’t think he’d be able to do it, to claim an Omega like this, in front of everyone. So instead he watches Louis as Tom brings Lou into his arms, as Lou bares her throat. God.  

Louis looks perfect in the candlelight–alright Louis looks perfect in every light. But the candlelight sparkles and dances in his eyes. Eyes that remain unfocused, even glazed with tears. He looks like he’s in love with this, looks like this is what he wants. And suddenly that’s part of the many things the Alpha wants to give him. Damn it, he would give him the most proper ceremony…

There’s a gasp, a whisper-soft moan then chaos–applauds, crying, laughing, cat-calls. It’s finished–they’re official in the world of the Council and at the altar Tom is twirling Lou around, and the Alpha looks like he’s crying, face buried in his Omega’s throat. She pets him, despite being the one who’d received the bite, who’d been claimed only seconds ago, she is soothing him, speaking softly, letting his chosen Holder’s come around him, placing their hands on his shoulders. Brothers–Council brothers, fiercely loyal.

There’s a snivel from beside him and shocked, the Alpha glances at Louis, who’s scrubbing at his tears. “That…was s-s-so beautiful,” he fumbles, and Harry is so smitten by this, pulling the boy to him and murmuring, “It was. It was very beautiful. It always is.”

“T-They’re p-probably s-s-so happy,” he cries softly. “It really was…

“’S okay, love,” he whispers huskily, thinking about how Louis’d react to his own ceremony, wondering whether he’d cry or would Harry find himself as Tom did, crying into Louis. “I know.”

Once the chaos settles, the songs being to flow again, and though Lou and Tom aren’t allowed to dance, as Lou isn’t supposed to be in feet distance of other Alphas, they’re adamant about everyone else dancing. So, when Tom flashes him a cheery thumbs up, Harry rolls his eyes, and decides to honor their wishes, being the first one to bring Louis to the middle of the dance-floor and start the first dance, it’s a waltz, which worries him. But they can do this one. Someone has to start it.

“Seems we’re doin’ a bit of a dancin’ lesson, kitten,” he murmurs, distancing them some with slow movements to bow, grinning wickedly at Louis’s look of confusion. When he extends his hand, the Omega seems to know to do that same, but the Alpha still takes his hand, rather than Louis thinking his as is the original routine. As he walks them slowly, others join beside them, which greatly relieves him as their waltz is going to be fumbled and mediocre, because Louis’s never learnt, and can’t see what’s supposed to happen around them.

“What are we doing?” the boy hisses at him though a smile is fixed on his face.

“We’re learning to waltz,” Harry murmurs as he distances them and bows again, not bothering to watch their neighbors do the same. The musical notes rise and the Alpha doesn’t leave an inch between them (as is appropriate, but fuck it) placing Louis’s right hand exactly below his shoulder-blade, then bringing his right hand to the exact place, extending their arms and linking this fingers. From there he twirls them once to the beat, keeping in mind the steps (one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…) as Louis goes with his steps, pale and horrified. “’S only a waltz, kitten. I’ve got you. Just follow my steps.” Then he takes them backwards again, using Louis’s shock to his advantage to spin him into his side, then whispers, “Spin the other way.” Obedient, the boy does so, but while the other’s let their partners meet the next, Harry holds onto Louis, ignoring the girl he’s supposed to continue with, to bring him back in, then starts their movements around the floor. It’s effortless to him, but his Omega looks terrified, as he twirls him around, and the instant they’re close again he breathes, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Follow me.” Now the opposite direction, spinning Louis, who seems vaguely dizzied, pulling him back again, one more step, then still spinning, Harry lifts him, so relieved that Louis doesn’t let go. Another twirl, another lift, opposite direction, swings him out, twirls him in, and brings him back to start again.

“This is making me dizzy,” Louis mumbles, breathless–the music gains histrionic speed as the circles continue.

“Give it eight minutes.” Fuck, I rather love this dance.

“Eight…” he twirls him again, then grins when the Omega gasps, “minutes?!

“It’ll be…” another twist, “quick,” he finishes. “Worst part is the hands. But that’s all me.”

“I’m…going…to kill you.

“’M doing all the work,” he reminds, a bit winded as he makes his turn round, linking their hands from where he is behind now, moving them clockwise, then spinning himself so they’re side by side, hands still intertwined, into the chorus movements again. The music shifts, swells losing height as Harry releases Louis’s hands, then stands straight to bow again, watching amused as Louis blinks. Before the Omega can even think to act, he grabs his hand again, though before the routine worsens, Harry twirls them stealthily from the circle.

On the edge of the dance-floor, they stop and when the Alpha releases him, Louis catches his breath. “That was…horrible.”

“You did wonderfully,” he compliments because it’s true, though he’d been confused, he’d trusted Harry’s movements, gone with each of them gracefully as possible. Honest, it’s the best dance he’s had in a while (his last was at that ball in Wales with that one Omega whose name he can’t even manage to remember, nor does he want too after that dance. Jesus he’d trampled on Harry’s feet and practically pushed him onto the dance floor, to which the Alpha found himself flattened in the middle of the circle. Horrific, couldn’t begin to describe that dance.)   

“No, I didn’t,” Louis shakes his head, lowering his eyes shamefully.

Sighing the Alpha hooks to fingers underneath his chin and murmurs, “When I was learning the waltz…my ah Father, he taught me, so it was quite awkward because I’d had two left feet, still do, but the movements are ingrained now. So, ah, anyway, I was obviously learning both the part of the Alpha and Omega, so my first time as the Omega, I was twirling, like you were, right? And there was an entire team of us. I lost my footing, tried to regain the balance on someone’s trouser’s, effectively pulling down one blokes slacks and taking the entire team down. Christ, it was so shit, Lou.”

“You didn’t,” Louis asks, wide-eyed, but he’s holding back laughter. Though it makes his skin crawl, talking about these times (because he’s never, not once told anyone–not even Zayn about his dancing lessons), the Alpha will happily tell Louis his most inner-secrets (and look like an utter dickfaced dolt doing it) to have the Omega smiling again.

“I did. And I’d taken my Father down with me. Therefore, as I’d black-and-blued the entire right side of my face, I wasn’t allowed to learn the Omega’s part again. I don’t even know how to perform the part, Lou, and that you managed on your first try is phenomenal. 

“Yeah?” the boy breathes, revealing those blank blues.

“Yeah,” the Alpha says, hushed as the waltz comes to an end.  

Louis smiles, then leans, plastered against his chest, petal-soft lips brush over his throat, then his jaw. “’M sorry that happened to you, Hazza. We can dance again and you can learn the Omega’s part with me if you want,” he offers, genuinely worried that Harry’s upset he didn’t get to learn the Omega’s part.

Not wanting to hurt his feeling, the Alpha hums. “Thank you, love. But why don’t we dance now?”

“Not the waltz?” the Omega asks worriedly.

Laughing the Alpha starts them back onto the dance-floor, “Not the waltz. Just slow dancing.” As they’re joined by others Louis rests his head on Harry’s shoulder. Many eyes follow them, cameras haven’t stopped flashing since the finishing of the ritual, but now the eyes of other Alpha guests fall to Louis, obviously wanting to dance with him. And the Alpha all but threatens to tear their throats out with his glares–it’s effective as nobody approaches them. So that’s when Harry thinks it’s safe to tease Louis, murmuring lightly, “Oh, love. You’re attracting so much attention. So many suitors so soon. Hmm, let’s see, who shall dance with you next…Could it be boring, poker-player, Dillion Williams? Or will it be stocky, filthy mouthed Fabrizio? The possibilities are endless.”

“You let me go, Styles,” Louis threatens, going along with his movements. “And I’m goin’ to take Harriet and leave you. Proper disappearance.” I’d find you, kitten. I won’t let go for fucking Dillion or Fabrizio or any other idiot out there.

Rolling his eyes, the Alpha murmurs quietly, “I want a Louisa, next, I think.”

Louis makes a disgusted noise in the back of his throat. “Oh, God, no. No daughter of mine is going to be called Louisa, Styles.” Louisa Styles. Harriet Styles. Nope, the Alpha thinks, those will certainly not do.

“What about son’s then?” he asks, all Alpha blood roaring in his ears, and even knowing he shouldn’t continue this conversation, he’s unable to help it–his cock is so hard now, with the thought of how he’d get Louis pregnant. Oh Jesus. “Do you want any boys?” he asks huskily–he’s never had any pregnancy kinks, fuck no, but everything is special with Louis, his Alpha reacts to the boy so forcefully it’s dangerous, makes him think stupid shit, like getting him pregnant. There it is again, that fucking word that makes his breathing rough, heat waves radiating from his body.

“Well I mean sons are necessary, yeah?” he asks, voice barely a breath, “You need heirs.” God, I really fucking do, right now–knock you up so good, sweet boy, get you on my knot and fill you up until I know the deeds done.

Movements faltering, Harry curses viciously even though Louis giggles, “It makes you uncomfortable when I say those things, doesn’t it?”

Intuitive as the boy is, it’s ironic that he misses that the discomfort is buried really damned deep by the desire that makes his heart pound, that he misses how hard he is, almost against his belly, thinking about getting him pregnant. When he speaks again, his voice is gravelly, “What makes you think that?”

Louis giggles again, “Your voice gets all scratchy and you miss a beat. You hardly miss beats that way–you’re always quick wit. Except when ‘m talkin’ bout pups. Don’t worry, Hazza, ‘m not hoping for children. In fact I don’t think I am going to have any. No Harriet’s or Louisa’s or any other ridiculous names.” Fuck. That.

“You’re having babies, Louis,” he snaps, tightening his hold on him. Inside his Alpha is furious and it’s making him uncomfortable–he doesn’t want to make the wrong move or hurt the Omega. But his Alpha…his Alpha is still dangerous to him.

Against him the Omega hums, then shakes his head. “No ‘m really not.” 

“Yes,” he growls, turning them once more, teeth grinding. “You really fucking are.” You’re having all my pups, every single one.

Dread. As the boy stumbles a bit, the Alpha is doused in his dread. And he wants to demand the reason behind that emotion, surely having his children isn’t something–

Someone taps his shoulder. On the defense, all Alpha instinct, Harry halts, bares his teeth, and focuses on the idiot who’d interrupted. And is more than shocked stupid to see Tom standing some feet beside them. The male’s changed, the robe is gone, replaced with a tux, and beside him Lou looks much the same, hair coiled at the crown of her head, dressed in a shimmering bloodred gown.  

Together they’re a sight–in the middle of the bloody dance-floor.

“Tom?” he mutters. “The fuck are you doing down here? You know that’s against–,”

“Oh, screw the tradition, the deeds been done, the Council has no control over me any longer. And honest, this is the twenty first century, are you honestly going to try to break my bond with Lou? No. Didn’t fuckin’ think so. So take the piss, Styles, and congratulate me already,” the other demands, smirking.

Sighing at the familiarity, the Alpha all but hugs the other male, mindful of his wounds, murmuring, “Congratulations, mate, this is…a blessing to the French Council. Make us proud.”

“Years worth the waiting. Don’t worry, H, ‘ve totally got the whole mated-life down by now,” Tom murmurs, as Harry grins at Lou now, “Congratulations, lovely girl. Keep ‘im on a tight leash. And make sure the UK realises the Omega’s are the brains behind the Council.”

She grins winningly. “Oh, don’t worry, I will.” Then her warm gaze finds Louis, “Is this him?” she almost shrieks. Louis looks extremely uncomfortable, huddling close into his side.

“He’s so gorgeous! Hello, Louis! You’re gorgeous! I can see what all the fuss is about!”

Louis’s blank stare follows the sound of her voice and he smiles shyly. “H-Hello, Lou. Congratulations. I wish the best to the both of you.” Tamed kitten–not sure which I like best, tamed or feisty.

“Awe! And he’s sweet, too!” she gushes, then pulls his Omega into an exceedingly warm embrace. Too soon. “You’re next, I reckon, ma chérie. You must contact me and I shall orchestrate the entire ritual–traditional, like H fancies. You won’t regret it.”

“Lou, you’re petrifying the poor lad. Let ‘im go.”

“Shut up, Tom,” she shoots back in French, then to Louis again, “It’s very lovely to meet you. All of the United Kingdom’s talking about the Omega who’s captured our prized Alphas heart. And I have the great honour to meet the one and only.” Captured my…heart…? Had that happened? Is that what’s going on? He blinks. Wonders how one is meant to know. Thinks since he’s questioning it, he’s not there yet. But it won’t be long, that much he can admit…because he’s thinking about their mating ceremony, their pups, their house, Louis, Louis, Louis. Always Louis.

Carefully the Alpha watches Louis’s expression–his cheeks warm, and he swallows, “L-Likewise.”

“Enough,” Harry murmurs, warning Lou with his eyes, but she’s always been immune to warnings (rather like…Niall. Well it’s no wonder they’ve gotten on so well for ages) and rolls her eyes back at him. Still, she releases Louis. “This is your night, Lou. Best make the most of it.”

“Oh, I will,” she murmurs coyly, eyeing Tom up and down. “But much, much later. In the privacy of my bedroom.” Trust me, I’ve been wanting the same privacy with my boy.

Tom coughs. “Well then. Would you fancy a dance, Louis? I fear that I’m monopolizing my Omega.”

Though the Alpha doesn’t want Louis to leave his side, it’s Tom, and he needs to breathe again, to stop thinking with his cock. So, he takes a deep breath and pastes a wide grin on his mouth, “Go ahead, love. I’ll be waiting.”

And so Tom takes Louis’s hand and leads him further into the crowd. When the Alpha takes Lou’s hand, she grins, “He seems lovely, Haz. Honest, I’m put out that you’ve kept him from us so long. When Tom told me ‘bout him, and you didn’t, which I ought to claw your eyes out for that, I assumed it was one of those months-wasted-causalities.”

“You’ve come to a different conclusion?” he asks, spinning them again.

“Yes. He’s special,” she murmurs gently. “I can see it in the way you look at him. I’ve never seen that look on you before. He means something to you.”

“Yeah,” the Alpha agrees, coming to the same, chilling conclusion. “He really does.”

When the music shifts and changes Tom returns Louis to him. Louis is blushing hotly, but the buzz tells him the Omega’s been amused and charmed the entire time. Instantly the Alpha tucks Louis into his side, tipping his face and asking, “Have a nice dance?”

Louis nods timidly, then whispers, “He’s very…kind.” And that’s the last adjective Harry’d use to describe Tom…but it’s also up there at the top ten. Ah, the contradictions.

“Well then, I’ve gatta win back your affections,” he decides firmly, wrapping his arms around Louis’s waist and grinning around at Tom and Lou, “Congratulations again. But I’m claiming every upcoming dance from here on out. Enjoy yourselves tonight and so on.”

Winking, he starts their next dance, spinning Louis round, who is beaming, “Win back my affections?”

“Yes,” he murmurs unfalteringly, pulling him against his chest.

“There’s nothing to win then as you have them all. You always will,” the boy promises and Harry shuts his eyes, but doesn’t answer, continuing their dance instead, slow and affectionate and everything no other dance as ever been.

Two more numbers they dance when the Alpha realises his phones been vibrating in his pocket for an hour and sighs, leading Louis away from the dance-floor and to the arbour, where it’s relatively quiet with everyone dancing and mingling inside. Then he pulls out his phone, finds its Niall demanding Louis.

Growling under his breath the Alpha hands the Omega his phone, whispering, “Just can’t escape the little twat. Stay right here. I’ll go grab us drinks.”

Smiling appreciatively, Louis nods and then hisses into the phone, “What now, Ni?!”

∞∞∞

 

“Thought you deserved to know, Lou,” the Irish boy states softly, from the other line–right now, Louis feels so angry, so alone and hurt, but the rage is palpable–a dark entity threatening to choke him. And he’s never been so grateful because angry is better than anything else, so he’ll cling to this anger that’s now his life-boat. Anger is warranted. Even so tears sting behind his eyelids, and his hand comes across his belly protectively as he mumbles, “’S okay, Ni.”

“No, Lou, it’s not,” Niall disagrees–exactly what Louis doesn’t want to hear right now. “It’s okay to be angry. I’d be fuckin’ pissed. I’m sorry, babe.” Me too–it’s really my fault anyway.

Louis laughs mirthlessly, moving his hand to cover his stupid eyes now, mumbling, “Nothing new, Niall. Don’t worry. I’ll handle it.”

“Lou, wait, don’t hang up yet. I know you’re thinking that Harry doesn’t–,” but he’s not interested in hearing it.

“See you in a bit, Ni,” and then he fumbles along with the phone and presses some button at the top, hoping it ends the call. Then he takes in a few calming breaths, each one only works to make it that much more difficult to breathe at all.  But he refuses to break down here, not in front of more than a hundred curious gazes, and even more cameras. No, he can handle this...God Louis hopes he can handle this.

It isn’t even seconds later that Harry’s returned, one large hand grabbing his arm. “What’s wrong?” he asks, and Louis suddenly hates how the Alpha always seems to know whenever something is wrong. Can’t his feelings just stay with him alone, just for a while?

At the contact there’s some rush he can’t begin to describe, paining pressure building in his head as he winces, feeling cold. “Nothing,” he mumbles, holding his phone out, “Here.”

Through careful movements the Alpha takes back his phone, then sounds extremely serious, “Did I do something wrong?” No, it was me, it’s always me.

Louis shrugs, keeping his eyes low towards the floor, grateful for once that he can’t see the way Harry’s looking at him right now. “I’m tired,” he hears himself say. “I want to go home.”

“You’re going to eat first.” Always commanding–right now the Omega doesn’t think the Alpha even has the right to boss him about. Not when he’s keeping him around for the entertainment of it–was it all a game? he wonders numbly. Let’s see how long it takes the stupid, blind Omega to fall for me. It’s such a cruel thought. But it’s one that crosses his mind nonetheless, and he can’t be sorry about it.

“I’m not hungry,” he says quietly, wondering how this conversation even started. All he seems to remember is that he’s unwanted and he’s stupid, and he’s still in love. All those things he longs to forget. “I want to go home.”

“Too bad,” the Alpha snaps, then he’s dragging Louis through the crowd and all but forcing him to sit. After barking orders to someone (a servant?) and some minutes of silence (despite the noise of those around him) and Louis fiddling with the tablecloth, there’s a plate set before him. “Now, Louis,” the Alpha murmurs stiffly. Without raising his gaze, Louis fumbles with the silverware and starts stabbing whatever is on the plate. It’s chicken or something but he doesn’t even taste it, simply eats methodically, taking small sips of the sweet-tea set beside the pale until he’s feeling queasy and can’t eat any more. Without permission, he sets the silverware down.

“More,” Harry commands. More.

“More,” Louis repeats quietly, the word shoots sharp spikes of rage through him and he’s seething again. Raising his useless eyes, the Omega holds them steady even as his hands shake. “You can ask for more, constantly. And I can’t ask for more of what I want. Why is that?”

A draft seems to emit from the Alpha, who tenses, “What. Are you talking about?”

“Like you don’t know,” Louis hisses, blinking back tears. “You really are a good liar, Harry. Honest, feel proud of yourself because you really made me think that we were serious, and that you wanted me the same as I wanted you. Like I hadn’t thrown myself at you to be rejected again.

“Wanted? Past tense?” Of course that’s what he’d worry about.

“Past tense,” Louis lies, knowing he’s still absolutely in love. “I really hate liars.” Which is true, he does.

“I never lied,” the Alpha growls, there’s some warning in his tone as he continues, “And if I did it was a lie of omission.” Still a lie–sort of like our “relationship”.

Louis swallows. “Why did you bring me here tonight? I-If you wanted to be friends, then w-why didn’t you just say so?” With the question realisation dawns on him…the Alpha had said so, at the very beginning, “I want…to be your friend.” Friends. And the Omega thinks he’d been the one to push for more, and he’d gotten all the wrong messages, and it’s no wonder the Alpha always stopped every one of his pursuits. He’s made it perfectly clear…Even as these thoughts come over him, Louis thinks his heart’s breaking, thinks he can feel it crumbling, as his Omega is in denial, refusing to believe the painfully obvious (because Harry’d kissed him, and let Louis kiss him, all the time, and claimed him, and said sweet things to him). It makes no sense.

“We’re not talking about this here,” the Alpha breaks his thought-process and his voice sounds strange, tormented or something. “Will you stop doing that?” he snaps, hand gripping his wrist, almost to the point of pain. “Stop. It.”

“Stop what?” he manages, tugging at his wrist pointlessly; he’s nowhere near as strong as Harry.

“Stop. Stop feeling like that. You…stop it. And breathe, for Christ’s sakes.” Though he wants to fight him, Louis can’t help but inhale, relieved that the tinges of lightheadedness fade. But it still hurts, and he wants to curl into a ball to keep his heart or his lungs from falling apart. Why can’t I be what you want?

“This is your f-fault,” he breathes, close-to-tears, too close. Hurts.

“That’s it,” Harry snarls, “We are going home.” Finally. Without warning the Omega is being yanked out of his seat, and the Alpha is already storming through the crowd, Louis one step behind him (not that he could be anywhere else, seeing as how Harry’s hand is wrapped tightly around his upper-arm.) And he wants to kick him, slap him, bite him, and make him hurt on the outside as much as he’s hurting on the inside–except he remembers something.

Louis digs in the sole of his shoes, skidding along as Harry drags him along, not seeming to notice. “Harry,” he whispers frantically, knowing they’re making a scene already. “Harry!”

“Shut up, Louis.” Arrogant, stupid Alpha.

“Please. I really think–ouch!” his skidding shoe hits the ending edge of the floor, sending him stumbling forward.

Catching him neatly, the Alpha sets him on his feet again. “What. What is so bloody important right now?” That tone makes his Omega cringe.

Louis swallows; terror floods him at the idea of going outside like this.

“Louis…” the Alpha prompts impatiently.

“I…D-Don’t make me go o-outside like this,” he whispers, squeezing his eyes shut. “I…” Am going to be humiliated.

“Too bad,” Harry mutters, brutal in ways Louis’s never heard from him. He flinches. Then his first tear runs down his cheek, and he dashes at it furiously, but more follow until he’s almost completely bawling. Sighing in exasperation, the Alpha continues on, doesn’t seem to care much as Louis cries, stumbling along. But then they stop, somewhere quiet and veiled and arms come around him carefully, the touch cautious (friendly almost) as Harry murmurs, “Breathe, Louis. No more tears–no more, understood? What’s the reason for the tears? Talk to me.”

And even pissed and hurt and betrayed the Omega can’t say no to him. “T-They’re g-going t-t-to take pictures! A-And I-I’m such a mess. I’m s-s-so angry, and u-upset,” he manages between unsteady breaths, even as Harry wipes away the last of the tears gently.

“Hush now. Don’t worry about the pictures, Louis; I’ll take care of it. Give me a second.” When he’s afraid the Alpha’s going to leave, Harry simply tightens one arm around his waist, running soothing patterns into his shoulder as he snaps words in French at whoever he’s on the phone with. Then, “Alright, it’s taken care of. Come, we need to leave now.”

Without another word, huddling into Harry’s side, Louis keeps his head ducked as he’s led outside. There the Omega braces himself for the onslaught of shouts and calls…but there’s…nothing. It’s so…quiet. So quiet that grateful tears pool in his eyes. Maybe he does care, Lou, maybe you’re blowing this out of proportion. “How…?”

“Doesn’t matter. We’ve got about five minutes before they’re back,” the Alpha mutters, opening the car door, “Come on, inside then.”

The silence that follows is airless–there’s no radio to drown it out, and Louis keeps his eyes shut, tries to ignore the way the Alpha remains silent and focused on the road. Hours pass with no words spoken until the car comes to a halt and Louis opens the door to stomp in the direction (he hopes it’s the right direction) of the penthouse, seething again, ignoring Harry completely. Of course he’s by Louis’s side in moments, but the Omega continues to ignore him. And he doesn’t know what he’s going to do? But he knows what he’ll have to do. Because he’s so angry and hurt, so much that he’s not even sure what he’s angry about–there’s so much.

When the Alpha gets the door open Louis storms in first, and stops in his tracks when Harry asks, “So friends?”

Louis whirls around, forces the words, “Apparently that’s all we are. All we can be.”

“Where did you get that from?” he asks tightly, by the sound of it, he’s still in the doorway. Louis can’t breathe–the breaths come uneven and forced and he’s so close to hyperventilating.

“You don’t want me,” he whispers, trembling fingers fumbling to remove the braces at his trousers. “You’ve m-made it clear enough. So I’m…calling it quits. We’re friends–b-because I can’t give you what you need without hurting myself, and y-you can’t give me…what I want.” Please don’t let this be true…

Not wanting to listen to the confirmation, Louis starts down the hall, trying to ignore the sound of Harry’s pounding footsteps, following him. With each step the Omega’s managed to remove the braces, he’s yanking harshly at the collar of his shirt when Harry murmurs, “We’re not friends, Louis.” Please, I’ll take something over nothing–I love you too much to not have some part of you. For me. Some part of you for me.

Louis continues, shutting his eyes to veil the pain, pretending for the moment that the Alpha is talking to someone else. Not him.

“LOUIS.”

And the Alpha resonance in the word makes Louis’s steps falter. “Why!? Why can’t we be friends at least?” he exclaims, turning to face him again, desperate because he can’t lose Harry completely. He’s so scared now. So, so scared that this is the end for them, it feels like the end. “I won’t ask you to give me anything! I promise! God, Haz–Harry, you said you weren’t letting me go. Please,” he breathes, frantic, too in love, getting the collar out of the way to start at his right shoe, avoiding raising his eyes. “Please. I’ll find someone else. I promise. Just don’t leave me, please.”

“No.” One serious, chillingly final answer that breaks him inside. Struggling to breathe around the loss, the Omega embraces the storm of rage, grabs his right shoe, and throws it at the Alpha with everything he has. Somehow it manages to hit-home too because there’s a muted thud, a furious “fuckin’ hell!

Louis knows he’s going to be in so much trouble for that, whirls around, and runs as fast as possible for the stairs.  Of course the Omega doesn’t make it because then he’s being pinned to the wall, one, large, angry hand prying his legs apart so that Louis has no choice but to wrap them around Harry’s waist, not that he would have objected. Not that he ever could. But then strong arms are holding his body weight, holding him up against the wall, and the power exudes from his Alpha makes Louis’s blood sing in his veins, runs thrills through his entire body. In response a shiver travels down his spine, and his insides clench, trousers becoming tighter because he’s throbbing down there now. Needs more–hates his traitorous Omega body for this, hates that his stupid, achingly attractive Alpha has this effect on him even now.

“What…are you doing?!” he asks, trying to keep the anticipation, the breathiness from his voice. But not only does his voice tremble, but his body’s starting to as well, helpless to it.

“We are not friends,” Harry growls, the Alpha rampage tone of voice, dangerously quiet, menacing, and meant to get his point across. “God fucking damn it, we are NOT FRIENDS!” he shouts, and Louis’s mouth parts–he’s never heard Harry raise his voice at him before, but the sound makes his Omega whine, submitting as scalding desire floods his veins, burning him from the inside out. “You’re mine–and I was trying to protect you from this,” he brings them impossibly closer and Louis can’t breathe anything but the potent dark spices and Alpha and oh, God. “Now I can’t…And I don’t think I want too.”

“Then don’t,” Louis breathes, squirming against him, trying to tempt him, break the restraints. “Please, I want this. Want you.”

∞∞∞

As the Alpha holds Louis up against the wall the blaze of anger breaks into an uncontrollable wildfire, smothering almost every inkling of the sanity Harry’s tried so hard to maintain. Fuck, he’s known this, known the irresistibility of Louis this way; flushed with rage, cobalt irises glowing like lanterns, more alive and electric than ever.  It’s his Alpha, pure instinct to have his Omega scratch at him, bite him, fight him, make him work for it, until feeling the electric draw of pain as he pleasured him. It’s animalistic, and it’s driving him mad.

And the boy’s eyes flutter shut, lashes barely-visible lines against his fragile skin. “Please, I want this…Want you,” it’s so soft; the anxiety in his voice almost undoes him. Christ, he’s never fucking touched an Omega without knowing they’d wanted him too, usually more than he’d wanted them, but this is Louis, and he doesn’t have any fucking clue how much he’s wanting. Testing, the Alpha slides one of his hands down to the boy’s soft waist, fingers careful, gentle, tugging his shirt from his trousers, flatting his palm on the soft skin of his side. Though those eyes remain closed, the Omega shudders against him, relaxing–permission enough.

Lurching forward, Harry’s mouth comes down on his. And that’s it. All the self-control he’d exerted over the last months went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Louis’s arms come up around his shoulders, and there’s no distance between them, the boy is soft, plaint and warm against him. Though one hand holds Louis up, the other rises to caress the bared skin of his slender throat, and he can’t wait to fucking put his mouth there. Mark him up. Fuck, everybody’s going to know you belong to me. But for now the Omega’s kissing him as fiercely as Harry’s mouth is claiming those petal-soft lips. And his tongue runs along those lips now, opening the boy’s mouth under–he tastes fucking beautiful, sweet and fresh and his. Urgent, he lets his mouth tell Louis what he can’t say out loud: I think I love you; I am probably so fucking in love with you and it’s scary; I’ve never been so afraid in my life. You’re not allowed to be with anyone else. You’re not allowed to want anyone else, or go with anyone else. You’re mine–be with me. Want me. Stay with me.

I don’t know how to be without you anymore.  

But those thoughts don’t matter because he’s on fire, his rut rising everywhere, making him growl against the boy’s mouth, bringing his hand around to his thigh, tugging his leg higher, spreading his legs more; more access, more, more, more. Rocking forward the Alpha’s exactly when their cocks have made contact, feels the pressure everywhere, as Louis jerks, whines high in his throat and fists his curls, squirming closer. Seeking more.

Like this, between his legs, the Alpha rocks slowly, carefully, listening to every gasp as his hands slides down to his waist again, holding them impossibly closer, lost in the sensations that spiral through his nerves and blood and bones. And he has no idea what he’s to do or say next, but he knows stopping will feel like cutting his own skin open. 

A soft, soft vibration passes through Louis as his head tilts, baring his throat–Harry hisses, catching his own scent there, so much thicker with his need to claim, but the light fragrance of Louis is there, sweet, rainy and fresh. “Kitten, you smell so fucking amazing.” With the words his hips grind against the boy’s again, holding him still as the Omega tries to meet his movements.

“Haz,” Louis breathes, sounding so needy; the heat flashes through the Alpha, straight to his cock at the sound of his name on the boy’s mouth. As to distract him, Harry thrusts his tongue hard and demanding against the Omega’s, consuming him. “Please. Please, please, please…”

But with every plea the Alpha slows down until one hand is holding the boys hips completely motionless. And his mouth has softened too. “Kitten,” he nearly groans. “It’s takin’ me a lot of control to not…” the words trail as the Omega, taking advantage of his crazed-state, wriggles against him provocatively, whining softly. “Don’t. Don’t make me rush this.”

With one last shudder the Omega stops moving against him, pulls the hands in his hair to bring their faces closer, doe-eyes fluttering open as he breathes, “Don’t stop. Take me.”

Take me.

“Bedroom,” he growls, because surely someone’s going to come to investigate the noise. And then the Alpha will tear their throats out for trying to make him stop. Because he’s not going to stop. He can’t. “We’re not doin’ this here. Bedroom.” Without any care, the Alpha kisses him again, fast, sucking on his bottom lip seconds in before tossing him over his shoulder, because it’ll be quicker without the distraction. Though the Omega is giggling, squirming sexily, then kicking his legs. Christ, he can’t even bring himself to care or play along because then he’s slamming their door shut (too hard, the bloody noise will certainly wake someone up now. Doesn’t fucking matter) and depositing him on the bed.

And he looks so pretty like this, splayed out; hair disheveled now, the gel having loosened, irises blue, electric rings, mouth red and swollen. But he grins slowly, wriggling suggestively, “Alright, Mr. Controlling, you’ve gotten me in your bed. Now what?” Jesus.

Grinning wickedly, the Alpha makes quick work of removing his shoes and shrugging out of his shirt, crawling onto the bed, on his knees between the boys legs. There he leans forward, mouth grazing his ear, “Tease. You’re ‘bout to find out.”

When his mouth finds Louis’s again, his fingers curl around the loops of his trousers, dragging him close, so he’s completely beneath him as Harry’s tongue dominates his sweet mouth again. It’s not soft. Not this time. This time he doesn’t ease the Omega into it, he takes full advantage, forcing his tongue against the boys again and again, taking his mouth the way he wants to take his body.

Fisting his curls, the Omegas back arches, bringing them closer, then he’s moaning into his mouth, “Harry–please.” The sound, high and breathless, shatters what little remains of Harry’s control. And he’s all about Louis’s sweet, soft mouth, sucking, biting, claiming and stroki