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Louis hates hospitals.

The smell of antiseptic and floor cleaner and even a bit of latex, it all puts Louis off completely, making him want to get out of here as soon as possible.  He was told it was going to be an outpatient procedure, in and out on the same day since he was only getting a mole removed from his neck.  The little bugger had been bothering him for years and he finally decided to take time off from his busy schedule to get the damn thing removed.  Even his boss was surprised, because Louis never takes time off for himself.  But he figured it must be important if Louis asked for the time, so he easily gave it to him.

Right now, Louis is waiting on a less than comfortable hospital bed with his gown on waiting to get the okay to get the hell out of here.  He’s already making a mental list of things he’s got to get done for work.  This Stevenson case has been kicking his arse.  It’s probably one of the toughest divorce cases he’s ever had to endure.  Louis had told his assistant that he’d be in this afternoon to meet with Mr. Stevenson.  Louis feels his head ache just at the thought of it.

Louis’ thoughts are interrupted by a knock at the door and a doctor walks in.  It’s not the doctor that removed his mole though, this one is a lot older, and he’s got a serious look on his face.  His stare makes Louis feel uneasy.

“Good morning Mr. Tomlinson, my name is Dr. Wyatt,” he introduces himself, as he walks closer to Louis to shake his hand.

“Nice to meet you.  So am I okay to get going? Or…”  Louis wants to get things going because another minute wasted in this place is another minute not in his office being productive.

Dr. Wyatt shakes his head, “Not quite yet.  I’m the head of oncology here at the hospital.  We did a biopsy of your mole.”  The doctor is looking at him with concern, and Louis is just really confused because he was only supposed to come in to get his mole removed.  His doctor pretty much told him it was nothing to worry about, but that they’d do a biopsy of it just to make sure — he said it like it was an afterthought...nothing to be worried about.  And now they had the head of oncology of this damn hospital in Louis’ room, looking at him like he feels sorry for him.

Louis’ heart is beating hard and heavy against his chest.  He doesn’t like where this is going.

“So, is everything good then?” Louis’ voice is a bit shaky and unsure.  

Dr. Wyatt looks down at the paper he has in his hand, and then looks at Louis again.  “Mr. Tomlinson, it looks like you have nodular melanoma which is an advanced form of skin cancer.”

Louis’ heart stops.  “Wh-what does that mean, exactly?”

Dr.  Wyatt sighs.  “Normally, with this type of skin cancer, the patient only has months to live…”

The doctor continues on explaining, different options, his voice droning on and on, but Louis has pretty much stopped listening after hearing the words ‘months to live’.  He’s just staring at the wall behind Dr. Wyatt, where there’s a painting.  It’s a blue paint stroke being crossed by a green one, with black dots encircling it.  Art isn’t really his thing, but for some reason he can’t stop staring at it.  Eventually, Dr. Wyatt excuses himself and Louis just nods and he’s still staring at this painting as he continues to process the news.  

This is a lot.  It’s a lot, and all he wants is his mum.  He’d told her about the procedure and let her know it wasn’t a big deal especially after she’d offered to come with him.  But now he’s regretting it, because he’d love nothing more than having his mum by his side, being wrapped up in her arms and being comforted.  

That’s all he really wants.

Louis shakes himself out of his daze, determined.  He throws his clothes on, and leaves the hospital room without letting anyone know.  Dr. Wyatt had said something about doing more tests, but fuck that .  If Louis only has months to live, he’s not going to be spending them here at the hospital.

The drive home feels like being on a rollercoaster — his emotions rolling up and down, washing over and through him like a tidal wave of grief and uncertainty and pure disbelief.  Louis is eager to get home and the traffic isn’t helping.  The traffic makes him want to rage.  He’s only got months to live and he doesn’t need to be wasting his time on fucking traffic.  He honks his horn and sticks his middle finger up at some idiot drivers, before he finally makes it to his flat.  

As soon as he makes it through the threshold of his home, the wave of emotions just takes over.  He’s not ready to leave this world yet.  There’s still so much he’s got to do.  He’d always put things in the back burner, wanting to focus on his career first and foremost, but now that seems like the stupidest thing in the world.  Because now, when he looks back at the kind of life he’s lived, it’s been mostly working his arse off, and for what?  To earn money he hardly even spends?  Most of it is in savings, for things Louis had planned to do someday, but now it’s most likely just going to be passed on to his family after he’s gone.  Which, he’s comforted in the fact that his family will be taken care of, but he would have still liked to use some of it to actually live his life.

Louis is angry.  He’s angry at himself, angry at the world for dealing him in.  He’s too young to die, he’s not ready.  He’s so mad he could just punch a wall, but instead he decides to tear up his flat.  He takes out all of the clothes from his wardrobe throwing them everywhere.  The useless decorative vases and bowls that adorn his dining and living rooms, he breaks them.  He’s seeing red, and he doesn’t give a fuck about what gets destroyed, because his own life is already destroyed.  After he breaks anything he can find, he falls to the floor breathing heavily, tears streaking down his cheeks.  He can feel the pieces of glass biting at his legs, but he doesn’t care.  He welcomes the pain because pretty soon he won’t be able to feel anything at all.

After getting all of his frustrations out on every material possession in his flat, he sends a text to his assistant to let him know he won’t be able to make it in today after all and asks him to cancel his appointments for the rest of the week.  Louis falls asleep on his bed surrounded by clothing he doesn’t bother to move out of the way as he gives in to his exhaustion, fear and rage still thrumming behind the surface of his skin.

Louis’ eyes flutter open the next morning, the sun shines on his face and for a moment, he hopes the day before was all a dream.  He takes a look around his bedroom and is reminded  that the events of last night were very real indeed.  So, Louis closes his eyes, and goes back to sleep, wanting to keep ignoring the tragic reality that his life turned into overnight.  When he wakes up later that day he decides to drink.  It may only be noon, but he’s only got months left to live and he can drink whenever the hell he wants.  He makes his way to the kitchen stepping around all the pieces of broken glass as he goes and makes himself a Jack and coke.  He brings the bottle of whiskey with him, knowing it won’t be his last drink of the day.

He sits on his couch, turns on the tv, and flips through the channels.  Louis would rather lose himself in mindless television shows than think about the mess that is his life right now.  There’s a showing of Titanic on one of the movie channels so he leaves it there, as he continues to drown his sorrows in his bottle of Jack Daniels.  By the time the movie is nearly over, Louis is pleasantly drunk and he’s laughing at Rose as she lets go of Jack.

“You’re not bloody sorry!  You know very well you could have tried harder to save him!  There’s plenty of room right next to you!” He yells at the tv.  He ends up falling asleep not long after the film ends, but doesn’t bother to turn off the television, letting the sound lull him to sleep.

Louis wakes up to the sound of music.  It looks like he left the tv on the music channel, and now it’s playing music videos.  Some song about sending love to a new lover, Louis doesn’t know.  He hardly ever has time to listen to music.  This is probably the most time he’s spent at home, he’d often just come to his flat to sleep on the days where he wasn’t pulling all nighters on a case.  Louis’ thoughts are disrupted by the next music video that shows on the screen.  It’s a song by an artist named Steve Aoki called “Just Hold On” and it immediately catches Louis’ eye.  Not only does the person who is singing have a beautiful voice, but the words, they’re really speaking to Louis.  Not to mention that the video is about living your life to the fullest, as the couple on the screen travel the world and make the most out of their situation.

 

It’s not over ‘til it’s all been said

It's not over ‘til your dying breath

So what do you want them to say when you’re gone?

That you gave up, or that you kept going on?

 

And shit.  The words tear into Louis’ soul because that’s right, isn’t it?  Louis can’t spend the rest of the time he’s got left moping around and waiting for death to take him.  He’s got to make the most of the time he’s got, doesn’t he?  He may not get to do everything he wanted to do, but he can’t leave this earth thinking he wasted his time just fucking off and drinking his sorrows away.  He wants to look back and see that he lived his life to the fullest, no matter how long that life is.

Louis jumps from the couch, feeling a bit dizzy and hung over, and runs to his bedroom.  He grabs a suitcase, and fills it with as much clothes as possible, including shoes, toiletries, the lot.  He quickly jumps in the shower, trying to wash away the smell of alcohol from his body.  He takes his suitcase, and his keys.  He makes a last minute decision to leave his phone behind, wanting to no longer be weighed down by his phone and technology.  Louis leaves his flat, making sure to lock it behind him, and he loads the boot of his car with his things.  His mum doesn’t live too far away, but, still, when he shows up at her front door, she looks surprised.

“Louis, darling, what are you doing here?”  She kisses him on the cheek and he can’t help but close his eyes and take in the warmth of her as she embraces him.  She smells like comfort and love, and everything Louis needs in this moment.

“Hi mum.  Sorry to just show up, but I’ve got some maintenance issues at my flat that are going to take a while and was wondering if I could stay here?” He feels bad for lying to her, but he doesn’t want his mum to worry about him.  Louis is trying his best to accept the card he’s been dealt, but he doesn’t want to put this burden on his family.  They’ve got enough things to worry about.

“Of course love, come in please.”  She opens the door wider to let him inside.  “Why don’t you stay in Lottie’s room since she’s away at uni?”  She follows him upstairs, ushering him into his sister’s familiar room.  

Louis places his suitcase on the bed, and goes in to hug his mum again, he just can’t get enough of her affection.  “Thanks mum.”

His mum rubs his back comfortingly, “Of course.  Are you hungry?  Do you want some tea?”

Louis smiles into her neck, “I’d love some, thank you.”

They sit in the kitchen and catch up a bit as his mum makes him tea and some toast.  The youngest twins are at school and his mum is about to start a shift at the clinic.  Louis tells her he’s gonna go into work for a bit, and she leaves him to it, making sure to give him the spare key so that he can come and go as he pleases.

When he finishes up in the kitchen, he decides to change, not wanting to go into work in his sweats.  He’s not planning on staying long at all anyway, but he’d still like to keep up appearances.

He gets to the office, making sure to greet the receptionist on his way in.  He goes to his office, and grabs a box to pack up a few of his personal things.  He doesn’t have much, just a few pictures of his sisters and mum, his ipad, and laptop.  

“Hey Rita, is Ben in?”  He asks the receptionist.

Rita takes a look at something on her computer before looking at Louis, “Yes he is, he’s about to go into a meeting in a few minutes.”

Before she finishes, Louis is already turned around and heading to Ben’s office, “Thank you!”  The door to Ben’s office is closed, but Louis can hear him talking to someone, so he goes ahead and knocks.

“Come in,” he hears Ben call out.

Louis steps inside, and closes the door behind him, waiting for Ben to finish his call.  

Ben looks at Louis when he hangs up the phone, “Tomlinson, hey!  I’m glad you’re back, I’ve got another case for you…”

Louis interrupts him before he can continue, “I’m sorry Ben, but I’m not taking any more cases.”

Ben freezes, and looks at Louis with a furrowed brow, “Excuse me?”

“I came to tell you that I’m resigning.”

Ben looks like he wants to laugh, thinking Louis is probably joking, because normally he probably would joke.  He used to be known for his pranks and sense of humor, but then he must notice the seriousness of Louis’ tone and his face must also be a good indicator of it too.

“Why?”  Ben is suddenly serious, and maybe a little angry.

Louis shakes his head, “I just...I’ve spent too much time in this office and not enough living my own life.  I can’t work here anymore.  I won’t.”  

Ben looks like he’s about to protest, his mouth ready to say something, but Louis doesn’t want to let him try to sway him to get him to stay, instead he turns around to leave saying goodbye one last time before he goes.

Louis takes his box of things and walks towards the lift, and doesn’t look back.  He already feels like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulder.

 

***

 

Louis isn’t a stalker, he really isn’t.

He’s standing outside the storefront of a cute little bakery shop named Tiers of Joy .  The sign is adorned in light green and blue stripes and black lettering.  It’s so quaint, so Harry , Louis can’t help but smile.  

He’s watching Harry through the window, he’s got his hair up in a bun and he’s smiling at a customer going on about something as he prepares their order.  He’s got a smile on his face, full of teeth and dimples that warms Louis’ heart.  It also aches with the pain of what he let slip through his fingers all those years ago.

To Louis, Harry is the one that got away.  Two years ago, Harry left him after months of trying so hard to save their relationship.  Louis had taken Harry for granted, and the demise of their relationship is completely his own fault.  He can admit that now.  If he could go back and have a do over, he’d choose Harry a thousand times over.   

Louis is on a mission to right all the wrongs he’s made and Harry is the first on his list.  He’s not looking to be in a relationship with him again--though he wouldn’t be opposed to it--but he really doesn’t want to leave this earth with Harry hating him.  

Louis waits until the rush dies down, and when the last customer leaves the shop, he starts walking towards the front door.  His heart beats faster, the closer he gets, the anticipation getting to be almost too much.  He opens the door with shaky fingers, and when he goes inside Harry is in the middle of adding more scones to the display case.

“Welcome to Tiers of Joy, what can I get started for you?”  Harry isn’t looking at him, but when his eyes make their way to Louis, he pauses.  His eyes harden immediately.

Louis’ heart twinges at that.  He hates that Harry has that reaction towards him, though it doesn’t surprise him one bit.  “Hi.”  he whispers.

Harry looks down at the counter, his hands dusted with white flour.  Louis sees him take a deep breath before he looks back at Louis, “What can I help you with?”  His eyes have warmed up a bit, but still not as bright as they were with the previous customers.  Louis will take anything he can get.

“I’ll take a tea and a blueberry scone please.  And I’d also like to apologize,” Louis gets straight to the point because he doesn’t have time to beat around the bush.  Harry starts to fill his order and then stops when Louis apologizes.  His eyes widen and his bottom lip parts.  It’s so pretty and pink that Louis has a hard time not looking at it and remembering how good it felt to have those lips on his.

“You what ?”  Harry looks like a deer caught in headlights, confused as all hell and Louis can’t blame him.

“Look Harry, I know that I’m two years too late.  But I’m sorry.  For the way I treated you and just...for everything.”

Harry is quiet for a moment, his eyes take Louis in, as if he’s determining whether or not Louis is being genuine.  Which again, Louis doesn’t  blame him for doubting him, but he hopes the sincerity in his tone and on his face are enough to convince Harry that he’s being serious.  That he wants nothing more than his forgiveness, and maybe even his friendship if he’ll allow it.

Harry sighs, “Look Louis, I forgave you a long time ago, okay?  We just wanted different things, we weren’t meant to be.  It happens,” he shrugs as he gets to work on Louis’ order.

That’s...that’s not what Louis wanted to happen.  He just didn’t have the courage to fight for their relationship.  He wants to say all of these things to Harry, but just as he’s about to, someone comes into the bakery.  The little bell that chimes on the door shakes him out of his thoughts.

“That’ll be four quid,” Harry tells him, and Louis hands him a tenner and tells him to keep the change.

“Hey Harry, would you like to go to lunch or dinner some time, to catch up?”  Louis figures why not?  What has he got to lose?  He holds his breath while Harry looks him over.

Harry hesitates at first, his head even starts to shake about to turn Louis down, but there’s something in his eyes that changes, and then he says, cocking his head, “Sure.  How about you stop by tomorrow around five, we’ll go to dinner.”

Louis feels another weight off his shoulders, and he visibly relaxes, “Yes, that’s great thank you.”

Harry’s lips lift into a small smile, and Louis considers today a win.

 

***

 

It’s embarrassing how long it takes Louis to choose an outfit for his dinner with Harry.  He knows it’s not a date, or anything like that, but he wants to look good, his best even.  When he’d packed his things into his suitcase he hadn’t really thought about going out to dinner with Harry.  He decides to shop for a new outfit altogether, because what the hell, he can’t take it with him, right?  It’s been a while since he’s splurged on an outfit that wasn’t for work, so he decides to buy a designer outfit for tonight.

He settles on a black Givenchy t-shirt with black skinny jeans and burgundy vans.  He doesn’t want to look like he tried so hard, but still wants to make sure he looks decent.  Louis is out the door with just enough time to meet Harry at the bakery.  It’s close enough to his mum’s house to walk, which he appreciates.

When he gets to the bakery and sees Harry, he’s glad he went all out on his outfit because Harry looks incredible .  Though he’s still got his apron on, Louis can see he’s wearing a flower patterned top, with black skinny jeans and his boots that he loves to wear so much.  His hair is down, and he’s got a navy blue head scarf wrapped around his head.  He looks so beautiful, he nearly takes Louis’ breath away.

A customer is just leaving as Louis enters and Harry looks at Louis and smiles. “Hey, I’ll be with you in just a moment, let me just let Daphne know that I’m leaving.”  Louis nods as Harry disappears to the back of the bakery.  If his eyes happen to linger on Harry’s arse for a bit, he can’t really be blamed.  

While he waits, Louis looks around, getting a better look at the place.  There’s all sorts of pastries on display--an assortment of scones, muffins, donuts, and other things Louis’ never even seen before, but they make his mouth water.  There’s a binder by the register with a picture of a cake on the front and Louis flips through it, seeing different pictures of different types of cakes.  There’s wedding, birthday, and special occasion cakes, and they’re amazing.  

Louis remembers when they were together, and Harry would talk about his dream of opening his own bakery.  At the time, he was still in culinary school working three jobs to save money.  He’d gotten some inheritance from his grandmother but Harry wanted to work for his own things, wanting to put in some of his own money as well.  Louis loved the way he talked about what he’d like to have and how his shop would look like.  And now, being here and seeing it come to life, well, Louis’ heart is bursting with pride.

“You ready to go?”  Harry’s voice startles Louis from his thoughts, and he nearly drops the binder, managing to catch it at the last moment.

“Um..yeah, yeah.”  Louis mumbles as he places the binder back where it belongs.  He can tell Harry wants to laugh at Louis’ clumsiness, but he’s biting his lip from doing so.

“So where do you wanna go eat?” Louis asks him as they walk out of the bakery.

Harry’s got his hands in his pockets as they walk down the street, Louis following his lead.  “My friend Liam owns a restaurant not far from here, they’ve got the best fish and chips in town.”  Harry looks at Louis tentatively as if afraid Louis will reject his idea.

“That sounds great, lead the way,” Louis tells him.

They walk in silence as Louis takes in the scene around him.  It’s rush hour so there’s cars everywhere honking and people out and about since the weather is pretty decent on this lovely autumn day.  Louis thinks he’ll miss autumn in this city the most, it’s always been his favorite season of the year.  

They get to a restaurant called Ivory and Harry opens the door to let Louis inside.  The hostess greets them with a bright smile.

“Harry for two, I called earlier today,” Harry tells the hostess, and her eyes seem to light up in recognition.

“Ah yes, Mr. Styles follow me, your table is ready.”  

As they walk to their table, Louis looks around.  It’s not a fancy place, but it’s also not a hole in the wall type of restaurant either.  The tables are adorned with cream colored table cloths and a candle in the middle.  The ambiance is very serene, with soft music playing in the background.  They pass by a beautiful fountain, that has real fish in them, Louis notices.  When they arrive at their table, they each take their seats and the hostess hands them their menus and lets them know their waiter will be with them in just a moment before she excuses herself.

“I already ordered our food ahead of time, I hope you don’t mind?”  Harry looks a bit nervous, unsure.

Louis can’t help the way his stomach flutters thinking about how Harry has had this planned ahead of time.  Sort of like a date?  “Oh no, not at all.  You should know what’s good here, I’ve never been.  It’s nice.”

Harry smiles, a genuine smile this time, and the waiter comes to take their drink order.  Louis decides to order a pint, and Harry follows suit, before the waiter excuses himself to get their beverages.

It’s quiet between them at first, a bit awkward, like neither of them knows where to even begin, what to talk about.  It seems like Harry decides to bite the bullet.  

“So, how did you find out where I worked?”  Harry asks.  It’s not accusing, more just curious because it’s obviously not where Harry worked the last time he’d seen him.

Louis blushes, “Um, so I went to your old employer, at the pub?  Saw Niall, he told me where you worked.  The shop is perfect, by the way.”

Now it’s Harry’s turn to flush, he looks down at his hands that are clasped together before he looks back up, “Thank you.  I actually just opened it a few months ago.”

“Really?  Well it’s very lovely.  It’s really good to see you living your dreams Haz,” Louis tells him.  And he really means it.  Knowing that Harry is happy and living the life he’d set for himself, he’d want nothing less for him.

A sad look seems to overtake Harry’s features for a split second, before it disappears again.

“So how are things at the firm?”  Harry asks him.

Louis’ face falls a little at the mention of his old employer, being that it was the cause of many arguments, and basically the result of the end of his relationship with Harry.

“Actually, I left the firm a few days ago,” Louis tells him.  

Harry’s jaw drops.  “What?”  Before Louis can go into any details, the waiter comes back with their drinks.  

Louis is grateful for the interruption, because he needs a moment to gather himself and think about what he wants to tell Harry and what he wants to leave out.  He’d given it a lot of thought, but now, faced with Harry’s earnest face and caring gaze, he’s floundering.  He definitely doesn’t want Harry to know about his diagnosis, he doesn’t need Harry feeling sorry for him.  

The waiter lets them know their food will be ready shortly before he leaves them alone again.  Harry looks at Louis expectantly waiting for an answer.

Louis takes a gulp of his pint.  “I just...I realized I wasn’t happy there.  I decided to fuck it all and quit, and I literally felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” he explains.  Technically it’s not a lie, he’s just omitting a very important part of the reason as well.

Harry still looks shocked to hear this as he takes a sip of his beer and nods.  “So, what are you gonna do now?”

Louis shrugs, “Live my life to the fullest, do what makes me happy.  I have all this money saved up that I was planning on using for things to do, but never got around to it, so maybe I’ll start there.”  He leaves out the fact that he’s got a limited amount of time to do it in, but again Harry doesn’t need to know that.

Harry’s eyebrow raises in interest, “What kind of things?”

Finally the waiter arrives with their food, fish and chips for each of them.  The scent fills Louis’ nostrils with so much goodness.

“Oh my god, this looks and smells amazing, Haz.”

“Right?”

They both tuck into their food, Louis is eating like it’s his last meal on earth--which these days it’s how he’s been eating most of his meals.  He’s been truly appreciating every single piece of food that makes it to his mouth.  The crispy fish literally melts into his mouth, and the chips taste delicious being the perfect amount of salty and crunchy.  Louis can’t help but moan with every bite.  Harry’s dimple appears as he watches Louis eat like there’s no tomorrow.

“So you were saying, about the things you want to do?” Harry reminds him.

Louis takes another bite of his fish before he replies, “Oh yeah.  So like I’ve always wanted to go skydiving, obviously.  Let’s see, I also wanted to do some traveling, though I probably won’t have time to do all of that,” he says.

Harry’s eyebrows furrow, “Why won’t you have time?”

Louis freezes, realizing his mistake.  Fuck.  “I-I mean, that I don’t have that much money saved to do all the travelling I had in mind.  Plus I can’t be unemployed for too long, you know?”

Harry’s faces relaxes and he nods in understanding, and Louis relaxes too.  He hates lying, but he really feels this is for the best.

“Okay, well where is one place you have always wanted to go, but never got to?”  Harry asks.

Louis thinks about it for a moment, and then a memory takes over his mind.  He’d always wanted to go to Hawaii, with Harry.  He had pictured them exchanging vows on a beach, just the two of them and their closest friends and family.  Louis already had a ring picked out.  It was in his sock drawer, ready to be placed on Harry’s finger to propose to him, before things went to shit.  Louis sometimes torments himself with it from time to time, pulling it out of the drawer to look at it, a sad reminder of what he had and let go.  He shakes those thoughts out of his mind, swallowing the knot that formed in his throat at the memory.

Louis clears his throat, “Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii and swim with the dolphins,” he says.  He can’t help the blush that dusts his cheeks as he says it, like he’s admitting one of his deepest darkest secrets, though it’s something very simple.  Something that he’s always wanted to do since he was a kid.

Harry smiles, “That sounds lovely, Lou.”

Louis chuckles, “Thanks.  I guess that’s something doable.  I’ll have to look into it.”

They continue eating their dinner and just as they’re finishing their last couple of bites, the waiter comes and brings them dessert.  Chocolate covered strawberries, in white and dark chocolate and a bottle of champagne.

“Compliments of the chef,” the waiter tells them.

Harry’s face lights up, “Oh my god, tell Liam I said thank you.”  The waiter nods and walks away after clearing their dinner plates off the table.

Louis pops the champagne, and fills their glasses.  “We should toast.”

“To what?”  Harry asks, teeth out in full display.

“To new beginnings?”

Harry raises his glass, “To new beginnings, and to friendship,” he says.  Louis likes the sound of that.  He smiles and clinks his glass against Harry’s.  

“To friendship indeed.”

They eat a couple of strawberries each, and have their fill of champagne.

“God Haz, I feel like my stomach is going to explode  This was all so good,” Louis groans rubbing his belly to make a point.

Harry chuckles, “I’m glad you liked it.”

Louis pays for the meal, even though Harry tries to pay for his half, but Louis doesn’t let him.

They finally leave the restaurant, comfortable silence surrounds them as they walk outside.  The sun has already set, and the sky is a dark grey with the streetlights making it glow.  They get to the bakery, and they stop in front of it.  Louis doesn’t really know where to go from here and he senses Harry’s hesitation as well.

“You going back to work?” Louis asks Harry.

Harry shakes his head, “Nah, I actually live upstairs,” he says pointing his thumb behind him where Louis notices there’s a second floor to the building he hadn’t noticed before.

“That’s very convenient.”

Harry smiles, “Very.”  He looks down at his feet and brushes his boot against the concrete pavement, as if waiting for Louis to say something else.

“When can I see you again?”

Harry’s head snaps up to meet Louis’ gaze, “I’m not sure, Louis…”

Louis nods his head, he was expecting this.  “Okay, well.  I had a really good time Harry.  Thank you for giving me a chance to show you how sorry I am.  I’m really glad you’re happy.”  He makes a move to turn around and walk away, but he feels Harry grab his arm.

“Louis wait.”

Louis looks over his shoulder expectantly.

“Do you still have the same number?”

Louis shakes his head, “I don’t have a mobile.  I...I sort of gave up technology,” he shrugs, “Part of the whole living my life to the fullest.  No interruptions.”

Harry’s eyes widen, “Oh, wow.  Okay, how can I contact you?”

Louis bites his bottom lip nervously, “I’m staying with my mum, she doesn’t live too far from here actually.”

“Oh yeah, I remember.  Okay.  Well then, I’ll see you around?”  Harry opens his arms, inviting Louis in, and he’s very well going to take it.  He surges forward and Harry wraps his arms around him.  Louis inhales as deep as he can, trying to commit Harry’s scent to his memory as much as possible.  It’s been so long since he’s been in this man’s arms, and he doesn’t know when he’ll have another opportunity like this, he sure as hell isn’t going to waste it.

Louis finally brings himself to let go, already missing Harry’s warmth.  “See you around, Haz."

As they part ways, Louis can’t help but smile because he’s just had one of the most amazing evenings of his life.  

 

***

 

“Faster Louis, faster!”  Ernie yelps as Louis twirls him around in his arms.  He’s letting out the most joyful giggles that make Louis’ heart burst.  God, he’s going to miss his family so much.

“My turn, my turn!”  Doris yells as she outstretches her arms, waiting for Louis to pick her up.

Louis puts Ernest down, and picks up the other twin, doing the same thing he was just doing with Ernie.

“Yay, Achoo!”  Doris squeals.

They both eventually drop to the ground, and Ernest jumps atop of them and they all giggle until they can’t breathe.  

Louis’ mum comes out to the garden, and smiles when she sees them piled up on the grass.

“Louis, you have a visitor,” she says as he and his siblings continue to catch their breaths.

“Sorry darlings, but I’ve got to go.  I’ll be back, okay?” he tells them as he makes his way into the house wondering who it could be that’s here to see him.

When he gets to the living room he pauses, because Harry is sitting on the couch tapping his fingers nervously against his thigh.

Harry ?”

Harry startles from whatever it is he was thinking, and jumps up from his seat.  “Louis, hi,” he breathes out, “Sorry, I didn’t have a way to contact you so I thought I’d stop by.”

Louis smiles, helpless to stop it from spreading across his face because Harry is here.  In his mum’s living room.  “That’s okay, what’s up?”  He runs his hand through his fringe to have something to do because he’s nervous about why Harry is here.

Harry is beautiful as always, today he’s wearing an olive green headscarf that matches his eyes, and he’s just so fucking gorgeous, it’s hard to look directly at him sometimes.  

“Uh...well, I just stopped by to see if you wanted to hang out?”  His eyes looks wide and hopeful, and there’s no way Louis would say no to him.

Louis’ pulse jumps and he feels his own eyes go wide.  “Of course, give me just a moment and I’ll change out of these clothes, okay?”

Harry nods and Louis rushes up the stairs, taking them two at a time, heart beating wildly in his chest, and he quickly changes his clothes.  He’s not sure what Harry has in mind for them to do, but he’s hoping his jeans and jumper are okay.  He throws on a grey beanie for good measure.  He almost tumbles down the stairs trying to get back to Harry.

“Alright, I’m ready!”  Louis doesn’t mean to sound so eager, but he’s really excited to be spending any type of time with Harry.

Harry laughs fondly, “Okay, let’s go then.”

As they walk out of his mum’s house, Louis can’t help but ask, “So are you gonna tell me where we’re going?”

Harry looks at him and winks, he fucking winks, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

And ok?  Louis’ stomach flutters in anticipation.  He knows that whatever it is, he’ll have a great time, not only because he’s with Harry, but because he’s always up for an adventure.

They get into Harry’s Range Rover, it’s black with black leather interior, and it’s nice.  Harry turns on some music, a soft calming melody croons through the speakers.  Louis closes his eyes and just takes it all in:  the music, the sun warm against his face, and the drive.  It might sound cheesy, but Louis’ been trying to learn and appreciate all the little things now, knowing that too soon he won’t be able to admire them anymore.  The drive isn’t too long, only about forty minutes or so.  They arrive at this building in the middle of nowhere, the words ‘Skydiving Centre’ on the side of the building.  Louis beams as he looks at Harry, who’s biting a smile as they walk towards the entrance.

“Oh my god, Haz!  Are we going skydiving?”

Harry grins, dimples on full display, “I don’t know...maybe?”  He quirks an eyebrow and Louis jumps in excitement.

“Fuck yes!”  Louis sprints ahead of Harry, making him run behind him to try and catch up.  As they get to the front door, Louis stops and as he sees Harry approaching, it all hits him all at once.  Harry brought him here to go skydiving.  After Louis told him it’s one of the things he’d been wanting to do, Harry took the time to research and find a place to take Louis.  

“Why did you stop?”  Harry asks, panting as he catches his breath.  His curls are all over from the running he just did and he’s looking at Louis curiously.

“Thank you.  For bringing me here.  You have no idea how much this means to me,” Louis tells him, his voice breaks a bit at the end, but he clears his throat.

Harry shrugs, “It’s nothing Lou, just wanted you to accomplish something you’ve always wanted to do, you know?”

Louis smiles, “It’s not nothing, Haz.  It’s everything.”  And with that, Louis turns to open the front door, as they make their way inside, someone is already there waiting for them.

“Harry and Louis?”  The man asks, looking between them.

Harry steps up and extends his arm out, “Yes, I’m Harry and this is Louis.”

The guy, Luke, introduces himself and goes over a few things with them.  They watch an instructional video that explains all the safety procedures and what they’re going to experience.  They sign waivers, pay their fees, and get fitted into a flight suit and harness.  They’re introduced to the people they’ll be diving with, as well as the pilot of the plane.  The instructors go over a few more safety procedures, showing them where the chute release is in case their instructor happens to have a problem with theirs.  It’s all so surreal, it doesn’t really hit Louis that it’s actually happening until they start getting on to the plane.

Sitting on the floor inside of the plane, Louis looks over at Harry, who has lost all color on his face.

“You okay Haz?”  He asks.  He needs a distraction from the way he’s breathing so fast, and his heart is racing a mile a minute.

Harry startles and looks at Louis wide eyed, “Um, I’m fine.”  But he doesn’t look fine.  He looks scared shitless.  

Louis reaches over to grab his hand.  “We can do this,” he tells him.  He takes a deep breath to try and steady his own breathing.  Harry’s hand is soft and reassuring, and it helps calm his nerves.  He can also feel Harry relaxing under his touch.

The plane starts moving, and it’s loud and there’s wind blowing everywhere because it has no door, just an old raggedy curtain that is flailing around with the force of the wind.  Harry hasn’t let go of Louis’ hand, and he doesn’t mind one bit.  He needs something to ground him, to distract him about what he’s about to do.  When the plane takes off, Louis’ stomach twists anxiously, making him tighten his hold on Harry’s hand.  

Louis is glad Harry is the one he’s doing this with, he honestly can’t imagine doing something like this with anyone else.  He knows that Harry is afraid of heights, and it means so much to Louis that he’s willing to do this for him.  It’s something he will never forget.

As they start getting closer the the elevation they need, the instructors ask if they’re ready.  Louis turns to look at Harry one more time.  He almost feels like calling the whole thing off and apologizing for wasting their time, but then he looks at Harry and he’s smiling.  And it’s not a regular smile, it’s that type of smile that Harry used to only have for Louis.  The kind of smile that made  Louis want to move mountains just to give him the entire world.  It’s what Louis needs to push him to do this, he thinks.  Louis returns the smile, though he still feels nervous as all hell, and gives the instructor attached to him the okay.  Louis is forced to let go of Harry’s hand, which still feels warm where he was holding it.  Louis’ instructor walks towards the edge of the opening of the plane, and begins to count.  Before he even gets to three he’s already jumped off the plane, and Louis is falling.  

The wind is so hard against his face he can barely breathe, but he can’t stop laughing.  He feels like he’s flying, like he can do anything, like he’s invincible .  Louis screams in utter joy, extending his arms out, just letting his body go , free falling through the air like a stone in a pond.  He hears a delightful scream and looks over at Harry who is all teeth and dimples.  The wind is hitting his face so hard that it’s making his skin wiggle, and Louis can’t help but laugh.  He’s sure the force of the wind is doing the same to his own face.  He’s grinning so hard his cheeks hurt.  Suddenly, all the anxiety, and doubts he had about doing this are long gone, and now he’s so glad Harry brought him to do this.

Thankfully, the chutes go off without a hitch, and they’re able to have a smooth landing.  

“Oh my god!” Louis yells and he runs into Harry’s arms.  “That was incredible!”

Harry catches Louis easily, and he cackles at Louis’ excitement, “It was very thrilling.”

“Fuck, that was just...wow.”  Louis turns to look at Harry, his eyelids feel heavy, “Thank you Harry.”  He whispers as he hugs him, this time with more intent.  Harry wraps his own arms around Louis, and he can feel Harry’s nose against his hair.  He feels so warm, like a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter night.  Louis closes his eyes to breathe him in, Harry smells like sugar and sweat, everything that Louis wants.

 

***

 

“Oh my god.” Louis moans, “Harry, these are delicious, holy shit.”  He takes another bite of the cream filled profiterole, and let’s the flaky goodness melt into his mouth.

Harry preens at Louis’ compliments, “Thanks, they’re one of our most popular items here.” he says as he takes his own bite of his pastry.

“Well I can definitely see why, god, I can eat these all day,” Louis tells him as he takes another big bite of his profiterole.  “You know all the good places to eat, dinner was amazing.  And you also know how to make the best desserts I’ve ever had.”

Harry shrugs, “Food is my life, I’ve got to live up to the hype, shouldn’t I?”  His green eyes are glowing, and he never ceases to take Louis’ breath away.

“I guess so.”

It gets silent between them as they continue to eat.  After they left the skydiving centre they went out to get an early dinner at another great restaurant.  Harry really seems to know his food. After dinner they went to the bakery, grabbed a few things and Harry led them up to his flat. There’s been this strange sort of tension between them that Louis can’t quite decipher.  Like something that’s being left unsaid, like an inside joke he isn’t a part of, only more serious.  

“Have you thought about what you want to do with your career after all of this?” Harry waves his hand in the air.

Louis sighs.  He can’t tell Harry that he won’t have time to worry about his career, because in just a few months he’ll no longer exist in this world.  

“Not really, no,” he says, voice small.  He doesn’t mean for it to come out that way, but his thoughts get the better of him.  Louis tries not to think about it, but there’s times like now, where there’s talk about things he can do with his life, things that have a future and he can’t help but mourn the time he doesn’t have.

“Lou, you okay?”  Harry asks.  And great, now Harry is throwing him worried looks.

“I’m fine,” Louis stands up.  “Look, Harry, today was amazing.  I had the best time.  Thank you again, for doing this for me, but I’ve got to go.  I’ll see you around?”  his words rush out around them like a tornado as he makes a move towards the front door.

“Yeah, sure.  Anytime, Louis.” Harry smiles, hesitant, and it doesn’t reach his eyes.  Louis hates that it’s probably because of him.

“Bye Harry,” he says before he turns to open the door.  He looks away before Harry can respond, but he thinks he hears a faint goodbye as he makes his way down the stairs.

 

***

Louis is standing outside of his flat, staring at the door like like a mortal enemy.  He takes a breath before he forces himself to unlock it and make his way inside.  He hasn’t been at his flat in over a week, and he needs to get his post.  Louis gave his gave his notice to his landlord yesterday, and he has until the end of the month to move out, which shouldn’t be a problem.  Thankfully his lease was almost up and he only had to pay a small fee to break out of it.  Everything is just how he left it, broken and a mess like the way Louis feels on the inside.  He’s been trying to avoid his feelings about his situation, pushing them aside and focusing on his family and Harry.  Being here, though, and seeing everything that’s been destroyed through his anger and sadness, only reminds him of the ill fate that awaits him.  He wants to get out of this place as soon as possible, so that he can continue to live in blissful denial.

He moves to grab a couple of things he’d forgotten to take to his mum’s before he leaves again, locking the door behind him.  Louis checks his mailbox and grabs the envelopes that are stuffed in it, nearly filled to its capacity from not having checked his post in days.

Louis shoves the building door open and skips down the stairs, ready to head back to his mum’s house.

“Louis?”  Louis stops at the bottom of the stairs, and sees Harry approaching.  He looks nervous, as if Louis wasn’t supposed to see him around here.

“Hey Harry, you following me now?”

Harry’s eyes widen, “N-no!  I swear, I was doing some shopping down the street.  Saw you coming down the stairs, thought it’d be rude not to say hi.”

Louis chuckles, “Relax, it’s okay.  I was just teasing.”  Harry visibly relaxes, and his lips curve into a small smile.

“What are you up to around here?”  Harry asks.

Louis looks down at the stacks of post he has in his arms, “Oh I live here, actually.  Just came to get my post.”

Harry’s eyes furrow in confusion, “Oh I thought you were with your mum?”

“Yeah I am, was having some things done to the flat, came to check in,” Louis chuckles nervously.  He hates lying to Harry.

Harry nods in understanding.  It’s quiet for a moment, it feels like an eternity.  “Listen Lou…”

“Mr. Tomlinson?”  Both Harry and Louis turn to the voice that’s calling him.  It’s an older lady with grey hair and glasses, and she rushes over to Louis.  “Oh my god, Mr. Tomlinson, it’s good to finally see you.”

Louis is confused because he doesn’t think he’s ever seen this woman in his life.

“I’m sorry, can I help you?”

The lady seems to realize something and chuckles, “I’m so sorry, I’m Martha.  I was your nurse at the hospital over a week ago?”  She looks at Louis as if willing him to remember.

Louis thinks for a moment, and he does remember having a nurse with him before he’d gone to get his mole removed.  “Oh yes, hi.”  He’s getting nervous now, because Harry is here, and he doesn’t want Harry to question him about anything that has to do with that fateful hospital visit.  

“Dr. Wyatt has been trying to reach you for days.  They’ve even sent you a few letters, and haven’t heard back.  He really needs you to contact him as soon as possible,” Martha tells him, her tone urgent.

Louis looks at the envelopes in his hands, and he sees that a few of them are from the hospital.  He shakes his head, “But I’m not interested in listening to what he has to say Martha.  I’ve made my peace.”  He tries to explain without giving too much away, still very well aware that Harry is watching this entire exchange.

Martha grabs Louis by his forearm and gives him a meaningful look, “Trust me, Mr. Tomlinson, you want to see Dr. Wyatt.  I can’t say it, because it’s between you and him, but just...you really need to see him.”  Her eyes are desperate, and she’s holding on to him as if she is planning on not letting go until Louis agrees.

Louis lets out a breath, “Fine, I’ll go see him.  Thank you for letting me know.”

Martha finally lets go and she looks relieved.  She nods and excuses herself.

“What was all that about?”  Harry’s voice startles Louis.  For a second he’d completely forgotten that he was there.  And shit.

“It’s nothing important, really.”  Louis tries to play it off, but it looks like Harry isn’t having it.

Harry crosses his arms across his chest, “Lou, seriously.  What was that?”

Louis’ shoulders slump, and his head drops.  “Come on,” he waves him over gesturing towards his flat.  Harry seems reluctant at first, but something in Louis’ face must convince him and he follows Louis inside.

When Louis opens the door to his flat, Harry’s jaw drops.  “Oh my god, Louis.  What happened, are you okay?  Did someone break in?”

Louis locks the door behind him.  “No, I did this.”

Harry’s forehead wrinkles, “I don’t understand.”

“Harry…”  Louis’ voice shakes, and he can’t help the tears that start filling his eyes, “I’m dying.”

Harry still looks so confused, mouth hanging open, brows knit together, so he continues.  “Last week, I went in to get that mole from my neck removed.  You know the one that used to always bug the shit out of me?”  Harry nods in understanding.  “So, I went.  My doctor said it wasn’t a big deal, that I’d be in and out.  Most likely it was nothing, and all that.  Turns out it wasn’t nothing.  I was told I had some type of skin cancer that would only give me months to live.”

At this point, Harry’s bottom lip is wobbling, and his eyes are filled with tears.  “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Louis shrugs, “Because Haz, I didn’t want you to feel sorry for me.  I just want to live whatever time I’ve got left, and live it right.  I don’t want to leave this earth with regrets.”

“Is that why you came to apologize to me?”

Louis wipes his eyes after some of the tears managed to trickle down his face, “Letting you go two years ago has been one of my biggest regrets Harry.  I couldn’t leave without your forgiveness.”

Harry doesn’t say anything for a moment, they’re just standing facing each other.  Harry’s face seems lost in thought, reminding Louis of just a few days ago when Harry was trying to determine Louis’ sincerity.

Suddenly, Harry moves, and he pulls Louis with him.  “Come on, let’s go.” he says, voice sounding determined.

They leave the flat, and rush down the stairs.  “Where are we going?”  Louis asks.

“We need to go see that doctor,” Harry turns to look at Louis, “I can’t let you just give up, Louis.  I won’t.”

Harry breaks a few traffic laws getting them to the hospital, and when the receptionist at the front desk tries to give them the runaround Harry uses his magic charm to get her to call the doctor to tell him that Louis Tomlinson was there to see him.  As soon as the doctor heard who it was, he told the woman to push back his next appointment so that he can make time to see Louis.

They’re given instructions to get to Dr. Wyatt’s office, and when they get there, the doctor looks almost frantic.

“Mr. Tomlinson!  We’ve been trying to reach you all week!  Please come in, sit down please.” He gestures towards the chairs that are in front of his desk and Harry and Louis sit side by side.  Louis notices that Harry is pale and his leg is shaking.  The doctor takes out a file from his drawer and opens it, he reads the front of it as if to make sure he’s got the right one.  The glasses he has sitting on his head are placed on his face.  

“I’m sorry, I’ve been staying with my mum since I got the news.” Louis explains.  “What did you need to talk to me about?”

“Firstly, I want to apologize.  On behalf of the hospital and our staff, we’re truly sorry.  When you came in for your mole removal, the labs to your biopsy got mixed up with another patient’s, you see.  That led us to run the wrong biopsy under your name, instead of the person it belonged to.  When one of our lab techs caught the mistake, you’d already left and our attempts to reach you were futile.”  

Louis feels his heart racing and his mind is cloudy as he tries to make sense of what Dr. Wyatt is saying.  He takes a deep breath, holding back the small glimmer of hope that’s threatening to make its way to the surface; not until there’s no doubt in his mind about what the doctor is telling him.  Harry slips his hand into Louis’, squeezing it like an anchor keeping him in place.

“What are you trying to say, Doctor?”  Louis tries to keep his voice even.  He feels Harry give his hand a little pulse, the feeling reassuring...hopeful.

Dr. Wyatt takes a piece of paper out of the file, and he hands it over to Louis.  Louis takes the paper with trembling fingers, and reads the contents.  His eyes reach the bottom of the paper, and he’s still left confused as to what the doctor is trying to tell him.

“I’m not really sure what this means…” Louis trails off.

“Mr. Tomlinson, your biopsy results were benign.  You don’t have melanoma.”  Dr. Wyatt says the words slowly, carefully, as if unsure of Louis’ reaction.  Like he’s going to snap at him and freak out over the mixup.  

Louis probably should snap, just freak the fuck out...but right now all he can think about is how he no longer has to worry about leaving his loved ones behind — leaving his mum, his siblings... Harry , behind.  He’s thinking about how  he can start thinking about his future again and continue living his life and be happy without the worry that he’s only got a short amount of time left.  

His heart is racing, his breath is increasing, he feels alive .  He feels more alive than he’s ever felt before in his life.  Back before any of this ever happened, when he was living his life on autopilot just going through the motions.  

He’s not going to die.  He’s not...he’s going to live .

Harry’s hand on Louis’ shoulder shakes him out of his daze, and that prompts him to yelp.  Tears of joy run down his cheeks as he and Harry jump from their seats to hug each other.  Louis is shaking, all of the pent up emotions surging  through  his body and Harry runs a hand down his back to soothe him.  “Oh my god,” Louis cries muffled against Harry’s shoulder.

The doctor gives them a moment and he steps out of the office.  Louis hasn’t moved from Harry’s arms, and he can hear him sniffle against his ear as well.  They break apart, and Louis chances a look at Harry, whose eyes are red and blotchy.  Harry smiles wetly, and reaches out to wipe some of the tears from Louis’ face.  They don’t say anything out loud, and there’s really no need because Harry’s eyes tell Louis everything he leaves unspoken.

Dr. Wyatt comes back with a knock at the door, and after making sure Louis has himself together again, he says, “The hospital would like to compensate you for your pain and suffering Mr. Tomlinson, can you please fill this form out and sign at the bottom so that we can reach you to follow up with that?”  

He hands him a pen and paper and Louis mindlessly fills it out with his signature at the bottom.  “Here you go,” Louis tells him.

Dr. Wyatt, smiles tightly, “Thank you, we’ll be in touch.  Again, we truly apologize.”

Louis nods, and he and Harry leave the office.  The walk back to Harry’s car is quiet, Louis’ mind reeling, disbelief and joy battling with each other inside of him.  Louis isn’t really sure what to say, or where Harry would want to go from here, so he stays silent as they drive back to his mum’s house.  Harry does too, his muscles tight and his eyes straight ahead.  When they get there, Louis hesitates right before he opens the passenger door.

“Thank you Harry.  For making me go to the hospital.  For everything .”  There’s so much more he wants to say, but he doesn’t even know where to begin.  He hopes it’s enough for now.

Harry’s lips curve up into a closed smile, “No need to thank me Louis.  I….” he sighs, “I’m so glad you’ve still got a long life ahead of you.”

Louis’ cheeks pink up, “I’ll see you around?”

“Of course,” Harry tells him.  There’s something in his eyes, a slight hesitation, like he wants to say something.  Louis is so awestruck by his beauty with the way the afternoon sunlight is streaming through the windshield against his face, like he almost sparkles.

When Harry doesn’t say anything else, Louis opens the door and hops out of the car.  He looks over his shoulder, “bye Harry.”

“Bye Lou.”  Louis closes the door and watches Harry’s Range Rover drive away into the afternoon traffic.

 

***

 

Louis unpacks the last  box from the pile, placing the final set of plates into the cupboard.  He looks around the flat and smiles.  His new flat is a lot smaller than his last one, but he couldn’t be happier.  It’s a two bedroom, one bathroom with a small kitchen and a decent sized living room.  He donated a lot of things from his old flat (the things that weren’t broken, that is) to charity since he has no use for them and they wouldn’t fit in the new place.  Thankfully the movers were able to bring what he did have without damaging it.

Louis’ phone begins to vibrate on the counter and it startles him.

“Hello?”

“Louis, darling, you all moved in?” His mum asks.  She had offered to come help, but Louis had insisted that he would be fine and had hired movers to do all the heavy lifting.

“Just about,” he tells her as he breaks down the last empty box.

“That’s great!  When do you start your new job again?”  

Louis chuckles, “It’s an unpaid internship, mum.  Nick helped me get it since he works at the radio station.  I start tomorrow.”

“Thank god for your wonderful friends sweetie.  And it is a job because you’ll be gaining experience even if you’re not getting paid,” she tells him.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Are we still up for dinner on Sunday?”

After confirming dinner plans with his mum, they say their goodbyes and hang up.  Louis sighs.  It’s been nearly a month since he’s heard from Harry.  The week after they went to the hospital Louis had stopped by the bakery to see him, but he wasn’t there.  He’d told Daphne to let him know he’d stopped by, and even left his phone number, but he never heard back from him.  Louis didn’t want to feel like a stalker so he stopped going to the bakery after that.  It still hasn’t kept him from checking his phone every time it rings, hoping, wishing it was Harry.

The next morning, Louis is stirred awake by a knock at his door.  With blurry eyes still full of sleep, he stumbles out of bed.  He checks the time and it’s not even six in the morning.  When he opens the door to see who’s here to see him at such an ungodly hour, Louis’ jaw nearly drops to the floor.

“Harry?”

Harry’s eyes are wide, and his lips are formed in a thin line.  He’s got a paper in his hands that he’s clasping rather tightly.  “Did you do this?”  He waves the paper in front of Louis’ face, and Louis takes it to see what it is.

Guess the cat’s out of the bag, Louis thinks, as he tries to gauge just how mad Harry is at him.

Louis opens his door wider, “Come in, please,” he tells him gesturing inside.

Harry reluctantly agrees, probably persuaded by not wanting to stand outside in the cold.  He walks into the flat to the living room, but doesn’t sit.  “So are you gonna tell me?”

Louis lets out a breath, “Yes, I paid off your loan.  The bakery officially belongs to you now.”

Harry crosses his arms, “Why did you do that?”  His face has softened a bit, but he still looks annoyed.

“Because Harry...I got all of this money from the hospital for their fuck up and…” Louis runs his hand through his fringe, “You made me feel more alive in just a few days, than I have my entire life.  I had to show you how much that means to me somehow.  You deserve so much more than that, if I’m honest.”

Harry’s entire resolve crumbles.  Instead of annoyed, now Harry looks sad, maybe guilty?  Louis decides to confront him.  This is the first time he’s seeing Harry in weeks and who knows when he’ll get to see him again.  Louis wants to get some answers from him before Harry goes back to avoiding him.

“Why have you been ignoring me?”  Now it’s his turn to cross his arms.

Harry opens his mouth, then closes it, then he opens it again, “I…” he sighs and looks down at his feet, “I was afraid.”

“Afraid of what, Harry?  I thought we were friends, I thought...I — I  don’t know...”

Harry’s head snaps back up, “We are friends, I just...I guess I was afraid that now that you know you’re not dying, you might go back to living your life how you used to.  You know, before you came into my bakery for the first time?  I couldn’t let you hurt me like that again, I...I just couldn’t”  He sounds so fragile, his deep voice scratchy and broken.  It makes Louis want to curl himself around him and just let him know how sorry he is, still is, and how he’d never, ever, hurt him like that again.

Louis gets closer to Harry, whose gaze is burning a hole into Louis, his eyes are fevered and restless.  “I’m sorry you felt that way.  But you have to know that I will never go back to that life.  I wasn’t really living, and now...now  I’m determined to continue doing what makes me happy.” He pauses, eyes searching Harry’s, watching tears gather in his bright, green eyes.  “Haz, you make me so, so happy.”

“Yeah?”

Louis caresses Harry’s face, “I love you, Harry.  I never want to let you go, ever again.”  he says, running his thumb across Harry’s bottom lip.  It’s so soft.

Harry’s smile widens, and there’s that dimple he has missed so damn much.  Before Louis can grasp what’s happening, he has Harry’s lips on his, and God, they taste even better than he remembers.  Harry licks into his mouth, their lips moving like muscle memory against each other.  It’s been so long, but the way Harry’s kissing him feels like they never stopped.  They’re breathing hard, but Louis doesn’t want to come up for air, too caught up in the taste and feel of Harry.  God he missed this.  

They break apart to catch their breath, their foreheads leaning against each other.

“I love you too Louis.” Harry breathes, “I love you so much.”  And then he’s leaning back into Louis mouth.

Louis feels like the happiest man in the entire world.

 

***

 

Hot.  Tight.  Heat.

Louis blinks his eyes open in a sleepy haze, woken up by the most delicious wet, tight warm mouth on his crotch.  He looks down and sees a mess of curls moving between his legs.  Harry looks up, eyes hooded and mouth full of Louis’ cock.

“Fuck, Haz. “  Suddenly, Louis is very, very awake.  “You look so good with my dick inside that pretty mouth of yours.”  Harry’s eyes are glazed over, and his lips are so pink and wet around Louis.  He hollows his cheeks as if to make a point.  Louis groans, because...there is nothing, nothing , that looks as sinful and amazing as Harry, sleep rumpled, mouth stuffed full of Louis’ cock.

Harry increases his pace, and Louis’ hand grabs a hold of Harry’s sweaty hair--they’ve been going at it nonstop pretty much since they’ve got here.  The shiny silver band on Louis’ finger is a quick distraction, a reminder of why they’re even here to begin with.

With one last shout, Louis comes, spurting into Harry’s mouth.  Harry laps it all up like he’s starved for it, and Louis remembers that’s one of the many reasons why he’s married to him in the first place.

“You’re amazing,” Harry rasps, his throat no doubt fucked up from all of their sexcapades.  He crawls up the bed to meet Louis, kissing him to let Louis have a taste of himself.  Louis whines into Harry’s mouth.

The warm breeze hits their sweat sticky skin, and as they break away from their kiss they both look out of the window.

“Looks like the sun is going to set soon.  How do you feel about having a swim with the dolphins before dinner?”  Louis whispers into Harry’s ear.

His husband grins, “Sounds perfect.”

Louis kisses Harry on his head and murmurs, “God, I love Hawaii.”

Harry turns to look at Louis, kissing him softly on the lips, “Me too.”