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When It's Late At Night

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Day Five

Getting to travel a lot and live out his dreams has always been Harry’s favorite part about his job; a job that doesn’t even feel like work if he’s honest. There really aren’t many downsides to moving around so much for his music besides occasional jet lag and bouts of confusion he experiences from waking up in so many new places.

Harry opens his eyes today to the soft glow of the sun rising through the thick curtains covering the windows. He frowns staring at his blank hotel walls because if he remembers correctly, he fell asleep here last night, but he didn’t fall asleep alone. He turns over onto his other side, relief flooding his chest when he finds Louis in bed right next to him curled up on his pillow in a deep sleep.

Being still and quiet isn’t something that Harry sees Louis do often so he takes a moment to marvel at how innocent he appears when his slack lips aren’t smirking in triumph or churning out some witty remark to whoever had the nerve to cross him. Louis jokes a lot, which Harry has come to realize doesn’t always mean what he wants people to believe. You have to speak Louis to know what’s going on inside that head of his. Harry’s new to the language, but he’s desperately trying to learn because Louis isn’t always successful at smiling and pretending nothing is bothering him. Kind of like he did last night after cutting their London conversation short.

His long eyelashes gently sweep over his cheeks as his eyelids flutter and Harry smiles wondering what he’s dreaming about. Harry gently moves a piece of his hair from his forehead, grinning when Louis’ nose crinkles in response.

The sheet on his side of the bed has been kicked to the bottom of the mattress leaving his arms and back covered in a faint layer of goose bumps. Harry tells himself not to disturb him; to let him rest a while longer, but he simply can’t resist sliding closer to pull Louis away from his pillow and let him rest against Harry’s warm chest instead. Louis’ face scrunches up when he’s moved so unexpectedly and then tucked in with the duvet again. His eyes are barely open as he smooths his hand over the plane of Harry’s chest, stopping when he finds a nipple to twist it in retaliation.

Ouch,” Harry complains, disturbing the calm of the morning. He thought Louis was being sweet just now. As it turns out, no. “What was that for?”

“I was asleep and now I’m not,” Louis quips, the early hour making his voice thick like golden honey.

Harry glances down his chest, rolling his eyes at the smirk visible on Louis’ lips.

“Believe it or not, I was actually being thoughtful just now,” he explains. “You looked cold.” He feels cold too, Louis’ skin a couple of degrees cooler than Harry’s everywhere their bodies are touching.

“Oh, I get it,” Louis hums thoughtfully. “So, you’re a human thermometer now as well as a dick. That’s perfect. Highly original,” he praises him.  

“Okay maybe waking you up like that was a dick move,” Harry chuckles. “Or, maybe I just really wanted you over here with me.”

That makes Louis smile more than he clearly wanted to, his warm cheek heating the area directly over Harry’s heart. Louis shifts to better meet his eyes, and Harry feels his body begin to wake up starting with his lips tingling to life when Louis kisses him. His stomach begins to stir next, the butterflies inside of it feeling more like fireflies and tiny flames with every slide of their tongues.

“What time is it?” Louis breathes once the quiet of their room is broken by the desperate sound of hands moving beneath the sheets.

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry shushes him, tracing the length of Louis’ legs where they’re now spread on either side of Harry’s hips. He grips the backs of Louis thighs, his fingers trembling around the thick flesh when he thrusts up to feel Louis hardening against him.

Harry kisses him once more before rolling him onto his back to trail his lips down his body only stopping to remove the thin underwear keeping him restrained. He throws them over the bed and onto the floor where the top sheet and duvet now lie but Harry’s only concern is the way Louis keens at the first touch of Harry’s tongue along his length, a soft moan filling the air when Harry sinks his mouth down around him without any teasing at all.

Louis’ hands move to their rightful place in Harry’s sleep-mused hair, pulling it every time his cheeks hollow to take him deeper. Harry glances up at Louis’ head thrown back against the pillows with his teeth deeply embedded into the slick flesh of his lips that Harry can’t resist reaching up to touch. He uses the pad of his moist thumb to massage his entrance, getting a heavy stream of expletives from the pillows when he gently presses inside.

“I’ll be right back,” Harry promises. He stops what he’s doing to scramble off the bed, desperately trying to remember which of his suitcases has the lube in it. He digs through the middle one, producing a small bottle of it and one of the condoms he thanks heaven he had the presence of mind to bring along just in case.

He hadn’t exactly planned on meeting anyone special while here in L.A. this week. He definitely didn’t think he’d meet someone who makes it feel like he’s freefalling from just one laugh or one kiss, but Harry did, and he’s lying naked right in the middle of his bed right now, looking more beautiful than anyone Harry has ever seen. Actually, he looks a bit nervous too which is interesting because normally Louis isn’t afraid of anything. He’s practically fearless.

Harry kisses both of his knees once he settles down between his bent legs again. “Is this okay? Are you okay?”

Louis seems to think long and hard about it before giving Harry a quick nod and small grin that could be real just as easily as it could not be. Once again, Harry is left trying to figure out what that means, but he guesses everything is fine and Harry is just nervous himself because Louis sits up to connect their mouths and ease his worries, taking Harry with him when he lies back and wraps his legs around him.

Harry hovers over him propped on one arm while he reaches down between them with the other to finger Louis open. From here, he can see every flicker of Louis’ face, his eyes fluttering shut when Harry kisses his slack mouth.  

Harry grabs the condom and rolls it on once Louis’ ready, reclaiming his position over top of him. The room feels void of oxygen when Harry pushes his hips forward, the two of them sucking all the air into their lungs on a steady inhale.

Their bodies move together as Harry starts to move inside of him. He asks Louis if he’s okay again when he seems to be holding his breath as he adjusts, though he finally releases it, nodding as he pulls Harry closer.

Being with Louis this way is different from everything Harry expected, and trust him, he’s spent a lot of time imagining it. He figured it’d be full of playful hands and smirks like the sex they’ve had before, but there’s not a trace of teasing in Louis’ eyes when Harry rests their foreheads together, their noses bumping with every thrust that shakes the bed. And it’s not a bad thing to go this slow or be this gone with one another, it’s just a new side to Louis he never saw coming.

The involuntary sounds falling from Louis’ mouth when he picks up the pace spur him on until Louis’ nails dig into his lower back. Louis doesn’t need to warn him when he’s close. Harry can see it written all over the taut lines of his body. He kisses Louis through his orgasm when it finally hits, their breaths still intermingling as Harry quickly brings himself off inside of him.

Louis removes his nails from his skin leaving little crescent-shaped marks that Harry can feel pleasantly stinging just above the swell of his bum. He slides a hand into Harry’s damp hair instead to pull him down until their lips brush, a slow grin tugging at his lips when he pulls back to thumb over the pair of dimples under his palms.

They lie there in the quiet afterwards, fingers and legs intertwined watching the room become brighter as the minutes pass and time ticks on. Harry knows they can’t stay like this forever even though he kind of wishes they could. Eventually, Louis has to go to work today and unfortunately so does he. Neither of them mentions the fact that this is borrowed time they’re on; they simply enjoy the still of morning and the newfound looseness in their bones until Harry’s phone buzzes on the bedside table and he’s forced to tear his eyes away from the pair of blue ones raptly watching him.

Harry reads the three messages he just received from his assistant and quickly texts her back to thank her. When he’s finished putting his phone back he settles into the mattress again to resume admiring Louis’ bare skin, however, he isn’t there anymore. He’s now sitting up straight on the edge of the bed, rolling his neck to relieve the kinks that formed there from sleep. He stretches as he stands up which makes Harry sit up too, because for some reason he gets the terrifying feeling that Louis is leaving.

“I can call a car from the studio to come pick us up if you’re ready to go,” Harry says when Louis starts combing through the covers strewn all over the floor for his missing pieces of clothing.

Louis pops up his head at the end of the bed with an unbothered grin at his offer. “No, it’s fine. I was going home to change first anyway, so I’ll just get a cab. I’ll meet you at the studio.”

“Oh,” Harry says, hoping he doesn’t sound quite as disappointed as he thinks he does. “Are you sure, Lou? I don’t mind stopping by yours if you want.” They came here together last night and sure, maybe Harry was getting ahead of himself but he sort of assumed they’d leave together too. “On the other hand, I always travel with an extra toothbrush in case I leave one somewhere. And I don’t mind you wearing something of mine.” Harry amends his statement when Louis jokingly widens his eyes in fear. “I do have t-shirts,” Harry smiles. “The regular kind without anything extra added to them or anything, but- it’s up to you. You can still go if you want.”

Harry wants him to stay right here, but he can’t make him do it. If he needs his space, Harry wants him to take it.

Louis stops rummaging for his clothes to look at him, seeming to change his mind about running out as he sits down on the foot of the bed.

“Alright,” he agrees. “I’ll take the extra toothbrush. And a fresh shirt, but no glitter,” he says with a stern eyebrow raised at him. “Also, no fancy embroidery or lacey sleeves, and for fuck’s sake no flowers.”

“No accents of any kind?” Harry scoffs at the long list of banned items. “What’s left then?”

“A t-shirt,” Louis deadpans.

Harry laughs as he gets out of bed and digs through the suitcase still laying wide open from earlier. He retrieves two shirts that meet Louis’ strict requirements. They’re both white, the only difference between them is one is brand new and the other Harry has had for years. There’s even a small hole near the tag that he’s always yanking at, which is why Harry’s surprised when Louis happily chooses that one.

He sends Louis off to the bathroom first with his travel bag of toiletries smiling to himself watching Louis struggle with carrying everything in his arms without a stitch of clothing on. He could get used to mornings like this.

Louis promises to be quick so Harry will have time to get into the bathroom too, but it’s not like Harry cares whether or not he has time for a shower. He’s happy just to have Louis here with him insulting his clothes and using all his stuff rather than riding to his place in the back of some cab by himself.

If they’re going to be late, they’ll just be late together. It’s only right.

---

Louis is late. He’s so late in fact that James and half the assistants from the studio have texted him in a frenzy wondering if he’s alive and if Harry has been kidnapped because no one has seen any sign of him either. Louis didn’t even answer most of them, but he did let James know that he’s fine and that Harry isn’t missing; he’s right here with Louis.

Harry lets go of his hand once they reach the studio entrance. He leans down to press a quick kiss to Louis’ temple, promising to see him soon before scurrying off to his band rehearsal that was supposed to start fifteen minutes ago.

“Just don’t get lost again,” Louis tells him. “At this point it’s just plain embarrassing,” he mumbles making Harry laugh. Louis watches him go pressing his fingers along the spot Harry’s lips just touched wondering how many more of those he’ll receive. Not many since Harry is set to leave first thing tomorrow morning. Louis saw the flight information that his other assistant sent him this morning; his real assistant who usually handles Harry’s schedule and affairs. Louis’ just a stand-in like the other woman in some tragic love affair.

He walks in, tells Dillon to fuck off when he comments on his tardiness, and then deviates away from the main corridor to one where there are less annoying people. He sneaks into the first empty dressing room he can find and flops down on the sofa.

This room is almost identical to Harry’s but it feels empty without his guitar and fresh fruit and ridiculous clothes taking up space. Louis squeezes his eyes shut because he came in here to escape Harry and clear his head so he can think straight for just one moment, but he smells Harry in the fibers of the old shirt he’s wearing and he can feel him everywhere his hands touched him this morning when they had sex.

He fucking knew that was a bad idea. When Harry asked if he was okay Louis had half a mind to say no, except he doesn’t know why that was. Louis has never had an issue with meaningless sex before. Hell, he has slept with men he’s known for a lot less time, but he guesses that’s the big problem because what they shared this morning wasn’t meaningless. At least, it wasn’t for Louis.

The springs of the sofa creak when Louis flips over to bury his face in its cushions. He can’t believe he went and fell for fucking Harry Styles. It’s probably the dumbest thing he’s ever done because him leaving at the end of his commitment was the only way this was ever going to end. He honestly has no idea how this happened. One minute he was trying to ditch him in his dressing room and the next he’s letting Harry slow fuck him in his hotel while Louis counts the flecks of gold in his stupid rare green eyes.

Fuck,” he groans aloud. Apparently too loud since the sound of it catches the attention of someone walking by and the door creaks open a few seconds later.

Lou? You alright?”

Louis buries his head further at the sound of James’ voice. “Yes, James, I’m fine. Get out. Let me suffer in peace,” he mutters, earning a soft chuckle.

“What do you have to suffer about? Be more dramatic. Where’s Harry?” he asks, seeming to only just now realize he’s not here like the constant shadow he’s been all week.

Louis sits up fixing his mess of a fringe and readjusting Harry’s shirt on his shoulders because it’s a size too big for him.

“He’s with his band. They’re rehearsing.”

“And you didn’t want to go watch?” James says incredulously. “The infamous duo living and breathing without being up each other’s arses? Well, that’s a first,” he smirks. It falls off his face when he notices the way Louis’ gaze drops to the floor.

He can feel James staring at him and he hates it. “Don’t,” he begs when he hears his friend sigh from the door.

“Oh, Louis.” James shakes his head, letting the door shut behind him. He sits down on the sofa, his kind blue eyes only making Louis feel like more of an idiot from the sympathy emanating from them. “You like him don’t you?”

“I said don’t,” Louis tells him again. He really doesn’t think he could take an ‘I told you so’ right now. He already knows he fucked up. He doesn’t need James or anybody else to tell him that.

“I’m not teasing, Lou,” James assures him with a comforting hand on his knee. “I’m just worried about you. What can I do to help?”

“Make Harry your permanent co-host?” He smirks at the flat look his friend gives him.

“Yeah, what else can I do?”

Louis leans into the back cushion with a sigh. “There’s nothing anyone can do. It is what it is.” There’s no way to fix this. At most, Louis goes to London twice a year and Harry rarely even comes to L.A. unless it’s work related. He said so himself last night.

“That’s not true. You could always tell him.”

Louis dismisses that idea as soon as it’s out there in the open staring him the face. “And what am I going to say? Hey, Harry, I know I was a world class dick to you but now I’m half in love with you so would you maybe mind sticking around?”

“Maybe,” James snorts. “Only try not to use the word dick. And maybe leave out the half in love part. That’s a bit intense for a week,” he teases.

Louis knows. The sad thing is that it’s true. He really is half in love; possibly all the way.

James pulls him in for a hug and presses an encouraging kiss to his temple that Louis immediately wipes away as per usual.

“On second thought, leave in the dick part. It suits you,” James mumbles as he stands and crosses the room. He opens the door, glancing back before completely stepping out. “And I know you think it’s not a good idea, but you really should tell him, Lou. It’s not fair to let him leave without knowing.”

Louis flops back onto the sofa with a loud huff. That’s a hell of a lot easier said than done.

*

“Come over here.”

Louis cuts his eyes over at Harry on the sofa from where he’s perched on top of the vanity, from what he thought was a pretty safe distance away from Harry, but he has the guitar in his hands and a playful twinkle in his eyes that just screams I’m about to fuck you up.

“I’m fine here, thanks,” Louis says coolly, taking out his phone for a distraction.

He will not be serenaded by Harry Styles. He won’t.

Harry’s grin goes lopsided as he tries to pout in the middle of it by poking out his lips. “But you didn’t make it to rehearsal this morning and I want you to hear the song we’re playing tonight. Come on. Come sit with me,” he says, sulking like that’s going to make a difference. Louis hates that it’s working.

“No, no,” he insists. “I’ll just wait for tonight like everyone else. You don’t have to play. I don’t mind.” Harry narrows his eyes at him in suspicion at his selfless offer.

“But what if I want you to hear it first? What if I want to play it just for you?”

Louis meets his imploring gaze, rolling his eyes because his resolve crumbles so quickly that he might as well have not had any at all.

Harry’s face lights up when Louis rests his head against the mirror, surrendering to Harry’s tight jeans and floral print blouse that Louis actually likes because it’s just so Harry.

He’s fucking losing it.

“Fine,” he sighs. “Go on and play it if you must. Ruin me,” he mumbles under his breath.

He doesn’t move from his safe spot on the vanity like the extra space creates a barrier between himself and Harry’s heavy gaze. It doesn’t. He closes his eyes so he can just listen, but that only makes matters worse because the lyrics to Sweet Creature are slowly worming their way into his heart, latching on and not letting go. He gives up. How is he supposed gently wean himself off Harry Styles when he serenades him with love songs and does irresistible shit?

“So?” Harry up beams at him when he’s finished, waiting for Louis’ esteemed opinion. “What do you think?”

“That I love you- it. Definitely it,” Louis quickly corrects. “I love it as in the song which is completely appropriate because people love music and songs all the time.”

Harry’s eyes narrow at him the entire time he’s validating that statement out loud. He leans back and studies Louis carefully like there’s more to read on his face besides blind panic and the fear of Harry realizing that what he said wasn’t a slip up.

“What?” Louis asks when it feels like Harry is trying to read his bloody mind.

“Nothing. You’re just being slightly weird again, or at least, more so than usual,” Harry teases, clearly deciding that Louis is just fine and simply insane.

Harry places his guitar on the ground, smirking as he crosses the room to stand right in the triangle of Louis’ legs still dangling from the edge of the vanity. Harry places two gentle fingers beneath Louis’ chin to coax him forward, the look of intent in his dark green eyes sending cool chills down his spine long before their lips even meet.

“Thanks for listening,” he whispers. “And being my guinea pig audience,” he grins.

He kisses Louis on the cheek already moving to step back when Louis panics and grabs his hand. “Wait,” he breathes, closing Harry in with his legs. “Don’t go yet? Please?” He’s supposed to be getting over Harry. He needs to get over Harry, but he can’t. Not yet.

Harry doesn’t realize that his request goes beyond this moment when he fondly shakes his head, smiling to himself at the way Louis’ holding him there. “I’ll stand here for as long as you want,” Harry promises, smiling and gently pulling Louis into a real kiss this time that he never wants to end.

If only that were possible.

*

Filming that night is bitter sweet as Harry fulfils the end of his commitment and his week-long stint on the show comes to an end.

It’s just him and James tonight so his final game is relatively tame compared to the other ones he has let James torture him with. Louis still enjoys watching though, laughing with everyone else as the two of them make complete fools out of themselves. Tonight, they’re playing Finish the Lyric where they each listen to a few seconds of famous songs and then sing the remainder of the them for the next fifteen seconds. It sounds easy enough and in truth, it’s supposed to be, however the game’s two very mature contestants keep picking ridiculous songs so the other is forced to sing them.

So far, the audience has heard everything from The Thong Song to Barbie Girl and it’s funny because Harry and James are tied the whole game. By the end, they’ve had so much fun that they forget they’re even competing against one another and break out into an awful rendition of No Scrubs just for the hell of it. It’s the funniest thing Louis’ ever witnessed with the two of them mumbling the lyrics after the first verse because they realize they don’t actually know them.

Louis’ heart is warm from laughing and just being so incredibly proud of Harry holding his own during these segments all week. The crew and staff all cheer for him once filming wraps for not only the night, but the whole week. Harry’s smile is blinding as he gets up to personally thank every person in the room with a polite handshake or a tight hug depending on how well he knows them from the last time he was here with his band.

Louis only sticks around long enough to watch Harry smack a big kiss to each of James’ cheeks and then brighten Dillon’s entire existence by pulling him into a grateful hug. Dillon is the color of a tomato afterwards and he can’t close his mouth as he watches Harry move onto the next person who made this week possible. Dillon is frozen to the spot Harry left him in like he’s just been struck by lightning instead of hugged by his hero, but Louis won’t tease him for it later because Louis’ in the same boat. Harry’s presence here will leave Louis forever changed.

He catches James’ eye as he hurries to disappear before Harry can get to him with all of his thanks and his goodbyes that he honestly can’t handle in front of all his co-workers. His friend gives him a pointed look when he notices Louis sneaking off that probably means something along the lines of ‘You fucking idiot. Just tell him.’

The word stay has been at the tip of Louis’ tongue every time Harry looked at him today. Unfortunately, that’s as far as that word is ever going to get because he can’t ask that of Harry. He just can’t.

---

Harry checks his phone for what must be the hundredth time in the last fifteen minutes since he’s been back in his dressing room. He flips it facedown again when he finds he still has no new messages; not from Ava, his assistant, or from Louis, the person who somehow managed to sneak away from him on set a while ago without Harry noticing.

All week he has felt Louis’ presence wherever he is on the stage, just knowing Louis’ watching him and feeding off of that knowledge; that adrenaline. He was watching tonight too, his eyes crinkling up with the rest of the crowd every time Harry or James earned a laugh. It was great. It felt amazing, but as soon as filming wrapped Louis’ bright warmth disappeared like the sun hiding behind a cloud.

He flips his phone over again hoping that maybe it’s broken and he has magically received word from somebody. Excitement rushes through him when he hits the home key and his phone vibrates right in the center of his open hand with a new string of texts.

It’s Ava. Finally. He’s been messaging with her back and forth all day to let her know that he isn’t going back London tomorrow morning like he had originally thought. He has a surprise guest appearance there on another late-night show tomorrow evening, but that can always be rescheduled. It’s not like anybody knew he was coming anyway; that was the whole point of the surprise. She had asked him what was keeping him in L.A. for another whole week, to which Harry simply and vaguely replied ‘love and real estate.’

His current message from Ava just confirms that he is now officially free of his promotion obligation for tomorrow putting a big smile on Harry’s face because he knows exactly who he wants to spend all his newfound free time with. Now if only Harry knew where he ran off to so he can tell him.

He texted Louis as soon as he got back to his dressing room but that was nearly twenty minutes ago. Harry hasn’t heard anything from him since filming started this evening and he’s practically bouncing on the sofa in anticipation of when he finally shows up.

Louis has been away from him for a grand total of three hours and already Harry misses him. There was no way in hell he would’ve been able to leave L.A. tomorrow when three measly hours has him checking his phone like a mad man and hoping his notifications are broken on the off-chance that Louis did try to contact him. He knows it’s crazy for him to have fallen for someone so quickly and so hard, but he did and now there’s no going back. Honestly, he never stood a chance. He liked Louis the moment they met even with the unimpressed expression he wore as they shook hands that day because Louis wanted to be literally anywhere else. Harry smiles to himself, so glad that quiet judgmental phase only lasted a few minutes before Louis switched to openly disliking him with sarcasm and that fiery attitude that didn’t deter Harry in the slightest.

His body grows more and more anxious so he stands up pacing the room as he waits. He picks up his phone even though it hasn’t vibrated at all. Once again, there’s nothing there except his and Louis’ messages from this afternoon where Harry typed out a silly essay of a message asking Louis to stay over with him again tonight and Louis’ delayed, short response of ‘I’d love to’. There’s nothing from Louis saying he got held up talking with one of the other assistants or that James sent him on some last-minute mission before he’s off the clock for the night. There has been nothing but radio silence since they kissed in this very room hours ago which makes panic start to creep up the back of Harry’s throat thinking perhaps he missed something and Louis is already gone. Maybe they were supposed to meet at the hotel?

The thought hardly even flickers through his mind before he’s reaching for the door to check the corridors but he doesn’t have to go too far because Louis is standing right in front of him, staring at Harry’s open door like he didn’t know it could do that.

“Louis! You’re still here,” Harry says with much more energy that he intended. Louis blinks at how utterly pleased he sounds to see him. Harry can’t help but notice that Louis’ face isn’t lighting up from seeing him too. “How long have you been standing out here?” Harry asks in a much calmer tone.

“Oh, um. Only about a minute or so,” Louis shrugs, dropping his gaze to the floor like it has actually been much longer than that.

“Oh, okay,” Harry nods, wondering what kept him from waltzing in like usual. “Well, do you want to come in? Or maybe you’re ready to go? I was just coming to find you. I figured we’d ride together if that’s okay?” Harry asks, remembering how Louis responded to that same suggestion this morning before Harry finally convinced him that taking two cars to the same place was silly.

With how strange he’s acting right now Harry isn’t sure if he still wants to come back to his hotel or not. Maybe something happened and that’s what kept him so long. The nervous look in his eyes sure makes it seem like something’s up.

“What’s wrong? Are you alright?” Harry asks, stepping back from the door so Louis can have a seat on the sofa if he wants. He finds it odd when Louis just stands there like he’s afraid to come in.

“Oh, yeah. I’m fine. More than. You worry too much,” he says with a grin that Harry is sure this time looks fake. “I’m great. Just peachy,” he jokes, his fake grin looking more strained by the second.

Harry stops trying to invite him in and take him home when an awkward silence takes over and Louis starts chewing at his bottom lip. Something is clearly not right here even though Louis is trying really hard to make him believe otherwise. Harry can’t decipher exactly what’s going on inside his head. This is another one of those instances where he wishes he spoke Louis a little better.

“You’re not okay,” Harry says at the time that Louis whispers, ‘So, about tonight...’

They both stop talking when their words overlap, each of them politely waiting for the other to continue.

“What about tonight, Louis? What’s happened?”

“Nothing happened,” he clears his throat. “I just- I think maybe I shouldn’t stay over like we originally planned is all? I think it may not be such a great idea.”

That’s news to Harry. Especially since he just canceled all his plans. Maybe Louis didn’t want to spend the night all along. He crafted his answer to Harry’s text message for nearly five minutes before finally sending the short, ‘I’d love to.’ Maybe what he kept deleting was a gentle let down.

“What made you change your mind? What happ-?” Harry stops when Louis shoots him a pointed look.

“I told you nothing happened. It just makes no sense for me to stay with you tonight when you’re leaving for London first thing in the morning,” he snaps with a bit more bite. “You’re leaving, Harry, so that’s why it’s a bad idea. Don’t make me have to say goodbye to you after spending the night together when we can just do it now.”

Harry has never heard such a harsh tone from him before without a trace of underlying fondness. Louis is truly annoyed with him and he’s angry for some reason. Harry thinks he knows why that is, however with Louis he can never be one-hundred percent sure.

“Louis, I didn’t want any of that either. That’s why I’m not leaving tomorrow. I changed my flight.”

Louis takes a quick breath like he’s about to fire at him again. He soon deflates, catching onto the fact that Harry isn’t leaving right away but the calm doesn’t last long before he’s back to being annoyed.

“So, what, are you leaving two days from now instead? Fantastic,” he mumbles, refusing to even meet his eyes.

Harry grins at how mad he looks with his sharp features and crossed arms and all for no legitimate reason. It feels like day one all over again. The only difference is that Harry already knows what it’s like to kiss him and his mind is already racing at the thought of when he can do it again.

“I’ll actually be here for a few days,” he reveals. “Seven to be exact.”

That puts a dent in Louis’ cool exterior. His jaw not quite so tense anymore. “What for?” he asks, trying and failing to not be grossly interested in what would possess Harry to stay that long.

“Well, as I told you before, I like it here a lot but I never could decide on a place to actually buy,” Harry shrugs. “The whole situation just wasn’t right at the time. I wasn’t ready before, but now feels so much better.”

Now feels perfect, really. Before, Harry had no real ties to this city other than a fondness for its vibe. He loved it, but couldn’t see him himself living in any of the places he looked at long term because nothing here felt like home. Now, Harry doesn’t care if he lives in the Hollywood Hills or ends up living in this dressing room so long as Louis will be around too. He needed a push and he has found just the person to give it to him.

He has Louis’ full attention now, his eyes returning to soft blue instead of the hard ice they had become as he realizes what Harry’s saying to him.

“So, you’re staying? Really?” he checks. “To look at houses?”

“Or a condo more likely,” Harry smiles. “Something small I can stay in when I come to L.A. for work. And of course, to come see you.” Louis closes his eyes, grinning to himself like that’s all he has wanted to hear this whole time. “If you’ll have me, that is,” Harry teases. “You were just glaring at me a second ago so I may be back to square one.”

“I don’t know about square one, but you’re definitely walking a thin line,” Louis says finally taking a couple of steps toward him like Harry’s dressing room is safe again.

“I mean, if you’re still mad I guess I could spend another week making you fall head over heels for me again but-”

“Fuck off. You didn’t make me do anything,” Louis smiles, his lips surprisingly soft after the way he grabbed the back of Harry’s neck and pushed up onto his toes to reach his mouth. Harry holds him steady, kissing him back in the middle of the doorway with his heart skipping every other beat.

“So, does this mean you’re still staying over tonight?” Harry can’t wait to wake up and have nowhere to be besides right next to him.

“You mean, at your hotel with you and your suitcase of horrors?” he scoffs. “Yeah, no thanks, Styles. We’re definitely staying at mine.”

Harry laughs, not even taking offense. He’ll gladly stay at Louis’.

“Hey, you may laugh at my fashion choices, but may I remind you whose t-shirt you’re currently wearing.”

“Yeah, I know whose it is,” Louis grins. “It’s my boyfriend’s.”

Day 365

Louis picks up his phone to scroll through all his playlists switching from Today’s Shots, Tomorrow’s Hangover to the one titled Boybands Ruined Me, smiling when The Backstreet Boys comes on providing him with the perfect soundtrack to continue dancing through the condo and right to the bathroom for a quick shower.

He used to hate music like this; that is, until he met Harry and started listening to it purely to torture him. As it turns out, vague pop lyrics about young love and the color of some girl’s eyes appeals to more than just teenage girls because Louis is a happy gay man shaking his arse at twenty-six years old as he strips and he’s fucking living. He has seriously been missing out.

The excellent choice in music helps, but the fact that Harry will be here soon too is what has him buzzing even more. His flight lands in just an hour and then Louis gets the ever-exciting privilege of picking him up from the airport and welcoming his boyfriend home. He has been in Australia and Japan for the past two weeks on tour but he’s coming back today just in time for their one-year anniversary. Louis has spent all morning cleaning the condo, grocery shopping for the romantic dinner he’s going to attempt for tonight, and finally wrapping Harry’s anniversary gifts that probably should’ve been wrapped three weeks ago when he bought them, but better late than never and all that.

He places his phone down after quickly replying to a few messages of love and congratulations from their close friends and family. He pauses to smile at the giant display of flowers that James and his wife sent over this morning, wondering if they’ll get flowers from their favorite double-date couple every year from now on. Louis sure hopes so. He and Harry will have to remember to send them something for their anniversary too when it comes.

Louis steps into his warm shower, adrenaline rushing through his veins when he thinks of how amazing it’s going to be to finally have Harry back. He’s gone a lot for work, but he kind of has to be with the way his schedule is. It sucks being away from him for such long periods of time. Sometimes, James gives Louis enough time off and he gets to come along. Other times, most of the time, he stays back in L.A. and misses Harry more than words can describe, however their daily phone conversations and Skype dates make the distance very manageable. They talk every day no matter what, even if it means one of them has to be awake at three in the morning because of a difference in time zones. Their mostly long-distance relationship can be tough, but it’s worth it because no matter where Harry jets off to or how long he’s gone, Louis never worries. He’ll always come right back. They both will.

The Backstreet song playing over the speakers fades out as it ends and Louis steps under the spray of the shower to rinse the shampoo out of his hair. He grabs Harry’s fancy coconut conditioner to steal a generous amount of it as a new song begins, his ears perking up to the happy guitar riff coming through the speakers. He abandons the conditioner altogether, a smile stretching across his face because this song is one of Harry’s from his boybander days when he had chubby cheeks and wild curls for hair. Louis has an extensive collection of memorabilia dedicated to boybander Harry in their guestroom so that all who pass through it can reminisce.

Louis clears his throat and rolls his shoulders in preparation as the intro plays through and the first verse kicks in with the bass.

‘You’re insecure, don’t know what for. You’re turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or.’

Louis calmly sings along, biding his time until Harry’s solo comes and Louis lets it fucking rip, practically screaming the lyrics right through to the chorus where everybody sings together. He jumps up and down to the beat as if he’s part of the band too, only pausing when his ears pick up on another loud sound besides the music he’s blasting.

He can’t control the volume from the shower. The control panel is on the wall across from him and he doesn’t know what the hell just fell from him shaking the condo with his jumping, but he hopes it was nothing important.

Louis decides to scale it back a bit before he ruins something else so he goes back to just singing, his voice going soft when he thinks he hears another sound much closer this time.

Louis stands completely still as the water runs, straining his ears to make sure he isn’t crazy or imagining that he’s hearing things like he sometimes does at night when he’s here alone and his imagination runs wild, but he isn’t crazy and he isn’t imagining anything when he lets out a shrill squawk over the sound of the shower door sliding open and Harry fucking Styles beaming at him like the sneaky bastard that he is.

“KONICHIWA! GANBARIMASU!!” he shouts, laughing when Louis catches himself from falling over with a desperate hand clenched over his heart because Harry just scared the living shit out of him. “Hiya, love. I’m back,” he smiles, cackling like mad and shielding his face when Louis starts swatting at him for being a dick.

“You arsehole! Why are you screaming at me in Japanese? I thought someone was coming to kill me!”

Harry’s whole body is shaking and he’s hardly even breathing from how hard he’s laughing. “Oh, shit. I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” he claims. “I just couldn’t resist, and your dramatic singing? Ace.”

Louis could strangle him; however, he has never been happier to see someone in his entire life.

“Haz, what are you even doing here? I was supposed to come pick you up in an hour. It hasn’t been one hour,” Louis complains, his heart returning to its rightful place in his chest rather than being caught in his throat. Harry’s expression is sheepish when he bites down on his smile.

“Yeah…So, I may or may not have lied about my arrival time so I could surprise you. I thought it’d be kind of romantic given the occasion,” he chuckles with a shrug.

Louis gives him a flat look.

“I nearly brained myself on the shower tile a minute ago. Super romantic, Styles. Good job,” he mutters.

Harry tries not to laugh at his joke, but fails. “Aww, Louis, come here, love. I apologize,” he says. “Really, I do. Please forgive me?”

He pouts, reaching out a hand to guide Louis away from the showerhead and closer to the open door. Harry gives him a stern look when he refuses to move away from the warmth of the water spilling over him.

Louis!” he whines. “Baby, come kiss me. I don’t care if you’re all wet. I haven’t seen you in two whole weeks. Come on. You’re killing me.”

Hearing Harry so eager to kiss him makes Louis’ entire body hum because he missed Harry too; so, so much.

A pair of dark green eyes travels the length of Louis’ body as he slowly turns around to resume lathering himself up with soap.

“Well, Styles,” he sighs nonchalantly. “You interrupted my shower so I guess you’ll just have to wait.”

Louis smirks at the feeling of Harry’s gaze glued to his back and his arse, lightly stepping under the spray to rinse himself off as if Harry’s not even there.

The music playing overhead stops out of nowhere forcing Louis to glance over his shoulder, laughing when he sees Harry returning from the wall panel with his shoes kicked off. He climbs into the shower with Louis, getting his t-shirt and jeans completely soaked in the process, but the bright smile on his face says he doesn’t care one bit about his wet clothes as he presses Louis’ back against shower wall.

Louis is gone at the first fervent brush of Harry’s lips against his and his tongue sliding into his mouth. Fuck, Louis has missed this so much. He pushes up on his toes to eagerly kiss Harry back, the rhythm of his heart stuttering when Harry pulls away enough to look him in the eyes.

He traces Louis’ lips with the edge of his thumb like he almost forgot the shape of them. His tongue licks out to swipe over his own bottom lip like he nearly forgot the taste of them as well.

“I missed you every single day. I love you so much,” he whispers.

Louis nods in agreement, his breath caught in his throat and his skin tingling over with chills despite the warmth of the shower and Harry’s hands wrapped around him.

“I missed you too, Haz. You know I did,” Louis says, the softness of the statement almost lost in the sound of the water running down the drain, but he knows Harry catches it when two large dimples appear on either side of his face.

Their relationship can be tough, but this is the part of them that Louis wouldn’t change for anything. There is no doubt of the love between them. It’s strong and real and has been there probably since the day they met; this day, actually. It’s the one thing that Louis always thinks could never change, but then it just gets stronger and they love each other more and once again, Louis is proven wrong.

“Happy one-year, love,” Harry says with a kiss to his temple, holding it close to his skin with his lips.

Louis still can’t believe it has only been twelve months since Harry came into his life with his bright eyes and the strange ability to make Louis weak at the knees like no one else. He has no idea how it worked out that they were meant for each other. He’s just glad that it did.

“Happy one-year,” Louis echoes, knowing there will be many, many more to come.