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And I can't help but stare 'cause I see truth somewhere in your eyes

The new house was smaller than the old one. Obviously. Louis couldn't but remember nostalgically the old one: wooden walls painted blue, with that big garden by the door, and just opposite to the park, which meant that he was able to go and play with his siblings any time he felt like it. They loved it.

Of course, now it was going to be a little bit harder to go to the park, because it was in Doncaster, a too far to walk there. And he didn't know Holmes' Chapel well enough as to find a park yet. Seemed like his sisters would have to go without parks for a couple days. It wasn't like he felt playful, anyway. Not even with his them.

He had just left his hometown. His friends, his girlfriend-not that he cared much about that part though-, his house, his school. But hey, that last part could even be considered good. Ok, looking more carefully at the situation, it wasn't THAT fucking bad. It was just he had just moved away, and he was feeling a little bit lonely. It would all get better soon, he told himself. And he was going to start uni quite soon anyway, moving away, so it didn't make that much of a difference.

Louis threw the cigarette to the floor, stepped on it and finally decided he was ready to grab his bags and get in the house. His family was already inside, but he had stayed outside, staring at the house, not being able to avoid comparisons with the Doncaster one.

His mom had just divorced. And, like in the movies, she had wanted to go somewhere far from all the memories and stories, buying the new place in a blink of an eye. Less than a week later, the Doncaster place had a bright orange estate agency sign by the door, and the whole family had packed their stuff in the car and left. They hadn't even taken the furniture with them; Jay had been careful to buy a furnished place.

Louis wasn't mad at her for the move. He loved his mom more than anything in the world, and he knew she needed it. He just thought maybe everything was going too fast. Lottie maybe was old enough for a move, but Fizzy and the twins weren't. And Lottie, old enough or not, was giving them the silent treatment because she had been separated from her friends.

Louis sighed as he went up the stairs. Lottie had already pasted a pink sign with her name on her door, closed, and he could hear his mom talking to the twins from the other side of the corridor, where he could also see Fizzy's green door sign. So his room was the only one left, next to the toilet. That probably meant he would be listening to the water running every time one of his sisters decided to have a shower. And he had many sisters.

He closed the door using his foot and let his bags fall to the floor, looking around. The house was furnished, which felt weird, because the rooms had everything they needed but no personal items. They felt like hotel rooms instead of like...you know, a home. He knew he would have to get used to it, and that they would start adding photos and stuff soon.

His room wasn't too big, the white bed headpiece leaning on the wall and looking at the window. There was a desk, also white, just under it. He moved closer, looking out, and whistled in astonishment. The house might not feel like theirs yet, but it really had a nice view from his new bedroom. He could get used to it. The thin white curtains let most of the light come into the room, and the glass let him see fields and trees, and maybe the reflection of water from a river, a little bit further. It was beautiful. He guessed doing homework looking out of that window was great. That's if you liked doing homework, which he didn't.

Louis opened the curtains as much as possible, letting the light get into the room, warming him up and calming him down a little. The last few weeks had been quite stressful.

A loud banging door let him know Lottie was still mad, and probably hungry, since she was going downstairs, where he guessed the kitchen was. They still hadn't gone to the supermarket, so there was no food in the house. He heard his mom following Lottie, probably to talk her out of her angry silence, but he sat down on the bed, looking out of the window. He REALLY was tired, and he wasn't feeling like arguing with an angry teenager.

Then, he saw some movement from the corner of his eye. There was a mirror hanging from the wall there, next to the wardrobe, reflecting a galaxy poster that was hanging from the opposite wall. It looked like the people who had lived there before had left in a hurry. He would have to take the photograph down and hang something instead. Maybe a David Beckham poster?

Another movement startled him, and he forgot instantly about his decorative issues. Because the movement had come from the mirror, and he had been looking at the opposite wall, at the galaxy photograph. Whatever had moved in the mirror, it had not been a reflection.

He moved in closer. Maybe a fly or some type of bug?

He jumped back.

There was a guy in his room.

He looked to his back, ready to hit whoever was trying to get in their house and rob or whatever. But there was nobody behind him. He turned back to the mirror.

Yeah, it hadn't been his imagination: there was a boy there. He was walking around the bed, apparently putting some pillows and cushions in order. Then, the boy lied on the bed and opened a book. He got his hand in his dark, curly hair and took it out of his eyes so he could read better.

Louis was freaking out. His glance was moving back and forth, between the mirror and his bed.

Then he realised two things: the bed where the curly boy was reading had a blue duvet and pillows, while his was empty, the mattress lying there, naked. And his own reflection, the Louis that should have been staring back at him from the glass, was nowhere to be found.

"Louis!"

Jay's voice made him jump. The boy in his mirror didn't move. Louis was starting to be frightened.

"Louis? Can you please come here for a sec?"

Louis shook his head and kept staring through the glass. Was that real? It had just been a normal cigarette what he had smoked before entering the house, right?

"Louis! Please!"

He decided not to say anything and came downstairs. The curly haired kid looked pretty much inoffensive. And he probably didn't even exist.

 

...

 

On his way to the supermarket-because of course, it was him the one that had to go to the supermarket and buy their dinner-, Louis couldn't take the sight of the boy in his mirror out of his head. He was trying as hard as he could to understand what was going on. The mirror LOOKED like a normal mirror. It reflected everything: the bed was exactly the same except for the blankets, the walls were the same, the galaxy photograph was hanging from the wall in both rooms. It even WORKED as a normal mirror, when he moved, the reflection of the room moved the way it should. The only difference was the reader boy. And Louis had no idea where that was coming from. Maybe he was imagining things because he was exhausted and stressed from the past few weeks, but he didn't really think so.

He picked up a bottle of milk for Lottie's favourite cereal. Luckily she would get happier then. Louis couldn't stand seeing his family hurt, and maybe that was the reason the past few weeks had been the worst time of his life, from the moment Jay and Mark had told them they were divorcing. The news hadn't been so kindly received at his home, and his mom had been so sad and tired...

The cashier, a cute, fairy-like girl, gave Louis his credit card back and thanked him for shopping there. Louis smiled back, lost in his mind, and left the shop carrying a couple bags filled with groceries.

He parked the car in front of the house and came out with the bags. Fizzy and Jay came out and helped him carry them inside.

"How is the shop, dear?" asked his mom.

"Oh, you know, the have food."

Fizzy laughed and handed Jay a carton of juice.

"Oh Lou. Thanks. You can go to your room, I will prep dinner. Oh! I made your bed, I thought it might be better if you have a well made bed, at least for a day, God knows you won't make it..."

"Thanks mom"answered Louis, kissing his mom's cheek. He left the room and then remembered the mirror. Well, his mom hadn't mentioned anything, so she probably hadn't seen anything. Then again, seen what?

The first thing he did when he got into his room was to look at his bed. White sheets and a white pillowcase were all they had brought, because they couldn't fit most of their stuff in the car. In the reflection of the bed, though, the sheets were still blue. So it hadn't been a hallucination. Or he was hallucinating again.

Louis moved closer to the mirror. The boy was still there. Lying still, his eyes focused on the book and his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. He had one of his thumbs in his mouth, chewing on his nail probably.

Then, he heard something. It was a dimmed sound, like it came from underwater. And it came... from the other side of the glass? The boy had looked at the door, startled, so Louis guessed it HAD come from his side, and that was why it had sounded so weird.

"Harry? It's time for dinner darling!"

"Coming mum!"

The boy got to his feet, and took a couple steps toward the mirror. Louis moved a step back, afraid. Maybe he was going to be seen? Would the boy be OK with it? Well, no he wouldn't! Who would be OK with a total stranger looking at you from a strange mirror? That's awkward!

The boy from the other side looked at Louis' feet, then went up and patted one of the curly sides of his hair, which was pointing up. Louis was frozen, staring at the boy's eyes. The boy smiled and turned back, leaving the room. His side of the room, of course. He hadn't seemed to notice Louis. Louis had noticed him though. Well, he had noticed him before, the first time he saw there was something wrong with the mirror. But now he had noticed the pretty green eyes the boy had. And his huge dimples. And his hair.

"So you are Harry..."

 

...

 

Louis was getting used to living with Harry. He came back from school and there was Harry, on the other side of the mirror, doing his homework in his white desk. He left for drama club after finishing some work, motivated by the other boy, who always looked so focused on his work. When he came back, Harry had usually disappeared. He had either gone to work at the bakery or he was meeting friends, Louis thought. He knew where he worked because he had sometimes heard Harry's mom calling him, and maybe because he paid too much attention to what was going on in Harry's life. He had once gone to the bakery to check if there was a boy named Harry working. There wasn't, and the woman who was serving him didn't look too pleased with the question.

On weekends, when Louis woke up, Harry had already left. He felt a bit bad for being so...obsessed with the other boy. But it wasn't his fault that he could see him, right? He had made a huge load of research, looking for similar situations, finding nothing apart from esotheric blogs, and none of them even described a truly similar situation. He had created many theories of his own too. Maybe the mirror was looking to some other time in the past or future, or it was showing him a ghost, or...or maybe Louis was just going crazy. He didn't think so, but it wasn't like he could go to any of his new friends, take them to his room and show them the mirror, asking them if they could see Harry. Besides, it wasn't always that clear: sometimes, the mirror reflected him almost perfectly, sometimes, it looked like there was nothing between him and Harry, and he would be able to just extend his leg and step on Harry's side of the...world? Universe? Who knows. But, at the moment, Harry was Louis' secret. His best kept one.

 

...

 

Louis was starting to enjoy their new house. It had, after all, a window to another world, inhabited by the prettiest boy he had ever seen. Not every home has that. It also had no arguments, and Jay was starting to feel better and better. Lottie had new friends who came some days to play with her, or to practise new make-up techniques or whatever. Louis had some new friends of himself, and was doing better at school than he ever had. He was actually considering some good drama courses for next year he would't have dreamt of applying to the year before. Some friends from Doncaster had come visit him just before the start of classes. Yeah, Louis was enjoying his new home.

One day, when he had just finished studying his drama role, he heard a loud noise coming from behind the mirror. Harry had tripped and fallen while carrying a big bunch of books. It was the first time Louis saw Harry fall. With time, of course, he learnt that Harry was probably the dumbest person on Earth. Or that maybe the gravity on the other side of the mirror affected people differently. Who knew.

Another time, near October, Louis thought he had seen Harry stare at him through the mirror. The feeling came away quite fast, as Harry moved his thumb over the glass, apparently cleaning something, with his adorable frown, and left the room.

Louis had left the galaxy poster hanging from his wall. He didn't really know why: he was not interested in space at all, and it wasn't even one of those aesthetic tumblr nebulose pictures, all pink, purple and deep green. It was a normal milky way poster, very scientific-looking. Of course, he already knew that Harry wanted to study physics and become an astrophysicist. Why his room, in this dimension, had the same poster Harry had in his, no idea. But he convinced himself it was better if he left the poster there, because if someone came into his room and saw that the reflection in his mirror was too different from his actual room, they would freak out. Of course, he had no idea if other people would see something in the mirror. Maybe he WAS crazy.

Christmas came, and with it, Louis birthday. He was now 19, and he celebrated partying with his friends, the ones from Donny and the ones from Holmes' Chapel. Harry looked really happy when he came into his room wearing a cute Christmas hat that night, while Louis was getting his coat to go out after the family dinner. Harry picked a couple of presents, well wrapped in gold paper, from under his bed, and left the room walking as quietly as he could without tripping. Probably to put them under his tree.

Louis put his palm to the cold glass, looking at Harry's door close behind his back, and sighed.

"Merry Christmas, Harry".

He felt so weird. Harry was absolutely not similar to his friends, all of them so straight forward and talkative. This didn't seem to matter: Louis felt like he was missing a huge part of life just by not being able to talk to the green-eyed boy. He was not like his friends, true, but he had seen him at his room with some of his own friends, he had heard him talk, and he was funny, witty, and incredibly cute. There was no better way to define it: Harry was simply cute. His huge dimples and his curly hair made him look so young, and he was shy yet open, intelligent and honest, and he loved his family very much.

Louis hated himself every time he realised that he knew so much about Harry because he spent too much time looking at him. After all, it was Harry's bedroom: his most private place, and there was Louis, looking at him through the mirror.

Louis was there when Harry asked his first girlfriend out. Well, it's not like he was lurking. He was calmly playing FIFA when he heard a loud shriek from the other side of the mirror. Afraid that something bad had happened to Harry, he saw a really excited blonde quite literally jumping on top of Harry and start kissing him, so he guessed he had asked her out and she had said yes quite enthusiastically.

About two minutes into the kiss, when Harry leant his back on the floor with the blonde all over him, Louis decided that, although being there while Harry did his homework was like the green-eyed boy had an invisible flatmate, being there watching him make out with his girlfriend was not so ok. He grabbed a spare blanket and hanged it from the top of the mirror, giving Harry some privacy. And yeah, giving him some peace of mind. What was that knot in his stomach?

Next morning, he took the blanket down. Harry didn't look old enough to keep a girl in his room at night, but he had left the mirror covered throughout the night. He needed to feel alone.

Harry had no company anymore. He was still in bed, which was uncommon. Harry was not too much of someone who stayed in bed for long, like Louis was. Even on weekends and during the rest of Christmas, he had got up earlier than Louis. This time he was still there, lying on his unmade bed, with a white pyjama T-shirt on, staring at the ceiling like he could break it just by looking at it. He was frowning in that focused glance he had when he was reading or playing a hard part of a video game, and he seemed a little worried. Louis wanted more than ever to actually know Harry, so he could go there and ask him what had happened.

Instead, he got up, put his jeans on, trying not to make too much of a deal of it and left the house to meet his boyfriend for some party supply shopping for their new Years' Eve party.

 

...

 

Harry and the blonde didn't last too long. Felicity was her name, soon discovered Louis. She came in one day, while Louis was walking round the bed practising his role of Oberon, king of fairies, and being distracted by Harry, who seemed quite nervous in his own side. Harry pecked her lips and pushed her away quite fast, making her look somewhat surprised.

"Wanna go for a walk?" Harry said. Felicity nodded, and they left. Harry came back, alone, when Louis had already arrived from Drama practise, three hours later. He looked disappointed, sad and somehow determined. Louis felt lost: he usually knew what was going on in the other boy's life, but this time, he had no idea. Again, he wished he knew the boy in real life. Or was it real life?

 

...

 

Louis tried going to the bakery again when Christmas vacation ended. It didn't work. There was still no Harry working there, and he received the same strange look at the question, from a different worker this time.

He even dared to invite Stan to his room to play FIFA, watching his reactions carefully to see if he saw anything weird in the looking glass. That very same day Harry had left to visit his grandparents, and was away for three days, so it didn't work. Louis decided to just let it be. In reality, he didn't want Harry to stop being his very own secret.

He found out Harry's birthday was the 1st of February because his entire family came in his bedroom that morning singing Happy Birthday before Harry woke up. Harry always woke up early, so Louis was certain the end of the world had just started when he started hearing some distorted voices singing at what felt like two in the morning. That day, when he was coming back from school, he passed by a nice bookshop. Something pulled him in, and before he realised it, he was waiting in the queue, a leather journal clasped in his hands, about to ask the salesperson to wrap it for a present.

That same day was when he realised how madly in love with Harry he was, and in how much trouble he was. Because he could never be with him, right? For God's sake, Harry didn't even exist. Or did he?

 

...

 

Summer came. Luis graduated, and Harry went to junior prom with a friend. Louis was jealous, but wasn't. He knew Em was just a friend. He had seen Harry whispering things at her ear, and he had heard her say yes and hug him, but that was it. He was going crazy. He was stalking the boy. He was jealous because of a ghost. Or wasn't Harry one?

 

...

 

Summer passed. Louis was still screwed. And he was leaving to London for university, which was good. He would get away from that damn mirror.

He had tried covering it, but he was too curious. He felt bad looking through it, staring at the other boy like it was a TV show and he had fallen miserably hard for the main character.

He was screwed. Or wasn't he?

 

...

 

Louis started packing for uni. He had thought several times of not going, at least for a year, to help Jay with his sisters, but he had finally decided to go ahead and do it. He had always wanted to do something related to theatre. This last year he had done great at school, at least compared to his record. Moreover, since it was his first year at the new school, the teachers had thought the teachers in Doncaster had been to harsh on him, and had given him some really good recommendation letters. He had finally decided on accepting Montview's offer, and had started packing. His mom had a new boyfriend, Dan, and he was a great dude, so he wasn't as afraid to leave.

He also wanted-and didn't want-to get away from Harry. The boy was driving him crazy.

 

...

 

London was great, especially at first. Louis really liked beginnings, meeting new people... He hadn't felt that way when he had moved to Holmes' Chapel a year ago, but he knew it was because of all the bad things that had been happening. He liked to think it also had to do with him being more mature. He really enjoyed hanging out with his classmates, because they all enjoyed drama at least as much as he did, and going with them to musicals, plays and uni parties was great fun. His economical situation was also better now, because of Dan moving in. He took up a job anyway. He avoided purposefully all vacancies related to bakeries.

 

...

 

By the end of term, in December, he was a little bored. He had maybe expected that, being London such a big city, he would find someone that reminded him of the green eyed boy he left at home behind a glass, oblivious to his existence. He couldn't, not either find the guy or admit to himself that he was even looking for him. He was excited to come back to his sisters, but also anxious to see if Harry was still there, and what had happened to him the last three months. He had talked and skyped with his sisters, and they had gone visit him a couple of times. He had no idea of what Harry had been up to since September.

When he arrived home, he said hi and went directly to his room.

Harry wasn't there.

Thinking that maybe he was working or with friends, he went to take a shower.

When he came back, Harry wasn't there yet.

Their rooms looked just like he remembered them, but Harry had hung a scarf, using a big nail, over one corner of the galaxy poster. A Hufflepuff scarf, no less. Louis chuckled. Harry was such a nerd. And he still wasn't there.

He was starting to feel like a stood up lover. He needed a smoke.

When he was passing next to the galaxy poster on his way to the door, he noticed something.

The nail, the one that was holding Harry's hufflepuff scarf, was there, in his room, too. He had no idea wether it had been there all along or not, but it was certainly the same nail.

Then, Harry arrived. And, was that a GUY hanging from his neck and kissing him like his life depended on it?

Louis almost ran out of the door and shut it, breathing heavily. He didn't want to come back to his room, who knew when Harrry would be alone again. He really didn't want to walk on them.

So he took the twins to the park, he let Lottie paint his nails and take the nail polish off three times and he helped his mom do the dishes after dinner. He stayed with Dan and Jay while they watched a reprise of Friends on TV and didn't dare to go back to his room until he had had three cigarettes and Dan and his mum had been peacefully sleeping for more than two hours.

Harry was sleeping, lying on his back and with his mouth slightly open. The moonlight coming from the open curtains in both their rooms made it clear that he was alone. And he was well covered in blankets and wearing his flannel pyjamas, so Louis breathed happy. Maybe Harry had a boyfriend, but at least he hadn't been dumped or left to wake up alone. Then again, he was only 17 and living in his family home.

Louis covered the mirror with a blanket, determined to let the boy have some privacy and not let him fall even more for Harry. He got in his bed and stared at the ceiling. He moved to the left, and then to the right. He shook his pillow, trying to get more comfortable. He turned to the left again. Then, he sighed and got up. He took the blanket down and went back to bed, falling asleep watching the boy from the other dimension dream.

 

...

 

Louis' birthday came and passed. New year followed, and soon it was time for Louis to leave for London again. He hadn't seen Harry's boyfriend again, but he had heard them talking on the phone. He had tried his best not to pay attention, plugging in earphones. He had tried to untangle his feelings from the curly hair and the green eyes and the dimples, and it hadn't worked. He packed his things and left without a second glance at the mirror. It would never happen.

He found himself watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos documentaries on the 1st of February, and he wanted to go hunt down the stupid curls and the green eyes and the dimples and kick them out of his life forever.

 

...

 

And then, it was spring break. Louis was back at Holmes' chapel, ready to rest from his first year at university, and to spend time with his sisters, who he missed like crazy. And to see Harry. He felt like shit for not having said goodbye, or happy birthday, even while he hadn't been home at Harry's birthday. Louis started thinking he was going crazy, for real this time. Maybe Harry was really there, and he wasn't crazy for seeing him, but he was crazy for feeling bad for not saying Happy Birthday to a boy who couldn't even hear him. He was also worried, was Harry doing well enough at school as to get into the universities he wanted?

He gave himself a mental facepalm for even thinking about that, and he rang the bell. A bunch of girls jumped at him and hugged him, asking him stuff and telling him how much they had missed him. Louis laughed at them and carried his bags upstairs, purposefully avoiding to look at the mirror first thing. Maybe because he didn't want to feel too dependant.

When he dared look, he saw Harry.

He was crying, sitting on the floor, his back resting on the bed, his fingers covering his face, and trying to stop his sobs with the hem of his T-shirt.

Louis' bag fell to the ground, and he didn't even notice. He was only five centimetres away from the mirror in one big step, and he kneeled to be as close as possible to Harry as he could.

He had been his secret flatmate for more than a year before he left for London, and all throughout holidays. He had never seen the younger boy cry. True, he had been sad a couple times, he had been worried because of exams, or for his sister, or that time his friend Em broke her leg. But Harry had never cried. Not once. Much less in that heart-breaking way, sobbing uncontrollably, trying desperately to cover his whole face and pulling at his hair and...

Louis was feeling physically sick. What could have happened to break the boy that way?

He then noticed the black blazer that laid on the bed, accompanying his white shirt and black trousers and tie, and the flower bouquet tied with a dark bow next to it. And the folded paper. An eulogy. Someone dear to Harry had died, and Harry was destroyed by the loss. He needed to hug him, or to talk to him, or to find a way to make him feel better.

It almost looked like there was nothing between them, the mirror looked so transparent that day. Louis put his palm to the cold glass, reaching for Harry, and got closer to the mirror surface. Harry got his head up for a second, as if he had heard something, and then went back to his crying.

"Oh no, stop crying, Harry"muttered Louis, letting his forehead rest on the glass. Harry hurting was bad. Harry, who was always so cheerful, so happy, even when he was concentrated on something he looked so... so Harry that it made Louis, and apparently his friends too, smile.

What Louis wasn't expecting was the glass melting when he rest his face on it. It was a strange feeling, and he was surprised. He tried pushing his hand through, and realised that it didn't feel that comfortable, but that the tip of his middle finger was on the other side of it. On Harry's side of it.

He got to his feet, and without thinking twice, he took a step forward and was on Harry's side of life.

Chapter Text

If you ever feel alone just know that I'm always parallel on the other side

It was liberating, to finally cry everything out. He had got so used to the knot in his throat that he almost couldn't remember not having it. And it hadn't even been that long. Just five weeks since they had been told his dad was in critical condition, and three days since he had came back home from school and had found Mary, the neighbour, by the door, waiting for him, and had said "sorry, son" before driving him to the hospital, where his mom and Gemma already were.

He hadn't cried then, he almost hadn't believed it. It had been just now, getting dressed for the funeral, that the news had really reached the bottom of his brain. He couldn't come out of his room like that, it would just break his mom's heart even more. He had to be strong for her. The worst thing was it wasn't like they didn't know it was going to happen. Again, his dad had been sick for some time. But Christ, how do you get ready for such a thing, no matter wether you know it's going to happen or not?

Harry sobbed, trying to calm his breath down, opening his eyes.

That's when he saw the boy coming out of the mirror, and jumped back, hitting his back on the bed and getting to his feet as fast as he could.

"What the..."

At least he had stopped crying. But now he was hallucinating. Great.

"Oops."

"Hi?" Harry was shocked.

"Harry, I'm so sorry"

The other boy, a couple centimetres taller than him, had feathery brown hair and bright, sad blue eyes. He took a step closer, and Harry, still shocked, moved back. He was going crazy right?

Louis was faster and in less than one second was hugging Harry. Harry was so shocked at first, but it didn't take him much time to melt into the older boy's arms.

Louis mentally slapped himself. He had got through the stupid mirror. He was in a room, just like his, but with Harry, warm and wet from tears, next to him. And, stupidly, instead of moving in little by little, explaining where he came from, or why he had crossed, he had just jumped at Harry and hugged him. He was actually surprised Harry was hugging him back, had it been the other way round, he would have probably thrown a couple of shoes at whoever appeared out of nowhere into his room. Luckily, he hadn't been hit by anything thrown by Harry. Yet.

Harry was simply too sad. He knew he tended to get emotional. He hadn't known how it was to lose someone before that week: two of his grandparents had already passed out when he was born, and the two others were still alive. Therefore, the death of his dad, someone who he had been living with since he had been born, who had taken care of him always, who had accepted him and supported him no matter what, even when he came out as gay, had been an awful shot.

And now his brain was feeling so bad that it was creating beautiful older boys to hug him to make him feel better. Well, it certainly was an original technique, brain, good job. And it felt SO real.

Harry moved back and stared at Louis, flabbergasted.

"Hey uh... I'm sorry"said Louis, looking at his feet. Harry had stopped crying, and was now looking at him, frowning."For...what has happened and for uh... frightening you. It was not my intention to do so."

Louis looked up at Harry again. It was not good. He was still looking at him with his green eyes slightly red and his cheeks puffy, but he looked like he was coming back to reality. That probably meant the shoe shooting part was about to come.

"Oh! I'm Louis, by the way. You would never believe it, but I live in this same room but on the other side of the mirror, I have no idea why or how that thing works. I saw you crying and...well, I thought I could try and get through and uh... make you feel better?"

Louis was regretting each word as it left his mouth. The hitting part was arriving, he could see it floating in Harry's eyes.

"Wait so... so you are real?"

Harry's voice was rougher in real life. Probably not as rough as it was now because, after all, he had been crying, but Louis could imagine how it would sound without tears. And he liked it.

The voice tone was not afraid, surprisingly. It was just shocked, and Louis thought he recognised a little bit of curiosity. Great, it probably meant he wouldn't be sent back to his dimension with a concussion. It also meant, and this was for sure, he would have to explain Harry not only why he had crossed, but also why he knew his name. And how long he had been seeing...uh...watching him. And that was going to be awkward.

Louis laughed his nerves off.

"Well yes, what did you think I was made of?"

"So that mirror is like a door to another universe? And you live there? How is it?"

"There are no aliens in that universe, sadly. Although I guess I am an alien in this one then?"

Harry let the smallest of smiles out. Louis couldn't help it but feel proud of himself. Two minutes earlier, Harry had been crying his eyes out. Of course, he wasn't as full of himself as to think Harry was OK now, but at least he wasn't crying anymore, and he had smiled. Almost nothing, no dimples on display, but a smile after all.

A knock on the door saved Louis from the next round of embarrassing questions.

"Harry, dear, we should get going" said his mom from behind.

Harry looked at the door, and then turned back to Louis, as if he was wondering if he would still be there when he came back.

"Coming, mum" he answered.

"Cheer up. Life goes on. I know in how much pain you must be right now, but trust me, they would want you to keep going" started Louis. He didn't even know who had died yet, so he settled for a 'they'. "I know you are strong and can do this."

Harry nodded, his eyes all teary again. He sniffed.

"Will you still be here when I come back?"

"I'll try" answered Louis. He wondered if Harry would want to throw something at him once they had more time. Harry looked at him one last time, after grabbing the blazer, the flowers and the eulogy, like he wanted to say something, but he didn't. He turned back at the door and opened it.

Louis thought he heard a "thank you" just before the door closed. Of course, Harry could have been talking to someone else.

 

...

 

Louis was nervous now. Harry and his family had left more than an hour ago to the funeral. He still didn't know who had died, but it was certainly someone close to the boy.

Louis was shocked. How had he been so stupid? Why had he just...crossed the mirror without further thought? The glass looked absolutely normal from this side, he could see his reflection perfectly. He was afraid, would he be able to go back to his side of it? And would he be able to come back to Harry's once he was at his again? The mirror remained a mystery, but now he was more certain than ever that Harry was not just inside his mind. Harry had been warm, his hair soft against his skin, and his tears wet and hot. All in his room seemed real too: the furniture, just like the one in his own room, the bed, the curtains and the outside world. All just like his room. Even the weather and the temperature were the same.

He took a deep breath and looked around. He wondered if he should try and get out of Harry's room, but decided against it. His family could be back any moment. And, thinking of families...he had just came back from London and disappeared into his room. Probably his sisters were banging the door in his side. Or maybe they had already come inside and, not being able to find him, were worried sick.

He was feeling a weight in his stomach, what if he couldn't go back to his side? And what if Harry came back and didn't find him there because he couldn't leave his side anymore?

Louis shut his eyes, opened them again and got up from Harry's chair. He moved toward the mirror and tried putting his hand to the glass. After a moment of panic, he managed to put his fingers though. Hoping his room was empty and nobody was seeing his hand appear and disappear from the mirror, he took a step back.

He had to go back, but he had also told Harry he would be there when he came back. Well, he had told him he would try, but who cared. That's not what he had meant. The curly haired boy would probably be devastated when he came back. And if Louis wanted to start a friendship with him, after such a strange start, he should probably not start breaking promises. Then, he saw one of Harry's notebooks sitting on the desk. There were many discarded papers around, so he guessed he had been trying to write the eulogy in it. He didn't want to look at them, not wanting to invade Harry's privacy. He felt bad for even thinking that, invade his privacy? More?

I have gone to my side, I'm trying to understand how this thing works. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Louis xx

He scribbled a note in one of the first page of the notebook and left it on the bed, where Harry would certainly see it. He doubted for a second, and then added a post scriptum.

P.S: Hey, I am 99.9% sure I will be able to come back. If I don't, please remember what I told you before.

 

Louis left the pen on the table, and then moved toward the mirror and took a step into it.

 

...

 

So that was what funerals looked like. That was how loss felt.

It was not a nice feeling, not at all. It was some sort of resignation, mixed with pain and an absolute inability to function like a normal human. His mom offered him to stop for some food on the way back home, and all he could do was to shake his head.

Gemma was another emotional wreck. But that emotional wreck had been driven away by her boyfriend, and was probably being pampered and taken good care of. So it was all down to Harry and Anne.

"Harry, I'm worried, are you all right?"

He hadn't eaten or drunk anything at the wake. He had been in serious trouble trying to sound coherent while reading the eulogy. All Harry wanted was to find something to do that didn't remind him of his dad. Something different, out of routine. Well, he also wanted his dad to be back and his mom to be totally happy again, but that was not possible. All he could do was at least not to worry her.

"I'm fine mom, I really am. Are you OK?"

Anne nodded. She wasn't fine, but she was coping.

She parked in front of the house, and Harry came out of the car.

"Mom?"

"I'm going to go for a walk, do you mind staying at home for some time? On your own? I can call someone to..."

Harry stopped her. "No, don't worry, I'll be good."

Harry was sad, but he was also curious. There was a boy in his room, who said he had come from behind his mirror. He was not going to be home alone.

 

...

 

But he was, apparently. The boy had disappeared. Louis, he had called himself. He had left a note on his bed, so it all hadn't taken place in his mind, which was good to know.

Harry started getting out of his suit to change into something more comfortable when he remembered Louis had said he had seen him crying, and that was why he had crossed. So he had seen him. He could see him from the other side of the mirror then?

Harry grabbed his clothes and went to the bathroom to change.

When he came back, Louis was sitting on his bed, looking nervously at his hands.

"Hey" said Harry. Louis was startled by his voice, and smiled softly at him, getting up from the corner of the bed he was sitting at. "So you can cross any time you want?"

"Apparently, yeah".

Harry started folding his suit to put it in the wardrobe. While he felt very curious about the other boy and the mirror, his mind was totally blank and he couldn't think of anything to ask him. Louis looked uncomfortable too, shifting his weight between his feet, and watching every one of Harry's movements as the younger boy put his clothes in order.

"How are you?"

"How am I supposed to be?"

Yeah. Harry had a point.

"I'm sorry. I'm not myself lately."

"Hey, you don't have to apologise. I understand it. I'm uh... sorry."

"No, it's fine. You haven't been but kind and I shouldn't have jumped at you that way."

The boys fell on silence again.

"I'm sorry I frightened you earlier"

"Do you want to go for a walk?"

They spoke at the same time.

"It's fine" answered Harry. He knew he wasn't being himself, but he hoped Louis would understand.

"Sure, let's go."

They did. Harry opened the front door for Louis, which felt strange for him because, after all, it was his house. It wasn't at the same time. The furniture was identical, at least it had been the moment they first arrived at the house, and all except the decoration items and pictures was the same. He didn't say anything and simply followed Harry outside.

Harry was wearing a cardigan over his white cotton T-shirt, and he soon realised it was already too hot for all those layers. It was early April, and it looked like that summer was going to be a hot one.

Louis followed Harry in silence, as the boy walked behind the house and into the fields he could see from his...their window. He was surprised: everything looked just the same. It wasn't only their house then. The sky was the same sky, and he had the feeling the scarce, cotton-like clouds in his side would look exactly the same at that very moment. He didn't really understand it, but he was the drama kid. Harry was the physiscist, he could figure all that out some other time. At the moment, all Louis wanted was to make the other boy feel better.

They reached the river. Louis would have never been able to find that narrow path at the end of his street, which had taken them to the water. It was calm there, and Harry let his back slide down a tree trunk until he was sitting on the ground.

"Thanks for coming. You really helped me."

Louis was lost. He knew what he meant, but he had been sure Harry would make him one, maybe two questions until he had to confess he had been watching him, and then he would get his butt kicked, probably falling into the river. He was wishing the key to his house would work for Harry's too, because he probably wasn't going to be welcome there.

"Anytime, I guess..."

"So, you can see me from your side?"

Oops. There it was. He WAS going to get thrown at the river after all.

"Yes. It's...weird. You almost gave me a heart attack when I saw you the first time" tried to laugh Louis. Harry looked up at him, interested. Louis decided to sit down. Harry was so dumb he would probably fall down if he tried to run after him and strangle him, so he could relax a bit.

"Why? What was I doing?"

"You were just reading. But trust me, when you have just moved in and see the reflection of a reading boy on your bed, and said boy can't be found in real life... I thought the house was haunted or something."

Harry chuckled, and one of his dimples appeared. Louis smiled back, fondly. Harry had put his hair, which usually fell on his eyes, back, and he looked different. A good kind of different, mind you, but different.

"Well, I guess if you have a magic mirror, it IS haunted."

Now it was Louis' time to chuckle.

He had known it. And it was hurting him. Harry had been missing all along. Ever since the moment he had just described, when he had first seen the boy reading and had started getting to know him, he had had that feeling, wanting Harry to know him because...because they would work well together, he guessed. Or not. He was a mess.

"Yeah well... I guess so. Anyway, I made some research and couldn't find any similar situations so... I just let it be."

"So you were there all along? And you could see EVERYTHING I did?"

Was Harry sounding scandalised?

"Uh, yeah. Even that awkward one-man dance party you had last summer. And the air guitar competition with that red hair friend of yours."

Fuck, he had said too much.

Harry blushed like crazy.

"Oh God no. This is like my worst nightmare" he said hiding his face behind his hands, laughing, embarrassed.

"Oh, don't worry, I do that too. Sometimes. Usually I don't hit my pinky toe on the table while doing it but..."

Harry groaned from behind his hands. Louis patted his head, jokingly. At least it didn't look like he was going to get his head hit by a rock. Harry was embarrassed, bright red, feeling his cheeks hot against his hands, but he was also smiling. He found himself thinking of something other than his dad for the first time in days.

"This IS my worst nightmare..."

"Oh, don't sweat it, I am already in Uni so I don't spend much time at home anyways. And I have a life, you know, I don't spend all day looking at you. And I cover the mirror with a blanket to...uh... give you privacy. Sometimes." Louis tried not to lie, but not to say everything either. "You know, you can't have a blanket hanging from the wall and have people not asking questions. It's weird."

Harry groaned again.

"Is that your stomach? Are you hungry?"

Louis knew he wasn't, but he wanted to distend the atmosphere some more. He hoped Harry wouldn't ask any more questions that would put him in a bad place.

"So you don't know how it works? Why it happens? How you can move between sides like that? Why do we exist in parallel places? Why you can see me through but I can't see you?"

Louis shook his head. Harry frowned and started thinking. Well that was a strange problem he had. And he really wanted to solve it. Maybe a wormhole? Right into his room?

No, that didn't make any sense.

Louis looked at Harry's thoughtful expression. He had seen that expression. Very often. But never in real life. It was beautiful.

Maybe it was something more mysterious? Something...magical?

Harry couldn't but imagine Louis dressed as Gandalf, and he laughed.

"What? What happens, Harry?"

It was the first time Harry had laughed since his father had passed out, and he felt like the weight in his guts was slowly disappearing, and he started laughing even harder. And even harder, when he looked at Louis and saw his astonished look.

 

...

 

Harry took Louis to many places that spring break. He showed him his favourite spots around the river, the big field he loved, next to the train bridge he brought food for them to have lunch to, feeling a little stupid because, honestly, who takes friends from other dimensions on pic-nics. Had real life been a star trek movie, they would have already contacted an expert from Cambridge University to help them open doors to other dimensions, and probably saved the human world from an alien invasion. But it wasn't a movie, and Harry was very comfortable taking stuff from the bakery and making sandwiches for him and his friend from other dimension to eat at one of his favourite spots in the world.

He was also making some research, of course. He didn't even try internet, as Louis had. He went to the school library and picked as many science books as he could on the subject. There weren't many, and none of them stated any hypothetical situation similar to theirs.

But Louis came visit him after school some days, because the older boy was still on holiday, and they would play scrabble or video games together, and Harry would take him around town when the weather was good enough, and Louis asked him how he was doing and how was the research going, and what were his plans for university next September and oh physics, that's so interesting. Harry didn't miss how some of the things Louis asked him he already knew, but it was OK because he was asking him, which meant he didn't want to make him uncomfortable. Harry didn't tell him he had noticed it either. He was OK with how they were doing.

One day, just before Louis' spring break ended, Harry came back home from work, and found a note on his bed, just like the day he had met Louis, almost a month before.

Hey, I'm making some research of my own. Don't worry, I'll be there soon.

Louis xx

There was also a post scriptum this time.

P.S: If I don't, meeting you has been amazing! Good luck with uni!

 

...

 

Louis breathed heavily before trying to put one finger under the mirror's dark wood frame. The mirror got about two centimetres away from the wall, and then, when he took his hand away, quickly, his heart beating hard in his chest, it fell back against it with a thud.

Louis tried to put his hand to the glass, not even daring to open his eyes, afraid he would see no huffelpuff scarf hanging next to the door in the reflection.

The glass melted around his fingers in that cold but familiar way. He let the air he was holding in out with a loud sigh. It was still working.

He planted his feet firmly on the ground and tried lifting the entire mirror from his spot, and separating it from the wall about three inches.

He was afraid. Very afraid.

Louis put the mirror back and extended his arm, almost violently, against the glass.

It was hard against his skin.

"No!" and he leant against the glass. He almost slipped into Harry's room.

He made a mental note not to try and cross dimensions fast anymore, and looked through the glass. Yeah, it looked like Harry's duvet. It was still working.

He shut his eyes again and picked the mirror up, this time taking a full step back and leaving the mirror some feet away from its original spot, leaning against the wall instead of hanging from it. One last breath and he tried putting his hand through.

He could still do it, thank God.

Then, something grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him straight into Harry's room, with such strength he lost his balance and fell on Harry's bed-with the boy under him, because apparently he had been the one grabbing his hand and dragging him along.

"What were you doing? A hand moving from that stupid mirror? In and out? I thought you couldn't get through, you asshole!" screamed Harry at him. Louis tried composing himself, falling from the bed on his way.

"Hey, don't be so pissed! I was experimenting!"

Louis looked so funny, there, sitting on the floor. He had frightened Harry to death. First, the note, and then, the floating hand coming and leaving.

"Well, next time, what about telling me?"

"I did tell you?"

"Not about the HAND!"

They stared at each other, mad at each other, but apparently, not too mad, because they both started laughing suddenly. They had been so afraid.

Harry had read the note, and he had been sure for a second that Louis was not going to be able to get back. He hadn't said the 99.9% sure thing this time.

Louis had been afraid to move the mirror. Maybe the portal thing was just there, because their mirrors were in the exact same place. And there was no way he could get his very same uni flat for Harry next term, especially because Harry had still three months of high school before going there. And he wasn't even going to the same school.

Oh, and Louis was also really afraid of telling Harry he wanted to take the mirror with him to uni. That he wanted to take HIM with him to uni.

Chapter Text

And I can't help but notice, you reflect in this heart of mine

Harry was trying to focus on his work, but he simply couldn't. He should have probably shut his iPod off to try and pay more attention to his maths text book, but he knew it wasn't going to work anyway.

Louis had his final play of the year at uni that afternoon, on his side, of course, and had invited him. He had said no, and was now regretting it. He had to study because his A-levels started the next day, and he wouldn't have felt good not studying the day before, but it wasn't like he was making the most of the time anyway. He wondered how Louis was doing. He then let his face fall against the open book on his desk, groaning.

Harry sighed and pressed the next button on his device. He took a blank sheet of paper out and started doing another problem.

Louis had looked so sad when he had said he probably wouldn't be able to attend his play because of exams, as they had talked about. He had also said that no worries, that he could go next year, and that he totally understood it, and asked him if he wanted to play a game of FIFA. Harry had really wanted to go support his friend, after all, they had met because Louis had gone there to support him when he had most needed it, and now he felt bad letting him down that way.

The textbook said the problem answer was 54%. And his solution was -1789%, which was not only wrong but also a completely absurd number. Harry threw the paper to the bin next to the door, angry. The ball hit the side of the basket and fell out.

"Holy fucking shit. Jesus."

Harry got up, picked the stupid paper ball from the floor and threw it into the bin forcefully. He threw himself on the bed.

"Shit. Stupid shit."

With a groan, he stood up and took his school shirt off, putting a baby blue one instead, and slipping in a pair of dark jeans. He ran to the bathroom and put his hair back with a bit of water, coming back into his room as silently and as fast as he could.

"Fuck I can't believe... if mom catches me I'm SO dead."

He latched his door so at least he could pretend he was still in there and tied his shoes.

He then got to the mirror and pressed his palm to it. The glass was cold and hard, but after a couple seconds he was able to get through. He realised it was the first time he had crossed; it was usually Louis the one who would come to his room instead, because Harry was usually busy with homework, and he wasn't living alone like Louis did at his uni residence, so it would have been harder to explain how he had disappeared from his closed room than just telling his family that he had brought a friend.

Harry was on the other side, feeling dizzy, surprised Louis had never told him it felt so...disgusting to cross. The glass, or whatever that mirror was made of, was like mercury: heavy, cold and metallic-like. He shook his head and prayed his phone worked in Louis dimension, as Louis' worked at his, because he had no idea of how to get to the theatre. And he had to get tickets first, which he was fairly sure were for sale at the students' union, right? But where was that? He still had about half an hour to do all that, and to find a key to open Louis' dorm room.

He remembered Louis laughing when he had mimicked his mom's face when she had seen him carrying the mirror to the car to take it to uni. Harry had to admit he had been shocked too, when he had asked the older boy when he was starting his last term and Louis had answered he already had, and that he had taken the mirror with him. Harry had asked him how had he managed to move the mirror without losing the connection, but he had been more interested in knowing why he had bothered to carry the mirror all the way to London. Louis had answered "You know, me mum actually asked me the same", and had done the mother thing, with a slightly... embarrassed look?

The key was lying on a table next to a dead cactus. How had Louis managed to dry a cactus to death was a mystery, but it was also the most Louis thing ever.

Harry opened the dorm door, and came downstairs closing behind his back. He was surprised: London was not more than three hours away: it was just a second away, through the glass.

He unlocked his phone, contained a small squeak at the sight of the signal icon, which was positive, and searched how to get to the students' union.

 

...

 

Louis was nervous. He always was before a play, and he loved the feeling. He knew it would disappear as soon as he took the step that put him under the lights and in the audience's sight. He checked his makeup one last time and breathed deeply, taking that step. And he was no longer Louis Tomlinson, but Edward Rochester.

He performed with his heart on it, as he always did, ever since playing Danny on that grease play, what seemed so long ago. He had first fallen in love with drama much earlier, but that had been the moment he had decided that was what he wanted to do. And now he was doing it. He was playing the main male role in the first year class in one of the most prestigious drama schools in England. He had learnt a lot that year, and he had improved a lot, and now he got to show it to the world, to his family, who had come to see him. The only thing missing there was Harry. But he could go to his next play, next year. And he needed to do good in his exams if he wanted to get into all those universities he had applied to.

He played a sad, repented-but-not-too-much Mr Rochester when Jane discovers they can't marry, and the disappeared from stage and went to change his clothes and apply the new makeup.

He lurked from behind the curtains to see how his classmates were doing on stage, to be captivated by a heartbroken Jane played by Eliza, so credible his chest hurt from seeing her rejecting St John's marriage offer, after her aside talking about Rochester.

He then came out again. He walked, slowly, playing a man who is now blind, and sat down, looking at the remains of his burnt-to-ashes mansion, not being able to see anything, of course.

Jane came in. She saw him, stuttered, then kept walking.

"Who's there", he asked. She approached him, and he held her hand.

"This hand" he said. Rochester had recognised his love just by touching her. He got up, finding her face.

 

...

 

Harry had to admit he was crying. He knew the plot, he had read the stupid book for literature class. But he was crying like a baby at Jane and Rochester's, his friend Louis', happy ending. He got up, his hands red and hurting from applauding, and tried to discover where people were going, looking for the entrance to the actors' dressing rooms.

He was walking down the hall when he spotted Louis, hugging a woman he guessed was his mother, and surrounded by four girls, his sisters. Louis saw him over his mom's shoulder and let go of the hug.

"Hey Harry, what about those exams? Wow, have you been crying? Hey, I thought you were good at math!" chuckled Louis.

Harry knew for a fact that he was very emotional, and a couple of extra tears fell down again.

"You were amazing Lou. Well, everyone was, but it was the end what killed me..."

"Wow, I might deserve an Oscar for this role, did I really make you cry that much?"

Harry laughed and nodded, and he suddenly found himself inside one of those warm comfy Louis' hugs, and he hugged the older boy back.

"Hey Louis, do you introduce us?" said a young blonde girl touching Louis' shoulder. His family was there, looking at them. Harry quickly cleaned his face, and shook Jay's hand kindly.

 

...

 

After Louis' family had to leave not to miss the train, the two boys were left alone. Louis dragged Harry to his changing room, where he took all the makeup off and changed into a pair of jeans and a white shirt, because "we are going out for dinner with the other actors, Haz, and I can't allow you being the only one in smart clothes after you so kindly came to see me".

Harry was introduced to most of the actors, Louis' classmates, and he spent quite some time congratulating Eliza, the girl who had played Jane. Louis smiled fondly at him throughout most of his friend's fanboy monologue at the girl, who seemed to like him instantly, and kept smiling when he got up from the table and offered a toast. Just after it, he elbowed Harry.

"Hey, come on, I'll take you home. You need your sleep. I can see these guys tomorrow, and we have already had the toast, so it's all good."

Louis was kissing Eliza's cheeks and muttering something into her ear while Harry put his jacket on, looking at the restaurant's door.

Then, a girl came into the place, and, as she saw Harry, she went all white. Almost as if she had seen a ghost.

Harry thought she look a little bit like his sister, but thinner, and her hair was shorter and blonde.

"Ready H?"

He was startled, and looked at Louis, who was still smiling with that fond look in his blue eyes.

"Uh... yeah, yeah, I am..."

He looked back at the door, but there was nobody there anymore.

 

...

 

Louis had to-of course-carry the mirror back to his house a week after. He hadn't seen Harry since his play, since he didn't want to bother the boy any more; he felt bad for Harry coming to his play, no matter how happy for it he was at the same time. He didn't want to distract him any more.

His mom had interrogated him about Harry, too. As soon as he had been back at his house, the mirror hanging safely in its usual spot, and the girls had gone to bed, his mum had paused the movie they were watching and had started making questions about the curly boy.

Harry had made Louis' entire family fall instantly in love with him, which had made Louis feel better. Or less stupid for having fallen for the boy that fast, before even they had had their first conversation. And now he was even more into him. Of course, they had actually spoken to each other, and he had learnt more about Harry's life and his view of the world. Now he was no longer a distant watcher; he was his friend now; his best friend, he dared say.

Jay was curious, because Harry had said he lived in Holmes' Chapel, but that he was a year younger than Louis, so she was wondering how they had met, and how they had kept in touch, how came she had never seen him around before and... well, and how close they were.

Louis tried to avoid giving too much detail, especially when answering her last question. They were friends, mum, that's all. I'll go out and have a smoke.

Jay told him he knew how much she hated him smoking, and he said he would quit soon, and went outside nevertheless.

As the smoke disappeared into the night's dark sky, Louis got lost inside his mind. He was worrying about wether he was finally able to give Harry his birthday present or not,-yeah, the journal he had bought him more than a year ago-without coming out as a creep, when a girl passed by the house. She stopped on the road, staring at the house with a determined expression, and stepped inside the front yard.

Louis came back to reality when he heard the fence opening, and he got up from the stairs with one last drag, throwing the cig on the ashtray he had hidden next to the door.

"Hey, may I help you, lady?"

The girl, who hadn't seen Louis until that moment, stopped on her tracks.

"Hello. Do you live here?"

The girl's voice sounded familiar to Louis, but he couldn't see her face in detail the dark, and he was pretty sure he didn't know anyone with that hairstyle: shoulder length and blond.

"Yeah. Who are you?"

"Since when do you live here?"

The girl had started walking toward the front door again, and Louis was not very comfortable. He didn't know her, and there was something in her voice tone and body posture that made her look violent somehow.

"Who's there, Louis?" asked Jay, opening the door. The light from inside the house illuminated the yard, and Louis saw the girl's face.

It was Gemma. Harry's older sister.

 

...

 

Harry had wanted to invite Louis to hang with his friends on the end-of-school party he had with his friends, but he thought he would have to explain too many things to his friends and abandoned the idea. He got wasted, arrived home in the early morning and slept until past noon.

When he wok up, Louis was there. He was lying on one side of the bed, fooling around with his phone, probably in twitter.

"Hey"

"Hmmmmpf"

Louis chuckled at Harry, who had just put his head under the blankets.

"Oh c'mon Hazza, don't be lazyyyy. Have some water, it will help with the hangover."

"I'm exahusteeed" said the other boy while letting his head fall over the side of the bed.

Louis jumped up and gave Harry the glass of water that was on the bedside table.

"There you go. Drink it all. And? How was it? Did you get any luck?"

Harry chuckled and groaned.

"What sort of person do you take me for Lou..."

"Not a very uh...womanizer one, I guess..."

Harry giggled and left the water on the floor, lying down again.

"Oh. I will never, ever, get drunk again."

"You are such a nerd."

"I am. I am. Happy now?"

 

...

 

Louis is not sure on how to tackle the Gemma issue to Harry. Especially not to hangover Harry, who is lying on the grass next to one of the red rail bridge pillars, aviators on and half-empty water bottle really close.

"So."

"So?"

Harry could see Louis was nervous about something. The older boy was usually much more talkative and extroverted, and now he was just lost inside his head. He got up and sat down, his legs crossed, and reached out to grab a pastry. They had gone shopping for brunch -for Harry- and lunch -for Louis- at the bakery where Harry worked some days, and then, they had left for the fields, where they were then, sunbathing with jeans and sweaters on because the weather was not that great yet.

"I have seen your sister."

Harry frowned. Was Louis... saying that he liked Gemma?

"On my side."

So he didn't like her, right?

Oh wait. On HIS side?

Harry cocked his head and blinked a couple times, processing.

"Oh?"

"Yeah, I saw her the other night, in my side."

Louis didn't say any more. He didn't want to. He couldn't.

"Really?"

Harry was as shocked as Louis had been when he had first seen her. Then he remembered he had also thought he had seen her, after Louis' Jane Eyre play.

"Yeah. She has a different hairstyle there though. Blond, and short hair. She's also thinner." continued Louis, playing with the grass.

Way thinner. Stress. Too many bad things happening to her lately.

"Oh."

Louis nodded and shut up. Maybe he shouldn't have said anything.

 

...

 

Harry was staring at Gemma at dinner. She started putting him faces when she noticed.

"Harry, can you please hand me the salt?"

He gave his mom the salt, and went back to staring.

"Are you OK?"

Harry was, but also wasn't.

Was there another Harry in Louis' dimension?

 

...

 

The boys didn't talk about that again. They spent most summer together. Harry stayed with Louis' family for a weekend, and little did Louis' parents know that he had so many clothes because he was literally going to his own room to get them instead of fishing them from his backpack.

They also hung out two or three times with Louis' friends from drama, they drove to London and did a pub crawl with Eliza and her boyfriend and started looking for people who had friends starting the physics degree in UCL the next year. It had been Louis' idea, and Harry had complained at first.

He had no idea that Louis was also looking for something else in Harry's dimension.

He was looking for himself.

 

...

 

Summer passed. Harry left for uni, and he took the mirror with him. He started classes, and he decided he loved university life. True, his room was quite small and he barely had any space left thanks to the mirror, but it was OK. Louis' idea of looking for his future course-mates had worked, and he had managed to create a small group of, while not close friends, ice-breakers. They sometimes hung with Louis too, when he wasn't too busy with his drama studies, and he and Harry still sometimes did the same stuff they used to do before. They played videogames and Harry beat Louis' ass at scrabble at least once a week, and when Louis, who had been kicked out of his student residence along with all second years, wasn't feeling like cooking, he got into Harry's side and had lunch or dinner with him.

Harry was also trying to figure out more things about the mirrors. He didn't want to be too explicit while asking his teachers, but he had spent many hours at the libraries reading on the matter. He was now more curious than ever.

The Gemma thing had hit him harder than he thought Louis believed. He was, after all, starting to admit he was in love with the blue eyed boy. He did not, under any circumstance, want Louis to change him for the Harry in his dimension, even if they only met by chance. They had made a promise not to look for the other they when they weren't in their side of the mirror, after Harry had two-or maybe three-tequilas and was being taken home by Louis earlier in the summer.

"Lou. Let's make a deal" had said drunk Harry. Louis, who couldn't tell the boy no, nodded while pushing his door open. Luckily, their small gathering had taken place in Harry's side, so he wouldn't have to carry Harry through the mirror. Harry would probably puke on him if he had to get under the liquidy, disgusting feel of the mirror.

"What deal you want us to make?"

"Let's not look for us."

Louis opened Harry's bed as well as he could with one hand while trying to avoid Harry falling with the other one.

"I don't know what you mean, Haz"

He pushed Harry to the desk and tried sitting him on the office chair. Harry fell on the floor giggling as soon as he released him.

"I mean... We know Gems exists in your side, so I probably do too. Don't look for Harry 2, that's what I mean." continued Harry.

"Harry 2? Well, that's an original name you gave your other self."

Harry started laughing hysterically from the floor, and Louis kneeled beside him to help him up and into the bed. He left for the toilet and filled Harry a glass of water.

"Drink, H."

Harry took his sweaty, now longer curls out of his face and obeyed.

"No, but seriously" continued the curly-haired boy while leaning down onto the pillows. "You are the best friend ever, Lou, I don't want to lose you to... to myself. It would be the most stupid story ever right?" Harry was laughing again, and Louis wasn't sure wether to laugh or to cry at Harry's humourless, drunk but also bitter giggles. "Can you imagine? The newspapers would say... 'Boy loses bestfriend to himself. They decide on resolving the issue with a game of scrabble.'. Of course, it would only be in the unimportant newspapers...Who do you think would win, me or Harry 2?"

Louis sighed.

"I promise I won't try to look for Harry 2, Harry 1. OK? Go to sleep. You know, we have more important things to do this summer."

"Like what?"

"Like increasing your zero alcohol resistance, for example."

Harry was actually surprised he could remember all that the next morning. What he couldn't remember was Louis' sad look while he covered him well with the blankets, making a Harry peaceful cocoon.

He closed the book he was taking notes from, after noting down what page had had left it at, looking at his watch. He was supposed to meet Lou and one of his friends from Applied Mathematics for lunch in half an hour, and he felt like enjoying one of the last warm days of October outside, so he took his stuff and left the library. He sat down on a bench where he was sure he would see Louis coming from his dorm into campus.

He took a hair tie from his wrist and took some hair from his forehead. He was letting his hair grow, and now it was almost reaching his shoulders, falling in brown curls. He thought he looked good, different from school boy Harry.The downside of it was he could no longer take the hair off his eyes in one movement, so it wasn't rare to see him around campus asking girls for a spare hair tie when he forgot his at his dorm. Louis teased him about it but enjoyed playing with the loose strands, so he guessed he liked it too. What he didn't enjoy had been being outgrown by his younger friend.

Harry sighed and opened his notebook. He started doodling. He closed the notebook and slid it back into his backpack. He grabbed his leather journal instead, the one Louis had given him as "really late birthday present, but, you know, I felt bad not giving you anything after all this time". With puppy eyes. Louis could ACTUALLY put puppy eyes.

He started writing. The journal was full of little drawings and short poems he would never show anyone, quotes and song lyrics. He saved it for special moments, or moments he felt like it was a special moment even when they were the most normal or random moments ever. Like then, sitting down on that campus bench, looking at the students move around and the tree leaves falling.

Somebody blowed at his ear, frightening him, and he closed the journal fast while turning to whoever had shocked him. It was Louis, who had jumped over the bench's armrest and was now sitting next to him.

"Hey H. What you writing?"

Harry's cheeks went the softest shade of pink possible, but Louis noticed it.

"Things. You are early for lunch, I don't think Nick is out of class yet."

Louis looked at his feet, wearing his favourite pair of vans.

"I have to be back earlier than I thought, I was wondering if you wanted to grab some food with me and postpone lunch with him?"

"Uh, sure? What do you have later?"

"Rehearsal. We will have our characters assigned soon so..."

Harry got up, slid his journal into his backpack and picked the bag up, while Louis jumped from the bench and waited for him.

"Should we do something fast then, so you can go back and study your lines then?"

"Yeah, OK. That's great, yeah."

Harry though Louis was acting strange. He seemed to be locked inside his mind, kicking little rocks they found on their way out of campus, and walking silently, his bag hung on one shoulder and his hair the usual soft-looking mess.

They sat down at the café, and they ordered drinks. Harry took his phone out to text Nick, and Louis started speaking for the first time since they had left campus.

"That's a nice sandwich you got, Haz. But the combination with a herbal tea... does it work?"

Harry chuckled.

"It kinda does actually."

Louis switched off again after that. He finished his chicken sandwich and shook the crumbs from his pants.

They had decided to sit on a bench just outside the shop they had bought their food at, and had had lunch in silence. Harry knew something was off, he just wasn't able to pinpoint what.

"I'm leaving Haz."

Harry had his mouth full with the last, huge bite of his sandwich, so he couldn't answer.

"There's an international study programme starting next month, and I can't say no. The recommendation letters I'll get there will be amazing, and it's a great experience, being able to perform with different people. Besides, it's not something that is offered to everyone..."

Louis was looking at the floor. He really was hoping Harry would get the important part of the conversation, or, at least, the part that concerned them.

"But uh... what with it? Where are you going to?"

Harry sipped the last remains of his tea and threw the empty paper glass to the bin.

Louis sighed. Of course, life had it against him and now he had to explain Harry everything in more detail.

"In Berlin. The thing is... Well, one thing is to carry the mirror with me in the car when my mom drives me to uni. Another is to fucking ship it to Germany."

Oh. He got it now.

When Louis had said he was leaving, he meant leaving his side.

"Well, that's an uhm... great opportunity, congratulations!"

Harry was not as excited as he was pretending to be about it.

"It is. But we will have to lose all contact during the school year, Harry."

Louis was devastated. He had got used to practically living with Harry. He was in love with the boy for fuck's sake.

It was hard to admit it, though, but he was also kinda disappointed with Harry's reaction. He had expected some more emotion of the boy who cried every time he saw a romantic movie. And, again, he was in love with him. Harry's dull reaction meant that probably his feelings were not reciprocated.

He had know taking the mirror to London had been stupid.

Now he was going to miss the curly boy more than ever.

"Wait"said Harry then. Louis looked up at him, the other boy's eyebrows almost touching under a loose strand of hair.

"Hmm?"

"So you will be gone for months? And we won't be able to talk, or to see each other, for all that time?"

Louis nodded. Harry looked at his eyes then.

"Wow. I have just realised we we're going to do worse than renaissance era couples. Christ, even medieval people could have pen pals, and we live in the era of computers and internets and we won't be able to know if.. if the other one dies? We are literally back to prehistory."

Louis was staring at Harry. He had not expected that reaction. Harry didn't sound hurt, or angry, or anything, he was just laughing bitterly.

"I mean, I understand it, please, do what is best for your future. Absolutely" he continued, moving his hands around. "Yeah, totally. Just tell me one thing."

Louis nodded, looking at Harry, a knot in his throat making it hard to breathe.

"Tell me that, if you find the other Harry in your side, you won't... you won't forget me."

Louis let a dry laugh out.

"Jesus Harry, what would Harry 2 be doing in Berlin?"

"I'm not talking about Germany, I mean anywhere. It would be so much simpler for you to just...let me here, and go live your adventures abroad being able to text a Harry..."

Louis frowned, facing the other boy.

"Yeah, but I don't want a Harry. I want THE Harry I have right now."

Harry had started crying. It was so not nice, and he felt so watched, even though they were alone in the small café terrace. He wasn't sobbing, and he had managed to speak clearly, but tears were already rolling down his cheeks. Louis looked at him, not knowing how to act or what to say. If he should say it.

"You are jealous of yourself, you do realise that, don't you? And are you crying?" said Louis then, his voice soft as he brought his hand to Harry's cheek. The other boy grabbed it and moved it away.

"I am not jealous! I am not jealous. And I am crying, but in a cool way."

And then, maybe it was because he hadn't released Louis' hand yet, maybe it was because he was feeling overly emotional, maybe it was because he thought 'who cares, we are going to be in communicated for months anyway so'... The thing was, no matter the reason, Harry had crossed the small space between them and was kissing Louis.

Louis had no idea what was going on for half a second. He was shocked for another half, and then he took his time-another full second-to actually realise what was happening. He could taste Harry's 'cool' tears in his mouth, he could feel the soft, full lips of the boy, he could feel his hand, still holding his, pulling him in.

The two seconds he took to kiss Harry back were long for the other boy. Very long. He hadn't known how would Louis react; after all, he wasn't even a hundred percent sure he liked guys.

Apparently, he did, because when he kissed him back he was passionate, dragging him closer by putting one hand on his hair and holding his tighter with the other one.

Or maybe he didn't like guys. But he did, for sure, like Harry.

When they parted, both flushed and blushed, Louis didn't let go of Harry, and just stared at him.

"Hey. You don't have to be jealous. You are the only one that matters, Haz."

He let go of his hand, and this time, when he approached Harry's cheek and passed his thumb under his eyes, the other boy let him, closing his eyelids and sighing.

"I'm sorry, I overreacted, I..."

Louis interrupted him pecking his lips shortly, and then he parted, frightened for a second. Maybe Harry hadn't totally meant to kiss him and it had just happened because he was shocked?

"I totally get it H, I would have done the same."

"But I have been in love with you for years now!"

Louis chuckled.

"Less than I have, believe me."

Harry blushed, and tried moving toward Louis to kiss him again. Louis responded the kiss lightly.

"Hey, really, don't worry. We will get through" he says pulling back.

Harry opens his eyes and looks at him.

Louis knew it that moment, when Harry's eyes were looking deep into his, that he couldn't hide the truth from him, that he couldn't start a real relationship with the boy without telling him the truth first.

"Haz..." he started. The boy looked at him, questioning with his eyes. "I have to tell you something."

"What?"

Louis put a loose curl behind Harry's ear, gulping.

"Harry 2 is dead."

Chapter Text

I'm looking right at the other half of me

"She's a friend, mum."

Louis' body is all tensed up, but he turns back and smiles at his mum so she will leave them alone.

"Do you want to come in then, dear? Isn't it late to walk around alone?"

"Don't worry, mum, I'll walk her home."

Jay closes the door after her, smiling, and Louis grabs Gemma's arm, before she can protest, and drags her out of the property and across the street.

"Hey, let me go, I'm not your friend, I don't even..."

Louis lets go of her after pushing her out of the sight of his house.

"You might not be my friend, but you are not allowed to get in my house either then. What do you want?"

"Hey boy, calm down, I just wanted to check something."

"To check what?"

Louis is still shocked. Gemma. Harry's older sister. She is there, at his house, and looking totally defensive, as if she is covering she is really afraid.

Louis doesn't know what has brought her there, but he is sure of one thing.

That is not Harry's side Gemma, because she has certainly not come from his bedroom, and she is thinner and looks a little different. But then, if there is a Gemma on his side of the mirror... That can mean many things.

"For how long have you lived at the house?"

"I really don't understand why you want to know that, Ge... cough, girl."

"I am the old owner's daughter. I used to live there, until like...two years ago."

Louis listens to her carefully, trying to gather as much information as possible, so he can later try and figure out as much as he can.

"Oh I see. And why did you want to check if we still lived here now? You said it, it's been two years, it's not like you could have stopped us now if we were trashing the place."

"I was just...curious."

Louis knows she is lying. She is looking down, and when she glances back up, he can see her furrow her nose. That's what Harry does when he is not telling the truth.

"OK. But why now?"

Gemma starts walking away, taking long steps.

"I don't have to explain you anything."

"You should probably not be walking around the place alone. Let me drive you to your house" says Louis, coming after her and grabbing her arm again.

"Why should I get in a car with someone I know nothing about?"

"Maybe because I avoided my mom calling the police when you came into the house uninvited?"

"That does not mean you're suddenly a good person."

Louis is surprised; the Gemma he knows is much softer than the one he's talking to.

"We can walk there then? If it's not too far from here?"

Gemma sighs and nods, and starts walking ahead of Louis.

"You seem familiar" she said after a couple minutes. Louis swallowed dryly.

"Do I?"

Then, Gemma stops, almost making Louis crash against her back.

"You...your were with him..."she mutters, so low he has to put some effort in understanding her.

"I was with who?"

"At London, in a pub, a week ago... You were there with some friends..."

Louis looks at her, trying to guess what he can say and what he can't. He decides on not mentioning Harry.

"Maybe. I went to have a small gathering with my classmates. Why?"

"I thought I had seen him there..."she mutters, her eyes lost, looking front but not seeing anything.

"You saw who?"

"Harry. My brother."

Louis is glad the moon is not too bright, because he feels all the blood rushing from his face. Maybe Harry and him should stop moving around each other's dimensions so much, they cold meet their other self and create one of those sci-fi movie chain reaction that usually ends destroying the universe.

"Oh? There are...uh... there are no Harrys in my class, so I don't think he was there?"

"I saw him. But he couldn't have been there..."

"What do you mean?"

The question escapes his lips before he notices, and he curses himself. He has to be more careful.

"My brother died. We moved away, because my mother couldn't handle living there anymore. Two years ago. He died. And I saw him last week...I thought I was coping well, finally not everything reminded me of him, and there he was, with you and your friends..."

Gemma starts crying, and Louis, shocked, pulls her into a hug and tries and calm her down. Gemma moves around, so he lets go. Gemma starts running away, and he knows he should go after her, because she should not go around town alone at night. But he is too shocked and stays in place, looking at her run from him.

...

Harry was waiting for him, lying in his desk chair, with the name of the wind open in front of him and his gaze lost out of the window, into the big park that was just outside his flat.

"Hey" said Louis, leaving his keys on the table and throwing himself on the bed.

Harry got up from his meditating state and turned to him.

"Hey!"

The both stared at each other's eyes for a second.

"Which role did they give you?"

Harry started pushing the chair a little bit to one side, and then to the other. Louis rose and looked at him.

"None, I'm not acting here this semester."

Harry stopped moving the chair and looked down.

"Oh. Right."

After their chat at lunch, Louis had left for his side, almost running not to be late, and Harry had tried going back to class. Well, he had gone to class, but he had been unable to pay any attention.

"What did you do then?"

There was a strange tension between them, that none of them liked.

"I uh... confirmed I was going to take the grant and uh... go to Berlin."

"Oh. I see."

"I wasn't sure I wanted to go before but... Well, I knew I wanted to go but..."

Louis' hands got lost in his hair, trying to find the right words.

"Hey Lou", said then harry, getting up and sitting beside Louis. "You should never put anything or anyone between you and your dreams. Never."

Harry got one hand up and untangled Louis' fingers from his neck.

"Stop pulling, you'll hurt yourself."

"I'm so sorry Haz."

Harry leant in and hugged his friend tightly, very tightly, before kissing his shoulder lightly.

"It's OK. We will get through. You said it yourself."

They stayed there, holding each other, for some time, until the tension of the room had disappeared and they were themselves again: two boys in love, not afraid to show it anymore.

...

Louis woke up earlier than usual, because of the bed suddenly sinking. He moved his leg away and buried his face in the pillow.

"Shit, sorry I didn't mean to wake you up".

Harry's voice was rough, and made Louis open one eye slowly. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing shorts and a sweaty T-shirt.

"The fuck H, running? Really? It must be like five AM."

Harry chuckled and stretched one leg to take his trainers off. They had slept together last night, Harry being too tired to go back to his side after that day: first the news that Louis was leaving, then hours playing and chatting.

Being completely honest, he hadn't been so tired. But he was comfortable in Louis' bed, holding hands and within a short-enough-to-kiss-him-when-he-wanted range.

"It's actually almost eight. You should probably go getting up, when does your first class start?"

Louis complained a little, but he started moving, stretching the T-shirt he had slept in and taking out his arm to grab the jeans from the bottom of the bed. He didn't have to go to class anymore, but he had to solve some scholarship paperwork. He decided not to mention this, not to make Harry sad again. He looked great that morning, the part of his hair that was long enough tied in a bun, messy from the running, and a huge smile. He had been sadder last night, after he had arrived from his class to find him at his room pretending to read. He had offered to play scrabble to make the other boy happier, but he had said he preferred to play some video games, and they had ended up making out in the sofa and ordering some pizza. It had been a quite intense day. First the news, then the kiss. Some other kisses. Louis was starting to actually get excited for the trip, something he hadn't been before, not that much, because he was kind of afraid to tell Harry. Now, after the kisses and everything, he was afraid, but it was a different type of afraid. He knew Harry would wait for him. He knew Harry liked him back.

He got up and kissed Harry on the cheek before crossing the mirror, and Harry grabbed his arm.

"Lou, we are already on your side, you idiot".

Harry's green eyes lit up in that way when he was amused. It killed Louis and made him alive every single time. He smiled and pecked Harry's lips.

"Yeah, I know, but I would like to get dressed alone, you pervert, go the fuck back to your side!"

Harry giggled and started walking toward the mirror.

"I'll be back in ten. Latte?"

Louis nodded and took the T-shirt off.

Harry was out of the shower in five minutes. Gemma always messed with him for it, saying that it was unfair that he was still so fast now that he was growing his hair out. And she hadn't seen him now that it almost reached his shoulders...

He slid into a pair of grey ripped jeans and grabbed a coat to keep warm in the late October wind, and walked to the canteen. He had been greatly surprised with the quality of the coffee they served at his residence. The one at Louis' one had been quite worse last year, according to the older boy.

He grabbed a tea for himself a latte for Louis and some cookies, and after saying hi to a couple friends, started walking back to his room.

He was so not going to enjoy being apart from Louis. They had barely spent a day without at least saying hi to each other since Louis had crossed the mirror for the first time. He had gotten used to Louis' jokes, to his kindness and his bad mood when he had trouble at school, or one of his youngest siblings were sick, or Man U had lost a game. He had got used to all of this and more, and he was sure he could get used to Louis' soft breath when he was asleep, or their fingers intertwined while they were gossiping in bed like they had done last night. To his good night kisses that only preceded more gossip and ore kisses, and secrets and even more kisses.

The thing was he didn't feel like getting used to it was the right word. It was more of a never never get tired of it.

He maybe was a hopeless romantic, and he was certainly not admitting that to Louis, not yet at least, but he was sure Louis was the one for him.

"Can I look now?"

Harry had crossed the mirror and was playfully covering his eyes with one hand, while he carried the box with the two paper cups and the bag of cookies on the other.

He felt a soft brush of lips against his, his hand still covering his eyes, and smiled. It was going to be a great day.

...

The last week before Louis left to Berlin was great and awful at the same time. Louis was back at his house in Holmes' Chapel, because he was exented from his classes until he arrived at Berlin. It was mid-November, and he would stay there until May.

Harry went directly to Louis' side after class, and they spent the rest of the day together. Harry forced Louis to have another pic-nic under the Tremlow Viaduct, and Louis forced Harry to go to watch a musical with him. Louis forced Harry to watch all the alien movies in one afternoon, and Harry cried during the notebook on Louis' shoulder, as usual.

Then, Friday came and Louis had to leave.

He left a note for Harry, on his empty pillow, after kissing softly the younger boy's temple and pulling the blanket to cover him better.

Hey, it's me again.

I didn't want to wake you up. It would just make things bad again.

Besides, you look like an angel when you sleep, I have no idea how did your mom manage to kick you out of bed to take you to school without being scared of being sent to hell for it. Maybe that's why you always get up so early by yourself?

Anyway, I just wanted to say bye so you didn't kill me for going like this.

I will miss you a lot Harold.

Louis xx

As usual, there was a ps.

ps: This time, I am 100% sure I will be back. Hear me?

...

Harry was going to be at his house for Christmas. He was excited to be back at home, with his mother and sister, and luckily, spending a couple of days with Louis, who was also coming home from Berlin. He was really excited to hear everything about Louis' experience there, and to tell him some of the things that had happened to him while he was away.

His mother picked him-and his mirror, well packed and protected inside a cardboard box-up from the main door of his dorm, the morning of the 23rd of December. One day before Christmas, and before Louis' birthday. He had his present well tugged into his backpack.

He remembered the journal, Louis' gift. Louis had finally admitted during their last week before going to Berlin that he had bought it more than three years before giving it to him, almost two years before he had crossed the mirror.

Gemma was waiting for him on the main door, and jumped at him as soon as he opened the car door.

"Harry!! My babyyyyyyy broooother, I have missed you!"

Harry was laughing, while Gemma tried to look taller than he was, which turned out completely impossible.

"Stop growing! And get a haircut!"

Harry chuckled and touched his hair, absentmindedly.

"I bet you will also tell me to stay home, right?"

Gemma laughed and nodded.

"I hadn't realised how bad it is to be back from uni and not have you here baby brother! You are going to have to forgive me for taking your presence for granted, your highness..."

Anne was looking at her son and daughter laugh and joke around with a huge smile on her face. She was the one that felt when the kids were on university the most. Gemma had arrived from Sheffield last night, and now Harry was also there, so it looked almost like... Like Christmas.

A thin layer of snow was covering the ground, and there were some kids playing on the street. The sky was covered in white clouds. It looked like it was going to be a white Christmas.

Harry carried the mirror upstairs, and left the box leaning against his room wall. Gemma was staring at him from the doorframe, leaning on it.

"I still can't figure out why you need to carry around that big ass mirror. Even on Holiday. For two weeks you are going to spend at home. You are a presumptuous idiot, brother..."

Harry giggled and kicked her out playfully.

"Let your presumptuous brother get changed in peace Gems... Out."

Once he was in a pair of comfy pants and a big sweater and the mirror was hanging from the wall safely, he started unpacking the rest of his things. He hadn't brought too many clothes, after all, he would be home just for a couple weeks, so he had left his suitcase in his dorm and had put all the clothes he could fit in his backpack.

A hand in his back startled him.

"Well, hello there!"

"Lou!"

Harry had jumped at the older boy's arms and was hugging him, his head buried in his shoulder.

"Wow, it's only been a month and you are even taller... Stop growing already!"

Harry giggled and took a step back, looking at Louis.

"Nice to see you again too. How have you been?"

"Great, but I forgot something here before leaving to Berlin... I'm better now that I have got it back with me..."

Louis smiled playfully, surprised he had just said such a cheesy thing to Harry, with his hand still on the other boy's neck, which he used to pull him closer and, on his tip toes, brush his lips carefully against Harry's-he was not too certain of where they stood on their relationship. Harry sighed at the contact, and his arms rounded Louis' hips and dragged him closer with a low moan. Louis took that as a I-m-not-sure-where-we-are-either-but-kiss-me-anyway and obeyed, touching Harry's lips softly with the tip of his tongue, asking for permission to deepen the kiss. Harry obliged and tangled one hand in Louis' feathery hair. He loved his hair. It was so soft and, although it was certainly not curly, it was somehow fluffy and he could get his fingers lost in it for hours.

Louis groaned softly when he pulled softly at it, but didn't stop kissing him.

God he had missed Harry.

"Wowowowowowow. Harry. What on Earth..."

The boys jumped back. Literally. Harry even hit his head on one of the wardrobe corners after tripping with his desk chair. Louis extended his arm and grabbed Harry before he got hurt seriously.

Gemma was staring at them, both flushed and their hair messed up, looking deeply amused.

"I will just ask a question before I leave you to it"she started, leaning her head to one side, curious. "How on Earth did Louis come in? He hasn't crossed the main door..."

Harry started coughing, while Louis pointed at the window in a desperate attempt to contain his laughter.

...

Gemma had left them after the question, as she had promised. But she had seen them making out, and Harry was a loyal to hifs family kid, so he actually made Louis get down the window, ring the bell and come in to be introduced formally as his boyfriend that night. Louis pretended to make fun of him a couple times for it, but he was indeed happy. He had no longer any questions on where they stood.

Dinner with Anne and Gemma was good too. They already knew him from a bunch times they had been to the house, he had even stayed for dinner once or twice before. Anne was excited to see Harry finally had a boyfriend again, and Gemma was looking at them amused most of the time, but she was also pretty nice with him. Not like he was afraid of Harry's family: Harry was, after all, as kind and nice as he was because of his family.

Louis hadn't broken any members while jumping out of Harry's window, so that was also good.

After dinner, they helped Anne wash the dishes and sat down with her and Gemma, watching one of those Christmas-themed movies TV is always playing during December. Louis was immensely happy he was holding Harry's hand while they watched TV, because it was such a normal thing to do, and while he was dying to go talk to him and tell each other how that month had been, he was fine there, in the sofa, Harry's head getting increasingly close to his shoulder.

Anne went to bed half an hour into the movie, after watching the boys and seeing they wanted to be left alone. She said goodnight to everyone, and nice to meet you (officially) again to Louis, and went upstairs after gesturing Gemma to follow her.

Harry and Louis stayed in the sofa some more time, not paying any attention to the movie, whispering in their ears until they shut the TV off and kept talking about everything and nothing: Harry described how afraid he had been when he had done his first presentation, but how great it had turned to be. Louis told him about all those great places in Berlin he wanted to take Harry to, and about the school he was attending there, how different their way of teaching drama and acting was, and how great that was. Harry talked about his recent trip to Cambridge to attend a class by Claudio Castelnovo. He tried his best to explain Louis what the class had been about, and Louis listened carefully, watching how excited Harry got, and laughing at his effort to be clear while explaining something that made absolutely no sense to him, who had left physics class in 10 grade. Louis spoke about some of his teachers too, and about the other classes he was having, including how surprised he was about being so fascinated by the scenography lessons. In Mountview, productions tended to be more classic than in his new school, which let the door open for more original performing ways.

Harry started yawning while describing Louis how cool his last concert at the music society had been. Louis waited until Harry had described how cool the lead singer of the group was to ask him if he wanted to go to sleep already.

"But I like talking to you..."

"Oh, I thought you only liked me for my great hair"

Harry chuckled, and stretched.

"You are going to be so happy Lou..."

Louis got up and started folding the blanket they had been under. He was feeling his neck cold without Harry to warm it up, and his hands empty without the other boy's fingers intertwined.

"I am very happy. Any special reasons?"

Harry giggled and took the folded blanket from Louis' hands, putting it in place.

"My family is asleep, so you won't have to get out the front door and climb up the window to go back to your side."

"Hey! It's impossible to do so. I have no idea how your sister believed that, there are no trees, no places to hold on to... I managed to jump down because of gravity. You are the physicist, you are supposed to know how that works."

"I was going to say something really corny, but I will shut up so you don't use gravity to throw me out of the window."

Louis looked at Harry, curious.

"Well, it would just be karma, because you threw me out before, to come to dinner. I can promise not helping karma throw you out if you tell me though..."

"Shush, you'll wake my family up. Let's go."

Louis giggled at Harry's blush, curious about what was Harry thinking was corny about gravity.

"Oh c'mon, they are on the other side of the house, upstairs."

Harry yawned again, and Louis grabbed his hand.

"Let's take you to bed."

Harry nodded and switched the living room light off, preceding Louis to his bedroom-their bedrooms?

They went up the stairs silently, even though Gemma and Anne's bedrooms were on the other side of the corridor, and Harry shut his bedroom door after they came in.

"I must say I'm slightly disappointed"Louis said while he switched the desk lamp on and sat on the chair.

"Why?" Harry frowned, crossing his legs on the bed, looking at Louis curiously.

"You mom hasn't told me a single childhood embarrassing story. Isn't that what moms do when you introduce your partner to them?"

Harry blushed, which made Louis look at him fondly.

"Noo, Harry, tell me you didn't forbid her from doing that. Dammit!"

"I might have mentioned something..."

Harry laughed, and Louis got up, walking toward the mirror. He stopped there, and turned around.

"Tomorrow is my birthday. I thought I'd say that before leaving. Just for your information, Haz. Goodnight."

Harry giggled, got up and checked his phone, before grabbing Louis arm, dragging him back into the room.

"Actually, it's already past twelve. Happy birthday, grandpa."

Harry was getting more and more confident every time he kissed Louis. More like he was getting more and more confident to kiss him whenever he felt like it. Sue him, he liked kissing Louis.

That was what he was doing now: kissing Louis. Softly at first, Louis' grin against his own; more passionately later, hands running all over each other, breaths mixed, lips and tongues engaged in what seemed like a fight but felt like a dance.

Louis put his head back to catch his breath. Harry took the chance to let his mouth explore Louis' neck, the other boy's fingers playing in his hair.

"I should probably go" Louis said under his breath, just before Harry bit his earlobe lightly, making him release a soft moan and pull his hair.

"Don't. Stay."

Harry kept travelling across Louis' skin, roaming across his jawline, pecking his lips lightly before coming down to bite his chin. Louis was holding on to Harry's shoulders, as if afraid he would fall if he let go.

"OK"

His voice was a low grumble, but Harry could feel his excitement on it. He started going down his neck, all the way to the edge of his pale blue shirt, which he started unbottoning, kissing the newly exposed skin.

That was probably what threw Louis, who had been trying to control himself-after all, they had been away from each other for a month, he didn't want to push anything on the younger boy-, over the edge.

He pushed Harry's shoulders back, making the boy fall on the bed, put his knees on both sides of his hips and got out of the shirt unceremoniously, before virtually throwing himself on top of Harry, kissing him furiously.

"Take that off" he said, tugging at Harry's T-shirt. He obeyed, pulling his head out of the fabric as fast as he could to go back to the kissing.

"It's so funny that you wore a formal shirt for a dinner with my family" Harry said while Louis explored his chest with his mouth. He was pale, especially compared to Louis more tanned chest and stomach. But the way Louis was kissing him didn't leave him any mind space to be self conscious. He was just trying to figure out how to undo Louis' belt without having to break their kiss.

Louis bit his stomach playfully, right under his belly button, offended for that comment.

"Excuse me, Mr, but that's because I care about you and wanted to make a good impression."

"Will you make me dress elegant to your family's too?"

"You are always elegant H. And shut up, I'm trying to do something down here."

It turned out Harry didn't have to figure out how to undo Louis' belt. The older boy was pulling his trousers down, and when the jeans had hit the floor, leaving Harry in his boxers, he came back up to kiss his mouth thoroughly, while he took his own pants off.

Harry pushed Louis, positioning himself on top of him, rocking his hips against Louis' slowly. Louis gasped and tugged at his hair. He loved the way Harry's hair looked that way, falling over his face, slightly sweaty on the sides, stuck at his forehead, soft when it touched his face because he was leaning into him to kiss him. He loved the way Harry's eyes were looking at him, pupils dilated-both from desire and from the lack of light that was in the room, only lightened with the desk lamp-making the jade irises thin, just an arc of green brightness around the dark. He loved the way Harry’s pale skin looked against his. The bruise he had left on Harry's neck against it. Harry's big hands touching him, wandering around his body, researching his reactions, the way his skin rose on goosebumps when his fingers trailed down the middle of his chest, all the way to his boxers. The way he was grinding against him, panting lightly, his breath on his mouth and his neck and his chest.

Louis somehow managed to push them both up, sitting down on the bed, Harry straddling him.

"I want you" Louis managed to mutter. "Fuck, I so do."

"I had another birthday gift for you, but I guess this'll have to do for now."

Louis laughed, watching in astonishment as Harry kissed his way down his body, slid his hand in his underwear and, in one movement, had his whole dick in his mouth.

Louis' back fell on the bed as he moaned, trying his best not to be too loud. But he had just seen Harry's plush red lips around him, that was definitely not something he had the chance to witness everyday. Harry had to contain his laughter as he looked at Louis' face. It was the most beautiful thing he had seen, yet the half-open lips and a hand tightly grasping his sheets were also somehow amusing. He could perfectly see how Louis was trying to control himself not to start thrusting into his mouth, and that was great, because he wasn't even close to be over with him. That was hot though. Very hot.

He started palming his own hard cock over the boxers, just to take them off seconds after.

"Shit, Harry, shit."

Harry didn't answer. He just slid his tongue from Louis' shaft to the tip of his cock, leaving a kiss there, and crawled back at Louis' level, kissing his mouth. Louis could taste himself on Harry's lips, and he loved it.

"Harry, that was not a gift"muttered Louis, sliding his hand all throughout Harry's back, gripping one of his buttcheeks and pushing him closer so he could feel his naked body against his. Harry moaned into his neck. "More like half a gift, why didn't you let me finish?"

"I want you, Lou. I want you inside me. I want to be yours."

Louis swallowed dryly, and moaned just at the thought. Harry. His Harry. His mirror boy. Just his.

Harry let Louis push him over and lie on top of him, kissing his breath out of him, while his hands explored him, and he opened his legs wider to let Louis' fingers find his hole.

"There's some lube and condoms on the bedside table" managed to articulate Harry. Louis stopped kissing him and looked at him between his long lashes. Harry had the weird wish of staring at Louis' eyes long enough to be able to count them. Not then, of course. They had more urgent things to do.

"Had you planned all this, Hazza?"

Harry smiled, shyly and mischievously at the same time.

"Nope. Let's say I was ready for everything."

Louis chuckled and opened the drawer, getting what he needed as fast as he could.

"Hey", said Louis as he leant back on top of him, kissing the tip of his nose. "Tell me how it feels, OK? I do not want to hurt you, by any means."

Harry laughed softly.

"Hey, just go ahead. Christ-I need this more than you do."

"Don't even get me started on the levels of my desperation right now" answered Louis, getting one finger into Harry slowly, testing the waters.

After that finger came another one, and Louis was going crazy watching Harry move and moan and call his name and grab his hair and kiss him sheepishly, and curse and open his legs wider so he could come in, and asking for another finger and then pulling him in and taking him all the way in and moving, groaning, sighing, touching himself while he rocked against him, relaxing around him, moaning some more and holding him tight.

It was his Harry. His mirror boy.

He had his hair sprawled across the pillows, stuck to his sweaty forehead. He had his hands on his body, asking for more, for another angle or for a change of rhythm. He pushed him back so he was riding him, he kissed him while he did so. His hair was falling on his sweet face, mouth half open in pleasure, eyes closed at times, staring adoringly at him at others. His body started shaking when he came, leaving Louis' chest sticky, but he didn't care. His own release was close, and the sight of Harry's orgasm drove him to his, destroying him first, and putting the pieces back together after. Some pieces were Harry's, some pieces were his own.

Harry was his, and he was Harry's.

...

When Harry woke up, Louis was still asleep. Actually, knowing the boy, he would be asleep for some more hours.

Harry wasn't usually able to stay in bed for much longer after getting up. But he didn't want to wake Louis, who had his head resting on his chest and his legs knotted around his, up for anything in the world. He was too pure when he was asleep, and not even the naked back and the hickey he had under his jaw made him any less innocent or pure.

He started playing with Louis' hair absentmindedly, and the older boy stirred in his sleep, but didn't wake up. Harry smiled and held him tighter.

When Louis finally woke up, Harry's leg was starting to be numb, and the sun shone brightly, coming into the bedroom through the windows.

"Hey" said Harry softly. Louis closed his eyes again and nuzzled his shoulder.

"Hey" he answered, his voice rough from sleep, and bit his shoulder lightly.

"Hey!"

Louis giggled and moved until he was comfortable again.

"Have you been awake for long? What time is it even?"

"I don't know, a couple hours maybe..."

Louis laughed and stretched, sitting up on the bed.

"You are crazy, how are you able to wake up so early without alarms?"

Harry laughed, feeling cold where Louis had been, and grabbed his arm, pulling him back to bed.

"No Lou, you always take your time to get up after waking up and today you are going to run from me?"

Louis chuckled, moving until he was lying on top of Harry, and pecked his lips.

"OK. Let's stay in bed for some more time."

Harry pulled Louis' face toward his and kissed him, this time intensely.

"What were you saying yesterday night?"asked Louis. Harry kissed the side of his lips before answering.

"I said many things. What point of last night are you talking about exactly?"

Louis smiled and touched the tip of his nose to Harry's chin.

"Something about gravity, I recall."

Harry's cheeks turned pink, and he looked at Louis' eyes, embarrassed.

"Oh. That. It was something about how gravity had brought us together..."

Louis smiled, fondly, and kissed Harry's cheek.

"I'll let the gravity issues for you, physicist. I'll just say it seemed like destiny for me. It was like, like I was looking right at the other half of me ."

Harry's eyes were wide open, and all he could do was stare at Louis' serious, thoughtful, intense expression, and then mutter "I love you", right before sinking into Louis' arms and kissing him again. And again. And again.

...

Christmas was passing by faster than the boys wanted. Harry had gone to Louis' side on Christmas eve, Louis' birthday, for some hours before going back to his for the family dinner. He had given Louis his present there, in Louis' bedroom, after he had had lunch with Louis' family. Louis had been shocked when he saw Harry's gift: a book on Alan Rickman's theatre direction, which Louis loved instantly.

On new year's eve, they had dinner with their families, and they later went out on Harry's side, with some of his friends from Holmes Chapel. They didn't pay much attention to them though, they were more focused on each other.

Louis was dreading the moment he'd have to go back to Germany. He had fallen in love with Berlin, and with his theatre school, but he wasn't too keen on leaving Harry until Easter. And that was if he came to England on Easter, something he wasn't too sure about. It was only a week long holidays, and he would be very busy with the end of year play. He didn't say anything about Easter, and said bye to Harry until May when he left, leaving Harry and his family tearful at the airport. He guessed he'd rather surprise Harry by crossing the mirror at Easter than have him wait for him, unable to tell him that he was not going to be able to come.

He bought Harry tickets for a the Lumineers concert on July as his birthday gift. He saved the tickets in the book Harry had given him for his own birthday, certain he wouldn't lose them there.

Harry left the mirror at Holmes Chapel when he left for University. He didn't want it to be there all the time, reminding him of Louis and his inability to see him or talk to him for five months.

He regretted the decision often that term, so when he came home on Easter Holiday, he packed it and took it to his residence, under Gemma's amused looks.

As May approached, he thought more and more of Louis. Of the amazing Christmas they had spent: going out, having fun, going shopping for presents together, making love. Of how nervous and excited Louis would be, as his play approached. Of how much it sucked that he, Louis' boyfriend, had no idea of what role was Louis playing in the end of the year play. Jeez, he didn't even know what play they were doing.

That day he realised they hadn't though of one thing when trying to find a way to see each other or talk to each other while Louis was in Germany.

After spending a couple hours in the library, studying, he almost ran back to his room. He checked Louis' school in Berlin's webpage and crossed the mirror, praying that his credit card worked in Louis' side. If he bought plane tickets to Germany on his side, it would be useless: once in Berlin he would be unable to cross to Louis side. If he sneaked into Louis' side and bought the tickets there though...he would be able to visit Louis there.

...

Louis was nervous. More than usually. And the play wasn't even in German, thank goodness. Since the school he was attending took great pride in accepting international students, their projects were usually in English, and it was luckily this case. It wasn't like he had no idea of the language: he had grown quite able to use it for normal stuff throughout the time he had spent there. But learning and playing the main character in a play by freaking Goethe was not so easy.

He pulled his tie down, checking all his clothes were in place. The teachers had decided to make the play, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers , take place somewhere else. It had been great: after years of drama club and last years' classical, true to the book version of Jane Eyre, he loved taking the challenge of a more modern style. Maybe that was why he was so nervous, because he had never done anything similar... Or maybe it was because his family wasn't there to see him?

In any case, he had to come out soon. He better shook those nerves away.

He breathed in deeply, smiled at his friend Johannes, who had just came back in, and came into the lights.

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers , or the sorrows of young Werther in English , had a very simple plot. Werther was a guy who, bored of city life, moved to a small village. There he met Lotte, who he fell in love with. Lotte was about to marry another man, so Werther had to swallow his feelings. He left the village, went to the city again, but, unable to stay away of Lotte for long, he came back to find her already married. Knowing that it's impossible that all Lotte, his husband and himself are alive at the same time, but unable to kill any of them, he commited suicide.

It seemed like a very simple plot when he had first looked it up in wikipedia. Of course, most German students already knew what it was about.

Then, the play had started growing: he had read and studied the play one of his teachers had adapted from the original book, he had made his research, and, at auditions, he had landed the main role. Apparently he had given just the right, broken impression of the romantic hero.

He had wanted to tell Harry. It was a great honour, it was a great chance. Unable to do so, he had used that feeling of resignation in his role, for when Werther finds out his love toward Lotte is useless. True: he had been embarrassed when he found out he had been doing that unconsciously. He had read a lot about the book, and he had developed an admiration for Werther. Using how much he missed his boyfriend as an inspiration to portray how Werther felt before killing himself was...yeah, embarrassing. Stupid. But his teachers loved it, so he kept the role.

He was doing that now: try and express as many broken feelings as possible. Lotte had told him-or Werther-they couldn't meet as often, out of respect for her husband. Werther had been trying to avoid the truth long enough, and now it was starting to settle: Lotte would never be his. She left the scenery after he told her he understood it, and he started one of the most important monologues in the play.

The teachers had decided to make the play about feelings. That was why there was no scenography, and barely any furniture. The dresses also were important: the colours expressing things. He took off his green-for hope-coat, standing in the middle of the scenery in a three piece, all black suit and tie.

He had thought all throughout rehearsals that the black suit and tie should have been for the final scene, when he killed himself. It wasn't until the moment he brought the prop gun to his chest and pretended he had just shot himself in the heart, hearing the crowd gasp, he understood why he was wearing a white suit.

It was white for the new start he was giving Lotte and her husband. A new start without him.

...

Harry found himself crying. Again. Damn Louis and his acting skills. Shit.

But Christ, he had just seen Louis, his Louis, after all that time they had spent apart, shoot himself. OK, it was a prop gun. Louis was alive. But that was not the case: the thing was he had been surprised again by how incredibly good of an actor Louis was. He was crying for Werther's death.

He had had to make some quick research on the plot once he had left his hostel and had got his ticket from the Studentenvereinigung, the student union. He had had no idea of what play he was going to see until then: he knew the date because Louis had told him, those things are scheduled in a lot of advance.

He sniffed, his hands hurting from applauding, and got up from his chair. He had to find Louis before he lost him, the other boy had no idea he was there. Coming to see him had been a crazy idea, especially the part where Harry had to cross the mirror to Louis' side, at night so there would be no one in Louis room, and had to jump out of the window and wait in the train station until the first train to London, so he could go to the airport. He was really glad he had it though.

He finally spotted Louis, talking to the boy who played Lotte's husband making his exaggerated hand gestures and laughing. He was still wearing his white pants, but not the blazer, and his face was white with makeup.

Harry didn't really care, and he approached him from the back and blew on his ear, the way Louis often did to him. Louis turned back, startled, and saw him.

Harry physically saw Louis' eyes get bright before the shorter boy had jumped to his arms, laughing.

"What the fuck Hazza what the actual fuck"

Louis knew he was being a mess. He was cursing at Harry while laughing like a madman, and he had just jumped at Harry's arms without warning, something that could be considered an extreme sport due to Harry's awful coordination.

But he didn't give a shit, and crashed his lips against Harry's, thinking that maybe that way he would stop talking and laughing. He kinda did.

...

They went to have dinner with the rest of the cast. This time Harry didn't have any exams, but Louis insisted they left early anyway. Harry didn't complain, and held Louis' hand as they walked toward Harry's hotel. It was not a very luxurious one, but it had a clean, modern look.

Louis was still holding Harry's hand when they came into the room, together.

"I am so glad you came" he said, smiling. Harry smiled.

"I am so glad I did. You were amazing, Lou. I almost started crying halfway through the play..."

Louis suddenly looked lost inside his mind for a second, and then patted Harry's head.

"Ha. You are a hopeless sentimental."

Harry giggled. Louis took him all in with his eyes: Harry's long legs, which looked like poured into his tight washed jeans, his thin hips covered by his black shirt, decorated with white dots. It was a pretty ugly shirt, Louis thought. Somehow Harry rocked it though, even when he had barely closed two buttons. Maybe that was why: he could take in most of his chest, his clavicles, his neck, his long hair, his jawline, his full lips. His eyes.

"Maybe. Or maybe you were simply great."

"I'd love to think that. But hey, be careful, don't let my head get too big..."

Louis was still busy looking at Harry. He had missed him. He loved him. He had weird thought on his head.

"Oh please, you are all small"

Louis shook his head, taking everything out of his mind, and punched Harry playfully.

"That I'm not! Excuse me?"

They looked at each other, before Louis took a step forward and pecked Harry's lips.

"I'll leave, you must be tired from the trip and all..."

Harry grabbed his hand and dragged him closer.

"You are not mad because I told you small right?"

Louis bursted out a laugh and kissed Harry's lips again.

"No, idiot. I want to give you space, it's been long since we last saw each other and I understand you may..."

As Louis spoke, Harry's frown got deeper. He then cocked his head and leant down to kiss Louis again. Louis melted in his arms, and Harry was delighted about it. Especially when he nibbled at Louis' neck and him release a low grunt and get even closer.

"I think we have had enough space, don't you agree?"

Louis agreed. Profusely.

...

Later that night, Louis finally made a decision. He was looking at Harry's naked back, all pale skin, soft as silk, and dark curls. He had one of his arms under his head, tilted to the side, where he had been staring at his blue eyes while they talked before he ha drifted off to sleep. Louis hadn't been able to do so yet: he was playing with Harry's other hand, fingers tangled with his under the sheets.

White sheets.

...

Harry had bought himself a plane ticket for next day. Louis drove him to the airport in a friend's car, and he laughed at Harry's small backpack, his only luggage. Harry explained it saying that he had to throw it out of the window, so the smaller the bag was, the less noise it would make when it hit the ground. Louis laughed, and offered to keep the bag with him and give it back in two days, when he came back, so Harry wouldn't have to climb the window with the backpack on. Harry accepted, and kissed him goodbye inside the car. It wasn't until a car honk came from behind them that they realised they were interrupting the traffic. Harry pecked Louis' lips once more and left running, waving at Louis with a huge smile on his lips.

Louis went on his plane two days later, terribly hangover from the farewell party his friends from Berlin had thrown him last night. His whole family was waiting for him at the airport, even his mom's boyfriend, soon to be husband. They bombed him with questions, and all the noise his sisters were making was driving him crazy: he had a headache.

Jay told him to invite Harry for dinner again soon. Of course he would have made such an impression in his family that everybody wanted to see him again soon. He nodded and told her he would certainly let him know with a knot in his throat. He knew he was going to have to spend a lot more time in Harry's dimension than the other boy at his if he really wanted to do what he thought he wanted to do.

He had stopped looking for himself some time ago. He had been more busy with school, and with his new relationship with Harry. He maybe had been afraid. Now he knew he had to go back to searching. Harry and  his relationship was perfect, true. But then again, it wasn't. You just had to see how the Germany issue had gone. Harry had had to literally jump out of his window to get there. There was no way on Earth they were going to be able to continue that way: it had been great while they were friends: simply hanging out from time to time. Now it wasn't so simple: how would the families meet each other? Maybe he was being too forward: they were in a serious relationship, that for sure, but maybe it was too soon to introduce the families. But that was exactly the thing: he wanted to do it before it was too late, before they were too involved. He was afraid, maybe they already were too involved.

He certainly was, and he knew it. He just hoped Harry wasn't.

But he guessed Harry's part didn't matter. After all, that was why he was looking for Louis 2. For Harry, for a new beginning.

 

Chapter Text

Harry got up late. It was mid-June, two weeks after ending uni. He hadn't gone home this time: he was working on a research project with some of his classmates and one of his professors, something he was really proud to have been chosen for, so he rented his dorm room for the summer and went to and from Holmes Chapel.

Louis was also enjoying summer on his side, apart from getting nervous while writing a speech for him mom's wedding. He had invited Harry as his date, and Harry almost didn't fit in the room when he had asked him. Being invited to family's wedding is kinda serious: you are not only introduced to the closest family, but also to more distant relatives.

He could see Louis' mind was somewhere else. He was as kind as always, as funny as always, as loving as always. He just acted weird. He had caught him staring at him a couple times, serious expression. he had asked him what was wrong, but he had only got a "nothing" as answer. So he had given up and decided to give he other boy time. Louis would tell him when the moment was right. He trusted him.

They were also planning their trip to Manchester by the beginning of August, where they were attending the Lumineers concert. They were planning on spending a week at the city instead of just going there the concert date. Harry had been thrilled when Louis had given him the present, way past February, but it was OK: the Lumineers had always been one of his favourite bands, and he was really proud of having showed their music to Louis, who had become a great fan too.

So you could say their summer was going along nicely.

Johanna's wedding was also great. Louis had been so proud to walk his mom to the altar, and Harry had been there, looking at him, fond bright in his eyes. He had given an incredibly emotional speech. Harry had even had to give Louis reason: he maybe was a sentimental, and it wasn't a hundred percent Louis' acting skills what made him tear up every time he saw him performing. then again, everyone cries at weddings, he had said. Louis had kissed him and pulled him onto the dancing pitch.

Jay and Dan had gone on their honeymoon, leaving Louis-and Lottie, supposedly-on charge of the kids. Harry had slept at Louis house many times those days, after spending the day there, taking care of the kids, especially Ernie and Doris, just one year old. He had helped Louis take care of the house, cook and keep everything under control. It had been incredibly domestic, but he had enjoyed every second of it. When Jay and Dan returned, more tan, they had been very pleased Louis hadn't burnt the house or killed anyone. Louis had sighed and crossed the mirror, at last, feeling like the past week had been amazing, but also like he shouldn't have forgotten his duty for so long. So he asked Harry on a date to his favourite restaurant on Harry's side, on hopes he would find Louis 2 there. Probably not the best idea, but he was starting to feel desperate and afraid.

 

...

 

It was one of the days Harry was spending in London that Louis decided to go and search for the other himself in the city. He hopped on the train with Harry, saying that he din't care he'd have to spend the day alone until Harry finished in the lab. He pecked Harry's lips before the younger boy smiled at him, tying his hair on a bun while getting in the building. Louis stayed there, looking at him until he turned a corner and disappeared from the glass doors.

He then turned around, and walked toward his school, Mountview. Maybe he would be able to find Louis studying there, or maybe some other information. He knew, from his meeting with Gemma and harry and his trips around each other's dimensions, that things were the same in both sides. Except for Harry's death, which still made no sense. Louis hadn't seen Gemma again, and he hadn't made any more research on why things had been different. Then again, since harry hadn't died on this side, Louis' family had never moved to Harry's old house, but they weren't either on Louis' old house in Doncaster. Therefore, he had no idea where they were.

He came in Mountview, almost ready to pretend he was Louis 2 if the occasion called for it. But the secretary that was at the front door asked him what he wanted, and his friend Emily (well, more like Emily 2) passed by him without giving him a second glance. He pretended he was a tourist looking for the Houses of Parliament, faking German accent, and left.

He didn't really have much hope in that mission. After all, he had only managed to get accepted into Mountview because of the recommendation letter his teachers at Holmes Chapel High School. So Louis 2 probably didn't have much of a chance to study there if he hadn't attended that school.

Louis sighed as he went walking around the city centre, his hands in his shorts' pockets, sunglasses on. It was a warm July day, and the city was bursting with tourists. Even if Louis 2 lived there, he would have no chance to see him in that mess. London is always filled with people: on a sunny summer day, it's way more crowded.

He had thought a lot of what he would say, how he would act, but he hadn't figured anything out yet. Harry's dimension Louis would very likely freak out if he saw himself going at him and trying to pair him up with an unknown dude. He would also very likely call the police or the psychiatric if he told him the whole truth. He knew himself better than anybody, after all.

He knew Harry would be really pissed at him. He knew he was going to have to destroy the mirror to avoid Harry crossing...or temptation. He had a hammer on his wardrobe, ready to use it as soon as he had successfully arranged a meeting between his other self and Harry. The only drawback of that plan was, what if things didn't work out between them? It was a very small chance, but it could happen. He would not be able to go back to Harry's side once he had destroyed the mirror, right? Maybe if he destroyed Harry's but not his, he would still be able to see how Harry was doing? He knew that maybe worked, but, at the same time, he knew the temptation would be too big. He had also thought a lot about mirrors. He had thought about that so much he felt like his brain would explode at any minute, so crazy were some of the theories he had. Things were exactly the same in both sides, he had been able to check. The light through Harry's window was exactly the one in his own room. The dates for the plays he had participated in had been the same, after all, Harry had booked his flight to Berlin basing on his side webpage. Everything was the same, except for Harry's death, and all the things that implied. Starting with his move to Harry's old house, Gemma's slightly different appearance, his role as Rochester and Werther being obviously given to someone else, as he didn't attend Mountview. That brought a question to his mind: what had made everything different? Why was Harry 2 dead? What had been different, why had that happened?

Another question he had: what if all normal mirrors were in fact gates to other dimensions? After all, as Harry had explained him, the angles light comes reflected from a mirror is the same it goes at the mirror, this meaning that, if a wall where a mirror is hanged had a window to an identical, symetrical room, looking through the mirror would be exactly as looking at the mirror... That didn't explain how he saw himself on other mirrors, unless they were like Harry's. Why were his mirror and Harry's different? He could see Harry from the beginning, but his side was totally invisible from Harry's side. He could still cross it, but Harry's side was totally reflectant, as a normal mirror. If all the mirrors in the world were like theirs, that would explain why destiny had chosen them: it hadn't. But it didn't explain why Louis' mirror seemed to be the only mirror in the world that showed the other side of the dimension. Or not? Maybe there were more and people had simply not noticed? After all, Louis' family came into his room quite often: to clean, to see him, to play video games with him or to call him for dinner. Non eof them had noticed that their reflection didn't exist on the giant mirror in front of them.

Louis checked his reflection on the window of one of the shops he passed by. He was there, looking back at himself. Was that him? Was that another dimension's Louis looking at his own reflection in another, identical set of windows in ZARA? Maybe there existed millions of dimensions. In every single one of them, things happened exactly the same way. In every single one of them but at Louis' and Harry's. Harry's death had changed everything there, and Louis' mirror was exactly the one that connected Harry and his dimension's, among the thousands of them, so he had noticed that the mirror was not normal. Maybe that was why he was not like a vampire, with no reflection, in all the rest of the mirrors of the world. Of the worlds. But then, why was his reflection there? If Harry's death had changed everything, and he was only dead in his own dimension, how could that theory explain the existence of his reflections? Because Louis was who he was, did what he did, lived where he lived, because of Harry's death. But he still had reflections. ¿Had all dimensions paired up so Harrys and Louises from all of them could be together? Or...

Louis shook his head. What the fuck was wrong with his brain.

Back to more urgent business: he needed to make sure he knew how to face Louis 2, how he would introduce himself, and how would he make him join Harry. He had thought of teaching Louis 2 everything about Harry, and then go back to his side and let Louis 2 do all the work, as if he had never left. But that was lying to Harry, in a very long-term way. And there was no way Louis 2 would agree to do that. The other way was approaching them both in a "I am your guardian angel, different dimensions do not exist and you two are destined for each other so I decided to give destiny a hand". Which sounded stupid, but was his best idea to the moment. But Harry would never buy it. Nor himself. Yeah, he was fucked. Luckily for him, he didn't find Louis that day, and went instead to meet Harry and his mates to a café when the younger boy called him. He sighed, relieved, and hated himself for doing so.

 

...

 

Harry went to Paris on vacation with his family. No mirrors were involved on the trip, so Louis had an entire week to spend on Harry's side, researching.

He found nothing. He hated himself for hating on social media. He hated whatever had killed Harry, making him move and lose all chances of finding his other self. He hated himself for doing so, because Harry had been the best thing that had happened to him, ever.

He started having weird ideas about destiny. This time, no mirrors involved: just Harry and him, being in the same place and in very different situations.

He started thinking Louis 2 was dead.

 

...

 

 

A couple of weeks passed by. They spent time with their families, they spent time with each other and Louis even went to the French Riviera house a friend from the Berlin drama school owned. He used part of the time there, at the calm beaches, while his friends sunbathed and swam by, to think. He managed to actually convince himself that he was doing the right thing, and he prepared himself to try and avoid all of Harry's attempts at getting more involved in any way. No more big family or friend gatherings.

When he arrived at London after his trip, it was raining a bit-it wasn't cold, but he felt cold. He has used to love the city, and now it looked grey. The weather forecast on the taxi radio said the weather was going to remain that way for some more days, and Louis sighed. It didn't even feel like summer.

Harry was waiting for him in his room, a book opened in his arms, the boy's green eyes concentrated on the pages under a furrowed brow, and his long legs crossed, his feet almost touching the end of the bed. He looked up at him when he heard the door open, almost jumping, having thought it was Jay or one of Louis' siblings.

"Hey Lou!" said Harry. Louis saw his eyes lit up when he saw him, and something broke inside him. The week away from the other boy had only made him realise how much he was going to miss his scandalous laughter, his clumsiness or his failed attempts at explaining physics. His support, his jokes, his ideas that sometimes seemed stupid but turned out genius most of the time.

He hadn't even noticed he had jumped at Harry and was kissing him forcefully, after having kicked the room door closed. His hands were gripping the sheets at both sides of Harry's face, and he had his legs sprawled over the younger boy's. Harry chuckled and kissed him back, letting one of his arms slide all the way from Louis' neck to the hem of his T-shirt, and then come under it and caress Louis' skin lovingly.

"Wow, looks like someone has missed me..." he said when Louis broke apart to catch his breath. Louis let out a dry laugh, and went back to the kissing while he pulled Harry's white tee off. Harry, still smiled, pushed Louis until he was the one lying on top of him, and made the kiss slower from there.

Louis inhaled deeply as Harry's mouth trailed down his neck. He needed to calm down. He had said he was not going to let Harry get even more under his skin, and that also meant trying to avoid sex. Not because he didn't like it, God, but because he was afraid. Very afraid. His body, nevertheless, didn't care about Louis' determinations, and was already reacting to Harry's soft full pink lips kissing and biting his hipbone, while the boy's huge hands worked their way through his belt and the jeans' zipper. He sat up on his elbows and pulled his T-shirt off fast, before letting a low moan out, as Harry had finally freed his legs from the jeans and was biting at his briefs.

He had a small lucid moment and sat up, pulling Harry's chin up, aming the younger boy look at his eyes, with a puzzled look on them.

"It's not even dinner time, Hazza. My family will hear us..."

Harry smiled, his dimples showing their full depth, and got to his feets, holding his undone trousers with one hand so they wouldn't fall to his feet, and offering the other hand to Louis.

"Then may I remind you that we are oh so lucky to have my empty dorm just there. Come."

Louis felt remorse for just one second. Then, he took Harry's hand, and leaving his pants and T-shirt on the floor, followed the taller boy through the mirror, where their lips crashed even before Louis' body was totally free from the mirror's liquid, heavy feeling.

 

...

 

Louis was staring at Harry's dorm ceiling. It was still raining in London, and the sun was starting to set. It was probably around seven pm, but Harry was asleep like a baby, holding his hand and resting his face on his shoulder, a loose strand of Harry's ever-growing curls tickling his neck every time Harry breathed.

Louis sighed, and looked at the way their bodies were intertwined under the sheets, unsure of where one started and the other began. He sighed again. He really needed a better self-control if he wanted to stay away from Harry. He certainly couldn't afford that attitude, not now. He couldn't afford to lose himself.

It had been as intense as always. He liked to control Louis, when he was under him, grabbing his hips and cupping his butt to help him find a rhythm he enjoyed, or when he was riding him, sometimes grabbing his hands together and holding them over his head, where he couldn't move them and had to watch as Harry moved on him, touching himself with the free hand, leaning down to kiss him, changing the angle making them both moan in pleasure.

He had wanted a different type of control this once. He wanted to let everything fall off his mind, to leave everything in Harry's hands and just forget. He had said so, getting his hand tangled in Harry's hair to pull him up from where he was kissing the inside of his legs.

"I want you to fuck me Haz. For real. Hard."

Harry had been shocked at first.

"I thought you'd never ask that..."

Louis had chuckled, shaking his head, but Harry had pushed him to his side and started kissing his back, starting on the lowest part, climbing all the way up, sucking a hickey under Luis' ear when he had finally reached the top. Louis could feel Harry's hard erection against his thigh, and he was unconsciously rubbing against the sheets, which made Harry chuckle.

"Jesus H, don't tease..." had said Louis, turning up to sit on the bed, sheets already messy.

"Maybe this way you'll learn how to treat me"had answered the other boy, putting three fingers into his mouth and licking them well, letting his free hand travel slowly down Louis' body, pushing one of his legs to one side so he had better access to Louis' hole. Louis had moaned, closing his eyes, and had put his own hand on his dick, touching himself slowly while Harry worked him open.

"You look so hot right now"had moaned Harry, his voice an octave lower than usual. Louis had just groaned and grabbed Harry's shoulder, pulling him into a kiss.

Harry had leant over Louis, still kissing him while putting a condom on, and in a matter of seconds he was inside him.

Luis groaned, taking the sensation in, while Harry sighed and started moving inside him.

"Fuck Lou you're so tight... Am I hurting you?"

Louis shook his head. It did hurt a little, but he knew it would only last a few seconds, so he pulled Harry down, making the boy fall on top of him, laughing and sighing, and he bit hie earlobe lightly. "I told you I wanted it hard" he whispered, getting a groan as an answer, as Harry grabbed his thigh and pressed it down on the bed, making him open his legs a bit more.

"Hard it is then".

Harry had turned Louis over, leaning over the older boy's back as he thrusted inside him, making him groan, kissing his back and biting his shoulders while grabbing his arse. He had pulled Louis up until they were both kneeling on the bed, Harry behind Louis, both boys covered in sweat and moaning loudly as they kissed. He had pushed Louis back on the bed again, this time entering him fast, less carefully, making Louis back arch on the bed as he rolled back his eyes and scratched Harry's back, which only made the younger boy whimper. Louis started touching himself, rhythmically, but Harry grabbed his hands and out them over his head.

"Don't. I want to make you cum untouched."

Louis' cock twitched just at the thought, and he started rocking to meet Harry's thrusts, which had already found the right angle and rhythm. Louis crossed his feet behind Harry's back, pulling him even deeper, and Harry groaned, his movements becoming less and less controlled and his orgasm built up. Louis' stomach was sticky from precum, his eyes firmly closed as he focused only in what he was feeling, in what Harry was doing. Harry bit his neck after sucking a bruise, thrusting one last time before Louis came, saying Harry's name, shaking. Louis was very sensitive, so he groaned as Harry moved inside him again. Harry kissed him softly on the lips, caressing his neck before sitting up and thrusting one last time.

Louis watched him come inside him, thinking that was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen: mouth open, eyes closed, control lost.

 

...

 

Harry woke up about half an hour later, smiling into Louis' neck and closing his eyes again, snuggling closer.

"My mom must be worried sick, I should pop there for dinner..."

Harry sighed and started getting up.

"Do you... do you want to come have dinner with us?"

Louis facepalmed mentally as soon as the words left his mouth. He had said DISTANCE, and there he was, doing just the opposite.

Harry's face lit up at the offer, and he nodded as he looked around the room for his shirt. he then remembered it was very likely still lying on Louis' room floor, so he got up, stretched his back and opened the closet.

"How was France then?"

"Pretty cool. Missed you though."

Why had he said that.

Louis cringed while stretching his arm to get his underwear, and got up. Harry was smiling at him fondly, and he shook his head when Louis asked him what happened.

"I'll be at the dining room, just come when you are ready."

"Front door?"

"Front door" Louis agreed, before turning his back at Harry and moving toward the mirror, zipping up Harry's jeans, too long on him. "Hey, Haz. Be careful when you jump out of the window." he added, and crossed back to his side.

 

...

 

I wasn't until three days later, while sitting on a bus in London while Harry was at uni, that Louis saw himself. Or he thought he had seen himself.

He was already almost certain he had died. He had been unable to find any information, any track of himself in Harry's dimension. He had even taken a train to Doncaster to see if people mistook him for the other Louis and he could get some information from there, but people hadn't flinched, not even when he went to that music shop he loved in Donny and bought an Arctic Monkeys CD to the old man behind the counter, who he recognised and who used to know him. It was as if they didn't know him. Maybe he hadn't ever existed.

So he was almost giving up when he saw a shilouette that seemed familiar, and a band T-shirt that seemed familiar, and a hair that seemed familiar. It was only a back getting inside a café, and he only managed to see it for a couple of seconds, but he would recognise himself anywhere. It was either himself or his long lost twin. Which, thinking twice, were basically the same.

He hit the stop button on the bus fast, but the next stop was a couple hundred meters away, so he had to run back at the café when he went down. He stopped a couple meters away, and walked more calmly toward the shop. He didn't want to look like a madman when he met himself at last.

He stopped to look through the shop's mirror, his heart beating fast in his chest. So hard he could hear it in his ears and feel it in his neck.

But in the shop, he couldn't find himself. Using his hands to avoid the glass reflecting the street, he lurked in, checking every customer sitting down, every customer in line, the blonde boy paying at the counter.

He even waited a couple minutes to see if he was in the bathroom, but he saw a bald man come out of the toilet door and decided that was definitely not himself.

So he either had imagined it or Louis 2 had already left the shop.

His phone started vibrating in his jeans. He took it out and looked at the screen. Harry, of course. And now he had to wait for another bus to pass and take him to Harry's dorm. Awesome.

 

...

 

Harry is in the lab when his phone starts vibrating furiously on the table a few rows away. He leaves it there until it stops ringing, and stays typing on his computer. The phone starts ringing again, so he types one last piece of data and leaves the program running, while he stands up and walks toward his bag, sighing. Whoever it is, is very insistent.

"Hey, Lou, I'm still working, what's up?"

Harry listens to the voice on the other side of the line, then throws his phone on the bag and runs out o the room, leaving the computer still making calculations on the table.

 

...

 

Harry ran through the hospital corridors, until he arrived at the ICU front counter.

"Hey, where's Louis? Louis Tomlinson, he arrived about thirty minutes ago, car crash" he said, eyes wide open, pupils dilated, trying his best not to snap at the nurse who was sitting behind the computer.

"Yeah, he's inside. He's undergoing surgery now, you can pass onto the waiting room and somebody will call you when you can come inside."

Harry nodded, and did as the nurse had said. He let all his weight fall on a chair, and buried his head on his hands, before starting sobbing.

He wasn't alone in the room, but as if he were. He had no idea what had happened, they had just said car crash and hospital and he had simply started running toward the hospital while calling a cab. He hadn't let his mind wander on what had happened, how it had happened or how bad it was. He wasn't trying to get to the hospital fast anymore, he didn't have anything to distract him, he was just sitting there, with too many unanswered questions and enough adrenaline in his blood to make time pass three times slower and his mind three times faster.

He sat there for who knows how much time, perfectly still, until at last, one kind hand tapped him lightly on the shoulder. He stood up in a heartbeat, pink tear stains on his cheeks.

"You were here for Louis Tomlinson, right?" Harry nodded. "Harry Styles, right? You were the only one of his emergency contacts that answered his phone. Follow me, please."

Harry didn't say a word as he followed the nurse, who opened one last door and let him in with a small tense smile. Harry simply stumbled inside, to find another, smaller, waiting room. there was a doctor there, her facemask off and another tense smile.

"Hello, I'm doctor Harrelson" she said, offering her hand. Harry stretched it, frowning.

"Harry Styles. Is everything..."

The doctor nodded, and Harry let out a big sigh.

"Can I ... can I see him now?"

"Not yet, he's still under the effect of anesthesia. Besides, I need to talk to you beforehand."

Harry swallowed thickly, and nodded lightly.

"Mr Tomlinson was hit by a skidding car in central London. He was apparently standing in front of a shopfront, so he virtually got through that glass with no protection apart of his clothes, and a car running over him and into the shop. He has suffered pretty bad damage: he has a concussion, several cuts and has broken three ribs, a wrist and got his hip fractured in two different spots. He has lost a lot of blood, and while we have already taken care of the concussion and the broken wrist and ribs, he's still going to need surgery for his hip. We can't currently perform it due to the loss of blood. We will try and perform the surgery as soon as we can, but it is not only a dangerous surgery, but after all he's been through, the chance that he may not make it is something we have to take into consideration."

Harry's bottom lip starts shaking. He bites it so that it will stop.

"But is he OK now?"

The doctor nods.

"Yes, the effects of anaesthesia must be about to pass. As I said, he will need some time to recover before we can get on with the next surgery, but he is all right now. He's got a bit of amnesia though, we think simple because of the trauma, or because of the concussion, but it's minor and only affects the most recent events. We will start doing tests on him in a couple hours, but you can see him now."

Harry nodded and breathed in heavily, rubbing his hands against his face so the tear stains would be less noticeable before coming in.

Louis was lying on the hospital bed, covered in tubes and bandages, connected to three different beeping machines. But he still had a little smile saved for Harry, who ran at him when he saw Louis was awake.

Harry stopped on his tracks a step from the bed though, not wanting to hurt Louis.

"God you... I..."

Harry's attempts at seeming strong to make Louis feel safer went to hell, and he started crying again, falling on a chair against the wall.

"Hey love, stop crying... Imma be alright. I'm at a hospital, they are taking good care of me. See?"

Harry grabbed the chair and put it closer to Louis' bed, doubting for a second before slowly putting his hand on one spot of Louis' arm that didn't have any bandages or bruises.

"What happened?" he said, trying to recompose himself. Louis shook his head.

"I'm not sure. I can't perfectly remember..."he muttered, his eyes getting lost on the ceiling, looking worried. He only kept his glance away from Harry a few seconds, before meeting his eyes again.

"I am glad you are here Harry."

Harry knew what he meant, and hated himself for having brought Louis to London again. He was on the wrong side of the mirror, how the hell was he supposed to call his family and tell them? How would they come visit him? Besides, if Louis had stayed at home he wouldn't have had any accidents.

"Hey, it's all right, Harold. Stop crying, baby." he said, softly caressing over Harry's thumb with a hand covered in white fabric. Harry fet even worse, why was Louis conforting him when it should have been the other way round?

"I am...was so afraid. God Lou, shit, I... You need to see your family and I can't even... They are not going to believe me when I..."

Harry's brain was working too fast for his own good. Louis shut him up.

"S'all right now. Don't worry. I'll just tell them my phone broke down when I go back."

Harry didn't even want to think about what he would do if he wasn't able to go back.

Fuck.

"How did your experiment go?"

Harry broke in tears again. How could Louis just go and ask him that, as if he hadn't been crushed by a car through a fucking window.

"Lou you have to rest. You have to...you have to get stronger so you can recover faster and..."

Louis shook his head.

"I have to tell you something first."

Harry nodded, and listened to Louis as he explained him what he had been doing on that street. Looking through the window glass of a coffee shop. For the third time that week.

Harry was sure he had no mor etears left in his body, but he was still somehow able to feel the two wet streaks falling don his cheeks. Why, Lou, why. I told you not to look for each other. But it wasn't you I was looking for, it was me. But I don't care, Louis, I don't care. I just want you, I don't want you to make a stupid plan and the disappear, and not tell me anything and...

Louis sighed, and looked at the ceiling again.

"Why that coffee shop?" whispered Harry, after a few minutes of silence, only broken by the beeping of the machines Louis was connected to.

"I thought I had seen myself walking into it. I thought...maybe I'd be there. I'm not sure. I was quite desperate."

"Why desperate? One would say you can't wait to get rid of me."

"I can't wait to see you happy, without all the mirror trouble."

"Oh Louis..."

Harry thought he'd never been as sad in his entire life. He felt betrayed, but at the same time, he believed he had never loved anyone as much as he loved Louis.

"Did you find yourself?"he whispered later. Louis didn't answer, so he looked up at him, to see if the boy had fallen asleep.

He hadn't, he was looking at him, his piercing blue eyes stuck on him, as if he wanted to memorise every little of his features.

"I can't remember" Louis answered, sincerely.

Harry fell asleep on that chair, and when the nurse came in to check how was the injured boy doing, she didn't wake him up.

 

...

 

Louis hears a voice calling him. Harry's voice.

He wonders if surgery is over already, and if he's about to wake up to the boy looking at him, that worried smile on his lips now a little bit less worried, and this time just waiting for a week or two to pass until he can go back home, cured.

He doesn't think twice before opening his eyes, and sees Harry there, at the same chair he had been sitting at earlier, smiling at him.

Louis smiles back at him, and is pleased to realise that his body doesn't hurt at all. He thinks it must be the anaesthesia, he can't be feeling that good already, especially not after such a complicated surgery as the one he just underwent.

Harry puts his hand over his, and Louis looks down to see their fingers intertwined. He has to remember every little thing about Harry if he is going to leave him soon.

The bandages in his wrist have disappeared, and so have all the cables and tubes.

He looks up at Harry, in search of an explanation. The only one he can think of is he's a super hero with great curing powers, but he knows that's not likely.

Harry gets up from the chair then, offering his hand to Louis.

Louis can still see Harry's dim, almost transparent shape sitting on the chair, his head between his hands, crying.

He looks around, and while he is not very certain of what's happening, he starts to have an idea.

He looks back at the Harry that is smiling sweetly at him, his hand still stretched toward him.

He is sure of what is happening now.

"You have taken good care of him, now I'll have to take care of you. Give you back the favour." Harry says, and Louis smiles at him.Louis knows he's crying, but he can't feel the tears. He touches his face and it's dry. But he knows he's crying, he knows it.

He also knows he has to go, and that Harry, the Harry that is still waiting for him to hold his hand and take him somewhere, is right.

He sits up in the hospital bed, that feels warm under his fingers, and is somehow surprised at how painless it is. Harry gives him a bright smile, and Louis takes his hand.

Harry starts walking, but Louis stops. Harry turns back and looks at him.

Louis is staring at the other harry, the dim one, the one that is crying on that chair.

"He will be OK, Lou. I promise. You have done all you could, all you had to."

Louis knows there's one last thing to do before he can follow Harry.

He touches his hand softly to crying harry's neck, who looks up, almost as if he had felt something.

Louis kneels on the floor and leaves the softest, purest of all kisses to Harry's lips.

Now he is ready to follow Harry's ghost wherever he takes him.

He sees the smile on the other boys' lips as he grabs his hand.

Chapter Text

Harry had thought crying more would be impossible. Apparently, he had been wrong.

The moment the nurse had come out and told him Louis hadn't made it, had been the worst moment of his life.

Well, isn't it that all bad moments feel like the worst moments in our lives until another bad one comes?

Harry was feeling quite sick anyway.

He had run inside the room as soon as the nurse ha finished speaking, and he has looked at Louis, at his Louis, his boy, lying there in the bed, a green hospital cloth covering him all the way to his stomach, looking peacefully asleep. He knew how Louis looked when he was asleep, and it was just this way. Maybe without the bruise next to his eye and the cut on his cheek, but still.

Harry approached him slowly, and brought his hand to Louis' cheekbone.

He was warm, his skin covered in the thinnest layer of sweat, as if he had been fighting for life just minutes ago.

And he had lost.

Harry falls to his knees next to Louis' bed, holding his hand.

He stands there for a while. He then sits back on the chair, because he can feel Louis' hand is only warm anymore because of him holding it, and he can't stand it.

He starts going over all the stupid shit that could have saved Louis. Him not going to that stupid café, if Harry had interrogated him about what was on his mind before, all those times he had seen him lost in his mind. Him not going to London that day, if Harry hadn't invited him to tag along, because he was going to be working on the project anyway, and Louis would have to say around around the city, alone. Him not needing to go find his stupid self if Harry hadn't been so needy. If Harry and him hadn't met. If Harry hadn't been crying in front of that stupid mirror, what seemed a life ago, making Louis so moved he had crossed.

Shit, it is all his fault. It is all his fucking fault. What is he going to do now? What is he going to do with Louis' family now? How is he going to...to get up again? Last time he lost someone dear, Louis had been there to help him. This time, he has lost that thing that always pushed him up again.

He is fucked. He has fucked up Louis' life and now he is paying for it.

He feels something on the back of his neck then. It is a soft touch, like a whisper.

He looks up, surprised, and somehow defensive too, thinking maybe someone has come to get him out of the room already.

There is no one in the room, but then he feels something more.

A soft brush of cold on his lips, a lingering sensation.

He puts his fingers to his mouth, shocked.

Then, Louis' body disappeares from the bed. Into thin air. The bed is empty, only a mattress covered in a plastic bag, ready to be made when needed. There were no stains, no connected machines... the curtains were open, afternoon sun coming through it, a nice afternoon outside of the building.

Harry gets up fast, thinking maybe he has been dreaming or maybe... maybe he is dead too?

He shakes his head, trying to make his vision clear.

It is as if Louis had never been there. The only thing that remains is Harry, his cheeks wet and his hair messy.

A piece of paper comes flying from the ceiling, landing on the pillow under Harry's astonished expression.

It is his own writing. But he is certain he has never written that.

It only says

 

The other side. Be strong for him, he loved you very much xx.

 

Harry looks up, trying to find where the note came from. Whoever did that had a really disgusting sense of humour.

A nurse comes in the room then, whistling as she rolled a cart with sheets and a pillow. She seems scandalised as she sees Harry.

"Excuse me, Mr, but you are in a restricted area! Please follow me."

Harry is too dumbfounded to complain. Anyway, he has nothing else left in that room. If his intuition is correct, Louis' body is on the other side of the mirror.

He follows the nurse through the corridors until the IVU entrance, and out of it.

"Visits ended two hours ago, come back tomorrow" she says before leaving him and getting back inside the hospital area.

Harry stands there, not too sure of what he should do next, so he starts walking slowly toward the lift that will take him downstairs, to the ground floor, and to the streets.

He looks at the note again as he waits for the elevator doors to close.

"Wait, hold the door!" someone says. Harry hits the button on the wall, and stares back at the note while someone else gets in the lift with him.

"Thanks, I didn't think I'd make it!"

The person has a familiar voice.

Harry looks up from the note, and is shook as he realises he is staring at Louis.

He is wearing a barista uniform.

A fucking barista uniform.

From the fucking coffee shop Louis, his Louis, was when the fucking car crashed.

Harry knows he must be staring at Louis 2, because he cocks his head to one side, curious.

"Do I know you? You seem... kinda familiar... If not, I'm Louis. Louis Tomlinson."

Harry is still staring at him, and knows Louis must be thinking he's crazy. So he shakes his head, and forces a smile, that maybe is not as forced as he is trying to make himself believe, and offers his hand.

"I'm Harry. Harry Styles. Nice to meet you."

 

 

...

 

Louis goes upstairs, as Liam has told him to. He was really nice when he came into Harry's dorm, and after making a little chit-chat, he had told him that Harry was at his room and that he would surely be coming out soon, that he usually took long when he was getting ready, but that he also could simply knock his door. That door over there, he had said befor eleaving to the library. So he did that, and knocked the door, but he had found no answer.

So he opens the door, slowly. After all, it has only been four days since he met the other boy, and while he has liked him from the beginning, his face looking very familiar, he doesn't want to make him uncomfortable by going in his room uninvited.

When he is able to see what's going on in the room, the only thing he sees is a normal university dorm: quite small, one bed, one closet and a desk and chair. The bathroom is outside, shared with Liam, his nice flat mate.

He then hears a sob, and his hearts starts beating faster. Why is Harry crying? He had looked pretty sad in the hospital too, but he hadn't said anything, and he had even invited him to a coffee, in the elevator, seconds after they had met. Quite a strange way of clicking instantly. But a good story to tell your grandkids nevertheless.

He then spots the boy. He is crying, sitting on the floor, his back resting on the bed, his fingers covering his face, and trying to stop his sobs with the hem of his shirt. He is surrounded by mirror pieces on the floor, and there is a black suit thrown, a mess, on the bottom of the bed.

Another estrangled sob shakes Harry's shoulder, and something he doesn't understand pulls Louis toward him. he knows he has just met him, but he feels like he knows him. He kneels beside him and hugs him tightly.

Harry looks up at him, and when Louis smiles kindly at him, and holds his hand, his touch lingering on his fingers, Harry is a mess.

He sees Louis holding his hand in a different way, fingers intertwined. He sees them both walking around the streets, going to the cinema, having a pic-nic under the red birdge in Holmes Chapel. he sees the going to that Lumineers concert he still has tickets for together, he sees them kissing in Manchester, under the stars, he sees them going to university together, Louis leaving him with a soft kiss on his lips before running to his school.

He doesn't know which Louis is which.

But he smiles at the boy. What else can he do.

Chapter Text

Hello everyone!!

Just wanted to let you guy know that I made a playlist inspired on this work. You can find it here:

If you guys have any suggestions of songs I should add, please let them in the comments.

Also, some people have asked me to add a second part. I sadly have nothing else to tell about this story, although I might make some extra (like a fluffy flashback of a date they had for example? Nothing crucial to the story tho.) if you guys ask me to.

Last but not least: thank you guys so so much. i am so overwhelmed by the support this story has received, and while it doesn't seem like a lot, your kudos and comments have made me very very happy. Thank you all and let me know how can I give something in return (as in reading something you'd recommend. I am sorry but I'm a broke student, I am not paying Harry tour tickets to nobody :)