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Can I just be the same?

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London 2017

Harry pulled his collar up closer. He quite liked working the afternoon shift at Smithfield market, being able to stroll the London streets by night after his shift finished. It was his favourite time of all, watching the night shift workers scuttle off to their jobs, seeing the pubs at chucking out time, the inebriated patrons staggering home. He crossed the road, tucking his gloved hands deeper into his pockets. He was feeling good with the headache he'd had for the last few days now gone. The exhaustion lifted from his body. He'd had his fix today. He'd felt the familiar gnawing in his stomach, the constant buzz in his brain, and the infirmity slowing his body down, making him crave the one thing he needed to sustain him. To keep him vital. Blood.

 

~~

 

Harry was born in 1794, the second child of six to Anne and Desmond of Manchester England. Anne was a housekeeper for the Earl of Lancaster, affording them a tied cottage in the grounds of the stately home. Desmond was a weaver, working long hours in the textile industry. Harry followed his mother, working on the estate, tending the extensive grounds and stables. He was the only son. Five girls plus himself and his parents lived in the two bedrooms of their home. It was cosy, but there wasn't a lot of space or privacy. In the grand scheme of things, though, they had a pretty happy life. The kitchen always had tasty leftovers for Anne to bring home, the kids often bickering over suet plum pudding or a ham to finish off.

Harry turned 23 in 1817. It was a terrible year for two reasons: Desmond went to prison and Harry became a vampire.

Desmond faced challenges at work with cutbacks for the weavers at his mill. After many meetings, it was decided to petition the Prince Regent about the state of the textile industry in Lancaster. A March to London was arranged and the marchers were dubbed the ‘Blanketeers’. Unfortunately, the marchers were ambushed and the leaders thrown into prison for riotous acts. Desmond was one of them.

The family all pitched in to help. Gemma, the eldest, worked day and night sewing clothes. Harry put in double shifts on the estate and Anne spread her time out working, looking after the home, and visiting Desmond in jail.

It was because of this that later, on a fresh May evening, Harry had offered to stay up and tend to one of the horses in labour. Jimmy, the stable master, had been there all day, but had gone home for food and rest and was to return at midnight. Harry had checked the mare over and had sat down in the hay to rest his back. He’d always had back issues and bending over for a full day, and now into the night, was causing him pain.

He rubbed at a sore spot, opening his water flask and taking a drink. Lady Lancaster’s maid had been out to enquire on the mare and had slipped Harry a few currant buns. He had devoured one straight away and saved one for later. He kept looking at it until he could wait no longer and took a bite when a noise outside made him startle. Jimmy wasn’t due back for at least an hour and the house was all in darkness by now. Maybe it was a vagrant from the town, looking for a place to sleep. Harry shuffled up in the hay and looked for the pitchfork to defend himself with. He didn’t have time to act as the person drifted into the stables. Harry had never seen him before. He was a little older than Harry and had strawberry blond hair with white eyelashes.

“This is private property of the realm.” Harry sounded braver than he felt. “Remove yourself before the Master has you locked up for trespass.”

The man blinked slowly at him, his eyes staring. They were vivid, shining in the dark.

“Sorry,” the man said before lurching forward.

Harry didn’t remember much after that. He woke up slumped on the hay bale, the mare snorting in pain as her labour had progressed. He felt a sharp twinge in his neck, his fingers touching a sore spot, finding blood there as he pulled them away. He felt drained, a different kind of exhaustion shrouding his body as he struggled to shake off this malady.

He took a drink of water and splashed a little onto his face to wake himself up. He found it difficult to stand and then he remembered the man. He’d obviously been attacked. He stumbled outside, fear making him pant for breath. There was no sign of anyone.

Jimmy had returned to the stable at that time, took one look at Harry, and ordered him home for a few hours rest.

Of course, Harry never fully recovered. On inspecting his neck at home, he saw the puncture wounds. He'd read books about such things, but it couldn't be that? Surely there was no such thing? But as the hours rolled on and the mare finally gave birth, Harry felt nothing but ravenous at the smell of the blood, his mouth almost watering as the rampant desire overtook him. It disgusted him, but the frenzy inside of him grew until he had no choice. The revulsion he felt at his actions was overshadowed by his need. The sated feeling he felt after his actions with the poor woodland creature cemented his belief that he was indeed a vampire.

 

~~

 

London 2017

Harry had passed the Barbican as well as the twenty four hour gym and was trying to decide if he was in a chicken cottage kind of mood or if he was going to just have beans on toast at home when he saw him.

It was the spark of his lighter and the curve of his waist as he stood outside The Shakespeare lighting his cigarette that caused Harry to stop. It had been a while since someone caught his eye. He had enough trouble containing the other need in his life without also feeling the need for the touch of another, but today he had fulfilled that first need. Something in Harry’s belly gave a lurch and, against his better judgement, he walked towards the man.

“Can I cadge a light, mate?” He fished in his backpack for his battered pack of twenty cigs. He wasn’t really a smoker, a pack lasted him a week. He used it as an excuse to follow Sid and Billy outside and catch a breather from the stench of blood. A meat market to him was his lifeline, but even he got sick of the sight of it all.

The stranger nodded, straightened up, and flicked the bic to life. Harry sucked until the end glowed red, inhaling the smoke and blowing out slowly skyward.

“Cheers. Good night?” Harry thumbed towards the pub.

“Nah. Shit, mate. Lost at pool and had a pint thrown my way.” He pulled at his shirt which was clearly stained and drying.

“Oh?” Harry tilted his head. “What’ve you done to deserve that?”

The stranger laughed. “Nowt to do with me. Wrong place, bad timing, so to speak. Some bloke pissed off his missis and I got some of his pint that she chucked at him.”

Harry chuckled and took another pull of his cigarette. “Harry.” He held his hand out to the stranger.

He seemed to be taken aback a little at Harry’s formality.

“Umm, Louis.” He popped the cigarette between his lips and took Harry’s outstretched hand. Harry felt a jolt. His first impressions were rarely wrong, and even just the man’s silhouette had made Harry stop and stare, but this? This was thrilling. He’d had over two hundred years now of listening to his hunches, trusting his instincts, and he’d known he had to act on this one. Another nine hundred and ninety nine times he would have just walked on by, but something had made him stop.

“Where you off to then?” Louis took the last pull of his cigarette, dropped it to the floor and ground it under his shiny brogue.

“Just finished at Smithfield. Taking the scenic route home.” Harry shrugged.

“Time for last orders in here, if you fancy?” Louis held Harry’s eye, a boldness to his body language.

The demons in Harry’s head were screaming at him. No. Just go the fuck home. NO.

“Yes, why not.” Harry nipped his cigarette and placed the half smoked tab back into the box.

Louis smiled wryly. “Do right, there. Costs the earth now, a packet of fags.”

 

They jostled their way in, managing to get an elbow each on the shiny bar top.

“Can I get you something for giving me a light?” Harry pulled his wallet out.

“You have great eyes.” Louis stared at Harry. “They are like...I dunno, like luminous or summat. Do you have contacts in?”

Harry knew it was one of his things. His eyes did change after his transformation. They help him see a little better at night. Hunter’s eyes, he supposed.

“No.” Harry dropped his head. “All mine.” He looked back up. “Yours are pretty alright, too.”

“Alright?” Louis cocked his head sassily. “Gee, thanks for the compliment.”

Harry shrieked with laughter. Louis was quick and witty. Harry was endeared.

“You have great eyelashes.” Harry grinned manically. He knew he had that ridiculous look on his face. He could feel how much his jaw was aching from all the smiling. “And very blue eyes.”

“See, I knew those things would be observant.” Louis poked his tongue out to the side and ushered the barman over. “What you having? On me, bright eyes.”

“Rum and coke.” Harry blushed furiously. He loved this, missed it so much. Banter and flirting was what he enjoyed more than anything.

Louis scrunched his nose up. “Rum and coke? What are you, a pirate or summat?”

Louis’ friends kept coming up to him, but he stayed at the bar chatting with Harry until the landlord was turfing them all out.

“Right, well…” Harry kicked the ground with his boot. “Been lovely to meet you, Louis.”

God he didn’t want this night to end. Louis had been great fun, excellent company, charming, and warm and witty and oh fuck. He could feel the butterflies in his stomach.

“Where’dya live?” Louis pulled his suit jacket closer around himself.

“Islington. You?”

Louis gestured with his head. “Five minutes away just on Old Street. Might as well walk together.”

Harry nodded and they both set off up the road.

“Long walk for you up to Islington. Get the bus.” Louis grimaced a little at how chilly it had become.

“I do this walk often when I've finished my afternoon shift. Like the night time.” Harry smiled.

Louis tilted his head, stopping abruptly.

“Are you skint?” Louis studied his face. “I can give you the bloody bus fare home, Harry. You don't have to walk.” His voice was soft. Caring.

Harry stopped, his body tingling. Fuck. He shouldn’t have crossed the road. Keep walking. Always keep walking.

“I’m not skint, but thanks for the offer. There’s not many kind people like you around. You’re lovely, you know that?” Harry reached his hand out tentatively, cupping Louis’ elbow and squeezing. “Thank you.” His voice hitched a little.

He’d roamed the country for centuries, coming in and out of people’s lives, never able to forge bonds. Or, if he did, breaking them and suffering the pain of lost love. That was his life forever. Stuck in this limbo with not one other person in the whole world who cared about him. So the kindness of a stranger really hit home, and this stranger with the bluest eyes and brightest smile was making Harry feel alive again. Reminding him of what he was missing.

“Hey. You ok?” Louis tilted Harry’s chin.

“Just...yeah. I’m good. More than good.” Harry smiled. “Today has been a good day.”

Louis looked at him puzzled. “How so?”  

Harry dropped his head, colour staining his cheeks. “I had the pleasure of being in your company for the last hour.”

Louis stared at him. “Oh.” His eyes raking over Harry’s face.

“You must be freezing,” Harry whispered. The silence and the looks were too much, but he craved more and that was never good.

They set off walking again, reaching the crossroads of Old Street far too quickly.

“So this is me. I guess you are carrying straight on?” Louis asked.

“Yep.” Harry pursed his lips in a tight smile. He felt slightly panicked, like he didn’t want to keep on walking up to his cosy bedsit. Alone.

Neither of them moved, just looking at each other, slow blinks, trying to read each other.

“You could come back to mine for a cuppa?” Louis bit his bottom lip, ripping at the skin with his teeth. “If you wanted to.”

Harry took a breath. This was hard. There was nothing he would like more, but…

“Thank you. I’d love to.” Well, that was that.

Louis used a fob to gain entry into the lobby. He held the door open for Harry to pass through, sticking his foot out at the last second and tripping him up. Harry stumbled forward, turning and gasping at Louis.

“You tripped me!” He laughed.

“Don’t think so, lad. Think it was those huge feet you have there.” Louis winked cheekily and darted to the stairs. He took them two at a time, Harry behind and enjoying the view of Louis in formal trousers. They were snug, his shapely bum filling out the material quite nicely. Harry had always been a bum man.

Louis entered a hallway on the second floor, pushing the key into the door marked seventeen.

He turned to Harry. “Might be a bit messy. I tend to oversleep and make myself late. Sorry if it is.”

Harry chuckled. “No problem.

Louis opened the door and gestured for Harry to go first.

“You think I’m falling for that one again? No pun intended.” Harry’s eyebrow lifted at Louis.

“Get in.” Louis grabbed his arm and pulled him through the door.

Harry barked out a laugh. “Tripped me and now manhandling me. What have I done to deserve that?”

Louis took a step closer, pushing the door closed with his foot. “I don’t know? What have I done to deserve meeting you?” He reached up and smoothed a long, unruly lock of hair away from Harry’s eyes.

Harry turned his head, his eyes languid as he leaned into the touch, his cheek caressing the palm of Louis’ hand.

“You’re cold,” Harry murmured, reaching up gingerly to cup Louis’ cheek with his left hand. Harry stroked the fuzz of his scruff, the soft fall of his hair over his forehead. “You’re beautiful.” He couldn’t quite contain the well of emotions surging his body, his eyes glistening even more with unshed tears. He loved but hated this feeling. The thrill combined the fear.

“Will you stay? I’m not… It’s not...sex. I...Just, like...” Louis leaned forward and, going up onto his tiptoes, connected their lips. The jolt was startling, both physically and mentally. It was just right. Harry moaned low and staggered into Louis, gathering him up in his arms and kissing him back. They stayed there a long time, all soft unhurried kisses, cold cheeks, and warm tongues, until they pulled apart slowly, Louis leaning his face into Harry’s neck. His warm breath sent shudders down Harry’s spine.

“So, tea,” Louis’ mouthed into Harry’s skin.

“Can I help?” Harry smiled.

“I think that mouth might distract me too much. You have the softest lips, you know?” Louis pulled back, squinting up at Harry.

“Oh?” Harry crinkled his nose, smiling. “You think I have nice lips?”

“I think you have amazing lips.” Louis pecked them again with his and took Harry’s hand.

“Come on. Make yourself at home.”

He lead Harry into an open plan kitchen and living area. A comfy sofa faced a huge television. A cup and cereal bowl were left discarded on the worktop that separated the two areas. Louis filled the kettle and began tidying up. Harry perched on the edge of the sofa, looking at the table in the middle of the living room that held photos of children and young adults. A wedding photo dominated the arrangement.

“Family?” Harry picked one of the photos up of two very young children eating ice cream.

“Yep. I have six siblings and the wedding pic is my mum and her husband.” Louis nodded brightly.

Harry felt that familiar pang. He had nothing like this, no photos, no keepsakes. Nothing.

“Cute family.” Harry hummed.

“How do you like your tea?” Louis rattled mugs and spoons.

“Just a splash of milk, thanks.” Harry sat back on the sofa.

“Oh same as me. Good, easy to remember.”

Harry inhaled, his belly flipping over, and wondered if this cup of tea with Louis wouldn’t be his last. It couldn’t continue. You’re a fool, the demons screamed in his head.

They sat close together on the sofa, Louis turned into Harry with his knee pushed into Harry's thigh.

“So what do you do?” Harry hugged the mug in both hands.

“I work down at the courts. I'm a legal assistant for the prosecuting barristers.” Louis shrugged. “I enjoy it. Pretty interesting and I'm considering doing a law degree, so…”

“Sounds fascinating.” Harry sounded calmer than he felt. Getting through life meant breaking the law a little. Like getting paperwork to enable him to work and pay taxes and get health care. He'd decided after many years of working illegally and not technically existing, to make himself legitimate. He made up a whole history for himself, that he'd come here as a child refugee during the Yugoslav wars of the nineteen nineties. He could then claim no family, no paperwork, no roots. He was given British citizenship and a birth certificate. It would only last as long as he could maintain looking his birth certificate age, though. Louis working in law was a little scary to him.

“So what do you do down at the market, then?” Louis tilted his head, a warm, connected, aura about him. Harry couldn't remember the last time someone had looked at him like this. Had taken interest in him.

“I'm a delivery coordinator. Not nearly as interesting as your job, but it pays the bills and keeps me solvent.” Harry couldn't stop staring at this spellbinding boy sat in front of him.

“Hungry?” Louis nudged his knee into Harry’s thigh. Funnily enough, all thoughts of food had completely disappeared from Harry’s mind.

“Nah. I’m good, thanks.”

Louis’ phone buzzed in his jacket pocket, he winced and stood up to get it. He read the message in silence, huffing out a soft laugh.

“My mates saw me walking home with you. They’re just checking you aren’t a serial killer or owt?”

Harry closed one eye and lifted his index finger to his lip. “Uhmmmmmm.”

Louis gasped dramatically, tutting and rolling his eyes as he shot off a reply to his friends and shoved his phone back into his pocket.

He yawned, stretching his arms above his head, his white collared work shirt sliding up his body and some of the edges falling out of his waistband. He looked tired and dishevelled.

“You look knackered. I should go. Thanks so much for the tea and the company.” Harry stood.

“Oh,” Louis frowned. “I was hoping you’d...stay.”

Harry paused. “I didn’t know if that was just the heat of the moment. I didn’t want to...presume.”

“You’re lovely, and it’s been a long time since I had a really good kiss and cuddle. I work too hard and don’t play enough. Please stay?” Louis clasped his hands together.

“If you’re sure?” Harry smiled wide. “And for the record, it been a bloody long time since I had a kiss like that, too.”

They took turns using Louis’ bathroom, Harry looking at the shower longingly but not daring to use it. He had a quick freshen up in the sink; he always thought the smell of meat must cling to his body.  He went into Louis’ room and found he was already in bed, a pair of sweats draped across the bottom of the duvet.

“Don’t know what you sleep in. Got you those out just in case, but just do what feels comfy for you.”

Harry smiled. “Boxers ok?”

Louis pulled the covers back revealing that was exactly what he had on.

“Cool.” Harry’s heart hammered at the sight of Louis, barely clothed, his skin glowing in the soft bedside light.

Harry pulled his clothes off, his cheeks reddening as Louis watched him. A deep sigh left his lips, Harry quirked a brow at him.

“Knew you’d be fucking gorgeous.” Louis scrambled across the mattress and, kneeling up, he tugged Harry onto the bed and laid across his body. Harry grabbed his hips, his fingers kneading the soft flesh, Louis’ smell intoxicating. It had been so long since Harry had been in this position. He dragged Louis on top of him and, sliding his hands up Louis’ sides, he felt him shudder a little.

“As much or as little as you want,” Louis breathed against Harry’s lips.

They kissed. Their bodies entwined as Louis rolled Harry on top of him, wrapping his legs around his hips and pressing his body up. Their grunts were simultaneous, hardness against hardness as their cocks aligned and became delicious pressure for each other.  They tussled with each other, rolling around, lips locked, bodies searching for some friction as they entwined.

Harry pushed up the bed, sitting up with Louis in his lap. He was panting for breath, but also because he felt overloaded with everything. He raked his eyes down Louis’ body. He was lean with a tiny waist and thick thighs. Harry was staggered by him, beautiful inside and out, it would seem.

“Look at you,” Harry rasped.

Louis’ eyes were blazing, his bottom lip protruding just a little, his hair tousled from their tumbling.

Harry traced a path over his belly and chest,  Louis’ breathing hitched as Harry grazed over his tiny bud nipples.

Louis lurched forward, hungry for Harry’s mouth, and rutted his erection hard against Harry, both of them whining yet again.

Harry slid his hands inside the back of Louis’ boxers, grabbing the mounds of Louis’ arse, aiming his hips in exactly the right position for them both. Harry’s head swam, his balls were so tight. He was incredibly close to coming, a deep hot pressure in his groin.

“Can I blow you?” Harry asked, the need to taste this smell that was invading his senses was overpowering him.

Louis whined. “You don’t have to. No pressure, this is good.”

“I’d love to.” Harry held Louis’ face in his hands.

Louis threw his head back groaning. “I’ll last like three seconds.” But he was already shifting himself from Harry’s lap, kneeling up so close to him. He pulled at the waistband of his boxers and pushed them down his hips. Harry was mesmerised. Of course he had a perfect cock. Of fucking course. It’s the perfect length, but also had a real surprising thickness to it.

“You. Naked too.” Louis licked his lips, taking his own erection in his hand and giving it a squeeze. Natural lube blurted out of the end, making it damp and shiny.

Harry’s mouth was watering for him.

In one swift move he was pushing Louis down, dragging his own boxers off and positioning him how he wanted him. Louis was pliant, letting him manoeuvre him however he liked. He had him spreadeagled on the bed, positioning himself between his open legs.

“What a great view,” Harry rambled, sliding his hands up Louis’ thighs, feeling the muscles flex and jump. He had the best legs. The best everything.

Harry bent and kissed his inner thigh. Louis gave in and flopped his head back on the bed, flinging his arm over his eyes and whimpering. Harry took his time. Louis was so raw and masculine like this, so intimate. Harry nosed at the fine hair of Louis’ groin and snuck a lick of his balls. Hearing Louis whine a little louder made Harry’s cock twitch hard.

He went a little lower with his tongue, breathing heat onto the delicate area under his balls. Louis was writhing now, words of encouragement spilling from his lips as Harry used his tongue expertly on him.

Harry felt a hand in his hair, blunt nails scratching his scalp, as he breathed over the warm skin causing Louis to buck his hips.

“Please,” Louis begged.

Harry licked his way up, eyeing the prize of Louis’ leaking cock. He licked up the shaft, Louis’ wonderful musk of his arousal making Harry’s own erection twitch.

Harry finally touched him, wrapping his hand around Louis’ incredible rock hardness, and pumped him gently. Louis still had his left arm over his eyes, his right pulling lightly on Harry’s hair.

Harry swallowed the head down, taking more and more of him deep into his throat. His mouth stretched wide over Louis, his lips grazing a path down his shaft. He got as far as he could, his throat protesting just a little. He slid back up, taking just the head in his mouth and showing it all of his attention. His tongue circled the rim, slipped into the slit. Louis mewled loudly.

Harry relished his taste, it was everything he had hoped for, the salty muskiness on his tongue, the scent of him driving him wild. Louis nudged him a little, apologising profusely at the eagerness.

Harry looked up at him, he was peeping through his delicate wrist, watching Harry with his mouth full of him.

“Fuck,” Louis sobbed.

Harry pushed his hand under Louis, massaging his balls as he took him down again, pumping him and simultaneously bobbing his head. Louis pulled at his hair, a garbled warning of what was about to happen, but Harry wanted it all. He felt the unmistakable swell of a cock about to blow and he pulled back slightly, just in time to catch Louis’ load on his tongue, the hot tang of his come permeating his senses.

Harry pulled off gasping, whining, as he wrapped a hand around himself and pulled.

“No, Harry, gimme a sec.” Louis looked fucked out, his eyes shining, lips red from his teeth sinking in.

Harry was knelt up, paused mid pull, the head of his cock poking out of his fist. Louis huffed out a laugh. “You don’t disappoint at all, do you?” He shuffled forward and knocked Harry’s hand out of the way. There was no finesse, and for that Harry was truly thankful, because he just needed to ease the throb in his balls, the weight in his groin. It didn’t take long, Louis slurping and licking his way around Harry’s dick. Harry cried his name and came hot into his mouth.

They both slumped to the bed, ragged breathing ringing around the bedroom.

“That was so much better than chicken cottage and bake off re-runs.” Harry gathered Louis in his arms. “Thank you,” he said as he kissed Louis’ temple.

Louis pulled the duvet over them, killed the light, and flopped back into Harry’s arms.

“Chicken cottage is always shit, anything could beat that.” His voice was tired and gruff.

“My saviour then, aren’t you?”

They kissed softly and lazily. Harry could feel the sting of beard burn on his chin.

“Stay. Don’t run in the middle of the night, will you? I want you to be here in the morning.” Louis leant up on one elbow.

“If you’re sure you don’t mind?” Harry smoothed a hand down Louis’ back.

“I would hate if you ran.”

Harry snuggled closer, relishing in having someone warm next to him. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Sleep tight.” Louis tangled their legs. “I don't make a habit of this, you know? Bringing people back, I mean. I just felt...something? I don't know.”

Harry let his eyes flutter shut. “Me too.”

 

~~

 

Harry awoke confused. It was too bright and too hot in his room and then he felt the weight on him and it all came flooding back to him.

Louis. Shit.

He closed his eyes and inhaled, the wonderful smell of the man next to him. They were still laid how they fell asleep, facing each other with their legs tangled. Harry basked the moment, tried to memorise every single second, because this couldn’t last.

Unable to stop it from doing so, Harry’s mind flicked back to a time so very long ago.

 

~

 

Yorkshire 1896

In reality, Harry was a hundred years old. After his parents had passed away, he had tried everything to hide his youthful looks. He wasn’t that great at growing a beard, but that was what he did, and when things became impossible to hide, he packed as much as he could carry in a bag and left.

He spent the decades working casually on farms; always moving, never putting down roots. By night, he searched his fix of the elixir he needed, and by day, he was Harry: the quiet, polite boy who tended the land and animals, working for a pittance just to keep him going.

He’d never had an attraction to girls. He presumed it was the inner secret he carried with him like a millstone around his neck. How could he ever have time for a relationship when he never aged and drank blood to stay alive?

All that changed with Albert.

In June 1896, Harry found himself wandering the Yorkshire countryside. He had spent a decade in Cornwall and Devon, but felt like he needed to go back up North. The second farmhouse door he knocked on, he found Mrs Davis, up to her elbows in flour. She sported a brightly patterned pinny and ruddy cheeks.

“Bertieeeeeeeeee,” she shouted when Harry enquired if there were any jobs going on their farm.

A short, stout man emerged from the barn, a chicken flapping under his armpit.

“This young man is looking for work and lodgings.”

Bert and Mabel Davis became his new employers. He began immediately, hacking a field of hay down, ready to dry for the winter. Mabel had told him supper was at seven sharp.

He washed up in the barn and, with a little knock, entered the steamy farmhouse kitchen.

A large cottage loaf adorned the table, along with steaming bowls of mutton stew and a person sat there, eyeing him cautiously.

“This is our Albert, the apple of our eye, in’t he Bertie? Albert say hello to Harry, our new farmhand.”

Albert’s throat bobbed as he swallowed from his tin mug of tea.

“Evening,” he drawled.

“Hello.” Harry walked around the table and held his hand out. “Nice to meet you.”

Albert and Harry became great friends, mucking in together to get the jobs done on the farm.

Albert was dry and amusing and Harry adored him.  Harry had started off his lodgings in the coal cellar on a makeshift bed, but as the nights grew colder and the family trusted him more, Harry moved into the main house, sharing a room with Albert.

Winter set in and they worked tirelessly, keeping the pregnant ewes from freezing in the harsh Yorkshire winter. One night, just before Christmas, a ewe got into difficulties in a snow drift. Harry and Albert did their best to try and dig her out, but by the time they had freed her, she and the babies inside of her were dead. Albert took it hard. He launched the spade over his head, a gut wrenching cry bellowed from his lungs.  He sank to his knees, his breathing ragged.

“I’m failing them. We’ll starve. Every lost lamb counts. We won’t survive… We…”

He was exhausted and emotional. Harry tried to share body heat by wrapping himself around Albert, keeping him from freezing on the hard, icy ground until slowly, Harry persuaded him to stand. They carried the dead ewe down to the farm, gutting and cleaning it for Mabel to use.

By the time they fell into their beds, it was almost time to get back up and start it all over again. As he tried to sleep, Harry heard soft sobbing coming from Albert’s bed. Harry wrapped his own heavy blanket around his frozen frame and tiptoed over to Albert.

“Heyyyy.” Harry sat gently on the edge of the bed.

“If things d..don’t improve, Dad said we’d have to let you go, Harry.”

Harry patted Albert’s arm to move over and let him in. “If that’s what’s needed, then I have to accept that, my friend. People come and people go…”

Albert groaned into this blankets, muffling the sound a little. “No, I don’t want that. I don’t want you to leave.”

Albert turned to face Harry. “I like you here. I want you to stay. I will work extra hard, no slacking.”

“Albert,” Harry soothed.

Albert tentatively took Harry’s hand, laced his fingers through Harry’s. “Don’t leave. Please.”

Harry felt a jolt run down his spine. He’d felt this before, buried it deep inside himself, afraid of what it meant. He ran his thumb over Alberts palm, feeling the rough callouses, the chill of his skin.

Albert sobbed and said a quiet, “Please, Harry.”

Harry took him in his arms, shushing away his fears as he rocked him gently, purring soft noises into Albert’s hair. A warm feeling settling in his stomach. This felt nice, so very nice.

Harry never left Albert’s bed. They worked constantly on the farm during the day and shared each other during the night. Every furtive touch, every stolen kiss, felt new and wondrous. Harry’s favourite time of day was waking up next to a warm body, strong arms holding him.

Harry stayed at the farm for ten years, but knew that time was running out for them. As Albert aged with the sun and the harsh winters, Harry stayed his young, fresh-faced self. He loved Albert, he truly did, but he couldn't stay.

Unfortunately, he couldn't take Albert away from the farm and leave his mother and father to starve either. He knew Albert wouldn't let him go without a fight, so the only thing to do was leave. It was on the tip of his tongue to spill the whole story, but he didn't want to burden Albert with his troubles.

So, one July night, after staying out in the fields until gone ten, Harry sent Albert back to wash up first, saying he was checking on the chickens before following him. In reality, he picked up the bag that he'd left hidden away and ran off into the night to Scotland, the first place he could hitch a ride to.

He cried all the way there, missing his constant companion of a decade. The Davis family  had become his family and he'd had to run like a criminal, knowing he was breaking not only Albert’s heart, but his own as well. He’d left their favourite poetry book under Alberts pillow with some words underlined so he knew that Harry had loved him and would never ever forget him.

 

~~

 

London 2017

Louis woke with a start.

“Fuck, bollocks. I didn’t set my alarm.”  He jumped out of bed, gloriously naked, and sprinted across the room. Harry reached for his phone from his jeans pocket.

“Twenty to eight.” Harry jumped up himself, raking a hand through his messy hair. He tried to hide the morning wood he was sporting and darted into the bathroom.

“Oh, thank fuck for that.” Louis hollered from the kitchen. Harry chuckled to himself as he had a pee and pinched a little bit of Louis’ toothpaste to rub in with his fingers. He looked at himself in the mirror. He was such a fuck up, but God, he had enjoyed himself last night. He couldn’t help but smile at the memory.

“Tea or coffee?” Louis asked.

Harry opened the bathroom door. “If you’ve got time, I’d love either. Don’t mind at all.”

He popped back into the bedroom, put last night’s clothes back on, and joined Louis in the kitchen.

“Just gonna grab a shower, don’t leave just yet.” Louis pushed a mug of tea towards Harry.

Harry thanked him and watched his naked bum sway out of the room.

He grabbed his tea and looked out of the window, the people scurrying off to work in the street below him. He was back in at Smithfield this afternoon, working until ten tonight again.

Louis came back in, hair damp and carrying a suit jacket. He wore dark grey fitted trousers and a pale lilac shirt. Harry couldn’t help but stare.

“Cereal if you want it in there,” he said as he pointed to a cupboard. “Bowls, spoons, milk. Help yourself.” Harry didn’t bother, his stomach was churning far too much to think about food. He heard the hairdryer startup, and it didn’t seem to take Louis too long to dry his hair. He came back into the kitchen, his soft fringe falling over his eye a little. Harry wanted to eat him up.

“No breakfast?” He frowned at Harry.

“Nah, I’ll get something at home, but thanks anyway.” Harry grinned at him.

Louis poured himself a huge bowl of cereal and jumped up on a stool to eat it, leaning right over the bowl to avoid drips on his clean clothes.

“You working today?” he chatted. He seemed perfectly relaxed with Harry, the morning after the night before.

“Yep, two ten.” Harry replied.

“Don’t you mind losing your evenings to work?”

Harry thought for a beat. He was missing nothing. No one to come home to, no missed calls. The only people in his phone were work colleagues.

“Sometimes.” Harry shrugged.

Louis finished his bowl and put it away into the dishwasher along with his empty cup. Harry walked towards him, draining his own cup so he could do the same with it.

Louis caught his wrist and pulled him forward into his arms. “Had a lovely night last night, can’t remember the last time I felt so comfortable with someone so quickly.”  He reached up and kissed Harry, Harry melting into his arms. Louis was such a great kisser, Harry was hopelessly immersed.

“I have to go.” Louis pressed their foreheads together. “Can we swap numbers? I’d love to see you again.”

Harry nodded, his heart pounding in his chest. He swiped his phone and added Louis to his contacts, texting him immediately for Louis to save his number.

“You busy this weekend?” Louis asked.

“Nope.” Harry was vague.

“Might see you, then. I’ll text you later.” Louis pressed their lips together, groaned low, and pulled away. “These trousers are tight enough.” He adjusted the semi he was sporting, grabbed his jacket and his phone, Held the door open for Harry to pass through and locked it behind him.

 

~~

 

Harry let the water wash over him for a long time. He felt rejuvenated after his night with Louis. The same old pattern had changed and he had done something different, something for himself. He had a genuine reason to smile today. He tidied his little flat, ate some food, and set back off on his walk down to the market with a spring in his step.

His mind was full of his new friend. Friend. Shit. It never ended well, meeting new people. Never ever. Harry knew that, knew that inevitably he always had to walk away yet here he was diving in head first. It was a lovely night with a wonderful boy, and he deserved a little happiness, surely? Harry argued with himself over it all the way to work.

At his break time there was a message waiting on his phone. It still came as a shock even though he was looking for it.

‘I guess I tasted like chocolate milk when I kissed you goodbye this morning. I promise you that was not my intention, to send you off with the impression that I am a seven year old. Sorry, I do like grown up food too. Speaking of, fancy a bite to eat at the weekend? I am free anytime. Would love to see you again. Thanks for a really lovely night last night, you’re on my mind a lot today. xLx’

Harry was shaking. He wanted to see him again so much, and this was a lot to take in.  He loved romance, loved dating, but nothing good had ever come of that. Harry sighed, pursed his lips, and pocketed his phone.

The rest of his working day was stressful, full of deadlines to meet and problems to sort out. By the time ten o’clock came around, he was more than ready to go home.

He wandered up his usual route, toying with the phone lying heavy in his pocket. Eventually, Harry sat at the bus stop, re-read Louis’ message, and typed and deleted several attempts before finally sending what he had written and starting to walk again. There was no silhouette in the doorway of the Shakespeare tonight. Harry put his head down and hurried along.

His phone buzzed just as the rain started falling. He pulled up his hoodie and walked a little faster to the next bus stop. Tonight was no night for walking. Tonight, he needed to be home and dry and reading the reply in his pocket.

 

~~

 

Saturday was one of those surprisingly warm days for May. Harry woke up with a start as a pizza menu was pushed through his door. He checked the time. It was still early and he had that lovely feeling of being able to turn over and go back to sleep, until it hit him.

It was Saturday. Tonight he would see Louis again. That put an end to any more sleeping.

By the time he was ready to leave, he was frazzled with worry. What to wear? Did he take something for Louis? How would they sort the bill? In the end, he texted Louis and asked for clothes advice.

‘You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in, it’s only a curry house and maybe go for a little walk or a dance or a drink after?’

Harry dressed in a shirt he’d found tucked away in a charity shop. It was one of his favourite things to do: find bargains in vintage shops. He spent hours combing markets for things that caught his eye. He’d found this one when he’d taken a donation bag into a charity shop and had a rummage whilst he was there. He actually found the shirt in the ladies section. It was the palest pink and a little sheer. He teamed it with black skinny jeans and boots. He let his hair fall a little as he had to have it swept up and back for work so he left it a little looser when he could. He finished off with a squirt of his scent. Something light and fresh and he was good to go.

Louis was loitering on the corner of Old Street and Goswell Road. Harry’s pulse hammered as he spotted him; he was so cool in a suede jacket and blue jeans. Harry swallowed, but it felt like he had a brick in his throat. He wanted so much, but how could he?

“Heyyy.” Louis’ eyes raked down Harry’s body. “You look lovely.”

“You do too.” Harry’s voice was rough, nerves making his mouth dry.

Louis smiled wryly. “Nervous?”

Harry met his gaze, his eyes fluttering shut as he nodded.

“Don't be.”

Louis stepped forward and hugged Harry. Some of his anxiety melted away as he felt Louis’ arms around him.

“Come on then, I'm starving.” Louis spun Harry around and slotted his arm through the other man’s, linking him as they walked. “What’ve you been up to?”

Harry wanted to chant that all he's done is think about Louis. Dream about him. Remember his touch and his taste. Hear his sweet voice, his soft tinkling laugh, his eyes.

“Nothing much. What about you?” Harry settled for in his reply.

The walk to the restaurant went by in a flash and the nerves melted away. They chatted easily, hips bumping as they navigated the busy London streets.

They were settled into a small cosy booth, the waiter handing them their menus and taking a drinks order. They both decided on beers and a shot of tequila each.

“Ready?” Louis held his glass out to Harry.

“As I’ll ever be.” Harry screwed his nose up and tipped his head back, the liquid burning warmth all the way down his throat.

“Shit.” Louis grimaced. “So bad it’s good.”

They both laughed.

“So, how long have you been single?” Louis took a sip of his beer.

Harry hated this bit. The lies, the stories.  “A few years now.” He avoided specifics. “You?”

Louis tilted his head and looked up to the ceiling. “A year and a half. I was engaged to a guy, he got cold feet about the whole settling down thing, called off the wedding, and moved to Berlin to work.”

Harry gasped softly. “Sorry, Louis.”

Louis shook his head. “He did us both a favour, although it took me a long time to see it like that.”

Their food arrived. They took their time eating and chatting and making eyes at each other across the table. Harry was mesmerised by the little flicks of Louis’ tongue as he ate his food and Louis’ eyes seemed to be dropping to Harry’s mouth too. Harry pressed his lips together, plumping out his already bee-stung pout and enjoyed the attention of the beautiful man facing him.

“What about family?”

Ahh there it was, the other dreaded question. Harry had his backstory ingrained in his memory. He’d once read the story of a small boy from Eastern Europe who had been caught up in the Balkan war of the nineteen-nineties. He had managed to be brought to the UK as a small child, sadly losing all of his family in the process. Harry adopted this story for himself.

“I have no family.” He cast his eyes downward. “I was left an orphan in the wars of the nineties and was given a new home here. I spent my childhood hoping to be adopted, but it never happened. Because of that, I tend to find it hard to make friends or settle down.” He dared to look back up at Louis. Louis looked genuinely shocked.

“I’m so sorry Harry.” He reached for his hand across the table. “I can’t imagine not having my family.” Louis looked genuinely choked with emotion.

“It’s fine. I don’t really know any other life.” Harry tried to gloss over things. “I’m happy, I’ll have a family of my own one day,” he breezed.

Louis smiled softly. “You’re lovely.”

Harry blushed at the compliment. “You’re not half bad yourself.”

They decided to go for a walk after their food. It was a mild night and London was alive to the sights and sounds of the capital. Louis’ hand found Harry’s and that’s where it stayed, sometimes swinging beside them as they walked and talked. They found a bench on the North bank and watched the lights of the South bank twinkling over at them.

“Not often I get a chance to see just how beautiful this city is,” Louis marvelled.

“I walk a lot at night. It’s my favourite time.” Harry squeezed his hand.

“I’m glad you walked my way the other night.” Louis searched Harry’s face.

Harry leant over and kissed his lips softly. “Me too.” He breathed against him. He felt Louis shudder a little.

“Do you want to go to a club or something?” Louis was so close, kissing Harry before he could reply.

“I really don’t mind either way.” Harry mouthed down Louis’ jawline, pinching just a little with his teeth, not enough to mark him, but enough to make Louis feel it and respond with soft gasps.

“Would be a damn shame not to see you all sweaty and dancing in that sexy shirt.”  Louis turned his head and sucked lightly at a spot just below Harry’s ear.

They club was hot, the dance floor packed. Louis led the way, cutting a path until they found a spot. Not even bothering with drinks, they crowded in, their bodies close as Harry curved his hand around Louis’ hip and stepped even closer.

They started to move, hips mostly swaying and circling. Louis had his palm flat to Harry's back and they were face to face as they moved. Harry's eyes were hooded as he stared at Louis’ mouth.

He was so beautiful. Hair softly windswept, his head inclined, the perfect angle to be kissed. Harry bumped their hips harder, his hand sliding down, cupping his arse cheek, ample flesh under his fingertips as he kneaded his high, pert bum. Louis swore softly, gyrating his hips in perfect time to the beat so Harry could feel his arousal against his own.

Harry jerked his hips forward, making them clash roughly. Louis’ eyes bugged wildly at the friction and pressure on his cock. Harry loved this, loved feeling a man respond to him in his arms.

Harry brushed his lips against Louis’ temple. He was damp with perspiration in the heat of the club. Harry nosed down Louis’ jaw, the scent of Louis’ warm musky cologne and unmistakable man making his cock strain in his jeans. He nipped at the flesh just below Louis’ ear, and Louis went pliant in his arms for a beat as Harry tasted his skin, craving more.

Louis turned around and Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ waist, pulling him in so he was impossibly close with his back plastered to Harry’s front. Louis turned his head, sharp teeth nipping at the skin of Harry’s throat while he arched his back, pushing his arse into Harry’s straining cock. Harry ground forward, a grunt spilling from him, thankful the music was so loud, drowning out his needy noises.

He loved this so much. Dancing had always been his thing, dancing with boys his special little addiction.

~~

London 1928

Harry had settled in London once again. He worked for a cloth manufacturer, dressing the rich and titled of London, and that’s how he met Rupert.

Rupert was flamboyant and wild. His father was titled, so Rupert didn’t have to or want to work. He loved clothes and spent obscene amounts of money tailoring himself. In the process, he struck up a friendship with Harry.

Harry became his manservant, dressing him for the finest parties in London. He had a keen eye for fashion and loved shopping with Rupert for the finest materials to make his bespoke suits. Rupert loved bright colours and soft flowing fabrics that swished as he danced. The ladies lined up to date and be seen with him, as he was the most eligible bachelor in London.

Harry was completely in love with him.

One night after yet another disastrous date with Lady Jane Asquith, Rupert came home a little drunk, put some records on, and made Harry dance with him. They fooled around going knock kneed to the Charleston, shaking their bodies to the Shimmy.

Harry eventually dropped to the floor, gasping for breath and laughing until he cried, his ribs in spasm. Rupert watched him, his eyebrows arched at Harry sprawled on the floor.

“I’m not done with you.” Rupert held his hand out, pulling Harry to his feet.

“I’m flagging, Rupe. Give a chap a minute to get his breath back,” Harry giggled.

Rupert wandered over to his record selection, choosing one and dropping the needle down.

“Shall we?” He held his hand out to Harry. The slow drawl of the violin flooded the room. A tango beat to the music.

Harry frowned. “I’m not a trained dancer, old chap. I’ll trip you up or break my nose on the damn floor.”

Rupert shrugged. “I’ll take a chance.”

Harry felt his back stiffen. He hid his love for Rupert rather well, but holding him close like this was dangerous.

“Rupe.” Harry held his ground.

“Is it because you’re dancing with a man?” Rupert looked hurt.

“No.” Harry took a step closer.

“Then join me. Please. Tonight was a frightful bore. Show me a good time, Harry.”

Harry’s body shook as he took Rupert in his arms. He let Rupert lead him, slow steps until he jerked Harry, bending him backwards. Their lower bodies aligned, with Rupert’s arm around Harry’s waist. Harry squirmed as his obvious arousal brushed Rupert’s hip. Rupert blushed, his cheeks gaining a pleasant flush as he marched Harry around the room. As he took them in for another bend, Harry felt their mutual arousal.

“Sir. I’m sorry, it was bold of me..” Harry was desperate to keep his job. Showing such obvious attraction to his boss terrified him. He loved working for Rupert, but Rupert had never shown any interest in men before. Harry held his breath and closed his eyes

“Oh shut up and kiss me.” Rupert growled.

Harry’s eyes snapped open. He’d dreamed of this moment so many times, brushing off his ridiculous fantasies as just that. Harry tentatively reached up and touched his jaw, Rupert turning his head into the touch. Harry leant in and connected their lips, softly at first, the kiss grew from something tender to something passionate.

“Show me Harry. Show me.” Rupert begged. Harry took his hand and lead him to bed.

Rupert moved out of his family home in Belgravia and spent more time at his flat, which was nearer the nightlife of London. They partied hard, became part of the set known as the Bright Young Things.

They were flamboyant, decadent and rebellious. Too young to have fought in the first world war, they were the new generation, frequenting the many Jazz clubs in the capital and throwing house parties where dancing, drinking, and promiscuity were the order of the day.

Rupert and Harry loved their life. Harry had struggled for so many years while traipsing the country, that he allowed himself to put down some roots and enjoy a taste of the high life with his beau, but it didn’t last long.

Rupert died suddenly at the age of 27.  His parents blamed his decadent lifestyle. Harry blamed himself, not pushing him to seek medical help when the chest pains made him gasp. He packed his belongings and was on the road, heartbroken and alone. Again.

~~

May 2017

The taxi driver sighed a few times as their make-out session escalated. Hot kisses and wandering hands had them both trying but failing to hide the needy noises spilling from both of them. They paid the taxi and stumbled up to Louis’ flat, hands groping bums and bulges, giggles and huffs sounding as they grabbed at each other.

“I feel fifteen again.” Louis said. Harry just ground his dick into Louis’ arse. Louis finally opened the door, Harry draped over his back.

“You feel fucking great, is what you feel.” Harry cupped the cheeks of his bum, digging his fingers into the flesh and groaning.

“Like my arse, do you?” Louis glanced over his shoulder at Harry.

“I would have thought that was obvious?” Harry sucked lightly on Louis’ jaw.

Louis pushed the door open, kicked his shoes off, and dragged Harry towards the bedroom.

“You. Naked now, whilst I have a piss.” He swayed a little. “Your nipples through that top are very distracting, you know? Think I wanna ride your dick til morning.”

Harry chuckled. Louis was such a playful drunk, horny as hell and not afraid to show it.

“I’m up for that.” Harry cupped himself, looking up slowly to see Louis licking his lips.

“Fuck,” Louis breathed.

They took turns in the bathroom, Harry having to think about something other than Louis so his dick would go down and he could have a piss. Louis was waiting for him, sprawled on the bed like a bronze sculpture, carved by the gods. Harry took a moment to stand and stare. He truly was a sight to behold.  Louis looked up, a slow smile spreading over his face.

“I got some really envious looks tonight, dancing with you.” Louis smoothed a hand down his flat tummy.

“Ditto.” Harry smirked. He pushed off the door frame ready to walk over to Louis.

“Stay. Please let me just look at you.” Louis’ eyes were hooded with lust. He toyed lazily with his cock, staring at Harry’s naked form.

Harry felt his cheeks flood with heat the longer Louis looked at him. His hand tightened around his shaft, the head popping in and out of his fist.

“Don’t you dare come yet.” Harry nodded with his head at Louis’ hand.

“I won’t,” Louis ground out, but Harry was taking no chances. He wanted in on this.

He watched Louis for a few more seconds, taking in his fluttering stomach muscles, the low breathy sighs leaving his parted lips, and could stand it no longer. He strode over, cock swaying heavily, and mounted the bed. Pinning Louis’ hips, he bent his head and took him down, his mouth already flooded with saliva, he was so hungry for Louis’ taste.

Louis grasped Harry’s hair. “Fuuuuck,” he whimpered as Harry devoured him. “Want you to fuck me, please. Want it so much.”

Harry felt for the lube left on his pillow. Not coming up for air, he leant up a little, keeping the head between his lips as he squeezed liberal amounts of lube onto his right hand fingers and hummed for Louis to open his legs more. Louis easily obliged.

Harry circled the puckered skin of his hole, Louis writhing about on the bed, a fine sheen of sweat coating his body. Harry breached him, massaging the walls of his arse as he slowly opened him enough to get two fingers in. He could work him better now, spinning his knuckles, increasing his width between each movement.

He went deeper, his middle finger grazing over that bump making Louis buck his hips, his back arching as Harry fiddled with his prostate. Harry felt Louis’ cock blurt natural lube out as he became more aroused.

“Harry, please,” Louis begged. Harry reluctantly popped off his dick and, licking his lips, he reached for the condom on the pillow. He spread his own precome over his cock and rolled the condom down his shaft.

“How do you want it?” Harry eyed him wantonly, laid spreadeagled, hard dick twitching on his belly.

“You lay, can I just?” Louis was pushing him down and straddling him already. He raised up, stood Harry’s cock up, and rubbed the tip against his hole. Harry shuddered. It was so very much seeing Louis like this and feeling the head of his cock being swallowed and squeezed by Louis’ walls.

Harry blew out a ragged breath. “You’re stunning.”

Harry wailed as Louis slowly sank down into him. Harry stayed still as Louis found his position, rising and shifting a little until he smiled down at Harry. Harry reached up and brushed his hair out of his eyes, framing the side of Louis’ face with his right hand.

“You look beautiful all full of my cock.”   

Louis slumped forward, his erection pushing into Harry’s belly as he bent and kissed him. Harry steadied his hands on Louis’ hips, slid his feet up the bed a little, and tried an experimental thrust upwards of his hips.

Louis moaned encouragingly, laying his cheek against Harry’s temple. Harry took a breath and began to pump into him. Louis’ grunts matched Harry’s thrusts. It was intoxicating to hear his response to Harry’s body.

“More. Please don’t stop.” Louis arched a little finding his perfect angle, clutching the wooden frame of the bed behind Harry’s head to steady himself as Harry kept up a punishing pace.

“Fuck,” Harry gritted, every ounce of willpower needed not to come. He turned his head, his lips trailing over Louis’ neck. The sharp zing of fresh sweat was welcomed on his tongue.

He slowed his thrusts a little, giving them both some respite. Louis was panting heavily, getting his breathing back to a normal pattern. They kissed, their bodies joined in two places. Louis lazily rose and fell, a soft hum as their tongues danced together.

“You’re bloody amazing.” Louis looked down at Harry.

“I’m, like, seconds away from blowing your brains out with my dick. I fear it might explode inside of you and we may never been seen again.” Harry grinned goofily.

“You best fuck me into oblivion then, superstud.”

Louis shifted into position and Harry obliged. The pace and accuracy was astounding and, within seconds, Louis was wailing as he shot up between their bodies. Harry then let go himself. His teeth were gritted as he pushed into Louis one last time and came with a yell, Louis wincing at the fullness of Harry’s cock inside of him.

They collapsed, spent but sated, a sweaty tumble of bodies on the bed.

“That was so fucking good. I needed that, bright eyes.”

Louis rolled into Harry, their sweat cooling on their bodies making them chilly. Harry cleaned them off with tissues, kissing Louis’ belly and chest and neck as he went along.

“Stay, please.” Louis covered them up, holding Harry close. “I like you...a lot,” He kissed him softly. “I feel like...like a connection or something,” he hummed contentedly.

Harry squeezed his eyes shut. He’d slept with lots of men in his life, too many to keep track of, but one thing he did know was that this feeling was rare. This was special and it scared the fuck out of him.

“Yeah, I know.” Harry kissed Louis’ hair, fear and panic bringing an icy dread to his chest. It wouldn’t end well, it never did.

~~

Aug 2017

“Good morning, sunshine.” Harry bent and kissed a sleepy Louis on the cheek.

Spring had turned into summer and the boys had become inseparable. Harry had just worked a night shift, after which he had walked to the bakery and bought fresh pastries for them, let himself into Louis’ flat with the key that Louis had given him a couple of weeks ago, and made tea for them both before waking his boyfriend up.

Yes - boyfriend.

They had become an official couple when the key giving thing had happened. Harry had tried, he truly had tried, to keep it casual, but Louis had this magnetic pull that made him gravitate towards him all the time. They had just clicked.

When Harry was on the afternoon shift, Louis would be waiting for him, walking up to his flat together, chatting about their days. The sex also got better and better as they relaxed and trusted one another more. On the week that Harry worked nights, he liked to wake Louis up with a surprise. Sometimes it was breakfast, most times it was breakfast and a blow job. Harry’s little flat barely got a visit now. Many of his clothes and possessions were housed at Louis’ place.

“Uhhhhh.” Louis groaned, pushing his face into the pillow.

“I know you have a hard day ahead, so I brought your favourite.” Harry spoke softly, stroking his hair. “It’s a beautiful day outside.” His hand smoothed down Louis’ back to the curve of his bum. Louis rolled onto his back.

“Did you bring me a Belgian bun?” Louis turned his head and cracked one eye open.

Harry chuckled. “I did. I walked all the way to Paul just for you.”

“You shouldn’t have, you look done in.” Louis reached out to Harry, tucking a curl behind his ear. “Please sleep today, I kept your side nice and toasty.”

Harry smiled down at him, two smudges of purple under his eyes giving away the late night Louis had obviously had. The case he was working on was a tough one; his boss was about to try his best to prosecute a man who had murdered his wife. Louis never spoke about work much, but this case had been all over the news.

“I’ll have supper ready and a bath run. I’ll be thinking of you.” Harry bopped his nose with his pinkie. “But first things first. A bun or a blowie?”

Louis’ eyes crinkled as he smiled. “Maybe I can eat my bun and then we could feast on each other?”

 

Harry kissed Louis goodbye one more time, wishing him luck as as left for the courthouse. He’d managed to have his fix the previous night, the stunned fowl delivered fresh for slaughter being his saviour for this week. He hated what he had to do, but it was his life and had been that way for two centuries. Usually he slept well after a fix, but his mind was elsewhere. Louis.

He’d so readily welcomed Harry into his life, his home, yet Harry kept a whole side of him so secret, and now Harry was in love. They’d not actually said those words yet, although the previous weekend Louis had been quite emotional after a particularly beautiful day of sex. He’d held Harry in his arms, overcome with the tenderness of their lazy Sunday in bed. Harry had already seen the love in Louis’ eyes, felt the deep connection between them. He slid into Louis’ body, whispering his name over and over, and then became choked himself as Louis turned misty eyed, clinging to Harry, wallowing in the glow of deeply satisfying sex.

Harry felt incredibly guilty and sick with worry. He had hoped it was all one sided, that Louis didn’t feel as strongly as he did, but the love had shone from his eyes and Harry knew.

It was time to move on.

He couldn’t stay and watch Louis fall even more in love, only for Harry to up and leave him. No, it was better this way. Cut the ties before Louis got even more hurt. Only, it was soul destroying. Harry had just had the summer of his whole life. He’d felt love before, felt heartbreak, but this was powerful. Big fat tears splashed down Harry’s face as he thought about leaving Louis.

He’d allow himself one more week with Louis, then he’d go.

~~

Sept 2017

His plan to leave had crumbled once he saw how stressed Louis was during the trial. He couldn’t leave him in the middle of such an important time, so it had gone on the backburner.

“Guilty!” Louis leapt into Harry’s arms. “I am so relieved for Sarah’s family.” His voice hitched a little. Harry squeezed him tight.

“Proud of you,” Harry murmured into his ear.

Louis pulled back. “Marcus and the team are in the the Magpie, I want you to come too. I don’t know how I would have got through the last few months without you.”

Harry had been on the early shift, coming out of the market to find Louis hopping about excitedly. The court case had lasted just over a month, but that morning, after a guilty verdict had been delivered, the man had been sentenced to life in prison. Louis’ boss had taken them all to the pub to celebrate, but Louis had someone he wanted to join them, so he had dashed up to the market to wait for Harry.

“I’m sweaty and smelly.” Harry grimaced.

“You’re not. It’s the smell of that place up your nose. You’re fine. Come on.” Louis took his hand.

They stayed celebrating with Louis’ team until the evening. They picked up a takeaway on the way home, staggering a little up the road, merry with champagne and happiness.

Louis stopped as they reached The Shakespeare pub.

“Oi, I think we’ve had enough,” Harry giggled.

“Shhhh listen.” Louis pulled him close. “This was where I met you.”

“Yes I know. I was here too.” Harry stroked Louis’ hair.

Louis stared up at Harry, cupping his jaw with his hand, sliding his thumb gently over his lips. “I love you.”

Harry’s eyes stung, his throat raw with emotion. He knew, he’d known a while, but to hear the words in that raspy beautiful voice hit him square in the heart.

“I love you too.”

He had to be truthful. He owed him that much. Harry would go soon.

~~

October 2017

Louis glared at Harry. “I love Britney more than life itself and I love hearing you sing Britney even more, but I need to hear the fucking satnav just now, Harry, and you wailing along to Sometimes isn’t helping me do that.”

“But all I really want is to hold you tight, treat you right, be with you dayyyyyy and night…”

Louis swatted Harry, the fondness shining from his eyes. He pulled the campervan over to the side of the road, put the handbrake on, and groaned, hitting his head on the steering wheel.

“Let’s stop for a little rest.” Harry rubbed Louis’ back. “Sorry for distracting you.”

“I just need a power nap,” Louis mumbled. He turned to look at Harry. “Love you.”

They were on their way to the Lake District in Cumbria. One of the juniors in Louis’ law firm had lent Louis and Harry a campervan to go away in for the week. They’d both booked annual leave from work, packed warm clothing, and set off up North.

“It’s beautiful.” Louis stared at Lake Coniston below them.

“Come on, kip for a bit.” Harry pulled the curtains and tucked Louis up beside him on the snug bed. They spooned in the tight space, Harry holding Louis as he drifted off to sleep.

They’d packed the night before, sharing a bottle of wine before Harry pushed Louis onto the bed and made him come from sucking him off and playing with his arse. They’d decided on an early start the next morning to make the most of their precious week off, so Louis had been driving since dawn, stopping halfway for coffee and a toilet break before they had powered on until Louis’ eyes were crying out for a rest.

An hour later he was refreshed and ready to continue. They weren’t that far from their first stop off point. It was a farm in a valley between two of the mountains and the scenery was spectacular.

They chose a pitch, parked up, and began to assemble their camp area. They’d brought a tent to sit out in with a couple of fold up fishing chairs and small two ring gas burner to cook with plus basic provisions.

Once their tent was securely pegged down, Harry filled a pan and began to boil some water for tea. Louis was sprawled in the chair, hands pushed inside of his oversized hoodie, his sunglasses on for the October sunshine. It was dry but chilly, the late afternoon sun having barely any warmth in it. They hugged their mugs in their hands and enjoyed the tranquillity of the countryside. Louis’ hand had found its way onto Harry’s thigh where he absently drew patterns with his finger.

“The pub is a mile or so that way.” Harry pointed. “Or I could just heat that soup up for supper?”

Louis shrugged. “I’m easy, love. Just happy to be out of the rat race for a week. No work, no phones, no cares.”

Harry took Louis’ hand and kissed his fingers. “Let’s just stay here then, love.”

They laid on blankets and watched the inky black sky light up with stars. It was cold but magical. London had too much light pollution to appreciate the beauty above them.

“Did you see that?” Louis yelled. He quickly squeezed his eyes shut. Harry watched him.

“What you doing?” Harry traced a finger down his neck.

“Shooting star, Haz. Make a wish. Quick.”

Harry felt his chest flutter as the feeling of love and affection washed over him. Louis was adorable. Such a simple thing like wishing on a star sounded so magical coming from his lips.

Harry closed his eyes and made a wish, knowing it was never going to happen. It was impossible. Unattainable.

Harry opened his eyes, emotions flooding his body. “I love you so much, so very much.”

Harry took Louis’ face in his hands and kissed him. He just had to live for the moment, because if he thought about the sheer pain and heartache to come, he would break into pieces.

They spent the next few days touring around the lakes, staying in campsites. They lit campfires and toasted marshmallows, rolled down grassy slopes and laughed until they cried. They stopped in Pooley Bridge and hiked up Hallin Fell to see the spectacular views of Ullswater from up there. 

“It’s almost as beautiful as you,” Louis sighed happily as they took in the sights. Harry was plastered to his back with his arms wrapped firmly around Louis, holding him tightly. Harry kissed the top of Louis’ head.”

“When my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness.”

Louis shifted backwards, pressing into the warmth of Harry’s body.

“Sometimes I feel like you’re from another world. Like the words you speak feel ancient but beautiful.”

“I just uhm...I had good teachers.” Harry fumbled for an answer.

They drove to a secluded lake and, despite the Autumn weather, stripped their clothes off and skinny dipped. Louis wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist, dropping wet kisses to his lips.

“You make me fucking crazy. Drive me fucking crazy.” Louis’ teeth chattered as he spoke. “I love you so much.”

“Love you too, beautiful.” Harry clung to Louis, his belly flipping, the butterflies a constant when Louis was in his arms.

“Move In with me. You practically live there anyway, so we might as well make it official.” Louis bit his bottom lip, the cool air making them both shake, but Harry was shaking for another reason entirely. Fuck. Louis was everything he could ever dream of and more.

“I can’t do that,” Harry whispered.

Louis’ face dropped, the hold he had on Harry loosening a little, but it was the light fading in his eyes that cut Harry to the bone. He had to bring that back, couldn’t bear to see him like that, So unsure and sad.

“I’m a nuisance, have so much crap in my flat, I couldn’t possibly inflict that on you and your lovely flat.”

Louis stared at him, scanning his face. “Maybe it’s time for a clean sweep?”

Harry couldn’t do it. Couldn’t let him down like this. There was nothing he would love more than to share his life wholly with Louis, but the skeleton in the closet was forever rattling.

“If you’re sure? There’s nothing I’d love more.” Harry grinned down excitedly at Louis.

~~

November 2017

Harry ran his tongue around the rim of Louis’ arse. Louis was face down, knees underneath him as Harry dipped his tongue inside of him. Louis had a sheen of sweat on his back as he swore into his pillow.

“Please, Haz.”

Harry smiled against his hot skin. “Not today, love.”

Louis groaned long and low, his body quaking as Harry slid a finger inside of him. He brushed the pad of his middle finger against Louis’ swollen prostate. Harry had been alternating between sucking his cock and rimming him for the last half hour. Louis was desperate to come, but Harry was the king of keeping him on the edge.

Harry loved it. Loved seeing Louis like this, but mostly he loved eventually letting him come. But not tonight. He had to go to work tonight. He was saving that for tomorrow.

“I'm gonna have to get ready.” Harry breathed hot air over his balls, flattening his tongue and pushing up against the puckered skin. Louis brought his fist down on the bed.

“Teasing fucker.” Louis rolled over, his cock was jumping, dampness smeared on the end.

“Oooh.” Harry pushed him down, one hand to his chest, suckling the head of Louis’ cock. He felt Louis’ lower belly tense. He knew he was close. He gave him one last suck, pulled his finger out, and squeezed his thick base.

~~

Somerset 1969

Harry laid back, a spliff hanging loosely from his fingers. He needed it, needed some relief from the heaviness in his balls. His home was a field in Somerset, spitting distance from Stonehenge. The hippie movement had been a blessing for him. No questions, just a group of people living in harmony. It was immensely freeing living off the land, no hang ups with sex or relationships. It was a perfect existence for him.

“Hey, man.” Kia (his real name was Keith, but that’s not very cool) sat beside him, taking the joint from Harry’s fingers and taking a long deep pull. He’d renamed Harry Willow, because he reminded him of a willowy tree.

“Hey.” Harry drawled. “When you gonna sort me out?” Harry cupped his balls.

Kia had introduced Harry to a new game. In hippie life, sex was free flowing and nothing was out of bounds, so to add to the excitement, what better than to get each other to the edge and then stop? Kia was an expert, his timing superb.

“It’s the best ache ever, dude.” Kia leant over and shotgunned with Harry, sharing the smoke with him then dropping his mouth to Harry’s exposed collar bone and biting.

Harry was all kinds of riled up. He needed his fix of blood and he needed to come. He hoped both of those needs would be fulfilled tonight. Instead, Kia left him hanging for another two days.

Harry lived happily with his little gang, squatting in disused buildings in the winter, camping in the open air in the summer. Kia taught him a lot until the commune disbanded in the seventies and Harry once again was on the move.

~~

November 2017

Harry was spooning Louis, lazily fucking into him.

“Do you know how wild it drives me having to see you all dressed up for work?” Harry licked the junction of Louis’ neck and shoulder. “Your arse in work clothes.” He thrust a little harder making Louis moan.

“Love you,” Louis whimpered.

“Love you too, but you can’t come yet.” Harry reached over and slid his hand up Louis’ rock hard cock. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. I have to go to work.” He pumped him a few more times then simultaneously pulled out and stopped his hand. “Be good. Tomorrow will be worth it.”

“Don’t go,” Louis turned over, wrapping his arms and legs around Harry. “Stay with me. I need cuddles and kisses. I hate when you’re on nights.”

Harry swept Louis’ sweaty fringe out of his eyes. “I can’t. I’ll be back before you have time to miss me. Have an early night and be all refreshed for tomorrow, or go to the pub, chill out.”

“I love you,” Louis said again as he kissed Harry.

Harry cupped the face of the prettiest boy he had ever known. The kindest, sweetest, most loveliest person. How had he got so lucky, yet so unlucky? Could he ever make this work? Could he stay and face the consequences of never growing old? Of hiding such an integral part of himself from the man he loved so deeply?

“Love of my life,” Harry told him and he truly meant it.

~~

Harry let himself in quietly. He showered and made himself a slice of toast before slipping between the sheets with Louis.

“Morning.” Louis’ words were slurred and raspy with sleep.

“Go back to sleep, it’s too early.” Harry snuggled into the heat where Louis had laid, inhaling the warm boy next to him.

“Mmm,” Louis hummed, snuggling closer to Harry, burying his nose into Harry’s neck.

~~

Harry stretched and felt for Louis, finding only a cold side of the bed. He threw the duvet back and padded through the flat.

“Why did I wake up alone?” Harry squinted in the brightness of the living room.

Louis looked him up and down, his eyes rolling. “You do know eye-spy across the road will now be taking photos of your dick, don’t you?”

Harry snapped his hips upwards making his cock slap his stomach, then swing back down between his legs. “There. Bit of a floorshow for him.” Harry rubbed his eyes and retreated to the bathroom. He relieved himself, brushed his teeth, and walked back into the living room feeling slightly more human than before.

“You. Bed.” Harry pointed at him.

“What am I, your sex slave?” Louis replied but he was already up on his feet and moving towards the door.

They spent the next few hours in bed. They gave mutual blow jobs as a starting point, of course neither of them allowed to come yet. Harry wanted a little dip, so he opened Louis, turned him over, and pushed him into the mattress, feeling his tight walls around his cock as he thrust long and deep into Louis. Marvelling at the soft skin of his back and the curve of his body, Harry whispered words of love and admiration and Louis moaned softly as the build up continued. Harry needed to stop, so he pulled the condom off and squeezed his own erection as he flopped back onto the bed.

Louis rolled him over. “Knees up,” he ordered.

Harry complied, leaving himself exposed. He watched as Louis took the lube and applied it liberally to Harry’s tight hole. He rolled his finger around, Harry gasping at the sensitivity. Louis’ was so gentle, yet sure. He had done this so many times, knowing exactly what Harry liked and loved. He licked up his balls, teasing his tongue around Harry’s hole. Harry bucked his hips, swearing softly as Louis pushed a finger in.

“Please Lou.” Harry liked it a little rough, liked to feel the stretch of Louis going in.

“Shhh, I know love. Nearly there,” Louis reassured him. He turned Harry over onto his back then applied more lube and a condom. “I like to watch your face, watch your eyes, as I push in. You’re so fucking beautiful like this, Haz.”

He knelt up, lined himself up, and lifted his eyes.

“Ready?”

Harry ran his hands over Louis’ body. He was stunning: tiny, but compact. Thick but slight. His waist tapered to something so slender, yet his thighs were generously proportioned.

“Ready.” Harry nodded.

He was tight, his back arching into the breach of his muscle. A low filthy moan left his lips making Louis’ cock twitch with interest. Louis didn’t stop until his balls touched skin. Harry’s teeth left dents in his lower lip as he took him all.

“So full with you, Lou. Love it. Love you.”

Louis pulled out a little, sliding back in with a snap of his hips. The bed shook a little at the impact, the room filled with their noises.

“More of that love, gimme more.”

Louis slid further out, teasing a little with a finger to his rim, feeling the stretch he circled him, evoking delicious sensations for Harry.

“Tormenting sod,” Harry huffed.

“You’ve done it all week, time for me to dish out the medicine.” Louis pulled out and slammed back in, over and over, reaching a rhythm that Harry emulated with his hips. Meeting him, needing more. His cheeks flushed, eyes bright as he took it all and cried for more.

“Don’t come yet, Haz,” Louis begged. “I’m enjoying myself too much and when I do come, there’s gonna be bucketloads.”

“Just stop.” Harry closed his eyes and grasped his cock, his fingers squeezing the base.

Louis was statue still, watching Harry take control of his body. “I don’t think I can hold on much longer.”

Harry nodded. “Ok.”

They kissed, their bodies fused in the most intimate way, their chests flush, as Louis slowly ground into him. They were both drenched in sweat, soft gasps leaving them as Louis slowly upped the pace. He knew the exact position to give Harry the best possible angle.

Harry tilted his hips and Louis gave him everything. Their breaths grew louder, grunts and moans filling the room. They had waited so long, abstained for days after taking each other to the brink and back so many times. Harry was hanging on a precipice, his orgasm almost refusing to come now, but this was the joy. The utter elation at being there, the tiniest step away from oblivion and it was the best.

Soaring on a wave of ecstasy, they both teetered on the edge until Louis pounded in one last time, setting off that amazing chain reaction of muscle spasms and internal fireworks. The noises they both made were guttural as they plummeted into the most ridiculously long orgasm. Their sobs lasted minutes. The sheer relief and emotion overcoming them both.

“I’ve never…” Louis gasped

Harry kissed him, Louis still sprawled on top of him.

“I came a gallon,” Harry chuckled, smiling into Louis’ damp neck.

“Me too.” Louis shifted and pulled out of Harry, tying the condom and collapsing back down. “Shall we hire a van next weekend and properly move you in?”

Harry’s eyes closed. He’d delayed the inevitable for long enough, it was time to go. He wrapped his arms tighter around Louis.

“Yeah, I know a fella at work with a van, I’ll sort it this week,” he lied.

He would have one last day with Louis tomorrow, and then Monday he would leave. It was for the best. How could anyone accept what Harry really was? It would hurt like nothing else had ever hurt before, but he had no choice.

Sunday was a chilled day. They stayed in bed late, Harry slowly fucking Louis, telling him how beautiful he was and how much he meant to him. He truly meant every word he said.

“The most beautiful man inside and out.” Harry’s voice hitched as he pushed into him, relishing these last moments with the love of his entire life. It ran so deep, so intense. “I love you so much, with all my heart and soul.”

Louis looked up at him as the tears spilled over. “You ok, babe?”

“Just love you so much.” Harry kissed him to hide the pain in his eyes.

Louis took him to the pub for Sunday dinner. They both loved doing this, having a good roast and a couple of pints and then going home to snuggle and enjoy the remnants of the weekend.

Harry barely slept on Sunday night. He held Louis in his arms, memorising the feel of his body, the touch of his skin, the smell of him. He should have been starting a week of afternoon shifts but instead he would be packing up his life. He slipped out of bed early, prepared some breakfast for Louis, and carried it into bed.

“Morning, lovely.” Harry placed the tray down and opened one of the blinds to give them some light.

Louis smiled confusedly. “Morning, gorgeous. What have I done to deserve this?” He shuffled up into a sitting position.

“Just had a wonderful weekend with you and wanted to prolong it a little bit.” Harry placed Louis’ tea on the bedside table. “Now eat your eggs.”

Harry sat and watched Louis tuck into his food, his eyes wandering over his bare chest, flecks of gold hitting the tips of his messy hair. Harry slid his phone out of his pocket and snapped this scene forever.

“What was that for? Weirdo.” Louis shook his head at him affectionately.

“Aren’t I allowed to snap my beautiful boyfriend?” Harry pouted.

“For your eyes only.” Louis giggled.

They took a shower together, Harry washing Louis’ hair tenderly, thankful for the water flowing down his face to hide the tears. He wrapped his arms around Louis from behind, feeling his silky skin under his fingertips.

“I love you so much.” Harry kissed his shoulder.

“Thank God you crossed that road.” Louis turned in his arms. He spotted Harry’s tears. “What’s up, love?”

Harry blew out a shaky breath, his secrets stored up on his tongue, desperate to share them, but knowing that was impossible.

“Just thankful to have you.”

They dressed, Louis packing his bag for work. “I’ll walk you down.” Harry pulled his boots on.

“I could get used to all this attention.” Louis smoothed a hand over Harry’s half dried hair.

“I fancy a walk, bit of fresh air so thought I’d join you.” Harry shrugged.

“Go pack your flat up and terminate your tenancy there. Want you with me all the time.” Louis pulled his suit jacket on.

They walked hand in hand. Harry felt the panic rising, his last few minutes with his darling boy. His internal jitters made his thighs shake, his stomach knot with pain. Around him people went through the routine of work and normal life while he tried to prepare himself to say goodbye.

“Right, love. Have a good morning. Don’t work too hard and I’ll see you tonight.” Louis reached up and kissed Harry, completely unaware of the magnitude of this moment.

“Love you.” Harry held it together, swallowing hard to keep his cool.  He turned, unable to bear the thought of never seeing his darling Louis ever again.

“Hey.” Louis grabbed his arm. “You sure you’re ok?”

Harry nodded. “Headache. I’ll go take some painkillers and go back to bed for an hour.”

Louis nodded, concern flooding his face. “Ok. Text me later, let me know you’re ok.” He reached over and kissed him one last time.

Harry hurried away, unable to stop the tears. He jogged along the road, hood up, head down. He went to Smithfield, his watery eyes a good guide for his story, asking for annual leave to sort out a family emergency. His bosses agreed. He would email them his resignation later.

He finally went back to Louis’ place, packing his things into bags. He wandered around the flat, Louis’ pillow clutched to his chest, inhaling his scent as he wept. It had been the most wonderful time, living with Louis and sharing his life. He swiped Louis’ dirty sweatshirt from the laundry basket, packing it lovingly in his bag, hoping Louis wouldn’t mind him taking it.

It was now time to leave, which meant it was time to put into words what he was doing. He sat at the table and began to write.

‘My darling Louis,

Writing this letter is going to be the hardest thing I ever do in my entire life. My heart is breaking to even think about this, but I have to leave and never come back.

Louis, I have a secret. It is so ridiculously huge I can’t even begin to tell you or expect you to comprehend.

Please believe me when I say, you are the absolute love of my life. I never believed in soul mates before you came along, but something made me cross the road that night and I can’t believe I met you and had the most amazing time with you. It would be unfair of me to stay and prolong the agony.

I am so very sorry for leaving and I really hope that, in time, you can forgive me and think of me fondly. I can’t bear to think of you hating me. I know it’s a lot to ask, but please don’t hate me. I have both of our best interests at heart.

I took your blue hoodie, I have left you my Rolling Stone tee in return. I will think of you always and love you forever. Please be happy.

Forever in my soul, Harry xxx’

His heart was shattered into a million pieces as he locked the door and posted the key through. His walk up to Islington was laborious. He let himself into his cold flat, dumped his bags and collapsed on the bed.

He didn’t have much time to wallow, he was scared Louis would find the note and come up after work. After resting for a few minutes he pulled his phone out and began to look up times for coaches out of London. He thought about Scotland or Cornwall. Putting as many miles as he could between him and London and the memories it held. The next coach that suited his requirements was going to Saint Ives. Cornwall was always lovely and maybe not as harsh in the winter as Scotland.

As he was buying his ticket his phone rang. It was Louis’ office number. He let it ring out and go to the answer machine. He left a message but Harry couldn’t bring himself to hear his voice. He’d save it.

He emailed his landlord terminating his tenancy then emailed Smithfield and tendered his resignation, citing unforeseen personal problems and that he’d give them a forwarding address for his paperwork. He needed to keep working, so he wanted to do everything right.

Lastly he cleaned the flat from top to bottom. He made everything spotless, taking his frustrations out on his bathroom and kitchen floor, scrubbing until his knuckles were raw. The things he couldn’t take, he packed into rubbish sacks and piled them in the hallway.

He looked around the room. His furnished flat was cleared of all personal items, ready for the next person. He was ready to leave.

He had two suitcases to take holding everything he owned. He placed them beside the sacks he was throwing, unlocked his door ready to go down to the bins at the bottom.  He stepped into the communal hallway to see a person sat on the floor. Knees up, arms wrapped around them, letter in hand, face blotchy and wet with tears. Louis.

“Don’t dare walk back in th—there,” Louis sobbed.

Harry was frozen on the spot, bags of rubbish in his hands. “What are you doing here? It’s early. Work?”

Harry dropped the bags, felt his knees buckle. He grabbed the wall to steady himself.

“Well, call me stupid, but,” Louis stood up. “I was concerned about my so called boyfriend. He seemed unwell, upset. He had a headache and didn’t pick up when I rang him, so.” He took a step towards Harry. “I begged to go home, ran all the fucking way, expecting to find you collapsed or something. Ha! I think that would have been less traumatic than this.”

He threw the letter at Harry’s feet. Angry tears spilled over, which he dashed away with the back of his hand. “I think I deserve better than a fucking Dear John letter telling me you have this big secret. You can write you love me as many times as you want, it doesn’t take away the fact that you upped and left me.”

They were both crying. Harry held his hand out.

“I didn’t know what else to do. I needed to go.”

“You needed to go. Just like that?” Louis was angry.

“It’s hard to explain.” Harry’s voice was barely a whisper.

“Try me,” Louis spat.

Harry opened the door wide, allowing Louis to enter. He gestured for him to sit in the living room.

“Tea?” Harry offered.

“No. Let’s just hear your excuse for leaving me and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

Harry flinched at Louis’ words. Louis closed his eyes, swallowing slowly, his hands shaking as he covered his face, throwing his head back against the sofa. “I believed every word you told me. I thought I felt your love. It seemed the most genuine thing I had ever experienced. I loved you, Harry. So much. And I thought you loved me.”

“I do,” Harry wailed. He dropped to his knees in front of Louis. “I do love you, please believe me, Lou. I love you, more than anyone ever.” He laid his head on Louis’ lap.

“Then why?” Louis tentatively touched Harry’s hair. Harry felt the ghostly stroke of Louis’ hand and leant into it.

“I’m different. I’m not like you or Marcus or Niall or Liam. I have something wrong with me. Something...that’s too mind blowing to explain, so I just need you to believe me. It’s better that I go. That you live the rest of your life without me.” Harry’s fist came down hard on the sofa. “If I could live my life with you forever, I’d be the happiest man aliv e. I’d never ask for another thing, but I can’t change what I am, who I am.”

“What if I want you, no matter what you’ve done? Whoever you are. Are you a criminal? Are you on the run?” Louis quizzed him.

“No.” Harry shook his head. “Nothing like that it’s...it’s hard to explain. It’s as ridiculous as me saying I’m Spider-Man or Superman. You’d laugh. You’d not believe me.”

“Harry, just tell me.” Louis sounded exasperated.

Harry sighed, he lifted his head but kept his eyes down. “My name is Harry Styles. I was born in Manchester in 1794 to Anne and Desmond and in 1817, after working all night with a labouring horse, a man came, bit my neck, and turned me into a vampire.” Harry raised his eyes to Louis. Their luminescence even more evident.

Louis stared at him. “Please, Harry. Spare me the fairy tales.”

“My father was a weaver, my mother a housekeeper for a Lord. I had five siblings. I’ve been twenty-three for over two hundred years. I’ve never had a family, never been able to put down roots. I have to reinvent myself every few decades or so because my paperwork doesn’t match my age. I work at the meat market so that I can safely get my fix. I’ve weaned myself onto once weekly feeds. I don’t bite humans, only animals.” Harry covered his face. “And I hate it. Hate that I’m stuck in this limbo, hate that I can’t just spend my life with you.”

Louis looked dumbstruck.

“How can I believe what you are telling me?” Louis breathed. “It’s so..”

“Ridiculous? Far fetched? I know. And that’s why I’ve never told anyone before. I am so sorry I came into your life, but I saw you and I felt compelled to cross the road.” Harry tentatively took Louis’ hand. “I can never have relationships because I never age. I will live on and on and on at this age forever. I have to invent stories, like the refugee one I now have because I don’t have a single living person on this earth that I am related to. I was lonely, constantly alone because I can’t let people in, because it always ends like this.” Harry lifted Louis’ hand and kissed his wrist. “Please believe me, Lou. Please.”

Louis sat staring at him. “Where are you going now?”

Harry flicked his phone open and turned the screen to Louis. “Bought a bus ticket to Saint Ives. Terminated my tenancy and resigned from my job a couple of hours ago. I don’t know where I’ll stay. A hostel or something until I find a job. Start again.”

“And there’s no one else?” Louis sank his teeth into his lip, tears springing again.

“No. Absolutely not. I love you, Louis,” Harry cried.

“I can’t take this in.” Louis shook his head.

They stayed where they were, Louis on the sofa, Harry sat at his feet, holding his hand.

“I don’t want you to go.” Louis finally spoke. “My head is mashed, but can’t you just stay?”

Harry stared up at him. “Even though you know about me? You’ll have me?”

“I’m exhausted, H. I just want to go home. Just, stay for now. Don’t make any hasty decisions.”

“But I’ve given up my flat and job.”

“Just come home.” Louis shuffled forward. Harry stood up, his legs a little numb from being knelt down. Louis took his hand and they locked the flat behind them and started their walk back down to Old Street.

 

~~

 

December 2017

 

They chose the prettiest Christmas tree they could find. They put on a Christmas mix of songs and danced around the flat, singing and decorating the tree.

They’d talked a lot. Harry slowly told him his whole life story, telling Louis about the painful breakups he’d had over the years and the hard times he’d lived through. Louis still found it hard to get his head around, but promised to try to understand.

“Oi, buggerlugs,” Harry huffed as Louis tried to trip him up.

Louis pouted sulkily. “Get your arse down here, Styles, and help me untangle these lights.”

Harry sat next to him, took the lights from his hands, and pinned him to the floor instead, straddling Louis’ hips.

“The lights can wait. I’m hungry, I need a snack.” Harry reached his hand down cupping Louis’ bulge. “Feel a little peckish.”

The lights were left in a mess on the floor as Harry carried Louis to bed.

 

~~

 

June 2020

 

Harry opened the back door, the land sprawling out before him.

“Lenny, Dessy,” he said, calling the dogs in from the field. Two black labs came bounding towards him. Harry had a green apron on, blobs of jam littering the front of it. He placed two dishes of food on the floor for the dogs as Louis came over the crest of the hill in the old battered Land Rover.

Harry smiled and waved. Louis jumped out, his skin tanned golden from the sun, his hair a little longer than he used to have it when he worked in the city. A lot had changed.

Louis wanted Harry at any cost. They continued to live together in London, Harry retracted his resignation, and was taken back on at Smithfield, but of course they needed a long term plan.

After much deliberation it was decided that they needed to start their own business and live somewhere remote where no one would really notice the passing of time and Harry’s permanently youthful age.

Harry wasn’t sure. Taking Louis away from his life in London and his beloved job was a huge change for him, but Louis was adamant. They saved every penny possible, living as simply as they could, and then an inheritance from Louis’ grandparents gave them the necessary funds to make the big move.

They found a farm for sale in a remote part of Northumberland. It had orchards plus fields of strawberries and raspberries for Harry to make and sell jams and chutneys, a farmyard full of chickens and hens for eggs, plus acres of fields of corn and barley to sell on to give them a proper income. They’d been here six months, barely time to find their feet, but they loved it. Loved the freedom and loved their new lives.

“Lunch is ready.” Harry beckoned Louis into the huge farmhouse kitchen. Pots of jam bubbled on the stove, jars of Apricot chutney littered the worktops, and a huge pan of vegetable stew with homemade bread was all ready for lunch.

They talked and ate their food, the dogs sat at their feet, staring up longingly hoping for a scrap.  

“I got the top field sorted. I think this afternoon I’ll work on the barn.”

They’d decided to make some of the outbuildings habitable in case hired help needed somewhere to stay. Harry had told Louis the story of him and Albert and how the Davis family taking him in had been a blessing. It had stayed with Louis, thinking how many people were in need of safe, dry places to stay, and he had decided that if they hired anyone to help, they would also offer them a place to stay. It would be basic, but it would be a place to lay their head.

“You’re lovely, you know that?” Harry kissed his boyfriend. “I don’t know what I did to deserve you.”

Louis smiled. “Love you too.”

Evening came around and Louis came home, finding Harry stuck up to his elbows in jam jars. Louis started on supper, leaving Harry to fill and seal the produce for market. He made them pasta, using their own vegetables from the huge gardens and greenhouses full of their homegrown stock.

“I think I’m gonna have a bath.” Louis piled the plates into the sink and left them to soak a little. “Maybe you could join me in a little while?”

Harry nodded, a smile lighting up his face. “Yeah, that’d be nice.”

Harry sauntered up after giving Louis time to soak. He was smoking a cigarette, something they rarely did now, save the odd time they might feel like one.

“I think you should do it tonight.” Louis murmured, taking a drag of the cig.

Harry’s heart lurched. “I think we need to talk about it more..”

Louis turned his head. Harry was leant against the doorframe.

“We’ve talked enough. I’m not getting any younger, Harry, and it’s going to be too much of an age gap. There’s nothing left to say. We decided two years ago this was the right thing to do, so let’s just do it.”

“It’s such a huge thing, I don’t know if I can do it to you. What if something goes wrong?” Harry wailed a little now, fear making his voice hitch.

“I don’t want you to ever be on your own again, so the only solution is that you bite me. I won’t take no for an answer.” Louis blew the smoke upwards. “But come here. Come and join me.”

They soaked and washed each other lovingly. Soapy hands on sensitive cocks ended up with pretty swift handjobs. Louis dried off and went into the bedroom while Harry lurked, scared to join him, afraid of what was about to happen.

Louis called him in and Harry walked slowly, his naked body silhouetted by the lamp in the room. Louis was also naked, sprawled on the bed.

“I’m so scared,” Harry whispered.

“Come on, love. I trust you.” Louis patted the bed.

Harry climbed up beside him and Louis wrapped his arms around him and kissed him. It never faded; the desire and need to touch was as strong as ever for both of them, their love a fierce bond.

Louis turned his head, his neck exposed. Harry shook, letting the overwhelming feeling he got just before a fix take over his body. He felt his fangs lengthen, his eyes brighten as he looked down at Louis, staring into his eyes, seeing his encouragement as he bent his head to his neck and opened his mouth.

Louis came round an hour or so later, confusion and then realisation hitting him.

“Thank God,” Harry cried. “Are you ok?” He stroked his hair and littered his face with kisses.

Louis stared up at Harry, the brightness of his eyes even more intense. “I am now.”

 

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The end

 

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