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Saving Symphony Hall

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Louis was sitting cross-legged on a table, having exhausted its dance affordances, when Harry wrapped his arms around Louis from behind and the whole rest of the world didn’t really matter anymore.

“Hey,” Harry said. Louis tangibly, visibly melted back into Harry, let his head fall back and his arms come up to rest on Harry’s. Louis was so, so done waiting, denying, pretending that every damn molecule in his body wasn’t vibrating into Harry’s orbit.

“Hiii,” Louis said, in a passable imitation of Harry’s drawl.

“That took twenty thousand million years,” Harry said with his nose right up against the major pulse point in Louis’ neck. The omega in him felt settled and unsettled, relieved and desperate.

“Empires rose, empires fell,” Louis agreed. Harry’s body heat was close, but not close enough, through Louis’ suit jacket. He still felt heat everywhere, electricity raising all the hairs on the back of his neck.

“I’m glad the symphony is still here, across the ages, really affirms our hard work together,” Harry said. He was pulling the air in, audible across his teeth, scenting Louis right there despite the fact that they were in the corner of the lobby with an entire reception winding down around them. It was dreadfully scandalous public behavior. It was making Louis’ mouth dry.

“It was thirty, forty minutes, tops,” Liam observed from the other side of the table, where he was sitting straight-backed on the edge with Zayn’s head in his lap. 

“Torture,” Harry said with a rough little whine in his voice. Louis tried to twist around in his arms but Harry tensed, keeping him still, holding him in space. Louis blinked, his eyelids feeling heavy.

“You’re torturing us. Get the fuck out of here,” Zayn said. Louis was laughing because Harry had pulled them feet away from the table before Zayn finished the sentence.

 

*


“Oh,” Louis said, as they pushed into Harry’s living room and the lights flickered on.

There were canvases everywhere. Big and small but mostly small, like the ones they’d painted after making pizza, littered carelessly through the room. Louis could see it: Harry frenetically painting one after another and then dropping it in its place, wherever it fell. They leaned on the baseboards and sat on the arms of the chairs, abstract shapes and colors, rich deep jewel tones of blue streaked with sharp, jagged lines of gold. He didn’t know how he knew but he knew, could read the testimony of Harry’s sadness and confusion.  

“Oh, my love,” Louis said, pushing his palms into Harry’s lower ribcage, melding them into the rise and fall of his breathing.

“Didn’t have time to clean up,” Harry said, a self-deprecating bent in his eyebrows. The thing was that Harry became lightness and joy and flirtation so quickly, was magnetic and alpha and confident, and you could forget that he was also quiet, that he watched other people and took their feelings into himself. That he spent a lot more time alone than you thought.

Louis shook his head. “You are so important to me,” he said. He'd find new ways to say it, over and over. 

“I missed you,” Harry whispered, and Louis heard ripples pooling out behind that, spilling like endless layers of paint, but he had time and time and time again to unpack it.

“No need anymore,” Louis said, kissing him again, and again just to be sure.

“Always gonna listen to you, now,” Louis said. Harry pressed a kiss to his cheek, to his temple.

“I find it hard to imagine that,” Harry said, cheeky. Louis swiftly pinched a tiny bit of skin between his thumb and forefinger and Harry yelped, but he also looked charmed because he was unfailingly a little masochistic, eyes bright with the ways they could tease each other.

“I mean I’ll hear you,” Louis said, fiercely, promisingly. “Even if I assert my own excellent opinion anyway,” he added. Harry’s smile got bigger, which hadn’t even seemed possible.

“I know you will,” Harry said, “Even when I was sad I hoped--I think I knew you would hear me eventually, anyway. I just had to do something with my time until you caught up.”

“I’m sure every last one of them belongs in a museum,” Louis said, sneaking his fingers into the gap between Harry’s slacks and his hips, feeling drunk on the silk-slide of his skin, the tiny hairs, the curved muscle over bone. They were messy and rumpled now, shirts pulled out and jackets half-off their shoulders, but too entangled and reluctant to let go.

“The world is gonna be deprived of your angst-art from now on,” Louis said, resolutely.

“Happy art only. Gonna have to find another source of inspiration. Go muse shopping with Zayn.”  

“Way ahead of you, as usual,” Harry said.

Louis was responding with the largest eyeroll he could muster, really throwing his whole neck and shoulders into it, when Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ waist and picked him all the way up, clearly fed up with their pace. He walked Louis back through to the bedroom with his feet hanging in the air. 

It was like falling into one of Harry’s pieces, Louis thought, as they left a trail of shoes and jackets and shirts behind them. It was like becoming a work of art yourself, under Harry’s hands, under his purposeful touch, under the fire in his fingertips.


*


“Move in with me,” Harry whispered at some point, late into the night or early into the morning. Whichever it was, there were still stars out, fading on the lightening edge of the sky. Louis was watching them go, under a blanket and half on Harry’s lap in the wide chair on Harry’s balcony.

“Ugh,” Harry said, “I know, it’s too soon. We’ve been up all night and frankly, I didn’t sleep much the night before, so I’m crazy disinhibited. I might be a little high on the way you smell.”

“I have that effect,” Louis said, shaking his head for emphasis, because Harry’s nose was buried in his hair again, and Harry didn’t even snort or make a mocking noise, he just hummed against the back of Louis’ skull. Harry had that effect on him too, but Louis had pretty adequately demonstrated that earlier when he’d shoved his fingers in Harry’s mouth to get more of Harry's scent on himself, like some kind of caveman. Louis squeezed Harry’s hand, which he’d wrapped with his own and pulled tight across his stomach.

“But also, maybe just think about it, it would be so great, think about how you won’t have to get groceries anymore--”

“Yes,” Louis said, still looking at the stars. He could see the stars here, as clearly as from Niall and Babs’ flat, which was walking distance. “Yes.”

Harry gasped. Louis had noticed that particular gasp a few times before--when the orchestra hit a particularly poignant note, when Harry took a closer look at a piece of art he liked, and several times over the previous hours. 

“Wow, are you just going to agree with me on everything now? This is going to be amazing,” Harry said.

Louis punched, backwards and ineffectually, on the side of Harry’s thigh. Harry laughed and shifted Louis easily into his lap, grabbing a handful of his ass in the process and acting innocent about it. Louis tugged Harry's ear, yanking his head to the side, and then Harry put an end to it by biting into the back of Louis’ neck and making him suddenly groan, embarrassingly loud. 

“It's not that early, I've been stealth dating you for months,” Louis said, once he’d recovered. Sort of recovered; interest had sparked again, lazy and slow and hot, deep in the pit of his stomach. Harry's face was like a sparkler, the way it had lit up.

“I cannot believe you admitted it,” he said.

Louis sighed. “I didn't figure it out, Niall told me.”

“Such is life,” Harry said, nodding.


*

 

Louis intended to talk more. He had the best intentions. These intentions were derailed when Harry came out of the shower and Louis unconsciously gripped the sheet to hold himself back before he realized that he was no longer trapped by his long dance of denial. The thing was that Harry’s skin just looked so good next to a white towel, and this had to be explored. As did all of Louis’ ticklish spots, which were a multitude.

Louis had known for his entire life that being omega meant this drive for touch, meant that all the cells in his nervous system were lined up to it, tuning themselves to synaptic harmonies from the people he loved. He'd known it but he hadn't felt it, at least not without judgment. He hadn't thought enough about how they could all fit together, the people on the other end of this complicated network, how much they wanted, too.

“Your phone was blowing up while you were showering,” Louis said, after he’d pulled Harry back into bed and collapsed them in a pile. The white landline next to Harry’s bed on the side table had a copper cradle, a copper-plated dial, and it was heights of pretension that Louis had not truly appreciated until now. 

“Maybe it was the nineteenth century calling.”

“Don’t hate,” Harry said, attempting to tickle Louis. Louis shot back so fast that Harry lost his balance in the bed. He made claw hands at Louis and Louis threw a pillow at him.   

“I got it at the first thrift store I went to in this city. The calls are probably my manager. I got the impression I was going to get some calls today, based on how much people liked the show. Don’t they know I’m busy doing important things?”

“Yeah, doing important things,” Louis said, smirking at Harry, who promptly took the white landline out of its cradle and wound the cord around Louis, looping his shoulders and waist and head.

“Stop,” Louis giggled, “Jesus christ, you’re a menace! Why does anyone let you near technology!”

“Because I make art with it,” Harry said, arranging the cords in the mess of Louis’ hair like a flower wreath. Louis tried to get his hand with his mouth, but missed, and Harry shoved him back into the pillows. Then he rolled off the bed to grab the DSLR on his bureau.

“Shouldn’t you call her back?” Louis asked.

“No,” Harry said casual and dismissive, “She’ll send me proposals, and I’ll want to get your opinion on them, anyway.”

Louis bit his lip, watched Harry frown at the seated lens like it had personally offended him, and switch to a wide aperture. He thought maybe that Harry could feel the emotion he’d broadcasted. It was a hard one to put into words, the surprise of being valued and the determination that he had to stop being so surprised by that. 

“Hold still,” Harry said, flipping through settings and glancing up with the sudden, sharp observation that told Louis he was in artist mode, gauging the light. Sometimes Louis loved Harry most for the times that they were Louis and Harry together and then sometimes he loved Harry most for the times that had nothing to do with him at all: the way he stepped effortlessly into this other self that could take everything he imagined and make it real.  

Louis looked surreptitiously down to make sure the sheets were in a respectable pool around his waist.

“Hold still,” Harry said, lining up a shot and taking a picture. Louis wrinkled his nose at Harry and tried his best to make an awful face. He really needed a shower, he was sure.

“Perfection,” Harry said, stately, like he was on a set.

“Babs said you take pictures too,” Louis said. “I feel honored.”

“Oh, Babs said?” Harry asked, eyebrow quirked. Louis looked into the window with a joking grimace, and heard a few more shutter clicks.

“I may have seen a few, in the magazines,” he said airily. “When I was doing research for the show, obviously.”

“Obviously,” Harry said. The light really was beautiful, diffused through the curtains and flooding over them, now. Louis loved the light in this room. Louis bent his elbows in a weird way, twisted his head so he was looking at Harry sideways. 

“I’m postmodern art,” he said.

Harry set the camera down and crawled over the bed, capturing Louis back in his arms, heedless of the cords. “You really are,” he whispered, kissing over Louis’ face. He smelled so good, fresh soap and peacefulness.

“I love you,” Louis said, “Also there’s a loud dialtone in my ear.” 

“I can get rid of this phone since you’re going to teach me postmodern texting,” Harry said, unwinding it from around Louis. Harry had possibly answered Louis’ very first phone call on that phone. Louis remembered pressing his face into the window, listening to every nuance in Harry's voice, so nervous proposing the symphony collaboration and all the while pretending he wasn’t wildly attracted to Harry.

“You can’t get rid of it,” Louis gasped, grabbing the handset from Harry and clutching it to his chest. “Gotta keep this phone forever. When they stop putting landlines in apartments, which is probably going to be next year, integrate it into a sculpture and give it to me.”

“Ok, drama queen,” Harry teased, prying the handset gently away, uncurling Louis’ fingers one by one. He bit his lips to keep himself from smiling, big and sappy and goofy, at Louis.


*

 

Of course it was Harry who reminded Louis that there was something left he’d meant to say, hours later when they’d scrounged an excellent brunch from the contents of Harry’s fridge and nominally made their way into full wakefulness by moving from the bedroom to the couch. Louis was still determinedly horizontal, his eyes half-closed while Harry ran his hand up and down the contours of his side like an explorer. He’d stolen another pair of Harry’s sweatpants and he was going to keep these, too.

“I’ve never been with someone who’s been out of real omega space for so long,” Harry said thoughtfully, out of nowhere. “It was proper years, huh? I got that sense.”  

“I’m sorry,” Louis said quickly.

Harry’s hand, which had been running a long and hypnotizing stroke along Louis’ ribcage down to his thigh, stopped for a moment and then started again.

“Why?” Harry asked. His voice sounded careful. Harry was such an unpredictable mix of utterly reckless and deeply careful. It was going to take Louis a long time to figure out what flipped which switch in him.

Louis looked at the ceiling. Harry’s flat had such nice ceilings, high and architectural with smooth rounded curves instead of sharp corners, small chandeliers. Your chandeliers, too, if you want. He noticed the skittering in his own brain before it roared into full force, the temptation to dismiss, to make some off-hand joke that would divert Harry away from his flash of fear. He could roll over and kiss Harry again, or claim he was tired and take advantage of Harry’s overprotective instincts.

He did none of those things. He let Harry’s hand soothe down the skittering and tried again.

“That night, you know, when I dropped with you? That was the first time in so long. And honestly, maybe the first good time, ever? I always relied on stims, even with him. I didn't really even know what would happen.”

Louis stopped for a beat, marshalling his thoughts.  

“Being so--letting myself be--be more omega, with you, is incredible. It’s like, like being under a spell. But it's also just, I don't even know what's in there. It's a lot of stuff to work through. I'm not used to being with somebody and when I was with an alpha it was so fucked. I don’t want, ugh, I don’t want to be that kind of partner for you, you know, always a sub, always so omega.”

Harry made an inquiring, humming noise, an encouragement. Most people, and certainly most alphas, would have probably jumped in at this point to give an opinion, or make a pronouncement. Harry didn’t; Harry just waited. Louis felt himself unfold under the attention and the space. Louis put his arms up over his head and flexed his palms at the ceiling. It was a vulnerable gesture, one that left his stomach and torso unprotected, but it felt helpful, somehow.

“I don’t love being out of control,” Louis admitted, “Like, in my life. Love being the person who can figure out the answers. But then part of me does want to be out of control, really does. Sex with you is amazing and wonderful and perfect and also, I don’t want to always be slipping into space, with you? Like what if I opened the floodgates and I’m like, broken, now? This is all I can do anymore? There’s so much more to it than that, so much more I want to be able to give you. And I don’t want to be demanding and needy and like, self-centered.”  

Louis took a breath. The sunbeams in the living room had turned from soft morning to full daylight, and it fell in a long cascade over Louis’ arms and bare stomach, warming him.

“I just, everything is simple when we're together but then it all feels awfully overwhelming when I think about it. I have kind of been realizing I don’t even know how to relate to my own body, you know, not just force it around. Like I'm still only just learning to not think the worst about myself all the time. I don’t mean to just shove that all on you. I understand if you don’t want that.”

Louis huffed out the rest of the air in his lungs and gave himself a mental pat on the back. Talking, first tier To-Do, apparently going to stay up there on the list forever. That was exhausting, but he wanted to do it for Harry. Harry was brilliant and marvelously hot and had better instincts than Louis had ever had, and he was also young and had the entire world at his feet, not just Louis, and Louis would rather that Harry start thinking about this now, than later. Louis stared at the ceiling so he wouldn’t look at Harry.

“All right,” Harry said, rolling down onto his forearms on the couch, pinning Louis to the cushions, and staring under his eyebrows. Louis didn’t look back until Harry tugged at his chin enough to make him turn back and make eye contact.

“Concerned muppet face,” Louis categorized, smoothing the hair back off Harry’s forehead.

“What?” Harry asked, nonplussed, but Louis just waved a hand. “You’ll find out soon enough. Anyway everything is fine, I’m fine.”

“Stop trying to pretend you aren’t having feelings,” Harry said. He leaned down to Louis’ face and kissed him, a serious, close-mouthed kiss that pressed firmly and said something like, don’t try to put one over on me. Louis smiled against it ruefully. He liked stern Harry as much as any other Harry. He liked that Harry was one of the few people who consistently called Louis out on his bullshit. He was doomed.

Harry shook his head, undoing all of Louis’ hard work to get the hair out of his eyes, but Harry looked like he was gearing up to be extremely meaningful so Louis didn’t protest. Louis held Harry’s bicep with one hand and his shoulder with the other and waited, politely and nervously. 

“All right,” Harry said, putting his fingers close together at Louis’ chest and tapping his sternum for emphasis, “So. Thank you for telling me what you are thinking, you're going to be so glad you did. Now first, out of all the things in the world that we might still have to figure out together, whether we’re sexually compatible is not something I’m worried about. And if I haven’t proved that by now, don’t worry, I will enjoy proving that to you, a lot.”

Harry paused to smirk at Louis, who blushed, even though it was frankly absurd to still feel so disarmed by the person you’ve spent the last hours and night with, mutually naked and doing mutually naked things, but such was the unrealness of Harry and the way that he undid Louis, easily and at every turn.

“Second, honestly, even if that were your preference forever, I’m pretty sure that would be ok, like that’s a whole other conversation but I’m pretty flexible here. Actually, I think you are too, and your perception of needy is in no way connected to reality. You’re full of a million different things, Lou. You keep me on my toes, and that includes in bed.”

“And third, finally, very importantly, most importantly, being in a partnership does not mean we’re going to worry about being perfect, or being everything that the other person needs. I know that you’re Louis Tomlinson, so it’s impossible for you to not worry about being perfect, but you are. You already are. Now, and in the future when all the shit that happened to you is a distant memory, replaced by a million hours of memories of us like this in this apartment, and the shower, and the kitchen, and the symphony hall, and all over town, honestly. I’ve got a lot of plans.”

“Now, for right now. Let me try to make something clear,” Harry said, going up higher on his elbows to bring his face right over Louis’. Louis looked at him, clear and steady, despite the butterflies in his stomach. Harry didn’t close the space between their faces, but he didn’t have to--Louis felt his breath speed up anyway.

“You,” Harry said slowly and emphatically, “You are a resilient heart. That’s what I love, that’s who you are. And I wouldn’t take back any of the things you’ve been through, because it made you more caring and more awake and more you. And the parts that are still healing?”

“This is something we’re in together,” Harry said, shifting his hips over on top of Louis, letting his weight bear down, pressing him into the couch. “Whether it’s figuring out how to sleep together, or shop together, or work, or sex. You’ve already changed so much, in the time I’ve known you. You won’t be slipping on the edge of space for the rest of your life. You get to be both things--”

“In control most of the time,” Louis said, “Somebody’s gotta have a plan, and all,”

Harry nodded. He was also rolling his thigh, gradually, grinding into Louis’ pelvis and coaxing out hardness. An inveterate multitasker.  

“In control. Share those plans with us, but yeah,” Harry said, punctuating it with a light kiss on Louis’ forehead, “And out of control, too. When you want it.”

Louis’ breath was shallowing under Harry’s weight. He could feel his eyes widen and his face change, soft and unconsciously pleading. Harry kissed him, tongue and lips so warm, and a breathy, quiet moan slipped out of his lungs. There were goosebumps down his arms. 

“Not just that, but the way you feel, I feel it too, don’t you sense that?” Harry said. “I think you do.”

“I feel everything, all the time, too much,” Louis said. No, he whispered, into Harry’s wide open face and the quiet of the apartment around them and the first time he’d ever felt truly, fully, completely safe, in a very long time.

“So do I,” Harry said. “I've always felt that way too. It's not something wrong with you, it's something amazing about you. I put it into art, and into living, and I want to put it into you. I want to find out everything that you feel, and pull it out of you, and feel it with you. That’s what it means to me, the alpha omega stuff. We’re more than that, yeah, but also, it’s a good part of who we are. If you want that.”

“I want it so much,” Louis said desperately, like a plea. Harry’s eyes were blown and darkening.

Harry thumbed over Louis’ bottom lip, fingers winding along the curve of his lower jaw and into the pressure point underneath his ear. Harry's touch was devastating and wicked, even after all this time. Especially after all the time. Louis felt intoxicatingly fragile, felt the nerve-muscle thrum under Harry’s hand.

“Do you trust me?” Harry whispered. Harry’s other hand had snaked up to his chest, was brushing over one of his nipples.

“Yes,” Louis whispered, his mouth slipping open at the close of the word. Harry’s thumb slid in against his tongue and jaw. It felt possessive, a deceptively light touch wrapping around his delicate face bones. Harry pressed deeper into the pressure point and it produced dizziness in Louis’ head, his pulse pounding. Louis’ thighs fell open, a quiet invitation.

“You’re so fucking beautiful this way, Lou,” Harry said, “Under me.”

Louis felt his mouth twist a little. It wasn’t a surprise, anymore, to hear Harry say things like that, but it was still so emotional. He closed his eyes from it.

“Look at me,” Harry said, the undercurrent of alpha voice pulling Louis like a riptide. Louis locked onto his face, unable to look away. Harry’s eyes were full of awe, and Louis felt the tenderness burning in his chest.

“Do you want to be in control right now?” Harry asked.

Louis swallowed. The feeling of the swallow around Harry’s finger made Harry draw a quick breath, and he pulled it out, like it was too intense, and skated a caress through Louis’ scruff, absent his razor in Harry’s apartment. Louis felt the still-hungry lick of touch deprivation run through his veins, want and trust and fall. It felt like Harry’s gravity was the one that was all around them now, Louis’ own bright yellow sun forever.

“I don’t,” Louis said, “I want you to be." 

“Your wish is my command,” Harry said, with a sly curling smile, kissing Louis. It was a slow, almost lazy kiss. Louis heard the humor and the joke in what he said but also the promise, and it helped to ease the humming of his mind, made his thoughts turn hazy and slow. Funny how easy he was for Harry, now. 

Harry pulled Louis up with easy strength, cradling the back of his head.

“You remember that word?” Harry said.

“Calatheas. There are two in my kitchen,” Louis said. He was going to teach Harry about the plants. He was going to get Harry to build planters for him, all over this place.

“And if words aren’t easy,” Harry said, murmuring in Louis’ ear, “Then you tap me, twice, ok?”

“Ok,” Louis said. He felt nervous. It was the best kind of nervous.

“Good,” Harry said. He gathered Louis up and pitching him, ironically, off the couch with a roughness that made all the air exhale out of Louis’ lungs. But Harry was also there, rolling with him, bracing a cage around them with his legs.

“Oh my god,” Louis said, “My life flashed before my eyes. It was gonna be the time we tripped at the beach and nearly drowned all over again.” 

Harry grinned, teeth and joy and bravado. Louis could feel his heart thump. They were on the floor together now, pressing into the carpet. Harry pushed Louis down onto his back, so fast that his head spun.

“You know what I missed,” he said, conversationally, holding Louis easily down with one arm. Louis tried to pull out of his grasp and Harry got both of his wrists in one big hand and squeezed. Louis kept fighting, out of principle, like he wasn’t feeling the backstabbing instincts shiver at the base of his spine, the warm soft feeling of creeping space. Hold me. Drop me. Catch me.  

“Whaaat,” Louis said. It came out breathy. Harry was kissing up along the side of his neck, to the bottom of his ear.

“This,” Harry said, pinching Louis’ ass, and hard. Louis yelped, and squirmed, and Harry held him firmly down. His wrists hurt, Harry's fingernails digging into the side, and Louis maybe twisted harder into them, relishing it.

“I just don't want to think so much,” Louis admitted. His voice had gone hoarse, had gone ragged. Harry was palming the curve of his ass, pressing the fabric in, intimate and dirty.

“I know,” Harry said. “I can distract you.”

“Let me go,” Louis said, because he had to, because fighting it made him feel like he had permission for it.

“No,” Harry growled, and Louis was almost ashamed of how wet he was, so fast. Harry took a deep inhale and his face changed, went a little wild.

But he'd underestimated Louis. That was always a bad idea. Louis raised his foot behind them and slammed the heel into Harry's calf, startling him enough to lose his grip.

Louis had crawled a foot and a half away when Harry's hand came down hard on his hair, so hard he got tears in his eyes, and Harry was biting into the back of his neck. Louis shuddered into it, felt the frisson of chemistry between them and the hot tight saturation of Harry's teeth in his nerves. It was magic, and Louis was lost. He'd never really stood a chance.

“Let go,” Harry said, his voice like gravel, like plunging into a deep warm ocean. Louis wanted it, and his body wanted it, and he knew Harry could feel it. Harry was half-hard already, hypnotizing alpha energy swirling into the corners of the room. 

“I don't know if I can,” Louis whimpered. 

I know you can. Be that beautiful wild thing I know you are,” Harry said. “I love it when you are.”

Some things were easy and hard at the same time. Some things were a secret that you felt like you'd been carrying your whole life, that had marked you as different and removed you as solitary. But then, you found out that everyone else carried their own secrets. Then, you found a person who wanted to share them.

Louis let every fear go, dropped into waking omega space, velvet and warm. That had never happened before, this level of trust, going into space and bliss and staying conscious all at the same time. He wondered if it would last or if his eyes were going to flutter shut, fall into sleep. He felt certain that Harry would hold him either way.

“There, Lou,” Harry said, tender and sweet. “Are you going to let me take care of you?”

Louis blinked away tears in the corners of his eyes. He felt dizzy, but awake, longed for Harry to push every last ounce of resistance out of his body. 

“Take care of me,” he said. Harry's face was the face of someone coming home, someone who never lied about what they loved.

“Harry,” Louis moaned, hot and flushed and hazy. He was hard, against the carpet, and wet, against Harry's body, and frantic, the chemistry of his body asking for more.

“Are you going to be good for me?” Harry said, low in his throat. Louis jerked his head in a hesitating nod, but that wasn’t good enough. Harry pressed Louis down into the floor with a hand coming around to cover his mouth, his nose. It hurt where his fingers dug in, stung, but it hurt so good. Louis could feel the strain in his muscles, could feel the alpha hook that Harry was barely holding back. He didn’t want Harry to hold it back and he let him know it, let the omega longing flood out everywhere that they connected. Harry squeezed, careful and firm, proof that he was in control.  

“Are you?” he prompted. Louis nodded, quick and desperate.

“Are you going to let me tell you how beautiful you are?” Harry whispered. He bit, hard and deep, on the back hill of Louis’ shoulder rolling into his bones. Sharp, lighthouse beams of guiding blissful pain and light tangled up with warm, thick want. Louis sobbed out a moan that was something between please and yes.  

“Please,” Louis stuttered out, finally, too far gone to be articulate, or embarrassed. There were sparks up his spine, the release of tensions he hadn’t even known about. He’d never felt their absence, before. 

“I’m never gonna let you live off cereal again,” Harry muttered into Louis’ hair. Louis was himself enough to still roll his eyes up at the ceiling despite the fact that he was out of control of his own limbs and what they would do. Harry caught it and laughed. Louis loved, loved, loved making him laugh.  

Harry took Louis by the arm and the ribcage and the hip bone, pulled him onto his back and cradled him on the floor again. This time, he didn't need to hold Louis’ wrists or weight him down. Louis felt his head roll back submissively, and Harry kissed him on the nose. If Louis didn’t get off soon he was going to die, probably, and he wouldn’t even care, so blissed-out in space. 

“What should we do? What's putting that look on your face?” Harry asked, squeezing Louis’ hair, thumbing into the bitemark forming on his neck. It sent another ripple of endorphins upward.

“I want to, go down on you,” Louis stuttered, going red, not that the words were particularly risque given everything they’d already done but that he knew he was broadcasting this unlocked, unmediated thing, wanting to feel entirely overtaken, wanting Harry to fuck his mouth and make him feel close, and giving, and submissive.

“So good,” Harry said, the praise that Louis’ brain was grateful for.

Louis expected Harry to hover over him but instead Harry sat on the edge of the couch, back straight. He pulled Louis up onto his knees, into the warmth of Harry’s body and the heady smell of his sweat and skin and want. Louis nearly fell over, so trembling and out of control, but Harry braced him between his thighs. Louis was frantic with want, pressing his nose and mouth and face into the connection of Harry’s hip and leg and to the base of his cock, hard and intoxicating. Louis was nothing at all but want, anymore. His own cock throbbed, needy.

Harry had a hand wrapped in the back of Louis’ hair, pulled tight, so tight it hurt, and Louis couldn’t understand why Harry wasn’t just letting him slip forward and pull Harry’s cock into his mouth. Harry jerked his head back when he tried again.

“Are you going to believe me?” Harry whispered, loaded with alpha. He tipped Louis’ chin up, forcing him to meet his gaze. Louis was suspended between consciousness and space. He didn’t need to wonder, or doubt, or be anyone else other than himself.

“Yes,” he said. Harry smiled. Harry smiled at everything and everyone in the world, all the time, but this-- this smile was only for Louis.

“My beautiful, perfect boy,” Harry said, “You’re worth the whole universe.” And Louis believed him. 

Louis moaned when Harry finally let his head move forward, but he still kept a tight grip in Louis’ hair, guiding him down on his cock, slow and careful and sure. Louis felt sloppy and slack, blinking away tears of intensity and want. All that he wanted in the world was the feeling of Harry, stretching his mouth and overwhelming his senses, pulling him close. He pulled Harry’s cock down, throat fluttering. 

Harry held his head carefully, guiding him, careful with the jolts of his own pelvis. Harry covered his nose and Louis felt the tightening in his lungs and he fell deeper. His eyes were wide and full of tears and just when it started to burn, Harry let him breathe--soothed down the back of his head and pulled Louis back from between his legs.

“I can’t,” Harry gasped, “Want to be inside you, Lou,”

Louis had six new favorite words in the world and they were conveniently there, all in a row. Harry slid down onto the floor, pulled Louis into his lap and against his chest and held him. Louis’ limbs were loose and soft, like there was space between his joints, like he was floating in outer space. Harry was kissing him, tongue deep in Louis’ mouth. Louis shuddered in his hold.

“Breathe, baby,” Harry said, hand pulling up the inside of Louis' thigh, silk and slick. Louis moaned more than breathed, jaw locked, and Harry frowned at him, mixing concern with torture as he slid his finger inside. Louis was already open and loose, from the night and from the drop, but he still moaned again, raggedly.

“I said breathe,” Harry said, and it sounded so normal and annoyed that Louis laughed, blinking wet eyelashes in the dim, hazy light of space. Harry pulled him closer, possessive grip on the ridge of his hipbone. He nosed into Louis’ hair, rubbed his cheek on Louis’ cheek. His cheek was soft and shaven and Louis’ was scruff and it left little friction marks on Harry’s face, like a scratchy kiss. Louis had gotten his legs wrapped around Harry, touching with every part of his body.

“So patient for me,” Harry said in his gravel voice that turned Louis on as deeply as the fingers, caressing his entrance and opening him more. “Such pretty noises.”

Harry was pretty, unbearably pretty, Louis would remember to tell him that.

Harry worked him with his hands, tongued into his mouth, and Louis made obscene and lovely movements in his arms, hips jerking. The alpha bite-bruise on his neck pulsed with his heartbeat, and Louis knew Harry felt it too, because he smiled every time it happened.

“Tell me how you feel,” Harry said, when he’d laid Louis out on the floor. He was the shimmer of the lights on the fabric, the rush of a crescendo. 

“Happy,” Louis said. “I feel happy.” Maybe there were tears in his eyes again. Harry was kissing the corners of his face, moving into him, probing at the surface. Every piece of them fit.  

“Me too,” Harry said. He barely got the words out, his fine control slipping at long last as he sank into Louis, sudden and sharp and deep. 

“You know, you’re wonderful,” Louis said, voice thick with space, getting his hands on Harry’s hips, driving him home.

“We’re wonderful,” Harry said.

 

*

 

Coming up from space was slow and unhurried, a leisurely syrup-smooth process that left Louis kittenish and yawning and tractable enough to be convinced that they could spend the entire rest of the day in bed. Neither of them had gotten enough sleep over the past few weeks. He showered, and they had sandwiches in bed for a late second lunch and music in Harry’s speakers and Harry’s curls in Louis’ face as they napped.  

“Hey,” Louis said, sometime, maybe it was early evening, who even knew?

“Hey, I quit my job.” In the rush of everything else, he’d completely forgotten to tell Harry.

Harry’s jaw dropped. Louis looked over the sheets at him, proudly, holding onto this moment. Every moment was a grand moment, today. Or today and yesterday; it was fully the next day now, but he’d lost track of time.

“Yep,” he said smugly, “Quit. I quit my job. A few weeks ago, actually. It was amazing.”

“I quit my job,” Louis repeated for emphasis. He might get a needlepoint of it, frame it up in the bedroom. In their bedroom.

Harry let himself fall back onto the mattress with a womp. He opened his mouth like he was trying to even find words.

“Thank god,” he said at last, entirely heartfelt. Louis threw his head back and laughed, loud and startled.

“I was going to die, watching you go off to that office with a sad look on your face, I hated that place,” Harry said.

“You could have told me you thought it was so bad!” Louis exclaimed. Harry looked at him sideways and Louis hit him with a pillow. 

“I was working up to it!” Harry admitted, arms up to defend himself, and then snatching the pillow away and putting it behind his own head. 

“There were a lot of things I should've told you, a lot earlier.”

“Wouldn't change it, not when it got us here,” Louis said, echoing Harry's speech from earlier. He could already tell that it was going to be part of who they were together, maybe even--the first new rule. Maybe the only rule, now.

Louis busied himself with surveying the lines of Harry's body. There were so many details to memorize, now that he had the leisure to let the awe expose itself on his face. The fuzz of hair on his chest, the places where his tan darkened on the most exposed surface of his forearms, the cut of muscle that wound up his back.

“What are you going to do?” Harry said eventually, sitting back up to give Louis yet another kiss. Louis’ mouth was chapped and they were both exhausted, but he’d take it. Harry still tasted warm and soft, that trace of vanilla and salt that Louis would recognize anywhere. And Harry also tasted like Louis, now, which Louis was beginning to get obsessed with as a sensory experience.  

“Not that you have to know,” Harry added hastily. “An artist should know better, of all people.”

“Ah, that’s the best part,” Louis said, falling back down onto the mattress, and taking Harry with him. He smirked up at the ceiling. “I had an idea. A really good idea. Let me tell you about it.”