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Looking out at the crowd (You’re everywhere)

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Harry closed his eyes and waited with bated breath, holding onto the strap of his guitar.

When he opened his eyes, he saw the curtain was still raised, shielding him from the other side. There was about a minute for his show to start, really, and that minute was full of panic. Beyond this curtain lay his enthusiastic fans, eagerly awaiting him and cheering at his shadow on the curtain they saw. His pre-concert jitters were making him nervous and shaky, making his legs quake a little as he doubted everything. He never could get over the anxiety, really.

When White Eskimos, a band at the peak of their career broke after only five years, it made people puzzled. And simultaneously, all eyes turned to Harry, expecting Harry to be the single rising solo star. And as much as he had been floored they thought that, the attention had been overwhelming. It made him nervous. Nervous that he’d disappoint them all. What if he was all hype no show? Maybe he was only good enough in a band. Maybe his lyrics weren’t good enough. But he broke all of his doubts when his album broke a few records, rising straight to number one and getting great reviews. He felt pleased that everyone, especially his fans who stuck around had liked it.

But when the time to tour came along, so did another set of anxiety. What if he wasn’t a good enough entertainer? This was his third show on the tour and he was yet to disappoint anyone so he was pretty confident that he had something at least. So Harry took a deep breath and held on tighter to his guitar. He could do this he thought, pinching his eyes shut and swallowing down his anxieties and relaxing his face to not let them show.

The curtain fell, the cheers getting louder as they saw Harry. He was wearing a brown suit with some intricate pattern running over it. Underneath it was a white shirt, scarf around his neck tied into a bow. It looked beautiful, if he said so himself, even if it was a little duller than the other suits. He was making a trend of wearing brightly coloured, patterned suit and not the boring colours men usually wore. So far fans had adored every one of the suits he had worn so he felt pretty encouraged by them. Harry fingers were automatically playing along the strings to the intro of Ever Since New York, a tune he had practised very much of. His nervousness was melting away, turning into confidence as he sang along the verse, eyes closed as he immersed himself in the tune.

He had created a masterpiece, Harry thought with bias.

As the tune faded out, Harry opened his eyes, assessing the crowd. His band was also ending the song and he took a minute to let them finish it before turning around and introducing them one by one, getting a cheer in return. He had a wide smile on their face as he teased them, earning laughs from the audience. He felt his stage persona return, rising over his doubts and insecurities and making him feel excited once again. He was back, he thought, grinning.

Harry looked back at the crowd, picking out individual faces and expression, a hobby of his which made him call out them as well if they seemed anything less than excited. Every of them seemed happy, laughing along as Harry joked, which he was glad for. And when his gaze reached to the middle of the audience, his heart skipped a beat as his eyes lingered a little longer on the one familiar face he would, while his smile widened subconsciously.

Harry had made himself a habit of observing his fans and remembering them and now since the venues were small, it was easier to do. And since the past two concerts, he couldn’t help but notice the same person in the midst of them all, smiling brightly and singing along. At the first concert he was somewhere in the middle of the crowd and noticeable to Harry only because he was standing next to a fan holding up a pride flag. And also he might be one of the few men there anyway. But this one guy was enticing, eyes looking bright and brighter than that was his smile as he swayed to the beat of the song playing then. Last concert he had been far more back, as the first few rows were occupied by family and his celebrity friends. But when Harry scanned the crowd, subconsciously hoping he’d be there, he found him, squished between people but still looking happy. Right now he was somewhere in the second row, closer than he had before and Harry could get a clearer look at his face.

He seemed young, eyes bright blue under the lights and light brown hair pushed away in a sweaty fringe. He looked tired even when he was smiling, as it was seen in the hunch of his shoulders. And of course he was, since travelling so much to be at his concerts must have exerted its pain. Harry would be more tired than he was now if it were not for the luxury he travelled in and this boy didn’t look like he got the same luxury. He was only slightly taller than the girls around him, which made Harry think he wasn’t much tall in real life as well. But that just made it cuter. And since the boy was closer to him than before, Harry’s heart was beating faster with an unknown emotion tangled with adrenaline. He smiled at the boy but looked away before anyone could see it, looking down at his guitar as he started the second song on his set.

As he sang about red lips and blue eyes, his illogical and traitorous heart made him think this song fit for this boy too. Even if it wasn’t for him since he didn’t even know anything except that he was a fan. Although he wished he could get to know more.

He strummed on the guitar, pointedly not looking at the person he was thinking of.

The rest of the concert went as usual, with Harry making sure to interact with the crowd. He gave his speech about being kind and spreading kindness, which he firmly believed in. he told them they were free to be whoever they wanted just like he was whoever he wanted to be in this room. He asked them to hold hands with a stranger beside them, making sure to stress on it being a stranger. He glanced at the boy, looking confused as he looked from his left to right in search of a stranger to hold hands with. He then tapped the shoulder of a girl on his right, smiling brightly as he whispered in her ear. She smiled back and nodded, charmed as she held his hand, batting her eyes at him. Harry knew objectively that it was a natural reaction of anyone around that mysterious boy but he couldn’t help but clench his jaw and look away, a little jealous.

Harry had come to know that the venue had taken away pride flags of his fans, disappointing him and his fans alike. So he brought one of the confiscated flags on stage and waved it, trying to his mic stand as he announced he was returning it to its rightful place. The audience cheered happily at that and the boy cheered right along, jumping. Harry thought he could hear the boy’s cheer the loudest but he just might be biased.

The thrill and buzz due to the concert even last him after he walked off the stage, a wide grin on his face. But so did last the smile of the blue-eyed boy, which was silly since he had only seen him thrice and that too in the crowd. And he wouldn’t even see him again. Unless… but no he couldn’t call him backstage now could he. He wasn’t even out yet and it would be inappropriate wouldn’t it?

But if he saw the boy twice again, which would an impossible feat, he would at least interact with him. Then they’d see but. It wasn’t as if it would happen now, would it?

-

Harry was surprised when he saw the boy again in the middle of the crowd, almost stumbling over his words. He was further back than before and half lit in darkness but Harry knew it indeed was him, head a little above everyone else’s, with the ever present grin lighting his face. Harry grinned as well, looking straight at him and watched the boy blink prettily before doing a slight wave. It was so adorable Harry had to bite down his grin literally and look away.

He continued the show as usual, chatting and joking with the crowd. And when he left the stage, he knew that if he saw the boy again in the next show then he’d have to keep the promise to himself. He’d have to acknowledge the boy’s presence and he didn’t know what to feel about it.

-

“Mitch,” Harry whined, dragging the name before burying his head in his hands and groaning. He was in Mitch’s room, the member of his backup band and friend a few hours before the concert was about to begin. He just gave Harry a bored look as usual before going back to strumming his guitar, looking unbothered. Mitch was one odd thing, being morose and sullen for no reason, except for when he was around Sarah. She always made him smile, even it looked like Mitch’s face hurt due to the motion after. And he would tease about it, except, that man was always unbothered and bored by everything. Usually Harry was up to annoying him, getting all up in space until he stopped grunting and started talking. But right now he was in no mood for it, since he was in an anxious sullen mood of his own.

It had been a few days since he had seen the alluring boy. Two days to be exact, but it felt longer than that. Not a minute had gone by that Harry wasn’t anxious. He didn’t even know what he was anxious about really, since he may or may not be there today. And even then, he was just another hardcore fan right? He had plenty of them. Just popping up at every one of his concerts and probably queuing for a long time just to be on the front to be noticed. And expecting to be called backstage maybe. Maybe he was one of those rich kids, having money to spend following around Harry on his own American tour. But either way, Harry couldn’t stop thinking about him and it was getting bad.

“Mitch,” he repeated, making the man look up and sigh, stopping his practise.

“What, Harry?”

“I’m so nervous.”

“Aren’t you always?” he asked in a long-suffering tone. Harry gave him a look, making Mitch roll his eyes and sigh again. “You know you have nothing to worry about. You’ll put on a great show as usual. And you’re great at performing.”

“I know that Mitchell. That’s not the problem.” Harry sighed, resting his chin on his palm and staring dreamily at nothing. “I’m nervous about seeing him again. Would he be in the crowd tomorrow? Would I see him again? Would our eyes meet like fated? I don’t know but I promised myself I’d interact with him if I saw him again.”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about but just talk to him.”

“It isn’t as easy,” Harry protested, sounding like he was whining again. He pulled at his hair lightly. “He’ll be in crowd and he’s pretty but he’s a fan.”

“And? It isn’t like you don’t talk to men in the crowd. Use that as an excuse and talk.” He heaved another sigh, shaking his head as if he had done some big task. “Otherwise just break the promise. Only you’ll know.”

Harry let out a low whine again, dropping his head back into his hands. “You’re not help Mitchell. I’ll have to go and find Sarah.”

-

Louis flipped his fringe to a side impatiently as he read through the recent text of Liam’s. ‘So are you still queuing for the concert?’ he had sent. Louis pursed his lips, frowning at the screen. Honestly Liam?

He rolled his neck to a side and stretched his arms before replying.

‘No Liam. I just happened to spend half my money on booking tickets and travelling halfway across the world only to sleep in my hotel room.’

‘What do you think?? Of course I am queuing, been here for hours now so don’t annoy me more than I already am!’

Lottie peeked over his shoulder to read the text and giggled. “Is that Liam? Does he really not know you?”

“Right?” Louis huffed, exasperated.

When White Eskimo broke and Harry Styles, the very singer he had been obsessed with since ages, went solo, Louis began collecting money. He had planned to battle it on most of the concert dates since he had not gotten once chance to go to the band concerts due to one reason or other. He worked a few double jobs and saved up enough to be able to afford tickets and thanks to Harry’s small venue tour, he got them too. It just happened that Harry started his tour in America so he had to snag tickets for venues there before getting one for Manchester even. He had to beg his friends and sisters for help and it bore fruit… or tickets in this case. So what that he was out of a lot of money, he could earn it right.

The main problem was during queuing though. He never really knew how hard it was to queue to get better viewing. His legs and back ached and every inch of him was exhausted. There were bags under his eyes, which Lottie had fussed up the minute she saw him the previous day. She had flown in to New York since it was the only day they had two tickets and she was with him for company. She put some makeup under his eyes to mask the exhaustion but his insides were killing him. But despite all that, seeing Harry made it all worth it. Really.

And he had a mad crush which was getting out of hand.

‘Alright Tommo chill out.’

‘I'm dying here, Leemo you try being chill!’

‘Who told you to take an American tour along with Harry huh? Me?’

‘Yes’, he sent out of spite before pocketing his phone as Lottie nudged him. The queue ahead of him had started to move forward which meant the gates had opened. And from the looks of the small number of people ahead of him, he might finally make the front row. And hopefully, Harry Styles would notice him as he did to all males in the crowd or flirt with him, now that he would be finally in his eyesight. If he could flirt with old dudes then he could surely flirt with him, he thought bitterly, as he walked in the venue.

-

Louis cheered and clapped along with everyone else as MUNA ended their set and thanked the crowd. He had gotten very close to the stage like he had imagined he would be, in fact within the touching range even. The lights dimmed down and the chatter grew as everyone waited for Harry and his band to come on stage.

It was a wonder how even after attending so many of Harry’s shows, even this felt like a huge rush. His insides were jumpy and tingling as he awaited Harry’s shadow on the curtain. Every day was an experience, waiting with the crowd for Harry to step out in a brand new, shiny suit, each more beautiful than the previous one. He looked so unabashed, made to be on the stage and happily prancing along on the stage, waving rainbow flags that Louis’ heart never failed to flip and flail with joy at. And when Harry’s silhouette appeared on the curtain, Louis’ heart began beating faster. Lottie clutched his arm tightly, muttering something he couldn’t make sense of over the sound of the blood rushing in his veins and blocking everything out.

The curtain fell down in one swoop, making the crowd go wild at the sight of Harry, head bowed with his guitar slung over his shoulder that he started strumming at.

Louis cheered along with the crowd, voice running hoarse and cheek hurting from the intensity of his smile. Harry was wearing a red suit this time, a black pattern running through it combined with the black shirt and dimmed lights looked beautiful as ever. His hair was pushed off his face, jaw clenched which made him look like a royal. Red looked good on Harry, Louis thought as he ran his eyes up and down his body appreciatively. When he started singing, Louis felt his breath catch and his heart skip a beat before he was singing along with him.

Somewhere along Harry’s gaze turned to where Louis stood, doing a double take before he smiled softly and looked away again. Louis’ grin increased tenfold around the words he screamed back, heart beating even louder as butterflies erupted in his tummy.

“Did he just smile at you?” Lottie screamed in his ear, nails digging in his forearms where she clutched.

“Well, it’s not new,” he replied flippantly, as if his heart wasn’t doing back flips as he flipped out. Even if he had played down his reaction, his words weren’t lies. At the third show, he had seen Harry look over to his side and reasoned it as coincidence when their eyes had met and settled for longer, almost flashing with recognition. But surely he couldn’t have seen Louis before right? After all, he was but a tiny blip but also, not so tiny. But the last show, it was surely not a coincidence when Harry had looked in his direction and smiled, grin widening when Louis, awkward as ever, waved. But he had looked away casually, even though Louis felt as if he would faint, right there in the crowd. But surely it didn’t mean anything other than the fact that he had noticed Louis had been there at every concert. But then too, he had noticed! But Louis tried not to freak.

“Ouch,” Louis muttered as Lottie pinched his arm to get his attention. He frowned as he rubbed at his arm, reluctantly looking away from Harry, who was shimming along to Only Angel, already moved on from their swift encounter. Lottie was looking slightly disgruntled, arms crossed as if she was waiting for something from him. “What?”

She sighed and he was sure if their location was different, she’d be tapping her foot impatiently. “What do you mean it’s not new?”

“I mean,” he said giving her a half shrugged as he wondered how to explain further when Only Angel ended and Harry started tapping his mic. He pursed his lips cutely as he looked at the crowd patiently as if willing them to listen. When he had the attention, he started conversing with a couple. Who were right beside Louis! He was teasing the guy about something and Louis watched them with jealousy brimming in his eyes and lips pressed in a thin line. He could feel Harry’s gaze on him somehow and he pouted up at him, making Harry laugh in the middle of whatever he was saying and looking right at him. He never finished his sentence after that, winking at Louis and moving on. Louis’ jaw dropped while Lottie was screaming in his ear, jumping in joy. He could feel the gazes of the girls around him boring into him but he kept his face composed, not letting anyone see just how flustered he was. He could blame his flushed face as being in the concert, not because Harry Styles winked at him. And what the fuck even??

“He winked Louis, he winked at you did you see?” Lottie squealed into his ear, leaning entirely on him. And if Louis could answer, he’d say something sarcastic in return but since he couldn’t, he kept his squeal in as his eyes chased Harry’s dancing form on stage, who like before, had moved forward with the next song. Did he even know the effect he had on people or?

Harry didn’t look back again to his side of the crowd except when he told everyone to embrace kindness and be themselves in the room, like he did at every show. Louis’ heart swelled with pride as he nodded along while smiling. He felt numb as he walked out, ears still ringing with sound and Lottie’s endless chatter. He texted Liam very calmly that Harry had winked at him.

Because he was very calm about it really.

Never mind he screamed into his pillow the minute they reached his hotel room. Only Lottie had to know and she didn’t let him hear the end of it.

-

“Mitch I winked at him!”

“Harry I don’t –”

“I knew you told me I should try and all. I was going to too but then I saw that blonde girl with him and I chickened out. But then he was pouting at me! Pouting! And he looked so cute that's why my eye twitched. I mean I winked but it was a twitch as I didn’t know what possessed me to do that even. Now I’ve gone and embarrassed myself in front of the prettiest boy!”

“I really don’t care Harry. Please leave me alone.”

“You’re no fun Mitchell, I’ll just go find Sarah again.”

-

This time Harry was actively searching for Louis in the crowd. He knew it.

Harry was dressed in one of his previously worn suit. It looked like a plain black suit just with a red dragon running up his pant legs, being the only bright splash of colour on the suit. Even before Ever Since New York had started, Louis could see Harry’s eyes flitting through the audience restlessly, looking perplexed even if he did try to downplay it. Louis tried not to smile at the adorable furrow between Harry’s eyebrows that refused to leave even when he smiled to counter it.

He could hear murmuring behind him, some girl telling her friend about Harry looking for the same person in the crowd at every show and even smiling at them. They were whispering it, discussing if it was a boy or a girl and their voices got lower, drowned out by the crowd letting out a loud scream. Louis resisted the urge to turn back and ask her about it, mainly because it would be rude to let them know he was eavesdropping. Also it would draw attention to the fact that, well, he was the said person. And no one wanted that so he kept clapping along.

Lottie had sent him a video link from the New York concert one day after from twitter. It showed the person first filming Harry then noticing that he was looking at someone in the crowd and laughing and had followed his gaze until it landed on Louis. Of course no one could tell it was actually him since it was far away that only a blurry figure with a blurry shocked expression could be seen with a blurry girl clinging to him. But it wasn’t blurry enough for fans to not notice it was a ‘someone’ that had elicited the reaction from Harry. A curiosity was sparked, hence had the search for this person began.

Lottie had told they were already trying ship Harry with him, which meant they wanted them in a relationship and it puzzled Louis as to why even. It also freaked him out, knowing that nothing was made into such a big deal and he did not want to get into this. He knew how intense Harry’s fans were, scrutinising and analysing everything, and he really did not want to come in their radar. But to his surprise, it had been over a week and he had managed to be undiscovered, even if had been at two gigs after. But he knew this interest would die down soon, when there would be nothing from Harry’s side. He was in the third row tonight, wearing a big sweater and sweating in it and he wouldn’t even be spotted this time.

Even if Lottie had texted him a good luck, for which reason who knew.

But Louis’ absence at the Toronto show was noticed by Harry, who from the videos looked frustrated and frowning when he couldn’t find Louis. Louis had tried so hard not to set his spirits high up for disappointment but well, they were already up there. Especially rising due to the fact that Harry was sweeping his gaze through the crowd again.

He hadn’t necessarily made himself smaller but he did try to hide in the midst of everyone the best he could. But Harry found him anyway. After the second performance of Kiwi, which he was dancing to, he had been in high spirits, a curl of hair resting against his forehead. When his eyes landed on Louis he grinned so wide, everyone noticed, his dimples popping up on his cheek as he managed not to take his gaze off of him.

And suddenly, Louis felt as he were some part of a shitty fanfic, standing in the middle of the crowd, being basic yet being noticed by Harry Styles from the stage. Probably about to be beckoned backstage and subsequently ending up marrying him. It wouldn’t happen, of course it wouldn’t, since Harry was supposedly straight. But Louis felt his breath catch despite all that, heart tattooing a fierce rhythm against his chest as he held the gaze.

“You, sir, in that big sweater,” Harry started, smirking as he pointed right at Louis as if he wasn’t being obvious enough. He was panting slightly from all the jumping as he bit his lower lip. Louis raised his eyebrows, lips parting. Was he... talking to him? “You are very small.”

“What?” he squeaked, jaw dropping due to the unexpected continuation. His eyes widened as the people around him looked at him, giggling. He couldn’t... what? Before he could think of what he was saying, he had already said it. Or screamed it. “Give me a break, I’m big!”

“Sure,” Harry replied, somehow being able to hear him and giggling. Honest to god giggling as he shook his head. “You look barely taller than the people around you but keep telling yourself that, mate.”

Louis kept staring at him, mouth agape and not being to believe that Harry interacted with him... and then said that. He called him tiny, when he most decidedly not. He was tall, 5’9 even, which was pretty tall. But it wasn’t like he could debate on it with Harry since he had already moved the conversation forward by asking the crowd to sing Woman while picking a rainbow flag out of the crowd and dancing with it. His eyes flitted to Louis again, to which the latter pouted but that was that.

When Lottie called him a few hours later screaming, Louis did not scream back. He did not.

-

“I am beyond mortified,” he told Sarah, having given up on trying to make Mitch listen and pity him. He had his face buried under his arm as lay face down on the couch in the green room backstage, right after the concert. Sarah hummed and patted his head consolingly. “Why did I say that to him? Why?”

“It’s fine, Harry.”

“No it isn’t!” he protested, looking up into Sarah’s eyes. “This is a disaster. People are very sensitive about heights and what if he used to like me and me calling him short makes him hate me? I’m replaying his expression over and over in my head and I feel mortified all over again. Why did I do that? Niall already sent me a video some fan recorded of him and laughed. I think he definitely hates me now and will cancel his ticket from tomorrow and I’ll never see him again.”

“Now now,” said Clare, tilting her head to a side. “Don’t you think you’re being a tad bit too dramatic, Harry?”

“That’s what I’ve been telling him,” Mitch grumbled from the other corner of the room.

“I’m not!” Harry insisted, letting out a whine. “You all saw it. He hates me now.”

“Harry...”

“I am a total embarrassment. Who even thought I could be a celebrity?”

-

Louis was queuing up for Dallas now, days going in quick succession. Maybe that's what happened when you’re tired all the time. Only two more dates were left for the American leg of Harry’s tour to get over and for Louis to go back to England. He would have to work double hard now to save the amount he had spent. He was already dreading it.

Harry had been eye flirting with Louis for the past two shows now but it never led up to anything. Just elevated heartbeat and excess frustration on Louis’ part. And oh also stalking and death threats. It had been a thing ever since Harry’s fans finally found out who he was.

After Harry had called Louis small, a person close to Louis had taken a video of it. And his face was visible this time, in a state of shock and offence. Since then, they had managed to put a name to the face, finding his Facebook profile along with his Instagram, leaving a series of comments and threats which made him go private to escape. It was horrifying and slightly mortifying, especially when Liam started to take screenshots and send him every one of those embarrassing comments with a million laughing emojis attached. He also made sure to search for captions relating to Louis and sent him it. So did Lottie. And all of his friends who had helped him get the tickets, adding winks and insinuation about his plan working. And honestly it had, what with Harry noticing him there. But in his heart, probably Louis had expected more. At least friendship and at most relationship, and his heart was making him think he could either. But he wouldn’t since Harry hadn’t instigated either.

A shame, really.

When the crowd was let in, Louis found his way up front again, just everyone around him felt like they were air nudging him as they smirked. It was not a good feeling but he appreciated the support anyway.

“Louis!” Harry called into the mic after the first song on the set was over. The crowd went wild with cheers and the few girls around him, who were nice but kept teasing him, nudged his side. Louis’ face was probably red by now, and he’d have the confirmation by tomorrow when someone, no doubt would post the video they were recording right now. They always did. But it was a big deal since this was the first time Harry was specifically calling his name. Calling him. How did he even know his name? “Are you here tonight?”

Louis tried to hide himself but it was no use since the people around him cheered louder, parting and exposing him. Harry grinned at him, eyes twinkling as he pushed his hair off his forehead. He was wearing a shiny pink suit today, the colour seeming very beautiful on him. Well every colour looked beautiful on him but pink... pink brought out a sort of softness on him. And it looked good. Beautiful. “Hi.”

Harry waved with his fingers as he said, making Louis forget his embarrassment and smile widely, eyes turning to slits due to the intensity of it. Of course this boy would be endearing as hell at all given times. Of course. Louis waved back, as anything he said wouldn’t be heard by him anyway.

“You’re here again,” Harry continued, huffing out a laugh as he looked at him in wonder. “Which I’m glad for, by the way. You’re here at every show and I like that. I don’t know why you’d want to be at every show but.” Harry shrugged and Louis just grinned, shrugging back. “Anyway. This next song is especially dedicated to you, Louis. So here goes, Only Angel.”

Harry winked cheekily and no, Louis’ heartbeat did not pick up. It was a daily occurrence, Harry winking, of course his head knew that. But the song dedication... that was new. And he was sure he looked like a bright tomato, as he hid his head in his hands. Fuck this wasn’t happening.

But it was.

As Harry swayed his hips to the beat of his own song, he kept his eyes focused on Louis, biting his bottom lip as he grinded into the mic stand. Louis’ jaw dropped as Harry maintained eye contact as he sang ‘he’s an angel’ and he was sure he didn’t pick it up until the song was over and Harry had looked away. Fuck. What the actual fuck.

-

“What the actual fuck did I do that for,” Harry groaned, throwing his head back, eyes closed. Around him movement continued as people shuffled about doing their job while Harry, he could shriek. And so he did, burying his heads in his hands. He could hear the sounds of someone laughing before someone was slapping his back, making him lurch forward. He turned towards the sound of the laughter, finding Mitch there.

“Still whining now Harry?” he asked, a slight smile picking at the corner of his lips. It was Clare who was laughing actually, now pursing her lips as her eyes glinted mischievously. He looked from her to him, finding their smiles as a warning. Especially Mitch’s, who had only smiled thrice at him and he had know the guy for over a year now. “But don’t worry. Since I love you, I invited your boy backstage via a security guard. He’d be here soon so good luck.”

Mitch was fully smiling now, a weird sight which made Harry shoot him a horrified glance. Clare laughed again, as did Adam. Mitch waggled his eyebrows at him before walking away, leaving a distraught Harry behind staring after him. No no this wasn’t... this couldn’t... “Fucking hell Mitchell what did you do that for?”

“Because I got tired of you,” he yelled without looking back, throwing a peace sign as he disappeared out of sight. Sarah shot him a sympathetic look as she whispered ‘good luck’ as she went after him, smiling. Clare gave him a finger wave and a smirk as she and Adam disappeared as well, leaving Harry alone. Well not ‘alone’ alone since there still were tech crew and stage managers messing about but he felt alone at heart. His band was the official worst, he thought. He hated them.

There was a moment where he debated how to avenge before it hit him again. Louis was actually going to be backstage. They would be meeting this time. And he would make a fool of himself, shattering that cool, collected rockstar image. He had post concert, sweaty, rumpled hair which was probably sticking at odd angles. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to make it settle but it probably won’t. And he was still in his pink suit. He needed to change, he thought as he rushed towards his room. “Fuck.”

Harry had been obsessively stalking his fans, ironic that, after the Toronto show, not surprised that they had found identification on the boy he had been flirting with. He wasn’t a boy really, being older than Harry was but he certainly didn’t look it. He looked no older than twenty, now that he had seen his pictures.

Jeff told him he had been too obvious when he shouldn’t have been but what did Jeff know anyway. A man as beautiful as Louis (a beautiful name for that beautiful face) deserved to be flirted with anyway. He felt a little bad that Louis had to turn his accounts private but he especially felt bad that he couldn’t check it out before it went private. And he had seen the pictures his fans had unearthed, with Louis looking soft and ethereal... and also the three shirtless selfies. The man had tattoos! All over him and they looked beautiful. Not only was he pretty and fit, he was also a family guy, having lots of pictures with his family. And he was gay as well, which was such a sweet deal. But that Louis was coming backstage, to meet with Harry while he was still sweaty and flustered. So he needed to get himself together, he thought, as he reached the door.

Pushing open the door Harry found a surprise waiting. Clad in tight black jeans with a white shirt, which was sticking to his body, was Louis. His back was to Harry as he lightly grazed his fingers over the couch. Harry took in a ragged breath, trying to get breathing under control as he stood silently, observing Louis move around. He was looking at everything, wonder etched on his side profile. There wasn’t anything interesting but it seemed like from Louis’ gaze, before he finally spotted Harry at the door and froze. His eyebrows raised of its own accord, as his lips parted in surprise as an array of expression flitted over his face before settling on mild surprise. He smiled lightly, shyly. “Hi.”

“Oops, didn’t expect to see you here,” Harry said, laughing lightly as he rubbed his neck nervously. Louis’ eyebrows drew together in an expression of guilt and Harry quickly realised he had misinterpreted. “Fuck no I don’t mean that. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. I knew you were invited. Of course I did. But I thought you wouldn’t come or something.” He shrugged lamely, letting out a harsh, false laughter as his face coloured with embarrassment.

Louis looked amused now, eyebrows raising and drawing together as thoughts flit through his mind. His eyebrows kept telling a story. “Of course I would come. I’m a big fan of yours.” He laughed self consciously, messing with his fringe. “And you probably know that.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, smiling properly for the first time as he entered the room. The door fell shut behind him, the loud noise startling them both as they turned to look at the closed door before looking at each other again and smiling bashfully. Harry fiddled with his rings. “You know I’m so glad to meet you. Have been wanting to from so long.”

“Really?” Louis asked, furrowing his brows as he tilted his head to a side as he rested his hip on the table beside him. “I thought you’d be creeped out by a fan who’s been there at every concert almost as if following you.”

“How could I be when the fan is so cute,” Harry blurted before his mind caught up with his tongue. He slapped his hands over his mouth, eyes widening. He fish mouthed for a bit after that, watching Louis’ eyes light up as his cheeks flushed red. He looked at his shoes, which were brand new and shining still. He scuffed them against the rug, feeling more embarrassed by the second. “I didn’t mean to say that. But I’m not creeped by you. In fact, I’m rather flattered. Like I said I really don’t know why you’d want to be there at every concert. I just sing the same songs over and over.”

“Yeah but your energy is captivating,” Louis said, voice softer, making Harry look up. Louis was shuffling closer, eyes wide and conscious. Harry noticed how he really was small, standing a few inches shorter than him but his aura would say otherwise. If Louis’ presence was noticeable in a crowd of thousands, he certainly filled up the entire room with his presence. And it was warm, his attention, making his stomach flip with so much of Louis’ attention focused on him. It was overwhelming, when it shouldn’t be. It was then that Harry realised Louis was still speaking. That’s why I don’t feel bored. Feels like a new experience. Plus your jokes are funny.”

Harry felt his heart do flip flops at the knowledge that Louis found him funny. He knew his jokes were funny, not like he didn’t say the same all the time but this pretty boy saying it made it all the more true. He felt accomplished. “Really?”

Louis nodded. “And I’m feeling so star struck right now. You’re even more beautiful in person. Also shy, which I never thought you’d be. Never thought I’d discover all that when I brought all these tickets.

Harry smiled bashfully, biting his lower lip. And usually he wasn’t so flustered and shy, really. But something about him... something about Louis made him revert to this embarrassing, blush-y mess. “Thanks Louis. You’re very beautiful and captivating too, which was why I noticed you from the stage at the first concert really. And then kept noticing.”

“You noticed me at every concert?” Louis asked, wide-eyed and awed. “How?”

Harry shrugged, not knowing how to answer. So he diverted. “The question would be how you did manage to snag so many of the concert dates? That must have been incredibly hard.”

“It was,” Louis confirmed, eyes twinkling. One of his eyebrows was raised higher than the other. “But got me a bunch of sisters and good friends who helped me get them. But I almost didn’t get the LA show tickets. But Niall, that good lad, helped me out. Lucky me.”

“Niall?” Harry asked, frowning.

Louis hummed, hand rubbing absently against the back of his neck. “Yeah Niall Horan? He was there that night too.”

Harry blinked furiously as he shook his head. Raising his palms up, he said, “Wait you mean Niall Horan the Irish country singer?”

“Yeah.”

“Who is my friend as well?”

“Yeah?”

“That fucking Irish bastard! I can’t believe he didn’t tell me he had such a perfect, hot friend.”

“What?”

“Um.”

Louis was staring at him open mouthed now, looking pleased and surprised but also shy. He hadn’t meant to say that, again. But since he had started it, might as well yeah? “You’re beautiful. And hot. And I sorta like you?”

Harry’s heart was beating fast, legs quaking as they did before concerts. He waited expectantly, meeting with silence from Louis’ end, who looked stunned. “What? Me? Really me?”

Harry chuckled, feeling it incredibly funny how unaware Louis seemed. He bit his lower lip, looking up at him coyly. “Yeah. Why are you surprised though?”

“Because you’re you and I’ve been a mad fan of you for a long time and I did not expect... this.” Louis looked at his feet before looking up with a grin. “For the record, you’re very pretty too. Did I say that before? And also, yes.”

“Hmm?”

“Aren’t you gonna ask me at all?”

Harry chuckled, feeling a little embarrassed as he looked up at Louis shyly through his lashes. “Would you go out on a date with me?”

“Yes. Now kiss me you fool!”

-

The only intention of Louis while asking his friends to help him get tickets was to enjoy every bit of them and be happy he didn’t miss out. Never had he expected to get a kiss from international popstar Harry Styles. But here he was, not only kissing but also going on a date with Harry Styles and really, life couldn’t get better. He smiled widely at Harry, eyes narrowed into slits of joy. Harry was smiling back similarly, lips red and spit slick.

“I’ll be seeing you again at Manchester, popstar,” Louis whispered, winking.

Harry bit his lip. “Can’t wait. Also for our date. Which would be sooner than that.”

Louis laughed. So maybe, for some people, it all did work out. And maybe all the neck cricks and sleeping in bad hotel rooms was worth it.