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What I Do For A Living

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That night, Louis sat in the bathtub with the warm water up to his chest, bubbles dancing around him, still struggling to process the atrocities he witnessed today. He can’t stop seeing the deep red, or Harry cutting off his husband’s ear, his fucking ear, for Christ’s sakes, it was replaying over and over in his head like a sick film.

But he also can’t stop thinking about Harry’s lips on his neck or the sweet words he whispered as he pushed his shirt away from his shoulders. Louis didn’t know a ruthless gangster could be so gentle.

These thoughts also came with partial disgust at the idea of even finding Harry attractive. This was his kidnapper, his husband’s near murderer, and was now trying to have Louis commit adultery. It went against everything he believed in. Yet he still thought of Harry smelled like a mixture of cigarettes and a light cologne, thought he couldn’t put his finger on what it was exactly.

Why the hell was he thinking about how he smelled? Louis shakes his head in attempts to rid himself of the thoughts. “Jesus, Lou, snap out of it.” He whispers to himself.

A soft knock sounds at the bathroom door.

“Come in.” Louis calls softly, pushing the water around with his hand.

Harry slowly moves into the door frame. “Talking to yourself, eh?” He is finally changed out of the clothes from earlier, clad in a dark grey button up that is only half-done with casual black slacks. The blood is cleaned up from his hands and the cuts are starting to heal on his face. Louis thinks he can still remember where every blood stain used to be. “Enjoying yourself?” he adds, amused with how boyish Louis looks sitting in the large tub with the water up to his chest.

Louis nods in reply, smiling softly. “Definitely relaxing.” He comments, continuing to be heavily interested in the way the water shifts around his fingers, creating small waves in the bath. He tries not to think about how his upper body injuries are on full display or how Harry is in there while Louis is, you know, in the tub.

Without clothes on. Naked. Nude.

Harry takes a few slow, long steps to the tub, sitting down on the edge and placing his own fingers into the water. The two sat in a comfortable silence for few minutes, Louis sitting back and resting his neck against the back of the tub, closing his eyes.

“I apologize for my actions today,” Harry breaks the silence, sincerity dripping from his voice, “But only because of you, Louis. I wish you did not have to witness any of it, I mean it, but I do not regret severely injuring the man who has hurt you enough.” he continues, reaching to grab Louis’s hand that is resting on the top of the tub. Louis sits up in the bath, staring at their touching hands. “I do not intend to drag you into this, love.”

Louis nods, still intensely interested with the bubbles moving through his fingers. He murmurs in confirmation, unsure of what to contribute to the conversation. What does he say? No, really, it’s okay that you made out with me in front of my husband, then proceeded to mutilate him. The bath suddenly feels twenty degrees hotter in Harry’s presence, unsure if the liquid on his skin is water or nervous perspiration.  He doesn’t know if he should be angry or upset or thankful or just plain tired. He might be all four.

“Why did you want to kiss me?” Louis blurts out, breaking his staring-match with the water to look up at the gangster who doesn’t seem unnerved by the bold question.

“If we’re being honest,” Harry begins to run his thumb along the back of Louis’s hand, “You’re a beautiful boy, Louis, I mean that. Naturally, like I’m sure so many other men and women do, I wanted a little piece of you.” He admits, shrugging. “But I also wanted to cause a bit of psychological damage to Nico.” The curly-haired man adds with a grin, pleased with himself.

Louis is anything but happy with his response. “So, what the fuck am I here for then? I’m just this- this fucking pawn in your games? At least with Nico he kept me out of it, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. But maybe I prefer it better that way if it means I don’t have to be used as some fucking toy.” Louis shouts at him, angry tears welling up in his eyes. “If you’re just going to keep me here to be your thing then at least just… do it. Do me, if that’s all you want. Pass me around to your friends, bring them here, for fuck’s sake, at least I’ll be useful. If that’s what I’m here for.” By this time, in the middle of his agitated speech, Louis is sitting completely naked and soaking wet on the side of the tub next to Harry, wet hands on either side of him as he leans in towards him, face just centimeters away, daring Harry to touch him. Water drips into Harry’s lap as Harry stays completely still, watching Louis amid his outburst. The older man remained frozen.

To Louis’s surprise, Harry does nothing except stare right back, making Louis even more frustrated. He doesn’t move to close the space between them and his eyes don’t even wander his naked body, despite being completely exposed so close to him. “Just do something, won’t you, stop fucking looking at me like that.” Louis lets the tears fall down his cheeks, still dripping water all over Harry. He inches his face just a bit closer, their lips practically brushing.

Instead, Harry gets up from his spot near the tub, grabs a towel from off a hook, and wraps it around Louis’s bare torso. “Louis, dear, I think it’s time you went to bed. You’ve had a long day.” Harry suggests in the most emotionless voice Louis has heard from him since they have met. It frightens Louis, perhaps more than any angry reaction he could have received.

Louis feels the wave of gusto leave his body, sitting there with the towel wrapped around his soaked body, nodding slowly in response. Embarrassment replaces the fire he felt, although he’s not sure if he regrets it. “Harry, I-I’m sorry, I-“

“Just go to bed, Louis.” Harry snaps, staring down at the floor. Louis had clearly struck a nerve.

The rest of his apology gets stuck in his throat, standing up quickly and practically running out of the bathroom to remove himself from the awkward situation, away from Harry. As he changes into his pajamas he hears the tub start to drain and the light flicker off before Harry slips quietly out of his bedroom to retire for the evening. He doesn’t say another word to Louis, shutting his bedroom door loudly behind him.

Louis shouldn’t be feeling guilty, though. He is the victim in all of this. Like Harry said, he wasn’t meant to be dragged into this, none of this was his battle to fight. He knows that this isn’t entirely Harry’s fault, that Nico is very much still a perpetrator as the other half of this ongoing feud.

As he lays in bed, Louis can’t help but feel the guilt eating away at his insides. Should Harry have kissed him? Maybe not, but Louis let him. But it was just because he was caught up in the moment, he was scared and didn’t want to get hurt. Not because he had any actual attraction towards the gangster.

Right?

-

Louis doesn’t remember falling asleep last night, assuming he more likely just passed out from pure exhaustion. He’s awake earlier than normal but no longer feels that desire to help around the house. He has no reason to assist them. He didn’t owe them anything.

Except for the fact that they could have killed him along with the other Costa’s, but he’s not going to dwell on that fact.

He does, however, think about how Harry could snap him in half if he wanted to, shoot him right in the chest, cut off his ear, just normal thoughts you would have while getting dressed in the morning. But he forces those morbid thoughts away too as he fastens the final button of his pale blue blouse, rolling the sleeves up to his elbows. He does a quick take in the mirror, ruffling his hair with his fingers before emerging from his quarters.

In truth, he didn’t want to see Harry today. And for most of the day, he would prove to be successful. When he heard footsteps come towards the kitchen, Louis would dart outside to watch the rain drizzle from under the overhang of the house. While reading a book in the study room, he would hear the same footsteps whisper down the hall and Louis would turn his back to the door, making sure he remained unseen, or at the least uninterested in whatever Harry was doing today. The last thing he wanted to do was make it seem like he regretted any of his words from the previous night.

Even if he does. But only a little bit. He had too much pride to admit if he was wrong.

When Harry comes knocking on his door later that day, Louis doesn’t look up from the book he’s reading at his desk, assuming it is the gangster at the door. A pen is in his hand, writing away from the same book.

“Dinner is ready if you would like to eat with us.” Harry says, taking a step into the room.He sees that Louis is busy with something at the desk facing the opposite wall, so Louis’s back is to him. “What’re you doing?” he asks, curious as to why the young boy was scribbling so furiously.

Louis curses quietly to himself; of course he would make it almost the entire day before Harry would intrude on his only personal space. “Just finishing up this,” Louis gestures to the textbook and paper pad, “I got bored and found it in the study.”

“You got bored so you decided to digest-“, he moves to the desk and picks up the front of the book to see what Louis was reading “-an old Anatomy textbook?” Harry would sound incredulous if it weren’t for the amused smirk on his face, “Interesting, can I ask why the Anatomy?” Meanwhile, he’s trying so hard to not be thrilled over the fact that this is their first real conversation of the day. He had heard Louis’s quick patters through the halls whenever he came near, not saying a word to him all day. He wasn’t sure what to make of Louis’s behavior after his outburst the previous night.

Louis feels the blush creeping into his cheeks; Nico had scolded him any time he found out that Louis had the slightest bit of interest in literature, whether for pleasure or schoolwork. With Harry showing even the slightest bit of interest and approval, the younger boy almost didn’t know how to respond.  “I want to be a doctor someday.” Louis shrugs along with his words, shaking his head, “It won’t happen, though, probably, it’s just so much money, a-and I probably wouldn’t even be that good at it.”

Harry frowns. “Now, how will you know if you never try?” He glances at the notes Louis has written down, a mixture of print and script discussing the digestive system practically word for word from the textbook. Some key points were underlined in the thick ink, Harry smiling to himself. “These look wonderful, Louis, you’re so smart.” He looks to the younger boy, wearing the same smile.

Louis continues to stare at his own notes, refusing to meet Harry’s gaze. He doesn’t want the small talk to cover up what happened yesterday or what Louis said. He just wants answers. “Why am I here, Harry?” Louis asks, trying to mask the exasperation in his voice.

Harry sighs quietly, leaning his hip against the desk. He did not want to discuss this tonight, maybe not even for a few more days. He hoped that Louis would just be content with being here, out of harm’s way, or even just forget about it all together. It was naïve of him to think. “Louis…”

No, Harry, please just tell me what your intentions are with me,” The young boy goes on desperately, finally meeting Harry’s gaze, “I shouldn’t have spoken out like that last night but I’m not a fucking imbecile. It’s not like I can leave, or run, or overpower anyone here anyway if what you’re planning is-“

A kiss distracts the rest of Louis’s speech. Harry’s lips are on his own, soft and gentle, just like the other day. His own mind is screaming, should be pushing Harry away because god dammit, he’s still angry as all hell with him, but instead he finds himself closing his eyes and accepting the kiss.

And maybe he kisses back a tad - because this is the most gentle interaction he’s hand in weeks - before Harry pulls back with a playful smirk.

“Lou, I promise you I have nothing but the purest intentions for you,” the gangster leans in to press a kiss to the other’s forehead, “Because I find you… intriguing, and beautiful, to say the very least.” He murmurs into the younger’s ear, moving his hand to cup the boy’s cheek.”

Louis could feel the stupid tears filling his emerald eyes, wishing he could keep them at bay. Why was he so goddamn emotional? “Why didn’t you touch me last night, then? You just said you think I’m beautiful.” He asks, his mind in a blur of confusion. Trying to be strong is difficult when Harry has a way with everything he does: his movements, his words, the way he looks at you, it distracts Louis in an instant.

Harry chuckles softly. “Because you are not here to be my pet, Lou, you’re not going to be some fuck toy I use,” he runs a hand through the boy’s cinnamon hair, “Even if I wanted a piece of you so badly last night, I couldn’t bring myself to that, not yet.”

“But,” he starts, taking his gentle hand away and standing up straight, “if you want to leave that is none of my business. Although, if I’m being honest, there’s no where for you to go. There’s a price on your head, Louis, and every Costa is looking for you. They’ll bring you back to them dead or alive if they have to because, in their eyes, you have betrayed them even though that is not the case.” He takes a walk around the room, speaking of Louis’s potential death so nonchalantly, as if it were the morning news.

“The choice is yours.” Harry whips a cigarette out of thin air, lighting it the next second, waiting for Louis to decide upon his ultimatum.

Louis can barely find words after that kiss, let alone be able to discuss how his entire family wants to kill him. He wanted so badly to be angry, to throw a fit, because really this wasn’t his fucking choice. There was no way he could leave – it wasn’t even a rational thought. He didn’t know what they had done with Nico. It wasn’t like Nico would be thrilled to see him either way, if he hadn’t succumbed to his injuries or if Zayn and Liam didn’t kill him already. If he was still alive, the first thing he would do is kill Louis – or at least come quite close to it.

Shutting his notebook and standing up, Louis released a quiet sigh. “I want to stay here.” He whispers regrettably, unable to rid himself of the feeling that he was betraying Nico.

What other choice did he have?

Harry smiles, thrilled with the answer, although it was the one he was expecting. It wasn’t that he was trying to manipulate Louis, but he was simply presenting the facts – in a way he knew would get Louis to stay. “Wonderful.” He breathes, moving to close the distance of the room between them so that he is standing above Louis, less than a foot away from the torsos touching.

“Come join us for dinner, now, the studying can wait.” He says between the cigarette and a quiet chuckle, placing a gentle hand under the young boy’s chin. Louis turns his head swiftly so that his hand falls away. Harry tuts to himself, biting his tongue before he says something else that would get him in trouble with the feisty boy.

Louis was going to take quite the convincing, Harry knew that for a fact.

But he was a Styles. And after all, a Styles always gets what he wants.