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The years leading up to Louis Tomlinson’s birth were times of great uncertainty.  Political powers were shifting, relationships between the countries of the world were unstable, alphas in power were causing a great unrest without equal representation from the sexes and the people were searching for something, anything, to believe in.  Which is why the birth of such a special child brought widespread attention and with it, a sense of hope.  

Louis was born as the first male omega in centuries which was a miracle all on it’s own.  Abandoned when he was merely hours old on the steps of the St. Louis Birthing Center just after a snowfall early one Christmas morning, he captivated the world with his mysterious origin and unique gender presentation.  Some groups even began to compare him to baby Jesus, an omega saviour himself who had also arrived just when the world had needed him.  Surely his appearance on the very same holiday that celebrated saviour was more than just a coincidence.  It was symbolic.  It was a sign.  

The nurses who had found him shivering and crying, wrapped only in a loose blanket and tucked into a festively decorated Christmas basket, nearly fainted as they examined him, finding the small triangular birthmark on his ankle which revealed exactly how special he was.  Since it had been so long, knowledge of such a telling birthmark seemed like a myth or legend but the precise lines and placing were hard to overlook.  The blood tests confirmed it and soon many of the country’s top gender experts were rushing to the center even on the highest holiday.  

The demand to see the infant and the omega birthmark became so large that lines began to form outside the birthing center doors, everyone waiting to catch even a glimpse of the omega with their own eyes.  Donations poured in to the center for the care of the baby, no one willing to let the sacred boy want for anything.

Since the birthing center had strict security procedures, a livestream they nicknamed “OmegaVision” was established for the safety of the child and the rest of the patients at the center.  The response was overwhelming, crashing servers around the clock with millions of viewers from nearly every country of the world, all tuning in just to watch the small infant purely exist.  

It captured the attention of television network heads around the world and a concept was born.  Soon a bidding war had started for the rights to the small omega’s life, the rights to continue the livestream until interest had waned, a chance to bank on the craze of the moment.  

In the end it was the Tomlin Corporation, parent company of Tomlin Networks, who beat out the competition with their extravagant bid.  With the sale of children being illegal, a bulk of the money was considered a “charitable donation” to the birthing center while the rest was due to the government for “legal fees” since the child had been considered a ward of the state once abandoned at the safe haven.  They were the first corporation to legal adopt an infant, naming him Louis Tomlinson after his first home and the network that was legally considered his parent.  They set out to keep him on the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To accomplish this, they established a television channel as well as a subscribable livestream with extra content for a moderate subscription fee.  

Tomlin Networks Presents: OmegaVision with Louis Tomlinson

The popularity of OmVi, as it eventually became shortened as it became a staple of popular culture, shocked even Tomlin Networks who had been responsible for a majority of the most successful reality television sensations in the decades before.  When Louis reached the age of six months with billions of viewers in over 150 countries, they decided it was time to expand on their investment.  Casting calls went out to find a couple suitable to be Louis’ parents and after thorough vetting, a young couple with few extended family members and unable to have their own children were hired.  They were moved to an unidentified part of the country where they were creating a town where Louis could grow up as a normal child while they were still able to maintain control of the environment.  Cameras were installed inside the house, cleverly hidden in everyday items in order to capture the milestones of the young omega that had already held the hearts of his viewers.  By the time the show reached its peak, there would be nearly five thousand cameras providing every possible angle to Louis’ life.  

Subscriptions, sponsors, product placement and merchandise kept the ever-growing program alive and by the time Louis was old enough to be aware of his surroundings, to hold on to memories, the town had been built up to mimic any other in the country.  

The whole world tuned in for all of Louis’ firsts, for all the major but also minor milestones of his life.  His first teeth, his first words, his first wobbly steps.  Birthdays, Christmases, school plays.  OmegaVision became a constant in every home when everything else seemed rocky.  Louis was always there, a bubble to escape to when life threw in a bad day.  Some even left him on all night for comfort, some so that they never felt alone.  

Without ever being aware of what he was, Louis had become the world’s son.  


Harry Styles was five years old when his family was cast for a permanent role in OmegaVision.  His sister Gemma, born three years before him, was unable to hide her enthusiasm when their parents sat them down to break the news that they would soon be moving to Louisville.  Harry was no stranger to OmVi himself, of course.  The entire family and most of his friends had the channel on in the background on a nearly constant basis, it was hard to get away from it actually.  But Gemma was old enough to have truly latched on to the alternate reality that OmVi gave, at least to some extent.  Being an omega herself, she already had a sense of what Louis meant to her gender or at least in the limited gender role knowledge of a child.  She had Louis tshirts, lunchbox and pencil case, OmVi binders and folders to carry with her to school, even a little figurine that played clips of Louis’ voice when a button was pressed.  Harry didn’t quite understand it all.  He would rather change the channel to Alpha Squad or some other cartoon instead.

Louis was the same age as Harry, only born several months apart.  Harry’s mom often gushed about how Harry had taken his first steps on the very same day as Louis had on television and how it felt like the world had been celebrating them both together, how it seemed that Harry had been inspired by Louis’ accomplishment to take his own steps as well.  She told him she always felt connected to Louis while she watched her own son through the same stages of growing up.  

Harry had different feelings on the matter, rolling his eyes even at his young age, but still climbed up onto the couch with the rest of the family for all the big events in the omega’s life just like the rest of the world.  Secretly he liked seeing someone his own age on tv, someone who was just like him in so many ways.  Outwardly, though, he hated Louis and made sure everyone knew it.  Especially when Louis was the reason his family was moving far away from all his friends from nursery school and from their neighborhood he had known since birth.  He pouted and stomped his feet and threw every last toy out of each box as his parents tried to pack up his room.  It wasn’t fair.  

He stubbornly proclaimed that he would never ever ever forgive Louis Tomlinson for ruining his life, crossing his arms over his chest with a theatrical pout as the trucks and their family SUV pulled away from their old house forever.  

Harry’s family had been cast for a specific reason.  They weren’t just going to be just extras in the growing pseudo-town of Louisville.  Though he wasn’t aware of it at the time, Harry’s family was cast specifically for Harry’s age.  He was to be part of a carefully selected group of children to be part of Louis’ kindergarten class, a peer group for Louis to grow up with that would simulate a social environment any other child would have.  The alphas, betas and omegas were chosen to create a dynamic that anyone would see in the normal world.  They would be his potential friends, cause school yard conflicts and eventually, love interests.  At the time, all Harry saw were unfamiliar faces and places all around him, crying himself to sleep thinking about his old backyard with his treehouse and all of the routines he found comfort in that had been left behind.  

They had barely settled into their new home when the first day of classes rolled around.  Harry dutifully stood outside on their new porch and posed with his backpack and lunchbox for pictures of his first day of school, his mom fixing his hair and straightening his clothes, fussing over his appearance so much that he decided this school thing was too much trouble and he didn’t want to go.  

But he wasn’t allowed to choose, even with the small tantrum he threw, and was marched to the front door of his new school and deposited in his new classroom by his older sister without a chance of escape.  His new teacher was nice, he decided, but then as soon as Louis entered the classroom, the teacher turned her full attention to dote on him instead.  Harry scowled at the boy across the room, crossing his arms over his chest and plopping down in his place on the colourful rug with the rest of his students hoping maybe he would disappear if he concentrated hard enough.  He had seen a magic trick on tv where the man had crossed his arms and nodded and with a burst of smoke, had disappeared.  He tried to repeat those steps but his body never moved from his spot and sighed in resignation.

To his annoyance, Louis plopped down right next to him, his bright smile and excitement dulling Harry’s anger around the edges just a little bit.  But he wouldn’t admit that, not when he was trying so hard to hate him.  

“I’m Louis!” he said brightly after turning to Harry, “What’s your name?”

“I know who you are.  I’ve seen you on tv,” Harry turned his nose up, his attention drawn to the front of the little group as his teacher froze and zeroed her attention in on the two boys, ready to intervene.  

“You have??  My dad said our video camera only showed up on our tv at home!!  Do you want to come over and be on tv too??”  

Harry was confused but being on tv did kind of sound like fun so he let his arms fall and nodded eagerly.  

“We can do a play and then my dad can hook it up to our tv so we can watch it!!  It’s so cool!”  

That really did sound cool.  They could pretend to be the Alpha Squad.  Maybe Louis would even want to dress up in their fighter suits with him.  So Harry agreed and from that point forward, Harry and Louis became best friends.  

Harry was about ten years old when he began to fully understand what he had become a part of.  He had always considered himself to have a fairly normal and boring life.  He went to school, played on some soccer teams, tried out the Boy Scouts for a year before deciding he just wasn’t very outdoorsy, watched way too many cartoons and sneaked out to buy too many sweets with his allowance money.  His family made regular weekend trips to visit his grandparents, went on vacations during school holidays and every summer he went to sleep away camp for at least a week.  

It all seemed very mundane until his family took a vacation to the Mall of America.  Harry hadn’t been very excited about it at all, even if Louis had been excited for him, envious that he was able to travel.  But Gemma was the one who loved to shop and had a list of all the stores she wanted to visit and all the arguments lined up for their parents on why they needed to buy her each thing she had on her list.  Harry was just along for the ride.  

They rounded a corner on the main level of the mall after they had already been shopping for several hours and Harry stopped in the center of the rotunda to look up at the multiple floors and criss-crossed escalators that stretched above him.  It seemed to stretch towards the sky for miles to him and he stared in awe with his face tilted up and slowly turned himself in a circle.  He felt like he had already eaten his weight in fried junk food, his parent’s way of stopping his whining as he grew bored with each shop.  

He had just taken a bite of cheese filled pretzel when he saw it.  He froze and nearly choked, forcing his mouthful down his throat with a rough swallow.  He seemed to float forward as his feet moved without be towards until he was standing nearly close enough to press his nose to the glass.  

There in the main display window of the corner store pulled over the torso of a partial mannequin was a tshirt with his own face plastered on the front of it.  At first he thought he was seeing things until he saw his name in green bubble letters written below the image.  Right beside it was a matching design with Louis’ name and face, blue bubble letters across the bottom.  His jaw dropped as he stared before making his way inside without a second thought.  It was a shock to his system to see his own face and those of his family and classmates branded over all types of merchandise.  Louis was by far the star of the store but his face wasn’t far behind, certainly branded on more things than anyone else he knew.  He picked up a mug with “Harry and Lou” printed under a picture of him with his best friend, obviously taken when they were both much younger.  He set it down with a clank and moved around the store, picking up pens and buttons, sweatshirts and backpacks, anything he could think of with their faces.  There were even items with hearts between him and Louis with “Alpha and Omega” written in loopy script.  He wrinkled his nose at the thought, Louis was his best friend.  Why would anyone draw hearts around them?

“Oh my god it’s Harry!” he heard a shrill voice scream and he froze from the sudden attention with a wall calendar showing a picture of himself still held in his hands.  Everyone in the store immediately turned to him and before he could process what was happening he was surrounded.  Phones and cameras appeared and were shoved in his face, people pressing to move forward to try to get a selfie with him or god knows what, there were flashes everywhere.  

Somewhere in the midst of the chaos he was swooped up into strong arms and carried out of the store.  He caught glimpses of himself on a large tv screen before a door closed behind them with a heavy thud.  He recognized the uniforms of security guards as he was set down in a staging area of the store, a kind of back room, the calendar still gripped in his nervous hands that seemed to be shaking.  

“Sorry about that Harry.  We should have seen that coming sooner,” one of them spoke.  

“How do you know my name?” Harry asked them, looking around at the back stock of memorabilia for himself surrounding them.  

“We’re your security detail while you’re here,” the man responded without a beat, “You’re one of the most popular characters on OmVi, surely you didn’t think the producers would let you wander around without protection.”  

But that was exactly what Harry had thought.  Of course in the recesses of his mind he knew he was part of a tv show.  There were hidden cameras in the buttons of some of his shirts, in the frames of his glasses he sometimes wore for reading in class, in some of the toys he had shared with Louis.  He knew but had never contemplated what exactly that meant or the scale of his involvement.  It had just been his world since kindergarten, it was what he knew as his normal.  The realization set in on how sheltered he had been about OmegaVision since they had moved to Louisville.  They never watched the channel anymore at home and it wasn’t on in the background of every public place he went as it had been in the vague memories he had of his life before.  The truth that he had become such a vital part in the show hit him like a heavy punch that had him dizzy, brain wobbling around like the bobble head of himself he could clearly see boxed on a shelf.  Louis would never believe a place like this existed.



Before Harry was allowed to return home, he had his first meeting with the producers of OmegaVision.  They sat him down in a large intimidating board room and he felt small in the tall office chair alone facing two important looking men.  They were alphas, Harry could tell immediately.  He was just starting to pick up scents but it wasn’t needed in this scenario with the way they both held themselves.  He didn’t feel like much of an alpha himself in front of them, knowing he wasn’t the dominant one in the room, not even close.  Louis often told him he didn’t seem like much of an alpha but that had never bothered him before.  In front of these men, he wished he could hold himself like the alpha he was.  He couldn’t even dig himself out of his anxiety to try.

“Now Harry.  We heard there was a bit of an incident during your trip.”  Harry blushed and shrank down in his seat.  He knew he was in trouble but he wasn’t quite sure what it had been that he had done wrong.  

“Louis is your friend, correct?”

“My bestest friend,” Harry responded weakly with a nod.  

“So we want you to understand how important it is that you keep what you saw to yourself.”  Harry looked down to his hands in his lap, nervously wringing them together.  “OmegaVision is a television show that makes a lot of people happy in the world.  Telling Louis about what you know and what you saw would ruin the show and make all those people unhappy.  Do you want to make people unhappy, Harry?”  

He shook his head.  Harry never liked making people unhappy, he tried his best to avoid it.  

“It is against the rules to tell Louis about any of the cameras or the show, do you understand?  You would have to move away from Louisville if you did.  You don’t want to move away, do you?  Your parents would lose their jobs, you would lose the house that you live in and you would never see Louis again.  Do you understand?.”  

Harry nodded nervously, his face draining of colour.  He didn’t want to get his parents in trouble, he didn’t want to move away from Louis.  

“Harry, do you know what a contract is?”  Harry shook his head slowly, chancing a quick glance up at the men dressed in full suits.  They reminded him of the villains and bad men he saw in movies and tv shows.  He wondered if they were just part of the show as well.  If that were the case, Harry hoped he was one of the heros but right now he didn’t feel like he was.  

“A contract is something that you sign for important things.  Your parents signed one for you when you moved to Louisville.  It says that you are not allowed to tell Louis about anything related to OmegaVision.  If you breach the contract, you may have to go to jail.  Do you want to go to jail, Harry?”  

He looked up quickly and shook his head no.  He didn’t want to go to jail.  

“You’re a smart boy, Harry.  We have a contract here for you to sign for yourself.  It says that you can’t talk about this meeting or tell Louis anything about OmegaVision.  If you don’t sign it, all of the things we told you will happen.  You’ll have to move away from Louisville forever.”  One of the men stood up and walked towards him, sliding a stack of papers onto the table in front of him.  He flipped to the back page and set a pen down in front of him.  “If you sign this, your family can stay.  Would you like to sign?”

Harry hesitated but picked up the pen.  He didn’t want to be in trouble with his parents for getting them kicked out of Louisville.   He didn’t want anything to happen to Louis.  The pen was heavy in his hand while he scribbled his name on the line, tears pricking at his eyes.  

“Good boy,” the man patted him on the head, collecting up the stack of papers.  “We don’t want to have another meeting with you like this.  You’re a very popular character.”  

Harry sniffed as he was led out, his parents meeting him with straight faces.  They returned to their home without another word about the meeting, without another word of what he had seen in that shop.  

Later, alone in his room, he decided that he would do his best to ignore what he knew.  It had never been a problem for him to live his life before seeing the OmegaVision store so he pushed it down as far as he could, vowing to never tell Louis about any of it.  He just hoped he would be able to hold himself to that.  He also hoped he would be able to ignore the heavy feeling of guilt that settled deep in his stomach for not telling his bestest friend in the world that everything he did was being filmed and broadcast to the world.  

Somehow, he’d have to get through it.  

When Harry was twelve, his family traveled to his grandparent’s house for Christmas as they usually did every year.  His aunts and uncles were there along with all his cousins that he didn’t see very often.  He always felt a little strange with his cousins around but he couldn’t quite pinpoint why.  They were all around his age and he remembered they had all played together when they were younger.  He wasn’t quite sure when that had changed.  It felt like they no longer felt he was approachable and maybe that just came with getting older.  They were almost like strangers after all.   

“Turn that off,” he heard his grandmother scold from the other room while he was in the kitchen helping to prepare their meal for Christmas Eve.  

“But it’s Louis’ birthday!  LouTalk is going to have a special on his past birthdays and I don’t want to miss him opening his presents!”  Harry perked up at the mention of Louis, sneaking down the small hallway to peek in at the tv across the room.  Louis was there on the screen sitting at the table at his house with a homemade birthday cake sitting in front of him.  There were two big candles lit on top, a 1 and a 3 representing his age but he didn’t seem excited.

It was strange to see his best friend on tv, watching this event take place in a room that was familiar enough for him to picture himself sitting at the place beside Louis.  He knew those curtains and that table that they had been grounded for scratching a deep gouge into once.  He knew one of those chairs had a wobbly leg.

“What’s wrong Lou?  I baked you a strawberry Pillsbury cake!  Pillsbury cake is better than homemade and all you need is some water and eggs!  It’s your favourite!” the camera flipped to show Louis’ mom holding up a box of Pillsbury cake mix and it seemed even more ridiculous witnessing it from this side of the screen.  He had been pushed to plug his fair share of products lately and it never felt natural to him.  It looked even less natural watching.

“I doubt that it’s really his favourite.  They probably got thousands just for saying that,” his cousin rolled her eyes.  Harry frowned.  It really was Louis’ favourite, though.  Harry was planning to bake one for him when they celebrated his birthday together once he was back home.  Louis wasn’t paid to have a favourite cake.  

“Can’t we just wait until Harry’s back to do this?” Louis sighed and Harry’s attention was back on the tv at the mention of his name.  

“Awwwwww he misses Harry!” his cousin gushed, placing a hand over her heart, “They are sooo in love!  They’re going to mate, I can already tell, they are soooo cute!”

“Gross, that’s your cousin!” her brother threw a pillow at her from across the room.

“I wasn’t saying Harry was cute, I was saying they are cute together!”  Harry’s brows furrowed in confusion.  Louis was his best friend so of course he loved him but they were definitely not IN love.  Louis was a wonderful person and sometimes he caught himself just admiring what he was like but that’s why Louis was his best friend.  They weren’t in love, they weren’t going to mate.  He thought back to the merchandise he had seen several years ago in the OmegaVision store, hearts drawn around them with little coupley phrases.  Did everyone think they were in love?  They were only twelve!!  Well, twelve and thirteen now.

“But Louis, it’s your birthday!  You have all your presents to open!  Blow out your candles and then you can see what you got this year.”  Louis huffed a sigh and blew the two small flames out without fanfare, not even bothering to smile as his mom snapped his picture.  It made Harry sad to see him so void of his usual joy, his smile not radiating warmth or sparkles like he was used to.  It almost didn’t seem like Louis.   

“Here’s a gift from Harry, why don’t you open that first?” Louis’ mom prompted, pushing the present that Harry had wrapped himself with a little bow across the table to him.  Harry blushed.  It felt like he was spying on his friend when Louis didn’t know he was watching.  He wasn’t sure if he should leave the room but he couldn’t force himself to look away.  

Louis ripped off the wrapping paper and Harry felt a small flutter in his stomach when a soft smile spread over Louis’ lips.  The camera angle changed to show the DVD of Love Actually he had purchased with his allowance.  They had gone to see the movie together in the theater, both agreeing that when they found love they would both be the romantic type.  It was a conversation that had stuck with him.   He hoped Louis’ smile meant it had stuck with him as well.   

“Awww!! See!! Harry loves him so much!” his cousin broke the moment he was having with the tv screen, frowning at her words.  

“It’s only a movie,” Harry snapped defensively from the doorway, giving himself away.  All eyes in the room turned to him which made him shrink back into the wall, wishing he had the ability to make himself disappear.  

“You don’t give your O friend a love movie if you’re just bros,” she rolled her eyes at him, “Plus I’ve seen the way you look at him.  You’ve definitely got it bad.”  

“What!  No I don’t,” Harry scowled, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting.  

“You really do,” she nodded, pulling out her laptop, “You’re just completely in denial.  Come over here and look at this.”  

Hesitantly Harry crossed the room to sit next to her on the couch, watching as she brought up a video website he’d never heard of.  Anything to do with OmegaVision was blocked in Louisville, he’d hardly seen anything from the show.  She searched for a moment before pulling up a video titled “Best Larry Moments - OmVi Season 12”.  

“Who is Larry?” he asked while it loaded.  

“Oh my god you are so clueless!” But his attention was quickly consumed by the video in front of him.  It was a clip of himself at school, smiling fondly while Louis spoke, throwing his head back to laugh.  There was music over the sound of the clips so he wasn’t sure what Louis had said but it really didn’t matter.  He was looking at Louis as if he had hung the stars, even he could see it.  He blushed as the video continued, more candid moments of the two of them together that played out in much the same way.  Obviously they were always being filmed but he never let himself think about it on a daily basis, never thought about all these things being captured for all to see, to watch over and over again apparently.  They were just Harry and Louis, best friends, but the video clips really made it seem otherwise.  

The video ended and before he had time to process what he had just seen, his cousin was clicking on another video and cackling.  “Harry is a baby deer” was the title and he frowned while he watched all the clips of himself tripping over his own feet and being particularly bad at sports in gym class.  He definitely hadn’t been thinking about all of those moments being broadcast to the world, everyone taking delight in his misfortune.  Anxiety bubbled up inside him while he read some of the other video titles listed along the sidebar.  

Harry’s Bad Hair Days
How Many Times Have We Seen Harry’s Undies?
Petition to Retire Harry’s Khakis!
10 Minutes of Harry Saying “Um”

It was eye opening to see how scrutinized he was by people he didn’t know.  It made him self consciously smooth down his hair that had started to curl up at the ends in recent months.  His cousin was still laughing at the video beside him which made him even more self aware, vowing to be more careful and observant of himself and his behaviour when he returned home.  

“Can I borrow this?” Harry asked once the video had ended and her attention was back to the live image on the tv.  She shrugged and passed it over.

He quickly fell further down the rabbit hole with each click, whole fan sites dedicated to not only himself but the relationship between him and his best friend.  He hadn’t even started thinking about dating yet, not really.  He hadn’t even popped his first knot.  Yet he found himself scrolling through a website filled with analysis posts of their relationship and hopeful guesses of when they would finally start dating.  Some posts said they were too young but were certain they would end up bonded and mated.  Other posts wanted them to start early, sure that cute little parent-supervised dates would be the best story for their future kids.  It all made his head spin.  

He returned from the holidays very conscious of his actions and if he spent more time at his mirror each morning to make sure he was looking camera ready and slipped into the bathrooms to check throughout the day, nobody else had to know.  

“Do you ever think about what our jobs will be when we grow up?” Louis asked Harry.   They were laying in the cool grass of Louis’ backyard, the night clear enough to see the stars against their dark backdrop more brightly than usual.  

“A little,” Harry shrugged.  It was only a few months after Harry had turned 14, one of the first nights warm enough to spend outside without a jacket.  “I think I might like being a teacher.”

Louis hummed  an acknowledgement and a space stretched between them, both just gazing up at the constellations.  

“I think I’d like to travel.”

Harry’s heart thudded heavily in his chest like it had skipped a beat, carefully masking his reaction to the thought.  He knew Louis would never be able to do that.  Not while OmegaVision was still on the air at least.  

“It’s not all that great, Lou,” he swallowed hard after he said it.  He had never been very good at lying.    

“You get to go places all the time.  It’s different for you.  I’ve barely left Louisville and that was when I was too young to really remember it.  Just some pictures or I wouldn’t even know I had been there.”  

Harry had seen some of those photos.  They were weak excuses for vacation memories.  Most were obviously photoshopped or altered realities of sets built up to mimic real places before Louis had been old enough to question the validity of it.  He didn’t have the heart to break that to Louis, knew that he couldn’t even if he did.

“My grandparents live in the middle of nowhere too.  It’s not all that different from here.  And the other places I’ve been… People are different out there.  I like being here with you.  We have everything we need.  There’s no reason to look for it anywhere else really.”  

There was truth in his words, they really did have everything they needed but it still made his chest ache to push that propaganda.  The world was a big place and he had enjoyed his vacations before he started being recognized everywhere his family chose to go.  Now that he was older, most of his vacations involved doing interviews or being parts of panels where strangers asked him questions about his life being Louis’ friend.  It was strange and he didn’t like it.  He didn’t like discussing things when Louis didn’t know, when he wasn’t able to tell him.  He wanted his friendship with Louis to be theirs, he wanted to keep it special.   

Louisville was safe.  He embraced the sheltered existence even if everything was on camera.  At least that way he didn’t have to interact with everyone watching him.  It was an awareness he could turn off at most times when he wasn’t faced with it directly.  Turned off apart from the background hum of anxiety that kept him checking that his hair was in place or his face for blemishes or that his outfit was acceptable enough not to be turned into a joke by the internet.  

“Yeah… but I’d like to see the world.  Don’t you wonder what it would be like to swim in the ocean or climb the Eiffel Tower?” Louis asked, his voice a bit dreamy.  

“I guess,” Harry said softly after a moment.  Because he did want to do those things.  It just didn’t seem very probable for them, for Louis anyway.  “Someday, Lou.  Someday we’ll do anything you want to do.”  

He hoped that at some point, he would be able to follow through on his words.  Maybe one day when Louis was old enough to find a way out, when his parents could no longer force him to stay, when he figured out the reality of his life for himself.

“It’s easy for you to get a visa to travel.  I don’t have any family to visit or any reason to be approved for one.  I was talking to my mom and I don’t even think the odds are in my favour to get one to go anywhere for college”

Harry sighed a little.  That was what they had always been taught in school, that a visa was needed to leave Louisville, to leave any city as far as Louis knew.  In a way it was true.  Clearance did have to be approved in order to leave Louisville, especially if you were planning on returning, but it was all to keep Louis blissfully unaware of the world outside and to keep him from wanting to venture too far.  It obviously wasn’t working.  

Louis turned on his side and scooted closer to Harry, resting his cheek against his chest and his arm across his middle.  It wasn’t an unusual position for them, they often cuddled up when they were watching tv or studying.  But it felt different when he was reminded that they were constantly being watched.  He imagined the fan sites rejoicing as they plastered up the pictures of what they imagined to be their budding relationship, their “proof”.  

“You smell good,” Louis mumbled, burying his nose into Harry’s sweatshirt.  

“Well I hope so!  I do shower and do laundry sometimes,” he tried to joke but his tone was still soft and fond.  He wrapped his arms around Louis in return, subtly nuzzling his face into Louis’ hair.  

“Like oranges and vanilla.”  

Harry swallowed hard with the comment.  The reality was that he thought Louis smelled amazing as well.  What had started as just a hint of warm cinnamon had grown more prominent lately, Louis’ scent shifting and growing richer until Harry had started to detect his scent first before even seeing him.  Spiced apple and pine.  The scents of Christmas.  He knew it was normal, they had learned about it in their gender health lessons.  They were growing up and as their noses developed, so did their individual scents.  It was a bit overwhelming for him now when he was in a crowded space trying to tune out or define the mess of it but for some reason Louis’ always stuck out to him like a freshly lit candle.  He tried not to dwell on it.  

“Probably just the laundry detergent,” Harry protested weakly.  He froze when he felt Louis’ cold nose nudge against the warm skin of his neck, arms instinctively tightening around him.  He made a show of inhaling, nuzzling up to just below his ear. Goosebumps rose over Harry’s arms and he shivered at the feeling.  He’d never been scented before, not like this, and Louis was doing it so openly.  He tried to ignore the twitch between his legs.  

“Nope.  It’s just you.”  

It was so casual, so normal, and in moments like these Harry couldn’t help but think back to all the Larry Stylinson fans out there who saw their interactions as more than platonic.  Harry had to bite the inside of his cheek to hold himself back from voicing those thoughts.  Maybe it was just the influence of those fan sites but in that moment he realized what might be happening.  Harry just might have a crush on his best friend.  

But Harry and Louis were not meant to be.  Shortly after their conversation in the grass a string a new students their age started to come and go in Louisville.  At first Harry barely noticed, kids and families had always come and gone in their town.  He never knew for sure why but he assumed it was for the same reasons he would have for leaving.  Either they were done with being on OmegaVision or were removed for violating some part of their contract.  Those were really the only two scenarios he could think of.  

So new faces were not unusual until Harry started to notice a pattern.  A new beta girl would move into town and start flirting with Louis.  She would start monopolizing Louis’ time and before Harry realized what was happening, they would be dating.  It was all very innocent given their age but he couldn’t help but be jealous.  Louis saw all the new movies with his beta girlfriends, took them out to get ice cream, to get coffee before school.  Those were Harry’s things, Harry’s times with Louis.  When they started holding hands in the hallways, Harry felt a tightness in his chest that he wasn’t ready to confront.  

Harry was turning 16 soon and threw himself into his driving lessons as a distraction.  It didn’t hurt as much when he wasn’t around after school as much to witness it.  It was easier to pretend that it didn’t matter.   

“They don’t want him to mate with someone from Louisville,” Harry’s sister Gemma commented one weekend when she was visiting from university when Harry was 17.  

“I don’t see why it matters.  At least he’s known most of the people here for ages,” Harry pouted, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at his soggy bowl of Cheerios.  

“They’ll bring someone in from the outside.  It would be hard to control someone who grew up in Louisville.  Eventually that person would get rebellious and resentful after realizing where they spent their childhood and ruin the whole thing.  They’d realize their whole life was a sham.  They can’t risk that.  They would have a better grip on someone fresh, someone who knows what they were getting into from the start.”  

Harry frowned.  He didn’t like the idea of Louis mating with someone who didn’t love him, someone who was only in it for the show while Louis was kept in the dark.  It pained him to think about Louis being taken advantage of in that way.  If Louis decided to have children he couldn’t imagine him going through something so intimate with someone who had only signed a contract to be with him.  

“I’m sorry baby brother.  It’s not going to be you,” Gemma sympathetically ruffled his hair as she passed, Harry shooting her a dirty look.

“I didn’t say I wanted it to be me.  I just want Louis to be able to make that decision for himself.”  

“Oh Harry.  The whole world watches you pine over him almost every day,” Gemma cooed.  Harry kept scowling in her direction.  “And besides, Louis will be able to choose his own mate in a way.  They would probably introduce a few options.  He’s chosen to have all the girlfriends he’s had so far hasn’t he?”  

“No!  Of course he hasn’t!  Some new girl just shows up and then they’re dating!”

“And what, they drag Louis off on dates kicking and screaming?  Harry… We all accept the reality that is presented to us.  Louis just sees an attractive girl that is interested in him and chooses to date her.  Just because you know a different reality doesn’t mean it isn’t Louis’ choice.”  

“Still doesn’t make it right,” Harry mumbled, stirring around his mushy cereal.  It felt like he hardly even saw Louis anymore.  He wasn’t sure how he felt about the girls Louis had been dating either.  It didn’t even exactly make sense to him.  If Louis really was an omega (and Harry had seen the birthmark to prove it) then why did he have any interest in betas at all?  He remembered the first time he went into heat as well and couldn’t imagine that Louis would want anyone other than an alpha who could take care of his needs.  Beta girls could never do that for him.  He didn’t understand it.  

Harry tried to keep an open mind about his best friend but it was a hard concept for him to understand.  He couldn’t even imagine himself ending up with a beta that would never fully understand his biology.  

“You’re still just in high school, Harry, you both are.  Everyone dates around and experiments when they’re young.  You’ve got time before you even have to worry about it.  It’s not worth your stress,” Gemma sat down beside him and touched his shoulder, “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.  Enjoy it so you don’t look back and wish you hadn’t been preoccupied with things you can’t change.”

That was easy for her to say.  She wasn’t harbouring a crush on someone she could never have.

“So Harry,” Louis plopped down onto the bench next to him in the school cafeteria where Harry had already spread out his lunch packed from home.  “Prom is coming up soon.  Have you decided who you’re taking?”

Harry observed his enthusiasm from his peripheral vision and swallowed the lump that formed in his throat whenever he saw Louis excited about dating anyone but him.  It had become a thing.  

“I uh, I was thinking of asking Cynthia,” Harry said around a bite of his sandwich.  

“Oh, right right.”  

Harry could have sworn he saw a moment of disappointment but it was gone soon enough and a smile plastered onto his face that didn’t quite reach his eyes.  He wasn’t sure why that had upset him.  

“What about you?  Who is the flavour of the week again?  Julie?” He couldn’t help the edge his voice had but he immediately regretted it with the way Louis’ face fell.  

“Right.  Well have fun with Cynthia ,” Louis clipped back and started to gather up his things again.  

“Louis…” Harry sighed but Louis was already standing up from the bench.  “Louis, wait!”  he called louder but Louis was already headed across the cafeteria.  

Harry watched as he pushed his way through the door without looking back.  He sighed and rubbed hard at his eyes, so confused about what had just happened.  Louis had never been upset with him about mentioning his girlfriends before but then again he supposed he had never sounded so cruel about it either.  If he didn’t know better, he would have thought Louis had been waiting for Harry to ask him to prom but he didn’t want to even entertain that idea.  Louis didn’t feel that way about him and any hope Harry may have seen was surely just his own pining mind playing tricks on him.  

Even if he had there was no way anyone would allow that to happen.  It was like Gemma had said.  They would never let Louis mate or bond with anyone he grew up with, especially not someone like Harry.  He would just be setting himself up for a broken heart.  He already had.  

Harry had only been away from Louisville for four months but it could have been four years with how different his life had become.  Heading off to university was a change and a challenge for any student but for Harry, it felt like a different world.  For the first time since he was able to grasp what was happening with his role in OmegaVision, he didn’t have to think about being constantly watched.  There weren’t cameras behind the mirrors in his dorm room or hidden in everyday objects in his classrooms.  His buttons weren’t holding surveillance electronics and he didn’t have to worry about his appearance each and every day.  That was something he hadn’t realized had become a complex for him until he was no longer pressured by it.  The ease he had setting foot in public on a lazy saturday morning in rumpled pajamas and messy hair was so liberating.  He had never been confident enough to do that back home knowing the whole world would see.

Of course he still had to deal with being recognized by everyone on campus, though the novelty of that seemed to wear off after a few weeks.  There were still times when he was approached in a coffee shop or Target while he was shopping but usually as soon as they snapped their picture with him they were gone, no lingering surveillance.  

He’d been given a single room in the alpha dorm for his safety which he was grateful for, but many of his fellow students still skirted around him like an untouchable, a novelty they hadn’t fully accepted as a normal human student among them.  They had all watched him grow up, seen him through all his awkward phases, through all his embarrassing moments and something about that made his skin crawl when he allowed himself to think about it.  So he tried not to.  

That wasn’t to say that he didn’t have friends because he certainly did.  There was a freedom in being able to choose who he spent his time with knowing that they weren’t contracted to be part of a false reality that had been his life.  They still ribbed him about his celebrity status when they saw someone on campus carrying merch with his fast plastered on it, but other than that they knew to leave it alone.  Harry was more than thankful about that.  He finally felt like a normal young adult able to make his own choices and decisions, make his own mistakes if he wanted.  

But he wasn’t able to avoid his past completely.  Everywhere he went there were screens still tuned into OmegaVision and, even though he told himself he didn’t want anything to do with Louisville, he could never help his eyes wandering to the live feed of his best friend’s life.  If he could even still call him that.  The few strings of texts they had exchanged since he had arrived on campus could hardly be considered deep.  There were parts of Harry that wanted to keep it that way, to distance himself to ease the pain.  Then there were other parts that answered his messages at two in the morning when he couldn’t sleep and all he wanted was to be back home with his Louis, heartache or not.  

Harry even tried to go for the full college experience and date, go to parties, hook up with other students just for some casual sex but every time he attempted to, nothing about it felt right.  The omega girls had been too needy and ready to plan their futures on their first date.  There was a never a spark with any of the beta girls; he knew deep down that they just weren’t compatible.  Nothing about beta or even alpha boys held any appeal so he didn’t even try to venture down that road.  As much as he hated stereotypes, he knew that he really was a red blooded alpha that just wanted to settle in and bond with an omega, mate and marry and the whole package of domesticity that came with it.  The only problem was that he didn’t just want an omega in general, he only wanted one.  One that he could never have.  

It was on those nights after a particularly bad date when he would stumble back to his dorm on the drunk side of tipsy, though he was underage, and turn on the channel that he usually tried his best to avoid.  He’d cry as he watched the feed of Louis, usually sleeping, and hold out as long as he could until he would start to send texts to the omega’s phone.  It was the only way he knew to feel close to him as he watched Louis wake up and fumble around for his phone that just wouldn’t stop buzzing.  Harry would decline any phone calls that Louis tried, not wanting his breakdowns to be heard by Louis, let alone the rest of the world.  Texts were safer.  He could also take a moment to respond so he wouldn’t blurt out everything he was trying so hard not to say.  

He didn’t have anyone he could turn to, no shoulders to cry on when it came to Louis.  There was no way he would open up to his new friends about his pining and heartbreak.  Gemma would probably listen to him but would, at some point, use his confession against him.  He didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of being right when he had spent so long denying it.  There were also the gossip rags that were always thirsting for new drama to exploit and he couldn’t risk someone talking just for their five minutes of glory.  He didn’t want to think that any of his friends were capable of being so untrustworthy but he also hadn’t known them long enough to say for sure.  

Eventually he knew he’d get over it.  Louis would find someone and so would he and Harry would look back at this silly crush and laugh and laugh that he’d ever put any weight in the idea.  He just hoped that day would come sooner rather than later.    

It was at Christmas dinner while Harry was home for winter break that his parents made an announcement.  He hadn’t yet been home to Louisville, instead going straight to his grandparents’ home to spend Christmas with his extended family as they did every year.  The day before he had curled up in flannel pajamas and fuzzy blankets with his cousins to watch Louis’ annual birthday celebration, the first time he had felt removed enough from OmVi to do so without feeling too guilty or awkward.  He thought that it might upset him after the fact but he woke up with a bright new outlook on his situation and felt accomplished with his ability to separate himself from the past.   

“As you all know,” Harry’s dad stood up to address the entire table and Harry searched the faces around him for some hint at what was coming.  “Gemma is off at grad school and this fall Harry went off to start his studies, too.  So we’ve talked it over and we’ve decided that there really isn’t a reason for us to stay in Louisville.  Our contract has been up for a while now, since Harry graduated, and I’ve been offered a position not far away in Denver so we just felt like it was time.”

The whole room was silent or at least that was all Harry could register with the blood rushing past his ears.  His fingers felt ice cold while his face grew burning hot, he suddenly couldn’t tell up from down and he was dizzy.  But the world was still turning while he froze in his seat, no one else seeming phased by the decision that was going to permanently change his entire future.  There was a part of him that thought he’d always have Louisville to come home to for school breaks and holidays, whenever he wanted to.  Even if he couldn’t have Louis, if they grew apart, he had never considered losing all connections to him.

He felt ill and as soon as everyone was distracted by clearing the table, he retreated to the guest room he shared with his cousin.  He laid down on the bed but when he couldn’t lie still, he began to pace the room anxiously.  

If his parents no longer lived in Louisville, he didn’t have an excuse to ever return.  He wouldn’t have a reason to be there without a contracted appearance.  Security would never let him back on set just to “visit” Louis after he was truly turned over to the “real world”.  Plenty of his peers had disappeared over the years in the same way, never to be seen again.

He knew it was far fetched but he began to realize that somewhere in the hidden recesses of his mind he had convinced himself that someday he and Louis would end up together.  In the rom com movie plot of his life he was sure that eventually fate would allow them to be together.  They would have a tearful reconnection, bond, get married, have children... but the possibility of that was slipping through his fingers like loose sand.  It would never happen if Harry was written out of Louis’ life just as everyone eventually was.  

How was he going to tell Louis his family was moving?  What would he tell him when Louis begged him to visit and he knew he would never be able to?  Would they even be allowed to contact each other?  

He started the three hour drive back to Louisville the next morning long before his parents had made any move to head back themselves.  The idle chatter of the lazy morning after Christmas was too much for him to fake his way through so he packed up his SUV and hit the road.  He loved his car, a luxury version with leather seats and a nice sound system that had been given to him to drive as product placement in the show when he had received his license.  He’d have been a fool to turn down a free car and felt a little bad when Louis was trying to save up to buy one of his own.  

It had bothered him at first knowing there were cameras hidden within the interior for when Louis was with him but when he had left for school, a team had gone through to take them out, wasted resources when Harry wouldn’t even be around for them to be put to use.  He’d been allowed to keep the car though, still advertising when the world knew his face, a fact companies still cashed in on from time to time.  It was a nice perk to have boxes of designer clothes and accessories show up at his dorm unexpectedly with the hope that he would be seen or pictured wearing them.  Many of them ended up donated to places around the area but it was nice to have his pick first.

He flipped on the radio hoping for a distraction, but instead it seemed that every station was chatting about the holiday festivities on OmVi.  The production team always made sure it was special for the cameras and there was always something to discuss.  It made him punch the power button with his finger so hard he might have broken it and for a moment longed for the simplicity of the censored radio and tv stations he had growing up.  It created an illusion that their lives weren’t constantly being analyzed.  Sometimes ignorance really had been bliss.  

Angry tears filled his eyes and he gripped the wheel tightly.  He wasn’t ready to let it go, he wasn’t ready to let Louis go.  He didn’t want to live in a world where he was constantly surrounded by the ghost of something he had once been a vital part of, of a life he used to be intertwined with. He didn’t want to abandon the person who deserved more than some tiny tv set town, deserved more than being everyone else’s entertainment.  

Louis was loved and worshiped by millions, billions even, and he wasn’t even allowed to know it.  

The road had become blurry as tears clouded his eyes and he pulled over on the side of the highway and slammed the gear into park.  

“Fuck!” he screamed, pounding his hands against the steering wheel in frustration and anger and guilt and every emotion he had forced himself to suppress over the years in the stupid manufactured life he had grown up in.  He loved Louis.  Louis was his best friend but he also loved him, was in love with him, and none of it was fair.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.

Somehow it was supposed to work out for them.  Harry would come home for the summers, for spring and winter breaks.  Louis would see him as the alpha he was growing to be, would realize that he’d had feelings for Harry all along and eventually everything would just click the way that Harry was aching for it to.  He wanted his chance to prove he would be good enough for Louis.  

Harry would have given up a lifetime of his privacy just to be with Louis, just to wake up bathed in his scent, share the pull of his emotions even with his grumpiness in the mornings, to protect and provide for him.  He would have allowed the world to look in on their wedding day, on the intimate night he would have sealed their bond.  He would have been ready to sign over his freedom, his right to a life outside of the tv-made town.  He would have sacrificed it all if only Louis could look at him as more than just a friend.  But now his time had run out to make any of that happen.

The steering wheel was cold and hard against his forehead as he rested it there, sobbing out until he was gasping for air.  He’d always been an ugly crier, Louis had told him so, and he found that nothing had changed when he finally sat up and caught a look at his reflection in the rearview mirror.  His body still shook with hiccups while he dug around his car for napkins or tissues to clean himself up, finally getting his hands on the travel pack his mom had tucked into his glove compartment.

He felt hollow after the emotional vomit he had just spewed, an empty space left behind in his stomach that made it feel like he could cave in on himself.  With the exhaustion he felt everywhere in his body, it was very possible that he might.  

He wasn’t quite sure how long he had been parked on the side of the road but when a trooper pulled up behind him and flashed his lights, he figured it must have been a while.  He tried to wipe the tears from his face when the officer approached his window, rolling it down without hesitation, definitely in no condition to get himself into any trouble.  

“Good afternoon sir, I see this vehicle is registered to a Mr. Harry Styles and I-- oh it IS you,” the officer took off his hat and leaned his arms against the ledge of the window.  “You’ve been parked here quite a while.  Are you okay?  Are you in some type of trouble?”  

The officer seemed genuinely concerned but Harry wasn’t sure if being recognized in this situation would have a positive or negative outcome.  

“I’m sorry, sir.  I’ll be on my way.  Just.. emotional Christmas and everything.  First year off at college, you know, homesickness catching up to me.”  He smiled weakly and hoped the explanation would satisfy him.  

“On your way back for the rest of your break?  My daughter will be thrilled, she’s really missed you.  I think she used to watch OmVi just for you, has posters of your face plastered all over her walls.  You don’t think I could get a picture, could I?”

“I, um, maybe- maybe I could sign something instead?” a left over sniff hitched in his chest, “I’m sorry I’m just… not really camera ready at the moment?”

He looked disappointed but Harry was able to rummage around and find the notebook with his face on it that his cousin had given him as a joke, scrawling out a message and signing it for the trooper’s daughter.  It was the best he could do.  It was still weird for him to be recognized for being famous for doing nothing more than living his life and after close to fifteen years of schooling his emotions for the camera, he decided he shouldn’t have to feel guilty for saying no just this once during his moment of weakness.  Even if it was an authority figure.  

Eventually the officer decided Harry wasn’t too distressed or being threatened to be left on his own and wished him a safe trip back.  Harry was relieved to finally be alone again but found that the distraction had helped him to gather himself.  He restarted the car and, when it was safe, pulled back onto the highway to finish the journey back home for the last time.    



Harry had barely made it through the outer security of Louisville when he decided he wouldn’t make it the rest of the day without a caffeine boost.  He pulled into the Starbucks and dragged himself inside with his last ounce of energy.  It never ceased to amaze him how different places were in Louisville when Louis wasn’t around.  It seemed more like a casual gathering rather than a place of business.  Having spent a lot of time at coffee shops on campus, he now knew that this wasn’t the norm but he guessed it made sense.  Although they were trained for their actual positions, technically most of the people here were essentially actors hired by each company to represent their brand.  They weren’t paid to provide the same level of service to the rest of the show’s “staff” as they would be required to in the real world.  Another thing that was just for show.    

Harry had no complaints, though.  His caramel macchiato still appeared in his hand in a timely manner and it was made with the same attention to detail as any other Starbucks in the world.  

Walking out of Starbucks, it was the scent that hit him first.  Light on the cold breeze but so achingly familiar that he let his eyes fall shut for just a brief moment to savor it.  Louis was close.  As soon as he opened his eyes again he heard his name being shouted across the parking lot and fast footsteps running towards him.  A moment later Louis collided with his body, jumping up into his arms and wrapping his legs around his waist like a koala.  His drink went flying from his hand but he couldn’t even think about that when Louis’ arms were tight around his shoulders and his face was burrowed up against Harry’s neck.  He could feel how cold his nose was against his skin and he was… was Louis scenting him?  He definitely was.  Harry didn’t hesitate to do the same, nuzzling his own nose behind Louis’ ear and into his hairline without shame, inhaling the warmth that he had missed more than he realized over his months away.  Louis smelled like the season, smelled like Christmas.  

“I missed you so much,” Louis mumbled softly against his skin and all Harry could do was squeeze him right back, crushing him against his body.

He was vaguely aware that this was being broadcasted live and, while he knew he still looked a mess with red rimmed eyes and rumpled clothes, he really couldn’t find it in himself to care.  Not when Louis was back in his arms, bringing warmth to his body in more ways than just temperature.  When Louis started to slide down his torso, Harry’s hands moved to grip under his thighs, pressing their crotches together closer than they had been before.  It wasn’t even awkward or uncomfortable and in his rom com mind, a reunion like this would lead to a heavy makeout session.  Even with an audience he wouldn’t hesitate to press Louis up against the wild green mermaid logo plastered on the window of the shop and take him in the desperate way he wished he could.  It could have been Louis’ scent but probably just Louis himself that was stirring things inside him but either way, he ached with the fact that he couldn’t.  

Eventually Louis loosened his hold and slid back down to the ground, looking up at him with one of his beaming, eye crinkling smiles while keeping his hands on his shoulders.  Harry wanted to kiss him.  

“I didn’t know you were coming back today.  You never said!” Louis said breathlessly and Harry wished it was from the contact with him but more likely from the cold air surrounding them.  

“Wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying for Christmas,” he shrugged, unable to stop a matching grin from spreading over his lips.  Louis was far more gorgeous than he remembered, such a bright, happy light that had been absent from Harry’s life.  He couldn’t help himself from feeding off the energy.  “You owe me a new drink by the way.”

Louis’ laugh was musical, throwing his head back and adjusting his fringe, all of it so familiar and comforting.  Part of coming home.  

They went back inside together and Harry nearly laughed at how straight and professional the employees looked now that the main attraction was with him.  They ordered their drinks and stood at the opposite end of the counter waiting for them to be ready.  

“So I have to go run some errands for my mom but can you come over later?  I got that new Hugh Jackman movie for Christmas but haven’t watched it yet.  I could get some popcorn and snacks?”

Louis looked so hopeful that Harry couldn’t turn him down if he tried.  So he agreed and made plans to meet up back at Louis’ house later that night.  

As Louis bounced back to his own car, Harry watched him with the sadness that had plagued him during his drive.  He couldn’t leave any of that behind for good, his heart ached at the thought of even trying, more so after seeing him in person again.  

It wasn’t until he was behind the wheel of his own SUV when he came to the conclusion that he had to do something.  He wouldn’t be able to live his life watching Louis on the screen and know that he could have done something if only he’d had the courage and resolve to do so.  If his family was leaving OmVi for good anyway, there wouldn’t be any threat now that he was an adult that would leave him as scared and intimidated as he had felt as a child.  What was the worst that could happen?  If the gig was up, if Louis knew, the only thing they would have over him was probably a lawsuit.  Harry could deal with that.  

The rest of the afternoon he spent going through the things he had left behind in his old room when he’d moved into his dorm.  He hadn’t taken much with him, just some clothes and the things he’d need for the school year.  Everything else felt like opening a wormhole to his past.  His favourite sweatshirt he had outgrown years ago, soccer balls shoved in the back corner of his closet, gloves with the other in the pair missing, old notebooks and assignments, the shell of that ant farm he had tried to maintain until he knocked it over and scattered the ants, lost when his mom vacuumed them up.  

It was a nostalgic process that left him little time to think about his plan and by the time he needed to get ready to head over to Louis’,  a pile of trash bags was all he had to show for his day.  

This meetup would be the first time he would truly on camera in months and the anxiety about his appearance returned with a familiar edge that he had lived with for so long.  He took his time with a long shower, drying his shaggy hair with some product to make the curls lay just right.  He leaned in close to inspect his face in the mirror, making sure there weren’t any visible blemishes or smudges that his classmates might make fun of him for later.  It was also the first time he knew people on the outside that would probably be watching, other than family anyway.  He wasn’t sure how he would feel confronting everyone back at school after the break knowing they had been able to watch him.  

A casual hangout was all it was supposed to be but he still shoved himself into his black skinny jeans and pulled on one of his newer designer shirts.  The reflection in the mirror didn’t quite seem right to him and he fussed with the shirt until the sleeves were rolled up, leaving enough buttons open at the top for his chest to peek through.  With those alterations he finally thought he looked acceptable and fixed his hair one last time before leaving the house.  

Louis didn’t live far, just over a block, but Harry still decided to drive.  The air was nippy and he wasn’t sure how late it would be when he finally headed home.

Louis was just as enthusiastic when he opened the door as he had been earlier in the day, pulling Harry into the house by his hand and helping him out of his coat.  

“You’re so dressed up!” Louis told him, pulling on the collar of his shirt that made Harry straighten it self-consciously.  

“No I’m not.  It’s just a shirt,” he shrugged and looked down at himself.

“College has changed you,” Louis said, crossing his arms over his chest and trying to seem upset until the fondness finally broke through.  “You look really good, though,” Louis finally admitted, reaching out to slide his finger down the center of Harry’s bare chest.  Harry stopped breathing and thought he might be having a heart attack at the contact, nipples hardening and goosebumps rising along his arms.  The rest of his body felt numb compared to the delicate touch sliding down his skin.  Fuck.  He had to keep himself together.  People were watching this.  

He swallowed hard, collecting himself.  

“And you look like a bum,” Harry tried to joke but the truth was that Louis really looked delicious and he knew his face said as much.  He was hoping Louis wouldn’t realize what that look meant.  He was in baggy joggers, a hoodie and that same old beanie he always wore when he was too lazy to get up early enough to style his hair in the morning.  Harry longed to snuggle up with that and hold on forever.  

They ended up on the couch but Harry could hardly pay attention to the movie.  He hadn’t seen it yet either but there were too many things on his mind.  This same living room had been on OmVi enough times for Harry to recognize the camera angles, easily identifying the lenses around the room since he knew they were there.  He counted them in his peripheral vision but stopped once he had already located five.  There would be no way for Harry to have such a serious conversation with Louis when they were being watched by so many cameras.  Surely he’d be cut off and carried away with some excuse before he’d barely started.  He’d seen it happen several times.  Louisville was secure but there was no foolproof way to keep it truly isolated and there were always people looking for their five minutes of fame.  He remembered once at a school assembly when a man had streaked across the auditorium stage streaming “I’M ON TV”.  He was quickly taken down and the next day a story appeared in the school paper about the “mentally ill” man.  He recalled another time when a frantic woman had grabbed Louis by his shoulders, her voice shaking as she told him he was being watched.  They explained it away publishing stories about drugs causing paranoia becoming an epidemic in the area.  

If he started to tell Louis he was part of a television show in a place with more surveillance than a casino floor, he was sure they wouldn’t stop short of any elaborate distraction to shut him up.  Maybe a fake gas line explosion, a tranquilizer dart to the neck with the effects mimicking a heart attack, a taser to simulate a seizure.  He had no idea what they would come up with or the lengths they would go to keep OmVi alive.  It couldn’t happen in Louis’ home.

He’d have to get him somewhere else.  Maybe his own house that wasn’t as infiltrated.  Maybe his car if he could find the portable cameras they always had on hand to disable them first.  But that wasn’t taking into account the ones that would be planted on Louis’ person.  He would never be able to find those without drawing suspicion.  

Getting Louis out of Louisville, if only for a few minutes, might be the only way he would be able to come clean, the only way he would be able to get enough of it out to plant the bug in Louis’ mind that he was telling the truth.  

But how?

There were only two roads leading out of Louisville and each had a checkpoint manned by security.  Harry wouldn’t have the clearance to leave until he was headed back to his dorm for the start of next semester and he definitely didn’t have clearance to leave with Louis in tow.  

There had been talk of his parents renting a storage unit in the next town over while they were transitioning, only renting a small apartment while they looked for a permanent home to buy.  He would have a valid excuse to leave with a carload of things for storage, helping his parents out while he was home.  That wouldn’t be suspicious.  That could work.  

But having Louis would be suspicious, would never be allowed.  As far as he was aware Louis hadn’t left the city limits since the town had been established when he was a baby.  There were too many variables they couldn’t control outside of Louisville, too many ways for their secrets to unravel.  

“Harry, are you okay?” Louis nudged him, looking at him with concern.  “You seem really out of it… Do you not like the movie?”

The last thing Harry wanted to do was upset the omega, he didn’t want to burden Louis with the difficult details of his plan.  

“Sorry, its just been a long few days.  I guess I spaced out a bit.  Couldn’t really sleep last night.”

Louis curled up against his side, moving Harry’s arm around him like a blanket.  Harry smiled down at him, pulling him in closer.  

“You can take a nap.  I promise I don’t mind,” Louis offered, resting his head against Harry’s chest and he hoped he couldn’t hear how hard his heart was pounding with the contact.

“No, Louis…” he sighed, his free hand rubbing his eyes before pinching the bridge of his nose.  Louis must have picked up on his distress because he lifted his head to look at him.  “I have something to tell you.”

“Are you dying?” he asked in alarm and Harry thought he might as well be.  His eyes welled with tears without his permission and he looked up at the ceiling to try to hold them off.  

“No, I’m not dying,” Harry sniffed, a small laugh catching in his throat because of course Louis went straight for the dramatics.  “My parents are moving so this is probably the last time I’ll be in Louisville.”  

And it was out like a ripped off bandaid.  It stung after the fact but at least it alleviated some of the anxiety he had built up about it.  But only a small amount.  

“You can still come visit me,” Louis’ voice was small and Harry could tell he hadn’t been prepared for him to break that kind of news.  

“I don’t think I can, Louis.  With school and my family on breaks and then taking classes over the summer,” he sniffed, angry with himself for crying on international tv and letting his emotions get the best of him.  He was an alpha for fuck’s sake.  He was supposed to be able to keep it together.  And they were probably eating up every second of it.  Emotional young boys crying makes a bit of good tv, they’d be cheering over their ratings tomorrow.  He hated everyone for it.  He’d never hear the end of it when he was back at school and everyone had heard about his breakdown.  Maybe he should switch to internet courses and become a hermit until everyone forgot who he was but he knew that wasn’t realistic.

“Then I’ll just come visit you,” Louis said, tears in his own eyes as he gripped Harry’s shirt. “You can’t just disappear on me.  I can’t live without you like that!  I’ll find a way to get a visa!”

Harry swiped angrily at his eyes because he couldn’t just tell Louis why that would never happen right then in the center of the very reason why he couldn’t.  He just shook his head but then sighed and leaned back into the cushions.  

“Yea Lou, you can come visit me,” he lied instead, the hand still firmly around Louis’ body pulling him that much closer.  He could smell the anxiety and the hurt rolling off the omega and it made his own alpha ache to not comfort him but more importantly it made his own heart hurt.  He knew he had to follow through with his plan after that.  He wouldn’t throw Louis back into his altered reality and leave for good, there was no way he could when Louis might be hurting just as much as he was about it but, unlike Harry, he would never know why.  There was no way he could let Louis believe he would just abandon him without a valid reason.  



Harry fully expected to be pulled into a meeting with the producers the next day but as the hours ticked by, nothing came.  He did his best to act like everything was normal.  He continued to clear out his room, packing up the things he intended to keep and weeding out everything he could part with.  

A few days passed before he brought up the excuse to take a car load of things to their storage unit, volunteering in a way that he hoped wouldn’t seem suspicious and only like he was being a helpful son.  Even if just his parents knew of his plans, he knew it would squashed before he had a chance to act on it.  They were rational people.  They would talk him down from his stubborn and determined ledge and he couldn’t let that happen.  

Then came the more difficult task of finding a way to sneak Louis away with him.  He paced his room and pondered a million different scenarios but they all ended in the same way.  No matter how he looked at it, there was always a camera that would catch them in the act, someone that would stop them.  Or it might even Louis himself that would expose them, not knowing why secrecy was so important without letting him in on the secret.  

Eventually it was partially Louis’ own idea from when they were younger that he decided might be their best bet.  He would tell Louis they were going on a secret adventure, a secret day trip out of Louisville.  He just hoped Louis would be on board and not question his methods for finding a visa or faking one in Louis’ eyes.  

It took a long time and a million balled up pieces of notebook paper on his floor but eventually he had penned a note.  


Come on a secret adventure with me?
Wear your big winter coat and meet me
at my house at exactly 9am tomorrow.
Don’t tell anyone where you’re going and
maybe we’ll be able to see a bit of the
world together.

See you soon,

That night when he was watching another movie with Louis, he slipped off to the bathroom that connected to Louis’ bedroom and taped the note inside the shower.  It was the only place he knew there had never been a camera.  At least he hoped.  He had seen an interview with OmVi’s creators once who had said that it was important they gave Louis some basic privacies and that the shower was one of those places they had never ventured.      

He left that night sending up a silent prayer that Louis would not only find the note but be on board with his idea.  



Harry could hardly sleep and was up when the sun was barely rising above the horizon.  He showered and packed up his suitcase with all of the things he knew he wouldn’t want to leave behind.  There was no way of knowing what this reckless decision would mean for him, but he was planning for the worst case scenario.  If he was found out either before or after the stunt he was trying to pull, he was certain he’d never be allowed to return and he wanted to plan accordingly.  

There was a large box that he had saved back for his plan and he waited until his parents had departed for work before carrying it out to the garage.  

“This is such a stupid idea,” he mumbled to himself while he loaded the car, leaving a space in the backseat for the empty box.  He checked his watch and wondered how long he should wait if Louis didn’t arrive right at nine.  What if he had slept in and hadn’t yet seen the note?  Would he call Harry to let him know?

The afternoon before he had found a teenager about Louis’ size and had bribed him into helping with what Harry explained was a practical joke.  He thanked his luck when the kid arrived on time and Harry shoved the money into his hand while shuffling him into the hall closet to wait for his cue.  

“I’m going to have you pretend to be someone. I’ll have to put on their coat and come out to the garage with me.  When the garage door opens, I’m going to back the car out and wave.  You keep your head down and start walking down the street towards town, okay?  Got it?”  He barely waited for the kid to nod in understanding before closing the closet door.

There was only about half an hour to wait by then and he took the time to sit down at the kitchen table with a notebook and a sharpie to write out what he wouldn’t be able to say out loud.  

Luckily he didn’t have to worry when the doorbell rang just two minutes to nine.  He grabbed the notebook and rushed to the door, opening it with the first page of Sharpie letters displayed for Louis.  As he pulled the door open, he held it low enough that Louis’ body would cover it from view of the cameras outside.  

“Don’t say anything, just come in when I ask,” the first note said.  

“Hey Louis!  I was just about to head out.  Want to come in for a minute?” Louis looked at him skeptically but nodded as Harry flipped the page.  

“Say ‘Sure just wanted to say hi before you left’”

“Sure, just wanted to say hi before you left,” Louis parroted, luckily trusting him without question while following him inside.

“I know you don’t have a visa and I don’t want my mom to hear that you’re sneaking out with me”

“I’m just loading up some boxes in my car if you wanted to come help me.”

“Take off your coat and hat so you can hide in this box”

Harry led him through to the connected garage, gesturing to the box he had ready.  Louis raised an eyebrow at him and Harry bit his lip nervously, praying that Louis wouldn’t question him and spoil the whole thing.  He breathed a small breath of relief when Louis started to shrug off his winter coat, handing it over to Harry along with his beanie.

Harry held up a shush finger to his lips and then gestured to the box, helping him climb in with only a little difficulty.  

“I’ll be right back,” he whispered, handing him the last note with instructions to stay down and stay quiet until Harry gave him the all clear before slipping back inside.  

Harry pulled the closet door open and waved for the kid to come out.  

“Here, put these on,” he said in a rushed whisper while he thrust the coat and hat into his hands and led him out into the garage.  He climbed in and started the car, rolling his window down to mouth “ready?” to the not exactly convincing stunt double.  It was the best he could come up with on short notice.  This was definitely not going to work.  

He pushed the button for the garage door and then slowly started backing out when it was finally all the way up.  The kid started to follow with his head tilted down.  

“Good boy,” Harry murmured, slapping on a happy smile and waving cheerfully at the window.  The kid waved back and it was the best execution of the scene he could hope for really.  And then he gunned it. Or at least in the metaphorical sense.  In reality he had to keep his speed in range to not cause suspicion but his foot still tapped anxiously at the gas.  

Harry knew that even if there were cameras or audio left in his vehicle, or on Louis, that they wouldn’t be made for long range transmission.  He just hoped that Louis would be able to keep still and quiet as instructed for long enough for them to hopefully be past that range.  He estimated they’d need at least ten miles, more if he was able to swing it.  

They flew through the checkpoint with surprising ease, even getting a smile and a “drive safe, Harry!” from one of the security guards.  At least his decoy had bought them enough time to make it out.  

It was difficult for him to drive at a speed limit that wouldn’t draw attention on the open highway when his whole body was buzzing with anxiety.  At any second a force could descend upon them and everything would be a bust.  His eyes flipped to each mirror in quick succession, trying to be aware of their surroundings enough to see anything coming.  The miles ticked away so slowly that he almost thought the tracker wasn’t working but eventually he watched them travel past the fifteen mile mark and let himself finally breathe.  

“Okay, I think we’re good,” he broke the silence in the car, waiting for any reaction from Louis.  

“Fuckin’ finally.  It was starting to get really hot in there,” Louis complained, muffled until the top of the box pushed open and his messy hair poked out.  “Can you tell me where we’re going yet?”

And… Harry hadn’t exactly thought that far ahead.  He had been so preoccupied with smuggling Louis away that he hadn’t thought to plan where they would go.  

“Anywhere you want to go, I guess,” Harry shrugged and laughed when Louis spilled over into the back seat in a tangle of limbs.  

“How do you plan an adventure with no destination, Harold?” Louis huffed and continued to climb forward until he was in the front seat, fastening his seatbelt dutifully.  

“That’s part of the adventure, Lewis ,” he rolled his eyes a little but still smiled over at him, “You always said you wanted to travel.  Now where do you want to go?  Within a reasonable distance, I mean.  Today’s adventure does not involve a transcontinental flight to Paris unfortunately.”

Louis thought for awhile, resting his elbow against the armrest and holding his chin while he stared out the window at the passing scenery.  It wasn’t much to look at.  Farmland rolling on for miles with an occasional farm house or herd of cattle dotting the plains.  

“Take me to the mountains then,” Louis said suddenly, shifting his body to face the driver’s seat, “There are mountains not too far away, right?”

“That I can do,” Harry grinned and he was glad they were pointed in the right direction.  He at least knew the general way to the Rocky Mountains since it wasn’t too far from where his grandparents lived and it wasn’t an unreasonable drive to get there.  

All of the stress was worth it when Harry saw the smile of pure joy and excitement that took over Louis’ face.  He looked like the whole world had just been handed over to him and Harry had been the one to do it.  Like The Grinch, his heart swelled several sizes but unlike The Grinch, Louis had already stretched it to fill his chest many times before and now, he felt like he could burst.  

“Where are the tunes Harold??  I mean honestly!  Do you expect me to spend this much time locked in a car with you with only your droning voice??” Harry laughed out loud while Louis fiddled with the radio, finding a station playing something upbeat.  It had barely been on for thirty seconds before the opening chords of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing blared through the speakers and they cranked it louder and didn’t hesitate to sing poorly over the recorded version.  They were both laughing themselves to tears by the time the song ended and Harry had never felt so free.  

“And that was a classic right there, we all know some Journey when we hear it,” the radio DJ’s voice took over while Harry adjusted the volume to a more acceptable level.  “Okay now we have to talk about the elephant in everybody’s room at the moment, some breaking news so of course we have to talk about it, everyone will be if they aren’t already.  There isn’t a problem with your television set if you have it on in the background like most of the world.  We’ve received confirmation that OmVi has cut transmission for the first time since the channel’s creation.  Now we’ve been online and making calls for the last half hour and there are rumours flying but no official statements have been released.  The rumours say that they’ve lost Louis and of course all those Larry fans out there are sure that he’s run off with that romeo alpha we call Harry so hold on tight kids--”

Harry’s hand flew forward to change the station but it seemed that everything he turned to was talking about the same thing.  He knew it would be news but was a little shocked by how quickly it had spread.  He hadn’t taken into consideration that the news would find Louis before Harry had a chance to tell Louis himself.  

“What was that?” Louis asked, eyes on the radio as Harry finally just smashed his finger into the power button.  

“Um…” The inside of the vehicle seemed silent and he could feel Louis’ concern and confusion rolling off of him in waves.  “Okay.  Louis.  There’s a reason I asked you to come with me.  I have something to tell you and you probably aren’t going to believe me but I really need you to trust me.  Do you trust me?”

Harry glanced over and watched the subtle shifts of Louis’ face while he considered it, finally meeting his eyes.  He was still driving so he had to turn back to the road, hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.  

“I was hoping to wait until we weren’t driving but we can’t exactly stop right now… So I can tell you now or we can wait until we find somewhere safe to pull over.”  

“Harry, what’s going on?” Louis’ voice sounded a little shaky as he breathed out, his body visibly tense.  

“I don’t even know how to tell you this… and I need you to know that I would have told you sooner if there was any way I could have but there wasn’t.  I wouldn’t have been able to see you again and I didn’t want to be taken away.  You have to believe me, that I would have,” Harry pleaded desperately, his normally slow cadence sounding uncharacteristically fast and increasingly higher pitched.

“What the fuck is going on??” Louis demanded so firmly that it made him flinch.  

“It isn’t true that you need a visa to leave or enter a city,” Harry started, taking a deep breath and trying to figure out how he was going to word this without seeming crazy.  “Louisville is the only place you do because it’s not actually a city, not really.  It’s the set of a tv show, a tv channel called OmegaVision and you’re the star.  You have been since you were born, actually, it was all created because of you.”  

“Harry,” Louis said seriously, cautiously, “Did you start taking drugs when you went off to school?  You can tell me the truth, we can get you help…”

“No, Louis, I’m not on drugs!  Please.  Just trust me.  Please. I know it sounds crazy but the only way for me to tell you the truth was to get you out of Louisville and away from all the cameras.   I mean, why do you think it’s called Louisville?  It was named after you!”  

This wasn’t how Harry had planned any of this happening and it was quickly going south.  They had been floating on a small life raft but now Harry had fallen overboard, drowning and gasping for air while he begged Louis to just grab onto his hand.   

“Harry, I’m being serious.  Have you lost your mind?”

“No, Louis.  I’m being deadly serious.  Turn the radio back on and see that I’m telling you the truth.  I’m sure they’re all talking about how I kidnapped you.  You’re not supposed to leave Louisville.  You’re not supposed to find out.  Actually, wait,” Harry shifted in his seat, struggling to pull his phone out of the pocket of his tight jeans while keeping them on the road.  He unlocked the screen and held it out to Louis until he hesitantly took it.  “The internet and your phone are censored in Louisville.  I got a new phone when I went to school because I needed it for class.  Google something.  Anything.  Search OmegaVision or your name.  Hell, even my name.  It’s the most popular show in the world and there is tons of information out there.  If you don’t believe me, believe that.  I can’t make that part up.  There would be no way for me to fake any of that.”

Louis stared down at the phone and it looked like he was trying to decide whether to trust him or if it was an elaborate joke that Harry would laugh at him about after he gave in.  But no part of it was a joke.  Eventually he heard the click of the keyboard sound effects and nearly held his breath while he waited.  He glanced over but couldn’t quite tell what was on the screen with the glare, wondering if maybe he was even texting someone for help.  

“How did you get all this?” Louis finally asked him, his voice quiet and scared.  Harry could feel the emotions filling the car, too, and it added to his own anxiety, fingers tapping against the wheel.  

“I didn’t get any of it, Louis.  I’m telling you the truth,” he kept his voice low and calm, hoping he sounded serious and sincere.  “There are cameras everywhere in Louisville.  In your house, at school, in cars… it was all created for you.”  

“Are we being watched right now?” The fragility of his voice made Harry’s heart ache.  

“No, I don’t think so.  Not right now.  That’s why I wanted to get you out of the city.  Even if I missed a camera or an audio device I don’t think it would work this far out.  That’s why they cut the transmission.  They’ve never lost you before.”

“Why are you just telling me this now?”

“Because I couldn’t, Louis!  I was five when my parents signed the contracts for the show so I obviously didn’t know what I was getting into when we moved there… and then when I was old enough to realize what was happening they told me if I ever said anything I’d never get to see you again and my parents would be put in jail, that I’d be put in jail… I was a kid and I was scared and I didn’t want to lose you!”  

“But you’re leaving me anyway.” Louis stated, looking up from the phone.

“On Christmas my parents told me they were moving, leaving the show since they didn’t really have a reason to be there anymore… and then I saw you again and I knew they would never let me back on set if I didn’t have a reason to be there and that I might never see you again… And I couldn’t just leave you without telling you why, with you thinking I just abandoned you.  And if the other option was that I wasn’t going to see you again anyway, I decided I didn’t care what they’d try to do to me.  Please Louis, you have to believe me.”

“So we’re not going to the mountains?”  

“No, we can still go to the mountains,” he said, a small smile coming to his face but it felt weak, even though he still felt panicked and desperate.  “We probably have some time before they catch up to us.  I don’t know what’s going to happen but I can at least try to give you that.”

Louis went slack and melted back into the passenger seat, hand weakly holding the phone in his lap.  

“Do you believe me?” Harry asked softly after the silence between them had grown stifling, when he couldn’t take it anymore.  

“I… don’t know…” Louis turned his head to look out the window, hiding his expression from Harry’s view.  “I don’t know what to believe.  Why me?”

“You’re the first male omega born in a century… You’re special and the whole world wanted to share you, to worship you somehow.  I don’t know how it came to this.”   

Harry’s ringtone startled both of them when it signaled a call, his mom’s contact picture up on the screen as it vibrated.  

“Maybe we should turn that off for now,” he reached over to take the phone back, silencing the call before powering it down completely.  “I’m sure they’ve already figured it out anyway.  It will buy us more time.”  

“Is it still kidnapping if I went with you willingly?” Louis asked, turning off his own phone as well that was showing no service away from the intranet of Louisville anyway.  

“Technically no.  But I don’t know what’s going to happen.  They’ll probably say I did either way when they have you back.  They’ll need someone to blame so they don’t tarnish your image and I was the mastermind of this anyway.”

“What if I don’t go back?”

“I don’t know if that’s a possibility.”

It wasn’t long after that a ding sounded from the dash of the car.  

“Shit,” Harry cursed as he looked down at the fuel light that had just lit up.  He hadn’t even thought to fill up the tank before they left.  “Okay Lou, we need to stop for gas… so you’ll have to hide your face.  Pretend like you’re sleeping or something.  If anyone sees you this whole adventure is done.  Okay?”

He pulled off on the next ramp and into the first gas station.  With his sunglasses and a beanie over his hair he hoped that would be enough to let him slip by unnoticed.  He got out of the car and went around to fill the tank while Louis shrank down low in his seat.  His fingers were cold as he slid his card into the machine and glanced through his wallet.  That was another oversight.  He probably should have stopped for cash as well, but at this point going inside to the ATM would be counterproductive.  Surely the attendant or even just other customers would notice him if he went inside.  

He quickly pumped his tank full and hurried back around, thankful that Louis had cooperated.  When he got back into the car, Louis had been fiddling with his phone and had it hooked up to the stereo so when he started it back up, bright upbeat pop music hit his ears.  A grin spread over his face while he pulled out of the station, glancing over to see the same on Louis’ and before long they were both singing loudly to the boybands they had indulged in when they were in high school together.  

For a few hours it was easy to pretend they were free, just normal college students on a road trip during their school break.  It was how their life should have been and Harry tried to savour it and push away the looming knowledge that it would be short lived.  

The journey towards Denver was a little over three hours and they were able to keep themselves entertained and distracted from reality the nearly rest of the way.  Louis had started to get whiney and restless when they were nearing the edge of the suburbs but was suddenly quiet when they came up over a hill and caught their first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains shadowed in the distance.  The jagged outline of the peaks stretched in purple and grey hues that faded to show white patches of snow on their way up to the clouds and Louis’ seatbelt stretched across his chest while he leaned forward to get a better view through the windshield.  

“Is that…?  Are those…?” Louis trailed off, a finger pointed towards the skyline.  

“Yeah, there they are,” he nodded, his voice soft while he lived through Louis’ awe.  

“Massive…” Louis mumbled.  

Harry continued to drive towards them without a specific destination until they were close enough for Louis to have a better look.  He found a scenic overlook somewhere along the base of the range that was deserted thanks to the colder weather, and pulled off to park.

“Where are we?” Louis asked as he looked around.  

“I have no idea but I thought maybe you’d want to get out to see.”

Louis pulled on one of Harry’s extra jackets since he had left his behind and didn’t hesitate before opening the door and rolling out.  

“There’s nothing here,” Louis stated once Harry had joined him and he shrugged in response.

“I think you’re just supposed to look and enjoy nature.”

Harry’s phone was now on airplane mode but he got it out to snap a few pictures.  Even if it wasn’t exactly anything special, he still wanted to remember their adventure and maybe have a few pictures to prove that it happened.  There was a small footpath leading away from the parking area and they followed it for a while minutes until they came to a cliff that jutted down into small valley.  It wasn’t steep compared to the mountains towering above them but it was still more impressive than anything in the mostly flat terrain of Louisville.  

Louis stood at the edge and looked down, inching his toes further off the path until it made Harry nervous.  He looked so beautiful with the winter wind blowing his hair into a mess and the sun lighting every angle of his face.  He took a few pictures but none of them did the real view justice.  Louis didn’t even scold him about the pictures as he usually would, instead Harry didn’t even think Louis noticed he had even followed him here.  There was something private about the way Louis seemed to be staring at the miracles of nature, the steep drop off that man could never dream of recreating.

“I’ve never thought I was important,” Louis spoke softly, the wind carrying his words away so Harry could barely hear them.  It also carried his scent away from Harry’s nose, instinct wanting him to search it out to make sure he was okay.  “When you were applying for colleges and thinking about majors I knew I was expected to stay in Louisville.”  

He was still peering down into the valley and Harry was reluctant to move, afraid to break the moment that was bittersweet and scary but still so beautiful.

“But that wasn’t true, was it?  I wasn’t expected to, I was meant to.” Harry didn’t answer, somehow knew he wasn’t expected to. “My whole life was a lie so I shouldn’t feel that way.  But standing here, I still feel so small and insignificant.”

His shoe bumped a loose rock and it bounced down the rugged cliff like an emphasis to his point, the hollow sound echoing around them in a space greater than either one of them.

“You’re not, though,” Harry finally spoke, his voice rough like he hadn’t spoken for ages.  Louis looked up at him with an expression Harry had never seen on his face before.  He wasn’t sure what it meant but it felt sad yet determined.  

“Maybe I want to be,” he replied, his voice even, “I don’t think I want to be important, not like that.  I don’t want to think about my actions affecting everyone who is watching me.  I want to be who I thought I was.”

“You’re still that person.  Nothing about you has changed.”

“I don’t think I want to go back.”  

Guilt was heavy in Harry’s chest as they held eye contact.  He hadn’t meant to be responsible for the existential crisis that was causing so much sadness and despair to cloud his best friend’s face.  Maybe he had been selfish for wanting Louis to know the truth, maybe it had only been for his own benefit and not in Louis’ best interest.  Maybe Louis would have been happier carrying on in Louisville, ignorant to the outside world.  

“You don’t have to go back.  You’re an adult, I don’t think they can make you.”  

“I don’t want to go back.”  

Louis didn’t say another word as he started walking on the path back to the car, brushing past Harry without an explanation.  Harry was at a loss and stayed frozen in place for a few minutes before turning to follow.  The last thing he wanted was for Louis to be upset with him.  He hadn’t wanted to ruin their friendship by exposing the truth.  

Louis was already back in the car when he returned and he was anxious as he opened his door to slide into the driver’s seat.

“I’m sorry, Louis,” he twisted his hands in his lap, “I didn’t mean to ruin your life like this.  I just… I thought you needed to know.”  

“It’s not your fault, Harry,” Louis said, turning in his seat and placing a hand over his to still them against his thighs, “I’m glad you told me.  I think.  But either way, it’s not your fault.”

Harry blinked as he looked up, trying to find the truth or lies in his words.  

“Can we just… go find somewhere to eat or something?”

“We’ll get recognized if we try to go somewhere right now but my grandparents live maybe 40 minutes from here if you can wait that long?”

Louis nodded so Harry started to punch the address into the GPS.  They spent the rest of the drive in silence.  



Harry pulled up to his grandparents’ house and left the car running while he went around the side to find the spare key hidden there.  He opened the back door and opened the garage from the inside before coming back out.

“My grandparents left for Florida yesterday but I don’t think they’d mind us hiding out here for the night.”  

He pulled the car into the garage so it wouldn’t be discovered sitting so obviously along the curb and closed the door behind them.  

“Are you sure?” Louis looked hesitant but still followed him out of the car.  

“Yeah I’m sure.”  He handed his backpack to Louis to carry inside and pulled one of his suitcases out of the back.  

There wasn’t much in the fridge but he found a jar of spaghetti sauce and a package of spaghetti in the cupboards and set about making them some food.  They’d missed lunch and he felt his own stomach start to rumble while he waited for the water to boil.

With the open floorplan he could hear when Louis turned on the tv, flipping through the channels with the volume still on the loud setting his grandparents kept it at with their hearing dulled with age.  He was probably being paranoid in his grandparents’ quiet neighborhood but still went around drawing the curtains closed anyway, giving them a small sense of security.  

“Tomlin Networks, the parent company of OmegaVision, issued a statement earlier this afternoon in regards to the first cut in transmission since the channel was established,” Harry looked up to the tv screen to see a news reporter with both Louis and Harry’s pictures displayed in the upper right hand corner.  “At this time it is believed that Harry Styles, who has been a regular cast member for the last fourteen years, abducted the show’s star Louis Tomlinson earlier this morning.  There has been no word of Styles’ location at this time or motive behind the abduction.  Anyone with information on their whereabouts is urged to contact their local police department.”  

“Abducted,” Louis snorted from where he had sprawled himself out on the couch, “As if you’d be able to kidnap me.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry frowned and then wondered why he was arguing over his ability to abduct someone.  That probably wouldn’t be a good trait to have.  

“When have you ever been able to make me do anything?” he scoffed and started to flip through the channels again.  He grew silent when he landed on one of the channels that played “Best Of OmVi” reels on repeat, pausing to watch moments of his life he had never known were being documented.  Harry wasn’t sure which collection it was but couldn’t stay to watch himself on screen.  It was something he always felt uncomfortable doing whenever it came up.  Even knowing that there were DVD collections dedicated to just Harry out there was enough to make him feel strange.  He didn’t want to be forced to watch it as well.  

He returned to the kitchen to finish their dinner but couldn’t tune out the fact that Louis had still not changed the channel.  Louis was abnormally quiet during dinner and, even though it made Harry uneasy, he left him to his thoughts.  

“Can I borrow your laptop?” Louis asked once they had moved to lounge in the living room.  Harry had insisted they put on a movie to avoid any other news stories or cringeworthy footage of himself but Louis seemed restless.  

“Yeah, it’s in my backpack,” he gestured to where Louis had dropped it when they came in.  He snuggled himself into one of the afghans that had been hanging over the back of the couch and watched him pull the laptop out through sleepy eyes.  

“Just don’t close the tabs I have up for school,” he yawned, the stress of the day finally settling into his bones and draining the last of his adrenaline.  

“Harry.  Psst!  Harry!” he heard his name being hissed in a whisper from somewhere beyond his consciousness.  He felt someone climbing over his body and he cracked an eye open in confusion.  He must have fallen asleep on the couch.  

“Hi,” Louis whispered, attempting to wedge himself in the small space between Harry’s chest and the back of the couch.  They ended up pressed together front to front but Harry was too sleepy to care.  Instead Harry just groaned sleepily and let their legs tangle in a more comfortable position, wrapping his arms around Louis’ middle to pull him close.  He was warm and soft and smelled so comforting.  

“Y’smell good,” he slurred, nuzzling his nose up under Louis’ jaw.  He was almost asleep again when Louis shook him gently and he groaned through sleepy frustration.  

“Whaaaat,” Harry whined, squeezing Louis closer like an overgrown teddy bear.  

“I have a question.  What’s with all the Larry stuff?  What’s Larry?” he asked, delicately brushing Harry’s hair off his forehead with a fingertip.  

“Dunno what you’re talking about,” he mumbled against Louis’ shirt, just wanting to find sleep again.  

“Yes you do.  You have a bookmark folder titled ‘Larry Fanpages’.”

Harry’s eyes popped open with those words, suddenly fully alert as he froze with Louis still held in his arms.

“Uhhhh…”  He never thought that Louis would find out about his secret practice of checking Larry Shipper blogs for updates or even reading their analysis and thoughts on their interpretation of the feelings Harry and Louis had for each other.  

“It’s like just a bunch of pictures and stories about us,” Louis continued, unaware of Harry’s internal panic.  

“Yeah, uhhhhh, some people think we’re in love with each other or destined to be together or something.”  

He couldn’t tell Louis that those fanpages were a way for him to connect to his hidden feelings for Louis while he was alone in his dorm room and feeling so isolated, the feelings he knew Louis would never reciprocate.  He didn’t want to expose that sometimes he would message the bloggers little bits of information just to see if they would have a different take on how Louis might feel towards him.  It was unhealthy and embarrassing and now Louis was pressed against his body and calling him out in his most vulnerable state of just waking up.  

“Or something,” Louis echoed softly, his fingers still playing in Harry’s hair.  It felt nice and after a few minutes, he felt himself relax and start drifting off again.  “You smell like oranges when you’re nervous,” Louis whispered and then he felt a warm kiss being pressed against his forehead.  

“You smell like cinnamon when you’re happy,” Harry mumbled back without thinking about it, wrapped in a warm cocoon of it at that moment.  

“Sorry, you can go back to sleep,” Louis whispered with another kiss in the same spot.  Harry nodded and gave in to the pull.  “Maybe they’re right,” he thought he heard whispered a moment later but he would never be sure.  



Harry felt amazing.  His chest felt lighter than it ever had, all of his worries vanished into thin air and his mind was clear and bright.  HIs body was warm and cozy, every inch of him buzzing with the high of life.    HIs muscles felt loose and boneless, almost like he was swimming through a cloud.  He felt so good and refreshed that even his dick was hard and he squirmed happily in the snuggly bubble he was in.

An extra feeling rose up from his crotch, something more tangible, and he pushed towards it, circling his hips to search for that stimulus again.  He moaned out when he found it and then he was falling back into his body, the world feeling solid again and… he froze, suddenly aware that he had just been rutting against something that was neither a puffy cloud nor his bed.  

The rest of the dream melted around him and he finally peeled his eyes open.  

“Hi,” Louis said brightly, just an inch away from his face.  

It startled him so much that he would have fallen off the couch and onto the floor if Louis’ arms hadn’t still been around him.  

“Having a happy morning?” Louis just smiled at him and Harry was mortified to realize he had been humping his morning wood against Louis’ thigh the whole time.  He had no idea how long he’d been going or how long Louis had been awake, but it had still happened either way.  

“Oh my god,” he groaned and tried to roll away but Louis wouldn’t let him, the afghan tangled up around their legs too much for him to easily free himself anyway.  

“You smell like a sugar cookie candle when you’re horny,” Louis said with an innocent smile like he was commenting on the weather.  

“Oh my god!” he hid his face against the throw pillow in embarrassment and turned his body onto his stomach as much as he could in the small space.  He was still hard, though it had started to flag, pressed against the couch at an uncomfortable angle but he wasn’t about to embarrass himself more by adjusting it.  

“I’m hungry, make me breakfast,” Louis poked at his shoulder playfully.

“Make your own breakfast,” he mumbled against the pillow, feeling lint from the fabric stick to his lips as he did.  

“The internet says I’m special and should be pampered and cherished,” Louis beamed and Harry cracked one eye open just enough to see Louis’ expression from where he was hiding.  

“I’ve unleashed a monster.  I’m banning you from the internet.”  

He let out a girlish shriek when Louis suddenly shoved him off the edge of the couch to land ungracefully in a heap on the floor.

“Oh look!  You’re up now!  You can make me breakfast!”

“I hate you so much right now,” he muttered with no real heat behind it, untangling himself from the afghan.  He still made Louis breakfast anyway, even if it was just to hide from his embarrassment.  



“So what do we do now?” Louis asked when they were scrolling through the movie channels.  

It was their third day of being cooped up inside and they both had started to grow restless with cabin fever.  

“Whatever you want to do,” Harry shrugged, stopping to read the description of a movie he’d never heard of.  

“No, I mean, what do we do?  As much as I like the illusion that I can hide out here with you forever, it’s not really a feasible option.  What’s the next part of your plan?” Louis looked over at him expectantly.  Harry tried to ignore the spark of joy that flared when Louis said he would like to spend forever with him.  He didn’t want to give himself false hope but that was how he wanted to take it.  

“I didn’t really plan that far ahead,” he shrugged, turning the volume down on some movie aimed at pre-teens playing int he background.

“You abducted me without a plan?” Louis asked incredulously.

“Truthfully I didn’t think we’d get this far or that you’d even want to stay with me after I told you.  I guess when I thought about it I saw it playing out like some kind of action movie with me scrambling to tell you everything while cop cars and helicopters closed in on us and ended with me screaming out for you to believe me while they dragged me away.”

Louis snorted out a laugh, shaking his head at the ridiculousness of it all.

“That’s a bit dramatic, Harold,” he rolled his eyes but seemed to be holding back a fond smile.  Harry couldn’t stop himself from grinning back.  

“Seemed like a logical outcome at the time,” he shrugged.

“But seriously.  Don’t your grandparents come home in a few days?  And you’re going to have to go back to school… Did you turn up the heat in here?”  Louis started kicking off the throw blankets and then pulled off Harry’s hoodie that his body had been swimming in anyway, several sizes too large.  

“No, I’m kinda cold actually,” Harry leaned across to grab his hoodie that Louis had chucked onto the floor.  He pulled it over his head and couldn’t stop himself from burying his nose in the scent that greeted him.  He hoped he was being subtle while he indulged in Louis’ smell that seemed especially strong clinging to the fabric.  

“I don’t really know if I’ll be able to go back to school,” Harry shrugged and snuggled into the hoodie like a warm bath, the aroma surrounding him like steam rising from the water.  “They’ll probably try to arrest me or something.  It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to show up where they know I’ll be or maybe I’m already expelled for committing a felony or something.”

“You have to go back to school, Harry.  They can’t do anything if I say you didn’t abduct me.  And I didn’t sign one of those contracts you showed me so I don’t have to do anything they say.”  Louis pressed the cold side of his glass of ice water against his cheek that looked flushed like he had been out on a hot summer’s day.

“Are you getting sick?  It’s seriously a little chilly in here and you look kind of flushed…”

“I’m fine, I was just under too many blankets or something,” Louis fanned at his face with his hand before chugging down the rest of his water.

“Are you sure?  Do you have a fever?” Harry crawled across the couch and reached up to press the back of his hand against his forehead, “You feel really warm… I’m sure my grandma has a thermometer somewhere…”

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Louis waved him off, pushing his hand away from his face.  But Harry wanted to touch him.  He had the overwhelming urge to snuggle into him and hold him close and take care of him but Louis placed a hand against his chest to stop him as he advanced.  

“Harry I’m fine.  I don’t feel sick at all, stop worrying,” Louis rolled his eyes a little but also made no move to remove his hand from where it burned through even the thickness of Harry’s hoodie.  

Harry shifted to sit right beside Louis, taking the hand on his chest between his own while he did.  It was warmer than his and a little clammy, but he didn’t push it.  

“Want to pick something to watch?” Harry handed the remote over instead, linking their fingers together while his thumb gently smoothed over Louis’ soft skin.  He smiled just a bit when Louis didn’t pull away.  

They were nearly an hour into Brokeback Mountains, both invested in the angst and sexual tension between the two alphas, when Louis started to roll up the legs of his joggers.  While they watched, Louis had somehow subtly shifted until he was nearly curled up in Harry’s lap, something that had seemed so natural Harry had barely noticed.  The sudden shift in position made him painfully aware of just how much of their bodies were touching and how his own had curled to cuddle into the omega who had become a furnace.    

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Harry asked, adjusting his hips so Louis’ thigh was no longer pressed against his crotch.  

“I don’t know. Just tired maybe,” Louis responded, but his voice sounded so unusually slow and dreamlike that Harry’s brows furrowed.  He didn’t have time to question it since Louis was already crawling into his lap, straddling him and draping his body over Harry’s chest like a small tired child might.  He was so startled by the action that he almost missed the small whine that vibrated against his chest and made his alpha perk up to attention.  

“Lou…?” Harry timidly asked, hands rubbing gently over Louis’ back as he koala-ed himself around Harry’s body.  He didn’t receive a response and after a few minutes, it seemed like the omega had fallen asleep in his arms.  Louis’ messy hair was tickling his neck and it didn’t take much to tilt his chin down to press a soft kiss against the top of his head.  His nose was nestled into the soft strands and he allowed himself to indulge in the spiced scent in close range.  He wished there was a way he could bottle it up to keep on hand when he needed it most but instead he focused on committing it to memory while the movie played on.  

It was impossible not to smile when Louis started move, nuzzling his nose up along Harry’s chest until he found the spot just under his jaw he was looking for.  It felt like having a small puppy in his arms and he basked in the attention he was always craving from his omega.   Louis.  He wasn’t his omega, though it felt nice to pretend he was.  

Louis started to whimper high in his throat.  They were small and begging in nature and Harry was immediately alert.  Something wasn’t right.  Maybe Louis’ fever had spiked high enough for it to be concerning, for his body to react with instincts to call for help.  

“Lou… Louis…” he tried to rouse him from sleep as gently as he could, rubbing his hands over his back more than just to soothe him.  He could feel the moment Louis woke up and then froze, flying up into a sitting position still straddling Harry’s lap.  

It was with that movement that it hit him.  The swirl of spicy cinnamon and pheromones that flared his nostrils was overwhelming, dilating his pupils and shooting straight down to his dick in a reaction he had never experienced before.  It made his fingers grip onto Louis’ hips tighter and tense his muscles to stop any further unintended actions.  

“Lou…?” he questioned hesitantly through clenched teeth, Louis staring back at him with wild eyes.  

“Fuck, Harry, I’m so sorry… I didn’t even think about my suppressants,” Louis started rambling, his fingers running through his own messy hair repeatedly.  It looked as if he was trying to will his body to climb out of Harry’s lap but wasn’t quite succeeding in making himself move.  That and Harry’s own fingers were still gripping his hips, he hadn’t even realized he still was.  

“Suppressants?” his voice sounded high and hysterical even to his own ears.  Harry hadn’t even thought of that possibility.  Science had come so far with different medications and scent blockers and everything else that he wasn’t conditioned to even think about what would happen in these kinds of situations.  It had been careless of both of them to let something so serious slip their minds.  

“What um…” Harry squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think over both his biological response and his mind screaming at him from all angles.  He wasn’t sure how he had gone this long without figuring it out.  Minutes ago he had practically been trying to suck Louis’ scent out of his head but It hadn’t even occurred to him that Louis was in the early stages of heat.  He felt so stupid.  

Louis seemed to be trying just as hard to keep his own thoughts together, rubbing his hand over his face like a frustrated, sleepy kitten.  

“Is there a drug store close or something…?” Louis finally got out, “I could… Fuck, I don’t know.  They would take a couple days to work at this stage.”

“I could leave for a few days,” Harry suggested though it felt painful to offer.  He wasn’t some knothead, though.  Just because his dick was screaming at him to knot Louis didn’t mean he had to listen to it, that he would listen to it.  He had some self control, after all.  He was a pro at holding himself back when it came to Louis.  

Louis’ answering whine was an involuntary response to his suggestion, Harry could tell, as the dark blush spread across Louis’ bashful cheeks.  

“Please don’t,” Louis asked softly, visibly giving up any resistance he had been trying to hold up.  

“Okay, I won’t leave.  You know I won’t take advantage of you, right?” Harry asked.  He’d probably be jerking off in the next room but he would never use him like that.

“Will you?” Louis asked hopefully, his fingers toying with the ties of Harry’s hoodie to keep his hands occupied

“Louis…” Harry hesitated.  It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, everything in his body was screaming that he did.  He wanted to push Louis down and fuck into him until they were locked together.  He wanted to take his time and draw out sweet noises until Louis was begging.  He wanted, and had imagined, doing everything.  

Yet there were so many reasons why he shouldn’t.  His own mental state, for one.  If they spent Louis’ heat together, it would be that much harder for Harry to return to his life without Louis with him, without Louis as his.  Once they crossed that line from fantasy into reality, he wasn’t sure he could draw it again.  

“Please Harry,” Louis pleaded, his hands gripping into the extra bulk of Harry’s hoodie over his chest.   “I can’t go through it knowing you’re so close and all those links you have saved about us and I found all these stories people write about us and I got off so hard reading them so I’m going to be thinking about you the whole time anyway.”  

It barely sounded like Louis had taken a breath as he rushed out all the words that lit fires inside Harry, slowly turning him into an inferno of want and need.  His alpha was pushing to rise to the challenge, rearing and unable to hold back with the idea that Louis’ thoughts might replace what his knot could actually do.  He’d deal with the consequences after the fact but for now, he wanted to give in.  Louis was the candy dish he knew would give him a stomach ache if he ate from it but his sweet tooth knew it would be well worth it.  

“Alpha, please,” Louis whined and that was it, Harry was gone.

He slid his hands around to grip Louis’ ass and was surprised when his fingertips collided with a patch of Louis’ sweatpants that was already soaked through.  He wanted to growl for it; he wanted it to be just for him.

“I don’t want it to be weird after,” Harry’s breath hitched when Louis was already diving into his neck, scenting up behind his ear, his hands pushing up underneath his hoodie.

“Won’t be,” Louis mumbled and pulled away only enough to wrestle the hoodie over Harry’s head before returning to nuzzle into the same spot.  “Sugar cookie, I could eat you.” And to Harry’s surprise, he felt teeth nipping at him in a bite.  He flinched in shock but only succeeded in thrusting his hips up which made him painfully aware that they were both hard against each other.  The moan Louis let out was positively sinful and all Harry could do was moan in response, hands gripping his meaty cheeks.

“So hot,” Louis grumbled and started scrambling to get out of his clothes.  He started pulling off Harry’s as well, ripping the sweatpants down his thighs and onto the floor before he had any time to protest.  

“I can’t be naked on my grandma’s couch!” Harry tried to interject but Louis was already back in his lap and sliding his wet crack back against his erection.  Everything was moving so fast but the slick was so warm and smelled so delicious.  It made their skin glide together better than any lube he’d ever used.   He could probably come with just a few more strokes of Louis’ ass against his length and his hands gripping Louis’ hips were ready to direct him to do just that.  

“Too late,” Louis mumbled and started kissing over his jaw and up to his mouth and then they were kissing and Harry’s mind couldn’t catch up.  Logic was knocking somewhere in the corner of his mind but it was distant and easy to ignore when he finally let himself give in.

Louis reached behind to grab Harry’s cock, barely giving him a chance to enjoy the feeling before the head was being pressed against Louis’ hole.  He helped by pulling Louis’ cheeks apart and moaned when he started sinking down at an excruciatingly slow pace.  He glanced up and saw Louis’ eyes closed, twitches of discomfort flashing over his features but Louis was the one running this show.  He could stop at any time if it was too much.

Harry had never been with an omega in heat and obviously never a male omega at all.  The amount of slick aiding the slide amazed him and, even though his body was tighter than anything he had ever felt, he felt like he was being sucked in rather than pushing against the resistance.  

“Fuck,” was all Harry could grunt out once Louis was fully seated but there was no indication that it had even been heard.  Louis seemed to be in his own world as he started to move, eyes still closed and hands gripping onto Harry’s shoulders to keep his balance.  It was nothing like anything Harry had ever dreamed up as his first time with Louis but, now that it was happening, he wondered why he hadn’t.  It was so fitting to Louis’ personality, more dominant and commanding than any omega was supposed to be.  He was taking what he wanted, how he wanted it and all Harry could do was sit back and enjoy the ride.

The whimpers, moans and whines were like drugs, immediately addicting and craving even more.  His hips instinctively started to thrust up to meet Louis’ movements which must have also knocked him out of his trance.  Harry was finally met with Louis’ eyes that seemed black with how wide his pupils had expanded and he couldn’t look away from them even if he tried.

They were both breathing heavily, the humid air from their lungs hanging between them in the air that already felt thick with their scents.  It made Harry breathe it in deeper, each inhale making him feel more feral than the last.  The mantra of “knot, mate, bond” was pulsing through him and he could feel the swelling at the base of his dick stretching Louis open wider each time he thrust up against him.

It wasn’t long before a dam seemed to break inside him and with the rush came the need to dominate.  He grabbed Louis’ hips and began to jackrabbit up, the burn of his muscles only a faint background noise to the burn of instinct.  Louis was Loud above him, a stream of moans and high pitched whines until he slammed his hips up with one more hard slap and then they were locked together.  He felt his knot pop and push into the tight space and came so hard he had to squeeze his eyes with the feeling.

Louis was keening and pressing down against the intrusion but the hot come Harry could feel splashed across his stomach and chest was proof enough that it felt just as good for him.  His mind slowly returned in sections and he could feel how wet his hips and thighs were from slick leaking everywhere.  He noted that he would have to have his grandparents’ couch cleaned when this was over.  There was no way the fabric wasn’t just as soaked.  

Louis shifted after a minute to drape himself over Harry’s chest, nuzzling his nose back into the spot under his ear that he seemed to enjoy so much.  Harry’s hands wrapped around him, palms spread over his back securely to keep him close.  It still didn’t feel real.  

“Never been with an alpha before,” Louis mumbled once enough time had passed to leave their sweaty skin chilled.  Louis still felt warm against him everywhere they were touching but his arms and legs were prickled with goosebumps.  “Never been with anyone before.”  

“I’m sorry,” Harry couldn’t help but answer, kissing his damp hair.  He had known guilt would catch up to him, he just didn’t know it was going to be so soon.  

“Don’t be.  I’m glad it was you.  I wanted it to be you,” Louis sounded sleepy snuggled against him, hole still locked around Harry’s knot that still continued to pulse.   Of course Louis would say that.  Louis would never intentionally make Harry feel bad.  

“I wanted it to be me.  I never thought it would be,” he confessed anyway and maybe Louis wouldn’t remember the specifics of their conversation once he pulled through the haze of his heat.  

“Always want it to be you, want to be with you,” Harry could have missed the words if he hadn’t been paying attention, Louis’ breathing soon evening out to indicate he had fallen asleep.  It left him with his own racing thoughts that wanted so badly to hold onto this forever.  It hadn’t just been sex for him, hadn’t been the heat induced frenzy he’d hoped he could see it as.  Instead there had been something more, something unspoken that hadn’t made Harry want to pull away or hide himself.  All of it was just too natural.  

He let Louis nap while his knot slowly deflated, categorizing the feel of everything he’d never felt before while he was left to himself.  In the few sexual experiences he’d had, he’d never knotted anyone before and he found it was much different than any time he had jerked off or pulled out.  It was satisfying and left his body buzzing with pleasure and exhaustion in the best of ways.  He could chase that feeling for days.  

Harry woke up to his legs feeling like dead aching weight.  They had fallen asleep from his position and the weight of Louis’ body still across his lap for such an extended period of time.  He wasn’t even sure how long it had been or when he had fallen asleep.  

Louis was stirring and making small whimpers in his sleep so he knew it had to have been long enough for him to be itching for another round.  

“Lou, let’s go to bed,” he whispered softly while pressing kisses over his cheek.  It was obvious Louis had completely fallen into the haze of his heat when he opened his eyes, glassy and seemingly unaware of his surroundings.  Harry would take care of him, though.  

His legs were unsteady as they carried them to the guest room he always stayed in, murmuring assurances in response to Louis’ whines.  They continued to stay tangled up with each other on the bed, intense rounds of sex when Louis was begging him for his knot and then naps with as little space between them as possible.

Which was where Harry’s grandma finally found them days later.  

“Oh Harry, what have you gotten yourself wrapped up in,” he heard his grandmother’s soft voice as she brushed his hair gently from his forehead.  His eyes burned as he cracked them open, exhausted and groggy from keeping Louis satisfied.  It was a marathon he’d never run before and he was beat.  He pulled the blankets up closer to his shoulder when he realized he was still curled around Louis, both of them still naked.

She sighed but gave him a small smile and that was all he needed to know she was on their side.  He hid his own smile in Louis’ hair as she left the room to give them privacy, probably some of the last that they would have.  

Sooner rather than later they would have to emerge and reveal themselves to the real world and he could only imagine the whirlwind that would soon surround them.  There would be a media frenzy, lawsuits, counter lawsuits, fighting for everything he wanted for their future.  He had no way of knowing what was going to happen or how long the road ahead of them would be but at least now he knew that he would never stop fighting.  This thing between them, that had always been between them, wasn’t just something they could deny each other anymore.

He couldn’t help but snap a picture of their sleepy smiling faces when Louis finally started to wake up, the joy written clearly on every inch of their expressions.  He giggled to himself as he went to post the picture, a monumental step in so many ways for their relationship and revealing their location, but it wasn’t the Tomlin Network or the police or his friends or his family that he was thinking about.  No, it was that he couldn’t wait to tell the section of the internet that had always been on their side that Larry was finally real.