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Hole in the Middle of My Heart

Chapter Text

Harry was ten when old Mr. and Mrs. Austen moved out from next door and into a retirement home. He remembers being sad for a bit as he helped them move boxes into a van. Mrs. Austen always used to make him cookies and give him money whenever he helped the couple out.

They were nice people and at the time, he was truly upset that they were so old. He got over it by Christmas time and he didn’t miss the warm cookies anymore since his mum started baking for the holidays. He also started getting an allowance too since he was a big kid and not a child.

On his way to school one morning, he noticed that the house had a car parked in the front. Harry slowed the speed of his bike until he was right on the driveway, staring at the light shining through the window and trying his hardest to listen to the noise coming from inside.

He squinted, as if that would help his hearing, and could make out the shadow of a lady. Harry could feel the slight anger and sadness coming back to him because if people moved in, he could bet a stick of gum that they wouldn’t bake him cookies. Besides, no one ever moved here; it’s a pretty boring place. The voices started moving closer and he was able to make out more shadows. The door knob was starting to turn and the door was going to open—

An apple hit the back of his head and made him loose his balance a bit. He quickly glanced behind him and saw an orange bike speeding towards him.

“Hey knobhead! What’re ya waitin’ ‘round for mate? We don’t got time to be staring at yer neighbor’s house, ya creep. I’m gonna beat you to school, slow arse!” Niall Horan, his loud and Irish best friend, shouted out, definitely not caring if it was early in the morning. He also didn’t care about his safety since he was pedaling his bike in the middle of the street.

Without a look back, his new neighbor’s identities forgotten, Harry quickly dashed after him. “You twat! That apple really hurt.” He grumbled, coming up next to Niall.

The blond just laughed, something he always seems to be doing. “I know, me aims gettin’ better, innit?”

“Yeah, well whatever. I’d still take you in a fight,” Harry remarked, a smile on his face as he was in the lead. The boys continued racing, like they do every morning. They passed all the houses in the block, the cold air hitting their cheeks and the rain puddles would splash their shoes. And they did occasionally, purposefully splash each other with rain water. By the time they pulled up to school, they were out of breath and soaked in water, hunched over as they tied up their bikes.

“Look at you lot. Embarrassing. You look like dogs.” The voice of their other best friend, Zayn, scared them a bit.

Harry looked up from the lock of his bike and crossed his arms. “You’d know that we always look like this if you moved from the bench, you diva.”

“Besides, mate,” Niall pipped up, “me and Harry could look like dogs but we’d still get more birds than you. You’re too… perfect. Like an omega almost. Ladies like rugged and manly, not someone who looks like a kids’ Burberry model.”

“That wasn’t even an insult!” Zayn sounded exasperated already, like people normally do after a conversation with Niall. They continued to bicker back and forth as they walked inside the campus gates.

“Why didn’t you wait for us at the bench like you usually do?” Harry questioned, finally breaking the banter. He was walking in between the two, getting slightly dizzy from all the head movements Niall made to look at Zayn.

Niall laughed. “Was it not clean enough for ya, lad?” They passed the playground and the swings full of the younger kids.

Zayn groaned and put his hands on his face. “Shut up, blondie! ‘M this close to smacking the Irish out of you.” He pinched his fingers together, stretching his hands across Harry’s face to give Niall a better view. “But anyways, when I went there this morning, the headmistress was there talking to some kid and his mum. Reckon we got a new student. He looked younger than us though.”

Harry frowned. “That’s pretty unfortunate; I could use a new friend. You twats are annoying.”

“And you’re a stalker. Zaynie, I caught Hazza here snooping on the Austens’ path. Suppose he’s a perv now.” Niall stretched his head out once again to look directly at Zayn. This was why Niall was always in the middle; he moved around too much and was always chatting with someone. And he had to have eye contact, Harry guessed that it had something to do with his constant need for attention.

“Am not!” Harry immediately stopped walking. “I was just trying to see who moved in. They were going to walk out the door.” He explained, his voice sounding a bit whiny.

Zayn smirked. “Sure, mate.” He sent Niall a look and they continued walking down the halls.

The day continued slowly after that until lunch time. They all met up at their table and as soon as they sit down, Niall, as per usual, opens his big mouth with some juicy gossip.

“Was talking to Greg in the toilet—“

“You meet your older brother in the toilet?” Harry interrupted, confused, shocked, and a bit grossed out. “For what?”

“Ugh, we like to waste class time, but that’s beside the point! So we was talking and—“

“Wait, so do you two actually take a piss? It’s strictly a piss meet up,” Harry continued, completely focused on the purpose of Niall and Greg hanging out in a school restroom.

Zayn made a face. “That’s pretty weird, mate, even for the Horan’s.”

Niall stood up, “Will you two bloody wankers shut up fer once in your life!” He wasn’t asking, he was exasperatedly begging. He gave a look before sighing. “As I was saying, Greg told me that the new kid moved into the Austen’s house and he’s also the one who was chatting with the headmistress this morning. Greg told me he’s two years below us and he’s a bit weird, said he saw him in the main office when he delivered attendance. Dunno how though, wouldn’t say.”

“Maybe he’s an alien.”

As they went back and forth discussing different theories on the new student over their peanut butter and jam sandwiches, Zayn raised a brow.

“Look over there, you mingers. That’s him.” Zayn nodded his head in the opposite direction Niall and Harry were facing. Both boys immediately whipped their heads back and noticed a rather small boy walking into the eating quarters. They watched, like many of the other kids, as he walked to an empty table with his lunch box in hand. Seeing a new face probably hasn’t happened in this town since it was founded.

“Should we invite him over?” Niall asked.

“Who’s gonna bring him over?” Harry piped up.

“Not it!” Both Niall and Zayn yelled out quickly.

Harry’s mouth dropped. “You twats! That’s not fair, I wasn’t ready.” He crossed his arms.

Zayn rolled his eyes, “Well are you ready now?” He gave Niall a look.

As soon as the word yes left Harry’s mouth, the other boys shouted, “Nose goes!”

Harry stared at them in disbelief while they placed their pointer fingers on their noses. “I hate you guys.”

Niall laughed and screeched out, “Just go and invite him over, stop being such namby pamby.”

Harry took a deep breath and muttered out a, “Fine.” He slowly made his way over to the mostly empty table and he could feel his nerves catching up to him. He was mentally preparing himself to ignore his awkward social abilities to have a good chat with the lad and not make a fool of himself.

And suddenly as he was practicing what he was going to say, his knees came in contact with a bench and he fell straight onto table.

“Are you okay?” A high pitched voice rang out and Harry’s ears and cheeks went red. “Um—“ He didn’t want to look up from the table; he just wanted to be buried right there in the school’s cafeteria.

He felt a poke on his arm and he looked up and into bright blue eyes. “Oops?” Harry managed out, his face burning in embarrassment.

The boy was small, like a fairy almost. Well, not really because he wasn’t that tiny. But Harry couldn’t help but notice that he was pretty and he had a bright smile and eyes. The boy giggled, “‘Hi. M Louis.” He stuck out a hand and Harry’s eyes darted down to the bright color on his fingernails.

He got up from his awkward position of hanging onto the table for dear life and shook his hand. “Harry. I’m ten years old.”

“I’m eight, I’m in Mrs. Harris’ class,” Louis said, holding up eight fingers and flashing his pink nails again.

“I’m in Johnson’s,” Harry mumbled, his brows furrowed and eyes focused on the pink. “What’s that?”

Louis looked confused, “What?” His blue eyes followed Harry’s green ones down to his nails. “Oh, it’s nail polish.” He said with a shrug of his shoulders.

Now it was Harry’s turn to be confused. “But like, isn’t that for girls?”

Louis shrugged again with a slight roll of his eyes. “The only thing that separates me from a girl is that we got different bits, other than that, we’re all the same. Besides, there’s no rule that says I can’t paint my nails. It’s something that’s not common, but it makes me feel pretty. My mum says that I can be who I want and wear what I want and no one can tell me different. If they do, they’re wrong,” he said so matter of factly that Harry could only stare at him. He was completely right after all.

A look of doubt flashed across Louis’ face. “Oh, sorry for my rambling. Do you think I’m weird? Mum says I shouldn’t care, but it still hurts sometimes. Sorry, again, I’m rambling, again. I’m just nervous. A few boys called me a freak earlier.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “No! You’re not a freak, not at all. Those guys are jerks. My mum told me that everyone is different and that’s okay. I think your nails are nice.”

Louis immediately brightened up. “Thanks Harry.”

“What boys were picking on you?” It made Harry’s stomach feel weird, knowing that someone could be so nasty to someone so sweet. The other boy’s face went red. “You don’t have to tell me actually, if you’re embarrassed. I just—“

“No, I don’t know them. They looked like they were twelve. It’s not a big deal, I’ll get over it.”

It was suddenly very awkward as Harry took a seat across from him and he had to thank the bell ringing before his social awkwardness kicked in.

“I’ll see you tomorrow maybe? Or not. I don’t know if you actually want to be my friend.” Louis asked shyly.

Harry has never nodded so fast. “Yes. Yeah. Um, actually, my friends sent me over here to invite you to sit at our table, but I forgot to ask earlier.”Louis looked skeptical. “D-Do you think they’ll like me?”

Harry let out a laugh. “Of course. You’ll love them and vice versa; although they’re crazy. Nicest lads you’ll ever meet though. Well, sometimes.”

“Sometimes?! Excuse you, Niall James Horan is a saint, thank you very much for your useless opinion, you chubby troll.” Niall and Zayn appeared at Harry’s side, Niall giving Harry’s cheeks a squeeze.

“Hey, bugger off! My cheeks aren’t that chubby.” Harry muttered as he pushed Niall off of him.

“Only a little,” Louis piped up with a cheeky grin as Harry gaped at him.

Zayn shot him a smile. “I don’t know you, but I can tell that we’re going to be the best of friends.”

Chapter Text

At age twelve, Harry magically discovered the “weird American eggball game,” as Louis liked to put it. It was American football, so close enough, but it was also strange that Harry was incredibly good at it.

As soon as he accidentally watched a highlight video on the telly, he was hooked onto it. Harry became this walking dictionary of knowledge about American football teams, players, history, statistics— anything American football. It was insane almost because Harry breathed football. He loved it almost as much as Louis, which is something Zayn and Niall both thought was impossible since Harry has been “up Lou’s arse since the pretty pink lad came to this place,” Niall’s words.

Harry’s obsession slowly graduated into something unhealthy and if he didn’t talk about it constantly, he’d surely explode.

“Yesterday’s game was completely bonkers, lads. I mean, the defensive line stopped an unstoppable play! Un. Stoppable. Play. The Pack—“ Harry’s fanboy moment came to a halt when Niall let out a loud groan.

“Mate, no one cares. No sport is superior to English footie. That is a sport that takes true strength and masculinity to play.” Niall interjected, reaching across Zayn and Louis to flex his thin biceps in Harry’s face. Harry took extreme offense to this of course and they argued and argued and argued.

The arm Louis had slipped in between Harry’s while they walked had snaked away towards Zayn. “Brainless dolts who only care about stupid sports. No wonder they’re always complaining about why they don’t have girlfriends,” he mumbled. They all reached their table and sat in the same places they’ve sat in since the boys were ten and Louis was eight.

Harry and Louis sat next to each other, right across from Zayn and Niall, Zayn sat in front of Louis, and Niall in front of Harry. Zayn and Louis would talk about Zayn’s art and Louis’ nails or clothes and the other two boys would listen until they got bored and talked about anything else. Usually, Harry would only last ten minutes until he wanted Louis’ attention again. For some reason, he just preferred when Louis paid attention to him and not Zayn.

“Boo Bear,” Harry groaned, knocking his knees against Louis’.

Zayn and Niall shared knowing looks and decided to leave them alone. They were usually ignored by Harry anyways.

Louis giggled and hummed, picking at the pizza served for lunch.

“If I don’t make the team, I’m never going to do anything again. I give up, I quit, and I’m just gonna live under a bridge,” Harry whined.

“You’re ugly enough to live under one. You already look the part, might as well play it too, mate,” Zayn chirped, earning a glare from Harry that was quickly wiped off his face once he heard Louis’ giggle.

Louis placed a small, red and blue painted hand on Harry’s shoulder. “The boys are poking fun at you, Haz. You’re gonna make the team because it’s the only American football league here, so that means nobody else wants to be on the team. And you’re also insanely good. You made me go out on the pitch with you everyday last summer. Today’s the big day and you’ll be amazing because I painted my nails the same colors as the club.”

The smile Harry got around Louis got even wider. “Lou, you’re the best. Also, you have no idea if I was good or not because you don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing to begin with.”

The bell rang and the boys got out of their seats slowly.

“Bye Zee, Ni, and Haz. See you after class,” Louis rushed off, going to his own class that was in a building pretty far away from the lunchroom.

“Why the rush?” Zayn questioned. “He was almost as fast as Niall when he sees that girl in our class.”

“Shut up, ya knobber!” Niall spat, throwing a hand to cover Zayn’s mouth. The two began to roughhouse a bit as Harry strolled beside them.

“Louis had a maths test and wanted to get there earlier to study a bit. I wish Lou was twelve and not ten. I hate that he’s so far,” Harry sighed.

Niall and Zayn groaned as they reached the door to their class. “Lad, honest question. But—“

Niall started but couldn’t finish. He looked to Zayn for help. “Uhm, do you like Louis? I mean—“ Zayn stuttered.

“Like, ever since you’ve met, you haven’t gone more than a few hours without him—“
“You love talking about him—“
“I can’t talk to him or be alone with him without you taking him back—“

“It’s okay to like Louis the same way Niall likes Jesy—“

“You’ve never had any crushes on any girls, not even Taylor, who loves you and is maturing faster than all the other girls—“

“We were thinking you guys might be mates too—“

“When we found out about Taylor loving you, all you did was cringe and ask where Louis was—“

“It’s okay to be gay,” They gasped out in unison. The bell had already rung, but Mrs. Greene didn’t like them anyways.

Harry furrowed his brows, his face a bright red. “No, no! I mean it’s okay to be gay, Louis’ gay and he’s okay. More than okay. But I don’t like him. He’s one of my best mates and that’s it. He’s ten, I’m two whole years older than him. I’m a football player, American football, and they’re not gay. It’s just something we don’t do.”

It was the boys’ turn to furrow their eyebrows. “Okay, mate. If you ever change your mind, we’re okay with it. We just were thinking that maybe Louis likes you. And he’s a little young, he doesn’t understand his feelings, so maybe don’t lead him on. Or whatever,” Niall coughed.

“Louis? Like me?” Harry’s red face turned redder and his heart was beating fast. “He’s ten! I’m almost a teenager.”

“We know mate, it’s probably just a harmless crush. Or maybe we’re crazy. It was just a thought.”

The classroom door swung open and they knew they were going to phone calls home, but they weren’t too bothered.

By the end of the day, Harry was practically shitting himself in nerves. The football club he was trying out for was a big deal—well, as far as American football goes in England—and super competitive. They held tryouts for anyone between the ages of twelve and seventeen, with teams for each age group. They traveled all over England and some of their players have even gone pro. Harry’s been waiting for what seemed like ages to be on this team and his heart might actually brake if he doesn’t make it.

Niall and Zayn wished him a good luck as all their bikes reached the street that separated their homes. Louis didn’t know how to ride a bike, but he stood on the bars by the wheels of Harry’s bike, keeping his hands on Harry’s shoulders so he won’t fall.

“Y’know Harry, my mum said you’ll do great. And she’s sorry she couldn’t be there, but she had to stay late at work today. She’s planning on baking you a cake, I think,” Louis chattered at an attempt to cheer Harry up. Jay was a single mum and worked hard to give Louis a comfortable lifestyle. She also loved Harry equally as much as Anne loved Louis.

“That’s sweet, but if I don’t make the team, it’d be pretty embarrassing,” Harry mumbled. “Lou, I’m nervous.”

They came to a slow stop as they reached Harry’s home; Louis didn’t bother going to his home since his mum wasn’t there and instead, followed Harry into his home. Anne greeted the boys with kisses on their cheeks as they took off their backpacks and shoes.

“I have sliced fruits on the table for you boys and I packed snack bags for the park,” Anne all but rushed out. She needed the boys to be ready to leave as soon as possible because if Harry was late, the boy would surely dig himself a hole.

Harry ran upstairs to change into his uniform and Louis followed Anne into the kitchen.

“Miss Anne, I’m nervous for Harry,” Louis whispered. Anne shot him a sympathetic smile as she bent down to put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“I am, too, Louis. But whatever happens is for the best,” She welcomed him into a hug and ruffled his hair. “I noticed your nails. What a pretty red and silver. You still haven’t painted my nails. I want them the same color as you painted Jay’s the other day.”

Louis’ eyes lit up. “I’m sorry, but Harry always gets jealous whenever I have your attention for too long. Last time I tried to and he whined the whole time. I’m not trying to steal you from him,” Louis giggled.

Anne knew all too well that her son wasn’t complaining about her being stolen, but she laughed anyways. Before she could respond, Harry came crashing down the stairs in his bulky uniform. He might have spent a bit of a longer time trying to swallow his nerves and quite possibly an even longer time trying to shake away the earlier conversation he had with Niall and Zayn about Louis.

They all marched into the car and Anne made sure to play Harry’s favorite songs. Harry tried to focus on his best friend and it calmed him for some reason. The ten year old was bubbly and his stupid jokes made Harry laugh his worries away. He liked Louis’ outfit today. It was a pink shirt with sparkles over a logo and a navy blue skirt and bunched up white socks above his pink shoes. He liked Louis’ style. It was Louis’ and no one else Harry had ever met was like him.

When they reached the park, Anne strayed behind to find herself a spot in the shade while Louis sat on the grass right next to the field mark. The two boys were too enamored with each other that they didn’t notice all the weird stares they were being given by the large, beefy teenage boys on the field.

A whistle blew and Harry jumped up, running in the direction where all the other boys had gathered around the coaching staff. He smiled at the soft, “Go get ‘em, Haz!” and felt much more at ease.

The head coach was as beefy as all the other older boys Harry was near. He realized that he was the youngest one here with fearful eyes. There’s no way he would be able to keep up with the older Alphas who were twice his height and triple his weight.

“Alright, so we have a good number of boys joining us for this try-out today. Loads of sixteens. Only one twelve it seems,” He murmured as his eyes landed on Harry. The rest of the boys all had their eyes on him too. “I’m Coach Cowell. I want you lot to warm up, our captain, Nick, is going to lead the way. Then you’ll meet up back here for drill instructions. Off you lads go.” He blew a whistle again.

Harry took a spot on the line among the other boys and followed Nick’s stretches. The boy was seventeen maybe, definitely an Alpha, with a cocky attitude. Harry could feel his body start to become less tense and by the time they were doing the drills, he felt like he was on cloud nine. His body was flying between cones and catching and throwing the football like it weighed nothing.

It ended too quickly in Harry’s opinion. Every time he took a water break, Louis would pat him on the back and tell him how amazing he was doing out there.

“You’re smashing it, Haz. You looked better than the captain!” Louis squealed, his skirt bouncing, and Harry just laughed in response. Anne kissed him goodbye after repeating what Louis said and Robin, who had rushed here after work, gave him a firm grip on the shoulders. His parents gave him space and retreated back to their spots in the distance.

“Thanks, Boo Bear—“

“Hey!” A voice shouted, interrupting Louis and Harry from their bubble. “Kid, come over here.” It was Nick.

Harry jogged over, not noticing the weird glare Nick and his teammates were giving Louis.

“What’s your name?” Nick asked, Coach Cowell beside him.

“I-I’m Harry Styles.” Harry stuttered.

Coach Cowell grunted. “You have a lot of potential kid. Welcome to the team. I’m gonna go over there with your parents and give them all the grown-up stuff. Grimshaw here is gonna welcome you.” He walked away and Harry couldn’t breathe.

Nick smiled, putting a hand around his shoulder and leading him to a walking pace while the rest of the team surrounded them. “So Harry, twelve?” Harry quickly nodded.

“We’re all gonna be your older brothers now. We’re a family, this team. So let’s get to know each other. Henry, Evan, Olly, Tom, Brem, Zack, Peter, Andy, Chris, Patrick, Jeff, Len, Frank, Percy, Jason, Todd, Noah, twins Kelvin and Calvin, Josh, Isaiah, Eli,” Nick named off about a hundred more names, pointing to each jock as he did it. “Those are all the wankers who are Patriot fans. The rest are losers who shouldn’t even be named since they're Saints fans. Those are Steelers fans,” He then named every team every person rooted for.

“So what kind of man are you, Harry?”

Harry smiled. “Packers all the way, mate.”

Nick looked pleased. “I can tell we’re gonna be the best of friends Harry.”

“Sorry, excuse me, pardon me,” Harry’s ears perked up as he heard recognized a soft voice. Louis came pushing through all the players who towered over him; he was so tiny.

“Hazzie!” He jumped at Harry, who’s instinct was to hug him back. “I knew you’d make the team. I’ve got to leave because my mum is here and she promised me we’d watch movies tonight. Do you wanna come with?”

Harry went to nod his head but Nick made a noise and the younger boys jumped apart. “Woah-woah-woah-woah-woah! Wait a minute. Who’s this?” He pushed Harry aside a bit as he went to inspect Louis closer. Harry’s tummy felt a bit funny.

Louis smiled confidently. “I’m Harry’s best friend. We have matching bracelets that I made us,” He held up his wrist to show Nick.

Nick scoffed. “I’m Harry’s best friend. We’re all his best friends. He’s on our team now. Our family. He’s not gonna have time for a freak like you. We’re men. You’re just a kid who wears skirts and paints his nails, stuff that only girls do.” The rest of the boys all laughing and saying things about Louis that weren’t true. He wasn’t a freak or a fairy-boy or a f-fag.

The hurt on Louis’ face was evident and he looked to Harry for support. There were tears in his eyes and the older boys all shouted out things and mocked him. They weren’t getting physical, but an occasional hand would poke out to ruffle Louis’ hair or poke at his skirt.

Harry felt frozen.

“Go on, Harry. Tell the faggot like it is. You’re ready to grow up. You wanted to be on the team. You’ll be someone with your talent. Here, I’ll start,” Nick grabbed for Harry’s bracelet, ripping off the beads with Louis’ and Harry’s initials. Harry could only watch as the bracelet broke all over the turf grass.

Louis was crying at that point and the football players were all chanting something Harry couldn’t understand. What Harry did understand was that he had to make a choice: Louis, his best friend, or football, something Harry wanted to do forever.

“Leave, Louis. Football is my life now. I can’t hang around with a ten year old fag.” Harry didn’t feel his brain or heart working as his mouth moved for him. He felt like he was going to cry as he watched Louis run to Jay, who was standing in the distance with Anne and Des.

“There’s a lad, Styles,” Nick winked.

The Alphas all made jokes and Harry laughed and found himself forgetting about Louis for a second, but when his parents came to take him home and they let him eat ice cream and stay up late to celebrate his achievement, Harry started to feel that weird pit in his stomach.

And when he couldn’t sleep at night, he glanced out his window to watch the shadow on Louis’ own window from Louis’ nightlight. And that’s when Harry cried.

Chapter Text

When Harry was sixteen, he could sometimes completely forget Louis, even after the four years since they’d last spoken. The two were neighbours, was Harry’s excuse.

At first, Zayn and Niall had pestered him for the longest about why Louis didn’t sit with them anymore, but had given up when Harry finally snapped and yelled out a curse word. Zayn and Niall had looked like scolded puppies, but they left him alone about it. They all ignored the empty air as best they could.

Anne and Des had constantly asked him about Louis. He would shrug and say that the age difference was too much. Jay stopped waving at him and Harry’s pretty sure Louis told her what happened, so Jay more than likely told his parents because they stopped asking.

Football was going great, he practiced almost everyday and he’s managed to get Zayn and Niall to show up to some of his games. They weren’t the greatest supporters but they went anyways. His love for the sport was growing stronger everyday. He was getting better everyday too. His team was undefeated and he was starting quarterback and even sometimes running back.

Nick was way too old to be playing in the club anymore, but he landed a spot on the coaching staff. Harry considers him his second best friend, since Niall and Zayn are tied for first.

Since the boys were now sixteen, they all found out what type they were. Harry was an Alpha and the other two were Betas. It wasn’t a shock since Harry had always had a faster growing spurt than Zayn and Niall. Harry hadn’t noticed a change, but apparently it happens after they’ve found a mate. Or they hit their rut.

“So, lads,” Niall said, munching on his pizza and chewing as loud as he always does. “This weekend we should play Call of Duty at Harry’s house. Then we should go out and watch that scary movie that’s out. At exactly 7:06.”

Zayn rolled his eyes. “He just wants to go out because Taylor’s friends are gonna be there. He’s trying to score himself a bird for the winter formal.”

Harry laughed. “Of course. Niall can’t handle a scary movie though. You’d definitely pussy out.”

“Fuck off!” Niall retaliated and threw a carrot at Harry, who failed at dodging it.

The boys started throwing insults back and forth, even tossing a vegetable here and there before two figures caught their attention from across the lunchroom. Nobody stood up during the time of lunch since, by this time, everyone has already settled down into their spots.

It was Louis with some guy. Harry didn’t get to see much of Louis anymore. They weren’t in the same grade and Harry was always at practice or hanging out with his friends, so Harry couldn’t watch Louis’ door like he would when they were younger. Louis didn’t even sit in the lunchroom anymore. He sat with the Honor’s Society in a classroom, the smart kids. Harry only knew this because his English teacher was in charge of that group and he’d seen Louis with her before. Harry was not a stalker.

Louis was in a skirt and a nice button up and the kid next to him looked like a nerd. And he had said something that made Louis giggle and blush while they stood in line for lunch. A fucking geek. Harry didn’t realize he had crushed the water bottle he was holding.

“That’s Liam Payne,” Zayn piped up. “He moved here a couple weeks ago and he’s our age. He’s a nice kid, him and Louis are going to run for Honor’s Society co-presidents together.”

“How do you know that?” Niall questioned.

Zayn blushed, but Harry still had his body turned toward Louis and Liam. “We all have Liam for third block, you knob. If you two dickheads were actually awake, you’d know that he’s the only kid with an A in Vandenburg’s.”

Liam bought lunch and walked with Louis back to the hall, even holding the door open for him despite the tray in his hands.

Harry was livid, but he took a bit out of his sandwich and forced down the growl in his throat.

“Mate, you okay?” Zayn asked Harry, who let out a strong “Yeah” in response.

“So are we on for tonight? Because if I don’t let me mum know by like now, I won’t be doing anything tonight.” Niall whined.

“Yes, we’ll meet up in the student lot. I’ll drive.”

So they all met up by Zayn’s car, since he was the only one who knew how to drive. It wasn’t legal, maybe, since Zayn couldn’t pass the test for shit, but the drive from school to Harry’s house was short anyways. Niall took his time, like always, but he had a valid excuse this time. He had to stay back a bit to get scolded for being late to class again.

Anne smiled at them and offered them a plate of chips before they went up to Harry’s room.

“It’s so fucking hot in here, Harry,” Zayn groaned. He went to open the window without asking Harry for permission and then sprawled out onto the bed. Niall made a dash for the bean bag and Harry followed Niall.

Zayn wasn’t very much into video games, he was starting to turn into one of those weird indie alternative kids who liked art and stuff. It didn’t bother the other two very much because despite his weird interests, Zayn always fit into Harry and Niall’s personalities.

The shooting and the loud noises coming from Harry and Niall were interrupted when Zayn shushed them. “Guys, shut up. Look! Louis and Liam are in Louis’ bedroom!” Zayn whispered and motioned the boys forward.

All three of them crouched below the window sill and peaked as they saw Liam laying on Louis’ bed while Louis was fiddling with his desk.

Harry was even more livid and he couldn’t even understand why he felt so angry. He wasn’t jealous. He didn’t even like Louis, who was fourteen and still really young.

“Damn,” Niall whistled. “Louis’ getting some. I’m proud of our boy.”

“Niall!” Zayn harshly whispered.

“He’ll always be our little baby, Z. Even though he’s moved on, I can’t.” Niall was always overly dramatic and used this opportunity to fake sob into Harry’s arms. Harry shoved him off as he tried to strain his ears to hear even a snippet of what they were laughing at.

Suddenly, Liam and Louis went out the room and the boys could barely see them as they appeared in the front yard. Jay was chatting with Liam a bit, laughing at whatever funny guy was saying. She seemed to be getting on with him well. Harry’s eyes narrowed.

“That was lame. I wanted to see some action! I’m so—“

“We should, uh, go to the mall, right now. It’s almost six, we need to leave or we won’t be able to eat or buy tickets in time.” Harry all but shouted.

The two Betas shot him a weird look but followed him down to Zayn’s car anyways, waving goodbye to Anne and promising to be home before curfew on their way out.

They were going to hop into Zayn’s beat up car when a loud, “Zayn?” stopped them in their tracks.

“Hi Zayn!” It was the nerd, much to Harry’s displeasure. “It’s me, Liam! I didn’t know you lived next to Louis. I’ve been here loads of times and not once have I noticed you.” Harry hated this kid’s voice and he could tell that this kid was an Alpha.

Zayn and Niall walked towards Liam, leaving Harry awkwardly in the background. He noticed that Louis looked similar to him, so there was that. He couldn’t hear what they were saying from his spot on his own driveway, but he noticed Louis walked closer to them until he was right next to Liam.

Harry didn’t realize when his own feet guided him towards the boys.

“Me and Lou were just going to head on over to the mall to grab a bite before coming back home and watching a movie. What movie was it, Boo Bear?” Liam asked and Harry’s eye and hand twitched.

Only he had ever called him Boo Bear. That was his thing with Louis. And coming back home? It wasn’t Liam’s home.

But whatever. They’re not friends anymore because Louis was a boy who liked skirts and pretty things and Harry was a man; those two things didn’t fit together.

“It was Grease, you’ve never seen it!” Louis scolded softly at Liam, but it was still loud enough that Harry and his friends heard.

Liam laughed guiltily. “Right, right. What about you lads?”

Zayn spoke up before any of the others could, he had suddenly began to act very strange, but Harry brushed it off. “We’re gonna go to the mall, too. We’re gonna see that new scary movie. You two should join us!”

Liam agreed but when Louis coughed, he frowned. “Sorry, mates, no can do. I promised Louis we’d watch Grease. We could still grab a bite together though.”

Harry knew that Louis was too young to see the movie without a parent and he also knew that Louis was terrified of scary movies.

They met up at a tiny cafe-type spot inside the mall. Liam was getting on well with the boys, but Louis and Harry were both quiet. Liam sent Louis off to save them a seat, promising to order his favorite dessert, and Niall followed him. Harry wasn’t sure whether he wanted to third wheel with ‘chatter box’ Niall and ‘suddenly giggly’ Louis or fucking Liam and ‘acting-weird’ Zayn. He couldn’t stand in the middle of the cafe either.

He decided to pretend to use the restroom instead.

When he got back, Louis was under Liam’s arm laughing at Niall’s stupid dance moves and Zayn was staring at Liam. There was an empty spot right across from Liam. He wanted to rip the kid’s head off. This Alpha should not be holding Louis like that.

The rest of the night was uneventful, Harry said pretty much nothing to Liam or Louis, but he’d stare at them pretty often. Louis was still pretty. His friends said goodbye to Liam and Louis as they walked to Liam’s car and then they went off to watch the scary movie.

As Harry sat in the dark, he wasn’t paying attention to the movie. That was the closest he’s gotten to Louis in the past four years. He felt weird. And the only thing flashing in his mind was Louis and his pink nails and his skirt and his blush.

Chapter Text

At age eighteen, Harry decided that university life wasn’t for him. His grades were average, but he’ll admit that he spent most of his time sleeping around with birds like Taylor and Kendall to pay attention to anything else. He had been offered minor contracts with a few football leagues in America and he knew this was his chance to do what he’s loved his entire life for a living. He was insanely good now and Nick had told him that he would be an idiot to not take the offer.

He was packing, in nothing but Nike sweatpants and no shirt, and was going to accept the league in California’s offer. He had to leave tomorrow night and he was way behind.

“My baby, all grown up,” Anne cried. She had already wept over her son leaving for that past few weeks, so Harry doubts she had anymore tears left. “You better behave, you hear me? No more girls that you don’t love. I want you to be an honest man. And I expect phone calls every day, no excuses. And once you start playing games, you better let me and your dad know so we can head over there. Don’t do drugs, please. Eat everyday, healthily, I know Maccie’s is cheap but you’re going to ruin your body if you don’t.”

She hit Harry’s abs and pinched his cheeks. Harry laughed and groaned at her motherly tactics.

“Muuum!” He whined when he’d had enough.

Harry was an actual man now. Well, at least his body was. He was a grand 6’3, with muscles and large everything. He had an athlete’s body and chiseled angles and a boyish smile and he was an Alpha. He was good at football, a rare feat, and it wasn’t hard for girls to fall for him.

“I’m sorry I can’t be there to drop you off at the airport.” Anne frowned.

Harry pulled her toward him, “Mum, it’s alright. We’ll see each other in two weeks, remember?”

She sighed and gave him another long hug and a sweet kiss on the cheek before bidding him goodnight.

He continued to pack in a comfortable silence, trying to take in the last that he’d see of his room for a while. A light from across the window caught his eye for a moment and he stopped folding the shirts he’d had in his hand to follow it.

It was coming from Louis’ room and he leaned out his own window a bit. Louis’ window was closed and Harry’s heart clenched. The last time they’d spoken was when he was sixteen. Harry hadn’t even come within five feet of the boy, but he watched him as closely as possible, in a non-stalkerish way.

He was going to be leaving him behind. His old best friend. Harry couldn’t be attracted to Louis, the kid was barely sixteen now. He just missed his old best friend. He wasn’t thinking clearly when he threw a pencil right at Louis’ window, doesn’t know what brought him to do it. He hit the window pretty hard, the pencil surely left a dent. Harry had a good arm, to say the least.

But Louis’ window opened and out popped a sleepy Louis in his pj’s, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. The sweet smell of an omega hit Harry’s nose and fuck, he felt so drunk that he needed to sit down. He had to physically shake his head to get him to focus on not jacking off right then and there.

He looked confused as he stared at Harry and Harry didn’t know what to do.

“So, an, uh, you’re— Omega?” Harry gasped out. He didn’t know what the hell was happening, but he prayed to God that Louis wasn’t noticing.

Louis’ brows furrowed even more. “What? I don’t know what I am yet. I turned sixteen a month ago.”

Harry knows. Harry remembered. December 24th. He’d been sending him anonymous gifts since they were ten. This year it was a necklace with a green stone, since football sponsorships granted Harry enough money to afford things. Harry’s never been close enough to see if Louis wears it though. It didn’t matter.

But Harry also knows that Louis’ boyfriend—it disgusted Harry to even call Liam that, but he didn’t know what they were—is an Alpha and would be able to sense that Louis was an Omega. Shit, Louis must be showing for the first time now then.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. Harry was going to scream and probably guiltily jack off later. Shit.

“You’re an Omega, Louis. I-I can smell it.” Harry felt embarrassed.

Louis sighed. “What do you want Harry?”

That Harry himself was afraid to answer. He might say something dumb.

“Uh, I’m moving to California. To play football, I mean.” Harry scratched his neck. He felt like an idiot talking to this kid.

Louis’ mouth dropped and his eyes narrowed. “Are you following me?”

Harry’s eyes widened to the size of the moon that was above them and he felt like cold water was thrown at him. “I’m sorry?”

“I’m graduating early, with honors. I’m getting a full ride to USC next fall.” Louis shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal, but Harry was over the moon.

Louis was graduating early? With honors? His chest was filled with pride and happiness and Harry didn’t even feel like this about his own achievements. He wanted to shout out that “Louis William Tomlinson is a genius boy! A brilliant boy!” He’s only sixteen. And that’s when Harry was grounded. Louis was only sixteen. He was still a kid. There’s no way Jay is okay with this tiny baby living thousands of miles away without an adult.

“You’re sixteen.” Harry blurted. Idiot.

Louis scoffed, crossing his dainty arms over his chest. Harry noticed his nails were a bright blue. “So what? I'll be seventeen by then. Besides, Liam is going with me. He got accepted, too.”

And Harry’s fantasy of them becoming friends, so Harry could secretly watch over Louis, was crushed. “Your boyfriend?” He tried to sound casual, but he knows he didn’t.

“What’s it to you?” Louis was sassy now. Since when was he sassy?

“The kid’s a fucking geek!” Harry couldn’t filter his mouth anymore. Damn whatever curse was put on him!

Louis looked offended. “And what? You’re any better because ‘you’re a man, you play American football’?”

“That’s not what I meant—“

“Is there anything else you want to say?” Louis looked tired.

Harry should’ve said sorry. Instead, he said, “Have you and him fucked yet?”

Louis shut his window closed and left Harry shivering at the breeze.

That night, he didn’t finish packing. Instead, he felt giddy with the idea of being in California with Louis. Old best friends, he reminded himself.

He came with a groan into his fist at the thought of blue nails and blue eyes and the sweet scent of a pretty Omega.

Chapter Text

Harry was twenty years old and decided that yes, university life was for him. He’d played with a few leagues here and there, but got into talking with the athletics director at USC and snagged a scholarship. He was starting quarterback and, like he’d always done, played as a running back whenever he was bored. It made him unique and there was loads of talk about going pro, teams scouting him at practices sometimes.

And it was barely the start of his third year.

It wasn't a decision he made because of Louis. It was a decision he made for his future career in football.

He didn’t know what the hell he was going to study, he signed up for sports medicine, but just kinda focused on football. He was always wearing football jerseys or sweatshirts and practice tees, all with his name on it. USC gear was actually being sold with his name “STYLES” and number “17” were all over the place. He had fans!

Harry couldn’t believe his life, honestly.

He made plenty of friends, still kept in touch with Nick, who promised to see his next game, and he slept around a bit. It was fun, university life. Americans were pretty crazy.

It was football season, so he was always on the field and only got Saturday’s to himself, but he spent half of the day at the gym and the other half at whatever party was being thrown.

Despite drowning in football, he made it his mission to find out what Louis was doing. Where he was, what his major was, the clubs he’s in, his classes, his living situation, if he had ate, what color his fingernails were. Just basic stuff. So far, he had absolutely no luck. He has come to terms with the idea that yeah, maybe he did like Louis. A lot.

It was okay now, since Louis was eighteen. It was all good. Harry counted.

If Harry was being honest, he had no idea where the library was. He did the bare minimum in class, but he was always let off the hook because he was good at football. He was also used to people doing stuff for him, like getting his books or whatever else. Life was easy for him, come to think of it.

He wasn’t sure where he was going when Nick had said that the Uber driving had dropped him off in a building full of books.

“It’s the library, mate. God, there’s too many Americans here. I want to go home,” Nick groaned over the phone. Harry wasn’t really listening, trying to walk in the direction his phone was telling him to.

He made it, somehow. The sun was burning his back and his tight jeans and shirt were suffocating him. It took him a bit longer than it would’ve taken anyone else, but his fellow students were gawking at him like crazy. Harry loved attention.

As he walked into the cool and rather large building, he saw Nick on his phone on sitting at a table and he smiled, shoving his sunglasses off his nose.

“You bloody idiot. I told you to get dropped off at my apartment,” Harry shouted as they embraced.

Nick shoved him off, “Fuck you, dickhead. I wanted to see the campus, see what it’s all about, not your trashy apartment.”

Harry took offense to that. “I’ll have you know that I signed a minor deal with Nike, so I get paid to wear their shit! My apartment is—“

His mouth went dry and his head started spinning. Was he having a heat stroke? Shit, there was something in the air that smelled so fucking good to Harry.

He kept trying to breathe in the scent, staring at Nick to see if he smelt it too. Nick was staring at him like he was weird.

Harry knew this smell. It was something familiar, he couldn’t put his finger on it. He was going to die.

A small group of students, freshmen and even some younger kids, were being led around the library by a figure in a skirt.

Harry gulped. His heart was racing.

Louis. It was Louis. He was pointing at things, stopping here and there to talk some, and he looked pretty. He was wearing a shirt with the Trojan’s logo on it and a yellow skirt. His back was to Harry, but he knew that it was Louis. He was short, fit, even a little curvy.

The length of his skirts have definitely decreased. Insanely decreased. Harry could see just right below his upper thigh. Holy fuck.

Harry’s brain wasn’t with him when he ignored Nick’s questions and walked over to the group of students, who were being led outside.

“So that was the Gaughan & Tiberti Library. Next, we’ll be going over to a cafe, where we’ll take a short break. We’ll be interrupting a student-led lecture afterwards, and then visit the Student Store. Are there any—“ Louis had finally turned around to address the students and was confused on what they were focused on when his eyes landed on Louis.

Harry smiled and waved when he made eye contact with Louis, oblivious to the glare being thrown at him.

“Questions? Yeah I have—“ Harry started, but was immediately cut off.

“Okay, everyone, head on inside,” Louis’ singsong voice called, the students following directions quickly.

Louis held the door open for everyone and went to make his own way inside, when Harry shot his hand out to grab his wrist. He noticed that his nails were yellow.

“Hey, Lou, how are you? Funny we ran into each other at the library of all places. What are you up to? I didn’t know you were a tour guide,” Harry nervously rambled off, only chatting further when he noticed the unimpressed stare Louis was giving him.

“I’m not. Liam is. He went home to propose to his boyfriend, so I offered to do it for him.” Louis stared up at Harry, squinting at the glare of the bright sun. Harry rushed to stand in a position where he blocked the sun from Louis.

At this information, Harry’s mind was flipping. It might have been because of the close proximity (which wasn’t that close, but it’s been years, so Harry was overwhelmed) and the smell of Louis though.

“Liam has a boyfriend?” Harry tried to sound unsurprised. Louis and Liam weren’t dating?

“Yes. Zayn and Liam have been dating for two years now. Zayn hasn’t told you?” Louis said this in a ‘Duh’ type of tone.

Harry frowned. “I lost touch with the boys when I left.” Louis only nodded like he didn't really care.

“Anyways, hey, um, are you, going to the game later tonight?” Harry asked. Calm, casual, he told himself.

Louis laughed and Harry’s heart flipped. “The football game? No, god no.”

Harry’s heart deflated. “You should go.”

Louis raised an eyebrow. “Why? Because you’re playing?”

“No! I mean, I am, but, uh. Games are fun and we could catch up after.” Shit, was that lame? Too forward?

Louis laughed again. “Are you going to call me a fag again? No thanks mate. We’re not friends, we haven’t been for, like, ever now. You don’t catch up with strangers.”

“Okay, well then—“ Harry was running out of ideas and Louis glanced at his watch. So Harry did the only thing he could think of and stuck his hand out. “Harry Styles. I’m twenty years old. I play football for USC and I think you should come to the game tonight. I’ll get you on the field, but if you don’t want to, then I can get you on the sidelines. Or anywhere you want to sit, really. Nice to meet you.”

Louis stared at his hand like he was crazy. He didn’t shake it, but answered with a short, “Louis Tomlinson, eighteen. And no.”

With that he smiled sweetly and entered the cafe, his skirt swaying behind him. Fucking hell, Harry’s going to die of emotions.

That was the first time they’d seen each other. Harry was even more determined now to get Louis to at least be his friend. He blocked Nick’s number and anyone else who was on that football club with Harry. He texted Zayn and Niall and told them he missed them. He spent more time on campus and even started going to classes, instead of going to the gym or the field all the time.

Harry had asked around for Louis everywhere he went, too.

He went to all the student activities he could make it to in hopes of finding Louis, but with traveling and games and practices and meetings and promo stuff, he had only made it to some sort of book fair. It was a waste of time because he was surrounded by people he had nothing in common with and hell, he hasn’t even read a book in forever. It wasn’t until two weeks after they first saw each other that they met again.

Louis was walking out of a building, struggling to keep his phone in one hand as he tried to shove the books in his bag. Harry was with a group of his teammates when he had smelt Louis and then it wasn’t hard to not find him.

His teammates caught him staring at the boy with the short pink skirt and they all had smirks on their faces.

“Styles, you whipped?”

“Close your mouth, you’re drooling on the floor!”

“Jesus, Harry, you’re fucking him with your mind so hard that we can see it!”

Harry ignored the stupid comments with a roll of his eyes. “Shut up, you fucking shitheads. I’m gonna go over and talk to him, don’t wait up.” He made his way over and had to bite back a remark when he heard, “We’ll tell coach why you’re late, he’ll understand!”

His teammates were idiots, but he’d grown to love them with all his heart.

Louis was still talking on the phone, but he’d dropped a book in his haste. Harry rushed to pick it up for him and Louis shot him a look, but continued to talk on the phone. He sounded frustrated and was so distracted by the conversation he was having, he didn’t notice Harry grabbed his books out of his hands to carry them for him as they walked side by side.

“Ugh!” Louis groaned as he tucked his phone into his skirt. His nails were blue today. A dark blue. He reached for his books back and Harry gave them up easily.

“What happened?” Harry questioned as the smaller boy put his bags in his backpack.

“One of your teammates who I was tutoring just sent me a dick pic! And when I called him about it, he kept hitting on me!”

Harry’s eye twitched and so did his fist. “Which one.” It wasn’t even a question, he was pissed.

Louis eyed his weirdly. “Wyatt Jones.” Wyatt. Harry didn’t know a Wyatt.

It was awkward for a bit as Harry was thinking of what he was going to do to Wyatt and Louis was just walking beside him.

Louis cleared his throat. “So what do you want?”

Harry shook his head, like he was getting rid of the butterflies he felt for Louis and the anger he had because of some stupid kid named Wyatt. “For you to come to a game. We’re undefeated right now. Everyone loves the football games.”

“Are you going to stop stalking me?” Harry felt like a bucket of ice was poured on him. “I know that you’ve been asking people about me. And Liam said he saw you at the book fair.” Louis giggled and Harry didn’t think the book fair was a waste of time now. If it got Louis to laugh, he would show up every year.

Harry looked a bit embarrassed. “Heh, um, yeah.”

“Fine. Get me the best seat in the house.”

Harry guffawed. “Done. Why—I was expecting to beg some more.”

Louis shrugged. “My human studies professor is offering extra credit if we go. He’s a big fan. And my grade is barely clinging to a solid A. I’ve got to go,” He turned to Harry as they came to a stop. “But I’ll be there early to get my ticket.”

Harry nodded. “Go to the front booth and tell them you’re there for me,” He nearly had to shout out as Louis was already walking away.

That night, Harry’s nerves were through the roof. He never got nervous anymore. Football was his thing. He didn’t care that there were thousands of people in the stands every game, that his games were televised, that he was a tiny bit famous now, that scouts from the NFL were constantly watching him. Football was his thing.

Today, though, he was quiet and scared.

Louis would be there. Louis was finally going to be there. Granted, it wasn’t for Harry, more for extra credit, but still. He was going to be there.

Harry had tried to distract himself by fighting that Wyatt kid. He was a sophomore, like Louis, but he had only ever rode the bench. Harry didn’t even know he existed. It was a pretty short fight and it did nothing to Harry’s nerves.

His teammates figured out that it was the boy in the skirt who had got Harry all riled up and they let Harry have it to no end.

By the time the Trojans marched onto the field, Harry felt a bit more calm. They were playing Stanford, but they’ve beaten them hundreds of times. The cheers of the crowd and the Fight Song playing loudly, the cheer squad doing flips, and the other team warming up made him feel completely calm.

He tried his hardest not glance at where Louis was sitting. He picked the seats closest to where Harry could be able to talk to Louis during the game. And at halftime, Harry skipped the team meeting (Coach was going to kick his arse later), grabbed a towel to wipe the sweat from his face and sauntered over to Louis.

“What do you think?” Harry asked, flashing him a bright smile. Harry was tall, but not tall enough to reach Louis’ eyes since the barricade put Louis a bit higher than ground level. Louis leaned down anyways. His heart buzzed when he saw that Louis came dressed in all USC colors, a red skirt and red nails.

Louis lifted a shoulder. “I don’t really know what the bloody hell is going on.”

“Well,” Harry shouted over the people cheering at him. A few overly enthusiastic students were cheering as they recorded Harry. He was just standing there, nothing special. This is probably the only time Harry has every wanted the attention to not be on him. “We’re winning by a shit ton. And I’ve rushed one hundred and twenty yards tonight, so I think I broke some sort of record.”

Louis tried to look impressed, but he really didn’t know what the hell was going on. “Congrats!”Harry laughed. “You don’t have to pretend. But you’re more than welcome to join me and my team when we go out to celebrate for drinks tonight. There’s this bar we go to that serves us drinks without checking for ID.”

Before Louis could answer, Harry had to run back to play, his coach screaming at him. He knew his coach wasn’t ever serious, so he went back into the game and played his hardest.

Unsurprisingly, Louis denied going out with Harry and the guys, but he did let Harry walk him home. So Louis waited for Harry to shower up and change and Harry’s pretty sure he broke another record in the locker rooms for how fast he got ready. He promised to meet up with the guys up later and let Louis lead the way to his dorm.

“Hey, you didn’t call me a fag, tonight,” Louis cheered, there wasn’t any real bite behind it, but Harry still winced.

“Look, Louis, I’m really sorry. That—I was. I can’t make up any excuse. I gave into peer pressure and I’m an idiot. I’ve felt horrible ever since that night and you were my best friend and I miss that. I know we were just kids, but you meant a lot to me. I’m sorry. I’ll tell you that everyday if you want me to. I don’t expect you to forgive me or anything, I just want you to know that I—“

Louis sighed. “Yeah, yeah. It’s fine. I don’t care anymore. I did. For a while. But it means nothing.” It was silent for a moment before Louis spoke again. “I’m not an idiot. I know you like me. I’ve known since we were kids. You're extremely obvious. And your mum told me. You were a dick though. So if you even want us to be friends, you’re gonna have to work very hard.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. This damn pretty, amazing, wonderful Omega always left him speechless. And Harry had a big mouth! He never shuts up.

“O-“

“This is my stop,” Louis pointed to the building behind him. Harry hadn’t even noticed they weren’t walking anymore. “Good game, tonight. It was fun, I guess. I’ll have to read up on football though. It was so confusing. Next time, I want to be on the field. And get me one of those jackets for winter time.”

Louis gave a smile and a wave as he entered the building, swiping his ID and leaving his scent behind.

Harry smiled for the rest of the night, not even bothered enough to fight back when his teammates teased him about how smitten he was. He couldn’t bring himself to stop thinking about Louis even when the ESPN anchor said his name, boasting about the records Harry’s broken, and inviting a few NFL players to speak about how amazing Harry was at football.

Fuck yeah, Harry Styles was smitten, fond, whatever else they wanted to call it. And he drank shot after shot, this time, going home not with some girl, but alone and with dreams of Louis’ laugh and smile and smell and his skirts and how he might look wearing Harry’s jacket and jersey and his mating mark.

Chapter Text

When Harry was twenty-two, there were four major events that changed his life completely and they all happened the same night.

The first being the different opportunities available for him to play for numerous teams in the NFL. He knew he was going to play with the Packers though, had always dreamed of being on that team, so it wasn’t a surprise when at his press conference, he had held up the green and yellow jersey to announce his commitment.

He managed to graduate from USC, receiving a Heisman Trophy (the first non-U.S. born winner) and a useless degree, with the help of Louis. Louis was a genius, insanely smart, and was just amazing. They were friends, nothing more, but if you asked Harry, he felt like they were slowly becoming more. Louis would probably tell him to fuck off.

Louis had showed up to every home game for Harry, wearing a spare jersey that belonged to Harry or sometimes, if it was cold enough, he’d wear Harry’s varsity jacket. And for the away games, when Harry was in a bus with his teammates or on a plane, Louis never failed to send him a sweet good luck text.

Harry was in so deep.

He knew that his decision was going to change their friendship, since Louis was in his last year and would have to stay in California, and Harry would be in Wisconsin. But Louis had told him that if he didn’t go with the Packers, he would never talk to him again, so Harry immediately went with the Packers.

“Seriously, what the fuck even is a Wisconsin?” Louis had asked him one night. Harry had laughed extremely hard, knowing that Louis was only doing it to be an ass.

Anne had called him and told him that she watched the news coverage they aired about Harry’s draft decision, she missed him, and that he needed to stay out of the sun because he was getting tan. “Skin cancer, Harry!” She had chastised.

Currently, Harry was heading over to the club that his old college teammates had reserved for him to celebrate his big night. Louis was going to be there and so was Liam, but the Alpha was mated, so Harry hated him a little less. There was still some resentment that Harry would refuse to ever refer to as “jealousy.” (It was.)

The club was supposed to be nice, despite the sketchy neighborhood it was in and the weird layout of the building. “A low-key, high-key place” is what Jacob had referred to it as. Harry went with it.

He was excited a bit. Louis usually never drinks, afraid of being too hungover and he might skip class or any excuse related to school really. Tonight though, he promised, with his tiny pinky and a tiny hand over his heart, that he was going to get drunk, completely, utterly wasted.

“Only because I know you’ll be buying me drinks and I think it’s time you wasted a bit of that multi-million contract money,” Louis had said.

As he walked past the bouncer, no questions asked, he could feel his heart start to pound with the rhythm of the bass. The club was dark, neon lights flashing across his face, sweaty bodies touching him as a “congratulations” when he moved passed them, and it smelled like Louis.

It was all Louis. His scent was everywhere. Harry could always smell Louis, it was stronger to him than any other Omega’s scent. It had always been like that.

He followed it to a booth that sat all his closest friends and Liam. In Harry’s head, he was allowed to not like him. They respected each other now, though. Liam would come to a few of Harry’s games and they always stiffly nodded at each other or firmly shook each other’s hands.

Louis sat next to Jacob, Liam, and Damien, laughing about something De’ari had said. Harry couldn’t help his smile and when they all noticed him, his smile got wider.

“Harry! You are all over social media and my twitter has been blowing off nonstop, dude,” Jacob cheered, holding his phone to Harry’s face over the table. “How does it feel to be a celebrity?”

Harry brushed him off, turning his attention to the giggles coming from his left. Louis gave him a look that Harry didn’t understand.

“Did you see me on TV?” It was supposed to a joke from Harry to Louis, an attempt at mocking a typical pick up line. A smaller part of Harry was making sure that Louis did in fact watch his decision conference, even if Harry had told Louis what team he was going long before the press knew.

Louis rolled his eyes with a smile. “Come on,” he held his dainty hand as he pushed his way out of the booth. “You owe me drinks because I am getting plastered tonight.”

Louis’ outfit was completely— well, Louis. Harry didn’t know what it was exactly; he himself only ever wears outfits his PR people (he actually had PR people) put together for him or outfits he could workout in. Whatever Louis was wearing, it was short and tight and Harry knew that if Louis moved too quickly, it would sway a little too far up for the public eye.

And if Harry trailed closer so nobody would see it, just in case it might, possibly occur, then it was nobody’s business but his own.

They reached the bar, Harry offering the only available stool up to Louis and stood next to him, like the gentleman Anne taught him to be.

“So what am I having, Mr. All-American,” Louis smirked.

Harry rolled his eyes with a smile. He waved the bartender down. “I’m having a Jack and Coke and he will be getting,” Harry paused to think about it for a fraction of a second. “He’ll have a Strawberry Daiquiri. And we’ll have two shots of SnakeBite and Tequila.” He shot Louis a smile again.

“You’re starting off strong? I’m shocked. I thought you were a gentleman, but I don’t think trying to get me immediately inebriated is the definition of chivalry,” Louis giggled again, bringing his hand to cover his mouth. Harry kind of hated when he did that, it was like he was being shy of how pretty he was.

Louis was the prettiest and deserved to be confident about it.

He reached over and grabbed Louis’ wrists. They’d been touchy for the past two years, but Louis has never let it go further than that. “I’m a gentleman and you know it.”
Lou’s mood changed and he let out a sigh, “I know.” The drink interrupted whatever Louis was going to bring up, a pained look on his face. Harry didn’t catch it, was too caught up with the assortment of drinks in front of them.

So they drank and Harry made sure to not let Louis get too ahead of himself with the alcohol, making stupid jokes just so he could hear Louis’ giggle.

He doesn’t remember how they ended up outside on a balcony, but they were there. It was chilly and there was a breeze, so Harry slipped his jacket off and onto Louis’ shoulders. They were seating close on the floor, watching the lights from the buildings below them and listening to the life of the city continue around them.

They weren’t speaking, just letting the warmth from their touching shoulders spread through their body. Harry could feel himself start to sober up, it had been a while since they took a last shot. Louis broke the silence as he put his head on Harry’s shoulder.

“Harry,” he stated, but there was a question behind it. Harry hummed in response, putting his head on top of Louis’.

“Harry, I’m in love with you.” Harry wanted to pass out, his heart was beating a million miles a minute, his lungs were closing up. He sat up on his knees, Louis’ head lifting from his shoulders, and turned to Louis, accusingly.

“Wh-“ Harry was stumbling over an answer and Louis giggled.

“I’m in love with you. I’ve always been. I think we’re mates,” Harry didn’t give Louis a time to finish his sentence as he shoved a hand through his hair.

“You-What? Always known? Mates? Louis William Tomlinson, what the bloody fuck? I’ve been pining over you my whole life practically, and you’re just—“ Harry wanted to throw himself off the balcony; he was too happy to think straight.

Louis giggled. “Shut up and let me finish.” He pushed himself to his feet, let Harry stand in confusion on his knees. “When we were kids, I thought you were the most perfect boy to exist. I’d known I liked boys, but what I felt for you was more than that. I was a kid, so I thought you were just my best friend. When you called me a fag, I couldn’t stop crying for a week—“

“Shit, Louis, I—“

“Harry!” Louis said with a laugh. “To me that was like, a kid version of an awful heartbreak. Seriously, my heart was in so much pain. But anyways, the years that we didn’t talk were actually pretty shit, too. I thought it was the bullying, but—“

“You were bullied?!”

Louis giggled, again. “Are you ever going to let me finish?” Harry nodded apologetically. “Anyways, it wasn’t the bullying. It was because you were out doing great things and you were just doing great without me, period. I had, like, no affect on you. And I was awful. I buried myself in school because you were sleeping with whatever bird you wanted and I could hear it from my room sometimes and it hurt. A lot. I could take getting called fag by anyone else or getting shoved to the ground by anyone else, but watching you be with someone else was torture, as selfish as it makes me.”

His voice was getting softer and softer. “And I know you’ve been trying to get me to like you. And little did you know, that it’s always been you, Harry.” Louis swallowed, picking the polish off his nails. “But it’s hard. I’m scared of you being swept off your feet by people who actually fit into your lifestyle, people who are not like me because they’re people like you. It happened once before and a small part of me is naive enough to think it won’t ever happen again. But it is, cause you’re leaving to Wisconsin and I’m going to stay here to graduate before going back home. And you’ll still be here.”

Louis was shrinking in on himself and Harry’s heart was beginning to thump painfully against his chest. He stood up and reached for Louis, pulling him to his chest and crushing him with his arms. He could feel Louis’ tears against his shirt, soaking up his shirt a bit, and he could hear the soft sniffles coming from him, too. Louis was short enough to fit under Harry’s chin without any of them shifting their size and Harry wanted to stay like this forever.

“Louis, I,” Harry took a deep breath before continuing. “I’m not good with words, but, uh, shit. I’ve been a dick. But I love you. I’ve loved you my whole life, even if I was too much of an idiot to realize it. Now that I’ve had you again, I can’t ever lose you. No one else has ever even been close to what I’ve been feeling for you. No one. And— is it okay if I kiss you?”

He looked down at Louis and somehow, their lips pressed together. Harry’s whole entire being was on fire and he was filled with warmth and happiness and he hadn’t been alive until this very moment. Everything before this meant absolutely nothing.

Their lips moved together like their personalities, opposites, but it worked. Harry licked into Louis’ mouth with an urgency, like Louis was the breath he needed. He cradled Louis’ head, taking complete control and letting his tongue roam Louis’ mouth. Louis was on his tip-toes, clashing his teeth clumsily against Harry and trying to keep up with him.

They pulled apart, still clutching to each other. Louis was out of breath and Harry wanted to dive back in for more, but he wanted to give Louis a break. He wanted to let him take the reigns so Harry didn’t feel like he was pressuring him or moving too fast.

“Was that your first kiss?” Harry asked, letting their foreheads lean against each other. He smiled, his eyes closed. He felt at peace with himself, like everything was right.

Louis’ already red cheeks darkened. “No, but my first kiss was awful, so.”

Harry pulled back. “Who was your first kiss?” They were staring at each other and Harry tried to focus on the blue of Louis’ eyes instead of the ugly, dark jealousy he felt.

“Liam, I was 15 and it was his first date with Zayn. He didn’t want to be unprepared if Zayn kissed him, so we kissed in my room. It was awful, but we laugh about it now. Even Zayn thinks it’s hilarious,” Louis scrunched his nose with a smile.

Harry groaned. He felt better that it wasn’t some jackass, but he was still pretty pissed off that he wasn’t Louis’ first kiss.

Louis giggled, softly hitting Harry, “Shut up and kiss me you fool,” and wrapping his arms around Harry’s neck.

The second best thing to happen was the “I love you.”

The third was the kissing.

Later on, when Louis and Harry slipped away from the party and went back to Harry’s apartment, there was more kissing.

But this kissing was different. It was more intense, stronger.

Harry had Louis pushed against the door to his apartment, both their hands exploring the new territory they’ve found. Louis was breathing heavily against Harry’s mouth, and then against Harry’s ear as Harry moved his lips down to Louis’ neck. It was hot, too hot, and Harry lifted a smooth thigh up to rest on his hips. He bit particularly hard and licked over and kissed the spot on the curve of Louis’ neck. They were both half hard, rubbing against each other slowly.

“Harry, I want,” Louis was cut short by a moan as Harry slid a wandering hand down Louis’ back and under his garment, touching the skin of Louis’ bum.

“What do you want, baby? I’ll give you anything, shit, I’m so fucking in love with you,” Harry couldn’t help himself. He wasn’t drunk off of anything but Louis. This was everything he wanted and more.

“Harry,” Louis made sure to pull Harry’s eyes toward him. “I want you to mate me.”

The blood flushed from Harry’s face to his cock. “Are-Are you sure?”

Louis nodded, smiling. “Only if you are.”

Harry cheered, actually let out an excited, “Hell yeah!” and threw Louis over his shoulder, biting into the side of his bum. Louis only laughed and called him a weirdo, slapping his shoulder.

That was the utmost best thing that has ever happened to him.

He carried him to his bedroom, tossing off his shirt and reaching for Louis’ heels. They were both giddy and excited and Harry felt like a virgin again. He technically was, since this was the most emotion he’s ever felt towards the person in his bed. This was his first time with the one person he’s loved his whole life and the person who he’s going to love for the rest of his life.

He let himself in the open space between Louis’ legs, kissing up his calves as he carelessly threw the black pumps across his room. Louis was shaved and it was hot, but to be frank, anything Louis did was hot to Harry.

Harry kissed a trail up to Louis’ navel, making sure to lift up the skirt, and Harry decided that he was going to make a home right on Louis’ tummy. Louis carded his fingers through Harry’s curls, guided Harry toward his face.

“Can I take this off?” Harry asked, tugging at the black garment. Louis shot him a smile and nodded, sitting up to give Harry a quick kiss. Harry slowly took off Louis’ clothes, swallowing hard in his throat when he saw Louis’ tiny tummy and his hard cock poking out of the black lace panties.

“Shit, Louis, you’re perfect.” Harry lightly traced Louis’ collarbones and thumbing the hickey he left on his shoulder. Louis was shying away under Harry’s attention and there was no way in hell Harry was going to stand for Louis’ humility about how perfect he was.

“Seriously, you are. I love everything. You’re beautiful. You need to know that,” Harry could spend all day showering Louis in compliments, the rest of his life even, but they both had hard cocks that were starting to ache a bit. Harry got absolutely stark naked, smirking at Louis’ blush.

He dove back into Louis’ neck, softly grinding against the lace and enjoying the heat. Louis was too wrapped up in the pleasure of the friction of their cocks, whimpering and thighs tightening, that he didn’t realize that Harry slid off his panties.

Harry grasped both of their cocks together, running a thumb over their heads to gather up some precum. The drag was a bit dry, but it was the most pleasure they had gotten all night.

“Fu-fuck, Haz, I need, can you,” Louis’ breathed out a moan again and Harry understood what he was getting at.

He somehow managed to pull himself away from Louis’ lips and take his hands from their cocks to grab the lube from his nightstand. He poured some onto his fingers and had Louis lay on his tummy, maneuvering the smaller boy’s body in a comfortable position on the pillows. His arse was beautiful, golden and plump, arched out for Harry and it jiggled when Harry put a hand on it.

He kissed the dimples at the bottom of his spine, “Is it okay if I?” He traced a finger over his crack, barely dipping in to tease him.

Louis nodded eagerly and Harry spread apart his cheeks and bit his lip at the sight of a dusty pink hole, winking at him slowly. He groaned softly at how tight it looked. Louis fucking squeaked when Harry pushed the tip of his index finger into the tight heat and Harry could’ve sworn he died and went to heaven. He worked one finger in fully, wiggling it around, and Louis was already squirming.

On the second finger, Louis was squirming and letting out soft little hums and begging for more and Harry could cum right now if he wasn’t concentrating so hard on making this feel so good for Louis.

With the third finger, Louis got louder and he was getting more restless as he fucked himself back on it. Harry watch in wonder as Louis’ body moved back onto his fingers, wiggling them around for Louis.

So Harry pressed in a fourth finger, just to see what would happen, tucking his pinky in and Louis completely lost it.

His back arched further, pushing his bum higher in the air, and his hands clawed at Harry’s white sheets, twitching wildly. He just looked so fucking hot. Harry watched him thrash against the pillows, moving his hips forward, and then Louis’ tensed up, tightening around Harry’s fingers with a loud mewl before he relaxed completely, sinking against the bed again. His soft whimpers were muffled by the sheets and his grip on the sheets slowly loosened.

Harry kissed his back and pulled his fingers from the tight heat. He massaged Louis’ hole for a bit, letting him catch his breath a bit. Harry almost forgot about his own hard cock that was pulsing in his hands when he gripped it. He rolled Louis over carefully and went in for a lazy kiss, using his hands to massage the younger boy a bit.

Louis blinked his eyes open, reaching for Harry, “Can you, um, now?” He quickly glanced down with red cheeks and his bottom lip between his teeth.

The curly haired man laughed, pressing a kiss to Louis’ forehead, hovering his body over Louis’. He quickly put a condom on, giving himself a few strokes as he poured lube on his cock. “Tell me when you want me to stop or if it’s hurting or if you don’t want to do this anymore or if—“

The blue eyed boy kissed the top of his nose playfully, “I will, Harry. Now get to moving,” he said, using his legs to pull Harry closer.

Harry grabbed his cock, positioning the head of his cock right on Louis’ hole, barely pushing in. “Hey, I love you,” He said, looking into Louis’s bright blue eyes. Louis’ smile widened and he nuzzled Harry’s neck.

“I love you, too,” He gasped out as Harry thrusted in slowly, sheathing himself inside Louis. He waited a bit, feeling himself become overwhelmed by the tight, warm heat that was pulling him in. This is probably what heaven felt like and if it wasn’t, then Harry was not going to be going to heaven. Harry decided to give himself a bit relief after he felt Louis get used to the feeling and thrusted in at a slow pace, moving his hips to try to find Louis’ spot.

He built a steady pace, getting rougher with each thrust as Louis’ body was moving up on the bed each time and his moans got louder and louder. Louis’ mouth fell open, gripping at Harry’s back and hair hard, his moans punctuated with each short thrust of Harry’s hips.

They were both coming closer to the edge, Harry could feel the tug in his groin and his movements were beginning to lose rhythm. Louis had his eyes shut closed, his face was flushed and so was his neck. His neck.

Harry gulped as he reached a hand down to pull at Louis’ cock, wanting him to be as close to an orgasm as possible. He slowly ducked his head back in the safe spot on Louis’ neck, nuzzling it and kissing it softly. Shit, this was really going to happen.

“H-Haz, I’m ready. Come on, please,” Louis whines were beginning to sound more and more distant. Harry took a deep breath, keeping a hand steady on Louis’ cock and his other hand right beside Louis’ head, before sinking his teeth into the high spot where the shoulder met the neck.

Harry’s eyes rolled to the back of his head, suddenly diving into this intense heat of pleasure and releasing his cum into the condom just as Louis tightened around him, clenching his thighs painfully around Harry’s hips. White streaks of cum hit Harry’s stomach and Louis’ own.

It was like Harry was pushed under this large wave of emotion. He was drowning in LouisLouisLouis. Harry could feel his senses become stronger, he could hear the beat of Louis’ heart and feel the bond between them. Everything felt stronger. He felt amazing and full of energy, despite his limbs giving out on holding himself above Louis.

Harry softly groaned when the rush was slowly calming itself, both their breaths coming out in pants and their eyes locking together. Louis was still twitching from the oversensitivity of having two orgasms and mating in one night, lazily reaching a dainty hand to touch his neck.

His black polish was chipped a bit and Harry could bet anything that he’d find remnants of it on his red back.

The mark was a deep purple color, bruised, and slightly red. It was pretty big and the indents of Harry’s teeth were a bit visible.

“Did it hurt?” Harry asked, gently mixing his fingertips with Louis’ own above the mark.

Louis’ eyes were slowly coming to a close, a lax smile gracing his face. “No, it felt amazing. Everything did,” His voice was hoarse and soft from the sounds he had been making earlier and Harry had so much fucking love for this boy.

His boy.

Harry untangled himself gently, tying off the condom and grabbing a wet cloth to wipe them both down. Louis was pretty much dead weight, but Harry didn’t care. He could feel how peaceful his mate—holy fuck, his mate—felt and he didn’t care if Louis wanted to lay there forever.

After making sure they were both clean and making sure they had a clean blanket over them, he climbed into his bed, pulling Louis right next to him. Louis immediately let out a sleepy hum and put his head right above Harry’s heart, throwing an arm around his waist. Harry didn’t want to close his eyes; he had been dreaming for this for who knows how long and he didn’t want this to be a dream again. It always hurt when he would wake up to an empty bed and without the Louis he had been wanting.

He wrapped a gentle hand around Louis’ neck, slowly massaging the mate mark, and used his other hand to massage the arm around his waist.

"I love you," Louis mumbled, before he let out a soft breath and Harry knew he was asleep.

"I love you," Harry said back anyways. He wasn't going to stop saying it now.

That was the first night where his dream wasn’t better than his reality.