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The Nearness of You

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Harry wanted to cry. Frowning, he dropped the bottle of eggshell blue nail polish beside him. He was exactly 40 weeks pregnant, and he felt as big as a boat.

With a dejected huff, he laid on his side and hugged a pillow to his chest. His hair clung to the back of his sweaty neck, and thanks to having to pee every other hour, his eyes hurt from lack of sleep.

Harry breathed in deeply, taking in the comforting scent of his nest. His nest was filled with blankets and pillows, and a mix of his own clothes as well as his alpha Louis’ clothes. He had started having nesting urges around the start of his third trimester. At first, it was just keeping the occasional shirt under his pillow as he slept. But then one became two, and two became four, and by his 32nd week, his alpha could barely fit on the bed because of all the accumulated pillows, blankets, and clothes.

Louis had been sleeping in the guest room since then, since Harry didn’t like letting others- even his own alpha- into the nest. His omega wanted to snarl territorially whenever anyone came close. Contrary to all the stereotypes about pregnant omegas being in perpetual heat, Harry hadn’t even felt like having sex once he entered his third trimester. They would snuggle and kiss, but that desire to go any further seemed to be muted. His omega wanted to devote itself solely to taking care of his pup.

He eyed the bottle of nail polish beside him. It seemed to mock him as it gleamed in the sunlight streaming in through their bedroom window. He had thought of the idea to paint his toenails because he just wanted to feel pretty. Thinking about the bags under his eyes and his frumpy maternity top and stretchy pants, he frowned. With a pout, he decided that he had had enough.

“Lou!” he called, hoping his voice carried down the hall to the guest room. He really didn’t want to get back up.

There was no answer. Breathing in more deeply, he shouted louder, his voice more urgent.


The sound of rushed footsteps preceded his husband’s reply.

“Harry?” Louis answered frantically, jogging down the hallway. He appeared in the doorway, slightly frazzled, Harry’s overnight hospital bag in his hands.

Harry blushed at his husband’s attentive response, only to see him slump in relief when he realised that Harry wasn’t in labour.

“Are you busy?” Harry asked, smiling sweetly as he gazed up at him.

Louis stepped closer, cautious not to come too close. He ran a hand through his fringe as he smiled at Harry. “Now that I know you’re not going into labour, my afternoon is looking pretty free.”

Harry gestured towards the bottle of nail polish. “I tried painting my toenails, but it’s impossible! I’m doing a shit job.”

His alpha stepped closer, a hesitant smile on his face. “What is it that you’re asking me, Haz?”

Harry tried to sit up, propping himself up on a few stacked pillows. Wiggling his toes, he asked, “Paint my toes for me?”

Louis sighed before glancing down sadly. “Babe, I thought I wasn’t allowed in your nest.”

Harry’s smile fell slightly. The last time Louis had tried cuddling him in his nest, he had shouted at him to get out before pushing him off the pile. They hadn’t slept next to each other in two months, and Harry had to admit that although he loved his nest, he missed his alpha.

“Maybe this time will be different?”

Harry knew that he would do anything that he asked of him. Even though he was probably bracing himself for yet another rejection, Louis took a breath before dropping to his knees. Now at eye level, he raised his eyebrows in question.

“Okay, ready?”

Harry reached his hand out and nodded.

Louis crawled into the nest slowly and sat down beside him. Harry felt a warmth grow in his heart as his alpha’s scent of smoky pine filled his nose. He buried his nose in Louis’ shoulder.

“How’re you feeling, Haz?” Louis asked in a whisper.

Harry gauged if he was feeling any discomfort, but all he felt was cozy and safe.

“Good. I’m glad you’re here,” he said. “I missed you.”

Louis kissed the top of his head before letting his nose wander down to his neck. Brushing his lips against their bondmark, he started to scent Harry. “I missed you, baby. So much.”

Harry felt a kick against his ribs. Wincing, he laid back down on his side.

“The pup says hi,” he said softly.

Louis leaned over and nuzzled Harry’s stomach. “Hello to you, too, little one,” he murmured. “Be nice to your mama.”

Harry stretched his legs out again and picked up the bottle of nail polish again. “Speaking of being nice to mama,” he said, giggling as he locked eyes with Louis. “Could you?”

Nodding, Louis took the bottle from him. He crawled down towards his feet before twisting the bottle open. “This reminds me of when I was younger, painting my sisters’ nails for them.”

“You’re a pro, then,” Harry grinned. He let his eyes close as he felt Louis finish painting each toe and sighed contentedly. “This is exactly what I needed.”

Louis squeezed his feet gently. “I could sense you were feeling a bit stressed.”

Harry opened his eyes and looked up at his alpha. Grazing his finger against his forearm, he shrugged. “It’s all hitting me, I suppose. The pup’ll be here any day now, and then everything will change.”

Louis eyed his handiwork before screwing on the nail polish bottle cap. “You’re going to be a great parent.”

“I know, Lou, but,” Harry said, his voice cracking as tears suddenly filled his eyes, “I guess I’m just scared.”

Louis laid down next to his omega and pulled him as close as he would, considering the large baby bump between them. Harry felt the knot in his throat loosen as Louis scented him.

“I won’t say that it’ll be easy, but I’ll be here with you, every step of the way.”

Harry gazed at Louis, his heart swelling with gratitude.

“I missed you so much, alpha,” he confessed, choking back another sob. Louis chuckled softly as he kissed his tears away.

“Love, you’ve seen me every day,” he said, his thumb brushing gently across Harry’s cheek.

“But not here. Not like this.”

Louis entwined their legs together as he rested his hands on the swell of Harry’s belly. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing you happy, Haz. And knowing that you were building your nest, for our pup, with such care-- I didn’t want to mess with that.”

“Growing up, I didn’t think I’d be one of those omegas that would get so intense with nesting, but,” Harry laughed, gesturing at his large nest with the wave of his arm, “here we are.”

Louis giggled before furrowing his brows. “It’s very impressive, baby. I’m curious why you’re suddenly okay with me being in here.”

He pulled his phone out of his back pocket and opened Google.

“Alphas… suddenly allowed… in nests… 40 weeks pregnant,” he mumbled as he typed. Harry shuffled closer, laying his head on Louis’ shoulder. He gazed up in anticipation.

“Find any explanations?”

“This one looks like a legitimate source,” Louis nodded as he started reading through an article from “”

His breath caught as he finished the article. Throwing his phone to the side, he turned to face Harry again.

“It says that omegas will usually let their alphas into their nests when labor is about to start,” he said quietly. “It said this usually happens in the 24 hours leading up to active labour.”

Harry’s eyes went wide. “Whoa. Um.. are there other sources that say that too?”

Louis nodded. “A few other websites and message boards said that too. How are you feeling?”

Harry thought about his day. Aside from the painless Braxton Hicks contractions, needing to pee every time he moved, and feeling tired, he felt extraordinarily normal.

“Very pregnant, but not ‘I’m about to go into labour’ pregnant,” he joked.

Louis leaned closer to sniff him. Leaning back, he hummed noncommittally. “You smell a little different. You still smell like you… but just… a bit more intensely, if that makes sense.”

Harry wondered when he would start to notice that shift- would his water break? Would the painful contractions come seemingly out of nowhere? He knew from his omega birthing class that water breaking is actually rare and that contractions start off as cramps and slight pain- similar to the aches that he experienced right when heats started. He gauged how he was feeling again.

“I mean… my back hurts a little. And my thighs too.”

Louis sat up, his eyes wide. “That’s a sign, right? I remember that from the birthing class!”

Harry giggled. “Yeah, it is. But other than that, I feel okay, so I guess we have some time to kill.”

He rolled onto his side and tugged Louis’ arm around his waist. He felt protected and warm with his alpha’s arms encasing him.

“I guess this is it, then,” he murmured. “It’s happening.”

Louis brushed his lips against the back of Harry’s neck. “It’s an honour, my omega, to be here beside you,” he said reverently. “Thank you for letting me be your alpha.”

Harry felt his face grow hot as tears blurred his eyes again. “You’re going to make me cry again, Lou, stop being so sappy.”

He could feel Louis’ smile against his skin. “I’m trying to be serious, Harry! I’m telling you how I feel.”

Harry kissed Louis’ hands, his lips lingering over the tattoo commemorating the date of their bonding. “I know you are, babe. I love you,” he smiled. He reveled in the feeling and scent of his alpha all around him, and an idea popped into his head. “Do you remember what the instructors suggested for omegas who wanted a jumpstart on going into labour?”

“Spicy food?” Louis answered. Harry shook his head and bit his lip.

“Going for walks?”

“Technically, yes, but that wasn’t what I had in mind.”

Louis huffed in feigned frustration. “I have no clue, H, I can’t re-”

His voice cut off as his body went still. Harry smiled, knowing that Louis had realised what he was hinting at.

“Omega,” Louis breathed, his scent filling the air even more. He moved his hips flush against Harry’s body, his thick length grinding gently against Harry’s increasingly slick arse.

“Did you guess?” Harry asked, his voice coy even as he tilted his head back and bared his neck. He pushed his hips back against the outline of his alpha’s cock.

“Their alpha’s knot,” Louis whispered, his lips against their bondmark. “That’s one of the surest ways to send an omega into labour.”

Harry nodded, as he reached behind him and desperately tried to push Louis’ joggers down. Louis lightly slapped his hands away as he pulled his cock out. Growling lowly, he pushed Harry’s pants down just enough to bare his leaking hole.

Lining himself up, he wrapped his arms around Harry again.

“Ready, love?”

“Hurry up, alpha,” Harry gasped. “I’ve waited long enough.”

Moments later, they were locked together as one, for the first time in months. Harry’s eyes drifted closed as Louis caught his breath, his cock still pumping Harry full of come.

Harry must have fallen asleep because the sun was setting when he opened his eyes. A twisting pain radiating from his lower back down his hips and thighs. Frantically, he slapped Louis’ arm.

“Hm? What is it?” Louis asked, sitting up quickly.

“I think,” Harry said, gritting his teeth as the pain washed over him again. Once the pain subsided, he continued. “I’m having contractions.”

Louis’ face paled for a moment before he quickly jumped to action. “Okay. Okay! Alright, we’re prepared,” he rambled. “Oh god. Oh god, this is happening. Okay, Tomlinson, get your head in the game.”

He grabbed his phone and opened his timer app.

“What’s that for?” Harry asked as he waited worriedly for his next contraction to hit.

“We need to time the contractions,” Louis replied simply.

Harry smiled fondly. “I love you so much, you know.”

Louis grinned and kissed Harry’s forehead. “I love you too, omega. You’re going to do amazing.”

“We,” he corrected. “We’re going to do amazing.”

Louis nodded. “Together?”

“Together,” Harry agreed, holding onto Louis’ hand. He never wanted to let go again.