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Sweet Creature, You'll Bring Me Home

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Positive.
It’s positive.
The fucking pregnancy test is positive.

The white stick tumbles through the air as he reaches out with shaky fingers to catch it before it can land on the dirty green tiles of a dingy pub, in whatever country he’s touring right now.

He spends the next seven and a half minutes staring at the tiny red ‘+’ sign before wrapping the used test gently in toilet paper and leaving the cubicle, trying to inconspicuously drop it in the bin on the way back out to the group of people waiting for him at the bar.

He refuses drinks for the rest of the night.

It’s surprisingly easy to avoid thinking about the pregnancy for the next week. There’s fans to meet, concerts to play and dozens of interviews daily to smile through. The only thing that keeps bringing it to the forefront of his mind is that fact that he has to keep excusing himself every hour to find a bathroom and puke his guts up. That, and the fact that Mase is just always there, one step behind him ready to warn off over eager fans or standing beside an open car door, telling paps ‘alright guys, you got your shots, move along.’ He’s trying his best to avoid the older man, but it’s not easy.

It’s been eleven days since he found out, and it’s not until he’s standing outside room number one hundred and three of the hotel that the gravity of the situation hits him like a ton of bricks.
Fuck, he’s pregnant. As in, growing a human being inside his body, pregnant. His fist is shaking so bad it takes him three tries to get his knuckles to collide with the door to knock, his entire body tensed while he waits for it to open. He doesn’t have to wait long.

‘Well, well, well, if it isn’t the famous Harry Styles. Finally decided to stop avoiding me, did ya?’ Mase is blocking the doorway, arms crossed over his chest, the long veins in his arm muscles bulging through his thin shirt as he glares down at a shaking Harry.

The sight of the two of them, opposites in every sense of the word, would make Harry giggle under any other circumstance, but now it just makes him sniff as tears begin to form in the corner of his eyes. Sighing and loosening his shoulders, the giant man beckons Harry inside, ‘Sorry Haz, come on in and we’ll talk.’

Shuffling into the room, Harry waits until Mase has settled himself onto the hotel mattress before climbing on next to him, crossing his legs and picking at a stray piece of cotton on his ripped jeans.

Harry can do this, it’s time to rip the metaphorical band-aid off.

‘I never meant for this to happen. I’m really sorry, it wasn’t supposed to be this way, Mason.’

Confusion covers the older mans usual stone-cold features, ‘What wasn’t supposed to happen? You hooking up with your main security guard? I’m pretty sure that’s old news, Haz.’

It’s true, it is old news, and even though it’s not what Harry was referring to- he still had never meant to start sleeping with his security in the first place. There’s probably a clause in his contract somewhere about fraternizing with the help, but it’s not like its illegal.

Mason had started working for him as soon as his first single went #1 and he started getting recognised on the street. Since then, it’s been easier to drag the massive man into his room after a night out, than to try and sift through the guys on dancefloors and work out who is going to sell the story to the gossip rags. They’re both single so why the hell not? It’s not the sweetest, most romantic sex Harry’s ever had- Mason himself is a brawny man with a deep voice and ‘tough-as-nails’ attitude, which makes him great at his job, but probably not the greatest life-partner- but it works for them on tour. Mase’s massive hands are just an added bonus, really.

‘No, not that. It’s just that, I’m um…pregnant?’
Mason’s chestnut eyes widen, mouth dropping open almost comically, ‘Pregnant? How could you be…is it mine?’
‘What do you mean is it yours, of course it’s fucking yours!’ Harry’s hackles are raising, along with the pitch of his voice, ‘It sure as hell isn’t Fred’s, my car driver’s baby.’
‘His name is Frank.’
‘Whatever, the point is-‘
A knock on the door startles them both, seconds ticking by before Mason can make his legs move to pull open the heavy hotel room door. Harry leans slightly to the left so he can see around to where Mason is standing, the man blocking any view of the person speaking on the other side. He can vaguely make out a hushed conversation, Mase’s voice high-pitched and panicky, before a small slender man struts into the room, stopping abruptly when he notices Harry on the bed.
‘Harry?’
Harry recognises him immediately, ‘Louis? Louis Tomlinson?’
‘It’s Louis McCain, actually.’
Harry’s eyes flick down toward the man’s slim fingers and notices a gold band wrapping itself around Louis’ ring finger. ‘McCain. As in...Mason McCain?’
‘Well obviously, I’m sure my husband has mentioned me before, considering he works for you-‘ Mason slides in front of Louis, his arms outstretched toward Harry on the bed, eyes bulging as he’s begging ‘Please don’t do this Harry, we can discuss it later.’
Louis, for the most part, just seems to look confused, and not at all suspicious that his husband is having an affair with his boss. Harry, on the other hand, is absolutely fuming. His face feels as though it could spark a fire as he lifts himself up off the bed to walk toward Mason, his socked feet stopping just an inch away from Mase’s as he looks up to catch the panic in his eyes.
He’s still over a head shorter than the older man up close, but he doesn’t hold back as he hits the palms of his hands into the massive chest in front of him continuously as he shrieks, ‘Married! You’re fucking married. I can’t believe you’ve done this, you fucking wanker. You’ve been sleeping with me and you’re married!’
Tears are flowing freely from his eyes now, as he begins to loose strength, Mason’s still standing there taking every hit Harry’s throwing as if it isn’t hurting at all, ‘How could you do this, Mase? You got me pregnant while you were married to someone else. And to someone I know…well, knew.’
A heartbreaking whimper sounds from behind them, as both men turn to see Louis, collapsed on the ground with his slim arms wound tightly around himself, his wide topaz eyes are glazed with tears as his lips part around a sob. His eyes don’t leave his husbands, as they stare at each other, Mase’s eyes glazed with guilt and panic, Louis’ with hurt and betrayal.
All anger dissipates from Harry immediately, his heart aching for the broken man in front of him as soft sobs keep filling the room. Mason kneels down beside his husband to comfort him, reaching out to place a calloused hand on his back, Louis flinching as soon as contact is made. ‘Don’t touch me,’ Louis’ voice cracks, ‘don’t you ever put your hands on me or our daughter ever again, Mason.’
Harry’s eyes widen at the mention of a child- he shouldn’t be here listening to this, it’s between Louis and Mason.
He spins abruptly on his heels and begins to walk out of the room, neither men left behind on the floor even acknowledging the movement. He just catches the end of a few sentences as he’s opening the door to leave the hotel room, Louis’ voice laced with heartbreak, ‘-just a baby, she’s down the hall in a hotel room with my Mum, crawling around. She learned to crawl last week when you weren’t there so I thought we’d come and surprise you, but you obviously don’t care about either of us if you’re-‘
The door slams shut behind him, as Harry cradles his barely rounded stomach, rubbing circles with his thumbs over the silky fabric, ‘Don’t worry, little bean,’ he whispers gently, ‘you’ve got me here to love you. Everything is going to be just fine, I promise.’
*1 year later*

Wide brown eyes stare up at Harry as he wheels the baby around in the trolley through the supermarket, trying to concentrate on the mental shopping list he’s ticking off. He needs to hurry before Baby Robin gets hungry and proceeds to lose his shit.

He’s so busy scanning the shelves for the organic baby formula he needs, he almost misses the small tug on the knee of his jeans by the cutest little girl Harry’s ever seen. Quickly squatting down to the toddlers eye level ready to ask what she needs, he notices her tiny fist reach out to grab a squeeze packet of puréed apple and waddle back down the aisle- lifting her arms up to who Harry assumes is her Dad.

‘That’s my girl, well done. Thank you for helping Daddy.’

Harry would recognise that voice anywhere, ‘Louis’ he says, wheeling his trolley toward the man.

‘Harry Styles, how are you mate?’ A dainty hand reaches out that Harry shakes, awkwardly.

‘Good, thank you.’ Silence hangs awkwardly in the air until Robin decides to let out a yelp and begin kicking his legs wildly from within his trolley capsule. Louis moves his weight from foot to foot and asks quietly ‘Is that um.....’

‘Mason’s baby? Yeah, sorry.’

‘No need to be sorry, Harry. It’s not your fault.’

Harry knows this, but it doesn’t make him feel any better, ‘I didn’t know he was married. But I couldn’t terminate the pregnancy, I just couldn’t,’ he’s rambling now, not that going through with a pregnancy needs any justification, ‘I stopped all contact with Mason though, just for the record.’

Louis steps forward, the hand that isn’t holding his daughters’ reaching out to rub at Harry’s shoulder, ‘I know. He told me, it didn’t stop me from divorcing him though.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that, Louis,’

‘Don’t be, I did what was best for myself and my daughter. We’re really happy now.’

The two boys smile at each other, a hint of understanding and familiarity glinting in both their eyes.

‘How old is he?’ Louis asks, gesturing at the trolley.

‘Robin? 4 months old yesterday.’ As if he heard his own name, Robin gives a squeal and kicks his legs wildly.

Movement catches Harry’s eye and he looks down to see Louis’ daughter spinning herself around in circles singing ‘Dada Dada Dada’ under her breath, ‘I think a Little Miss is getting antsy there, aren’t you love?’

Louis rolls his eyes fondly, ‘Always busy, my JoJo. Just wait until you hit the terrible twos. You won’t know what’s hit you, man.’

JoJo- unaware that’s she’s currently the centre of attention, begins bobbing up and down at the knees, in a strange kind of toddler dance that brings giggles out of both men.

‘Alright, alright you’re ready to go,’ Louis says, reaching down to grab his daughters hand, before nervously flicking his eyes toward the ground and stammering, ‘Harry, would you and Robin maybe want to come over for dinner one night this week? It’s been really good seeing you again.’

‘I’d really like that.’

~

Nervous would probably be an understatement to how Louis is feeling right now.

He’s been cleaning all day, has macaroni cheese boiling in a pot on the stove and is following his daughter around picking up everything she keeps pulling out and dropping on the floor: nappies from the drawer, a toy train from the box of toys, a spoon from the kitchen counter.

‘JoJo, please stop pul-’ a knock on the door cuts him off, ‘Shit, shit, he’s here.’

Louis sweeps his daughter off her feet and into his arms before jogging to the door and swinging it open- slightly out of breath.

Speaking of ‘out of breath’ woah, Harry looks stunning. Clutching Robin’s baby carrier in one arm and a baby bag in the other, his tattooed arms bulge through his see-through black blouse, tucked into pressed dress pants and black loafers; a rainbow motif on the top of each one. His hair is shorter than last year, his long curls swapped for a quaffed style haircut that highlights his cheekbones perfectly.

‘Hi Haz, come on in,’ the old nickname rolling off his tongue as he gestures the man into his home, ‘Glad you could make it.’

‘Thanks for having us, I haven’t been able to get out much since the little ones been around, and I wasn’t exactly sure you’d want anything to do with me after, you know...’ Harry’s busying himself getting the baby from his carrier but his awkwardness is palpable.

‘Harry, you don’t need to feel bad. Mason is the jerk, not you. He’s the one that fucked us both over.’

‘That’s not what I meant.’

Louis freezes, ‘Harry, I-I don’t think we should talk about that.’ He’s suddenly glad he’s holding his daughter in his arms as it gives him an excuse to look away from Harry and fix JoJo’s collar unnecessarily.

Until Harry steps into his space and lifts the older man’s face gently with a single finger to whisper,
‘I’m sorry, okay? I know it was a long time ago but I think it’s worth saying. I was stupid and I never meant to hurt you.’

‘I know. I appreciate and understand that much more now than I did back then, we were young. Water under the bridge now, yeah?’

‘Yeah, absolutely.’

Genuine smiles cover both men’s faces as they hold the their children close, forever bonded by history that began way before Mason McCain ever came into either of their lives.

The moment is broken as JoJo screeches ‘FOOD!’ and squirms from her father’s arms to head for the kitchen.

‘Well,’ Louis shrugs, ‘Time to eat I guess.’

Dinner is a sombre affair, not almost as upbeat and fun as Louis was intending. His mistake was asking about Harry’s mother.

‘How’s Anne, Harry? Still a serial cat lover?’
Tension takes over Harry’s body as he hunches into himself to mumble, ‘Actually, she’s not doing so well. After she lost her husband, my step-dad Robin, she’s found it hard to pick herself back up again.’

‘I’m really sorry to hear about that, Harry. I-I didn’t know.’

‘No, it’s okay, just losing her best friend and husband so close together really broke her down. I was really sad to hear about your Mum too, Louis. She was a beautiful woman and my Mum loved her a lot.’

Both men are emotionally drained as they stare at each other through the feeling of pain and loss, their namesakes JoJo and Robin, the only shining lights in the room.

~

One dinner with Harry, turns into weekly dinners, which then turn into park play dates and before Louis realises it, he’s spending almost all of his free time with Harry.

He heads off to work at the zoo for the day, after dropping JoJo off with Harry at his tiny cottage home. He loves being back at work after paternity leave, however the hour long commute is near killing him.
Thank goodness for Harry though; without him, his day care fees would be through the roof. That, and the home cooked meals he gets at night when he arrives for pickup are absolutely divine.

Swinging the front door of Harry’s home open, he’s stopped in his tracks when he hears a familiar tune playing from the lounge room. Upon further inspection he finds Harry on the floor with his guitar, and the children nowhere to be seen. Which isn’t overly unusual, if Louis is running late, quite often Harry will feed JoJo dinner, bathe her and put her to bed in the spare room, Louis just transfers her to the car and takes her home to her own bed after he’s eaten and caught up with Harry.
The guitar and singing becomes louder, Harry’s voice laced with pain and hurt.
Sweet Creature, wherever I go, you bring me home.
‘Harry’ Lou breathes, his legs carrying him over to kneel beside the younger man, putting his hand over Harry’s to stop his fingers plucking at the guitar strings. The room falls silent.
‘It’s about you, Lou. You know that right?’ Harry flips his hand over to curl his calloused fingers around Louis’ slender ones. They aren’t looking at each other but Louis can tell he’s crying.
‘I know. I knew as soon as Mason played me the single before you released it.’
Harry’s shoulders shake with the force of his sobs as he throws himself toward the younger mans chest, the large guitar squashed uncomfortably between them, ‘Lou, I’m so sorry. I never meant to just up and leave you.’
Louis rubs between Harry’s shoulder blades gently with the tips of his fingers, ‘But you did, Hazza. You got a record deal opportunity and you left. You were my only friend growing up, the one person that I climbed trees with, built forts with, and then…had my first time with, and one day I wake up and find out that you’re leaving our childhood home town to move to LA and make it big. It hurt so bad. I thought… I thought maybe we were heading into more than just friends-with-benefits, you know? That maybe, you loved me. I guess I was wrong.’
The younger man’s head shoots up off Louis chest as he grabs a hold of Louis’ shoulders, just this side of too tight. ‘I did love you. I swear I did. I was sixteen, Lou. I didn’t know what to do when the opportunity came my way.’
‘So you left.’
‘But, I’m back now,’ Harry pleads, ‘It was amazing that I got to that level of fame, but I’m not sure it was everything I could’ve ever hoped for, y’know? I thought about you all the time, wondering if I’d made the right choice. Then when I had Robin, I knew immediately that I was wrong, that’s why I came back. I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want to have people take pictures of me and my son. I made enough money to keep us supported for years in this tiny town I grew up in, where nobody cares who I am and nobody takes my picture. I don’t want fame and fortune, I don’t want to be in another movie or release a second album. I just want you.’
Maybe it’s stupid, to just believe Harry’s every word and trust him so implicitly. But he’s always been so sincere, even as child, and never has he ever done anything to intentionally hurt or cause harm to Louis. He’s known Harry since he was born, his own mother delivered Harry in the local hospital while Louis played with blocks in the nursery next door. He knows Harry like he knows how to breathe, it’s just natural: helping Anne make him a bottle when he was 6months old, holding his hand on the first day of school, building a treehouse in the backyard, punching Thomas Mull in the face when he called Harry a faggot, sneaking in through his bedroom window with a stolen bottle of rum, holding his hair back 5hrs later when Harry was puking, kissing him gently when Harry told him he was ready, rolling blankets out over the bottom of the treehouse so Harry’s back wouldn’t hurt when Louis gently pushed into him for the first time, moans leaving Harry’s sweet mouth as they made love…waking up the next day to Harry telling him he was leaving.
But it doesn’t matter that he left. It doesn’t. Because Louis trusts him. It’s this trust that has Louis gently placing a finger under the younger man’s chin and guiding his face up so he can fit their mouths together. The kiss is a little salty from Harry’s tears, but it’s so perfect, it’s only natural that Louis guides Harry up by the elbows and backs him toward the bedroom. Harry’s smile is so wide it makes his eyes crinkle.
~
The floodgates are well and truly open after that. Sex is all Louis can think about. Actually, sex with Harry specifically is all Louis can think about. Before work, during work, after work. He lives and breathes sex with Harry. He hasn’t been to his own house in months, other than to collect a jumbo bag of his and JoJo’s possessions that are now at home in Harry’s cottage. Oh, and their cat Fluffer has made the move too; she was getting crazy lonely without them home all the time. (Robin loves her, crawls after her all day just to tug on her tail and cry when she hisses at him.)
Whenever they’re together and the kids are sleeping, it’s sex. In the bed, over the kitchen counter, upside down on the lounge, the one memorable time in the bath. Usually Louis tops, because Harry adores being bottom- can’t get enough of it- and he’s also the one on the pill. But every once in a while, Harry’s too sore so they switch it up. It’s like a sex haze they’re in; besides when they’re spending time with their children of course, they will always come first.
Until Louis gets sick. Of course the marathon sex had to come to an end at some point, but he’s quite disappointed when it does. It’s his third day off work with his head down the toilet when it hits him. He slides on his knees across the bathroom floor before upending Harry’s vanity drawers in search of what he’s looking for. Surely there’s one in here somewhere. He eventually finds what he’s looking for and waits patiently for it to process while he tidies up the mess he’s made on the tiled floor.
Three minutes seem to drag on for an eternity but finally the little sign is staring back at him.
Positive.
It’s positive.
The fucking pregnancy test is positive.

‘HARRY! HARRY EDWARD STYLES GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW!’

The younger man is running so fast in his socked feet that he skids straight past the door to the bathroom and has to right himself before sliding into the room.

‘What? What’s wrong, are you okay? Did you fall over? Did you puke again? Can I get you anything?’

Louis places his hand over the man’s mouth to quiet him before lifting the pregnancy test into his eye line and whispering, ‘I’m pregnant, Haz.’

‘P-pregnant…’ shock is reflected between both boys’ faces but Harry quickly composes himself as a huge smile spreads over his lips, ‘Pregnant! Lou, we’re having a baby!’ He picks up the older but smaller man and swings him around the bathroom, covering his face in kisses.

‘So, you’re happy?’ Louis just has to check, the reaction wasn’t great for either of them when they were each involved with Mason.

“Happy? Lou honey, I’m ecstatic! I love you and I want us to be a family.’

‘You love me?’ They haven’t said that yet.

‘Yes, I do. I probably could’ve picked a more romantic place to say it but yes, I love you Louis Tomlinson.’

‘I love you too, Harry Styles.’

The men embrace each other, heading in for a passionate kiss at the same time before Harry pulls back, his lips pursed in disgust, ‘Gross, babe. You taste like vomit!’

~

Being pregnant the second time around is just as awful as Louis remembers. Obviously he’s grateful that he’s even able to carry a healthy baby (that they saw for the first time via the 12 week ultrasound yesterday, and Harry cried so hard he hyperventilated) it’s just that he’s so sick.

Whoever called it morning sickness is a fucking liar, it’s all day, all night, all the time sickness.
Its aching bones and crazy hormones and wanting to eat eggs even though you know you can’t keep them down.
It’s loving your boyfriend being around, but also wanting to throw him through a window because everything he does irritates you.
It’s feeling guilty about not spending time with your almost 3-year-old but you just feel awful and emotionally drained.
It’s pulling down a box of old paternity clothes that hold so many awful memories of an ex-husband that you throw them all away and decide to spend the money buying an entire new wardrobe.

Harry, of course, is wonderful. He’s sweet and understanding and goes above and beyond to tend to Louis’ every need.
The younger man adamantly refuses to let Louis carry anything when they move JoJo and himself into Harry and Robin’s little cottage.
It’s going to be a tight fit all living together at Harry’s, and they did have a little argument about it, considering Louis’ house was bigger. But Harry is comfortable here, he feels safe and protected from anybody finding out where he is, so the little cottage becomes their family home.

~

JoJo calls Harry Papa for the first time on her 3rd birthday, three months later. It’s completely unprompted and takes Louis by complete surprise.
Harry and himself have been discussing what Robin and JoJo are going to call each of them respectively, over dinner for the last week.
Sometimes Louis forgets how fast his little girl is growing and how many adult conversations she must overhear and take in.
They had come to the joint decision that Louis was Dad and Harry was Papa; after multiple attempts to contact Mason from both Harry and Louis to discuss the kids, they both realised that Mason clearly had no interest in his biological children and were both taking steps to get him removed from their birth certificates.

JoJo comes bounding down the stairs in her mini cow onesie chanting, ‘Bird-day, bird-day, bird-day!’ Harry meeting her at the bottom of the stairs, swinging her up into his arms and settling her on his hip, JoJo reaches her tiny hand up to Harry’s stubble, rubbing it between her fingers and says ‘Papa, my bird-day.’

Matching gasps sound out from not only Harry, but Louis; sitting cross-legged on the floor nursing Robin while the two of them tickle Louis’ swollen baby bump.
The silence must stretch on too long for the toddler as she bangs her tiny fist against Harry’s chest and repeats louder, ‘Papa, my bird-day!’

Tears stream freely down Harry’s cheeks as he nestles JoJo’s head to his chest and answers, ‘Yeah, my sweet girl, it’s your birthday.’

JoJo is overjoyed at her balance bike she receives off Dad and Papa for her birthday, and proudly shows it off to Nana Anne and Aunty Gemma when they arrive at Harry’s old family home for her birthday party later in the afternoon. Louis’ sisters arrive not long after, along with Dan wrangling the twins inside the house while trying to avoid squashing Robin; who has recently learned to walk and is almost impossible to keep track of.

The afternoon passes quickly as everyone showers JoJo with affection. It’s time to cut the cake, and Louis carries it toward the dining room table where the toddler is bouncing with excitement at her Emma Wiggle cake.

He’s still several feet away from the table when a stabbing pain rips through his abdomen, causing the cake to tumble to the ground as his knees buckle and he’s screaming out for Harry whilst clutching his stomach in absolute agony.

Time stops.

Louis feels like he’s frozen as the world continues to speed past around him. He can hear Harry screaming ‘The baby isn’t ready, it’s only 24 weeks!’ but he can’t move to hold him.
He can hear Anne on the phone to emergency services but he can’t speak to tell them to hurry up.
He can hear JoJo and Robin inconsolable as they scream for their Dad and Papa but he can’t reach out to hold them.

He remembers getting to the hospital and seeing Harry sprint along beside the gurney, clutching at his hand and telling him, ‘Lou, everything will be okay. I promise you, I love you so much,’ but everything after that is a blur.

His eyes blink open and the first thing the feels is…empty.

‘The baby,’ he screams, ‘it’s gone!’

Harry’s face comes into his eye line as Louis feels hands in his hair, calming him.

‘Lou, it’s okay, our baby is alive. It was touch and go there for a while, but we’re one of the lucky ones, love.’

‘He?’

‘Yeah, Lou. It’s a beautiful baby boy. You had a caesarean at 24 weeks, he’s so tiny, only 1pound 4ounces, but he’s alive. He’s in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and will have to stay here for a while in his little baby incubator until he develops more, Dr Oakman isn’t sure about his chances of survival though, he’s so preemie, Louis. But we can hope.’

Words are swirling around in Louis’ head, words he never considered before; preemie, neonatal, intensive care. It’s all too much to comprehend. His son, has arrived in the world. His son with Harry.
‘Can I see him?’ he asks Harry, before the younger boy heads off to find a doctor or nurse.
~
Being wheeled into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is scary. There’s cords and monitors everywhere, and parents peeking into the incubators that hold their tiny babies.
He’s wheeled around a corner by Harry, who is following a lovely nurse, and they stop at a closed curtain. The woman pulls it open and gestures toward the tiny box, where Louis sees his son for the first time.
He’s tiny. Twiggy and translucent as a baby bird, his eyes fused shut, mouth agape. Through his chest Louis can see his flickering heart.
Louis cries, he cries so hard as he grapples for Harry’s hand and they cry together.
The nurse tells Louis he can reach in and touch him, through the holes in the side of his son’s new home for a while. It’s the scariest thing he’s ever done. The baby looks alien, but familiar, too. He looks surprisingly, shockingly alive. Louis puts his pinkie in his son’s tiny palm, and the baby grabs it lightly, as Harry shakes with tears behind them.
The nurse tells Harry he can change the first diaper. The diaper is the size of a box of Tic Tacs. It’s wonderful, and scary, and so unbelievable that Louis can’t take it all in.
They name him Asher; an old testament name meaning ‘blessing’. His odds are 50/50, of survival with no lasting disabilities or complications. There’s tests and monitors, and still so many cords attached to him, and they still haven’t been able to hold him but it’s so, so worth it everyday.
Louis gets to go home 4 weeks after Asher is born and it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. To leave his son in hospital and go home without him, but his other children need him too.
~
It’s six and a half months before Asher is well enough to come home.
Its six and a half months of Harry falling asleep on the lid of the incubator. Of Louis’ hands, raw from too many scrubbings in a hot hospital sink, hovering over the baby’s tiny back. Of only being able to touch him through the walls of a hospital incubator, to Harry and Louis being able to hold him for the very first time. Of seeing him grow bigger and stronger, passing all his tests, getting the results of No lasting disabilities and/or complications, and then finally finally being able to meet his older brother and sister.
It’s half a year of pain, for a whole lifetime of happiness.
~
Asher is a healthy happy one year old when his Dad marries his Papa.
He’s being pulled along in a wagon down the aisle by his sister, a beautiful song playing loudly through the speakers of the hall.
Sweet Creature, wherever I go, you’ll bring me home.