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After All This Time

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afterallthistime
1-6 dice roller

April 2019 - Seventh Year

Louis and Liam

Louis cleared his throat before he swished his wand, aiming it at Harry’s broken necklace that was laying on the bed between them.

“Reparo.”

They both watched as the broken link quickly mended itself, and the necklace was whole again. Harry picked it up with a grin, and using his long and nimble fingers, he fastened it back around his neck, the cross sitting against his chest where it rightfully belonged.

“Thanks Lou, but I could’ve done that myself…”

“I know. But I broke it so I wanted to fix it.”

Harry leaned in and brushed his lips against Louis’ cheek before he glanced at his watch, sighing heavily.

“Damn. We’re late again. It’s a wonder we’ve got any friends left other than each other, you know. You still want to catch up later after our study sessions?”

“Ah, they love us. Besides, ten minutes isn’t drastically late. And anyway, I can’t go to sleep without you, you know that. If that fucking idiot Thomas dobs us in for sharing a bed to Flitwick again, I’m gonna-”

“Don’t finish that sentence, Lou. Chill out. Look, pass my jumper, will you? It’s cold.” Louis leaned over and picked up Harry’s cosy knitted jumper, one his own mum had knitted and gifted Harry last Christmas. Quite sweetly, he’d never really taken it off, saying it was the warmest and cosiest thing he owned, and Louis loved seeing him wear it, even if there were a few slipped stitches and holes throughout. “Thanks, babe. Come on, shift your bum.”

Louis grumbled as he reluctantly got off the bed, smoothing out his t-shirt and sticking his feet into his trainers, wishing he could just laze around in the dorm room with Harry for the rest of the night. Still, he knew his NEWTs were rapidly approaching, and if he didn't get some serious study done, he knew he was going to fail, and that was something he couldn’t risk.

“Which one is Liam helping you with today?”

“Um… Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Louis replied as they headed down the spiral staircase, careful not to slip on the narrow steps. “Oh, stop wincing everytime I say that-”

“Well, you know I hate thinking of you getting hurt learning all those spells, Lou. I don’t know why you couldn’t pick something a little safer, like Div-”

“Don’t even bloody say Divination, Harold. It’s a load of bull and you know it. Reading bloody tea leaves, please.” Louis almost couldn't help his eyes from rolling at that.

“That’s not all it is-”

“It’s dull, love. I prefer things a little more hands on, like Defence, and Potions.” They stopped outside the classroom where Harry was going to be studying with Niall and a few other friends for his Care of Magical Creatures exam in a few weeks time, and Louis leaned in to give him a quick hug. “See you later, okay? Don’t fall asleep before I get my cuddle if you make it back before me.”

“I won’t. Can’t sleep without you, you know that. Bye, Lou.” Harry waved over his shoulder as he opened the wooden door and disappeared inside, leaving Louis alone in the corridor. He turned on his heel and headed off to the library, where he knew Liam would be waiting for him, probably with a steely expression on his face because Louis was late. Again. Time keeping definitely wasn’t his strongest suit, but he knew Liam loved him anyway.

“Hello, young Master Tomlinson.”

Louis grinned over to the ghost who had floated along beside him, passing through the body of another student heading in the opposite direction, making them shiver.

“It’s Louis, Sir Nick, I’ve told you that. Sorry, I can’t stop and chat, I’ve gotta meet Liam in the library.”

“Ah, well, happy studies, my boy!”

“Thanks!” Louis turned a corner quickly, watching as Nearly Headless Nick, one of Hogwarts’ infamous ghosts floated through the wall, off to find yet another student to chat to or tease. Louis smiled quickly at the librarian as he slipped inside, eyes looking around at the lamp-lit tables, trying to find his best friend, well, best friend behind Harry, of course. Harry would always be his closest and dearest friend, no matter who else came into Louis' life. “Li, shit, I’m so sorry-”

“Don’t. Save it. With Harry again, were we?”

Louis just rolled his eyes and flung his bag onto the chair next to him, pulling out an enormous textbook he knew he needed to renew before it cost him more sickles in fines than he could afford to spare at the moment. “We were just studying , Liam.”

“Studying? Each other? Or…”

“Fuck.  Off.” Those words were whispered as Louis didn't want to risk being kicked out, not when he actually needed Liam’s help. He glanced over to see which page Liam was on and quickly flicked through his book until he was on the same, and pulled a battered notebook out of his bag before rifling around for a pen. He emerged victorious to yet another eye roll from Liam, and sighed, wishing he didn't have to spend yet another night of his life with his head buried in a text book. “What are we doing then?”

“Reading this and taking notes. Here, share my book, I’ve stuck some post-its by the important paragraphs you need to really focus on.”

There was silence for a little while as both boys worked side by side, and Louis realised some of the information was actually going into his brain as he read the words, processed them and then rewrote them in his own notebook. Liam might be a bit of a stick in the mud at times, but he definitely knew how to prepare for exams. It was Liam who broke the silence, leaning back and stretching his body, yanking down his football shirt before he could expose any more of his abdomen to anyone in the library.

“So Lou, remind me why you and Haz aren’t together again?”

“Because we don’t like each other in that way, Liam,” Louis snapped, more than tired of hearing the same old things from his friends. Liam wasn’t the only one who brought this topic up, far from it. All of their friends made jokes and his and Harry’s expense all the time, and Louis was beginning to tire of it. Harry had been his best friend, his closest ally, his confidante since they’d first met all those years ago on the train to Hogwarts for their first year, and Louis knew they were friends for life, no matter what anyone else thought about them and their close relationship. “Why do you keep saying it? It’s fucking annoying.”

Liam sighed heavily, pushing his notebook away slightly so he could lean his elbows on the desk, his heavy gaze boring into Louis. “Because… well, you’ve always been… closer than the rest of us, Lou. Like, in a more than friends kind of way.”

“Well, we’re not.”

“You should be. You’ve always been a sucker for his green eyes and his floppy curls, Lou, don’t deny it…”

That was the thing. Louis couldn’t deny he’d forever had a soft spot for Harry and his gorgeous forest green eyes, and the curls that woke him up every morning, tickling under his nose, or rubbing against his neck. “Just… shut up and study, will you? That’s what we’re here for.”

But no matter how much effort Louis put into thinking about the words in front of him, the facts he had to memorise, the spells he had to know inside out, only one image was floating around in his mind now, and that was one of a curly headed boy with green eyes, someone who was so much an intrinsic part of Louis, he knew he couldn’t function without him. To think their friendship had started just seven years ago when it felt like he'd known Harry forever…

September 2012 - First Year

“Bye Mum! Bye girls! Love you, see you soon!”

Louis waved frantically out of the window as he gestured at his mum who was standing on the platform, holding the hands of his little sisters, who were all crying. Louis was sad to be leaving them, of course, but at the same time, he was ridiculously excited to be finally going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He’d received the letter earlier that summer, and although it was a given he would be going, he’d been on a high ever since then. He’d dreamt of going there since he was young Wizard learning about the world of magic, and finally turning eleven last Christmas Eve meant he was ever closer to making that dream a reality. Now, it was happening.

The platform disappeared from sight and Louis, along with the other students who had been yelling their own goodbyes to their families, slipped back inside the carriage, closing the windows and smiling nervously at each other. Louis’ eyes raked around for someone familiar, and his heart jumped when he heard a loud Irish voice, one he knew from a football camp he’d attended in the summer. Football wasn’t exactly a favoured sport amongst magical folk, but Louis loved it regardless. He loved a lot of Muggle things, actually, so picking football as his new favourite hobby wasn’t a surprise to anyone who knew him.

“Tommo!”

“Nialler!”

The two boys ran at each other and Louis accepted Niall’s hug eagerly, pulling back to glance at each other in their uniforms, eyes shining in excitement. They were both wearing the token grey Hogwarts jumpers, and had on black ties bearing the Hogwarts crests. They’d later be sorted into their houses and given house-themed uniform, but until then, this was more than enough for Louis. He’d never felt more pride than when he’d wrapped his robes around his shoulders at home, and seeing tears spring up in his mum’s eyes had made him emotional too.

“Can’t believe you’re here too, this is so cool!” Niall was bouncing eagerly on his toes, and Louis nodded, unable to wipe the grin from his face. “You got any idea what house you’ll be in?”

“Nope, but I don’t care. Any of ‘em would be good. You, uh, you know anyone else here?” Louis might put on a facade of outward confidence but he was still only an eleven year old boy, and he felt intimidated being around so many people he didn't know.

“Not really. Saw a kid on the platform who looked about our age hugging his parents and sisters, he smiled at me, seemed nice enough.”

They wandered down the hallway and found an empty compartment to sit in. Niall rummaged around in the green backpack he’d dropped on the floor and emerged victorious with a couple of chocolate frogs, offering Louis one. Louis took it eagerly and ripped off the wrapper, pulling out the card inside with excitement.

“Ah, yes! Finbar Quigley! My little sister Fiz dropped her chocolate milk all over my one of these and wrecked it, so this is awesome! Thanks mate.”

They ate quietly until they heard a ruckus down the corridor. A loud burst of laughter and the slam of a door got their attention and they peeked out, wanting to see what was going on.

“Hey! What’s happening?” Niall asked to a few passing students, who were red cheeked and still giggling.

“Some kid is crying in their compartment and got angry and yelled at Smith and Gibson to get out and leave him alone. Gibson got all in his face, and then the kid shoved him out!”

Louis frowned. He hadn’t heard of these Smith or Gibson people, but what had happened didn't sound very nice. One look at Niall’s face told him his friend felt the same, and they grabbed their bags, heading off to see if they could find the boy and offer a bit of comfort. There was a small gaggle of people stood a little way down, and Louis hovered, waiting for them to clear before he walked up to the closed door, knocking lightly on the glass.

“Go away!” came a voice that was clearly thick with emotion but Louis couldn’t turn away. With a look to Niall, he pulled back the door and slipped inside, letting Niall close it behind him. “I said, leave me alone!”

“Hey, um… it’s not those idiots from before. I, uh, we just wanted to see if you were okay?”

The boy was curled up against the wall but when he sat back and looked at Louis, Louis’ heart broke all over again. His eyes were red rimmed from crying but still, they were such a deep green that Louis was stunned for a moment. His curls were flopping all over his forehead, and his bottom lip was bright red from being repeatedly bitten.

“Look, it’s okay to cry. I miss my mum and sisters too-”

“And I miss my big brother, he’s just left Hogwarts actually, works for the Ministry now,” Niall butted in, puffing his chest out as he spoke about his brother.

The boy sniffed and nodded politely at the two, clearly realising they weren’t a threat and were trying to be nice.

“Uh, thanks. Sorry, I’ve just never really been away from home before, and this is a lot.” Louis and Niall nodded in sympathy. “I’m Harry, by the way, Harry Styles.”

“Louis Tomlinson,” Louis said with a grin, reaching in to hug the boy quickly, wanting to see him smile. When he did, Louis knew it was entirely worth it. He had a dimple the size of a crater in his cheek, and Louis already wanted to always see Harry smiling.

“Niall Horan at your service.” Niall ducked into a ridiculous bow that made all of three of them laugh, breaking the tension with ease. “Anyone fancy a sandwich?”

“Niall, it’s only just gone ten. I only had breakfast an hour ago…”

“Never too early for a sandwich, Tommo.” Harry shook his head as Niall offered his lunchbox around, and Harry declined too, leaving Niall to plough his way through what looked like a rather appetising sandwich selection alone. After a while, he left his bag with Louis and Harry while he went off to see if he knew anyone else. Louis, however, had no want to leave Harry and the compartment, so he moved to sit opposite him, enabling him to watch the curious person still slightly curled up as if protecting himself from something.

“I know this is scary. But I’ll be your friend, yeah? You can stick with me, if you want to, that is? Don’t feel you have to-”

“I’d like that, Louis,” Harry mumbled, his voice shy and quiet as he smiled, finally meeting Louis’ eyes. Harry seemed to open up from that point, and listened as Louis spoke eagerly about his family, showing off a few family photos he kept in his wallet, and then hugged Harry as he talked about his lovely big sister which made him cry again. Louis just brushed away his tears, not judging in the slightest. He had a feeling his mum would be so proud of him right now.

Before they knew it, they were pulling in at the station, and everyone piled out loudly, chatting amongst themselves. Niall returned for his bag, and Louis and Harry hung back slightly, not wanting to run into those awful boys again. They sloped along at the back of the gathered new students, the castle finally coming into view in the distance. It looked grand and slightly intimidating, but already, Louis couldn’t wait to get in there and start learning how to properly be a wizard and use the magic he could feel flowing through his veins.

“It looks like something from a fairytale, like you’d see in a Disney movie,” Harry commented in awe, his face lit lightly by the lanterns that hung in intervals along the sweeping path they were moving along. “I can’t believe I’m here.”

“Me neither. I read loads of books about this place, but none of the pictures made it look this beautiful.” Harry nodded, and Louis was glad he could be a bit of a fanboy in front of Harry, knowing the other boy wouldn’t judge him in anyway. “So. Do you know what house you want to be in?”

“I’d like to be in Ravenclaw, I think. But I don’t think I’ll mind where I end up. You?”

“Nah, not bothered. I do suit blue though, so Ravenclaw would be good!” They both giggled quietly at that, a private joke that Louis somehow enjoyed. He liked that he’d been the one to make Harry laugh. A hush fell over the group as they walked into the entranceway, wiping their feet and dropping their bags to the side to be collected by someone else, and returned to their dorms once they’d been sorted. “Oh my god, this is happening. We’re actually gonna go in the hall and be sorted.”

There was a professor stood in front of a set of double doors but Louis wasn’t listening. His eyes were raking around, trying to take it in, and suddenly he felt a bit sick. He swayed slightly, but what grounded him was Harry slipping his hand carefully into Louis’, squeezing gently and offering a little comfort, out of sight of anyone who happened to be looking. Louis smiled gratefully and focused in, exhaling slowly as the group moved forwards, standing in an aisle between some long benches where the older students stood.

The queue moved forwards slowly as people began to be sorted, cheers erupting each time when someone was sorted into a house, being welcomed by their fellow students, chatting in excitement. Harry was up next, and Louis leaned in, whispering softly.

“Hey. No matter what happens, we’re friends, yeah? Find me later, we can have a chat.” Harry nodded and slowly stepped up, sitting on the stool while the professor who had spoken to them earlier placed a ratty looking hat on his head. There was a bit of quiet while the sorting hat pondered for a moment, and then-

“Ravenclaw!”

The look of relief on Harry’s features was clear to see and Louis couldn’t stop himself from cheering loudly, knowing it was what Harry had truly wanted. Harry was swept to the side by a prefect but he quickly found Louis’ eyes, grinning at him before he was sat down on a long bench near Niall, who had earlier on been sorted into Ravenclaw. Harry looked happy to be sat with someone he somewhat knew.

The next five minutes seemed to pass in slow motion until finally, it was Louis’ turn to sit and be sorted. His heart was racing erratically in his chest as he perched himself on the small stool, praying he wouldn’t embarrass himself and fall off. He shut his eyes and listened to the murmurings of the hat as it decided where to put him, silently praying it would be Ravenclaw with Harry. He just knew he’d be much happier to be with him, even after knowing him for just over two hours. There was something about the boy that drew Louis to him.

“Better be… Ravenclaw!”

All Louis saw as the hat was lifted from his head was Harry on his feet, clapping his hands excitedly. Louis hurried over and straight into Harry’s arms, hugging each other like they depended on it. Louis’ heart felt full as he slid onto the bench next to Harry, plucking a grape from a bunch and shoving it in his mouth, full of nervous hunger.

“Oh my god, Lou, we did it. I never thought we’d end up in the same house, this is amazing. Maybe we were meant to be friends, yeah?”

Louis felt ridiculously fond as he looked at the boy sat next to him, and rested a hand quickly on his thigh before he removed it, fixing Harry’s wonky tie. “Yeah, Curly, we were definitely meant to be friends.”

* * * * * 

“Tommo… earth to Tommo…”

Louis came back to earth as Liam snapped his fingers in front of his eyes, stirring him from the depths of his memories. He shivered slightly as he thought about the fact he and Harry had now been in each others lives for over seven years, and soon enough, when they completed their NEWTS and received their results, they’d be going their separate ways. Louis didn't like that, and he was sure Liam had picked up on his mood.

“Look, I’m sorry. I just… me, Nialler, and Zayn. We reckon you and Harry would be so good together. You just, I dunno, complete each other somehow? In a way that we all don’t. Sometimes, we watch the two of you and it’s like Harry and Louis against the world, like we could all disappear and you’d both be just fine as long you have each other.”

“Shit. God, I’m sorry, Li, we don’t mean to-”

“No! No, I’m not looking for an apology or whatever. I just… I wish you’d both see how good you’d be together. It’s nice, to watch you both actually, how easy things are between you. You cuddle, and touch each other, but at the same time, you can just sit in silence with each other, and it’s enough. I’d like to find that, someday, that’s all.”

Louis felt a little awkward now but managed a nod. He’d honestly never really thought about the possibility of he and Harry being in a romantic relationship, but by the same token, he didn't want to ever live a day of his life without Harry in it, by his side where he belonged. He needed Harry as much as Harry needed him, and in a strange sort of way, they completed each other. They spent half of their holidays at the Tomlinson house, and the other half at the Styles home, they studied together, ate together, Harry stood shivering on the sidelines cheering Louis on during every Quidditch match he played in, even when he’d been violently ill with the flu, leaving him bedridden for an entire week afterwards.

“Yeah, okay, Li. He’s just… he’s my best mate, you know? The other half of me, in a way. I know you all think we’d be good together but I don’t want to ruin what we have. He means the world to me, always has done.”

“I know, mate. Would you, uh, would you want to try something with him, like, ever?”

Louis pondered for a moment before he shook his head slowly. He couldn’t deny he thought Harry was gorgeous and would make someone a good boyfriend one day, and in his darkest moments, he had considered what it might be like to make Harry his, but somehow, he knew that friends was all he and Harry were destined to be. He tried valiantly to ignore the burn of regret in his belly.

“Alright. I’m sorry I brought it up, I didn't mean to upset you. You want to go back to the books?”

Louis nodded, not trusting himself to speak right now. Liam just nodded and turned the page, immediately going back to his note-taking. Louis appreciated how willingly he changed the topic, and quickly got back to his own work, the words swimming about on the page in front of him. He refocused and tried to let them sink in, knowing he just couldn’t afford to fail… he couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing his Mum or his sisters… or Harry.

 

Harry and Zayn

Harry hissed and snatched his hand back, looking down at the reddening skin on his hand. He knew that he had to get this right, and this was annoyingly the third time he’d failed at feeding and cleaning out the cage of the Fire Crab Hagrid had so lovingly named Frank. He would be tested on his ability to do this in just a few weeks time for his Care of Magical Creatures NEWT and it was stressing him out no end that he hadn’t yet completed the task start to finish.

“Oh, Harry, go and sort that out. You need any help?”

“I’ll be okay, thanks, Hagrid. Louis’ upstairs, he’ll help me out. Zayn, meet you back down here in ten minutes okay? Then we can go and see Flitwick and grab those books from him.”

Zayn sent Harry a thumbs from across the room and Harry left quickly, the skin starting to sting and blister already. He bumped his shoulder on a wall in his haste to leave and cursed under his breath, darting in and out of groups of first and second year students who were navigating the corridors to get to their next lesson.

“A matchstick,” Harry muttered in reply to the riddle the Eagle knocker had asked Harry to grant him entrance to the Ravenclaw common room, and slipped inside once the door swung open. As expected, Louis was indeed in the common room but was sound asleep on the sofa, a textbook open on his lap. Harry reached forward with his good hand and brushed Louis’ fringe out of his eyes, not quite enough to disturb him from his slumber. As much as he didn't want to wake Louis up from what looked like a peaceful sleep, he knew he needed help, and Louis was an amazing nurse when given the chance.

“Louis? Lou… Louis, WAKE UP!” Harry nudged his elbow at Louis’ nether regions and his friend shot up, blinking wildly, trying to get his bearings.

“I wasn’t asleep, I just shut my eyes- Haz? What’s wrong?” He frowned and pulled Harry closer using the belt loops of his jeans since they weren’t in uniform today, having been allowed off their timetables for revision today. “Oh my god, your hand! Was is that stupid crab again?”

“Frank, yep. It wasn’t his fault, Lou, I knocked his tail…” Louis grabbed Harry’s good hand and marched him up the narrow staircase to their dorm where he kept his lotions and potions that Jay had sent him, enabling him to take care of most of Harry’s ailments by himself, something Harry knew that Louis prided himself on.

“Sit down, love.” Harry watched with a small smile as Louis rifled through his little bag of things, retrieving a small pot of cream Harry knew he’d used on his Fire Crab-related burns before, along with a soft length of bandage. “This might sting.”

“I know, but I trust you, Lou.”

Louis was on his knees in front of Harry now, and he looked up, his beautiful blue eyes meeting Harry’s for a moment before he turned his attention back to the job in hand, unscrewing the cap of the pot of cream, carefully rolling back the sleeve of Harry’s jumper enough to expose his forearm.

“Ouch-”

“Sorry, babe. Be brave for a minute, yeah? What are you doing after this?”

“I’m going to meet Zayn, we need to get some notes off Flitwick for our Charms revision. He put together, like, a pack for us, so we can narrow down our revision a bit.”

“Teacher’s pets,” Louis teased as he gently used his fingertips to spread the cream in a thick layer over Harry’s sore and burnt skin. It hurt, but Harry tried his best to reign in his whimpers and blinked back his tears, knowing Louis would hate it if he hurt Harry in the slightest. “Sounds like a plan, though. I thought maybe we could go for a little walk after dinner? Sunset is getting later now, so it might be nice to get some fresh air?”

“Yeah, sounds lovely, Lou. I’d love to.” He watched as Louis’ nimble fingers picked up the bandage, laying some gauze over the burns before he started to wrap it gently, carefully making sure all of Harry’s burn was covered before he muttered a quick spell, fastening it in place and pressing a quick kiss to the top of it, looking proud of his work. “You’re too good at that, thank you.”

“Well, if you stopped hurting yourself, I wouldn’t have to be good, would I? You need to be careful, Haz, I hate it so much when you’re hurt. One day, it’s gonna be a bloody dragon or something that burns you, and I’m not gonna be able to help.”

“That’s what Madam Pomfrey’s here for, Louis, don’t worry. But thank you for doing this. You always look after me so well.” Louis disappeared to wash his hands and when he returned, he rolled Harry’s sleeve back down and pulled him to his feet and into a hug. Although he was taller by a little now, Harry rested his cheek on Louis’ shoulder, making himself comfortable as he always did. There was nothing nicer than sinking into one of Louis’ hugs, it was Harry’s little bit of home while he was at the castle. “I’d better go, Zayn will be waiting.”

“I’ll walk you down.”

Harry nodded and waited for Louis to put his things away and straighten his bed out before they headed back downstairs, greeting a few of their fellow Ravenclaw housemates as they made their way towards the doors to leave the common room. They swung open and Louis jumped back in time for them not to hit him. They’d just stepped out when Zayn rounded the corner, grinning at his two friends.

“Ah, double trouble, how are we doing? Is your hand okay, Haz?”

“Yeah, ‘s all good. Lou put his special cream on it- oh fuck off Zayn, that joke is seriously wearing thin-” Harry chided, rolling his eyes at Zayn’s eyebrow waggle. He knew Zayn meant it in the best way but still, it did err on the side of being just too annoying at times. “You ready to go to Flitwick’s? Wanna join us, Lou?”

“Nah, I really should go and finish this chapter or Liam will kill me. Have fun you two, see you at dinner?”

“For sure,” Zayn said, walking off and raising a hand to say bye as Harry hugged Louis quickly, pressing a kiss to his cheek before he jogged to catch Zayn up, walking beside his friend. He saw how several of the female students watched them as they walked around, aware they were a good looking couple of boys, but Harry couldn’t be less interested in them or their intentions. In fact, there weren’t really many people at Hogwarts whose attention he truly cared about. Louis was definitely at the top of the list, quickly followed by their other best friends, Niall, Liam and Zayn. They turned into a long and empty corridor, and clearly Zayn felt the need to fill the silence.

“Do you know if Niall got in trouble for that prank he played on Robson?” Harry laughed and shrugged his shoulders. As much as he loved Niall dearly, his best friend could be a pain in the arse, and had gotten a bit of a reputation for himself as the joker of the year group. He took a lot of inspiration from the most famous of Hogwarts’ former student pranksters, the Weasley brothers.

Since the death of Fred in the famous Battle of Hogwarts, he’d gained a legend-like status amongst the students, and there was even a small area of the Gryffindor common room dedicated to him, with a plaque commemorating him, and a mural of photos of him and his twin George, as well as the other Weasley’s. It made Harry emotional to walk past it on his way to a few of his classes, but he thought it was a lovely way that the headteacher Professor McGonagall had chosen to honour such highly thought of former students.

“No idea. Probably, but it won’t deter him, you know. It’s only when he gets himself expelled that he’ll realise he’s in the shit. Still, he’s only got a few months left, I’m sure he’ll cling on until then.”

“Yeah, probably.” They walked in silence for a little while more until Zayn piped up again. “Um… you and Lou. What are you doing after this place?”

“I’m not sure yet. I think we’re both hoping to find jobs in the Ministry, but we’ll see. I think we’re gonna try and look for a place together, though.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Stop it. We’re just friends, Zayn. If I’m leaving home, I want it to be with someone I trust, and that’s Lou. Nothing more to it than that.”

“If you say so. Stay in denial all you want, Harry. It’ll come back and bite you both in the arse, I reckon.” Harry ignored him and kept walking, coming to a standstill outside Professor Flitwick’s office. They knocked and received no reply, so Harry slumped against the wall, knowing the professor wouldn’t be much longer. “Harry, sorry, mate.”

“No, it’s fine. You’re not the only one who thinks there’s something more to me and Lou, don’t worry. I’m sure you won’t be the last, either.” They were quiet for a moment. “God, I really hope Niall’s okay, you know. Maybe we should go and find him after this?”

“Shit, remember when you and Louis played that prank on him back in our second year? That shit is legendary, I tell you. The pranker became the prankee, if only for one night.” Zayn laughed loudly at that, shaking his head slightly.

“Me and Louis? That was all Lou, let me reassure you. I was just along for the ride…”

December 2013 - Second Year

Harry sat nervously on the end of Louis’ bed, watching as his best friend sneakily slid Niall’s beloved snack box out from under his bed, keeping an eye on the door to their dorm room. He had a real fear of Niall walking in and finding them, but Louis had assured him that Niall was busy with Liam and Zayn, so the coast was clear. As always, Harry took Louis’ words to heart and believed him implicitly, and seemed to be going along with this ridiculous plan.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Yes, Harold, it’s an amazing idea. Niall loves these bloody biscuits, his poor old owl is lumbered with his parcel delivery once a month, so it’s about time we pranked him.”

“I don’t know…”

“Hey, look at me. It’s just a bit of fun, alright? It’s only us, and he’s not gonna hate us. Plus, the teachers won’t know about it, so no harm done, yeah? You trust me?”

“You know I do,” Harry mumbled, blushing at the admission. If he was being completely honest, Harry trusted Louis so much that sometimes it scared him. He knew he’d follow Louis to the ends of the earth, would do anything he said as long as Louis was by his side, and that realisation didn't bother him in the slightest. He’d taken Louis home last summer for two weeks, the pair not being able to tolerate a huge summer apart, and his mum had loved Louis as much as Harry did, loved how he brought a shy Harry out of his shell. They’d only been best friends just over a year now, but Harry had a feeling that their friendship was undoubtedly for life.

“Good lad. Right, where are we gonna put his custard creams so he won’t find them?”

“Um… we could eat them?” Louis looked up at Harry’s suggestion and gave him a wicked smile, grabbing two biscuits from the pile and handing them to Harry, who took them and laughed as Louis rammed a whole one into his mouth, struggling to chew.

“I knew there was an evil corner lurking inside you somewhere, Styles,” Louis mumbled once he’d swallowed, grabbing the box from under his bed and sitting it between Harry and himself, cheeks flushed with excitement at what they were going to do. “Here it is.”

“Lou… aren’t these a bit old? Like… they were one of the Weasley twins’ first inventions, couldn’t we do something a bit more… modern?”

Harry bit his lip as Louis looked up at him with a scandalised expression and put his hands on his hips in mock horror. “These are classics, Harold, and rightly so. They might be old, as you say so rudely say, but there’s a reason they’re still sold, even now. The oldies are the best, my love.”

Harry sighed, nibbling at the corner of one of Niall’s beloved custard creams, butterflies going mad at the thought of doing something so very not him, something that went against the rules, something that would possibly upset his friend. However, he knew there was no backing out now. Louis had persuaded him to join in, and Harry knew he was a sucker for Louis’ begging, the way his bottom lip protruded out as he pouted, the way he fluttered his long eyelashes. “Fine. But if we get detention, don’t think I’m not going to cave and blame you entirely.” Another lie. Harry would take the fall for Louis every time, over and over.

“That’s my boy. Right. Do they look suspicious, or do they look like normal custard creams?”

Harry leaned over and peered into the box, seeing nothing untoward. “Nope, looks good to me. How are you gonna make sure he eats one?”

“I’m gonna threaten to eat them. You know nothing worries Niall more than someone else threatening to eat his precious biscuits.” Harry giggled at that, but stopped when he heard heavy footsteps on the stone steps.  “Oh shit!"

Harry didn't even have it in him to chide Louis for his cursing. Instead, he scrunched up the bag from the Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes shop and stuffed it under his pillow while Louis swallowed the last of the biscuit down before he shoved Niall’s box under his bed, leaping into Harry’s arms on his bed just as the door opened. Niall and Zayn tumbled inside, red cheeked and laughing.

“Oh god, they’re cuddling again.”

“Shut it, Zayn. If you had been lucky enough to experience Harry’s amazing cuddles, you’d understand.”

“Budge over, then.”

“Nope. They’re all for me, aren’t they, Curly?

“Yeah, Lou. Uh, you two had fun?” Harry watched as Niall yanked off his damp jumper and rummaged in his drawers for a clean one, coming out with a black cable knit number that Harry rather liked himself. He decided to ask his mum when he went home for Christmas about buying some new clothes. He’d had another growth spurt lately, and was fed up of getting cold ankles thanks to his short trousers.

“Yeah, went to see Hagrid about something, got caught in the rain on the way home. Anyone hungry? I’m famished.”

Louis raised his eyebrows at Harry, and Harry quickly buried his face in Louis’ neck, knowing he was blushing and would give the game away. Louis and Zayn both affirmed they could do with something to eat, and Zayn asked for one of Niall’s special biscuits. Niall only agreed when Zayn promised to savour it, and finally dug around under his bed until he emerged with the box. Harry sat up then, knowing it would be suspicious if he didn't but he declined a biscuit himself, watching as Louis’ hand darted in for the Canary Cream.

“Oi, no! You know they’re my favourites, Tommo, anything else, come on.”

Louis sighed and picked up a bourbon instead. “Fine. But only because I love you, Nialler.”

Niall ruffled Louis’ hair and offered the box to Zayn, who cheekily grabbed two. Harry’s fingertips dug into Louis’ thigh as they watched Niall extract one of the joke biscuits, and Harry took his hands back, sitting on them to stop himself fiddling with his fingers, a dead giveaway that he was anxious about something. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Niall lifted the biscuit to his lips and went to bite down, but he cut himself off.

“Oh!  Meant to say Hagrid wanted to see you two tomorrow, dunno what about but he asked you to go down after Herbology.”

“Okay, will do. Good bourbons, Niall. I love your mum for sending these.”

“She’s a good ‘un, Tommo. I’ll make sure she bungs in a packet for you into the next parcel.” Niall bit down on the biscuit, and Harry felt like he was holding his breath as he waited for the magic inside to take effect. Nothing happened. He side-eyed Louis, who was chewing slowly, as if he was waiting for something too. Niall laughed loudly at something Zayn said and took another bite. Harry felt like this was torture, just waiting for the inevitable.

Niall swallowed his biscuit and paused, placing a hand on his stomach for a moment, and Harry’s eyes widened, sure this was it. He dared to look at Louis, who was leaning forward, a look of pure glee on his face as Niall coughed, a feather coming up and out of his mouth. Zayn grimaced and took a step backwards, clearly a bit freaked out.

“What the hell, mate?”

“I… I don’t feel so good-” Niall sat as his arms shook, and all of a sudden, a plumage of feathers covered his face, followed by the rest of his body, bursting through his clothes. Harry sat in complete shock while Louis started laughing, clearly thrilled his prank was working. Harry couldn’t tear his eyes away at all, and a little giggle erupted as Niall glanced down in horror at his body, holding his hands out, shrieking when he saw they too were covered in bright yellow feathers. He opened his mouth to speak but all that came out was a loud bird-like squawk.

“Oh my god!” Harry laughed loudly at that, and Louis grabbed him around the shoulders, jostling him in excitement! “Niall, are you alright?”

Niall just flapped his arms helplessly making the other boys laugh too, and Louis was slapping his thigh as he laughed so hard, tears were now streaming down his face. Finally, Niall let out one big cough and he began to moult, the feathers falling off his body into piles on the floor at his feet. He shakily raised an arm, pointing at Louis, who pretended to be shocked, shaking his head vigorously.

“Me? No! It was Hazza, look!” He rummaged under Harry’s pillow, pulling out the bag. Harry watched on in horror as Louis exposed him.

“You… you sod, Louis Tomlinson!” Harry charged at Louis and pushed him backwards on his bed, straddling his hips and tickling him under his arms and down his sides, making Louis’ legs flail around, begging for mercy. “This was all your idea! Sure, I was here but it was YOU!”

There was another cough as Niall expelled the last few feathers in his mouth, wiping his mouth off with his now skin-covered hand, shaking his head in exasperation. “Oh come off it, Lou. I know it was you, you’re the one with the evil mind, not lovely Harold.”

Harry stopped tickling and stared triumphantly down at Louis, who was pouting again. He folded his arms over his chest, still sat on Louis’ lap and watched as Niall brushed off a few errant feathers that were clinging to his clothes before he stared at Louis again, pointing at him.

“You just wait, Tommo. I’ll get you back, mark my words. And…” he paused dramatically, and Harry had a feeling that whatever was coming was worse than Niall’s thinly veiled words of revenge. “You are never getting any of my biscuits ever again.”

Louis gasped and sat up, nearly making Harry fall to the floor, catching him and holding him close, chest to chest, his eyes wide as he begged Niall. “No! Oh god, Niall, I’m so sorry-”

“Too late!” He reached and snatched his box back, slamming the lid on. “No more for you!”

Harry quickly hopped off Louis’ lap as he watched his best friend get to his feet, chasing Niall around the room. He laughed as Louis grabbed Niall’s wrist, falling to his knees, begging to not be excluded from their treat time and his heart felt ridiculously fond, knowing Niall had already forgiven them and would be getting his revenge sooner rather than later. Somehow, he’d been lucky enough to be the one Louis called his best friend, to have met him just over a year ago, and Harry felt hopelessly grateful for that.

He laughed loudly as Niall shoved Louis back, making him tumble loudly to his bum with an “ouch!” that filled the room and he wandered over, holding his hands out for Louis to take, hauling him to his feet. Louis stumbled into Harry’s arms and Harry just held on.

“I’ve got you, Lou.”

“Steal me a biscuit, will ya?” Louis blinked at Harry, and Harry knew he'd never be able to resist those blue eyes, nodding quickly. Louis pressed a wet and sloppy kiss to Louis' cheek, and he grinned as if he'd been presented with the crown jewels.  Harry slapped his hand over his mouth as a loud cackle erupted again, but he stopped when Niall hollered out, stopping them all in their tracks.

“If you think I’m cleaning up these feathers, you’re all very wrong!”

* * * * *

Harry smiled wistfully to himself as he shook his head, the cold stone wall making his shoulder feel a little sore but he didn't care, too lost in his memories. He came back to earth and looked over to Zayn who was giving him an odd look.

“What?”

“You’ve got your Louis face on again.”

“My what?” Harry chuckled again and pushed himself upright, cracking his back, glad Louis couldn’t hear. He always told him off when he did that, telling him he’d end up like the Hunchback of Notre Dame if he didn't stop. When Harry had pouted that, Louis had flung an arm around his shoulders telling him he’d love him anyway, the words settling happily in Harry’s belly.

“Your Louis face. The look you get when you’re thinking about him.”

Harry blushed and his eyes dropped to the floor.

“I don’t know if you’re not considering anything between you two because you’re scared he doesn’t feel the same way, but…” Zayn exhaled slowly, meeting Harry’s gaze again. “I don’t think you have anything to be scared of, Harry. Not with Lou.”

Harry blinked, wishing he couldn’t feel the tears prickling at the back of his eyes. Zayn’s words had struck deep down, and he tried to ignore them, standing up straighter when he heard approaching footsteps, smiling down at the Professor who walked around the corner, greeting them both with a friendly smile.

“Ah, boys! Sorry to have kept you waiting, come in, come in. Oh, thank you Harry, so kind-”

Harry smiled and just held the stack of books for the Professor as he walked inside, holding the door open with his foot for Zayn to slip past, his mind whirling at a hundred miles an hour thanks to Zayn. Louis was his best friend. That was all. And Harry was more than content with that. Or was he?


Harry, Liam and Niall

Harry wound his Ravenclaw scarf tightly around his neck, making sure it sat neatly against the top of his black pea coat, ready to go out and support the Quidditch team as he always did. Quidditch was the one thing that brought the whole school together, and whether or not you enjoyed the sport, everyone loved coming together to cheer on their team, and to watch the talented players doing their thing. Harry glanced behind him out of the window, seeing the wind howling and dark clouds gathering in the sky despite the fact it was spring now. He sighed, feeling it was almost inevitable he’d end up with another cold after this.

“Hazza! You ready?”

“Almost, Li, hold your horses!”

Harry grabbed his tatty trainers from under his bedside table, not wanting to ruin his boots if it was going to rain. He rammed his feet inside them and picked up the Ravenclaw flag lying on his bed before he went down the stairs, grinning at the sight of Liam and Niall waiting for him, bedecked in their own Ravenclaw gear, ready to support their team too.

“Sorry lads, ready to head out?”

“Yeah, definitely. Z told me he’s on the bench today, Lou wanted to give some of the younger ones a chance to shine on the pitch.”

“Ah. Is he alright with that?”

“Yeah, you know Z. So laid back, he’s almost horizontal. Are you popping to see Lou before the match?"

“Um, I’ll head to the changing rooms, yeah, but he’s probably busy. Save me a space in the stands, yeah?”

Niall and Liam nodded as they joined the crowds heading outside, moving wordlessly down the corridors together. Some of the first years looked up at them in awe. Harry was especially well known since he was a Prefect, and he sent a few nervous looking faces a smile, always wanting to be approachable by anyone. They arrived outside, and Harry turned left down towards the changing rooms as the other boys carried on. None of the teachers gave him a second glance, knowing Harry always paid Louis a visit before their games, and he hovered outside the changing rooms, waiting until there was a lull in noise before he walked inside.

The team were all sat on the benches around the edge of the room, looking smart in their Quidditch robes. Harry’s eyes were drawn to Louis, who was holding court in the middle of the room, his hand on the shoulder of a younger, more nervous looking player. He was nodding and smiling, and Harry knew that he was muttering quiet words of encouragement, making the young boy feel more confident and ready to play and win. Louis always looked stunning his Quidditch robes, and today was no different. The bright blue robe made his eyes stand out, and the deep blue top he wore under it clung neatly to his frame, the white trousers accentuating the curve of his thighs. He may be small in stature but Harry knew that Louis had an inner strength that took his breath away sometimes, especially when he watched him manoeuver his broom around using just the power hidden inside his thighs.

“Tommo, Haz is here,” one of the lads called, and Louis whirled around, grinning when he saw Harry. He clapped the young lad on the shoulder and hurried over, hugging Harry tightly before he pulled back and readjusted his scarf.

“Hey! I’m so glad you’re here, sorry I didn't see you before we headed down here, I wanted to give everyone a bit of a team talk, you know? I know it’s just a friendly match, but Gryffindor have really stepped up lately and I wanted to psyche us up a bit.”

“No worries, Lou. That’s why I came down, just wanted to say good luck.”

“Are you, um… wearing it?” Harry cocked an eyebrow before he laughed and nodded, working the buttons of his coat open so he could slip it down his shoulders. He turned around and let Louis look before he faced him again, repositioning his coat. He knew Louis loved it when he wore his custom made Tomlinson jersey, something he’d first done when Louis had been chosen as the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team last year. He quite liked having the name emblazoned on his back too, and he hoped the wind would die down enough he could take his coat off and support his best friend openly.

“Looks good. Thanks, Haz. I love knowing you’re out there supporting me. And the other boys, too, of course but… I always look for you.”

“I know you do. I’d better let you get back to it, but good luck!” He leaned in and brushed his lips against Louis’ cheek, ignoring the fizz in his tummy at such close proximity to his best friend. “If you win, I’ll make you one of my special Hot Chocolates later before we cuddle in bed.”

“I’ll hold you to that-” Louis warned as he stepped away backwards, winking at Harry before he turned back to the team. Harry didn't leave, but instead stood and watched as Louis darted around the room, speaking words of encouragement to everyone, making sure they all got a moment of his attention, that they knew he was supporting them. He was a true captain, and the captains of the other house teams loved him as well, always shaking his hand before and after matches, coming to him for advice.

Harry just looked as he worked the room, and he couldn’t deny Louis was by far the most attractive looking person in there. He just suited his uniform like no one else, and wore it with such a sense of pride, Harry felt flutters in his belly. He thought back to the moment he sat on the bleachers and watched as Louis had tried out for the team, determined to succeed and win a coveted place on the team, hoping to god that the Captain and Flitwick would see what he’d always seen in Louis…

October 2014 - Third Year

Harry sat on the bed helplessly as he watched Louis pace back and forth, dressed in a hand-me-down Ravenclaw Quidditch uniform. He knew Louis didn't care, but still, he saw the sadness in Louis’ eyes when Jay had written back to his Owl asking for money to buy some uniform, saying she didn't have enough spare cash to afford a new set from Diagon Alley, but she’d arranged with Professor Flitwick for Louis to use some of the spare kit that had been donated by previous students that no longer needed it.

“Louis, will you chill out? You’re going to wear a hole in the carpet if you keep walking over the same bit…”

“Sorry, sorry. I’m just so nervous, Haz, I want this so much, you know?” Louis stared at Harry and in that moment, Harry knew exactly how much this meant to his best friend. “Like… I want to send Mum an owl later and tell her I did it, that I got a place on the team. I want them to be impressed with me… and, um, I want you to be proud of me.”

Harry blushed at that and nodded, getting to his feet, heading straight for Louis. He stopped just in front of him, resting his hands on Louis’ waist. “I’m proud of you anyway, love, you know that. I know my tryout yesterday didn't go my way, but that doesn’t mean yours won’t. You were always a much better flyer than me, and you deserve this, Louis. You’re going to be an amazing Chaser, you just have to believe in yourself like I do.”

“Thank you, Hazza. Always know what to say to calm me down.” Louis surged forwards and grabbed Harry in a tight hug, not an inch of space between them. Louis’ head was buried in Harry’s neck, seeking comfort and Harry happily gave it for a few minutes, holding Louis close. “Right. I’d better go. Um…” He suddenly looked shy and Harry frowned, wondering what was wrong. “Are you, uh…”

“Am I what, Lou?”

“Are you coming? To watch, I mean? I’d just.. I’d really like it if you were there.”

“Louis... “ Louis’ head snapped back up at Harry’s tone, and Harry let a smile cross his face, knowing Louis loved it when his dimple popped. “Of course I’ll be there. Nowhere I’d rather be.”

Louis grinned and slipped his hand into Harry’s, neither of them really caring it wasn’t how twelve, nearly thirteen year old boys behaved with each other. It felt right for them and that was all that mattered.

~

Harry sat biting his lip as he watched Louis performing a couple of amazing aerial moves, holding his breath as Louis flipped upside on his broom before righting himself, chasing after the quaffle that was being battered around by a couple of the current Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Louis grabbed it and threw it easily to a teammate who lobbed it through the nearest goal hoop. Professor Flitwick blew the whistle to indicate the end of the tryouts, and Harry sent Louis a thumbs up as he descended, landing in a graceful way Harry only wished he could attain to.

He sat nervously tapping his feet on the wooden floor as he watched the gathered students standing in a circle. One girl ran off crying, her face in her hands as she was obviously rejected and Harry felt sorry for her. He hadn’t been that upset yesterday when he hadn't made the team himself. He’d only gone for it out of interest, but he was aware he wasn’t good enough on his broom to be considered for the team. He’d still keep playing with his friends though, just for fun. Louis, though… Louis was in a league of his own. He held his breath as Louis turned and walked away from the group, his pace quickly turning into a run as Harry vaulted the wooden barrier in front of him, barely getting his balance before Louis slammed into him, wrapping around him like a koala.

“I fucking did it!” he yelled into Harry’s ear, squeezing him so tightly Harry was struggling to take in enough air. “I’m a Chaser, Haz! I’m on the team!”

He scrabbled to get his feet back on the floor and pulled Harry against him again before he finally pulled away, giving Harry the most dazzling smile. His cheeks were red, his eyes were shining, and to Harry, he was perfect. Harry’s tummy swooped as he just stared at Louis, lost in him for a moment.

“I never doubted it, Lou. I always knew you’d make it. I’m so proud of you.”

“I know, Haz. You watching me got me there, I reckon. Always do better when you’re here.” Harry hugged Louis roughly again before Louis grabbed his wrist, tearing off, dragging Harry along in his wake. “I have to tell the lads, come on babe!”

~

Harry stood in the bleachers, flanked by Liam and Niall as he stomped his feet, trying keep warm. It was late October, and today was the first Quidditch match of the season. It also marked the first time Louis would step onto the pitch as a fully fledged member of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Zayn was also a member, but he was the reserve keeper so there was a chance he might not get a turn to shine today.

“He’ll be fine, Haz, you need to calm down,” Niall said, nudging Harry’s arm with his elbow. Harry nodded but he ignored Niall’s words, the nervous bubble of tension in his body not dissipating. The crowd started to roar as the teams walked out onto the pitch in two lines, following their captains. Harry’s eyes fixed on the team in blue, thankful they were second row from the front of their bleachers, so he could see each of their faces with ease.

Finally, Louis stepped out, carrying his broom, his shoulders set back as he followed the steps of Thomas, the team member in front of him. Harry’s heart filled with pride at the sight of Louis decked out in his robes, the ones his family and all of the boys had contributed to, wanting him to have the very best. It was their way of congratulating him, and Louis had practically wept when they’d presented him with the new set just two nights ago.

Harry met Louis’ eyes as they formed a line, each of the teams listening to Madame Porter, the referee and they just stared at each other, Harry trying to say so much with just one look but somehow, he knew Louis knew. Louis winked and glanced back to the adults, and Harry’s eyes raked over Louis. He swallowed as he realised how good Louis looked like this, the way he filled out the white trousers and brown boots, the way the cobalt blue cape clung to his shoulders, and the top underneath was figure-hugging around his middle, showing off the little belly Louis hated but Harry loved to fall asleep on. He was slightly taller than Harry now, and the way he was holding his broomstick in his right hand was doing things to Harry he could never admit to.

But no. No. Harry couldn’t think of his best friend like that, no way. They were best friends to the end. Sure, Louis was an attractive boy. Harry wasn’t naive. He’d seen the constant looks from girls that Louis got in the corridors as they walked arm in arm between their lessons, jealous eyes lingering on them, and Harry tried to ignore them. But still, he could never quite stop himself tugging Louis that bit closer, bumping their hips as they walked, entirely unbothered by how physical they were with each other.

The whistle blew and Harry watched Louis intently as he swung his long leg over his broom, kicking off the ground to send himself up in the air effortlessly. It was so graceful, and Harry roared at the top of his lungs. The first part of the match went by quickly, but as one of Hufflepuff’s Cheaters tumbled to the floor in a spin, lowered carefully by Professor Longbottom who had caught it out of the corner of his eye, Louis hovered just in front of Harry’s bleachers, sending him a proud but tired grin. Harry couldn’t help himself.

He sent Louis the biggest thumbs up and turned around, showing off the number 28 Ravenclaw Quidditch team t-shirt he’d got his mum to have made for him, sending it to him yesterday, just in time to wear it with pride for the first match. Louis’ jaw dropped and he bit his lip as he hovered easily before pressing his hands to his heart. Harry’s eyes dipped to Louis’ thighs again before they came up in time to catch Louis blowing him a kiss and turning around, whirling away high into the air as the match began again.

Harry was screwed.

* * * * *

Harry screamed at the top of his lungs as his eyes followed Louis in the sky, the quaffle wedged under one arm as he flew, dipping in and out of the Gryffindor players, spinning and dodging them with ease, racing towards the goals. He watched in awe as Louis hooked back his right arm, the awkwardly shaped ball clutched in his small hand and launched it forward with the power of his arm, holding his breath as it sailed towards the middle hoop. The Gryffindor keeper, Bright, dived for it but the quaffle slipped through the hoop. A second later, a loud whistle rang out and the Ravenclaw seeker, Reeves, held the Golden Snitch aloft, ending the game and handing Ravenclaw the win.

“YES! COME ON, GET IN!” Harry yelled, grabbing Niall in a hug, feeling Liam press against his back as the stand erupted around them, everyone hugging each other regardless of who they were. A Ravenclaw win meant so much to all of them, and Harry returned his eyes to the sky, watching as the team gathered together in a group huddle. Louis and Reeves remained up there as the others floated to the ground, and Harry beamed as Louis held his teammates arm aloft, encouraging the crowd to cheer for him again. Harry realised it was the young boy he’d been speaking to in the changing rooms, and his heart felt full as he watched Louis and the boy fly to the floor, getting off their brooms with practised ease.

Louis hugged the boy before he made his way over to the Ravenclaw stand, waving up at the cheering students, sending some of the younger girls into a frenzy. Harry pushed his way to the end of the row and down the small wooden steps at the side, arriving at the barrier at the same time as Louis. They didn't speak, but just collapsed into each other’s arms, holding on tightly. Harry could feel Louis grabbing the back of his shirt in his fist, squeezing tightly and he grinned into Louis’ neck, not caring he smelt of sweat and man.

“Told you you’d do it,” he mumbled, and Louis just nodded before pulling away and cupping Harry’s cheek for a second before he waved up at Niall and Liam, who shouted “Well done Tommo!” at the top of their voices. Louis slipped away and headed back to the dressing rooms for a shower and to get changed, so Harry made his way back to his friends. Other students were leaving, keen to get back in the warm, but Liam, Niall and Harry preferred to wait until the rush had died down, all of them a bit high on a house win.

“Just friends, hmm?” Liam muttered in his ear, and Harry blinked, not quite knowing how to answer that one. He was aware that he and Louis didn't act as just friends. He certainly didn't cup Niall’s face like Louis did to him, or curl in bed with Liam like he did with Louis. But it felt right between them, it always had. They’d always been physically close, and the older they got, the closer they were. They were both eighteen now, but still slept in each other’s arms at night in one of their beds.

“Yeah, Li, just friends,” Harry replied but somehow, the words felt more forced than they had done before, and Harry wasn’t exactly sure what to do with that information.

 

Louis and Zayn

Louis tucked his beanie into his back pocket as he walked slowly into the grand hall, smiling at the sight of the tables still laden down with a tempting selection of breakfast foods. He looked around for Harry, a little annoyed he’d woken up alone that morning but frowned when he didn't see him. Instead, his eyes fell on Zayn, who was picking apart a croissant with his fingers, letting flakes of pastry fall down onto the plate in front of him.

“Yo, Zaynie,” he mumbled as he climbed onto the bench opposite Zayn, snatching up a cup of tea that was sat on the table between them. He sipped happily on it as he watched Zayn continue to shred the pastry, not paying it much attention, knowing that was how his friend usually ate. “Where’s Haz?”

“Uh, think he had to do that tutoring thing. Said he had to meet Melissa early so he ate and went off.”

Louis just nodded but inside, he wasn’t happy. He knew Melissa had a big crush on Harry, and enjoyed hanging off of him whenever she could; in the common room, waiting outside classrooms, watching Quidditch matches, even. Louis hated it but he’d never said anything to Harry. It wasn’t his place, he was just Harry’s best friend, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. Harry was a free man, like it or not. “Oh, right.”

“Aww, did you have to wake up all alone, Tommo?”

“Fuck off, Z,” Louis muttered as he reached for a bacon sandwich, setting it on his plate next to a pile of scrambled egg he’d just scooped up, and a small bunch of grapes, knowing Harry would quiz him on whether or not he’d had some fruit for breakfast, and he didn't want to lie to him. “But yes, and I was chilly.”

Louis merely raised his eyebrows when Zayn snorted into his coffee, coughing slightly as he caught his breath, laughing at Louis’ comment. “Oh, poor little Loulou. I’ll make sure to tell Harry that later- oh, there he is.”

Louis turned and looked over his shoulder to see Harry and Melissa walk into the room, sitting down at the end of the table. Harry caught Louis’ eye and gave him a wave before he turned his attention back to the girl sat next to him, putting a pile of books down onto the table between them and then grabbed a pen from his back pocket. Louis rolled his eyes and turned back to Zayn.

“Wonderful. Pass me the ketchup, please.” Zayn did and Louis practically snatched it out of his hand, shaking it a tad vigorously before he lifted the bread off his sandwich, putting a big dollop in the middle before he replaced the bread and squashed it down. “Did you enjoy the match yesterday?”

“Don’t wanna talk about them, huh? Fine. I’ll change the subject, Lou. I get it. Yes, it was good. Nice to get a win.”

“It was. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk about them, Z, it’s that there’s nothing to say.” He took a big bite of his sandwich, barely stopping himself from groaning at the taste explosion hitting his taste buds. He heard a silly giggle float down the table, and drew back one of his hands, clenching it into a fist on the tabletop. Melissa really did have the most annoying laugh. “Must she laugh so bloody obnoxiously?”

Zayn laughed again, shaking his head.

“What?”

“Nothing, Lou.”

“No, come on, spit it out.”

“This all just reminds me of how you got when Harry dated Leila. How much of an arse you were-”

“Oi! I was not. I just didn't like her. She wasn’t good enough for my Hazza.”

“Oh, and didn't you let everyone know that…”

December 2015 - Fourth Year

Louis laid back on Harry’s bed, legs crossed at the ankles as he took another glance at his watch, sighing when he realised Harry was nearly twenty minutes late. It wasn’t that he had plans or anything, they were just gonna lay down and have a hug and waste a bit of time before dinner, but Louis had an idea where Harry was and he didn't like it.

“Sorry, shit, sorry I’m late, Loubear,” Harry panted out as he slammed open the dorm room door, letting it bounce against the wooden wall behind. Louis sat up slightly and shrugged, trying not to let on that he was too bothered, even if he really was. “I was, uh-”

“With Leila?”

“Yeah.” Harry tried not to smile but he failed miserably as his dimple became more prominent and a flush spread across his cheeks. “Can I tell you something, Lou?” He bit his lip, and Louis knew he would never deny Harry so he nodded, scooting over so Harry could come and join him on the bed, unsure he really wanted to hear what Harry had to say. “Uh… Leila. She, uh… she kissed me.”

Harry looked so pleased with himself that Louis didn't have it in him to scoff or ignore his words. Instead, he plastered on a smile and pulled Harry into a hug, pretending to be happy for him when all he felt was a bit sick at the thought of his best friend being with someone in that way. He pulled away and listened as Harry started to talk again, clearly at ease with Louis.

“We were, um, we were walking outside in the courtyard, even though it was bloody freezing, and she just pulled me to a stop. She held my hand, Lou, and then she went on her tiptoes and kissed me.”

“And did you like it?”

“Yeah, I mean… it was nice. But… I didn't feel what I thought I would, though?” It came out like a question, and Louis arched an eyebrow, wondering what Harry meant. “God, this sounds stupid, but I expected, like, I dunno… butterflies? Or like, fireworks, like Niall said he felt when he snogged Yaz at the Yule Ball. But I didn't get that. Is there something wrong with me, do you think?”

“No,” Louis hurried to say, wanting to put Harry’s mind at ease. “Not at all, love. Maybe you’re just not completely into her that way yet, or you just need to wait for your feelings to… develop, I guess?” As much as he hated himself for giving Harry some sort of hope with this girl, he knew he couldn’t do or say anything that would hurt Harry. He’d hurt himself a million times over before he made Harry sad or cry, that much he did know.

“Maybe. Yeah, I reckon that’s it. Thanks, Lou. You really are my best friend, you know that? I just… I feel I can talk to you about anything, and I love that. I love how close we are. Now, where’s my hug?”

He launched himself at Louis and sent them both flying backwards onto the mattress, bouncing slightly as the springs supported their joint weight. Harry was on top of Louis and he quickly settled his head on Louis’ chest, arms wrapped around his waist.

“Missed you, though. Always do.”

“I missed you too, Curly,” Louis whispered, running his fingers through Harry’s curls, hating the floral perfume he could smell wafting up from Harry’s jumper. He ignored it and carried on stroking Harry until he felt his body loosen and only when he was sure he was asleep did he reach to his bedside table, grabbing the can of deodorant there. He smirked when he saw it was his own, and sprayed it over the pair of them. If Harry was going to smell like anyone, it might as well be him.

~

Louis barged his way down the corridor, making his way to the library. He wasn’t exactly sure which textbooks he’d grabbed in his haste to get to his destination, but he felt sure he could blag his way through it once he arrived. He barrelled in through the doors, causing the elderly librarian Mr Clark to look up and roll his eyes, having experienced a visit from Louis once or twice in the past four years. Louis just sent him a prize-winning grin and looked around, smirking when he saw Harry and Leila sat close, heads bent over a book between them.

He walked over and dropped his rucksack with a slam onto the table, grinning widely as they both looked up, Harry in amusement, Leila in what Louis could only describe as disdain. Still, it seemed Harry was pleased to see him so Louis wasn’t too bothered.

“Hello, my dears. Thought I’d come and join you, I was just about to come and read up on-” he grabbed the first textbook he put his hands on from his bag and frowned at the cover. “-House Elves and their history. Apparently.”

Harry just snorted and Louis knew he’d seen straight through his act but he didn’t care. “If you say so, Lou. Come and sit down, we need to finish this chapter.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Louis mumbled as he sat down opposite Harry, resting his foot on top of Harry's. He didn't miss the small smile on Harry's face at the touch. He read the first few paragraphs but already he was bored. This was hopeless. “So. Are you coming to the game on Thursday?” Harry nodded and looked to Leila who just shrugged. “‘Spose you’ll be in the Slytherin stands, anyway, Leila. Such a shame.” Harry gave him a warning glance at that but Louis was enjoying himself too much by now. “I’ve even washed your Tommo top, Haz, so you can wear it and support me.”

“You know I always do, Lou. How are you feeling about it? Did you talk to Philips about your worries with the Slytherin keeper?”

Leila butted in, frustration clear on her face. “Harry, we need to-”

“Yeah, just a sec love, I’m talking to Lou.”

Louis looked between them as Leila sighed, turning her attention back to the book in front of her while Harry’s gaze was back on him.

“Yeah, I reckon it’ll be alright now. But thanks for asking, Haz! I’ll let you read, sorry...”

A few minutes later, Louis sighed and pushed the book away, leaning back in his chair, balancing on just two legs. “God, it’s a bit quiet in here, isn’t it?”

“It’s a library, Louis. That’s the whole point,” Leila snapped, grabbing her bag and shoving her notepad and pen inside. “Sorry Hazzy-”

“Hazzy?!” Louis mouthed at Harry, pretending to gag. Harry bit back a grin, fixing his eyes back on Leila.

“We’ll do this another time, yeah? I’ll leave you to it. Bye love.” She dipped her head and pecked Harry’s lips, and Louis diverted his eyes, missing the most of it.

“Bye Leila, so lovely to see you!” He called, and she just walked off, leaving him alone with Harry once more. “Bit rude, wasn’t she?”

“Shut up, and read your bloody House Elves book,” Harry chided with a smile on his face so Louis knew he wasn’t angry with him, not really.

“Couldn’t be less interested. Let’s go and wind up Niall for a bit. That’s more fun! Come on, Curly-”

~

Louis sat back and stared out of the window of the empty potions classroom he was stuck in. Professor Thompson had let him in to take a look at a few ingredients to help him revise. Louis was sure seeing what they looked like would help him to remember them, and the professor was more than happy, trusting Louis implicitly, which Louis was a little surprised by if he was honest. He glanced up as he heard voices walk past the room in the courtyard on the other side of his window, and smiled when he saw it was Harry, his smiling only faltering slightly when he saw Leila by his side.

He jumped up and shoved his notes into his pocket, pleased he’d only brought a piece of paper and not a bag and sprinted after them. Leila hadn’t been amused the other day when he’d crashed their dinner, plonking his plate down next to Harry and stealing things from his plate, dumping his own vegetables onto Harry’s plate as always. Leila had been horrified but Harry just shrugged it off, entirely too used to his best friend by now to be bothered by it in the slightest.

He yanked his beanie off his head and messed up his fringe a bit as he jogged to catch up with them, not caring it was December and he didn't have a coat. He hated that Harry had been spending so much time with Leila since they’d gotten together at the Yule Ball a few weeks ago, but he’d made sure Harry spent time with him anyway, and Harry didn't seem bothered that he kept appearing.

“Haz! Oi, Styles!” Harry turned and grinned when he saw Louis, and Louis pretended not to notice Leila’s eye roll and the way she tried to tug Harry around the corner and away from their third wheel. “Hey, can I join you, fancied some fresh air!”

“Looks like you’re going to anyway…” Leila muttered, but again, Louis ignored it in favour of Harry’s reply.

“Of course, Lou. Where’s your- oh!” Harry laughed as Louis stretched up and rammed his beanie down on Harry’s head, thinking it suited his best friend more than it did him anyway. “Where have you been?”

“In Potions. I wanted to do a bit more research for my test next week, Professor Thompson very kindly trusted me in there for a while.”

They continued to chat as they walked, and Louis wriggled closer to Harry, linking their arms together as they walked, something they often did. He smiled at fellow students as he walked by, and laughed along at Harry’s unfunny jokes, a bit scandalised when Leila didn't. Surely any girlfriend of Harry’s had to find him hilarious, being funny was Harry’s thing. Louis loved his silly knock knock jokes, and his puns, and everything else. He couldn’t imagine anyone not finding his best friend the funniest person in the world.

“Look, I’m gonna go. I’ll… I’ll see you around Harry, okay?”

Harry just nodded and waved as Leila walked off, stopping with a group of Slytherin girls, all chatting quietly as Louis walked off with Harry, still linked to him. They made their way inside, shivering from the cold weather outside and Harry walked into the dorm room, using a bit of magic to produce two hot chocolates and he cuddled up to Louis’ side on the sofa, an arm flung around his shoulder.

“How was your walk with Leila, Haz?” Niall called as he walked in through the Common Room doors, unwrapping a scarf from around his neck.

“Yeah, was alright,” Harry called in reply, and Louis noticed him closing his eyes, head snuggled on Louis’ shoulder by now. “I’m tired, Lou…”

“Sleep, love. I’ve got you.” As bad as Louis sometimes felt for crashing Harry’s time with Leila, he couldn’t help but love it when Harry was back with him again. It was like he belonged by his side somehow, and Louis was certain that’s where he would stay.

~

“What gets wetter the more it dries?”

Louis stood in front of the eagle knocker and pondered the answer for a moment before it came to him.

A towel.”

The door swung open and he grinned.

Thank you!” He jogged up the steps of Ravenclaw Tower and into the common room, frowning when he saw no sign of Harry. He hadn’t been at lunch with everyone else after Divination, so Louis was worried. It wasn’t like Harry to skip meals, and he’d seen Leila sat with her friends so he knew they weren’t together.

Undeterred, he carried on climbing the steps up to their little dorm room and pushed the door open. His heart fell when he saw Harry curled on his bed, cuddling what looked Louis’ pillow to his chest as he sniffled, his eyes red and pillow damp beneath his cheek. Louis hurried over and sat down on the edge, rubbing up and down Harry’s arm to soothe him.

“Babe… what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

Harry sniffed and looked up at Louis, wiping an errant tear away as he did so. “Just… me being stupid. Leila dumped me.”

“Oh, man. That sucks, I’m sorry, love. Do you, uh, do you know why?”

Harry shrugged but Louis knew he was holding something back, and his stomach sank as he realised it was probably related to him.

“Don’t keep things from me, Harry. We’re always honest with each other, yeah?”

Harry sighed and took Louis’ hand before he began to speak, voice low and gruff as it always was when he was emotional. “She, uh, said it was because I spent too much time with you, that we’re, uh, too close, or words to that effect, anyway.”

“Oh. Um… well, I can go and talk to her, put her straight, tell her it’s my fault, not yours-”

“No. No, Lou, don’t. That’s not all she said, anyway. Uh…” Harry was blushing again and Louis could see he was struggling. “She made me choose, Louis.”

“Choose?” Louis frowned, trying to work out what Harry meant. “Choose what exactly?”

“Between you. She told me to choose either her… or you.”

“What? She.. what?”

“She told me. I had to choose, Lou. You or her.”

Louis swallowed, feeling a lump rise in his throat, wondering how the hell he was going to fix this mess.

“I picked you, Lou.” Harry’s eyes found his again, and he squeezed Louis’ hand where it was still nestled in his own. “I’ll always pick you, every time. I’ll always choose you.”

* * * * *

“Ouch!” Louis came back to earth with a bump when Zayn kicked his ankle, nearly upsetting the tea he was now holding in his hand. “What was that for?”

“You were off in dreamland again,” Zayn muttered, pushing his now empty plate away from him, grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl just along the table a little. “You know he’s never had another girlfriend since, right?”

“Or boyfriend, Zayn, don’t generalise.”

“Either way, Lou, you’re the only constant in his life, do you realise that?”

“Yeah, and? I really don’t see your point, mate.”

“No, neither of you do…” Zayn mused, taking a big bite of his apple and chewing before he swallowed it down, leaving the core on his plate. “Anyway, since you two live in denial town, do you wanna go and find Liam, maybe practise for the match a bit?”

“Yeah, sounds good. Actually, I was thinking I want you in on this match, Pearson said his shoulder is still sore so he’d appreciate being benched this time, if that’s okay?”

“Yeah, it’s fine. You gonna ask Haz to come?”

Louis looked down the table and saw Harry still poring over the book in front of him, scratching on the paper in front of him with a pen, entirely absorbed in what he was doing. He didn't even look up as Louis noisily stacked his empty cup on his plate, causing a few others students to look up, wanting to know what the racket was. “Nah, he’s busy. Let’s leave him to it.”

“If you’re sure. I just need to grab a change of clothes, these jeans are too tight to fly in.” Louis laughed at that and headed up the aisle between the tables, unable to stop himself ruffling up Harry’s hair as he walked by. Harry looked up, a little startled but when he saw it was just Louis, he grinned and winked at him before he turned back to his book. Louis glanced back over his shoulder as he stopped at the hall doors, staring at his best friend. Harry must have sensed someone looking at him as he looked up again, sending Louis a puzzled expression.

Louis just shook his head minutely, telling Harry wordlessly all was fine. He raised a hand and waggled his fingers slightly, waving goodbye, and Harry returned the gesture, giving him a smile that lit up his whole face. Louis returned it easily and slowly turned away, following Zayn down the corridor, almost feeling like he’d left a little bit of his heart behind in the grand hall, a bit named Harry Styles.

 

Harry and Liam

“Thanks, Professor.”

“No worries, Harry. Pop back if you need anything, okay? My door is always open for my star student.” Harry blushed as he nodded, hurrying out of Professor Hawkins’ room, another bundle of notes in his arms. When he was going to get a chance to look at them, he didn't know. He sprinted off in the direction of Ravenclaw Tower, answering the riddle with ease to gain entrance, but sighed when he realised Louis wasn’t around. In fact, he’d barely seen his best friend all day, and that wasn’t okay with Harry.

He set his papers down, grabbing a post-it and sticking it on top of the papers, with “Harry’s notes, please don’t touch, thanks!” written on it in his loopy handwriting. He laughed when he arrived back at the door to the tower, allowing a couple of confused first years entrance, seeing that they were entirely stumped by their tricky riddle.

The walk to the Grand Hall for dinner was quite lonely. Niall and Liam were in a Potions class, Zayn was probably being dark and brooding somewhere and as for Louis, Harry wasn’t sure. He hadn’t made it to lunch, and that worried Harry enough. Louis had a habit of not eating properly when he was stressed, and with their NEWTS just one week away, he knew how important it was for Louis to maintain a good diet to feed his brain properly. If there was one thing Harry would get a one hundred percent pass rate in every time, it would be an exam in Taking Care of Louis Tomlinson.

He stood to the side to allow a group of chatty second years to pass by, smiling softly to himself as they reminded him so much of how he and the boys used to be at that age, constantly up in each others space, needing to be together at all time, much to the exasperation of their Professors. Harry stood back up and walked towards the doors, nearly stumbling as someone almost barrelled into him, barely catching himself and straightening up, expecting to see an over-excited first year.

“Lou!”

“Hey Haz, sorry-”

“I’m so happy to see you, missed you today. You wanna grab some dinner together? The other boys are busy but i thought it’d be nice if it was just us…”

He trailed off when he saw the sad expression on Louis’ face, one of regret and instantly, Harry knew the answer was going to be. It weighed heavily in his heart, and he pasted a smile on his face, not wanting to upset Louis any more than he was.

“Oh babe, I’m so sorry, but we need to get an extra practise in before the final, and a couple of the younger lads have been at each other’s throats all day… I need to sort it out, it’s a big mess.” Louis ran his hand through his hair, and Harry could see the tension in his shoulders. Louis carried his responsibilities well, but he also stressed out when things didn't run as smoothly as they should have done. Harry understood that, being a prefect. He had to show exemplary behaviour and was a role model to the younger students, and at time, it felt like a lot, especially when he was a spotty and self-conscious fifteen year old.

“Don’t worry Lou, you go do what you need to do. Tell you what, I’ll get those nice oils out we got in Hogsmeade last time we went, and I'll give you a massage later, yeah? I know you’ve been stressed out, might help-”

He was cut off by Louis pulling him against him in a quick hug, clinging to him like a lifeline for a moment. “I’d love that,” he muttered into Harry’s neck before he pulled back, grazing his lips on Harry’s cheek. “Have some dinner for me, yeah?”

Before Harry could protest anymore about Louis not eating, his best friend had darted off, his small and curvy form disappearing down the corridor and out of sight. Harry sighed and made his way inside, choosing an area of the Ravenclaw table that was pretty sparse of people, sitting by himself. He was struck by a sudden pang of loneliness and picked up his fork, moving his food around the plate rather than actually eating any of it. It reminded him of that not-so-great time a few years ago when he and Louis had regretfully started to grow up and apart for the first time. If Harry was honest, it was a time he’d much rather forget…

October 2016 - Fifth Year

“The other professors within Ravenclaw house have discussed this but we all came to a mutual decision immediately about our choice for the final prefect this year. This honour goes to a hard-working student, someone who is always ready to help and has a smile. His grades are exemplary and we are all excited to see where he goes in his undoubtedly bright future. This year’s final Prefect is… Harry Styles.”

“Woo, go Hazza!” Louis hollered around the room as the rest of the Ravenclaw students burst into spontaneous applause as Harry got up on shaky legs, making his way to the front of the room where the Head of House, Professor Flitwick stood, clutching his bright blue Prefects badge. Harry bent down to allow the diminutive professor to attach it to his jumper, and Harry practically glowed with pride as he stood up, feeling proud and amazed that he’d been picked for this.

He looked out around the room, many of the younger students grinning as they knew Harry and were happy to have such a kind and supportive prefect appointed, but there was only one face Harry was seeking out amongst the many staring at him. His eyes finally settled on the ones that felt like a little bit of home, the ones he woke up to most mornings, the last ones he saw before he went to sleep at night. Louis’ cheeks were pink with the exertion of cheering and applauding so loudly, and Harry knew exactly how Louis was feeling. It was how he felt everytime he watched Louis step onto the Quidditch pitch with the team.

Professor Flitwick finished his little speech before everyone applauded again and the teachers left, allowing the gathered students to finally start celebrating the new roles that had been handed out. Harry didn't hesitate. He practically shoved his way through the crowds towards where he knew his friends were stood, and all but crashed into Louis’ body as the two finally met. Louis’ hands were grabbing at his jumper, holding him so close before he pulled back, gently taking Harry’s badge between his fingertips.

“Better be on my best behaviour now, huh? Got myself a prefect for a best friend, go on easy me, huh Haz?”

“Only on you, Lou,” Harry said, a shy smile on his face. Louis let go of the badge and allowed the other lads to hug Harry before snatching him back again, always keen to dominate Harry’s attention whenever he could. “I heard you, you know. When Flitwick said my name. You were shouting for me. Thank you, I… that meant a lot to me.”

“Well, I was proud! So proud, love. You deserve it, Harry. You’ve got the biggest heart I know, you’re helpful, and lovely, and wonderful, and… just you, really. Wouldn’t ever want you to be anyone else, actually.” Their eyes met for a second and they both blushed, looking down at their feet. “Proud of you, Harry.”

“Thank you, Lou.” He reached and linked Louis’ pinky in his own for a second, their own little thing they did when they needed something more, something for the just the two of them. “For everything.”

~

From then though, things became difficult. Louis was swept up in a multitude of Quidditch practices, Harry’s workload with his lessons became more difficult as he’d chosen a variety of tough subjects, some of his professors likening him to the infamous former student Hermione Granger, something Harry felt was a complete and utter compliment, and a comparison he felt he could never truly live up to, if he was being honest. Still, having his name even uttered in the same sentence as Hermione Granger’s was more than enough for Harry.

Harry often went to bed feeling like he’d barely seen Louis throughout the day. They’d always had slightly different lessons but something else had changed. Louis was spending more and more time with his Quidditch teammates, looking up to the older boys as some sort of idols, and he could often be found laughing with them in the Common Room, or at the table in Great Hall. He never failed to ask Harry to join him, but Harry refused, preferring to leave Louis to it. It wasn’t his scene, and he didn't want to tarnish Louis’ new friendships with his presence.

One constant, though, was the fact that Louis always crawled into his bed at night. Even if there weren’t any words spoken between them, Louis never failed to slip in behind Harry, looping an arm over his waist and holding him close as they fell asleep together, tangled up as always. Somehow, it soothed Harry. He was the only one who got to see this part of Louis, who got to be held by him as they slept, got to see his rumpled morning face, or his bed-hair. It was the part of himself Louis reserved for Harry and it meant the world to him.

It didn't stop the loneliness, though. Harry found himself studying for long nights in the library, surrounded by piles of textbooks, a wall of sorts closing himself off from the students around him, feeling somewhat unapproachable. He’d been joined by Zayn sometimes, Niall on other nights, but it didn't stop Harry from hurting. He missed his best friend more than anything, and he hated that he and Louis were growing apart. He was a bit of a nerd, always had been and was never bothered by it, but now, with Louis becoming part of the ‘cooler’ group of students, Harry felt… left behind.

~

“No way! What did you do?” Niall’s eyes glowed with anticipation, and Harry laughed, not quite knowing what to say.

“Um, nothing really, I-” He stopped talking as he saw Louis come into the Common Room, glued to Alfie and Will’s sides as he always was these days. He watched as Louis threw his head back in laughter, one of Harry’s hoodies hanging off his thin frame. Harry wasn’t sure he liked how much weight Louis had lost since he’d started playing more Quidditch and hanging out with the older boys.

“Haz?”

“Sorry, Ni. I, uh-”

“You wanna go upstairs, get out of here for a bit?”

Harry nodded, grateful that Niall seemed to know what he needed. Louis didn't look up as the two boys stood up from their sofa in front of the fireplace and headed for the dorms, closing the door quietly behind them. They settled on Niall’s bed,and Niall used a quick spell to close the curtains around the bed, keeping them shrouded in privacy. “You want to talk about it, H?”

“I just miss him.” Harry shrugged as he said the words, but he knew Niall saw through his nonchalance. “I mean, we’ve always been different. Like, he’s always the popular kid and I’ve always sort of been hidden in his shadow, and he’s never minded. But now... it’s like… god, he’s shining on his own, Ni, and I feel left behind and I hate it. I know that’s selfish and a shitty thing to say, but… he’s my Lou, not theirs.”

He sighed, and Niall reached over, rubbing his back in small circles, a comfort Harry was grateful for.

“I get it, and it’s not selfish. You and Lou have always been a package deal, you know? Like, if we asked Lou to go somewhere, we’d get the pair of you, and same with you, not that we ever minded. So I get that it’s hard he’s finding his own friends. But you know something, Haz?”

“What?” Harry let his heavy eyes start to shut, tired from a poor sleep last night thanks to Louis having a tickly cough that kept waking him up at all hours.

“He’s still your Lou. He’s always asking me how you are, and he watches you, even when you don’t think he does. Just… let him find himself for a bit, yeah? He’ll be back with you before you know it. You’re like two halves of the same whole, yeah?”

Harry paused, letting Niall’s words sink in for a moment.

“You really think so?”

“I know so. Cuddle?”

Harry nodded and let himself go into Niall’s embrace, slightly lamenting the fact it wasn’t Louis’ familiar arms around him, holding him tight. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too long before they were.

~

It was in the summer when Ravenclaw had won the match that gave them second place in the Quidditch Cup for the year that things finally changed again. Harry had of course been stood in the stands, wearing his slightly too small TOMLINSON 28 Quidditch shirt with pride, and had cheered for his best friend throughout until his voice was hoarse, and his arms ached from being held aloft for so long. Louis had blown him a kiss after he’d scored a particularly tricky goal and Harry had caught it, stuffing it in his pocket which made Louis laugh and nearly fall off his broom.

The older students had snuck some butterbeer out of the kitchens, and one of the rebel seventh years had even got a hip flask full of something from his dad’s liquor cabinet, sneaking it into a few bottles that filled up some red cups, handed out amongst the team and others who wanted to join in. Harry chose to stick to the non-alcoholic ones, especially when he saw Louis was downing the laced one rather quickly.

The party was loud and raucous but the teachers allowed it, knowing the students needed to celebrate and let their hair down a bit. They were all safe within the confines of the castle, and everyone appreciated being allowed to be free for a while. The younger years were sent off to their dorms as the clock hit half past ten, but the party carried on for the older pupils, all rather merry at this point.

Harry was sat in a corner of the Common Room, slightly out of sight of the rest of the party as he had been all night, keeping a careful eye on his best friend, ready to step in if he looked poorly or ready for bed. He must have started dozing off because the next thing he knew, he had a lapful of Louis, who snuggled into him much like a cat would with his owner, and Harry wasted no time wrapping his arms around his best friend, keeping him close.

“Missed you Hazza… you not having any drinkies?”

Harry chuckled, loving tipsy Louis. “No drinkies for me, love. Wanted to stay sober to look after you, just in case.”

“You’re the bestest friend in the whole world. I’m super lucky, like, seriously lucky, Hazza. Loved seeing you in the stands today in my jersey… my own little cheerleader, aren’t ya?” He squished Harry’s cheeks between his hands, and Harry just let him, knowing Louis was handsy at the best of times, let alone when he’d had some alcohol for the first real time. “I love you, Harold.”

“Love you too, Lou. You ready for bed yet or not?”

“Bed? What are we, eighty year olds? Noooo it’s a party, Harry. Actually, I haven’t seen you dance tonight and that’s just unar- unack- not good.” Louis frowned as he realised he couldn’t quite get his words out but shook his head as if to bat the thoughts away.

“That’s because I don’t dance, Lou. I’ve got two left feet, love. That’s why you’re the Quidditch player and I’m the book geek.”

“Oi. Nope. Nuh uh. Don’t put yourself down like that, you’re like… amazing!”

“Louis, I-”

Louis pressed a finger to Harry’s full lips, stopping him before he could dare to object. “Stop stop stop. You’re too good, Harry, and you are lovely to me and I never tell you how much you mean to me and I should so I’m gonna.” Harry blinked as Louis finally took a breath, shuffling his body around until he was straddling Harry’s lap. It wasn’t an unusual position for them to settle in but Harry felt slightly awkward, hoping his body wouldn’t react to Louis wriggling around on him like this. Impromptu boners were definitely a downside to being a teenage boy.

“You’re like my best mate ever, yeah? I’m so fucking happy we met on that train, that I found you in the cabin thingy. You were all sad but I made you smile and… your smile, Haz. Your smile is like the sun! It lights up your whole face and you’ve got this fun little dimple right here-” he poked a finger right into Harry’s cheek, making him grin and said dimple popped, making Louis squeal in drunken excitement. “See! There it is, always hiding from me. What was I saying? Oh yeah, your smile. It’s pretty and I love it.”

“Thank you,” Harry mumbled shyly as Louis tried to keep his chin tilted up, glazed and unfocused eyes trying to look into Harry’s.

“I’m not done. Nope. Your eyes as well, they’re so green. No green I’ve ever seen.” He paused for a second then laughed loudly, making Harry jump. “Hey, that rhymes. I love them, though, your eyes, I mean. Pretty eyes. Our eyes are pretty together, actually, blue and green.” Harry nodded. He’d thought that himself once in a while, especially when the sunlight hit Louis’ bright blue eyes and made them sparkle even more. He really did have gorgeous eyes, and he liked the idea that Louis loved his just as much.

“And my bestest favouritest part is your curls. My little Curly, that’s you. I love laying on them at night, sniffing them when we go to bed together. They smell nice, like coconuts. I nick your shampoo by the way, did you know?”

“Yeah, Lou, I knew. Why do you think I started buying the big bottle?”

Louis grinned and pressed his hands to Harry’s warm chest. “I’m not even sorry. But your curls are so pretty, and I like to twiddle them in my fingers cos they’re soft and it means you’re close by me. I like being close by you, Harry. You’re my bestest person in the world and I love you and I wanna be friends forever, ‘til we’re old wizards and living together in some care home somewhere.” Again, Louis stared off into the distance before giving Harry a strange look. “Shall we get a cat? I think you’re more a cat person. I’d like a cat. Like a black one.”

“Whatever you want, Lou.” Harry was still trying to get his head around the barrage of compliments that had flown his way, and now he didn't want to let Louis go, but he felt he had to, that he’d monopolised enough of Louis’ time. “Listen, go and have some fun with your friends, yeah? I’ll wait here ‘til-”

“Nope. Staying with you, I want to cuddle and talk and stuff all night. They’re cool, the guys, but they’re not you. I like you best of all. Always have done.”

“I like you best, too.” Harry leaned and kissed the top of Louis’ head, letting him snuggle against his chest, mumbling something about Quidditch that Harry didn't quite catch the start of. He nodded when Louis paused, though, and they stayed there all night, until the last few stragglers reluctantly cleared up some of the mess and the music went off. Niall, Liam and Zayn had joined them at some point, chatting away to Harry and Louis, just the five of them, and Harry felt like it was perfect again, like all was right with the world.

“Rough night for him, huh?” Alfie, one of the seventh years said with a smile, nodding his head down to Louis who was sound asleep on Harry’s lap, breathing into his chest.

“Yeah, can’t hold his drink. He’ll be alright, though.”

“Want a hand getting him to bed?”

“Nah, I’ve got him. Not the first time I’ve carried him upstairs. Night, Alfie.”

“Night, Harry. Louis, uh… he talks about you a lot, you know. Always tells me when he’s seen you in the stands when we play, spurs him on a bit, I reckon. Wish I had a best mate like that. Anyway… night.”

Harry pondered Alfie’s words as he lifted Louis up, getting him stable against his body before he walked over to the staircase, climbing slowly but steadily towards their dorm. He laid Louis out on his bed, smiling at the sight of the other sleeping boys tucked in their own beds, and pulled his own clothes off, yanking a cosy jumper on over his head since it was a chilly night. He left Louis in his own jumper but pulled off his shoes and trousers before he tucked him in and climbed into bed next to him.

Louis automatically rolled towards Harry’s warmth, and Harry carefully manoeuvred them so his arm was around Louis’ shoulders, and Louis’ cheek was on his chest. Louis’ breath smelt sweet, of the Butterbeer he’d been drinking, and something so Louis that Harry felt at home again. Harry shut his eyes, feeling like all his worries about Louis drifting away from him had disappeared, especially since Louis was back where he belonged, in his arms again.

* * * * *

“Sorry, what?”

Harry snapped back to reality when he felt a hand resting on his shoulder. He looked up to see Liam’s concerned face looking down at him, and he quickly rearranged his features into a smile.

“In a world of my own, Li, sorry. Hey, aren’t you meant to be in Potions?”

“Well, I was until Frankie added the wrong ingredient and made her potion explode. We all got evacuated,  Smithers is trying to clear up the mess but I reckon that classroom will be out of action for a while. Can I, uh, can I join you?”

“Of course, you don’t even need to ask,” Harry muttered, watching as Liam walked around the table and sat opposite him, greedily loading up his plate. Harry felt a pang of jealousy, knowing he’d put weight on if he shovelled food in like Liam did but somehow, his friend managed to keep ridiculously fit with the three mile runs around the ground he went on every morning. Harry was always too tangled in Louis and his warmth to drag himself out of bed to join him.

“Where’s Lou?”

Harry sighed, having anticipated the question. It wasn’t often they were apart, after all. “Busy. He had a thing with the Quidditch boys, I’m annoyed he didn't eat though so I’ll take a plate upstairs for him later on.”

“You know he misses you just as much as you miss him, right?” Liam mumbled as he shovelled another roast potato into his mouth. Harry was determined that by the time he left the castle in just a few months, he’d have weedled the Kitchen Staff’s secret to their roast potatoes out of them so he could cook them for he and Louis in their own home one day.

“He’s my best mate, Li, course I miss him. But I also get he’s busy and important, and that’s okay. Just… I guess I feel lonely without him. Like… I’m so used to him being my side it’s weird when he’s not, you know?”

“I do. But in the meantime you’ve got us lot, Haz.”

“I know, and I love you lads.” They chatted easily as they ate the rest of their own roast dinners, until their stomachs were full and they ached. Harry resisted the temptation of the sticky toffee pudding that appeared on the tables for dessert, but Liam didn't, so Harry stayed with him, preferring to sit downstairs with Liam than mope around upstairs on his own. Eventually though, Liam left to go and meet a study buddy in the library and Harry was alone once more.

The common room was empty when he went upstairs, and Harry curled up on the sofa with his latest book, one Louis had bought him for Christmas. He was laughing away to himself, and it was only when some of the other students returned to go to bed that Harry realised he’d spent the entire night alone. He placed his bookmark (one that Louis’ little sister Daisy had made for him and given him for his last birthday) in between his pages and held the book to his chest as he climbed the stairs, getting changed for bed and sliding into the cool sheets.

Niall and Liam were already asleep but there was no sign of Louis and Zayn just yet. Harry just assumed it was something related to Quidditch and snuggled down, feeling oddly tired considering he hadn’t done too much that day. He was just slipping into sleep when he felt the bed dip behind him as the sheet lifted up, letting a cool blast of air shoot across his warm skin. A warm hand snaked over his waist under his t-shirt and Harry couldn’t help but smile, knowing exactly who it was. He sighed and somehow felt more comfortable with Louis spooning him, a slight smile crossing his lips.

“Night, love,” came Louis’ voice into the darkness of the night, a kiss pressing against the hair at the back of his head. Harry couldn’t help but subconsciously push into it, relishing their close proximity again. “Sweet dreams.”

“Night, Lou.” Louis’ arms squeezed around Harry’s waist again for a second and it was with his best friend tucked up behind him that finally Harry succumbed to sleep.

 

Louis, Harry, Liam, Niall and Zayn

“Louis, will you hurry up, we’re gonna be late, and you know what Professor Tapping is like, he might stop us going altogether!”

“I’m coming, bloody hell…” Louis cursed, yanking on his shoe as he checked his reflection in the mirror, making sure his fringe was arranged just so.

“Your hair is fine, stop fussing!”

Louis grinned back into the mirror at the fact his best friend knew exactly what he was doing and hurried out of the room, taking the stairs as quickly as he could before he nearly crashed into Harry’s waiting body at the bottom of the stairs. Strong arms wrapped around his waist to hold him up and he looked up into Harry’s green eyes, grateful Harry had once again caught him before he fell.

“Perfect.” Harry removed his arms and tweaked Louis’ fringe with his fingertips, barely brushing his skin but Louis shuddered anyway. “Let’s go, before we’re too late.”

Together, they walked as quickly through the labyrinthine corridors of the castle, Louis’ legs working at twice the speed of Harry’s to keep up with his long strides. Eventually, they tagged onto the back of the group who were huddled outside, already moving slowly out of the gate towards the gathered group who were making their way on foot to Hogsmeade. They ended up bumping shoulders with a selection of third and fourth year pupils, talking quietly to each other and ignoring the stares they could feel on them.

They finally arrived with the rest of the group of students, and walked into the small village. Hogsmeade held fond memories for all students of Hogwarts. There was nothing like the freedom you were given in your third year when the students were allowed on their first trip to Hogsmeade, and Harry had always loved the place, especially in the winter when it was covered in snow and he could shop for Christmas presents for everyone.

“Oi, Tommo, Haz!” They whirled around together at the sound of Niall’s dulcet Irish tones, and grinned as their three mates came towards them, all sharing hugs quickly. “You hungry? We could go to Madame Puddifoots’, grab a tea and cake or something?”

“Tea and cake- Niall, what are we, old men or young teenagers in our prime?”

Harry snorted at Louis’ humour and Louis smiled, looping an arm easily around Harry’s broad shoulders, tugging him close.

“Nope, Butterbeers all around, I reckon. Three Broomsticks?”

“Sure!”

“Sounds good to me.”

They headed in the direction of the pub, pleased to finally escape the hubbub of the younger, more excited children. They pushed open the large wooden door and moved inside, the room dark and dingy around them as Zayn led the way towards an empty round table at the back of the room. Louis and Niall stepped away from the group and stood at the bar, waiting to get the attention of the bartender as Harry, Liam and Zayn settled into their seats. The one next to Harry was left free for Louis, and soon, the two of them came over, Zayn expertly carrying three pints which he put down between Liam and Niall, and Louis handed Harry’s his with a small smile, fingers brushing as Harry took it from him.

They sipped on the cold beers, laughing as they realised they all had foamy moustaches above their top lips, wiping them off with napkins or, in Niall’s case, the back of his hand. Louis settled back in his seat and just watched his friends interact, still a little disbelieving that in just a few months time, all this would be in the past. They’d be separated, heading off into the real world with jobs, new homes and exciting futures ahead of them. There was a lull in the conversation, and Louis felt a need to fill the void.

“What’s your favourite memory from here then, lads?” Louis looked at each of them as they became lost in their own memories, picking something from years gone by, smiles slowly appearing on each of their faces as they continued to sip on their beers, Niall and Liam’s hands darting into the bowl of peanuts that one of the staff had dropped off to them all. It was fair to say a couple of the bartenders had a soft spot for the Seventh years and were going to miss their regular visits.

“The first time we came here,” Liam spoke up. “I just loved it… I’d never seen anything like it, and it was magical, especially because it was all snowy and beautiful. We had that amazing snowball fight, do you remember?”

“I remember Louis shoving bloody snow down the back of my trousers,” Niall moaned, setting Louis and Harry off in cackles of laughter. It had been a great afternoon, but poor Niall had had a soggy bum all the way back to the castle, even leaving a damp patch on his bed when he fell backwards onto it, much to Louis’ delight. “But for me, it has to be that time we came here for Easter, and the prefects had set up that ridiculous Easter Egg hunt like we were kids.”

“Oh come off it, Niall. You loved it, and you ate more eggs than anyone. If I recall, you even stole from Harry’s pile,” Louis retorted with a scoff, and the boys all laughed loudly again, drawing a few stares from the people around them. “What about you, Haz?”

Harry just shrugged, and Louis didn't miss the slight blush that crept up his cheeks as he ran his fingertip over a groove in the wood on the table in front of him. Louis quickly moved on and pestered Zayn, the other man eventually confessing to enjoying their celebratory visit at the end of the fifth year when they’d all completed their OWLs, the entire year being allowed a special trip alone to the village. They’d all reminisced for a while until they’d drained their drinks, and Liam and Zayn headed back to the bar for another round, while Niall went to the loo, leaving Harry and Louis alone.

Louis shuffled his chair closer and leant an elbow on the slightly sticky surface of the table, raising an eyebrow as he looked at Harry. “So. You gonna tell me why you avoided telling me your favourite memory about this place then?”

“No?”

“Oh, but you are, Harry. Come on, it’s just me. You can tell me anything, yeah?”

“Do you seriously not know, Lou?” Harry’s eyes still weren’t meeting Louis’, and slowly, Louis’ fingers pushed up and under his chin, forcing him to look up. “It was… uh. It was last Christmas…”

Louis tried not to react as the memories flooded back, but he couldn’t stop himself from resting a hand on Harry’s thigh, trying to tell him silently that he knew… that he could never, ever forget.

December 21st 2017 - Sixth Year

“I cannot believe that they’ve let us have our Christmas party here!” Harry shouted over the noise of the gathered crowds in The Three Broomsticks. The pub had been opened especially for the young people of Ravenclaw House, who had begged Professor Flitwick to be allowed to hold their party in Hogsmeade. Luckily, everyone had been on their best behaviour and he’d relented, arranging it with the staff and now, Butterbeer was flowing, snacks were being devoured and music was playing loudly into the room. People were dancing but Louis and Harry were stood at the side, pints of butterbeer in their hands as they watched people dance and talk.

“So loud though,” Louis moaned, grabbing a sausage roll from a passing Liam, who had a plate piled high with food. He didn't protest, just rolled his eyes and carried on towards a few friends from his Transfiguration class. He chewed and swallowed quickly, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder. Thanks to the plethora of school staff and strict underage drinking laws, no alcohol was flowing but everyone was high on Christmas spirit and the impending holidays, which would begin tomorrow. “Are you all packed?”

“Yep. I also finished your packing ‘cos you’re hopeless and I know you haven’t done it.”

“You’re a superstar,” Louis grinned up at Harry. “I’m so happy you’re spending Christmas with us, you know. And I can’t wait to spend New Year’s with your family.”

“Me too, Lou. I’m happy your Mum doesn’t mind me crashing your family Christmas.”

“Harry, how many times do I have to tell you? You are family, and at this point, I think my mum actually prefers you to me sometimes. She’s excited to have someone in the house who actually wants to help her cook Christmas dinner.”

“I can’t wait! Mum and Robin are gonna have such a lovely holiday though, I’m glad they can go off and not worry about me, knowing I’m with you lot.”

Louis felt warm and fuzzy at the thought of Harry coming home with him the next day, and he swallowed down the last of his beer. “You got me a birthday present yet?”

“I’m not telling you, Lou. Honestly, you’re such a child when it comes to your birthday, I swear.” Louis just shrugged, knowing Harry was entirely right. “I wonder if the snow’s settling or not.”

“Wanna go outside and have a look?”

Harry nodded eagerly and Louis grabbed his hand, pulling him through the crowds towards the exit. A blast of snowy wind hit them as they stepped outside, and Harry grabbed two spare robes from the coat stand near the door, not caring whose they were as he wrapped them firstly around Louis, then himself, feet crunching on the snow below as they walked out. Harry yanked the door closed behind him and silence reigned again.

Hogsmeade was beautiful, especially in the snow. The only light came from lanterns hung at regular intervals down the main street, a few windows were lit with candles or Christmas lights, and to Louis, it felt perfect. He’d always loved Christmas, especially because it coincided with his birthday on Christmas Eve, but the fact he was spending it with Harry for the first time this year made it even more special. They walked in the semi-darkness down the road together, so close their arms were bumping and soon, Harry linked arms with Louis, no words spoken between them.

Eventually, they came to a stop under a little archway that sheltered them slightly from the wind and the snow that was still falling, covering the world in yet more white. Louis sighed and allowed Harry to pull him into a hug, resting his head on Harry’s chest, listening to the rhythmic thumping of his heartbeat.

“It’s lovely out here,” Louis mumbled, his words muffled by the robe around Harry’s body. “I love coming here.”

“Me too.”

It stayed silent again for a moment until Harry broke it once more.

“Um, Lou…”

“Hmm?” Louis followed Harry’s gaze up above them, and paused when his eyes landed on the sprig of mistletoe he was sure hadn’t been there before. Something burned in his belly as his eyes flitted across to land on Harry’s, a lump suddenly rising in his throat. The air between them felt charged with something that Louis couldn’t name. “Oh.”

“We, uh… it’s tradition, right?”

“Yeah, I ‘spose…” Louis’ tongue flitted out to wet his lips, suddenly hugely nervous. He couldn’t deny that he’d never thought about kissing Harry before. There were times his mind had gone to that place, when he’d woken up nose to nose with his best friend, lips just inches away, or when he’d hugged him tightly after winning a Quidditch match, pulling back and staring at each other with such a poignant look Louis almost felt his heart stop. “You, um… want to?”

“Yeah, why not?”

“Okay…”

Louis took a small step backwards and rested his hands on Harry’s hips, going up onto his tiptoes a little bit. Slowly and carefully, he leaned in, closing his eyes as he brushed his lips up against Harry’s. The first thought that ran through his head was that it felt… right. Harry’s lips were soft and plump against his own, and Harry’s hands on his chest felt like they were burning through his layers of clothing.

Louis pulled back first, his eyes fluttering open, and he watched as Harry’s eyes opened too, locking on his own. Louis didn't know what to say, or what to do. He didn't move, his hands remained on Harry’s waist and a moment rested between them as Harry cleared his throat, still looking at Louis.

“Louis… no.”

Louis’ heart fell and he almost pulled away before Harry’s hands slid down and gripped his waist, not letting him escape.

“You need to kiss me like you mean it.”

Louis just nodded and reached for one of Harry’s hands, lacing their fingers as he leaned in again, gently and tenderly pressing their lips together. Louis felt Harry pushing back into it, his lips moving slowly with Louis’ own and it felt like the world had stopped around them. Everything was quiet except for Louis’ own heartbeat and the blood rushing through his ears as he kissed Harry, slowly losing himself into it. He felt his body take a step closer, his and Harry’s torsos pressing close as their feet met at the toes.

It was Harry who deepened the kiss, licking along the seam of Louis’ lips before he sucked his bottom lip gently, asking for entrance. Louis didn't hesitate. He parted his lips and allowed Harry’s tongue to slip inside, swiping across his own. He didn't care that he let out a moan, that his body was responding to everything his best friend was doing to him because it was everything. It felt perfect, and Harry tasted like heaven. Harry’s hand came up to tangle in Louis’ hair, brushing the snow aside as he guided Louis’ head to the side, deepening the kiss even more.

They were kissing passionately now, tasting every inch of each others mouths, and Louis pushed Harry backwards until his back hit the wall, pressing a leg between Harry’s as they moaned and writhed together. Finally, it was Harry that pulled away, licking his swollen lips as his dark eyes looked down at Louis, filled with something Louis had never seen in them before.

“That was… yeah…” Harry mumbled, clearly unable to articulate how he felt.

“Was it- was it okay?” Louis suddenly felt nervous, like it wasn’t good enough, or that it had been too much.

“It was perfect, Lou. Really. I’ve, uh, never kissed anyone like that before.”

“I- I’m your first real kiss?”

“Yeah,” Harry breathed out, blushing now despite the cold around them. “I loved that it was you, Lou.”

“Me too, Haz. You were mine too, I mean. Come here.” Harry came into his arms and nuzzled in close, breathing still shallow and rapid. They stayed like for what felt like hours but was probably only two minutes at the most, until Louis felt Harry start to shiver in his arms. “Let’s get back indoors, okay? I’ll get you a warm butterbeer.”

“Can we… can we talk about this later, Lou? When we go to bed?”

“Course, love. Come on, let’s get inside.” Louis didn't flinch when Harry slipped his hand into Louis’ as they walked down the snowy street, carving yet more footprints into the fluffy snow. Louis turned to look at the mistletoe one final time as he pulled the door open to let Harry inside, but much to his surprise and confusion, it had gone. He shook his head and stepped inside, peeling off his robe and hanging it up next to Harry’s. “Go and sit down, there’s a table over there. I’ll get us a couple of drinks.”

Harry nodded and headed off to the table beside the fire, turning to warm his cold hands on the warm flames that were dancing in the fireplace.

“Two warm butterbeers, thanks,” he called to the barman who nodded and shuffled off, grabbing two jugs and filling them to the brim. Louis was about to pick them up when a familiar person came and stood beside him.

“What the fuck was that?”

“Huh? What- if you wanted a drink, Z, you only had to ask, take mine-”

“Not the beer, Louis. I saw you.”

Louis just stared at Zayn, really not sure what he was talking about.

“I saw you and Harry outside, under the arch.”

“Oh. Uh… it was just a kiss, that’s all. Mistletoe…”

“Yeah, that was bloody Niall’s fault, he magicked it up when he saw you two head out, I think he’s drunk on crisps and sandwiches. I was outside, nicked a smoke from Phil and I nearly called to you but then I saw you. You kissed him, Louis.”

“He kissed me too!” Louis protested, keen for Zayn to realise it wasn’t as one sided as it sounded. “But it was just a kiss, that’s all.”

“It didn't look like just a kiss. You were going for it, Louis. Is there something there between you, something more than you’ve told us?”

“No. He’s my best mate, Zayn. That’s all."

“But what if he’s not?”

Louis stayed quiet, the thought settling uneasily inside him. He couldn’t deny when he’d kissed Harry he’d felt something. His whole body thrummed with desire, and to hold Harry in that way, to feel him like that was so much, but so wonderful at the same time. He could still taste Harry on his lips, could still feel the ghost of his tongue, and it was taking everything inside him not to rush back over and push Harry back into his chair and kiss him again.

“He is. We’ve been best friends since we were eleven years old, Z. Come on, if there was something there, we’d have realised it a long time ago, yeah? Haz doesn’t look at me in that way, not at all.” Louis realised that by saying that, he’d cleverly side-stepped his own feelings on the matter, and he knew that Zayn was fully aware of that. “Look, do you want a beer or not?”

“I’ll get it, you go join Haz before he falls asleep.”

“Will do. Um…” he paused, looking down at his feet before his eyes came back up again to look into Zayn’s deep brown ones. “Don’t tell anyone, will you? About me and Harry? He wants to talk about it tonight, and-”

“Lou, of course I won’t. I’m here though, if you want to talk, yeah?”

Louis just nodded and quickly slipped away before he blurted out something to Harry that he couldn’t take back. He set the jugs on the table and sat down next to Harry on the sofa, smiling when Harry immediately curled up on his side, his head in Louis’ lap, a palm resting low on his thigh. Louis carded his fingers through Harry’s hair and blocked out the noise of the pub around them, wondering for just a moment if there was even the slightest possibility this could ever be his future.

* * * * *

“We never did talk about it, you know. I got you back to bed, and you were so tired. Then we had to go home and we just… forgot, I guess.” Harry nodded seriously at Louis’ words, sipping slowly on his beer again. “I always wondered if you…”

“If I what?”

Louis practically whispered the next words, almost afraid to hear the answer.

“If you regretted it.”

Harry slowly shook his head, licking along his top lip, removing the foam sat there. “No. Definitely not, Lou. It’s my best memory for a reason. I really liked… being close with you like that, that we had that moment.”

Louis smiled shyly and stretched out his fingertip, running it gently over the back of Harry’s hand, noticing how soft the skin was, how goosebumps prickled Harry’s skin as he moved back and forth. Harry had always been the best person in the world to him, the one he could talk to about anything, his soulmate, even. But reliving all these memories was stirring up feelings Louis thought he’d long ago buried, and he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them, especially when Harry was looking at him like that.

“Me too, Haz. It’s my favourite memory, too, by the way. I’m glad we had that.”

Louis blinked as Harry nodded again, and he realised Harry was leaning towards him, eyes darkening, wetting his lips quickly. Louis realised how much he wanted it, how he was going to let this happen, even if it might change everything. Kissing Harry again would be worth risking it all for.

“TOMMO! YOU WANT A BAG OF CRISPS OR NOT?”

Louis huffed out a long breath, closing his eyes as he controlled his anger. Harry sat back quickly and the moment was broken completely. Harry’s eyes were once again focused on his lap and Louis looked back over his shoulder at Niall, shaking his head, hoping the anger inside wasn’t evident on his face.

“Look, I, uh, I need the loo. Save my seat, okay? I’ll be back.”

Before Louis could even speak, Harry had pushed back his chair and disappeared, mingling in with the crowds. His seat was quickly taken by Liam who came back, along with a few other boys from their year, all grinning at each other as they enjoyed a bit of much needed downtime. Nearly an hour had passed before Louis realised that Harry had never come back to him, and that thought didn't sit well inside him at all.

 

Harry and Louis

The events in The Three Broomsticks had marked a change in Harry and Louis’ relationship. Things had been slightly awkward since Harry had run away from Louis in the pub in Hogsmeade, and although they’d still shared a bed together every night, Harry was gone before Louis had risen, plowing all of his attention into revision for the upcoming exams. Louis used his absence as an excuse to get in some extra Quidditch practise with Zayn, tiring out his friend. The tension was running high, and Liam, Niall and Zayn didn't know what was going on, let alone how to fix it.

The big Quidditch cup final match soon arrived, and that brought tensions all of its own. Louis had barely slept, keeping Harry awake most of the night with his tossing and turning, but neither spoke a word to each other. Harry just held him, blinking as he stared up at the ceiling, in complete darkness thanks to the curtains that surrounded the bed. Niall had gotten up early and whipped the curtains open, waking them all up again and they’d trudged down to breakfast in their pyjamas slowly and quietly.

The match was between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, and both teams were oddly quiet in the Great Hall. Harry sat a few feet down from the team, watching from afar as Louis and his teammates ate - well, his teammates were eating. Louis, on the other hand, wasn’t taking a bite. His face was pale and he was nibbling on a thumb nail, staring off into space as the chatter of the other students surrounded them. The Slytherin team suddenly stood, heading out into the entrance hall, and the Ravenclaw team followed suit. Harry almost called out good luck, but Louis seemed too distracted to notice. Harry wolfed down his last piece of sausage and hurried after them to the dorms, putting a hand on Louis’ arm and pulling him off to the side. Louis was turning a light shade of green now.

“Lou?”

“Shit… Haz, I can’t do this, I can’t-”

“Hey, yes you can. If anyone can do it, Lou, it’s you. You’re born for this, and even if you don’t win… this has been the most successful Ravenclaw Quidditch team in years, yeah? And that’s because of you. Your leadership. We’re all so proud of you, Louis.”

Louis looked up at Harry, red-cheeked and teary eyed. Harry didn't hesitate in stepping forwards and wrapping Louis in his arms, feeling him slump into the hug, taking shaky breaths. They stood there for a while, Louis taking comfort in Harry’s familiar arms and only pulled away when the other boys came in, ready to get changed to go and support Louis. They changed quietly as Louis hoisted his bag over his shoulder, waving at them from the doorway.

“Haz? Come here a sec…”

Harry did as he was asked and stopped next to Louis’ bed, waiting to find out what his best friend wanted.

“Uh… I know you usually wear that top I gave you for Christmas, but today… wear this, please? It’s my spare, it's proper uniform, but I want you to wear it. Just… I need you to. Please, Harry?”

Harry reached out and took the top, holding it close to his chest. “Of course. I’d… I’d be honoured, Lou. I’ll be there watching and cheering, okay? Find me in the crowd if you need to, I’ll be watching-” He was stopped by Louis grabbing him another tight hug, and it almost felt like time stopped. Before Harry knew it, Louis pulled away and turned, running down the steps and out of the common room, heading for the changing rooms.

Harry just slumped back against the wall, ignoring the intrigued stares of his friends, sending up a quick prayer that Louis and the team would be victorious today. It would be the perfect end to the Quidditch season, and would be a great almost-ending to their seven years at the best school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the whole world. All he could do now was wait.

* * * * *

Harry stared out onto the pitch, trying to ignore how sweaty he was underneath his clothes, the warm April sun burning down on the bodies of the gathered student body. Every single student and teacher at the school were in the stands watching, all eager to see which team would emerge as the winners, and the noise was deafening. The match had been going on for over two hours now, and the players were tiring. The Seekers had been whizzing around, ducking and diving as the Golden Snitch slipped just out of reach again and again.

Harry moved his gaze back up to the sky, wondering where Louis was. It was hard to keep track of who was who, especially when they were flying fairly high but Harry would know Louis’ silhouette anywhere, every inch of his best friend as familiar to him as his own body was. He squinted and brought a hand up to shield his eyes from the sun, watching as Louis had a verbal sparring match with one of the Slytherin team, someone a lot stockier than Louis himself. Harry could hear the faint strains of shouting but couldn’t discern any words. He bit his lips nervously and prayed that Louis would just let it go, not wanting his best friend to come off worse.

It was only a few seconds later that Harry’s worst fear came to fruition. He watched in horror as the bigger student lunged towards Louis with his fist, connecting with his shoulder. Louis struggled to keep his balance, swaying dangerously on his broom until he lost his balance, slipping. Louis’ hand shot out and Harry’s heart was in his throat as Louis clung on to his brrom, his robe billowing in the breeze as he struggled to haul himself back up. The Slytherins were cheering at the mishap and the Ravenclaw stand was quiet, filled with tension as they waited to see the fate of their beloved Captain.

Harry watched through his fingers as several of the Ravenclaw team quickly flew to assist Louis, and Harry was sure it was Zayn who managed to get him back on his broom, the pair talking quietly before Zayn fist-bumped Louis again, flying off. Harry still felt a bit sick as Louis descended slightly, hovering opposite the stands, his eyes raking around for Harry. Their eyes met and Harry exhaled slowly, nodding at Louis who smiled lightly at him, nodding before he flew off again. It was exactly what Harry needed, and he started to concentrate on the action again as the referee dealt with the abusive player, handing him a sit-out penalty before he blew the whistle, restarting the match.

“Shit, that was too close,” Niall muttered, and Harry could only nod in agreement, feeling his heartbeat start to return to a normal rhythm, satisfied that Louis was okay.

Harry and the boys continued to cheer and encourage the Ravenclaw team, watching the team in blue dominate the skies, and he kept screaming Louis’ name, proudly wearing his shirt and catching his eye as often as he could. Niall and Liam were stood next to him, and he could feel the nerves radiating from the pair of them as well. They weren’t speaking to each other, too focused on the match to tear their eyes away from the action on the pitch. The Slytherin team scored again, taking the score to 110-70, and Ravenclaw were seriously lagging behind. Harry knew they needed to hurry up and catch the Snitch before Slytherin got too far ahead.

There was another roar as Louis snatched the Quaffle from a slipping Slytherin player and zoomed off with it, heading for the goal. One of the Beaters flew in just in time to stop Louis being attacked by a ferocious bludger, batting it up the other end of the pitch as Louis flew low underneath another waiting Slytherin player. The Ravenclaw audience were going wild now, screaming Louis’ name, and Harry knew he would be hoarse after this, his throat already hurting from so long screaming and shouting.

Louis’ arm came back and threw the Quaffle forwards with all his might, fist-pumping the air when it sailed through the hoop, barely brushing the fingertips of the Slytherin keeper, Temperley, bringing the score up to 110-80. The Slytherin keeper shouted another stream of abuse directed at Louis and the Ravenclaw team but Harry felt proud when he just flew away, being the bigger person and ignoring it.

“Come on, Louis,” Harry muttered under his breath, praying that Louis could keep the team enthused, knowing how tired they must be now. There was another loud roar from the crowd as both Seekers suddenly took off at speed, the Snitch in their sights. The rest of the teams continued to play but everyone’s eyes were on the Seekers, diving down almost to the ground before pulling up again, soaring high above the spectator’s heads, chasing the tiny golden object.

There was a horrible gasp that went up as one of Slytherin’s Beaters tumbled to the ground, landing with a thud, but it didn't stop play. The Seekers were still eagerly chasing the Snitch and Harry could see the outstretched fingertips of both players, so close but yet so far from capturing the thing that would end the game and determine the winner. Both boys reached further, clinging onto their brooms by their thighs alone, and it fell silent as they tumbled to the floor, both of them panting as they stared up to the sky.

Everyone’s eyes were on them as they waited to see which of them had caught the Snitch and finished the match, winning it for their team. Harry was the only one not looking at the boys. Instead, his eyes were locked on Louis who was hovering close to the Seekers, his bright blue eyes boring a hole into the ground, tension set in his shoulders. It was from Louis’ reaction alone that Harry knew Ravenclaw had won. Reeves had caught the Snitch. Louis’ face switched from fear to pure elation, screaming loudly as the whole team descended on Reeves who was still clutching the Snitch for all he was worth, allowing his teammates to pile on top of him.

Harry was being jostled too as Liam and Niall screamed and cheered with the rest of the house students in the stands, allowing them to hug him, celebrating but still, he didn't take his eyes off of Louis. He was pushed along with the rest of the gathered students as they made their way down the rickety steps, rushing onto the field in a frenzy of screams and cheers, celebrating the win they’d all been waiting so long for.

“He fucking did it lads,” he shouted with the biggest smile on his face. “Our boy did it.”

Your boy did it,” Niall corrected, and Liam quickly nodded in agreement. For the first time ever, Harry didn't want to correct him.

It was crazy and complete chaos, but Harry’s eyes raked around-, watching as Louis wriggled out of the pile of Quidditch players and took off across the field, making a beeline straight for him. He couldn’t move, the other students were blocking his path, and he’d barely made it to an area of free space when he saw Louis launch at him, a look of pure joy and elation on his face.

Harry braced himself as Louis barrelled straight into him, legs wrapping around Harry’s waist as he clutched onto him. Harry could feel Louis was crying, his back was shaking and he just held him, being exactly what he needed. He knew exactly how much this win meant to Louis, how it validated his year as Quidditch Captain and finally, he’d got what he wanted. They’d won, and now, he’d go down in Hogwarts History as the captain who finally led the Ravenclaw team to victory after years of failure.

It felt like ages until Louis allowed his legs to fall from around Harry’s waist and he stood on the floor, Harry still supporting him with hands around his waist. They looked into each others eyes and Louis leaned in, resting his forehead against Harry’s, trying desperately to compose himself, knowing he needed to go back to the team, to resume the role of captain again.

Louis stood up, pushing his shoulders back. Harry could read his body language though, and he wished he could whisk him away to their dorm, to hug him and let him get out every bit of emotion he was currently burying deep inside. Louis’ eyes flicked over to Niall and Liam who were hugging many other students around them before they returned to Harry, watching his every move.

“Harry, I-”

“Louis, you-”

They laughed softly at the way they’d begun speaking at the same time, and Louis blushed, looking to the floor before looking up at Harry again, something unreadable in his eyes. Harry swallowed heavily, and blocked out the noise around them, surrounding himself and Louis in a little bubble, just the two of them. It was then he realised he couldn’t hold back anymore. He didn't want to hold back.

He surged forwards, cupping Louis’ cheeks in his hands as he kissed him, right there on the pitch, in front of everyone. Time seemed to stop for a moment, and Harry shut his eyes, feeling Louis’ hands come around the back of his neck, kissing him back. It was Louis’ tongue swiping over his bottom lip that brought Harry back to reality, pulling back, his heart racing in his chest as he stared into Louis’ eyes again, suddenly feeling full of fear that he’d overstepped.

“God, Harry, I-”

Harry couldn’t hear anymore as the team swarmed the pair of them, pulling Louis out of his reach and away from him. Harry took the opportunity to disappear back into the crowd, his mind going a hundred miles an hour, unable to compute what he’d actually just done. He’d kissed Louis, and not just that, he’d kissed him in front of the whole school. His shaking fingertips came up to press against his lips, still tingling from the touch of Louis’ mouth on his again after so long.

Tears burned at the back of Harry’s eyes as he allowed himself to turn away, stumbling through the crowds, going against the sea of people around him as he eventually found himself alone, running back to the castle, finally allowing his tears to fall.

* * * * *

Cheers rang up in the Ravenclaw Common Room as the victorious team walked in, all damp from their showers, but the tired smiles present on their faces told the rest of the student body everything they needed to know. They were scooped up into hugs by their various friendship groups, everyone congratulating every team member, house pride at its peak. Louis arrived at the doorway and paused, letting the atmosphere sink in for a moment before he moved through the gathered students, everyone parting like the sea for him, and his chest was aching with pride.

Louis reached the fireplace, decorated crudely with Ravenclaw flags and banners, and set the trophy down on a cleared table top, letting everyone admire it, loving how the Ravenclaw team were named on the plaque now, as well as the year of their victory. They were forever etched on it as winners, and nothing could ever take it away from them. Louis’ eyes raked around the room, seeking out the one person he wanted, needed to see but his hopes fell as there was no sign of him. He slipped through the crowds, greeting Niall and Liam with big, hearty hugs, letting their words of praise wash over him.

“Um, have you guys seen Haz?”

“Nah, he’ll probably join us soon, though-” Niall mumbled, letting Zayn pull him into an easy hug, slapping backs and shaking hands with other team members who were working the room, high on their victory. Louis moved away again, pulled into conversation with a couple of Sixth years who were praising him again for his leadership, how he didn't let his focus falter for the entire match, and Louis was finding it hard to believe people were saying these words to him, that he’d actually done what he set out to do earlier that year when he’d accepted the position as Captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

It was as he was chatting away to Rob, one of the Sixth years that he saw a figure hovering in the doorway. Louis pushed himself up onto his toes to get a better look and his heart stilled when he saw it was Harry. He couldn’t see him clearly but he’d know that figure anywhere.

Louis interrupted the other man mid-sentence, not caring, only wanting to get to Harry as quickly as he could. “Sorry, mate, I’ll be right back-”

Rob looked a little stunned as Louis practically ran away from him, and he growled almost in frustration when he saw Harry turn on his heel and run away again. He picked up his pace, speeding through the crowd as quickly as he could, arriving at the doorway and looking left and right. He saw a shadow slip around the corner and chased after it as quickly as he could, spotting Harry’s retreating figure in the distance.

“Harry, stop!”

Harry didn't, so Louis used his superior fitness to speed himself up, catching up with a less coordinated Harry with ease, grabbing his wrist to stop him from getting away from him away again.

“Louis, let me-”

“No. Harry, come on… come and talk to me, please? Just us… please?”

Louis thought he saw fear flash in Harry’s eyes but thankfully, he nodded, panting after his exertion and Louis led him down to the corridor, towards a row of classrooms.

He grabbed his wand and aimed it at the lock of one room, muttering “Alohomora” under his breath, the lock clicking open with ease. He pushed Harry in ahead of him and shut the door with a quiet click.

“Lumos.”

Harry’s wand lit up,  bathing them both in a soft glow and Louis indicated an empty desk, hopping up onto one opposite it as Harry settled on its wooden surface, eyes fixed firmly on the floor. Louis reached out, and rested a palm on Harry’s knee, hoping a bit of contact would reassure his best friend that everything was okay, that he hadn’t pushed him away, far from it.

“Harry… love. Can we talk about… what happened on field?”

Harry shook his head and a few of his curls fell forward into his eyes, a blush spreading across his cheeks. Louis pushed himself back onto his feet and came to a stop between Harry’s legs, forcing his face up with two fingers under his chin so he had to look at him. To his horror, he saw tears swimming in Harry’s eyes, and one slowly trailed down his cheek. It broke Louis’ heart just a little bit, and he reached out with his thumb to swipe it away.

“Oh Haz… please don’t cry, darling…”

“I’ve ruined everything, Lou.” Harry hung his head again, and shook it slowly, as if chastising himself again.

“No… Harry, no. You haven’t, I promise.” He took a steadying breath and rested his palms on Harry’s thighs, a grounding touch he needed. “You kissing me… it was everything I ever wanted, Harry.”

Harry’s head shot up at that, jaw dropped as he let Louis’ words sink in so Louis decided to carry on, knowing Harry needed to finally hear the truths that he’d been struggling to keep inside for the longest time, finally admitting to them this week when Liam, Niall and Zayn had brought memories flooding back that allowed him to come to the realisation that he was in utterly and irrevocably in love with Harry.

“I loved you kissing me… I’m glad you did, because if you hadn’t, I think I might have kissed you.”

“You… you don’t hate me for it?”

“Harry… hate you? I could never hate you, darling. Never. I-” Louis realised this was it, this was the moment he confessed everything to Harry, the moment he laid himself bare. “I’m in love with you, Harry. I love you. I always have. It’s just taken me all this time to realise, and I wish it hadn’t because god, I’ve always loved you.”

Harry’s bottom lip started to tremble as the tears began to fall again and his arms flew up, wrapping around Louis’ shoulders and pulling him close, crying against his chest for a moment until he pulled back, red eyes looking up into Louis’ own, a look of disbelief still on his face.

“You… you love me? For… for how long?”

“Forever, I think? At least, since we met on the train on our first day. God, I was so taken with you Haz, I knew you were special from the moment I saw you, all upset. I just wanted to hug you and protect you forever.”

“Really?” Harry’s voice was low and meek, and Louis wanted to make him realise he meant every word.

“Yeah, love. Your beautiful eyes, your perfect curls-” Louis reached up then, twirling one of Harry’s curls with his finger, pulling at it slowly, gently. “…I’ll never forget the first time I saw them, not for as long as I live.”

“But Louis, I kissed you, in front of everyone, the whole school, I-”

“Hey, Harry, come on. Calm down, love. I don’t care, okay? I promise. I loved it so much… I wanted it as much as you did. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted you, to make you mine, and to be yours.”

“Louis, please don’t say these things because I kissed you-”

“I’m not! Christ, Harry, you really don’t see it, do you? It’s- it’s always been you. Right back to the start, yeah? I’ve been thinking this week about us, about how it’s always been us against everyone else, like a little team. It’s always been more for us, love, even when we maybe didn't realise it. You were always so supportive of me, when I got made Captain, when I struggled with my exams… you were always there.”

Harry blushed then, but kept looking at Louis, listening intently, somewhat calmer now as Louis’ soft tone soothed him, his words washing easily over him.

“When you got with Leila… I hated it, Haz. I made myself such a pain in the arse because I couldn’t bear to think of you alone with her… you were mine in my head, even then. After all this time, Haz, it’s always been you. I love you… I’ve always loved you.”

Harry smiled slowly then, and Louis realised he understood, he finally believed him. “I love you, too, Louis. I’ve always loved you so much, and I just… I was so proud of you, I just couldn’t hold back. I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long… I nearly did, in Hogsmeade…”

“I know,” Louis admitted, smiling shyly, reaching down and taking Harry’s hand in his own, resting it on Harry’s leg again. “I wanted you to, you know. It broke my heart a little bit when you ran away. Don’t ever do that again, okay?” Harry nodded, and Louis’ felt his heartbeat slow down, knowing Harry wasn’t running away from him anymore. “Can I kiss you again? Please?”

“Yeah,” Harry whispered, the wand light casting shadows on his face, making him look even more beautiful, if that was possible. “Kiss me, Louis.”

Louis didn't hesitate. Harry was asking him for everything he’d ever wanted, and their lips crashed together at last, becoming one again but this time, just for the two of them. Louis almost wanted to sigh in pleasure as Harry’s lips moved against his own, his fuller ones swamping Louis’ much thinner ones, but it was perfect. As they did with everything, they just fit together perfectly, and Louis tilted his head slightly, feeling Harry’s hands grip at his waist, holding him close, not letting him go.

Louis bit back a gasp as Harry found some courage, sweeping his tongue along the seam of Louis’ lips, begging to be allowed inside again. Louis gave it easily, parting his lips and letting Harry inside, finally tasting the boy he’d loved from afar for so long. It felt surreal to finally be doing this, and as much as he’d loved their first kiss last year in Hogsmeade, this was infinitely better. It was a promise, a declaration of love, a moment in time neither of them would ever forget.

Harry’s tongue moved against Louis’ own, exploring and seeking out what he needed and Louis just let him, resting his hands on Harry’s chest, feeling his boy solid and real beneath his touch, reassuring him that this was finally happening, that it wasn’t a figment of his imagination. He’d imagined their first real kiss enough times but this surpassed everything he’d ever dreamed. He pushed his body closer to Harry’s, forcing a moan from Harry’s lips and it was enough to bring him back to reality for a moment, nipping his teeth on Harry’s bottom lip as they separated, a thin line of spit leaving them joined for a moment.

“Fuck,” Harry mumbled as his tongue darted out, wetting his lips again. “Louis…”

“I know,” Louis replied, not needing Harry to say anymore as he leaned in, resting his forehead against Harry’s, sharing the same air for a moment, lost entirely in each other. “As much as I don’t want to leave, I need to get back. Come with me?”

Harry nodded and released his grip on Louis, letting him stand up and straighten his shirt, where it’d been rumpled from Harry’s tight grasp on it as they’d kissed. Louis stepped back enough to allow Harry to stand up, looking up into his green eyes, shining in the soft glow of the wand light steadily emanating from Harry’s wand, now cast aside on the desk. Harry clumsily got his feet, letting out an embarrassed chuckle as he got his balance.

Louis headed for the door but stopped as he pulled it open, staring back at Harry. Wordlessly, he held out his hand and smiled as Harry slipped his inside. Holding hands was something they did late at night, away from the prying eyes of their friends, and it felt wondrous to finally be doing it out in the open, to be able to tell everyone they were each others. Louis opened the door and stepped outside with Harry, walking silently in the direction of the Common Room.

Harry quickly answered the riddle that was presented to them and Louis pushed onto his tiptoes, kissing his cheek before they walked inside, needing Harry to know that he was there, that this was what he wanted too. The other students were too busy chatting amongst themselves and setting off little confetti cannons around the room to pay much attention to the newcomers. Louis felt Harry’s grip on his hand tighten, how his palm was sweating against his own, nerves taking over as they walked further in.

Louis quickly stopped them and turned to Harry, resting a comforting hand on his cheek.

“Hey, if this isn’t okay-”

“It is, I want this, Lou. It’s just a lot…”

“I know. But it’s us, okay? I’m right here, and I’m not going anywhere, not ever again.”

Harry seemed to be relieved at that and nodded, his eyes widening as they focused on something just over Louis’ shoulder in the distance. Slowly but surely, Louis turned around and locked eyes with Niall. Liam and Zayn were stood next to him and they were all smirking at the pair, eyes flitting down to their joined hands and back up again, smirks on their faces. Louis smiled back and shook his head, looking up to Harry before he dragged him over, standing in front of their friends.

“You finally got your acts together then?” Liam teased, arching an eyebrow at Louis and Harry, who just shrugged, not letting go of each other. “I’m so pleased for you both-”

“It’s about fucking time you’ve finally seen what we could see all along,” Niall began, almost bouncing on his feet in his excitement.

“And what’s that?” Harry piped up, curious to hear what his friend had to say.

“That you’re made for each other,” Zayn replied with a shrug, as if he was stating a fact that the entire world had been privy to, except for Louis and Harry. “You’ve always been inevitable, the two of you. You’re just… I dunno, help me out here, lads,” he begged, hands flapping about uselessly as he struggled to find the right words.

“It’s simple really,” Niall said again with a grin. “You’re Louis and Harry.”

Louis pulled on Harry’s hand until he faced him again, grinning as they nodded.

“Yeah, we are, aren’t we?” he mumbled and Harry nodded, leaning in again for a quick kiss that Louis happily gave. They ignored the whistles and catcalls around as people clocked what they were doing and only parted when Louis heard his name being called by Professor Flitwick, wanting the Quidditch Captain to make a speech. He reluctantly dragged himself away from Harry towards the little platform that had been made from a low coffee table, stepping onto it and clearing his throat.

“Okay, I’m a bit shit at this- damn, sorry, Professor- but honestly, today still feels like a bit of a blur. I’m so stupidly proud of this team, and the fact we’ve won the Quidditch Cup today. We deserved this - we’ve worked so hard all year to become the team we are today, to prove that we’re good enough and today, we pulled it off. We dug deep, we found our spirit, and we triumphed just as I knew we would.”

Louis stopped to allow the students to cheer for the team, who had their arms flung around each other, looking up at their Captain with fierce pride in their eyes, hanging off his every word. Louis’ eyes flitted across to where Harry was stood, still in Louis’ jersey and he smiled, feeling ridiculously soft for the boy who was finally his. He kept his eyes firmly on Harry as he continued to speak, deciding to save the words he so desperately wanted to shout aloud for Harry to hear later on, when they could be alone and he could whisper them into Harry’s ears.

“I’m the proudest Captain ever. You have been the best team in the world and it’s been a honour to have been your Captain for the past year. I can’t wait to pass the baton onto my successor, and hear about your successes next year as well. Thank you to all of you for always giving it your all, and for making me so proud to stand up as your Captain and lead you in every match. I’m going to miss this so much.”

“Three cheers for Tommo!” came a voice, and the entire common room joined in, yelling loudly as they went through three rounds of ‘hip hip, hooray!’ and then finally, Louis was hoisted up on their shoulders, paraded around as they sang ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ loudly and tunelessly while Louis looked down at Harry who was laughing away, muttering something quietly in Niall’s ear.

Louis finally persuaded his team to put him on the floor and he hurried over to Harry, grasping his hand again, sure the novelty of such an act wouldn’t wear off for a long time. Harry held his just as tightly and they stood together, watching the rest of the house as they passed the Quidditch Cup around, wide smiles on their faces. His team had won, he had his boy… Louis wasn’t sure life could get any better than this.

* * * * *

It was much later that night that Louis and Harry crept up the stairs to their dorm hand in hand, tiptoeing around so they didn't wake up the other boys who had headed to bed a while ago. Harry went to grab his pyjamas from underneath his pillow but Louis held his wrist, shaking his head lightly as he started to pull his own clothes off until he was in just his deep red boxers, looking slightly nervous, exposed to Harry like this. It wasn't the first time they'd been undressed together, but everything felt so different now.

Harry quickly took off his own clothes, not as bothered by baring his skin as much as Louis was, and he reached to flick back the blankets, watching as Louis carefully climbed onto the bed, laying down and holding an arm out for Harry. He smiled and grabbed his wand, swishing it to close the curtains before he settled down next to Louis on his side, almost nose to nose.

“Hi.”

“Hi,” Louis whispered back, barely a shadow in the darkness but Harry could feel him. Louis’ bare thighs were pressed up against his own but as always, it felt nothing less than perfect and Harry was relishing in being so close to Louis. They’d been teased by their best friends for taking so long to see what had been right in front of everyone’s noses for years but they didn't care. They just stayed close together, hands held, eyes on each other as the students celebrated around them, the shock of Harry and Louis finally becoming HarryandLouis soon wearing off.

Harry smiled to himself at the thought and reached down, intertwining his fingers with Louis’. “What a day. Like… everything’s changed. But at the same time…”

“Nothing’s changed.” Louis completed the sentence for him, understanding as always. Louis squeezed his fingers and in a way, Harry wanted the night to go on forever. Being here with Louis, tangled up like this, was everything he wanted. He’d been Louis’ best friend for seven years now, but Louis had been his everything since the moment they’d met. He wasn’t sure how he’d missed the signs, the fact he’d slowly but surely fallen in love with Louis, but he was grateful to their friends for pointing out what should have been glaringly obvious for years now.

“I was so scared, Lou,” Harry started, digging deep and finding the courage to voice the words he hadn’t been able to earlier in his emotional state. “When I kissed you after the game, I mean. I thought I’d ruined everything… that you didn't feel the same way about me. I know we kissed last Christmas in Hogsmeade, but we were a bit drunk, and-”

“Doesn’t mean that it meant any less to me, you know? I loved that, Harry. I mean, for our first kiss, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

“Me neither. When, um, when did you know?” Harry was glad the cover of darkness was covering his blush, knowing asking such probing questions was making his cheeks flush bright red.

“Know what?”

“That you loved me.”

“I always have, I think? I know we’ve been best friends for years, but I’ve always felt differently for you compared to how I felt about the other lads. I never wanted to curl up with them at night, or have them come and give me a pep talk before each match. That was always you, and I never wanted anything else. How about you?”

“Same, I think? I just thought it was a- oh god, this is embarrassing-”

“No, don’t be embarrassed, Haz, not with me. Say it, please?”

He nodded despite the darkness, taking a breath before he carried on. “I kind of thought we might be soulmates. Like, we were meant to meet when we were younger, and that’s why we’ve always been closer than anyone else. But now I know it’s because I was in love with you. I love you, Lou.”

“I love you too.” They kissed softly and chastely, their lips moving slowly together as Harry pushed a leg between Louis’, keeping them both tangled up entirely. It felt perfect, and Harry realised he’d wasted so many years not doing this with Louis.

“The boys have been making me think about us all week, you know. All the stupid shit I’ve done, or we’ve done together-”

“Like what?” Louis asked, eager to hear what memories Harry had been reliving, knowing he’d had a few moments of reflection over the past few days.

Harry laughed softly, clapping his hand over his mouth when he realised he might wake the other boys up from their much needed sleep. “Well, like when you pranked Niall with those stupid biscuits and got me involved-”

“Oh no, don’t start that, you were as much a part of that as I was!”

“Liar! That was all you and you know it. But I was so bloody taken with you I’d have sodding well given one to McGonagall if you’d have dared me!”

Louis laughed loudly then too and Harry shoved his palm over Louis’ mouth, only pulling away when Louis’ tongue licked over it, wiping it on Louis’ boxers. “Oh god, that’s brilliant. I wish I’d have known ‘cos I would have dared you.”

“I know. And, um, well, what you said earlier, about Leila. I don’t know how I didn't see that you were jealous, the way you always interrupted us and forced yourself between us whenever you could.”

“Yeah, I was a bit of a stupid shit, wasn’t I?”

“My stupid shit,” Harry replied with a grin, and leaned in, brushing his lips against Louis’ again, sighing in happiness at the fact he got to do that now.

“Yeah, I am.” Louis’ hand came up and rested on Harry’s cheek, kissing him again, pulling away again a few minutes later. “My turn to ask you a question now.”

Harry waited patiently, trying not to react too much when Louis’ hand came to rest on his chest before he rolled his body away, coming back with his wand.

“Lumos.”

Harry smiled as Louis’ face was lit up again, and Louis let the wand rest on the bed on top of the cover, allowing them to see each other now.

“What are you gonna ask me, then?”

“If you want to be my boyfriend?”

Louis’ voice came out a little shaky, and Harry’s eyes widened at the easy nature of his question, but even more so at how easy the answer was to him.

“Yes. Louis, of course I want to be your boyfriend… be mine too?”

“Nothing I want more,” Louis replied with a grin, eyes sparkling in the soft light of his wand. “But I still want to call you my best friend, too. Cos… you’re everything to me, Hazza. I’m so grateful I’ve had you here the whole time we’ve been here at school. I know I’d have been okay without you, but you’ve made it so much more special. I’ve loved every second of my time here because of you.”

Harry blushed, loving every soppy word tumbling from Louis’ lips, listening intently.

“Every moment I’ve loved here, it’s synonymous with you. You’re in every single memory I have, love, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Even when we drifted apart a bit back in fifth year when you got made prefect, and I was a twat with the Quidditch lads… we found our way back to each other, yeah? I think we were always meant to be, in a way.”

“Me too. I’m just so happy we’ve realised after all this time that we’re meant to be more than just friends, Lou.”

Louis leaned in and kissed him again, the words hanging heavily between them in their own private bubble. It was everything Harry had ever wanted, yet everything he never knew he needed at the same time. He’d always had Louis, but now, it was perfect. He belonged to Louis as much as Louis belonged to him, and now, he got to tell the world. He groaned slightly as Louis’ tongue moved into his mouth, letting Louis dominate the kiss for a while until they parted, both tired, slipping into another cuddle.

“You know our mums are gonna go mad for this, don’t you? They’ve probably been secretly plotting this since we were eleven year olds-”

“Oh god,” Louis moaned, burying his face into the side of Harry’s neck, making his boyfriend chuckle. “They’re gonna be insufferable, aren’t they?”

“Yep,” Harry said with a grin, gasping as Louis sucked on the side of his neck quickly, pulling off again just as fast. “And I’m gonna love every second of it.”

Chapter Text

JULY 2019

Louis paced nervously up and down the corridor outside the classroom in which his boyfriend Harry was sitting his final Transfiguration exam. Once this was done, they were free. Their seven years of hard work and learning at Hogwarts were done. It was a scary thought but at the same time, Louis couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next, especially when it came to his and Harry’s relationship.

Things had been ridiculously perfect since they’d gotten together after the Quidditch Final a few months ago. Their confessions of love came so naturally, and they slipped into their relationship with such ease. It hadn't scared either of them, though, and really, the only thing that had changed was the fact they kissed and touched each other now. They were still best friends when out with Niall, Liam and Zayn, and were careful not to show too much PDA in front of the other students, knowing it wasn’t their cup of tea to be too in your face with their love.

They’d gone home at Easter and had revealed their relationship to their families, who had been over the moon with the development. Both Anne and Jay had cried, hugging both boys until they’d had to wriggle away, blushing and holding hands. Louis couldn’t believe how perfect things were, and as much as he was dreading his time at Hogwarts coming to an end, he knew there was still so much to look forward to. Only the results of their NEWTS stood in the way of his and Harry’s dreams coming true, but they’d worked hard enough that Louis felt quietly confident they’d done as well as they could hope.

Louis’ head shot up as the door to the classroom opened, and a few students started to exit, chattering quietly, unreadable expressions on their faces. Louis bounced on the balls of his feet as finally Zayn and Harry came out, sighing and rolling their shoulders. Louis knew it was the exam Harry was dreading most of all, and he was ready to either commiserate or celebrate with him and Zayn.

Harry’s head looked up and he smiled when he caught sight of Louis, heading for him and scooping him up into a tight hug, Louis’ feet lifting off the floor for a brief moment. He usually hated it when his small stature was highlighted but when it came to Harry, he’d let him get away with murder, quite frankly.

“That’s it, Lou, we did it.”

“We did. How was that? Not as bad as you thought?” Louis allowed himself to be lowered to the floor and held Harry’s hand, following Zayn up to the corridor, heading outside to the courtyard where they’d arranged to meet Niall and Liam.

“Nah. I mean, it was tricky, but it’s McGonagall’s class, it was always going to be. But a lot of the stuff you helped me revise came up, so thanks, babe.” He leaned in and kissed Louis quickly, squinting as they walked out into the sunshine. Louis always felt ridiculously proud when he walked around holding Harry’s hand, and it felt no different right now. He spotted the figures of their friends lounging on the grass and tugged on Harry’s hand, guiding him in the right direction.

“Hey lads,” Louis called as he watched Harry sit down on the grass and pat the space between his legs, telling Louis that was where he wanted him to sit. Louis went willingly, as always when Harry asked anything of him, and he settled against Louis’ chest, arms coming around his waist, holding him tightly. “Can you believe that’s it? That we’re done?”

“Not really,” Liam admitted with a wry smile. “Feels a bit surreal than seven years here is all but done. A few more weeks and we’ll be out of here for good.”

“Shit, don’t say that, Li,” Harry moaned, tugging Louis closer against his body, holding him tightly as if they were one person. “I love it here. I’m gonna be so sad for the final time we wake up here, knowing that'll be it.”

Zayn laughed and shook his head. “Geek.”

“Oi, leave my boyfriend alone, Malik.”

Zayn held his hands up in a defensive pose at that, making Louis and Harry both laugh. The five boys carried on chatting as they laid in the summer sunshine, basking in the heat on their skin, finally free after a few stressful weeks of exams. They talked about everything and nothing, what they were planning to do once they left school in a few weeks, and no-one was surprised to find out Louis would be firstly be going to the Styles’ home for a few weeks before they both left to spend time with Tomlinson’s, all of Louis’ sisters eager to have Harry around again. Louis loved how much his family adored Harry, almost as much as he did, and it just confirmed to him that he’d been right in finally getting his act together and making Harry his.

“Haz… I’ll be back in a minute, okay?”

“Where are you going?”

“Uh, just gotta… I have something to do. Wait here for me, okay?”

Louis watched as Harry frowned but nodded, getting to his feet and quickly kissing Harry before he ran off. He wove nimbly in and out of the copious amount of students laid out on the grass, waving at a few as he headed indoors, the cool air of the castle hitting his sweaty skin as he went inside, navigating the familiar corridors with ease. He knew exactly where he was heading, and this would be the final time he came here to check it was what he thought it was before he brought Harry here later on.

His tummy turned over nervously as he imagined what might happen in just a few hours, but more than anything, he hoped Harry would be okay with what he wanted. They hadn’t discussed it exactly, not in so many words, but Louis was more than ready. He slipped into a nearby bathroom when he saw a Professor heading in his direction, only coming out when he knew the coast was clear. It was by the Gryffindor common room, down a corridor with a rather terrible tapestry on one side and a blank wall on the other.

Louis’ mind was spinning - could it be true, or was it just another Hogwarts mystery? He walked up and down the corridor, biting his lip, and as he turned around, his eyes alighted upon a door. He walked up nervously, and rested his hand on the door handle, relieved when it swung open to reveal the room inside. It was perfect, everything he’d imagined it to be. He knew they could wait, but he didn't want to, and he hoped Harry didn't either. He wandered around, running his hands over the different fabrics inside, opening a few drawers, swallowing heavily when he looked inside at the contents. Contents that suddenly made it all feel very real.

After a few minutes, he exited, closing the door behind him, which felt somewhat ridiculous as he knew the exact same room wouldn’t appear for anyone else except for him. He headed back outside, breaking into a jog in order to get back to his boy as quickly as he could, knowing he’d been gone a little while. The boys were of course where he’d left them and he ran over, settling between Harry’s legs again, this time resting his head on Harry’s thigh as Harry moved his hand through Louis’ hair, dislodging his quiff but Louis didn't mind.

“Where have you been, Lou?” Harry asked, low enough to be out of earshot of the rest of the group.

“Nowhere.” Seeing Harry’s face fall, he quickly sat up, facing Harry and draping his legs over Harry’s thigh, almost nose to nose. “Look… you’ll find out later, okay? Just… trust me?”

“I do. Always have.” Louis closed his eyes and leaned in for a kiss, only breaking away again when the boys started moaning at their affection. Louis just giggled into the side of Harry’s neck, flushing at the fact he’d given everyone a bit of show. He turned around again and rested against Harry, joining in the group chatter, talking about their exams, and any old gossip that came to mind.

It was when the other students started to go inside for dinner that the group realised they’d been sat there for a good few hours, whiling away the time, enjoying having no pressure on them for the first time in what felt like months. All of their stress had vanished and they all stood up, grabbing bags and hoodies as they mosied inside as one, younger students parting way for the gaggle of highly respected seventh years, especially since one of them was the Captain of the winning Quidditch team, and his boyfriend, a Ravenclaw prefect, too.

Just as they walked down the corridor towards the Great Hall, Louis suddenly grabbed Harry’s hand tightly and ran off at full pelt, ignoring the shouts the other boys were sending them as they hurtled off towards an unknown destination, Harry going along with whatever crazy plan Louis had in mind as always. Their giggles echoed around the stone walls and Louis soon ducked around another corner, pulling Harry against him, shushing him with a hand over his mouth as they paused, seeing if they’d been followed.

There was only silence so Louis released Harry, letting them both bend over, hands on their knees as they caught their breath. Louis wasn’t exactly one hundred percent sure of his plan. All he knew is that he wanted a bit of alone time with Harry, and the castle was generally quiet once the student body had gone for dinner, keen to eat and fill their tummies.

“What the hell was that for?” Harry mumbled, his head back against the stone wall, chest still heaving from his sudden sprint. He wasn’t as fit as Louis was, but Louis admired the curve of his body, his long legs and red cheeks for a moment, still unable to believe the boy in front of him was his.

“Just wanted to get you alone for a bit, that alright with you?” he murmured, sidling up to Harry who just nodded, resting his hands as always on Louis’ hips. They just seemed to fit perfectly there, and Louis pushed up onto his tiptoes to kiss Harry gently, his heart jackrabbiting in his chest now as he realised that this was it, the moment he’d been thinking about for weeks was almost here. Louis exhaled a slow and shaky breath, looking deeply into Harry’s green eyes.

Repeating a line he’d uttered earlier, Louis spoke softly, not breaking eye contact with Harry at all. “Do you trust me?”

“You know I do, Lou. What’s going on?”

“Come with me, okay?”

Harry just nodded and let Louis take his hand, walking them both along the corridor quietly, in the direction of the Gryffindor common room.  Harry’s eyes looked around as they walked hand in hand to their destination, and he stopped them at the edge of the corridor.

“Wait here, yeah?” Louis asked, and Harry leaned in for a quick kiss, nodding.

Louis did as he had done before, walking up and down the corridor three times. He heard Harry’s gasp and knew the door must have appeared. He walked back to his boyfriend and held out his hand. Harry took it, and together, they walked down the corridor, coming to a stop in front of the door. Louis stepped a little closer to Harry, taking in the astonishment on his boyfriend’s face.

“Is this where-”

“Yeah,” Louis breathed out, interrupting quickly. “Um, you go in first.”

He put his hand on the door handle and let the door swing open, moving aside to let his boyfriend pass by, turning and closing the door behind them. He felt ridiculously nervous, his palms were sweating, and he almost wanted to make a run for it, not wanted to see how Harry was going to react. He followed Harry in as he walked into the main space of the room, taking in everything around him. Louis had to admit it looked perfect, and he could see Harry consider everything slowly, picking up a pink rose from a nearby vase, twisting it in his fingers for a moment before he turned to look at Louis, cheeks flushed the same colour as the flower in his fingertips.

“Louis… this is beautiful.”

“You like it?” Louis’ eyes darted around again, taking in the bunches of flowers and candles littering every surface, the soft pink bed to the side against one wall, the plush carpet beneath their feet. It was everything he’d always pictured and more, and he could only hope Harry loved it as much as he did.

“Like it? Louis, I love it. This is… what is this place?”

“Have you, uh, heard of the Room of Requirement?”

“Yeha, but I thought it was a legend, that the fire destroyed it…”

“Me too. But apparently, it’s still here for students who require it. I found it about a week ago… I’ve popped back several times to make sure it’s still here and it is.”

“So Lou… what exactly did you require it for?” Harry was smirking now and Louis blushed, dipping his eyes to the floor, unsure if he could bring himself to admit to it. Harry must have sensed the change in Louis’ demeanour because he stepped forwards, holding his hand gently. “Lou?”

Louis mumbled something under his breath, well aware his cheeks were flushing as he finally spoke the words aloud.

“Sorry, Lou, I didn't catch that… tell me, please? You know you can tell me anything, baby.”

Louis looked up into Harry’s beautiful eyes and took another deep breath before he cleared his throat, wanting to get it out there this time, for Harry to hear his intentions.

“I thought… uh… I want us, I mean, I would love to have sex with you, Harry. I, um, I want you to be my first, and I want to be yours. If you want to, that is, I mean-”

Louis cut himself off and let out another shaky breath, hoping against all hope that Harry wouldn’t be horrified by the thought.

“I-” Louis was shocked to see tears welling in Harry’s eyes but he didn't speak, waiting for him to continue. “There’s nothing I want more, Louis. I love you, and I want everything with you.” As he finished speaking, Harry surged forwards, connecting their lips once more. “I love that you’ve brought me here, to make it special.”

“I never want to forget it, and if I’m honest, I’ve kind of always wanted to do it in the castle,” Louis teased, breaking the tension as Harry giggled then continued to kiss him. “But I don’t want you to feel like I’m pressuring you, my love. If you don’t want to, and you want to wait, that’s just as fine, too-”

“No, please. I want to sleep with you, Louis. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Oh yeah?” Louis asked, arching an eyebrow, keen to know more.

“Yeah… how it’d feel to be with you in that way…” Harry was blushing now and Louis reached up, cupping his cheek and running the pad of his thumb over Harry’s cheekbone. “To feel what it’s like to have you inside me.”

That answered Louis’ next question and he swallowed heavily, feeling himself respond to the intentions behind Harry’s words. He nodded wordlessly and started tugging Harry towards the bed, both coming to a still at the foot of it.

“I, uh…” Harry was blushing but he reached down, shrugging off the robe that was wrapped around his shoulders, letting it to pool to the floor at his feet. His fingers made quick work of undoing his tie, and he was about to begin to undo his shirt when Louis stopped him, wanting to be part of this himself too.

“Can I?” he asked shyly, and Harry just nodded, letting his hands fall by his sides. Louis reached out and started to undo Harry’s buttons, baring his torso. It was by far the most erotic moment of Louis’ life, and although he’d seen Harry shirtless countless times when they’d gotten changed every morning and night, it felt different to know there was an intent behind Harry’s nudity today. He was getting his boyfriend naked with the sole purpose of the two of them having sex for the first time. “You’re so beautiful, Haz…”

Harry scoffed and shook his head, finally letting on to Louis that he was just as nervous as Louis was. “No I’m not, I’ve got chubby hips, puppy fat everywhere-”

“Hey, no. I think you’re beautiful, and I love your hips.” He slid his hands down and set them on Harry’s skin, squeezing gently. “I love everything about you, actually.” He pushed Harry’s shirt away from his shoulders, letting it join his robe and tie on the floor. “Will you undress me?”

Harry nodded and began the process, leaving both of them stood in just their trousers. Harry’s hands were roaming over Louis’ torso, and Louis wondered if Harry could feel his erratic heartbeat, how much this was affecting him. Without speaking, both boys started to undo their own trousers, kicking off their shoes before they stepped out of them, reaching down to remove their socks, leaving them in just their underwear.

Louis allowed his eyes to dip down, his gaze drifting past Harry’s bulge, something he’d never really allowed himself to focus in on before. He’d seen Harry naked before, had walked into the bathroom while Harry was in the shower, but he’d avoided looking at his dick, the same way he’d not looked at Niall or Liam either. But now he could look, it felt a little strange to.

“Louis, touch me, please touch me,” Harry begged, his voice soft, cheeks pink, biting his bottom lip with nerves. Louis wished he could take away all of the awkwardness and make Harry feel okay about this, so he took a step closer, resting his hands on Harry’s bare chest. He was a little surprised when Harry took hold of his wrists, pushing them down until they grazed the top of the waistband of his boxers, and Louis bit back a gasp as he cupped Harry’s length for the first time, seeing Harry’s eyes darken at the touch. “S’this okay, Lou?”

“Yeah,” Louis breathed out, trying to calm himself down a bit. All he’d thought about lately was how Harry would feel under his fingertips, and now it was actually happening, it felt a little bit overwhelming. He slowly started to work his fingers over Harry, feeling Harry’s body respond, the pair just staring at each other as he did so. He moaned when Harry’s hand came down to touch him, and neither man moved for a short time, letting one another explore bodies with their hands.

After a while, Harry pulled away and crawled onto the bed. He sat on his bum and faced Louis, tapping the quilt next to him. Louis just nodded and quickly joined him, laying down opposite Harry. Of course, they’d shared a bed before, almost every night since they were twelve years old, but being nearly naked together like this was making Louis sweat, and he longed to touch Harry, to make him feel good. Everything about this had to be perfect, and Louis was willing to do whatever he had to make it the best for his boyfriend.

Louis slid his leg between Harry’s thighs, allowing Harry to rock down against it as they started to kiss again. Louis loved kissing Harry. He loved how Harry tasted, how eager he was, how his tongue felt against Louis’ own. Louis thought about the fact that he wanted to kiss Harry forever, and although he was only eighteen, and Harry was his first and only boyfriend, nothing sounded better than a forever with this boy.

Harry was moaning lightly as he pushed his now hard length against Louis’ thigh, and bravely slid his hands around Louis’ back, sliding them underneath his underwear, grabbing his arse cheeks. Louis mewled at the sensation and pushed back, prompting Harry to dig his fingertips in to the flesh. He blinked slowly and looked into Harry’s eyes, letting his boyfriend nibble on his bottom lip for a moment.

“Harry- you’re sure you want me to, uh-”

“Yeah, yeah I am, Lou. Is that, um, alright with you? I just wanna feel you-”

“Yeah, of course, baby. I’d love that. But um… we can try the other way too, sometime, if you want?”

Harry just nodded and Louis felt relieved as he was desperate to experience the sensation of having Harry inside him as well. He surged forwards, capturing his boyfriend in a kiss before Harry started to roll onto his back, pulling Louis on top of him. Despite the fact neither of them had ever done anything like this before, it felt natural, like their bodies knew what to do, and Louis hoped he could hold it together long enough to not come before he’d even entered Harry. Just looking down at Harry below him like this was a lot to handle, and he rested a hand on Harry’s chest as he dipped his head into yet another kiss.

He reached down as Harry continued to kiss him and pushed at his underwear, wriggling them down his body until they were almost off, and kicked them to the floor, needing to be free of the constraints. He wasn’t sure what Harry was happy with, but he hoped taking the lead a bit would make Harry more comfortable. Harry must have realised what Louis was doing because his hands moved down again and touched Louis’ bare backside, gasping when he felt no cotton covering it, pushing his pelvis up to meet Louis’.

Louis moaned as Harry touched him before he pushed at his shoulders, getting Louis to sit up where he was, now straddling Harry’s thighs. He felt bare and exposed, but Louis let Harry just look, taking in every inch of his body before his eyes settled on his erection, eyes wide and curious.

“You can touch me,” he whispered and Harry reached out tentatively, as if unsure that he was allowed to touch. Louis’ heart was racing in anticipation and when Harry’s fingers finally wrapped around his length, he sighed in pleasure and let his eyes flutter shut, losing himself in the moment. Harry’s hand felt so different to his own, and he finally opened his eyes, looking down to watch as Harry started to stroke him slowly and carefully. “Shit, Harry…”

“Louis, I… I want you to touch me too. Please?” Louis nodded and got to his knees, pulling Harry’s boxers down, leaving both boys bare together for the first time. Louis sat back down on Harry’s thighs, and they both stared at the sight of their cocks together. Louis couldn’t resist leaning over to kiss Harry, their erections pressing together as he did so and they both moaned, Harry arching his back into it, both finding it so much. He ground his hips down a few times, moving gently in circles, Harry’s arms wrapped around his neck, holding him in place. It was what he’d always dreamed being with Harry in this way would be like, and he wanted nothing more than to do this forever with him.

“Harry, can I… I wanna touch us both, then get you ready for me. Is that alright?”

Harry blushed again but nodded, letting Louis sit up again. Louis carefully extended his hand, brushing the back of his index finger against Harry’s shaft, watching it twitch under his touch as Harry struggled to keep himself under control. Pre-come blurted from the head of Harry’s length, and he blushed fiercely again. Louis decided to just dive in, wrapping his hand around Harry’s erection, grasping it loosely but firmly enough for Harry to feel it. He watched Harry’s eyes widen as he started to move his hand up and down, and he knew how overwhelming it must feel for Harry, given he was struggling to keep control of himself as well.

They’d kissed in bed before, maybe even ground up against each others thighs in the early hours of the morning, both burdened with morning wood they didn't want to bother hiding. But this, touching with intent, was different, and Louis had never felt luckier than he did right now to be touching his boy. He was head over heels in love with Harry, and being with him in this way was all he ever wanted.

“I… I love you Harry, love being like this with you.”

The pink of Harry’s cheeks deepened with Louis’ words and he pulled him down into another kiss while Louis’ hand kept working over him, his free hand now reaching for the lube that had magically appeared off to the side, showing the room really did know what they required at all times. Louis suddenly felt incredibly nervous about this part. The idea of putting his fingers inside Harry was huge, and if he was honest, he was quite scared of hurting him.

“Um, have you… uh… done this bit before?”

Harry nodded shyly, and Louis bit his lip, trying not to visualise what that must have looked like. He exhaled slowly, trying to keep calm as he drizzled a little of the clear liquid on his fingers, now sat on his calves between Harry’s legs. He reached down and pushed his thighs apart, hands shaking now. He vaguely noted how smooth Harry's thighs felt, how soft the skin was under his touch, and he loved that goosebumps followed wherever his fingers laid.

“If I hurt you, you need to tell me, okay? I want this to be good for you, Harry. I’m going to try my best-”

“Hey, Lou. It’ll be good because it’s us, okay? I want this, I want us to be together like this. I know it’s the first time for this stuff for both of us but it doesn’t matter because it’s you and me, yeah?”

Louis nodded and reached out, gently moving some lube around Harry’s entrance, watching Harry’s eyes flutter shut under the attention on such a usually private part of his body. Harry was so warm here, and Louis watched intently as he touched Harry again, applying a little more pressure, making Harry whimper lightly. Louis held his breath as he pushed his fingertip gently inside, attentive to every sound and movement Harry made. Once Harry nodded slowly, Louis withdrew it before pressing it back in a little more, still taking care to be gentle.

“Is it okay, Haz? I-”

“God Louis… it’s… fuck, it’s everything--”

Harry’s head was thrown back against the pillow now, an arm across his eyes as Louis continued to slide his finger in and out, further each time, adding more lube than was probably strictly necessary but this had to be good. His free hand was running up and down Harry’s bare thigh, admiring the softness of his skin, listening to every noise that fell from his lips.

“You’re so beautiful like this, Hazza, so, so beautiful…”

“More, Lou. Another one, please?”

Louis gently nodded and made sure his next finger was lubed up before he gently pushed at Harry’s entrance, mesmerised by the sight of his digits slipping into his body. Harry moaned lowly at being filled, and Louis paused, only resuming when Harry’s hand came down and grazed Louis’ wrist, telling him wordlessly to move.

Louis loved how intimate this was, sharing Harry’s body in this way for the first time. His walls felt so soft and warm against Louis’ slim fingers, and knowing he was making Harry feel so good was a nice feeling for himself too. Watching Harry’s body writhe around on the sheets was something else, and Louis’ heart was racing, overwhelmed. His body felt hot all over from what he was doing, how good Harry looked beneath him, all spread out for him. It was so much, and Louis wasn’t sure it would last long thanks to how worked up he already was from just fingering his boyfriend.

After a few more minutes and some gentle scissoring motions, Louis pressed a third finger in, and he saw Harry’s face contort in pain this time. He stilled and went to remove his fingers, keen to stop before he hurt Harry but when he caught Harry’s face of panic, he paused, not quite knowing what to do.

“Harry, I’m hurting you-”

“No, don’t stop.” Harry was begging now and Louis could see tears pooling in his eyes. He reached up with his clean hand, fingers still inside Harry as he brushed them away, stroking Harry’s bottom lip gently. “I’ll be okay, please. Just give me a minute, I don’t want you to stop. Just… go slow?”

Louis nodded and slowly moved his fingers back ever so slightly, letting Harry breathe through the burn of it. Louis was patient and gentle, touches loving and tender and when Harry’s hand scrambled for Louis’, they laced their fingers and held each other through it, sharing in every moment. Louis worked his way up to pulling his fingers almost out of Harry before slowly pressing them back in, and a steady rhythm developed, one which Louis could see Harry was finally enjoying it. He was a bit more nervous now about being inside Harry and hurting him, but the only thing he was confident about was that they could work through it together.

“Louis, I… I’m ready, baby-” Harry’s cheeks were flushed and his chest was covered in sweat as he blinked up at Louis, his eyes shining in the candlelight of the room. “I want you to.”

“Are you sure?” Louis’ gaze stayed fixed on Harry until he nodded, and then carefully, he withdrew his fingers, wiping them on the sheet as Harry turned to the side table, picking up a foil packet from where it was sat on the top. Louis blushed heavily when he realised what it was but when he went to take it from Harry, Harry snatched it away, biting his lip.

“Can I?”

Harry’s eyes dipped to Louis’ erection and Louis nodded, shuffling more onto his knees as Harry sat up, tearing at the packet with trembling fingers. Louis could only watch as Harry removed the condom from the packet, both of them giggling when it slipped from his fingers and fell onto the sheet by their legs.

“Shit, sorry- let me try again.” Harry fumbled it with it once more and pinched it at the top, hovering it over the head of Louis’ cock, looking nervous. Louis reached out and settled a hand on his wrist, trying to calm him.

“It’s okay, love. You can... you can put it on me.”

Harry nodded and lowered it, rolling it gently down the length of Louis’ erection before he wrapped his fingers around it entirely, stroking a few times as if to get used to the sensation. Louis just allowed him to touch, aware this was so new for the pair of them, and he wanted Harry to feel completely comfortable. Harry peered up and leaned in gently for a kiss, still stroking Louis and everything felt so right. Louis had never wanted anything more than he did right now, and he’d never felt so close to Harry either.

Without speaking, Harry lowered himself back to the mattress, propping himself up on his elbows as he laid his calves over Louis’ legs, attempting to cup himself.

“You don’t have to hide, sweetheart. You’re beautiful. I love every single part of you, you know that?”

Harry nodded shyly and removed his hand, moving them around for a moment like he didn't quite know what to do with them, finally settling on resting them on the sheet next to his body. Louis watched him swallow as he shuffled forwards, grabbing the lube and adding a bit more for good measure before he took his cock in hand, lining up.

“Tell me if you want to stop, okay? Promise me, love.”

“I promise, Lou.”

Louis lined up and pressed forward enough that he could feel Harry’s muscles start to resist, but he quickly paused when Harry cried out a “Louis!” that stopped him in his tracks, blinking rapidly as he looked up at his boyfriend from his prone position.

“I just… I love you, okay? So much. I’m so, I dunno, happy I guess, that we’re doing this. I love you, Louis.”

“Oh Haz… I love you too. Are you sure about this?”

“I’ve never been more sure about anything... except for us,” Harry reassured him, and that was enough for Louis. Slowly, he moved his hips forwards, allowing just the tip of his erection to dip inside Harry. He hadn’t expected Harry’s hands to fly up, clawing for Louis’ shoulders, or for the grimace of pain on Harry’s face as he breathed through it, letting Louis penetrate him for the first time. He paused in his actions, trying to calm himself from the sensations of Harry’s warm, tight heat while Harry adjusted, eventually opening his eyes and nodding. “Okay, Lou… move, please.”

Louis smiled softly at Harry’s manners, even in the midst of their first time having sex and he pushed forwards slowly, until he bottomed out, his hips coming to rest against Harry’s arse.

“Oh, sweetheart… you’re perfect. So amazing, you feel so good. Wow.” Louis didn't care about the stream of words he was releasing. He needed Harry to know that he loved this, and that this was everything he’d ever dreamed of and more. Harry smiled and tangled his and Louis’ fingers together as Louis moved ever so slightly, all too aware of the low bubble of pleasure already in his stomach. “I don’t know how long I’m gonna last, this feels so good-”

“I don’t care, I really don’t. Just… make love to me, Louis. I want to feel you.” Harry moved his legs up and around Louis’ waist, heels pressed against Louis’ cheeks as he drew him in deeper, simultaneously pulling him down for a kiss. Louis’ movements were sloppy and a bit uncoordinated, but it was them, and that made it right. He knew Harry wasn’t judging him, and the look of love Harry was bestowing on him lit up a small fire in his heart, more sure than ever that he never wanted to let this boy go.

“Does it feel good? Am I hurting you?”

Harry shook his head again as their bodies rocked together, slick with sweat and too much lube, but they didn't care. A smile erupted across Harry’s face then, and Louis wished that he could stop time, that he could take this look on Harry’s face and make it remain there forever. He looked beautiful and he couldn’t stop himself from asking what had put it there.

“What are you smiling about?” He pulled back a little more before he pushed back in, enjoying how Harry released a light moan, rocking down on Louis’ cock inside him.

“Just… we’re having sex, aren’t we? Like… never thought we’d get here somehow, that you wouldn’t love me like I’ve always loved you.” Harry's voice was soft and breathy, and Louis loved the effect he was having on every part of Harry.

“Fuck, I’ve always loved you. And we’re here now, so sod the past, baby.” He started to pick up his pace, careful as always to make sure Harry wasn’t hurting as he did so, squeezing back as Harry held his hand throughout. “And yeah, we’re having sex. In the castle. At school.” He waggled his eyebrows which made Harry laugh, his tummy muscles rippling with his giggles, and Louis found that more than a bit adorable. “Fulfilling one of my fantasies already there. What a good boyfriend you are.”

Harry gasped at those words, and Louis pressed their lips together, knowing the end was in sight for him. He could feel his body start to prickle with heat, and he shuffled up slightly, pulling Harry’s legs higher onto his own, changing the angle.

“Ah!”

“Shit, are you okay, I-”

“Again. Whatever you just did, do it again. Now.” Harry’s eyes were dark and Louis didn't dare argue. Instead, he pulled out nearly all the way and pushed back in, slightly harder and faster than he’d dared to before. “Oh my- fuck, Louis!”

Louis’ eyes widened as he realised he was probably hitting Harry’s prostate, and clearly, it felt good. He repeated the action over and over, and Harry was begging, sobbing for Louis to keep going, arching his back into it. It was the best thing Louis had ever seen, and he wished he never had to stop but the way Harry was clenching around him, the way his body was moving around was too much for Louis to handle.

“God, Haz… I’m gonna come, baby, I can’t last-”

“Just, okay but I wanna come like this, from you inside me-” Louis nodded and grasped Harry’s thighs from underneath, giving himself some leverage to thrust a bit harder. Harry was still mumbling a litany of ‘please’ and ‘don’t stop’ and ‘oh fuck’ but it was a final ‘LOUIS!” that pushed Louis into his orgasm, filling the condom with his release as Harry bucked up, a fist rapidly working over his own cock.

“Let me-”

Louis was panting and shaking himself, but he watched as Harry dropped his hand and replaced it with his own, stroking and thumbing at the head, gathering the precome that was spilling from Harry’s slit, his cock hard and red now, clearly desperate to come. “Louislouislouislouis-”

“It’s okay, darling. You can come for me, I’m right here.”

He could only watch in fascination as Harry’s body went taut for a few seconds before he cried out, his cock jerking in Louis’ hand as he finally came, covering himself in strings of come. Louis couldn’t drag his eyes away and kept stroking Harry through his orgasm, ignoring how some of it was dribbling down onto his hand as Harry stopped moving, his chest heaving with his heavy breaths. “Oh my god, Harry…”

Harry whimpered and Louis released his cock, quickly coming up the bed and laying down, pulling Harry against him. He could feel his boyfriend trembling, and he reached for his hand, trying to anchor Harry to him for a moment. It was the most intimate and perfect moment of Louis’ life, and he looked around the room, trying to commit everything to memory as Harry slowly came down from his high, panting and sweating against Louis.

“That was… I’ve never come that strong before. Wow.”

Louis smirked at Harry’s words and nodded, agreeing entirely. “Yeah, that was amazing. We, uh, we definitely have to do that again.”

“Soon.” Harry nodded emphatically with his word and Louis laughed, pushing back a few rogue curls from his forehead, kissing the tacky skin quickly. “Thank you for, for being my first, for making that so amazing and special. My first kiss, my first boyfriend, my first time. God, you're everything, I hope you know that. I’m never gonna forget tonight Lou, not ever.”

“Me neither, Haz. I love you so much. I’m just glad you didn't think I was being presumptuous, bringing you here for… well, that.”

“No. I’m glad you did, ‘cause I never would have got the guts. It was so perfect, Louis. This whole room is just… it’s gorgeous. I wish we could stay in here forever.”

“Well, we could stay the night?” Louis arched an eyebrow and leaned back enough he could look at Harry, who just nodded. “Not sure I’m ready to leave just yet, anyway. Wanna lay here with you for a while, just be us.”

“Yeah, I’d love that. I love you, actually.” Louis blushed at Harry’s declaration again and bent to kiss him, just a chaste brush of lips, but the promise it held was prominent, both boys knowing what it meant.

Louis reached for his wand and smiled at Harry who was watching him with curious eyes.

Lumos.”

Louis muttered something under his breath as he swished his wand, extinguishing all of the candles, and they were left just in the wand light, the rest of the room dark, giving them a real sense of privacy. Louis stayed up on his elbow and stroked down Harry’s cheek softly, heart full of love for the boy who had given every part of himself to Louis tonight.

“Gonna be my big spoon, Lou?”

“Of course,” Louis replied with a smile, and they shuffled around, still naked as Louis reached down for the plush blankets, pulling them over their bare, sweaty and slightly sticky bodies. “Love you, darling. Sleep well.”

“You too, Lou. I love you so much.”

Louis’ arm came over Harry’s waist and they lay there together in the soft wand light, eyes getting heavy, hearts finally starting to settle in their chests. Their time at Hogwarts might nearly be over but Louis knew his lifetime with Harry was just beginning. Louis reached out blearily, taking his wand and whispering into the room.

Nox.”