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Dancing With Masks

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“Welcome back, Welcome back!” Stephen Colbert said to his studio audience.

Harry took a deep breath as he waited backstage, looking at himself in the mirror once more. His curls looked soft and fluffy as they shaped his face, the perfect amount of contour powder and highlight on his cheeks. As he smoothed down one brow with his fingers, he realized he didn’t want to fiddle with his makeup too much before going on, but it was hard not to when he always felt like he could do a little better. The qualms of being a perfectionist, really.

“My next guest is a two time Academy Award nominated actor famous for a variety of films including Les Miserables and is now starring in the Flashdance remake What A Feeling. Please welcome back to the Late Show: Harry Styles!”

He could hear the crowd clapping as he walked out onto the stage, waving as Stephen approached him for a handshake and hug before leading him over to the couch. The other man was wearing his signature frames, decked on his face along with his classic dark hair. He also had on a crisp blue suit that reminded Harry of Louis’ eyes. Almost ironic considering what was going to happen during this interview.

“Thank you,” Harry mouthed as he sat down while the audience continued to clap, hoping his prayer hands would convey his thanks even more. Once the applause died down and Harry made himself comfortable on the couch, Stephen started to speak.

“Before we start, Harry” the host said as he gestured towards his clothing. “I just have to ask what you’re wearing.”

“Oh this?” Harry said as he looked down and adjusted his suit. It was a flashy red suit with embroidered flowers adorning the fabric. “It’s a Gucci piece my stylist found that I decided to wear tonight.” The public was known to judge what he wore, whether it was shapeless trousers or plunging necklines that showed off his nipples. He used to care for what they had to say but having a circle of supporting people around him made him forget what strangers had to say. If he liked what he wore, he wore it. That was the most important judgement he had when it came to dressing himself.

“Well I think it’s lovely,” Stephen said with a smile. “I just want to thank you for coming on my show yet again.”

“And thank you for allowing me back,” Harry chuckled with a big smile as he looked at the studio audience. “It’s always a pleasure to be in New York and especially on your show.”

“And I have to say you’re genuinely one of my favorite guests to have on,” Stephen grinned, eyes crinkling behind his glasses. Harry couldn’t deny he was happy to hear that, especially since Stephen was one of the few late night hosts he genuinely respected over the years.

“You’re just saying that,” Harry laughed, waving him off with a playful eyeroll, eliciting laughs from the audience.

“Of course not!” Stephen laughed before looking down at his notes. “So, most of us already know you as part of your ‘rat pack’ of actors of your generation right? Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, etc. You’re all famous in your own right and you’ve all done some sort of 80s remake in your filmography that sort of launched you into stardom. You all were even in The Breakfast Club remake together a few years back – which I absolutely adored I must say - and now you’re starring in a remake of an absolute classic, Flashdance. Tell us about it.”

It endeared Harry to hear people talk about all that he’s been through with his friends. From meeting in theater classes and small film sets to each of them having Academy Award nominations in their own name, some for even writing some indie films. And he was more than happy to have kept a tight knit group as good friends over the years, especially in an industry that loved to eat itself alive.

“Yeah,” Harry began after he cleared his throat. “I think after I did the Sixteen Candles remake and Breakfast Club, there were always talks of a possible Flashdance remake that I could be a part of. Now, most people were like ‘but Harry you don’t know how to dance or strip’ which I don’t,” he paused at the audience laughter, “but I took enough lessons and it got me the part! Then the director had me take more lessons so I could really perfect the role I was given and hopefully stay true to the character of Alex.”

“So what you’re saying is,” Stephen smiled, “you learned well enough to possibly start stripping for money in the future.”

Harry started to giggle. “I guess you can say that. If this acting business goes down the drain at least I have stripping to fall back on.” He enjoyed hearing the crowd laugh at that.

“That just sounds like a dream come true really,” Stephen chuckled, lifting up one of the large printed pictures he had on his desk, “Now I have here a picture of you dancing, explain what’s going on here.”

Harry blushed a bit. It was a still of him dancing on stage in the skimpy clothes of his character. “Well, if you’re familiar with the original movie, you know that the girl is a welder by day and an exotic dancer by night. Except this takes place in Manchester, England, which is basically where I’m from. So there’s me, working hard for the money as Donna Summer puts it nicely.”

“Is that a song that came up in your stripping playlist?”

“You bet it was, sister,” Harry chuckled. And he wasn’t lying, because he did indeed keep a playlist specifically to practice stripping, and Donna Summer was no stranger to it.

“I think we actually have a clip of your dancing?” Stephen said as he turned to one of the cameramen off screen. “Can we roll it?”

Harry watched in the teleprompter as one of the promotional scenes they released was shown. Maniac played as Harry danced on screen, working out in the warehouse apartment Alex lived in. The camera zoomed into shots of Harry’s body, ass jiggling as he ran in place, legs stretched out as he planked, the pliant yet determined expression on his face as he powered through. The shots were in such high quality that his actual sweat could be seen pooling on his skin as he continued to work out. The crowd clapped as the clip ended and the lights came back on.

“Wow,” Stephen gasped with an airy laugh. “Please, talk about it since I don’t think I can right now.”

“Well,” Harry snickered as he tucked one of his curls behind his ear, “I don’t think there’s much to say. I like working out so basically showing off my body wasn’t much of a problem. They originally wanted me to do it boxer shorts and topless, but Tate, our lovely director, agreed that I should wear something more reminiscent of the first film. So I covered my nipples with a crop top and put on some high waisted shorts and we just shot that scene for the day.”

“I see, I see,” Stephen laughed, “And of course we have to talk about your co-star in the movie,” Stephen said as he held up a print of him, “Richard Armitage. And I’m saying this as a mostly straight man,” he paused for the audience laughter and Harry’s, “but this man is a hunk. Like, my wife is probably a little worried right now. And that’s probably why he’s over at Fallon’s instead of here tonight.”

“And I’ll tell you as a gay man,” Harry grinned, “he is a hunk. A very tall hunk. Like I can hit 6 feet with a good pair of high heels, but he’s a good 6 and 3 inches and just towers over me.”

“Which I’m sure you didn’t mind,” Stephen said with a pointed stare, eyebrow arching away from the frame of his glasses.

“I did not,” Harry giggled. “But really Richard is a such a sweetheart. I was a massive fan of him before he got cast – I think the first time I ever saw him on screen was in North & South and I’ve been swooning ever since - and when they let me have a say in who I wanted to play Nick, I practically begged them for him. But he’s not really known for doing romantic dramas and such but I managed to persuade the casting directors to take a look at him. Once he agreed and we did a screen test, we all knew we struck gold so it was a no-brainer to cast him.”

“And as a Tolkien fan like myself, even though you’re not on the same level as me,” Stephen coughed as the audience laughed, “I’m sure you’ve seen The Hobbit before and told him about it.”

Harry nodded. “I did actually yeah,” he laughed, “and he was so happy to tell me stories from the set and all that. He really should’ve told me to fuck off with all my questions but he’s just that type of sweetheart to indulge me. And given that the writers decided to have a focus on Nick’s character development as well – they touch on more of his backstory than the first movie did – I think he just brings so much to Nick that it was just an honor to work beside him in scenes.”

“I look forward to seeing his performance then!” Stephen cheered. “And yours as well of course.”

“Thank you,” Harry chucked. “Overall, I had a blast filming What A Feeling and I hope that audiences will love it,” he said as the studio audience cheered.

“And before you go,” Stephen said, “I wanted to ask you about a certain Instagram post that caught some headlines,” he said as he held up the picture, “care to explain?”

As the audience laughed, Harry got a good look of it, pretending like he was seeing it for the first time, even though he was tagged in it when it posted and he even liked and commented some heart emojis on it. It was a picture in Louis’ Los Angeles house they took about a month ago and posted it over the weekend. They were putting on face masks like they usually did on their nights off, chilling around and watching whichever Bake Off episodes they hadn’t seen. Then Jeff had shot them a text saying they needed to take some pics to start the seeding. And that’s how Harry ended up in Louis’ lap in front of one of the many mirrors in the house. They were both in their bathrobes, Harry with his hair wrapped in a towel and Louis with a headband on. It looked ever so domestic, but at the same time nothing felt different for Harry. They were always tactile with their friendship in every way, so it didn’t feel any different. The difference was they were actually going to post these online for people to see, and given how the internet worked, there would be headlines in no time.

“Yeah that’s me,” he chuckled as he sat back in his chair.

“And you’ve got nothing else to say?”

“We’re hanging,” he said with a coy smile. “Doing skincare, as everyone should, you know.”

“Well skincare is important but hanging?” Stephen said with an arched brow. “No Netflix and Chilling as well?”

Not at all, Harry wanted to say, but simply grinned instead. “I’m really not one to kiss and tell,” he grinned out inside, eliciting coos from the audience.

“I see,” Stephen laughed as he held out his hand. “Well, it’s been an absolute delight having you here, Harry, and you know you’re always welcome to come back.”

“Thank you for having me,” Harry said as the audience started to clap as they shook hands.

What A Feeling is in theaters July 22nd!” Stephen shouted to the camera while pointing at Harry. “Harry Styles everybody and we’ll be right back!”

*

After showering, Harry decided to just lay down on his hotel bed, taking in the peace and quiet the moonlight was giving him. It was a rarity during promotion days, and he was already flying back to London the next day. Friday he was set to walk the red carpet premiere for What A Feeling, and Louis would be by his side, officially announcing their relationship to the world. It was just a lot to take in for one week.

His phone beeped and vibrated next to him, Harry sighing as he picked it up and unlocked it.

Louis: How’d it go?

Well, their managers, Jeff and Matt, are going to be happy. Matt was probably with Louis right now in Los Angeles just like Jeff was with Harry.

Harry: Fake relationship is locked and loaded. Twitter is going to be ablaze once it airs.

Louis: Perfect! My flight is about to leave for home so I guess I’ll just see ya at the premiere. Sleep tight haz xx

Harry simply smiled as he put his phone down again.

See, Louis was his best friend. A best friend he met in 2010, back when they were just getting into the acting business as teenagers. Louis’ big break was in a remake of Maurice, while also starring in the Ferris Bueller remake in the same year. His acting in the former was enough to get him a Best Actor nom from the Academy Awards, and Harry couldn’t have been prouder as a friend. Harry, on the other hand, got his big break doing a Sixteen Candles remake along with a supporting role in Les Miserables. He got into some indie flicks as well around the same, earning him two supporting actor nominations in a row.

That’s where this publicity relationship begins. Their agents thought it would be a good time to start award season with it. Harry’s expected to get a nomination for What A Feeling, and Louis has a 1940s drama that is set to premiere in the fall, The Imitation Game. Oscar darlings might as well be dating and churning up gossip for the tabloids if they knew what was best for them.

Oh, and Louis also had a boyfriend: Johnny. They’ve been on and off for years, meeting in some bar back in 2012. Currently on right now, though. Johnny worked as book editor, so it’s not like they had all the time in the world to be together. But since Louis is so private about his love life, besides the public knowing he’s gay, he’s always looked single. So it’s easy for them to do this tabloid relationship without much speculation.

Also, it was good to note that Harry has had a tiny crush on him since they met. Who wouldn’t be? Louis had the bluest eyes he’d ever seen, and the charm that knocked his socks off. Combine that with having a heart of gold, and Harry was a goner from the start. But Louis had a boyfriend, and it was never him. Though he knew Louis did feel an attraction to him. It was palpable in their chemistry, which is why directors often begged them to co-star when it was necessary for their films. They just never acted on it because… well Harry really didn’t have the answer to that. He just knew they didn’t, even if there were chances to sleep together over the years.

There wasn’t anything to worry about really. Years of sexual tension built into a fake relationship for press, what could go wrong?

*

“So how was New York?” Louis asked as he adjusted his tie. Outside the beeping of cars could be heard as they navigated London traffic. They had just picked up Louis from his flat and were headed down to the premiere of What A Feeling. It was already getting great reviews from critics, but that still didn’t make Harry any less nervous of its reception. So it almost felt good to have Louis there so he could hang on to as the night went on.

“All the same,” Harry shrugged. “Still like it better than Los Angeles.”

“I can see that,” Louis chuckled as he looked out the window. “Nervous then?”

Harry turned to look at him. “About the premiere?” He had hoped he wouldn’t seem too nervous, but then again Louis knew how to read him like a book when he wanted.

Louis said with a shrug. “The premiere, our first official red carpet as a couple, etc.”

“Oh,” Harry said in an inhale. Of course he was. Who wouldn’t when he didn’t really know what the reaction to them would be like? Would fans be able to see through the charade? He didn’t want it to be an embarrassment for them both. “We can do this right? It wouldn’t be weird?”

“Fans have been thinking for years that we’ve been dating, Haz. It won’t be weird at all, so if that’s causing you worry don’t let it.”

He was right. “Larry Stylinson” had been a popular trend since their friendship started. They denied it usually while joking about it, but never discouraged it. Press was still press in fandom, and if fans wanted to think they were actually together, there was nothing wrong with that. Now they just wanted to give it some actual press so the tabloids could work to their benefit. That was all. “Right,” Harry nodded. “Right.”

The car stopped, Jeff stepping out from the front seat to open the door for them. “Alright, dudes,” he said. “Show time.”

Screams of fans could be heard everywhere, almost deafening. And once Louis emerged from behind him, the screams somehow managed got louder.

“Holy shit! They really are together!” one yelled in the distance.

“I didn’t know my OTP would get together that fast!” another squealed.

Harry smiled shyly at the crowd, feeling Louis coming up behind him.

“Did you hear that?” Louis said against his ear, feeling the smile in it. “Already selling.”

“Yeah,” Harry grinned, knowing the camera lenses were snapping away. He was wearing a Gucci floral suit with a black and white pattern while Louis wore a fitted black suit with a red tie, hair combed back in a quiff. They let themselves be led around the carpet as Jeff led Harry to some interviews. Most were kept about the movie, with one or two of the major gossip sites asking about Louis.

“We notice your date over there,” one of the women said into the microphone. “Anything going on between you two?”

He glanced over at Louis, who was smiling from afar as he watched him. “Actually yeah,” Harry said coyly. “We’re going steady.”

“Going steady?” the interviewer laughed. “My, I haven’t heard that phrase in ages. So is this true love then, Harry?” she said as she pushed the mic in his face again.

“Too soon to say,” he smiled coyly, “but he definitely has my heart.”

“We can see that,” she said before Harry had to move to another interviewer. He had to get through a couple more before he could finally go stand next to Louis again, grasping onto his arm tightly as they smiled for more cameras.

“All right so far?” Louis asked in a soft tone as he leaned over. Leave it to Mr. Blue Eyes himself to have a simple whisper make him go weak in the knees.

“Great,” Harry sighed, meeting his eyes. Hopefully the intimate moment would give good headlines for them tomorrow. They walked along the carpet, posing for more pictures together before Harry head a deep voice call out his name.

“Richard!” he smiled as he turned to face his co-star, leaning up to kiss his cheek. “How are you?”

“Very well,” Richard grinned as he looked over at Louis. “Sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“Louis Tomlinson, mate,” he said with a hand extended. “Harry’s boyfriend.”

“Oh really?” Richard said as he looked over at Harry. “Pleasure to meet you, lad. Richard Armitage.”

Richard was dressed in a fitted grey suit, looking classic as ever.

“Okay Louis stay with me,” Jeff said as he walked up to the trio, “And Richard and Harry go to over there so they can take your official pictures together.”

“Right,” Harry nodded as Richard took his hand and led them both away.

“No boyfriend?” Harry whispered as he smiled for the cameras.

“Nah,” Richard laughed softly. “We keep it private, remember.” His boyfriend had visited the set a few times, always very low key about it. Richard didn’t even introduce him unless you approached them both, and they kept their PDA to a minimum. But every time Harry saw them interact, there was no denying the intimacy between them, with the way they talked to each other or just by a glance. “I never knew you were seeing someone though,” Richard continued. “I thought he was just your friend from how you described him.”

Harry thought about telling him it was a simple publicity relationship for them both, but he didn’t feel like ruining the moment. If Louis was to be his boyfriend for the night, and every night for the next few months, he allowed to live in this bubble. “It’s very recent,” he answered simply.

“Well you make a lovely couple,” Richard said, and he knew there wasn’t an ounce of falsehood in his voice. Working with him for a few months made him realize the gentle giant was not possible of sarcasm or cruelty, so his tone was genuine. After a few more pictures, they walked off to the side to join Louis and Jeff before they had to head inside.

“Does he have a date with him?” Louis asked as they were led into the theater. They shuffled through crowds as they kept their voices low.

“Who?” Harry asked with a frown as he looked around the room.

Louis gave a playful eyeroll. “Richard, Haz. I thought he’d bring a date like you did.”

“Oh,” Harry said. “He has a boyfriend. They just keep it private and all.”

“Boyfriend?”

“You never knew?” He had thought he mentioned it once or twice.

“No. I would’ve remembered you telling me someone as fit as him is gay,” his eyes widened as he settled his eyes on Harry again. “So that’s why!”

“What?”

Louis chuckled to himself as he led Harry to their seats in the front row. “That’s why you’re not all over him laying on your charm. You love old men like him. But the reason you’re not all over him isn’t because you’re not interested, it’s because he’s taken.”

“Oh hush,” Harry pouted. “He is handsome and all but definitely not my type. Age is all wrong.”

“Good,” Louis nodded as he looked around the room.

“I need someone at least five more years older than him,” he said with a smirk, knowing Louis would roll his eyes.

“Date someone your own age, Haz,” he grumbled.

“Or find an non-actor like you did?” he mused. “How is Johnny anyways? Does he even like that we’re doing this?”

“Can’t say he’s too pleased,” Louis sighed. “He was fine with me being out but not attached to anyone, but he wasn’t too happy when I told him about what would happen with us.”

“Really?” Harry frowned. He didn’t want this stunt to negatively effect Louis privately. “Have you told this to Matt? There has to be a way we can limit it so Johnny won’t feel too upset about it.” He knew he wouldn’t be smiling like the sun if his secret famous boyfriend was publicly canoodling with someone else.

“Nah,” Louis shrugged. “It’s alright. I already explained to John that it’s just part of the job and there’s nothing between you and me anyways, so he has nothing to worry about.”

Harry couldn’t deny the little twitch his heart made at hearing Louis say those words. And it’s not like he shouldn’t be glad Louis said that. How would Johnny feel if he knew either of them had feelings for one another? It didn’t serve any of them right to be involved in it. “Yeah,” he sighed as he looked over at the screen, noticing the lights were becoming dimmer. Thank god for that. “He really has nothing to worry about.”

The movie began a few minutes later, Harry’s knee nervously bouncing as the title screen rolled on. It was the first time he was seeing it along with the audience, and he really hoped he did a well enough job with it. And as it turned out, there was really nothing to worry about. His dancing looked flawless, his chemistry with Richard was unmatched, and the cinematography was spectacular. This was sure to get some academy nominations for Best Picture, and maybe even himself for Best Actor if he was hopeful enough.

The crowd gave it a standing ovation as the credits rolled in the end, Harry and Louis standing along with them.

“You did great, babe,” Louis whispered as he leaned over, planting a kiss on his cheek.

And as Harry stared back into his eyes, he almost couldn’t hear the roar of applause in front of him, and just settled in the quiet tenderness that the other man’s glance brought to him. “Thank you,” he answered softly, still feeling the heat on his skin from the gentle kiss. He wondered if that meant something.

*

As the summer rolled away, they spent the majority of it pushing their relationship. They went on staged dates to some of their favorite places, not really that bothersome when you were already friends with the person. They talked as they usually did, catching up on their projects and what not. Only difference was they had to steal a few kisses to make it more convincing for the cameras. No full on making out, but just enough shots of their lips clearly locked to get their fans talking with some headline grabbing.

Naturally, they had to end the summer with a major pap walk. Which meant go on a very romantic getaway somewhere. After much deliberation between their agents, they chose a yacht in Jamaica as the perfect setting in the first week of August. Much to Niall, Liam, and Zayn’s disappointment, it wasn’t meant to be a lads holiday like they usually had. No, this was meant to show how serious Harry and Louis were about their relationship, and the entire world had to know. Jeff and Matt came along to make sure it all went smoothly, with a few more security and other members of their team joining as well.

They slept through most of the day sleeping on their first day on the yacht, but the next day was “show time” as Jeff had yelled when he wore Harry up, so they had to put in the work. Harry thought about what exactly that meant as he slid on his tiny yellow shorts. Would they just have to stand there and snog for the cameras? Or just act like they usually did and add some snogging? Louis would probably have the right answer, so once he put on enough sunscreen and was smelling like a fresh coconut, Harry waltzed down the hall to his friend’s room.

Just as he was about to knock, he paused as he heard loud voices coming from the open crack of the door. It sounded like yelling. Frowning, he decided to peer in through the opening, looking around the room until his eyes settled on Louis. He was standing near his bed, pacing the floor with his phone up to his ear. And the expression on his face made Harry want to hide.

“You know I was supposed to be here… Yeah and? …. Are you really going to go with your ex of all people?”

There was a pause, Louis’ face twisting with even more anger.

“The one you fucked while we were on a break!”

Another pause.

“Oh you thought I wouldn’t remember? Do you think this is a joke?”

Pause.

“I guess we should just be on a break so you don’t feel guilty about fucking him!” Louis laughed bitterly.

A longer pause, and Harry’s heart broke as he watched Louis’ face drench with sadness.

“Fuck you John!” Louis yelled, ending the call before slamming his phone on the bed. He dropped to the floor then, sobbing against his knees. Now, Harry had seen Louis cry only a few times in their friendship, but it was never over something personal. A sad death in a movie, a mother reuniting with their child, Bambi’s mum dying, you name it he cried. But Harry had never seen him cry over something that was happening to him, especially not his relationship with Johnny. Just seeing him looking so helpless almost felt like a taboo to even see him like that. But Louis was his friend, and out of all the times he was there to comfort him during his few heartbreaks, it was only polite, no necessary, to return the favor.

“Lou?” Harry whispered as he opened the door a little farther.

“Harry?” he sniffled, wiping his face with both hands. “What-What are you doing here?”

“I- um-“ he sighed, walking over to him. “I was just coming to ask you something and I realized you were on the phone.”

“Oh,” Louis said flatly. “So you heard then. I guess I’m on a break with Johnny again,” he grumbled.

He remembered how turbulent their relationship had always been, so it wasn’t really a surprise to hear it. “I’m sorry,” Harry whispered, sinking down to sit across from him.

“Yeah well,” Louis sighed as he wiped away another tear. “Guess it was bound to happen again, right? Maybe it’s for the best.”

“Taking some time off from each other is healthy,” Harry reasoned.

Louis looked at him with a weary glare. “Not to fuck other people though,” he deadpanned.

Harry’s heart clenched at that. How anyone would not want to be with Louis just baffled him. Johnny got to claim Louis as his all this time, and he still felt the need to take breaks to fuck other men? Harry couldn’t relate to that on any level. “If you think about that you’ll only be making yourself feel worse, Lou.”

“Well I feel like complete shit,” Louis grumbled. And he looked like it, which is why Harry got up to grab a tissue box from the nightstand.

“We can cancel the pap pics if you’d like,” Harry said softly as he handed him a few tissues. “Wouldn’t exactly be good to have you looking miserable in them.”

“What?” Louis looked up, blue eyes bright and red from the tears. “Do you not want to take them?”

Harry’s mind searched for the right words, knowing he had to say the correct thing. “I wouldn’t be comfortable trying to act happy if I know you’re dying on the inside, Lou. I know we’re actors but…” he trailed off.

“Oh,” he nodded before blowing his nose. “Nah. We came here to look happy and in love and that’s what we’re going to do.”

“Are you sure, Lou?” he said softly, searching for the lie on his face.

Louis nodded as he stood up. “Let’s just go take the pictures, yeah?”

Harry got up but hesitated to move once Louis turned to leave. “Lou?”

“Yeah?” he answered as he grabbed his towel and sunscreen.

“Are you sure?”

Louis sighed. “Look, Haz,” he said as he threw his towel over his shoulder. “I feel like complete shit, but I’m with my best friend in Jamaica on a yacht and I’d much like to forget about that shitty phone call. So all I’m asking for is some distraction today, okay?”

As if Harry could deny Louis anything. “Come on,” Harry said as he took his hand and pulled him towards the door.

If there was one thing for sure, Harry was determined to cheer him up in anyway if he needed. They found Jeff and Matt lounging in one of the rooms, one watching television while the other was typing away on his phone.

“Are you two ready to go?” Jeff asked without looking up.

“Yeah,” Harry nodded. He looked over at Louis, and he got the feeling he didn’t feel like telling their managers what just happened between him and Johnny, even if Matt still had a right to know.

“Alright,” Matt said. “Go frolic in the sun like a couple in the honeymoon phase of their relationship would be, and at some point make out or just embrace to your heart’s desire. Doesn’t have to be all the time, but make sure the pap gets enough to make some good headlines. Up to you when that happens and all.”

“Okay,” Louis sighed as he sniffed. “Let’s go, yeah?”

First, they decided to take a swim in the ocean. The day was absolutely gorgeous, with not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze on their skin as the sun beamed from above. Once the pap was in view in the distance, they decided to get to work. The pair stood at the edge of the boat, trying to figure out who would go on the diving board. Eventually Harry decided to jump in first while Louis followed, splashing each other as they waded in the ocean together.

“Feeling better?” Harry said breathlessly as he splashed him again.

“Just a little,” Louis giggled as he ducked away from the attack.

It felt good to just float there, not having a care in the world. Once they had enough of the water and climbed back on board, they both decided to take some sun in while the paps were still going.

Louis was laying flat on his tanning chair, basking in the sun with his golden skin. “Haz?” he called out after a while.

Sweating in the heat as the sun’s rays burned his skin, Harry turned his head to face him. “Yeah?”

“We need some more romantic pictures.”

Harry nodded behind his straw sun hat. “What do you suggest?”

“Snog I guess,” Louis said.

Harry swallowed at the thought of having to do that, already regretting his skimpy shorts. There was no way he wasn’t going to get turned on if they did that, and he didn’t need his boner gracing the covers of gossip columns.

“Are you fine if I sort of lay on top of you?” Harry mumbled, trying to form some coherent thoughts with sentences.

“Yeah,” Louis sighed. “I could use a cuddle.”

Harry nodded as he positioned himself. “I can use my hat to cover us and make it look like we're snogging behind it.” He didn’t know whether or not he wanted Louis to agree to it.

“Nah,” Louis smiled. “I’m fine kissing you. Besides, they’ll think it’s fake if we don’t actually lip lock longer at this point or something.”

“You sure?” he said as he got up and eased himself next to Louis, very aware of how much of their sun kissed skin was touching.

“I’m fine with it, babe,” Louis grunted as he adjusted himself some more until Harry was almost half laying on him. It felt intimate so it must’ve looked intimate.

“I don’t want you to feel weird about this,” he said as he tried to relax against him.

“It’s not real, Harry,” Louis said in a soothing voice as he rubbed his back. “Just treat it like a job.”

A job. Most of his jobs didn’t involve convincing the public that he was in love with Louis Tomlinson even though there was a pretty good chance he was. He may have done some partial nudity in his films before, but he never felt so exposed over what kissing Louis like this could betray within him.

“Yeah,” Harry sighed. “Right.”

Well, he was going to give the paps a show that they were hired to do. Without another thought, he leaned up and captured Louis’ lips with his own, loving how warm they felt against his. They've lip locked in front of cameras before, but that was for their films when their characters were meant to look in love. Doing this for cameras that were trying to take a manufactured peak at their love lives was a different matter. Louis still grunted in surprise, but easily melted into the soft pecks Harry was giving him. And before he knew it, their tongues were gently exploring their mouths, going deeper than what Harry had imagined them doing. But having all his senses just screaming Louis’ name in unison wasn’t a bad feeling in the slightest. His cock didn’t seem to think so either, since he felt himself getting hard.

Harry pulled away once he felt himself getting too hot, giggling to make sure his smile would be photographed.

“Too much for you?” Louis smirked.

“Oh shut it,” Harry chuckled, pressing his hand against the other man’s chest. He couldn’t deny that it felt good though. That’s the other man’s thin lips felt like heaven against his own. And that’s when his eyes trailed down to find that Louis wasn’t so unaffected after all. “Speak for yourself, hypocrite.”

“I can control it,” he retorted.

“Oh really?” Harry taunted.

“Try me,” he said with a stare that turned his insides into jelly.

He doesn’t know what came over him at the moment, but suddenly in one motion he straddled Louis’ lap, bum firm against the other man’s hardening cock. This was getting into territory of intimacy neither had ever been in with each other, but somehow it didn’t feel… strange. Almost as if they were always meant to do this, at least on Harry’s end.

“Is this fine?” Harry whispered against his lips as he leaned down to kiss again.

“Yeah,” Louis whispered back, this time leaning up to kiss him. They continued like that for a few more minutes, Louis’ hand roaming his body as Harry leaned caged the other man’s face with his forearms to kiss him. He could feel Louis grow hard against him, loving the fact he could bring that reaction out of him. It just felt too good in every way, and a tiny part of Harry just wished it was real. That Louis was actually his boyfriend, and this was something they could do all the time.

Once he felt like he couldn’t keep back his moans, he gasped as he pulled back again. “I think that’s enough,” Harry murmured, trying to think of a way this hard on wouldn’t get its own pictures for the media.

“Oh no you don’t,” Louis said, holding him firmly in place by cupping both of Harry’s cheeks with his hands.

“Why?” Harry frowned as he tried to move again, trying to ignore how hard Louis felt against him. All that snogging just made him thirsty and his ice-cold water glass was calling his name.

“Because…” the older man grumbled. “It needs to go down.”

“Oh,” Harry said simply. He knew that. He could feel how hard and hot he was against his bum. He did feel like torturing him for a bit, though, and proceeded to grind himself against the hardness.

“Oh you fucker,” Louis hissed with a groan. “I’ll get you back for that.”

“I’d love to see you try, boyfriend,” Harry said with a smirk. It sent a thrill up his spine when he saw how dark and determined Louis’ eyes got, almost as if he knew he was going to get him back good.

“Just you watch, love,” Louis said sweetly, slightly thrusting up enough to discompose Harry for a bit. “Just you watch.”

*

“So how’d it go today?” Matt asked.

“Great,” they said in unison as they walked back inside. They managed to get another hour with the pap to make sure they got enough footage, but now Harry felt so drained from the sunshine he just felt like going to bed. Thankfully the sun was going down and he could go to bed in peace anyways.

“The pap texted me and said he got amazing shots,” Jeff said. “He’ll send some tomorrow so we can choose which ones to send to the outlets.” And by we Harry knew he meant him and Matt.

“Alright,” Harry yawned. “I’m going to take a nap then. Holler if you need me.” Just as he stepped into the hallway though, he felt someone grab his wrist.

“Haz?”

He turned to find Louis standing behind him, still holding onto him. “Oh,” he sighed. “What’s wrong, Lou? Are you feeling any better?”

“Better?” he asked with a frown.

“With… Johnny remember?”

“Oh,” he coughed. “Yeah I think I’m fine. Almost bloody forgot about it actually,” he said with a chuckle. “So I was thinking… can you come to my room after you’re done napping? I just want to talk to you about something.”

Harry felt his heart start to race. “Something? What?”

It looked as if Louis was going to say it right then and there, but he shook his head. “I’ll tell you later, okay? Get some rest and then we’ll talk.”

Before Harry could ask another question, Louis walked down the hallway to his own room, simply looking back at him with a smile on his face.

“What?” Harry said breathlessly. Maybe if he was less tired he would just go to him right then and demand to know what he was keeping to himself, but his body was still feeling the pull towards his bed.

He needed a nap, and Louis could wait. It’d be worth it to both of them.

*

Once Harry woke up from his snooze feeling like he slept for 50 years, he changed into some warm sweatpants and a tank top before heading over to Louis’ room. Hopefully the other man was still awake, even though his clock it was only 11 PM.

He walked through the halls until he found Louis’ room again, gently knocking on the closed door. “Lou?” he called out. He heard some shuffling before the door opened.

“Haz!” he grinned. It looked like he just showered, judging from the way his hair was sticking in all sorts of directions. “Glad to see you up.”

“Well you summoned me,” Harry giggled. “What did you need?”

“I wanted to know if you’d like to watch some Netflix with me?” Louis offered. “I feel like I’d just like to be with someone tonight and I know you love to cuddle so…” there was a slight bush to his cheeks giving away that he was slightly embarrassed to ask, but Harry couldn’t have been happier.

That didn’t really answer what Louis wanted to “talk” about, but Harry didn’t care. Spending time with Louis was enjoyable enough. “I’d love to!” he said as he plopped down on the large bed. “What’re we watching?”

“Anything you’d like,” Louis said as he turned on the wide screen television. “As long as I don’t cry. I don’t need that at the moment.”

They settled on Love Actually, a classic really, and who could blame them as they both got misty eyed during some scenes. They were only human. But Harry was more aware of the fact of just how good it felt to be cuddled up to Louis like this, with the older man on his back while Harry laid his head on his chest. It just felt so domestic, and it wasn’t even for the paparazzi. It felt strangely familiar yet again.

And apparently his cock had a mind of its own, because combined with the way Louis’ warm body felt against him and how his heart was reacting to it, just made him get hard and hot all over again. And when Louis moved his thigh and without a doubt felt how hard he was, Harry knew this was the end to their friendship.

“Sorry,” Harry started to babble as he pulled away. “It’s just been awhile since I slept with anyone and you’re just so fit and just pay no attention to this thing that has a mind of-” He couldn’t even continue his sentence since Louis’ lips were now on his own.

Shocking to say the least, but ever so welcoming. They continued to kiss like they did earlier, except Harry was definitely aware they weren’t doing this for the cameras. No, this felt like it was for them, and his body was just screaming in pleasure at the feeling of it.

“We can’t,” Louis whispered as he pulled back, “Right?”

Oh they bloody well can. Harry needed it badly, and if Louis was willing to give it, he would make no objections. “If you’re considering yourself single at this moment,” Harry whispered back, “and I am as well, I see nothing wrong. Johnny’s a jerk, and you deserve better.”

For a second Harry thought he’d pull back and stop it all together, coming to his senses for both of their sakes. But there was never anything but softness and yearning in his tone as he spoke, and Harry had no doubt of what his answer would be.

“You’re right,” Louis swallowed, eyeing his lips again. “I think I deserve you tonight.”

This was happening. This was literally happening. Harry was actually going to sleep with Louis. Who knew a tiny crush could burn so good when he actually got the chance to wallow in it?

“I’m all yours.”

And that was enough for Louis to start kissing him again. This time the kisses were more urgent, more heated, deeper. It just felt right the way their bodies slotted together like they did. Harry didn’t even think twice as he started to rut against him, already knowing there would be a wet spot over his joggers if he looked down.

Clothes were thrown in every direction until they were both panting and naked, trying to devour each other with kisses. Eventually Louis began to kiss the rest of his face, leaving bites along his throat that just made Harry moan with every lap of his tongue. His cock was in need of more attention though, so he didn’t waste time asking for what he wanted.

“Can you get in me?” he whispered into Louis’ ear, biting it softly before kissing it. He felt Louis grip his waist tighter, hard enough to leave bruises for a few days. He groaned into his ear at the thought of that, excited at having marks to remember the night with. But Louis took it as a painful groan and loosened his grip on him.

“Sorry,” he said earnestly. “I can get a little carried away if you talk like that, but I’ll try not to do it so hard.”

Harry shook his head, leaning up to kiss him again. “I’m not a porcelain doll, Lou,” he sighed as he opened his legs a little wider so he could feel more of the older man against him. “I’m just someone that wants to get fucked now and if you bruise me in the process, I won’t care,” he said bashfully. “I kind of like that actually.”

“Really?” Louis mused as he rutted his cock against Harry’s. “You like pain?”

“Live for it,” he panted as he felt precome spurt out of him.

That only made Louis bring a hand up to tweak one of Harry’s nipples, which only made Harry yelp in pleasure as the burn felt like jolt of electricity.

“Interesting,” Louis chuckled as he scooted down to bite them.

For what seemed like hours, Harry was in heaven as Louis licked, bit, sucked, lapped at both of his nipples, making them puffier than Harry had ever seen them. Eventually it got too much though and Harry had to warn him before he came with just that.

“Condoms?” Harry groaned, leaking more precome as he spoke. “I’m not going to last if you keep up with that, Lou.”

“Yeah,” Louis said before sucking on them a final time. “I’ve got them in my bag.”

Harry admired the view of Louis’ perky bum walking away, but preferred the sight of his thick, veiny cock standing tall. He wanted to taste some of it, not make him come from it, but he just needed a taste of him.

“Wait,” Harry said as he sat up, taking the condom and lube from his hands. With an arched brow, Louis watched as Harry took him in his mouth after a few kitten licks at the head.

“You deepthroat like a champ,” Louis moaned with a shudder.

Harry moaned in satisfaction, loving the salty taste and the weight on his tongue. If they were actually together and had days to themselves, he would’ve loved to spend hours in bed just sucking him off like that. He pulled back with a string of saliva still attaching them, wiping it with one hand as he opened the condom with his teeth. He eased it on him, loving how heavy it felt in his palms. His cock twitched at the thought of it inside him once he lubed him up.

“On your back or knees, love?” Louis said softly.

“Back,” Harry said easily, already scooting himself to the middle of the bed.

Louis wasted no time getting between his legs, rubbing the head of his cock against his aching hole. “Fingers, or want me in already?”

Harry knew he wouldn’t last if Louis fingered him, so he asked for the latter. “Just fuck me, Lou,” he panted.

With a nod, he felt Louis edge himself in, both of them groaning as he got further inside. The burn was delicious, and Harry knew he wasn’t going to last very long. At last Louis was fully inside, both of them a mess of moans as he started to thrust in and out. After he took Harry’s legs to put on his own shoulders, with Louis kissed him with such tenderness and pure want, Harry knew he was a goner for good.

There may have been a few times in his life that Harry thought about what sex with Louis would be like, but this exceeded all his expectations. He didn’t know if it counted as “making love”, but it definitely felt like that on Harry’s end. The look in Louis’ eyes just made him want to come then and there, and he knew he was seconds away from reaching his peak as Louis started to jerk him off with his thrusts. It just felt so different from all the other times he’s slept with a man, or maybe Louis was just that good in sex. Feeling so full of him, his scent, his aura, everything. Every hit of his prostate was just… heavenly. It made him want to pray to some type of god in gratitude. Whatever it was, it felt special enough for Harry to cry from joy. It might’ve looked like a rebound shag, but it was everything but that.

“I’m gonna-” he panted against Louis’ lips.

“Come, baby,” Louis whispered back, biting his lip in the process. After he tweaked one of Harry’s nipples hard and thumbed at his cock head, the younger man came with a cry as he spilled between them, ropes of come coating them both as he rode it out.

He heard Louis cry out as well a few seconds later, his motions stilling as he spilled inside of him. Maybe it was his imagination, but Harry could’ve sworn he felt his hot cum spill inside him. Not that he minded though. He would’ve loved to have fucked raw if it were any other day.

Once their breathing became normal and Louis softened enough to slip out of him, Harry was the first to speak.

“That was…” he trailed off. There wasn’t really a word to describe perfection like that.

“Good?” Louis offered with a laugh.

“So much better than good,” Harry giggled.

After Louis cleaned them up, Harry took a deep breath and started to get out of bed, looking around for his clothing. Even though he did enjoy to cuddle after sex, he wasn’t about to let himself get attached to Louis like that. Especially when he knew Louis was two seconds away from kicking him out anyways.

“Where are you going?” Louis murmured from the bed.

Harry paused as he put his sweats back on. “Back to my room?” he offered, looking around for his tank top.

“You could stay here if you like.”

“Um-“ Harry swallowed. “I don’t think I should.”

“Why?”

Why? Because this was clearly a one night stand that just served to distract Louis in every way possible and seemed to work. “You were just using me as a quick rebound, Lou, and that’s fine and all but…” It was better he implied it rather than Louis. He knew his heart couldn’t handle hearing Louis kick him out of his bed after they just did that.

There was an awkward silence as Louis seemed to take in what he said. “Alright then,” he said after a while. “Have a nice night?”

“You too, Lou,” he sighed before leaving the room.

Well, sleeping with Louis Tomlinson was remarkable. Harry was probably ruined for any other man that he’d take to bed from then on. He just wishes it could’ve lasted for a lifetime instead of a night.

*

As their promo season weighed on, September rolled around with Louis’ movie premiere. Harry was obviously slated to attend with him, as all the gossip columns reported. Louis’ movie was called The Imitation Game, managing to beat out Benedict Cumberbatch for the role of the gay computer genius from the 1940s. With a co-star of Keira Knightley, Harry didn’t see why this wouldn’t be a surefire hit. Luckily critics seemed to agree with him, and gave the movie rave reviews as well, with particular notice to how well the lead actor was able to carry the film along with Keira. There wasn’t any doubt left that it would lead the nominations come award season.

“Louis!” Keira greeted them on the red carpet once they arrived. “And you’ve brought a date!”

“Of course I did,” Louis grinned. “Who else could support me on our big night but my boyfriend?” he said as he eyed Harry.

Boyfriend. Harry had thought things would get a bit awkward after their night together, but when he saw Louis the next morning, the older man acted as if nothing changed, or nothing had happened for that matter. If Louis was willing to pretend, he could as well. But he couldn’t deny it had hurt a bit to think that’s all Louis saw him as. Just a way to blow some steam because he broke up with his boyfriend. He had hoped there would’ve been something… more between them. Whether it led to actual private dates for them or just another night together, Harry didn’t care. He just felt like they deserved something to bloom out of that.

And in the few weeks they had been going out on their publicized dates, he thought Louis might’ve been thinking the same. One too many times he thought the other man was looking at him a bit funny, or instantly looked away once Harry would turn to face him. While he had been a bit hesitant to lock lips for the cameras when he was still dating Johnny, he offered no resistance and even initiated some kisses for the paps now. And every kiss felt as passionate as it did on the yacht. If anything, it just confused Harry to no end.

“Hello, love,” Harry said as he kissed her cheek. “So happy to see you again.”

He stayed behind as Louis did interviews with various media outlets, gazing with pride as he did so. If there was one thing he enjoyed doing, it was watching Louis be in his element or talk about his element. One thing he admired the most of Louis’ work ethic is how much of a method actor he was. It just showed how serious he was about perfecting his role.

And he could catch his own name being mentioned by a few interviewers, just as they had when Louis was walking for his red carpet. No doubt more headlines would be generated from that.

The screening went terrific as well, with Harry barely able to keep his eyes off the screen. There were things that Louis did with his technique that only other actors like Harry could see, and it was simply breathtaking to watch in action. If anyone deserved the Oscar that year, it was definitely him.

As they exited to the after party, Harry started to feel a bit lightheaded. He shook it off just what he got for not eating lunch. Who could blame him when he threw up everything he ate in the morning? An empty stomach didn’t suit him, so he excused himself to go to the buffet area and find some mint ice cream he had been craving all day. It wasn’t even his favorite, but lately he had been having an inkling for it.

Once he found some, he lingered around Louis and made small talk with other guests, checking his phone every once in a while to see the time. Just before midnight, however, he felt even more lightheaded than before. Without even telling Louis where he was going, he made his way to a nearby table and sat down, holding his head up with one hand.

While taking some calming breaths, he felt a gentle hand on his back.

“Haz?” Louis said, concern flooding his voice. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Harry murmured; palm still pressed against his forehead. “I just might be coming down with something. Blasted headache.”

“I’ll take you home then,” the other man said.

“No,” he shook his head. “It’s your night, come on. Don’t worry about me okay? I can get myself home.”

“You sure?”

“Of course, Lou,” he sighed, finally looking up at him. “I’m not going to take you away from the one night you get to celebrate this masterpiece.”

“I can celebrate any night,” Louis chuckled. “You getting home safely is more important. Besides, we have to be photographed leaving together, remember?”

“Ah,” Harry nodded. “Forgot about that.”

“Come on,” Louis nodded towards the exit. “I’ll go tell Matt we’re ready to leave. I just have to say bye to a few people and then I’ll be good to go as well. Just wait for me here alright?”

As he stared up into those soft blue eyes, Harry just remembered why he always had a helpless crush on him. He just oozed kindness in every way. “Alright, Lou,” he said softly. At least he could snuggle with Louis in the backseat on the way back to his flat. Better than dealing with this awful headache alone.

*

The next morning, he woke up running to the bathroom, emptying his stomach in the toilet. Not that there was much to throw up anyways, since he couldn’t hold anything down.

As he wearily flushed the toilet, his mind was still struggling to wake up. He thought he could be coming down with a cold or flu, but his throat felt fine and he didn’t have a fever. It was already the third morning of the week that he had to wake up to puke, so something had to be wrong. He just didn’t know what.

Once he made himself some breakfast, he started scrolling through his timeline to see if there was any news. Naturally, articles were already out about the premiere from last night, particularly noting the good reviews and how good Louis and Keira looked. Harry even got a paragraph to himself, stating their relationship status and his own movie that was out.

Just as he was about to read another article, a call flashed over his phone, Harry frowning as he swiped to answer.

“Zayn?” he asked as he got up to make himself some more tea.

“Hey, Haz,” he said.

“What’s up?” he murmured as he reached up to grab a mug.

“Louis texted me this morning saying you weren’t feeling well last night. Feeling any better now?”

Leave it to Zayn to be the mother hen of the group. It was usually Harry, making sure they ate when they were all together and checking on people who were sick, but it was nice to know Zayn had the same instincts as well if he wasn’t feeling well. “I’m still sick,” he sniffled. “I don’t have a fever or anything like that, but this morning I threw up again. Third time this week.”

“Really? Well,” he laughed. “if I didn’t know you any better I’d say you’re pregnant.”

“Pregnant?” he giggled. “Come on.”

“We all know you’re a carrier, Haz, so just do the math. You never know if you could be.”

He was a carrier, but he didn’t mind it too much. He didn’t like to take birth control because of the way it messed with his mood, so blowjobs, hand jobs, and condoms were the most effective part of his own birth control. And it’s not like he slept with tons of men anyways; he kept his dalliances to a minimum.

“Well yeah the last time was-” He almost dropped his mug on the table. Luckily his hands were only a few inches off the table and it gently sloshed the liquid around.

Shit. August. The yacht. A hot, sweaty, night of pure fucking. And he didn’t imagine that Louis actually came inside him. He did. That meant the condom did break a bit, so there was a chance that he was…

“Harry?”

“I have to go,” he said before ending the call.

He ran into his room, searching under the bed until he found what he was looking for: a pregnancy test. He had gotten it as a gag gift last year for Christmas (Niall was probably the one who stuck it in his stocking) and since he didn’t like to throw away practical things, he tucked it away instead. He didn’t think he’d have a need for it less than a year later though.

After he took the test and waited for the results, his mind only went to that night on the yacht. It was probably the best sex he ever had, and no doubt because it was with Louis. His warm skin, the way his body looked in the dim lights of the room. He still had a few wet dreams about that night, and who could blame him? It was just that good.

The alarm on his phone went off, walking back into the bathroom to check on the stick. PREGNANT flashed in a big, black letters, and instead of breaking down like he thought he would, he just let out a sigh in defeat.

“Guess it was good enough to make a baby too.”

*

Once he got back to his flat later that day, all he felt like doing is collapsing on the couch and hibernating for the new few centuries.

He went to see his doctor after the test, and after a few blood tests they confirmed what the pee stick had said: Pregnant. Except now he knew he was due in April of next year, and he had to come for more checkups in the upcoming months. He didn’t mind that, though. Anything for his little kiwi, he thought to himself as he rested both hands over his stomach. And yes, kiwi seemed the best name for the little fetus at this point. He was craving some kiwis after his appointment and it only seemed fit to nickname his little one that for now.

After the mess that was the day, this was the first time he actually had time to sit down and think of becoming a father as he sank into the cushions of the couch. He only knew of their existence for a few hours, but he felt so protective over them already. Even though this wasn’t how he imagined starting his family. Especially if Louis had no idea he was the father.

“Louis,” he said aloud. What was he going to do about him? He couldn’t possibly tell him now. No, he’d have to wait at least until he hit the second trimester. No point in troubling Louis with this and it turns out he might not carry to full term. His heart sank at the thought of that, though. He didn’t want to lose his little kiwi already.

How would Louis even react? Mad that Harry managed to get pregnant after a one night stand? Well it wasn’t his fault. Louis’ weak condoms were to blame really.

He looked over at his newspaper that was sitting on kitchen table, noticing an advertisement for The Imitation Game. Louis was staring back at him with those a hard stare yet soft blue eyes, expression firm. He knew he had to tell him eventually, but he just didn’t have the heart to tell him now.

“Will you have his eyes, little one?” he said as he glanced down to his stomach. “Or mine?”

Just as he was about to turn on the television, he heard a knock at his door. Frowning, he walked over and opened it slightly, peering out the crack.

“Liam?” he blinked. “Zayn?”

They both waved to him as Harry opened the door more and stepped aside to let them in. “What are you doing here?”

Liam and Zayn had been boyfriends for years, meeting via their friend group in the early days. Zayn was known for some Bollywood flicks and a gay Bend It Like Beckham remake while Liam was just getting started as a young Captain Britain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve since had their own nominations for Academy Awards like the rest of the group, but this was their first year without doing films for both of them. Mostly because they wanted to take a little break from filming, but they all knew it was because they wanted to start to settle down and build their family home near Wolverhampton. They even got engaged on Liam's birthday last year, so it was all going well for them.

“We brought you some soup,” Zayn smiled as Liam darted to the kitchen. “That should settle your stomach for the time being.”

“What?” Harry murmured as he followed behind, tugging his cardigan around himself more. “You didn’t have to, lads.”

“Of course we do,” Liam chuckled as he started getting a bowl and spoon out. “We were just out having dinner and we thought we might as well get some soup boxed up for you and bring it over ourselves.”

“You knew I was sick?” Harry asked as he eyed Zayn. The other man gave him a half-apologetic shrug.

“And possibly knocked up,” Liam nodded, which earned Zayn a deeper glare.

“You know I can’t keep things from him,” Zayn chuckled. “Besides, what else was I supposed to do when you hung up on me like that?”

“Sorry,” Harry sighed. “I just had to take a test once you mentioned that.”

Liam brought over a bowl of hot soup and placed it in front of Harry, who took in the steam on his face. Chicken noodle. His favorite.

“And what’d it say?” Zayn asked as Liam took a seat next to him.

“Pregnant,” Harry said before taking a spoonful. “I even went to the doctors today so they could confirm it. I’m due near the end of April of next year.”

He looked up to see the pair sharing a look between themselves. “Well I think congrats are in order right?” Liam asked.

“Yeah,” Harry smiled to himself. “I can’t wait to have my baby.”

“Then we’re going to support you every step of the way,” Zayn said with a soft smile. “But um- who’s the father then?”

Liam nodded. “Do we know him?” he asked earnestly.

“Oh you know him alright,” Harry murmured. His soup was just more interesting at the moment, twirling the spoon around to make little spirals in the broth. He didn’t know if it was even right to tell them it was Louis, but he was his best friend. If he couldn’t tell him something, who else could he turn to? In doing a quick weight of the pros and cons of telling the engaged couple, he figured he had more than enough reason to tell his other friends.

Zayn made a hand motion to continue.

“Look,” Harry sighed. “Don’t freak out. And you can’t tell him because I have to be the one who tells him first, okay? Promise?”

“Promise,” they said in unison.

Well, no turning back now. “It’s Louis,” Harry whispered out loud.

Zayn frowned. “What?”

“Did you say it’s Louis?” Liam shouted, looking like a deer in headlights.

“It’s Louis?” Zayn gasped as he sprang out of his chair.

So much for not freaking out. Honestly, those two were made for each other. “Yes!” Harry hissed. “But don’t go shouting it from the rooftops!”

“Oh right right,” Zayn said as he sat back in his chair. “Um…”

“Surprised?” Harry offered.

“Yeah,” Liam said as he ran a hand through his hair. “Didn’t know you guys liked each other like that.”

Zayn nodded. “We knew you flirted here and there and your chemistry on screen is just something else but… yeah I didn’t think either of you would really act on it. Leo and Kate, we thought of you as.”

Harry snorted. “Well if Kate was a man that wouldn’t be a platonic relationship. But yes, we slept together and that’s that. Not big news really when half the world knows we’re supposed to be dating.”

“But a relationship that’s just for publicity isn’t the same as actually… sleeping with them, Haz,” Liam said.

As if he didn’t know that. He never thought he would’ve ended up like this during their stunt of the relationship. Hell, Harry just wanted to make sure their friendship would survive it. Now it’s definitely ruined for good.

“Wait,” Zayn frowned as he interrupted his thoughts. “If you’re like almost two months pregnant, that means you got pregnant in August?”

Liam’s jaw dropped immediately. “Don’t tell me you got knocked up on the yacht.”

Harry felt his face flush, and by the looks on their faces the men knew his answer.

“What yacht?” Zayn asked with a frown.

“Remember? All those headlines of them snogging – you know what they could’ve very well have made a baby in front of the paps now that I think about it – and it was literally all over twitter! Here I’ll show you,” he said as he pulled out his phone.

“We didn’t shag in front of the paps!” Harry grumbled.

“I think this was during my phone detox so that’s why I didn’t see this,” Zayn mumbled as he looked over at Liam’s screen. Harry sighed as he got up to go stand behind them, wanting to see what he was showing. They watched as Liam searched along the twitter app until he found a video of the pap from that day.

“You’re gonna get pregnant,” Zayn singsonged as Harry balled up a napkin and flung it at them.

They all watched as the pair smiled in the sunshine, Harry with his straw hat looking like a farmer out of place while Louis looked like a rich trust fund man with his baseball cap turned to the back. They took both hats off once they laid down in the sunbathing chairs, turning to each other before they began to fully kiss. Then eventually Harry straddled him, and well… it was hot to watch. So hot Harry felt himself get a little hard just by watching it. “He just broke up with Johnny and still felt like snogging so,” he said nonchalantly.

“Those are more than kisses, Haz,” Zayn said.

“Yeah well,” he grunted. “We shagged later that night, not right then.”

“Well Louis wasted no time getting with someone else,” Liam chuckled. “I’m glad there’s no tape of you actually making this baby then, but this is a very good preview.”

“Heyyy,” Harry pouted. “I’m not about to discuss what happened in private that night.”

“We all know Louis and Johnny aren’t meant for one another,” Zayn said with a wave to his fiancé. “Besides, I’d love to see how him and this one would do instead.”

“Me?” Harry squeaked as he sat down in his seat again. “No way. Louis wouldn’t want to date me, especially when he’s going to be forced to interact with me because I was a dumbass who got pregnant during a one night stand.”

“He bears just as much responsibility as you, Haz,” Liam said. “Don’t blame it all on yourself.”

“I know but,” Harry sighed. “You can’t just spring this up on a guy. Especially not my best mate.”

“When do you plan to tell him?”

Harry thought for a moment. “Can’t I just wait and have the baby tell him instead so then I don’t have to?” It was pathetic, but he still didn’t feel like telling him himself.

Zayn rolled his eyes. “Unless you avoid seeing him once you start to show, he’s going to notice your huge stomach, Haz.”

“Then when do you suggest?” He huffed. “I think I’d like to wait to get to the second trimester before I tell him, just to be sure and all. Then Louis is leaving for a month in South America to film a movie.” So it’s not like he had all the time in the world to do it.

“I think you’ll find a good time for it,” Liam said. “So it’s all up to you. Just tell him as soon as you can because I don’t think he’d appreciate being kept in the dark about all this, especially since we know.”

“I guess,” Harry sighed. “I’ll think about it, then,” he looked up at both of them. “Thank you for coming, though. I appreciate having someone to talk to about all this.” He watched as they both smiled and got up to walk over to him.

“Anything for you, Haz,” Zayn said as he kissed his head as Liam hugged him. “We’re going to be uncles, anyways, so god parent status has to be established already.”

“Well you’ll both be godparents for sure,” Harry chuckled as he hugged them back. The soup felt good in his stomach, and thankfully no nausea came with it. He was lucky to have friends like his. Now he just had to muster up the courage to tell his best friend the news.

*

Every year, Niall was known to throw a Halloween party in a mansion just outside of London. Given their reputations as A-list actors, it was very exclusive. And being that Niall was one of their good friends, it was a no brainer that they’d have a date night there that was going to be heavily publicized. Niall was also a part of their friend group, serving Ireland proud with his multiple Oscar nominations. Even though he was a gifted actor with the dramas he did, he was also known to narrate or star in golf documentaries in his spare time, which got him all the teasing from Louis and Liam. But Niall did whatever the fuck he wanted, so he didn’t give two fucks what they thought of his hobby. Besides, his annual Halloween party was one for the books.

This year, Harry and Louis had to be in couples costumes. And much to Harry’s delight, they chose to be Mars and Venus, or Ares and Aphrodite, depending on who you asked. As they got ready in Harry’s flat, Louis was already dressed in a white toga, carefully draped on him to show one of his nipples. He powdered some shimmering dust onto his exposed skin, creating that perfect godly glow for the night. With his helmet on and sword in one hand, he looked every part the Greek god he was supposed to look like

Harry on the other hand was dressed in a pink toga, cut low enough to reveal the butterfly tattoo on his stomach. Thankfully he belly was still easy to hide, especially with a loose gown like the one he was wearing. He had red and white flowers adorning his hair as well, with pretty pink lipstick on his lips. He had Louis dust him in some shimmering powder as well, and they both looked regal and otherworldly in every way.

But Harry had a plan as well for the night: He was going to tell Louis about the baby. Well, ask Louis to take him home, spend the night, and tell him in the morning. He just needed to tell him before he started to show for good, and just get it out of his conscience. Every time they were together for stunt pictures felt like a good time to tell him, but he didn’t want Louis’ face being photographed when he told him. No. It had to be done privately, and what better time than after Louis had spent the night in his flat?

“Ready, Aphrodite?” Louis said, whistling as he twirled Harry around in front of him.

“If you are, Ares,” he giggled.

Almost an hour later, they arrived together and walked the mini red carpet, hand in hand as they strolled down to greet other celebrity guests. Once they got inside, there were a variety of other singletons and couples costumes, but it was easy to spot Liam and Zayn in the crowd: Liam was dressed as Batman with Zayn as Superman. They were both told every year to get different costumes, and every year they refused. So, they were the easiest to find every year.

“Batman!” Louis yelled as they approached the couple. “Honestly, get creative on your costumes, lads. At least Harold and I put effort and we’re not even dating for real.”

Harry couldn’t help the pang he felt in his chest. Not that he had to be reminded all the time that he wasn’t going to end up with the father of his child, but he had some hope that could change tonight. Louis had the right to know about their little one as well.

At least the night proved to be a helpful distraction, with Louis bringing him out to the dancefloor to do the “Time Warp” dance. They mingled with other guests while getting their picture taken in the photobooth, both of them giggly when they took a few kissing photos. Those were definitely going to be sent to Jeff and Matt later on, but Harry could care less at the moment. He just wanted to enjoy his time with Louis as his official date.

But at some point Harry couldn’t find him anymore, so he walked around to mingle with other guests until he found him again.

“Drink up, Haz!’ Niall yelled as he shoved a drink in his hand. He was about to down it when he suddenly remembered. Niall didn’t know about his pregnancy. It was bad enough that Liam and Zayn knew about it before Louis, but Harry had to tell someone. It’s not like he could’ve kept it from Zayn anyways after that phone call.

“No thanks,” he said as he pushed the drink away.

Niall frowned. “But you always love my margaritas?” And that was true. Harry could remember quite a few parties where he downed one too many and ended up in the laps of several men he couldn’t remember the names of. Right now he would rather be on Louis’ lap, though, wherever he was.

“I’m taking some medication,” he said with an apologetic smile. “Can’t drink with it.”

“Ah,” Niall nodded. “Alright then. Want me to make you a virgin one then?”

“I’d love that,” Harry laughed. "Thanks, mate."

Once Niall brought him a new drink and gave a quick hug goodbye, Harry went over to the SuperBat couple that was standing by the windows.

“Hey, nerds,” he giggled as he approached.

“Says the one dressed like a Greek goddess,” Liam laughed as he hugged Zayn.

Harry rolled his eyes, leaning over as he lowered his voice. “Where’s Louis?” he whispered.

“I saw him take a call out on the balcony,” Zayn responded, nodding in the direction.

“Thanks,” Harry said before rushing over there, dress swaying as he walked briskly. Finally he saw Louis leaning over the railing, gazing out into the dancing crowd below.

“Lou?” Harry said softly. He didn’t want to be interrupting if he was thinking deeply about something.

And it seemed like he was, since he had a few second delay in answering. “Hey!” Louis grinned. “Why are you out here?”

“Because I can’t be walking around there without my god,” Harry giggled. “What are you doing here alone?”

“Well you found me,” Louis chuckled. “I saw you chatting with some people so I thought it best to take some me time out here.”

Harry nodded. “I see,” he responded as he leaned over the railing as well, their elbows almost touching. He welcomed the comfortable silence for a while, until he deemed it necessary to speak up again. “Do you want to come over tonight?”

Louis turned to face him. “Tonight?”

“Yeah,” Harry said with a shrug. “Watch a movie or something.” He just needed to get him to stay the night, cuddling if he was up for it, just so he could break the pregnancy news easily to him in the morning.

“If it was any other night I’d love to Haz, but I can’t,” he said with a sigh. “After we leave here I’m going to meet up with Johnny.”

Harry felt his heart clenching just as he realized what he said. “Johnny?” he almost squeaked, trying to keep his voice neutral.

“Didn’t I tell you? We made up a few weeks ago and we’re very much back on again.”

“Ah,” Harry said, feeling his heart crumble to pieces. He knew if he left right then Louis would suspect something, so he decided to stand there and smile instead. Grin and bear the pain.

“I hope it lasts then,” he said simply, his hand subconsciously going down to his own stomach.

“I hope so too,” he chuckled. “You know Johnny was even talking about marriage and all that? I think he’s really changed for the better. No more trying to cheat and all that.”

“Yeah that’s… great, Lou. I’m happy for you,” he grinned. Now was the time his acting skills would prove useful in everyday life, because Louis must’ve thought his joy was genuine by the way he was looking at him, but all Harry could feel was his soul crumbling. If this is what true heartbreak felt like, he wishes he never had a heart in the first place.

*

A month went by, and as the weeks bled into early December, Harry had had enough. He almost cut off all communication for Louis after he told him about Johnny, hoping to protect his heart a bit more. Not that it could really be healed, but he had to try something. Besides, it’s not as if Louis would miss him. They still texted once in a while while still going on their mandatory pap outings, but out of that Harry didn’t want to deal with him that much. Louis had Johnny back and his world must be perfect right now. Meanwhile Harry was dealing with the extra weight he was gaining and the torture it made on his back. He was ready for his month of retirement in Ireland where he’d keep to himself in a cottage Jeff had found for him, away from London, away from the press, just away from everyone. Since he was going to raise his child by himself, he at least wanted to get used to the idea before it actually happened. And that definitely meant no Louis around.

“Jeff,” Harry moaned into the phone as he sprawled himself on his bed. “I-I can’t do this anymore. I feel like my belly has popped overnight and I won’t be able to hide it if I go to his party.”

He had already told Jeff about the pregnancy a few days after he told Liam and Zayn. He didn’t seem too mad about it, but still complained about what it would mean for their publicity relationship plans. Harry also made him swear not to tell Matt or Louis, which Jeff reluctantly agreed to.

“Make sure you’re following the doctor’s orders, Harry,” he warned. “I don’t want you endangering yourself or the child for any reason. So, what do you want me to do? You’re supposed to go to Louis’ early birthday party where a bunch of A-listers are going to attend.”

“Send me off to Ireland already,” he groaned, “and-and make up a reason for why I can’t be there.”

He could feel the eyeroll Jeff was giving him through the phone. “But that was supposed to be another major party you’d attend together. There were going to be photographers all over inside so they could get good pictures of you both.”

“Well,” Harry grumbled. “Turn it into a private party and just add that I was there in the articles. You can make up whatever you want there. Besides,” he said as he looked down at his bump, “I don’t think I would’ve been able to hide my stomach that well anymore.”

“Alright,” Jeff signed. “I’ll talk to Matt and tell him you’re sick or something. Are you sure you don’t want to wait a bit before you leave? At least tell Louis before you go.”

No. He needed this time for himself. He didn’t want to worry about Louis, or anyone else for that matter. He planned this trip for much needed rest, and that’s what he was going to get. Louis was just the sperm donor for all he cared, and he didn’t need to worry himself over him. “No,” he said firmly. “I just need time to myself right now. Figure out how I’ll tell him and all after the new year.”

“Fine.” Jeff said, clearly not agreeing with him. “You’re leaving for that cottage in Dublin the day after tomorrow. You probably already have your bags ready, but have them finished by then.”

And as they said goodbye, Harry felt as is a weight was lifted off his chest. Finally, Ireland.

*

The cottage was a quaint little thing; as if it popped right out of a magazine spread about the Irish countryside. It sat a few hundred meters near a cliff with the ocean waves crashing down below. Wrapped in two jumpers and a shawl with a knit hat, Harry found it therapeutic to simply stroll down there every morning, taking in the sea air and forgetting of his life in London.

His mum and Gemma understood why he needed to be away, even though they preferred for him to be with them instead. He had Jeff tell Louis about the change of plans, getting some question marks via text from Louis to his own phone which he simply ignored.

Harry later saw the headlines from the party: Louis Tomlinson has wild night for early birthday celebration. Pictures of Louis’ oldest sisters, Niall, Liam and Zayn, everyone was there to celebrate with Louis. And of course, a few added lines of how loved up he looked with Harry. It was brilliant really.

The countryside and isolation actually served him well, journaling his thoughts away during the day and watching some of his favorite movies at night. Now that his bump was very hard to hide, he decided to start having conversations with his child, even holding up his headphones in an effort to get them to like his music. Fleetwood Mac in the womb had to serve for something, right?

And well, he thought about Louis too. He thought about Louis every day. How much he loved him, how they could never really be together. He long decided that Louis was going to have the option to refuse his parental rights if he wanted, and Harry really couldn’t blame him. Why share a child with a simple friend? Harry could find a man someday that would love his child as his own, and then he’d have the happy family he deserved. He very much didn’t need Louis for it, even though that would’ve been the dream.

Today happened to be his birthday as well. Christmas Eve for the rest of the world that didn’t know glorious Louis was born on this date as well. Harry had sent him a “happy birthday” text that morning, but he got no reply. Probably too busy with his family and Johnny, Harry thought to himself. At least his little cottage looked festive. There was a small tree that he decorated a few days ago, and some presents for the baby he would unwrap the next day.

Ginny, an older lady that lived in a cottage a few miles away, stopped by every day to drop off some groceries for Harry. She was employed by Jeff, but Harry nonetheless adored her company whenever she came.

“And I can’t wait to see your little bundle, lad,” she grinned as she patted his belly, a strand of her salt and pepper hair coming down over her face.

“Just a few more months now,” Harry sighed as he cradled his bump. “I’ll be sure to tell Jeff to send you some photos of them?”

“Oh thank you, Harry,” she laughed. “And before I forget,” she said as she dug in her bag, “I want to give you this. Happy Christmas to you both.” She placed a yellow knitted jumper in his hands, small enough to fit a newborn.

His eyes watered as he felt the soft wool against his fingers. “Thank you,” he swallowed with a whisper. “I love it.”

Ginny closed the door as she left, Harry sighing as he went to the couch to catch up on the book he was reading. Lately he found some comfort in bodice rippers, enjoying the hope for happy endings they gave. Just as he was about to pick off where the infamous rake was about to declare his love for the heroine, there was a knock at the door.

“Oh Ginny,” he giggled as he sat up, not bothering to take off the quilt he had wrapped around himself. “Always forgetting something. What did you forget this t-” his brain stopped functioning the minute he saw who was standing there.

“Louis?” he whispered. The one man he thought he wouldn’t see until at least January was standing right there, looking so beautiful in a wool jumper and hat, cheeks red from the cold. Those blue blue eyes that he had missed so much were staring back at him, and yet there was something in them that seemed unfamiliar.

“Yeah,” he shivered after a bit. “I’m here. Can I come in?”

“Of course,” Harry said as a million thoughts dashed into his head, stepping aside quickly to let him through. They all boiled down to: Why the fuck was Louis here? Thankfully, his hands had the right notion to drape the quilt even farther over his front to cover his bump, knuckles almost turning white from grasping it too tight. This could not be happening now.

“What are you doing here, Lou?” he said as he watched Louis get warm near the fire. “It’s your birthday!”

“You’re right!” Louis said almost a little too loudly. “It is my bloody birthday and you know what? I don’t fucking care. Why? Because I’m so used to spending it with you all these years that it just felt wrong to celebrate it without you!”

It was true. There hadn’t been a year that Harry didn’t attend whatever celebration Louis had on his birthday every year in Doncaster. Did he feel slighted because he couldn’t attend this year and had to come and guilt him for it? “Oh, Lou-”

“Wait! And you know what else? It’s the absolute worst because this just made me realize even more that I’m utterly and helplessly in love with you. I’m sorry to just barge in on you like this but I couldn’t fucking take it anymore! Knowing you weren’t going to at least spend my birthday with me meant something, and I’d be damned if I didn’t follow you anywhere in the world so we could be together for it. So again, I’m sorry I almost had to threaten Jeff with telling me where you were,” he sighed, “but I couldn’t stand not being with the person I loved on my birthday of all days.”

Harry had to get his hearing checked. Probably the pregnancy hormones fucking it up as well. “What?” He couldn’t have heard right. No. No this was just a dream.

“I. Am. In. Love. With. You,” he said earnestly, like it was paining him to say it out loud.

He hadn’t heard wrong. Louis was in love with him. So much so he dropped everything on Christmas Eve and his birthday to come and tell him so. Close to tears, Harry’s body just gave out and before he knew it his hands dropped the quilt on the floor in front of him. He looked up to see Louis’ eyes wide as he stared at his belly, the only sound in the ambiance being the fire crackling in the background.

“Harry?” he squeaked after a while. “You’re- pregnant?”

Worrying his lip, Harry nodded slowly as he looked down at his bump. Leave it to him to wear a tight shirt today, so he looked extra swollen. He sat back down on the couch to grab the quilt off the floor, covering himself again with it.

“Is-Is this why you’ve been distant all these months?”

“Maybe,” he responded, barely louder than a whisper, not meeting the other man’s eyes.

“Who’s the father?” he asked softly.

Harry swallowed before looking up at him, so much worry in those blue eyes of his. “I’m looking right at him.”

And then he watched as Louis face crumbled, covering his face with his hands as he stood there in the middle of the room.

“I’m sorry,” he babbled, feeling the need to get up and comfort him but not knowing if it was wanted. “I’m so sorry, Lou. I’m sorry. I didn’t know how you’d react since I didn’t even know what to think of all this and I’m just sorry okay? I know you don't want to have a baby with me when we're not even together and I didn’t mean-”

“Sorry?” he cried out. “Sorry? You think I’m sorry that the man I love is expecting my child?”

Harry realized he hadn’t even properly searched his face for a reaction. He didn’t find anger or sorrow, he found happiness and joy sparkling in his eyes. Those were tears of happiness, not sadness. “You’re-you’re not mad at me?”

“Mad?” he huffed as he walked towards him, wiping more tears away. “I’m only mad at the fact you didn’t tell me sooner, love. Not mad that you’re giving me a child.”

“I was going to,” he said as he looked away, “after Niall’s party. But then you told me you were back on with Johnny and I didn’t want to interfere. Somehow I had it in my head that you might want to have an actual relationship with me.”

“And why wouldn’t I?” Louis said softly, getting on his knees in front of him as he took Harry’s hands in his. “I thought you didn’t want anything with me, which is almost the entire reason I went back to Johnny.”

“What?” Harry snorted. He couldn’t very well believe that.

“After we slept together,” Louis explained, “you clearly didn’t want to stay the night and I wasn’t about to force you. I thought you just saw it as a one-night stand where you were just helping a friend.”

“Because I thought that’s what you wanted,” Harry said earnestly, heart racing again in his chest, “and I didn’t really feel like hearing you say that to me after that happened. I thought I just had a simple crush on you, Lou, but after sleeping with you it was very clear to me that I had deeper feelings than I ever imagined, and I was hopelessly in love with someone who could never love me back like that.”

“Not love you back?” Louis scoffed. “Harry, you were all I thought about after that trip. I literally couldn’t get you out of my head for months. But then you started getting a bit distant after I was leaving you hints so… I thought it best to try it again with Johnny.”

Harry felt the jealousy seep up in his chest. “And how did that go?” he murmured as he looked away. He felt Louis’ hand gently turn his chin back to face him though, seeing those clear blue eyes staring at him wide.

“It lasted a week after I told you,” Louis said. “At most.”

“You can’t be serious,” Harry gawked.

“After the party I thought I could work it off with him but…” he trailed off, “it just didn’t feel right for so many reasons. I thought we used to have great sex too, but I think you ruined me for him.”

Harry didn’t know whether to feel jealous or smug about that, but he pouted anyways. “And there you were having satisfactory sex while I was getting big with your child,” he said, trying to look affronted.

“Had I known you felt the same,” Louis said with a pointed stare, “I would’ve begun to date you the say after we slept together.”

“Really?” Harry asked earnestly.

“Really,” Louis said with a sot smile, “which reminds me. I’m being so rude!” Harry was about to frown before he felt Louis’ hands all over his bump, rubbing gently against it. “Hello, my love,” he said in the gentlest tone Harry had ever heard come out from his mouth, “You haven’t met me yet, but once your Papa is done baking you, you will. And I’m going to spoil you rotten.”

Harry had to swallow back some tears as he watched the tender moment, still not believing this was all happening. “Well,” he laughed wetly, “they have technically met you before. Your little swimmers are what broke through the condom and helped create them.”

Louis broke out into a grin for the first time that night, and Harry felt like the sun was shining at him. “I guess we have,” he laughed, “but I still can’t wait to meet them. I wonder if they’ll have your dimples.”

“I would hope so,” Harry giggled as Louis got up to sit next to him.

“If I wasn’t totally clear before,” Louis said as he kissed his cheek, “I fully intend to date you for real, Harry Styles. Woo you in every way possible. Having a baby with you is just something we get to check off together earlier than expected.”

If there was one thing he never thought he would hear Louis say, it was exactly that. They he wanted to be with him. That he wanted to date him. And not only that, but he wanted to have a child with him even though it was all so new to them. One way or another, he really hit the jackpot with the man he fell for.

“Do you really mean all this, Lou?” he whispered. “Are you sure I’m not going to wake up in a few minutes and find out this was all a fever dream I had because I missed you so much?”

“I’m as real as it gets, love,” he chuckled softly. “You could fall asleep right now and I’ll still be here when you wake up. Which is something I’d like to do for the rest of our lives, if you don’t mind.”

Harry could feel the happiness bubble in chest, fresh happy tears springing in his eyes. “Yes,” he cried out, “I want to be with you forever, Lou.”

“Then the least you can do is kiss the father of your child,” Louis teased. And not having to be told twice, Harry did exactly that. Their lips slotted easily together as they did before, with Louis’ hand coming up to cradle Harry’s cheek and wipe away a few tears that managed to get away.

“You know,” Harry said as he pulled away, already panting. “I don’t like the fact that the last person my boyfriend slept with is not me.”

“Oh really?” Louis chuckled before kissing him again. “Would you like to change that, darling?”

Harry nodded. “It’s not like you can get me anymore pregnant,” he laughed, “I’ve been using my dildo since my hormones have been all over the place, but nothing can replace the thing that started this all.” He watched as Louis’ jaw went slack in response as Harry started to fondle him through his jeans.

“You-You… You’ve been that hung up for my cock?”

Harry shrugged nonchalantly. “Wouldn’t mind sucking on yours while I have my dildo in me,” he said easily. “And you can even hump against my bump if it helps.” He knew what he was saying was tearing away at every ounce of self-restraint Louis had built within himself, and he could only smile smugly as Louis looked like he was ready to devour him. “I guess that rhymes doesn’t it?” he giggled. “Would make a good present for the birthday boy, since I didn’t have time to get you anything.”

“I guess,” Louis croaked out as he visibly swallowed. “That would be a good gift.”

Harry leaned forward, giving him a deep kiss while palming his now hard cock again. “Too much for you?” he whispered against his lips. He hoped Louis saw the laughter in his eyes as he simply repeated what Louis had told him on the yacht that day in front of the paps.

And he did, because Louis’ jaw dropped as he let out a laugh. “You’re a proper minx aren’t you? I think you already gave me the best present with this,” he said as he put a hand on his bump, “but if you want to give me a little extra I wouldn’t mind.”

“Then come on, birthday boy,” Harry said as he carefully lifted himself from the couch, already missing the warmth Louis brought him, “we can pretend there’s no fireplace in my room and we only have each other to keep warm. With our cocks off course.”

And with a staggered moan, Louis got up as well and followed him into the bedroom. Harry had every intention of making this the best birthday sex Louis had ever gotten and judging from how hot Louis was for it now, he had a feeling he would be succeeding. Besides, they had a lot of makeup sex to catch up on. And if Harry was going to spend his Christmas and Louis’ birthday getting his brains fucked out of him, it was going to be a Happy Christmas indeed.

*6 months later*

“Well,” Louis said as he held his son on his lap, placing the bottle on a nearby table, “you certainly came with your papa’s death stare, didn’t you?”

The baby continued to glare at him, almost as if he was purposefully squinting and judging him.

“Is he taking his bottle?” Harry called from the kitchen.

“No,” Louis grumbled. “But I’ll figure something out.” And that’s when an idea popped into his head. Singing always made things better right? He hummed along to a song he heard on the radio the other day.

“We don’t talk anymore,” he sang as he gently swayed the baby, “We don’t talk anymore like we used to do.”

He paused to see if there was a reaction, and luckily there was already a hint of a smile on the boy’s face. Audience approves, so performance will continue.

“Don't wanna know what kind of dress you're wearing tonight,” he crooned as he placed a kiss on his son’s forehead. “If he's giving it to you just right, the way I did before.”

Now the baby was giving the cutest giggles known to man, grinning so hard his green eyes could barely be seen, continuing to giggle as Louis continued to pepper his face with kisses.

“There’s my boy!” he laughed as he tried to remember more lyrics. “Should've known your love was a game, Now I can't get you out of my brain, Oh it’s such a shame!”

“Is that really the type of song you want to be singing to Oliver?”

Louis looked over to see Harry standing in the doorway, a soft smile on his face as he watched them. In all honesty, he couldn’t believe how the past few months had gone by.

The Oscars went well, with both of them getting nominations for their movies in the Best Actor category. They decided to debut Harry’s baby bump on the Oscars red carpet, with Jeff calling it headline gold once they told him of their idea. And it worked, since they were the talk of the night as Harry showed off his bump proudly. And thanks to the NDA’s Johnny had signed long ago, there was no threat of him running to the press to say it was a fake relationship to begin with. To the public, it was just a classic Hollywood romance.

And it paid off too, because not only did they both generate amazing press for themselves, Louis finally won his first ever Oscar. He was close to tears in his acceptance speech, with Harry fully sobbing in the audience as he applauded. And since he felt it was the right time to do it, Louis proposed to him once they got home, down on one knee with the ring he kept on him throughout the night. Through tears, Harry happily accepted, and they tried their hand at more baby making that night.

Not to mention Harry’s photo that was posted that night, his engagement ring along with Louis holding out his Oscar, was already the most liked post on Instagram. Ever. Matt and Jeff were livid that they posted it without consulting either of them, but hey, sometimes they just had to take those leaps went it felt right. It was unplanned, but so was the pregnancy, and it turned out just fine.

And right before Harry was due to give birth, they finally finished moving into a bigger house in Hampton. Big enough to have maybe one more baby (which Louis still hadn’t discussed with Harry but they both knew it would come up eventually) and still private enough to serve as a family home, for the time being. Louis knew Harry wanted to move to a country house eventually, but for now this house was perfect for their little one.

Harry gave birth to little Oliver Tomlinson-Styles on April 28, 2016, exactly two months ago. He had a tuft of blonde hair on his pretty head, with deep green eyes staring up at his father’s once he was born. Louis never thought he could love someone so fast, but once he held him for the first time, he knew he was going to spoil his child for the rest of his life.

“Look, Harold,” Louis chuckled as he went over to him. “Olly wasn’t taking to his bottle and looked like he was ready to murder me, so I had to resort to drastic measures.”

“And singing to him a song from the radio is the only way to do that?” Harry giggled as he took the baby from his arms, gently kissing his fat cheeks. Louis couldn’t help but admire the way Harry’s engagement ring glimmered on his hand as he held their son.

“What else am I supposed to do when he has your stubbornness?” Louis huffed as he pulled them both in for a hug.

“Love us just the same,” Harry whispered as he batted his eyelashes at him.

“That won’t be hard,” Louis whispered back, kissing the top of Oliver’s head then kissing his fiancé’s lips. He’s found that kissing Harry every day is just as exciting as when he kissed him the first time on that yacht: ‘I love you’ just managing to be said even if it is left unspoken.

“I just finished cooking dinner,” Harry said as he kissed his son’s head again. “Want to serve it while I try to feed Olly?”

“Yeah,” Louis smiled as he kissed them both again. “I’d love that, Haz.”

And as Harry fed their child while Louis set the table for their little family, he couldn’t help but fond as Harry put Oliver down for a nap in the living room before waltzing into the kitchen, smiling at the candles Louis had lit for them.

“Candlelight dinner?” Harry giggled as he wrapped his arms around Louis’ neck. “What’s the occasion?”

“I don’t need an occasion to spoil by future husband,” Louis leaning over to his him gently as he pulled him in closer. “I love you.”

“I love you the most. Did you ever think our lives would be like this?” Harry whispered against his lips. “Me getting pregnant and starting our lives together? Just a year ago we were having meetings with Jeff and Matt over how we were going to ‘seed’ this fake relationship, and now we’ve got a baby in our hands with a very real relationship.”

Louis just gazed into those soft green eyes, somehow falling in love all over again with every gaze he was honored to have with them. Of course he didn’t think they’d end up like this, but how could either of them had known what would happen? “Nah,” he shook his head slightly, “it’s even better than I imagined, darling.”

“Really?” Harry visibly swallowed.

“Of course,” he said before kissing him again. “Because it’s with the love of my life.”

Louis knew they had to pull away eventually, but he just wanted to hold Harry for a bit longer in their little bubble. Somehow, someway, he was blessed with the perfect life partner, and he’d be damned if he didn’t enjoy every second of it. Especially when said partner was Harry Styles, actor, model, and most importantly: owner of his heart.