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The Sun Will Rise With My Name On Your Lips

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LOUIS’ POV

 

He wasn’t surprised when Eleanor called it off. He’d expected it long before now, truth be told. Probably because he knows she saw his face when they attended the house parties Harry threw. How Louis’ face would scrunch up in distaste when his friend snuck off with his boyfriend, coming back twenty minutes later flushed and biting at his swollen lower lip. Louis was miserable for the rest of the night, snapping at anything she said because it felt like someone had poured salt on the open wound of his heart. She’d never deserved that.

Every breath Louis took would saw through his throat and fill his lungs with ice, tightening his ribs, and leave him gasping, grasping for the ability to act as though his world hadn’t just stopped turning. Harry made everything feel so big, like fireworks and starlight and sunset at the Eiffel tower. Nothing hurt worse than that. Nothing hurt worse than the thought of Harry loving someone else, and it was consistently shoved in his face, because Louis wasn’t supposed to care.

So when Harry and Jason snuck away, their hands all over one another, it broke something inside of Louis because he could imagine every second of it, of Harry so lean and pale, his body so supple and languid on his messy blue sheets. He could see the way he’d arch his body below Jason’s, so slim and delicate in comparison to his boyfriend’s larger, muscle-packed body, so eager and open in his need. Harry never held back, so why would he during sex?

What killed Louis was that he could have been Harry’s first, could have been with him, and could have done everything possible to calm Harry’s racing heart. But he hadn’t. He’d turned Harry down four years ago, and his beautiful best friend had gone to seek solace in the arms of a stranger who had treated him like a one night fuck. But Harry was no longer that boy. Harry wasn’t the 16 year old who came home crying silently after losing his virginity to an unnamed man in the toilet of a pub that was so seedy they hadn’t bothered to ID the obviously too-young boy. Louis will never forget the way Harry had looked at him that night; disappointed, betrayed, but at the time Louis had been far too caught up in his own issues, had been far too afraid that Harry would be the one to leak his secret.

Sometimes it was hard for Louis to remember that Harry was no longer that young, heartbroken boy, and was actually a grown man who knew how to use those muscles, knew the potential of his own body, and knew he was a walking wet dream for a lot of people. Harry walked with the rolling gait of a man who understood exactly how to make you remember him, but without the arrogance of a man who would use that indiscriminately. Harry was the worst kind of combination of sexy and loving; he didn’t have it in him to hurt anyone, and it made Louis’ protective instincts kick in all of the time.

Louis couldn’t lie; he envied Jason, envied that Harry came so willingly into his arms. Louis could imagine every moment of it, could see Jason’s hand run down the length of Harry’s body, and could almost hear the soft sound of Harry’s gasp leaving his swollen lips. He wanted to replace Jason’s hand with his own, wanted to run his hands over every inch of Harry’s tall body, kiss him until his lips went numb.

Louis rubbed a hand over his face, leaned forwards to rest his elbows on his knees, his head hung low. Eleanor finally giving up on him had opened the flood gate in his mind, had set free all these thoughts he’d tried so hard to stifle, had desperately tried to pour into Eleanor’s mouth when he kissed her. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to handle it, handle how much he wanted Harry, how much he hated the thought of him in someone else’s arms. But he’d burnt that bridge a long time ago. He burnt it when he rejected Harry, so much fear in his eyes and he’d finally gotten the confidence to approach Louis as more than his friend; 16 years old with soft cheeks flushed with youth and a tremulous kind of hope that Louis had crushed in his desperation to be something other than he was. He spit on the ashes the day he started his relationship with Eleanor, no matter how hard he’d tried to somehow let Harry know that he wasn’t where he really wanted to be, tweeting ‘always in my heart’ with trembling fingers and a churning stomach. The girl had done nothing wrong other than to put her trust in Louis, a man who could use the pretty girl on his arm to his own advantage, without ever truly thinking about the consequences.

So, no, he hadn’t been surprised when she’d called it off with a bruised look in her eyes and a resigned sigh. Part of him had been relieved, because three years had been too long, too long to pretend he was straight and happy, too long to reprimand himself when he accidentally noticed a particularly attractive guy. . . too long to think about a tall, broad body and green eyes when he should be thinking of the way she’d felt beneath him.

But he couldn’t do this, couldn’t tell the boys they’d broken up, couldn’t tell Harry, because then he’d be sad and single and Harry would still be happy and in a relationship that showed no signs of ending. Louis couldn’t think about that yet.

So instead, he sat alone in his house and avoided human contact, responding to texts with “nah I’m tired, maybe another day” and tapping the red button if anyone tried to call him. And when his loneliness tried to get the better of him he finally just shut off his phone.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

*one week later*

 

He’s worried. Louis has pretty much dropped off of the grid, ignoring everyone, even his mum, who had rung Harry panicking and wanting to know why Louis wasn’t answering her phone calls. Harry had felt so guilty when he’d admitted to not having spoken to Louis in a while. The thing is, they weren’t as close as they used to be, and he thinks that sometimes his mum and Johannah forget that they aren’t the same boys who bought a flat together. They haven’t been for a long time.

Harry was sat alone in his living room, the TV turned off, and his silent phone cradled in his hand. Jason was at work and Harry didn’t know who else to talk to about Louis and how worried about him he is. He hadn’t had the opportunity to worry about Louis for a long time, their circles barely crossing. It took him another ten minutes of useless worrying to make up his mind and leave his house. He jumped into his SUV and made the journey to Louis’, taking a detour to hopefully avoid attracting the attention of paps. They really didn’t need those kind of stories hitting the media.

He parked in front of the gates to Louis’ house and it took him twenty minutes to get up the courage to roll down his window and press the buzzer at the side of the gate, where a little light above the security camera blinked happily at him.

“Harry?” came Louis’ confused and wary voice through the speaker, and Harry had the distinct idea that if it had been anyone but him Louis wouldn’t have answered, but his curiosity had gotten the better of him.

“Hey . . . Can I come in?” Harry asked carefully, having to swallow against the sickly butterflies churning his stomach.

“Um . . . Okay?” Louis responded awkwardly, and Harry waited nervously for the beep to announce the opening of the electric gates. Harry drove through slowly and parked next to one of Louis’ cars, the gates closing behind him with a metallic clang.

Harry shoved his trembling fingers into his pockets and walked up to the front door, not needing to knock as Louis already stood in the open doorway, face filled with suspicion, looking soft and tired in a big jumper and sweatpants, a black beanie over his hair so only his fringe was out. Harry looked down at Louis’ bare feet, suddenly struck by the vulnerability of his friend, and Louis seemed to get uncomfortable with Harry’s silence because he moved to walk back into the house, leaving Harry at the open front door.

Harry walked inside and closed the door behind himself, kicking off his shoes before following Louis to the kitchen. Louis started making two cups of tea without asking and Harry felt a smile twitch at the corner of his lip, but stopped it from spreading. He moved to sit on one of the tall chairs at the black marble island in the centre of the room, folding his arms on the surface and looking at Louis who was blatantly avoiding his gaze.

“Your mum called me,” Harry said, voice low, feeling like he was too loud, too big, too much in Louis’ quiet home. He felt out of place and it was a feeling that 3 years ago he would never have associated with Louis.

“Yeah?” Louis answered noncommittally, his voice almost bored, but Harry saw the way his shoulders tensed.

“She’s worried about you. You aren’t answering her calls,” Harry explained, accepting the cup of tea Louis slid to him with a nod of thanks, cradling it between his cold hands.

“Was busy,” Louis muttered and Harry sighed.

“Louis . . . come on,” Harry said, frustration leaching into his voice, and Louis flicked his eyes to scan Harry’s face before looking away once again.

“El broke up with me last week,” Louis said softly and Harry almost thought he’d misheard him, but the look on Louis’ face said he hadn’t. Harry felt a deep surge of guilt that his first emotion upon hearing those words had been relief. Harry didn’t want to examine those feelings too closely.

“I’m really sorry, Lou, did she say why?” Harry forced himself to ask, swallowing down the urge to hug his bandmate. Louis frowned down at his tea.

“We both knew it hadn’t been working for a long time, if ever,” Louis said softly, shrugging a little, still not meeting Harry’s eyes, and suddenly Harry couldn’t take the distance anymore. He slid from the buffet and padded over hesitantly, coming to a stop a few centimetres away from where Louis leaned against the counter. He carefully took the cup of tea from Louis and set it on the counter, before gently tugging Louis into a hug. It took a few moments for Louis’ body to finally relax and he buried his face in Harry’s chest, his hands coming up and around Harry’s back to cling to the grey of his knitted jumper. Harry sighed and held him tighter, leaning down to press his face to Louis’ soft fringe, the wool of his beanie tickling his nose.

They stayed like that for a long time, and Harry felt the years melt away, felt all their problems dissipate and leave him standing there holding the one boy who he had never been able to fully understand and yet couldn’t imagine living without, all of the problems and the flashing lights pushed from his mind for this small moment of peace.

“You shouldn’t shut yourself away,” Harry whispered into Louis’ hair, and he felt Louis shrug against him.

“Didn’t wanna face anyone,” Louis muttered and Harry knew there was more to it, but he didn’t want to push it right now.

“Can’t even remember the last time I gave you a hug,” Harry said, aiming for a light tone and missing the mark by miles, and they both knew it. Harry could feel it like a physical presence pushing against his shoulders, the way something changed between them by acknowledging their distance.

Louis pulled back out of Harry’s reluctant arms, once again refusing to look at him, and Harry felt it like a kick in the stomach. He doesn’t know how they got here, how they lost each other along the way, and it feels like a sick joke that Louis could be stood right in front of him and yet it feels like he’s never been further away; because Harry remembers loving Louis with every ounce of his being. Because Harry isn’t supposed to remember that. Because Louis is straight and never loved him the way that Jason does.

Because Harry will never love another man the way he had Louis Tomlinson, and no one can ever know that.

They stayed in an awkward truce for the rest of the day, watching shitty daytime telly and doing everything they could to avoid speaking about what had happened in the kitchen or Louis’ break up. When it got dark outside Harry realised he should probably get home since Jason would be home from work around then and would wonder where he’d gone. A little part of Harry wanted to get home before him so that he wouldn’t have to explain where he’d been. Louis stood silently beside him as he put on his coat and shoes, and Harry felt . . . guilty, like he shouldn’t be leaving Louis right now, but his boyfriend was waiting for him so he forced himself to open the front door and step out into the cold. He hesitated and turned back around, Louis stood leaning against the doorjamb now, and their eyes caught for a moment. When Harry opened his arms for a hug Louis didn’t hesitate before stepping into them and it was every clichéd feeling of coming home that Harry could think of.

Harry drove away and when he looked into his rear view mirror Louis was still stood at his open front door, his eyes bruised and resignation written in every line on his face. Harry doesn’t know when he started to cry but he could taste the salt on his lips.

 

***

 

Harry had taken a few moments to compose himself and no longer looked like he’d been crying when he walked through his front door and kicked off his shoes. The house was quiet but he knew Jason was home from the blue car sat in his driveway, so he went looking and found his boyfriend in their bedroom, sat on the bed with his elbows on his knees and his chin on his clasped hands. His was face stark in some kind of emotional turmoil and Harry felt a wave of foreboding hit him like a lorry.

“Babe?” Harry asked cautiously, not sure what he was walking into. Jason seemed to snap out of it; he rose to his full, towering height and moved with angry steps to pull Harry into the room and against him, his lips crashing down on Harry’s and Harry gasped in surprise and kissed him back reflexively.

Jason’s hands roamed his body, palming and squeezing and yanking at Harry’s clothes impatiently. They fell onto the bed and Jason yanked off Harry’s jumper and t-shirt with movements a little too rough, leaving the skin of Harry’s chest bare. He helped Jason strip down to only his boxers, Harry’s hands roaming the hard muscles of his boyfriend’s body as he tried to quell the unease in his stomach. Jason’s hands moved to the button of Harry’s jeans and that was then he heard Jason muttering under his breath something too fast for Harry to make out.

“Wait, what?” Harry gasped, hissing as Jason bit down painfully hard on his collarbone.

“Nothing,” Jason grunted, starting to pull Harry’s jeans from his hips, but Harry placed his hands on Jason’s to still them, caught on the look of anger in Jason’s eyes that he was trying to hide.

“What’s wrong, babe?” Harry asked warily, mood darkening by the second. Jason leaned back to sit on his heels between Harry’s thighs.

“Do you have anything you need to tell me?” Jason asked finally, crossing his arms over his broad chest, his face stony, and his eyes on fire.

“No . . .” Harry murmured, brows furrowing in confusion as he moved away slightly and brought his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them and feeling grateful that he was still wearing his jeans.

“Can you just . . . Just tell me the fucking truth, Harry,” Jason gritted out through clenched teeth, the muscle in his jaw flexing.

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about,” Harry snapped, moving to get up off the bed, but Jason gripped his arm and stilled his movements.

“Don’t fucking walk away from me right now, Harry. You have no right to be angry at me,” Jason snapped and Harry yanked his arm from his boyfriend’s grasp, standing up and turning on him with a glare.

“Yes I do because you’re making no sense! I have no idea what’s wrong with you but I’m sleeping in the spare room tonight,” Harry snapped but Jason jumped up and stood in his way, refusing to let Harry leave the room. It was frustrating, how small he made Harry feel in that moment, both physically and emotionally, when he was so used to being the tall one.

“How long?” Jason snapped, arms thrown wide and Harry shook his head in bewilderment.

“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Harry almost screamed in frustration, throwing his arms wide.

“How long have you been fucking Louis behind my back?!” Jason yelled back and Harry felt the way his face went blank with shock because of all things he hadn’t been expecting that.

“What?” Harry asked, his voice much quieter now, his frustration melted away and replaced with something close to panic.

“The paps caught you at his house today. You were in there for hours,” Jason spat.

“He wasn’t answering anyone’s calls, his mum was worried about him,” Harry said cautiously, feeling like there wasn’t enough air in the room.

“Oh fuck off, Harry. There are photos of you leaving, of you holding him. I’m not fucking stupid, I know the rumours. I’ve known them since we met, but until now I always ignored them. I always fucking knew there was more to the story, turns out I was right,” Jason said bitterly.

“I have never slept with Louis,” Harry said slowly, enunciating every word and trying to make his enraged boyfriend believe him.

“You’ve always had feelings for him! It’ so fucking clear now,” Jason yelled, “Swear to me that you don’t!”

“I . . .” and Harry just couldn’t answer, the honest streak in him flinching at the question.

“Exactly!” Jason practically screamed. He suddenly grabbed Harry’s wrist and yanked him out of the bedroom and down the stairs, shoving him at the front door.

“Jason, I didn’t fucking sleep with him!” Harry yelled in frustration and panic.

“You’re a fucking slag, should have known it when you slept with me the night you fucking met me. Just shut the fuck up and get out, we’re fucking done. You were always way more hassle than you were worth! Shitty pop star who can’t fucking sing and all you do is cry about bad reviews, are you fucking surprised when your band and your music is shit?! What else were you fucking expecting? Just get the fuck out!” Jason yelled, yanking open the door and shoving Harry out, locking it behind him.

Harry stood on the front door step, shoeless and dressed only in a pair of skinny jeans that sat unbuttoned and low on his hips. Harry swallowed back his tears and quickly buttoned his jeans, wrapping his arms around his chest to stave off the November chill, his socked feet freezing against the cold stone. He looked around worriedly but there didn’t seem to be any paps- although, he’d thought the same at Louis’ house earlier.

Harry rubbed his hands over his pockets and realised that he didn’t have his phone, it was in the SUV still, or his car keys, they were on the table beside the front door where he’d dropped them when he took off his shoes. Harry sighed, realising then that the only person he could go to right now would be Louis, as the boy was the only one who lived close enough for Harry to walk there and not die of hypothermia on the way.

Harry set off walking, trying to be as inconspicuous as he could be whilst walking the streets half naked in November. It took him over half an hour to get to Louis’ because he had to keep dodging behind bins whenever cars drove past or whenever he thought he heard people coming his way. When he finally buzzed Louis’ gates he was shaking so hard it was painful and his feet had gone numb, and he was pretty sure he may have stood on glass at one point.

“Hello? You’re stood too close to the camera, I can’t see your face,” Louis’ voice said testily and Harry wobbled back so his face was in view of the camera. He heard Louis gasp and then the gates were opening. Louis came rushing out a few moments later with the blanket from his couch, he wrapped it around Harry’s shoulders and led him inside as the large gates shut behind them with a clang.

Louis kicked the front door shut and rushed Harry into the living room where he pushed him down onto the couch and ran around grabbing as many blankets as he could to wrap Harry in. It took Harry a while to stop shaking, and when he was finally still his muscles ached and he felt exhaustion pulling at him. Before he could think better of it he fell asleep there on Louis' couch without even saying a word.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

Louis had waited anxiously for Harry to wake up but when he showed no signs of stirring Louis had carefully moved him to lay down on the couch and piled the blankets around him, reluctantly heading off the bed a couple of hours later, falling asleep to be haunted by strange dreams that he couldn’t remember in the morning but that made his chest ache with sadness.

He glanced at his clock, the green LED lights flashing 08:39am, and sighed. He padded downstairs in his pyjamas, warily rounding the corner to peak into his living room, half worried that Harry may have disappeared in the night. But there Harry sat, awake and sad looking, buried in a pile of blankets. Louis hesitantly shuffled into the room and Harry glanced at him and flushed, looking back down at his clasped hands.

“I’m sorry I came here . . . I had nowhere else to go,” Harry said, his voice scratchy in a way that told Louis he’d been crying, and a glance at his face confirmed that; his eyes red rimmed, his cheeks flushed, and his lips swollen. Louis sat on the couch beside him, turning to face the younger boy who reluctantly moved to reciprocate.

“It’s okay, Haz,” Louis said softly, unsure of how to act. He had twitter alerts on his phone. Of course he’d seen the twitter articles, the photos of him and Harry, the rumours. If he was a betting man he’d put money on the possibility that Harry’s boyfriend had gotten upset about it.

“I didn’t have my keys . . . or my phone . . . or anything,” Harry explained haltingly, arms wrapped tightly around himself.

“Harry? What happened?” Louis asked softly.

“Have you been on twitter?” Harry asked with a cringe and Louis nodded, which made Harry’s face crumple up even more, to Louis’ confusion, that was until Harry continued, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry they’re saying we slept together. I’ll post a formal statement about it, it’s not fair that they’re saying that about you.”

“I . . . What?” Louis asked with a laugh that was more from shock than humour. “Harry, it’s not fair that they’re saying that about you either,” Louis pointed out.

“Yeah but everyone already knows I’m bi, so it doesn’t matter. But you’re straight and they’re all saying you’re sleeping with me, that’s just a lie and it’s not fair on you to have to deal with the gay rumours,” Harry said, and there was the unspoken ‘again’ at the end, right there in Harry’s earnest gaze. Louis hated himself in that moment. It had been the gay rumours that had made him reject Harry so harshly all those years ago, the gay rumours that tore at their friendship until they’d had no choice but to move into separate houses, the gay rumours that meant he lost his best friend. All because he’d been too fucking weak to admit who he was. Just like he’s weak now for not correcting Harry.

“What happened with Jason?” Louis asked instead, hating himself for it more and more but unable to take that step yet. Harry’s face dropped as soon as Louis asked and it felt like a punch in the stomach, it winded him, that painful look in Harry’s eyes.

“Said I’m a slut. That he’s not really all that surprised that I’d cheat on him . . . He said I was always more hassle than I was worth,” Harry said, and his voice was so small, so hurt, that Louis felt a sudden need to go kick the shit out of Jason, despite the fact that the man could probably kill Louis with one hand tied behind his back and without breaking a sweat.

“He’s wrong, Harry,” Louis said firmly, placing a hand on Harry’s knee.

“He wasn’t wrong about everything,” Harry muttered, and then seemed to regret it, his eyes going wide and flashing to Louis.

“What do you mean?” Louis asked, frowning in confusion.

“Nothing,” Harry breathed, shaking his head jerkily, panic a live, skittering thing in his wide, green eyes.

Louis bit his tongue, choosing his battles despite his curiosity.

“You should eat something,” Louis said firmly, and on cue Harry gave him a pleading look, “No, you’re eating something, Harry,” Louis said, refusing to budge. Harry had a bad habit of not eating when he was upset, and Louis refused to let him starve himself.

“Lou . . .” Harry whined but Louis shook his head.

“A slice of toast, Harry, and then I’ll leave you alone . . . Until dinnertime,” Louis added with a shrug, making Harry groan, but there was a pleased flush to Harry’s cheeks, and Louis wondered when was the last time someone really took care of Harry? Jason had never seemed the type, Louis had seen the strange way in which Jason saw Harry almost as the misogynistic version of a housewife; Harry was to cook Jason’s meals, clean the house, do all the washing, all of that on top of One Direction’s busy schedule. Louis had also heard Harry complaining to Niall that when he had to go away for promo or for tour he’d come back to the house in a right state because Jason refused to tidy up after himself.

“Can I have Nutella on it?” Harry asked carefully, like he expected Louis to shout at him and Louis frowned.

“Yeah, course you can. I bought a jar for when Daisy and Phoebe came to stay with me last month,” Louis said.

“Jason won’t buy it, won’t even let me buy it,” Harry said, rolling his eyes, “Says it’s unhealthy and for children,” Harry shrugged, looking up at Louis almost warily, like he didn’t know if he was allowed to say that.

“Well, Jason is stupid,” Louis said brazenly and jumped up off of the couch, heading towards the kitchen. He heard Harry walk in behind him and glanced back to see him wrapped up in a blanket as he hops up to sit on the counter instead of one of the buffets. It made Louis smile, this little sign that Harry was feeling a little more comfortable in his home. Seeing Harry so stilted around him yesterday had been a wakeup call for Louis on just how bad things had gotten between them.

Louis watched on like a worried parent to make sure Harry ate every bit of his toast, but when Harry had a smear of chocolate on his lower lip, Louis’ thoughts were decidedly less parental and more I-want-to-lick-Nutella-off-of-your-abs.

Louis wanted him, every little piece of him, from his chapped lips to the too-long hair that had a sheen at the roots that suggested it needed a wash, from his bitten fingernails to his gangly limbs, from his stupid tattoos to the sleepless bruises below his eyes. Louis could lose himself in listing the little details about Harry, and be utterly content in being lost. He’d never had some perfect ideal when it came to Harry, he’d always seen the boy for the wonderful mess that he was. God, Louis just wanted to kiss him, needed it so badly that his chest ached with the need sometimes, and he felt like the worst kind of cliché.

“What are you going to do?” Louis asked after a few moments of silence. Harry licked a smear of chocolate from his thumb and sighed wearily.

“I don’t know. He said we’re over and . . . To be honest, I know he was angry, but the things he said make me feel like I really don’t want to try and convince him to change his mind. People say shit when they’re angry, and I get that, but it had to have come from somewhere, you know? I just don’t think I’d be able to forget and forgive some of the stuff he said,” Harry said with a shrug that did nothing to lighten the sadness in his eyes.

“Yeah, I understand, H,” Louis said softly, crossing his arms to stop himself from reaching out. The last thing he wanted to do was to take advantage of Harry when he’s so vulnerable.

“Were things with him okay before this?” Louis asked, fighting to keep his curiosity out of his voice. Harry frowned and Louis panicked for a moment, thinking that his interest had been too obvious, that Harry would catch him out. But Harry took his question at face value and Louis surreptitiously sighed in relief.

“Kind of? I mean, everyone has issues, right? We just . . . We had a few issues we were trying to fix. A lot of it was probably my fault anyway,” Harry muttered and Louis frowned again.

“What was your fault?” Louis asked cautiously, distrustful of his own ability to keep his emotions in check when it came to this boy.

“I just-” Harry cut himself off with a frustrated huff. “I was being whiny all the time. I was tired from tour and promo and I’d come home and have to clean and cook and I just . . . I should have just gotten on with it, you do things for the person you love. I was so whiny about asking him to help out,” Harry said sadly, voice filled with self-deprecation, and Louis was already shaking his head before Harry had even finished.

“No. No, Harry, he should have helped out. Relationships are a partnership, you share the jobs neither of you want to do.”

“Maybe, but I was such a nag, it’s no wonder he said I was more hassle than I was worth, I bugger off on band business and come home only to bitch at him for the fucking mess,” Harry huffed irritably, shoving his hair away from his face. Louis couldn’t take it, he walked out and stood between Harry’s thighs where he was sat on the counter, bringing his hands up to frame his face and force him to meet his gaze.

“Harry, stop blaming yourself. You haven’t done anything wrong. Jason had no idea how lucky he was to have you, and he’s the fool because he’s lost you and he’ll regret it every day for the rest of his life. You’re worth so much more than some douche who’ll order you around and take you for granted,” Louis said emphatically and he didn’t want to admit how many of his words actually came from personal experience. As he paused to take a breath he suddenly realised just how close they were in that moment. Louis cleared his throat and dropped his hands but couldn’t bring himself to step away and put actual distance between them.

“I just can’t believe it’s over, just like that. We were together eight months. He lives at mine for most of the week. I know it must be harder for you because you and El were together for years but . . . It’s just so strange that it’s over just like that,” Harry said, not moving back either, wide, green eyes searching Louis’ like he could find all the answers hidden in their faceted blue.

“I’m sorry he doesn’t-” treat you like I would “- realise what he’s losing,” Louis finished, cheeks flushing at little at his own thoughts. Harry raised a hand and used his pointer finger to stroke a line down the bridge of Louis’ nose, making Louis hold his breath as Harry gave him a gentle, watery smile.

“Good thing I’ve got you then, huh?” Harry said, obviously trying to be brave, and Louis let out his breath in a rush, reaching out to tug Harry against his chest. Harry buried his face into the side of his neck and Louis pressed a careful kiss to his temple.

“Yeah, you’ll always have me,” Louis murmured, looking up at the ceiling and begging whatever godlike being listening to just smite him now before he fucks this up once again.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Harry stayed at Louis’ for the next five nights, on the first night he rang his security and had them escort Jason from his home, and had them change the locks and key codes so that he couldn’t get back in. But he couldn’t face the thought of going home and being alone yet, so he stayed at Louis’ house and Louis stayed quiet, letting Harry hide for as long as he wants. The spare bedroom across from Louis’ room became Harry’s indefinitely, and Harry had some of their people pick up some of his stuff and bring them to Louis’, much to the avid interest of the media. Louis swore to Harry that he wasn’t upset about all the gay rumours, but Harry still felt massively guilty, even as he read another tweet about ‘Larry Stylinson’ becoming real and shamefully felt the thrill of it in the pit of his stomach.

He missed Jason sometimes, but he was realising more and more that what he missed was someone holding him at night, someone to kiss and cuddle, and the sex. Harry was definitely missing the sex. Especially when one morning he was woken up by Louis jumping on him and had to squirm around onto his tummy, in the pretence of burying his face in the pillow to ignore his bandmate, but really attempting to avoid the awkwardness of Louis feeling his morning wood.

“Get off,” Harry groaned into the pillow as Louis continued to clamber about on top of him.

“Nope. I brought you tea!” Louis said in a cheery voice that grated on Harry’s sleepy mind.

“Fuck off,” Harry muttered, making Louis laugh brightly and lay down on top of Harry so he was fully squashing him into the bed. “You’re the most annoying person I’ve ever met.”

“It’s why you love me,” Louis chirped, biting the back of Harry’s neck in a sharp nip that had Harry yelping and bucking so hard Louis rolled off of him and on to the bed. Harry rose up on one arm to look down at Louis laid beside him, face flushed with laughter, biting at his bottom lip to stifle his giggles, his blue eyes bright with mirth.

“You’re horrible,” Harry pouted, reaching back to rub over the sore spot on his nape that would probably bruise spectacularly. Louis looked up at him, all bright eyes and soft hair, and Harry felt that familiar tightening in his chest. Harry doesn’t know if it’s possible for anyone to not be at least a little bit in love with Louis Tomlinson and he was man enough to admit that he’d probably never stop wanting more from his bandmate, even though he’d never let Louis know that. He’d gotten very, very good at ignoring the part of him that remained utterly obsessed with this blue-eyed boy.

Thing is, they way they’re laid, it’s so reminiscent of how they used to be that it doubles the ache in Harry’s chest, nostalgia tightening his throat until he has to swallow reflexively. Louis used to be this close to him as often as they could . . . until he wasn’t anymore, because Harry fucked it up. With that thought in mind he straightened up and moved away to sit up, his back now to Louis, and he pretended not to be affected by the way Louis reached out and ran curiously light fingertips up and down Harry’s spine.

Harry didn’t want to fuck this up. He’d lost Louis once before, and now that he’s fucked up his relationship and lost Jason, he really cannot handle the thought of losing him again now that they’re finally starting to go back to how they used to be. A little part of Harry whispered that maybe it was because Harry was single again and so was Louis, but he crushed that voice before it could take root. Louis was straight and Harry really needed to start remembering that.

But it was so hard to remember when Louis’ fingertips played in the dimples at the bottom of Harry’s back, sending shivers across his skin and leaving him lightheaded, grasping for the strength to be the Harry who wouldn’t make Louis run away again.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

It was getting harder and harder to act like Harry didn’t affect him. He found himself reaching out more and more, grazing his fingers over Harry’s bare skin, his eyes following the goosebumps that sprung up on his creamy skin in response. He’d always skitter away afterwards, afraid of seeing something in Harry’s face that confirmed how little of a chance Louis actually had of ever making him want him back.

Harry seemed content to stay at Louis’ house and Louis definitely wasn’t going to make him leave. So as the days turned into a week and then into a fortnight, Louis stopped mentioning Harry’s house, started acting like this was how it’d always been. More of Harry’s stuff migrated to his house until Louis’ ‘spare room’ became ‘Harry’s room’. They travelled to promo gigs together, but kept a silent agreement that neither of them bring up the new living arrangements to the other lads, of course security knew but their job included keeping their clients secrets’, even from other clients as the case was now.

They were seen together more often now and the social media world and gossip mags were going insane on speculating what was happening between them, but he and Harry were both in denial, neither of them wanting to bring it up and burst the bubble they were living in. But when one article had a photo of Jason kissing a random bloke on a night out and the mags exploded about whether he and Harry had actually broken up like they’d suspected, or whether Jason had just been caught cheating, they had to face the real world once again. It seemed like the other lads had ignored the rumours about he and Harry, but this one caught their eye and the next time they all met up for a promo gig, Louis saw the way the boys converged on Harry and made sure to wiggle his way in to stand beside Harry and give him moral support.

“Haz, are you okay? We saw a, um, a photo of Jason on twitter with another bloke . . .” Liam said, trailing off awkwardly.

“Did you break up?” Zayn asked, his eyes filled with sympathy. Harry looked guarded for about three seconds before slumping with a sigh.

“Yeah we broke up like two weeks ago,” Harry said softly, not looking overly sad, but to Louis he looked unbearably vulnerable under the insistent but well-meaning looks of their bandmates. And maybe Louis should have kept his mouth shut, but he wanted to take the spotlight off of Harry, and Louis could admit that he wasn’t all that rational when it came to Harry.

“El broke up with me a few days before that,” Louis shrugged, because honestly, he was fine now, he just wanted the shock factor to make the other boys stop staring at Harry, the younger boy looked far too uncomfortable for Louis’ liking. Harry shot him a grateful look as Niall, Liam, and Zayn swung to stare at Louis with their mouths hanging open.

“The fuck, man, why didn’t you tell me?” Zayn asked, looking a little offended, and Louis couldn’t blame him.

“There never seemed to be a good time to bring it up. It’s been a long time coming, anyway, so it wasn’t much of a surprise,” Louis shrugged, and pretended not to feel the way that Harry had slyly come closer in order to graze his fingertips over the small of Louis’ back without anyone seeing.

“Fuck,” Liam said, eyes wide and sympathetic.

“Well, that’s an excuse for a piss up if I ever heard one,” Niall said with a kind smile, wrapping his arm around Louis’ shoulders and squeezing him into his side. Louis saw the way Zayn moved closer to Harry and stroked a hand down his back in quiet comfort, and although Louis loved Zayn for giving Harry the calmer, quieter reassurance, a little spark went off in Louis’ abdomen of something he refused to call jealousy.

They all arranged to go out that night, Niall refusing to let anyone refuse because “it’s been too fuckin’ long since we’ve had a lads night out, Payno, I’m sure Sophia can survive one night without you.”

When Louis and Harry got back to Louis’ house to get ready, they were both uncharacteristically quiet, but Louis didn’t know how to break the silence when he didn’t know what had caused it.

Harry left to get changed without saying anything and Louis sighed, the sound bouncing back in the empty hallway, before heading to his own room to do the same.

He’d stripped off and had just pulled on a pair of black skinny jeans when a noise made him turn to find Harry stood in his doorway, shoulder leant against the doorjamb, hips cocked forwards, and Louis swallowed heavily. Harry was dressed in only a pair of black, tight, tiny boxers, so much paler, inked skin on show than that which was covered. He’s seen Harry in various stages of undress for 4 years straight with getting ready for shows and appearances, but he’d begun to realise that it was the context that mattered. In a crowded room he could appreciate Harry’s body and it was easy to continue minding his own business, but here . . . here he’s all alone with him. All of a sudden Louis can’t catch his breath.

“Hey,” Louis croaked when Harry stayed silent, trying to keep the breathlessness out of his voice. Harry’s eyes were scanning his face, searching for something, and Louis stood there nervously awaiting whatever verdict Harry chose.

“Hey,” Harry breathed, his eyes now locked on Louis’, an intensity to him that Louis hadn’t seen outside of performing.

“What’s up?” Louis asked in a faux casual voice that made one corner of Harry’s lips curl in something Louis wanted to call smug.

“Was having trouble choosing what to wear,” Harry explained. His eyes swept down for a moment before lazily making the trail back up Louis’ body to his eyes, leaving Louis flushed and breathless and failing miserably to hide his response. “Those jeans look good on you,” Harry commented lightly, but there was nothing light about the intensity in his gaze, and it left Louis reeling. Was Harry flirting? Surely not. Harry thinks he’s straight, why would he bother?

“Uh, thanks. You want some help picking your outfit?” Louis asked awkwardly, reaching up to rub the back of his neck, not missing the way Harry’s eyes dropped to watch the muscles of Louis’ abdomen flex with the movement.

“Nah, it’s cool,” Harry shrugged, then walked out as if he hadn’t just left Louis flushed and half-hard in his too-tight jeans.

“Fuck,” Louis spat, throwing himself down onto his bed with a huff.

 

***

 

They sat in a VIP booth in the club, Niall, Liam, and Zayn already sat down drinking and laughing when Harry and Louis made their entrance.

It’d been a quiet journey to the club, and Louis was still reeling from what had happened in his room, his mind racing at the possibility that Harry may have actually been flirting with him. The thing is, Harry flirts with everyone, it’s just in his nature to be sweet to people, he isn’t actually doing it on purpose half of the time. But he hasn’t really made an attempt to flirt with Louis in a really long time, and Louis knows it was intentional, a way for Harry to pull away after the awkward aftermath of Louis rejecting him. They’d been okay for a little while, but as time went on they lost more and more of what had made them ‘harryandlouis’, and when Louis got with Eleanor it had all just seemed to fracture, not to mention that awful day Louis had been far too raw to take the criticism and had lashed out with what he knows the fans call the ‘bullshit tweet’. He regretted that tweet more than anything, but management had liked the way it’d made it clear that Harry was the only one they’d have to deal with for a ‘problematic sexuality’. So Louis hadn’t deleted it, no matter how many times it weighed heavy on his heart, no matter how many time he replayed the wounded look Harry had given him the day after.

Louis thinks that the only reason Harry got away with coming out was because he’s bisexual and management decided that that still gave the fans a way to believe they could one day be ‘Mrs Styles’. Management had made it very clear that any gay members would be extremely detrimental to the image of the band.

Louis shook all of those thoughts from his head and accepted the hug Niall hopped up to give him, pasting a falsely bright smile on his face that no one saw through, except maybe Harry from the way he kept glancing over at him worriedly. But Louis ignored the questioning looks and drank anything Niall sat down in front of him, which was a lot, the smugly Irish bastard had Guinness running through his fucking veins and made everyone else look like a light-weight.

A couple hours later Louis came back from the toilets to find Harry sat giggling on Zayn’s knee, trying to lick his face as Zayn pretended to shove him away in disgust, and Louis had to fight the urge to pull them apart. Instead he slid in next to them and tapped on Harry’s arm, and the younger boy’s attention was on him immediately, much to the happiness of Louis’ ego. Louis leaned in until his lips almost brushed Harry’s ear lobe, liquid confidence the driving force behind his actions.

“I wanna dance,” Louis shouted over the thumping bass. Harry nodded and slid from Zayn’s lap to follow Louis to the dancefloor just as a song Louis recognised pulsed from the speakers, making him sing along so softly his voice was swallowed by the music, “Baby I’m preying on you tonight, hunt you down eat you alive . . .”

Louis headed into the thick of the crowd but Harry grabbed him, stopping him not too far from their table, and pulled Louis in closer. The taller boy wrapped his arms loosely around Louis’ neck and Louis settled his hands on Harry’s hips, squeezing appreciatively at the softness there, and Harry stepped in closer so that their hips would brush teasingly with each sway. Harry moved in a way that had Louis transfixed, especially with the way that Harry kept coming closer and closer until their hips were pressed firmly together as they ground their hips to the beat. Harry looked up then, eyes a little glazed over with alcohol, his lips shining wetly as he licked over them.

“But don’t deny the animal . . .” he saw Harry mouth along to the song, before he leaned in and sang the next words directly into Louis’ ear, “that comes alive when I’m inside you . . .”

Louis couldn’t be blamed for the groan that escaped his lips then, or the way he pressed his face into the side of Harry’s neck, breathing harshly against the other boy’s sweat-damp skin. Louis felt Harry’s lips drag up the side of his neck and prayed it wasn’t a figment of his drunken imagination. Harry continued to move against him and Louis could feel a tell-tale bulge in the front of Harry’s jeans that had a flush running down his chest.

Louis felt like he could explode at any minute, Harry’s body so hot and hard against his, one of his hands coming up to thread his fingers into Louis’ hair at the back of his neck. Louis gasped as Harry used his teeth to nip at his earlobe, sending shivers down the shorter boy’s spine. But as the song finished Harry was suddenly no longer in his arms, and it took Louis a few more moments to realise he’d gone back to the table and was now sat with his arm around Niall’s shoulders, laughing along like he hadn’t just swept the rug out from under everything Louis had ever thought about he and Harry’s current relationship.

Louis headed back slowly and slid in next to Zayn instead of sitting beside a cheery looking Harry, accepting the pint Zayn held up in offer, and downing half of it in one go. Louis looked up and noticed the way Liam was frowning and looking from Harry to Louis and back again, also noticed the way that Harry was glancing at Liam with an overly fake innocent expression, smile out and dimples in full effect. Liam gave Harry a stern look and Harry responded by sticking out his tongue childishly. There was something being said there that Louis clearly didn’t know about. Louis was too drunk for this shit. He stood up, intent on stumbling off and heading for a taxi, but he’d barely made it two steps when Harry grabbed his arm.

“Where you goin’?” Harry slurred, eyes wide and lacking the heat they’d had on the dance floor, and fuck if Louis wasn’t wrapped around his little finger.

“Taxi, ‘m tired,” Louis shrugged and Harry nodded before running back to the table and giving the other boys quick goodbye hugs. Louis settled for waving at Niall and Liam and flipping off Zayn who grinned and blew him a kiss that Louis pretended to catch and put in his pocket with a wink.

Harry was back at his side then, frowning a little for some reason, and put his hand on Louis’ back to steer him out of the pub. Harry chatted casually with the taxi driver the entire way back to Louis’ and Louis sat pouting, drunk and feeling justified in feeling a little ignored. But when they stumbled into Louis’ house, Harry kicked the door shut before wrapping himself around Louis from behind, sending them both careening into the wall until Louis managed to gather his balance again. They waddled into the kitchen, Harry refusing to let up on his octopus hug, Louis flicking on all the lights as they went.

“Want Nutella,” Harry slurred into Louis’ ear and Louis cackled, unsteadily heading in the direction of the cupboard.

“You want toast?” Louis asked as he pulled down the half empty jar from one of the shelves.

“Nope,” Harry said cheerily, popping his lips on the ‘P’, so Louis handed him the jar and a spoon and Harry finally let go of Louis to sink to the floor right there in the centre of the kitchen. Louis sighed and sat down cross-legged beside him, chewing on the slice of plain bread he’d grabbed from the counter before sitting down. “I like your house,” Harry sighed as he licked the chocolate from his spoon, Louis fighting not to stare, and that distraction made him blurt out what he hadn’t meant to say aloud.

“You should just move in.” Louis froze, eyes wide, heart kicking in his chest as Harry paused and looked up, looking at Louis warily.

“Really?” Harry whispered and Louis clasped his hands together to hide his shaking fingers.

“I mean, you’re here anyway . . . I just . . . yeah?” Louis finished weakly, and a few seconds passed in agonising silence until a shockingly bright smile stretched across Harry’s face.

“Yeah, okay,” Harry murmured, face flushing slightly, looking far too beautiful and soft. So Louis stuck his finger in Harry’s Nutella and swiped his finger down Harry’s face, leaving a big smudge of chocolate down Harry’s cheek and jaw. Harry’s mouth popped open on an outraged gasp and he quickly reciprocated, smudging chocolate across Louis’ mouth and jaw, making both boys laugh uproariously.

“Truce! Fuckin’ truce!” Louis screeched, clinging to Harry’s wrists in a desperate attempt to keep away his sticky fingers when Harry lunged at him.

“Truce,” Harry giggled and Louis let go of his wrists. In a quick move Harry reached out and smudged the chocolate down Louis’ throat and into the neck of his t-shirt, exclaiming, “Starting now!” and laughing so hard tears wet his lashes as Louis stared at him with his mouth hanging open in shock.

“You fucker!” Louis screamed and launched himself at Harry, shoving him back onto the floor and climbing atop him, straddling his hips and rubbing his chocolaty fingers all over Harry’s white t-shirt in revenge and leaving dozens of dirty smudges. Harry cackled and caught Louis’ wrists easily, bringing them together and holding them to his stomach, as Louis wiggled and cursed him in any way possible.

When Harry suddenly sat up Louis realised that their positions were a little too intimate for comfort, him on his knees straddling Harry’s hips, Harry’s chest almost flush with his now that he’d sat up. Harry flashed him a cheeky grin and leaned in to lick a stripe up Louis’ chocolate smeared neck, making Louis’ breath catch in his throat.

“Mmmmm,” Harry hummed, licking another line up the front of Louis’ throat, from his collar bones to his chin, this time a little slower. “So sweet. Love Nutella,” Harry murmured, grazing his teeth along the tendon in Louis’ throat, one of his hands leaving Louis’ wrists to slide around to his lower back, slipping down low enough that the tips of his fingers slid into Louis’ jeans and pressed into the upper curve of his arse. Louis’ soft moan hitched in his throat and he curved his back, pressing his hips back into Harry’s touch, making Harry slide lower and grip him more firmly.

“I’ll buy you the fucking company,” Louis blurted breathlessly, before flushing in embarrassment and struggling off of Harry’s lap, moving to stand up in front of Harry’s sprawled body, Harry’s lips obscene, swollen a deep pink and glistening with chocolate smears that he chased with his tongue. No one should look that good all messy, Louis thought, before practically running out of the room and taking the stairs two at a time to hide in his bedroom.

He stripped down hastily, throwing his clothes into a messy pile, and walked naked into his bathroom. He flipped the knobs and turned his shower on, jumping in as the clear glass doors steadily steamed over, ducking under the spray and attempting to wash away the chocolate. He was rubbing at the streaks on his neck when he heard a noise outside the shower. Louis spun, scrubbing water out of his eyes, and could just make out Harry on the other side of the steam-blurred glass. Louis stood in silence, breathing heavily and waiting for Harry to make some kind of move. When Harry pressed his palms to the glass Louis didn’t even pause before raising his own to reciprocate, lining their hands up perfectly, his a little smaller than Harry’s.

They stayed like that for a while and Louis began to come to his senses a little more with each second. They shouldn’t do this. Not drunk, not when he isn’t sure whether Harry’s just horny or if he actually wants Louis for Louis.

“Go to your room, Haz,” Louis murmured softly, and he can see the blurry way Harry nods his head, and a few moments later Harry’s hands are gone and Louis is alone once again. He slumped against the cold tiles and tried not to think about having to face Harry in the morning.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Harry woke up with a banging headache and could unfortunately remember every embarrassing second of the night before. He groaned and hid his face under the covers, wishing he could plead ignorance, but knows he’s far too shite a liar to pull that one off. After hiding for another half an hour the growling of his stomach and the pressure in his bladder finally forced him to slump out of bed. He went for a piss in his ensuite and tugged on a pair of sweatpants over his boxers before heading out of his room and nervously making his way downstairs, not even attempting to try wipe off the chocolate he hadn’t bothered to shower off last night. A glance in the mirror after his piss had shown dried smudges all over his neck and arms, a couple up his jaw and on his chin that gave him uncomfortable flash backs to his own tongue sliding up Louis’ neck last night.

Louis would be justified in being mad. Harry had come onto him in the club, Harry had fucking licked him, Harry had followed him into his shower. Harry flushed deeply at that. Damn, he must have looked so desperate.

He shuffled into the kitchen and Louis was already at the counter. Harry blushed and carefully poured himself a glass of orange juice before moving to sit at the island, his head down on his folded arms. He heard a tap beside his head and looked up to find a plate of Nutella on toast sitting innocently beside his head, Harry slowly raising his eyes to see Louis stood on the other side of the island, arms crossed, a studiously blank expression on his face, but when Harry cocked an eyebrow Louis burst out laughing. Harry huffed indignantly and rushed around the corner to attack his bandmate, tickling him mercilessly until Louis started to wiggle his fingers into Harry’s ribs, leaving them both squirming and begging for a truce.

When they finally calmed down they shared the Nutella on toast, and nothing else was said about last night, much to both Harry’s relief and his disappointment. There was one thing he wanted to clarify, though.

“Did you mean it when you asked me to move in?” Harry asked later when they were sharing a blanket and watching Little Mermaid because there wasn’t anything else on and Harry had pouted until Louis had sighed and left it on. Louis glanced away from the movie and searched Harry’s face for a moment before nodding, looking small and vulnerable with his fringe fluffy and soft over his forehead, dressed in an overly large t-shirt that Harry was pretty sure was his.

“Good,” Harry murmured and went back to watching the movie, feeling Louis’ eyes on him every now and then.

That night they both went to bed early, but Harry was woken up a few hours later by his phone, his flashing screen showing a text message from Jason. Harry frowned and slowly sat up, pulling his phone into his lap and reluctantly sliding open his lock screen.

He tapped on the message and had to take a deep breath before reading it.

So you’re living at his now? Fucking slag. I can’t believe I ever moved in with you. You disgust me. Although I guess now I can honestly tell people I fucked a pop star. Thanks for the bragging rights, twat.

Harry threw his phone across the room and it hit the wardrobe with a bang, which made him feel instantly guilty that he’d damaged Louis’ property, and it all just kind of built until suddenly he was crying so hard he couldn’t breathe. He barely heard it when Louis came into the room, but he felt the way Louis’ arms wrapped around him tightly and that’s all that mattered. Louis got up when Harry’s sobs quietened, going to pick up Harry’s phone. He put it on the bed between them, both of them sat cross legged and facing one another.

“What happened?” Louis whispered in the dark room, his face lit up by the orange light from a lamppost that came through the blinds Harry hadn’t shut properly. Instead of answering Harry brought up the text on his thankfully unbroken phone and showed it to Louis. “Oh,” Louis breathed out, brows drawn together. Harry reached out and smoothed the skin between them until Louis wasn’t frowning anymore and was looking at Harry with a soft expression.

“Stay?” Harry whispered, feeling half broken and too desperate to feel ashamed of the desire not to be alone. Louis nodded and they both moved to slide under the covers. They lay facing each other for a long time until Louis stretched out a hand between them and Harry brought his hand up to thread their fingers together. They fell asleep like that.

 

***

 

Another week passed and Harry had started moving more of his things over, genuinely enjoying the way Louis would react to the new things he found in his home. Some things would get a thumbs up, some things would get a tilt of the head until Louis moved it to somewhere he decided it would fit better, and some things had Louis wrinkling up his nose and whining a “Really, babe?” in his raspy high pitched voice. Harry would shrug innocently and Louis would walk away with a huff about “Stupid crap in his house,” but he never moved Harry’s stuff or hid them away. One thing Louis was definitely enjoying was all the new kitchen accessories that Harry brought over, demanding that Harry make him something different with each machine because “If I have to clutter my house up with all your crap I might as well get some use out of it, namely, you using it to make me food.”

Harry fell into a kind of routine, he’d help cook and clean, although he did most of the cooking because after the third time Louis got distracted and burnt the food Harry banished him from the kitchen. Louis was the one to put the washing up in the dishwasher and to put it away when it was clean though.

It was strange how easy it was for them to fall back into sync after only three weeks of being back in the same home, and it was fun staying in their little bubble, ignoring the questions about them in interviews and the curious looks from the other boys, but they both knew they should come clean to the boys. That’s why that morning Louis texted the lads and asked them to come around for tea that night, claiming it was just a catch up. Harry didn’t know why he was so nervous about telling the other lads, maybe because Liam has been very aware since the very beginning of Harry’s feelings for Louis, and no matter how many times Harry tells him he’s over him, Liam just gives him this knowing look that never fails to make Harry feel a swirl of nerves in his stomach. He didn’t want Liam to give him that look tonight, he didn’t want the speech asking him if he’s sure, if he’s sure he can handle living with Louis but being nothing more than friends, because it hadn’t worked the first time.

Truthfully Harry was a little worried about that, a little worried that Louis will find another girlfriend soon, and Harry will be the perpetual third wheel until he gives up once again and has to move out.

When the boys arrived that night Harry was at the stove preparing the food and Niall came sauntering in with a grin that Harry immediately reciprocated, some of his nerves lessening as the other three lads followed Niall in to keep Harry company as he cooked, Louis handing out beers, opening one for Harry and putting it on the counter beside him with a soft smile he shared only with Harry. Harry took a desperate gulp of that beer the second Louis turned his back.

“Thank god you’re cooking, Haz, I’d have sobbed if it’d have been Lou. Been worried about it all day,” Niall grinned, Louis letting out an offended shout of protest.

“Yeah, don’t think I can handle another burnt oven pizza from Tesco, to be honest,” Zayn grinned, wrapping his lips around the top of his beer to take a pull as Louis huffed indignantly.

“You’re a right set o’ twats, you know that?” Louis grumbled and Liam gave him a mock wounded look.

“The fuck did I say?”

“Oh give over, Payno, the look of fear on your face when you came in said enough,” Louis snapped, Harry cackling over the stove as he stirred the risotto. “Oh, fuck off,” Louis tossed at Harry, but there was a significant lack of venom compared to his words to Liam, and Harry turned around to blow him a kiss, making Louis smile and shake his head in fond exasperation.

The night went well and Harry preened under all the compliments for his food, the majority of which came from Niall and Louis; Niall because let’s face it, the boy enjoyed a good meal, and from Louis who visibly enjoyed making Harry blush.

They were sat in the lounge, talking and laughing, Zayn and Liam at the open patio doors enjoying a fag each, when the bubble burst.

“Hey, Harry, that’s yours innit?” Niall asked, pointing at a painting on the wall with a small frown.

“Um, yeah,” Harry responded, voice falsely casual in a way that everyone saw through quickly. Louis busied himself with drinking his beer, refusing to meet anyone’s eyes, the wallpaper suddenly very interesting.

“Isn’t that stupid lamp yours too?” Zayn asked, pointing at the winding, stained glass piece he’d found in an antique shop during their time in Italy.

“It’s not stupid! It’s unique!” Harry protested with a pout, and he saw Louis smile around the rim of his beer bottle.

“Why’s all of your shit here?” Liam asked, eyes dark with suspicion and a little worry already.

“I moved in,” Harry said with a shrug and immediately the other three boys swung their gazes to Louis, who still refused to look at them, but shrugged in response to the questioning gazes.

“Why?” Zayn asked, cutting to the chase in a way few people could do without being openly rude.

“Dunno . . . Just did,” Harry said, feeling a little nervous and cornered, and it was that that made Louis engage, that snapped him out of his silence.

“Neither of us was happy living all alone off tour. Just seemed like a good idea,” Louis said, his casual demeanour underlined by a hint of steel that made it clear no one should argue with him.

“I stayed here after the argument with Jason. I just never ended up going back home,” Harry continued, Niall and Zayn looking mollified by the explanation, but as he’d feared Liam was giving him a concerned look across the room.

When Harry headed off to the kitchen to sort out some snacks, he wasn’t surprised when Liam came after him a few moments later, leaning against the counter where Harry was pouring various crisps and sweets into different bowls.

“You’ll be ace when you have kids,” Liam said softly with a small smile, stealing a sweet.

“Excuse me, Liam, but my children won’t be living off of this kind of crap,” Harry said haughtily, bumping his hip into Liam’s to show he was only joking.

“Why have you really moved in with ‘im?” Liam asked, his voice gentle and worried, and Harry sighed, rubbing his hands on his jeans to get rid of the sugar residue from touching the sweets.

“It really is why we said we did, Li. When Jason broke up with me and kicked me out of my own bloody house, Louis was the first person I thought of. I wandered here and just haven’t left since. Louis was the one who asked, Liam. It wasn’t like I just slyly moved in under his nose. He was the one who asked me to live here, I just agreed,” Harry explained, knowing he sounded a little defensive but he couldn’t help it.

“Harry . . . What if he brings a bird home?” Liam suggested carefully, eyebrows pulled together, and Harry could practically feel the frustration radiating off of him.

“Then I’ll be completely fine,” Harry lied brazenly, popping a sweet in his mouth. Liam cocked an incredulous eyebrow and Harry sighed, his shoulders slumping a little. “I’ll deal with it the same way I dealt with it when he was with El: with a lot of denial and maybe a few fit blokes I meet at fashion shows,” Harry said wryly with a shrug, feeling like he could breathe properly for the first time in months because there was not a single other person on this planet that he could speak so openly to about his feelings for Louis.

“You shouldn’t put yourself through this, H,” Liam said sadly.

“What’s my other option? Go back to pretending he didn’t used to be my best friend? Pretending that it’s not torture that I don’t get to go near him anymore without gay rumours and management getting irritated? The only reason I even went along with all that shit was because Louis seemed so uncomfortable with the gay rumours, but now . . . There’s thousands of articles about us ever since those paps photographed me coming out of his three weeks ago. There’s so much speculation and I thought he’d be mad again, but he doesn’t even care, Liam. He just . . . He just ignores it now. I can’t let that go. Not when he shoved me away last time, not when this time I finally feel like we’re where we should be,” Harry said firmly, and Liam searched his face for a moment before sighing and nodding reluctantly, moving in to give Harry a hug that he accepted easily.

“I’m sorry for cornering you. I’m just worried,” Liam said as he let Harry pull back.

“Look, I’ll start going out again. Acting all domestic with Lou is kind of messing my head up a little,” Harry admitted.

“I’m not really that surprised, mate. But yeah, go out, get seen with someone else so the paps leave you and Louis alone for a bit,” Liam agreed.

Harry nodded in agreement but his heart hurt a little at the thought.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

The next weekend Harry went out with some of his other friends while Louis stayed in and Skyped Liam, doing some song writing together and looking at a few of the songs they’d already started. Louis’ phone chirped with notifications and he gave Liam an apologetic look before flicking the screen and having a look. His twitter was blowing up and when he went in search of why he found dozens of photos of Harry drunk and hung all over some pretty new male model who’d just made his debut at Calvin Klein. Louis’ mess of feelings must have been plastered all over his face because Liam cleared his throat.

“Mate, you okay?” he asked worriedly, and Louis glanced from his phone to the laptop screen to take in Liam’s worried expression.

“Uh, yeah. My twitter is just exploding. Uh, seems like Harry has found himself some new bloke,” Louis explained, his voice far too light to be natural, and Liam frowned in confusion.

“Lou . . . Are you actually okay?” Liam asked carefully this time, looking almost nervous.

“Yeah, yeah, course I am,” Louis said, throwing his phone out of his line of vision and turning back to his conversation with Liam and forcing himself to forget what he just saw.

He managed to get Liam to go back to the songs and when he signed off an hour later there were no more distractions to keep him from thinking about the way Harry had looked draped over that underwear model. He must be a glutton for punishment because he went in search of more photos, and he wasn’t disappointed in that respect. The fans were very helpful with the amount of photos they posted. His chest hurt.

He shouldn’t have expected differently. Of course Harry would go out and see other people; Louis was just his straight bandmate who he happened to live with. And fuck, Louis wanted to be more. Louis wanted to be everything for him no matter how ridiculous that was.

After another hour of Harry not coming home Louis went to bed, and when he woke up in the morning, Harry hadn’t come home.

 

***

 

Harry came home around dinner time and Louis ignored his cheery: “Hey Lou!”

When he got no verbal responses Harry came wandering into the living room to find Louis sat on the couch under a mountain of blankets watching old episodes of Friends. Louis refused to acknowledge him, though. He felt very justified in feeling annoyed that Harry hadn’t told him he wasn’t coming home, even if logically he knows that’s ridiculous.

“Lou?” Harry asked. When Louis remained silent Harry threw himself down on top of him, sprawling across him so he’d have no choice but to notice him, and it took all of Louis’ energy not to smile.

“Louis,” Harry whined, elongating his name plaintively.

“What?” Louis grumbled.

“It speaks!” Harry gasped theatrically and Louis shoved him so he rolled off the couch and thumped to the floor. “Ow.”

Harry clambered back up onto the couch, sitting beside Louis and laying his legs over his lap.

“Why are you so grumpy?” Harry asked, poking at Louis’ cheek to try and make him smile.

“You didn’t come home. I was worried about you,” Louis said reluctantly, leaving out the part where he’s pissed because Harry fucked some random bloke.

“Oh . . .” Harry murmured, no longer poking at Louis. “I stayed at Grimmy’s. It got late and I didn’t wanna wake you up coming home late,” Harry said carefully and something in Louis’ chest eased.

“Sure you didn’t just get lucky, Haz?” Louis said playfully, teasing like he’s supposed to, even if it makes his heart hurt a little.

“No,” Harry laughed. “I slept on Grimmy’s couch. Got the bad back to prove it.”

“Fair enough,” Louis murmured, but inside he felt relief crash over him like a tidal wave.

They watched telly for a few hours together until Louis decided he should probably shower and headed upstairs. He was just coming out of his room, hair still damp and dressed in a pair of flannel pyjama bottoms and a white t-shirt that felt too large to be his own, when Harry came rushing out of his room and down the stairs without even sparing Louis a glance. Louis frowned and quickly followed, finding Harry at the front door shoving on a pair of boots.

“You heading out?” Louis asked in what he hoped was a causal way, when really he was getting mental flashes of those photos of Harry kissing that male model.

“Yeah, Grimmy just texted me saying one of his mates is having a surprise party and I’m invited,” Harry answered breathlessly, shoving his long hair back from his face.

“Oh, okay,” Louis murmured, trying to keep the hurt and worry out of his voice. It was starting to dawn on him more and more that Harry was moving on quickly, and Louis was going to miss whatever tiny shot he has with him. So when Harry grinned and leaned down to give Louis a peck in the cheek Louis acted on instinct and turned his head so that their lips met.

It only lasted a second before Harry pulled back in shock, his eyes wide and his mouth open in surprise.

“I- I’m sorry. I went for your cheek, I d-didn’t mean to-” Harry stuttered, predictably assuming it was his fault. Louis rolled his eyes and fisted his hands in Harry’s t-shirt, feeling breathless and brave and high on fear.

“I’m not sorry,” Louis said breathlessly, giving Harry a warning look before leaning into to press their lips together once again. This time Harry kissed back, letting out a soft sound that went straight to Louis’ dick, but Louis pulled back before it could get any more heated, he took a step back until no part of him touched Harry. They were both a little breathless and staring at each other warily.

“Lou?” Harry murmured, and Louis bit his bottom lip to stop his smirk.

“You’re gonna be late,” Louis pointed out casually and Harry’s eyes flickered from the front door, to Louis’ lips, and back up to Louis’ eyes.

“Don’t really care,” Harry said, voice slower than normal.

“Why’s that?” Louis asked innocently, just to wind him up, he liked having the upper hand for once. But he quickly lost that upper hand when Harry frowned and advanced on him, making Louis’ eyes go wide as he stumbled back, his back hitting the hallway wall. Harry came so close his nose almost brushed Louis’, and he lifted his arms to rest his forearms on the wall on either side of Louis’ head, effectively trapping him in, and Louis’ breathing went choppy.

“You know why,” Harry murmured, leaning in until his lips almost brushed Louis’ and Louis brought his hands up to cling to Harry’s hips like a lifeline.

“Not sure I do,” Louis breathed, desperately trying to stay calm and failing terribly. It made him feel a little better that Harry looked just as shaken.

“Oh, fuck off,” Harry breathed into Louis’ mouth.

“I’d rather fuck you,” Louis blurted then blushed a little, groaning and giving Harry a glare. Louis thumped his fisted hands against Harry’s chest. “You make me say stupid shit.”

“Wouldn’t say that the thought of us fucking is stupid, but whatever you say,” Harry murmured and Louis lifted his head to glare at him again.

“You know what I meant!” Louis snapped.

“What?”

“You . . . I . . . We don’t say that kinda shit!” Louis spluttered, trying to ignore the way he was already hard in his pyjama bottoms and that it was probably really obvious if Harry bothered to look down.

Harry rolled his eyes, “That’s kind of the issue we’ve had until now, Lou,” he said sarcastically. His shock was clearly melting into a giddy kind of happiness that made Louis want to laugh and scream and jump up and down.

“Shut up,” Louis muttered.

“Make me,” Harry grinned and smothered Louis’ snarky comeback of ‘really? You’re that clichéd?’ by pressing their lips together firmly.

It heated up quickly, both of them on some kind of high, a little voice in Louis’ head screaming ‘You’re kissing Harry!’ over and over in his head. When Harry slid a hand down the back of Louis’ pyjama bottoms, Louis felt Harry’s lips curl into their kiss as he realised Louis wore no boxers, so Louis bit his bottom lip in punishment. Harry’s only response was to squeeze firmly around the handful of Louis’ arse he had, and Louis couldn’t stop the moan that stuttered out of his mouth and poured into Harry’s. Louis reached back reluctantly and pulled Harry’s hands out of his trousers and back onto safer territory, and when Harry pulled back to pout at him, Louis gave him a stern look.

“Nope. I don’t put out on the first date,” Louis said weakly, his resolve wavering as Harry leaned in to lick and nibble at his collarbones. “Shit,” Louis breathed, hands clinging to Harry’s broad shoulders.

“I think four years counts as more than a first date, Lou,” Harry murmured against Louis’ neck.

“Not gonna be your rebound,” Louis murmured, feeling a spike of vulnerability when Harry pulled back to search his face.

“You could never just be a rebound, Louis,” Harry murmured softly, “but okay. Slow.”

They stood there staring at one another, Louis chewing on his lower lip, before Louis huffed impatiently, declared “kissing doesn’t count,” and launched himself at Harry. Harry caught him easily, gripping Louis’ thighs as Louis jumped up to wrap them around his hips, his arms wrapped tight around Harry’s neck as he kissed him deeply.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Nothing really changed at first, both of them too nervous, but soon they fell into an easy flow of quiet kisses and holding hands for no apparent reason. They only acted this way when they were sure they were alone, this thing between them still far too new to risk exposure. Holding Louis’ hand became his favourite activity and his phone had begun to fill up with the stupid selfies Louis insisted on taking every five minutes. When one morning Louis came down for breakfast wearing only his boxers, sleepily rubbing his hands over his eyes, Harry literally dropped his mug of tea and swore a blue streak for 15 minutes because he’d scolded his toes.

One thing Harry hadn’t expected was the amount of barriers Louis began to drop, more than Harry had ever thought he’d had. He seemed brighter, like a little ball of energy whizzing around wherever he was set off, and it was scarily reminiscent of the very early X Factor days before Louis began to subdue himself little by little. The boys kept making jokes about Harry letting Louis have too many sweets, and Harry would just smile softly in the direction of wherever Louis was off pestering some unlucky human. The fans noticed too, twitter and tumblr filled with happiness over Louis’ new and improved mood. Unfortunately there was also an increase in the amount they talked about Harry’s ‘heart eyes’ in response.

They were sat in an interview when Harry got a rude awakening.

“So, Louis, you seem happy lately?” The woman said, Sarah, Harry thinks she said her name was.

“Yeah, I am, thanks,” Louis grinned, and Harry wanted to cuddle him close, but Zayn had been sat between them.

“Is there a new girl on the scene?” Sarah asked with the kind of sly air that Harry distrusted, and Harry immediately felt the way that Louis’ mood dimmed without having to look around Zayn.

“Uh, no, no,” Louis stammered.

“No, Tommo is just buzzing because he won a bet we’d had going for a while,” Zayn jumped in, his voice lazily casual in a way that intimidated a lot of interviewers.

“That so?” Sarah said, her voice tinged with annoyance that Zayn had cut her off from her line of questioning.

“Yeah, they were betting on which one of them could make me scream the loudest,” Liam offered, and Harry had a sudden burst of affection for these boys.

“Louis jumped out from behind some speakers. Scared the crap outta Payno,” Niall continued with a grin.

“Liam’s scream echoed and everything,” Harry said, smiling calmly now.

“Won fifty quid,” Louis chirped in and Niall offered him a high five. They rest of the interview was dominated by them basically refusing to answer any of the woman’s questions properly.

As soon as they were allowed off camera Louis snuck off out of the room. Harry found him in one of the unused rooms down the hallway, and he closed and locked the door behind himself. Louis came into his arms gratefully, sighing and sagging against Harry’s chest. Harry wrapped one arm tightly around him and used the other to gently stroke his fingers through Louis’ hair over and over.

“It’s okay, Lou,” Harry murmured, pressing a soft kiss to Louis’ temple.

“I know, I know, I just . . . I panicked,” Louis said weakly.

Harry held him for a long time until Niall came looking for them, banging on the door and shouting at them to come out because they had another interview. For the rest of the day Louis was quieter, and Harry was just reaching breaking point when they finally got home that night, Louis heading into the kitchen and making two cups of hot chocolate.

“I think we need to talk,” Louis murmured and Harry froze in place, his heart racing and his mind screaming the words ‘Fuck no’ at the top of its metaphorical lungs. Louis turned and saw Harry’s face then and rushed to explain, “Not that kind of talk! Just about some stuff I need to get off of my chest.” Harry sighed silently in relief and sat down on the kitchen floor, accepting the mug of chocolate from Louis who moved to sit next to him. “What is it with you and the kitchen floor?” he grumbled, moving to lean his back against the cabinet, resting his mug on his raised knees.

Harry smiled and was reminded of the last time they’d sat like this, arousal stirring in the pit of his stomach.

“Should I get the Nutella?” Harry asked cheekily and Louis blushed a little, pink smudging across his cheekbones prettily, and his lashes lowering to cover his eyes in a brief moment of shyness. “You’re so beautiful,” Harry murmured honestly, no charm involved, and Louis smiled widely.

“Shut up,” he murmured self-consciously.

“Never,” Harry declared, taking a sip of his hot chocolate and sighing happily at the rich taste.

“There’s some stuff I need to explain to you, mostly because I’ve never actually said them out loud before,” Louis said softly after a moment’s silence, and Harry nodded at him encouragingly. “I’m gay. I’m not straight. I’m not bi. I’m not anything other than completely gay, always have been, always will be,” Louis said and Harry stared at him wide-eyed.

“But . . . Eleanor?” Harry stuttered, forcing himself not to ask the other questions swirling through his mind.

“I’m a twat, okay? I’m literally the worst kind of person because I loved her, of course I did, but I was never in love with her. I was just so desperate not to come out, and then I just got . . . complacent, I guess? I didn’t want to be single. I didn’t want to be single and watch you-” Louis cut himself off sharply but too late.

“Watch me what?” Harry murmured.

“It . . . I just . . . Fuck, Harry, don’t judge me, okay?” Louis pleaded and Harry nodded, “I hated seeing you off sleeping with whoever the fuck it was at the time. I hated the thought of you being with other people, and it was easier to ignore that when I was with someone myself.” Harry could only stare at him.

“How long have you wanted more?” Harry asked, feeling like this was the most important question. Louis looked away though, and looked reluctant to answer. “Louis. How long?” Harry asked firmly.

“Since the beginning,” Louis whispered, hiding behind his mug. It felt like a kick in the chest. All this time he could have had what he wanted and instead he’s had relationship after unsatisfying relationship. Harry stood up but couldn’t walk away, not when Louis looked up at him with wide, pleading eyes, so he huffed angrily and sat back down, scrubbing a hand through his hair roughly.

“I can’t believe you lied to me for so long,” Harry whispered, voice choked in his throat.

“I panicked, Harry! I turned you down and then you were so mad at me, I didn’t know what to do, so I just went along with it,” Louis said helplessly.

“I was mad at you because I loved you,” Harry spat and Louis froze.

“You loved me?” Louis whispered.

“Of course I fucking loved you. And everyone but you could see it,” Harry replied dully.

“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Louis replied miserably, Harry gritted his teeth and exhaled heavily out of his nose, forcibly releasing his anger. He reached over grabbed Louis’ hand, tugging him until he put down his mug and crawled over to curl up against Harry.

“This is our new start. We start dredging up the past and we’ll just fuck up again. Clean slate, okay?” Harry offered and Louis nodded against his chest. Harry could let go of the past if it meant a future with this ridiculous boy, no matter how much his heart hurt at all the time they’d lost.

“Clean slate,” Louis murmured.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

Louis felt lighter in the days after he and Harry’s conversation on the kitchen floor, like he’d finally released the secrets that had been eating him up for four years. He found himself teasing Harry more and more, walking around in the bare minimum of clothes, even going so far as to come down after his shower in only his towel. But Harry wasn’t taking the hint, trying to be respectable after Louis’ request that they take it slow. But Louis wanted to strip Harry down and kiss every inch of him. And not to be blunt about it, but most of his dreams now centred on fucking him. He was just so curious.

He’s tormented himself with imagining Harry and Jason, and part of him wanted to know if he’d been right, if he’d known even then how Harry would feel beneath him. But Harry was having none of it, he’d pull away if their kisses got a little too heated, walk back out of the room without a word if he walked in on Louis getting changed.

Harry had also been a little more distant since this morning, texting on his phone with a frustrated expression, and whenever Louis asked about it he’d smile and act like he hadn’t just been looking murderous. Louis was a little anxious, if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t used to being out of the loop, especially with Harry.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Jason kept texting him, would send the same text over and over until Harry finally gave in and replied, and now he was asking if they could meet up and Harry didn’t know what to do. He and Louis were so . . . new, and he didn’t want to ruin that, but he’d always been too nice for his own good and Jason was begging him for closure. Harry also didn’t like the thought of starting something new with Louis without complete separation and closure on his relationship with Jason, and Louis was getting more and more brave with broaching the topic of sex between them, something that Harry desperately wanted but didn’t want to go through with when Jason is still bothering him.

And Harry didn’t want to tell Louis. He felt guilty about lying when Louis asked what was wrong, but he also didn’t want to ruin things between them before they’d even started properly. So when he finally gave in and agreed to meet up with Jason, he told Louis he was going to see Gemma, and he even rang Gemma to get her to agree to cover for him should anyone ask. He took his time dressing up nicely, his ego needing to be reassured by showing Jason what he was missing out on, and left with a guilty kiss on Louis’ cheek, trying to ignore the concerned look in Louis’ eyes.

He entered the small but exclusive restaurant through the back exit to avoid paps. He was taken to a booth out of the way and Jason was already seated and sipping a beer when he slid into it. Jason smiled at him and Harry tried to return the gesture but it felt unnatural. How strange that for a long time Jason had been his reason to smile but now he couldn’t even fake one to be polite. He ordered himself a glass of white wine from the sweet looking girl who introduced herself as his server, Katie, and when she brought it over he gave her a grateful smile and took a fortifying gulp of the slightly bitter liquid. Finally he forced himself to meet Jason’s eyes.

“Hey,” Jason said softly, his eyes appraising what he could see of Harry’s body, and Harry knew him well enough to know that Jason liked what he saw.

“Hey,” Harry said nervously, fighting to keep the tremor from his voice. The more he sat there the more this felt like a big mistake.

“Well, I guess I’ll just get right into it . . . I think you owe me some kind of compensation,” Jason said plainly and Harry blinked at him in silence for a few moments as those words sunk in.

“What?” Harry asked blankly, his voice devoid of emotion.

“My face is splashed all over the papers. I can’t take a piss without it being written about. Paps harass me all the time. I deserve some kind of compensation for how you’ve negatively impacted my life,” Jason said as if that were the most reasonable request. Harry’s heart thudded painfully.

“No. You knew the risks when we first started out, Jason,” Harry said carefully but bluntly, a little light headed with how surreal this all felt.

“You never told me that after we broke up I’d be hounded and asked constantly who I’m fucking and whether I have any gossip on you that I want to share,” Jason said bluntly and Harry’s mouth literally popped open in shock at just how rude Jason was being.

“I can’t believe you’re actually asking me for money. You broke up with me, not the other way around,” Harry said, outraged, his hand clenching around the stem of his wineglass. He forcibly unclenched his fingers, not wanting to add a trip to the ER to his day.

“Don’t care. The way I see it, you have a vested interest in keeping me quiet. I have a lot of shit that I’m sure the papers would love to hear about, and it doesn’t harm me to let it slip. And plus, it’s not like you’ll miss the money,” Jason said harshly, bitterness a cruel edge to his words. Harry was literally shaking with anger, and he knew that if he didn’t remove himself from the situation, he’d end up making a scene that he’d regret. So he lifted his wine glass and tipped it back, gulping the rest of his wine with a wince at the taste, and stood, throwing a tenner down for his drink.

He leaned carefully across the table to bring himself closer to Jason, and said, very carefully, “Fuck you,” before storming off with what he hoped was at least a little grace and dignity. His one mistake was that in his anger he exited through the front doors, and immediately he was swarmed by the six or so paps milling outside waiting for whatever celebrity was visiting the restaurant that day, the place a popular spot for A-listers.

He hurried into a taxi, slamming the door shut and practically shouting his sisters address at the driver, a middle-aged man who said “no problem, mate” in a thick Yorkshire accent that was painfully familiar and comforting this far south, and drove off before the paps could get any ideas about blocking the road. Harry slumped into his seat with a sigh, a headache thumping in his temples, dread settling in his stomach at how Louis would now know he’d lied. It wouldn’t take the paps much digging to find out who he’d met in the restaurant.

Harry paid the man silently and headed up to his sister’s front door, knocking on it with exhaustion pressing down on his shoulders, and she opened it after a few minutes looking like she’d rushed from upstairs. She took in Harry’s expression and wordlessly grabbed his arm, tugging him inside and slamming the door shut. He was developing a bad habit of hiding from his problems in other people’s homes.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

Louis didn’t know why Harry hadn’t come home, didn’t know why he wasn’t answering his phone, didn’t know why he felt so irrationally worried. That was until he checked his twitter.

When he saw the first headline ‘Harry Styles bares all in leaked nudes’ his heart dropped out of his arse. It was just so . . . unexpected, so utterly bizarre that Louis almost convinced himself that it was only a rumour. But then he checked the fan accounts and there it was, Harry’s body attached to thousands of tweets and surrounded by so many capital letters and exclamation marks that it gave Louis a headache even attempting to read them. Louis’ fingers shook as he went to tap on one of the photos, feeling the need to prove it wasn’t some weird edit made by a fan. Those things were surprisingly good, so much so that he’d actually had to question himself a few times on whether or not some photos of himself were actually real. But no, this looked legitimate.

It was in some hotel toilet, one that Louis vaguely remembers because of the bizarre looking patterns on the shower curtain that he remembers bitching about to Niall, the lights on and highlighting every inch of bare skin Harry was openly showing. He was completely naked, the vanity counter cutting him off just above the knees so that you couldn’t see the bottom of his legs, but the rest of him was shamelessly displayed. His body was long and broad with the slight tan lines from his shorts clinging low on his hips. His tattoos looked less stark with his tan, they looked settled in his skin, a part of him. Louis couldn’t help but glance lower to where Harry’s cock stood, hard and impressive, and his thighs pressed together at the sharp pang of guilty desire low in his abdomen.

Strange that he hadn’t really hesitated when faced with Harry’s blatant erection, but he now nervously paused before looking at his face. He clenched his teeth and squinted fearfully as he trailed his eyes up the length of Harry’s gorgeous body, until finally he hit the sharp line of his jaw, his head tilted back and to the side slightly, showing off the long, lean line of his throat. And there it was, a cocky smirk sat on too-pink lips, eyes hooded and sparking with a smug kind of enjoyment that had Louis simultaneously grinding his teeth in annoyance, and moving a hand to palm his semi in frustration. But the tightness in his chest eased a little and he realised that what he’d feared seeing had been need. This photo had obviously been sent to Jason, and if Harry had been needy and desperate for another man, Louis might have cried a little, despite the fact the photo was clearly taken a little while ago due to the absence of a half-naked mermaid on Harry’s arm. Seeing this, a cocky posturing, a clear taunt of ‘you want me but I’m thousands of miles away so you’ll just have to fuck your fist until I get back’, is better. This photo is about Harry riling up his partner, not about actually needing him, and Louis’ heart-rate slowed down a little at that thought.

Louis kept scrolling, hoping for more of an explanation, but what he found instead made his mouth go dry and jealousy hit him like a truck. Harry had gone to see Jason. There were photos of them sat eating in a nice restaurant, photos of Harry leaving with a murderous look on his face, and clearly Harry had hated every minute of it. But Louis couldn’t shake the jealousy, the insecurity, because why hadn’t Harry told him? Why had he been so secretive about it? Why had he outright lied and said he was going to see Gemma?

Louis played with his phone for a few moments before gritting his teeth and sitting up straighter, opening his phone and tapping on the little phone icon. He scrolled down and clicked on Gemma’s number, bringing it to his ear and nervously listening to the dial tone.

-“Hello?” came Gemma’s voice through the little speaker.

“Hey, Gem,” Louis said, his voice a little bit too high-pitched to be normal.

-“. . . You okay?” Gemma asked carefully and Louis forced himself to calm down.

“Yeah, yeah I’m fine. Hey, is Harry there?” Louis asked in what he hoped was a casual manner.

-“Yeah, he’s been here all day,” Gemma answered calmly and Louis had to hand it to her, if he hadn’t already know it was a lie, he’d never have guessed.

“Gemma . . . I know he wasn’t with you today,” Louis said softly. He heard Gemma sigh wearily.

-“Sorry, Lou. H comes first,” Gemma said simply and Louis couldn’t be angry at her for lying, he’d do the same for any of his siblings.

“Yeah, I get it . . . Could you put him on the phone?” Louis asked nervously.

-“One minute,” Louis heard a muffling sound as Gemma covered the phone and the mumble of her speaking but he couldn’t make out the words. “He doesn’t want to talk.”

“Gem, please. Tell him he needs to come home. He can’t hide behind you forever,” Louis said, his voice becoming sharper with frustration.

-“I’ll try. See you later, Louis,” Gemma said easily and Louis sighed, knowing he wouldn’t get anything more out of her. Gemma took no bullshit in her protective urges towards Harry and Louis honestly couldn’t blame her. If it was the other way around and he was the normal one with one of his sisters thrown into the spotlight, he’d be pretty protective too.

“Bye, Gem.”

 

***

 

Louis had sat around for about an hour, gazing at the blank wall and attempting to figure out the mess of feelings in his stomach, when headlights flashed through the front window as Harry drove into their drive. It was kind of funny how Louis had easily fallen into saying this was ‘their’ home even though technically only Louis owned the property.

Louis stayed seated on the couch facing the door into the living room as the front door finally swung open. He couldn’t see Harry come in because the front door was slightly down the hall, but he heard Harry shrug off his coat and kick off his shoes, before he slowly walked towards the living room. Harry glanced around the door frame and as soon as he saw Louis his face filled with guilt. He lifted a hand and rubbed at the back of his neck before slowly walking in and sitting on the couch opposite Louis, the coffee table between them. Louis wrapped his arms around his middle, feeling vulnerable all of a sudden, his anger leaching away.

“Why did you lie?” Louis murmured when the silence became too much. Harry sighed, copying Louis’ movements and wrapping his arms around himself, hunching down a little as if to make himself smaller. Louis had seen that trick repeated for years, until the point where people would retrospectively describe Harry as far shorter than he actually is, because Harry had a knack for appearing less threatening than a man of his size should be able to accomplish.

“I didn’t want to make you upset,” Harry said, his voice a pleasingly low rumble. Louis hated himself for melting a little even now.

“Do . . . Do you want to get back with him?” Louis asked, realising that this had been worrying him since he’d found out but he’d been too afraid to openly think about it until now. Harry’s head snapped up and he frowned, his eyes searching Louis’.

“No, Lou. I don’t want to get back with Jason,” Harry said, his voice tinged with something that sounded like hurt, but Louis had had to ask.

“You’re sure? . . . I don’t want to be a mistake, H,” Louis murmured, eyes wide as he tried not to get too upset. Now wasn’t the time for an embarrassing sob-fest. Harry was already shaking his head before Louis had even finished speaking.

“You could never be a mistake, Louis. Never. I just . . . I had to get closure,” Harry shrugged.

“How did that go?” Louis asked, knowing his sarcasm was shining through but unable to stop himself. Closure? It was such a ‘Harry’ thing to want, such a naïve idea that such a messy break-up could end with closure for both parties. But instead of being offended as most people would, Harry gave him a weak smile in response.

“Not too well. He asked me for ‘compensation’,” Harry said, bringing his hands up to frame the word with air quotes and Louis’ mouth popped open a little in shock.

“He what?”

“He wants money to stay quiet about our relationship. I told him to fuck off,” Harry said with a slight smirk and Louis felt his stomach churn a little. Harry didn’t know.

“Uh, Harry?” Louis started awkwardly.

“Yeah?”

“Have you been on twitter today?”

“No, why?” Harry asked, brows drawn together in confusion. Louis took a deep breath.

“I think Jason may have leaked a, um, private photo you sent him,” Louis replied awkwardly. Harry frowned and quickly slid his phone from his jeans pocket. He sat tapping at the screen for a few moments and Louis knew the moment he saw the photo. His face blanched and he threw his phone away as if it had burned him, and it thumped safely onto to carpet a few feet away. Louis got up and walked around the coffee table, sitting next to Harry but leaving a few inches of space between them, feeling too nervous to breach the gap and risk any form of rejection from Harry.

“I should have known he’d do this,” Harry muttered, rubbing his hands harshly down his face.

“At least it’s a good photo,” Louis tried weakly and a laugh burst from Harry’s lips, taking both him and Harry by surprise. Harry glanced to the side with a slight smile still on his face, noticed the space between them, and wrapped an arm around Louis’ shoulders, tugging him closer until Louis melted against his side, leaning his head on Harry’s shoulder. Harry pressed a soft kiss to Louis’ hair before leaning his cheek there.

“Not exactly thrilled that the first time you see me with a boner is on a leaked nude sent to an ex,” Harry commented with a dry tone that had Louis cackling and turning to bury his face against Harry’s shoulder.

“If it’s any consolation it’s a pretty nice boner,” Louis laughed.

“You’re such a twat,” Harry laughed, turning and shoving Louis back so that he ended up laid on his back across the couch, Harry quickly moving to hover above him. Louis happily wiggled around until he had his legs bent at the knee on either side of Harry, the larger boy’s hips cradled between his thighs.

“What? I especially liked the ‘look how big my dick is’ smirk,” Louis cackled and Harry blushed slightly even if his eyes still danced with humour.

“So you think I have a big dick?” Harry said with a smug grin not too dissimilar to the one in that photo if Louis was honest, and he felt a pang of arousal shoot through him that he’d deny feeling if asked.

“Maybe,” Louis smiled, cheeks going a little pink, teeth sinking into his own lower lip.

“Fuck off,” Harry said a little breathlessly, laughing a little as he leaned down and pressed his lips to Louis’. This kiss had no build up, no soft touches; it was desperate from the second their lips touched, like a damn had burst within the both of them. Louis wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck and arched up sharply. Harry’s hand squeezed Louis’ hip, his groan letting him know that Harry appreciated the soft curve there, before dragging up Louis’ side, tugging his t-shirt up with the rough move. Harry’s hand could almost span one half of his ribcage and Louis felt too hot all of a sudden. He pulled his mouth away from Harry’s, gulping down the air he’d been deprived, and started yanking at his own top. Harry seemed to get the idea because he moved to help, quickly helping Louis strip down to his boxers before moving to do the same. Harry lowered himself to once again hover above Louis and he couldn’t help it, he leaned up to fasten their lips together again, swallowing Harry’s slight moan and thrusting his hands into his long hair, tugging sharply. Harry spread one hand over Louis’ stomach, resting there a moment before slowly dragging up his body, making Louis arch up into the touch obscenely, his hand continuing on up to Louis’ collarbones. His hand hesitated there for a moment before sliding up to carefully span the front of Louis’ throat, fingers curling to brush the underside of Louis’ jaw and Louis whimpered a little into Harry’s mouth at the feeling.

Suddenly Harry pulled away, leaning back to sit on his heels, Louis spread out below him, chest heaving. Harry looked too beautiful right then and Louis couldn’t be blamed for his lack of brain to mouth filter.

“Fuck me,” he whispered, and refused to feel embarrassed for saying it. Harry nodded, kiss-swollen lips parted slightly, a look of what Louis thought was awe shining in his eyes.

“Not on the couch,” Harry murmured, standing up and reaching down to tug Louis up. Louis melted against Harry’s chest, sliding his hands up his sides and looking up at him with need shining bright and clear in his eyes, enjoying the way Harry looked down at him and swallowed visibly. His hands moved to span Louis’ waist and Louis wasn’t ashamed to admit that he loved the way he felt so small and soft under Harry’s big, broad hands. Louis was comfortable enough in himself to be honest, he knows he’s not the most masculine looking of men, his short stature and tiny waist hinting at something usually seen on the bodies of women, his arse full and pert. His shoulders are slight, so delicate in comparison to Harry’s broad frame. They were a right pair, Harry too-large with a need to feel smaller, Louis too-small and with a need to be the biggest personality in the room.

None of that changed the fact that Louis wanted to fuck Harry up, but that could wait, because Louis needed Harry right now, needed him inside of him. Louis hasn’t been fucked for over three years - he wasn’t going to wait a single day more.

Harry’s hands slid down Louis’ back, sliding below the band of Louis’ grey boxers, and happily cupping the soft curves of his arse. Harry’s hands squeezed his cheeks in appreciation, making Louis’ breathing stutter audibly, as he pulled them apart slightly and teasingly brushed one dry fingertip against Louis’ hole.

“Fuck,” Louis breathed, turning to bury his face in Harry’s neck, biting down on the skin there. “Come on,” Louis said raggedly, starting to sweat a little, perspiration shining under the low light of the lamp. Harry tugged suddenly until Louis got the idea and moved to jump and wrap his legs around his hips.

Harry started to move them towards the stairs and Louis sighed in relief. They made it up the stairs in one piece, Louis bitching the entire way that he’d beat the shit out of Harry if he dropped him down the stairs, Harry trying to stifle his grin.

“Your room or mine?” Harry asked as they headed down the hallway.

“Don’t care,” Louis said, squirming against Harry’s hard body, thoroughly enjoying the reactions he was pulling from the taller boy.

“Yours, then,” Harry stated, turning left and heading into Louis’ bedroom.

“You just don’t wanna have to wash your sheets,” Louis griped half-heartedly.

“I’ve wanted to fuck you in your bed for four years, figured I could make it happen sooner rather than later,” Harry said casually but his words hit Louis like a truck, and he didn’t even complain when Harry unceremoniously dropped him onto the bed. He hit the sheets with an ‘oomph’ but laid there pliant, thighs spread, arms resting on either side of his head, as he gazed up at Harry in wonder.

“Four years?” Louis murmured and Harry nodded, glancing away for a moment, something vulnerable in his eyes that he fought to hide from Louis, but Louis saw it and lifted a hand, beckoning Harry closer. Harry didn’t hesitate before moving to lay atop him and it gave Louis the confidence he needed. “I’ve wanted you since I saw you being interviewed in the lines before our auditions. You were so cute, with your soft face and your fluffy hair. I kind of wanted to tie you up with that scarf you wore,” Louis shrugged and Harry searched his face.

“Even when I peed on you?” Harry asked teasingly, but there was something so sad but optimistic in his eyes, like nostalgia and hope for the future all in one.

“Even when you peed on me,” Louis laughed lightly, his heart feeling too big in his chest, every beat a little painful.

“Yeah?” Harry murmured, leaning down rub their noses together, a gentle action that melted Louis’ heart.

“Yeah. And when we were put into a band . . . you caught me when I jumped into your arms, without even flinching you just caught me. I knew you’d already made your way under my skin. You made me doubt everything about who I thought I was,” Louis said honestly, feeling like he’d cracked open his ribs and given Harry free reign, but knowing that this needed to be done because he couldn’t stand the thought of losing Harry now that he finally had him where he wanted him.

“I didn’t want to put you down,” Harry murmured with a smile and Louis rolled his eyes.

“I figured, since you carried me right off the stage and into the back rooms before finally putting me down,” Louis said with a fond laugh. Harry searched his eyes for a moment and Louis waited patiently as he brought a hand up to cup the side of Louis’ face.

“I never want to put you down again,” Harry whispered, and it was so, so cheesy and ridiculous and the kind of metaphorical bullshit that was pretty much expected from Harry, but it hit Louis’ in the heart and he shot up to press his lips to Harry’s desperately. Suddenly there was no more room for nostalgia. Harry kissed him back just as desperately and soon they’d both wiggled out of their boxers and lay skin to skin.

“Harry . . .” Louis moaned as the other boy kissed down his chest before sucking and biting to bruise the skin above his hip bone. Harry’s hands gripped his hips and suddenly Louis was being spun until he landed on his stomach with a soft ‘umph’, his hands coming up to grip the duvet as Harry’s mouth sucked a bruise into the skin at the base of his spine just above the curve at the swell of his arse.

When Harry’s mouth moved lower and lower Louis held his breath, and when Harry’s tongue slowly licked its way down, somehow Louis was still shocked when he felt Harry’s mouth on his hole. He hadn’t expected this, he hadn’t known this was even a possibility, if he was honest with himself. He’d seen this in pornos but never actually experienced it himself. His muscles trembled and his heart raced. Harry had an intoxicating sense of confidence in the way he handled Louis’ body, his hands firm on Louis’ arse, pulling his cheeks apart to leave him open and vulnerable to his tongue. Louis lost the ability to think straight when Harry pressed the tip of his tongue inside of him, a sob ripped from his throat, his hands clenching and yanking at the duvet until the lower sheet slid off of the corner to reveal the bare mattress beneath. He spread his thighs a little more to give Harry more access and buried his face in the bed to muffle the high-pitched noises that he couldn’t stop pouring from his mouth.

Louis made the mistake then of lifting his head and looking back over his shoulder. The sight of Harry’s face buried in the curves of his arse, eyes closed and cheeks flushed, big hands griping Louis’ arse with a grip that would definitely leave fingertip bruises on his skin, had him moaning so loud he hurt his own throat with the effort. He felt his orgasm tighten in his lower abdomen and he frantically twisted away and over onto his back, Harry looking up at him with an eyebrow cocked. When he licked his lips Louis whimpered before he could stop himself.

“You okay?” Harry asked, his voice deeper than usual and a little breathless as he lifted a hand to wipe the spit from his chin with the back of his hand.

“Was close. Didn’t wanna come yet,” Louis slurred, voice filled with husky desire. Harry slowly moved up Louis’ body, pressing licking kisses in random spots on the journey up, and he used the duvet to wipe over his mouth before kissing Louis deeply. He could taste himself on Harry’s tongue but it wasn’t really unpleasant, more weird than nasty, despite the instinctive cringe at the thought of germs. He’d had a shower whilst Harry had been out, thankfully, and he’d been keeping himself in a constant state of readiness for the past week since he decided to start trying to goad Harry into sleeping with him, just in case any spontaneous sex happened. Louis internally praised himself for the forethought, he really was brilliant some times.

Louis wrapped his legs around Harry’s hips and pulled him as close as he could get.

“Lube and condoms in the top drawer,” Louis whispered into Harry’s mouth. Harry leaned over to pull open the drawer, searching for a moment, before pulling out a small lime green bottle and a foil packet. Harry looked at the bottle and laughed.

“Passion fruit?” Harry asked, green eyes dancing with laughter.

“Shut up, it smells nice,” Louis griped, a blush heating his cheeks. Harry sat back and spread the lube over three fingers, making Louis swallow dryly. Suddenly the size of Harry’s hands became the only thing Louis could think about. Harry leaned down to kiss Louis breathless, distracting him from the lube-slick fingers that started to brush over his entrance carefully. Harry’s tongue had done a good job of relaxing Louis’ body, but it was still a push for Harry to get the first finger in. It didn’t hurt much, but it was intense after Louis had gone so long without it, and it left him gasping into Harry’s neck, his nails scratching deep red lines across his wide shoulders. Harry was patient with him, murmuring compliments and encouragements and the vague dirty sentence that had Louis gasping in sudden pleasure, and soon Harry had worked him up to three fingers with a steady kind of self-confidence that made Louis shudder in anticipation. Harry fingered him lazily, long, drawn out movements that had Louis sweating, his fringe sticking to his forehead damply. Harry was playing with his body like he knew everything Louis had to give.

“So tight, Lou. Fucking hot and perfect. Can’t wait to get inside of you. I wanna feel you around me. I wanna fuck you, deep and slow and dirty. You want that, babe?” Harry’s voice had a desperate edge, and Louis realised that Harry rambled with dirty talk when he was horny. Nice to know.

“Shut up and get in me,” Louis gasped and Harry laughed breathlessly, pressing a kiss to Louis’ sweaty temple before leaning back and pulling his fingers out. He rolled on the condom with quick, easy movements that had Louis squirming, and took a hold of the base to line himself up with Louis’ hole.

He met Louis’ eyes as he slowly pushed forwards, Harry gasping slightly, Louis’ lashes fluttering at the intense feeling of fullness as Harry carefully slid himself into Louis’ body. He removed the hand from the base of his cock and carefully seated himself fully, his hips touching the backs of Louis’ thighs as he paused to catch his breath, his eyes searching Louis’ face for any hint of pain. But Louis didn’t feel any pain, he felt full . . . full and stretched and so fucking turned on he could scream.

Louis leaned up to kiss Harry’s neck and suck love bites into his skin, wanting to mark him, wanting the bruises to last for days.

“Move, move, move,” Louis begged, his voice high-pitched and wrecked even to his own ears. Harry didn’t need to be told twice, he slowly pulled out before pushing back in in a smooth movement that punched the air from Louis’ lungs. “Fuck,” Louis squeaked, biting down hard on Harry’s shoulder for a moment, making the other boy hiss in pain.

“That’s what I’m trying to do, you fucking piranha,” Harry said breathlessly. Louis was shocked into a laugh and moaned when it made his muscles clench around Harry, Harry left groaning at the sensation.

“Don’t make me laugh,” Louis complained desperately, his voice sounding whiny in his own ears. Instead of replying Harry thrust in harder than before and Louis’ nails scratched down his back hard, but this time Harry didn’t pause, he kept fucking into Louis like he was determined to make him scream. He was successful, Louis screamed Harry’s name as the larger boy fucked him through his orgasm, Louis coming so hard his vision whited out. Harry came a few moments later with a groan of ‘Louis’.

Harry collapsed on top of him, breathing heavily against Louis’ neck, making the smaller boy squirm unhappily.

“Get off, you leach,” Louis griped and Harry laughed before going back up on his arms. That was when they heard someone downstairs.

“Is someone . . .” Harry trailed off, wide-eyed.

“Did you lock the door?” Louis whispered, hands tightening around Harry’s biceps.

“I can’t remember,” Harry panicked.

“Guys? Lou?!” Niall’s voice shouted up the stair case then and Harry and Louis sighed and slumped in relief. But they both tensed up again a second later when they heard Niall running up the stairs. Louis looked pointedly from Harry’s eyes to where Harry was still buried inside him.

“One minute, Ni!” Louis shouted, his voice filled with the panic he couldn’t hide.

“Louis?! The fuck, man, I was knocking for ages!” Niall called, his voice coming closer, and Harry fought against the sheets tangled around his legs but it was too late. Niall rounded the corner and stood frozen in Louis’ open bedroom doorway, eyes wide and mouth open in shock before shrieking and spinning around, putting his hands over his eyes for good measure despite the fact he’d already turned his backs to them. “Oh my god. Oh my god! What the fuck did I just see?!” Niall practically screamed.

“Did you find them?” came Liam’s voice from the staircase and Louis attempted to twist out from under Harry just as Niall yelled “Don’t look!” but of course they were too late and Liam rounded the doorway with a confused expression that quickly turned to horror as he realised what Niall was screaming about. He spun and mimicked Niall’s actions and it would have been funny if it wasn’t so humiliating.

“What the fuck is everyone screaming about?!” came Zayn’s voice and Louis was about ready to scream himself because this literally couldn’t get any worse.

“Don’t look!” Niall and Liam screamed at the same time and Louis heard Zayn’s footsteps pause in the hallway.

“Okay,” Zayn agreed easily. This is why Zayn would be the only one of them to survive in a horror movie.

“Guys, could you maybe go downstairs?” Harry asked awkwardly when there seemed to be a pause in which no one knew what to do. Liam and Niall practically trampled each other in their haste to be the first one down the stairs.

When the lads were all gone Harry looked down at Louis in silence for a moment before a laugh barked out of him, almost deafening Louis. Louis slapped his arm and pouted up at him, embarrassment a red flame across his cheeks.

“Shut up! This isn’t funny, you twat!” Louis snapped, finally separating their bodies and standing up beside the bed, wincing a little at the new ache in his muscles.

“It’s pretty funny,” Harry laughed, and Louis wanted to hit him because he looked far too good sprawled out and tangled in Louis’ sheets and it was hard to stay mad with someone who looked like that.

“Shut up and get dressed,” Louis muttered.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Harry had pulled on his jeans and not bothered with a shirt, but Louis had redressed in all of his clothes, mumbling about decency when Harry refused to put on the top Louis threw at his head. When they headed downstairs Harry let Louis lead the way. They found the boys sat in the living room, Liam desperately gulping down a beer from the fridge, Niall sat wide-eyed and looking both disgusted and curious. Zayn looked both confused and irritated, obviously neither Niall nor Liam had told him what they’d seen.

Louis held his head high as he prowled into the room, plopping himself down on the couch as if this were any other night hanging out with the lads. Harry quietly followed his lead, sitting on the couch with him, facing the three boys on the other couch. Zayn scanned both their appearances and a light seemed to go on in his eyes as a smirk spread across his lips. Now he knew. Perceptive bastard.

“So you two are a couple then?” Zayn asked when no one else spoke. Harry smiled at him for that and Zayn smiled back. Louis blushed and looked uncomfortable as Harry had expected.

“It’s new, no labels yet. It’s why we didn’t tell you guys,” Harry said softly, gently placing a hand on Louis’ thigh to calm him, Louis scooted a little closer to him until their sides pressed together with each breath.

“Is that why you moved in together?” Niall asked, seemingly over his shock, although Liam still looked severely disturbed.

“No,” Louis murmured.

“It just kind of happened. I came here when Jason kicked me out and ended up staying. We talked and realised that maybe we both wanted to be more than friends,” Harry shrugged and Niall nodded in understanding.

“You okay, Li?” Zayn asked with a grin, leaning forwards to glance around Niall at the other boy.

“No,” Liam said, his voice thick, still refusing to meet anyone’s eyes.

“It’s just sex, Payno,” Niall laughed.

“I really, really, really never needed to see that,” Liam muttered, taking another pull of his beer.

“Why? What was so bad about it? Was it kinky? Who topped?” Zayn goaded with a grin, and Liam looked like he was about to throw up.

“Looked pretty standard, and Harry,” Niall answered causally and Liam groaned, putting his face in his hands.

“Stop talking about it!” Liam begged.

“Harry topped?” Zayn said, his voice filled with shock, and he turned to give both Harry and Louis a once over like he was seeing them for the first time. “Huh.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Louis grouched and Harry laughed, leaning down to press a gentle kiss to his jaw.

“Nowt, just figured you’d be more of a top, you know, with how bitchy you are about control,” Zayn shrugged and Louis shot him the middle finger.

“For the record I’m not strictly a top so . . .” Harry mumbled, half wanting to set the record straight, half hoping no one heard. But of course they did. The room went silent before Niall suddenly cracked out laughing, Zayn joining him a few seconds later, and even Liam looked a little amused, trying to hide his grin behind his beer bottle. Louis turned and whacked him on the arm, but when Harry pouted at him and rubbed his newly throbbing bicep, Louis rolled his eyes and smiled reluctantly.

“Please stop talking, Harry,” Louis said in a dry tone that made Harry want to bite him, so he did, leaning down to bite Louis’ shoulder through his t-shirt. It made the older boy yelp and squirm away, which added to the laughter coming from the other three boys.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

Management rang Harry 7 times in the next 3 hours. The boys left after call number two, seemingly unwilling to comment on the leaked photo other than to hug Harry tightly and tell him it’d all be okay. Every time he hung up with management Harry would look increasingly more tired until Louis couldn’t take it anymore and took his phone away, turning it off, and ignoring Harry’s half-hearted protests. He turned his own phone and silent and placed both of them in one of his many pointless kitchen drawers.

Harry couldn’t get to sleep that night, so Louis shored up his confidence and sucked him off for the first time, smiling smugly when it took all of two minutes after coming for Harry to fall into a deep sleep. He couldn’t stop himself from carefully stroking his fingers through Harry’s hair, from looking down at his beautiful face, and hoping he gets to have him like this for as long as he can.

He can’t imagine a life without Harry now that he knows what it’s like to be with him this way.

 

***

 

Louis wakes up the next morning to find the other side of his bed empty. Before, this wouldn’t have been unusual, but now it makes his stomach twist uncomfortably. He slides out of bed and doesn’t bother putting anything on, deciding that it’s his house and he’ll wear boxers all day if he wants to. The house is quiet but when he heads downstairs he hears the low sound of the living room telly. He heads towards the sound and he finds Harry sat watching MTV News. He’s sat forwards, elbows resting on his spread knees, chin on his clasped hands, the lean expanse of his back bare and pale. Louis glances away from where Harry still hasn’t noticed him, towards the telly and that blonde lass he always forgets the name of but he’s pretty sure is mates with Niall.

“The twitter-verse was in chaos yesterday as compromising photos were leaked to the public,” She says now, pretty smile perfect for the TV screen, “That’s right, Harry Styles’ nudes were apparently leaked by his ex-boyfriend, Jason Samson, in some kind of revenge after a heated conversation between the two earlier that day. The One Direction member was seen leaving an exclusive restaurant early yesterday after what appears to be an argument with his ex-flame. Things get even trickier when rumours of Harry moving in with fellow boybander, Louis Tomlinson, are thrown into the mix. Now, we’re all enjoying this drama after the decidedly drama-less past few months in the One Direction fanbase, but the boys don’t look to be explaining any of this any time soon. Management is staying hush and their PR team seems to be going with the ‘we’ll pretend it didn’t happen’ tactic. Well, until we get some more information I’m sure the fans will cope just fine by setting Harry Styles’ nude photo as their phone wallpapers, I know I will be,” she laughed, looking too-rehearsed and far too casual for Louis’ liking. As she went on to cover another story, Louis heard Harry sigh, and he looked over to find Harry scrubbing a rough hand over his face, looking tired and fed up.

Louis quietly wandered over and gracelessly threw himself onto Harry, knowing Harry well enough that he’d adjust and catch him before he fell to the floor. A small smile pulled at Harry’s lips as he looked down at Louis spread over his lap, and Louis happily threw his arms around the larger boy’s neck, cuddling close.

“Stop watching shitty celeb news and pay attention to me,” Louis teased, biting at Harry’s jaw a little. Harry huffed a small laugh and pressed a kiss to Louis’ temple. Harry’s hands stroked over his back, one hand sliding over his hip to the curve of his arse, less of a grope and more of a comforting petting, like stroking Louis and feeling him close was calming for him.

“Needed to know what they were saying. Management specifically told me to stay away from twitter, so I figured MTV was my next best bet,” Harry shrugged. Louis stroked his hand through Harry’s shoulder-length hair, twirling his fingers in the curls that still formed at the nape of his neck.

“What are you worrying about?” Louis asked softly, knowing that sometimes you just need to purge the poison, get it all out and let someone else tell you what it all means.

“I dunno, just . . . I hate the ‘sex maniac’ rumours, you know? I feel like this is gonna make all that worse. I already had hundreds of articles claiming I was cheating on Jason every time I so much as looked at another human being. They’re gonna take this whole nude thing and make it another reason why I’m some giant man-slut,” Harry frowned, purposefully not looking at Louis. Louis frowned too then.

“Harry . . . You’re not a slut. And even if you were, who fucking cares? Having sex with lots of people doesn’t make you a bad person. The media is shitty, we’ve known that since we were thrown into the spotlight, and you always got the worst of it. Even in the beginning it was obvious you were the one the paps sought out. It’s hard to watch that, sometimes. Makes me really fucking mad that they single you out and use you as their media punching bag.

“The people who know and love you don’t believe a damn word said about you in the media. The fans don’t believe it either. Scroll through some of their accounts once in a while, you’ll be surprised how much they see that we think they don’t,” Louis said softly. Harry gave a weak smile but it wasn’t enough for Louis.

He moved then, turned to straddle Harry’s hips so that he could bring his hands up, cup Harry’s jaw and force him to meet his gaze. Louis tried to look as open and earnest as possible.

“There are like, hundreds of posts with photo after photo of me staring at you. They’ve managed to compile example after example from the past four years of how much I care about you. Fucking embarrassing, really,” Louis said with a roll of his eyes, blushing a little, and Harry looked at him with glassy eyes, his face softening as he leaned into Louis’ touch a little more. “Our fans aren’t stupid, Harry. There are literally thousands of people who know you’re not who the magazines make you out to be. They love you for who you really are and that’s why they’re your fans. Although they do have some damn strange nicknames for you,” Louis teased.

“Princess is the only one I ever seem to see,” Harry said with a roll of his eyes and a wry smile that made Louis huff out a laugh.

“Fits though,” Louis shrugged with a smile, stroking his thumb over Harry’s cheekbone. Harry blushed a little and rolled his eyes again. Louis leaned in to press a gentle kiss to Harry’s lips, trying to pour the feeling in his chest into Harry’s mouth, that twisting, almost violent emotion that Louis was still too nervous to consciously name.

“You’re ridiculous,” Harry mumbled into his mouth, making Louis smile so wide it hurt his cheeks.

“You’re adorable,” Louis responded primly, making Harry fight his own smile, before continuing with “and you worry too much.” Harry sighed.

“I can’t help it. The whole world saw my dick yesterday, I think it’d be a little weird if I wasn’t kinda worried,” Harry pointed out.

“Worried about what? You probably just gave at least half the human population something for their wank bank. Management can’t do anything to you, all they can do is tell you to lay low, and that’s what you’re doing anyway,” Louis shrugged.

“I think I gave Simon a heart attack,” Harry said casually, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes.

“Simon saw it?” Louis laughed.

“Yep. Sent me a text advising me that sending nudes probably wasn’t the best idea for future relationships,” Harry said, laughter dancing through his voice.

“I’d have paid a lot of money to see his face when he saw that photo,” Louis grinned, making Harry lean down and laugh into his neck. Louis cuddled Harry close like that for a few quiet, precious moments. But the mood was broken when they heard the buzzer for the electric gate.

Harry slid out from under Louis, depositing the smaller boy on the couch, and headed down the hallway to the little screen at the end that linked to the one on the gate. Louis heard him speaking but didn’t bother listening in. He laid back on the couch, stretching his body out happily, enjoying the fluffy pillows Harry had brought over from his house- despite the fact Louis had complained because “they’re fucking purple. Purple. They don’t match my house.”

He was glad Harry had mutinously placed them on the main living room couch instead of in his bedroom like he’d said he would.

Harry came back into the room with a sheepish expression on his face.

“What’s up? Who was it?” Louis asked warily, moving over so Harry could sit back down, before placing his feet in Harry’s lap.

“Uh . . . My mum is here,” Harry said carefully, scanning Louis’ face as he said it, so he saw the moment Louis froze, and the utter panic that then washed over him. He squirmed off of the couch before literally running out of the room and up the stairs to his bedroom.

“FUCK SAKE, HARRY!” Louis screeched, knowing Harry would have followed him, and he turned from where he’d run to flip the shower on to find Harry stood in his bathroom doorway, leaning his shoulder against the door jamb.

“What? I didn’t know she was coming. Why does it even matter? It’s only my mum,” Harry said confusedly.

“Harry!” Louis protested, an expression on his face that clearly said ‘You’re a fucking idiot’.

“Louis!” Harry called back, openly mocking Louis’ high pitched, freaked out tone. Louis stopped to glare at him before spinning back around, dropping his boxers, and stepping into his shower. He heard a low whistle from Harry behind him but didn’t have time to react to that right now, the imminent arrival of Anne leaving him feeling like he was in line for the gallows.

“Harry go clean the house. Let her in. Make her tea. I don’t fucking know. Just do something,” Louis said breathlessly, scrubbing shampoo through his greasy hair quickly.

“Louis, will you calm the fuck down?” Harry said exasperatedly.

Louis stuck his head out from under the shower head to glare at Harry before going back under. Louis had just finished rinsing his hair and was considering another lather when Harry reached in and gripped his wrist, yanking him out of the shower and pulling him hard into his body. Louis slapped wetly against Harry’s chest with a shocked gasp, looking up at Harry with wide eyes. Harry’s other hand settled low on his back, fingers spread down to press into the upper curves of his arse. Harry looked down at him, frowning a little, looking serious and confused.

“Why are you panicking?” Harry asked him quietly.

But just as Louis opened his mouth to talk he heard the front door open.

“Harry? Louis?” came Anne’s cheery voice from the front hallway and the door banged shut behind her.

“We’ll be down in a minute mum! Get a cup of tea!” Harry shouted over his shoulder.

“Okay, love! Do you boys want a cup?!” she called back and Louis almost smiled at that.

“No thanks, mum!” Harry yelled back with a small smile. He returned his attention to the very wet Louis against his chest. “Talk,” he demanded softly. Louis sighed wearily.

“It’s different,” Louis whined and Harry’s only response was to raise an eyebrow. “We’re . . . we’re sleeping together and things are different and last they knew we weren’t even fucking talking and I just-” Harry cut off Louis’ breathless rant by pressing his palm over his mouth with a roll of his eyes.

“Louis, stop. It’s gonna be fine. We don’t have to tell her anything other than the fact that me and Jason broke up and you offered to let me move in so that I didn’t have to be alone,” Harry said patiently and Louis let out a huge sigh behind his hand. Harry removed his hand with a fond little smile. He leaned down a pressed a kiss to the end of Louis’ nose which made him scrunch it up a little in disgruntlement. “Now get dry and dressed before mum thinks something’s going on,” Harry sad with a wink and a slap to Louis’ bare arse before legging it so Louis couldn’t slap him back for it.

He got dried and dressed quickly, shrugging on a white tshirt that was probably Harry’s originally and a pair of grey sweatpants. He padded downstairs slowly, trying in vain to slow his heart, and he rounded the corner to find Anne and Harry sat at the kitchen island, Anne nursing a cup of tea, Harry dressed in a fucking onsie of all things.

“Louis!” Anne called happily, standing up and meeting Louis for a hug, squeezing him tight. Louis melted into it. He missed Anne. He was realising more and more how bad things had been with him and Harry before this whole thing had started.

“Hi, love. What brings you to my crappy abode?” Louis joked, releasing Anne with a genuine smile. Anne slapped him on the shoulder lightly, smiling at his dry tone. She walked back over to Harry and retook her seat. Louis took the seat opposite them, the marble table and Harry’s stupid fruit bowl between them.

“Well, I found out from Gemma that Harry had moved in here without telling me. Needed to come down and ask my son why he’s being sly,” Anne said pointedly, shooting an unimpressed look at Harry but keeping her wide smile. Harry cringed a little and Louis froze. Harry hadn’t told her? Why? Was he embarrassed? Why wouldn’t he tell her? He tells her everything. Louis took a deep breath and only years of media training kept the smile on his face.

“It was kind of an impulsive thing,” Louis said, covering for Harry despite the fact that he wasn’t sure whether or not he was allowed to be angry at him.

“Hmm, I see that,” Anne said with a funny smile that Louis couldn’t work out.

“I just forgot you didn’t know. I was busy unpacking and sorting out the contracts with my old place. And then, um, a media thing happened and it kinda took up all my time,” Harry said awkwardly, looking unsure of how much his mother knew.

“Media thing? Would that happen to be the photo of you naked as the day you were born?” Anne asked with a cocked eyebrow that made Louis snort with laughter, slapping a hand over his mouth too late. Harry shot a glare at him.

“Um, mum that was all kinda unintended. I didn’t know he’d release it to the public,” Harry replied clumsily, his cheeks turning pink.

“Unintended? Did you accidentally take a naked photo of yourself?” Anne asked with false curiosity, but there was a twinkle in her eyes that said she wasn’t actually mad at Harry for his behaviour. Louis tried to swallow his amusement as Harry turned an even darker shade of red.

“Uhm, I, uh . . . I,” Harry looked gobsmacked, utterly unable to come up with a decent explanation.

“Love, calm down. It’s fine. I would prefer not to go on my twitter and see my son naked for the world to see, though, so perhaps see to it that no more pictures are released?” Anne said with a small smile. Harry dropped his head onto the table with a sigh of relief.

“Mum,” Harry whined and Anne grinned, lifting a hand to stroke Harry’s hair back.

“Oh, give over. I had to have fun with it. Was a bloody shock seeing that photo without any warning. I think I deserve credit for not . . . grounding you or something,” Anne laughed and Louis couldn’t help the laugh that burst out of him then. Anne sent him a fond look that made Louis’ cheeks go pink.

“Mother, please,” Harry whined.

“You showed your bits to the entire population. I think I’m allowed to tease,” Anne pointed out and Harry sighed.

“Would you like something to eat?” Louis asked with a laugh.

“No, I’m fine, love. I’ll drink my tea and then be off. I’m meeting Gemma for dinner,” Anne said with a smile that Louis returned easily, his nerves having calmed considerably.

“So you came over just to embarrass me?” Harry asked with a small smile.

“Yes. It’s my job as your mum. Keeps you humble,” Anne said with a smile, taking a sip of her tea. “I also wanted to know the story behind your move. I thought you boys moved into separate homes the first time because you needed space?” Anne asked, she was curious but it was obvious to Louis that she didn’t suspect them of anything romantic. Harry looked away from Anne to smile at Louis.

“Space was overrated,” he said simply. Louis had to grip the edge of the table.

 

***

 

Anne left half an hour later and Louis headed into the living room without speaking word to Harry, still a little hurt over the fact that he hadn’t told his mum he’d moved in with Louis. Louis had told his own mum after a week. And they’d been living together for . . . he didn’t know how long, but Harry should have told her by now.

He’d been sat on the couch for 20 minutes, watching Cake Boss because nothing else was on, when Harry wandered in and splayed out on the couch beside Louis. Legs spread, one leg bent at the knee along the back of the couch, the other off the edge of the couch, foot flat on the floor. His legs really were ridiculously long and lovely. Louis pointedly ignored his existence.

Harry used the foot on the couch to poke at Louis’ hip. Louis ignored him. Harry wriggled his toes under Louis’ bum. Louis ignored him. Harry huffed out a frustrated sigh. Louis ignored him.

“Lou?” Harry murmured and yep, Louis ignored him. Harry sat forwards and wrapped his long arms around Louis’ body, falling back and pulling Louis with him until Louis was laid out on his chest with a grumpy expression. When Louis squirmed away Harry let him, a frown on his face. “What did I do?” Harry asked. Louis snorted sarcastically but kept watching Cake Boss as if Harry wasn’t even there. The hurt inside him had grown into something like anger and he wasn’t even trying to stay calm. “Louis? Lou? Can you please just tell me what I did? You’re being ridiculous,” Harry sighed and Louis snapped.

“You didn’t tell your mum,” Louis barked, tone accusatory. Harry looked at him blankly for a moment before he figured it out, and then he rubbed his hand over the back of his neck in a nervous gesture that Louis recognised. But he didn’t say anything. “Are you ashamed of me?” Louis asked bluntly. Harry’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Why the fuck would I been ashamed of you?” Harry asked, brow furrowed, voice tinged with hurt.

“Because I’m not Jason,” Louis snapped and he shocked himself with the amount of venom in his voice. He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he felt tears prickle at his eyes he covered his face with his hands. He felt Harry’s arms wrap around him and Louis managed to fight back the tears. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’m being like this,” Louis whispered behind his hands.

“Lou?” Harry murmured and Louis reluctantly removed his hands from his face to peer up at Harry warily. “I don’t care that you’re in the closet,” Harry stated and Louis swallowed hard. Trust Harry to cut to the heart of it so easily.

“You’re gonna resent me,” Louis whispered, voice filled with fear. Harry was already shaking his head.

“No. I’m really not. Louis, I’ve wanted to be with you for four years. Four fucking years. If I only get to hold your hand at home I’m really fucking okay with that,” Harry said vehemently, eyes bright and passionate. Louis rubbed his nose against Harry’s and Harry cuddled him closer.

“I don’t want to wake up to find out you hate me again,” Louis murmured.

“Louis I never bloody hated you,” Harry said, frowning.

“You did. After I said no the first time. You looked at me with so much hate in your eyes the next day,” Louis whispered sadly.

“We said we’d let go of all that shit. I was hurt. I was mad at you. I have never hated you and I don’t think I ever could,” Harry said firmly and Louis searched his eyes for a moment before nodding reluctantly.

In that moment, more than any other, Louis wanted to say the words. He wanted to tell Harry that he loved him. They’d alluded to their feelings, had admitted to loving one another in the past, but there was something so terrifying about admitting to it now. So Louis stayed silent.

Harry kissed the end of his nose and Louis smiled softly. They settled down to watch telly, only getting up to get food whenever their stomachs growled.

Sat on the couch together like this, just like old times . . . Louis found himself suddenly desperate to know what Harry had been doing for the last few months. He looked at Harry, now playing on his phone, and felt a deep nostalgia hit him in the chest.

There had been a time where they’d spoken every night before bed, had shared every little piece of their days, even when he’d first been with El. Those phone calls had gradually stopped, especially after the day Harry had decided to come out as bi to the public without telling Louis.

Louis had been so mad at him, his beautiful Harry, almost 18 and so full of the courage that Louis himself had never possessed. He didn’t know if he’d been angry because Harry hadn’t told him, or because he resented Harry’s newfound freedom, resented him for being allowed to be happy when Louis would never be. There’s a funny little line between straight and gay, and that line is marketability, Harry straddles that line. As bi he can be a sex symbol for everyone and sex is what sells. He needs to be seen as available, as marriage material for all the girls who come to their concerts. Louis crossed that line and spat on it as he went, as far as Management would be concerned. If they knew he was gay, that he was no longer marketable for those female fans, they’d throw every contract possible at him to keep him quiet about it. Louis has been in this game for four years, that rose coloured shine of naivety had long ago been rubbed away to show the bleak reality that Louis might be stuck in the closet for as long as their careers last.

“What have you been up to?” Louis asked softly and Harry looked up from his phone, most likely playing Candy Crush. Louis had listened to countless ‘arguments’ between Harry and Niall over who could get a higher score.

“What do you mean?” Harry murmured, putting his phone down to give his full attention to Louis. Louis smiled softly at that.

“Just lately. What have you done when we haven’t been working?” Louis asked, voice low and soft, leaning his head against the couch. Harry searched his face for a moment before speaking softly.

“Been writing. Did a few songs with different people. Even with that Meghan Trainer,” Harry said, no bravado in his voice, casual like he was speaking about the weather and not writing songs with celebrities.

“The lass who sang All About That Bass?” Louis asked and Harry nodded. “I hate that song,” Louis said; scrunching up his nose, and Harry only laughed in response.

He looked so cute, dressed in a navy blue onsie, the white zip a long line down his torso. He hasn’t seen Harry in a onsie since . . . The X Factor tour, probably. They all used to have them. Looked bloody horrendous. But something about Harry laid sprawled on the couch in it made Louis want to drag that zip down, find out if Harry had bothered to wear anything underneath it.

“Funny. Thought you’d like a song that brings attention to your arse?” Harry replied cheekily. Louis stuck his tongue out, feeling a little breathless.

“My arse is my best selling point, H, of course I’m going to bring attention to it. There are accounts dedicated to my arse,” Louis replied haughtily, but by the way Harry’s eyes were scanning his face, he wasn’t hiding his reaction very well. He knew his cheeks must be a little pink, and his chest was heaving a little.

“Not surprising really,” Harry said. His eyes were serious now, intent as they refused to look away from Louis’ gaze, and Louis couldn’t help but squirm a little. It took him all of two seconds to remember that he was allowed to react. He was allowed to do what he wanted.

He scrambled up onto his knees on the couch and shuffled over Harry’s spread legs to straddle his hips and slam their lips together. Harry moved until he was laid fully sideway on the couch, laid back against the pillows, Louis moving restlessly on top of him. There are too many clothes, Louis decided. He sat back, tugging his tshirt over his head, leaving him in only a pair of soft grey sweatpants. Harry’s hands came up to stroke over his hips, cupping and squeezing his curves appreciatively. Louis spread his hands on Harry’s upper chest, pressing down a little, enjoying the firm pack of Harry’s muscles, so different to the soft skin at his hips that he always managed to put back on. Louis loved his hips. He wanted to bite them.

Louis met Harry’s eyes. Harry had his head tilted back, jaw sharp, pink lips parted on little panting breaths. His eyes were hooded, pupils dilated, a thin ring of deep green around them. Louis kept his eyes on Harry’s as he wrapped his fingers around Harry’s zip, he didn’t pull yet though.

“You wearing anything under this?” Louis asked and Harry’s hands squeezed a little tighter on his hips, making Louis’ lashes flutter a little.

“Find out for yourself,” Harry said, an edge of cheekiness to his voice that didn’t dilute the heat, the want, in his eyes.

Louis kept his eyes on Harry’s as he began pulling the zip dow,n but by mid chest he couldn’t help himself, his eyes dropped down to watch breathlessly as inch after inch of skin was revealed. He hit the bottom of the butterfly and his lower abdomen tensed in want. He knew Harry must be watching his face, studying his reaction. With anyone else he’d either downplay his response, or play it up with a little cockiness but . . . This was Harry. Harry knew when he was lying. He deserved more than stupid games. So Louis didn’t hide the way he responded when he hit the trail of hair below Harry’s navel. The shuddering breath his lips parted to release. His flushed cheeks, his need to lick his suddenly dry lower lip. He bit the inside of his cheek as he kept pulling the zip. Thing about male onesies is that they go far lower than women’s. The zip goes all the way down between their legs for the ease of taking a piss. The darker hair at Harry’s crotch came into view and Louis knew that an inch lower and he’d find Harry bare.

He pulled his fingers away from the zip without pulling it that last inch to bare the base of Harry’s cock. He looked up from under his lashes, found Harry watching him intently, breathing heavily through his nose, his jaw tensed a little.

Louis leaned down to press a wet, biting kiss to the centre of Harry’s chest, and he heard Harry’s breathing stutter a little. His mouth on Harry’s chest, he was bent at the waist and Harry seemed to like the view, lifting a hand to run it from the centre of Louis’ shoulder blades down his back to the curve of his arse. He pushed his hand under the waist of Louis sweats, making an appreciative noise when he found Louis bare beneath them, and rubbed down to grip the soft flesh of his arse. Maybe it was intentional, or maybe it was an accident, but as he curled his fingers around one cheek the tips of his fingers slid between Louis’ cheeks and brushed against his rim. Louis sucked in a startled breath, not expecting the intimate touch. Harry froze for a moment, reading Louis’ reaction, before bringing his hand up to his mouth and sucking his fingers into his mouth, wetting them. Louis watched breathlessly, flushing a little, but determinedly not looking away as Harry kept his stare but returned his fingers to Louis’ arse. Their eyes were locked as Harry’s spit-slick fingers rubbed over Louis’ hole, so Harry saw the way Louis’ brows pinched and how his lips pressed together in an unsuccessful attempt at stifling a whimper.

When Harry’s lips curled at his response Louis leaned down and bit down hard on his collarbone, making Harry hiss in pain and try to shuffle away. Louis licked over the bite with a smug smile that dropped when Harry stroked a teasing circle around his rim.

“Fuck you,” Louis stammered out, breathing heavily and almost melting onto Harry’s chest, hiding his face against his skin. Harry laughed a little breathlessly. Harry could only do so much without lube, Louis knew he’d never do anything without it for fear of hurting Louis, and frustration was starting to eat at his chest. Louis sat back up, Harry’s fingers reluctantly leaving where they’d been playing.

“Stay here,” Louis said before sliding off of Harry and practically running out of the room and up the stairs. He almost broke his bedside drawer getting the lube, and he made a conscious decision not to grab a condom. They were both clean and . . . he wanted that closeness.

He came back down stairs and found Harry exactly where he’d left him, apart from one . . . minor detail. Harry had pulled the zip the rest of the way down and was lazily stroking his erection. He met Louis’ eyes and smirked, shameless in his arousal. Louis’ breath stuttered out of him and he felt the need to gain the upper hand for once. He threw the lube towards the couch, forcing Harry to release himself in order to catch it, and swiftly shoved his sweatpants from his hips until they pooled at his ankles. He casually stepped out of them and walked towards the couch with a slightly exaggerated swing to his hips. Harry’s eyes were all over him and it made him shiver slightly as he got closer. When he was close enough to the couch Harry reached out and tugged him down sharply until he fell on top of him. Harry didn’t seem to notice the sudden impact of Louis’ weight, too busy manhandling Louis, pulling him until he was back to straddling his hips. He was sat atop Harry’s erection, the thick length nestled beneath his arse cheeks, and it made Harry suck in a desperate breath when Louis teasingly circled his hips once.

Harry’s hand came up to grip the hair at the nape of Louis’ neck and he yanked the smaller boy down into a bruising kiss that had Louis’ shifting restlessly, his hips bucking a little to grind his erection against Harry’s abs. Harry’s other hand slid down Louis’ naked body to grip his arse again, before both hands left Louis and he guessed Harry was slicking his fingers with lube. He bit down hard on Harry’s lower lip when Harry slid his slippery fingers down between his arse cheeks. He tucked one fingertip just inside of Louis and he couldn’t help but shift, trying to force Harry deeper.

“Needy,” Harry whispered in Louis’ ear, voice husky and so deep it felt like it reverberated through Louis’ chest.

“Harry,” Louis said in a plaintive, bitchy whine, and he felt Harry’s lips curl up against his cheek.

“Okay, baby,” Harry said in a tone filled with affection, and he started to carefully push his finger into Louis. Louis breathed out and tried to relax, and it wasn’t long before Harry’s finger began to steadily move in and out of him. Louis hummed and wiggled his hips, wordlessly asking for more, and just as he added another finger Harry brought up his other hand to land a smack on Louis’ arse. Louis gasped at the two sensations, moaned a little into Harry’s neck.

“So . . . Spanking is a thing for you?” Harry asked casually, the undertone of mirth completely obvious. Louis huffed and lifted his head to glare at Harry who gave him an innocent smile in return.

“No, so don’t get any ideas,” Louis grouched, but his voice was too breathless to have the proper effect, as Harry was now lazily pumping two fingers in and out of him, scissor in them a little to loosen Louis up.

“Hmmm. I think you’re lying,” Harry murmured, looking far too happy about his new discovery. Louis used his teeth to nip Harry’s jaw in punishment and Harry retaliated by adding a third finger. Harry’s eyes never left Louis’ face as his mouth dropped open and a moan poured out of him at the feeling of fullness. That didn’t compare to the high-pitched noise that escaped him when Harry thrust his fingers deeper and curled the tips, pressing against Louis’ prostate.

Harry grinned at that and began to move his fingers with intent, aiming to hit that spot as much as possible, and Louis was already a panting mess atop him when Harry decided to be a little shit and drop another stinging slap onto Louis’ arse cheek. Louis groaned hard and his back arched obscenely. His hands came up to clench hard in Harry’s hair.

“Now, now, now,” Louis whined impatiently into Harry’s mouth and Harry nodded, seemingly unable to speak, his eyes filled with something a little like awe as he watched Louis writhe on his fingers.

He pulled his fingers from Louis, leaving him clenching around nothing, and gripped his hard length at the base in order to slick himself with lube, a little over-cautious with the amount he used.

Harry brushed the head against Louis’ entrance, rubbing up and down, teasing movements that had Louis gritting his teeth against the urge to rock his hips down. Louis pressed his lips to Harry’s in a biting kiss with too much teeth, pouring his frustration into Harry’s mouth, and Harry didn’t break the kiss as he started to steadily push into Louis’ tight heat.

Louis made a high pitched sound into Harry’s mouth and forced himself to abandon his embarrassment. Harry’s hands came up to grip tight to Louis’ hips. As he pushed in he pressed Louis down until he was completely inside of him. Harry broke to kiss to bite his way down Louis’ jaw, keeping their hips still for the moment.

“You okay?” Harry whispered, hot breath brushing over Louis’ neck, making him shiver a little. Louis body felt too hot, too full, and restless. He needed to move.

He sat up, stifling a moan when that seemed to drive Harry impossibly deeper.

“Harry?” Louis asked, voice rough and a pitch higher than usual.

“Yeah?” Harry replied, lifting a hand to cup Louis jaw and thumb at his bottom lip.

“Fucking move,” Louis gasped out, brows furrowed. He allowed Harry to press his thumb between his lips, he sucked a little before biting at the pad and releasing it.

“Yeah,” Harry repeated, this time his voice was a lot surer and clearly Louis’ responsiveness was feeding Harry’s ego a little.

Louis didn’t have a moment to comprehend what was happening when Harry’s hands shot to his hips, gripped tight, and lifted him up until only the tip of Harry’s cock was nestled inside of him. He met Harry’s eyes as Harry smirked and yanked Louis down as he raised his own hips, a hard thrust that made Louis’ mouth drop open on a shocked moan as Harry nailed his prostate. Harry repeated the action, bouncing Louis on his cock, and Louis had never been more grateful for Harry’s upper body strength. All that weight training came in handy.

His fringe stuck to his forehead with sweat and he couldn’t quite catch his breath. Harry suddenly grabbed the back of Louis’ neck and yanked him down, pressing a messy kiss to his parted lips. Harry raised his knees and kept Louis down like that as he fucked up into him, and Louis muffled a yell against Harry’s collarbone. It took only a few more seconds before Louis was coming hard, groaning and covering his and Harry’s stomachs with sticky come. Harry never slowed in his movements and Louis squirmed a little with oversensitivity.

“Want me to stop?” Harry breathed and Louis shook his head quickly. He pressed his lips to Harry’s and bit down on his lower lip, trying to quicken his orgasm.

“Want you to come inside me,” Louis said into Harry’s mouth with a purposefully breathy voice. Harry groaned immediately and fucked up harder into Louis, teeth clenching as he came.

Harry’s head fell back as he swallowed deep breaths, exposing his neck for Louis to kiss, so that’s what he did. He pressed careful, loving kisses to Harry’s skin until he’d caught his breath, and then pressed soft, lazy kisses to his lips. Louis sat up after Harry pulled out of him, grimacing in slight disgust when he felt Harry’s come leaking out of him, probably dripping down onto Harry’s thighs. But Harry didn’t react other than a wry smile, eyes heavy lidded as he looked at Louis. Louis stayed there. Straddling Harry’s hips, covered in his own come and leaking Harry’s, still all sweaty and gross and yet he felt happier than he ever had been. He stroked his fingers over Harry’s jaw and tried to calm the affection roaring in his chest.

“You’re so important to me,” Louis whispered, shyly meeting Harry’s eyes. It felt strange to be shy whilst naked on top of him, but this was Louis heart, this was the parts of him he never showed anyone else. So fitting that it’d be Harry who finally sees that part of him. The boy Louis has wanted for so long he doesn’t remember what it’s like not to.

“You’re just . . . Everything,” Harry said simply, openly, shrugging as much as he could from his prone state.

“Wow, Harry, such eloquence. Looking forward to those songs now,” Louis teased and Harry laughed, expression a little giddy.

“You know, a lot of people would pay a lot of money to be in your position right now,” Harry said playfully and Louis laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes. Harry Styles, the one almost-21-year-old who was aware enough to know that half the population wanted to fuck him, but with an innate inability to be a douche about it or actually take advantage of it.

“Hey, a hell of a lot of people would pay to be in your position too, you know,” Louis joked, wiggling his hips, “Probably not as many people as for you, but still a decent number,” Louis laughed and Harry rolled his eyes.

“Shut up,” Harry grumbled and Louis leaned down to kiss his cheek sweetly, unable to stop smiling. He cuddled into Harry’s chest, wrinkling his nose a little at the come drying on their stomachs.

“It’s getting dark,” Louis murmured, looking out of the living room window to where the streetlamps were just coming on.

“Hmmm,” Harry murmured, running his fingers through Louis’ hair in a continuous rhythm that had Louis’ eyes feeling heavy. “We need to have a shower,” Harry murmured, lips pressed to the top of Louis’ head. Louis frowned.

“But that’s so much effort. And the shower is far, far away,” Louis grumbled and Harry huffed out a laugh in response.

“What if I promise to make you come again in the shower?” Harry tempted and Louis could hear the smirk in his voice.

“Will it mean much effort on my part?” Louis asked casually, ignoring the way his dick had twitched at what Harry was offering.

“Just standing up,” Harry said in a casual voice that sounded even faker than Louis’.

“Hmmmm . . . Fine. But you have to carry me upstairs,” Louis said, faking boredom.

Louis shrieked and hung on for dear life when Harry suddenly surged up from the couch, heading towards the stairs with Louis in his arms.

“One day I’m gonna record you when you do that and hold it as blackmail over you for the rest of your life,” Harry said with a laugh, starting up the stairs.

“Love, I have far more blackmail material than you do. I have photos from that night when you got drunk and found a nurses costume under Niall’s bed. Gotta say, you looked pretty hot, I wonder if our fans would agree?” Louis said conversationally and Harry purposefully dug his fingers into Louis’ side, making him squirm and bark out a laugh.

“Maybe a photo of you with my hand print on your arse would be better black mail then?” Harry asked casually before dumping Louis on his bed, splayed out on his stomach. Louis grumbled and looked over his shoulder at his own arse, gasping at the clear handprint glowing a deep pink there.

“You fucker! Don’t you dare take a photo!” Louis snapped, twisting over to lay on his back. Harry stood looming over him and his eyes followed the naked line of Louis’ body, spread out on the bed in front of him.

“Phone’s downstairs, Lou,” Harry said casually and Louis’ relief at that was overshadowed by the desire caused by the look in Harry’s eyes.

“What?” Louis asked, a tremor in his voice, when Harry stayed silent, still looking at Louis’ body like he’d never get another chance.

“Your body is insane,” Harry replied honestly and Louis blushed, fidgeting a little.

“Stop staring,” Louis snapped weakly. Harry smiled a little at that before turning around and walking away, heading for the walk in shower in Louis’ bathroom. Louis huffed before getting up and following him.

Harry was already under the spray when Louis walked in, and the second Louis stepped into it Harry was grabbing his wrist and yanking him close. Harry’s mouth was insistent on his and Louis kissed back without hesitation, sighing as Harry’s tongue licked into his mouth.

Harry pulled back from the kiss to pour soap on one of Louis’ fancy sponges- he may have a slight weakness for The Body Shop- and began lathering Louis’ body. He cleaned Louis with frustrating efficiency, his hands never once lingering where Louis wanted them to. Harry cleaned him, pointedly ignoring Louis’ semi-hard dick, only brushing the sponge over it in order to clean it before moving on. He brushed between Louis’ cheeks and Louis went up on tip toes with a breathless noise when Harry’s soapy fingers entered him to gently clean out his own come. Louis’ hands gripping his wide shoulders for balance. Once Harry deemed him clean he removed his fingers and Louis fell back onto the flat of his feet with a disgruntled sound. Harry turned him so that he faced the shower wall, running the sponge over Louis’ back, over the curve of his arse and down the back of his legs. Harry went to his knees behind him, washing every inch of Louis’ legs, and Louis couldn’t help but reach out and press his palms to the cold tile, hoping to steady himself a little. He felt shaky and far too needy to say that he’d come not even twenty minutes ago.

When he felt Harry’s lips on the back of his thigh a breath rushed out of him and he couldn’t help but lean forwards a little, press his arse back in Harry’s direction. Harry kissed up the back if his thigh, licked at the crease where his thigh met his arse. He moved steadily inwards, licking teasingly close to where Louis wanted him, and when he finally licked over Louis’ rim, Louis had to shuffle his legs wider to stay standing. Harry’s hands came up as he lazily licked at Louis’ hole, cupping a cheek in each hand, squeezing, petting him, before pulling them apart so he could fit his face closer, teasingly pressing his tongue into Louis just a little. Louis crossed his arms against the wall and buried his face in them, gasping hard and arching his back for more. Harry steadily increased the pressure on his licks until his tongue was fucking in and out of Louis.

One of Harry hands moved and Louis felt the press of his finger a moment later. Harry pressed his finger in beside his tongue, the fit easy since Louis was still relaxed from earlier. A second finger pressed into him and Harry fucked his tongue and his fingers in and out of him, pressing his fingers in deep in search of Louis’ prostate as his tongue played with Louis’ rim. Harry’s fingers found his prostate and Louis whimpered pathetically at how sensitive it was. Harry kept this up and Louis was steadily losing the power to stand still, his hips thrusting back rhythmically onto Harry’s face, his teeth biting into his own arm. Harry then did two things that sent Louis over the edge, he lifted a hand to wrap it around Louis’ cock, giving a hard stroke, just as he grazed his teeth over Louis’ rim. Louis clenched down around Harry’s fingers and his thighs pressed together hard, he came all over the white tiles and yelled into his arm so loudly that it hurt his throat. He crumbled with a whimper and Harry caught him, pulling him back onto his lap and wrapping his arms around him tight. Louis turned to bury his face in Harry’s shoulder, curling into the broader man’s embrace, still gasping a little. He felt Harry’s hard length pressed to his hip and lazily wedged a hand between them to wrap it around him. Harry tensed, not expecting the touch, and groaned when Louis’ stroked him hard and fast. It didn’t take long before Harry was coming all over his hand.

“Fuck,” Harry muttered and Louis huffed out a sleepy laugh. Harry helped him wash off the last remnants of sex and dried him off before leading him naked into bed. Louis pressed close, the two men on their sides facing one another, pressing his nose to the dip between Harry’s collarbones. He fell asleep with his leg over Harry’s hip and Harry’s big hand warm over the curve of his arse, his lips pressed to Louis’ hair.

 

***

 

Louis left Harry asleep in bed the next morning, throwing on a pair of boxers and shuffling down stairs with a yawn to make a cup of tea. He was dressed in only his boxers and he was kind of enjoying the fingertip bruises on his hips, the love-bite on his collarbone. He likes the little signs that Harry had touched him, that they’d held one another so tight they left bruises in their wake.

Louis made his tea and padded on bare feet over to the glass patio doors that lead from his large kitchen to his garden. He used one hand to hold the mug up to his mouth so he could blow on his tea, and the other to pull the beaded string that opened the curtains for him.

He wrapped both hands around his mug and happily watched the little birds wandering around his garden, feeling content, truly happy, in a way he’d never expected for himself. He had a hot cup of tea and the boy of his dreams asleep in his bed. He’d never been happier. That was until he saw a flicker of something out of the corner of his eye. He peered at his fence curiously, sure he’s seen a flash of something.

He froze.

Someone was taking photos over his fucking fence. Louis spun quickly, shouting “Fuck!” at the top of his lungs, almost throwing his tea onto the counter and yanking the curtains closed. He stood panting in the centre of his kitchen for a moment, unsure of what he should do. His mind kept telling him to go wake up Harry. He was afraid, honestly, and if anyone made him feel safe it was Harry.

He ran upstairs, ignoring the fact that his tea had in fact spilled everywhere, and crawled back into his bed beside Harry. He nudged under Harry’s arm and Harry woke up enough to wrap him up in a warm embrace.

“Lou?” Harry asked, voice sleep-rough. Louis stayed silent, still shaken by what had just happened. “Louis? What’s wrong?” Harry murmured sleepily, waking up bit by bit. Louis stayed laid on his back as Harry moved to lean on one bent arm, hovering over him slightly, looking down at him with a soft expression.

“There was someone taking photos of me in the kitchen,” Louis whispered and immediately Harry’s face hardened.

“What?!” He demanded, outraged. Before Louis could stop him he was climbing out of bed, but Louis ran after him, caught him by the arm at the top of the stairs, pushed him against the wall and leaned against his chest until Harry’s hands instinctively came to rest on his hips.

“You can’t go down there like that. They already got photos of me barely dressed and with really obvious bruises. If you go down there naked and with hickies on your neck and they get a photo we’re screwed,” Louis said carefully but firmly. He reached a hand up to thread it in Harry’s hair, leaning up to kiss him softly.

“Lou, what about yesterday?” Harry asked pointedly and Louis froze for a moment.

“I . . . I don’t think there’s a clear angle into my living room. I don’t . . . If they’d gotten a photo and released it we’d know, management would be ringing us every three seconds. This person only got me because I was stood in front of the glass doors,” Louis reasoned, hoping he was right. Harry was silent for a few moments.

“I don’t like that they got a photo of you like this,” Harry said softly with a frown, looking down at Louis’ bare and sex-bruised body. Louis smiled a little and rubbed his nose against Harry’s.

“I mean . . . I kinda like it,” Louis admitted quietly and Harry looked at him with openly incredulous confusion. “They’ll know I’m sleeping with someone . . . Even if I can’t tell people who I’m seeing, at least they’ll know I’m seeing someone. I like . . . I like the world seeing the marks you made even if they don’t know it was you who made them,” Louis said, flushing a little in embarrassment. But it made Harry smile so Louis couldn’t be too embarrassed.

Harry cupped the side of Louis’ face and Louis leaned into the touch.

“I just don’t like that they got a photo of you that’s so personal,” Harry said and Louis nodded.

“I know. Not exactly fun or decent of them, the sneaky twat,” Louis said bluntly and it made Harry laugh, which had been Louis’ intention.

“Since we can’t go downstairs . . .” Harry said, wiggling his eyebrows exaggeratedly, making Louis laugh and lean into his chest, smiling at the way Harry automatically enfolded him in his arms.

“We’re not shagging all day, Harry,” as those words left his mouth Harry’s phone rang downstairs. “Stay here, I’ll get it,” Louis said before running down. He found Harry’s phone on the living room couch and took a look at the display. One of their management team. Louis sighed before he answered it.

“Hello?” Came a serious voice through the speaker. Prick.

“Hey. It’s Louis, I’ll go get Harry,” Louis said bluntly and then pulled the phone away from his ear so he wouldn’t hear a response.

He handed the phone to Harry with a grim expression and Harry knew because he sighed and lifted the phone to his ear. He followed Louis into the bedroom and Louis sat on the bed trying not to listen in on their conversation. Harry slid under the covers and spoke with a mutinous expression that Louis found adorable. But he didn’t like how tight Harry’s shoulders looked.

He had a sudden idea and slid out of bed, ignoring Harry’s questioning look, and headed into his bathroom. He walked over to the free-standing tub there, the one he rarely used due to his fabulous shower. He started it running, pushing the plug down, and poured in far too much bubble-bath. He waited until it was filled close to the top before flicking off the tap.

Harry was still on the phone when Louis walked back into the room, and by the sound of his voice the conversation was getting heated. So, Louis did what he does best: he became a distraction. He walked to stand at the foot of the bed, and when he was sure he had Harry’s full attention, he ran his hands down his chest to play with the waistband of his boxers. He slid his fingers under the elastic and tugged one half down, baring his hip. Harry’s eyes were glued to the skin Louis bared as he did the same with the other hip until his boxers sat tight over the base of his dick. Harry’s eyes flickered to Louis’ for a moment and Louis gave him a smug smile before turning his back to Harry and, leaning forwards at the waist, he pushed his boxers down to his ankles instead of letting them drop on their own. He heard Harry groan behind him and try to cover it with an awkward cough down the phone.

“Uh, I need to go, something’s come up,” Harry said down the phone, flustered and Louis snorted at the unintended pun. Louis straightened and looked at Harry over his shoulder, tossing him a wide grin before sauntering off into the bathroom. The second he was out of view of Harry he ran over to the tub and slid in quickly, attempting to arrange himself in a somewhat attractive position. He felt a bit like a manatee laying down with the water up to his shoulders, so he instead sat up on his knees, bum perched on his feet. He picked up a big soft sponge, lathering it quickly, and began running it up and down his arm. That was how Harry found him.

Harry walked in with an expression of exasperated admiration, something he never directed at anyone but Louis. Louis always felt proud when he earned that expression and this time was no different.

“That was an important phone call,” Harry said casually, still shamelessly naked, leaning his shoulder against the wall and crossing his arms over his chest, not approaching the bathtub where Louis casually lathered himself up with vanilla and honey soap. The Body Shop obsession, what can he say. Louis flicked Harry an uninterested glance.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, babe,” Louis said in a bored tone he knew got under Harry’s skin. Louis had tugged the blinds closed so the light in the bathroom was muted and a soft yellow over the dips of his body, it also obscured Harry’s expression a little, so Louis couldn’t help the little breath he sucked in when Harry suddenly started towards the bath. He stopped at the edge of the tub, thighs touching the porcelain, and looked down at Louis. Louis looked up at him with an overly innocent expression, blinking up at him calmly. Harry shook his head a little and climbed in behind Louis, immediately grabbing the smaller boy by the hips and pulling him close. Louis happily settled between Harry’s spread thighs, both bent at the knees. He squirmed around to lay on his belly atop Harry, folding his hands on Harry’s chest and pillowing his chin on them. Harry leaned back, the incline of the bath meaning he could lay at a comfortable angle, and looked down at Louis.

“You manhandle me far too often,” Louis commented casually, his tone languid as he lifted his feet out of the water and hooked his ankles together.

“You like being manhandled,” Harry pointed out in the same tone.

“Shut up,” Louis responded, because he’s an adult.

Harry smiled and ran his wet fingers through Louis’ damp hair, pushing it back off his face. Louis snagged the sponge he’d been using before and used it to slowly wash Harry’s shoulders. Squeezing the water over his muscles and watching the water play over his skin. He may be a little obsessed with Harry’s body.

Louis shuffled further up Harry’s chest and Harry used it as an opportunity to lean down and press soft kisses to Louis’ shoulders and collarbones.

“You smell like honey and vanilla,” Harry murmured against his skin. Louis’ eyes were almost closed with how heady this felt.

“M’ soap,” Louis murmured, turned to run his lips over the side of Harry’s neck in return.

“I’d keep you naked all the time if I could,” Harry said softly and Louis smiled.

“Think that might scare off a few of our fans, H,” Louis replied and Harry laughed softly. He looked beautiful. The low light hit his face in all the right places and the steam of the bath curled his shoulder-length hair. Louis loved how Harry had stopped cutting his hair.

“I’ll keep you inside then. Keep you tied to my bed,” Harry joked and Louis bit his jaw for it. “Ow.”

“You’re an idiot,” Louis said fondly and Harry kissed the end of his nose in retribution. They were quiet for a little while, the silence comfortable in a way it hardly ever was with anyone else.

“Zayn might be coming over later,” Harry said, brushing his nose against Louis’ temple.

“Hmmm,” Louis hummed, face pillowed on Harry’s chest, eyes closed and body relaxed.

“We can’t stay in this bath forever, Lou,” Harry said, amusement shining in his voice. Louis lifted a hand and pressed it over Harry’s mouth to shut him up and the other boy laughed against his palm.

“Hmm, you not enjoying this, then?” Louis murmured, wiggling a little where Harry has had a semi against his hip since he got into the bath. Harry sucked in a breath at the feeling and moved to grip Louis’ hips. Louis moved to lean up on his knees, resting his hands on the edge of the bath at either side of Harry’s head, and leaned in to kiss him deeply. Harry lifted his hands, probably to pull Louis closer, but Louis grinned and broke the kiss, slithering out of reach before standing up. He let Harry look at him like that for a moment before stepping out of the bath and wrapping himself in a towel. He walked out of the bathroom without a backwards glance and grinned at the annoyed grumble Harry made.

He got dressed in his black skinnies and a Marvel tshirt that may or may not be Zayn’s, forgoing socks, and headed downstairs. He started making a quick dinner for him and Harry, just cheese sandwiches and a packet of crisps each. He was placing everything on plates when Harry walked past him, slapped him sharply on the arse, and continued on to get himself a drink. Louis yelped at the slap and glared at the taller boy.

“I make you dinner and this is the thanks I get,” Louis grumbled and Harry shot him a disbelieving look over his shoulder.

“You give me a boner then saunter off like a little shit, that’s the response you get,” Harry said sarcastically before taking a sip of his orange juice. He looked good, his hair starting to dry in glossy waves at the bottom, dressed in light blue skinny jeans with rips in the knees and a black tshirt that hung from his broad shoulders perfectly. Like Louis he’d skipped wearing socks. Louis wanted to bite his bottom lip, but the fear of being photographed was at the forefront of his mind.

“Suck my dick,” Louis snapped and Harry grinned.

“Happily,” Harry sing-songed back and Louis rolled his eyes.

Zayn came over an hour later and threw himself down on their couch.

“You do know there’s a ridiculous amount of paps outside your gate, right?” Zayn asked in a bored voice as he picked up the channel changer and started flicking through what the telly had to offer.

“Not surprising. I think they’re waiting to see if a lass comes strutting out for the walk of shame,” Louis said blandly and Zayn shot him a curious look.

“Someone papped Louis in the kitchen this morning. To say it’s obvious he’s sleeping with someone would be an understatement,” Harry said as he came to sit down on the other end of the couch, leaving room in the centre for Louis.

“What the fuck does that mean? Did you stand there with come on your face?” Zayn asked incredulously, a slight smile on his full lips. Louis flipped him off.

“I was wearing my boxers. They’ll have caught these,” Louis said and proceeded to tug up the side of his tshirt to show Zayn the bruises on his hips that are very plainly from being held tight.

“Damn. I’m a little impressed,” Zayn said sarcastically and Louis stole the channel changer off him.

“Shut the fuck up,” Louis snapped easily, making Zayn grin.

“Hey, not my fault. You should learn to hide your sex life better,” Zayn said.

“We fucked where you’re sat,” Harry said happily and Louis barked out a laugh at the disgusted look on Zayn’s face, but he didn’t get up and move.

“I’m not Liam, you know. I don’t think I’m gonna get sex cooties from your couch,” Zayn said caustically and Louis laughed even harder.

“I once heard Liam having phone sex with Sophia,” Harry put in casually and Zayn looked at him in shock, lips kicking up as he decided whether or not to laugh. “I walked past his bunk and called ‘Good Job!’ through the curtain,” Harry continued causally and that was it, Zayn was cackling into Louis’ shoulder. “He shouted at me for it!” Harry said incredulously and that was Louis gone again. He felt tears build in his eyes he was laughing so hard. It felt good to laugh like this, to ignore the fact that everything around them seemed to be getting more and more complicated. Louis turned and pressed a smiling kiss to Harry’s lips, cupping the side of his face lovingly, and when they parted Harry’s cheeks were pink and his wide mouth was stretched into an even wider smile.

“You’re good together,” Zayn said quietly from beside them, and Louis turned to give him a curious look, “You look happier together than I’ve seen you both in a long time.” He looked into Louis’ eyes seriously and Louis gave him a smile filled with the love and gratitude that he found hard to voice. Zayn nodded and smiled to say he understood and Louis was grateful for Zayn knowing Louis better than a lot of people. That made a thought flame to life in his head that he couldn’t find the restraint to ignore.

“Did you know?” Louis asked, needing to know. He didn’t specify but Zayn understood.

“Didn’t know you were gay . . . but I knew you had feelings for Harry. I figured he was kind of the exception to the rule and your straight little mind didn’t know how to handle it,” Zayn shrugged.

“Nope. Utterly gay. Fantastically gay. Gay as a rainbow,” Louis said sarcastically and smiled when Harry wrapped his arms around him and tugged him back to lean against his chest. Harry pressed a kiss to his temple and he knew that was Harry’s way of saying ‘I’m proud of you’.

“You’re such a knob,” Zayn grinned and it was an ‘I love you’ just as Louis’ “Fuck you,” was an ‘I love you too’.

Zayn stayed for the rest of the day and they spent their time watching crappy tv shows and smoking the spliff Zayn had brought with him, well, Zayn and Louis did, Harry scrunched up his nose in distaste and sucked on an apple flavoured lollypop he’d found in the sweets drawer Louis had for when his sisters came over. He wasn’t that big on sweets, mostly just chocolate. It may have taken Louis a few seconds too long to look away from Harry’s lips wrapped around that lolly, but he was proud of himself for not jumping his boy right then and there in front of Zayn.

Zayn left when it started getting dark and the first thing Louis did when the front door shut was kiss Harry and lick the taste of apples from his tongue.

 

HARRY’S POV

 

Harry woke up with Louis plastered to his back, curved around him like a vine. He turned over carefully to face him, managing not to wake the sleeping boy. He looked so soft like this, relaxed without his constant verbal barbs and his fifty-foot-high emotional walls. But maybe Harry was being too harsh with that summation. Louis had been more open with him than he ever had, and every time Louis shared a little piece of his private self it felt like Harry’s heart couldn’t take it.

Harry reached up and brushed Louis’ messy hair away from his face, Louis stirred at the movement, wriggling closer to Harry, and he let out a little laugh when Louis pressed his cold toes against Harry’s shins.

“Hmmm, you’re like an electric blanket,” Louis mumbled into his pillow with a happy sigh and Harry laughed again.

“Good morning to you too, darling,” Harry said wryly, smiling when Louis’ lips quirked up in a small, sleepy smile. Harry shuffled down until he was eye to eye with Louis. “Open your eyes.”

Louis’ eyes fluttered open drowsily, a little blurry with sleep, but still such a vibrant blue that it felt like a kick in the chest to Harry.

“Now that’s a sight I wanna wake up to every day,” Harry whispered, staring into Louis’ eyes. Louis blushed and had this awkward smile on his lips, like he wasn’t sure whether or not it was okay to smile, whether or not Harry was being serious. Harry felt his expression soften even more; if there’s one thing that gets to him it’s a vulnerable Louis. “Your eyes are far too pretty, it’s not very fair.”

Louis smiled then and leaned in to brush his nose over Harry’s.

“You’re sappy this morning,” Louis murmured. It felt like neither of them wanted to talk too loud, to break the spell of this quiet morning.

“I’m happy,” Harry responded with an affectionate smile. “I get to wake up and find you next to me,” Harry added.

“I’m happy too,” Louis responded hesitantly, a careful smile on his lips. It hurt to know that Louis thought he wasn’t allowed this, but he was happy in the knowledge that he was here to convince Louis otherwise. Harry wanted to talk, wanted to say the things he knows Louis is afraid to go near, and really there was no better time than when Louis is still half-asleep to corner him with the messy feelings he likes to avoid.

Just in case, Harry pulled Louis closer and wrapped his arms around him so it’d be hard for him to squirm away, better safe than sorry with Louis.

“Can we talk about something?” Harry murmured, shifting on the pillow a little to be able to see Louis’ eyes better.

“Okay,” Louis said a little hesitantly, but he’d agreed, and Harry took victory where he could when it came to Louis.

“What am I to you?” Harry asked lightly, knowing this would panic Louis. And it did, Louis’ eyes went wide and he squirmed a little in an attempt to hide his face, but Harry didn’t let him. Louis was quiet for a long time and Harry left him to it, let him figure it out, he was happy that Louis hadn’t simply legged it to be honest.

“Mine,” Louis whispered, resolutely not looking Harry in the eye.

“What are you to me?” Harry murmured.

“Yours,” Louis whispered in the same careful tone, eyes locked on Harry’s Adam’s apple. Harry leaned forwards to press a soft kiss to Louis’ forehead.

“Okay,” Harry said simply and Louis’ eyes flashed up to scan his face. “Louis, if you aren’t ready for the labels yet, that’s fine with me, I just need to know where I stand.” Harry shrugged. For some reason Louis’ eyes darkened with something like annoyance, but Harry had a feeling it was at himself and not Harry.

“No,” Louis said hotly and Harry cocked an eyebrow in question. “You’re mine. I want the label. I want to call you boyfriend, even if I’m not ready for anyone but family and the boys to hear me say it,” Louis said firmly. Harry couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face, the happiness that bubbled up in his chest made it impossible not to kiss Louis, so that’s what he did, smiling the entire time.

 

***

 

Their happiness was short lived, as for the rest of the day Harry was on and off the phone with various management members who warned him over and over that this incident was a breach of contract as it damaged his public image, something that they were contractually in charge of. They also wanted to talk to Louis about the photos that had been taken of him without his consent, but Harry refused to pass the phone over to him and when Louis wasn’t looking Harry switched his phone off so that management wouldn’t get through to him.

Louis spent the day playing Fifa and getting more and more agitated with every phone call Harry had to sit through, at one point going into the back garden to chain smoke until Harry came out and took his fags away. Louis pouted at him for an hour but Harry refused to give them back, even went a step further and confiscated Louis’ lighter too.

When later that evening the boys came over and Niall suggested a night out, he and Louis jumped at the chance to get out of the house.

 

LOUIS’ POV

 

It hadn’t been Louis’ intention to get so drunk, but after getting call after call from management about Harry’s ‘unacceptable’ photo, despite it being 3 days later, Louis needed to cut loose. Niall had suggested a night out, all five of them again seeing as they’re still magically all in the same city for once, and Louis and Harry had agreed without hesitation. Harry had looked stressed since getting off the phone to management, the soft glow of happiness leaving his cheeks, and replaced by a tight pinching around his mouth. Probably didn’t help that Louis was in a foul mood with him because he’d taken away his fags. Louis wanted him drunk and loose and glassy eyed, and in the process had accidentally gotten himself utterly smashed, which left him with no other defence as to why he readily agreed to Zayn’s laughing suggestion that they should do body shots.

Zayn looked drunkenly apprehensive for all of two minutes before laughing as Louis stood up from their booth, stripped off his shirt, and laid back on the table. Really, he’s lucky they have a private booth elevated and away from the eyes of other patrons. Their bodyguards stood watch at the entrance to the balcony booth, their backs to whatever the boys did.

“Holy shit,” Zayn laughed. Niall jumped up and headed to the bar to grab tequila, salt, and limes, a huge grin on his face and looking a little red faced with alcohol. Louis felt good, lazily drunk, his body heavy-limbed and relaxed. He raised his arms and laid them above his head, tilting his head and deliberately meeting Harry’s eyes. He felt drunk and powerful when Harry’s eyes scanned his body.
Arching his back off of the table, Louis knew he looked good and fuck if he wasn’t going to use that to his advantage.

Louis smirked at a sudden idea that seemed perfectly logical to his drunken mind. He sat up and spun on the table to that his feet were propped on the seat on either side of Zayn’s hips, the curve of his bare back to Harry, and leaned down to speak directly into Zayn’s ear where Harry wouldn’t hear him over the bass pumping through the club.

“Zaynie, you know you love me?” Louis murmured, bringing his hands up to play in the hair at Zayn’s nape.

“What the fuck do you want?” Zayn laughed.

“Look at Harry’s face,” Louis whispered, so close his lips brushed Zayn’s ear. Zayn’s head tilted as he glanced over Louis’ shoulder before pressing his lips there, muffling his laughter with Louis’ skin.

“Fuck, okay. I get it,” Zayn agreed. Louis knew he chose his friends well.

Niall came back with the tequila, salt, and limes, Liam trailing after him with an expression like he wasn’t drunk enough to join in or think this is a good idea, but that he’s drunk enough to watch it happen and not intervene. Perfect.

Louis moved to sit on the edge of the table with a stifled laugh, feeling bubbly and light and filled with a brilliant kind of happiness, because Harry couldn’t take his eyes off of him. Louis liked that, the heady feeling of having control, of having every second of Harry’s attention on his body. He’d waited a really long time to have this and he was going to enjoy every drunken second of it.

Zayn stood and came to stand between the V of his jean clad thighs. Louis was starting to sweat a little in the hot club and the red and blue lights flashed over the perspiration on his upper body as he arched his neck back, the current song flowing over him.

. . . baby let’s face it, I’m not into dating, I haven’t been patient, ever since I’ve been famous my time has been racing, my motives are basic . . .

Zayn lifted his drink and ran the bottom slowly down Louis’ neck and along his collar bone, leaving beads of condensation on Louis’ skin, lifting the salt and pouring a little onto the damp trail so that it’d stick there.

Louis could feel the way Harry had shifted closer to get a better view and it was making his breathing a little choppy, having so much attention focused on him like this. Even Niall and Liam were watching with wide, curious eyes, like they couldn’t look away but didn’t really want to.

Zayn lifted a wedge of lime from the little bowl Niall had placed on the table, his eyes flickering to Harry before meeting Louis’, a small smirk playing over his full lips. He lifted the lime and Louis obediently opened his mouth and bit down on the wedge, sucking a little and enjoying the sharp taste. Harry slowly moved to stand at the side of the booth, crossing his arms over his wide chest and leaning one shoulder against the booth, Niall moving to slide into the seat Harry just vacated. Louis spared Harry only a glance before locking his eyes back onto Zayn, enjoying this game probably more than he should be.

Zayn lifted the bottle of tequila with one hand and used the other hand to push Louis to lay back on the table, helping Louis shuffle until his bum is nearly over the edge and Zayn’s hips are happily nestled between his thighs. Louis sucked in his tummy and Zayn carefully poured a shot into his navel. Louis tried to stay still as Zayn leaned up and licked a stripe of salt from his neck. He bit his lip against the giggle that wanted to escape when Zayn leaned down and pressed his lips to Louis’ skin, sucking the tequila from his navel, his beard tickling him slightly. As Zayn swallowed he stood up, putting a hand behind Louis’ neck and pulling him up with him until he sat up, leaning down and pressing their lips together. Zayn took the lime from his mouth, pulled back and sucked for a moment before spitting the peel out on to the floor and leaning back in to swipe his tongue into Louis’ mouth in a laughing, lime-flavoured kiss that Louis messily responded to. Their lips separated to pant against each other heavily, Zayn pressing his forehead to Louis’ and turning to grin at Harry who stood staring, face filled with an intensity that Louis couldn’t judge. He had no idea whether he was mad or not but he figured he’d already pushed his luck . . . so why not push it a little further?

“Help me up?” Louis purred, fluttering his eyelashes at Zayn who grinned lazily and helped Louis up to stand on the table.

He let go of Zayn’s hand as soon as he got his balance and immediately started dancing to the song pounding through the speakers, rolling his body to the best of his ability, lifting his arms above his head and grinding for all he’s worth. He left his shame at the bottom of an empty glass ten drinks ago.

“Get on your knees, get on your knees, get on your knees,” Louis sang at Harry who shook his head and tried to stifle the smile that played at the corner of his lips. Louis grinned and wound his hips to the beat, “baby, just get on your knees,” Louis sang, and he wasn’t feeling as playful this time, a twisting heat making a home in his lower abdomen. He saw Harry register the change on his face, saw Harry’s eyes slide down Louis’ body as he rocked his hips to the beat. When Louis turned his back to Harry and wound his hips to sing: “Got a bow on my panties because my ass is a present,” he turned back around to find Harry’s cheeks flushed a deep pink and Louis could see it plain as daylight, he knew exactly what Harry was imagining, and it had to do with Louis and a little bit of lace.

Harry came forwards with no warning, gripping Louis’ hips and yanking him forwards until he fell into his chest and let himself slide down Harry’s body. He wrapped his arms around Harry’s neck and happily hummed into the kiss Harry pressed to his lips, his feet perched on top of Harry’s boots. Harry’s hands slid down to cup the curves of his arse, squeezing appreciatively, pressing their hips tighter together. He pulled back to kiss along Louis’ jaw, biting at the corner.

“Get your top on. We’re going home,” Harry breathed, letting out a little groan when Louis wiggled happily against the prominent bulge in the front of Harry’s jeans. It was mean of him, Louis can see that, but he still casually slipped away and slid into the booth beside Zayn.

“Nah, Haz, don’t wanna go home yet. The night’s still young, right lads?” Louis grinned, and Niall, Zayn, and Liam chorused back amused ‘Yeah!’s.

Harry groaned and slumped into the booth beside Niall who happily wrapped an arm around the dejected boy’s shoulders.

“You’re gonna kill me,” Harry muttered, glaring at Louis. Louis smiled back sweetly.

“Having a hard-on isn’t gonna kill you, babe,” Louis grinned, downing the last of Zayn’s drink.

 

***

 

They were the second to last to be dropped off on the way home, Zayn last and looking at them apprehensively as Louis purposefully ignored Harry, the taller boy looking past the point of no return as he stared openly at Louis. When the car pulled to a stop Louis jumped out first, shouting a quick ‘Night!’ to Zayn and heading inside without waiting for Harry. He left the front door open and headed towards the kitchen. He kicked off his shoes along the way, continuing by pulling off his shirt and leaving it in the hallway wherever it happened to fall. Next came his jeans which he unbuttoned and pulled down, leaving them splayed across the floor halfway between the hallway and the kitchen. He tugged off his socks for good measure, and in only a pair of tiny, overly tight (he’d bought the wrong size by accident and they just happened to make his arse look damn good so he kept them) black boxers, he reached up and snagged the Nutella out of his cupboard.

He popped off the cap and let it fall to the floor, sticking his finger into the sweet smelling chocolate and bringing it up to his lips. That was how Harry found him. Hip cocked and leant against the black marble side, chocolate covered finger between his pink lips, blue eyes filled with challenge. Harry wasted no time in crossing the wide kitchen, immediately gripping Louis’ waist and yanking him close. Louis slipped his finger from his mouth and dipped it back into the Nutella jar casually, before holding it up to Harry with a cocked eyebrow.

Harry took Louis’ finger between his lips and sucked it clean, eyes half-closed, cheeks flushed and lips plush. Louis pulled his now clean finger from Harry’s lips and reach down to tug his boxers lower, so that they sat below his hip bones and low over the curve of his arse, revealing the top of his cheeks and the beginning of the dark hairs at his crotch. He once again covered a finger in chocolate before reaching down and drawing a line along the slight indentation of a V-line at his hip. Harry caught on quickly and leaned down to kiss the centre of Louis’ chest, slowly, teasingly making his way down Louis’ body until he was on his knees. He leaned in to lave languid licks over the smudge of chocolate on Louis’ tanned skin. Louis’ breath caught in his throat and he reached to tangle his fingers in Harry’s hair as Harry’s hands came up to grip and squeeze the mounds of Louis’ arse that were half revealed by his low waistband.

“I want to fucking devour you,” Harry groaned against his hip and Louis’ heart kicked in his chest.

“Big word there, Haz,” Louis murmured weakly, trying to tease but falling short with how breathless he felt.

“Shut the fuck up,” Harry said, voice deep and gravelly, before biting down hard on Louis’ hip bone and sucking to cause a deep red mark to bloom on his skin. Louis bit down on the heel of his hand to muffle his whimper and Harry huffed in annoyance, reaching up to grab his wrist, before collecting the other and pinning both of Louis’ wrists together at the small of his back with only one of his own large hands. Louis’ chest heaved and his lids lowered until his lashes almost brushed his cheeks, his lips wet from his own tongue and parted with panting breaths. His mouth still tasted like chocolate and tequila.

Harry used his other hand to tug down Louis’ boxers until they fell to pool around his ankles, leaving him bare and flushed for Harry’s eyes. Harry took one look at Louis’ hard cock before reaching up to scoop a finger full of Nutella. He carefully painted his finger up the length of Louis’ dick as Louis took gasping breaths and prayed for his body to be patient. He’d never live it down if he came before Harry had really even touched him. When Harry leaned down and ran his tongue from the base of his dick to the tip, following the stripe of chocolate, Louis almost choked in his attempt to hold in his whimpering moan. He couldn’t stop the sounds he made when Harry wrapped his lips around the tip of his dick and sucked hard, his hips bucking and his arms tugging futilely against the grip Harry had on his wrists.

“H-Harry?” Louis gasped, trying to ignore the whiny, desperate edge to his voice that was a little too high-pitched for his liking.

In response Harry hummed around Louis’ cock as he slid further down.

“H-Haz?” Louis tried again and this time Harry pulled off with a slight ‘pop’ and looked up at him questioningly.

“Yeah, Lou?” Harry murmured, voice a little rough, nuzzling into Louis’ hip happily.

“Want you,” Louis whispered, a little embarrassed but drunk enough to say it anyway.

“What do you want, baby?” Harry murmured, moving to stand up, but still keeping the hold on Louis’ wrists that kept his back arched prettily. He leaned down to kiss Louis without waiting for an answer and Louis happily kissed him back, tasting the sweetness of chocolate and the bitterness of precum on Harry’s tongue. Not exactly pleasant but not overly unpleasant either.

“Fuck, H, I can’t- I don’t- I-” Louis stammered, cheeks flushing. Harry leaned down to press a sweet kiss to his jaw.

“It’s just me, Lou,” Harry whispered and Louis felt his heart soften a little and his embarrassment fade. He hid his face in Harry’s neck.

“Want you to fuck me,” Louis whispered, voice still a little slurred with alcohol.

“I can do that,” Harry said and Louis could hear the smile in his voice, so he bit him on the collarbone in reprimand.

Harry let go of his wrists, but before Louis could really register that, he was being picked up and thrown over Harry’s shoulder. He ‘humph’ed as Harry’s shoulder dug into his stomach and gripped on to the back of Harry’s hips to feel more secure.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Louis demanded haughtily as Harry laughed and headed towards the stairs.

“The guy who’s about to fuck you until you can’t move,” Harry answered smugly and Louis snorted.

“You’re a fucking idiot, that’s what you are,” Louis grumbled.

“An idiot that you love,” Harry sing-songed back and Louis was grateful that Harry couldn’t see his smile.

“Shut up,” Louis mumbled instead of voicing the scary knot of feelings in his chest. Harry laughed and took them into Louis’ room, dumping Louis on the bed and starting to strip. Louis watched appreciatively as inch after inch of Harry was revealed to him. He really did have a beautiful body, so tall and broad. His skin had that kind of smooth golden hue that came from being naked in the sun far too many times for public decency. It seemed like every time they landed in a warm country Harry would strip at the first opportunity. It drove Louis mad in more than one way.

Harry finished stripping and immediately crawled up the bed to kiss Louis hard. Louis wrapped himself around Harry’s body and moaned when their hard cocks pressed together, wrapping his legs around Harry’s hips tightly, pulling him closer.

Harry kissed down his neck before leaning up on his straightened arms, palms pressing into the bed on either side of Louis’ face, his necklaces hanging down, the cold metal tickling Louis’ collarbones.

“Never thought we’d be here,” Harry whispered, eyes locked on Louis’ earnestly, body looking incredible in the low light spilling from Louis’ on suite, all other lights switched off. The silence between them felt so important, filled with the things that haven’t been said, filled with the past they’d both agreed to forget about.

“I wanted you so bad,” Louis finally confessed in a whisper. “You were so young and I didn’t . . . I didn’t want you to make a mistake with me. I couldn’t handle who I was so how could I ever expect you to? But . . . It fucked me up to see you with other people. I never . . . I never learned how to ignore how I feel about you. I think that’s why Eleanor left. She noticed the way I looked at you, the way I couldn’t help but gravitate towards you. I couldn’t . . . I don’t know how to not want you, H,” he concluded nervously, feeling more nervous than he had in a long time. He’d wanted Harry for over four years and it still felt a little unreal that Harry actually wanted him back, that Harry was in his bed right now, beautiful and naked and with so much light in his eyes that it made Louis a little breathless.

“I want you every fucking second,” Harry murmured, voice husky, eyes bright and filled with the kind of concentration that had something hot coiling in Louis’ lower abdomen. “I was a stupid kid who had no idea what he was doing. All I knew was that I fancied you and . . . You said no. I was spoiled and used to getting what I want from people. You were the thing I wanted most and I couldn’t have you. So I acted like a brat and found the first available bloke to fuck me in some dingy club toilets. It was shit and I regretted it the second I agreed to it. I . . . You seem so sorry for that but it’s me who should be sorry. I was the one who acted like an idiot to spite you, you were just confused and trying to figure yourself out. The last thing you needed was a 16 year old kid giving you sad puppy eyes,” Harry said, rolling his eyes self-deprecatingly. Louis hesitantly lifted his hand to cup the side of Harry’s face.

“I just wish I’d been more in control back then. We could have had this a long time ago,” Louis said carefully, leaning up to brush his nose against Harry’s. The gentle little touch had one corner of Harry’s lips curling up.

“I must admit, would have been fun to shag nineteen year old you. You were so . . . colourful,” Harry laughed.

“Hey! Leave me alone, I was experimenting,” Louis defended himself.

“Do you still have that teal suit?” Harry grinned and Louis flicked the side of his head in retribution.

“Don’t even go there. Now, seventeen year old Harry Styles, that is an experience I wish I’d had,” Louis grinned cheekily. Harry wrinkled his nose in confusion.

“I was a beanpole. I was literally all limbs,” Harry protested.

“You were pretty as hell, H,” Louis disagreed playfully. “You were all curls and pink lips and skinny hips. You drove me insane,” Louis said, rolling his eyes and Harry huffed out a little laugh.

“You’re ridiculous,” Harry said with a soft smile. Louis leaned up and pressed their lips together instead of replying. Harry kissed him back desperately and it seemed like all the words in the world couldn’t explain this thing between them, so instead they fought to get closer and closer, gripping each other’s skin desperately. Louis hoped they’d wake up with each other’s finger prints stained on their skin forever.

Harry’s hand gripped tight behind Louis’ knee, yanking it further up his side before sliding down his thigh and over the curve of his arse, brushing confident fingers over Louis’ entrance and leaving the smaller boy gasping. Louis’ arched his back, simultaneously pressing his chest into Harry’s and his arse back into Harry’s hand. Harry’s other hand came up and gripped Louis’ jaw hard, his lips insistent on Louis’. Louis breathed heavily into Harry’s mouth, panting and moaning and Harry’s fingers played at his rim.

Harry moved his hand away and Louis whimpered at the loss, biting down hard on the other boy’s lower lip, but Harry ignored Louis’ frustrated little noises in favour of finding the lube. When his fingers came back to where Louis wanted them, this time slick with slightly-cold lube, Louis squirmed against them happily, shamelessly letting Harry play with his body.

The thing is, he trusted Harry not to use anything against him. Harry would wreck him to the best of his ability, would wring whimper after whimper from Louis’ gasping mouth, but not once would he ever use that ‘weakness’ against Louis in public. So when Harry finally slid a finger into him, humming at the tight heat of Louis’ body, Louis openly moaned against Harry’s mouth and pressed back into the touch.

“More,” Louis demanded breathlessly, making Harry grin into their kiss. Their lips always seemed to gravitate back together, like neither of them wanted to lose that point of connection.

Harry worked his body easily into relaxed readiness. Louis felt flushed and desperate by the time Harry got to three fingers and he rode them openly, shameless in his need. Harry pulled back from the kiss to watch the way his fingers disappeared into Louis’ body with each undulation of the smaller boy’s hips.

“Ready?” Harry asked breathlessly, meeting Louis’ gaze with glassy, dilated eyes, only a thin ring of emerald around wide pupils. Louis nodded and Harry wasted no time slipping his fingers from Louis, gripping his hip, and flipping him over in a smooth move that made Louis gasp in surprise as he suddenly found himself face down on the covers. Harry knocked his knees apart to kneel between them and Louis felt so vulnerable like this, so desperate and open and mindless with the need to come. Louis shuffled onto his knees a little but left his chest and face on the covers. One of Harry’s hands gripped Louis hip, the other gripped his own length as he lined up with Louis’ entrance, and Louis held his breath as Harry slowly pushed in, not stopping until he was completely sheathed. Louis choked on a whimper at the intense feeling of fullness as Harry stayed there, buried in Louis’ tight heat.

When Louis felt Harry’s thumb brush at where Louis’ rim stretched around his own hard length, Louis’ thigh muscles literally quivered and he had to concentrate on not coming too soon. He didn’t know how much longer he’d last.

“Harry,” Louis whined and he could practically feel Harry’s smirk.

“You’re so tight, Lou,” Harry’s voice was gravel and honey and Louis couldn’t help it, he cried out and clenched hard around Harry’s cock, coming so hard he felt tears leak down his cheeks. Harry groaned and started to thrust in and out of him quickly, chasing his own orgasm and simultaneously extending Louis’ with the overload of sensation. Harry came with a gasp, grinding into Louis’ body before falling down onto his elbows above Louis. He panted hotly against Louis’ shoulder blade, body trembling slightly, and Louis laid there submissively, muscles like jelly.

“We forgot the condom,” Louis mumbled when he started to feel a certain wetness where they were still joined, wrinkling his nose a little. He wasn’t overly bothered, they’d left out the condom before. But Louis had a feeling that Harry had let that choice be Louis’ and Louis’ alone, and the lack this time had been an accident, not Louis’ decision.

“Shit. Sorry,” Harry said sheepishly, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of Louis’ neck. He pulled out of Louis slowly and slid off the bed, heading presumably to the bathroom, but Louis had no intention of ever moving again to figure that out. He heard the shower come on and Harry walk back into the room. A moment later Harry was coaxing him from the bed, ignoring the grumpy pout on Louis’ lips and the disgruntled groan when Harry’s cum started to drip down his thighs when he stood up.

“Ew,” Louis complained and Harry huffed a laugh and grabbed his hand, leading him to the walk-in shower that could probably fit about ten people in.

The water was pleasantly warm over his skin and he happily cuddled into Harry’s chest when the taller boy joined him under the spray. Harry slid soapy hands over Louis’ water-slick body, playing over the dips and curves, letting Louis lean most of his weight against him. After a while they were both clean and content to simply hold one another under the water.

“I really love you, Louis Tomlinson,” Harry murmured against his temple and Louis felt a tight knot of happiness explode in his chest.

“I really love you, Harry Styles,” Louis murmured back, voice a little choked with emotion.

“Please don’t ever let go of me,” Harry said, tightening his arms around Louis’ body.

“I won’t,” Louis promised softly, pressing a kiss to the wet skin of Harry’s shoulder.

 

***

 

The next morning Louis awoke to Harry’s smiling face on the pillow beside his, the room filled with muted sunlight, and Harry’s cold toes pressed against his shins.

“Lou,” Harry sighed and it felt like ‘welcome home’. It felt like ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ and ‘I never want to live without you’. Louis had waited four years for his name to sound like that coming from Harry’s mouth and now he could sigh “Harry,” and it meant ‘I love you too’ and ‘I want you forever’ and ‘I’m never letting you go’.