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people fall in love in mysterious ways (maybe just the touch of a hand)

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(They meet in a million different universes, in a million different ways, and sometimes they don't even brush hands)

*

One Tuesday night, Louis hears a scream from the apartment across from him, and charges into it, accidentally breaking the lock on his way in. He finds his neighbour in the shower; very wet, extremely cute, and absolutely horrified. He looks around for the danger with wide eyes, relaxing only when he finds his pet snake Frank curled up in the bathtub. Harry yells at him about being an irresponsible pet owner, a completely moronic idiot, and an absolutely ridiculously short tosser until he’s red in the face, and then locks himself in the bedroom as Louis let’s Frank curl around his neck so he can take him back home. Louis sends him a basket of muffins (made by his sisters) and a card (made by him, though it probably looks like it was made by his sisters) with an offer to take him out to dinner to apologise properly. The next day, Harry plants stink bombs in his apartment with a note stuck to his front door; I’d never date someone who just lets his snake wander around freely, are you really as stupid as you look? Louis complains to the building manager who suspiciously asks him why Mr. Styles in angry with him in the first place. Louis eyes the no pets sign behind Liam, and gulps as Liam’s eyebrows furrow in disappointment, before withdrawing his complaint. The next week, Harry brings home a date, smirking as he passes Louis in the hallway, and fucks him, his loud moans travelling through the walls; Louis sneaks in through the unlocked door, and quietly deposits Frank in Harry’s bedroom. Harry screams bloody murder five minutes later and Louis grins when he sees the blonde boy escaping quickly, swearing in Spanish. This continues on for eight months; after Harry replaces the lock on his door, Louis pays Zayn with a bottle of vodka and Zayn teaches him out to pick it. Every time he comes home to find his milk gone, he breaks into Harry’s apartment and hides all of his tea bags. Harry moves out a year after he moves in, and Louis watches his moving truck drive away from his window with a weird feeling low in his gut. Harry leaves rotten eggs hidden all of Louis’ apartment as a parting gift, and Louis moans to Zayn about what a complete and utter jerk Harry Styles is. A new boy moves in the next week, with limp curls and light green eyes, but they’re a poor imitation of Harry’s bright green; Louis spends a week Facebook stalking him, sending him snake emoji’s with photos of Frank attached; Harry blocks him after two hours.

*

Louis allows Zayn to set him up on a date and spends one hour and forty seven minutes completely regretting it. The girl is completely vapid and boring and Louis escapes to the bathroom the first second she pauses for breath. In there, he bumps into a cute man with a flower in his hair. The man falls to the ground and Louis swears, helping him to his feet, apologising. The man tells him not to worry about it, and his smile is so blinding that Louis spends almost twenty minutes talking to him right there in the bathroom- by the time Louis remembers his date, she's gone, having left him the check. Harry pays for it even against Louis' protests, and then he takes Louis home with him, and spends hours making love to him. Louis leaves the next morning with a freshly made coffee, a new number programmed into his phone, bruises on his neck, and a smile on his face.

*

Harry listens to Louis' radio show every morning without fail; between nine and eleven p.m. he slips his headphones in his ears, and can't wipe the smile off his face when he finally goes to sleep, the sound of Louis' voice echoing in his ears. His banter with his co-host, Nick Grimshaw, is absolutely hilarious, and the selfies he posts on Twitter are absolutely smoking hot, and Niall laughs at Harry for eight minutes when he tells him that he's in love with a voice. Liam tries to persuade him to ring in, and ask Louis out- go on, it can't hurt- but two weeks later Nick and Louis are on the front cover of almost every newspaper in the country. They both get fired because apparently fucking in the radio station can be forgiven, but fucking during a radio show cannot. The new hosts are boring, and play shit music, and Harry gives up on the radio all together.

*

They're both teachers at a local secondary school; Louis is the much loved Drama teacher, and Harry is the sought-after Photography teacher. They become friends in Harry's first week, and Harry spends his free periods in the Drama room, helping Louis sew costumes or paint sets. It becomes so much of a thing that their students start photo-shopping their faces on to photos of couples holding hands (it progresses to animals, after a week. Louis puts a total of three students in detention after they put his head on a hippo, and resolves to cut down on the cakes Harry makes him; Harry just gives his photography classes extra homework, because honestly Baker, your photoshop skills are terrible. When the next lot of photos actually look real, Louis has a sneaking suspicion Harry's involved) and pasting them around the school. Eventually- and with a lot of prodding from his fourteen year old students- Louis gets the courage to ask Harry out. Three years later, there's two Mr. Tomlinson's at the school, and the wedding is attended by at least thirty of their students.

*

Posters of pop sensation Harry Styles cover his sisters' walls, and for Lottie's 15th birthday he surprises them all with front row tickets. During the concert, the twins cry from the utter excitement, Lottie screams, and Fizzy holds up a hand-made sign informing Harry that her 'very cute, very single' brother is utterly in love with him. Harry brings all five Tomlinson's backstage and invites Louis to go for a coffee with him the next morning. The internet practically breaks seven months later, when Harry announces he's just been married to a Drama student from Doncaster by an Elvis look-a-like in Vegas.

*

They share their first kiss at thirteen and fifteen and their last at twenty seven and twenty nine. Harry buries Louis and their three year old son in the cemetery closest to their house, and visits them every other day. He doesn't get in another car for the rest of his life.

*

In grade school, and Louis, all of eight years old, doesn't know how to deal with his feelings for Harry. His mum tells him to try complimenting him, and his dad looks at him funny for a week before he leaves for work one day and never comes back, so Louis compromises by throwing bits of balled up paper in Harry's hair. Harry tells the teacher who sends Louis to the time-out chair, but the next day Harry gives Louis a piece of cake and tells him that he didn't realise it was a note that Louis was throwing, but he read it when he got home last night, and do you really think my hair's nice Lou? Louis blushes and shoves the whole piece of cake in his mouth to avoid answering and ten minutes later, after his teacher has helped him to stop choking with a frustrated scowl on her face, Louis tells Harry that he does in fact think his hair is nice, along with the rest of him, actually. Harry pays Eleanor Calder to switch seats with him in class, and they spend the rest of the year passing notes back and forth. By the time they get to high school, they're known as HarryandLouis; they're pretty much one boy just in two bodies. Louis puts a ring on Harry's finger the day he turns eighteen, and they're married before he's nineteen. Their apartment is small and is soon invaded by the boys in the apartments below, above and across from them; Harry quite likes Liam and Niall, but Zayn, from above them, stares at Louis just a little too long to be considered just friendly. They're divorced by twenty two, and Liam and Niall move into Harry's new apartment, both having shunned Zayn since the day Harry caught him in bed with Louis. Harry reads about soldiers who lose limbs in combat but still feel the pain where the missing limb used to be; the left side of his bed aches so badly that he can't sleep some nights. Years later, Liam and Niall bring home a lot of alcohol and a wedding invitation. Harry gets spectacularly drunk and leaves a voice mail on Louis' phone of him crying for six minutes straight; Louis doesn't call back, and on the day of the wedding, Harry goes to a bar and takes home the first boy he sees. He's got a stupid quiff and ridiculous cheekbones and when Nick asks him what his name is, Harry tells him Louis. Harry fucks Nick until he literally passes out, and then goes home and cries. He quits his job the next day and goes backpacking around Australia for two years; he meets a girl with blonde hair and brown eyes who makes him feel safe (bored) in a way Louis never did; he settles down in Adelaide, and their little girl comes home from school one day with bits of wadded up paper in her hair from the boy who sits behind her, and Harry almost throws up. He writes a letter to Louis, wishing him and his family well. He never hears back.

*

In a gay bar. Louis is there alone, and drunk and he spends almost an hour staring at a boy with curly hair and green eyes for almost an hour before he gets the nerve to go up and speak to him. When they fuck in the toilets later, it's messy and dirty and when Louis leaves, the hole in his chest feels a bit larger. The boy keys his number into Louis' phone, and kisses him goodbye, but Louis deletes it during the taxi ride home. Eleanor's asleep when he gets home, smelling like sex and someone else's cologne, and when he climbs into bed after a long shower, she slips her hand in his. Hope you had a good boys night, she whispers, eyes fluttering open. Louis shrugs, squeezing her hand tight. It was okay, he says. The next day, the hole in his chest feels bigger again so he calls in sick to work, and Eleanor brings him breakfast in bed and Louis wonders how much longer he can keep doing this to her, to himself. (For the rest of his life, as it turns out.)

*

Harry shares an apartment with his best friend Nick, who starts bringing Louis home one week in June. They stay together three years, and Louis worms his way into Harry's kitchen, his life, his heart. He sits on the counter while Harry bakes and his feet don't touch the ground and Harry ignores the odd feeling that settles into his lower stomach. He and Nick fuck loudly, Louis' moaning echoes throughout their apartment; Nick jokes that he must be an exhibitionist because he's a lot quieter when Harry isn't around. One day, Nick mentions the word marriage and Louis runs out of the room so fast Harry swears he sees dust trailing behind him. The weeks turn into months as Harry spends all his time curled up in Nick's bed, swearing up and down that Louis is a complete and utter tosser, and not worthy of Nick in the slightest, and anyway, he's about as tall as a pixie, not the proper sort for marrying, but he misses Louis' constant presence in his kitchen; it's quiet when he bakes now, and it feels wrong somehow. He lingers outside of Louis' apartment when he drops off the few jumpers and odds and ends Louis had left in Nick's room, half-hoping he'll come out and tug on Harry's curls, or call him bright eyes, in the soft voice he never used for Nick. He doesn't.

*

In a coffee shop, in London. Louis is waiting tables and Harry is out to lunch with his sister. Louis is so completely infatuated with the boy with curly brown hair and sparkling green eyes that he spills coffee in the girls lap (it may be on purpose, but when he realises they're siblings and not dating, he apologises profusely, gives her another coffee free of charge and buys her a new skirt). He leaves his number on the receipt, with a smiley face, and Harry fully intended to call him- until he loses his wallet the next day.

*

Harry is in his first week of his new job when a book lands on his desk. He reads the whole thing, cover to cover, all day; through his lunch break, through appointments with other clients, past closing time, flicking through pages and pages even as his butt cramps up from being squashed up in a tiny desk all day. The next morning, he marches into his boss's office, and hands him the books. I spent literally all night reading this, I have only moved from my chair once and that was to take a piss. We have to publish this, he tells him, and his boss, reading one of the passages Harry has highlighted, agrees. Louis Tomlinson is a whirlwind, and sweeps into Harry's life like he's been there his entire life. Watching him, Harry wonders how he ever manages to sit still long enough to finish an entire novel, but he soon finds out that when Louis writes, he writes, often forgetting to sleep or eat. It's a beautiful thing to watch, and Harry spends hours watching him write the sequel, falling more in love with him with every word he types. The book makes it to number one within two weeks, and Harry gets upgraded to an actual office when his boss hears the news (which comes in handy, actually, considering Louis has a weird kink about being bent over and fucked on a desk).

*

Louis screams himself hoarse when he hears that he’s been assigned a rookie as his new partner. He rings Zayn- undercover in Darwin, Australia, of all places- and yells at him for twenty minutes for daring to leave, and then tells Liam- the Chief of Police, and his boss (on paper, at least) - that he better tell Niall- the barista at the coffee shop across the street- to start making his coffee’s double shot, because he’s sure as hell going to need it if Liam expects him to make it through the year without killing the new kid. The first week, Harry spills his juice in Louis’ car, and Louis doesn’t talk to him for three days. They soon become friends though, through longs nights holed up in the care together, through late night coffees and early morning donuts, through arrests and car chases, through drinks at the bar on a Wednesday morning because the little girl they were trying to find didn’t make it, through patrolling and promotions, through showy kisses when they’re uncover as a couple, and stolen kisses when they both go home to Louis’ flat on a Sunday morning, and sleep for twelve hours. The last week, Harry bleeds all over Louis’ car seats after he takes a bullet right in the chest- a bullet meant for Louis- and Louis doesn’t talk to him ever again.

*

At a restauarant, where Louis gets given a pile of green things instead of the steak he ordered. He takes it back to the counter, grumbling under his breath, and finds a beautiful boy with beautiful eyes and beautiful hair falling past his shoulders, holding his beautiful steak and politely informing the waitress that she’s mixed up his order, and normally I wouldn’t complain, you know, I’m sure you have enough work without this, but I’m a vegetarian, and can’t eat this. His voice is rough and if Louis wasn’t so focused on his dinner, he might try and find a way to slip is number in the salad before they switch meals. As it is, they swap meals without anything being hidden in the salad, but when their hands brush, it feels like electricity. Before Harry leaves the restaurant that night, he leaves his number on Louis’ table.

*

They’re princes, from neighbouring kingdoms. Louis is betrothed to Gemma Styles, in an attempt to bond the two kingdoms together, but he shocks the entire country when he announces that actually, I’ve rather taken a fancy to the younger Styles. His mum cries and his dad disowns him, and Louis moves in with the Styles’ anyway; Anne brings him breakfast in bed for the first week, and Gemma loudly complains about everyone always preferring her little brother while winking in Louis’ direction as Harry blushes. Daisy and Phoebe are too little to understand that sometimes, their parents are wrong, but it still burns Louis’ heart when they ignore his letters. Fizzy sneaks up to see him one weekend, and cries on his shoulders for hours because there’s this girl, Lou. I think I love her, and when Anne hears, she insists that Fizzy stays with them too. When Harry and Louis take over the kingdom years and years later, they open the doors wide open to any child whose love isn’t understood by their parents, and they go down in history as the two kindest kings ever.

*

At high school, in an English class. Louis entertains Harry by dramatically acting out scenes from the book of the week; they get thirty six detentions in one term, and Louis proudly frames the letter the headmaster sends his mum, informing her that it’s a school record. Harry giggles behind his hands, and blushes when Louis calls him pet names, and one day, the teacher in detention steps outside for a cigarette, and the sun is lighting the room and making Harry’s eyes sparkle, and Louis kisses him, hard. It’s messy and wet and they get another detention when the teacher comes back and finds Louis’ hands up Harry’s shirt, but Harry swears for the rest of his life that it was the most perfect first kiss ever. Ten years later, they hang their marriage certificate on the wall next to the letter about the detention record, and Harry never quite gives the reaction teachers are looking for when they tell him and Louis that one of their kids has received detention. Their mums look on disapprovingly, but their little girl meets her first boyfriend in a detention (for not completing her homework for the third week straight) and then meets her first (and last) girlfriend in the next detention for punching her ex-boyfriend in the face after he called her a dyke. Louis frames her notice of suspension on the wall as well, even as Jay clucks her tongue at him.

*

In a bathroom, with oops and hi, on a stage, with three other boys that take over Louis’ life. During long nights rehearsing, through shared looks across stages, through the accidentally-on-purpose brushing of hands during interviews. Seven matching tattoos, ninety one songs, seven fake girlfriends and five years later, Louis lets Harry pull him into a hug, and with cameras flashing, and fans screaming, he squeezes Harry, tight, and it feels like coming home.

(Maybe not all their endings have to mean finishing)