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‘Liam,’ Louis said.

The other boy didn’t look up from his book.

 Louis rolled his eyes, and stepped closer to kick the boy’s shoe, making Liam start in his seat. ‘You, wanker, Liam. School’s ended already.’

‘I know that,’ Liam said, folding his book up and looking about the room, as if surprised to see it empty. ‘I knew you’d be along soon so I stayed.’

‘Uh-huh,’ Louis said, slapping him on the back. ‘Get your stuff together. I'm so ready to be out of here.’

‘Hang on, let me get my blazer.’

His own blazer flung over his shoulder and his bag at his side, Louis left the other boy scrambling to pack up all his books. Catching his own reflection in the window to the hallway, he eyed the way the private school shirt clung to his torso, and was relieved to know he looked good with his tie loose at his neck and his blazer slung over his shoulder.

‘Oi, Tommo, wait up,’ Liam called, rushing out of the classroom after Louis, still trying to shove papers into his bag

Louis slowed, smiling back at him. The two of them made their way through the back corridors, passing crowds of loud students as everyone collected their bags from their lockers and began heading off home.  Louis tried to squeeze past a group of girls shrieking over some magazine; spotting the other boy he was looking for taking a couple of books out of his locker.

Zayn had his hair down perfectly, without a strand out of place despite it being the end of the day, his jumper tapering his waist so nicely that Louis couldn’t help feeling a ping of jealousy. As they got closer, a bunch of boys came the other way past Zayn, and one of them reached over, smacking the books from the boy’s hands. The group howled with laughter as Zayn’s books smacked into the ground, slapping the guy who did it on the back.

‘Oi!’ Louis shouted over the noise, stepping forward. ‘Fuck off Porter, you cunt.’

‘Don’t talk to me, faggot,’ the boy said, a smarmy twist to his lips as his friends cackled behind them, following him off down the corridor.

Louis smoothed his fingers over his hair, scowling after the boys. ‘Load of fucking idiots.’

‘Leave it, Louis, it doesn’t bother me anymore,’ Zayn said having picked up his books and closed his locker, cool like nothing had happened.

‘It’s not right though,’ Liam said. ‘You should tell a teacher or something.’

Zayn slung his bag over his back and his along his arm around Liam’s neck. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. Are we going now? I feel like visiting our favourite house on the corner.’

‘Yes please,’ Louis groaned. ‘Absolutely sick of this place.’

‘Yeah, you ain’t fooling anyone, Louis,’ Zayn said.

‘We’re on to you,’ Liam agreed.

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Louis said, moving off down the corridor.

‘I think you do,’ Liam said. ‘I think a certain curly-haired lad as something to do with it.’

‘Shut it, Payne,’ Louis said, laughing.

The wind hit them as they left the main building. Outside there were people everywhere as students left the grounds or stood around in groups, and some teachers were about keeping an eye on everything. Louis instantly looked to the gate, trying to spot one person in particular, but a teacher stopped him as he went down the stairs, asking him to put his blazer on before leaving. Louis scowled and did as he was bid quickly, yanking his arms through the sleeves as he made for the gate with the others following.

His heart leapt to his throat when he saw Harry leaning on the fence just outside the front gates. ‘He is here,’ he breathed.

Zayn patted him hard on his back. ‘Ah, Louis.’

‘Honestly, I don’t know why you’re always so surprised. He’s there waiting for you almost everyday,’ Liam said.

Louis pulled his shoulder away from Zayn. ‘Not always though.’

Louis rushed forward in front of the others and out the gate to the boy wearing a long daggy shirt, faded jeans and a beanie that covered his hair and ears. Harry had his arms crossed as he waited, but he straightened when he saw Louis come through the gate, his green eyes lighting up. 

Louis’ breath came heavy through his smile. ‘Hi!’

‘Hullo.’ Harry gave him a lopsided grin back

‘Missed you today,’ Louis said.

Harry shook his head. ‘Co-dependent.’

‘Hush your mouth.’ Louis dropped his bag to shove Harry in the shoulder, making a full-blown smile break across the boy’s face.

‘Harry!’ Liam greeted as he and Zayn caught up. ‘Good to see you again, though the way Louis’ been pining after you, I feel like you’ve been here the whole day.’

‘Hey!’ Louis made to hit him, but Liam backed away quickly, sniggering. ‘I haven’t, he’s lying.’

‘Okay,’ Harry said, a pleased colour climbing up his neck.

‘Why aren’t you still at school though?’ Liam frowned. ‘I thought the public school finished the same time we did?’

Harry scratched his cheek, looking away across the street as he replied. ‘Yeah, I had the last lesson free, so I came here early.’

‘Frees are meant to be used for study and homework,’ Liam admonished.

‘Thank you, Mr. Scholarship,’ Zayn said, catching Liam in a headlock.

Louis ignored Liam’s cries for help, hooking his bag over his shoulder and reaching over to catch Harry’s hand in his, winging their arms between them. Harry ducked his head, bitting his lip to stop from smiling, but his grip was firm as his larger hand encompassed Louis’ own, and he didn’t let go all the way down the street.

1D

The bell jangled above their heads as they entered the popular coffeehouse on the street corner, but luckily the place wasn’t too crowded yet with several wooden tables free.  The blonde boy wiping down one of the tables looked up at the bell and beamed when he saw them.

‘Alright, lads?’ Niall called.

Harry mimicked his accented. ‘Yeah, good t’anks.’

‘Yeah, yeah, Styles, take a seat. Did the rest o’ you have a good day up in the poncy school?’ Niall asked cheerfully.

‘It was as poncy as ever,’ Louis said. ‘I’m starving, Nialler.’

Niall sighed exaggeratedly. ‘Alright, just hang on a minute, will yeh? I’ll get your usual—for you two as well, right?’ Niall looked at Liam and Zayn as they settled on the bench seat.

‘If you please,’ Liam said, answering for both of them.

‘Right, and you Harry? Didn’t see you at school today by the way, buddy.’

‘You probably just missed me about.’ Harry shrugged his shoulders. ‘I’ll just get a water, maybe.’

‘Water?’ Louis pulled a face. ‘Are you on a diet or what? I did think you were looking a bit leaner.’

He grabbed Harry’s chin and tilted his head to the side to examine the younger boy’s cheekbones, and Harry pulled his head away with a smile, knocking the hand away. ‘I’m not on a diet.’

‘Good, he can have the same as me, my shout.’ Louis said to Niall, ignoring Harry’s sound of protest.

Niall went off to give the order to Paul, the chef out the back who made the few meals that the coffeehouse did. A rowdy group of boys came through the door in the next moment, the jingle of the bell lost beneath their noise. Louis scowled as he recognised some of the boys from his school, along with that bloody Porter kid. The group went straight to a table on the other side of the shop without looking over and seeing Louis, and he rolled his eyes, turning his attention back to the conversation. Liam was talking about the latest assignment his English professor had given them.

‘What assignment?’ Zayn asked, pausing in trailing his fingers over Liam’s shoulder.

‘The big one. The essay, you know.’

‘No, I don’t. I stopped listening after the first five minutes of that class.’

‘Score one for chilling,’ Louis said, reaching across to slap a high-five with Zayn.

‘You lot should pay attention in class,’ Liam said, exasperated

Zayn grinned. ‘I did draw an awesome picture of us as superheroes though, wanna see?’

‘Only if I was Batman.’

‘Of course, what do you take me for?’

Zayn and Liam kept messing around and Louis leaned back from the table, throwing his arm over the back of the chair, and stretching his legs out on top of their bags wedged in under the table. Next to him, Harry was frowning at another table of plain dressed kids, none of whom Louis knew, but who Harry obviously did.

One of the boys at the other table called out a greeting to Niall as he went past and the Irish boy responded in kind, so Louis assumed they must go to the same school as them. He looked back at the curly-haired boy, watching him fidget and bit his lip every now and again. He really looked a bit too pale and skinny, Louis noticed, and when Niall brought their hot drinks out, he pushed his cup of tea across to Harry.

Harry looked down at it in confusion for a moment, his frown deepening, but Louis just knocked his knee into Harry’s. ‘Go on then,’ Louis said, raising an eyebrow when the younger boy still hesitated.

‘Never thought I’d see the day,’ Harry said, his dimples appearing as he took Louis’ tea.

‘Cheeky,’ Louis said. ‘I’ll just buy another is all. Don’t think I won’t expect a reward for my good will, though.’

‘Oh, yeah?’ Harry said, his voice lowering. ‘What kind of reward?’

Louis caught the devilish glint in Harry’s eyes as he drank, and how wet and shiny his lips went when he pulled the cup away and licked them. Louis breathed in, shifting in his seat. ‘Well—’

‘Here, lads,’ Niall interrupted loudly carrying plates of sizzling English breakfast that Paul did the whole day. ‘Got your food.’

‘Have I ever said how much I love you, Nialler,’ Liam said, the delicious smell wafting around the table.

‘Heh, only every time you see me,’ Niall said, putting the plates down, and he squawked as Zayn caught his face and planted a loud smacking kiss on his cheek.

‘We love you.’

‘Get off me,’ Niall shook him off, smiling as his cheeks pinked.

They tucked in with gusto, devouring the meal after the long day at school, but Louis was only half way though when he realised Harry had already finished.

‘Christ Curly, you demolished that,’ Louis said, impressed.

Harry shrugged, watching a piece of bacon that was almost falling off Liam’s plate. ‘It was yummy.’

‘It always is,’ Liam said, biting into his toast, and then making a garbled sound through his mouthful when Harry stole the piece of bacon hanging off his plate.

The place was getting busier now, and Niall didn’t have time to hang about their table anymore as the chairs filled up and the noise grew, but every time Harry laughed, to Louis the sound seemed to cut through all the other noise. Louis couldn’t help himself from curling a hand over Harry’s shoulder and thumbing over his collarbone as the boy replied to Liam’s question about finding a new job.

‘Nah, still looking,’ Harry’s voice rumbled through his chest and Louis felt it under his hand.

‘Yeah, what happened with that? You never said,’ Louis asked, pulling Harry’s attention back around to him.

‘Uh,’ Harry faltered when he met Louis’ gaze, his eyes falling to Louis’ neck. ‘Just didn’t show up one day and that was it.’

‘Oh? Why?’ Louis asked.

Harry shifted closer under Louis’ arm. ‘Forgot,’ he said.

Louis inhaled as Harry’s hand unexpectedly spread over his thigh, high enough to make him tense in anticipation. ‘Uh,’ Louis checked around the room briefly, making sure no one else was watching them, relieved that the table blocked Liam and Zayn from seeing.

Harry began to massage Louis’ thigh, his face as blank as if nothing was happening and Louis bit his lip to keep himself from groaning aloud, digging his fingernails through the material of Harry’s shirt in warning. Louis checked over his shoulder in the direction of the loo, seeing that it was free, and he grabbed the hand dragging along his thigh firmly, as he stood up.

‘All right lads? Make sure no one steals our seats won’t you?’

‘Wait, where are you going?’ asked Liam, as Harry scrambled over the seats after him, all gangly limbs as he nearly tripped before standing tall next to Louis.

Zayn took one look at Louis and scoffed. ‘You two are hopeless. Niall would be mad if you get us kicked out of here.’

‘So don’t tell Niall,’ Louis said, yanking on Harry’s arm and tugging him towards the bathroom. Harry laughed into Louis’ neck as the crowded into the small, single loo, both his hands on Louis’ back pushing him inside.

‘Wait, wait—lock the door.’

‘I am, don’t rush me.’ He reached back and Louis heard the lock snick shut. ‘Better?’

‘Much,’ he said, his voice hitching as Harry wrapped an arm around the small of Louis’ back and forced their waists in closer together. ‘So, about that reward?’

Harry hummed, his lips so close to Louis’ that if he turned his head just a bit they could touch. ‘You know, you look really pretty.’

‘Pretty?’ Louis repeated, and embarrassingly felt something flutter in his stomach.

‘Especially when you’re on your knees for me.’

‘You fucker. You tell the worst jokes.’ Louis shoved him in the chest, making Harry laugh, before stepping in close again. ‘If you think I’m getting on my knees in this dingy place, you best think twice.’

‘Okay,’ Harry said, grinning and already sinking to his knees.

‘Hey, wait,’ Louis said, surprised. He caught Harry’s shoulders and hauled him up again, pushing the younger boy against the wall. ‘I didn’t mean for you to do it instead.’

‘Oh,’ Harry frowned. ‘What do you want me to do then?’

‘I just wanted…’ Louis trailed off, realising that mostly he had wanted to snog Harry in here, and that—that wasn’t the way the two of them worked. Mostly they would meet up and play around and touch each other until they managed to get one or both of them off, something that had been working well since Louis had ran into Harry here in the coffeehouse three months ago.

‘You just wanted what?’ Harry asked, pulling Louis back to him.

‘Uh,’ Louis took in Harry’s expectant green eyes, how perfect and waiting his lips looked, how open how open and patient his whole face was as his, his daggy t-shirt almost falling off one of his shoulders as his large hands played with Louis’ expensive school blazer, and something twisted and released inside Louis as he realised how much he really liked this boy. Like, really.

‘Fuck,’ Louis said.

Harry snorted. ‘You want to fuck?’

‘No! Well yes, but not here. Come back to mine after. My parents are out till later, some silly event thing.’

‘Can’t.’ Harry shook his head, smiling ruefully. ‘I have stuff to do.’

‘Screw the stuff,’ Louis ordered, before arching an eyebrow. ‘Doesn’t screwing me sound more appealing?’

Harry groaned, looking up to the ceiling. ‘Don’t say that.’

‘I just did,’ Louis said, sidling in closer.

‘Stop, come on.’ Harry widened his eyes, pushing at Louis. ‘Stop with that face. I can’t.’

‘Oh, but you could,’ Louis teased, pulling Harry’s hand down to rest firmly on his slacks. ‘This could be all yours.’

Harry clutched at Louis’ flesh through the material, his hand covering the whole of Louis’ arse. ‘I really want to,’ Harry said, his voice so deep that it made Louis shiver. ‘But I really can’t.’

Annoyance crept up into Louis’ tone. ‘Right, cause you’ve got better stuff to do.’

‘I do, though.’

Of course he did. Louis shook his head, stepping back as felt this horrible sharp knowing feeling rising inside him. ‘I’m a right idiot,’ he mumbled, unlocking the door.    

‘What do you mean?’ he heard Harry follow him out. ‘Louis, wait—’

‘—right Malik? We know that’s how your daddy got all his money, you’ve gotta have something good on you.’

‘Fuck off, Porter.’

‘Oh, great,’ Louis said, coming around the corner to see Porter and his friends hanging over their table, Zayn having stood up, glaring at the boy. Liam was behind Zayn, his expression serious like Louis had never seen it before.

‘Are they mates of yours?’ Harry asked hesitantly.

Louis huffed. ‘Hardly. Oi! I’m getting real sick of seeing your face, Porter.’

‘Yeah, you’d rather see something else wouldn’t you?’ Porter grabbed his own crotch, and his friends laughed behind him, the six of them wedged in tight in the small space between tables as the rest of the patrons talked and laughed around the coffeehouse. Niall came out from behind the counter, pausing as he carried several slices of cake to a table, and squinting worriedly over at their group.

‘You talk too much, Porter,’ Zayn said, shouldering past him to stand by Louis’ side, and Liam quickly followed, getting free of the table.

‘Hey look,’ another voice interjected, from the table of the people from Harry’s school. ‘It’s a bunch of posh twats yapping at each other.’

‘Careful, Samuels, your mother probably works for one of them.’

‘A-hurr, everyone lookit Maz, the funny man.’

Porter had turned back to Zayn and was saying something that was turning the boy’s expression to stone and Liam’s thunderous, but now Louis couldn’t hear over as the group of Harry’s school mates got louder. 

‘I know him,’ one boy said, sitting up. ‘Hazza, mate, what are you doing with these cunts?’

Harry frowned at the guy. ‘They’re my friends.’

‘Friends?’ The boy laughed. ‘Buddy, your fit as fuck mother gives rich ponces like this lot blowjobs on the street.’

‘Shut your face, Lucas!’ Harry said, and half the coffeehouse went quiet.

‘Whoa, mate, I was just joking—’ Lucas held up his hands in defence.

‘—your sisters, Malik, so what are then, a bloody terrorist?’

Zayn pushed forward pulling his arm back for a swing, but Liam got there first, delivering a solid punch to Porter’s face with a cracking sound, and blood spurted out with Porter’s howl of pain.

The boys surged forward into a chaos of blows and grappling bodies. People screamed as Louis threw a punch at the first boy to come at him, following it with his knee when the boy folded in half and slamming it into the boy’s chin, like his head was a football. An arm wrapped around Louis’ neck from behind, strangling him as the person tried to drag him backwards, but he heard Harry shout his name and a second later the person dragging him cried out, the arm relaxing enough for Louis to wriggle free and elbow him hard in his gut. He turned in time to see Harry hammer the boy one more time right in the kidneys, just before someone leapt on the younger boy, digging their nails into his face.

‘Fucking—’ Louis threw himself forward to pull the boy off, but the Lucas kid reached him first, hauling the scrawny guy off Harry and dumping him on the ground.

The kids from Harry’s school all joined in, ripping the shirt of one of the guys pinning Zayn down, and sending blood spraying from the nose of the boy that Liam had been holding off. The rest of the customers were quickly fleeing the coffeehouse, though some paused in the corner to whip out camera phones, and made sounds of appreciation whenever a particular nasty blow landed.

‘Stop it, you fuck-heads,’ a hand tugged at Louis’ collar, and he twisted around with his fist raised, only to falter when he met Niall’s wide eyes. ‘Stop fighting, you’re gonna get—’

‘What the bloody hell is going on out here?’ Paul roared, appearing from the back in his white chef clothes and a dark expression. ‘Oi, get the fuck out, all of you!’

 Harry and one of his friends were still trying to smash the face in of another guy spitting curses at them as his friends hauled him away to the door. Louis shook off Niall’s hand to grab Harry, who struggled for a second before realising who was behind him. Harry’s eyes were wild and red ran from a split in his lip. His hair had sprung free of his beanie in several places and he gazed at Louis for a moment, breathing heavily like he wasn’t sure who Louis was.

‘I said all of you little shits,’ Paul shouted. ‘There’ll be no fighting in my shop.’

‘My father owns this whole row of shops, you fat fuck.’ Porter yelled back, blood dripping down his chin as he friends pushed him out the door. ‘You’ll be sorry, I’m telling you!’

Harry’s mates followed Porter's group out, calling insults after him.

Niall appeared at Louis’s elbow, scowling. ‘Quick, come on, out the back, it’ll be easier for you.’

‘Yeah, all right,’ Louis agreed.

‘Come on, man. We gotta go, yeah?’ Zayn said, placing a hand on Liam’s tense shoulders—only to pull back in surprise at the dark look the other boy shot him.  

Liam turned sharply, his shoulder hitting Zayn’s hard as he went, following after Niall who was gesturing for them to come quickly.

Paul had walked out from behind the counter, his arms crossed as he surveyed the two groups of boys out the front still spoiling for a fight, and Niall snuck the four of them round the side of the counter while the man was distracted. They slipped through the kitchen and out the backdoor to the side-alley behind the shop, letting the door clang loudly after them.

‘Fuck!’ Liam exploded, tugging on his short hair and folding in half. ‘Fuck, I’m so stupid.’

‘Oi, it wasn’t your fault,’ Zayn said, touching frowning as he touched Liam’s shoulder. ‘They were asking for it.’

‘It doesn’t matter if they deserved it or not. I’m fucked either way.’

‘What are you on about, Payne?’ Louis asked, surprised as the other boy wasn’t one to swear often.

‘I threw the first punch. There were people filming the bloody thing and we’re all in a school uniforms, I’m bloody screwed.’ Liam pushed his fist hard into his eyes, like that would stop the tears Louis could hear in his voice.

‘Liam, don’t be ridiculous,’ Zayn said. ‘Nobody can pin this on you, man. Obviously, everyone played a part in it.’

‘Of course they can blame me. I’ll lose my scholarship for this, I know it.’

‘No,’ Louis denied instantly. ‘Why would they do that?’

‘Because not everyone has the safety of their daddy’s rich pockets, Louis,’ Liam snapped. ‘All it will take is one word from Porter’s father, and part of a video to reach the professors, and there I am—the perfect, cost-free scapegoat, and everything I’ve worked for gone.’

‘We won’t let them do that to you,’ Zayn said, wrapping his arm around Liam’s shoulders, and trying to pull the other boy’s attention to him again, but Liam just shook his head and pinched his eyes silently.

‘Look,’ Niall said, shifting anxiously. ‘Wait here a sec. I’ll see if I can grab your school bags out.’

‘Cheers Nialler, you’re a good friend,’ Louis said.

‘Yeah, yeah,’ Niall waved him off, disappearing back inside. Louis blinked, realising that Harry had been quiet for a while, and panic spiked in him for a second as he thought that Harry had gone, but as whirled around he caught sight off the boy leaning against the wall behind him, thumbing at the cut on his lip, a brooding look on his face.

Louis made his way over cautiously. ‘You okay,’ he asked softly.

Harry’s gaze flickered up to meet his, and then away again. ‘M’fine.’

‘Sorry about that in there. Assholes from my school.’

‘Whatever.’ Harry said scowling off at the ground again.

 Louis stood, feeling awkward for some reason, and unsure what to do with his hands, so he just put them in his pockets, but that didn’t feel right either so he took them out a moment later. Harry just remained hunched over with his arms crossed, and Louis couldn’t tell if he was still mad because of the fight, or angry at him for some reason. He had never felt before like Harry was deliberately blocking him out, and it made something cold and hard form high in his throat.

‘You got pretty into it back there,’ he said.

Harry shot Louis a look, and he saw the annoyance clear in his eyes this time, but the other boy didn’t say anything else.

A moment later the door opened again and Niall returned hauling their bags.

Liam and Zayn grabbed their bags quickly—Liam still shaking his head as Zayn guided him away, talking to him softly and trying to assure him that things would be fine. Zayn mouthed goodbye to Louis, and Louis nodded back as the two left together. There was no way they’d let anything happen to Liam, no matter what because he looked out for the people he cared about. His thoughts turned to Harry again, and he worried at his lip as he dug in his bag for his wallet.

He slipped Niall a couple of large bills to pay for all their meals, and he turned around again to see Harry walking away—already half up the alley, leaving without even saying goodbye.

‘Harry! Hey, where are you going? Look, can I call you later?’ Louis yelled after him.

Harry turned around without stopping, shouting over his shoulder. ‘No, sorry, I lost my phone.’

And with that Harry rounded the corner and Louis lost sight of him, and he felt so confused. He didn’t know what was happening between them. He hadn’t realised until today how much he thought about Harry everyday, how much he talked about the other boy, or how he waited for the school day to end, just so he could get to the gate and see if he was waiting for him. Harry obviously didn’t think the same way about him though, why would he anyway?

Things had been easier when they were just friends, it would be better for both of them if they just went back to that. He just wished it didn’t feel so shit.

1D

Louis’ parents ended up wanting him to go along with them to the stupid event thing they had on that night, and since his only excuse to stay home was schoolwork, he ended up buttoned up into a suit and stuck in the Bentley while his driver took him up took him to meet his parents there.

The whole night was just as boring as Louis had expected it to be. His parents had tried to introduce him to several daughters of their friends, Louis had tried to get as many drinks from the severs when his parents weren’t watching, and all in all he felt like he had wasted two hours of his life once he finally convinced his parents to let him go home early.

Once safe back in his car, Louis’ thoughts turned back to the confrontation in the coffeehouse, running over every conversation and action leading up to and after, wondering over what he could have said different to convince Harry to like him back as more than just a buddy. They had become friends years ago when they had once gone to the same school. They’d met again through Niall who had known Liam, only this time Harry looked a lot less like that kid that had followed whatever crazy scheme Louis thought up, and a lot more like the latest of Louis’ shags. Now even that was changing. Louis groaned, geez, the kid was messing with his head.

He told his driver to take the back roads out of the traffic, and coincidently down past where he knew Harry lived. The driver sounded confused, but did as Louis asked and turned off. Louis bit the skin of thumb as he stared out the window, wondering if Harry would be there after school tomorrow, wondering if the younger boy even wanted to see Louis again.

For a moment as he stared out the window, he even thought he saw Harry walking along the street—and it took him a second to realise that, no wait, it actually was Harry.

‘Pull over,’ Louis ordered his driver.

‘Sir?’

‘Just do it. I know him.’

He saw his driver give him a strange look through the rear-view mirror, but the man obediently pulled the car up to the curb, and Louis rolled the window down to lean out.

‘Hey!’

Harry was hunched in on himself as he walked, wearing the same clothes he had on earlier, but now with a raggedy backpack, and his shoulders slumped, but his whole back tensed at Louis’ call.

‘Look, mate, I told you, I’m not getting in your fucking car!’ Harry said, before turning to look over his shoulder, and his expression changed when he saw Louis.

Louis frowned at him as his driver rolled the car to stop level with Harry. Louis looked up the street, and his brow furrowed further when he realised the were other cars pulling up to the curb up ahead to talk to some scantily clad woman standing there, leaning in towards their windows.

‘Louis, I—’ Harry ran a hand over his face. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘Giving you a ride, apparently. Get in.’

‘Sir,’ the driver protested. ‘Your parents—’

‘Don’t pay you to have opinions on who I let into my car,’ Louis returned snippily, opening the door for Harry. ‘Come on.’

Harry hesitated, his hands in his pockets and the wind playing with his long shirt as he looked back up the street, like he was considering saying no.

‘Harry,’ Louis said, watching his face.

Harry pressed his lips together, frowning at nothing as he nodded and made to get in. Louis scooted back for Harry to clamber inside, dropping his back pack to the floor of the car, and closing the door behind him. Louis rolled up the black window between him and the driver, and turned off the microphone above his head, blocking the driver off completely from the backseat.

Harry slouched over even more in Louis’ car, sitting awkwardly on the leather seats, sitting with his feet turned together and his hands on his knees, like he’d been called to the Headmasters office to be told off. His eyes a little wide as he looked around Louis’ car, careful about what he touched and Louis was suddenly very aware of his fancy suit, tailor-fitted, and steamed clean Giovanni, and of how Harry was avoiding looking at him.

‘What are you doing wandering the streets, Haz?’

Harry sighed, looking out the tinted window as the driver pulled away. ‘I was going to my friend’s house to stay.’

‘At eleven on a school night?’

Harry gave a short laugh, closing his eyes briefly. ‘Oh, God, you know this was this was a bad idea, just let me out along here, I can walk just fine.’

‘Oi.’ Louis reached for Harry’s hand, taking it in his own, realising how tired Harry looked for the first time, as he ran his thumb over the other boy’s knuckles. ‘Come on, don’t shut me out.’

‘I’m not. I just don’t want to blabber on about my problems to you.’

‘Why? You know I’d listen to you Harry. If you’re in trouble or something—’

‘It’s not that,’ Harry shifted his grip to clench at Louis’ hand properly. ‘It’s just basically… You’re just so different, you have no idea about anything.’

‘Hey,’ Louis protested.

‘No, I mean you make me forget about everything that’s going on, just by being you. It’s nice. You don’t need to hear me going on about my stuff.’

Louis gaped at him. ‘What? Of course I want to hear about it. And if bottling it up does this to you, then I think talking’s the better option, right?’

‘Lou…’

‘Why were you walking along the street?’

Harry expelled a long breath, sinking back against the leather seats, and Louis scooted closer, moving one hand to grip Harry’s shoulder.

‘Because my landlord finally kicked me out. I came home to a sign on my door telling me I’d been evicted and my landlord gave me my stuff and told me to get lost.’

‘Evicted?’ Louis sat back, head reeling. ‘Why didn’t you say anything? What about your mother?’

Harry gave a weak shrug, looking out the window to try and hide the misery plain on his face. ‘Mum skipped town about a month ago. She got a new boyfriend. He never really liked me.’

‘You’re joking.’ Louis stared at him.

‘It wasn’t… she didn’t mean to at first. She was just going on like, a holiday with him for a month. She left me a bit of money and I had a job at the time so…’

‘Harry.’ Louis moved his hand to Harry’s neck and cupped his jaw. ‘Why on earth didn’t you say anything?’

‘I didn’t want to.’ Harry curled his hand around  Louis’ elbow. ‘I’ve been fine anyway. I’m looking for a new job every chance I get, I just ran out of time now with the landlord.’

‘Shit. I’m so sorry—I had no idea.’

‘It’s not your fault.’ Harry huffed. ‘I already said I didn’t want you to know.’

‘Why though?’ Louis leaned forward, gripping Harry’s face hard in both hands now. ‘I could’ve helped you, bloody idiot. I would’ve easily.’

‘I’m not your charity case, Lou.’

‘Don’t be a shit-head. If you really need help, you ask for it. If it was just some stupid pride issue—’

‘I’m not going be some whore with a sugar daddy,’ Harry said flatly.

Louis sat back. ‘Now you are being a shit-head.’

‘This is why I didn’t want you to know.’ Harry scowled. ‘I didn’t want you to see me differently.’

‘Harry, I—fuck, I really like you, okay? I don’t want to see you hurting or in trouble like this, not when I can help so easy. I care too much for that.’

Harry’s eyes flicked over Louis’ face. ‘You really mean that?’

‘Yes. Fuck.’ Louis closed the distance between them, kissing Harry hard. ‘So much. Even if you don’t return the same, I really—’

Harry surged up and kissed back, his hand delving into Louis’ hair and gripping tight as he pushed forward to kiss him deeper, before breaking off sharply. ‘You think this now, but I’m not anyone, really. You’ll get bored—’

‘No,’ Louis swore, kissing Harry sharply in between his words and hugging him tight. ‘I could never. I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you. Honestly, I am. And I’m so sorry you went through it alone.’

‘I wasn’t,’ Harry said muffled into Louis’ neck. ‘You did help, even if you didn’t know you were helping.’

Louis pulled back slightly, gazing down at Harry and at how they were entwined on the back seat. How Harry’s faded jeans looked beneath the sleek black of his suit trousers, and how the other boy’s shirt hung loose on his torso. It scared him that he had known so little about what was going on, how much Harry had hidden from him, and how much he wanted to protect the boy from anything that could ever hurt him.

‘I want to take care of you.’

Harry looked away, red tinging his cheeks. ‘I don’t want you to feel like you have to.’

‘Too bad,’ Louis said, sliding off the bench seat to kneel on the carpeted floor, pushing himself between Harry’s legs.

Harry inhaled, his hand finding Louis’ on his leg as he looked around at the windows. ‘Your driver?’

‘Can’t see, or hear anything. And the windows are tinted dark proper tinted so no one can see in,’ Louis said, batting away Harry’s hands to push up his crumpled shirt and tug at the button on his jeans.

‘Louis.’ Harry broke into a little half smile like he couldn’t help it. ‘You don’t have to—’

‘Are you about to tell me I don’t have to suck your cock?’ Louis raised his eyebrows.

‘N-No?’ Harry rolled his hips up as Louis pulled his jeans down off his hips, free his already half hard length from his pants.

‘That’s what I thought.’ Louis gripped the top of Harry’s thighs and lowered his head down to drag his lips up Harry’s length, feeling it fill and hardened beneath his touch.

Harry bit off a groan, before gasping out. ‘I wasn’t lying earlier.’

Louis looked up past the heave of Harry’s chest to his open mouth and darkening eyes. ‘About what?’ He held the other boy’s cock in place, mouthing idly at the head.

‘That you look real pretty on your knees.’

Louis grinned up at him, and wickedly took right into his mouth, causing Harry’s breathe to shudder and his hands to clench at the leather seats. Louis pushed down till he felt his throat flicker as his gag reflex struggled to kick in, but he fought against it, forcing his throat to open around Harry and keeping him there, and had to close his eyes as a shiver of pleasure went over his whole body.

‘Move,’ Harry pleaded above him, his thighs quivering like he was barely holding back from pushing deeper.

Louis opened his eyes again and sucked hard, drawing the suction up the hard pulsing length right to the tip, tasting the salty drops escaping from the top. Harry groaned through gritted teeth, twisting his head to the side, and Louis could see the sweat gleaming on his collar bone and the tension in his arms.

Louis pulled off slowly, moving Harry’s hand to the back of his own head, into his hair. ‘This is for you, alright? Just… take what you want.’

Harry’s hand clenched on the back of his head, pressing his head down again his hips rising off the seat as he pushed himself back inside. He surged forward, curling his body forward to hang over Louis, as he took him as deep as he could again. With the pressure of Harry’s hand at the back of his skull holding him in tight, he worked to the best rhythm he could find, stealing breath when he could to push down harder.

‘Fuck.’ Harry slid his other hand down over Louis’ shoulder and clutching him in almost a hug as he bent his body over, his cock so hard in Louis’ mouth that his jaw began to ache from the pressure of holding it so open for him.

Harry’s fingers released his almost painful grip on his hair to stroke his head, patting him as Louis clenched his eyes tight and strained his neck to open his jaw further. When he briefly opened his eyes, all he could see were the muscles of Harry’s thighs and stomach tightening around his face.

‘Louis,’ Harry gasped above him, his voice coming ruined as his hips pushed up into Louis one final time, the other boy’s arms shuddering as he clutched Louis’ shoulders and head, spilling into Louis’ throat. Louis clung back, fighting his instinct to pull away for air and working through it to swallow everything Harry gave him.

Harry sighed as he came down, his fingers absently stroking the back of Louis’ head. Louis closed his eyes at how nice it felt, breathing wetly around Harry’s softening cock in his mouth, until it finally slipped slickly from his lips and he lifted his head to meet Harry’s eyes.

‘Stay,’ Louis croak out, and then cleared his throat. ‘Stay with me. Come to my house.’

Harry sighed out his name, shifting Louis to a more comfortable position against his thigh. ‘What about your parents?’

‘They won’t mind.’

‘They don’t know you’re gay though, do they?’ His green eyes were knowing in the dim light. Louis licked his lips, still tasting the other boy on them.

‘No,’ he admitted. ‘But half my school thinks I am anyway.’

‘It’s not the same thing though. I won’t make you do that.’

‘It’s not you decision.’ Louis flicked his fringe out of his eyes.

Harry smoothed the hair away for him, smiling. ‘No, exactly my point. It’s yours, and I don’t want to make you do it because you feel that you have to. Besides, it’s easier if I stayed with this friend I have who said he’d take me.’

‘What friend? Who?’

‘Well, his name is Nick. He’s a nice guy.’

Louis frowned. ‘I don’t like him.’

‘You don’t even know him.’ Harry laughed, touching Louis’ neck.

‘So?’

‘Lou, I promise. I’ll be fine.’

‘Look, Harry. No matter what else is going on, beyond anything that happens or that people say, I’m your friend and I want to be with you.’ Louis licked his lips, still tasting the other boy on them. ‘I mean, only if you want to be with me.’

‘You can’t be serious. I’m—’ Harry shook his head, gesturing to himself, ‘—a mess. Why would you want to be with me?’

 ‘Harry,’ Louis said, incredulous. ‘You are so unbelievably strong and just brave. I could never go through what you have and be fine.’

‘I’m not brave.’

‘You are. I’ll keep saying it, till you believe me.’

Louis climbed up and settled on the seat, half on top of Harry, and the other boy’s arm came around his shoulders instinctively. Louis trailed his hand Harry’s thigh and carefully tucked the boy back into his jeans, before resting his head on Harry’s chest.

They sat quiet for a moment; his head lifting with Harry’s every breath and the soft rumble of the engine around them as they watched the lights passing outside the windows.

‘Please don’t shut me out again,’ Louis said, looking up at Harry from the odd angle. ‘I’m not sure I can take it.’

Harry watched him for a moment, before leaning down and kissing his head, speaking into Louis’ hair. ‘All right. Sorry, love.’

Louis’ heart clenched in his chest and he couldn’t help the smile that took over his face.

 

 

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