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come on jump out at me

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Louis Tomlinson is slightly annoyed.

He’s currently at a crowded club for James Corden’s premiere of him hosting the ‘Late Late Show’ and while Louis loves James, Louis is not currently in the mood for a club.

The invitational text had said, “Mate I want to celebrate with my closest friends and some booze” and Louis was all for that. However, now in the stuffed rented out club with half of Hollywood, Louis would very much like to have six shots and then leave.

He’s already congratulated James; clinked his glass with his, told him how proud he was of him, ribbed him for not letting Louis be on the first show. He could theoretically leave. He absolutely could. but he doesn’t want to be the first one to go at midnight. That’s just awkward.

So Louis avoids talking to any Kardashian and moves along the dance floor, eyeing up anyone he might be able to hold a conversation with for longer than 10 seconds. Louis loves being an actor. Truly he does. However, he needs to be prepared mentally for these events. He needs to mentally be ready to be in a crowd full of socialites. A bath beforehand, maybe a book to keep his mind strong before it deflates a tad. James did not prepare him.

He spots a tuff of red hair and chats up Ed Sheeran, who he had met at one of Ed’s gigs totally fangirling, for a least a half an hour before excusing himself to the bathroom. He almost runs into the door, cursing the 4 cosmos he’s had in the last two hours.

He’s minding his own business in the large bathroom, when the door swings open loudly. Louis doesn’t bother turning around until the person who walks in breaks all bathroom etiquette and occupies the urinal directly next to him. Louis can hear him unzipper.

Louis shouldn’t be able to hear him unzipper.

He glances quickly out of the corner of his eye, his pee stream somehow not going down yet. For god’s sake, this is the longest pee of his life.

He sees the long curls first, then the lean body, and his back goes rigid.

That’s Harry Styles. Fuck, that’s Harry Styles. Louis worshipped him when he was forced to watch the X-Factor with his, at the time, 15 year old sister Lottie. Lottie (and Louis, although he would never admit it) followed Harry Styles’ input into One Direction and their rise to fame. Within Louis’ entire acting career, which started almost right after One Direction lost the X-Factor, they had never crossed paths. Never once met. Louis’ 18 year old self was screaming internally. Louis’ 24 year old self is wondering why Harry Styles’ 21 year old self is such a fucking wierdo who doesn’t know bathroom etiquette.

Louis’ pee is just about to let up, when Harry starts humming next to him.

Fucking humming.

Louis zips up his pants, sidestepping Harry, and moves to the sinks to wash his hands.

Harry’s humming stops abruptly.

Louis turns his head involuntary towards him, but Harry’s eyes are glued elsewhere. Louis quirks his head, finding Harry’s line of vision going straight towards his ass.

Harry styles literally has his eyes glued to Louis’ ass.

Louis clears his throat. Harry’s eyes don’t waver at all. Louis uses this as an excuse to stare unabashedly at the loose silky shirt Harry’s wearing; half off his shoulders, and also half unbuttoned showing the peak of his butterfly tattoo. His legs are long and he’s wearing gold boots to match his gold silk shirt. Louis’ mouth goes a little dry.

Until he realizes Harry Styles is speaking. Muttering softly to himself while still glancing back at Louis’ ass every few seconds then zipping up his pants.

Louis takes his time washing his hands, trying to listen to a member of the world’s biggest boyband rattle off details of the bathroom to himself. Honestly. What the fuck.

“That’s Louis Tomlinson. What an ass on him,” Harry tells himself. Christ, he has no idea he’s even speaking, does he? “Perky little bum, fant-ass-tic. bum-tastic, bum-azing.”

Harry turns to join Louis at the sinks, smiling wobbly at Louis while simultaneously trying to watch his feet to make sure he’s walking right.

“Be cool. Right. Left. Right. Left,” Harry’s inner monologue continues while Louis lathers his hands.

Harry washes his hands quickly before smiling one more time at Louis, eyes sparkling and just a tinge pink, “Back to the party. Go see Ed. Say hello. Don’t smoke more.”

Louis stares at the door in horror. Harry Styles, while high, apparently recites his entire inner monologue out loud, without even realizing it. There goes saying his celebrity crush is Harry Styles once he comes out next month. He had it all planned too. Shock them with a boyband crush, a real crush, the actual truth, as opposed to the lies he told in the beginning of his career and the jokes he's been doing for the last 4 years. But now after witnessing Harry narrate to himself about Louis’ ass and the bathroom…..

Harry styles is not endearing, especially while high. Harry styles is fucking weird.

-----

The next month and a half is a whirlwind for Louis. He has his coming out interview with his face plastered on almost every magazine, and Louis is relieved. He’s stressed the fuck out for two weeks after it’s printed, holed up in Doncaster with his family, but he’s relieved.

The weeks after his coming out he’s offered role after role, and he spends the better part of the month, reading, rehearsing and auditioning for role after role.

It also helps that in his first appearance since coming out he won his first Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, so.

There’s also that.

He’s currently on his way to the Brits, having to present an award for British Music Video of the year. because Brits must present awards to Brits, and he loves to support his fellow British artists.

He’s so distracted by everything that has been going on with himself, with his first Oscar nomination and the Oscars in less than five days, he doesn’t realize until he’s on the stage announcing the names that One Direction is in this category. And One Direction very well might win.

He hasn’t thought about Harry Styles in the last month and a half. Not at all. Hasn’t checked his twitter or instagram. And definitely hasn’t listened to Lottie’s incessant chatter about how she met them while working with their stylist. He didn’t save the selfie of her and Harry. He swears.

Louis takes a deep breath, clearing his head. “And the winner is..” he opens the envelope slowly, reading the name and making eye contact with the camera, “One Direction.”

There’s a yell from the audience, and Louis looks for the source and sees the four boys crowded in a group hug, yelling wildly. Harry makes the move to the stage first fixing his curls, Liam following with a puppy like smile. Niall is practically jumping behind him, and Zayn moving swiftly behind him, laughing at Niall.

Louis realizes he has to hug them as they walk up the stairs. Shit, he’s sweating.

Harry smiles brilliantly at him, going in for a one armed hug, which Louis has to reach up to even hug him. Fuck him.

Liam is next, a broad expanse of chest as he squeezes Louis a little too tight.

Niall bounces up next, lifting Louis high up off his feet, kissing him on the cheek while Zayn just pats Louis on the back.

Louis is in hysterics as he hands over the award, and steps out of their way.

One Direction’s speech is a blur to him, and before he knows it they’re all being escorted backstage.

Niall comes up to him first, arms crossed, and hands deep in his own armpits. Must be a nervous tick. “Hi dude, wow, it’s such an honor to meet you! Thank ya for the award.”

Louis laughs, “I wasn’t the one who chose you, just read it off the card mate. But it’s nice to meet you, too. Been a fan for a long time.”

Liam practically lights up, “We’re fans of you! Are you kidding me? You got nominated for an Oscar! Are you excited? Nervous?”

Heat pools in Louis’ stomach, as he glances at Harry who just is staring at Louis intently with a creepy frog gaze.

“Bit nervous yeah, but I’m sure you guys aren’t familiar with the fear of losing. Have you ever lost an award?” Louis ribs them.

“Are you familiar with losing an award?” Zayn retorts, a smirk on his face.

“Fair enough. I’ll keep that in mind at the oscars,” Louis winks as their assistant comes over.

“Picture time boys, and then you have to go back to your seats,” she directs.

The boys and Louis arrange themselves for the pictures, and then they shuffle out with a cheery chorus of good luck and nice to meet you.

Except Harry who holds back.

Louis stills, looking at him curiously.

“I just wanted to properly introduce myself not, um,” Harry coughs into his fist, “under the influence, if i remember correctly.”

“You peeing on me in the loo been haunting you for the last couple months?” Louis drops his voice for comedic effect.

Harry’s eyes practically bulge out, “I peed on you?” he whispers in a voice so high pitched dogs could probably hear it.

Louis keeps a straight face for about 3 seconds, “No,” Harry sags in relief, “you didn’t. but you did say a few things that were quite memorable.”

Harry’s cheeks turn pink.

“Come on Harry!” Liam calls from the corner of the room, noticing that Harry wasn’t in the bunch.

He dawdles for a few seconds smiling shyly, “It’s nice to meet you Louis. Good luck on your Oscar. I’m sure you will win,” Harry holds out his hand for Louis to shake it.

Louis takes his hand, trying not to concentrate on how it dwarfs his own, “It’s nice to meet you too Harry. Congratulations on your award.”

“Harry!” Liam calls again.

Harry smiles one last time, and starts taking a few quick steps away from Louis.

Louis is watching his retreating (see: broad as hell) back, when Harry stops and turns around again, a serious look on his face.

Louis doesn’t like his eyebrows like that.

His face evens out as he makes eye contact with Louis, “Also,” Harry swallows, his adam’s apple bobbing. Louis quickly meets his eyes. “Congratulations on coming out,” his low voice rumbles through Louis’ body. Harry takes a deep breath before adding, “it was very brave of you.”

And with that he’s running off, practically tripping to meet up with a curious Liam, who waves at Louis again.

It takes louis 3 seconds to breath again. 1 minute to stop the butterflies in his stomach. And 3 days to wipe the smile off of his face. Louis would be lying if he said that “it was very brave of you” didn’t get him through his entire night at the Oscars. Especially during his speech for his win.

He’d also be lying if he said he didn’t search ‘Harry Styles gay’ the night of the Oscars.

All that had come up was pretty models and rainbow flags. To which louis swallowed hard and refused to look it up again.

----

The room smells heavily of perfume and Louis vaguely wants to gag. He’s currently at an afterparty for London Fashion Week, even though he had only managed to snag the Topman show.

He’s entirely not drunk enough, and his date is his sister, who fucked off at least a half hour before to go chat up some model.

The two weeks post Oscars have been hell. He’s done so many interviews he can barely stand another question thrown his way, and he’s neck deep in scripts that he can’t decide on.

Basically he’s tired and he wants to go home.

He spots his sister living it up with a group of models, laughing and his heart twinges a little bit. Louis has friends. He’s the life of the party at most events, a big personality with an even bigger mouth. But famous friends? Friends that show up at this kind of events that actually have an invite? He could count them on one hand. Yeah he’d rather have a beer with his best friend Stan from back home and go see a Donny Rovers game but, sometimes it would be nice to have a group of friends that go to these events.

Louis sighs before ordering another drink at the bar, taking it out onto the balcony where there’s a nice view of the city. He sits alone on the lawn chairs, the weather too cold for anyone else to really come outside.

He’s staring at the lights of the city, trying to peek into the lives of people in the apartment complex across the street when he hears footsteps behind him.

“Boring inside?” a deep voice asks. Louis turns around quickly to see Garry walking up to his chair. He’s got on an interestingly designed suit, that make his legs and torso look like they go on for days. But there’s a light blush on his face, with the moon highlighting his curls and eyes, and he looks beautiful.

Louis smiles, “A bit yeah.”

Harry gestures to the seat next to him, “Can i sit?”

“Yeah,” Louis squeaks out. He hadn’t even realized Harry would be at this party. Fuck. They went 5 years without seeing each other. And now it’s been three times in 3 months.

Harry wordlessly takes the seat next to him, staring out at the London sky as well.

It takes Louis a few moments to stop staring at the Harry’s profile and look at the view instead.

Once he begins looking at the view, he can feel Harry’s eyes on him. How fucking convenient.

They’re both silent for a couple of minutes, just watching the world below them.

“You’re a fucking dick!” someone yells from below, to which the person who is the dick replies, “I hope you fucking choke!”

Harry and Louis turn to each other immediately laughing.

“I hope that wasn’t their first date,” Harry laughs.

“Maybe it was a great first date and that was just the foreplay,” Louis counters.

Harry seems to ponder it for a second before shrugging, “Could be. Maybe he wants her to choke on his dick.”

Louis cackles loudly, shaking his head disbelievingly, “You’re something else Harry Styles.”

Harry looks pleased, eyes sparkling like he’s proud of the fact he made Louis laugh.

They both fall silent, eyes back on the London skyline.

Louis can feel Harry’s eyes on him again.

He turns his head slowly to meet his gaze, finding Harry’s eyebrows in the same angry shape as he had seen them in their previous meeting. He still didn’t like it.

“What are you thinking Styles?”

Harry shakes his head, looking back over the ledge.

Louis waits.

Finally, Harry breaks his silence. “It’s just,” he starts, voice low, crackling almost, “What does it feel like?”

Louis looks at him curiously, “What does what feel like?”

Harry pauses, the silence entirely too overwhelming for louis. “being out.”

Louis deflates, thinking of the models, the rainbow flags, the ass comments, the fucking models.

Of course. Of fucking course. God, Louis heart breaks just looking at the boy who is refusing to make eye contact with anything other than the apartment building Louis was once staring at.

“I feel like everyone just wonders if I actually get it up the ass or I like to give it up the ass,” Louis blurts.

Harry snorts so loud that the people who were arguing probably heard it.

They both dissolve into laughter though and that was the point.

Once the laughter subsides, Louis’ wonder takes over, “I’m guessing you want to be out?”

Harry nods as if he’s afraid to say it, but eventually forms words. “More than anything. I’ve been looking into my contract reading everything up and down, talking to other people in the industry. Seems like I could only get out if I got caught in the loo with a boy.”

They’re both silent for a couple moments. “Yeah, my manager talked about a controlled outing with me. Had me consider it during all of my options. Basically I’d be outed but it’d be on my own terms, and no one would know it.”

Harry’s nodding along intently, "Yeah, I,” he coughs, “heard about that too.”

They both take a deep breath, turning back to the sky, people yelling down below again.

Louis mind whirls. He fucking knows Cowell. Knows those contracts, seeing as he was offered one from Cowell’s fuckwad of a management team. They eventually got so frustrated with Louis being so mouthy, that they withdrew their offer on the claims that he was unmanageable. Louis won in that deal though. But Harry, and One Direction, god they were just kids. And they had lost the X-Factor, he can’t imagine what Cowell could have worked into that contract. The stronghold that they were in. The amount that they were probably fighting back, and the amount they are willing to fight back.

Louis finishes off his drink to end that thought.

“What if,” Harry trails off.

“What if what?” Louis’ heart hammers at the tone of Harry’s voice.

“What if I did out myself on my own terms?” Louis whips his head to look at Harry, whose eyes are wide, full of contemplation.

Louis shakes his head, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Louis starts.

“Not to the public but like, to my management and Simon and things. like, I was blackmailed. and I could come out if the pictures were buried or something. I don’t know it like,” Harry stops frustrated. “It makes sense up here,” he taps his head a few times.

Louis’ breath gets short. He can not believe this is the fucking conversation he is having at 2 am on a balcony with Harry fucking Styles at a fucking after party for London Fashion week two weeks after he won a fucking Oscar.

“You’re saying if someone went to your management with pictures of you, gay pictures of you,” he clarifies, “and threatened to publish them and then you could make your management make you come out with the threat of that? Is that what you’re saying?”

“I think so yeah,” Harry nods, “Like if someone asked them for a sum of money. I could be like give them the money, and then let me come out so this doesn’t happen again. You can’t ban me from sleeping with people so I can’t guarantee this won’t happen again. But if I’m out..”

Louis nods along, though he feels sick to his stomach with the thought of someone toying with Harry like that, even if it was agreed upon.

“It would have to be someone you trust. And someone who could stand up to Simon Cowell without shitting their pants.”

Harry laughs, but it’s strangled.

It’s quiet for a long moment. “Doesn’t Simon dislike you?”

Louis closes his eyes, his heart halfway to his throat. He knows where this is going. He should stop it. He should fucking stop it.

“Yeah, we have a bit of a history I’d say. He called me unmanageable. But it’s okay I’ve got much better management now.”

“So I’ve heard,” Harry mutters, mostly to himself, then pauses. He meets Louis’ eyes so intensely that Louis is afraid he might jump off the building to run away from the stare.

“So are you going to do this with me then?” he asks. Just fucking asks, just like that.

“Harry,” Louis starts.

“I don’t know why but I trust you. I trust that you can handle my management. And I trust that you can act out this lie. I trust that we can make up a crazy story, and I trust that you wouldn’t fuck me over,” Harry’s voice doesn’t waver, “I’d like you to help me. You don’t have to help me but, I’d really like it if you would.”

Harry shouldn’t be asking him this. Harry really shouldn’t be asking him this. But Louis also shouldn’t be saying the next words that come out of his mouth.

“Okay. I’ll help you.”

------

Louis wakes up in a panic.

He shouldn’t have agreed to help Harry Styles. He shouldn’t have given Harry Styles his number (written on the inside of his wrist so no one could see or track it).

He hadn’t had time to even process Harry’s offer completely before agreeing. God. What was he thinking?

Louis stumbles out of bed and into the shower, determined to not think about Harry. And to just think about the scripts he has on his desk (three of which are listed under ‘Immediate Attention’ from his manager).

He grabs himself a bowl a pops, and settles into the scripts.

The first one is a historical fiction. The second a drama with him playing a stereotypical white guy in a romance with some girl. Boring. The third one has his eyes bulging.

Now that would be an interesting role.

He reads through the script quickly, absolutely enthralled. He doesn’t waste any time texting his manager and telling him to get him an audition ASAP.

Louis moves to the couch, no official responsibilities for the rest of the day. He wants that role. That’s my next movie, he thinks determinedly.

He pulls out his laptop, doing some character research, before his mind wanders and he finds himself googling Harry Styles. Again.

Louis settles into the cushions, finding himself on a downward spiral of fans who dedicate their time to supporting and striving to find information of Harry being not straight, and the band being maltreated. It is nauseating what the boys have to deal with and heartwarming that these girls and boys are so positive for Harry and his sexuality. They gather evidence and support endlessly. Louis’ heart warms at the fact that Harry has people like this in his corner.

But at the same time those fans are creative, wow. Louis wills himself not to get a boner (and not get jealous) looking at the drawings and photoshopped pictures of Harry in compromising positions alone and with Niall, Zayn, and Liam separately (and together). Louis stares at a particular one formation of them all together in wonder how it even logically works.
He shakes his head moving on. There’s a series of drawings of Harry in panties which Louis is probably going to lose sleep over, and some very convincing photoshopped pictures of Harry with a dick up his ass.

Louis sighs. They’re going to need to go over their plan a bit more.

----

“Are you,” Louis trails off disbelievingly, “are you calling me from a burner phone right now?”

“Yes,” Harry answers seriously. “I bought ten with cash.”

“Harry do they even check your phone and credit card records?” Louis can’t, he can’t even fucking imagine how that’s legal. How that would be allowed. How logically this Harry’s first thought on how to handle this situation.

Harry is quiet for a moment, “I’m just trying not to do anything illegal that would be traced back to me and hold up in the court of law.”

Louis considers this. “So who bought the phones?”

“My step dad and his argument for the court of law is he is having an affair,” Harry recites. “Not that it’s true of course, but it’s a good lie.”

Louis breathes out, “I don’t think we’re going to get there to have to use that excuse.”

“Hopefully.” Harry’s quiet for a moment. “How many houses do you have that aren’t known to the public or are not under your name?”

“Two,” Louis answers automatically. “Can you text on that phone? I’ll pick one and I can text you the address.”

“Pick your favorite one.” Louis’ heart skips. “When can we meet? I’m off for three more days before we’re back on tour in the states.”

“Well,” Louis looks around his empty flat, and stares at television with the rerun of america’s next top model playing, “I’m free now I suppose. I’ll bring takeout.”

“Sounds great. I’ll go to some shops around home to be seen then I’ll meet you. Where’s the house?”

“Cheshire.”

“Perfect. Shouldn’t be too far from home then,” he can hear Harry’s smile. “Text me the address. I’ll see you soon.”

“Okay sounds good,” Louis’ heart is practically racing and he has no idea what type of food to pick up. Chinese? Indian? Italian?

“Wait Louis?”

“Yes?” Louis pauses the tv.

“Do I literally burn this phone? Or can i toss it in the bin?”

Louis laughs so hard he has to hang up immediately.

----

Louis opens the front door to a hooded figure 4 hours later, when the sky is already dark.

He slips past him so quickly that Louis is almost nervous he’s just let a burglar into his house.

Louis shuts the door, as Harry pulls down his hood. “Really taking this seriously then? Getting into your role?” Louis nods to the black sweatshirt that Harry shrugs off.

“Just taking one out of your book Mr. Oscar winner,” Harry teases, his smile blinding. He’s wearing a lavender sweater now that his black burglar get-up is gone and Louis thinks this is probably the best he’s ever seen him.

Louis hums in response, giving Harry a smile which he knows has his eyes looking all fond. Who the fuck cares. It’s been like four meetings but who the fuck cares.

“I brought Chinese, Indian, and pizza,” Louis walks into the kitchen, leaving Harry to follow him. “I really didn’t know which one you would want so I panicked and bought them all. I love leftovers anyway,” Louis shrugs, a blush starting to form on his cheeks. It was a lot smoother in his head when he rehearsed it forty times while waiting for Harry to get here.

Louis hadn’t lost an ounce of panic in the hour drive it took for him to get from his usual flat near Doncaster, so he’s close to his family, to this house.

Harry fixes his hair and looks at Louis his eyebrows furrowed, a contemplative look on his face. The only thing that gives him away in his faux serious consideration is the tiny quip of his lip. “Hmmm, what ever should I choose? So many options!”

Harry makes a show of examining each container, oohing and ahhing at each option. For christ’s sake it’s just a cheese pizza, yet Harry makes it seem like he’s at an art gallery.

“I think one of each is appropriate,” Harry goes into the cabinets automatically, searching for plates and utensils. “I’ll make your plate too.”

Louis gathers them each a beer and water, organizing a spot for them on the couch in the living room. He doesn’t really fancy sitting across from Harry at a table so formally. He’d rather sit on a couch like bros. Pals. Bros pals who are just gonna take bro pics so he can threaten to out Harry Styles to Simon Cowell. Just everyday bro pal things. Lads even.

Harry places a plate in front of Louis, and plops down on the couch next to him.

Louis takes the plate and digs in, barely noticing Harry’s quiet stare.

“You know, I offered for you to fake out me, but, I don’t know anything about you other than you being my biggest celebrity crush probably since Posh Spice.”

Louis almost chokes on his chicken, “Jesus Christ,” he sputters.

Harry takes a swig of his beer with a smirk. “I was very disappointed when you didn’t say I was your celebrity crush after you came out.”

Louis almost cries. “You know I did plan on it. Then I ran into you narrating taking a piss and talking about my ass and I thought ‘wow this kid does talk some shit’ and decided against it.”

Harry barks out a laugh, his ears tinged red. He takes a bite of his pizza. “I suppose I do have no filter while high.”

Louis rolls his eyes, “Bit of an understatement, mate.”

Harry giggles, “Whatever pal,” Louis screams internally. “I expect the next time for you to say I’m your celebrity crush. Since you’re going to have to be somewhat interested in me in order to sleep with me and take naked pictures of me.”

Louis sucks in a breath, “I was actually thinking-”

Harry drops his slice of pizza. “You’re not bailing, are you?”

“No, no, no,” Louis rushes out, “I just. I, god,” Louis is flustered. “I sort of looked up some stuff and like. I don’t think pictures are going to cut it?”

Harry stares at him for a beat, “What do you mean?”

Louis’ heart thumps, “I mean what if we, um, faked a sex tape? And the pictures were screenshots during it?”

Harry still hasn’t picked up his slice of pizza. He’s staring at Louis with these big wide green eyes and Louis doesn’t think he’s taken a breath.

“We obviously don’t have to but I like, I stole this cock sock from the set of the last movie a while back and it’s been sitting in my closet and I just thought maybe if we had a video, like an audio of you then it would be better. Cowell’s a smart man and there’s literally photoshopped pictures of you with a cock up your arse out there already and I just figured we’d need something a little more substantial and you were talking about court,” Louis is speaking so fast and his accent is getting unbelievably higher and more unintelligible. Louis’ heart is racing, his face is hot, and he is looking at the frame hanging behind Harry’s head because he can’t dare look him in the eye. Fuck, Harry’s still not breathing.

Harry lets out a breath and Louis finally meets his eyes, “You looked at photoshopped pictures of me with a dick in my ass?” he squeaks out.

Louis puts his head in his hands, “I was doing research!”

“Research on photoshopped pictures of me with a dick in my ass?” Harry’s voice is very high, and there are creases in his forehead from his eyebrows being so high and his face is so very pink.

“There were also hand drawn pictures! That didn’t include dicks!” Louis is practically shouting into his hands, then he shakes his head, “Well they included your dick but not other dicks!”

Harry is silent. Completely silent.

Louis sits there, completely horrified with his head in his hands staring at the floor, wishing this moment to be over.

He hears a small squeak of a noise, and peaks his one eye between his fingers.

Harry is trying not to laugh. Louis lifts his head a bit. Harry starts cackling loudly, throwing his entire body back onto the couch.

Louis throws an accusatory finger in his direction. “You just took the piss out of me didn’t you?”

Harry’s actually crying he’s laughing so hard.

Louis pokes him in the chest. “You were just fucking with me! How dare you!”

“I’m sorry,” Harry laughs, wiping his eyes. “I had to! You were just talking so fast; you looked mortified.”

Louis throws him a disgruntled look.

“You told me I peed on you!”

Louis huffs.

Harry is still giggling, "Oh come on Lou.”

Louis rolls his eyes, “Fine it was a good comeback. Mine was better though.”

Harry hums, pleased. He picks up his fork again, “So cock sock?”

They break out into laughter.

-----

Louis realizes they’re never actually going to get anything done the second time Harry calls him from a different burner phone.

They’re at the Cheshire house again, Harry had pulled up about 20 minutes before, in a different car than yesterday. He was still in the black hoodie but this time he crouched into the house as if there were actually neighbors to see him and his bags of groceries.

Louis hadn’t questioned him about the car. Harry offered to cook them fajitas and Louis wasn’t going to be the one to turn him down.

Now, Louis sits on top of the island in the kitchen, swinging his feet as Harry begins cooking. He’s not thinking about this being his future. Not at all.

“What’s your family like?” Harry asks as he cuts up the peppers.

Louis watches the line of Harry’s back while his biceps flex as he works the knife. Christ. Louis looks away.

“I’ve got six siblings. Four sisters and then me mom just had twins about three years back. A boy and a girl. Couldn’t believe I finally got a brother,” Louis smiles. When he was holed up in Doncaster the weeks after his coming out, he had so much fun taking care of the little ones. It made his heart ache for a family of his own.

Harry turns, green eyes sparkling and dinner cooking for the two of them and Louis thinks, maybe someday.

And then he’s shakes himself out of it. It’s been a handful of meetings in under two months what the fuck is he thinking.

“I love babies!” Harry’s smile is so bright. “ur makeup artist has a daughter who was on the road with us from the beginning, and her sister just had a baby. I just went to see them this morning,” Harry sighs happily.

“Oh!” Louis remembers with a jolt, “you met my sister! She trained with your make up artist for a day or summat, her names Lottie. Look, I have a picture,” Louis picks up his phone, scrolling to find the picture, then waves it in front of Harry’s face.

Harry raises an eyebrow at Louis. “You realize you saved this picture on your phone right? And this was like two months ago.”

Louis blushes, “So you do remember?”

“Yeah of course, she told me that her and her brother watched X-Factor from the beginning and cheered us on the whole time." Louis' face is in absolute flames, “Said you were gutted when we didn’t win. But now that I know you are her only brother that could have watched X-Factor. Guess she ratted you out without even realizing.”

“You remember all of that? Did you even know it was my little sister?” Louis asks.

“I make it a point to remember something about everyone who works with us,” Harry looks resolute, like that’s his personal philosophy. Louis can’t imagine how many people they meet just in a single day working. “And I didn’t realize until you showed me the picture. But I remembered her talking about her brother. She must look up to you.”

Louis looks down at his feet. “I don’t know, that’s something you’d have to ask her about. She didn’t seem to look up to me when I was at home directing all the children around while my mum and Dan were on a day trip. She had them all riled up just for me to handle.”

Harry laughs, “I think it’d be nice to have a big family like that,” he turns back to the food as if he’s too shy to say it directly to louis. “My house was only me and my sister. Having a big family keeps you on your toes. I like that.”

Louis heart swells, he has always wanted a big family. 3 kids minimum. He hops off the counter and grabs a beer from the fridge. He’s getting out of hand here with these children thoughts.

“What’s your sister like?” Louis grabs a beer for Harry too, opening it.

Harry finishes up the fajitas, grabbing two plates for them, “She’s four years older than me, and thinks she’s much smarter. Got a uni degree and all that. We were really close growing up. Sometimes I go home and sleep in her bed when tour gets to me.”

Louis shuffles over the the table. “You’re heading to the states, yeah? Kicking off the tour there?”

Harry brings over the steaming fajitas, Louis’ mouth waters. “Yeah, we were in Asia and Australia for two months. And now we’re going to the States, then Europe and we finish off in the UK in the beginning September.”

Louis blanches for a second. That’s. A fucking lot.

“That's 9 months of touring,” he states.

“Been that way for the last five years,” Harry sits down and Louis can't help but see the little downturn of his mouth. That just won't do.

“Maybe a sex tape with me will get you fired so you don't have to work for a demon anymore.”

Harry laughs so hard he spits out his beer.

----

Louis doesn’t see Harry in person for two weeks. He talks to him almost constantly through three different burner phones. Harry whines through rehearsals and the first shows. Louis recites lines of the movie he’s been working on, determined to get another audition and the role. They make it work, even with the time difference. They make it work like a couple, but Louis pushes that thought to the back of his head so fast he almost rolls his eyes.

Louis gets a phone call to get to L.A. immediately for the final audition of the role he’s been obsessing over. He had auditioned once in London about a week before. He doesn’t get on a plane fast enough.

He lets harry knows that they’re on the same continent minutes after landing. That probably should be a concern, but he puts on his sunglasses to protect his eyes from the L.A. sun and plays it cool.

He nails his audition, walking out feeling confident and secure that the role is his for the taking. He also sends his mom a text saying “please i really want this role I think I did ok but I’m crossing my fingers” to which she replies with a picture of the twins cheering him on.

Harry calls him almost immediately after. “How did it go?”

Louis almost laughs, “I think it went okay. How’s canada?”

“It’s a bit cold,” Harry’s silent for a few seconds, before clearing his throat. “I was thinking that like, in two weeks I’d like simon to get this tape.”

“Two weeks?” Louis almost screeches as he gets into the car, rattling off his address to the driver.

“I just, I have like a two day break right around then. And it’s March in like two days,” Louis stills, realizing his entire month of February was just reciting lines and all things Harry Styles, “and we have a mutual event in like a week. Ed’s album release party? Plus, I imagine you’re going to start filming soon.” Louis almost swoons at the amount of faith Harry has in him to get this role. “And it makes sense for us to meet and like have this crazy one night stand before you go off filming. It just. Makes sense now, you know.”

Louis can hear the desperation on the tip of Harry’s tongue. He wants to know why. Wants to google him, and find out the real reason but he knows he can’t do that.

“Yeah,” Louis chokes out, “I’ll stay here till Ed’s party. Maybe we can meet before. You going to be here soon?”

“Two more days then I’ll be there. We can plan.”

Another call beeps through the line. “Okay, let me call you back. My manager is calling me.”

Louis switches to the other line.

He got the part.

Filming starts in two weeks in London. They’re almost done pre-production but need him for a for days while they’re still planning. They want the movie done and premiered by the end of the year.

Louis rolls down the window, shouting out to the entire interstate, “I’m going to be David Bowie!”

He calls Harry right back.

-----

Cowell’s plan is a leggy model to go along with the not yet picked single that would be released in June.

Harry’s plan is a nice coming out to go with the not yet picked single. If Cowell gets the warning by two weeks time, it gives them exactly three months to start planning for Harry’s coming out.

---

Harry is currently lounging poolside at Louis’ L.A. home. It’s a warm day, but not nearly warm enough to swim.

“I have a home here, but the paps know about it. Nice articles in all the magazines quoting it as my bachelor pad,” Harry peaks an eye open, “I’m sorry we have to always hide out in your homes.”

“It’s okay,” Louis pushes up his sleeves a little bit and settles into the chair more, closing his eyes and letting the sun hit his face, “I tend to keep everything really under wraps just in case my sisters come to any of my homes. I don’t want them involved with the stress of looking over their shoulders or guarding themselves.”

Harry’s silent for a bit. “Yeah I know. Five years of guarding. That’s the point of all this, innit?”

Louis peaks at Harry, finding his eyes closed face to the sun just like Louis had been. His face is completely serene, and Louis’ heart lurches.

“You know, I have a footie goal here. You play?”

Harry sits up, a smile breaking over his face, “For my knowledge and understanding of the football game, I feel I should be a lot better.”

Louis lets out a laugh, “Let’s see how bad you are. We’ll make up our plan as we go.”

Harry is the worst football player Louis has ever seen. He falls three times, trips once, and his hair gets in his face, making it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball.

“How are you so fucking good at football?” Harry breathes heavily, his hands on his knees.

“Played footie up until uni,” Louis wipes the sweat off his forehead and turns to grab some water from inside, “you could probably see better without those curls in your face.”

Harry’s face falls. “Oh, i was just-”

“I should have a hair tie in the house somewhere,” Louis continues, ”maybe a headband, do you want one?” Louis turns back around to see the look on Harry’s face. “Harry,” he steps toward him, even though Harry is staring resolutely at the ground. “Did you think i was making fun of your hair?” he asks softly.

Harry lets out a breath, “I’ve just, I have wanted to grow it out for a while, I would love to have it long. Love the way it looks, when it curls like this, it makes me-,” he shakes his head. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have gotten so worked up without even letting you finish your statement. I’d love a headband.”

Louis steps closer to Harry, tugging a curl. “I like the curls long. and if it makes you feel good you should do it.” Louis tilts his head, “Maybe I’ll grow out my hair too. David Bowie had long hair. Me and you can grow our hair out together. Is that a good idea?”

A shy smile creeps onto Harry’s face, and Louis’ breath gets short. He drops his hand immediately. Harry notices.

“I think that’s a good idea. But for now maybe I need that hair tie so I can kick your ass in football,” Harry slaps Louis’ ass and runs back up towards the house, cackling the entire way.

It takes Louis four seconds to cool down and follow Harry into the house. It has nothing to do with football or the sun.

-----

Harry and Louis see each other every day One Direction plays the Staples Center. Harry comes early then leaves as soon as Louis has to do to pre-production, and they still get nothing done.

It’s the morning of Ed’s release party and Harry comes barreling into Louis’ house.

“Liam is onto me, I think. We need this to be planned perfectly because I can’t have any of them ruining it.”

“You didn’t tell them? You haven’t told anyone?”

Harry grabs Louis, covering his mouth, “Did you tell anyone?”

Louis nods sagely, “I did. I told the sun.”

Harry raises an eyebrow, “Did you just beat me at my own joke?”

Louis licks Harry’s hand that’s still covering his mouth, while Harry cries out. “I did young Harold. Please do keep up.”

----

The plan is as follows: show up separately, get drunk enough that people notice, dance together and be all over each other, leave at the same time.

---

Louis has had six shots and two cosmos and is halfway to being sloshed. The first two shots (and the two cosmos) were just for theatrics. The plan was to seem drunk. However the last four were just out of nerves. He’s fucking nervous. He’s super fucking nervous because he has to flirt with Harry Styles with the intent of everyone thinking he’s taking him home to fuck him, but what he really wants to do is actually take him home and fuck him.

Which is all part of the problem really. This was supposed to be an easy, fake, sex tape scandal amongst laddy bro pals. But somewhere everything got muddled. Or maybe it was always muddled. Who the fuck knows.

Louis downs another shot, surveying the dance floor for Harry. Harry’s taken probably an equal amount of shots, not that Louis is watching him. It’s just, christ, Harry looks so fucking good. He’s wearing a white blouse under a black suit jacket and black jeans that leave little to the imagination. He looks sinful.

Louis rolls up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. He’s glad he decided to wear the blue dress pants, otherwise Harry and him would match.

He spies Harry in the middle of the crowd, dancing with Niall and Liam.

Harry locks eyes with Louis from across the room and winks.

Time for Louis to move.

“Fancy seeing you guys here!” Louis claps Niall and Liam on the back.

“Louis Tomlinson! Hey!” Niall is very enthusiastic.

“Hi Louis! Congrats on your Oscar! Harry made us watch you win!” Liam blurts out, and then the tips of his ears turn red, “Whoops.”

“Is that so Curly?” Louis leans into Harry, and he forgets they even have a mission they’re on.

Harry swallows, “it might be.” His smile turns into a smirk, “Guess you have to dance with me to find out.”

Louis’ eyes widen as Niall and Liam whistle and back away quickly.

Louis pulls Harry in by his blazer. Fuck, Harry should not smell this good.

“That worked really well in our favor,” Harry whispers in Louis’ ear as they sway slowly, not even matching the upbeat vibe of the music. Harry’s hand on the small of his back is warm and sturdy. Louis is glad because quite frankly his legs feel like jelly.

“Wait,” Louis slows, the electricity of Harry being this close to him honestly too much for his senses, “Liam didn’t make that up as part of this?”

Harry stills, “Louis. No one knows. I explained that to you earlier.”

“So you really did make them watch the Oscars just for me?” Louis dares himself to look up at Harry’s face, where he finds him blushing. His hands are twitching from Louis’ lower back, as if he’s nervous. Louis imagines his toes are pointed inward.

“Was very proud of you, had to see you win,” Harry nuzzles closer, pulling Louis tighter against him as he speeds up his movements a bit, making them move a little faster.

Louis is sweating. Harry is assaulting his senses completely from head to toe.

Louis turns around as the song changes, pressing his bum right up against Harry’s hips and snaking his hands through Harry’s hair. “Let’s put on a show babe.”

Harry drapes himself over Louis’ back, his breath coming in little puffs in Louis’ ear.

Louis grips the back of Harry’s neck tight, pulling a few curls, while Harry’s hands grip tighter on Louis’ waist.

They make it through three songs like that before Harry whips Louis back around, and starts mouthing at his neck. Their hips align perfectly, and Louis can already feel them both supporting at least a semi.

Louis throws his head back, giving Harry more access to his neck.

“Is this okay?” Harry mumbles into the damp crook of louis’ neck.

“Yes,” Louis runs his hands from Harry’s pantline all the way up Harry’s chest to lock his arms around Harry’s neck, “More than okay.”

The alcohol, and the heat, and Harry are all mixing together to make Louis absolutely dizzy with lust.

He wants Harry so fucking bad. He grinds his hips a little harder against Harry’s.

He wants Harry for real, not for a fake cock sock wearing stunt.

Louis leans up to Harry’s ear, “Is anyone watching?”

Harry’s eyes seem to unglaze for a moment while his eyes flit across the room. 

“Everyone’s looking. You look so fucking good Lou, of course they’d be looking.”

Louis reaches up and drags his mouth from the corner of Harry’s mouth to his ear. He can’t tell if Harry’s just putting on a show or telling the truth, “Let’s make our exit then babe,” he licks at Harry’s ear for good measure. Or because he just can’t fucking resist.

He feels Harry shiver as he extracts himself from Louis’ grip.

Harry practically drags him past Liam, Niall, and Zayn and towards the door. Everyone notices.

Harry finds his handler, while Louis kisses Harry’s cheek and slips out.

Louis sobers up slightly on the drive home, sweating most of the alcohol out in sheer exhilaration (and drinking water). It had gone better than planned. Way better than planned. Fuck, you couldn’t even tell they planned it. Louis didn’t know where the act started or stopped, the line was so blurry. He couldn’t tell for himself or for harry.

He races into house, not caring with an ounce of his being that this is fake. If he’s going to have Harry for the night with a cock sock, he’s going to let himself have it.

He rummages through his luggage, finding the cock sock before staring at it.

It’s a fucking cockblock is what it is.

The doorbell rings.

Louis throws the cocksock down before running downstairs to answer the door for Harry.

He opens the door, and Harry looks so disheveled. His curls all out of place, shirt wrinkled from where they were pressed together for so long, his lips bitten and red.

Fuck. How are they going to be able to do this? How is Louis going to be able to fake fuck this kid when he looks like he deserves to be fucked for real?

“Come on Harry,” Louis drags Harry into the house, stopping at the kitchen to grab a bottle of champagne.

“This is a drunken night right? We’ll get champagne in the shot,” Louis can tell his accent is horribly indecipherable. He’s so fucking nervous again.

They practically race upstairs, Louis full of energy that’s coming off of him in waves. He can’t fucking sit still. He’s nervous, excited, more than a little tipsy, and full of panic. He feels like Sonic the fucking Hedgehog with the amount of movement he’s exuding.

He takes a swig of the champagne as soon as they enter the room.

Harry takes the bottle from him, “Louis, calm down it’s just me.”

The swig he takes from the bottle as well counteracts those words.

Louis raises his eyebrows at him.

“‘m a bit nervous,” Harry shrugs. “You’re going to see me practically naked.”

“Um,” Louis chokes out, taking the bottle back for another chug, “I forgot about the nakedness.”

Harry blushes, “I’ll arrange the camera. We only need a couple shots right? It’s a short clip. It’ll be over in 60 seconds.”

Louis laughs, some tension easing from him. “Talk about peaking early.”

Harry looks mortified, “I didn’t mean it like that!”

“Sure you didn’t Curly. Just,” Louis shakes out his arms and legs quickly, “Let’s get the nakedness over with so we’re not nervous. Who’s doing the fucking?”

Harry sputters on the champagne he’s trying to chug, “I imagined you’d be fucking me.”

“Oh you imagined this then Curly?” Louis teases, and that feels so much better. Teasing. Making this more real. That makes it easier. Louis would always tease Harry. Will always tease harry.

“I did say you were my celebrity crush Lewis,” Harry teases back, his shoulders deflating into a more comfortable position. "I’m going to start taking off my clothes now.”

Louis watches completely entranced as Harry takes off his clothes slowly. Their eyes lock and Harry’s gaze is absolutely piercing even though it truly shouldn’t be.

Louis trails his eyes over the smooth expanse of Harry’s chest, covered in dark tattoos contrasting with the pale color of his skin.

Louis can’t breathe.

Harry pulls his pants down slowly, before turning around.

Louis stares blatantly at his naked perky bum, before Harry turns back and reveals his own cock sock.

“Where the fuck did you get that from!” Louis cries out, laughing.

“I figured I had to buy my own,” Harry laughs along, fixing his hair a bit nervously. “Your turn Louis,” he bites his lip and stares at Louis head-on.

Louis hastily takes off his clothes, feeling Harry’s eyes running all along his body, before he turns around. He pretends he doesn’t hear Harry’s breath hitch. He quickly puts on the cock sock and turns back around to Harry.

They stare at each other for a moment.

“So,” they both start at the same time, before laughing.

“We can do this, we’re going to make this the goddamn sexiest sex tape that ever existed,” Louis throws his arm out for a fist bump.

“Let’s do this,” Harry fist bumps him back. They both take one more swig of the champagne. Louis feels light and loose, and he can tell Harry does too with his somewhat glassy eyes. He presses record on the video camera where it’s set up on the desk across from the side of the bed.

Louis stares at Harry for a moment, drinking him in. Then he lunges forward. He’s been in a sex scene before and it was a woman. He could pretend.

“God you’re so hot, can’t wait to be inside of you,” he mouths at Harry’s neck, bringing them both towards the bed.

He’s not pretending.

Harry complies easily, falling back onto the bed.

Louis straddles Harry, kissing all up and down his neck and chest, while Harry pants loudly, “Louis please, please.”

Louis could come just from the sound of that. He wonders briefly if Harry really would beg like that if this was real.

Louis’s hands travel lower, feeling the smoothness of Harry’s chest. His fingers catch on a nipple and Harry’s groan echoes through the room.

Louis revels in the sound, grinding down, feeling Harry’s hips jerk back up in reaction. He wonders if that was just an automatic response or Harry is just getting good at pretending.

“Please Louis, please. Need you to fuck me,” Harry’s practically slurs. Harry’s eyes are glazed, and Louis honestly can’t tell if it’s the alcohol, the pretending, or actual lust.

Harry surges forward, kissing louis’ neck, biting his collarbones so hard that louis is sure he’ll bruise. “Okay,” Louis pants out, he fucking loves his neck being bitten, “I’ll fuck you babe. I’ll take care of you Harry.”

Louis flips them over, Harry scrambling to his knees while Louis settles behind him.

Louis grips Harry’s hips hard, before settling himself over Harry’s back, rocking into him slowly. Harry’s thighs are shaking and Louis’ hands roam all along Harry’s back pressing into his spine before he spanks Harry’s ass once. Harry’s elbows buckle, and he pushes back onto Louis even harder as they grind together faster. Louis doesn’t know where spanking came from, and he doesn’t even know if he hit too hard and that’s why Harry fell onto his face. Louis can’t tell, and he can’t gauge a reaction because Harry’s pressed so hard into the mattress his hair is falling into his eyes.

Louis is sweating; he’s literally going to combust. The alcohol is making his body feel ten times hotter, and out of this world. It’s like he’s literally fizzing. Harry’s sweaty body is slick and hot underneath him, and completely overwhelming.

Harry rocks into the bed, and Louis tries not to get any harder than he is. But he’s hard. He’s really fucking hard. His cock, even in the sock, slips through harry’s cheeks and his length slides along harry as Harry seizes and moans so loud Louis is convinced the neighbors heard him.

Louis grabs a fistful of Harry’s hair, making him arch his back for Louis’ mouth to meet the back of Harry’s neck. He bites and licks at it before whispering, “All the neighbors are gonna hear me fucking you Harry.”

“Oh my god, I’m going to come,” Harry pants out, his voice wrecked. Louis thinks he might have taken it a step too far, that that is Harry’s way of letting him know he wants this short stint to be over.

Louis pushes Harry back down, and grinds into him harder, trying to make it look like they’re heading towards the finish line with Harry wriggling into the bed sheets.

Louis snakes his arm around to grab at Harry’s abs, the sure-fire sign of finishing sex when Harry cries out “I’m going to come” again.

“Come on babe,” Louis scratches Harry’s navel with one hand while the other grips Harry’s hip so hard he thinks it’ll bruise. Harry let’s out what only can be described as a manly shout and falls into the bed, his chest heaving. Louis gets up from the bed and walks over to the camera to stop recording.

When he turns back around, Harry is scrambling to cover himself. But Louis notices it before he can completely cover his torso.

They both stare at each other.

A moment passes.

“Did you just get come all over my sheets?” Louis blurts.

Harry lifts up the sheets a little bit, staring down at them before looking up at Louis. “Yes.”

“I’ll get a wet cloth.”

Louis turns and flees to the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He falls against the door, the thump of his bare back against the door resonating in the empty bathroom. He gets a hand around himself, wanking furiously. Fuck, fucking fuck. Fucking fucking fuck fuck. Harry came, just from Louis pretending to fuck him. All those whines, and moans were real, and the line is so blurred but Louis can’t even fucking think about anything but how good Harry looked under him as his fist flies over his cock. He comes with the sound of Harry’s name on the tip of his tongue and he knows Harry could have heard him. If Harry was being real, then he deserved to know Louis was too.

He wets a cloth and washes himself off, wrapping a towel around his waist before grabbing a wet cloth for Harry.

“I heard you,” is the first thing Harry says from where he’s gathering his clothes up on the floor when Louis exits the bathroom.

“Had to make it even didn’t I? Couldn’t have you having all the fun,” Louis winks like he’s actually cool about this situation.

The line is so blurred that neither of them are sure there’s even a line anymore. He’s almost completely sober because Harry just came in his goddamn bed that he sleeps in, and he still can’t walk a fucking line.

“Clean up a bit and put on some boxers. You’re staying the night,” Louis slaps the wet cloth onto Harry’s chest before strutting past him to find his boxers.

Louis is so fucked.

They should probably talk about it.

----

They don’t talk about it.

They fall asleep almost immediately, too tired from coming and too tired from drinking. Louis wakes up in the middle of the night with Harry wrapped around him like a koala, and he struggles to wriggle free but Harry pulls him back, making him spoon him. Louis sleeps like a rock after that.

Harry makes breakfast for them the next morning, with shy smiles and they still don’t talk about it.

Louis has a flight to catch to get back home. Harry is due in las vegas.

Harry kisses louis on the cheek goodbye and hands him Cowell’s email address on a piece paper.

It’s on.

---

“Lou, Lou, Lou,” Harry chants into the phone as soon as Louis picks up.

“Yes Harold? To what do I owe this pleasure?” Louis balances the phone between his shoulder and his ear, trying to cut up fruit for Doris and Ernie’s dinner.

“Your sister posted a picture of your siblings on snapchat and I thought I saw your ankles in the background, are you with them right now?”

Louis shuts his eyes to compose himself. “You’re friends with my sister on snapchat? And why do you know what my ankles look like?”

Harry barks a laugh through the phone. "You can always tell a man by their ankles Lewis. And yes, I am friends with your sister on snapchat. In case there are pictures of you, duh. Now tell me if you’re taking care of them.”

Louis sighs dramatically. “Yes, I am with them. I’m trying to cut up fruits for them to eat with dinner.”

Harry pauses, “Louis you can’t even cook cheese toastie without burning it, are you sure you should be handling a knife?”

“Excuse-” Louis squawks, but Harry cuts him off.

“Literally the last time you made us pancakes it looked like a cock and balls. And not the good cock and balls.”

“I’m going to hang up on you Harold Styles. I’m going to leak that tape for real,” Louis threatens.

“Good wanking material,” Harry muses.

“I’m hanging up now,” Louis says as he hears Ernie and Doris barrel into the kitchen wailing about dinner.

“Send me pictures!” Harry calls before there’s nothing but dial tone.

Louis sends him a video of Doris eating mangos. Harry had recommended them to eat anyway. It was only polite for a follow up.

----

Harry follows a leggy model on instagram, and they’re seen at the same event together.

He tells Louis to send the email. That’s louis’ incentive.

Louis’ true incentive is indecipherable.

----

Dear Simon,

Hello! I’m sure you have missed me greatly. Lost opportunity (and revenue) for you wasn’t it? Now that I'm an Oscar and Golden Globe winner and everything but alas, I digress.

Almost two weeks ago I had a horrible one night stand. We met, got on great, got spectacularly drunk, and I really thought there was something special. However, I woke up to a cold and lonely bed and no way to contact the person who I thought I had a really great time with. Apparently he did not feel the same.

Especially now that his face is on every magazine with some model.

By now you’re wondering… who would my one night stand be with? Why would you care dear old Simon?

Well, maybe you should keep your clients on a better leash. And keep Harry Styles out of my bedroom.

After all, he’s very pushy, and loud while drunk. Kept wanting me to record him.

The real point of this email is, I need an immediate meeting with you, Harry Magee and Richard Griffiths.

You have something I want, and I have something you may want to destroy.

I’ll give you a hint: Riddle me this, how did Kim Kardashian start her career?

Regards,
Louis Tomlinson

-----

When Louis reads Harry the email over he cries of laughter.

Then his tone gets quiet and his voice breaks, “I hope this works.”

Louis throat is dry and all he can do is say, “Me too.”

---

Simon replies promptly with an address and a time. Harry gets the phone call five minutes after.

---

Harry flies out to London on his two day break just like he planned, in fact a little ahead of his plan. He’s pleased.

Louis comes back from Doncaster just in time for the meeting. He starts filming in a few days.

Louis walks through the front doors of Harry’s management office like he’s an actor playing a role because he is an actor playing a role.

Harry waddles in embarrassed once they’re already settled in the meeting room. Louis looks at him and scoffs.

They can do this.

-----

Louis’ face is tense, trying to keep up his charade. He looks over at Harry, whose corner of his lip that Louis can see is downturned. He almost reaches out to touch him. Almost.

But Harry and Louis don’t know each other like that in this situation. And Louis’ facade of being an angry one night stand won’t seem as legit if he reaches out to do something ridiculous like comfort Harry Styles.

Louis huffs. Magee and Griffiths rolls their eyes, unimpressed.

They’re losing them. Louis knows this. Harry knows this. They know this. Even Cowell on the fucking phone knows this. Louis had place the pictures on the table. Harry had squirmed in his seat. Louis played the audio for proof. Harry squirmed some more. Cowell had almost yelled that’s enough. It was going well. The terms were simple: Cowell praises Louis in an interview and gives a special spot during the X-Factor for promo of Louis’ movie. In turn, Louis destroys the tape.

It’s silent.

Until the door slams open, clattering loudly as it hits the wall.

The man who walks in his wearing sunglasses and a business suit, practically flouncing into the room, a pretty little woman floundering behind him looking very apologetic. Louis sags in relief.

“I’m sorry sirs, I tried to get him not to come in but he just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t-”

“It’s okay Eleanor, we’ll handle it thank you,” they dismiss her easily and the door closes behind her.

He takes off his sunglasses, dropping them along with his phone on the table very dramatically. “Sorry I’m late,” he starts unapologetically, “I was at court, I’m sure you’re familiar with that.” He fucking winks. Harry looks horrified.

Something like pride swells in Louis’ stomach. “My name is Jeffrey Azoff. I see you already met my client, Louis Tomlinson and I’m also sure you’re familiar with my father, Irving Azoff, head of Azoff Talent Management, where I am a co-owner, yes?”

Magee and Griffiths nod tersely.

“We’re familiar,” Cowell adds bitingly from his little speaker on the table.

Jeff almost squeals in delight, “Simon! You’re here too! Wonderful! How’s your son? Still fighting off those paternity battles?”

Harry almost chokes beside Louis, whose eyebrows raise minutely. He needs to be cool.

Cowell is silent for a moment, before he speaks up tone direct. “Your purpose here Jeffery?”

“I’m here to offer you a deal, a mutually beneficial deal much better than what my client here as probably tried to strong handle you into,” Louis tries not to scoff, but Jeff barrels on. “From what I understand your client is not out. My client is. This kind of scandal would destroy the reputation of One Direction. Have you seen the video and pictures? I’m sure you have. My personal favorite is the one where Harry is looking up and Louis’ cock-” Cowell clears his throat loudly as Louis tries not to freeze. There is no picture like that. “So you’re familiar then,” Jeff sounds pleased, which he should be because he just tricked Simon into thinking there’s more than Louis even presented. “Regardless,” Jeff, the saint, turns directly to Harry, “do you want to be out?”

Magee and Griffiths make a sound of protest. Cowell is practically about to scream through the phone, “Mr. Azoff you have no business asking-”

Harry meets his gaze evenly, his tone clear, loud above the protesting chatter. “Yes,” he answers simply.

All three fall silent. Louis hearts thumps loudly, something akin to pride swelling in his belly. Who the hell is he kidding. It’s pride. He’s so fucking proud of him.

“You’re six months out from One Direction’s album release. Your PR plan is not generating any steam, currently. i’ve checked,” cowell is almost seethingly silent, “so i’m offering you, in return for the disappearance of these pictures, a mutually beneficial pr relationship between Louis and Harry. Harry gets to come out,” here’s still a rumble of protest, “in anyway he’d like. I mean honestly who even closets boybanders it’s 2016,” Jeff rolls his eyes. “And if you’re unsure, coming out will do wonders for you gaining a better demographic for this album. Then you have an exciting new relationship, a pr wonder between actor Louis Tomlinson and One Direction member Harry Styles and a steamy break up ripe for your album sales once the album is released.”

Louis and Harry whip their heads to Jeffrey. “What?” harry asks.

“Excuse me?” Louis demands.

Magee and Griffiths steal a glance with each other then burn a hole into the speaker on the desk.

Harry and Louis wait with bated breath. This was not what Louis fucking signed up for.

Jeff is already on his phone, distracted and nonplussed.

Cowell is silent, but pondering.

"I’ll consider it and be in contact. You all are dismissed,” the click of Cowell hanging up echoes through the room.

Jeff stands, pulling Louis up with him. “Lovely doing business with you. Harry, nice to meet you. Those pictures don’t do you justice.”

Magee and Griffiths squawk as Jeff drags Louis out of the room.

He waits until their in Jeff’s escalade before he turns on Louis.

“You are so lucky that I, one, can check your emails, and two, can get on a private plane and make it to London somewhat quickly,” Jeff slaps him across the head like a child, “What the fuck were you two thinking?!”

Louis rests his head in his hands, “How did you-”

Jeff barrels on. “At first when I heard that you were drunkenly trying to snog Harry Styles at Ed Sheeran’s release party I thought nothing of it. Then I remembered who you are as a person and how you never, ever, would be so careless, especially with someone who wasn’t even out of the closet. You would never. And that’s how it clicked. So I checked your email only to find a threatening email to Simon Cowell. I'm not an idiot. I know what Harry wants.”

“Neither Harry nor I want a fake relationship Jeffrey!” Louis yells shrilly, meeting Jeff’s eyes for the first time in this entire experience.

“Are you dating him?” he asks point blank.

“No,” Louis answers quickly.

“Do you want to be dating him?”

The blush runs from the tip of Louis’ ears to his cheeks.

There’s a knock on the window.

Jeff rolls the window down, “Harry, get in your car and call Louis later. You do not need to be seen right now. You’re on tour in America. Get back to America before anyone knows you are not in the country. Your fandom are like vultures. They will find this, and it will be suspicious. Go now.”

Harry’s eyes widen before he lifts up his hood and walks away wordlessly.

Jeff stares at Harry's retreating back before looking back at Louis. The blush is still high on Louis cheek.

Jeff stares hard at him for one more second before staring up at the ceiling of the Escalade and groaning so loud all of London could probably hear him.

He decides he wants to stay and oversee the first couple days of shooting, but it turns out his girlfriend Glenne came with him, and they’re staying at a hotel instead of shacking up with Louis. Louis would take Jeff, of course he would. After his brief stint of trying to find an agency within Cowell and his usual team, Louis had found refuge in the Azoffs. They were like his second family. They took care of him. hell, Irving let Louis sit in on all of his scathing phone calls, claiming one day Louis would be doing the same.

But taking in Jeff was one thing. Taking in Jeff and Glenne was another. Louis was pleased they were staying at a hotel, that way he didn’t have to deal with their cute gross domesticity. No one wanted to see that.

Jeff drops Louis off at his flat and Louis stops before getting out of the car.

He rests his hand on Jeff’s shoulder. “Thank you Jeffrey. You saved-” The us that Louis stopped himself from saying doesn’t going undetected. Louis clears his throat, “You saved me.”

Jeff’s eyes go soft, “I know,” Then he’s back in mum mode, “Filming starts in two days Louis. Get out of my car and get prepared.”

By the time Louis makes it up to his flat he checks his phone to see one missed text from an unknown number.

What’s your address?

He furrows his eyebrows, but then the next text comes in.

Technically I have 16 more hours I can be here.

Louis almost laughs. he sends his address, but then stops for a second.

What happened to listening to Jeff and just calling me later?

The response is immediate. Need to see you.

-----

Harry, it turns out, was roaming around the city in circles waiting for Louis to text back because it takes him less than 10 minutes to get to Louis’ flat.

When Louis lets him in he finally gets a good look at him.

In the meeting room Louis had made a point to barely look at him. Wasn’t in his role to look at him. But now Louis drinks him in. His heavy black coat that he’s slowly discarding, revealing a thin white t-shirt, blue jeans, and trainers.

Louis shouldn’t find that so attractive.

When Louis finally looks at his face, he realizes his hair is a bit longer, resting a little below his shoulders.

Louis heart swells.

Harry must notice the same thing on him because he steps forward, hand reaching up to touch the wispy ends of Louis’ hair.

“Your,” Harry chokes out, “Your hair is a little longer.”

Louis is suddenly struck with the fact that they hadn’t seen each other in person in almost two weeks, and even though they’ve been in constant communication he missed seeing Harry’s face. missed his smell.

“That was part of our deal innit?” Louis asks, a shy smile on his face.

Harry just stares as if Louis hung the moon, before lunging forward and grabbing Louis in a hug, holding him tightly.

He buries his head in the crook of Louis’ neck, and Louis can feel all the anxiety, all of the tension, all of the hopeful relief sag out of him.

“It’s over babe, we’re going to win it. Jeff is going to make sure of it.”

The “I'm so proud of you” doesn’t make it out of his throat. So Louis just squeezes back tighter as Harry inhales deeply and then pulls away.

Louis’ words are out before he can quite look in Harry’s eyes. “Let’s make a cuppa.”

Louis shuffles to the kitchen, leaving Harry to do nothing but follow him, much like their first meeting at Louis’ Cheshire house a little over a month ago.

Harry must be thinking the same thing because his quiet voice behind Louis remarks, “I think I like the Cheshire house better.”

Louis looks around his London flat. It’s more bachelor pad than home, that’s for sure. More modern furniture and design, with huge open spaces.

Louis doesn’t want to admit the Cheshire home is his favorite too.

“Well,” Louis knows they should probably start this conversation at least. Compared to the other conversation they still haven’t talked about, “It seems like you’ll be seeing quite a lot of me for the next couple months. So we will have plenty of time to go back.”

The kettle sings and Louis breaks his gaze with Harry to prepare their tea.

Harry takes the tea from Louis once it’s done, the small cup dwarfed in his large hands.

Louis takes a sip of his, cursing himself for not waiting for it to cool down.

Harry still hasn’t said a word.

Louis mutters “fuck” under his breath and he’s not sure if he’s talking about his burnt tongue or Harry’s contemplating face.

Finally Harry speaks up, “I asked you to do the fake scandal and you really didn’t have to but you did. So I just want you to know you have a choice in this fake dating thing too. You don’t have to. Simon might not even agree. Maybe he’ll just let me come out. Maybe we can find someone-”

“No,” Louis interjects fiercely. The thought of Harry faking anything with anyone else makes an ugly feeling settle in Louis’ stomach.

Harry bites his lip but he continues anyway, “I don’t want you to feel like you need to do more than what you’ve already done to help me.”

Louis sets his cup of tea down and reaches up to grab Harry’s face. His palms rest on Harry’s warm cheeks, making Harry look into his eyes. “Listen Harold. We’re in this together. We’re a team now. And we’re seeing this through okay? I'm in this.” Louis heart hammers and he bites his tongue so hard to not let the ‘for you’ come out at the end of his statement. “No matter what it is, Harry.”

Harry’s big green eyes become a tad watery as his lips spread into a wobbly smile that’s entirely too sure for someone who looks like he’s about to cry, “You want to date me.”

“Course,” Louis replies easily, before he lets go of Harry quickly and slaps his bum and runs out of the kitchen, “That’s for slapping me bum weeks ago Harold!”

Harry chases right after Louis, who is squawking about God knows what, weaving in and out of the three bedrooms that are in his flat. By the time they circle back to the living room, both of them are exhausted and flop onto the couch. Harry’s gangly limbs intertwine with Louis’ legs.

Louis flips on the TV. “Come on young Harold. Come up for a proper cuddle before your flight.”

Harry twists himself around and then slides up in front of Louis. his bum rests right up against Louis’ hips as he nestles himself into the couch and Louis.

Louis wills himself not to think of the sounds Harry made underneath him, when his bum was pressed right up against his groin while making the tape. The sounds Harry made when he came. Louis’ breath gets shallow as he tries to keep calm and pick a show to watch. He and Harry argue about different choices before they both agree on rewatching Gossip Girl.

“Wouldn’t have pegged you as the type that has to rewatch Gossip Girl,” Louis laughs as Harry wiggles his bum at him in response.

Harry looks back at him, “I wouldn’t talk since you’re rewatching it too.”

Louis huffs, “I can’t hear you biggest little spoon ever.”

Harry starts wiggling again, making Louis giggle because otherwise he’d get more than half hard, “More like tiniest big spoon ever.”

“Oi!” Louis shouts, “Not in my house!”

Harry grabs Louis’ arm and shrugs it over his chest, interlocking their fingers as the Gossip Girl opening credits come on.

Louis doesn’t have much to say after that.

-----

Harry ends up cooking them a pasta dish. Louis tells Harry about his filming that’s going to start, even has him practice some lines, and Harry informs Louis on all of the spots they’re going to go on tour.

He’s in the middle of telling a story about when Liam and Zayn tricked Niall into thinking that Harry was going to leave the band on February 30th (to which Niall cried for a solid 45 minutes, and bought 3 One Direction t shirts just in case) when his phone starts beeping.

That’s his Jeff email tone.

Harry must notice Louis’ face because he freezes.

Louis picks up his phone and reads over the email quickly, he can feel Harry’s gaze absolutely burning into him.

He gets up from the table, the chair scraping against the tile loudly in the deadly .

He walks past Harry who is staring at Louis, eyes wild in apprehension and confusion.

Harry can hear rummaging and his back is fully turned to the kitchen before Louis emerges in the doorway holding a bottle of wine and a huge smile.

“You’re looking at your new public boyfriend mister Harry Styles!” Harry flies out of his seat and into Louis’ arms. Louis wraps his arms around Harry as he grips him tight and whispers into him, “You’re coming out love.”

Harry cries. And they get drunk.

------

Harry stumbles out of Louis’ flat after his solid 16 hours there just like he said. He leaves after a kiss that was suspiciously close to Louis’ mouth, but Louis isn’t sure if it the lack of lights in the early morning, or the fuzziness of his brain and Harry being so close to him.

He falls back asleep almost immediately, completely warmed from Harry being so close to him, snuggling into the couch where they had fallen asleep wrapped up in each other drunkenly reciting lines of the first two seasons of Gossip Girl.

-----

Filming starts. two whole months of filming all around the UK and in Berlin. He becomes the Starman and every character in between. He lives and breathes David Bowie and his entire life. He adores his castmates, and gets on especially well with Perrie Edwards, a loud and brash blonde who has just as quick mouth as he does.

He’s on his second week of filming when his mother comes to visit on set.

He tries to invite her on set at least once if he can with every role he does, and then usually regrets it because she talks to literally everyone and they always fall in love with her.

His sisters also then complain about not being invited, which doesn’t help. His brother doesn’t complain (but he also doesn’t really understand what a movie set is quite yet so that may be the issue).

His mother walks into his trailer with a wide smile, and bagged lunch for him.

“Mum,” Louis starts.

“I know I shouldn’t have brought food, but it’s a Sunday roast I had to,” Jay squeezes her son and places the bag in front of him.

He opens it up immediately, the smell of his mother’s roast just too good for him to resist. She settles into the couch, watching him closely.

“How are you my Lou? I haven’t seen you since you took care of Ernie and Doris. I miss you,” she looks at him fondly.

Louis quite frankly stuffs his face before smiling at his mum, absolutely gushing, “This is the best role I have ever had.”

“I can see baby,” she eyes him closely, “You look so happy.”

Louis’ phone rings, and he reaches for it. He had been expecting to hear from Harry any minute now. He usually shared pics of his breakfast or. Louis stops short. Today was a sleepy selfie, of Harry shirtless cuddled up in a bed of white pillows.

Louis’ ears turned pink.

“Boo?” Jay asks softly.

Louis shakes his head, typing up a quick reply. Don’t distract me from filming you tit!

Jay stares at him, “Here I am playing doting mother, being all soft and loving for you. Giving you praise and love and you are hiding a boy from me?”

Louis’ eyes widen. Shit. His mum was doing soft mum for him. She knows he loves soft mum while on set.

But now she’s normal mum and normal mum does not like Louis hiding things.

Especially boys.

“Um,” Louis scratches his forehead.

“Are you going to tell me?” she quirks a brow at him.

Fuck he’s gonna have to tell her, “So I may have um, I may have met someone.”

His mother hums.

“We um,” he tries not to look her in the eye, “He wanted to be out so we may have um. Faked a sex tape in order to out him to Simon Cowell? And then Jeff came and we’re going to date for their album promotion?”

Everything he says sounds like a question.

His mother is silent. He can feel the horror burning off of her.

“Sex tape?” she whispered, “Simon Cowell?” she got louder, “Fake date for album promotion?” Her voice was mildly shrill, “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?”

Louis runs a hand through his hair, “I haven’t told anyone! I didn’t want anyone to know that we were planning this, especially if it didn’t work. I don’t want to lose my career and get dragged to court for trying to violate a boy bander’s contract.”

Jay’s hand falls on the table, the slap resounding throughout the trailer. She looks at him.
“Please do not tell me this is about Harry Styles.”

Fucking hell, how did his mother know that?

She takes his silence as reason to go on, “Your sister told me you freaked when you saw that she met him! Were proper excited and you were going to list him as your celebrity crush..” She trails off. “how long have you known him?”

Louis blushes, “We met in december, then again in January, then became friends in February. It’s all very new mother.”

“But you like him? And you’re going to fake date him for his album promotion?”

“Well, I don’t know if I like him like him. I mean it could just be like the whole situation or like,” Louis stops himself when he meets his mother’s eyes. “Okay fine I like him. He’s gorgeous and wonderful, and he’s funny. He makes me laugh and we just get on. We get on really well.”

“And so you’re going to date him for his album, because you get on really well and want to date him in real life?”

“Um,” Louis scratches behind his ear.

“Louis, my lovely oldest child,” oh God. “This is the worst idea of your life.”

“Mum!” Louis shrieks, but she barrels on anyway.

“But I'm sure it’ll work out. Just tell the truth honey.”

Louis groans. He hasn’t even started his fake boyfriend stunt and his mother is already in his head.

He ignores his mother’s knowing eyes, and snaps a picture of his roast to send to Harry with the caption. Mum’s cooking… Do you miss this in this states?

Harry’s reply is quick. I miss more than just the cooking.

Fuck.

-------

When Harry got back to tour, it had been a flurry of movement. It was like everything was moving much too quickly, and much too loudly.

Niall had cornered him first.

He put a hand over Harry’s mouth as soon as he saw him and dragged him out of the stadium and back into the bus. It was very creepy.

He dragged him all the way to the bathroom, locked him in there. Harry knew better than to make a sound so he just waited.

It was better not to question Niall if he was on a mission.

He could hear Niall shutting the blinds, and turning up the music and television.

Then he heard the door open once. Then twice.

Finally Niall came to open up the door to the bathroom. Harry had been gazing at the toilet, pondering about cleaning it.

Six eyes had been staring at him. his best friends eyes. But still. They were staring at him. It was vaguely concerning.

Harry stepped out of the bathroom. and then there was yelling.

“What the fuck were you thinking?!”

“You need to be more careful Harry.”

“Harry-”

Harry sighed. “I need you guys to sit down.”

They gathered around the couch, staring at Harry expectantly as the music blared. Probably to distract the fact that they were going to attempt to strangle Harry. Harry had decided he needed the music loud so no one heard the truth.

“Louis and I planned it.”

Niall covered his face with his hands. “Fuck.”

He went and checked the windows and turned up the music even louder, locking the door securely.

“There’s something I need to tell you guys,” he sat down on the edge of the couch, hands in his armpits, like he usually did when he was nervous.

“So you’re all familiar with my friend? The one who has been giving us the advice under the table. The friend who we’re very interested in taking over our management at the end of our contract? The friend who is going to get us out of this shit hole?”

There was a talk they had about six months before when they had an appearance on SNL, and had a fight so bad with their management team about the song choices that the four of them gathered in a hotel room and had “the talk”.

It had been the worst and best talk of Harry’s life. They had spilled every grievance, every desire, everything that they wanted for the band and for themselves. Everything was out on the table.

For one, they all wanted to resign with new management and a new record label after their contract ended with management in October and record label December 31. Two, they wanted to switch to a normal touring schedule. Three, Zayn and Liam wanted to do some solo producing. Four, Harry wanted to do more songwriting for other people. Five, Niall wanted to go traveling with no camera following him whatsoever. He wanted to disappear for a bit.

When they had decided that, Niall had told them about this friend that he had. He only referred to him as ‘my friend’ and gave them all the information regarding his management record and his terms of conditions. He didn’t provide any names on any information.

Harry, Zayn, and Liam automatically knew they wanted to sign with him after their contract, even without a name. What he was claiming could happen was everything they wanted. And it was sincere and legit and ruthless. They loved it and they had been listening to his advice since then. Because things had gotten progressively worse for them. More stunts, less focus on the music, less airplay in the US, lower ticket sales, more closeting; they were pissed.

The friend was helping.

“What does your friend have to do with me and Louis planning a sex tape?”

Liam rolled his eyes at Harry. “Niall, please get on with it. I want to stop imagining Harry in a sex tape.”

Niall rubbed his hands over his face, then looked at them very seriously, “My friend is Irving Azoff.”

“What the fuck?”

“Are you fucking kidding me Niall?”

Harry stared.

“Wait a second,” he waved his hands around, “Louis and I planned this alone. Without the help of anyone. And then we went to Simon and pretended that Louis was like mad at me for a one night stand that I left him for and he wanted promo and an apology in return for deleting the tape. But then Jeff Azoff found out about it and saved the day and offered Simon a promo relationship between me and Louis for the album to bring up sales,” Harry had never spoken that fast in his life.

“You did what?” Liam and Zayn asked while Niall replied, “I know. I talked to Irving this morning.”

“Irving planned the dating because he knows it’ll build 1. A public connection between him and us. 2. It was a way for you to come out. and 3. Apparently you guys like each other or summat so it’s like you’re already dating.”

Harry made a noise of protest, “We don’t like each other.”

Everyone rolled their eyes.

“He also said though, that this is now the start of the war. You unknowingly started a war by creating a sex tape with Louis. Between them as our new team, and Simon as our old team. Simon’s going to find out about our connection to them and our intention to sign at some point. And he’s going to be pissed.”

Harry remembers feeling the tears that welled up in his eyes, “I'm so sorry guys I'm so fucking sorry, I wasn’t even thinking I just thought-” Harry ran his hands through his hair, “I thought I was being clever and I thought it would boost sales, or something, and I didn’t even tell you guys. I was being so selfish.”

“Harry listen,” Liam reached out to hold Harry’s shoulder, “Niall has been coordinating this for months. And you’ve been struggling so much, we’ve seen it. You haven’t been yourself at all. We want you to be happy. Everyone just wants to be happy. If this starts a war, who cares. We’re ready to fight a war.”

Zayn piped up as well, “We’re Simon’s biggest revenue and he’s going to lose us. We were going to start a war no matter what. Whether you’re out or you’re not out. It was eating you dude. Yeah we all get shit, and our situations are shit for our career but, your closet and you dealing with that on top of everything else. None of us deserve this shit, none of us. That includes you.”

Niall lit up like a Christmas tree, “Irving told me that all these things he’s done to help us, they’ve been gearing us for the war. The war is inevitable. But you get to come out dude. We want that for you. We want the best for all of us. No matter what.”

Harry was pretty sure they were all crying at that point.

And then Simon called and told him he was officially going to come out and also officially date Louis Tomlinson.

Almost 24 hours after he had found out from Louis. The motherfucker.

That was two weeks ago.

Now, the boys did nothing but make fun of Harry for his ‘Louis obsession’ as they called it.

“Harry get the fuck out of bed and stop sending Louis selfies!” Niall calls out from the front of the bus.

This is why Harry hates sleeping on the bus.

“We’re stopping to get pancakes at the next rest stop!”

Harry was pretty sure it was 7 a.m. and also pretty sure Zayn was about to murder Niall.

“Niall if you fucking speak one more time in the next two hours, I will smother you in your sleep tonight.”

Niall cackles loudly.

Harry continues to send Louis pictures of anything he can while he stumbles around the bus for the rest of the morning. He sends him a picture of his tea, a picture of his foot on Niall’s head while Niall naps, a picture of Zayn and Liam cuddling on the couch, and then all of them eating their pancakes.

By the time they’re gearing up for the show, Louis calls him. Harry scrambles to get to the phone a little too quickly, he hasn’t heard Louis’ voice in a few days. Louis has been busy with filming and they’ve had show after show, and he’s been seen at two gay bars with ex flings in order to “set up the friends helping friends” storyline.

“Is there a reason you have decided to do nothing but send me pictures all day?”

Harry revels in the sound of Louis’ voice, his teasing tone, and blurts out the first thing he thinks, “Miss you Lou.”

“I-” Louis starts, but then there’s a string of noises in the background. “Shit, I have to go. They need me to do this night scene.”

Harry’s face drops, “Okay Lou. I'll talk to you later.”

“See you Harold,” Harry can hear Louis’ smile and automatically smiles back.

It isn’t until he meets Zayn’s knowing eyes across the room that he realizes.

Fuck. He likes Louis Tomlinson.

------

“What do you want twerp?”

Harry can’t even be annoyed. “Are you with mum and Robin?”

“Yeah, we’re all here,” Gemma moves the camera so he can see Anne and Robin in the background.

“Hi love!” his mum calls from the couch.

“I have a problem.”

“What did he say?” he hears Robin ask loudly.

“Gemma bring the phone over here.”

“Hold on H. They’re being annoying.”

“I have a problem!” Harry repeats a little louder, but they’re oblivious to it, arguing over the camera and situating Gemma so they can all talk to Harry.

“I like Louis!” Harry shouts. The camera stops moving, frozen on his mother shocked face, and his sister’s unsurprised face.

“You like Louis?” Anne clarifies, “As in like like you want to date him like Louis?”

“Aren’t you going to pretend he’s boning you for like three months?” Gemma’s face is very unimpressed.

“Gemma!” Anne and Robin chastise her.

Harry whines, “Yes! And I want him to be in real life boning me!” Harry thinks back to the sting of Louis’ hand in his hair, and on his hips, and on his ass.

“Harry!” Anne and Robin chastise him. Whoops.

Gemma laughs wildly and Anne takes the phone from her, making it focus on her face.

“Harry listen to me. If you like him, you need to tell him the truth. You can’t fake date someone you like. It just won’t work.”

Harry groans.

------

Louis loves Berlin.

He loves the city, he loves what he’s filming. He loves that it’s been almost two months and he only has a couple days left in Berlin and one more week to finish up back in England before filming is done.

But right now, he’s trying to get back to his hotel to watch an interview and everyone is pissing him the fuck off. The entire city is making him mad. There’s traffic, construction, some Justin Beiber concert causing people in the streets. It’s madness.

He finally settles into his hotel room, after complete chaos trying to get there, and opens his laptop just in time to see the interview has aired, based on his Google result for Harry Styles.

He opens his texts, seeing the last one from Harry. Let me know when you’ve watched. Want to know what you think xxxxxx

He clicks on the link for the interview.

He holds his breath as he watches the interviewer ask “Well, what do you look for in a partner?”, watches Liam probe Harry’s answer by joking saying “Oh, well female that’s important.” Then he sees the deep breath Harry takes, the slightest pause he would have never noticed if he didn’t know this boy. Didn’t know how much this meant to him. Then the smile that breaks over his face, as if he just gained courage.

Then he shrugs, “Not that important.”

Louis’ heart swells three times its size and he has to stop tears from welling up in his eyes because he’s just so proud of him.

He calls Harry immediately.

“Hi love,” Louis calls out softly.

“Did you see it?” Harry asks in a small voice.

“Yes I did. I just watched it. How do you feel?” Louis keeps his voice low and soothing to match Harry’s tone.

“I feel alright. The boys are really helping. I just. I can’t believe I got to say that. I haven’t looked at the articles but like, there are articles. I can’t, I can’t believe this,” Harry lets out a disbelieving breath and giggle.

“It’s indescribable I know,” Louis nods. “I wouldn’t go online just yet, this is big. I'm-” Louis chokes out, “I'm really proud of you.”

He hears Harry sniffle. “Thank you Lou. I'm,” he can hear Harry trail off, “I'm really glad I get to do this with you.”

“I'm really glad I get to do this with you too,” Louis pauses, “Wish I was there though. Is it absolutely mad that I miss you?”

Harry laughs. “No Louis, it’s not mad. I miss you too. but I do wish you were here too.”

Louis smiles, taking a deep breath to ease the butterflies in his stomach. “Soon right? I'll be done filming in a week.”

“I have one more big mument next week then we basically have a show everyday until I come out on the week break before we go to Europe.”

“So one more month then?” Louis tries not to hide the disappointment in his voice.

“One more month,” Harry replies but it sounds more like a promise.

-----

“Don’t knock it till you try it” trends on every social media site Louis and Harry check.

Louis almost cries laughing at the wide eyed look Liam gives him, and the knowing smile Zayn gives.

They FaceTime that night and one up each other on penis jokes until they’re both crying laughing.

 

----

The thing is though, for Louis, penis jokes only lead to the non-stop obsessive thoughts about Harry actually coming just from Louis pulling his hair and spanking him.

For Harry, it leads to a bit of overuse of his memory (and his vibrator).

-----

When it happens it’s a mistake.

Harry’s way too drunk, and Louis has been crowding his mind too incessantly. For weeks he was so obsessed with coming out he barely even thought about the night he spent faking the sex tape. But now all he thought about was the ghost of Louis’ hands in his hair and lips all over his neck.

But then Louis calls and he’s laughing, and Harry’s drunk. It just. It slips.

“Do you think about it?”

He hears Louis stop, his breath heavy, “Do I think about what?”

“Think about our sex tape,” Harry breathes out, barreling into his hotel room bathroom.

“I-,” Louis stutters, “Yes.”

“Can’t stop thinking about it,” Harry removes all of his clothes, quickly weeing before he goes to bed.

“Harry,” Louis trails off. “ You’re drunk.”

Harry nods, “I am, but I think about it sober. think about it all the time.”

Louis is silent.

Harry panics. “I'm sorry, I shouldn’t have told you that. I'm sorry, I am drunk,” Harry turns off his light and gets under the covers.

“Harry,” Louis repeats. “I think about it too. I think about it a lot. okay?”

Harry takes a deep breath. “yeah?”

“Yeah,” Louis confirms.

Harry doesn’t really know where to go from here. Doesn’t know what to say. What do you say to someone who made you come, who you would like to make you come on a repeated basis, and who you’re going to start fake dating in a matter of weeks?

Harry closes his eyes and before he knows it, he’s asleep.

----

Turns out talking about it doesn’t make it any better.

(If anything the sexual frustration gets worse.)

----

After filming in London, Louis finds himself at his Cheshire house.

He orders groceries. He brings some extra clothes. He contemplates buying a dog.

But more importantly, he decompresses. He unravels from David Bowie, and reminds himself that he’s Louis Tomlinson.

He spends more time than he should outside, the warm beginnings of summer just starting to shine through.

He gets the text from Harry at about 5 o’clock when he’s just about to go inside for the night and watch House of Cards.

Harry had been quiet for most of the day, barely texting. Louis knew why. He just didn’t press.

I'm posting in 5 minutes.

Louis takes a deep breath. He lets the sun hit him for a minute, trying to forget the nerves he felt When his article was about to make breaking news.

It doesn’t make him feel any better.

Good luck love. You’ll be great. I promise. xxx

He can feel the apprehension in his stomach, and runs inside to grab his laptop. He wants to see this live.

He Googles Harry Styles Instagram, and opens the page. It’s not there, yet. Just a sea of black and white photos.

He waits a second, hits refresh, and then.

Then there’s a rainbow.

His phone pings and his heart soars.

He reads the caption below the picture, tears welling up in his eyes.

He thinks back to the boy he met, the words he had told him that night at the Brits.

He opens up his messages. Very brave of you. x

------

Louis doesn’t hear from Harry the rest of the night.

He checks Tumblr, checks the comments on articles for the overwhelming support.

He ends up posting a picture of his soccer pitch that he took earlier with the caption. It was a good day.

He falls asleep early, the windows open and a cool breeze in his room.

When he awakes, it’s to the sound of a car on his gravel driveway.

He shoots up. terror building as he looks out the window, but can’t see the car from this angle.

There’s a knock on the door. And his phone pings, making him jump out of bed to get to it.

Can you let me in?

Louis races to the door, quickly letting Harry in before anyone could possibly see him or follow him.

“What are you doing here? You weren’t supposed to leave your house for at least 24 hours. And you’re supposed to lay low this entire break-”

Louis’ words are cut off by Harry’s entire body being flung into him, gripping him close and tight. Louis exhales as he wraps his arms around Harry’s frame, pulling him even closer.

They stand there like for a few muments, until Louis is sure he hears sniffling, and Louis’ tears wet Harry’s hoodie. The same black hoodie he had on when they were trying to make this very mument happen.

“Thank you so much Lou. Thank you,” Harry chokes out.

Louis takes a deep breath, “This was all you Harry. All you. I'm so proud of you.”

Harry pulls away, “I'm so sorry for not telling you I was coming. I was just sitting there with my mum and Robin and my sister. And I just. I needed to get out of the house for a little bit.”

Louis smiles, “You don’t do well with orders of staying in do you?”

Harry smirks, “I do well with other orders.”

----

They stay up baking cookies and cupcakes. Louis puts on various records as they bake, singing and dancing.

They only get in one food fight. But it’s a mess. Flour hand prints mat their clothes, and Harry gets icing smeared across his face and hair. Louis gets it all over his back because of Harry grabbing him and trying to stop him.

It doesn’t work.

They end up falling asleep in a heap of limbs and muffled whispers about their fondest memories, their regrets, their hopes, their past, their future, and their families.

It’s the best night of Louis’ life (and Harry’s too).

----

The single drops a week later.

Harry leaves to promote the single in America (and tells the world his celebrity crush is Louis Tomlinson).

One Direction’s tour starts in europe.

Their contract begins.

----

Louis can’t seem to leave the Cheshire house to go back to London. He instead goes up to Doncaster to visit his family.

He lasts about two days with his family before he calls his best friend Stan. He hasn’t seen him since the last time he was home.

They end up in the backyard, a bonfire going as they smoke.

“How cool was it being David Bowie?” Stan asks, watching the smoke float away into the sky.

“It was cool,” Louis replies, not interested.

Stan looks at him briefly, before resuming his stare at the smoke.

“The last movie you were in you wouldn’t shut up about. this is David Bowie,” Stan pauses, as if searching very carefully for his next words, “You read every David Bowie book growing up. Watched all his videos. You were him for Halloween three Halloweens in a row. And all you say is cool? What’s up dude?”

Louis is silent for a long time. He knew this would come out eventually. Knew it was eating away at him. Knew this thing with Harry was just making it come to the surface more. More noticeable. More obvious.

Louis lets out a breath, “Can you name five good friends that I have?”

Stan contemplates it for a second, “Not anymore.”

“Yeah,” Louis says shortly, “Exactly.”

They’re both silent.

“My castmates are great, I genuinely have fun on every role I do. But then I go home, or I go to an award show or an event and it. It feels like I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t belong here because I'm on the TV when we pass the movie channels. But I don’t belong there because there’s barely two people I can sit and have conversations with.”

“James and Ed,” Stan offers.

“James and Ed,” Louis confirms. “Those are my only famous friends. But they’re not close. I'm not, I'm not that close with them.”

Stan doesn’t speak for a while, taking another drag of the blunt. “What about Harry Styles?”

Louis’ heart hammers, like it always does when Harry’s name is mentioned. He should get that checked out. “Harry feels like..”

The word ‘home’ threatens to come out, and Louis swallows that quickly.

“I don’t know.”

Stan smiles slowly, like he knows what Louis was about to say, “Okay.”

-----

 

Louis follows Harry on Twitter and Instagram. Immediately liking his coming out post.

Harry follows him back. It gets people talking.

(Louis doesn’t check for fanart. Except he does.)

-----

Harry is vaguely nervous.

He’s cleaned the bus four times and snapped at Niall six times. Niall runs the biggest risk of embarrassing him in front of Louis. Second is Liam by making fun of his crush like last time. Third is Zayn by his creepy assessment of people he does from afar.

Louis is due to show up at the concert in less than forty five minutes, and Harry has resorted to pacing around the bus.

He’s not nervous about Louis being seen at the concert and being the first public speculation, and first true interaction of them for the intent of dating.

He’s not nervous about that.

He’s nervous about his best fucking friends hanging out with Louis, who he likes, for the first time.

It’s going to be a disaster.

---

When Louis arrives, Harry takes him on a tour of the stadium, showing him around backstage and around the venue. There’s screaming coming from everywhere and he knows that there are pictures being snapped of them together backstage. And that’s the point isn’t it?

Louis is loud. So much louder than he’s used to seeing him at his house. He realizes that this is the first time their friendship is public. The first time they’re somewhere that’s not hushed or hidden or private.

Harry revels in it, revels in Louis charming every crew member and every bodyguard. Even their backing band.

Louis’ smile is wide, and Harry knows his is just as big and fond as he brings Louis to their bus.

“Why are you looking at me like that Harold?” Louis quirks his head at Harry.

“Looking at you like what?” Harry tries to school his face into something that’s not incredibly fond, or happy.

“Like a frog,” Louis stops walking abruptly. “Your smile is wide and your eyes are really big.” He reaches up to touch Harry’s face but pulls away the second the bus door swings wide open.

Zayn looks between the both of them, amber eyes narrowing carefully. Then he walks past them.

“Um,” Louis looks to Harry.

“Don’t worry,” Harry whispers. “That was a good stare.”

----

Niall and Louis get along too well.

After ten minutes Niall worships the ground that Louis walks on, and is cracking up so loud he can barely hold it in.

They both make fun of Harry for his lack of coordination on the football pitch, and Louis invites Niall over to play sometime.

Niall tells them that Liam is somewhere boxing with their trainer and Louis eyes up the water balloons that Niall had purchased earlier the day for their stylist’s daughter.

It’s a very bad idea.

Except Liam thinks it’s the greatest as he’s done his workout and gets pelted with water balloons. It starts a full blown war and even Zayn comes to play, finding himself coming out of the mess relatively unscathed.

Harry and Louis team up on Liam dumping water all over him, and Liam genuinely laughs like he hasn’t in months.

By the time they’re done, they’re all soaked (except for Zayn) and Zayn looks to Louis, eyes bright.

He pulls out keys from his back pocket, “Wanna go steal a golf cart?”

Something warm spreads throughout Harry’s body as he glances between Zayn’s bright eyes and Louis’ mischievous smile. Louis glances up at Harry, who nods in return.

“I’d love to.”

Harry laughs as they run off together.

Liam throws an arm around Harry, “I like him a lot.”

Niall pipes up from where he’s trying to dry off, laying on the cement ground, “Me too.”

Harry’s silent, eyes watchful as Louis and Zayn whip around the corner and past them on a golf cart whooping and hollering.

“Haven’t had this much in a while, have we lads?”

-------

Louis watches the show from side stage, bopping along with the bodyguards. He can’t remember the last time he was at a show this big. The crowd is unbelievably loud. He took a couple of pictures with a couple of fans before the show started.

Louis bops and sings along to every song, probably surprising Harry who looks over almost every song to gauge his reaction.

Harry is positively sinful on stage, hair down and flowing everywhere. His blouse is almost entirely unbuttoned and Louis can see every bit of his abs as he flounces around the stage. He grinds on Niall, Liam, and even Zayn. He is quite provocative with a microphone. He’s basically begging for Louis to get a boner (which he does).

Louis has the time of his life from the side of the stage, making every one of the boys laugh.

He can’t help it. It’s the first time he’s been out in a long time where he’s felt himself with a group of people.

But he saves that thought for a little later.

He’s escorted backstage when the concert is done, meeting four sweaty hugs, only one of which he doesn’t mind.

“How did you like it?” Harry asks excitedly, post-concert adrenaline oozing off of him.

Louis shrugs, “Not bad.”

Harry shoves him, “Hey,” he drawls.

“Oi,” Louis shoves him back, “I'm just kidding. I think the last time I was at a show like this was when I went to see The Script in 2009, like a year before I started acting. Drove all the way to Manchester meself.”

Harry fishmouths. “Manchester 2009 to see The Script?” he repeats. “I was at the same show.”

“Really?” Louis shakes his head like he can’t believe it, “Wow.”

Harry hums. “Fate,” he confirms, smiling wide and entirely too pleased.

-----

Louis kind of, sort of, ends up on tour with them for an entire week.

It fuels the rumors for sure, but Louis just, doesn’t want to leave.

He tells himself it’s to get used to tour life just in case he ever plays another musician.

He also tells it to Jeff, but Jeff just does his job of writing about their relationship. They get papped once, shopping in Amsterdam.

They are instructed to act naturally (and they do). Except naturally looks a hell of a lot like dating.

Oops.

----

Life with Louis on tour is like something was missing the entire five years they had been together.

It’s loud, and rambunctious.

They go out to clubs at night, or smoke in the bus. They play Fifa and marathon movies.

They have sword fights in the hotel, which gets them a lot of noise complaints.

Louis actually feels like he belongs somewhere.

And Harry knows exactly where that is.

But of course, what goes up must come down.

-----

It’s mid July and Simon Cowell finds out One Direction is not resigning with him.

Their plan of starting a “normal” touring schedule goes to shit right in front of their eyes as Simon publicly announces that One Direction is taking a break in all his trusted media sources.

Fans have a melt down, they have a melt down.

And then they get serious. This is war, afterall.

-----

“Um,” Louis answers the phone, “aren’t you supposed to be on stage right now?”

Louis is pretty sure they’re in Cardiff. But he can’t be sure.

“Yep,” Harry chirps popping the 'p'. “We’re not on stage though.” he whispers conspiratorially.

“Um, why?”

“Facetime me,” Harry requests politely.

“Okay Harold.”

Louis opens up FaceTime to Harry snuggled in his bunk.

“Are you hiding?” Louis aks.

“I’ve done enough today, I'm letting them handle the rest,” Harry’s eyes zone in on Louis’ face, “I like the beard.”

Louis rubs at his chin, “Haven’t been arsed to shave it.”

Harry pouts, “Hasn’t been the same sleeping in this bunk without you moaning and groaning about how small it is.”

“Well, I needed to get the full experience of touring,” Louis counters obviously.

Half of the week he and Harry spent sleeping in the bus, sharing a bed, and the other half they spent sharing a bed in a hotel.

They should probably stop sharing a bed.

It would probably help Louis not struggle so much sleeping alone now that he’s home.

Harry stares at Louis for a long mument, “I miss you a bit.”

Louis can feel his eyes go soft around the edges, “Miss you too Curly.”

------

Barcelona is absolutely lovely during the end of July.

Louis and Harry are officially a couple according to the media. ‘A hot and heavy summer romance’ is what most articles are referring to them as, but Louis doesn’t really check.

They stay in Barcelona for a day, buying each other trinkets from shops.

“Look Lou!” Harry cries, “Coin bracelets!” Harry thumbs over the silver. “They’re beautiful.”

“Want me to buy it for you? Have you always remember that time you went on vacation with your celebrity crush Louis Tomlinson?” Louis teases him.

Harry shakes his head, “Don’t need a bracelet to remember this.”

(Louis goes back to the shop later and buys it for him.)

Jeff organizes a private plane to Majorca for their vacation and their destination is a villa right on the water. They have a driver take them to what Jeff has dubbed the literal love shack, and throw their bags on the master bedroom bed.

They wordlessly decide out of the three bedrooms they could have, that they’ll be sharing the master.

Apparently they’re not going to work on not sleeping in the same bed.

The air is hot and sticky as they wander through the villa, the gorgeous architecture and gardens absolutely blinding them.

“Wow,” Harry breathes, “Jeff wasn’t messing around.”

Louis strangles a laugh, “He went all out just for us to get papped kissing and canoodling on the beach the next two days.”

The joke falls flat.

He can hear his heartbeat loud in his own ears. “Come on Curly, let’s go swimming.”

They’re floating in their private pool when Harry breaks the silence, “I'm a bit nervous.”

“First time publicly with a boy innit?” Louis asks, knowing that’s exactly what he himself has been feeling.

“Yeah,” Harry keeps his eyes closed, floating in the water, “I kind of don’t want anyone to see though.”

Louis guffaws, “Are you embarrassed of me Harry Styles?”

Harry is silent for a long moment, and Louis isn’t sure if what he says next is the truth or not. “Just want to keep you to myself.”

Louis breathes in and breathes out, before starting a full on splash war.

Remember that line that they had blurred? Who the fuck knew where it was at this point.

-------

 

The pap is called and ready, perched in the sand behind some palm trees.

They try to ignore him.

They do ignore him.

Louis lathers Harry up with sunscreen (see: entirely too much sunscreen) making Harry bark out his horse laugh, which Louis loves.

It eases the tension.

Harry tries to apply just as much sunscreen on Louis, and he’s in such shock from his use of the word love in regards to Harry’s laugh that he sits obediently for a moment. Then he snaps out of it, feeling the heaviness of sunscreen on his back, and runs away as Harry chases him with white hands.

He lets him spread it out evenly by the water.

“You ready babe?” Louis swims closer to Harry, close enough that he can see the clear green of his eyes perfectly. Harry’s hair is wet, the curls long and falling into his face. His smile is so fond, so private just for Louis, and Louis just. He can’t.

He can’t kiss him on his pretty mouth for a camera that’s 200 feet away.

He wants his first kiss with him to be real. Wants it to be theirs because he loves his curls, loves the way his skin feels under his touch. Loves the way Harry’s hands wrap around his waist and pull him closer.

He can’t kiss him.

Fuck, he can’t kiss him. Can’t control himself not to want more, and more and more. Can’t control himself like he did with the sex tape. He barely controlled himself then, and they both came that night.

Here out in the ocean, he can’t ignore growing heat low in his belly, the brush of hardness of Harry beneath the water.

Louis digs his hands into Harry’s side as he clasps his legs around his waist, the water making him more buoyant.

His lips drag across Harry’s collarbone and neck, peppering kisses and small licks to lap up the water that’s building there.

He trails his kisses all the way up his neck to his cheek, and hovers over his mouth for a long second.

He watches Harry’s eyes close, his mouth move ever so slightly toward him, and then Louis presses a loud wet smacking kiss to Harry’s cheek.

He can’t kiss Harry Styles on the mouth for a camera.

He can’t, because he’ll only want more. and he’ll want it for real.

------

Harry suggests they try amateur snorkeling the next day for the pap. They find the gear in the villa, just some goggles and a snorkel.

By the time they’re out in the water, the pap arrives and they don’t even notice him.

Harry snaps a few pictures of Louis in his goggles to post on his Instagram (and to save for him to admire later).

They’re terrible snorkelers, always too close to the surface. But Louis points out some fish that has Harry squealing in excitement.

They end up dropping off the gear, and floating on the water.

Harry reaches out to grasp Louis’ hand as he floats, loving the way Louis smiles a small smile just for him in response.

He pulls Louis in abruptly, making Louis flail a bit before complying.

“Wha’ is it Curly?”

Harry stands up, pulling Louis even closer until their chests are pressed against one another.

He can feel Louis take a deep breath, shocked and a little shallow.

His eyes flit over the freckles on Louis’ cheeks, the one long wispy curl that’s threatening to cover his eyes that are as clear blue as the ocean they’re swimming in.

His lips hover over Louis’ and then he freezes.

He doesn’t want this like this.

He wants Louis for real. In private. For himself.

Wants to kiss Louis completely, thoroughly, like he’s been imagining since that night Louis’ hands were all over him.

He wants his lips pressed to his and everything that comes after it.

He wants it for real, wants it all for real. The hand holding, the kissing, the cuddling, mornings, the nights, everything and all of it. For real.

A light wave lifts Harry and Louis up, and Harry drops his lips to Louis’ cheek, pressing a warm kiss there.

“Oops,” he says.

“Hi,” Louis giggles.

-----

 

Three days alone on an island off of Spain in the middle of summer with Harry Styles is fucking torture for Louis’ penis.

It’s hot as fucking balls first off. Secondly, they’ve canoodled and kissed each other’s necks and cheeks way too much for it to be platonic (and the boners didn’t help). Even if it was for paparazzi.

And to top it all off, Harry has insisted on walking around in the fucking nude.

Louis hasn’t wanked in days, and Harry is apparently throwing all caution to the wind on his fear of nudity from the night of their sex tape.

It’s a distraction is what it is. And Louis gets that it’s hot. He gets it. But honestly. He doesn’t think he can handle seeing the swell of Harry’s bum one more time without ravaging him.

So he excuses himself from Harry’s naked sunbathing.

“I'm gonna go take a shower, so we can go out to eat tonight maybe.”

Harry hums in agreement. “I'll shower after you.”

Louis would really fucking like if they would shower together.

But he’s stuck with his hand.

He makes it through about 3 seconds of his shower before he’s lathering himself up and wrapping a hand around his cock.

He lets out a breath of relief.

He teases himself at first, building a slow rhythm, his skin prickling with heat and want. He slinks up his other hand to grab his nipples, but hisses at the contact.

He works a little faster, completely unabashed to how loud his moaning is and how quickly this is ending.

He’s fucking keyed up with Harry wandering around the house naked. Harry who he knows what he sounds like when he comes. knows what his hair feels like in his hands, his ass under his touch.

Louis’ breathing picks up as his fist works a little faster and he presses his head against the shower wall, the bang echoing a little too loudly.

He hears a cautious, “Lou?”

And spills all over his fist, with Harry’s name on his lips.

Louis catches his breath, letting the water wash away all of the evidence.

“Lou?” Harry calls again.

“Yes?” Louis yells back, a little strangled. “What is it?”

“I thought I heard,” Harry starts. “Are you okay?”

“Peachy!” Louis scrubs his skin a little harder, trying not to be embarrassed by the fact that Harry just heard him moan his name, and also apparently thinks he was injured in the shower.

By the time Louis is done showering, he swings the door open and practically rushes past Harry to get to his bag.

“Your turn,” Louis rushes out, almost missing Harry’s wide eyes trailing over his wet torso.

What he doesn’t miss, is the fact that Harry’s hard (very hard) and brushing past him to get into the shower, face completely red.

The door shuts loudly behind Louis, and he sits on the bed to catch his breath.

He stoically ignores the moans coming from the shower, knuckles white from gripping the bedsheets so hard.

When Harry comes out of the bathroom, pleasantly sated, Louis throws his clothes at him.

“Get dressed please,” Louis demands.

Harry’s knowing smile is the worst.

----

Harry has three more weeks of tour in the UK.

By the last day of vacation, it starts wearing on him: the dread of going back, the pout of not wanting to leave.

Louis makes the most of it, organizing a sailing trip with a captain that teaches them everything they need to know about sailing. He lets them help hoist the sale and even lets Harry take the helm.

It’s their favorite day.

----

Harry sleeps through most of the plane ride back to Manchester. By the time they land his curls are barely held together in his bun, and his eyes are bleary. Louis had snuck the Barcelona coin bracelet into a deep concealed pocket in his luggage with heart in his chest, knowing that Harry would find it when he was meant to. He had no idea what the fuck he was doing. Truly.

“Want me to drop you off at home?” Louis whispers, trying not to disturb Harry’s almost sleeping form.

“No, wanna go to our house,” Harry mumbles back, rolling his head onto Louis’ shoulder.

Louis’ heart skips, “Do you mean the Cheshire house?”

Harry hums in agreement, “Yeah, let’s go home.”

-----

Boys Harry texts, glancing at the journal he just wrote in and Louis’ sleeping figure, completely unaware to the fact that Harry isn’t even in bed. I have a song, I think you might like it. we need to do this asap I think I want it on the album and I think you guys will too

“Harry,” Louis rasps, “come back.”

Harry’s heart swells. Maybe he wasn’t completely unaware.

------

“Sh,” Niall shushes Louis, “shut the fuck up.”

“Oi, Nialler, you shut the fuck up,” Louis retorts.

“You’re going to blow our cover, you loud mouth,” Zayn makes a move to grab Louis but it’s all too slow.

“Oh yeah,” Louis barks, “because no one is going to see the all the fucking smoke and the fogged windows.”

He steals back the blunt from Niall.

They’re smoking on the bus, and Liam always throws a hissy fit if they smoke on the bus. Harry had sufficiently distracted Liam by taking him to the gym, but all three of them lost track of time ages ago.

Ages.

Niall smiles at Louis, “You know I like you a lot Lou. Always got the best ideas.”

A catlike smile creeps across Louis’ face. “I know.”

The door swings open. “Are you guys fucking smoking on the bus again?” Liam shouts.

Harry makes eye contact with Louis who breaks out into a serene smile at just one look.

“I fucking love you Louis,” mumbles Zayn, laughing.

----

“Stan, you have to come with me,” Louis begs.

“You want me to come to a One Direction concert where I will probably go deaf from all the screaming?”

“I'll buy you ear plugs. please. It’s free and we’ll go out after. I want you to-” Stan knows where that sentence is heading. Louis knows where that sentence is heading.

“Pick me up at 5.”

---

Stan and Harry get along great. Stan tells Harry all of Louis’ embarrassing stories from growing up, and Harry shows Stan everything that goes on backstage and onstage.

Stan and Louis dance along to all the songs, and Stan is eager to tell the boys of a club they won’t get spotted in.

Louis can tell Stan loves them all, the smile on his face too wide for his face as Liam, Zayn, and Niall tell him tour stories.

They dance as a group at the club, bodies sweaty and the boys pumped up from the after show high.

“Gotta get a drink,” Stan yells into Louis ear. And Louis follows. Stan orders for them both then turns around and watches the boys as they jump around the club in a sorry excuse for dancing. “Think you’ve found something here with all these guys.”

Louis grabs the bottle from the bartender and meets Stan’s gaze, “Yeah. I have.”

They’re both quiet for a moment amongst the loud bass of the club.

“You’re my best friend,” Louis says.

“I know,” Stan punches his arm.

They go back to dancing.

----

September sees a lot of promo.

The boys have an album to promote, Louis has a movie to promote.

They only see each other once.

(It also doesn’t help that Simon’s album promo includes pregnancy scares for Liam, racist news for Zayn, cheating rumors for Harry that threaten whether or not he’s really gay, and nothing for Niall.)

----

They get asked about each other a lot.

Louis smiles coy, and brushes it off.

Harry’s all red faced and embarrassed laughs with the other boys ribbing him and talking about how they love Louis.

It’d be a lie if they both said they were acting.

-----

The one time they see each other is in LA.

They coordinate one night that they could see each other during the entire month of September.

They go to dinner at a secluded restaurant where there are no photos allowed.

Harry gets dressed up (but so does Louis).

“You look nice,” Harry swallows.

“‘You look nice’” Louis mimics, “That all you got?”

Harry huffs, “Well, no more compliments for you then.”

Louis flings himself at Harry, “No please, give me more compliments.”

Harry reaches out to touch Louis’ hair, “Your hair is getting long again.”

Louis hums, eyeing up Harry’s curls, “So is yours.”

Harry laughs and pulls Louis in, “Missed you.”

Louis smiles, kissing Harry’s warm cheek, “Missed you too Harold.”

It’s their last date and it’s not even for publicity.

---

“Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson broken up? Is the hot and heavy summer romance over?” Liam reads loudly from his phone in the beginning of October.

They’re getting ready for IHeartRadio Festival, and the news breaks.

“Does Jeff know what he’s doing?” Harry asks a little apprehensively.

“I mean, they’re doing as much as they can with Simon. He’s being a pissbaby about this apparently,” Niall interjects.

“Nothing new,” Zayn rolls his eyes, “Are you sure you’re not just mad because contract is up and neither of you have talked about your relationship at all, at any point in time?”

Harry blinks at him.

“Zayn!” Liam scolds.

“What?” Zayn looks at Liam, “Were we not supposed to tell him that yet?”

Niall rolls his eyes and Liam hits him.

“We’ve talked about it,” Harry lies very unconvincingly.

“Yeah, sure you have,” Niall says snarkily, “Harry, did you even know the contract was up today?”

Harry avoids his eyes.

“Exactly,” Niall looks unimpressed.

“And don’t even get me started on the fact that you guys are legit dating under the guise of fake dating but haven’t talked about it. And haven’t kissed on the mouth,” Zayn starts.

Harry squawks.

“We’ve kissed!”

“Nn the mouth,” Zayn clarifies.

“Stop torturing him Zayn!” Liam smacks Zayn again.

“Liam come on, how many time have you seen them kiss on the cheek, forehead, neck or other body area that’s not sexual?”

Liam’s ears turn red, thinking of the compromising positions he’s seen Louis and Harry in. The amount of flirting he’s seen. “A lot.”

“And how many times have they kissed on the mouth?”

Liam is silent.

“You two got papped in Spain for the purpose of you to be seen dating and you didn’t even kiss on the mouth.”

“Why did you look at the pap pictures?” Harry tries to change the subject.

“Don’t try to change the subject,” Niall stares at him.

“Fine, we’ve never kissed on the mouth,” Harry throws his hands up, exasperated.

“Why not?” Zayn asks, like he’s finally getting what he wants out of the conversation.

“Because,” Harry pretends to rack his brain for a reason but he knows what it is. He knows it, he knows it so fucking well because it’s been threatening to come out for weeks. It’s been boiling and boiling and his contract is up and he’s already fucked.

“Why’d you write the song Harry?” Niall asks as a follow up.

And they think they’re so fucking smart, don’t they?

But they are. and they know. They know because they know Harry knows.

“I wrote the song because I'm in love with him,” Harry says finally, “and I couldn’t kiss him because I couldn’t kiss him without telling him I love him.”

They all squeal and pounce on him.

“Fucking finally!” Niall whoops.

“I hate you guys,” Harry’s voice is muffled from the bottom of the pile of boys he’s in.

“Now we just have to tell him,” Niall says cheerfully and it sounds like it could be really easy. Except it’s not easy, and it goes to shit.

Really fucking fast.

---

Louis gets a text alerting him the contract is up, and a link to the break up article from Jeff.

He also tells him there’s no rep statements from either parties and he doesn’t plan on issuing one (there’s a wink face as well which Louis pointedly ignores).

He’s up in Doncaster again, a week off before he has to go to London for the start of his premieres. His mum and sister are coming with him to the premiere, his sister doing his mother and Perrie Edwards' makeup.

Promo season leaves him stressed, and he can feel himself about to boil over. He can feel it every text he gets from Harry, every second he talks about it during an interview. He can feel himself tipping closer to the edge, not being able to handle it.

His mother knows. Lottie knows. Stan knows.

They’re tip toeing around his barking, his snipping, his nasty remarks.

They’re choosing not to address it. He can tell.

If Louis is towing the line of the edge, the phone call he gets at 3 am pushes him over.

“Hi Lou,” Harry slurs into the phone.

“Harry, it’s 3 am,” Louis mumbles into the phone.

“I know!” Harry cries out, “but guess what Louis?”

Louis wipes his eyes. “What Harry?”

“You’re single!”

“What?” Louis asks, entirely too loud in his dark room.

“The contract is up Lou!” Harry chirps.

Louis is silent for a moment, “Are you celebrating the fact that the contract is up?”

There’s rustling and music on the other side of the line, “No more contract is good,” Harry recites as if he has been repeating it to himself all night (which he has but Louis doesn’t know that or understand why).

Louis can feel his edges start to fray, “Why is it good Harry?”

“It’s great!”

Louis is annoyed. Louis is fraying and he’s annoyed and his family has known he’s been teetering the edge but Harry doesn’t, and Louis just. He snaps.

“That’s fucking great Harry. I'm glad you got what you wanted. Contract is up. We’re both single. I'm hanging up.”

“Wait Lou-” Harry’s wording wobbly and there’s a loud sound behind him.

Louis ends the call.

----

The drive to London is four hours, and of course they use that to interrogate him. Of course they do, because his family knows something is up, knows it from the way he snapped this morning upon waking up. He’s fucking pissed, and he’s upset, and he just really doesn’t want to fucking talk about it.

It’s Lottie who breaks the silence first.

“Your phone is off,” Lottie comments.

“Personal phone yes,” Louis replies shortly.

Jay and Lottie share a glance.

“Why is that?”

“Is that your business?” Louis snaps.

“Boo,” Jay starts.

“What mother?” Louis rolls his eyes, Lottie scoffs.

“Okay,” Jay says loudly, “you need to stop right now Louis. I get it you’re pissed at Harry for God knows what. I get you’re pissed because you don’t want to admit your feelings and it’s tearing you apart lying. I get it Louis. But you have a movie premiere tomorrow and you need to get over yourself and own up to your feelings. You’re an adult Louis. Be one.”

Lottie makes a praise motion with her hands and Jay and Louis face off in a stare down.

Louis sighs. loudly.

His mother glares more.

“Okay fine,” Louis resolve breaks. “Our contract ended yesterday, and Harry called me drunk talking about how the contract is up and I'm single and everything is good,” Louis mocks sarcastically. “And I don’t know, I sort of snapped and I haven’t answered him since.”

“Did you give him a chance to explain?” Lottie asks.

“No,” Louis replies bitterly, “he was pretty straightforward on the phone.”

“But-” Lottie tries.

Louis takes a deep breath, “We’re done talking about this for now.”

----

“Blacklist the topic at every premiere,” Louis asks politely into the phone.

He glances at Jay, who is looking at him strangely.

“Okay, I can do that. Is there a reason I'm doing this though?” Jeff asks, curiously.

“Just make sure it is blacklisted Jeff,” Louis says exasperatedly. “I don’t want to talk about Harry at any of my events until further notice.”

“Got it,” Jeff replies, “Let me know when that changes.”

Louis hangs up.

“So you’re now ignoring the topic of Harry too,” Jay starts, her ‘mum with a point’ face on. “First, you turn off your phone to ignore Harry literally, and now you’re avoiding the topic too.”

Louis ignores her because he fucking can, and goes to the kitchen to get some of the lunch they ordered.

She follows him.

“Louis, why are you ignoring this? You like him. You told me months ago that you liked him and now you’re acting like a child. You need to talk to him. You two are adults, you can figure it out.”

Louis slams down the spoon he was using to make his plate of food. They had ordered food for the usual mess of people that come along with premieres. Including Jeff usually but he was meeting them when they were ready to leave.

“Mother,” Louis starts, but she cuts him off.

“Turn on your phone Louis.”

“Mom,” Louis starts again. He’s not turning on that phone.

She throws her hands up, “I know Stan is usually here to knock some sense into you. But right now, I'm looking out for you. This is hurting you and you need to fix it. I don’t like seeing you this way,” Jay’s eyes are starting to get teary, and she blinks, “You need to talk to him. Turn on the phone.”

“What am I supposed to say to him?” Louis exclaims. “‘Oh hi, our contract is up but to be honest did we even pay attention to the fact we had a contract?’” Louis mimes the Conversation in an ugly way. “‘Oh and by the way somewhere along the way I fell in love with you?’”

Lottie drops her makeup bag coming into the kitchen.

Jay’s eyes go wide.

Louis freezes.

“Oh shit,” Louis grabs a beer from the refrigerator and takes a long gulp, trying to calm down his racing heart.

Jay brings him in for a hug and it’s so warm and loving and he misses his mum so much when he’s gone, he almost cries.

“I know love, falling in love with the right person is so easy sometimes we don’t even see it at first.”

Louis tears up, “I think I knew the whole time. I knew it. I just didn’t want to admit it.”

Jay pulls away and cups her eldest son’s face, “Well now you know what you have to do. You’ve got to tell him.”

---

Except telling him is a little hard when he’s got four premieres in London, L.A., NYC and Berlin all in the course of a week. So Louis just. Doesn’t. He doesn’t text, doesn’t call, and doesn’t hear from him.

He turns on his phone to find three texts, Louis? What happened? Are you okay?, Lou?, I need to talk to you.

Which he swallows down hard and ignores, because he can’t explain it all over text. He can’t explain it on a plane, he can’t deal with the rejection he knows he’s going to get when he’s got the busiest week ever. He repeats to himself that he can’t do it all over the phone, but really he’s just afraid.

Afraid that everything was fake, that it was just one-sided. That only Louis fell for Harry and not the other way around and that Harry truly wants to be single like he said on the phone.

But then he thinks of the way Harry came the night of the sex tape, and that day in Majorca. He thinks of Harry telling him he misses him, and the way Harry asked to be held every night They were on tour. He thinks of the frog face Harry gave him every time their eyes met and he just. He’s confused. He doesn’t fucking know. And he’s too fucking scared to know.

So he ignores.

They officially have been not talking for a week and a half when Louis goes to his final premiere in Berlin.

The premiere runs smoothly.

It’s the after-party where things get tricky.

Lottie has been with him the whole time, with her being invited by Perrie to do makeup for all the premieres. She’s also been his date to them as well, because his mum didn’t want to leave the twins and the girls for too long.

They’re at the after party and Louis gets a little tipsy. Just a little because he’s about to go back home and he can’t fucking wait if he’s being honest. Premieres are stressful because he has to be ‘on’ at all times. And truly he just wants to go home and be Louis. He needs to fucking decompress again.

He needs a fucking smoke.

He walks out the front door of the club and there’s suddenly flashes everywhere.

So maybe he’s a little drunk and he forgot about the paparazzi.

They’re yelling out to him about the usual things until he hears one guy say, “Louis, what do you think about Harry Styles moving on so quickly?”

His head snaps up. He takes one last drag then puts out his cigarette and walks back inside.

The remark haunts him his entire way back to London that night.

----

By the time he gets home, at nearly 3 am, he’s perfectly sober and googling Harry Styles. He knew reading them drunk would have him reacting too quickly and doing something stupid. He needed to be sober to read this. So he taps Harry’s name albeit a little aggressively into the search bar and waits a moment.

There’s tons of articles. Louis sighs, and feels the tension wind in him again.

There’s articles about Harry moving on, with pictures of some guy and Harry at a club that are perfectly tame, just the guy whispering in Harry’s ear. Articles about Harry never being interested in Louis but instead just sex with him. Articles of him still being into women. Articles of him being a manwhore who sleeps with both men and women. Articles about him being a lothario who sleeps with any gay man in a 10 mile radius.

Louis closes the tab, nausea building in his stomach that has nothing to do with the alcohol from the night, and goes to sleep.

----

There’s banging. Very loud banging on his flat’s door.

Which is almost nearly impossible. He rolls over, glancing at the shining 9 am on his phone, and groans.

“Fucking hold on,” Louis yells, making his way to the door.

He swings the door open.

(He should really not trust security this much).

Because there’s the three people he least expected to see on the other side of his door.

“May we come in?” Liam asks politely, while Niall and Zayn brush past him and enter the flat.

He’d laugh, if he didn’t feel like crying.

“What are you guys-” Louis starts but Zayn cuts him off.

“Why did you blacklist Harry at all of your premieres?” he asks pointedly, staring at Louis with such an intensity that Louis has to look away.

He finds himself looking at Niall who’s digging through his refrigerator.

“There’s apples in the bottom I think, Niall,” he says absentmindedly.

Niall grabs an apple and nods at him.

“Why are you ignoring him is a more important question I think, Zayn,” Liam sits down at Louis’ kitchen table.

Zayn sits on the table, while Niall sits on the counter munching away on the apple.

“How did you know I blacklisted the topic?” Louis counters.

“We know you requested it until further notice,” Louis’ head spins. “Are you in love with him?” Niall asks pointblank.

“Yes,” Louis replies immediately. Then stops as they all freeze. He takes a deep breath, “Is that what you guys wanted to hear?” Louis gains some confidence. “Is that what you wanted? Me to admit that I'm in love with him and that I don’t want to see him parading around with other people or being happy that we’re both out of the contract? I'm sure you read the articles.”

“But the articles-” Liam starts to shout but Zayn stops him with a look.

“It’s not our place to tell him Liam, but Louis,” Zayn meets his gaze very evenly, “I thought you knew better than that,” he shakes his head at Louis. “You should google each of us individually. Might give you a better idea of what is really happening.”

Louis runs his hands through his hair. “What the fuck are you guys even doing here? What do you want from me?”

Liam’s lip juts out a little sadly, and Niall looks like he’s been kicked so Zayn answers him calmly, “We’re your friends Louis. We’re coming to check in on you. Are we mad about what’s going on between you and Harry? Yeah. But we just want to help you guys fix it. It’s all just a big misunderstanding.”

Louis scoffs and crosses his arms.

“He’s a stubborn one ain’t he?” Niall looks over at Zayn and Liam, then pulls something out of his pocket, “Listen to this. The whole thing if you’d like. But more importantly, track 6. Okay? Maybe google that too while you’re at it.”

“Got a bit of homework there Lou,” Zayn smirks, jumping off the table. “Sooner rather than later Please,” he smiles sweetly.

All three of them hug Louis tightly and smack kisses on his cheek, “We miss you Lou,” Liam tells him a little sadly.

And then they leave.

---

Louis waits an hour before his resolve breaks.

He googles Liam, Niall, and Zayn all individually first. There’s articles trashing them all, some even worse than Harry’s situation. Zayn’s mocked for his race, Liam’s accused of knocking a girl up, Niall has barely anything but public urination. And then when he googles the whole band there’s nothing but break up rumors, and talking about how they’re snotty and hard to work with, that there’s so much internal fighting. They all date back from July until now.

None of that’s true. He knows that’s not true.

Louis’ eyes well up.

Fuck.

He should have known better. He should have fucking known. He knows Cowell. He knows how dirty he fights. He should have just trusted Harry in the first place. Should have kept up with what was going on. Should have known Harry wouldn’t just be able to come out without repercussions. Fuck, he’s so dumb.

He scrambles to find his old laptop, the one with a cd port.

He puts in the cd immediately, heart racing. Track 6, Niall had said. If I could fly the title says.

He plays that one first.

The opening notes start, and he hears Harry’s deep breath and soothing voice “If I could fly...I’d be coming right back home to you, I think I might give up everything just ask me to.”

Louis gasps, tears threatening to spill over. Oh my god. Oh my fucking god.

He keeps listening, hands shaking, heart completely in his throat.

For your eyes only I show you my heart

“Harry,” Louis whispers. and oh my god. Louis googles to see who wrote the song, finding Harry Styles next to the writing credit, along with a few names he doesn’t recognize and Louis sobs.

Harry loves him.

Harry is in love with him.

Fucking shit. Harry was in love with Louis and Louis was in love with him.

They were in love and didn’t even know it.

Louis has to talk to him. He needs to hear his voice. He needs to tell him he loved him too.

The final notes of song ring out and Louis picks up his phone, shakily finding Harry’s contact. He presses call.

Louis wipes his eyes and tries to catch his breath, his heart racing.

“None of it is true,” Harry rushes out after the first ring, “Louis I swear none of the articles are true, Simon is just having his death rattle because we’re leaving him, i-”

“What?” Louis croaks out, “that’s not why I called Harry.”

Harry’s voice sounds small, “Then why did you call?”

“I listened to your song,” Louis replies simply.

“Oh,” Harry says.

“I need you to do me a favor Harry. Can you go into your luggage? The black luggage you brought to Spain. Can you go into the left pocket on the outside? There’s a pocket inside of that pocket. Can you go look in there for me?” Louis is so sure his voice is shaking.

“Sure,” Harry sounds far away.

“No!” Louis yells out, “take me with you on the phone.”

Harry’s voice is close again, “Okay. I'm going to the luggage now.”

“Okay.”

“I'm opening up the left pocket. and I'm opening the little pocket. I didn’t even know it was,” Harry stops shortly.

“Louis,” Harry calls thickly, and Louis knows he’s crying. "You bought it for me? In Barcelona? I didn’t even see you buy it.”

Louis laughs wetly, “I went back when I said I had to go to the loo.”

Harry’s laugh is just as wet, “I just thought you were taking a really long shit.”

“Oi!” Louis calls.

It’s silent for a second. “Can I see you?” Harry asks.

“Where are you?” Louis asks.

“I'm at my mum’s, in Holmes Chapel.”

“Meet me at home in Cheshire?” Louis asks a little hopefully. “I'm in London, I'll hop on the train.”

“Okay, I'll talk-” Harry starts but Louis cuts him off.

“No we’re staying on the phone Harold. You’re explaining to me this whole thing about Simon and a death rattle and why you’re all being trashed in the media.”

He can hear Harry smile, “Well, we do have almost three hours.”

“We do,” Louis agrees. “I want to know everything.”

“Well, I guess I should probably start with the fact that we signed with Azoff talent management.”

“What?” Louis yells.

----

Harry tells him everything. From the entire talk that they had as a band, to Niall’s friend being Irving, to the trash that Simon put them through, to the day Simon found out about them not resigning. Everything.

“I wanted to tell you everything right from the beginning but I just-” there’s rustling in the background, and Louis has been pacing around the living room, waiting for Harry to arrive.

“I just didn’t know how, I didn’t know how without telling you the entire thing and then it just built up too much. And I was hiding that and hiding how I felt, and I just snapped, that’s why I said I was happy we were single Lou. It was,” there’s a noise in the background and Louis sees Harry’s ended the call. his head snaps up at the noise that was in the background on the phone, happening in real life and sees Harry opening the door. He practically throws the phone onto the couch and runs into Harry, legs around his waist as Harry hoists him up.

Louis buries his face into Harry’s neck, and let’s Harry breath him in before pulling his face away and pressing his lips to Harry’s over and over again.

It feels exactly like coming home.

“I'm so in love with you,” Harry mumbles against his lips.

“I love you, I love you,” Louis kisses him soundly.

“I couldn’t tell you because you’d find me out. You’d know that Simon was using you to hurt me in the media because that was the only thing I cared about. You were the only thing I cared about. I know I should have talked to you,” Harry trails off, squeezing him closer.

“No, I should have talked to you, I shouldn’t have assumed you were happy the contract was over and I should have known Simon would fight dirty. I should have been honest and told you I was upset the contract was over because I love you, because I want to be with you for real,” Louis tells him.

Louis kisses Harry’s face all over, making Harry giggle. Their kisses get deeper and deeper, and the room gets hotter and hotter.

“I wrote the song the night we came home from Spain,” Harry whispers, as he lowers Louis down to his feet. Their bodies still pressed close together.

Louis reaches up and kisses him roughly. The kisses making him almost dizzy.

“This whole time?” Louis asks, dragging Harry back towards the bedroom.

“This whole time,” Harry confirms. Louis starts removing bits and pieces of Harry’s clothes, first the sweatshirt, the damn black sweatshirt he wore the first time they came to this house. It shouldn’t make Louis almost tear up when he’s trying to get him naked, but he meets Harry’s eyes and it totally fucking does.

Then he grabs the t-shirt underneath, his hands fast.

Harry forces Louis’ shirt over his head as well.

They stumble onto the bed, laughing into each other’s mouths.

They’re both hard and Louis doesn’t even know how they got that hard that fast. He’s straining against his joggers and he can see the outline of Harry’s dick through his jeans. His mouth waters and he can’t believe he’s about to have this for real. He’s wanted this for so fucking long.

“Come on,” Louis grabs at Harry’s jeans. Harry moans loudly.

“Please Louis, please, I haven’t,” Harry pants out as Louis bites at his neck and unzips his jeans. “Not since we met.”

Louis stops biting, and meets Harry’s eyes. His eyes uncloud as Louis kisses his right next to his mouth. Louis’ stomach swoops. “You haven’t slept with anyone in 11 months?”

“I was having a dry spell, and then it just,” Harry blushes. “I just didn’t want anyone else but you.”

Louis groans and straddles Harry, grinding down into his lap, unabashedly turned on. He’s fucking sweating just like the night of the sex tape. “That why you came so easily during our sex tape?”

“Yes,” Harry barely grits out, “and because you spanked me, and pulled-” Harry cries out as Louis fists his hands in Harry’s hair just like last time, yanking a bit.

The line of Harry’s neck is beautiful while stretched, and Louis goes back in to litter it with bites. all of this is real. It’s so fucking real.

Harry’s hips are moving in time with Louis’ and Louis can feel himself almost going dizzy with lust. “I haven’t either, you know,” Louis pants wetly into Harry’s neck, “haven’t slept with anyone since I came out. Never felt right.”

Harry grabs Louis’ face with both hands and pulls him in for a rough kiss, flipping them over. Louis follows easily, too turned on, too in love to even care.

“I knew,” he kisses slowly, all the way down Louis’ body, pulling off his joggers quickly. “I knew I would fall for you,” Harry brings his mouth back up to Louis’. “You’re just,” he kisses him, a long press of lips. “You’re so lovely Louis.”

Louis kisses him back quickly, the heat of the moment entirely too much for him, his heart is about to burst right out of his chest. “You were inevitable,” Louis tells him against his lips, “all of this was inevitable.”

Louis dives back in, their mouths moving together, their hearts racing. His hands roam everywhere along Harry’s body, categorizing all the soft skin. The way it feels against his palms.

Harry trails his way down Louis’ body again. He stops when he’s hovering above Louis’ dick. Eyes completely blown wide. He grabs Louis’ hands and fists them in his hair, “You can do what you want.”

And then takes Louis’ entire dick in his mouth.

Louis barely has time to register, his body in complete shock. His legs shake, and he’s completely helpless to Harry’s mouth. He pulls at Harry’s hair, noticing the moans they release, and then meets Harry’s gaze head on as he tentatively thrusts up.

Harry’s eyes roll back, and the moan that vibrates his dick is almost entirely too much to handle.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he says completely overwhelmed. He knows he won’t last long, not with Harry’s back and bum on wide display, his hair falling into his face and his mouth, his pretty fucking mouth, wrapped around him. He tugs on Harry’s hair, and speeds up his thrusts. Harry’s eyes are glassy and Louis’ breathing gets erratic.

Harry swallows him down whole again and before Louis knows it, his toes are curling, heat is pooling and he’s crying out while spilling into Harry’s mouth. Harry swallows it happily.

Louis takes a second to catch his breath before he flips Harry onto his back, kissing him deep, tongue chasing Harry’s.

He grabs lube from his nightstand drawer, “Is this okay?”

“Yes, yes, yes,” Harry chants. “More than okay. Been waiting months for all of this.”

Louis kisses Harry silent, and he fucking knew those moans during the sex tape were real. All those pleases. All that begging.

He moves his way down Harry’s body kissing anywhere but where he wants it. Putting his hands all over Harry’s thighs and bum, but not where he wants it.

Harry wriggles, “Please Lou, please.”

Louis lightly taps his bum, and places a extremely wet kiss on his hipbone.

“Please Louis,” Harry begs.

Louis licks a stripe up Harry’s length, and drags his finger against Harry’s hole.

Harry cries out, “Please Louis.”

And Louis isn’t one to deny Harry.

Louis takes Harry in his mouth, while his finger pushed past his rim.

Harry’s entire body is coated in a sheen of sweat, and his hands fist into the sheets as Louis’ loosens him up.

His entire body feels like a livewire.

By the time Louis adds a second finger, Harry’s breathing is speeding up, and he’s panting Louis’ name.

“Close, ‘m close Lou,” Harry breathes out.

“Come on Harry, go ahead.” Louis crooks his fingers and swallows him down one more time. Harry’s groan echoes throughout the room as he comes.

Harry starts giggling, as Louis crawls up. “Come on, I want a cuddle.”

Louis situates the pillows, and lets Harry rest his head on his belly as he plays with Harry’s hair.

They’re quiet for a long moment.

“I blacklisted the topic because I didn’t want to say we were broken up,” Louis admits.

“I never kissed you on the mouth because I wanted to too much, and I knew you’d see right through it.”

Louis laughs, “That’s why I never kissed you either.”

Harry laughs too, “I blacklisted the topic too.”

“I love you,” Louis draws on Harry’s back, the same words that he says.

“I love you,” Harry looks up at him, kissing his stomach.

“I guess we should probably tell our manager Jeff,” Louis says loudly.

Harry honks out a laugh.

----

It’s Stan that calls first, the next morning.

They just finished showering (see: together) trying to get ready to go visit both mums and introduce each other to the family, when Louis gets the FaceTime notification.

He picks up, smile wide because Harry’s turned on a Diana Ross record and is dancing in nothing but a towel.

“Oh thank god,” is the first thing Stan says.

“Oi!” Louis calls. “What?”

Stan just looks knowingly at Louis’ bare chest. “Hi Harry,” he sings.

Harry stops dancing, ears red. “Hi Stan!” Harry chirps from the background.

Stan just smiles, “Finally. Niall, Liam, and Zayn were gonna send me over there to force you two to meet, but I knew better than to go walking into the danger zone.”

Harry laughs loudly, “We’re decent.”

“Mhm, now you are,” Stan laughs, “I'm glad Louis. Really happy for you. Glad you sorted it out.”

Louis blushes, “I'm hanging up now.”

“Call your brothers!” Stan yells to Harry, who picks up his phone to find FaceTime.

“Love you Stan.”

“Love you too boo bear,” Stan smiles sweetly as Louis flips him off.

The lads pick up on Harry’s third ring.

“He’s not home!” Niall yells, noticing the furniture.

“How would you know that?” Liam asks.

“HI Louis,” Zayn’s pleased tone is evident.

“HI lads,” Louis and Harry call. “No need to send in recruits, we are both here and we’re together,” Louis says.

“And we’re in love,” Harry sings kissing Louis on the mouth.

“Fuckin' gross,” Niall rolls his eyes.

“I see what you did there,” Zayn says.

Liam slaps his hand on his head. "We’re gonna catch you two fucking on tour, aren’t we?”

Everyone scolds him.

-----

They go to Holmes Chapel first.

Anne hugs Louis tightly and tells Harry how proud she is of him.

Her and Robin make them lunch, and they roast Louis as parents should.

It’s the most Harry’s smiled, and Louis is so very in love.

---

Doncaster is next for dinner, and when the door swings open there’s four girls staring at Harry and Louis in complete and utter silence.

Jay comes walking to the door with Doris and Ernie trailing behind her.

“Hello family,” Louis says loudly, “this is my boyfriend Harry Styles.”

And then it’s absolute madness.

----

They do tell Jeff the next day when they’re back home. He tells them to post something on social media to quell the rumors, but doesn’t want to give Simon too much to play with. The contract is up for One Direction on New Years Eve, so they’ve got time to lay low and keep it private. Which is how Jeff spins the rumors in the first place, considering he never released statements about the rumors being true (that’s how it works for now, but when it comes out that Simon had a death rattle,which is going to happen along with taking them to court and exposing their asses for the trash they are, the truth will come out but that’s neither here nor there).

Harry’s picture is of their feet tangled up watching tv that night.

Louis’ is Harry making them both dinner.

Both captions say “absolutely love this.”

---

They lay low for November and December.

But what that really means is: they spend more time together than ever.

And they’re really gross on social media.

---

The pictures of Louis’ sisters doing Harry’s hair are Louis’ favorite.

Harry’s favorite is the picture of Gemma falling asleep on Louis’ shoulder on the drive to the airport for their mutual vacation for Louis’ birthday.

Both families go to HawaiI together.

---

They return just in time for their nye party at their newly purchased London apartment.

---

“Are you fuckin' kidding me?” Louis asks as Niall brings in entirely too much beer and liquor for one night.

Liam brings decorations and party favors.

Zayn carries nothing.

Typical.

----

 

The party becomes louder and louder as Niall Horan gets drunker. But they can’t complain as midnight gets closer.

They’ve got a lot to celebrate. All of them.

---

One Direction’s contract is up at midnight, and after a 8 month break, they’ll start releasing music again.

Louis is nominated for another Oscar and his date is the most handsome boyfriend a man could ask for.

If I could fly is up for a grammy, and Harry has been asked to be a songwriter on break from a number of his idols.

----

The twins are asleep, but the counting down gets louder and louder as the clock finally strikes midnight.

“I love you Lou, ‘m so lucky to have you,” Harry whispers.

“I love you, ‘m so glad you peed on me,” Louis whispers back.

Harry squawks.

Louis giggles and dips Harry for a kiss, silencing him, barely noticing when a flash goes off around them.

Harry posts the picture of their kiss on Instagram immediately, with the caption New Beginnings .

It gets a lot of likes.

(But not as much as their wedding photos in a few years).

----

Chapter Text

louis tomlinson is slightly annoyed.

he’s currently at a crowded club for james corden’s premiere of him hosting the ‘late late show’ and while louis loves james, louis is not currently in the mood for a club.

the invitational text had said, “mate i want to celebrate with my closest friends and some booze” and louis was all for that. however, now in the stuffed rented out club with half of hollywood, louis would very much like to have six shots and then leave.

he’s already congratulated james; clinked his glass with his, told him how proud he was of him, ribbed him for not letting louis be on the first show. he could theoretically leave. he absolutely could. but he doesn’t want to be the first one to go at midnight. that’s just awkward.

so louis avoids talking to any kardashian and moves along the dance floor, eyeing up anyone he might be able to hold a conversation with for longer than 10 seconds. louis loves being an actor. truly he does. however, he needs to be prepared mentally for these events. he needs to mentally be ready to be in a crowd full of socialites. a bath beforehand, maybe a book to keep his mind strong before it deflates a tad. james did not prepare him.

he spots a tuff of red hair and chats up ed sheeran, who he had met at one of ed’s gigs totally fangirling, for a least a half an hour before excusing himself to the bathroom. he almost runs into the door, cursing the 4 cosmos he’s had in the last two hours.

he’s minding his own business in the large bathroom, when the door swings open loudly. louis doesn’t bother turning around until the person who walks in breaks all bathroom etiquette and occupies the urinal directly next to him. louis can hear him unzipper.

louis shouldn’t be able to hear him unzipper.

he glances quickly out of the corner of his eye, his pee stream somehow not going down yet. for god’s sake, this is the longest pee of his life.

he sees the long curls first, then the lean body, and his back goes rigid.

that’s harry styles. fuck, that’s harry styles. louis worshipped him when he was forced to watch the xfactor with his, at the time, 15 year old sister lottie. lottie (and louis, although he would never admit it) followed harry styles’ input into one direction and their rise to fame. within louis’ entire acting career, which started almost right after one direction lost the x factor, they had never crossed paths. never once met. louis’ 18 year old self was screaming internally. louis’ 24 year old self is wondering why harry styles’ 21 year old self is such a fucking wierdo who doesn’t know bathroom etiquette.

louis’ pee is just about to let up, when harry starts humming next to him.

fucking humming.

louis zips up his pants, sidestepping harry, and moves to the sinks to wash his hands.

harry’s humming stops abruptly.

louis turns his head involuntary towards him, but harry’s eyes are glued elsewhere. louis quirks his head, finding harry’s line of vision going straight towards his ass.

harry styles literally has his eyes glued to louis’ ass.

louis clears his throat. harry’s eyes don’t waver at all. louis uses this as an excuse to stare unabashedly at the loose silky shirt harry’s wearing; half off his shoulders, and also half unbuttoned showing the peak of his butterfly tattoo. his legs are long and he’s wearing gold boots to match his gold silk shirt. louis’ mouth goes a little dry.

until he realizes harry styles is speaking. muttering softly to himself while still glancing back at louis’ ass every few seconds then zipping up his pants.

louis takes his time washing his hands, trying to listen to a member of the world’s biggest boyband rattle off details of the bathroom to himself. honestly. what the fuck.

“that’s louis tomlinson. what an ass on him,” harry tells himself. christ he has no idea he’s even speaking, does he? “perky little bum, fant-ass-tic. bum-tastic, bum-azing”

harry turns to join louis at the sinks, smiling wobbly at louis while simultaneously trying to watch his feet to make sure he’s walking right.

“be cool. right. left. right. left,” harry’s inner monologue continues while louis lathers his hands.

harry washes his hands quickly before smiling one more time at louis, eyes sparkling and just a tinge pink, “back to the party. go see ed. say hello. don’t smoke more.”

louis stares at the door in horror. harry styles, while high, apparently recites his entire inner monologue out loud, without even realizing it. there goes saying his celebrity crush is harry styles once he comes out next month. he had it all planned too. shock them with a boyband crush, a real crush, the actual truth, as opposed to the lies he told in the beginning of his career and the jokes he's been doing for the last 4 years. But now after witnessing harry narrate to himself about louis’ ass and the bathroom…..

harry styles is not endearing, especially while high. harry styles is fucking weird.

-----

the next month and a half is a whirlwind for louis. he has his coming out interview with his face plastered on almost every magazine, and louis is relieved. he’s stressed the fuck out for two weeks after it’s printed, holed up in doncaster with his family, but he’s relieved.

the weeks after his coming out he’s offered role after role, and he spends the better part of the month, reading, rehearsing and auditioning for role after role.

it also helps that in his first appearance since coming out he won his first golden globe for best supporting actor in a drama, so.

there’s also that.

he’s currently on his way to the brits, having to present an award for british music video of the year. because brits must present awards to brits, and he loves to support his fellow british artists.

he’s so distracted by everything that has been going on with himself, with his first oscar nomination and the oscars in less than five days, he doesn’t realize until he’s on the stage announcing the names that one direction is in this category. and one direction very well might win.

he hasn’t thought about harry styles in the last month and a half. not at all. hasn’t checked his twitter or instagram. and definitely hasn’t listened to lottie’s incessant chatter about how she met them while working with their stylist. he didn’t save the selfie of her and harry. he swears.

louis takes a deep breath, clearing his head. “and the winner is..” he opens the envelope slowly, reading the name and making eye contact with the camera, “one direction.”

there’s a yell from the audience, and louis looks for the source and sees the four boys crowded in a group hug, yelling wildly. harry makes the move to the stage first fixing his curls, liam following with a puppy like smile. niall is practically jumping behind him, and zayn moving swiftly behind him, laughing at niall.

louis realizes he has to hug them as they walk up the stairs. shit, he’s sweating.

harry smiles brilliantly at him, going in for a one armed hug, which louis has to reach up to even hug him. fuck him.

liam is next, a broad expanse of chest as he squeezes louis a little too tight.

niall bounces up next, lifting louis high up off his feet, kissing him on the cheek while zayn just pats louis on the back.

louis is in hysterics as he hands over the award, and steps out of their way.

one direction’s speech is a blur to him, and before he knows it they’re all being escorted backstage.

niall comes up to him first, arms crossed, and hands deep in his own armpits. must be a nervous tick. “hi dude, wow, it’s such an honor to meet you! thank ya for the award.”

louis laughs, “i wasn’t the one who chose you, just read it off the card mate. but it’s nice to meet you too. been a fan for a long time.”

liam practically lights up, “we’re fans of you! are you kidding me? you got nominated for an oscar! are you excited? nervous?”

heat pools in louis’ stomach, as he glances at harry who just is staring at louis intently with a creepy frog gaze.

“bit nervous yeah, but i’m sure you guys aren’t familiar with the fear of losing. have you ever lost an award?” louis ribs them.

“are you familiar with losing an award?” zayn retorts, a smirk on his face.

“fair enough. i’ll keep that in mind at the oscars,” louis winks as their assistant comes over.

“picture time boys, and then you have to go back to your seats,” she directs.

the boys and louis arrange themselves for the pictures, and then they shuffle out with a cheery chorus of good luck and nice to meet you.

except harry who holds back.

louis stills, looking at him curiously.

“i just wanted to properly introduce myself not, um,” harry coughs into his fist, “under the influence, if i remember correctly.”

“you peeing on me in the loo been haunting you for the last couple months?” louis drops his voice for comedic effect.

harry’s eyes practically bulge out, “i peed on you?!” he whispers in a voice so high pitched dogs could probably hear it.

louis keeps a straight face for about 3 seconds, “no,” harry sags in relief, “you didn’t. but you did say a few things that were quite memorable.”

harry’s cheeks turn pink.

“come on harry!” liam calls from the corner of the room, noticing that harry wasn’t in the bunch.

he dawdles for a few seconds smiling shyly, “it’s nice to meet you louis. good luck on your oscar. i’m sure you will win,” harry holds out his hand for louis to shake it.

louis takes his hand, trying not to concentrate on how it dwarfs his own, “it’s nice to meet you too harry. congratulations on your award.”

“harry!” liam calls again.

harry smiles one last time, and starts taking a few quick steps away from louis.

louis is watching his retreating (see: broad as hell) back, when harry stops and turns around again, a serious look on his face.

louis doesn’t like his eyebrows like that.

his face evens out as he makes eye contact with louis, “also,” harry swallows, his adam’s apple bobbing. louis quickly meets his eyes, “congratulations on coming out,” his low voice rumbles through louis’ body. harry takes a deep breath before adding, “it was very brave of you.”

and with that he’s running off, practically tripping to meet up with a curious liam, who waves at louis again.

it takes louis 3 seconds to breath again. 1 minute to stop the butterflies in his stomach. and 3 days to wipe the smile off of his face. louis would be lying if he said that “it was very brave of you” didn’t get him through his entire night at the oscar’s. especially during his speech for his win.

he’d also be lying if he said he didn’t search ‘harry styles gay’ the night of the oscars.

all that had come up was pretty models and rainbow flags. to which louis swallowed hard and refused to look it up again.

----

the room smells heavily of perfume and louis vaguely wants to gag. he’s currently at an afterparty for london fashion week, even though he had only managed to snag the topman show.

he’s entirely not drunk enough, and his date is his sister, who fucked off at least a half hour before to go chat up some model.

the two weeks post oscars have been hell. he’s done so many interviews he can barely stand another question thrown his way, and he’s neck deep in scripts that he can’t decide on.

basically he’s tired and he wants to go home.

he spots his sister living it up with a group of models, laughing and his heart twinges a little bit. louis has friends. he’s the life of the party at most events, a big personality with an even bigger mouth. but famous friends? friends that show up at this kind of events that actually have an invite? he could count them on one hand. yeah he’d rather have a beer with his best friend stan from back home and go see a donny rovers game but, sometimes it would be nice to have a group of friends that go to these events.

louis sighs before ordering another drink at the bar, taking it out onto the balcony where there’s a nice view of the city. he sits alone on the lawn chairs, the weather too cold for anyone else to really come outside.

he’s staring at the lights of the city, trying to peek into the lives of people in the apartment complex across the street when he hears footsteps behind him.

“boring inside?” a deep voice asks. louis turns around quickly to see harry walking up to his chair. he’s got on an interestingly designed suit, that make his legs and torso look like they go on for days. but there’s a light blush on his face, with the moon highlighting his curls and eyes, and he looks beautiful.

louis smiles, “a bit yeah.”

harry gestures to the seat next to him, “can i sit?”

“yeah,” louis squeaks out. he hadn’t even realized harry would be at this party. fuck. they went 5 years without seeing each other. and now it’s been three times in 3 months.

harry wordlessly takes the seat next to him, staring out at the london sky as well.

it takes louis a few moments to stop staring at the harry’s profile and look at the view instead.

once he begins looking at the view, he can feel harry’s eyes on him. how fucking convenient.

they’re both silent for a couple of minutes, just watching the world below them.

“you’re a fucking dick!” someone yells from below, to which the person who is the dick replies, “i hope you fucking choke!”

harry and louis turn to each other immediately laughing.

“i hope that wasn’t their first date,” harry laughs.

“maybe it was a great first date and that was just the foreplay,” louis counters.

harry seems to ponder it for a second before shrugging, “could be. maybe he wants her to choke on his dick.”

louis cackles loudly, shaking his head disbelievingly, “you’re something else harry styles.”

harry looks pleased, eyes sparkling like he’s proud of the fact he made louis laugh.

they both fall silent, eyes back on the london skyline.

louis can feel harry’s eyes on him again.

he turns his head slowly to meet his gaze, finding harry’s eyebrows in the same angry shape as he had seen them in their previous meeting. he still didn’t like it.

“what are you thinking styles?”

harry shakes his head, looking back over the ledge.

louis waits.

finally, harry breaks his silence. “it’s just,” he starts, voice low, crackling almost, “what does it feel like?”

louis looks at him curiously, “what does what feel like?”

harry pauses, the silence entirely too overwhelming for louis. “being out.”

louis deflates, thinking of the models, the rainbow flags, the ass comments, the fucking models.

of course. of fucking course. god, louis heart breaks just looking at the boy who is refusing to make eye contact with anything other than the apartment building louis was once staring at.

“i feel like everyone just wonders if i actually get it up the ass or i like to give it up the ass,” louis blurts.

harry snorts so loud that the people who were arguing probably heard it.

they both dissolve into laughter though and that was the point.

once the laughter subsides, louis’ wonder takes over, “i’m guessing you want to be out?”

harry nods as if he’s afraid to say it, but eventually forms words, “more than anything. i’ve been looking into my contract reading everything up and down, talking to other people in the industry. seems like i could only get out if i got caught in the loo with a boy.”

they’re both silent for a couple moments. “yeah, my manager talked about a controlled outing with me. had me consider it during all of my options. basically i’d be outed but it’d be on my own terms, and no one would know it.”

harry’s nodding along intently, “yeah, i,” he coughs, “heard about that too.”

they both take a deep breath, turning back to the sky, people yelling down below again.

louis mind whirls. he fucking knows cowell. knows those contracts, seeing as he was offered one from cowell’s fuckwad of a management team. they eventually got so frustrated with louis being so mouthy, that they withdrew their offer on the claims that he was unmanageable. louis won in that deal though. but harry, and one direction, god they were just kids. and they had lost the xfactor, he can’t imagine what cowell could have worked into that contract. the stronghold that they were in. the amount that they were probably fighting back, and the amount they are willing to fight back.

louis finishes off his drink to end that thought.

“what if,” harry trails off.

“what if what?” louis’ heart hammers at the tone of harry’s voice.

“what if i did out myself on my own terms?” louis whips his head to look at harry, whose eyes are wide, full of contemplation.

louis shakes his head, “i don’t know if that’s a good idea,” louis starts.

“not to the public but like, to my management and simon and things. like, i was blackmailed. and i could come out if the pictures were buried or something. i don’t know it like,” harry stops frustrated, “it makes sense up here,” he taps his head a few times.

louis’ breath gets short. he can not believe this is the fucking conversation he is having at 2 am on a balcony with harry fucking styles at a fucking after party for london fashion week two weeks after he won a fucking oscar.

“you’re saying if someone went to your management with pictures of you, gay pictures of you,” he clarifies, “and threatened to publish them and then you could make your management make you come out with the threat of that? is that what you’re saying?”

“i think so yeah,” harry nods, “like if someone asked them for a sum of money. i could be like give them the money, and then let me come out so this doesn’t happen again. you can’t ban me from sleeping with people so i can’t guarantee this won’t happen again. but if i’m out..”

louis nods along, though he feels sick to his stomach with the thought of someone toying with harry like that, even if it was agreed upon.

“it would have to be someone you trust. and someone who could stand up to simon cowell without shitting their pants.”

harry laughs, but it’s strangled.

it’s quiet for a long moment. “doesn’t simon dislike you?”

louis closes his eyes, his heart halfway to his throat. he knows where this is going. he should stop it. he should fucking stop it.

“yeah, we have a bit of a history i’d say. he called me unmanageable. but it’s okay i’ve got much better management now.”

“so i’ve heard,” harry mutters, mostly to himself, then pauses. he meets louis’ eyes so intensely that louis is afraid he might jump off the building to run away from the stare.

“so are you going to do this with me then?” he asks. just fucking asks, just like that.

“harry,” louis starts.

“i don’t know why but i trust you. i trust that you can handle my management. and i trust that you can act out this lie. i trust that we can make up a crazy story, and i trust that you wouldn’t fuck me over,” harry’s voice doesn’t waver, “i’d like you to help me. you don’t have to help me but, i’d really like it if you would.”

harry shouldn’t be asking him this. harry really shouldn’t be asking him this. but louis also shouldn’t be saying the next words that come out of his mouth.

“okay. i’ll help you.”

------

louis wakes up in a panic.

he shouldn’t have agreed to help harry styles. he shouldn’t have given harry styles his number (written on the inside of his wrist so no one could see or track it).

he hadn’t had time to even process harry’s offer completely before agreeing. god. what was he thinking?

louis stumbles out of bed and into the shower, determined to not think about harry. and to just think about the scripts he has on his desk (three of which are listed under ‘immediate attention’ from his manager).

he grabs himself a bowl a pops, and settles into the scripts.

the first one is a historical fiction. the second a drama with him playing a stereotypical white guy in a romance with some girl. boring. the third one has his eyes bulging.

now that would be an interesting role.

he reads through the script quickly, absolutely enthralled. he doesn’t waste any time texting his manager and telling him to get him an audition ASAP.

louis moves to the couch, no official responsibilities for the rest of the day. he wants that role. that’s my next movie, he thinks determinedly.

he pulls out his laptop, doing some character research, before his mind wanders and he finds himself googling harry styles. again.

louis settles into the cushions, finding himself on a downward spiral of fans who dedicate their time to supporting and striving to find information of harry being not straight, and the band being maltreated. it is nauseating what the boys have to deal with and heartwarming that these girls and boys are so positive for harry and his sexuality. they gather evidence and support endlessly. louis’ heart warms at the fact that harry has people like this in his corner.

but at the same time those fans are creative, wow. louis wills himself not to get a boner (and not get jealous) looking at the drawings and photoshopped pictures of harry in compromising positions alone and with niall, zayn, and liam separately (and together). louis stares at a particular one formation of them all together in wonder how it even logically works.

he shakes his head moving on. there’s a series of drawings of harry in panties which louis is probably going to lose sleep over, and some very convincing photoshopped pictures of harry with a dick up his ass.

louis sighs. they’re going to need to go over their plan a bit more.

----

“are you,” louis trails off disbelievingly, “are you calling me from a burner phone right now?”

“yes,” harry answers seriously. “i bought ten with cash.”

“harry do they even check your phone and credit card records?” louis can’t, he can’t even fucking imagine how that’s legal. how that would be allowed? how logically was this harry’s first thought on how to handle this situation?

harry is quiet for a moment, “i’m just trying not to do anything illegal that would be traced back to me and hold up in the court of law.”

louis considers this. “so who bought the phones?”

“my step dad and his argument for the court of law is he is having an affair,” harry recites. “not that it’s true of course. but it’s a good lie.”

louis breathes out, “i don’t think we’re going to get there to have to use that excuse.”

“hopefully,” harry’s quiet for a moment, “how many houses do you have that aren’t known to the public or are not under your name?”

“two,” louis answers automatically, “can you text on that phone? i’ll pick one and i can text you the address.”

“pick your favorite one,” louis’ heart skips, “when can we meet? i’m off for three more days before we’re back on tour in the states.”

“well,” louis looks around his empty flat, and stares at television with the rerun of america’s next top model playing, “i’m free now i suppose. i’ll bring takeout.”

“sounds great. i’ll go to some shops around home to be seen then i’ll meet you. where’s the house?”

“cheshire.”

“perfect, shouldn’t be too far from home then,” he can hear harry’s smile, “text me the address. i’ll see you soon.”

“okay sounds good,” louis’ heart is practically racing and he has no idea what type of food to pick up. chinese? indian? italian?

“wait louis?”

“yes?” louis pauses the tv.

“do i literally burn this phone? or can i toss it in the bin?”

louis laughs so hard he has to hang up immediately.

----

louis opens the front door to a hooded figure 4 hours later, when the sky is already dark.

he slips past him so quickly that louis is almost nervous he’s just let a burglar into his house.

louis shuts the door, as harry pulls down his hood. “really taking this seriously then? getting into your role?” louis nods to the black sweatshirt that harry shrugs off.

“just taking one out of your book mr. oscar winner,” harry teases, his smile blinding. he’s wearing a lavender sweater now that his black burglar get-up is gone and louis thinks this is probably the best he’s ever seen him.

louis hums in response, giving harry a smile which he knows has his eyes looking all fond. who the fuck cares. it’s been like four meetings but who the fuck cares.

“i brought chinese, indian, and pizza,” louis walks into the kitchen, leaving harry to follow him. “i really didn’t know which one you would want so i panicked and bought them all. i love leftovers anyway,” louis shrugs, a blush starting to form on his cheeks. it was a lot smoother in his head when he rehearsed it forty times while waiting for harry to get here.

louis hadn’t lost an ounce of panic in the hour drive it took for him to get from his usual flat near doncaster, so he’s close to his family, to this house.

harry fixes his hair and looks at louis his eyebrows furrowed, a contemplative look on his face. the only thing that gives him away in his faux serious consideration is the tiny quip of his lip. “hmmm, what ever should i choose? so many options!”

harry makes a show of examining each container, oohing and ahhing at each option. for christ’s sake it’s just a cheese pizza, yet harry makes it seem like he’s at an art gallery.

“i think one of each is appropriate,” harry goes into the cabinets automatically, searching for plates and utensils. “i’ll make your plate too.”

louis gathers them each a beer and water, organizing a spot for them on the couch in the living room. he doesn’t really fancy sitting across from harry at a table so formally. he’d rather sit on a couch like bros. pals. bros pals who are just gonna take bro pics so he can threaten to out harry styles to simon cowell. just everyday bro pal things. lads even.

harry places a plate in front of louis, and plops down on the couch next to him.

louis takes the plate and digs in, barely noticing harry’s quiet stare.

“you know, i offered for you to fake out me, but, i don’t know anything about you other than you being my biggest celebrity crush probably since posh spice.”

louis almost chokes on his chicken, “jesus christ,” he sputters.

harry takes a swig of his beer with a smirk. “i was very disappointed when you didn’t say i was your celebrity crush after you came out.”

louis almost cries. “you know i did plan on it. then i ran into you narrating taking a piss and talking about my ass and i thought ‘wow this kid does talk some shit’ and decided against it.”

harry barks out a laugh, his ears tinged red. he takes a bite of his pizza. “i suppose i do have no filter while high.”

louis rolls his eyes, “bit of an understatement, mate.”

harry giggles, “whatever pal,” louis screams internally, “i expect the next time for you to say i’m your celebrity crush. since you’re going to have to be somewhat interested in me in order to sleep with me and take naked pictures of me.”

louis sucks in a breath, “i was actually thinking-”

harry drops his slice of pizza, “you’re not bailing are you?”

“no no no,” louis rushes out, “i just. i, god,” louis is flustered, “i sort of looked up some stuff and like. i don’t think pictures are going to cut it?”

harry stares at him for a beat, “what do you mean?”

louis’ heart thumps, “i mean what if we, um, faked a sex tape? and the pictures were screenshots during it?”

harry still hasn’t picked up his slice of pizza. he’s staring at louis with these big wide green eyes and louis doesn’t think he’s taken a breath.

“we obviously don’t have to but i like, i stole this cock sock from the set of the last movie a while back and it’s been sitting in my closet and i just thought maybe if we had a video, like an audio of you then it would be better. cowell’s a smart man and there’s literally photoshopped pictures of you with a cock up your arse out there already and i just figured we’d need something a little more substantial and you were talking about court,” louis is speaking so fast and his accent is getting unbelievably higher and more unintelligible. louis’ heart is racing, his face is hot, and he is looking at the frame hanging behind harry’s head because he can’t dare look him in the eye. fuck, harry’s still not breathing.

harry lets out a breath and louis finally meets his eyes, “you looked at photoshopped pictures of me with a dick in my ass?” he squeaks out.

louis puts his head in his hands, “i was doing research!”

“research on photoshopped pictures of me with a dick in my ass?” harry’s voice is very high, and there are creases in his forehead from his eyebrows being so high and his face is so very pink.

“there were also hand drawn pictures! that didn’t include dicks!” louis is practically shouting into his hands, then he shakes his head, “well they included your dick but not other dicks!”

harry is silent. completely silent.

louis sits there, completely horrified with his head in his hands staring at the floor, wishing this moment to be over.

he hears a small squeak of a noise, and peaks his one eye between his fingers.

harry is trying not to laugh. louis lifts his head a bit. harry starts cackling loudly, throwing his entire body back onto the couch.

louis throws an accusatory finger in his direction, “you just took the piss out of me didn’t you?”

harry’s actually crying he’s laughing so hard.

louis pokes him in the chest, “you were just fucking with me! how dare you!”

“i’m sorry,” harry laughs, wiping his eyes, “i had to! you were just talking so fast; you looked mortified.”

louis throws him a disgruntled look.

“you told me i peed on you!”

louis huffs.

harry is still giggling, “oh come on lou.”

louis rolls his eyes, “fine it was a good comeback. mine was better though.”

harry hums, pleased. he picks up his fork again, “so cock sock?”

they break out into laughter.

-----

louis realizes they’re never actually going to get anything done the second time harry calls him from a different burner phone.

they’re at the cheshire house again, harry had pulled up about 20 minutes before, in a different car than yesterday. he was still in the black hoodie but this time he crouched into the house as if there were actually neighbors to see him and his bags of groceries.

louis hadn’t questioned him about the car. harry offered to cook them fajitas and louis wasn’t going to be the one to turn him down.

now, louis sits on top of the island in the kitchen, swinging his feet as harry begins cooking. he’s not thinking about this being his future. not at all.

“what’s your family like?” harry asks as he cuts up the peppers.

louis watches the line of harry’s back while his biceps flex as he works the knife. christ. louis looks away.

“i’ve got six siblings. four sisters and then me mom just had twins about three years back. a boy and a girl. couldn’t believe i finally got a brother,” louis smiles. when he was holed up in doncaster the weeks after his coming out, he had so much fun taking care of the little ones. it made his heart ache for a family of his own.

harry turns, green eyes sparkling and dinner cooking for the two of them and louis thinks, maybe someday.

and then he’s shakes himself out of it. it’s been a handful of meetings in under two months what the fuck is he thinking.

“i love babies!” harry’s smile is so bright, “our makeup artist has a daughter who was on the road with us from the beginning, and her sister just had a baby. i just went to see them this morning,” harry sighs happily.

“oh!” louis remembers with a jolt, “you met my sister! she trained with your make up artist for a day or summat, her names lottie. look, i have a picture,” louis picks up his phone, scrolling to find the picture, then waves it in front of harry’s face.

harry raises an eyebrow at louis, “you realize you saved this picture on your phone right? and this was like two months ago.”

louis blushes, “so you do remember?”

“yeah of course, she told me that her and her brother watched x factor from the beginning and cheered us on the whole time,” louis face is in absolute flames, “said you were gutted when we didn’t win. but now that i know you are her only brother that could have watched x factor. guess she ratted you out without even realizing.”

“you remember all of that? did you even know it was my little sister?” louis asks.

“i make it a point to remember something about everyone who works with us,” harry looks resolute, like that’s his personal philosophy. louis can’t imagine how many people they meet just in a single day working, “and i didn’t realize until you showed me the picture. but i remembered her talking about her brother. she must look up to you.”

louis looks down at his feet. “i don’t know, that’s something you’d have to ask her about. she didn’t seem to look up to me when i was at home directing all the children around while my mum and dan were on a day trip. she had them all riled up just for me to handle.”

harry laughs, “i think it’d be nice to have a big family like that,” he turns back to the food as if he’s too shy to say it directly to louis, “my house was only me and my sister. having a big family keeps you on your toes. i like that.”

louis heart swells, he has always wanted a big family. 3 kids minimum. he hops off the counter and grabs a beer from the fridge. he’s getting out of hand here with these children thoughts.

“what’s your sister like?” louis grabs a beer for harry too, opening it.

harry finishes up the fajitas, grabbing two plates for them, “she’s four years older than me, and thinks she’s much smarter. got a uni degree and all that. we were really close growing up. sometimes i go home and sleep in her bed when tour gets to me.”

louis shuffles over the the table, “you’re heading to the states yeah? kicking off the tour there?”

harry brings over the steaming fajitas, louis’ mouth waters, “yeah, we were asia and australia for two months. and now we’re going to the states, then europe and we finish off in the uk in the beginning september.”

louis blanches for a second. that’s. a fucking lot.

“that's 9 months of touring,” he states.

“been that way for the last five years,” harry sits down and louis can't help but see the little downturn of his mouth. that just won't do.

“maybe a sex tape with me will get you fired so you don't have to work for a demon anymore.”

harry laughs so hard he spits out his beer.

----

louis doesn’t see harry in person for two weeks. he talks to him almost constantly through three different burner phones. harry whines through rehearsals and the first shows. louis recites lines of the movie he’s been working on, determined to get another audition and the role. they make it work, even with the time difference. they make it work like a couple, but louis pushes that thought to the back of his head so fast he almost rolls his eyes.

louis gets a phone call to get to la immediately for the final audition of the role he’s been obsessing over. he had auditioned once in london about a week before. he doesn’t get on a plane fast enough.

he lets harry knows that they’re on the same continent minutes after landing. that probably should be a concern, but he puts on his sunglasses to protect his eyes from the la sun and plays it cool.

he nails his audition, walking out feeling confident and secure that the role is his for the taking. he also sends his mom a text saying “please i really want this role i think i did ok but i’m crossing my fingers” to which she replies with a picture of the twins cheering him on.

harry calls him almost immediately after. “how did it go?”

louis almost laughs, “i think it went okay. how’s canada?”

“it’s a bit cold,” harry’s silent for a few seconds, before clearing his throat, “i was thinking that like, in two weeks i’d like simon to get this tape.”

“two weeks?” louis almost screeches as he gets into the car, rattling off his address to the driver.

“i just, i have like a two day break right around then. and it’s march in like two days,” louis stills, realizing his entire month of february was just reciting lines and all things harry styles, “and we have a mutual event in like a week. ed’s album release party? plus, i imagine you’re going to start filming soon,” louis almost swoons at the amount of faith harry has in him to get this role, “and it makes sense for us to meet and like have this crazy one night stand before you go off filming. it just. makes sense now, you know.”

louis can hear the desperation on the tip of harry’s tongue. he wants to know why. wants to google him, and find out the real reason but he knows he can’t do that.

“yeah,” louis chokes out, “i’ll stay here till ed’s party. maybe we can meet before. you going to be here soon?”

“two more days then i’ll be there. we can plan.”

another call beeps through the line. “okay, let me call you back. my manager is calling me.”

louis switches to the other line.

he got the part.

filming starts in two weeks in london. they’re almost done pre-production but need him for a for days while they’re still planning. they want the movie done and premiered by the end of the year.

louis rolls down the window, shouting out to the entire interstate, “i’m going to be david bowie!”

he calls harry right back.

-----

cowell’s plan is a leggy model to go along with the not yet picked single that would be released in june.

harry’s plan is a nice coming out to go with the not yet picked single. if cowell gets the warning by two weeks time, it gives them exactly three months to start planning for harry’s coming out.

---

harry is currently lounging poolside at louis’ la home. it’s a warm day, but not nearly warm enough to swim.

“i have a home here, but the paps know about it. nice articles in all the magazines quoting it as my bachelor pad,” harry peaks an eye open, “i’m sorry we have to always hide out in your homes.”

“it’s okay,” louis pushes up his sleeves a little bit and settles into the chair more, closing his eyes and letting the sun hit his face, “i tend to keep everything really under wraps just in case my sisters come to any of my homes. i don’t want them involved with the stress of looking over their shoulders or guarding themselves.”

harry’s silent for a bit. “yeah i know. five years of guarding. that’s the point of all this, innit?”

louis peaks at harry, finding his eyes closed face to the sun just like louis had been. his face is completely serene, and louis’ heart lurches.

“you know, i have a footie goal here. you play?”

harry sits up, a smile breaking over his face, “for my knowledge and understanding of the football game, i feel i should be a lot better.”

louis lets out a laugh, “let’s see how bad you are. we’ll make up our plan as we go.”

harry is the worst football player louis has ever seen. he falls three times, trips once, and his hair gets in his face, making it hard for him to keep his eye on the ball.

“how are you so fucking good at football?” harry breathes heavily, his hands on his knees.

“played footie up until uni,” louis wipes the sweat off his forehead and turns to grab some water from inside, “you could probably see better without those curls in your face.”

harry’s face falls. “oh, i was just-”

“i should have a hair tie in the house somewhere,” louis continues, ”maybe a headband, do you want one?” louis turns back around to see the look on harry’s face, “harry,” he steps toward him, even though harry is staring resolutely at the ground, “did you think i was making fun of your hair?” he asks softly.

harry lets out a breath, “i’ve just, i have wanted to grow it out for a while, i would love to have it long. love the way it looks, when it curls like this, it makes me-,” he shakes his head, “i’m sorry i shouldn’t have gotten so worked up without even letting you finish your statement. i’d love a headband.”

louis steps closer to harry, tugging a curl. “i like the curls long. and if it makes you feel good you should do it,” louis tilts his head, “maybe i’ll grow out my hair too. david bowie had long hair. me and you can grow our hair out together. is that a good idea?”

a shy smile creeps onto harry’s face, and louis’ breath gets short. he drops his hand immediately. harry notices.

“i think that’s a good idea. but for now maybe i need that hair tie so i can kick your ass in football,” harry slaps louis’ ass and runs back up towards the house, cackling the entire way.

it takes louis four seconds to cool down and follow harry into the house. it has nothing to do with football or the sun.

-----

harry and louis see each other every day one direction plays the staples center. harry comes early then leaves as soon as louis has to do to pre-production, and they still get nothing done.

it’s the morning of ed’s release party and harry comes barreling into louis’ house.

“liam is onto me, i think. we need this to be planned perfectly because i can’t have any of them ruining it.”

“you didn’t tell them? you haven’t told anyone?”

harry grabs louis, covering his mouth, “did you tell anyone?”

louis nods sagely, “i did. i told the sun.”

harry raises an eyebrow, “did you just beat me at my own joke?”

louis licks harry’s hand that’s still covering his mouth, while harry cries out, “i did young harold. please do keep up.”

----

the plan is as follows: show up separately, get drunk enough that people notice, dance together and be all over each other, leave at the same time.

---

louis has had six shots and two cosmos and is halfway to being sloshed. the first two shots (and the two cosmos) were just for theatrics. the plan was to seem drunk. however the last four were just out of nerves. he’s fucking nervous. he’s super fucking nervous because he has to flirt with harry styles with the intent of everyone thinking he’s taking him home to fuck him, but what he really wants to do is actually take him home and fuck him.

which is all part of the problem really. this was supposed to be an easy, fake, sex tape scandal amongst laddy bro pals. but somewhere everything got muddled. or maybe it was always muddled. who the fuck knows.

louis downs another shot, surveying the dance floor for harry. harry’s taken probably an equal amount of shots, not that louis is watching him. it’s just, christ harry looks so fucking good. he’s wearing a white blouse under a black suit jacket and black jeans that leave little to the imagination. he looks sinful.

louis rolls up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. he’s glad he decided to wear the blue dress pants, otherwise harry and him would match.

he spies harry in the middle of the crowd, dancing with niall and liam.

harry locks eyes with louis from across the room and winks.

time for louis to move.

“fancy seeing you guys here!” louis claps niall and liam on the back.

“louis tomlinson! hey!” niall is very enthusiastic.

“hi louis! congrats on your oscar! harry made us watch you win!” liam blurts out, and then the tips of his ears turn red, “whoops.”

“is that so curly?” louis leans into harry, and he forgets they even have a mission they’re on.

harry swallows, “it might be,” his smile turns into a smirk, “guess you have to dance with me to find out.”

louis’ eyes widen as niall and liam whistle and back away quickly.

louis pulls harry in by his blazer. fuck, harry should not smell this good.

“that worked really well in our favor,” harry whispers in louis’ ear as they sway slowly, not even matching the upbeat vibe of the music. harry’s hand on the small of his back is warm and sturdy. louis is glad because quite frankly his legs feel like jelly.

“wait,” louis slows, the electricity of harry being this close to him honestly too much for his senses, “liam didn’t make that up as part of this?”

harry stills, “louis. no one knows. i explained that to you earlier.”

“so you really did make them watch the oscars just for me?” louis dares himself to look up at harry’s face, where he finds him blushing. his hands are twitching from louis’ lower back, as if he’s nervous. louis imagines his toes are pointed inward.

“was very proud of you, had to see you win,” harry nuzzles closer, pulling louis tighter against him as he speeds up his movements a bit, making them move a little faster.

louis is sweating. harry is assaulting his senses completely from head to toe.

louis turns around as the song changes, pressing his bum right up against harry’s hips and snaking his hands through harry’s hair. “let’s put on a show babe.”

harry drapes himself over louis’ back, his breath coming in little puffs in louis’ ear.

louis grips the back of harry’s neck tight, pulling a few curls, while harry’s hands grip tighter on louis’ waist.

they make it through three songs like that before harry whips louis back around, and starts mouthing at his neck. their hips align perfectly, and louis can already feel them both supporting at least a semi.

louis throws his head back, giving harry more access to his neck.

“is this okay?” harry mumbles into the damp crook of louis’ neck.
“yes,” louis runs his hands from harry’s pantline all the way up harry’s chest to lock his arms around harry’s neck, “more than okay.”

the alcohol, and the heat, and harry are all mixing together to make louis absolutely dizzy with lust.

he wants harry so fucking bad. he grinds his hips a little harder against harry’s.

he wants harry for real, not for a fake cocksock wearing stunt.

louis leans up to harry’s ear, “is anyone watching?”

harry’s eyes seem to unglaze for a moment while his eyes flit across the room.
“everyone’s looking. you look so fucking good lou, of course they’d be looking.”

louis reaches up and drags his mouth from the corner of harry’s mouth to his ear. he can’t tell if harry’s just putting on a show or telling the truth, “let’s make our exit then babe,” he licks at harry’s ear for good measure. or because he just can’t fucking resist.

he feels harry shiver as he extracts himself from louis’ grip.

harry practically drags him past liam, niall, and zayn and towards the door. everyone notices.

harry finds his handler, while louis kisses harry’s cheek and slips out.

louis sobers up slightly on the drive home, sweating most of the alcohol out in sheer exhilaration. it had gone better than planned. way better than planned. fuck, you couldn’t even tell the planned it. louis didn’t know where the act started or stopped, the line was so blurry. he couldn’t tell for himself or for harry.

he races into house, not caring with an ounce of his being that this is fake. if he’s going to have harry for the night with a cock sock, he’s going to let himself have it.

he rummages through his luggage, finding the cock sock before staring at it.

it’s a fucking cockblock is what it is.

the doorbell rings.

louis throws the cocksock down before running downstairs to answer the door for harry.

he opens the door, and harry looks so disheveled. his curls all out of place, shirt wrinkled from where they were pressed together for so long, his lips bitten and red.

fuck. how are they going to be able to do this? how is louis going to be able to fake fuck this kid when he looks like he deserves to be fucked for real?

“come on harry,” louis drags harry into the house, stopping at the kitchen to grab a bottle of champagne.

“this is a drunken night right? we’ll get champagne in the shot,” louis can tell his accent is horribly indecipherable. he’s so fucking nervous again.

they practically race upstairs, louis full of energy that’s coming off of him in waves. he can’t fucking sit still. he’s nervous, excited, more than a little tipsy, and full of panic. he feels like sonic the fucking hedgehog with the amount of movement he’s exuding.

he takes a swig of the champagne as soon as they enter the room.

harry takes the bottle from him, “louis, calm down it’s just me.”

the swig he takes from the bottle as well counteracts those words.

louis raises his eyebrows at him.

“‘m a bit nervous,” harry shrugs, “you’re going to see me practically naked.”

“um,” louis chokes out, taking the bottle back for another chug, “i forgot about the nakedness.”

harry blushes, “i’ll arrange the camera. we only need a couple shots right? it’s a short clip. it’ll be over in 60 seconds.”

louis laughs, some tension easing from him. “talk about peaking early.”

harry looks mortified, “i didn’t mean it like that!”

“sure you didn’t curly. just,” louis shakes out his arms and legs quickly, “let’s get the nakedness over with so we’re not nervous. who’s doing the fucking?”

harry sputters on the champagne he’s trying to chug, “i imagined you’d be fucking me.”

“oh you imagined this then curly?” louis teases, and that feels so much better. teasing. making this more real. that makes it easier. louis would always tease harry. will always tease harry.

“i did say you were my celebrity crush lewis,” harry teases back. his shoulders deflating into a more comfortable position, “i’m going to start taking off my clothes now.”

louis watches completely entranced as harry takes off his clothes slowly. their eyes lock and harry’s gaze is absolutely piercing even though it truly shouldn’t be.

louis trails his eyes over the smooth expanse of harry’s chest, covered in dark tattoos contrasting with the pale color of his skin.

louis can’t breathe.
harry pulls his pants down slowly, before turning around.

louis stares blatantly at his naked perky bum, before harry turns back and reveals his own cock sock.

“where the fuck did you get that from!” louis cries out, laughing.

“i figured i had to buy my own,” harry laughs along, fixing his hair a bit nervously. “your turn louis,” he bites his lip and stares at louis head-on.

louis hastily takes off his clothes, feeling harry’s eyes running all along his body, before he turns around. he pretends he doesn’t hear harry’s breath hitch. he quickly puts on the cock sock and turns back around to harry.

they stare at each other for a moment.

“so,” they both start at the same time, before laughing.

“we can do this, we’re going to make this the goddamn sexiest sex tape that ever existed,” louis throws his arm out for a fist bump.

“let’s do this,” harry fist bumps him back. they both take one more swig of the champagne. louis feels light and loose, and he can tell harry does too with his somewhat glassy eyes. he presses record on the video camera where it’s set up on the desk across from the side of the bed.

louis stares at harry for a moment, drinking him in. then he lunges forward. he’s been in a sex scene before. and it was a woman. he could pretend.

“god you’re so hot, can’t wait to be inside of you,” he mouths at harry’s neck. bringing them both towards the bed.

he’s not pretending.

harry complies easily, falling back onto the bed.

louis straddles harry, kissing all up and down his neck and chest, while harry pants loudly, “louis please, please.”

louis could come just from the sound of that. he wonders if harry really would beg like that if this was real.

louis’s hands travel lower, feeling the smoothness of harry’s chest. his fingers catch on a nipple and harry’s groan echoes through the room.

louis revels in the sound, grinding down, feeling harry’s hips jerk back up in reaction. he wonders if that was just an automatic response or harry is just getting good at pretending.

“please louis, please, need you to fuck me,” harry’s practically slurs. harry’s eyes are glazed, and louis honestly can’t tell if it’s the alcohol, the pretending, or actual lust.

harry surges forward, kissing louis’ neck, biting his collarbones so hard that louis is sure he’ll bruise. “okay,” louis pants out, he fucking loves his neck being bitten, “i’ll fuck you babe. i’ll take care of you harry.”

louis flips them over, harry scrambling to his knees while louis settles behind him.

louis grips harry’s hips hard, before settling himself over harry’s back, rocking into him slowly. harry’s thighs are shaking and louis’ hands roam all along harry’s back pressing into his spine before he spanks harry’s ass once. harry’s elbows buckle, and he pushes back onto louis even harder as they grind together faster. louis doesn’t know where spanking came from, and he doesn’t even know if he hit too hard and that’s why harry fell onto his face. louis can’t tell, and he can’t gauge a reaction because harry’s pressed so hard into the mattress his hair is falling into his eyes.

louis is sweating; he’s literally going to combust. the alcohol is making his body feel ten times hotter, and out of this world. it’s like he’s literally fizzing. harry’s sweaty body is slick and hot underneath him, and completely overwhelming.

harry rocks into the bed, and louis tries not to get any harder than he is. but he’s hard. he’s really fucking hard. his cock, even in the sock, slips through harry’s cheeks and his length slides along harry as harry seizes and moans so loud louis is convinced the neighbors heard him.

louis grabs a fistful of harry’s hair, making him arch his back for louis’ mouth to meet the back of harry’s neck. he bites and licks at it before whispering, “all the neighbors are gonna hear me fucking you harry.”

“oh my god, i’m going to come,” harry pants out, his voice wrecked. louis thinks he might have taken it a step too far, that that is harry’s way of letting him know he wants this short stint to be over.

louis pushes harry back down, and grinds into him harder, trying to make it look like they’re heading towards the finish line with harry wriggling into the bed sheets.

louis snakes his arm around to grab at harry’s abs, the sure-fire sign of finishing sex when harry cries out, “i’m going to come.” again.

“come on babe,” louis scratches harry’s navel with one hand while the other grips harry’s hip so hard he thinks it’ll bruise. harry let’s out what only can be described as a manly shout and falls into the bed, his chest heaving. louis gets up from the bed and walks over to the camera to stop recording.

when he turns back around, harry is scrambling to cover himself. but louis notices it before he can completely cover his torso.

they both stare at each other.

a moment passes.

“did you just get come all over my sheets?” louis blurts.

harry lifts up the sheets a little bit, staring down at them before looking up at louis. “yes.”

“i’ll get a wet cloth.”

louis turns and flees to the bathroom, locking the door behind him. he falls against the door, the thump of his bare back against the door resonating in the empty bathroom. he gets a hand around himself, wanking furiously. fuck, fucking fuck. fucking fucking fuck fuck. harry came, just from louis pretending to fuck him. all those whines, and moans were real, and the line is so blurred but louis can’t even fucking think about anything but how good harry looked under him as his fist flies over his cock. he comes with the sound of harry’s name on the tip of his tongue. and he knows harry could have heard him. if harry was being real, then he deserved to know louis was too.

he wets a cloth and washes himself off, wrapping a towel around his waist before grabbing a wet cloth for harry.

“i heard you,” is the first thing harry says from where he’s gathering his clothes up on the floor when louis exits the bathroom.

“had to make it even didn’t i? couldn’t have you having all the fun,” louis winks like he’s actually cool about this situation.

the line is so blurred that neither of them are sure there’s even a line anymore. he’s almost completely sober because harry just came in his goddamn bed that he sleeps in, and he still can’t walk a fucking line.

“clean up a bit and put on some boxers. you’re staying the night,” louis slaps the wet cloth onto harry’s chest before strutting past him to find his boxers.

louis is so fucked.

they should probably talk about it.

----

they don’t talk about it.

they fall asleep almost immediately, too tired from coming and too tired from drinking. louis wakes up in the middle of the night with harry wrapped around him like a koala, and he struggles to wriggle free but harry pulls him back, making him spoon him. louis sleeps like a rock after that.

harry makes breakfast for them the next morning, with shy smiles and they still don’t talk about it.

louis has a flight to catch to get back home. harry is due in las vegas.

harry kisses louis on the cheek goodbye and hands him cowell’s email address on a piece paper.

it’s on.

---

“lou, lou, lou,” harry chants into the phone as soon as louis picks up.

“yes harold? to what do i owe this pleasure?” louis balances the phone between his shoulder and his ear, trying to cut up fruit for doris and ernie’s dinner.

“your sister posted a picture of your siblings on snapchat and i thought i saw your ankles in the background, are you with them right now?”

louis shuts his eyes to compose himself, “you’re friends with my sister on snapchat? and why do you know what my ankles look like?”

harry barks a laugh through the phone, “you can always tell a man by their ankles lewis. and yes, i am friends with your sister on snapchat. in case there are pictures of you, duh. now tell me if you’re taking care of them.”

louis sighs dramatically, “yes, i am with them. i’m trying to cut up fruits for them to eat with dinner.”

harry pauses, “louis you can’t even cook cheese toastie without burning it, are you sure you should be handling a knife?”

“excuse-” louis squawks, but harry cuts him off.

“literally the last time you made us pancakes it looked like a cock and balls. and not the good cock and balls.”

“i’m going to hang up on you harold styles. i’m going to leak that tape for real,” louis threatens.

“good wanking material,” harry muses.

“i’m hanging up now,” louis says as he hears ernie and doris barrel into the kitchen wailing about dinner.

“send me pictures!” harry calls before there’s nothing but dial tone.

louis sends him a video of doris eating mangos. harry had recommended them to eat anyway. it was only polite for a follow up.

----

harry follows a leggy model on instagram, and they’re seen at the same event together.

he tells louis to send the email. that’s louis’ incentive.

louis’ true incentive is indecipherable.

----

dear simon,

hello! I’m sure you have missed me greatly. lost opportunity (and revenue) for you wasn’t it? now that i’m a oscar and golden globe winner and everything but alas, i digress.

almost two weeks ago i had a horrible one night stand. we met, got on great, got spectacularly drunk, and i really thought there was something special. however, i woke up to a cold and lonely bed. and no way to contact the person who i thought i had a really great time with. apparently he did not feel the same.

especially now that his face is on every magazine with some model.

by now you’re wondering… who would my one night stand be with? why would you care dear old simon?

well, maybe you should keep your clients on a better leash. and keep harry styles out of my bedroom.

after all, he’s very pushy, and loud while drunk. kept wanting me to record him.

the real point of this email is, i need an immediate meeting with you, harry magee and richard griffiths.

you have something i want, and i have something you may want to destroy.

i’ll give you a hint: riddle me this, how did kim kardashian start her career?

regards,
louis tomlinson

-----

when louis reads harry the email over he cries of laughter.

then his tone gets quiet and his voice breaks, “i hope this works.”

louis throat is dry and all he can do is say, “me too.”

---

simon replies promptly with an address and a time. harry gets the phone call five minutes after.

---

harry flies out to london on his two day break just like he planned, in fact a little ahead of his plan. he’s pleased.

louis comes back from doncaster just in time for the meeting. he starts filming in a few days.

louis walks through the front doors of harry’s management office like he’s an actor playing a role. because he is an actor playing a role.

harry waddles in embarrassed once they’re already settled in the meeting room. louis looks at him and scoffs.

they can do this.

-----

louis’ face is tense, trying to keep up his charade. he looks over at harry, whose corner of his lip that louis can see is downturned. he almost reaches out to touch him. almost.

but harry and louis don’t know each other like that in this situation. and louis’ facade of being an angry one night stand won’t seem as legit if he reaches out to do something ridiculous like comfort harry styles.

louis huffs. magee and griffiths rolls their eyes, unimpressed.

they’re losing them. louis knows this. harry knows this. they know this. even cowell on the fucking phone knows this. louis had place the pictures on the table. harry had squirmed in his seat. louis played the audio for proof. harry squirmed some more. cowell had almost yelled that’s enough. it was going well. the terms were simple: cowell praises louis in an interview and gives a special spot during the x-factor for promo of louis’ movie. in turn, louis destroys the tape.

it’s silent.

until the door slams open, clattering loudly as it hits the wall.

the man who walks in his wearing sunglasses and a business suit, practically flouncing into the room, a pretty little woman floundering behind him looking very apologetic. louis sags in relief.

“i’m sorry sirs, i tried to get him not to come in but he just wouldn’t listen, i couldn’t-”

“it’s okay eleanor, we’ll handle it thank you,” they dismiss her easily and the door closes behind her.

he takes off his sunglasses, dropping them along with his phone on the table very dramatically. “sorry i’m late,” he starts unapologetically, “i was at court, i’m sure you’re familiar with that,” he fucking winks. harry looks horrified.

something like pride swells in louis’ stomach. “my name is jeffrey azoff. i see you already met my client, louis tomlinson. and i’m also sure you’re familiar with my father, irving azoff. head of azoff talent management, where i am a co-owner. yes?”

magee and griffiths nod tersely.

“we’re familiar,” cowell adds bitingly from his little speaker on the table.

jeff almost squeals in delight, “simon! you’re here too! wonderful! how’s your son? still fighting off those paternity battles?”

harry almost chokes beside louis, whose eyebrows raise minutely. he needs to be cool.

cowell is silent for a moment, before he speaks up tone direct, “your purpose here jeffery?”

“i’m here to offer you a deal, a mutually beneficial deal much better than what my client here as probably tried to strong handle you into,” louis tries not to scoff, but jeff barrels on, “from what i understand your client is not out. my client is. this kind of scandal would destroy the reputation of one direction. have you seen the video and pictures? i’m sure you have. my personal favorite is the one where harry is looking up and louis’ cock-” cowell clears his throat loudly as louis tries not to freeze, there is no picture like that. “so you’re familiar then.” jeff sounds pleased, which he should be because he just tricked simon into thinking there’s more than louis even presented, “regardless,” jeff, the saint, turns directly to harry, “do you want to be out?”

magee and griffiths make a sound of protest. cowell is practically about to scream through the phone, “mr. azoff you have no business asking-”

harry meets his gaze evenly, his tone clear, loud above the protesting chatter. “yes,” he answers simply.

all three fall silent. louis hearts thumps loudly, something akin to pride swelling in his belly. who the hell is he kidding. it’s pride. he’s so fucking proud of him.

“you’re six months out from one direction’s album release. your PR plan is not generating any steam, currently. i’ve checked,” cowell is almost seethingly silent, “so i’m offering you, in return for the disappearance of these pictures, a mutually beneficial pr relationship between louis and harry. harry gets to come out,” there’s still a rumble of protest, “in anyway he’d like. i mean honestly who even closets boybanders it’s 2016,” jeff rolls his eyes, “and if you’re unsure, coming out will do wonders for you gaining a better demographic for this album. then you have an exciting new relationship, a pr wonder between actor louis tomlinson and one direction member harry styles and a steamy break up ripe for your album sales once the album is released.”

louis and harry whip their heads to jeffrey. “what?” harry asks.

“excuse me?” louis demands.

magee and griffiths steal a glance with each other then burn a hole into the speaker on the desk.

harry and louis wait with bated breath. this was not what louis fucking signed up for.

jeff is already on his phone, distracted and nonplussed.

cowell is silent, but pondering.

“i’ll consider it and be in contact. you all are dismissed,” the click of cowell hanging up echoes through the room.

jeff stands, pulling louis up with him, “lovely doing business with you. harry, nice to meet you. those pictures don’t do you justice.”

magee and griffiths squawk as jeff drags louis out of the room.

he waits until their in jeff’s escalade before he turns on louis.

“you are so lucky that i, one can check your emails, and two, can get on a private plane and make it to london somewhat quickly,” jeff slaps him across the head like a child, “what the fuck were you two thinking?!”

louis rests his head in his hands, “how did you-”

jeff barrels on, “at first when i heard that you were drunkenly trying to snog harry styles at ed sheeran’s release party i thought nothing of it. then i remembered who you are as a person. how you never, ever, would be so careless, especially with someone who wasn’t even out of the closet. you would never. and that’s how it clicked. so i checked your email only to find a threatening email to simon cowell. i’m not an idiot. i know what harry wants.”

“neither harry nor i want a fake relationship jeffrey!” louis yells shrilly, meeting jeff’s eyes for the first time in this entire experience.

“are you dating him?” he asks point blank.

“no,” louis answers quickly.

“do you want to be dating him?”

the blush runs from the tip of louis’ ears to his cheeks.

there’s a knock on the window.

jeff rolls the window down, “harry, get in your car and call louis later. you do not need to be seen right now. you’re on tour in america. get back to america before anyone knows you are not in the country. your fandom are like vultures. they will find this, and it will be suspicious. go now.”

harry’s eyes widen before he lifts up his hood and walks away wordlessly.

jeff stares at harry's retreating back before looking back at louis. the blush is still high on louis cheek.

jeff stares hard at him for one more second before staring up at the ceiling of the escalade and groaning so loud all of london could probably hear him.

he decides he wants to stay and oversee the first couple days of shooting, but it turns out his girlfriend glenne came with him, and they’re staying at a hotel instead of shacking up with louis. louis would take jeff, of course he would. after his brief stint of trying to find an agency within cowell and his usual team, louis had found refuge in the azoffs. they were like his second family. they took care of him. hell, irving let loius sit in on all of his scathing phone calls, claiming one day louis would be doing the same.

but taking in jeff was one thing. taking in jeff and glenne was another. louis was pleased they were staying at a hotel, that way he didn’t have to deal with their cute gross domesticity. no one wanted to see that.

jeff drops louis off at his flat and louis stops before getting out of the car.

he rests his hand on jeff’s shoulder. “thank you jeffrey. you saved-” the us that louis stopped himself from saying doesn’t going undetected. louis clears his throat, “you saved me.”

jeff’s eyes go soft, “i know,” then he’s back in mom mode, “filming starts in two days louis. get out of my car and get prepared.”

by the time louis makes it up to his flat he checks his phone to see one missed text from an unknown number.

what’s your address?

he furrows his eyebrows, but then the next text comes in.

technically i have 16 more hours i can be here.

louis almost laughs. he sends his address, but then stops for a second.

what happened to listening to jeff and just calling me later?

the response is immediate. need to see you.

 

-----

harry, it turns out, was roaming around the city in circles waiting for louis to text back because it takes him less than 10 minutes to get to louis’ flat.

when louis lets him in he finally gets a good look at him.

in the meeting room louis had made a point to barely look at him. wasn’t in his role to look at him. but now louis drinks him in. his heavy black coat that he’s slowly discarding, revealing a thin white t-shirt, blue jeans, and trainers.

louis shouldn’t find that so attractive.

when louis finally looks at his face, he realizes his hair is a bit longer, resting a little below his shoulders.

louis heart swells.

harry must notice the same thing on him because he steps forward, hand reaching up to touch the wispy ends of louis’ hair.

“your,” harry chokes out, “your hair is a little longer.”

louis is suddenly struck with the fact that they hadn’t seen each other in person in almost two weeks, and even though they’ve been in constant communication he missed seeing harry’s face. missed his smell.

“that was part of our deal innit?” louis asks, a shy smile on his face.

harry just stares as if louis hung the moon, before lunging forward and grabbing louis in a hug, holding him tightly.

he buries his head in the crook of louis’ neck, and louis can feel all the anxiety, all of the tension, all of the hopeful relief sag out of him.

“it’s over babe, we’re going to win it. jeff is going to make sure of it.”

the “i’m so proud of you” doesn’t make it out of his throat. so louis just squeezes back tighter as harry inhales deeply and then pulls away.

louis’ words are out before he can quite look in harry’s eyes. “let’s make a cuppa.”

louis shuffles to the kitchen, leaving harry to do nothing but follow him, much like their first meeting at louis’ cheshire house a little over a month ago.

harry must be thinking the same thing because his quiet voice behind louis remarks, “i think i like the cheshire house better.”

louis looks around his london flat. it’s more bachelor pad than home, that’s for sure. more modern furniture and design, with huge open spaces.

louis doesn’t want to admit the cheshire home is his favorite too.

“well,” louis knows they should probably start this conversation at least. compared to the other conversation they still haven’t talked about, “it seems like you’ll be seeing quite a lot of me for the next couple months. so we will have plenty of time to go back.”

the kettle sings and louis breaks his gaze with harry to prepare their tea.

harry takes the tea from louis once it’s done, the small cup dwarfed in his large hands.

louis takes a sip of his, cursing himself for not waiting for it to cool down.

harry still hasn’t said a word.

louis mutters “fuck” under his breath and he’s not sure if he’s talking about his burnt tongue or harry’s contemplating face.

finally harry speaks up, “i asked you to do the fake scandal and you really didn’t have to but you did. so i just want you to know you have a choice in this fake dating thing too. you don’t have to. simon might not even agree. maybe he’ll just let me come out. maybe we can find someone-”

“no,” louis interjects fiercely. the thought of harry faking anything with anyone else makes an ugly feeling settle in louis’ stomach.

harry bites his lip but he continues anyway, “i don’t want you to feel like you need to do more than what you’ve already done to help me.”

louis sets his cup of tea down and reaches up to grab harry’s face. his palms rest on harry’s warm cheeks, making harry look into his eyes. “listen harold. we’re in this together. we’re a team now. and we’re seeing this through okay? i’m in this.” louis heart hammers and he bites his tongue so hard to not let the ‘for you’ come out at the end of his statement. “no matter what it is, harry.”

harry’s big green eyes become a tad watery as his lips spread into a wobbly smile that’s entirely too sure for someone who looks like he’s about to cry, “you want to date me.”

“course,” louis replies easily, before he lets go of harry quickly and slaps his bum and runs out of the kitchen, “that’s for slapping me bum weeks ago harold!”

harry chases right after louis, who is squawking about god knows what, weaving in and out of the three bedrooms that are in his flat. by the time they circle back to the living room, both of them are exhausted and flop onto the couch. harry’s gangly limbs intertwine with louis’ legs.

louis flips on the tv. “come on young harold. come up for a proper cuddle before your flight.”

harry twists himself around and then slides up in front of louis. his bum rests right up against louis’ hips as he nestles himself into the couch and louis.

louis wills himself not to think of the sounds harry made underneath him, when his bum was pressed right up against his groin while making the tape. the sounds harry made when he came. louis’ breath gets shallow as he tries to keep calm and pick a show to watch. he and harry argue about different choices before they both agree on rewatching gossip girl.

“wouldn’t have pegged you as the type that has to rewatch gossip girl,” louis laughs as harry wiggles his bum at him in response.

harry looks back at him, “i wouldn’t talk since you’re rewatching it too.”

louis huffs, “i can’t hear you biggest little spoon ever.”

harry starts wiggling again, making louis giggle because otherwise he’d get more than half hard, “more like tiniest big spoon ever.”

“oi!” louis shouts, “not in my house!”

harry grabs louis’ arm and shrugs it over his chest, interlocking their fingers as the gossip girl opening credits come on.

louis doesn’t have much to say after that.

-----

harry ends up cooking them a pasta dish. louis tells harry about his filming that’s going to start, even has him practice some lines, and harry informs louis on all of the spots they’re going to go on tour.

he’s in the middle of telling a story about when liam and zayn tricked niall into thinking that harry was going to leave the band on february 30th (to which niall cried for a solid 45 minutes, and bought 3 one direction t shirts just in case) when his phone starts beeping.

that’s his jeff email tone.

harry must notice louis’ face because he freezes.

louis picks up his phone and reads over the email quickly, he can feel harry’s gaze absolutely burning into him.

he gets up from the table, the chair scraping against the tile loudly in the deadly .

he walks past harry who is staring at louis, eyes wild in apprehension and confusion.

harry can hear rummaging and his back is fully turned to the kitchen before louis emerges in the doorway holding a bottle of wine and a huge smile.

“you’re looking at your new public boyfriend mister harry styles!” harry flies out of his seat and into louis’ arms. louis wraps his arms around harry as he grips him tight and whispers into him, “you’re coming out love.”

harry cries. and they get drunk.

------

harry stumbles out of louis’ flat after his solid 16 hours there just like he said. he leaves after a kiss that was suspiciously close to louis’ mouth, but louis isn’t sure if it the lack of lights in the early morning, or the fuzziness of his brain and harry being so close to him.

he falls back asleep almost immediately, completely warmed from harry being so close to him, snuggling into the couch where they had fallen asleep wrapped up in each other drunkenly reciting lines of the first two seasons of gossip girl.

-----

filming starts. two whole months of filming all around the uk and in berlin. he becomes the starman and every character in between. he lives and breathes david bowie and his entire life. he adores his castmates, and gets on especially well with perrie edwards, a loud and brash blonde who has just as quick mouth as he does.

he’s on his second week of filming when his mother comes to visit on set.

he tries to invite her on set at least once if he can with every role he does, and then usually regrets it because she talks to literally everyone and they always fall in love with her.

his sisters also then complain about not being invited, which doesn’t help. his brother doesn’t complain (but he also doesn’t really understand what a movie set is quite yet so that may be the issue).

his mother walks into his trailer with a wide smile, and bagged lunch for him.

“mom,” louis starts.

“i know i shouldn’t have brought food, but it’s a sunday roast i had to,” jay squeezes her son and places the bag in front of him.

he opens it up immediately, the smell of his mother’s roast just too good for him to resist. she settles into the couch, watching him closely.

“how are you my lou? i haven’t seen you since you took care of ernie and doris. i miss you,” she looks at him fondly.

louis quite frankly stuffs his face before smiling at his mom, absolutely gushing, “this is the best role i have ever had.”

“i can see baby,” she eyes him closely, “you look so happy.”

louis’ phone rings, and he reaches for it. he had been expecting to hear from harry any minute now. he usually shared pics of his breakfast or. louis stops short. today was a sleepy seflie, of harry shirtless cuddled up in a bed of white pillows.

louis’ ears turned pink.

“boo?” jay asks softly.

louis shakes his head, typing up a quick reply. don’t distract me from filming you tit!

jay stares at him, “here i am playing doting mother, being all soft and loving for you. giving you praise and love and you are hiding a boy from me?”

louis’ eyes widen. shit. his mom was doing soft mom for him. she knows he loves soft mom while on set.

but now she’s normal mom and normal mom does not like louis hiding things.

especially boys.

“um,” louis scratches his forehead.

“are you going to tell me?” she quirks a brow at him.

fuck he’s gonna have to tell her, “so i may have um, i may have met someone.”

his mother hums.

“we um,” he tries not to look her in the eye, “he wanted to be out so we may have um. faked a sex tape in order to out him to simon cowell? and then jeff came and we’re going to date for their album promotion?”

everything he says sounds like a question.

his mother is silent. he can feel the horror burning off of her.

“sex tape?” she whispered, “simon cowell?” she got louder, “fake date for album promotion?” her voice was mildly shrill, “why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?”

louis runs a hand through his hair, “i haven’t told anyone! i didn’t want anyone to know that we were planning this, especially if it didn’t work. i don’t want to lose my career and get dragged to court for trying to violate a boybander’s contract.”

jay’s hand falls on the table, the slap resounding throughout the trailer. she looks at him.

“please do not tell me this is about harry styles.”

fucking hell, how did his mother know that?

she takes his silence as reason to go on, “your sister told me you freaked when you saw that she met him! were proper excited and you were going to list him as your celebrity crush..” she trails off. “how long have you known him?”

louis blushes, “we met in december, then again in january, then became friends in february. it’s all very new mother.”

“but you like him? and you’re going to fake date him for his album promotion?”

“well, i don’t know if i like him like him. i mean it could just be like the whole situation or like,” louis stops himself when he meets his mother’s eyes. “okay fine i like him. he’s gorgeous and wonderful, and he’s funny. he makes me laugh and we just get on. we get on really well.”

“and so you’re going to date him for his album, because you get on really well and want to date him in real life?”

“um,” louis scratches behind his ear.

“louis, my lovely oldest child,” oh god, “this is the worst idea of your life.”

“mom!” louis shrieks, but she barrels on anyway.

“but i’m sure it’ll work out. just tell the truth honey.”

louis groans. he hasn’t even started his fake boyfriend stunt and his mother is already in his head.

he ignores his mother’s knowing eyes, and snaps a picture of his roast to send to harry with the caption. mom’s cooking… do you miss this in this states?

harry’s reply is quick. i miss more than just the cooking.

fuck.

-------

when harry got back to tour, it had been a flurry of movement. it was like everything was moving much too quickly, and much too loudly.

niall had cornered him first.

he put a hand over harry’s mouth as soon as he saw him and dragged him out of the stadium and back into the bus. it was very creepy.

he dragged him all the way to the bathroom, locked him in there. harry knew better than to make a sound so he just waited.

it was better not to question niall if he was on a mission.

he could hear niall shutting the blinds, and turning up the music and television.

then he heard the door open once. then twice.

finally niall came to open up the door to the bathroom. harry had been gazing at the toilet, pondering about cleaning it.

six eyes had been staring at him. his best friends eyes. but still. they were staring at him. it was vaguely concerning.

harry stepped out of the bathroom. and then there was yelling.

“what the fuck were you thinking?!”

“you need to be more careful harry.”

“harry-”

harry sighed. “i need you guys to sit down.”

they gathered around the couch, staring at harry expectantly as the music blared. probably to distract the fact that they were going to attempt to strangle harry. harry had decided he needed the music loud so no one heard the truth.

“louis and i planned it.”

niall covered his face with his hands, “fuck.”

he went and checked the windows and turned up the music even louder, locking the door securely.

“there’s something i need to tell you guys,” he sat down on the edge of the couch, hands in his armpits, like he usually did when he was nervous.

“so you’re all familiar with my friend? the one who has been giving us the advice under the table. the friend who we’re very interested in taking over our management at the end of our contract? the friend who is going to get us out of this shit hole?”

there was a talk they had about six months before when they had an appearance on snl, and had a fight so bad with their management team about the song choices that the four of them gathered in a hotel room and had “the talk”.

it had been the worst and best talk of harry’s life. they had spilled every grievance, every desire, everything that they wanted for the band and for themselves. everything was out on the table.

for one, they all wanted to resign with new management and a new record label after their contract ended with management in october and record label december 31. two, they wanted to switch to a normal touring schedule. three, zayn and liam wanted to do some solo producing. four, harry wanted to do more songwriting for other people. five, niall wanted to go traveling with no camera following him whatsoever. he wanted to disappear for a bit.

when they had decided that, niall had told them about this friend that he had. he only referred to him as ‘my friend’ and gave them all the information regarding his management record and his terms of conditions. he didn’t provide any names on any information.

harry, zayn, and liam automatically knew they wanted to sign with him after their contract, even without a name. what he was claiming could happen was everything they wanted. and it was sincere and legit and ruthless. they loved it and they had been listening to his advice since then. because things had gotten progressively worse for them. more stunts, less focus on the music, less airplay in the US, lower ticket sales, more closetting; they were pissed.

the friend was helping.

“what does your friend have to do with me and louis planning a sex tape?”

liam rolled his eyes at harry. “niall, please get on with it. i want to stop imagining harry in a sex tape.”

niall rubbed his hands over his face, then looked at them very seriously, “my friend is irving azoff.”

“what the fuck?”

“are you fucking kidding me niall?”

harry stared.

“wait a second,” he waved his hands around, “louis and i planned this alone. without the help of anyone. and then we went to simon and pretended that louis was like mad at me for a one night stand that i left him for and he wanted promo and an apology in return for deleting the tape. but then jeff azoff found out about it and saved the day and offered simon a promo relationship between me and louis for the album to bring up sales,” harry had never spoken that fast in his life.

“you did what?” liam and zayn asked while niall replied, “i know. i talked to irving this morning.”

“irving planned the dating because he knows it’ll build 1. a public connection between him and us. 2. it was a way for you to come out. and 3. apparently you guys like each other or summat so it’s like you’re already dating.”

harry made a noise of protest, “we don’t like each other.”

everyone rolled their eyes.

“he also said though, that this is now the start of the war. you unknowingly started a war by creating a sex tape with louis. between them as our new team, and simon as our old team. simon’s going to find out about our connection to them and our intention to sign at some point. and he’s going to be pissed.”

harry remembers feeling the tears that welled up in his eyes, “i’m so sorry guys i’m so fucking sorry, i wasn’t even thinking i just thought-” harry ran his hands through his hair, “i thought i was being clever and i thought it would boost sales, or something, and i didn’t even tell you guys. i was being so selfish.”

“harry listen,” liam reached out to hold harry’s shoulder, “niall has been coordinating this for months. and you’ve been struggling so much, we’ve seen it. you haven’t been yourself at all. we want you to be happy. everyone just wants to be happy. if this starts a war, who cares. we’re ready to fight a war.”

zayn piped up as well, “we’re simon’s biggest revenue and he’s going to lose us. we were going to start a war no matter what. whether you’re out or you’re not out. it was eating you dude. yeah we all get shit, and our situations are shit for our career but, your closet and you dealing with that on top of everything else. none of us this deserve this shit h, none of us. that includes you.”

niall lit up like a christmas tree, “irving told me that all these things he’s done to help us, they’ve been gearing us for the war. the war is inevitable. but you get to come out dude. we want that for you. we want the best for all of us. no matter what.”

harry was pretty sure they were all crying at that point.

and then simon called and told him he was officially going to come out and also officially date louis tomlinson.

almost 24 hours after he had found out from louis. the motherfucker.

that was two weeks ago.

now, the boys did nothing but make fun of harry for his ‘louis obsession’ as they called it.

“harry get the fuck out of bed and stop sending louis selfies!” niall calls out from the front of the bus.

this is why harry hates sleeping on the bus.

“we’re stopping to get pancakes at the next rest stop!”

harry was pretty sure it was 7 a.m. and also pretty sure zayn was about to murder niall.

“niall if you fucking speak one more time in the next two hours, i will smother you in your sleep tonight.”

niall cackles loudly.

harry continues to send louis pictures of anything he can while he stumbles around the bus for the rest of the morning. he sends him a picture of his tea, a picture of his foot on niall’s head while niall naps, a picture of zayn and liam cuddling on the couch, and then all of them eating their pancakes.

by the time they’re gearing up for the show, louis calls him. harry scrambles to get to the phone a little too quickly, he hasn’t heard louis’ voice in a few days. louis has been busy with filming and they’ve had show after show, and he’s been seen at two gay bars with ex flings in order to “set up the friends helping friends” storyline.

“is there a reason you have decided to do nothing but send me pictures all day?”

harry revels in the sound of louis’ voice, his teasing tone, and blurts out the first thing he thinks, “miss you lou.”

“i-” louis starts, but then there’s a string of noises in the background. “shit, i have to go. they need me to do this night scene.”

harry’s face drops, “okay lou. i’ll talk to you later.”

“see you harold,” harry can hear louis’ smile and automatically smiles back.

it isn’t until he meets zayn’s knowing eyes across the room that he realizes.

fuck. he likes louis tomlinson.

------

“what do you want twerp?”

harry can’t even be annoyed. “are you with mom and robin?”

“yeah, we’re all here,” gemma moves the camera so he can see anne and robin in the background.

“hi love!” his mom calls from the couch.

“i have a problem.”

“what did he say?” he hears robin ask loudly.

“gemma bring the phone over here.”

“hold on h. they’re being annoying.”

“i have a problem!” harry repeats a little louder, but they’re oblivious to it, arguing over the camera and situating gemma so they can all talk to harry.

“i like louis!” harry shouts. the camera stops moving, frozen on his mother shocked face, and his sister’s unsurprised face.

“you like louis?” anne clarifies, “as in like like you want to date him like louis?”

“aren’t you going to pretend he’s boning you for like three months?” gemma’s face is very unimpressed.

“gemma!” anne and robin chastise her.

harry whines, “yes! and i want him to be in real life boning me!” harry thinks back to the sting of louis’ hand in his hair, and on his hips, and on his ass.

“harry!” anne and robin chastise him. whoops.

gemma laughs wildly and anne takes the phone from her, making it focus on her face.

“harry listen to me. if you like him, you need to tell him the truth. you can’t fake date someone you like. it just won’t work.”

harry groans.

------

 

louis loves berlin.

he loves the city, he loves what he’s filming. he loves that it’s been almost two months and he only has a couple days left in berlin and one more week to finish up back in england before filming is done.

but right now, he’s trying to get back to his hotel to watch an interview and everyone is pissing him the fuck off. the entire city is making him mad. there’s traffic, construction, some justin beiber concert causing people in the streets. it’s madness.

he finally settles into his hotel room, after complete chaos trying to get there, and opens his laptop just in time to see the interview has aired, based on his google result for harry styles.

he opens his texts, seeing the last one from harry. let me know when you’ve watched. want to know what you think xxxxxx

he clicks on the link for the interview.

he holds his breath as he watches the interviewer ask “well, what do you look for in a partner?”, watches liam probe harry’s answer by joking saying “oh, well female that’s important.” then he sees the deep breath harry takes, the slightest pause he would have never noticed if he didn’t know this boy. didn’t know how much this meant to him. then the smile that breaks over his face, as if he just gained courage.

then he shrugs, “not that important.”

louis’ heart swells three times it’s size and he has to stop tears from welling up in his eyes because he’s just so proud of him.

he calls harry immediately.

“hi love,” louis calls out softly.

“did you see it?” harry asks in a small voice.

“yes i did. i just watched it. how do you feel?” louis keeps his voice low and soothing to match harry’s tone.

“i feel alright. the boys are really helping. i just. i can’t believe i got to say that. i haven’t looked at the articles but like, there are articles. i can’t, i can’t believe this,” harry lets out a disbelieving breath and giggle.

“it’s indescribable i know,” louis nods. “i wouldn’t go online just yet, this is big. i’m-” louis chokes out, “i’m really proud of you.”

he hears harry sniffle, “thank you lou. i’m,” he can hear harry trail off, “i’m really glad i get to do this with you.”

“i’m really glad i get to do this with you too,” louis pauses, “wish i was there though. is it absolutely mad that i miss you?”

harry laughs, “no louis, it’s not mad. i miss you too. but i do wish you were here too.”

louis smiles, taking a deep breath to ease the butterflies in his stomach, “soon right? i’ll be done filming in a week.”

“i have one more big moment next week then we basically have a show everyday until i come out on the week break before we go to europe.”

“so one more month then?” louis tries not to hide the disappointment in his voice.

“one more month,” harry replies but it sounds more like a promise.

-----

“don’t knock it till you try it” trends on every social media site louis and harry checks.

louis almost cries laughing at the wide eyed look liam gives him, and the knowing smile zayn gives.

they facetime that night and one up each other on penis jokes until they’re both crying laughing.

 

----

the thing is though, for louis, penis jokes only lead to the non-stop obsessive thoughts about harry actually coming just from louis pulling his hair and spanking him.

for harry, it leads to a bit of overuse of his memory (and his vibrator).

-----

when it happens it’s a mistake.

harry’s way too drunk, and louis has been crowding his mind too incessantly. for weeks he was so obsessed with coming out he barely even thought about the night he spent faking the sex tape. but now all he thought about was the ghost of louis’ hands in his hair and lips all over his neck.

but then louis calls and he’s laughing, and harry’s drunk. it just. it slips.

“do you think about it?”

he hears louis stop, his breath heavy, “do i think about what?”

“think about our sex tape,” harry breathes out, barreling into his hotel room bathroom.

“i-,” louis stutters, “yes.”

“can’t stop thinking about it,” harry removes all of his clothes, quickly weeing before he goes to bed.

“harry,” louis trails off. “ you’re drunk.”

harry nods, “i am, but i think about it sober. think about it all the time.”

louis is silent.

harry panics. “i’m sorry, i shouldn’t have told you that. i’m sorry, i am drunk,” harry turns off his light and gets under the covers.

“harry,” louis repeats. “i think about it too. i think about it a lot. okay?”

harry takes a deep breath. “yeah?”

“yeah,” louis confirms.

harry doesn’t really know where to go from here. doesn’t know what to say. what do you say to someone who made you came, who you would like to make you come on a repeated basis, and who you’re going to start fake dating in a matter of weeks?

harry closes his eyes and before he knows it, he’s asleep.

----

turns out talking about it, doesn’t make it any better.

(if anything the sexual frustration gets worse.)

----

after filming in london, louis finds himself at his cheshire house.

he orders groceries. he brings some extra clothes. he contemplates buying a dog.

but more importantly, he decompresses. he unravels from david bowie, and reminds himself that he’s louis tomlinson.

he spends more time than he should outside, the warm beginnings of summer just starting to shine through.

he gets the text from harry at about 5 o’clock when he’s just about to go inside for the night and watch house of cards.

harry had been quiet for most of the day, barely texting. louis knew why. he just didn’t press.

i’m posting in 5 minutes.

louis takes a deep breath. he lets the sun hit him for a minute, trying to forget the nerves he felt when his article was about to make breaking news.

it doesn’t make him feel any better.

good luck love. you’ll be great. i promise. xxx

he can feel the apprehension in his stomach, and runs inside to grab his laptop. he wants to see this live.

he googles harry styles instagram, and opens the page. it’s not there, yet. just a sea of black and white photos.

he waits a second, hits refresh, and then.

then there’s a rainbow.

his phone pings and his heart soars.

he reads the caption below the picture, tears welling up in his eyes.

he thinks back to the boy he met, the words he had told him that night at the brits.
he opens up his messages. very brave of you. x

------

louis doesn’t hear from harry the rest of the night.

he checks tumblr, checks the comments on articles for the overwhelming support.

he ends up posting a picture of his soccer pitch that he took earlier with the caption. it was a good day.

he falls asleep early, the windows open and a cool breeze in his room.

when he awakes, it’s to the sound of a car on his gravel driveway.

he shoots up. terror building as he looks out the window, but can’t see the car from this angle.

there’s a knock on the door. and his phone pings, making him jump out of bed to get to it.

can you let me in?

louis races to the door, quickly letting harry in before anyone could possibly see him or follow him.

“what are you doing here? you weren’t supposed to leave your house for at least 24 hours. and you’re supposed to lay low this entire break-”

louis’ words are cut off by harry’s entire body being flung into him, gripping him close and tight. louis exhales as he wraps his arms around harry’s frame, pulling him even closer.

they stand there like for a few moments, until louis is sure he hears sniffling, and louis’ tears wet harry’s hoodie. the same black hoodie he had on when they were trying to make this very moment happen.

“thank you so much lou. thank you,” harry chokes out.

louis takes a deep breath, “this was all you harry. all you. i’m so proud of you.”

harry pulls away, “i’m so sorry for not telling you i was coming. i was just sitting there with my mom and robin and my sister. and i just. i needed to get out of the house for a little bit.”

louis smiles, “you don’t do well with orders of staying in do you?”

harry smirks, “i do well with other orders.”

----

they stay up baking cookies and cupcakes. louis puts on various records as they bake, singing and dancing.

they only get in one food fight. but it’s a mess. flour hand prints mat their clothes, and harry gets icing smeared across his face and hair. louis gets it all over his back because of harry grabbing him and trying to stop him.

it doesn’t work.

they end up falling asleep in a heap of limbs and muffled whispers about their fondest memories, their regrets, their hopes, their past, their future, and their families.

it’s the best night of louis’ life (and harry’s too).

----

the single drops a week later.

harry leaves to promote the single in america (and tells the world his celebrity crush is louis tomlinson).

one direction’s tour starts in europe.

their contract begins.

----

louis can’t seem to leave the cheshire house to go back to london. he instead goes up to doncaster to visit his family.

he lasts about two days with his family before he calls his best friend stan. he hasn’t seen him since the last time he was home.

they end up in the backyard, a bonfire going as they smoke.

“how cool was it being david bowie?” stan asks, watching the smoke float away into the sky.

“it was cool,” louis replies, not interested.

stan looks at him briefly, before resuming his stare at the smoke.

“the last movie you were in you wouldn’t shut up about. this is david bowie,” stan pauses, as if searching very carefully for his next words, “you read every david bowie book growing up. watched all his videos. you were him for halloween three halloweens in a row. and all you say is cool? what’s up dude?”

louis is silent for a long time. he knew this would come out eventually. knew it was eating away at him. knew this thing with harry was just making it come to the surface more. more noticeable. more obvious.

louis lets out a breath, “can you name five good friends that i have?”

stan contemplates it for a second, “not anymore.”

“yeah,” louis says shortly, “exactly.”

they’re both silent.

“my cast mates are great, i genuinely have fun on every role i do. but then i go home, or i go to an award show or an event and it. it feels like i don’t belong anywhere. i don’t belong here because i’m on the tv when we pass the movie channels. but i don’t belong there because there’s barely two people i can sit and have conversations with.”

“james and ed,” stan offers.

“james and ed,” louis confirms. “those are my only famous friends. but they’re not close. i’m not, i’m not that close with them.”

stan doesn’t speak for a while, taking another drag of the blunt. “what about harry styles?”

louis’ heart hammers, like it always does when harry’s name is mentioned. he should get that checked out. “harry feels like..”

the word ‘home’ threatens to come out, and louis swallows that quickly.

“i don’t know.”

stan smiles slowly, like he knows what louis was about to say, “okay.”

-----

 

louis follows harry on twitter and instagram. immediately liking his coming out post.

harry follows him back. it gets people talking.

(louis doesn’t check for fanart. except he does.)

 

-----

harry is vaguely nervous.

he’s cleaned the bus four times and snapped at niall six times. niall runs the biggest risk of embarrassing him in front of louis. second is liam by making fun of his crush like last time. third is zayn by his creepy assessment of people he does from afar.

louis is due to show up at the concert in less than forty five minutes, and harry has resorted to pacing around the bus.

he’s not nervous about louis being seen at the concert and being the first public speculation, and first true interaction of them for the intent of dating.

he’s not nervous about that.

he’s nervous about his best fucking friends hanging out with louis, who he likes, for the first time.

it’s going to be a disaster.

---

when louis arrives, harry takes him on a tour of the stadium, showing him around backstage and around the venue. there’s screaming coming from everywhere and he knows that there are pictures being snapped of them together backstage. and that’s the point isn’t it?

louis is loud. so much louder than he’s used to seeing him at his house. he realizes that this is the first time their friendship is public. the first time they’re somewhere that’s not hushed or hidden or private.

harry revels in it. revels in louis charming every crew member and every bodyguard. even their backing band.

louis smile is wide, and harry knows his is just as big and fond as he brings louis to their bus.

“why are you looking at me like that harold?” louis quirks his head at harry.

“looking at you like what?” harry tries to school his face into something that’s not incredibly fond, or happy.

“like a frog,” louis stops walking abruptly. “your smile is wide and your eyes are really big.” he reaches up to touch harry’s face but pulls away the second the bus door swings wide open.

zayn looks between the both of them, amber eyes narrowing carefully. then he walks past them.

“um,” louis looks to harry.

“don’t worry,” harry whispers, “that was a good stare.”

----

niall and louis get along too well.

after ten minutes niall worships the ground that louis walks on, and is cracking up so loud he can barely hold it in.

they both make fun of harry for his lack of coordination on the football pitch. and louis invites niall over to play sometime.

niall tells them that liam is somewhere boxing with their trainer and louis eyes up the water balloons that niall had purchased earlier the day for their stylist’s daughter.

it’s a very bad idea.

except liam thinks it’s the greatest as he’s done his workout and gets pelted with water balloons. it starts a full blown war and even zayn comes to play, finding himself coming out of the mess relatively unscathed.

harry and louis team up on liam dumping water all over him, and liam genuinely laughs like he hasn’t in months.

by the time they’re done, they’re all soaked (except for zayn) and zayn looks to louis, eyes bright.

he pulls out keys from his back pocket, “wanna go steal a golf cart?”

something warm spreads throughout harry’s body as he glances between zayn’s bright eyes and louis’ mischievous smile. louis glances up at harry, who nods in return.

“i’d love to.”

harry laughs as they run off together.

liam throws an arm around harry, “i like him a lot.”

niall pipes up from where he’s trying to dry off, laying on the cement ground, “me too.”

harry’s silent, eyes watchful as louis and zayn whip around the corner and past them on a golf cart whooping and hollering.

“haven’t had this much in a while, have we lads?”

-------

louis watches the show from side stage, bopping along with the bodyguards. he can’t remember the last time he was at a show this big. the crowd is unbelievably loud. and he took a couple of pictures with a couple of fans before the show started.

louis bops and sings along to every song, probably surprising harry who looks over almost every song to gauge his reaction.

harry is positively sinful on stage, hair down and flowing everywhere. his blouse is almost entirely unbuttoned and louis can see every bit of his abs as he flounces around the stage. he grinds on niall, liam, and even zayn. he is quite provocative with a microphone. he’s basically begging for louis to get a boner (which he does).

louis has the time of his life from the side of the stage, making every one of the boys laugh.

he can’t help it. it’s the first time he’s been out in a long time where he’s felt himself with a group of people.

but he saves that thought for a little later.

he’s escorted backstage when the concert is done, meeting four sweaty hugs, only one of which he doesn’t mind.

“how did you like it?” harry asks excitedly, post concert adrenaline oozing off of him.

louis shrugs, “not bad.”

harry shoves him, “hey,” he drawls.

“oi,” louis shoves him back, “i’m just kidding. i think the last time i was at a show like this was when i went to see the script in 2009, like a year before i started acting. drove all the way to manchester meself.”

harry fishmouths, “manchester 2009 to see the script?” he repeats, “i was at the same show.”

“really?” louis shakes his head like he can’t believe it, “wow.”

harry hums. “fate,” he confirms, smiling wide and entirely too pleased.

-----

louis kind of, sort of, ends up on tour with them for an entire week.

it fuels the rumors for sure, but louis just, doesn’t want to leave.

he tells himself it’s to get used to tour life just in case he ever plays another musician.

he also tells it to jeff, but jeff just does his job of writing about their relationship. they get papped once, shopping in amsterdam.

they are instructed to act naturally (and they do). except naturally looks a hell of a lot like dating.

oops.

----

life with louis on tour is like something was missing the entire five years they had been together.

it’s loud, and rambunctious.

they go out to clubs at night, or smoke in the bus. they play fifa and marathon movies.

they have sword fights in the hotel, which gets them a lot of noise complaints.

louis actually feels like he belongs somewhere.

and harry knows exactly where that is.

but of course, what goes up must come down.

-----

it’s mid july and simon cowell finds out one direction is not resigning with him.

their plan of starting a “normal” touring schedule goes to shit right in front of their eyes as simon publicly announces that one direction is taking a break in all his trusted media sources.

fans have a melt down, they have a melt down.

and then they get serious. this is war, afterall.

-----

“um,” louis answers the phone, “aren’t you supposed to be on stage right now?”

louis is pretty sure they’re in cardiff. but he can’t be sure.

“yep,” harry chirps popping the p. “we’re not on stage though.” he whispers conspiratorially.

“um, why?”

“facetime me,” harry requests politely.

“okay harold.”

louis opens up facetime to harry snuggled in his bunk.

“are you hiding?” louis aks.

“i’ve done enough today, i’m letting them handle the rest,” harry’s eyes zone in on louis’ face, “i like the beard.”

louis rubs at his chin, “haven’t been arsed to shave it.”

harry pouts, “hasn’t been the same sleeping in this bunk without you moaning and groaning about how small it is.”

“well, i needed to get the full experience of touring,” louis counters obviously.

half of the week he and harry spent sleeping in the bus, sharing a bed, and the other half they spent sharing a bed in a hotel.

they should probably stop sharing a bed.

it would probably help louis not struggle so much sleeping alone now that he’s home.

harry stares at louis for a long moment, “i miss you a bit.”

louis can feel his eyes go soft around the edges, “miss you too curly.”

------

barcelona is absolutely lovely during the end of july.

louis and harry are officially a couple according to the media. ‘a hot and heavy summer romance’ is what most articles are referring to them as, but louis doesn’t really check.

they stay in barcelona for a day, buying each other trinkets from shops.

“look lou!” harry cries, “coin bracelets!” harry thumbs over the silver. “they’re beautiful.”

“want me to buy it for you? have you always remember that time you went on vacation with your celebrity crush louis tomlinson?” louis teases him.

harry shakes his head, “don’t need a bracelet to remember this.”

(louis goes back to the shop later and buys it for him.)

jeff organizes a private plane to majorca for their vacation and their destination is a villa right on the water. they have a driver take them to what jeff has dubbed the literal love shack, and throw their bags on the master bedroom bed.

they wordlessly decide out of the three bedrooms they could have, that they’ll be sharing the master.

apparently they’re not going to work on not sleeping in the same bed.

the air is hot and sticky as they wander through the villa, the gorgeous architecture and gardens absolutely blinding them.

“wow,” harry breathes, “jeff wasn’t messing around.”

louis strangles a laugh, “he went all out just for us to get papped kissing and canoodling on the beach the next two days.”

the joke falls flat.

he can hear his heartbeat loud in his own ears. “come on curly, let’s go swimming.”

they’re floating in their private pool when harry breaks the silence, “i’m a bit nervous.”

“first time publicly with a boy innit?” louis asks, knowing that’s exactly what he himself has been feeling.

“yeah,” harry keeps his eyes closed, floating in the water, “i kind of don’t want anyone to see though.”

louis guffaws, “are you embarrassed of me harry styles?”

harry is silent for a long moment, and louis isn’t sure if what he says next is the truth or not, “just want to keep you to myself.”

louis breathes in and breathes out, before starting a full on splash war.

remember that line that they had blurred? who the fuck knew where it was at this point.

-------

 

the pap is called and ready, perched in the sand behind some palm trees.

they try to ignore him.

they do ignore him.

louis lathers harry up with sunscreen (see: entirely too much sunscreen) making harry bark out his horse laugh, which louis loves.

it eases the tension.

harry tries to apply just as much sunscreen on louis, and he’s in such shock from his use of the word love in regards to harry’s laugh that he sits obediently for a moment. then he snaps out of it, feeling the heaviness of sunscreen on his back, and runs away as harry chases him with white hands.

he lets him spread it out evenly by the water.

“you ready babe?” louis swims closer to harry, close enough that he can see the clear green of his eyes perfectly. harry’s hair is wet, the curls long and falling into his face. his smile is so fond, so private just for louis, and louis just. he can’t.

he can’t kiss him on his pretty mouth for a camera that’s 200 feet away.

he wants his first kiss with him to be real. wants it to be theirs because he loves his curls, loves the way his skin feels under his touch. loves the way harry’s hands wrap around his waist and pull him closer.

he can’t kiss him.

fuck, he can’t kiss him. can’t control himself not to want more, and more and more. can’t control himself like he did with the sex tape. he barely controlled himself then, and they both came that night.

here out in the ocean, he can’t ignore growing heat low in his belly, the brush of hardness of harry beneath the water.

louis digs his hands into harry’s side as he clasps his legs around his waist, the water making him more buoyant.

his lips drag across harry’s collarbone and neck, peppering kisses and small licks to lap up the water that’s building there.

he trails his kisses all the way up his neck to his cheek, and hovers over his mouth for a long second.

he watches harry’s eyes close, his mouth move ever so slightly toward him, and then louis presses a loud wet smacking kiss to harry’s cheek.

he can’t kiss harry styles on the mouth for a camera.

he can’t, because he’ll only want more. and he’ll want it for real.

------

harry suggests they try amateur snorkeling the next day for the pap. they find the gear in the villa, just some goggles and a snorkel.

by the time they’re out in the water, the pap arrives and they don’t even notice him.

harry snaps a few pictures of louis in his goggles to post on his instagram (and to save for him to admire later).

they’re terrible snorkelers, always too close to the surface. but louis points out some fish that has harry squealing in excitement.

they end up dropping off the gear, and floating on the water.

harry reaches out to grasp louis’ hand as he floats, loving the way louis smiles a small smile just for him in response.

he pulls louis in abruptly, making louis flail a bit before complying.

“wha’ is it curly?”

harry stands up, pulling louis even closer until their chests are pressed against one another.

he can feel louis take a deep breath, shocked and a little shallow.

his eyes flit over the freckles on louis’ cheeks, the one long wispy curl that’s threatening to cover his eyes that are as clear blue as the ocean they’re swimming in.

his lips hover over louis’ and then he freezes.

he doesn’t want this like this.

he wants louis for real. in private. for himself.

wants to kiss louis completely, thoroughly, like he’s been imagining since that night louis’ hands were all over him.

he wants his lips pressed to his and everything that comes after it.

he wants it for real, wants it all for real. the hand holding, the kissing, the cuddling, mornings, the nights, everything and all of it. for real.

a light wave lifts harry and louis up, and harry drops his lips to louis’ cheek, pressing a warm kiss there.

“oops,” he says.

“hi,” louis giggles.

-----

 

three days alone on an island off of spain in the middle of summer with harry styles is fucking torture for louis’ penis.

it’s hot as fucking balls first off. secondly, they’ve canoodled and kissed each other’s necks and cheeks way too much for it to be platonic (and the boners didn’t help). even if it was for paparazzi.

and to top it all off, harry has insisted on walking around in the fucking nude.

louis hasn’t wanked in days, and harry is apparently throwing all caution to the wind on his fear of nudity from the night of their sex tape.

it’s a distraction is what it is. and louis gets that it’s hot. he gets it. but honestly. he doesn’t think he can handle seeing the swell of harry’s bum one more time without ravaging him.

so he excuses himself from harry’s naked sunbathing.

“i’m gonna go take a shower, so we can go out to eat tonight maybe.”

harry hums in agreement. “i’ll shower after you.”

louis would really fucking like if they would shower together.

but he’s stuck with his hand.

he makes it through about 3 seconds of his shower before he’s lathering himself up and wrapping a hand around his cock.

he lets out a breath of relief.

he teases himself at first, building a slow rhythm, his skin prickling with head and want. he slinks up his other hand to grab his nipples, but hisses at the contact.

he works a little faster, completely unabashed to how loud his moaning is and how quickly this is ending.

he’s fucking keyed up with harry wandering around the house naked. harry who he knows what he sounds like when he comes. knows what his hair feels like in his hands, his ass under his touch.

louis’ breathing picks up as his fist works a little faster and he presses his head against the shower wall, the bang echoing a little too loudly.

he hears a cautious, “lou?”

and spills all over his fist, with harry’s name on his lips.

louis catches his breath, letting the water wash away all of the evidence.

“lou?” harry calls again.

“yes?” louis yells back, a little strangled. “what is it?”

“i thought i heard,” harry starts, “are you okay?”

“peachy!” louis scrubs his skin a little harder, trying not to be embarrassed by the fact that harry just heard him moan his name, and also apparently thinks he was injured in the shower.

by the time louis is done showering, he swings the door open and practically rushes past harry to get to his bag.

“your turn,” louis rushes out, almost missing harry’s wide eyes trailing over his wet torso.

what he doesn’t miss, is the fact that harry’s hard (very hard) and brushing past him to get into the shower, face completely red.

the door shuts loudly behind louis, and he sits on the bed to catch his breath.

he stoically ignores the moans coming from the shower, knuckles white from gripping the bedsheets so hard.

when harry comes out of the bathroom, pleasantly sated, louis throws his clothes at him.

“get dressed please,” louis demands.

harry’s knowing smile is the worst.

----

harry has three more weeks of tour in the uk.

by the last day of vacation, it starts wearing on him: the dread of going back, the pout of not wanting to leave.

louis makes the most of it, organizing a sailing trip with a captain that teaches them everything they need to know about sailing. he lets them help hoist the sale and even lets harry take the helm.

it’s their favorite day.

----

harry sleeps through most of the plane ride back to manchester. by the time they land his curls are barely held together in his bun, and his eyes are bleary. louis had snuck the barcelona coin bracelet into a deep concealed pocket in his luggage with heart in his chest, knowing that harry would find it when he was meant to. he had no idea what the fuck he was doing. truly.

“want me to drop you off at home?” louis whispers, trying not to disturb harry’s almost sleeping form.

“no, wanna go to our house,” harry mumbles back, rolling his head onto louis’ shoulder.

louis’ heart skips, “do you mean the cheshire house?”

harry hums in agreement, “yeah, let’s go home.”

-----

boys harry texts, glancing at the journal he just wrote in and louis’ sleeping figure, completely unaware to the fact that harry isn’t even in bed. i have a song, i think you might like it. we need to do this asap i think i want it on the album and i think you guys will too

“harry,” louis rasps, “come back.”

harry’s heart swells. maybe he wasn’t completely unaware.

------

“sh,” niall shushes louis, “shut the fuck up.”

“oi, nialler, you shut the fuck up,” louis retorts.

“you’re going to blow our cover, you loud mouth,” zayn makes a move to grab louis but it’s all too slow.

“oh yeah,” louis barks, “because no one is going to see the all the fucking smoke and the fogged windows.”

he steals back the blunt from niall.

they’re smoking on the bus, and liam always throws a hissy fit if they smoke on the bus. harry had sufficiently distracted liam by taking him to the gym, but all three of them lost track of time ages ago.

ages.

niall smiles at louis, “you know i like you a lot lou. always got the best ideas.”

a catlike smile creeps across louis’ face. “i know.”

the door swings open. “are you guys fucking smoking on the bus again?” liam shouts.

harry makes eye contact with louis who breaks out into a serene smile at just one look.

“i fucking love you louis,” mumbles zayn, laughing.

----

“stan, you have to come with me,” louis begs.

“you want me to come to a one direction concert where i will probably go deaf from all the screaming?”

“i’ll buy you ear plugs. please. it’s free and we’ll go out after. i want you to-” stan knows where that sentence is heading. louis knows where that sentence is heading.

“pick me up at 5.”

---

stan and harry get along great. stan tells harry all of louis’ embarrassing stories from growing up, and harry shows stan everything that goes on backstage and onstage.

stan and louis dance along to all the songs, and stan is eager to tell the boys of a club they won’t get spotted in.

louis can tell stan loves them all, the smile on his face too wide for his face as liam, zayn, and niall tell him tour stories.

they dance as a group at the club, bodies sweaty and the boys pumped up from the after show high.

“gotta get a drink,” stan yells into louis ear. and louis follows. stan orders for them both then turns around and watches the boys as they jump around the club in a sorry excuse for dancing. “think you’ve found something here with all these guys.”

louis grabs the bottle from the bartender and meets stan’s gaze, “yeah. i have.”

they’re both quiet for a moment amongst the loud bass of the club.

“you’re my best friend,” louis says.

“i know,” stan punches his arm.

they go back to dancing.

----

september sees a lot of promo.

the boys have an album to promote, louis has a movie to promote.

they only see each other once.

(it also doesn’t help that simon’s album promo includes pregnancy scares for liam, racist news for zayn, cheating rumors for harry that threaten whether or not he’s really gay, and nothing for niall).

 

----

they get asked about each other a lot.

louis smiles coy, and brushes it off.

while harry’s all red faced and embarrassed laughs with the other boys ribbing him and talking about how they love louis.

it’d be a lie if they both said they were acting.

-----

the one time they see each other is in la.

they coordinate one night that they could see each other during the entire month of september.

they go to dinner at a secluded restaurant where there’s no photos allowed.

harry gets dressed up (but so does louis).

“you look nice,” harry swallows.

“‘you look nice’” louis mimics, “that all you got?”

harry huffs, “well, no more compliments for you then.”

louis flings himself at harry, “no please, give me more compliments.”

harry reaches out to touch louis’ hair, “your hair is getting long again.”

louis hums, eyeing up harry’s curls, “so is yours.”

harry laughs and pulls louis in, “missed you.”

louis smiles, kissing harry’s warm cheek, “missed you too harold.”

it’s their last date and it’s not even for publicity.

---

“harry styles and louis tomlinson broken up? is the hot and heavy summer romance over?” liam reads loudly from his phone in the beginning of october.

they’re getting ready for iheart radio festival, and the news breaks.

“does jeff know what he’s doing?” harry asks a little apprehensively.

“i mean, they’re doing as much as they can with simon. he’s being a pissbaby about this apparently,” niall interjects.

“nothing new,” zayn rolls his eyes, “are you sure you’re not just mad because contract is up and neither of you have talked about your relationship at all, at any point in time?”

harry blinks at him.

“zayn!” liam scolds.

“what?” zayn looks at liam, “were we not supposed to tell him that yet?”

niall rolls his eyes and liam hits him.

“we’ve talked about it,” harry lies very unconvincingly.

“yeah, sure you have,” niall says snarkily, “harry, did you even know the contract was up today?”

harry avoids his eyes.

“exactly,” niall looks unimpressed.

“and don’t even get me started on the fact that you guys are legit dating under the guise of fake dating but haven’t talked about it. and haven’t kissed on the mouth,” zayn starts.

harry squawks.

“we’ve kissed!”

“on the mouth,” zayn clarifies.

“stop torturing him zayn!” liam smacks zayn again.

“liam come on, how many time have you seen them kiss on the cheek, forehead, neck or other body area that’s not sexual?”

liam’s ears turn red, thinking of the compromising positions he’s seen louis and harry in. the amount of flirting he’s seen. “a lot.”

“and how many times have they kissed on the mouth?”

liam is silent.

“you two got papped in spain for the purpose of you to be seen dating and you didn’t even kiss on the mouth.”

“why did you look at the pap pictures?” harry tries to change the subject.

“don’t try to change the subject,” niall stares at him.

“fine, we’ve never kissed on the mouth,” harry throws his hands up, exasperated.

“why not?” zayn asks, like he’s finally getting what he wants out of the conversation.

“because,” harry pretends to rack his brain for a reason but he knows what it is. he knows it, he knows it so fucking well because it’s been threatening to come out for weeks. it’s been boiling and boiling and his contract is up and he’s already fucked.

“why’d you write the song harry?” niall asks as a follow up.

and they think they’re so fucking smart, don’t they?

but they are. and they know. they know because they know harry knows.

“i wrote the song because i’m in love with him,” harry says finally, “and i couldn’t kiss him because i couldn’t kiss him without telling him i love him.”

they all squeal and pounce on him.

“fucking finally!” niall whoops.

“i hate you guys,” harry’s voice is muffled from the bottom of the pile of boys he’s in.

“now we just have to tell him,” niall says cheerfully and it sounds like it could be really easy. except it’s not easy, and it goes to shit.

really fucking fast.

---

louis gets a text alerting him the contract is up, and a link to the break up article from jeff.

he also tells him there’s no rep statements from either parties and he doesn’t plan on issuing one (there’s a wink face as well which louis pointedly ignores).

he’s up in doncaster again, a week off before he has to go to london for the start of his premieres. his mom and sister are coming with him to the premiere, his sister doing his mother and perrie edward’s makeup.

promo season leaves him stressed, and he can feel himself about to boil over. he can feel it every text he gets from harry, every second he talks about it during a interview. he can feel himself tipping closer to the edge, not being able to handle it.

his mother knows. lottie knows. stan knows.

they’re tip toeing around his barking, his snipping, his nasty remarks.

they’re choosing not to address it. he can tell.

if louis is towing the line of the edge, the phone call he gets at 3 am pushes him over.

“hi lou,” harry slurs into the phone.

“harry, it’s 3 am,” louis mumbles into the phone.

“i know!” harry cries out, “but guess what louis?”

louis wipes his eyes, “what harry?”

“you’re single!”

“what?” louis asks, entirely too loud in his dark room.

“the contract is up lou!” harry chirps.

louis is silent for a moment, “are you celebrating the fact that the contract is up?”

there’s rustling and music on the other side of the line, “no more contract is good,” harry recites as if he has been repeating it to himself all night (which he has but louis doesn’t know that or understand why).

louis can feel his edges start to fray, “why is it good harry?”

“it’s great!”

louis is annoyed. louis is fraying and he’s annoyed and his family has known he’s been teetering the edge but harry doesn’t, and louis just. he snaps.

“that’s fucking great harry. i’m glad you got what you wanted. contract is up. we’re both single. i’m hanging up.”

“wait lou-” harry’s wording wobbly and there’s a loud sound behind him.

louis ends the call.

----

the drive to london is four hours, and of course they use that to interrogate him. of course they do, because his family knows something is up, knows it from the way he snapped this morning upon waking up. he’s fucking pissed, and he’s upset, and he just really doesn’t want to fucking talk about it.

it’s lottie who breaks the silence first.

“your phone is off,” lottie comments.

“personal phone yes,” louis replies shortly.

jay and lottie share a glance.

“why is that?”

“is that your business?” louis snaps.

“boo,” jay starts.

“what mother?” louis rolls his eyes, lottie scoffs.

“okay,” jay says loudly, “you need to stop right now louis. i get it you’re pissed at harry for god knows what. i get you’re pissed because you don’t want to admit your feelings and it’s tearing you apart lying. i get it louis. but you have a movie premiere tomorrow and you need to get over yourself and own up to your feelings. you’re an adult louis. be one.”

lottie makes a praise motion with her hands and jay and louis face off in a stare down.

louis sighs loudly.

his mother glares more.

“okay fine,” louis resolve breaks. “our contract ended yesterday, and harry called me drunk talking about how the contract is up and i’m single and everything is good,” louis mocks sarcastically, “and i dont know, i sort of snapped and i haven’t answered him since.”

“did you give him a chance to explain?” lottie asks.

“no,” louis replies bitterly, “he was pretty straightforward on the phone.”

“but-” lottie tries.

louis takes a deep breath, “we’re done talking about this for now.”

----

“blacklist the topic at every premiere,” louis asks politely into the phone.

he glances at jay, who is looking at him strangely.

“okay, i can do that. is there a reason i’m doing this though?” jeff asks, curiously.

“just make sure it is blacklisted jeff,” louis says exasperatedly, “i don’t want to talk about harry at any of my events until further notice.”

“got it,” jeff replies, “let me know when that changes.”

louis hangs up.

“so you’re now ignoring the topic of harry too,” jay starts, her ‘mom with a point’ face on, “first you turn off your phone to ignore harry literally, and now you’re avoiding the topic too.”

louis ignores her because he fucking can, and goes to the kitchen to get some of the lunch they ordered.

she follows him.

“louis, why are you ignoring this? you like him. you told me months ago that you liked him and now you’re acting like a child. you need to talk to him. you two are adults, you can figure it out.”

louis slams down the spoon he was using to make his plate of food. they had ordered food for the usual mess of people that come along with premieres. including jeff usually but he was meeting them when they were ready to leave.

“mother,” louis starts, but she cuts him off.

“turn on your phone louis.”

“mom,” louis starts again. he’s not turning on that phone.

she throws her hands up, “i know stan is usually here to knock some sense into you. but right now, i’m looking out for you. this is hurting you and you need to fix it. i don’t like seeing you this way,” jay’s eyes are starting to get teary, and she blinks, “you need to talk to him. turn on the phone.”

“what am i supposed to say to him?” louis exclaims, “‘oh hi, our contract is up but to be honest did we even pay attention to the fact we had a contract?’” louis mimes the conversation in an ugly way, “‘oh and by the way somewhere along the way i fell in love with you?’”

lottie drops her makeup bag coming into the kitchen.

jay’s eyes go wide.

louis freezes.

“oh shit,” louis grabs a beer from the refrigerator and takes a long gulp, trying to calm down his racing heart.

jay brings him in for a hug and it’s so warm and loving and he misses his mom so much when he’s gone, he almost cries.

“i know love, falling in love with the right person is so easy sometimes we don’t even see it at first.”

louis tears up, “i think i knew the whole time. i knew it. i just didn’t want to admit it.”

jay pulls away and cups her eldest son’s face, “well now you know what you have to do. you’ve got to tell him.”

---

except telling him is a little hard when he’s got four premieres in london, la, nyc, and berlin all in the course of a week. so louis just. doesn’t. he doesn’t text, doesn’t call, and doesn’t hear from him.

he turns on his phone to find three texts, louis? what happened? are you okay?, lou?, i need to talk to you.

which he swallows down hard and ignores, because he can’t explain it all over text. he can’t explain it on a plane, he can’t deal with the rejection he knows he’s going to get when he’s got the busiest week ever. he repeats to himself that he can’t do it all over the phone, but really he’s just afraid.

afraid that everything was fake, that it was just one-sided, that only louis fell for harry and not the other way around. that harry truly wants to be single like he said on the phone.

but then he thinks of the way harry came the night of the sex tape, and that day in majorca. he thinks of harry telling him he misses him, and the way harry asked to be held every night they were on tour. he thinks of the frog face harry gave him every time their eyes met and he just. he’s confused. he doesn’t fucking know. and he’s too fucking scared to know.

so he ignores.

they officially have been not talking for a week and a half when louis goes to his final premiere in berlin.

the premiere runs smoothly.

it’s the after-party where things get tricky.

lottie has been with him the whole time, with her being invited by perrie to do makeup for all the premieres. she’s also been his date to them as well, because his mom didn’t want to leave the twins and the girls for too long.

they’re at the after party and louis gets a little tipsy. just a little because he’s about to go back home and he can’t fucking wait if he’s being honest. premieres are stressful because he has to be ‘on’ at all times. and truly he just wants to go home and be louis. he needs to fucking decompress again.

he needs a fucking smoke.

he walks out the front door of the club and there’s suddenly flashes everywhere.

so maybe he’s a little drunk and he forgot about the paparazzi.

they’re yelling out to him about the usual things until he hears one guy say, “louis, what do you think about harry styles moving on so quickly?”

his head snaps up. he takes one last drag then puts out his cigarette and walks back inside.

the remark haunts him his entire way back to london that night.

----

by the time he gets home, at nearly 3 am, he’s perfectly sober and googling harry styles. he knew reading them drunk would have him reacting too quickly and doing something stupid. he needed to be sober to read this. so he taps harry’s name albeit a little aggressively into the search bar and waits a moment.

there’s tons of articles. louis sighs, and feels the tension wind in him again.

there’s articles about harry moving on, with pictures of some guy and harry at a club that are perfectly tame, just the guy whispering in harry’s ear. articles about harry never being interested in louis but instead just sex with him. articles of him still being into women. articles of him being a manwhore who sleeps with both men and women. articles about him being a lothario who sleeps with any gay man in a 10 mile radius.

louis closes the tab, nausea building in his stomach that has nothing to do with the alcohol from the night, and goes to sleep.

----

there’s banging. very loud banging on his flat’s door.

which is almost nearly impossible. he rolls over, glancing at the shining 9 am on his phone, and groans.

“fucking hold on,” louis yells, making his way to the door.

he swings the door open.

(he should really not trust security this much).

because there’s the three people he least expected to see on the other side of his door.

“may we come in?” liam asks politely, while niall and zayn brush past him and enter the flat.

he’d laugh, if he didn’t feel like crying.

“what are you guys-” louis starts but zayn cuts him off.

“why did you blacklist harry at all of your premieres?” he asks pointedly, staring at louis with such an intensity that louis has to look away.

he finds himself looking at niall who’s digging through his refrigerator.

“there’s apples in the bottom i think niall,” he says absentmindedly.

niall grabs an apple and nods at him.

“why are you ignoring him is a more important question i think zayn,” liam sits down at louis’ kitchen table.

zayn sits on the table, while niall sits on the counter munching away on the apple.

“how did you know i blacklisted the topic?” louis counters.

“we know you requested it until further notice,” louis’ head spins, “are you in love with him?” niall asks pointblank.

“yes,” louis replies immediately. then stops as they all freeze. he takes a deep breath, “is that what you guys wanted to hear?” louis gains some confidence, “is that what you wanted? me to admit that i’m in love with him and that i don’t want to see him parading around with other people or being happy that we’re both out of the contract? i’m sure you read the articles.”

“but the articles-” liam starts to shout but zayn stops him with a look.

“it’s not our place to tell him liam, but louis,” zayn meets his gaze very evenly, “i thought you knew better than that,” he shakes his head at louis, “you should google each of us individually. might give you a better idea of what is really happening.”

louis runs his hands through his hair, “what the fuck are you guys even doing here? what do you want from me?”

liam’s lip juts out a little sadly, and niall looks like he’s been kicked so zayn answers him calmly, “we’re your friends louis. we’re coming to check in on you. are we mad about what’s going on between you and harry? yeah. but we just want to help you guys fix it. it’s all just a big misunderstanding.”

louis scoffs and crosses his arms.

“he’s a stubborn one ain’t he?” niall looks over at zayn and liam, then pulls something out of his pocket, “listen to this. the whole thing if you’d like. but more importantly, track 6. okay? maybe google that too while you’re at it.”

“got a bit of homework there lou,” zayn smirks, jumping off the table. “sooner rather than later please,” he smiles sweetly.

all three of them hug louis tightly and smack kisses on his cheek, “we miss you lou,” liam tells him a little sadly.

and then they leave.

---

louis waits an hour before his resolve breaks.

he googles liam, niall, and zayn all individually first. there’s articles trashing them all, some even worse than harry’s situation. zayn’s mocked for his race, liam’s accused of knocking a girl up, niall has barely anything but public urination. and then when he googles the whole band there’s nothing but break up rumors, and talking about how they’re snotty and hard to work with, that there’s so much internal fighting. they all date back from july until now.

none of that’s true. he knows that’s not true.

louis’ eyes well up.

fuck.

he should have known better. he should have fucking known. he knows cowell. he knows how dirty he fights. he should have just trusted harry in the first place. should have kept up with what was going on. should have known harry wouldn’t just be able to come out without reprecussions. fuck, he’s so dumb.

he scrambles to find his old laptop, the one with a cd port.

he puts in the cd immediately, heart racing. track 6, niall had said. if i could fly the title says.

he plays that one first.

the opening notes start, and he hears harry’s deep breath and soothing voice “if i could fly...i’d be coming right back home to you, i think i might give up everything just ask me too.”

louis gasps, tears threatening to spill over. oh my god. oh my fucking god.

he keeps listening, hands shaking, heart completely in his throat.

for your eyes only i show you my heart

“harry,” louis whispers. and oh my god. louis googles to see who wrote the song, finding harry styles next to the writing credit, along with a few names he doesn’t recognize and louis sobs.

harry loves him.

harry is in love with him.

fucking shit. harry was in love with louis and louis was in love with him.

they were in love and they didn’t even know it.

louis has to talk to him. he needs to hear his voice, he needs to tell him he loved him too.

the final notes of song ring out and louis picks up his phone, shakily finding harry’s contact. he presses call.

louis wipes his eyes and tries to catch his breath, his heart racing.

“none of it is true,” harry rushes out after the first ring, “louis i swear none of the articles are true, simon is just having his death rattle because we’re leaving him, i-”

“what?” louis croaks out, “that’s not why i called harry.”

harry’s voice sounds small, “then why did you call?”

“i listened to your song,” louis replies simply.

“oh,” harry says.

“i need you to do me a favor harry. can you go into your luggage? the black luggage you brought to spain. can you go into the left pocket on the outside? there’s a pocket inside of that pocket. can you go look in there for me?” louis is so sure his voice is shaking.

“sure,” harry sounds far away.

“no!” louis yells out, “take me with you on the phone.”

harry’s voice is close again, “okay. i’m going to the luggage now.”

“okay.”

“i’m opening up the left pocket. and i’m opening the little pocket. i didn’t even know it was,” harry stops shortly.

“louis,” harry calls thickly, and louis knows he’s crying, “you bought it for me? in barcelona? i didn’t even see you buy it.”

louis laughs wetly, “i went back when i said i had to go to the loo.”

harry’s laugh is just as wet, “i just thought you were taking a really long shit.”

“oi!” louis calls.

it’s silent for a second. “can i see you?” harry asks.

“where are you?” louis asks.

“i’m at my mom’s, in holmes chapel.”

“meet me at home in cheshire?” louis asks a little hopefully. “i’m in london, i’ll hop on the train.”

“okay, i’ll talk-” harry starts. but louis cuts him off, “no we’re staying on the phone harold. you’re explaining to me this whole thing about simon and a death rattle and why you’re all being trashed in the media.”

he can hear harry smile, “well, we do have almost three hours.”

“we do,” louis agrees. “i want to know everything.”

“well, i guess i should probably start with the fact that we signed with azoff talent management.”

“what!” louis yells.

----

harry tells him everything. from the entire talk that they had as a band, to niall’s friend being irving, to the trash that simon put them through, to the day simon found out about them not resigning. everything.

“i wanted to tell you everything right from the beginning but i just-” there’s rustling in the background, and louis has been pacing around the living room, waiting for harry to arrive.

“i just didn’t know how, i didn’t know how without telling you the entire thing and then it just built up too much. and i was hiding that and hiding how i felt, and i just snapped, that’s why i said i was happy we were single lou. it was,” there’s a noise in the background and louis sees harry’s ended the call. his head snaps up at the noise that was in the background on the phone, happening in real life and sees harry opening the door. he practically throws the phone onto the couch and runs into harry, legs around his waist as harry hoists him up.

louis buries his face into harry’s neck, and let’s harry breath him in before pulling his face away and pressing his lips to harry’s over and over again.

it feels exactly like coming home.

“i’m so in love with you,” harry mumbles against his lips.

“i love you, i love you,” louis kisses him soundly.

“i couldn’t tell you because you’d find me out. you’d know that simon was using you to hurt me in the media because that was the only thing i cared about. you were the only thing i cared about. i know i should have talked to you,” harry trails off, squeezing him closer.

“no, i should have talked to you, i shouldn’t have assumed you were happy the contract was over and i should have known simon would fight dirty. i should have been honest and told you i was upset the contract was over because i love you, because i want to be with you for real.”

louis kisses harry’s face all over, making harry giggle. their kisses get deeper and deeper, and the room gets hotter and hotter.

“i wrote the song the night we came home from spain,” harry whispers, as he lowers louis down to his feet. their bodies still pressed close together.

louis reaches up and kisses him roughly. the kisses making him almost dizzy.

“this whole time?” louis asks, dragging harry back towards the bedroom.

“this whole time,” harry confirms. louis starts removing bits and pieces of harry’s clothes, first the sweatshirt, the damn black sweatshirt he wore the first time they came to this house. it shouldn’t make louis almost tear up when he’s trying to get him naked, but he meets harry’s eyes and it totally fucking does.

then he grabs the t-shirt underneath, his hands fast.

harry forces louis’ shirt over his head as well.

they stumble onto the bed, laughing into each other’s mouths.

they’re both hard and louis doesn’t even know how they got that hard that fast. he’s straining against his joggers and he can see the outline of his dick through his jeans. his mouth waters and he can’t believe he’s about to have this for real. he’s wanted this for so fucking long.

“come on,” louis grabs at harry’s jeans. harry moans loudly.

“please louis, please, i haven’t,” harry pants out as louis bites at his neck and unzips his jeans, “not since we met.”

louis stops biting, and meets harry’s eyes. his eyes uncloud as louis kisses his right next to his mouth. louis’ stomach swoops, “you haven’t slept with anyone in 11 months?”

“i was having a dry spell, and then it just,” harry blushes, “i just didn’t want anyone else but you.”

louis groans and straddles harry, grinding down into his lap, unabashedly turned on. he’s fucking sweating just like the night of the sex tape. “that why you came so easily during our sex tape?”

“yes,” harry barely grits out, “and because you spanked me, and pulled-” harry cries out as louis fists his hands in harry’s hair just like last time, yanking a bit.

the line of harry’s neck is beautiful while stretched, and louis goes back in to litter it with bites. all of this is real. it’s so fucking real.

harry’s hips are moving in time with louis’ and louis can feel himself almost going dizzy with lust. “i haven’t either, you know,” louis pants wetly into harry’s neck, “haven’t slept with anyone since i came out. never felt right.”

harry grabs louis’ face with both hands and pulls him in for a rough kiss, flipping them over. louis follows easily, too turned on, too in love to even care.

“i knew,” he kisses slowly, all the way down louis’ body, pulling off his joggers quickly. “i knew i would fall for you,” harry brings his mouth back up to louis’, “you’re just,” he kisses him, a long press of lips, “you’re so lovely louis.”

louis kisses him back quickly, the heat of the moment entirely too much for him, his heart is about to burst right out of his chest. “you were inevitable,” louis tells him against his lips, “all of this was inevitable.”

louis dives back in, their mouths moving together, their hearts racing. his hands roam everywhere along harry’s body, categorizing all the soft skin. the way it feels against his palms.

harry trails his way down louis’ body again. he stops when he’s hovering above louis’ dick. eyes completely blown wide. he grabs louis’ hands and fists them in his hair, “you can do what you want.”

and then takes louis’ entire dick in his mouth.

louis barely has time to register, his body in complete shock. his legs shake, and he’s completely helpless to harry’s mouth. he pulls at harry’s hair, noticing the moans they release, and then meets harry’s gaze head on as he tentatively thrusts up.

harry’s eyes roll back, and the moan that vibrates his dick is almost entirely too much to handle.

“you’re so fucking beautiful,” he says completely overwhelmed. he knows he won’t last long, not with harry’s back and bum on wide display, his hair falling into his face and his mouth, his pretty fucking mouth, wrapped around him. he tugs on harry’s hair, and speeds up his thrusts. harry’s eyes are glassy and louis’ breathing gets erratic.

harry swallows him down whole again and before louis knows it, his toes are curling, heat is pooling and he’s crying out while spilling into harry’s mouth. harry swallows it happily.

louis takes a second to catch his breath before he flips harry onto his back, kissing him deep, tongue chasing harry’s.

he grabs lube from his nightstand drawer, “is this okay?”

“yes, yes, yes,” harry chants, “more than okay. been waiting months for all of this.”

louis kisses harry silent, and he fucking knew those moans during the sex tape were real. all those pleases. all that begging.

he moves his way down harry’s body kissing anywhere but where he wants it. putting his hands all over harry’s thighs and bum, but not where he wants it.

harry wriggles, “please lou, please.”

louis lightly taps his bum, and places a extremely wet kiss on his hipbone.

“please louis,” harry begs.

louis licks a strip up harry’s length, and drags his finger against harry’s hole.

harry cries out, “please louis,”

and louis isn’t one to deny harry.

louis takes harry in his mouth, while his finger pushes past his rim.

harry’s entire body is coated in a sheen of sweat, and his hands fist into the sheets as louis’ loosens him up.

his entire body feels like a livewire.

by the time louis adds a second finger, harry’s breathing is speeding up, and he’s panting louis’ name.

“close, ‘m close lou,” harry breathes out.

“come on harry, go ahead.” louis crooks his fingers and swallows him down one more time. harry’s groan echoes throughout the room as he comes.

harry starts giggling, as louis crawls up, “come on, i want a cuddle.”

louis situates the pillows, and lets harry rest his head on his belly as he plays with harry’s hair.

they’re quiet for a long moment.

“i blacklisted the topic because i didn’t want to say we were broken up,” louis admits.

“i never kissed you on the mouth because i wanted to too much, and i knew you’d see right through it.”

louis laughs, “that’s why i never kissed you either.”

harry laughs too, “i blacklisted the topic too.”

“i love you,” louis draws on harry’s back, the same words that he says.

“i love you,” harry looks up at him, kissing his stomach.

“i guess we should probably tell our manager jeff,” louis says loudly.

harry honks out a laugh.

----

it’s stan that calls first, the next morning.

they just finished showering (see: together) trying to get ready to go visit both moms and introduce each other to the family, when louis gets the facetime notification.

he picks up, smile wide because harry’s turned on a diana ross record and is dancing in nothing but a towel.

“oh thank god,” is the first thing stan says.

“oi!” louis calls, “what?”

stan just looks knowingly at louis’ bare chest. “hi harry,” he sings.

harry stops dancing, ears red, “hi stan!” harry chirps from the background.

stan just smiles, “finally. niall, liam, and zayn were gonna send me over there to force you two to meet, but i knew better than to go walking into the danger zone.”

harry laughs loudly, “we’re decent.”

“mhm, now you are,” stan laughs, “i’m glad louis. really happy for you. glad you sorted it out.”

louis blushes, “i’m hanging up now.”

“call your brothers!” stan yells to harry, who picks up his phone to find facetime.

“love you stan.”

“love you too boo bear,” stan smiles sweetly as louis flips him off.

the lads pick up on harry’s third ring.

“he’s not home!” niall yells noticing the furniture.

“how would you know that?” liam asks.

“hi louis,” zayn’s pleased tone is evident.

“hi lads.” louis and harry call. “no need to send in recruits, we are both here and we’re together.” louis says.

“and we’re in love,” harry sings kissing louis on the mouth.

“fuckin gross,” niall rolls his eyes.

“i see what you did there,” zayn says.

liam slaps his hand on his head, “we’re gonna catch you two fucking on tour aren’t we?”

everyone scolds him.

-----

they go to holmes chapel first.

anne hugs louis tightly and tells harry how proud she is of him.

her and robin make them lunch, and they roast louis as parents should.

it’s the most harry’s smiled, and louis is so very in love.

---

doncaster is next for dinner, and when the door swings open there’s four girls staring at harry and louis in complete and utter silence.

jay comes walking to the door with doris and ernie trailing behind her.

“hello family,” louis says loudly, “this is my boyfriend harry styles.”

and then it’s absolute madness.

----

they do tell jeff the next day when they’re back home. he tells them to post something on social media to quell the rumors, but doesn’t want to give simon too much to play with. the contract is up for one direction on nye so they’ve got time to lay low and keep it private. which is how jeff spins the rumors in the first place, considering he never released statements about the rumors being true (that’s how it works for now, but when it comes out that simon had a death rattle,which is going to happen along with taking them to court and exposing their asses for the trash they are, the truth will come out but that’s neither here nor there).

harry’s picture is of their feet tangled up watching tv that night.

louis’ is harry making them both dinner.

both captions say “absolutely love this.”

---

they lay low for november and december.

but what that really means is: they spend more time together than ever.

and they’re really gross on social media.

---

the pictures of louis’ sisters doing harry’s hair are louis’ favorite.

harry’s favorite is the picture of gemma falling asleep on louis’ shoulder on the drive to the airport for their mutual vacation for louis’ birthday.

both families go to hawaii together.

---

they return just in time for their nye party at their newly purchased london apartment.

---

“are you fuckin kidding me?” louis asks as niall brings in entirely too much beer and liquor for one night.

liam brings decorations and party favors.

zayn carries nothing.

typical.

----

 

the party becomes louder and louder as niall horan gets drunker. but they can’t complain as midnight gets closer.

they’ve got a lot to celebrate. all of them.

---

one direction’s contract is up at midnight, and after a 8 month break, they’ll start releasing music again.

louis is nominated for another oscar and his date is the most handsome boyfriend a man could ask for.

if i could fly is up for a grammy, and harry has been asked to be a songwriter on break from a number of his idols.

----

the twins are asleep, but the counting down gets louder and louder as the clock finally strikes midnight.

“i love you lou, ‘m so lucky to have you,” harry whispers.

“i love you, ‘m so glad you peed on me,” louis whispers back.

harry squawks.

louis giggles and dips harry for a kiss, silencing him, barely noticing when a flash goes off around them.

harry posts the picture of their kiss on instagram immediately, with the caption new beginnings.

it gets a lot of likes.

(but not as much as their wedding photos in a few years).

----