"treat me beneath this clear night sky, and i will lie with you" -where we land
0. the things they say
nobody gets it -how harry and louis work.
they don't get why louis holds harry's hand every day or why harry only ever seems alive when louis' around. they don't understand how harry can disappear for days, but never misses a single one of louis' shows. they don't understand how louis wants harry when he has others, better others, pining after him and praising him, and they don't understand why louis settled. and sometimes harry thinks they're right, but louis will find him, behind the bleachers shaking as he inhales and exhales the drugs louis tells him are no good, and louis will crawl into his arms and he'll kiss him slowly and he'll whisper i love you and harry won't care what they say, even if they're right.
but harry remembers how they became harryandlouis instead of harry and louis, and he thinks, no, they're wrong.
1 . the meet cute
five cigarettes, two hours inhaling fumes in his bedroom and thirty five minutes of stalling in the car (as well as being an hour late). that's what it takes to calm harry's nerves on his first day of high school. he's fourteen, ready to shit himself really. it's not that he's afraid, or really, it's because he is afraid and he's not sure why. he's harry styles, harry fucking styles, and he's hiding in the school restroom, shaking as he stares at his reflection in the mirror.
he sees a catastrophe.
he sees a walking corpse, with dull green eyes and curls that don't do what he wants so he lets them be, swirling wildly on his head akin to medusa. he sees dilated pupils in irises of green and shaking hands, clenched so tightly his knuckles are a shade of white. and he thinks, i'm never going into that fucking classroom. but the restroom door swings open and in comes louis tomlinson with his stupid blue eyes and his stupid wispy hair and his stupid smile and harry's calm. the blue of louis' eyes dissolve the tension in his chest and louis' smile clears the lump in his throat.
"hi, mate," louis says, and harry's a goner.
he's boneless now, all tension gone from his shoulders and his chest and his back and his head and his legs and hands and arms and his mind's a quieter place and the way louis' smiling at him makes him want to smile too, even though he's harry styles and he never smiles. harry looks at louis and he lets his mouth do whatever it wants, lets the corners quirk up into a smile, the muscles in his cheeks feeling foreign and unused to the stretch, but he lets it happen, because he can't really stop it now that it's happening.
"i'm louis," he says and harry finally breathes, lets go of a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
he licks his lips, green meeting blue, "i'm harry."
louis stumbles toward a urinal, grins at harry as he unzips, "hello harry. you have a good first day?"
one piss later, harry's as smitten as smitten can be. he's pretty sure only twelve year old girls ought to feel bubbly in their chest from the sight of a pretty boy's smile and the sound of his laugh and his voice as he speaks. but he doesn't think he minds, because he's pretty sure this louis guy is his soul mate or something.
"yeah, i," harry pauses, considers lying, then doesn't, "no, not really. i'm a bit nervous. i haven't even been to class."
the sound of urine echoes the restroom, but neither harry nor louis seem to notice that louis' standing there, cock in hand as he pees and harry stands there, watching, "i reckon you'll be fine. your curls will charm the pants off everybody; wish i had something like that -some secret weapon to make people like me."
there's no other reason to explain why louis does this to him -makes him feel safe, makes him calm- other than louis being his soulmate. it's just louis, just who he is. and although harry will later discover that louis makes everybody feel safe, feel a bit calmer (he's just got that kind of face), harry will also find out that louis had rushed into that restroom, because he'd been ready to piss himself from nerves and harry had been the only one to spare him a friendly smile and indulge in his ridiculous chatter, and that even if louis wasn't meant for harry, harry was meant for louis, so yeah, the others, they're wrong, because louis needs harry too.
"i think you're charming enough without a secret weapon. you're pissing in front of me and i'm already charmed," harry says, shoots louis another smile. "i think you'll take over this entire school just being yourself."
and it's like that for the rest of their freshman year. harry doesn't talk to anybody, ignores everybody, skips classes a lot -almost always, smokes his lungs black and thinks of louis every second of the day when he's not sitting in the loo talking to him while louis takes over the school. they never talk outside of the urinals that year; louis being a part of the drama club and student council and red cross and choir and theatre's new prodigy and harry being a part of nothing.
2. the i want you and i'd like to kiss you all the time
"those will kill you, you know," louis murmurs, taking the cigarette from harry's mouth, putting it out against the metal of the bleachers and tossing the nub behind him. "been looking for you everywhere."
harry rolls his eyes, "recognize me without the urinals, do you?"
it's the first time they've spoken without a urinal nearby. harry's accepted that he's got some massive middle school girl crush on louis; one that makes him blush and smile and feel giddy -the kind he thinks about before he sleeps. but he's also accepted that the entire school probably has a similar infatuation with louis. they all laugh and smile and look at louis with sparkling eyes and harry sees and he's accepted that he's not special; he's just another one of the crowd to louis. and that's fine. as long as a part of louis is still his.
louis frowns, puts himself in front of harry, "i came here for a reason, you old grump."
louis reaches over, tugging the two strings on harry's hoodie, evening them out as he purses his lips. his eyes look over harry, taking in his grey hoodie and his black shirt and his black jeans and his white converse and fingers tapping at a box half full of cigarettes, but still he doesn't see what the rest of the school sees: some notorious bad boy who skips class and smokes a lot and hates everybody. louis sees someone else, he sees a boy who has sparkly green eyes and pretty curls and a nose with too big nostrils that are oddly endearing. he sees a boy who was nervous and hid in the restroom, a boy who smiles with dimples and laughs at all his jokes. he sees harry, just harry.
"what is it then? don't you have your drama club to be with?" harry murmurs, itching to reach for another fag.
louis stares at him, lips in a tight line, brows sewn together, eyes narrowed determinedly, "you've got to promise you won't get angry with me, yeah?"
green eyes roll, no promises made.
"promise me," louis pouts, as he ties the two strings of harry's hoodie into a neat bow.
the same green eyes roll again, but this time, a long, skinny pinky is held out to him, and louis grins as he hooks his own around it, stares at the contrast between louis' tan hands and harry's pale, between louis' small fingers and harry's long digits, stares at it, because they're so different, yet they're kind of the same.
"you promise you won't be mad?" louis whispers and harry shoots him an impatient glare. "fine, just... shut your eyes. i can't say it if you're watching me like that."
harry's eyes shut without hesitation and his hand falls flat against the grass as he leans forward. his fingers fiddle with louis' jeans, his thumb sliding against the material and his index fingers gripping. his heart's pounding in his chest and his lungs keep holding onto each breath. he's nervous being so close to louis, especially with an equally as nervous louis fumbling around in front of him.
soft, clammy hands grab onto his, thumbs press into his palm before short, shaking fingers -louis' fingers- intertwine with his and a soft voice peaks a confession, "i like you."
harry's eyes snap open just as louis' spare hand covers them back up, "no! keep them closed. just... bear with me until i'm done. you can yell at me afterwards, whatever. i just need to finish, harry."
so harry keeps his eyes closed and louis' hand disappears.
"i like you, harry. like, i want to take you out on a date and hold your hand and kiss you stupid and i think about you a lot and sometimes i think you might like me, but you're so quiet, harry, and i don't know what you're thinking, but god, i fancy you like mad, and you've been driving me crazy all year and i just -i like you," louis sighs, gripping tightly to harry's hand and if louis were to pause, he'd notice harry gripped back just as tightly if not tighter -neither are sure they want to ever let go. "alright, you can yell at me now."
the only yelling that takes place is louis' muffled surprise when harry lurches forward and attaches them by the mouth, but even so, there's no complaint as he falls pliant under harry's kiss and harry's hands on his face and running through his hair and holding onto his waist and god, harry's kiss.
3. the ihatewhenotherpeopletouchyoubecauseyou'remine
there’s a new student at school, a pretty girl with pretty lips and pretty eyes called eleanor who is nice, and funny and exciting, and it’s great. harry doesn’t care. but he cares when her pretty little hands are clasped around louis’ waist and he cares when they talk about how harry isn’t as good as eleanor and they talk about how eleanor deserves louis, not harry, and they talk about how louis looks happier with eleanor and harry cares when suddenly there’s a new person in louis’ life, a new person that everyone thinks is better for him, and harry thinks maybe they’re right.
and harry’s huddled behind the bleachers, rolled blunt in hand as he inhales the fumes and holds it in his lungs, lets it bleed through and spread, and he waits for louis to come like he usually does, to curl up with harry and tell him he loves him. but he never comes and harry’s shaking again, but there’s no soft body with blue eyes and brown hair kissing his jaw or telling him i love you. until there is and louis' kissing the back of his neck as he wraps around him whispering i really had to pee, sorry i'm late, and by the way, i love you.
harry goes to school the next day, just like he has for the last two weeks, since eleanor came along. he’s been there every single day, silently watching, like he always does, but now his eyes are set on a pretty brown haired girl clinging to his boyfriend and his eyes are narrowing on the arm wrapped around the pretty haired girl’s waist and the way a pair of blue eyes shine with happiness.
and if later, when louis tells him that he can’t make it to their date that night because he has plans with eleanor, if harry flinches, feels an ache in his chest, well then he’ll be the only one to know, because after all, louis’ with eleanor and harry’s alone like he always is.
after school he huddles under the bleachers again, just stares at the field, doesn't smoke.
"well this is new, have my scoldings done you good, love?" louis teases, pulling back harry's hood to reveal his curls, and kisses the back of harry's neck, intertwining their fingers.
harry smiles, turns his head for a proper kiss, "how was rehearsal?"
louis grins, burst into a story from rehearsal for the play in two days and harry smiles and he laughs when needed, "...and then eleanor falls onto me and liam has a crisis because he'd just built the fake fence and we'd fallen and broken it..."
at the mention of eleanor, harry stiffens, loosens his grip on louis' hand, unconsciously leans away from his touch. he doesn't mean to, but he doesn't like the way louis' so excited to talk about eleanor, doesn't know if louis finds her more exciting, more appealing, favors her singing and dancing over harry who smokes and broods as a past time.
"do you like her?" harry murmurs, pulls his hand from louis' and picks at the grass.
louis frowns, eyebrows knit in confusion, "who? eleanor?" when harry doesn't respond, louis turns and looks at him through narrowed eyes, "do you mean like her, like her or are you asking me if she's a mate?"
and it's not that harry wants to be clingy or obsessive, but he doesn't like the way eleanor attaches herself to louis -his louis, and he doesn't like the way louis is so friendly with eleanor and he doesn't like the way everybody thinks eleanor is a better fit for louis than he is. he just wants louis to reassure him, tell him that louis is all his and always would be.
louis' hand makes its way into his curls, tugging and running through the soft, brown hair, "are you jealous?" and louis curls in on harry, mouths at his throat, nips behind his ear. "you have no reason to be, love."
and harry relaxes, pulls louis' closer, adjusts him so he's straddling harry's thighs and pulls louis' lips from his neck to his lips, and harry licks into louis' mouth, tasting louis' sweet tongue against his and inhaling each moan and whimper louis emits when harry's hands make their way to louis' ass and pulls him down so they're grinding their centers together.
"i love you," harry breathes, kissing down louis' throat as he throws his head back, lets out a sweet moan that makes harry's blood boil, and he's thrusting his clothed cock into louis. "i love you so much."
and when louis looks down at him, there's a smirk on his lips as he pushes harry onto his back, realigns their bodies so his thigh is in between harry's and drags his stocky, tight body against harry's lean, lanky body and he whispers into harry's ear, "i love you too, now why don't we take this to the backseat of your car, babe?"
a low, husky groan scratches out of harry's throat as he pulls louis in for another kiss, "what about eleanor? you have plans, remember?"
and it's that look in louis' eyes when he answers that reminds harry that it's harryandlouis now and tomorrow and for the rest of their lives, "eleanor who?"
4. the you're sick so i'm staying with you, stupid
it's barely a fever, a mere 101 degrees, but harry can hardly breathe.
his chest hurts and his lungs feel weak and he doesn't ever want to move, even if his fever's low and his mum swears he's perfectly fine. he doesn't want to tell louis, doesn't want louis to see him weak and helpless and vulnerable and disgusting.
so he bundles under the covers and wallows in his own self pity and wonders how louis looks today, wonders if he sculpted his hair into his usual sex-hair, wispy fringe or if he let it go for the day, the way harry likes it best or if he pulled it back or up. he wonders if louis wore tight trousers, what color trousers, how his thighs and his arse look in them, and how they would feel wrapped around his waist. he thinks about what shirt louis might be wearing and he wonders what shoes he stuck his smelly feet into. he wonders if his voice is rough and groggy at the moment or if it's soft and silky and playful, and he's tempted to pick up the phone to find out.
and he does, can't resist a chance to hear louis' voice. he drags his arm from under the covers and reaches for his phone, dialing in louis' number. the phone rings twice because louis' voice chimes through, "harry! where are you, love?"
and harry smiles, grins really, can't help the way the corners of his mouth quirk up at the sound of louis' voice, "i'm not coming to school today, lou."
there's a short silence before harry's throat gets an itch and he breaks out into a cough, loud coughs tearing up and down his esophagus in rough strikes. as his coughing stops, he curses, knows that louis knows he's sick now and wishes he didn't, "harry, are you sick?" but before harry can answer, louis' speaking, "give me five minutes. i'll be over in five minutes. i'm already on my way, babe."
and harry groans, shaking his head despite knowing louis can't see, "no, i'm fine. go to school, louis."
but louis doesn't have any of it, hangs up saying, "oh stuff it, you jerk."
fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rings and two minutes after that, louis' slipping into his room and pouting at he sees harry curled up in bed with dark circles under his eyes, lids drooping in drowsiness and sweat sticking to his forehead, holding curls to his milky, white skin.
"i wish you'd told me earlier," louis murmurs, walking closer and touching harry's face with the tips of his fingers. "i dropped by the store and i bought -well, i bought soup, lots of it. and a cold pouch to help if you've got a fever, and i wasn't sure what you had and which one worked best, so i kind of just grabbed whatever medicine i could find. i didn't know if your mum was all set or not. and finally! i knicked a steamer off my mum and some movies from the girls, just in case."
harry turns away from louis, flushing from his neck to the tips of his ears, "go to school. please, just leave. just go."
he doesn't actually want louis to leave, just hates seeing louis look at him that way, with sad, blue eyes. hates seeing the light go out in them, hates being the reason louis' anything less than happy.
"why do you want me to go away so badly? do you have somebody else coming over?" louis teases, nudging harry's bed with his foot, and although he's kidding, there's still an undertone of worry. he knows harry loves him, but sometimes he wonders what a boy like harry with tattoos and cigarettes and tight, tight jeans and experience is doing with a drama boy who wears bright red trousers, wonders if harry is ever embarrassed louis isn't like him.
harry kicks at the blankets, lifts his upper body to glare at louis, despite the soreness of his body, "of course not!"
"then why do you want me to leave so badly? do you not want me here?" louis urges, dropping the bag of groceries to the floor, and harry relents, an exasperated sigh leaving his body as he falls back into the bed, pulling the covers over his head.
"just don't want you to see me like this is all. i don't like it," harry murmurs, his lips folding into a frown. harry's not stupid, knows his only appeal is that he's kind of mysterious and cool, and he kind of looks less lame when he has a cigarettes hanging from his lips, and he doesn't want to louis to lose that sight of him, doesn't want louis to realize he's kind of a bore who isn't mysterious or cool, and think he's not worth it anymore.
and it's not so much that it's funny as it is endearing, "is it because you're sick, love? with your dumb red nose and your gross little germs? because i totally agree. you're kind of disgusting, i think i'll have to break up with you. can't date somebody like that, can i?"
a loud scoff from harry as he throws himself further beneath his sheets and buries his head under his pillow leaves louis laughing as he tugs on the sheets, pulling them from harry's grip. "i'm kidding! harry, i was kidding! you're not disgusting at all! sick is a nice look on you. in fact, i still think you're the fittest lad i've ever laid eyes on," louis swears, and harry peaks from under the sheets, petulant eyes narrow as he watches louis laugh.
chuckling, louis bends over, kisses harry's nose, pecks down his cheeks and leaves one last peck on the side of his mouth. "i promise."
as the words leave his lips, strong arms wrap around louis' waist and pull him down into the bed, dragging him close and harry's kissing into his hair and his neck and holding him tightly, never wanting to let go, "i love you. i love you so, so much."
and when louis shakes with sweet laughter, it resonates a flutter in harry stomach, and louis' relaxing into harry's hold, kissing his collarbone gently, smiling into harry's skin, "do you reckon we put on a film? or would you like to sleep, curly?"
with one last kiss to louis' temple, harry smiles tiredly, "doesn't matter. i just want to hold you all day."
and he does, never ever wants to let louis leave. there's a calm silence that overcomes the pair, and harry begins to hum quietly into louis' hair, holding louis closer to his body, and louis allows it, nestles his face into harry's neck, breathing harry in, "i was really worried you know. i don't care what you look like; i just want you to be okay."
louis' breath is soft on harry's skin, but the words he speaks makes harry's heart tighten. and it's like, harry knows louis loves him, knows louis is his, but sometimes he forgets just how much louis cares. sometimes he forgets that he means just as much to louis as louis means to him, and it's times like this, with louis whispering his worries against harry's skin that he remembers and he's thinking god, what did i do to deserve him?
"hey louis," harry whispers as he starts to drift and louis moves in his arms.
and harry looks down, presses his nose into louis' hair, presses his lips to louis' forehead, "i love you."
5. the i'm always by your side
it's not that harry's late, it's just that harry's not there.
the sight of the empty front row seat, always occupied by a curly haired fiend, creates an unsettling stir in louis' stomach. and it's not that he doesn't know harry's sick, but harry's his lucky charm, the only thing that keeps him calm throughout his performance, and without harry, louis thinks he might throw up or pass out or die or worse, although he's not quite sure what might be worse than dying without harry near him.
"louis, you're on in five," liam says, pats him on the back and heads further backstage to talk to other members of the cast.
louis' tan fingers grip the red, satin curtain tightly as he stares out into the audience, waits for any sign of his boyfriend even though he knows he's not coming. the last louis saw of him, he'd been throwing up, moaning and groaning, and coughing and in utter pain. so louis knows harry won't be there, knows he'll miss his show for the very first time, but he still waits, still hopes harry will miraculously show up, suddenly cured from his illness.
"louis, go get your makeup fixed, you're two different shades," liam orders as he looks over the cast, checking for imperfections.
with one last glance to the audience, louis walks over to lou teasdale, waits for her to powder him up the way she always does. she pulls out a compact, pats him up as she smiles at him, "don't worry about lover boy, you'll be fine, love. just focus on the show."
"easier said than done," louis murmurs and when lou sets him off, zayn's calling for all cast members to 'shut the fuck up' because 'it's time for the bloody play to start'.
this year they're doing Neverland, a comedy spin off of Peter Pan. louis' peter and eleanor's wendy, and louis doesn't care much for the rest of the play; just wants to see curly hair in the front row.
he and eleanor are in their designated positions and as the curtain rises, louis' blue eyes immediately come in contact with the empty seat, and he feels his eyes well up and his heart clenches a bit when he notices that harry's not there. harry was always there, for four years, he had been there for each play, each showing.
the first year, he sat further in the back. never brought anything, didn't make it a big deal, never went to talk to louis afterward. but he'd been there for every show freshman year, and although they hadn't been anything but friends then, he was still louis' lucky charm, the key to success for each and every one of louis' performances.
sophomore year, harry came, sat in the back, but brought flowers. at first louis had thought it was comical, the bright flower bouquet contrasting with harry's dark clothes, harry's role as the supportive boyfriend when he looked like he belonged in an alley. but the first night, when harry came up to him after the show, he gave louis the bouquet, murmuring something about how louis did great, before pulling him in for a kiss and whispering, "you were perfect, you're so, so perfect, louis. and you're all mine." and it had been the first time harry ever called louis his, and after that night, the flowers only made louis giddy and the sight of his boyfriend holding flowers made his heart race, because louis was harry's and harry was louis' and they belonged to each other.
junior year, harry found himself the talk of the drama department. he sat front row each and every night, brought flowers to each show, congratulated louis with kisses and compliments, sat and waited for him during rehearsals and ran lines with him whenever he was asked to, and when each play was over, he stood up and clapped, giving a standing ovation, even if nobody else did. ever the loving boyfriend, harry's efforts never went unnoticed.
the entire school had been left bemused and disarrayed. they didn't understand harry and louis, didn't understand how that worked. harry never spoke to anybody, never spared someone a second glance. he smoked like an addict, skipped school like a madman, wore dark hoodies and looked dead. they didn't understand how someone like harry could own louis' heart, didn't understand how someone like harry could glow and laugh and smile at all. but it was that year that everyone accepted it. okay, so he never talks or smiles, but if he does, it's with louis. gotcha.
and it was juniour year that they said their first i love you's. late to louis' first show of the year, harry came, fumbling more than he usually did with his pigeon toed feet, ashamed of his broken flowers. he'd tried his best to keep them safe, but the rain had pounded them on his way to the play and they'd broken under the storm, "i just wanted to get you nice flowers and you looked so nice at the play and you did so well and god, i love you, so much, i just wanted to get you some flowers, but the stupid rain and..." and louis shut him up with a kiss, whispered, "i love you too." and that was that.
but this year would be the first time harry missed his show. the first time in four years. no flowers, no standing ovation, no congratulations, no i love you, no kiss, no front row smile, no harry. and it made louis nervous.
as the first scene ended, louis' hope shattered. harry wasn't coming. he walked backstage, changed quickly into his next costume and hurried back to get in place for the next scene. as the curtains were drawn, the audience was revealed, and in the once vacant seat sat his boyfriend, dressed in what he wore to bed, with dirty hair and looking cadaverous as ever. but in his lap was a large bouquet, bright and beautiful and as they met eyes, harry mouthed at him, "sorry i'm late."
the show had been a success and as the cast held hands and bowed to the audience, louis stared at his sick boyfriend, coughing into his sleeve, yet still standing and clapping louder than anybody else in the audience. as the curtains drew, he rushed backstage, fleeing inside of his dressing room, quick to put on his own clothes, and the beanie he'd taken from harry's room before he'd left. slipping it onto his head, he hurries out, flying past others in search of his boy.
"louis! lou! you did great!
louis turns at the sound of the rough, husky voice, ending in a cough. his eyes soften as he looks harry over, heart clenching at the sight, "what are you doing here, love? you're sick you ought to be at home resting, harry."
but harry chuckles, handing him the bouquet, "i'm only sorry i missed the first scene. but you were perfect, just like you always are."
and louis knows he should scold harry some more for coming when he's ill, should tell harry he should've stayed home and gotten rest, but he can't. all he can think is that harry's here and he's so glad he is.
tossing the flowers to the side, onto a nearby table, he takes harry into his arms and squeezes, pecking his cheeks and his neck and his jaw and wondering what he ever did to deserve harry, "i thought you weren't going to come. i was so scared; i thought you weren't coming."
harry's arms wrap around his waist tightly, reassuringly, something like a promise, his lips kissing into his neck, pressing into his collarbones and the backs of his ears, "i've never missed a show before, have i?"
and their arms tighten on one another, their lips exchanging i love you's, their bodies pressed up to one another, and their hearts singing the same song, playing the same game, holding on to the other.
0. the things we do
nobody gets it -how harry and louis work.
they don't get why louis looks for harry in the audience or why harry only smiles when louis' touching him. they don't understand why louis has hearts in his eyes when he's looking at harry and they don't understand how harry always seems to have a different type of flower for each of louis' plays. and sometimes when harry starts to think they're right, louis will crawl into his arms and he'll kiss his neck and his jaw and his ears and he'll whisper i love you because he does, he loves harry. and harry will nestle his face into louis' neck, will touch and feel louis' body and he'll whisper i love you, because he does, he loves louis. and it doesn't matter what they say or what they think, because they might be wrong or they might be right, but it doesn't matter.
because all harry wants is louis and all louis wants is harry and it doesn't matter if harry is a bit hopeless or that louis is a bit ambitious, because at the end of the day, they're under the bleachers, attached by their lips and their arms and hands and legs and they're whispering i love you.